Vintage Challenge - 5/29/17
What does Thirst encourage?
Paying mana for your draw spells.
Matt's list also played 4 Paradoxical Outcome, which is essentially a free draw spell; I don't think he would have gotten very far without those. But I'm also happy to see these style of decks perform again. They're fun to play.
@The-Atog-Lord It also seems to encourage playing lots of free artifact mana, Time Vault and Voltaic Key, Paradoxical Outcome, a bunch of tutors, and Tinker and Blightsteel Colossus. How do those things create a better format than Young Pyromancer and Monastery Mentor?
I also don't understand how you have come to attach a personality trait like "greed" to the Gush mana base. Why is the Gush mana base "greedy?" People play the amount of mana they believe their deck needs to win games of Magic. That's as true in Gush decks as it is in Standstill or Thirst decks. There's nothing greedy about it.
Can you explain how a Gush metagame leads to a "race-to-the-bottom" and a Thirst-Paradoxical metagame doesn't?
Additionally, if paying mana for draw spells is what you celebrate about Thirst and distinguishes it from the evil Gush, shouldn't you be upset that the Thirst decks now lean so heavily on Paradoxical Outcome?
Edit: In yesterdays event, Paradoxical/Thirst decks played fewer lands than Gush decks did before restriction. Could you clarify your definition of "greed?"
After looking at the decklists from the Top Dech games 1k and the May LCV results, I don't think we are in a two deck meta.
Dredge took down both events. The Top Deck Top 8 was Dredge, Jeskai Mentor with some interesting elements (Joe Brennan lists are fun), Car Shops, Delver, Stax, an Esper Tezzie deck, that really cool Paradox Engine Deck, and Jeskai Bomberman.
Things aren't settled yet. And that top 8 is bananas.
I dont think this has anything to do with gush/probe restrictions. Dredge was dying in the NE paper meta. I was at 3 events in a row without a single dredge player (not just an opponent, nobody playing dredge). These ToA and DmIG events which tend to get a good cross section of the community. I've been saying since about last september that dredge is going to surprise us all because people just aren't preparing for it anymore. Many players have been reducing dredge sideboard cards for months in that meta. Somebody winning with dredge at TDG just means a dredge player realized nobody is preparing for it anymore and dominated. It would have happened regardless of the gush/probe restriction imho.
Me: I am having fun.
Steve: Impossible! Here are some numbers.
But that's not a fair representation of what I was expressing. Subjective experience, obviously, can't be quantified. Nor was I in any way disputing your subjective experience. I'm glad you are having fun!
Rather, my point was that your increased enjoyment appears to be a placebo effect. . .
I actually agree with you 100% Steve that really nothing has changed empirically. But that begs the question - is the placebo effect really a bad thing in this case? I dont like the restriction of gush. But if more players are testing out new things and more players who had stopped playing are coming back is the placebo effect really all that bad?
What I wonder on all of this is, to what point is all of the arguing back an forth on the validity of the restriction? Have we ever seen wizards come back after a restriction/ban shortly afterwards and say "oops, looks like people didn't like that" and undo the restriction? None that I can think of, I am certain it will not happen this time as well. All of the argument back and forth is kind of pointless. It is now restricted, and now we play on...
Every time I read one of these threads I am reminded that no matter what any of us claim, I think it is impossible to remove player bias from these conversations. Even the best players and pros succumb to it. We all have a different definition of what "a healthy metagame" looks like and we all have a different definition of what is "fun and unfun."
And while I love B&R debates, at the end of the day it's pretty fruitless. Even 20yrs after the advent of Magic, the DCI still has never given any indication what metrics or definitions they use. So how can we debate this? The TMD community doesn't even have a definition of what a "perfect metagame" consists of.
Even the fun/unfun debate is somewhat nuanced. Some people think Vintage with the card Mana Drain is the pinnacle of play, and others fight for the existence of Gush. How can we define which is better?
I guess at the end of the day, the only metric that matters is whether long-term player attendance is increasing or decreasing. Everything else is probably biased.
