Vintage Restricted List Discussion



  • @Smmenen Are you simply going to ignore the first paragraph I typed? I must confess, that's one of the most frustrating aspects of interacting with you on TMD.


  • TMD Supporter

    Not responding to something does not mean I was ignoring it. Rather than nitpick every single statement you make, I'm trying to keep my responses focused on the main issue, which is my critique of your argument for the restriction of Gush, as represented in post 53, especially sentences 4-6.

    My criticism of your argument does not rely on the historical question of whether or not there is always a "best" blue draw engine, the validity or hypocrisy of a proposed Preordain restriction, or any other issue addressed in that paragraph, so I felt it more worth my time, your time, and, more importantly, the readers time, to stick to the main issue rather than get dragged into less important matters or tangential side issues, and thereby minimize the "wall of text" you so frequently complain about.

    In retrospect, to keep the conversation more focused, I wish I had kept post 58 to everything below with the statement about the "Gush fallacy" mid-way through the post. Not because I concede anything I said above it, but because it dilutes the focus from the claims I was most vigorously challenging, which are the specific ways you argue Gush shaped Vintage as it relates to tempo strategies and Shops (again, sentences 4-6 in post 53).



  • @Smmenen So was there a "best" draw engine in the Vintage format prior to Khans being printed? If so, what was it? If not, do you admit that the second line of your post was wrong? That "there is always a "best" blue draw engine" is not a true statement?


  • TMD Supporter

    Of course there is always a "best" blue draw engine in any given period. All you have to do is aggregate tournament results, and simply count the blue draw engine with the best results. I don't have all of the data in front of me at the moment, but it wouldn't take more than a few hours of work to calculate that for any historical period in Vintage history, including the Fall of 2013. There is a quantifiable "best" blue draw engine at every period in history.

    As I said, this is completely tangential to my critique of your justification for the restriction of Gush (as well as patently obvious), which is why I didn't bother to reply to it above.



  • @Smmenen "Best" was not discussed in the context of statistics but in the context of dominance. It's not really relevant what the metagame percentages and win rates are if they are not substantially different. The fact that you can't provide an answer suggests that is the case.


  • TMD Supporter

    @ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    @Smmenen "Best" was not discussed in the context of statistics but in the context of dominance.

    False dichotomy. How do you think we measure dominance? Statistics... It's one and the same.

    If you go back and look at the old Phil Stanton or my mid-aughts tournament reports, we sought to identify the best deck not just by frequency of Top 8 appearances, but also by weighting position within Top 8s. And in B&R discussions, I specifically peg "dominance" at statistical thresholds.

    It's not really relevant what the metagame percentages and win rates are if they are not substantially different.

    Reread what I said:

    "There is always a "best" blue draw engine. We usually only restrict them in Vintage when they dominate the entire metagame, not when they just predominate among other blue decks. Otherwise, we'd be restricting blue draw engines every few months."

    I draw a distinction between metagame dominance and blue draw engine predominance. Predominance among blue decks is not metagame dominance writ large.

    The fact that you can't provide an answer suggests that is the case.

    The reason I can't provide the answer to the question of "What is the best blue draw engine in October, 2014?" is because I haven't run the numbers, and I don't have the spare time to do so. Not because I can't. I strongly suspect the answer is Gush.

    But what does this have to do with my critique of your justification for the restriction of Gush? Your implied suggestion that Shops will diminish in coming months? Or your continual claims that we lack quality data. When you will be satisfied by the quality of the statistical tournament evidence?



  • @Smmenen said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    And what does this have to do with your justification for the restriction of Gush? Whether Shops will diminish in coming months? Or when you will be satisfied by the quality of the statistical tournament evidence?

    My argument is that clearly dominant draw engines should not exist for extended periods of time in Vintage. That makes such discussions relevant. And it's not a false dichotomy to say the "best" doesn't specifically imply "dominant".

    As for whether or not Shops will diminish, I don't know for sure. I think so...several Shops players have told me they feel their deck got worse against the current iterations of Mentor and Paradoxical Outcome. As for time it takes, how long did it take for Mentor to emerge as a dominant force in the metagame? It took months.


