Vintage Restricted List Discussion



  • @BazaarOfBaghdad So you're suggesting we weaken the deck that was 12% of the metagame and won 50% of its matches rather than the deck that was a third of the tournament and won two-thirds of its matches? This is the type of illogic that got Gitaxian Probe and Gush restricted. "Let's weaken Shops by making its opponents weaker!" is and was an incredibly misguided notion. The people who continue to peddle that idea are either dishonest or confused beyond the point of credibility.



  • @wappla Please see arguments rehashed in thread above.




  • TMD Supporter

    A few observations about the challenge results.

    Have we ever seen a Vintage challenge where Shops was more than 35% of the metagame? Because, if so, I don't remember it. I do recall however, people saying that 35% of the field is the level where people start to get concerned about a deck.

    Also, at just 35% of the metagame (http://imgur.com/AfGdeWs), it was 5 of the Top 8 decks, and 9 of the Top 16. In terms of conversion, it put far more of itself at the top than the field. That's pretty insane.

    I do think it's hilarious tho that so many people argued that restricting Gush would reduce the presence of Shops in the metagame. Rich Shay said that in a VSL inteview, and many others parroted it. Example: https://twitter.com/DazedYouBro/status/856521674761666563

    There can be no doubt that the restriction of Gush and Probe, contrary to the claims of the pro-restriction crowd, and the DCI's expectations, has INCREASED the presence of Shops in the metagame, not reduced it. That proves, irrefutably, that Shops prevalence in Vintage had nothing to do with "Gush propping it up."

    That old chestnut can be buried, forever.

    As regards the attendance numbers, I expect the number of people to play in these challenges to continue to stagnate. As I feared a few months ago, having them every week dilutes the focus and reduces the marquee value of the event. Add to that a really awful Vintage metagame, it's understandable why people don't want to play Vintage right now. You'll notice I haven't played in one since I got 2nd place in the 6/17 event, and I have no plans to play in any of these for the foreseeable future. At least not during the summer, when there are much better things to do on a nice Saturday.



  • @Smmenen said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    A few observations about the challenge results.

    Have we ever seen a Vintage challenge where Shops was more than 35% of the metagame? Because, if so, I don't remember it. I do recall however, people saying that 35% of the field is the level where people start to get concerned about a deck.

    Also, at just 35% of the metagame (http://imgur.com/AfGdeWs), it was 5 of the Top 8 decks, and 9 of the Top 16. In terms of conversion, it put far more of itself at the top than the field. That's pretty insane.

    No, this is unprecedented and worrisome if maintained. The closest we have is Daily Event results in the pre-restriction metagame. Trust me, I ,and I hope others, are paying attention to these results.

    I do think it's hilarious tho that so many people argued that restricting Gush would reduce the presence of Shops in the metagame. Rich Shay said that in a VSL inteview, and many others parroted it. Example: https://twitter.com/DazedYouBro/status/856521674761666563

    There can be no doubt that the restriction of Gush and Probe, contrary to the claims of the pro-restriction crowd, and the DCI's expectations, has INCREASED the presence of Shops in the metagame, not reduced it. That proves, irrefutably, that Shops prevalence in Vintage had nothing to do with "Gush propping it up."

    That old chestnut can be buried, forever.

    @Brass-Man tweeted this article, which has several implications concerning this discussion. The first is that the Vintage community does have very few prominent voices that express opinions on the format, and that can have a rather dramatic outcome on people's perceptions of the format. That can both apply to "Restricting Gush hurts Shops" but equally to "The restrictions had no effect and it's clearly still a two deck format".

