How good is Monastery Mentor as of this afternoon?

  • @Topical_Island I actually have been wondering about this. If mentor Does drop and we have more artifact accelerants and fewer permanents, will we see a big uptick in Null Rod, and consequently maybe more Smokestack? Stax has been poking its head out since late last year but just seems underwhelming against one million monk tokens.

  • TMD Supporter

    I just 4-0ed the daily going 8-1 in games playing Jeskai Mentor with roughly:

    -3 Gush

    • 1 Merchant Scroll
    • 1 Git Probe (I never played that card)
    • 1 Wasteland
      Note: I also played Mystical, but always have.

    EDIT: decklist here:

  • @Smmenen Nice. I've been working on various blue builds the last couple evenings, and the best I've seen by far are just exactly what you describe. Basically 1 Gush Mentor decks that are still tempo oriented, as opposed to switching to a more big blue shell which I'm becoming convinced is either wrong, or simply beyond my scope to imagine.

    When you played the Jeskai, did you feel the lack of Gush? I've has a couple underwhelming Mentors in testing for lack of cheep spells to cause the token vomit we are all so used to. What did the games feel like? And which planeswalkers did you play?

  • TMD Supporter

    @Smmenen Nice work!

  • @Smmenen i would very much like to see a decklist. Would you show it?

  • @Smmenen The nice thing about the restriction is that you can do this: prove your case that our was incorrect using actual data.

    I am curious about how well mentor fares in the hands on less veteran pilots, buy well see.

  • @MaximumCDawg

    The nice thing about the restriction is that you can do this: prove your case that our was incorrect using actual data.

    I hope people realize how backward this is. Actual data is what should be used to restrict cards, but in this format, it's used to show the restriction decisions are ridiculous.

  • TMD Supporter

    I think the deck to play is Bomberman with Monastery Mentors. Bomberman already has Sensei's Top and a bunch of zero cast artifacts. I has utility in Trinket Mage for EE, Needle, Cage. It has blue draw spells in Thirst for Knowledge (And I might even try Dark Confidant). And it has that sweet Salvagers kill.

  • @wappla it leads to an inflated banlist as well, since it's harder to release the prisoners than take them in

  • @Smmenen Mentor: not even once

  • TMD Supporter

    @Topical_Island said in How good is Monastery Mentor as of this afternoon?:

    When you played the Jeskai, did you feel the lack of Gush? I've has a couple underwhelming Mentors in testing for lack of cheep spells to cause the token vomit we are all so used to. What did the games feel like? And which planeswalkers did you play?

    If you casually watched my matches yesterday, you probably wouldn't have been able to notice that Gush or Probe were restricted. I played both alot.

    Of course I felt the lack of Gush, but I've always played 4 Gush. For the Gush decks that only had 3 Gush, going to 1 is really not that significant of a difference when you have a critical mass of great draw spells, like Dig Through Time, Treasure Cruise, Ancestral Recall, and all of the recursion and search. You can find Gush pretty easily with Scroll and Mystical Tutor (which I did yesterday), but also because JVP allows you to replay Gush, where Snapcaster did not.

    More importantly, the reason it's not that big of a difference is because of the great lie that pre-restriction Mentor decks are built as Turbo Xerox decks. They're not. Having 16-17 lands maindeck is not a Turbo Xerox strategy. That's more land than Control Slaver or Gifts decks played last decade. 3-4 Gush Jeskai, Silent or Sylvan Mentor never needed Gush to make land drops. Not in the way that 13-14 land Gush decks like Delver did.

    I think Kai is exactly right, and the DCI was exactly wrong. The restriction of Gush and Probe will do nothing about the predominance of Mentor in this format. They hit the wrong cards, if dealing with Mentor was the goal, as they asserted.

  • Humbly, respectfully, I am betting that you will be wrong about the effect of these restrictions. I do think Mentor will see less play post restrictions. More on that in a minute.

