TMD Open 18 - Top 8 and Metagame Breakdown
This past Saturday, 115 Vintage players from the Northeast US gathered for one of the marquee events of the year: the TMD Open 18 aka Waterbury. Ryan and I were unfortunately unable to make the trip, but Ray graciously scanned the decklists and sent them to us so we could give them the usual treatment. By all accounts, @iamfishman did it again, throwing an excellent tournament the exemplified what Vintage is in the Northeast. There was trivia, there were giveaways, there was bingo, and there was beer. After all was said and done, Jarad Demick on Ravager Shops took home first place (the top 4 split the money and played for the trophy, as I understand it).
On Deck Classification
We continued to use the Archetype/Subarchetype scheme along with the breakdown by Tags. Given the popularity of Paradoxical Outcome, we created an archetype which we broke down by win conditions and structure. PO Mentor describes builds that run multiple Mentors as the primary win condition, similar to Kevin Cron's and Stephen Menendian's list from Champs (there were none present at the event). PO Storm describes the broken lists running Draw 7's, Chrome Mox, and LEDs. These decks often used a mixture of win conditions along with either Tendrils or Brain Freeze. PO Tezz describes the classic Vault/Key and Tinker builds - less all in than Storm and with value creatures like Trinket Mage and Snapcaster Mage. Other PO was generally combination of other archetypes. This is a work in progress...
There were several hybrids. Brian Kelly's Emrakul/PO/Gush deck was classified under Paradoxical. PO Oath was classified under Oath. Salvagers Gush Oath under Oath. The Oathstill decks were also included under Oath. If this seems arbitrary, it is. We are open to suggestions on this front but that's the nature classifications. It's why we have the tag system, so that we can attach multiple descriptors. The lists we included in "Other" can be viewed here along with all our raw data and calculations.
Top 8 Decklists
- Jarad Demick - Ravager Shops
- Jonathan Geras - Ravager Shops
- Travis Compton - Unmask Dredge
- Craig Dupre - PO Storm
- Raf Forino - Blitzkrieg Shops
- Akash Naidu - Powered Colorless Eldrazi
- Andy Probasco - Jeskai Mentor
- Andrew Farias - Jeskai Mentor
Congrats to all members of the top 8 and thanks to Ray for running an excellent event and providing us with the raw data. As always, I am indebted to Ryan Eberhart for his considerable help with our analysis. Questions? Comments? Please don't hesitate.
As always, amazed that you and Ryan are able to put this together so quickly. Thanks!
Was I really the only one running Pyromancer at Waterbury? That's kinda funny.
Pyro/Fastbond/Gush is certainly not the best deck right now, but it's a blast to pilot and having fun is what I went to Waterbury to do.
Like last year, I had a mediocre performance overall, but was undefeated by Mentor in the day.
Thanks for sharing.
I probably would have done horribly and I am still sad I didn't get to go. It was a blast last time.
Blitzkrieg Shops, please. It was on all the lists.
Thanks for providing this information, pretty cool to see such a huge breakdown. I really appreciate the time and effort you put into results like these.
Why does everyone say Mentor is the best deck when shops and taxing effects have percents like these?
Thanks for the amazing breakdown! And what a great top 8! I'd mentioned earlier that it was a wonder that with limited hate in sideboards that Dredge wasn't sneaking on for some surprise beats. Unmask: the classy dredge...
@Chase_Dagger Mentor is the best deck against most hypothetical decks. This pushes out a lot of those decks and makes mentor a large percentage of the metagame. Shops then plays a maindeck that crushes mentor and profits.
Shops has the highest winrate because the metagame is so homogenized. Shops can't build a maindeck that beats an entire blue field with reasonable representations of landstill, BUG fish, merfolk, outcome, and big blue.
The problem is compounded by the fact that it's clear that shops has the highest winrate but a huge percentage of players refuse to play the archetype. If shops representation (especially in paper) weren't capped by biases you'd see a lot more shops lists teching heavily for the mirror. (Everyone criticizing gush players for building inbred decks doesn't appreciate how much more profitable it is to make an inbred deck when your archetype is a much higher percentage of the metagame.)
Travis Compton doing the Lord's work.
(Everyone criticizing gush players for building inbred decks doesn't appreciate how much more profitable it is to make an inbred deck when your archetype is a much higher percentage of the metagame.)
I don't necessarily disagree with the bulk of your post, but it's a little awkward to make this statement about a tournament where there are more shops players than mentor/gush players
@Brass-Man I guess I should have been more clear that I was making a general remark on the texture of vintage than the particulars of this tournament (the person I was replying to appeared to be asking a general question). However even if gush was less represented at Waterbury than shops that doesn't mean that people were constructing their decks with that expectation.
@Chase_Dagger Thanks for the kind words.
@Brass-Man I think @diophan's statement should have stated "other Blue decks" rather than just the mirror. When you consider that Pryoblast, Flusterstorm, and Mental Misstep are powerful against not only the Gush (23.5%), but Paradoxical (10.4%), Oath (7.4%), BUG Fish from Null Rod (4.35%), Other Blue decks (9.6%), and Other Combo decks (1.7%), you end up with these cards being good against 57.0% of the field. Taking measures against Shops has much less overlap. Running more lands helps against Shops, Eldrazi, Humans (I actually don't like running too many lands against BUG Fish and Landstill as they have much weaker mana-denial and you end up leveraging the virtual card advantage of a mana-lite build). Artifact removal is good against Shops but I've found it medium against Eldrazi and surprising poor against Outcomes (It's better to stop the outcomes or land a haymaker like Stony Silence than pick off individual artifacts).
Huge thanks for doing this guys! You rock!
After reading plenty of mentor comments/complaints here on TMD, I feel you have given the best explanation by far. Thank you for this.
You mentioned: ‘shops has the highest winrate but a huge percentage of players refuse to play the archetype.’
This is interesting to me. I’ve only been playing Vintage since September 2015, I started with MTGO (of course). While I play Mentor & many other decks in the tournament practice room, when it comes to entering dailies or the P9 I usually go with Shops. I have access to pretty much any Vintage deck, but each time I review the numbers and play test the various matchups, I always settle on playing Shops because the numbers are there.
I’d rather play mentor gush (probably in the esper colors but I’d settle for jeskai) over feeling forced into playing shops yet again. I play shops because it’s consistantly good and when you play against it even when using jeskai mentor gush you still lose the game one mana short of being able to do something to maybe win or sometimes just anything at all.
You mentioned: Mentor is the best deck against most hypothetical decks. This pushes out a lot of those decks and makes mentor a large percentage of the metagame. Shops then plays a maindeck that crushes mentor and profits.
Would I be wrong to say that since Vintage is so polarized between blue decks and non blue decks it’s inevabitle that one blue deck will always rise to the top as the best deck to defeat the other blue as well as have a chance against the rest of the field?
I’m interested in hearing about what those hypothetical blue deckswould look like. To me the blue decks of Vintage aren’t very diverse, they all have a similar shell. In a format that hardly sees any new playable cards, I’m really suprised to hear players say mentor is a problem. To me mentor is just the new driver of the same old blue Vintage deck. It appears to me that banning or restricting mentor would only cause the format to take a stale and boring step backwards.
Thanks again for the insightful reply.
Travis Compton doing the Lord's work.
Can't tell if you are serious... Taking it as a compliment anyway.
@BusOfTheUndead It's absolutely a compliment!