Cards to unrestrict


  • TMD Supporter

    @desolutionist said in Cards to unrestrict:

    @Smmenen said in Cards to unrestrict:

    If PO/Thirst/Gifts decks start rising up, the Mentor/Shops decks will just pack more Stony Silence/Null Rod and other cards like that, and they'll drop back down again, much like more Dredge leads to more GY hate.

    First of all, PO and TfK are pretty awful cards. They definitely aren't deserving of being lumped into with Gifts Ungiven. Second, Stony Silence doesn't do enough on its own. I only play 7 artifact mana sources.

    You ignored the other part of the sentence, which said "and other cards like that."

    Specifically, in the case of combating Gifts decks, Grafdigger's Cage is a custom made hoser.

    It's the single best anti-Gifts card ever printed, possibly. Since it stops Recoup effects like Snapcaster/JVP, and Tinker/Will simultaneously. If Gifts starts doing very well, you're going to be facing Cage much more often.

    @ChubbyRain said in Cards to unrestrict:

    @desolutionist Steve has his narrative. If he believes that Gifts and Thirst decks can be crushed simply by running a couple of Stony Silences or other hate in the SB of Mentor, it allows him to maintain that the format continues to be dominated by two decks and that the Gush restriction didn't accomplish anything.

    He's wrong. A well-designed and well-piloted Outcome deck can easily beat Stony Silence. But he didn't listen to me before in chat and I doubt he'll start listening to me now.

    Because that's a complete misrepresentation of what I said. I never once said that Stony Silence "simply crushes" PO/Thirst decks.

    What I actually said in chat is that the matchup of PO/Thirst decks against Stony/Null Rod was "far from hopeless. It's just fighting against crosswinds or uphill battle/ pick your metaphor."

    In other words, PO/Thirst decks can defeat Stony Silence decks, it's just an uphill battle.

    There is a huge difference between these three sentences:

    1. Outcomes decks can easily beat Stony Silence

    2. Outcomes decks have an uphill battle against Stony Silence

    3. And Outcome decks get crushed by Stony Silence.

    You assert (1), but you claimed I asserted (3). My actual position is (2).

    In any case, there is more evidence for (3) than there is (1). The most recent Vintage Challenge results has PO with a 20% win percentage against Mentor (with a very small sample size).

    And, perhaps most importantly, despite many of the best players in the field playing PO/Thirst in these challenges and the NYSE, these decks penetration into the top 8 is very poor relative to the skill level and representation in the field. I mean, consider the fact of how good the Drain Tendrils pilots are, and the fact that zero percent of them made Top 8 at the NYSE, while all three of the Jeskai Mentor decks played Stony Silence. The only PO deck that made top 8 was one that, according to the pilot, was built from the list I played at Vintage Champs last year. But zero of the PO/Thirst decks made top 8, despite the firepower their pilots brought into the room.

    I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from playing whatever they want, but PO decks are going to perform even worse than their already subpar performance at EW, since EW will have a much greater than usual representation of Null Rod.

    Keep up the good work with Gifts, Shawn. Only time and repeat performances will prove people wrong.

    I'm not saying that Gifts can't do well, nor that PO/Thirst can't do well. I'm just saying that if those decks start to do better, the metagame will pack more hate for them, like Cage and more Null Rod effects, making them weaker again.

    No matter how well you design or plan for these tactics, they undermine your deck's strengths.

    Right now, the fact that very few people actually play Gifts is a big advantage for Shawn. I hope Shawn continues to do well, since he seems to enjoy playing Gifts, and I like Gifts as a card. But let's not kid ourselves. It's extremely unlikely that Gifts will become a sustained, tier 1 choice in Vintage over a long period of time without changes to the Banned and Restricted list or new printings. I'm open to being proven wrong, but does anyone really disagree? Do you really think we are going to see Vintage metagames with 20% Gifts decks and 60% win rate over multiple months in this reality anytime this year? I'll take a reasonable wager from anyone who would like to bet against me on that. Just PM me.


  • TMD Supporter

    @Smmenen said in Cards to unrestrict:

    @desolutionist said in Cards to unrestrict:

    @Smmenen said in Cards to unrestrict:

    If PO/Thirst/Gifts decks start rising up, the Mentor/Shops decks will just pack more Stony Silence/Null Rod and other cards like that, and they'll drop back down again, much like more Dredge leads to more GY hate.

    First of all, PO and TfK are pretty awful cards. They definitely aren't deserving of being lumped into with Gifts Ungiven. Second, Stony Silence doesn't do enough on its own. I only play 7 artifact mana sources.