    The second key point is "The most effective strategy for a group of gamers to win the most when it counts involves diversity and innovation at their highest when it doesn't matter, and heavier imitation (though not slavish) when individual performance does." There is clearly a disconnect here. You have well known grinders like Butakov picking up what they consider to be the best deck in Shops to win easy tickets and you have people like me and Rich fooling around with whatever catches our fancy at the moment (Currently, Moat Emrakontrol and Baral Manamorphosis Gifts). Innovative decks are going to be worse than netdecks (it was a major point of Chapin's article). It takes weeks to tune a list and you can find yourself going through multiple iterations of decks trying to exploit certain metagame shifts. It then takes longer for others to adapt and become competent with new list. I'm enjoying Drain Tendrils putting up results in these smaller events as I think the deck is both a blast to play and very difficult to pilot. People just picking the deck up have done horrible in many events (I watched replays of someone pilot my list to an 1-5 finish with a bye thrown in). That is of course going impact win rates and final results - worse case is a deck never gets traction and is dismissed as product of the pilot's own skill rather than a true contender.

    I will keep saying this, it's far too early to bury any type of chestnut. Vintage moves at a glacial pace. I'm not sure if we are seeing evidence of Shops' dominance of the format in these recent metagame numbers or if we are seeing the natural evolution of skilled pilots to the formats best deck while others become tuned. Gush put up similar numbers immediately after Lodestone's restriction. The first large event featured 6 Gush decks in the top 8 with Jeskai JVP Mentor splitting with Sylvan Mentor in the finals.

    As regards the attendance numbers, I expect the number of people to play in these challenges to continue to stagnate. As I feared a few months ago, having them every week dilutes the focus and reduces the marquee value of the event. Add to that a really awful Vintage metagame, it's understandable why people don't want to play Vintage right now. You'll notice I haven't played in one since I got 2nd place in the 6/17 event, and I have no plans to play in any of these for the foreseeable future. At least not during the summer, when there are much better things to do on a nice Saturday.

    At least not during the summer, when there are much better things to do on a nice Saturday.

    ^ I think this is the key point. Most Vintage players are casual and if they feel a metagame is stagnant, they will avoid it, especially on a summer weekend.



  • @ChubbyRain I can attest to the Saturday thing. I was very excited to see them every Saturday, but being summer time, I have only been able to play in one so far. For some reason the wife and kids want to do shit on Saturdays....go figure.
    But when the snow starts falling, I feel I will have much more time to do this on the weekend.


  • TMD Supporter

    @ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    I do think it's hilarious tho that so many people argued that restricting Gush would reduce the presence of Shops in the metagame. Rich Shay said that in a VSL inteview, and many others parroted it. Example: https://twitter.com/DazedYouBro/status/856521674761666563

    There can be no doubt that the restriction of Gush and Probe, contrary to the claims of the pro-restriction crowd, and the DCI's expectations, has INCREASED the presence of Shops in the metagame, not reduced it. That proves, irrefutably, that Shops prevalence in Vintage had nothing to do with "Gush propping it up."

    That old chestnut can be buried, forever.

    @Brass-Man tweeted this article, which has several implications concerning this discussion.

    I remember Chapin's article when it first came out. It got alot of acclaim, but it has very rarely (at least from my observation) been used to explain metagame dynamics since. That's because, I believe, there is more faith in market/metagame dynamics to work themselves out - to discover what's good and what's not - than information theory as a primary explanatory theory would suggest. Metagames, like markets, involve so many people trying to figure things out and get advantages, that even if the great mass of people follow recent trends, market pioneers/innovators will usually find and exploit new niches, if they can.

    It only takes 1 player to innovate a new deck and win a tournament. If that player does so consistently, then I think other people would see the signal and move into that product line, to mix metaphors. The failure to do so signals to me deeper structural problems with the metagame.

    I will keep saying this, it's far too early to bury any type of chestnut. Vintage moves at a glacial pace. I'm not sure if we are seeing evidence of Shops' dominance of the format in these recent metagame numbers or if we are seeing the natural evolution of skilled pilots to the formats best deck while others become tuned.

