April 4, 2016 B&R Announcement

@ChubbyRain said:

@Vnayin But cantripping doesn't typically affect the opponent. Not in the same way as Sphere, Sphere, Tangle Wire.

I don't see how having an effect on the opponent is relevant at all when discussing generic strategies of the game. Strategies that advance your plan are just as relevant as strategies that aim to slow the opponent's plan. Using cantrips to promote velocity through your deck is a strategy and one that is specific to blue. And still it does have a secondary effect on the opponent buy digging you closer to the cards that matter. If you need an ingot chewer and its the 3rd card down in your deck, then it definitely affects the opponent when you preordain and put 2 dead cards on the bottom and draw into the card you need.

@ChubbyRain said:

Frankly, if Shops was much higher a slice than the 30% it was, I would quit Vintage.

I guess this is the part I don't understand. Shops seems like a good deck choice in a heavy blue metagame (especially one with decks trying to 'cheat' on lands). I've read a ton of posts where people (blue players) discuss it being 'reasonable' that they don't tilt their maindeck to be able to deal with Shops since it is not the most prevalent deck-type (they are twice as likely to have to face another blue deck). So why is choosing a deck that is good in that metagame so 'bad' for the format? Shouldn't the metagame adapt organically? And, ultimately, if it can't - isn't that when a restriction would be called for? Maybe I'm asking dumb or 'idiotic' questions, but I'd like to understand why people can get behind the kind of logic which got LSG restricted. [Honestly, I think the data you've put together on the P9 challenges paints the best picture of what people play and it doesn't really seem to suggest any involvement at the restriction level.]

I'm also confused by the 'interactivity' discussion. A Blue Mage nullifying a Shops Mage's spell with FoW is interaction, but a Shops Mage landing a turn 1 Golem doesn't encourage interaction? Doesn't it force the Blue Mage to interact with the Shops player on the board? I mean isn't that the whole goal of the game - to land a threat which can't be answered in time? That's how Oath/Orchard wins, right, no interaction with the opponent required?

@Vnayin I have to agree here. I'm of the school, that if you're serious, you should at least be trying to look at every choice in terms of how it effects chance to win.

I'm not sure where this fits in the thread exactly, but there is an hilarious segment in the latest Tusk podcast, which is basically stand-up comedy about Vintage, in which they discuss Golem's restriction and unfunness and the VSL. They point out that some of the 'examples' of Lodestone being OP, are it beating hands that would have just folded to Wasteland or even a Thalia. It's pretty funny anyway.

I find that worrying about unfun losing to be a little bit overrated. Winning is fun. Losing is unfun... that's pretty much always going to be true. I don't run into too many people who are going, "Man that was some fun losing today. I'm really appreciative of the way those people who mopped me up, did so in a way that was designed to be fun for me." More or less, losing just kinda sucks. I think a pretty large part of people complaining about unfun, is people who are expressing the feeling that, losing sucks. They did that when they were losing to Gifts. They did that when they were losing to black discard. They did that when they were losing to Black Vise. I'll concede that some ways to lose can be worse than others (though the worst involve my own misplays). There just isn't ever going to be a restriction that solves the problem of losing not being fun.

last edited by Topical_Island

@Vnayin Do you consider Legacy Sneak and Show and RUG delver the same type of deck because they run 4X Brainstorm and Ponder? Lands and Esper Deathblade the same decks because they both run Wasteland? Miracles and Imperial Painter the same deck because they both run Sensei's Divining Tops? Cards like removal, cantrips, counters, are generic parts of the game we call Magic. Sphere effects? We may get one every couple of blocks.

Also, the previous post was rushed and pretty idiotic on my part. Mea culpa.

@Topical_Island This, to me, is the core of this almost 300 posts long disagreement. It all boils down to people not wanting to lose. It's not fun not being able to cast any spells be it due to spheres or counterspells if you end up losing. If you manage to break through it and eventually win, it becomes fun and there's no problem. I think we should just appreciate all the strategies employed towards the end goal of winning. None is more legitimate than the other, they are just different ways of playing Magic.

