SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?"

@Topical_Island 3-4 misstep slots would (for relevant blue decks) would likely become extra Pyroblasts (if your meta has a lot of gush and outcome) and some combination of spell pierce and ceremonious rejection/steel sabotage. I do not see Drain coming back as the defacto replacement for misstep unless Gush gets the Ax too.

I'd be more curious how many people would run the singleton miser misstep 🙂

@SeanOhh said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

@Smmenen if we can look at the history of the DCI's decisions regarding restrictions, why aren't we mentioning how quickly cruise and dig were restricted? Or the fact that Gush has been restricted twice already, and it's even better now than it was then? Forgive me if I missed you mentioning any of this in your thesis.

Gush (and Cruise and Dig) are "better now" because of the 'Blue Stew' that has infested Vintage. Blue decks are running 14-16 free spells. This is absurd, and pretty unparalleled in the history of the format. 3-4 Probe, 4 Misstep, 4 Force, 3-4 Gush. That's what completely broke the delve mechanic, it's what allows you to play few lands, tap out with impunity for anything provided you have enough Missteps to Misstep the Misstep that Misstepped your Misstep. The whole stew has hyper charged all the cards in the free suite. People are Cruising on the 3rd turn because 14-16 spells required no mana investment. JVP flips pretty much every time between fetches and a horde of no mana spells.

Restricting Misstep and Probe hurts and helps the waning Dark Ritual decks, Probe is credible in combo and Misstep helps damper some combo decks. Restricting Misstep and Probe hurts the busted Delve cards and tempers JVP. Restricting Misstep and Probe helps the thorn match for all except the most stubborn dedicated Gush players. Restricting Probe would actually put some strategy into casting the Mentor instead of having perfect information for no cards and +1 mana. Restricting Misstep might force you to wait a turn to protect your Mentor (or go down a card) instead of being flush with the dumbest, lowest opportunity cost counterspell ever printed. Restricting Misstep might incent deck builders to put 1 mana sorcery speed spells in their decks, without also starting the deck building exercise at 56 card with their own 4 Derpsteps. Wow ... Deathrite Shaman! You resolved. Holy shit. Man remember when BUG was favored vs. 4 LSG / 4 Chalice shops?

They are two awful banal cards, I'd just axe Phyrexian Mana period but I understand that's not happening. It's perhaps the worst thing ever in Magic next to the border change.

Edit: and frankly I'd rather like to see Gush living in a world without the idiotic free spells and see if it's still busted, it certainly wasn't dominant for that first year or so. Fall 2010 it comes off and we get New Chimprexia in the spring, that starts the Stew on the pot. The nail was Khans in fall 2014 which just ruined everything for a year.

last edited by nedleeds

@p3temangus It would almost surely be right at 60%, since that's the number who run some now? Wouldn't Misstep get better if it were restricted, now that other decks can run key cards like Fastbond, Dark Ritual, and Deathrite?

@nedleeds

Regardless of what you are trying to argue, saying the worst thing to happen to Magic was the border change- something completely superficial with zero effect on gameplay- really undermines your credibility.

On a more constructive note, I don't understand how you can point to Deathrite Shaman's past efficacy against Workshops as evidence of Mental Misstep's oppressiveness considering Deathrite Shaman was printed after Mental Misstep. Mental Misstep was just as legal during that period as it is now. Assuming you know this, I think some of the logic of your argument got lost in the philosophical disdain you seem to have for "free spells." Whatever the case, I couldn't figure out what your point was there.

