Vintage Restricted List Discussion



  • @brass-man said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:
    "there's no formal policy, we just make a change when people are having so little fun that they play less/buy less"

    I wish there was a way to communicate to them that "playing under a shadow that any particular deck you enjoy may get something restricted out of it if it becomes too popular/enough people complain" sucks the joy out of the format...


  • TMD Supporter

    @thewhitedragon69 said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    I think if you cut 3 workshop and added city of traitors, mana vault, and maybe some metalworker, Shop decks would survive just fine. They'd be taken down a peg, but it's hardly eradicating the deck. If the deck is worthless -3 workshops, your basically saying a workshop deck can't win unless it has workshop in its opener. That's hardly the case. Workshop in the opener (plus moxen) make it degenerate, but it is not a useless nerfball without workshop by far.

    The point you're missing here is that the key strength of the Mishra's Workshop deck is consistency. Ancient Tomb smooths things over decently when you don't hit your namesake card and nothing else even comes close. Shop as a 1-of turns the deck into inconsistent garbage.



  • @smmenen how about replacing thorn with Vryn Wingmare in Eldrazi and thalia decks?


  • Administrators

    @macdeath said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    Mentor "control" is not an archetype it's a sub-archetype of Big Blue or aggro control depending on the builds.
    ...
    Restricting fact and co did not eradicate the mana drain archetype. It just eliminated the most dominant iteration of that time. In the case of restricting workshop there is a case to be made that Workshop prison decks would be neutered to the point of non existence in the metagame (in a similar fashion that dredge would be if bazaar were to be restricted).

    But people draw the lines between archetypes and subarchetypes differently, and by this reasoning, drawing the lines gives you absolute control over what can and can't be restricted. For years Dredge was considered part of the "Worldgorger Dragon/Bazaar pillar", and Dragon wouldn't be eliminated with a restricted Bazaar, so would a Bazaar restriction eliminate an archetype or a subarchetype?

    An ideal vintage metagame (at least following my vision) would have competitive decks for each pillar that interact with each other and create interesting metagame dynamics and deckbuilding tensions.

    Similarly, by defining what you think the pillars are, you're reframing the discussion in a way that makes the decks you want around obvious choices to save, and everything else a target – even though different people define pillars differently, or don't think they exist at all. This is why I think the entire concept of unchanging, to-important-to-fail "pillars" (which doesn't exist in other formats) is silly and damaging.

    Anyone who has been playing vintage for a handful of years has seen "pillars" appear and disappear all the time, usually not through restrictions, but through new printings.

    Decks like Sligh, Null Rod Fish, Dragon, Yawg Will-based-combo-control have all been pillars in the past.

    How about Illusionary Mask decks, once host to a dozen subarchetypes, now long gone.

    Were Control Slaver and Meandeck Gifts the same archetype just because both decks ran Mana Drain?

    Obviously brand new archetypes can't be an existing pillar. Outcome decks were obviously not a pillar two years ago; should we be discouraging new archetypes in general?

    Gush Aggro (Delver, not Mentor) was clearly as distinct and diverse an archetype as "Mana Drains", but isn't considered a pillar because it didn't happen to be a deck in 2012. Whether or not it was successful, it's obvious that WotC tried to eliminate that archetype entirely with four separate restrictions, including the namesake card.

    I like to compare the metagame to a market and archetypes to companies/products
    ...
    Competition is primordial for markets and so it is in magic albeit for different reasons.

    I feel like these ideas are incompatible ... in a market, products and entire categories of products fail and are obsoleted all the time, either through natural market forces or external regulation. Some products are too unsafe to sell with any amount of regulation, and some products are too undesirable to be bought.


  • Administrators

    @winterstar said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    @brass-man said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:
    "there's no formal policy, we just make a change when people are having so little fun that they play less/buy less"

    I wish there was a way to communicate to them that "playing under a shadow that any particular deck you enjoy may get something restricted out of it if it becomes too popular/enough people complain" sucks the joy out of the format...

    But every other format operates that way. And every other format is more popular and profitable than vintage.


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    @macdeath said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    People will find more enjoyment in a dynamic metagame that is not solved and where decks with different playstyles (that appeal to different people) all have a chance at taking any event down.

    Separately from my earlier point, I think there are a lot of people who would read this line from you, 100% agree with it, and come to the exact opposite conclusion.