    This is a gross simplification on my part, but my summary of your explanation boils down to something like this:

    Shops was the major player left standing by the last restriction, and Vintage moves so slow that it will take along time for people to finally reach a new equilibrium, and find the new decks that can compete. So people are playing with what is doing well, so Shops performance feeds on itself.

    And you've also made it clear that you believe the restriction of Gush would/has weakened Shops. You even repeated that in a recent thread.

    I think there is an alternative, more persuasive, and more straightforward explanation for the current metagame:

    Shops is kicking ass right now because 1) it's got lots of great new printings in recent years (Ballista, Vehicles, etc.) that make a resuable black lotus land even better, and 2) the restrictions weakened the competition.

    That said, while I think my hypothesis or theory is clearly the operative explanation right now, and is supported by all of the available data, I admit that it is provisional, in the sense that incoming data could, over time, eventually lend more support to yours. In other words, I suppose it is possible that we could see a longer term decline of Shops as a consequence of the Gush/Probe restriction.

    But I seriously doubt it. And, at some point this debate has to be put to bed.

    So, I guess rather than debate this every once in a while, the question I have for you is: how much data/time do you think is required to rule out/discredit your current belief (and the belief of others, Rich, Thomas, the DCI, etc.) that restricting Gush has/would weaken Shops?

    I think this is a fair question, and an important one. 2 more months of data? 3 more months of data? 6 more? At some point, if Shops continues to perform above it's pre-April 24th level, the theory that 'Gush propped up Shops' needs to be put to bed. I'm ready to put it to bed, but I'm also willing to accept that, like all theories, it's susceptible to counterfactual evidence. It just seems, at this point, like that evidence isn't ever going to arrive.

    Gush put up similar numbers immediately after Lodestone's restriction. The first large event featured 6 Gush decks in the top 8 with Jeskai JVP Mentor splitting with Sylvan Mentor in the finals.

    IIRC, in the first month after Lodestone's restriction, Gush was like 60% of the metagame, but settled down fairly quickly to half those numbers. So, if that pattern is going to be used to explain Shops performance right now, the Shop bump should have faded by late May. Instead, Shops numbers seem to be marginally improving since late May.

    At least not during the summer, when there are much better things to do on a nice Saturday.

    ^ I think this is the key point. Most Vintage players are casual and if they feel a metagame is stagnant, they will avoid it, especially on a summer weekend.

    I can only speak for myself, but except for popping on MTGO to prep for EW, I probably won't play Vintage Challenges much this Fall, either.

    As my disagreement about DCI management of late suggest, my complaints extend into paper magic as well. In the last two major paper Vintage tournaments I've played in, Vintage Champs at EW and the NYSE, I played Thorn decks all but 4 matches, IIRC. I faced Thorns 8 out of 9 matches at Vintage Champs, and 7 out of 10 matches at NYSE (8 out of 11 if you count my ID). Unless something is done to improve the diversity of the format, this is not a Vintage experience that I would describe as optimal.


  • TMD Supporter

    I just want to express my opinion that tournament data shouldn't be used when determining the restricted list. The reason for this is because people have a tendency to cling to one of three decks without thoroughly exploring all of the options; tournament data is a distorted lens through which to see Vintage as a whole.

    Personally, for me, it's easy to win in a three deck metagame because I already know what to expect and can play a card like Ancient Grudge to hedge against 66% of the metagame. Though sometimes, late at night, I'll play against some Europeans on MTGO and get blown out by unique decks, such as UR Shops. While I routinely crush the traditional MUD lists, UR shops has just enough of a 'x' factor to win a majority of the time.

    I just don't see that type of trial and error deck construction or willingness to experiment from the Americans. And really, that's why the American metagame sucks; doesn't have much to do with the restricted list at all.



  • @desolutionist said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    I just want to express my opinion that tournament data shouldn't be used when determining the restricted list. The reason for this is because people have a tendency to cling to one of three decks without thoroughly exploring all of the options; tournament data is a distorted lens through which to see Vintage as a whole.