On the topic of Mental Misstep and Gitaxian Probe, I think it's difficult to argue they are fundamentally broken when so many decks omit them entirely.

last edited by wappla

@Smmenen what's your timeframe for restricting a card then? I'm just not following, because you recently posted a deck on Twitter which you won with at Eudo, which led me to their Twitter account, where their last tweet was from two years ago where you also won with Mentor. Look, I'm not for restricting things constantly. But I think your arguments for not restricting Gush are very weak, and honestly I'm wondering how much it has to do with your book. Nobody else is fighting this hard for Gush. At least two years of the same deck being top dog is enough, no? Despite several cards being printed that should be able to fight the mentor decks, it just doesn't work, because the draw engine is so lean and efficient that it just finds the answers (and the answers for your answers). And once something finds a way to win, Mentor just adjusts the sideboard and keeps on winning. I'm not trying to attack you, though I'm sure it seems like it... I would just like to play Magic again.

I'd like to point out that Chalice of the Void was legal as a 4-of for more than 10 years before it was restricted. Being legal as a 4-of for an extended period of time does not protect a card from being considered for restriction.

@SeanOhh said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

@Smmenen what's your timeframe for restricting a card then? I'm just not following, because you recently posted a deck on Twitter which you won with at Eudo, which led me to their Twitter account, where their last tweet was from two years ago where you also won with Mentor. Look, I'm not for restricting things constantly. But I think your arguments for not restricting Gush are very weak, and honestly I'm wondering how much it has to do with your book. Nobody else is fighting this hard for Gush. At least two years of the same deck being top dog is enough, no? Despite several cards being printed that should be able to fight the mentor decks, it just doesn't work, because the draw engine is so lean and efficient that it just finds the answers (and the answers for your answers). And once something finds a way to win, Mentor just adjusts the sideboard and keeps on winning. I'm not trying to attack you, though I'm sure it seems like it... I would just like to play Magic again.

Hi Sean,

I can tell you are asking in good faith, and am not offended. I appreciate your candor.

Vintage is an amazing format, and one of the many wonderful aspects about the format is that is a subject for lifetime enjoyment; there is enough depth and subtlety to the format that it is worthy of a lifetime of study for mastery.

But one of the drawbacks to that kind of engagement with the format is that it's all too easy for segments of the Vintage community to engage in group think and live in echo-chambers. I've seen that happen many times over the years. Team Paragon; the Keeper players, and so many others.

In other words, Vintage, perhaps more than any other format, is susceptible to parochialism and clique-based group think. To prove this, let me ask you a simple question: what percentage of your closest acquaintances or circle of friends in Vintage think that the DCI should do something about the B&R list? I would guess, quite a high number. Perhaps even 80-90%.

Yet, there have been two surveys conducted here and on twitter in the last few months, and in both surveys roughly 60% of players felt that there shouldn't be any change.

How do you explain that discrepancy? Even assuming that the either survey is flawed in some way, both had at least a hundred voters (one had substantially more). Which means that there are alot of Vintage players out there (like this one) who believe that, one way or the other, and regardless of who they are or where they come from.

It's psychologically natural to assume that most people think the way we do, yet the reality is that this is not so. There is a very large part of the player base, larger than the pro-restriction voices would care to admit, don't think that Gush should be restricted.

The truth is that the Vintage player base is really deeply divided on these issues. Some people think nothing should happen. Some think Gush should be restricted. Some think Probe or Misstep should be restricted. Some think other things entirely.

So, I say all of that to say that I'm not a lonely voice out there that thinks Gush shouldn't be restricted; I'm just slightly more visible than others is all.

Now, let me turn to your other questions.

Re: Mentor as the top deck for too long:

It's true that Gush Mentor has been very good for a while now. But, it's not really fair to say that it's been "top dog" for two years. Gush Mentor hasn't won a single Vintage Championship (not the European nor the North American - hell it didn't even win the Asian Championship, despite my best effort!) in those years.

It's certainly been a top tier deck, but how is that different than when Keeper or Control Slaver was a top deck year after year? That's the nature of Vintage.

I think players who are used to other formats sometimes get frustrated with the fact that Vintage changes much more slowly than other formats. This is a non-rotating format. I don't have a problem with a one deck being a top tier deck for several years in a row.