    Of course there are players who love playing with workshops. But of course there are also players who like playing decks that they don't feel are fun to play against Workshops. An idea as simple (and good) as "maximize the amount of decks people can have fun playing, to maximize the amount of people who want to play" does not lead to an obvious conclusion of "keep Workshop decks around".

    If there's any obvious conclusion, it's that there are more players out there who dislike Workshop than who like it. The only raw evidence we have in either direction is the huge volume of players who opt to play formats without vintage decks compared to the ones with them. Now I don't personally think this is enough to damn Workshops, I think we're talking about different potential audiences and the same things might not apply to them ... but there's no way in which "There are more potential vintage pro-shops players than potential vintage anti-shops players" is an obvious conclusion

    Ultimately I like Shops being an archetype. I don't want to see it disappear. But what's best for me isn't necessarily what's best for Vintage, and I don't feel like I have the information necessary to know what is.


  • TMD Supporter

    @brass-man said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    Ultimately I like Shops being an archetype. I don't want to see it disappear. But what's best for me isn't necessarily what's best for Vintage, and I don't feel like I have the information necessary to know what is.

    alt text


  • Administrators

    @cutlex ultimately though, I don't get to make B&R decisions. The people who do largely do not care about vintage, and have little incentive to do even a minimum amount of research.

    Where this sort of thing matters to me is how to use those demographics/opinion differences to make the site better and more useful... which is it's own challenge that's related to the root causes of B&R debates, but not tied in with the conclusions


  • TMD Supporter

    @brass-man said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    Decks like Sligh, Null Rod Fish, Dragon, Yawg Will-based-combo-control have all been pillars in the past.

    Sad, but true. Exalted is a rough strategy against Go-Wide Blue.



  • @brass-man said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    But every other format operates that way. And every other format is more popular and profitable than vintage.

    Somewhat. Apparently being ban happy in Standard was hurting the bottom line enough that they decided to take a month off because the constant bannings were hurting consumer confidence.

    That's more or less where I feel Vintage is.

    I know many people dislike discussing finances as a factor in Vintage, but finances very heavily impact the game. The cost to switch decks even on mtgo can be in the 200-500 range even if you already own cards for one deck. This alone incentivizes "I'll just keep running back what I won with/broke even with/did fine with/is my favorite archetype" which then affects the biggest point of data used in half of our b/r discussions.

    We lean heavily on mtgo stats (because Matt and Ryan are awesome people to play magic with and to give us a common ground to start discussion) but sometimes we forget that the number of people playing the format on that platform is relatively small, with smaller group of individuals (who might have deck preferences/pillar preferences) representing a large amount of top 8 finishes.

    But I'm digressing heavily.



  • @winterstar said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    @brass-man said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    But every other format operates that way. And every other format is more popular and profitable than vintage.

    Somewhat. Apparently being ban happy in Standard was hurting the bottom line enough that they decided to take a month off because the constant bannings were hurting consumer confidence.

    That's more or less where I feel Vintage is.

    I know many people dislike discussing finances as a factor in Vintage, but finances very heavily impact the game. The cost to switch decks even on mtgo can be in the 200-500 range even if you already own cards for one deck. This alone incentivizes "I'll just keep running back what I won with/broke even with/did fine with/is my favorite archetype" which then affects the biggest point of data used in half of our b/r discussions.

    We lean heavily on mtgo stats (because Matt and Ryan are awesome people to play magic with and to give us a common ground to start discussion) but sometimes we forget that the number of people playing the format on that platform is relatively small, with smaller group of individuals (who might have deck preferences/pillar preferences) representing a large amount of top 8 finishes.

    But I'm digressing heavily.

    How many people do you think quit playing Vintage because Gush and Probe were restricted? (Seriously)

    The only arguments I've heard for not restricting Shops is that it hurts someone's feelings and they'll quit playing. It's been this way for years and it's only gotten worse with the advent of MTGO and the mass realization of the fact that Workshop is the best unrestricted card in the game by such a huge margin that it is better than almost any card on the restricted list and it is simply incorrect not to play it.



  • @aaron-patten I can think of a couple of people who returned to the local scene because gush got cut.



  • The restricted list discussion tends to focus on people suggesting different threats and arguments about if the threats or engines are too powerful.

