Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017



  • @Smmenen

    1. We've had a handful of events that would be considered tiny in relation to any other format. Many prereleases and FNMs are larger than these challenges. Wizards gets more data about the state of Standard in a week than Vintage gets in a year. The entire point of this exercise is to track changes in the format over time and aggregate the results, because anyone with a basic understanding of statistics knows that sample size is critical to making empirical judgements about complex systems. I don't know if you are being willfully ignorant or you're still going through the bereavement process - either way, it's getting tiresome to deal with this week to week.

    2. Innovation in Vintage is driven by a handful of competent brewers. The list you played in this event had some minor tweaks from the version I used to win a Lotus three years ago (some were terrible...Chewer is mediocre and doesn't work well with JVP - it's no surprise Jazza trounced you). That list seems pretty obvious and standard now, but it took about a month of tuning to get it right and the reason I didn't play it in Champs (with 1-2 more Digs) that year was because I didn't feel it was ready. The Drain Tendrils list I used to win the Challenge a couple of weeks ago took about the same amount of time. I get that you used to take other people's decks, tweak a couple of cards, and call them "Meandeck whatever". That's not how Vintage works right now, and your poor performance in the later iterations of VSL is a result of that (God, that Dark Petition Oath deck was an abomination). Maybe some of this is unnecessarily mean, but the point is that Vintage has a considerable amount of inertia given the small player base, few number of innovators, time it takes to adequately tune a brew, and the large number of old hacks who don't understand the modern metagame, yet think they are still relevant.

    3. Final point and I apologize for the occasional use of caps for emphasis. However, I'm at a loss as you seem unable to comprehend what I think is a relatively simple concept. The MAJORITY OF VINTAGE PLAYERS IN VARIOUS POLLS agreed with you that Mentor should have been restricted. A SUBSTANTIAL PERCENTAGE felt Gush should also be restricted. This is completely beside the point, because NONE OF THE PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE RESTRICTIONS ARE ON THIS WEBSITE. Posting here each week only serves to fuel your rampant narcissism and remind us what a self-absorbed ass you are. The DCI doesn't check this - they already have more complete results than we can collect. Your rants on this blog don't influence policy. Perhaps a better use of your time would be to churn out more Old School content or to get Paul to teach you some new sleight of hand... Hell, you could take over this data collection for us, because I'm really close to not bothering with this crap anymore.


  • TMD Supporter

    @Smmenen said in Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017:

    How do you restrict two cards and get the same or worse results?

    I mean when they restricted Dig through Time, it didn't change a whole lot either. You were even talking about it in your podcast; for Brian Kelly's winning deck, just cut 2 Dig through Time for a Treasure Cruise and a Planeswalker. Most Gush decks were only playing 3 Gush so obviously its a similar situation.

    My question is, why didn't you make such a fuss over the restriction of Dig through Time?


  • TMD Supporter

    First of all, that's the biggest bunch of angry venom I've seen here in a long time. In the good ole days, most of that post would be scrubbed as inflammatory, but since it's not, I'll response point by point.

    @ChubbyRain said in Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017:

    @Smmenen

    1. We've had a handful of events that would be considered tiny in relation to any other format. Many prereleases and FNMs are larger than these challenges. Wizards gets more data about the state of Standard in a week than Vintage gets in a year. The entire point of this exercise is to track changes in the format over time and aggregate the results, because anyone with a basic understanding of statistics knows that sample size is critical to making empirical judgements about complex systems.

    What do you think I'm doing? There have been 6 Challenges so far. if I were looking at just a single event, and "cherry picking" (your favorite phrase), then you would easily call me out on it.

    But I'm not. There is a clear trendline here. That's why I looked at all of the data together.

    This isn't a table that shows random data points. The data all show a stable pattern with a stable trendline. The metagame picture is clear. Shall I draw it for you?

    alt text

    Oh look! How funny is that!

