Vintage Restricted List Discussion



  • @Smmenen Gush has a pretty good argument for restriction to me from that data in that quad gush was in a meaningful percent of even the 'other' decks (certainly grixis, Tahiti, delver, probably some of the oath decks, doomsday). If cruise and/or dig needed to go, gush needed to go too. the true non-gush deck representation is actually quite small.

    I can get behind "restricting probe was a mistake." It certainly hurt storm, and it made cabal therapy strategies a lot worse. It doesn't serve the same purpose in every deck, and that excuses it's ubiquity to an extent.


  • TMD Supporter

    @Topical_Island said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    It's discussions like this that continue to astound me at how opaque WOTC is on this stuff. If there is some standard, it's so closely guarded that what might be orderly, rule of law, can at least continue to seem like anarchy.

    Well, as much as I hate to say it, as a company that reports results to Wall Street, the DCI's methodology might be as simple as asking: "what restrictions or unrestrictions will increase the play and consumption of Magic."

    Anything more altruistic than that is merely our community's fantasy.

    This is where @diophan 's belief that whomever shouts the loudest to the DCI, is heard. Player outrage + player attendance is all they really need (though I wish they would only consider the latter). Any metric more complex than [are people playing more or less] is likely overkill or overthought.



  • I am not by any means an authority on anything Vintage, but am a student of the game of magic and the Vintage meta. I have not played magic in paper or online since the Waterbury. While some considerations in my life may be factors, there is another issue at play. Reading the content on the Mana Drain, I tried to think critically about why that is the case. Here are my 2 cents:

    The format seems to have consolidated around two decks, with Mentor pushing out other blue strategies as the best win condition and Shops being a natural predator, but playing fewer lock pieces than ever. Some of this could be traced back to the restriction of Chalice (which allowed for 1-drops to become more worth running en masse, which may have contributed to blue preying on itself in the form of Mental Misstep, though Mentor really brought that to the fore) and LSG (making Shop decks want to close faster) and even the printing of Dack.

    However, I want to focus on those restrictions from another vantage point. There has been more outcry from the community and more discussion about potential or actual restrictions in Vintage than in my past memory of the format (circa 2009, maybe). Additional attention from the VSL and MODO may be contributing factors to this, and many have claimed that the format evolves and stagnates faster than before due to Magic Online. The recent swath of B&R changes have not have the desired effect generally: Chalice and LSG restrictions made Shops perform better, Gush did not (yet) reduce the prevalence of Spheres, etc. Managing the B&R list is surely difficult, and there have surely been missteps recently (from where I stand).

    For me, though, this is not the factor that has pushed me out of the game recently. Rather, I think it is the flurry of B&R activity in the form of restrictions that makes me less likely to want to play. Wizards wants to sell a product and wants to make the format as healthy and fun as possible; good on them. However, if the format will constantly be changing through (mismanaged) restrictions, I have less incentive to play. As @Smmenen mentioned in his post here (http://www.themanadrain.com/topic/1360/turbo-xerox-and-monastery-mentor/113), time is important. This is a contributing factor to people's stated beliefs that if you want to win, you should play Mentor or Shops and how that portends seeing those decks at the top tables.

    I have no problem with either deck, or any deck really. I personally think that Mentor is too efficient of a win condition and the Chalice restriction made decks full of one-drops (or effective one drops; i.e. TX) too homogenized. Wizards decision to give B&R updates more frequently isn't a problem on its own, but making changes that frequently is. As there is no certainty that any deck that rises to the top won't have its legs cut out from under it by B&R policy, there will be less investment and less innovation, at least among a proportion of the player base.



  • @neo_altoid But that's not really argument for gush's restriction. Only because most blue decks run the same draw spells doesn't mean this draw spell needs to be restricted. For example, you could make the same argument about preordain. How many true non-preordain decks were there? this is the old "diversity in draw engines" argument that has been made over and over again. Put it to rest. Different Gush decks play very differently. Even Grixis pyromancer and mentor (two TX token strategies) play(ed) differently.

    So, after the restriction, we can see that gush is not necessary for the TurboXerox engine to dominate. Even restricting every 1-mana cantrip wouldn't hurt it. I'd say the problem is that there is a finisher that is easier to cast than tinker (no artifact in play needed), requires less investment (sacrificing an artifact, running a dead card), is harder to deal with, and kills about as quickly. The only requirement said finisher has is "play lots of spells, doesn't matter what the effect says on the card."

    On the other hand, some decks conceptually rely on 4 gush to work, such as doomsday for example, or any form of gushbond decks (which have been outclassed a long time ago). Not only have these decks been killed by the restriction of gush, the very POSSIBILITY of "innovating" with gush has been removed! that's what wappla means by removing bricks I think.

    (Grixis pyromancer has been killed by the printing of walking ballista though, and then killed again by the restriction of probe; DPS also has been killed by restricting probe). The problem with probe is the same: the spell is only problematic when it summons a seeker of the way.