That's part of the format, in fact. The fact that players can master the various schools of Magic, and continue to play them and enjoy them over long periods of time is one of the most fundamental attractions of the format! If we simply restricted decks because they are a top tier deck for two or three years in a row, eventually we'd restrict everything.

Re: I'm biased because I wrote a book on Gush

Of course I prefer to have Gush unrestricted, if possible, in the Vintage format! But it's not because I wrote a book on Gush. You've got it backwards. I wrote a book on Gush because I enjoy Gush.

The Gush book was a passion project. I wrote a book on Gush because I love Gush, and wanted to share my passion with other players. If no more Gush books sell, I will be completely content with the response and reception to the book (and the original version from 2010, and 2nd edition from 2011). I think people who read or have the book genuinely enjoy it. That's really all I wanted because I love Gush and Vintage. As I wrote in my book, Gush is a "supple instrument for a precise player." It's a completely unique card, and I think Vintage would be much less interesting without it.

That doesn't mean that I think Gush should be permitted as a 4-of if it's truly oppressive or dominates the format. But I don't think Gush does. Gush decks aren't so much of Top 8s or oppressive that you can't play other decks. This is a format with many viable decks that are winning tournaments large and small, most of which are not Gush decks.

Re: arguments for not restricting Gush

The best argument for not restricting Gush is that, frankly, I think the metagame is diverse and fair, and that the Gush Mentor deck isn't really a metagame problem, if you dig into the data.

But if that isn't persuasive, here's another: Assuming you really want do something about the deck, I'd argue that the better restriction is Mentor.

Think about this: For 4-5 years, no one really complained about Gush as a candidate for restriction. It really wasn't until Mentor's printing that people started really complaining about Gush. So, if Gush really was the problem, then why wait 5 years to start calling for it's restriction?

So, my position is simple: if you can restrict Mentor, and Gush is not a problem, then that is preferable, in my opinion, to restricting Gush, when Mentor will likely continue to be just as much of a problem. I predict that if Gush is restricted, Mentor will eventually need to be. But if Mentor is restricted, I think it's much less likely that Gush will eventually need to be. There is a fundamental asymmetry there.

There may be a more fundamental issue. Some people are complaining about Gush not because they think it's oppressive to the format, but because they think it's oppressive to blue decks. While I don't think that's true, I think that's frankly a deeply problematic and illegitimate perspective.

The Restricted List doesn't exist to ensure that some strategies are playable. There used to be a cohort of players that lobbied the DCI to restrict cards to keep Keeper as the best deck. Some of the voices arguing for Gush's restriction are reminiscent of that. I've heard some people (perhaps even you) say that if Gush is restricted, maybe Mana Drain will be more playable.

I hope you can see how troubling that is. That's really no different than Keeper players lobbying for restrictions of cards that threatened their favorite deck.

In any case, I think it's not just illegitimate as an objective, and wrong as a factual matter; it's also misguided.

Restricting Gush won't bring back those decks. This idea, floating out there in some quarters, that restricting Gush will lead to a blolike ssoming of other blue decks, is really a wild-eyed fantasy in my view. Restricting Gush will just lead to a restricted list Delve deck that has much of the shell of the 8th place deck from Eternal Weekend Europe, anchored with 3-4 Mentors being the most popular blue deck in the format. Paradox, Oath, Landstill, etc. will likely fluctuate a little bit, but not really change much. What then? Restrict Mentor and Paradox? Where does it end?

The pro-restriction crowd is undergirded by mythology about what the effect of restricting Gush would do, and mythology about it's past and present status in the format. Gush isn't really a problem; Mentor might be, but the Delve cards definitely are. And there is nothing we can do about that last item.

last edited by Smmenen

@Smmenen said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

Think about this: For 4-5 years, no one really complained about Gush as a candidate for restriction. It really wasn't until Mentor's printing that people started really complaining about Gush. So, if Gush really was the problem, then why wait 5 years to start calling for it's restriction?