    It's exactly what I predicted many months ago:

    alt text

    alt text

    Any dummy can look at those charts and tell that there is something discernible happening here. This isn't random data points. They are part of a clear pattern and direction. It's not "noise."

    I don't know if you are being willfully ignorant or you're still going through the bereavement process - either way, it's getting tiresome to deal with this week to week.

    Just like it was tiresome, for more than two years, to hear you complain about Gush over and over again. Deal with it.

    The DCI made two restrictions accompanied by an explanation that contained predictions that Mentor and Shops decks would decrease. Neither is happening. The data is showing us this. Pointing this out is a duty, to hold the DCI accountable, as well as the people who misled the DCI into thinking this would happen.

    People have a right to complain about the gross incompetence and mismanagement of the format.

    1. Innovation in Vintage is driven by a handful of competent brewers. The list you played in this event had some minor tweaks from the version I used to win a Lotus three years ago (some were terrible...Chewer is mediocre and doesn't work well with JVP - it's no surprise Jazza trounced you). That list seems pretty obvious and standard now, but it took about a month of tuning to get it right and the reason I didn't play it in Champs (with 1-2 more Digs) that year was because I didn't feel it was ready. The Drain Tendrils list I used to win the Challenge a couple of weeks ago took about the same amount of time. I get that you used to take other people's decks, tweak a couple of cards, and call them "Meandeck whatever". That's not how Vintage works right now, and your poor performance in the later iterations of VSL is a result of that (God, that Dark Petition Oath deck was an abomination). Maybe some of this is unnecessarily mean, but the point is that Vintage has a considerable amount of inertia given the small player base, few number of innovators, time it takes to adequately tune a brew, and the large number of old hacks who don't understand the modern metagame, yet think they are still relevant.

    Keep it classy, as always, Matt!

    I'm not sure what your point is here, except to spew vitriol, but suffice to say, Ingot Chewer is the only reason I was able to beat every other Shops/Eldrazi match I played in the rest of the tournament. My top 8 deck from April had 0 Ingot Chewer, and I lost to Jazza in the Top 8 of that tournament as well. I specifically switched to Ingot Chewer based upon testing that it improved my Shops (and Eldrazi) matchup. I don't know if you've noticed, but Mentor has been getting crushed by Jazza and other Shops players recently in these tournaments. The Mentor players aren't running an anti-Shops configuration that is capable of reliably competing, and Shops is the best deck in the format. Ingot Chewer was actually amazing against Jazza. I probably made some miscues against him, and it's possible that I could have won the match, but it wasn't because of Chewer. But Ingot Chewer was actually amazing. By Force is simply not reliable against Shop decks. That's dreamland for Mentor decks.

    As for "consistent brewers," I was one of the very first people in this format to play with Young Pyromancer (Rich and I both Top 8ed the same first tournament it was legal, but I played it in a 4 Gush deck, and he didn't). And I brewed one of the very first Mentor decks and won a local tournament in a shell that would pretty much resemble what later emerged, and also the very first to play Mentor on the VSL (along with DW, who played my deck). The shell I built is basically the shell that exists to this day, including the list that I played a 3rd place finish in the Asian Vintage Championship last year. I also won a bunch of local tournaments over the last few years with essentially the same deck, including one at the beginning of April.

    1. Final point and I apologize for the occasional use of caps for emphasis. However, I'm at a loss as you seem unable to comprehend what I think is a relatively simple concept. The MAJORITY OF VINTAGE PLAYERS IN VARIOUS POLLS agreed with you that Mentor should have been restricted. A SUBSTANTIAL PERCENTAGE felt Gush should also be restricted. This is completely beside the point, because NONE OF THE PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE RESTRICTIONS ARE ON THIS WEBSITE.

    Oh please. That's completely BS, and everyone knows it.

    You bragged about relentlessly giving "feedback" to the DCI about Gush. If there is a single person responsible for incessantly whining, complaining, and rousing the rabble against Gush, it's you.