  • TMD Supporter

    When Lodestone Golem was restricted I started to notice that Gush decks mostly went from two main deck Islands and a sideboard Mountain(or other basic for their secondary, anti-artifact color) down to just one main deck Island. I also saw more four color decks, and almost zero two-colored decks.

    My point is that every time something was done to nerf workshops a little bit it really felt to me (and if data proves me wrong so be it) that people stopped talking their shops MU as seriously. Then when they'd lose to workshops the cry to restrict more of their cards would start up again.

    Now this can't be the only reason that Workshops continuously do well, but I DO think that the rise and fall of these decks hinges upon more data than we're able to collect. Obviously larger sample sizes does help, but I still think it's important to take everything with a grain of salt.

    I am on "pro" side of the Gush restriction even though it also bothers me at the same time. It's a personal favorite of mine to play and I've loved the card since it was printed. Unfortunately every time I'd build a non Gush deck I felt at a distinct disadvantage to every Gush deck I faced.



  • @Islandswamp Completely agree. There was a time when multiple basics, and multiple anti-shops cards were basically a requirement of any main deck on top of a fairly large portion of your sideboard devoted to the deck.

    A lot of decks aren't doing that now. We are back to the old days of "lets just run 1 Hurkyl's that I can scroll for, and 1 basic island". It took years for people to finally start playing main deck Grudge's and sideboard Chewers. It seems everyone has forgotten what works against Shops.



  • I'm going to take the conversation in a slightly different direction. My theory is that no one restriction (or even two or three) is going to change the meta or the amount of tier 1 or 1.5 decks available. We are at a point where we have 3 choices: trim the restricted list or increase its size substantially or change the way we do deckbuilding (IE: more than 75 cards) That is the only way we are going to see any measurable difference on what kinds of decks are played.

    The reason for this is our card pool. The card pool has done nothing but grow over the years. As of Dec 2016 there were just over 16500 distinct MtG cards. We get 75 slots to fill a deck. Figure on average 25 mana sources that leaves 50 slots for spells. Depending on the deck we have a handful of spells that are taking 2-4 copes in slots (this is a little sloppy now) that leaves probably 30 or so unique spells in any given deck. If we are to build the best deck possible with 30 spells out of a card pool of 16500 cards, you are going to consistently see the same spells over and over again.

    I think we're at a point where consistency in strategies is near absolute. Shops has 4 different spells with sphere effects, waste, strip, ghost quarter and a plethora of artifact creatures that can attack on different axis.

    Mentor has so many cantrips that are 0-1 mana that even restricting 1 didn't really impact the game plan. You take away mentor and we have managorger hydra or young pyromancer to replace it. Draw spells? Mentor is a blue shell - it has efficient draw spells out the wazoo.

    Even BUG and human decks have a solid consistency to them. Standstill? Get man lands into play (even restricting mishras factor would leave many choices) and just disrupt your opponents game plan completely - has redundancy. Daze and mana leak aren't even considered playable anymore yet a decade ago it popped up in multiple lists.

    Oath of druids - look at the diversity in oath builds. From the old meandeck shell to salvagers oath to saheeli.

    I said we have 3 options. 1 of them isn't truly an option. We aren't going to start suddenly building 100 or even 80 card decks and the DCI isn't going to change its rules just for us. So this leaves us with 2 realistic options:

    1. Revisit the restricted list and figure out what can come off of it. This would add an influx of new cards that could add new decks to the field. Or it could do nothing

    2. Determine what kind of a metagame you want. And by that I dont mean, "I want a mentor/shops meta." I mean, "I want a meta with at least 5 top tier decks, 5 1.5 tier decks and room for any random number of rogue decks to compete." Then you wield the restricted list like Paul Bunyan's axe in a forest, chopping down cards until you achieve that goal. And you may never achieve that goal.

    To me, Vintage is the format where I can play nearly any legal card printed. Option 2, for me, is an affront to the format. If you want to do that then you are probably more in tuned with Legacy.