@Fred_Bear Yes, Shops was a great deck choice. It was arguably the best deck in the format over the past 3 months. The problem in my opinion has to do with the type of matches being played. Having games in which my opponent routinely locks me out of taking game actions is not fun for me. Neither are the games in which I have 3 Ancient Grudges and kill everything relevant my Shops opponent plays. If these types of matches are frequent enough, I wouldn't feel compelled to play that format. Same with being Belched all the time, or losing to turn 1 Tinker-Robot every game. Though some people obviously enjoy these plays, them happening all the time isn't for me.

Most successful games allow players to take relevant game actions at some point during the course of the game. Casting a spell and having it countered or removed through some effort of your opponent is a game action. Being unable to cast spells while a Golem bashes your face in is not. Why do you think Modern has the "No consistent turn 1-3 kills" policy? Losing a game without doing anything is not a great way to play Magic. And for the record, I dislike Oath of Druids and several other cards in the format for the same reasons. What Force of Will and Mental Misstep allow are ways of interacting with these starts - as one shot effects, not permanent pieces like Chalice or Trinisphere.

@ChubbyRain I'm not saying that blue decks are the same type of deck, but that they share the same powerful underlying strategy. Decks can have the same have the same underlying strategies, but lead to different strategic goals. RUG and Sneak and Show share the underlying strategy of using cantrips to add velocity through their deck, advancing their strategy and reducing variance. This is similar to how Death and Taxes and Lands use wasteland/port for the underlying strategy of mana denial, while advancing 2 completely different goals to win the game. If you played turn 1 chalice of the void on 1 against sneak/show or RUG delver, it would have an effect on how each of those decks could advance their strategic goals.

Also, I think the frequency that they print cards for a strategy is not relevant either. Saying cantrips are a generic part of Magic is a misunderstanding of the way modern magic is designed. Cantrips are largely seen as a mistake(just like mana denial/prison strategies), which is why preordain and ponder are banned in modern and why dig and cruise were never banned in standard(they didn’t have the cantrips to support quick delve spells). They don’t print good cantrips anymore. The last good cantrip was gitaxian probe I think. Cantrips are for a large part an eternal only phenomenon, just like prison strategies.

last edited by Vnayin

@kistrand I totally agree. In terms of policy... just win baby. And if anything is winning too much (by win percentage), or there is a card everyone has to play (misstep in legacy being a great example) then ban or restrict those things and stay out of the rest.

@ChubbyRain said:

@Fred_Bear Yes, Shops was a great deck choice. It was arguably the best deck in the format over the past 3 months. The problem in my opinion has to do with the type of matches being played. Having games in which my opponent routinely locks me out of taking game actions is not fun for me. Neither are the games in which I have 3 Ancient Grudges and kill everything relevant my Shops opponent plays. If these types of matches are frequent enough, I wouldn't feel compelled to play that format. Same with being Belched all the time, or losing to turn 1 Tinker-Robot every game. Though some people obviously enjoy these plays, them happening all the time isn't for me.

Most successful games allow players to take relevant game actions at some point during the course of the game. Casting a spell and having it countered or removed through some effort of your opponent is a game action. Being unable to cast spells while a Golem bashes your face in is not. Why do you think Modern has the "No consistent turn 1-3 kills" policy? Losing a game without doing anything is not a great way to play Magic. And for the record, I dislike Oath of Druids and several other cards in the format for the same reasons. What Force of Will and Mental Misstep allow are ways of interacting with these starts - as one shot effects, not permanent pieces like Chalice or Trinisphere.

I can understand this, to a point. I struggle with the presumption, not necessarily yours, that they 'happen all the time'. First turn Golem (or Oath), is like an 8-9% probability, so maybe 1 in 10 games (or 1 in 3 matches). Obviously you can mulligan into it, but then isn't the idea that the player is making a choice and giving something up to find it? Those decisions, to me, are another part of the overall equation. If a player chooses Shops, you give up all the interaction to the plays you described - Tinker/Robot, Belcher, etc. The trade-off is that Shops has strong resistor effects and/or can set a reasonable clock.