    You were the very first person to post on TMD (the previous version) that Gush should be re-restricted, and slowly pressed your case. Do you now deny arguing that Gush should be restricted?

    Because you were the chief person who misled them.

    Posting here each week only serves to fuel your rampant narcissism and remind us what a self-absorbed ass you are.

    Wow, pot meet kettle. You are the very stereotype of an angry nerd sitting behind his computer desk spewing venom. Get out more. Seriously.

    Absolutely nothing I said in this thread was narcissistic. Please, tell me what is narcissistic about this post:

    alt text

    You are delusionally reading things that aren't there.

    I didn't even mention my performance in this tournament, or self-congratulate myself. All that I said was the format is awful, and that the DCI's predictions about the format are failing to materialize; and in fact, the opposite is happening.

    The fact that you read my complaints about the format as self-absorption or narcissism is hilariously revealing about your own psyche.

    The DCI doesn't check this - they already have more complete results than we can collect. Your rants on this blog don't influence policy.

    Uh, we already know that members of R&D who communicate with the DCI do check this.

    Perhaps a better use of your time would be to churn out more Old School content or to get Paul to teach you some new sleight of hand... Hell, you could take over this data collection for us, because I'm really close to not bothering with this crap anymore.

    You already said "People have a right to be angry with and/or disagree with the DCI's decisions. It would be hypocritical of me to think otherwise."

    So stop being hypocritical, and don't complain about people's justifiable criticism.

    The restrictions of Gush and Probe were the wrong restrictions. The polarization you complained about has either persisted or gotten worse, and you are partly responsible for it. And, unfortunately, I have a feeling things are just going to get worse. Who knows where this train ends up, but it's not likely some place good! Probably more unnecessary restrictions.


  • TMD Supporter

    @desolutionist said in Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017:

    @Smmenen said in Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017:

    How do you restrict two cards and get the same or worse results?

    I mean when they restricted Dig through Time, it didn't change a whole lot either. You were even talking about it in your podcast; for Brian Kelly's winning deck, just cut 2 Dig through Time for a Treasure Cruise and a Planeswalker. Most Gush decks were only playing 3 Gush so obviously its a similar situation.

    My question is, why didn't you make such a fuss over the restriction of Dig through Time?

    Because Dig and Treasure Cruise deserved restriction.

    Gush didn't. Most Vintage players polled understood this.

    Gush made the format better and more interesting, and restricting Gush only made sense if you were a disgruntled Mana Drain pilot.

    The data tells the whole story. Mentor and Shops are, on average, above where they were before Gush's restriction. The DCI got it wrong.


  • TMD Supporter

    @Smmenen said in Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017:

    @desolutionist said in Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017:

    @Smmenen said in Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017:

    How do you restrict two cards and get the same or worse results?

    I mean when they restricted Dig through Time, it didn't change a whole lot either. You were even talking about it in your podcast; for Brian Kelly's winning deck, just cut 2 Dig through Time for a Treasure Cruise and a Planeswalker. Most Gush decks were only playing 3 Gush so obviously its a similar situation.

    My question is, why didn't you make such a fuss over the restriction of Dig through Time?

    Because Dig and Treasure Cruise deserved restriction.

    Gush didn't. Most Vintage players polled understood this.

    Gush made the format better and more interesting, and restricting Gush only made sense if you were a disgruntled Mana Drain pilot.

    I don't agree with more interesting. The Preordain Gush decks were so easy to pilot compared to the skill intensive decks of the past and present; Gifts is the most interesting to me. I grew tired of the Gush metagame but I stuck it out and tried to innovate the best I could; I played all kinds of decks ranging from Thought-Knot Gifts, to TNT, to Pack Rat Tendrils. That's the only appropriate response to a metagame that you don't like. To build something that you do like and play that.