I generally agree with your philosophy when it comes to B&R policy, Steve. The reason behind my earlier post was bring this to attention. The above argument you made for Gush applies to both Chalice of the Void and Lodestone Golem.

I do not agree that blue draw engines and shop lockpieces should play by different rules. Where was this spirited defense of Chalice of the Void and Lodestone Golem when it was being rail-roaded into restriction by the VSL? A lot of us don't have a voice to argue this, but you did. I didn't see these arguments back then.

Chalice was not a problem for over 10 years, why did we wait so long before calling for it's restriction? Similarly, Lodestone Golem was legal for 5 years or so before it was restricted.

If we want to debate B&R policy this way, I suggest that we need to be consistent. Gush should not get a pass because it's blue and draws cards.

I would also argue that there were calls for Gush's restriction before Monastery Mentor was in Vintage. I would look for some links now, but I vividly remember calls for Gush's restriction once the Delve spells were printed in Khans, and UR Delver took over the format.

last edited by Hrishi

@Hrishi said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

@Smmenen said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

Think about this: For 4-5 years, no one really complained about Gush as a candidate for restriction. It really wasn't until Mentor's printing that people started really complaining about Gush. So, if Gush really was the problem, then why wait 5 years to start calling for it's restriction?

I generally agree with your philosophy when it comes to B&R policy, Steve. The reason behind my earlier post was bring this to attention. The above argument you made for Gush applies to both Chalice of the Void and Lodestone Golem.

I do not agree that blue draw engines and shop lockpieces should play by different rules. Where was this spirited defense of Chalice of the Void and Lodestone Golem when it was being rail-roaded into restriction by the VSL? A lot of us don't have a voice to argue this, but you did. I didn't see these arguments back then.

Chalice was not a problem for over 10 years, why did we wait so long before calling for it's restriction? Similarly, Lodestone Golem was legal for 5 years or so before it was restricted.

You weren't paying attention then. Because I consistently argued that Chalice should not have been restricted, and over and over again through the years said that there wasn't really sufficient data to support a Lodestone restriction. I said that in 2012, 2013, and 2014 in SMIP shows and on the old TMD.

But, after it happened, I defended the DCI's decision to restrict Golem and said I didn't think it was an unreasonable judgment call given all of the data, and the workshop printings. That doesn't mean I supported it in advance, but I don't think it was completely unreasonable.

If you go back even further, you'll find me actually defending Workshop from restriction in calls in the early oughts, where there was a concerted effort to restrict Mishra's Workshop. I've also opposed the restrictions, variously, of Bazaar, Oath, Rector, Flash, and many other cards over the years.

I agree with the need for consistency, but, as I said:

if you can restrict Mentor, and Gush is not a problem, then that is preferable, in my opinion, to restricting Gush, when Mentor will likely continue to be just as much of a problem. I predict that if Gush is restricted, Mentor will eventually need to be. But if Mentor is restricted, I think it's much less likely that Gush will eventually need to be. There is a fundamental asymmetry there.

Moreover, Gush and Golem aren't even in the same category. Golem wasn't restricted because of dominance, but because it locks people out of the game on Turn 1 and was a high performing deck. In contrast, Gush is a slow draw engine. It's apples and oranges.

I would also argue that there were calls for Gush's restriction before Monastery Mentor was in Vintage. I would look for some links now, but I vividly remember calls for Gush's restriction once the Delve spells were printed in Khans, and UR Delver took over the format.

Please find the proof of this, because the very first person I recall on the old TMD ever saying in this Gush era that Gush should be restricted was @ChubbyRain , and that was in the old Community forum right around the time that Mentor was released. It might have been a little bit earlier.

But in any case, 4 years went by before a single voice could be heard arguing that Gush should be restricted. It's a complete myth that Gush has always been regarded as a problem since it's unrestriction. That was my point.

last edited by Smmenen

@Smmenen I tend to be rather far ahead of the curve when it comes to the Vintage metagame. Maybe I should write a book about it.

