Vintage Restricted List Discussion



  • @desolutionist said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    @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.

    I really see no validity in facing off two decks from completely different eras in an effort to prove one small component of the decks are better. I'm fairly certain a deck from 2016 should be able to beat a deck from 2006. Different restricted list or not.



  • @desolutionist said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    @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.

    lol I'd love to see this crush a 4 dig/cruise 4 Probe deck. These new draw cards are good but pale in comparison.
    Pure hilarity!



  • @Fisken No one ever played 8 delve spells in one deck...



  • @Fisken

    I'll take @Smmenen, Rich Shay, or Tommy Kolowith on 4 Brainstorm/4 Ponder/4Gush/4Scroll GAT against Literally Anyone you'd pick on the Delve decks. Considering no real deck played both delve spells, and Gitaxian Probe was never really played in anything with the Delve Spells while either were restricted.

    Tell ya what, I'll take @Smmenen with the exact 75 of his GAT Deck from 2007 WITH FUCKING OPT, because Ponder wasn't even printed yet over any player you pick with any of the Gush lists from 2012 and beyond that played any combination of Cruise, Dig, and Probe. The list has to be from an existing top 8.



  • @MSolymossy said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    @Fisken

    I'll take @Smmenen, Rich Shay, or Tommy Kolowith on 4 Brainstorm/4 Ponder/4Gush/4Scroll GAT against Literally Anyone you'd pick on the Delve decks. Considering no real deck played both delve spells, and Gitaxian Probe was never really played in anything with the Delve Spells while either were restricted.

    Tell ya what, I'll take @Smmenen with the exact 75 of his GAT Deck from 2007 WITH FUCKING OPT, because Ponder wasn't even printed yet over any player you pick with any of the Gush lists from 2012 and beyond that played any combination of Cruise, Dig, and Probe. The list has to be from an existing top 8.

    Uhhhh I'm on your side ... no dig or cruise deck has nowhere the gasoline the old TTS decks or even gro had. When you can consistently beat Flash your deck might be overpowered



  • @Fisken I misread your statement. :)



  • @ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    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.

    I'd like to make sure I'm understanding your position clearly - you believe that Vintage's current metagame state is caused by (1) Ravager Shops' strength and (2) the power of the draw engine that tempo-oriented decks employ (which may be made of something like 4 Preordain, 1 Gitaxian Probe, 1 Gush, 1 Ponder, 1 Brainstorm, 1 Ancestral Recall, 1 Treasure Cruise and 1 Dig Through Time)?


  • TMD Supporter

    The only thing I think the latest results prove is that the Gush restriction didn't go far enough. Probably should restrict Mentor too. Unfortunately you can't restrict creatures (that don't fit into a Workshop deck).


  • TMD Supporter

    @Islandswamp said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    The only thing I think the latest results prove is that the Gush restriction didn't go far enough. Probably should restrict Mentor too. Unfortunately you can't restrict creatures (that don't fit into a Workshop deck).

    I could not disagree more.

    If you go to a doctor for a backache, and he prescribes pills that make your backache worse, would you say that you should've taken that pill, but just more pills?

    The DCI said that mentor and shop were a problem, & the restriction of Gush has made them worse of a problem. This is the worst Vintage metagame I have ever seen. It was the wrong move, and that's obvious now to anyone but the blind or willfully blind.


  • TMD Supporter

    @Smmenen said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    This is the worst Vintage metagame I have ever seen. It was the wrong move, and that's obvious now to anyone but the blind or willfully blind.

    Honest question (not a debate). Do you really think this is the worst meta ever, or simply a result of the contemporary meta (MTGO era) bottoming out (ie: hitting critical mass)? Previous to two years ago, players would be lucky to get Vintage play on a bi-monthly basis. Even a monthly event was something to look forward to. Now they can get it on an hourly basis. You sure this isn't just a lull in the format that is magnified by daily play?

    I think there were some pretty bad eras of Vintage, that if forced to sustain hourly/weekly scrutiny, might have been far worse. Even today, if people were able to play Old School online every hour, I feel like the luster would fade quickly.

    I continue to wonder if this isn't simply a growing pains that the Vintage community will have to suffer as we adapt to the contemporary fast-moving meta of online influenced Vintage.


  • TMD Supporter

    @joshuabrooks said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    @Smmenen said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    This is the worst Vintage metagame I have ever seen. It was the wrong move, and that's obvious now to anyone but the blind or willfully blind.

    Honest question (not a debate). Do you really think this is the worst meta ever?

    Yes, I do. And that's no hyperbole.

    This is literally the worst metagame I've ever seen in this format. This format has been in existence since February, 1994. It was called Constructed Magic, then became Type I, and was re-christened Vintage in 2004.