    These decks that you don't like, Jeskai Mentor and Shops, are only over representing the top 8 because that's all that people are playing. The complete data is in that spreadsheet, there aren't any unique decks in there besides one or two. What do you expect? It's like putting a bunch of red and purple coins into a bag and hoping to draw a black one. Why don't you just put the black coin in the bag yourself and see what happens instead of complaining. It might even be fun who knows.


  • TMD Supporter

    @desolutionist said in Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017:

    @Smmenen said in Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017:

    @desolutionist said in Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017:

    @Smmenen said in Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017:

    How do you restrict two cards and get the same or worse results?

    I mean when they restricted Dig through Time, it didn't change a whole lot either. You were even talking about it in your podcast; for Brian Kelly's winning deck, just cut 2 Dig through Time for a Treasure Cruise and a Planeswalker. Most Gush decks were only playing 3 Gush so obviously its a similar situation.

    My question is, why didn't you make such a fuss over the restriction of Dig through Time?

    Because Dig and Treasure Cruise deserved restriction.

    Gush didn't. Most Vintage players polled understood this.

    Gush made the format better and more interesting, and restricting Gush only made sense if you were a disgruntled Mana Drain pilot.

    I don't agree with more interesting. The Preordain Gush decks were so easy to pilot compared to the skill intensive decks of the past and present; Gifts is the most interesting to me. I grew tired of the Gush metagame

    But it wasn't Gush that was the culprit, as we now see. It was the Delve draw engine and Mentor.

    These decks that you don't like, Jeskai Mentor and Shops,

    You misunderstand me. I like both Jeskai Mentor and Shops. The problem is that the format is worse now. The format is now more polarized between those decks, and the restrictions were an attempt to reduce that polarization.

    Look at the data in my previous post.

    It was an epic fail. The format is awful, and will be for a long time.

    The complete data is in that spreadsheet, there aren't any unique decks in there besides one or two. What do you expect? It's like putting a bunch of red and purple coins into a bag and hoping to draw a black one. Why don't you just put the black coin in the bag yourself and see what happens instead of complaining. It might even be fun who knows.

    Ask the same question to people who complained about Gush. They could have played a non-Gush deck. Why didn't they?

    The hypocrisy is overwhelming. @ChubbyRain complained incessantly about Gush, but anyone who complains about the format now is annoying! You break it, you buy it.



  • "Ask the same question to people who complained about Gush. They could have played a non-Gush deck. Why didn't they?"

    Non-Gush decks were choked out by Gush. The DCI wisely restricted Gush. Now the non-turbo-xerox blue decks have a fighting chance. That doesn't mean that Turbo Cerox decks are dead, or anything of the sort. It just means it is no longer a poor choice to play other flavors of blue.

    We lived under the oppressive thumb of Gush for the better part of a decade. Finally, free from its metagame chokehold, we can see new ideas flourish. The process will take time. If nothing changes, nothing is lost. But I expect more changes to occur going forward. I enjoy Vintage far more now than I have in years. I feel there is the possibility for innovation which did not exist pre restriction.



  • "The hypocrisy is overwhelming. @ChubbyRain complained incessantly about Gush, but anyone who complains about the format now is annoying! You break it, you buy it."

    Matt doesn't care if you grouse about Gush being restricted. At least I don't think that is his concern. My guess is that his concern is your consulistently hijacking the tournament reports that he and Ryan put together. They put a lot of work into this, and are likely unpleased whrn you time after time steer the discussion off topic. If you want to complain about Gush being restricted, why not start your own thread?


  • TMD Supporter

    @The-Atog-Lord said in Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017:

    "Ask the same question to people who complained about Gush. They could have played a non-Gush deck. Why didn't they?"

    Non-Gush decks were choked out by Gush.

    That's false. If that were true, then Gush decks would have been a much larger part of the metagame. After all, if Non-Gush decks were choked out, then why wasn't the metagame entirely Gush?

    It wasn't. There were lots of other decks. Gush decks rarely got more than 35% of the metagame.