  • I agree that the draw engine which Monastery Mentor based Gush decks used prior to the restriction of Gush is probably what squeezed other draw engines out of the format. I just don't see why this is a problem.

    Like @wappla, I think that it is reasonable to consider specific card choices and "draw engines" (and probably other subsets of cards which we typically consider to be engines of some variety) in the same way. I don't see why we should want to have more diversity amongst White removal spells in Vintage, and I also don't see why we should want to see more diversity amongst card drawing engines.

    Arguing that there ought to be more strategic diversity in the format does shift things a bit - it is certainly more intuitive to me to think that we should differentiate between players making card selection (or selecting a subset of cards) and strategic selection with respect to deck selection. I'm just not sure how to incorporate that into my line of thinking regarding the restricted list.

    Additionally, if it were the case that we decided we must make a change in order to see more strategic diversity in the format, it doesn't follow that a restriction is necessary. It may be more appropriate to unrestrict a card.

    @ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    My argument is that clearly dominant draw engines should not exist for extended periods of time in Vintage.

    Why do you think this, Matt?


  • TMD Supporter

    I was skimming over the best draw engine discussion and I just want to point out that

    4 Merchant Scroll
    4 Gush
    4 Brainstorm
    3 Ponder
    1 Ancestral Recall (No Misstep)

    This draw engine was light years better than what there is now.

    Also during the fall of 2013, the there were Gush/Jace decks and there were Bob/Jace decks, but the Gush decks were far superior. The only reason the Bob decks had more success at that gen con was because Bob could trade with Slash Panther. Ultimately decks started playing Gush, Jace, and Bob (See Pikula's 4 - 3 - 2) before Bob began to fade away.

    And if you go back prior to this there was Thirst for Knowledge, Accumulated Knowledge, Merchant Scroll/Gifts, etc. all these cards were best at one point in time.



  • @desolutionist Not really. Teasure Cruise, Dig, and Probe are extremely powerful magic cards.


  • TMD Supporter

    @vaughnbros

    If you want to play in freeform, I'd be more than happy to put together 4 Scroll, 4 Brainstorm, 4 Gush and we could put it to the test.



  • @Jeb-Springfield said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    @ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    My argument is that clearly dominant draw engines should not exist for extended periods of time in Vintage.

    Why do you think this, Matt?

    Because stale metagames bore me. They aren't competitive, they aren't interesting, and Vintage will not grow as a format if the metagame is going to remain solved for years at a time.



  • @ChubbyRain I just want to make sure I'm representing / understanding your position clearly - you believe that no draw engine should remain better than another draw engine for an extended period of time because if this is the case, the metagame will be noncompetitive and therefore uninteresting and boring?



  • @ChubbyRain Sounds like you have unrealistic expectations for how fast a format that encompasses the entire card pool should change. Vintage should change glacially unless they start printing cards as good as moxen and Time Walk again. They literally invented Type 2 to solve this problem. The restricted list is not a tool to rotate the format. That's why Standard exists.



  • @ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    @Jeb-Springfield said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    @ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    My argument is that clearly dominant draw engines should not exist for extended periods of time in Vintage.

    Why do you think this, Matt?

    Because stale metagames bore me. They aren't competitive, they aren't interesting, and Vintage will not grow as a format if the metagame is going to remain solved for years at a time.

    One man's stale metagame is another man's playground.



  • @wappla It seems much more unrealistic to me that a format encompassing the entire card pool should only have two viable options for deck selection. It's not a matter of the rate of change - the format should have multiple diverse decks of comparable power levels contextually better based on metagame dynamics. Not two shells differing by 10 cards. And what evidence do you have that the restricted list is not a tool to "rotate" a format? Is there a statement by someone currently in charge of Wizards or is that merely your opinion?



  • Hypothetical Question: If Shops was significantly weakened to pre-Worldwake levels, would you look at this format and say it was better than when Gifts was restricted? When Gush was restricted (either time)? Fact or Fiction? Thirst for Knowledge?

    In my opinion, the current illusion of "balance" is a product of Shops' strength combined with Gush's (used right now to refer to the tempo-oriented draw engine encompassing cantrips and delve spells) dominance over the rest of the format.


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