    To think from a different angle, ask yourself these questions:

    Can an answer be too powerful? What would it look like in the metagame if answer was too powerful? Should an answer that was too powerful be restricted?

    My opinions in order:
    Can an answer be too powerful?
    Yes. Imagine:
    Monkey Uprising 1G
    Enchantment
    Can't be countered, can't have its cost increased.
    When this comes into play search all players hands and libraries and remove all artifacts.

    I would say this has allready been printed for graveyards.

    What would it look like in the metagame if answer was too powerful?

    A deck would have been common, often top 8ing and sometimes winning. When the over powered answer became common the deck would stop top 8ing and become uncommon.

    Should an answer that was too powerful be restricted?

    I think yes. A threat that is too strong forces out decks that attack along the same axis but with less power. An answer that is too strong shuts down an axis in a different way.



  • @aaron-patten said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    The only arguments I've heard for not restricting Shops is that it hurts someone's feelings and they'll quit playing. It's been this way for years and it's only gotten worse with the advent of MTGO and the mass realization of the fact that Workshop is the best unrestricted card in the game by such a huge margin that it is better than almost any card on the restricted list and it is simply incorrect not to play it.

    The primary argument I've usually heard for not restricting Workshop is that the pillar usually stands as one of the two prominent non-blue decks within the format. That argument comes down to one of deck diversity, which of course becomes problematic when the popularity of shops decks mean that it is threatening deck diversity. The shops pillar itself has experienced strange push and pulls by the metagame to the extent that previous builds have fallen by the wayside in favor of a very lean and potent aggro tempo deck. This push was the result of new printings and metagame forces (such as mentor) to the extent that now, something is going to have to be restricted from the deck.or a new printing leaves a big enough impression on the format that the metagame shifts significantly in unforseen directions.

    As far as people that quit because gush and probe were restricted I have only anecdotal information and could only hazard a guess. I do think that the identification marker of "gush player" is a less-held identity than that of "Shops" player.

    And to clarify my point using yours, I am not saying that "nothing should be restricted from Workshops" - it is rather I am against hitting engine cards. While I waffled on an overall opinion on Gush, I think restricting it wasn't the best option. Workshops is a very interesting card to play with and against, and is more than just the current aggro-tempo deck that is so prominent. I'm an old terra nova/stax pilot, and had a soft spot for martello. I'd rather see the pillar be forced to adapt and transform out of its current shell through restrictions than lose the heart of the manabase that fuels numerous decks, from the aforementioned Shop variants to two-card monte. Much like restricting gush crippled unrelated decks such as doomsday...I'd prefer not to see that happen again.

    Lastly, you raise a very interesting point that I think sits at the heart of my unease with the current b/r directions (as inferred by the rationales they have given- this is at best an assumption and probably one of the biggest reasons everyone is griping about the b/r list): you commented that workshop is the most powerful of unrestricted cards. I'm not actually going to argue that point. My question is "in the most powerful format, is it too powerful?"

    The larger concern of "I'd really prefer to not see the vintage b/r list turn into 'Well, workshop decks are gone, but dredge is stilll powerful and unfun. Let's restrict bazaar. And Oath is too much of a coin flip, let's restrict oath..."

    In short, I'd rather not see deck archetypes taken out by b/r policy. Metagame shifts? Sure. New printings obsolescing strategies (like token generators making stax worse) are things that happen.

    Part of this is that I don't think we know what Wizards vision for the format is. Much less the fact that we all do not agree on what we want the format to look like.



  • Shop is likely the best unrestricted card in Vintage. Bazaar probably at #2. But when you say something like that you ignore the fact that by playing it you forgo playing the best 10 or so restricted cards. It's a massive trade off. You play a Brassclaw Orc Warchief while you opponents are playing Ancestral, Tinker, Will, Demonic and freaking Time Walk. The deck is a pile of barely playable cards or completely unplayable cards that you might as well incinerate if shop is restricted. It's a heap of mediocre cards that preys on the 65% of the format that refuses to stop playing 13 lands or 4 x Misstep X x Pyro X x Flusterstorms. Watching the BUG excavator/rod decks knock the living shit out of aggro shops this past weekend at Gencon was refreshing.