To me, this is what the issue becomes right now for Shops is, it loses status as a good aggro deck as it's nowhere near as efficient as Delver or Mentor (both of which can out-pace an 'average' Robot aggro) and, without an effective clock, it's not a terribly competitive 'control' deck when compared to Big Blue or Landstill (which are both better going long on card advantage). It slots as a nice foil deck. It can certainly still punish decks for ignoring it, but I think it becomes a rough choice for a competitive, large tournament. Again, I don't think the archetype is dead, but it's hard to argue (even given your result last night) that it's even close to as good a choice as it was.

said:

@Fred_Bear Yes, Shops was a great deck choice. It was arguably the best deck in the format over the past 3 months. The problem in my opinion has to do with the type of matches being played. Having games in which my opponent routinely locks me out of taking game actions is not fun for me. Neither are the games in which I have 3 Ancient Grudges and kill everything relevant my Shops opponent plays. If these types of matches are frequent enough, I wouldn't feel compelled to play that format. Same with being Belched all the time, or losing to turn 1 Tinker-Robot every game. Though some people obviously enjoy these plays, them happening all the time isn't for me.

So much of this conversation to me sounds like people saying blue is the center of the vintage universe and that other decks have to be relegated to "meta calls," that they all just have to shift in prominence based on what blue mages typically play on any given day to adjust to other blue decks. Blue decks playing a bunch of missteps and flusters to deal with other blue decks, shops is the "spoiler." Decks go light on grave hate because they have to max out on mentor answers, time to consider dredge. The interplay between Dredge and Shops is basically boiled down to shops plays Cage because it also happens to be good against some blue lists, and Dredge plays ingot and grudge because it is basically what they have that MAYBE has some effect on a blue players jewelry as well.

I recognize blue is the dominant color because of the P9, tinker, and a few other culprits, and that likely will not change any time soon unless WOTC slips up on a card again. But every time they slip up it seems to favor blue anyways, and then blue mages get a new toy that they get a singleton of as opposed to a full suite. Hell even a card like blightsteel helped blue, when on its face it should have been a card that was better for a deck that literally specializes in rushing out high cost artifacts. A lot of the talk about shops diversifying post restriction have been around it potentially splashing blue to run tinker and pay for metamorph or get more sideboard options.

Even in this new set, blue is the clear winner with Thing in the Ice being the only thing that really shows potential. There are several other blue cards that had they just been costed slightly different or had a slightly different effect could have had the potential to be meta defining cards. Nothing in this set came close for other strategies. Shops got a pile of nothing. Dredge got Prized amalgam which they will likely not play over other options. Even if it was much better than it was and maybe came in at the same time and untapped it would maybe see play, and likely not as a full suite.

I personally hope for a day where the Vintage Meta is far more open than it is now. I would love to see a viable Burn deck, or a viable monoblack rack deck, or a Hatebears list that wasn't a budget concession but rather a solid metagame choice, because right now even when it is it usually isn't as powerful as a well positioned metadeck should be. Restricting cards from other decks is not going to help that happen, and really the restricted list itself is a flawed solution because we all know even 1 copy of a strong blue card can change everything. Ultimately it needs to be through new printings that give incentive to other decks to not run blue, and new printings that lead to decks that specifically don't want to run power (ala dredge.)

At this point pretty much any time a card is put on the restricted list, all it means is that a non blue deck was really hurt, or that a blue deck likely got more powerful because they got a new card that was way, way too powerful. I am almost convinced the only way to actually power down blue and to open the meta to more balanced play to justify some of the bannings we have seen would be to restrict the only cards blue very exclusively use that other archetypes do not, which would basically be Oath, Fetches, and True Duals.

last edited by Protoaddict
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