    Personally, for me, it's easy to win in a three deck metagame because I already know what to expect and can play a card like Ancient Grudge to hedge against 66% of the metagame. Though sometimes, late at night, I'll play against some Europeans on MTGO and get blown out by unique decks, such as UR Shops. While I routinely crush the traditional MUD lists, UR shops has just enough of a 'x' factor to win a majority of the time.

    I just don't see that type of trial and error deck construction or willingness to experiment from the Americans. And really, that's why the American metagame sucks; doesn't have much to do with the restricted list at all.

    I do try to rock 5-C Humans now and again. I'd hardly call that deck "mainstream." Actually I've been trying it out again in this "Tangle-Wire-Less" Shop metagame and it kinda curb stomped shops the couple times I played it. Ancient Grudge and Mantis Rider were both complete houses in the matchup and the new Crucible on Legs did some good work as well. I will ALWAYS love to innovate my way out of things first before writing off a metagame.

    -Storm



  • @desolutionist I'm a European and can certainly agree that the online metagame has a lot more variation than the shops/mentor/paradoxical most discussions here seem to indicate that is all there is. Running into traditional (ravager)shops is even quite rare for me. I think you are right Shawn that using data from the most competitive tournaments ends up with a picture of a very narrow format. People who play in these do it to win (sure, they probably have fun too but their main goal is to win) so it's only natural that they stick to the top decks instead of risking it with a brew. Nonetheless I feel that the whole notion of a restricted list is geared towards balancing competitive play so maybe there is no other way to do it than to look at tournament data?



  • Restrict mentor and thorn - Workshop cant be restricted. But These 2 restrictions should help enough to Balance the metagame. Hopefully :D



  • @Stormanimagus said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    I do try to rock 5-C Humans now and again. I'd hardly call that deck "mainstream." Actually I've been trying it out again in this "Tangle-Wire-Less" Shop metagame and it kinda curb stomped shops the couple times I played it. Ancient Grudge and Mantis Rider were both complete houses in the matchup and the new Crucible on Legs did some good work as well. I will ALWAYS love to innovate my way out of things first before writing off a metagame.

    Ramunap Excavator is a snake-person and therefore doesn't have legs.



  • On the restricted list side, the card I would really like to see go is misstep. I think it really does a lot to narrow the format in a number of indirect ways.

    The three main ways to disrupt people historically were counters, discard, and permanent based effects (sphere of resistance and the like).

    Counters are reactive. You need to wait for them to play a spell before you counter it. You need to have resources up at the time you need to cast the counter.

    Discard is proactive. You can start a turn off by casting a discard spell and then proceed based on what you see. Discard was commonly played in combo decks and agro decks. Clear out a counter on turn one. Do something threatening on turn two.

    Misstep really reduces the viability of discard. You can't clear out an answer reliably. And it's terrible tempo if you invest a card and mana and they counter it for free without going down a card (which they would have to if they forced).

    This makes proactive strategies like combo or creatures + discard much weaker than they otherwise would be.


  • Administrators

    @hierarchnoble said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    Ramunap Excavator is a snake-person and therefore doesn't have legs.

    You are my hero today



  • I really only get to play paper vintage at Gen Con and EW. Since Gen Con is a month away, I’ve worked to find a deck I like that I believe stands a decent shot at successfully competing in a large event. I agree that this vintage meta is terrible. I feel I’ve done my due diligence attempting to find a reasonable solution but I’ve failed. I do believe that there will be changes by EW to shake up this format. The last restrictions did not go as they predicted.

    I was and still am in favor of Probe being restricted. For me, it’s not that it is an overpowered card, or even an unfun card. In my opinion, Probe is among the worst designed MTG cards. A big part of this game is the bluff. I have no issues with cards taking that away as a sacrifice to the caster. Not only did probe do this without sacrifice, but to a benefit of a storm/mentor trigger. The two life was almost always meaningless. I played it, but I’m glad I can only play one now. I want there to be some bluff component in the game.