    With the exception of Fall, 1996 through the Spring of 2000, I've been playing this format continuously in that period, and this is literally the worst metagame I've ever seen.

    I love this format, so it's rare that I dislike it. The only candidates for competition to this moment I can think of are 1) the Necro Trix period that ended with the restriction of Necro in the Fall of 2000. The only viable deck in that metagame as really Trix. 2) The first half of 2009, where Thirst/Time Vault decks were nearly 50% of Top 8s. That was truly abysmal. And, possibly, 3) the winter of 2010/11, where Shops decks with Lodestone were just crushing everything, until The Vintage Control deck with Ancient Grudge opened up space.

    The current format is worse than any of those, in part because there is no hope. The B&R list is screwed up, now beyond repair IMO. And the metagame we've got since the Gush/Probe restriction is identical to the one before those restrictions, but worse in that it's the same but more accentuated.

    I described my thoughts on the current format in more detail in the most recent podcast with my tournament report, but it's basically a Mentor/Shops metagame, and you play Stony Silence to hate out PO, Priest and Cage to hate out Dredge and Oath, and that's basically the entire metagame.

    Macro level, it's a solved format with minor internal oscillations of little consequence. The strategic range has never seemed narrower and tournament outcomes rarely more predictable. Gush took the blame for other cards, and it's restriction - completely unnecessary - will now lead to more unnecessary restrictions that won't help either. A really dreadful place to be.



  • @Smmenen So, what restrictions/Unrestrictions would you suggest to "fix" the format?



  • I totally agree. The Banned and Restricted list is so predicated on complaint now that I fear it is beyond repair. I've pretty much stopped playing Vintage myself and just gone back to cash game poker at this point. Believe it or not, people losing hundreds of dollars there whine less than the average Vintage player, and satisfactorily, in that game environment, the population of complainers and people dumping cash on to the table overlaps nicely. But yeah, point taken, the system is broken... I have been successfully disillusioned.



  • I think Smmenen made a salient point earlier about the metagame--one that has also been popping up in discussions about Standard: "it's basically a Mentor/Shops metagame, and you play Stony Silence to hate out PO, Priest and Cage to hate out Dredge and Oath".

    So here's my argument:

    Decks that could otherwise compete with Mentor and Shops have potent hate cards in their way. Wizards should be printing hosers for the two current powerful Vintage decks more than they should be restricting more cards.

    This has been the same problem with Standard recently that the insertion of a core set (replete with any necessary hate cards) is allegedly supposed to solve.

    What card really hurts Shops decks before they have a chance to tax your ability to play any spells at all? Ingot Chewer? Force of Will? Shops stands in the way of total blue dominance, but it also stands in the way of interactive games where decision-making fully matters.

    What cards can really hurt a Mentor deck that will just use whatever cheap blue draw spells are available? We live in a format where Brainstorm, Merchant Scroll, Ponder, Gush, Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time are restricted, but Wizards rarely fails to find ways to give blue incredibly cheap card advantage/selection tools way out of balance to the other colors.

    Cycling just came back, why not have a green and/or red card or two that destroys an artifact when the card is cycled instead of cast (and maybe the casting effect is "Destroy all artifacts" with a cycling effect that is more modest)? That would get around taxing effects possibly keeping the worst excesses of Shops in check.

    Dealing with the dominance of blue decks would be harder because of Wizards' history of placing blue above all other colors. But maybe if Shops is easier to beat (because of a cycling artifact killer), we could unrestrict Chalice to slow down some of Mentor's constant cantrips. If the right cards are printed, we might be able to unrestrict even more cards.

    Two or three good hate cards against each archetype (Shops & Blue Draw Mentor) could properly re-balance the format. New cards can often be the solution to old, broken cards. For example, in the past I've advocated for a green card that can counter/destroy an artifact for free (like a combination of Force of Will and Vine Dryad). Not that it will ever happen, but I think the use of new cards to rectify old cards has great potential--and it's not a new idea.

    After all, if Dredge and Oath weren't so easily hated, maybe they would be keeping Shops and Mentor in check. It's pretty clear that cards like Cage and Priest were printed with Eternal formats in mind. Why can't they just do it again for the two decks that have been dominating the format for a while now?



  • @Khahan said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    @ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    @Jeb-Springfield said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    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.

    Building off of this point: a stale metagame with two tier-1 decks is very different than a stale metagame with five tier-1 decks.

    A "solved" Vintage with 5 competitive decks will always offer some variety and shifts over time.



  • @jhport12 I don't think it's realistic to expect new printings to hose the two best decks in Vintage. Even discounting the fact that R&D very rarely makes cards explicitly for Vintage, suppose they were to try to print some new cards to help. What can they do? They're still limited in design space because the cards would be usable in other formats. R&D are a lot more careful with design than they used to be. Can they really make cards good enough to hate out Shops and Mentor?