    I think you are pretty much right on about everything else besides that one effect. It seems to me that they did hit the wrong cards from a game play perspective. Though I am excited, because I think this has the potential to diversify some of the builds within the blue shell a bit. But your point is well taken, I agree that Gush was not the "problem".

    Mostly I think that because I don't think there really was a problem, at least not from a technical, game play perspective. In terms of win percentage, is this Gush-Mentor deck not the worst deck to ever see restrictions in vintage? It the worst that I can think of. It's hard to say, since we don't have great win % data from way back when. But I never really thought the deck was THAT broken.

    It was/is really good. In the hands of experts it is an extremely good deck. But that's not really any different than any good deck. Correct me if I'm wrong, Shops based strategies had a + winning rate against Gush throughout its reign as the most played deck? So what was the problem? It was really just that it was too popular, and that got sort of old. It was as if the vintage community got caught in a sort of prisoner's dilemma, where the most popular deck at every major even would be Gush/Mentor, and then it would come it at under 50% wins, and then the sum of complains would be that it needed restriction because it was the best deck, since everyone was playing it. I heard many people who were playing it to losing records claiming it should be restricted. All this seemed odd to me.

    For whatever reason, that seems to be how folks felt. So I suspect that the restrictions will function as that excuse which many people were looking for all along, to move in some other direction. I'm excited to see what those might be. But I don't think the restrictions were much more than people just getting tired of a metagame which they believed to be too static.

  • TMD Supporter

    @Topical_Island said in How good is Monastery Mentor as of this afternoon?:

    Humbly, respectfully, I am betting that you will be wrong about the effect of these restrictions.

    To some extent, it doesn't really matter if people play less Mentor in the overall metagame as long as Mentor's representation in Top 8s remains the same. That's why I've been very careful to use the word "predominance" instead of "prevalance" in the multiple threads analyzing a possible Gush restriction. Prevalence mainly refers to presence. Predominance further denotes a position of control, strength or power.

    If Mentor had been 40% of Vintage metagames, but 0% of Top 8s, no reasonable person would have complained about the Mentor deck being too good. Eventually, the market would have corrected, and as Mentor continued to fail to make Top 8s, it's metagame presence would have declined. Metagame markets are self-correcting like that.

    Here's what the Aaron Forsythe said on behalf of the DCI on Monday:

    In Vintage, the metagame has come to a bit of a standstill as Monastery Mentor decks face down their main predator, Workshop decks. The primary issue seems to revolve around the prevalence of free draw spells for the Mentor deck that let it churn through its library for no mana while creating an abundance of tokens. We believe by removing these free draw spells—and the perfect information that comes with Gitaxian Probe—we will significantly weaken Monastery Mentor–based strategies. Hopefully the move away from "free" spells in the Mentor decks will lessen the impact of the Workshop deck's various Sphere of Resistance effects, opening up the metagame.

    The DCI is making two explicit predictions here:

    1. That these restrictions will "significantly weaken Monastery Mentor-based strategies."

    2. And that Workshop decks will have less impact on the metagame.

    There is also an implicit third prediction, that they think the metagame will open up.

    I think there is an excellent chance that at least one of these predictions will prove false, and a good chance that all three will prove unfounded.

    I don't think that Mentor strategies will significantly weaken. Not because I expect that people will simply continue to play Jeskai Mentor, but because I think Mentor will eventually assimilate itself into the best blue deck in the format, whatever that will eventually be, and consolidate a roughly equal part of the metagame that it held before, and, perhaps more importantly, equal standing within that metagame that it held before. But even if you are right that some people move away from Mentor, that doesn't mean that Mentor's % of Top 8s or tournament wins will actually decline. It's possible to have Mentor decline in the overall metagame and increase as a % of Top 8s (at least, it's theoretically possible, especially in the short run).

    I think it's more likely that Workshops will have a reduced impact on the metagame, but that doesn't seem especially probable to me either.