    It is true, however, that Gush decks marginalized Mana Drain decks. But that's normal in Magic. In Magic, cards always push out other cards.



  • As I indicated above, more specifically, non gush blue decks were choked out. Other non blue decks could adapt to Gush. But the entire meta was cast in the shadow of Gush.

    I really don't see why such a toxic card would warrent being retained. It is a broken draw engine that cost no mana.


  • TMD Supporter

    @The-Atog-Lord said in Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017:

    "The hypocrisy is overwhelming. @ChubbyRain complained incessantly about Gush, but anyone who complains about the format now is annoying! You break it, you buy it."

    Matt doesn't care if you grouse about Gush being restricted. At least I don't think that is his concern. My guess is that his concern is your consulistently hijacking the tournament reports that he and Ryan put together. They put a lot of work into this, and are likely unpleased whrn you time after time steer the discussion off topic. If you want to complain about Gush being restricted, why not start your own thread?

    Just like they complained about Gush before it was restricted? Should I have asked Matt to "move his complaints about Gush" to another thread?

    The metagame reports reveal the current state of the metagame, and since the most important questions post-restriction is the effect of the restrictions, asking us not to qualitatively evaluate the metagame as a result of those restrictions is silly, if not ridiculous. It's the most important question answered by these reports, along with how to strategically position oneself in the metagame.


  • TMD Supporter

    @The-Atog-Lord said in Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017:

    As I indicated above, more specifically, non gush blue decks were choked out.

    And, as I've said before, 1) that's greatly overstated or 2) a result of fair competition.

    Look at the last Waterbury:

    http://themanadrain.com/topic/1153/tmd-open-18-top-8-and-metagame-breakdown/2

    Gush was 21.7% of the metagame

    Other blue decks?

    PO at 10%
    Oath at 7%
    & other blue decks at 9.6%

    In other words, far more than 21%.

    Hell, in February P9 Challenge, PO were 20% of the metagame.

    This idea that Gush "choked out" other blue decks is verifiably false.

    But even if it were true, that's not a ground for restriction. We don't restrict Workshop parts that "choke out" other Workshop parts or Dredge parts that "choke out" other Dredge parts. What makes dominating a subset of a decks a B&R list policy problem? There is usually always a predominant blue draw engine in Vintage. That doesn't mean it should be restricted. It's only when it dominates the metagame as a whole that becomes an issue.



  • @diophan thanks for the data and write up.



  • So what was the dominant engine when they restricted Thirst, Gifts, Brainstorm, Ponder, Flash, and Merchant Scroll at the same time? Those were all used in various different decks that were all uniquely different and powerful. And I would have to say that "without gush and gitaxian probe" to fuel them, that a 4 Cruise 4 Dig Meta would be less powerful than a 4 Gush 4 Probe Meta. You have to spend mana and grave resources to fuel the Delve Team. Gush and Git Probe provide "free" draw, mana, and information accordingly. Without 4 Gush, 4 Probe, and 4 Preordain are Cruise and Dig even half as powerful as they were? A good question I think. Don't blame the Delve spells, blame the 8 free cantrips, and 4 unrestricted Preordains for fueling them so easily.

    Also, thanks guys for the info, very much appreciate your hard work.



  • @The-Atog-Lord
    Efficient spells are what make less efficient spells less efficient. Should we keep restricting cards until you can play Cancel and Doom Blade? Force of Will and Swords to Plowshares cast a shadow over the entire meta.

    You should explain why you apply this bizarre efficiency test to some cards and not others.

    You should explain why turn three Gush is "too good" for a format where turn one Oath of Druids, Monastery Mentor, Paradoxical Outcome, and Trinisphere are all plausible plays.

    Both your despised Gush and beloved Mana Drain are banned in Legacy. Mana Drain helps make spells free, while Gush is free. You can cast Mana Drain on turn two and have your mana on turn three, the same turn you would've been Gushing. They are different cards but good for the same reason, and no one plays Counterspell or Divination in Vintage. Why do you valorize one and demonize the other?