    The Gush restriction didn’t accomplish anything other than limiting deck choices. The problem is that some decks need multiples to work. I had a lot of fun with Cobra Gush. That’s no longer a viable deck. The issue with the restriction with intent to limit Mentor is that the Mentor deck does not need Gush. It works just fine without it.

    That said, I am as not as opposed to restrictions as most people seem to be. The fact that people can still play with the cards in singleton is part of the appeal. I like the character. It’s great to draw the Ancestral Recall. The restriction makes it more meaningful in my mind. It also fosters deck diversity. If 4 Demonic Tutors were allowed, you would see very few vampirics, merchant scrolls, etc... I’m all for more restrictions to liven up the meta.

    If nothing else, Mental Misstep needs to go. This card is the number one diversity killer. It diminishes discard, ramp, mana dorks, fast creatures, and utility creatures. If this goes, I expect that we will see more Tendrils, Doomsday, Welder, BUG, Infect (maybe), Fish, Dark Times, Tiny Robots, Painter, and whatever else I forgot about. It also will take some air out of Mentor if that card is still around.

    Speaking of Mentor, it also has to go. It’s a well-designed card that was not designed with vintage in mind. When 75% of a deck causes triggers (with many of these spells at 0-1 mana), an otherwise great creature just become dumb. I’ve played Mentor plenty. It’s not really fun to win with it and it’s not fun at all to lose to it. “What did you kill me with?, oh yeah, you did 9 extra points of damage my playing Sapphire, Preordain, Misstep your own Preordain.” Who is excited there? The pilot is happy for the win but at what cost… That’s not magic.

    Shops is always a big concern. I would be fine with Mishra's Workshop being banned in theory. I even own a play set so I’d take a big loss. The problem is that some shops players would just quit vintage all together. I accept that we’ll just ignore that broken card and look elsewhere. The go to choice is Thorn but honestly I’d rather see Sphere. While this won’t hurt Shops as much in principle, I believe that the lift creature decks get from mostly ignoring Thorn balances this out. I also think restricting Thorn hurts multiple decks while restricting Sphere mostly only affects Shops.

    I would love to see some of the other restricted cards get a look but I don’t think that many realistic options will make much difference. Maybe Flash.

    My hope is that the next announcement they add Sphere, Mentor and Misstep.


  • TMD Supporter

    This post is deleted!


  • Looking at the top 8 postings of the 7/22 Vintage challenge, I see 3 Shops lists, 4 Mentor list (1 Esper, 2 Jeskai, 1 Jeskai PO), and a UB Dark Depths combo list (eschewing Solemnity, interestingly).

    How many more weeks of a 2-deck metagame will we get?


  • TMD Supporter

    @BazaarOfBaghdad said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    Looking at the top 8 postings of the 7/22 Vintage challenge, I see 3 Shops lists, 4 Mentor list (1 Esper, 2 Jeskai, 1 Jeskai PO), and a UB Dark Depths combo list (eschewing Solemnity, interestingly).

    How many more weeks of a 2-deck metagame will we get?

    Oh, but everyone who points this out is "wrong", remember? We just haven't given the metagame enough time to develop. We are only the beginning of a metagame cycle where people are developing cool, new interesting decks are going to shake up the metagame, remember?

    I mean, it's ONLY been three months give it some time right?



  • @Smmenen Sorry, I went to a paper tournament and punted my win and in with Drain Tendrils (with one other pilot in the top 8, or so I heard). Pretty sure I'm the only one that can beat Jazza consistently right now...



  • Hehe, I was looking at Thiim's innovative Dark Depths list, and I basically miscategorized it. It's a Workshop-fueled prison list (non-Stax). I'm not sure it's fair to lump it with the others, but that does bring us to 4 Shops, 4 Mentor lists.


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