    Other people have pointed this out, but it's quite funny that in one paragraph justifying the restrictions of Gush and Probe, the DCI mentions Mentor 4 times, but Gush zero. Mentor is mentioned in literally every sentence in that explanation, making it clear that Gush was not restricted to end the oppression of blue decks by Gush. Although some people argued for the restriction of Gush on the grounds that it would free more blue decks to see play, the DCI does not appear to be grounding it's decision in that concern.

    Not only do I think that the DCI's predictions will prove wrong, but I further predict that these decisions will ultimately lead to more restrictions, not a healthier metagame. What's great about this situation is that in 12 weeks we will know who was right.

  • @Smmenen I'm all for knowing who was right. And thanks again to you, Kevin, Chubby and the rest of everyone who do such thorough work sussing out what the data actually is.

    mtgtop 8 has it listed at 22% of top 8's ran Mentor at an average of 3.2 per deck. Meaning that top 8's are about 19% saturated by Mentor right now... which really isn't that much. Gush was at 33% x 3.3 per deck for a 26% saturation, which is quite a bit higher, but still hardly what I would call out of control.

    I honestly don't expect that 19% saturation to go up from here... I mean, I think that's kind of unreasonable to expect. People were running that level of Gushes and Probes with Mentor because they thought those were the best builds, now that that isn't an option I would think the builds would get a little worse. Plus, as I said before, I just think a lot of people will move on to other things, so you won't have as many Mentors entered into tourneys to begin with. So, the win % of Mentor would have to go way up for top 8 finishes to stay the same.

    I think their predictions will be basically correct, if a little off. I suppose I believe what you said about 1 of the three predictions being wrong, but ok. Any three marginal predictions made of a very dynamic system is likely to produce at least one wrong guess.

    The part that worries me is that, again, it seems like we are just setting the precedent of making restrictions against whatever the most played deck is. By this logic, over time, we will either see one of three things then. This way of making restrictions will change. Or vintage will erode to be something like very strong legacy. Or there will be so many restricted cards, that vintage will finally become what it's detractors have so readily accused it of being... the format where the best deck is just one of all the restricted cards.

    We spoke online not long ago, and you mentioned that you thought that the DCI should absolutely take into account people's complaints concerning restrictions, outside of what is demonstrable through testing or data. I'm not unhappy with these restrictions, not nearly as much as I assume that you are. But making restrictions just based on people's feelings about cards, makes me very queasy.

    Anyway... off to try to build a new blue deck before I copy your much better build.

  • TMD Supporter

    @Topical_Island said in How good is Monastery Mentor as of this afternoon?:

    I honestly don't expect that 19% saturation to go up from here...

    But that's not what I'm predicting. Where I disagree is the DCI's prediction that Mentor will "significantly weaken." If Mentor decreases only modestly (not significantly), stays the same, or goes up, the DCI will be proven wrong.

  • @Smmenen I mean... ok. I don't want to quibble with a grieving man.

    I do think we agree essentially. I also think that the meta will widen out a bit, and I'm excited about that. I think that effect is mostly just a placebo effect, but will be real nonetheless.

    But I also worry that its pretty dangerous to start restricting stuff just over hue and cry, because it makes the hue and cry itself a viable strategy in MTG deck building... seems like a bad idea to me.

  • I'm predicting a Mentor variant to come around that features Moat. Hear me out: Moat is an absurdly good card all around. Mentor already runs Wear//Tear in the sideboard. I think Joe Brennan's Mentor list is heading in the right direction in terms of Planeswalkers. Additionally, Paradoxical Outcome is an absurd card all around. I'd like to see a Mentor Walker list come out that slams Moat early, plays Walkers and good cards to get tokens, then Paradoxical Outcomes the Moat away to open the gates of hell.

    tl;dr Moat is a good card.

  • @Mr_Rippe I agree that Moat is great. If a Mentor Deck with Moat is good, wouldn't Superfriends with Moat just be better? Or is the Mentor there as tech against Stax?

  • @Topical_Island Superfriends in and of itself isn't quite good enough. I like having Mentor in there as a way to close the game. It also buys time for the 1-2 Moat in your deck to make their way to your hand.

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