  • TMD Supporter

    About half the posts in this thread do more to hurt interest in the Vintage format than the DCI could ever hope to do.



  • @ChubbyRain

    Holy shit dude. Talk about spewing verbal diarrhea and hatred. Your post above should be moderated and warned. But I guess they don't do that on the new TMD site. It's posts like these that cross the line and go too far.

    You're a good person in real life but maybe you need to take a step back and look at what you post here before clicking submit or whatever. Good lord that was terrible.

    @Smmenen I agree the metagame is already pretty well decided. I was hoping from Probe and Mentor to leave, not gush. I will continue brewing, testing, and grinding.

    You cats need to settle down a little. See you guys at NYSE



  • @Smmenen What remedy do you suggest then, if you are so unhappy about the state of things? Unrestrictions?.... now?... really?

    I follow you so far as you point out the inconsistencies in the DCI reasoning around the restrictions. Their policy and reasoning around these changes is just about totally void of any leadership or transparency and I certainly won't defend it. The "prediction" aspect of it seems interesting as well. You seem to be suggesting that, should the DCI "prediction" not come true, the rest of the effort, and the restrictions themselves would be invalidated.

    I don't follow that at all. Firstly, the "prediction" itself is terrifically open ended. It has no time frame, it only really predicts that Mentor based strategies will be "significantly" weakened... whatever that means. And the change in the meta game it mentions is only "hope"ed for consequence in the statement, not really a prediction at all, which is the aspect you seem to be focused on. (do correct me if I'm wrong here, I am certainly not trying to strawman what you've been saying.)

    Additionally, why should a failed prediction necessarily invalidate the change anyway? If they made a prediction that fails to create the specific changes that were called for, but creates other positive changes, or even fails to create compelling negative side-effects, then who cares? Leave the change in place and move on.

    At this point, the biggest negative side effect of the restriction is easily the gripping about it with no end in sight... If Gush got restricted, and didn't change anything at all... which, going by only this top 8 result (a silly-small sample) it would seem to have done... then leave it in place and move on. Changing the status quo has inherent cost, as does complaint.



  • @The-Atog-Lord said in Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017:

    As I indicated above, more specifically, non gush blue decks were choked out. Other non blue decks could adapt to Gush. But the entire meta was cast in the shadow of Gush.

    I really don't see why such a toxic card would warrent being retained. It is a broken draw engine that cost no mana.

    I agree completely with this.



  • @Topical_Island What you and many people seem to be missing in all this is that this isn't a fight over what the metagame looks like. It's a fight over the fundamental principles of the format. As I said last week, many Vintage players believe Vintage is the least restrictive format. Vintage is a place to play Mishra's Workshop, moxen, Time Walk, and Bazaar of Baghdad. Other people believe Vintage is a place where Mana Drain is good.

    The first group are and will continue to be so upset by the Gush and Gitaxian Probe restriction because these cards are obviously acceptable in a format where you can play Mishra's Workshop, moxen, Time Walk and Bazaar of Baghdad. We don't just object to Gush and Probe being restricted, we object to the idea of restricting cards simply to adjust the metagame and in the absence of dominance or power level concerns.

    The second group argues that it's fine to restrict cards to tailor the metagame to meet their arbitrary tastes. They can't present an argument against Gush other than their preference of Thirst and Drain to it. They also believe that preferring Thirst of Knowledge and Mana Drain to Gush is reason enough to restrict a card in Vintage. The specifics of this last restriction are important, but it's the DCI's validation of this belief that is so alarming and worth combatting at every turn.

    The proper remedy is the immediate unrestriction of Gush, Lodestone Golem, Dig Through Time, and Gitaxian Probe. None of these cards performed well enough to deserve restriction. Golem, Gush, and Probe were all VSL-complaint restrictions, while Dig was randomly restricted for being "comparable to other restricted card drawers", a profoundly dumb reason.


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