    Long story short:

    1. restrict mentor. unrestrict gush OR fastbond. unrestrict probe. unrestrict memory jar. unrestrict yawgmoth's bargain.
      ...
      see what happens. if the main problem in the metagame continues to exist (I think it has been well defined that at the moment there is a two deck metagame with MUD and TX: mentor), try more things: One possibility:

    2. restrict misstep and sphere. unrestrict chalice of the void.

    Restricting misstep would make real 1cc-counters better, like REB (opening up the possibility of painters), spell pierce + snare, as well as making hand disruption, rituals and 1cc-creatures better.

    Restriction of sphere is not a very obvious one, but I think it has some merits, because sphere is unconditional (removes deckbuilding options to play around it) and is only usable for workshop decks. While creature decks don't have problems with thorn, they do with sphere.

    Chalice on the other hand is a card that can be used in or even enables a variety of decks (MUD, Blue moon, some baral-2cc-mono-U-control, could make eldrazi and other critter decks stronger, a white deck with chalice and chalice man, etc.) and is very effective against the cantrip menace, (unlike misstep, which forces blue decks to run their own missteps to counter the opponents missteps that countered the misstep which add more dead draws against MUD). Also, chalice is nullified by cavern of souls. It would also give all the decks an option against PO decks, while being relatively easy to answer for these decks set on any number via engineered explosives (with the help of strip/library/sol ring/mana vault/monolith mana). I'd only unrestrict chalice if at the same time restricting sphere though!

    Also: the workshop: Magic players tend to forget that mishra's workshop has a weakness: All permanents in a workshop deck have the artifact type. one hurkyl's (or anything else) to rule them all. Eldrazi are already harder to answer, because their card types vary (but is worse as a deck). And at the same time, the taxing deck is important to have in vintage, to prevent t1 glass cannons and TX strategies from totally dominating. The goal should be how to make shop decks a little worse against Non-greedy TX/combo decks.

    All in all, I'd look for restrictions and unrestrictions which open up possibilities of deckbuilding and foster variety, without destroying archetypes like workshop or gush decks.



  • http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/man-beaten-stabbed-magic-gathering-game-article-1.3366795

    These guys must have been discussing the Gush/Mentor restriction debate.


  • TMD Supporter

    The DCI has a tough decision ahead of it, but I've concluded that the best course of action for August 28th would be:

    +Restrict Mentor & Sphere of Resistance

    And

    -R (unrestrict) Yawgmoth's Bargain

    If Shops continues to dominate after this, I'd probably have to restrict Shops next cycle, as damaging as that might be.

    Restricting two cards at once violates my rule, but the problem with restricting Mentor, and not also Sphere this time, is that there is no way that restricting Mentor will not lead to an increase in the dominance of Shops. That's what happened when Cruise and Gush were restricted.

    I'd keep Thorn unrestricted so that White Eldrazi and Tribal Eldrazi are unaffected by these restrictions. White Eldrazi will still have 4 Thalia and 4 Thorn.

    My bigger fear is that we are close to a cascading restricted list, with PO next or in the foreseeable future.



  • @Smmenen I agree with these as well. I was leaning more towards Thorn vs Sphere since sphere affects shops more equally than Thorn (which they just play creatures through) but had not thought of splash damage to Eldrazi.
    I think PO is probably going to get hit as well. It is not as dominant now, but DCI seems to be getting a little more aggressive and I can see them hitting all three decks at once.


  • TMD Supporter

    My only fear with sphere is that I feel like control-shops will be dead for a long time, and shops will be forced to stay in the Aggro-role (ravager) indefinitely.

    As much as I hate restricting creatures, would love to see Ravager and/or Ballista go, which at least might lead to varying shops builds (stax, more eldrazi shops, terra nova, cars, etc). Though I won't pretend to guess how any of these restrictions might affect the metagame.



  • @Smmenen

    I'm more inclined to say Mentor and Walking Ballista.

    I think that taking sphere removes too many lock pieces from Workshop and forces it even further down the hyper aggressive route.

    Ballista ratchets back the hyper-aggressive version of the deck and still give leeway to other shops builds. It is also possible this will prune the deck back far enough to let other strategies breathe.

    "If you want to play with more than 8 lock pieces go play white eldrazi" is not necessarily something a shops pilot wants to hear.

    While I acknowledge that restricting Walking Ballista might not be enough, I think it is a better place to start than with taking a lock piece, especially given the propensity to not remove cards from the list until large stretches of time have passed. In other words, I'd rather see a tentative step that then results in further action if necessary, then a large step that will then sit for quite some time to come.

    In other words, I'm not convinced this requires swift and decisive action, and would rather see an approach more akin to a scalpel than a sledgehammer.

    Especially given the notion that Mentor Decks will likely move back over to Pyromancer and keep trucking with the Dack/Delve engine.

    Only my two-cents.

    Edit: and joshuabrooks said everything I was thinking. Heh.