@Smmenen said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

But in any case, 4 years went by before a single voice could be heard arguing that Gush should be restricted. It's a complete myth that Gush has always been regarded as a problem since it's unrestriction. That was my point.

And it's a point I agree with entirely. However, my argument is that Gush became a problem with the advent of the Delve spells in Khans, not with Mentor. I'd love to go back in time and never have printed both TC and DTT, but we cannot do this. My argument is that the existence of these 2 cards is the reason Gush became and has remained a problem.

Looking at it again, I apologize. I wrongly said that you did not defend Chalice's restriction when you did. However, both restrictions were declared defensible after the fact. I would argue that this would be too.

last edited by Hrishi

@ChubbyRain said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

@Smmenen I tend to be rather far ahead of the curve when it comes to the Vintage metagame. Maybe I should write a book about it.

Well, don't count your chickens before they hatch. You've been calling for Gush's restriction for years, and it hasn't happened yet.

Moreover, it's transparent why: you prefer playing blue decks that are naturally weaker to Gush decks. In fact, that's the point I made earlier: the vocal minority/segment of the Vintage player base that constitutes the pro-restriction crowd is hopeful that restricting Gush will open space for their pet blue decks. Not only is that problematic from a policy perspective, but it's also just misguided because it's wishful thinking.

You've also said that you think Mentor should be restricted, and possibly, IIRC, Paradoxical Outcome. If Gush is restricted, your predictive powers may be true, but only because they took the wrong step.

@Hrishi said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

@Smmenen said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

But in any case, 4 years went by before a single voice could be heard arguing that Gush should be restricted. It's a complete myth that Gush has always been regarded as a problem since it's unrestriction. That was my point.

And it's a point I agree with entirely. However, my argument is that Gush became a problem with the advent of the Delve spells in Khans, not with Mentor. I'd love to go back in time and never have printed both TC and DTT, but we cannot do this. My argument is that the existence of these 2 cards is the reason Gush became and has remained a problem.

I don't disagree with you on the order of events, but the solution isn't to restrict Gush; it's to restrict Mentor. Assuming of course, the DCI decides that there is a problem.

last edited by Smmenen

@ChubbyRain said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

@Smmenen I tend to be rather far ahead of the curve when it comes to the Vintage metagame. Maybe I should write a book about it.

I can attest to this, as can quite a few prominent vintage players.

My issue is that the DCI, and many others, aren't capable of seeing the underlying issue. Gush is what makes other blue decks worse (as well as making shops better). The other free spells are an annoyance, but Gush allows the deck to play with less mana compared to nearly any other blue strategy. It ramps, it's a combat trick, it creates creatures at virtually no cost, it helps Dack filter to more broken card draw even when the deck draws "too many" lands.

I love Gush. I'm a big fan of Fastbond. I adore Doomsday. I've even cast quite a few Mentors. I just don't see a world where only restricting Mentor helps. Because, while Mentor often wins with monks, that's largely a byproduct of the deck having more available answers than the opponent has threats. If you restrict Mentor, Grixis Gush decks step in and dominate the other blue decks. Or maybe Beaver's favorite Hydra does the job. But I guarantee we'll be stuck having this same conversation.

@SeanOhh said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

@ChubbyRain said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

@Smmenen I tend to be rather far ahead of the curve when it comes to the Vintage metagame. Maybe I should write a book about it.

I can attest to this, as can quite a few prominent vintage players.

My issue is that the DCI, and many others, aren't capable of seeing the underlying issue. Gush is what makes other blue decks worse (as well as making shops better).

Sean,

We get the argument. I think you are ignoring the rejoinder.

Restricting a blue draw spell because it is good against other blue decks is not a legitimate reason to restrict. It just isn't.