This reply is meant for everyone and I hope that someone with ties to WOTC/DCI reads it. Gush is greedy in that you could cast it for free with at most times a negligible drawback vs every deck but taxing decks. It allowed you to win stack battles easier than other blue-based decks and drowned out blue diversity when it came to deck building because of how good the card is. It also hosed wastelands/strip mines which was a bit over the top imo. Probe needed to go because it removed a skill factor from the game, had a negligible drawback/free to cast and also replaced itself. Mentor STILL needs to be restricted because it is the most powerful creature ever printed in the history of mtgo to date that skews the entire metagame. We've never had a single creature impact the vintage format as hard as mentor has. Every single non-creature spell you cast generates a snowball-type advantage once it is on the board. If the tokens didn't have prowess at all or at least didn't have prowess if the original mentor that generated them was no longer in play, I don't think this card would be the issue it is today. Misstep needs to get restrcted because it is a free counterspell with a negligible drawback that drowns out a whole pillar of the format as well as many other options. Mono-red would actually become a pillar if misstep was gone. Mono-black dark ritual would become a pillar again. BUG aggro with deathrite shaman would actually be consistent. Welder could make a comeback and help balance the scales when it comes to blue's card advantage that is generated over time. Mono-green/BUG elves would make a comeback. I don't think blue needs to have 3 different counters spells that can be ran up to 4 per deck that don't require mana to be spent on them. FOW and MBT have sizable draw backs/conditions that actually matter, misstep does not. Right now, the metagame is roughly 50% blue based permission decks. I think that this is an issue for vintage. Not because I hate playing vs blue, but because there are too many options at blues disposal for them to say no to your spells. I think restricting misstep would widen the format enough to where we attract all types of players into the format. Not everyone wants to only play taxing, permission, combo or dredge decks. Misstep limits diversity which directly impacts the playerbase imo. Most people leave vintage/don't play vintage because they are playing vs permission a very large portion of the time and because the options limited for when it comes to decks that can place well consistently over time in large tournaments. I firmly believe that by restricting these cards it would change the meta game for the best(making it wider/diverse) and make vintage more attractive to outsiders given there will be more feasible options. I believe we would actually be able to attract casuals into the format. Right now blue-based permission decks loaded with counterspells/removal etc are roughly 50% of the metagame. It is more oppressive than 4 chalice and 4 lodestone golem. Restrict the Monastery Mentor and Mental Misstep already.
Monastery Mentor was mostly absent from top 8 of yesterday's Vintage challenge. The card is trending down. Only 1 of 4 blue decks in the top 8 played Monastery Mentor. 40% of decks in the top 32 but only 12% of decks in the top 8. I don't have the exact numbers, but the Jeskai Mentor deck faired very poorly yesterday. In my opinion, the best blue deck doesn't it, because as you can see it doesn't make top 8.
@Khahan The dredge element is one part.
The larger elements seem to be the decrease in mentors and what seems to be a wider variety of blue strategies performing well.
Steve has put forward in the past that the current metagame was going to devolve into the new best mentor deck and something else. I think it is still too early to try to judge the most recent restrictions based on what we've seen.
Which is to say that I don't think the DCI decision is going to be able to evaluated for a very, very long time.
Look at the Lodestone Golem restriction. There are many who felt that it was not warranted by the data. There are those who think it needed to happen.
Many who favored the Lodestone restriction pointed to the development of the Eldrazi deck as proof that it was good for the metagame. They pointed to the flourishing of blue decks and commented that shops had been weakened but was still good.
Six months later there were grumblings that the rise of a third form of prison deck was starting to make events less fun. Monastery mentor driven by a gush engine coalesced into a very powerful deck, and some felt it was perhaps broken. Many bemoaned the "oh look, another mentor mirror match" feel.
Some of the same people that said Lodestone golem needed to go for the sake of the metagame and felt that the DCI was absolutely "justified" in its decision to do so were also saying the the vintage metagame was in shambles and had grown stale.
Magic players love to complain.
I don't know if restricting gush and probe were good.
I think it is too early to tell.
I don't know if restricting Lodestone Golem was good.
The metagame that occurred afterward (in which many people felt something was off/unenjoyable) suggests it was probably hasty.
All I know is I dislike seeing cards restricted because it takes years for them to get unrestricted if it happens.
And I 'd rather see a metagame have time to work itself out rather than needing "course correction."