  • If you restrict walking ballista and/or sphere of resistance you can still make card for card, Tiny Robots. Since the days of Tiny Robots better cards have been printed so I'm almost definitively in that camp that said restrictions will do next to nothing to Workshops.
    I have no idea what the best course of action is, but (IMO)that isn't it.



  • I just want to point out that the formula for beating workshops has been around for a while and an intelligent few have adopted it, Joe Brennan being a major one of them.

    1. Run Dack
    2. Run some 1 cmc Removal Spells to stay afloat (Ingot Chewer, Fragmentize, Steel Sabotage)
    3. Run a couple 2 CMC answers that have broad reaching effects (Hurks/Wear/Tear etc.)
    4. Run 2-3 Engineered Explosives to Deal with the F-ING SPHERES!!!
    5. Run 1-2 By Force to actually mass sweep the shop players board.

    Players just aren't willing to devote 6-7 slots to shops and, more importantly, the RIGHT 6-7 slots.

    My two cents.



  • @Stormanimagus You mean play Mentor like the other half of the field?



  • @mourningpalace

    Yes, but a lot of people play SHIT builds of Mentor. I'm trying to point out where those builds could improve to address shops. Players just aren't willing to do this cause. . . well, Paradoxical Decks wah wah. . . and well, . . . . reasons! Quit your bellyaching players and just run good cards! Peace out.



  • @Stormanimagus I'm not sure where you get your deck lists. Please look at Jeskai Mentor lists on mtggoldfish.com. Every list runs at least 6-7 of the cards you listed, some lists even more. These cards are pretty much the normal build now for Mentor. I am confused on why you would think this is unused tech? I typically do not run Mentor, usually Thieves. I run 6-7 Anti-shops cards as well in that deck.



  • @mourningpalace Do they? I haven't seen too many players choose EE over Stony Silence.



  • It's funny, I was getting screenshots of friends playing in tonight's daily. The Shops players in both had dumped their hands on turn 2. One player went turn 1 Inspector + Ravager X 2 into a Wurmcoil Engine on turn 2. The other lost to turn 1 Foundry Inspector into Turn 2 Foundry Inspector + Double Revoker + Ballista + Chalice on 1. I think people are really underestimating how powerful these new Shops lists are, because it gets to the point where "play more mana sources" doesn't really matter when your opponent literally has 10+ power on turn 2.

    FYI @Stormanimagus - Their hands are literally full of the cards you recommend. Chewer, Dack, Engineered Explosives, By Force...


  • TMD Supporter

    What @ChubbyRain is saying here is very real. Recently I've lost games against Shops where turn 2 Tinker Blightsteel was not nearly enough to avoid dying.


  • TMD Supporter

    @ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    It's funny, I was getting screenshots of friends playing in tonight's daily. The Shops players in both had dumped their hands on turn 2. One player went turn 1 Inspector + Ravager X 2 into a Wurmcoil Engine on turn 2. The other lost to turn 1 Foundry Inspector into Turn 2 Foundry Inspector + Double Revoker + Ballista + Chalice on 1. I think people are really underestimating how powerful these new Shops lists are, because it gets to the point where "play more mana sources" doesn't really matter when your opponent literally has 10+ power on turn 2.

    FYI @Stormanimagus - Their hands are literally full of the cards you recommend. Chewer, Dack, Engineered Explosives, By Force...

    Is this more broken than turn 1 Mentor? Turn 1 tinker? Turn 1 Trinisphere? It turns out Vintage decks can do broken things. Measuring decks by their best openings isn't a productive way to discuss the format.

    And it sounds like cheap 1for1 removal would have helped tremendously in both of those instances.

    @John-Cox said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    If you restrict walking ballista and/or sphere of resistance you can still make card for card, Tiny Robots. Since the days of Tiny Robots better cards have been printed so I'm almost definitively in that camp that said restrictions will do next to nothing to Workshops.
    I have no idea what the best course of action is, but (IMO)that isn't it.

    I played Tiny Robots extensively and that deck died the day they restricted Lodestone Golem. I went from winning/top8ing smaller events to nothing. It turns out that if you don't threaten enough mana denial, blue decks can keep aggressive hands and kill you however the hell they want.



  • @Stormanimagus said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    @mourningpalace Do they? I haven't seen too many players choose EE over Stony Silence.

    In the paper meta where Joe Brennan plays EE is pretty well thought of as a universal answer to all. It deals with mentor tokens. It deals with sphere effects. Its very commonly played. By force is already getting established as a staple and as soon as fragmentize was released it was placed in decks everywhere. As is pithing needle.



  • @cutlex said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    Is this more broken than turn 1 Mentor? Turn 1 tinker? Turn 1 Trinisphere? It turns out Vintage decks can do broken things. Measuring decks by their best openings isn't a productive way to discuss the format.

    Two out of three of those are restricted and the third will likely be soon... I agree that judging decks by their most broken draws isn't necessarily productive without considering how frequently those draws happen. What I'm saying is that those draws happen much more frequently than most players expect.

    And it sounds like cheap 1for1 removal would have helped tremendously in both of those instances.

    Only if they won the die roll. They did not


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