Restricting Gush in the hopes of bringing back other blue decks is no different than Keeper pilots lobbying for restrictions of cards that marginalized Keeper.

Not only is it not legitimate; it's deluded by wishful thinking. Mana Drain isn't coming back as a widely used counterspell in this format no matter how many restrictions you implement. Neither is Control Slaver.

I just don't see a world where only restricting Mentor helps.

So, let's test that theory: tell me exactly what % of players currently playing Gush Mentor would switch to a non-Gush deck, because it sounds like you are saying zero. You really believe that?

But I guarantee we'll be stuck having this same conversation.

The chances of us having that conversation are less than the chances of having the conversation about what do with Mentor if Gush is restricted. That's the key point.

last edited by Smmenen

@Smmenen You realize that I've created and popularized half the recent successful Gush archetypes, right? I don't have a pet deck and I certainly am not averse to playing Gush.

"So, let's test that theory: tell me exactly what % of players currently playing Gush Mentor would switch to a non-Gush deck, because it sounds like you are saying zero. You really believe that?"

At what time point? The restriction of Chalice of the Void and Lodestone Golem were met with short term drops in play before rebounding. It took players a couple of months to optimize lists and then for tournament results to confirm that their deck still worked pretty damn well.

I agree that in the short term, Mentor would probably produce a more substantial drop in play than Gush. I disagree when you consider the long term. People will realize that chaining cantrips into Gushes into Delve spells is still the best thing you can do with your Islands.

last edited by Guest

@ChubbyRain said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

"So, let's test that theory: tell me exactly what % of players currently playing Gush Mentor would switch to a non-Gush deck, because it sounds like you are saying zero. You really believe that?"

At what time point? The restriction of Chalice of the Void and Lodestone Golem were met with short term drops in play before rebounding. It took players a couple of months to optimize lists and then for tournament results to confirm that their deck still worked pretty damn well.

There were also a number of printings that helped out there, from the Eldrazi to the Vehicles... But, in any case, that logic suggests an inherent futility to restrictions, which is obviously untrue or else you wouldn't have been pushing this issue for so hard for so many months.

I agree that in the short term, Mentor would probably produce a more substantial drop in play than Gush. I disagree when you consider the long term.

So, you believe that if Mentor were restricted, it would have ZERO long-term effect on diminishing Gush's % of the metagame than it otherwise would be with Mentor?

It's one thing to say that the effect won't be as strong over time. But you are also saying that there will be no long term effects. That strains credulity.

To prove this point, suppose Mentor was restricted, and nine months later, unrestricted. You are saying it would result in a 0% increase in Gush decks. I don't believe that for a second, and I doubt you do either.

Although it's possible that a Mentor restriction might have a stronger suppressive effect in the short term, and Gush might rebound a bit over time, it will still have long term suppressive effects. To deny that is just silly.

The fact that you believe that Mentor also needs to be restricted suggests that you likely agree.

People will realize that chaining cantrips into Gushes into Delve spells is still the best thing you can do with your Islands.

So what? If Mentor's restriction brings down Gush's overall numbers to a broadly acceptable level, then it doesn't matter if Gush is still the best thing you can do with your Islands. There is always going to be one unrestricted draw engine that predominates over others in blue decks. Always has been, always will be. That's the way the format works.

Further, I'd argue that what you said is probably true even if Gush is restricted. Chaining cantrips with Delve spells (and possibly a single Gush) is still going to be the best thing you can do with Islands even if Gush is restricted.

@Smmenen You realize that I've created and popularized half the recent successful Gush archetypes, right?

That claim is as delusional as me claiming that I "created and popularized" Gush Mentor because I was the first documented player to play 4 Mentor in anything that resembles a modern Gush Mentor deck in Vintage.