  • I dont post often but if you want to "fix" vintage maintaining the current B&R list's trajectory, the following cards need to be restricted:

    1. Preordain - having this level of card selection in conjunction w/ the cards available for use in the format make this card too good; it needs to join its brainstorm & ponder brothers on the restricted list. If players start playing serum visions or portent in the slots vacated by preordain, thats fine b/c neither card allows them to dig & choose the card they want immediately w/o additional help, i.e. ancestral, another cantrip, sensei's divining top, etc.

    2. Monastery Mentor - its hard to believe a 3 drop white creature is in need of being restricted in a format full death stars & laser beam wielding T-Rex's but it does. a creature that triggers oath & can still win thru a 7/7 flying legendary life-linking demon is a problem. he needs to be benched just like his lodestone friend.

    3. Sphere of Resistance - tournament attendance is down & there has been alot of ppl decrying the state of the format. when you have 2 obvious "best decks", that doesnt allow for a healthy environment. "taxing-effects", by forcing everything to go "lower to the ground" if you will, do not allow for the format to "open" up; they are stymieing innovation & creativity.

    4. Thorn of Amethyst - see Sphere of Resistance above

    5. Paradoxical Outcome - this card is objectively too powerful to not be restricted now & in a vacuum of less "sphere-effects" it would need to go as well. i'm sure that some of you will feel that this is a quite aggressive stance to take in regards to the B&R list, but i do not need anecdotal evidence or statistical data to read the words printed on a card to know that its good in a format w/ free artifact mana. so in this case, i prefer going "wide" w/ the proverbial restriction hammer rather than sitting through a period of months waiting for the the next B&R update to correct a problem we could already see coming a mile away when you cut back on the prison angle of the shop archetype.

    6. Dark Petition - see Paradoxical Outcome above. agn this is another preemptive restriction in a format w/ less constraints on its mana.

    While this may not be a popular view, we've come too far down this particular "rabbit hole" to stop now, i'd rather see these changes implemented, look @ the results, & see where we're @, versus the opposite view that some have suggested that we "open pandora's box" & restrict less things & let the chips fall where they may.


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    @d0rsal I am not trying to start a fight, but I haven't seen anything that makes me believe that in the past short or medium term attendance is down. What makes you think that is true?



  • @garbageaggro NA Champs seems to be the one event anyone points to as representative of attendance across all events for the format, even though everyone's local scene is different; If champs pulls 500 ppl, vintage is healthy...if it pulls 200ish, something is amiss.
    Summer is always a weird time for Magic because folks just have other things going on on weekends, so attendance may take an "artificial" hit. I have personally noticed local attendance is down over the past 4-6 months, with premier events like NYSE and Waterbury pulling less than what some expected (or even what was needed to break even on prizes, in some cases). Less prestigious events, like monthly 1k's or FNV's have also appear to be less well attended, at least in my area (Long Island NY, for those wondering). That said, we are spoiled in my area with a plethora of events at multiple locations, while different parts of the country are psyched to pull 8 ppl for an event with 6 weeks notice....other areas have seen their vintage scene shrivel and die completely.



  • @garbageaggro just looking @ the last 4 paper vintage tournaments on mtgtop8, they fielded 36, 29, 72 & 132 players respectively, thats an avg of 67.25 players per event; some FNMs pull in more players than that on a weekly basis. my gut tells me thats a significant drop off from previous events. the NE part of the US has always been a hotbed of vintage magic & it just seems like interest/turnout has been in decline for awhile now.


  • TMD Supporter

    Man I have been playing vintage for at least 5 years, and I have never been to a non EW tournament with attendance over 30, so those numbers seem big to me. Vintage has always felt like a small tournament format to me.

    That aside, I would agree if we had a good set of historical tournamnets posted, and had all the vintage tournaments being played represented. There was an ohio tournamnet last week with 12 people, which wasn't included in your list, so I assume that list isn't exhaustive. I am willing to believe attendance might be going down, but I wanted to make sure I hadn't missed some hard evidence.

    Even comparing different years EWs is tough because it keeps changing time and location, which makes it harder.

    I don't know that there is a good way to measure, but it seems like largely this anecdotal evidence, and so shouldn't probably be used in a discussion like this as proof of the necessity of a fix. I am sure there are other valid reasons to want a change, I just don't think we can utilize "dropping attendance" as one of them.


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