    Substantial artifact hate exists, but it's not good enough to hate out Shops right now. Something would need to be able to skirt Sphere effects to be genuinely successful at weakening Shops, so perhaps a cycling artifact hoser, as you suggested, but I'm highly skeptical that they're going to decide to print something like that. It would have to be 2 or 3 mana cycle, destroy target artifact when cycled. That's way too good to be printed, right?

    How about hating out Mentor (i.e. the Blue engine)? What can be printed to help weaken Mentor that wouldn't be as good in other formats? What deck(s) would wield this tool to combat Mentor? I'm having a hard time thinking of anything that would realistically fit this bill, that also has a realistic chance of being printed. Unrestricting Chalice seems like the best bet here.



  • Switching gears, how about a controversial line of thought: Is there a point where it might become appropriate to start banning cards in Vintage instead of restricting them? Bear in mind that I'm not convinced of this myself, at the moment, this is more of a food for thought sort of comment, but I think it's a line of questioning worth exploring.

    Now, I certainly don't mean "hey let's just start banning every card on the restricted list". There's no merit to doing that, obviously. My line of thought is actually spawned from an increasing critical mass of effects that do essentially the same thing in certain decks, especially Blue decks.

    We have now reached a point where, thanks to the printing and subsequent restriction of Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time, followed by the restriction of Gush, there's not even a need for an unrestricted draw engine anymore. Mentor decks can get by with Ancestral, Brainstorm, Ponder, Preordain, Gush, Gitaxian Probe, Dig, Cruise, possibly Mystical, plus maybe a JVP or two, Dack or two, and wouldn't you know, there's a draw engine. Every single one of those cards can be restricted and the deck is essentially still the same. Maybe restriction isn't capable of controlling the format by itself anymore because of this critical mass. I genuinely do not know the answer to this myself, but it's worth thinking about, so give your thoughts.



  • Bannings are for Legacy. Even if its as 1 ofs we still get our cards in Vintage. Im still of the mind to just unrestrict more cards that would make Mentor not the only choice. Take for example Fastbond, Flash, and Channel. All 3 of those would create new archetypes (possibly more than 1 each) that would all be competitive versus MUD and Mentor.



    1. Print a colorless land, even have it enter play tapped, with the text of Spirit of the Labyrinth. Blue will still have Library/Gifts/FoF, but it will be a more interesting fight vs. other strategies.

    2. Print a colorless land, even have it enter play tapped, with the text that if a permanent would increase the cost of a spell by {X}, it increases it by ({X}-1) instead. This one doesn't even need to have a tap-for-mana ability as it would still feel like a land.

    Yeehaw, let's play Magic.



  • @DeaTh-ShiNoBi said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

    Switching gears, how about a controversial line of thought: Is there a point where it might become appropriate to start banning cards in Vintage instead of restricting them? Bear in mind that I'm not convinced of this myself, at the moment, this is more of a food for thought sort of comment, but I think it's a line of questioning worth exploring.

    Now, I certainly don't mean "hey let's just start banning every card on the restricted list". There's no merit to doing that, obviously. My line of thought is actually spawned from an increasing critical mass of effects that do essentially the same thing in certain decks, especially Blue decks.

    We have now reached a point where, thanks to the printing and subsequent restriction of Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time, followed by the restriction of Gush, there's not even a need for an unrestricted draw engine anymore. Mentor decks can get by with Ancestral, Brainstorm, Ponder, Preordain, Gush, Gitaxian Probe, Dig, Cruise, possibly Mystical, plus maybe a JVP or two, Dack or two, and wouldn't you know, there's a draw engine. Every single one of those cards can be restricted and the deck is essentially still the same. Maybe restriction isn't capable of controlling the format by itself anymore because of this critical mass. I genuinely do not know the answer to this myself, but it's worth thinking about, so give your thoughts.

    This is what I think of as the restricted list's diminishing return. It is also part of the reason I am interested in finding a way to articulate my thinking regarding how important metagame diversity ought to be in Vintage.

    I think that one of the principles that Vintage is built on is that it provides a home for the most powerful cards in Magic's existence. With that in mind I am opposed to the idea of banning cards. Sure, you could choose to ban cards and that would be fine. But I think then we wouldn't be playing Vintage anymore.

    As I've previously said, I think that Vintage should have a restricted list which is as small as possible. I also think that Vintage should be about allowing players to play with the most powerful cards in Magic's history. Because I believe that power level and diversity are at odds with one another, I think it logically follows that diversity will be sacrificed.

    It doesn't follow that diversity should not be thought of as better - I think diversity is better than monotony. But it does mean that I'm struggling to articulate how to think about diversity and how much diversity we ought to see.


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