There are literally dozens and dozens of players that have made significant contributions and tweaks to Gush decks in recent months, and Gush Mentor in particular. Even if you made meaningful contributions (which I couldn't even begin to guess what they might be, so I seriously doubt your claim), I suspect that most of the Gush pilots who have even worked with you and who have done well would not give you that quite that degree of credit ("creator"), even if they were being extremely generous. I've observed many notable Gush pilots who may be associated with you or otherwise working with you make many key tweaks on their own, by their statements on camera or otherwise. And that doesn't even count the people who don't know you or don't work with you and who have had little difficulty designing effective Mentor lists without netdecking.

As for the "popularizing" part of your claim, no offense, but to "popularize" a deck I'm pretty sure it has to actually appear in a tournament result somewhere so that people can see it and you as the popularizer or you have to be writing articles or primers on a deck. I barely recall seeing you reported in a Vintage tournament top 8 - large regional, MTGO or even local - with a Gush Mentor deck. And I don't recall any published strategy articles from you. Your decks have to be appear somewhere under your name (and not someone else's) in a prominent space to be credited as a "popularizer."

I don't have a pet deck and I certainly am not averse to playing Gush.

No, but it's certainly not your preference. You've only been complaining years that Gush pushes out other blue decks, louder and more vociferously than anyone else I can recall.

And if you really aren't averse to playing Gush decks, then why do you complain so much about how you don't want to play in Vintage tournaments anymore because you are bored with Gush decks?

You have made it clear that you prefer not to play Gush anymore. You've also said for months that both Mentor and Gush need restriction. There is obviously some class of blue decks you are interested in designing and playing that you feel Gush pushes out or you wouldn't have been arguing that point for so long...

last edited by Smmenen

@Smmenen Gush isn't "good against other blue decks," it's good against every deck without Spheres. Remember when people played elves, goblins, humans [sic], etc? I do. It pushes ALL of those decks out of the format. You wrote a book on the card, you know this, even if you can't admit it. This is like L. Ron Hubbard saying "eh Scientology is okay I guess." J.K. Rowling thinks wizards are like, sorta alright when they're behaving themselves. Aristotle once said philosophy is "pretty rad, but don't overthink it."

If I thought Mentor would still be the powerhouse it is without Gush, I'd want to see something else go first. I wouldn't even be having this discussion. I think it will still be good, and may need another restriction in the future depending on how things shake out, but I'm not on the "restrict all of it" train. One at a time is okay by me. But it's the strongest unrestricted card in the deck that's been dominant for a long time. The vintage world needs a breather.

@SeanOhh said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

@Smmenen Gush isn't "good against other blue decks," it's good against every deck without Spheres. Remember when people played elves, goblins, humans [sic], etc?

First, Humans won Eternal Weekend Europe last year in a Top 4 of Gush decks.

But you can't pin the absence of Goblins or Elves decks on Gush anymore than you can the absence of Suicide Black or Burn. That's just as delusional as the people who think restricting Gush will bring back Mana Drain to the center of the metagame. Wishful thinking.

Those are outmoded strategies that wouldn't exist even if Gush were restricted. Goblins hasn't been viable in this format since 2004, the last time it won a major tournament.

You wrote a book on the card, you know this, even if you can't admit it.

Of course Gush is an amazing Vintage card. But that's not the issue. The issue is whether it needs to be restricted because its oppressive or dominant. The data just isn't there to support that view.

If I thought Mentor would still be the powerhouse it is without Gush, I'd want to see something else go first.

I don't see how you can't see this. Even @ChubbyRain thinks Mentor needs to be restricted. If Gush is restricted, you can mark it down for a fact that Mentor will follow.

I think there is a real danger that Mentor gets better if Gush is restricted. It's not hard to see why. Gush is a pretty slow card and a big disincentive to playing fulll Moxen, let alone Mana Crypt, etc. Mentor decks want to play Mentors faster with more artifact mana for faster Mentors and monk production. If Gush is restricted, we're gonna see more big mana blue Mentor decks with Top like the 8th place deck from EW Europe (with Delve spells) or like Brian Pallas's deck from the 2015 Vintage Champs top 8. But much better and more tuned. Without Gush in the metagame, I think there is a real danger Mentor will become worse, not better.

I wouldn't even be having this discussion. I think it will still be good, and may need another restriction in the future depending on how things shake out, but I'm not on the "restrict all of it" train. One at a time is okay by me.

Then please answer the question I asked you earlier: exactly what percentage of Gush Mentor pilots do you think would switch to a non-Gush deck if Mentor were restricted?

Because if restricting Mentor suppresses Gush more than restricting Gush suppresses Mentor, then that's the place to start...

last edited by Smmenen

@Smmenen

I prefer to knock these out via bullet points rather than create walls of text:

  • The major innovation out of Shops after Chalices restriction was Triskelion - hardly a new printing. TKS was printed several months before Lodestone was restricted and was picked up pretty shortly following the restriction. It's unclear what shops deck would have emerged were the opposite true.
  • No, that is not what my logic suggests. I am saying that metagame dynamics determine the long term equilibrium of decks within a format. Restricting Chalice and Lodestone did nothing to change those dynamics - the Gush engine continued to be best combated through the use of Thorn effects.
  • Yes, I believe restricting Mentor will have an insignificant long term effect on the proportion of the metagame that runs Gush. Most Vintage players conform to one style of deck - those that play Blue will eventually continue to chose Gush decks with various win cons.
  • I was the first person to win a major event with JVP and Mentor. It was a hundred person event and I split a Lotus and an Ancestral with Brian. I created and top 8'd with Nahiri Control - Josh Lalo ended up taking down 2nd at EE5 in another 100 person event. I created Saheeli Oath, though I had no real part in the deck perpetuating across the internet. I am not saying that I'm the only person that contributed to the Gush archetype and I certainly don't mean to steal credit from anyone else, but to state that I "prefer playing weaker decks that lose to Gush" is asinine and ignorant.
  • How do you know it's not my preference? My preference is to brew and play a wide variety of different and interesting decks. These decks tend to be Blue but outside of that, they have little else in common. I Notion Thief'ed you out of Champs three years ago, top 32ing with Humanstorm. I played Dragon the year after that (had the Gush Mentor list sleeved up but won a Mox Ruby with Dragon and decided to run it back). Leovold Pyromancer last year (not a good call). I'm bored with Gush because the gameplay is repetitive and I'm bored with the format because it is essentially solved.

My reference to elves and goblins wasn't meant to be literal in the sense that I'd expect them to magically return. Just the idea that other non-Gush, non-Thorn decks would be viable. I won't even begin to discuss why I think bringing up the EU humans deck (or the EW standstill deck for that matter) is silly, but let's just say I have my reservations on both counts, albeit for different reasons.

I don't know why you think restricting Mentor suppresses Gush more than restricting Gush suppresses Mentor. Having fewer ways to trigger Mentor in one turn means a LOT. Having fewer ways to get more cards into your hand without paying mana means a LOT. That's less mana available for counters, less "free" counters drawn, etc. It's a lot easier to fight the Mentor when their engine is slower and requires more mana. If the plan is to power out mentors much faster, you're more susceptible to artifact hate, like Null Rod. This isn't a particularly reliable strategy when other decks, such as PO, may rise in numbers, leading to more hate for them as well.

But, as I said before, it could still need a restriction after Gush. I just don't see a reason to give an entire deck the middle finger all at once. However, glossing over the success of a deck like Grixis Therapy in the same time period seems absurd. Not to mention, Brian Kelly and I played Esper Mentor in a 60-some person event (iirc) with only 2 mentors in the deck. I went undefeated in games against blue decks that day, only losing to Will Dayton on TKS shops in the semis, while Brian made it to the finals, only losing in the Swiss to Dredge. So, with all of that being said, I just don't see how Mentor is the worse offender.

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