    You ignored the other part of the sentence, which said "and other cards like that."

    Specifically, in the case of combating Gifts decks, Grafdigger's Cage is a custom made hoser.

    It's the single best anti-Gifts card ever printed, possibly. Since it stops Recoup effects like Snapcaster/JVP, and Tinker/Will simultaneously. If Gifts starts doing very well, you're going to be facing Cage much more often.

    Thanks for the response, Steve!

    Grafdiggers is good at shutting down Tinker and flashback effects, true, but it doesn't shut down Gifts Ungiven or Baral Chief of Compliance. The flashback effects bring about quick and easy wins, though it's still possible to navigate to lethal without the graveyard and to use Gifts Ungiven as a spell that grants free spells, mana, card draw, or counterspells.

    What deck would play Grafdiffer's Cage?

    Obviously it doesn't help Shops or Outcome since I bring in more than enough artifact hate already. So you must be talking about Mentor. By bringing in Cage, you're turning off your flashback spells as well; Mentor usually plays only 1 less flashback spell than most of the Gifts list I've played, so that's basically an even exchange; we're both hurt equally, maybe the Gifts deck a little more depending on the hands. The other thing to consider is that Gifts is siding out Tinker\BSC against a Dack/Plow deck. In its place I had been playing Subterranean Tremors but have recently switched to Empty the Warrens. In combination with the other cards that I bring in against Mentor (Leovold, Necropotence), there's a chance that Cage is meaningless.

    One more aspect to Gifts that helps its immunity to any single "hate card", is that it is a control deck first, combo deck second. The tutoring power of Gifts Ungiven allows you to devote a very small portion of the deck to actually combo pieces, since you can bring them all up at once with just one card (Gifts Ungiven). This allows for more cards that interact with the opponent and less dead draws to make advantages as you're jockeying for position to cast a Gifts and win. Mental Misstep, Force of Will, Mana Drain, and cards like that make up the Gifts decks frontline defense.

    Last but not least, this deck isn't dredge. It's flexible and attacks from more than one angle. If more Mentor players start bringing in Cage against me, I can adjust my sideboard plan accordingly and either take advantage of their tactic or counter it.


  • TMD Supporter

    @desolutionist said in Cards to unrestrict:

    Last but not least, this deck isn't dredge. It's flexible and attacks from more than one angle. If more Mentor players start bringing in Cage against me, I can adjust my sideboard plan accordingly and either take advantage of their tactic or counter it.

    Firstly, Dredge doesn't just attack from one angle. The DD/ Dredge decks attack from two or more different angles.

    Second, there is a kind of circular quality to these back-and-forths.

    I say: Card X creates difficulty for your deck.

    You (not you Shawn, but whomever I'm talking to) say: But my deck can defeat Card X. All I have to do is A, B, and C.

    I say: Yes, I realize you can do all of that. It sounds like a decent plan, and it mitigates the damage that card X does to you. But it's still not ideal for you. You would be better off if players didn't use card X against you.

    And you say: But I can still defeat players who use Card X.

    And, I say: I never said you couldn't. Just pointing out that it takes away some of your natural advantages/strengths...

    And so on, and on ad infinitum.

    No Dredge decks wants to face gaveyard hate. No combo deck using lots of free spells wants to face Sphere effects. No Paradoxical Outcome deck wants to face Null Rod effects. No Workshop decks wants to face artifact hosers. And no Gifts deck wants to face Grafdigger's Cage.

    Does that mean those decks can't beat those tactics? Of course not. There is rarely such a thing as a complete silver bullet in Magic. Going back as far as when White Weenie was able to Disenchant Moat, there is rarely a card that can't be overcome. Dredge can beat Rest in Peace. Workshops can beat Energy Flux. PO can beat Null Rod. And Gifts & Oath can beat G. Cage.

    But dealing with those tactics often means unusual distortions or suboptimizing the deck in other matchups. A Dredge deck that plans for GY hate by stuffing 10 bounce spells maindeck is less consistent. That same principle applies to any deck facing any match in Magic.

    If you go some strange or unusual plan to deal with the threat, that doesn't render the threat meaningless. It's very presence has fundamentally changed your deck's game plan and/or eaten up SB space, potentially making other matchups dicier.

    I undersatnd that people get very defensive/touchy whenever anyone points out that there are strong tactics against their preferred strategy, and that might make it difficult to understand what I'm saying in non-hyperbolic terms, but I'm not saying your deck, whatever that might be, sucks and can't win games.



  • Further up the thread a few folks suggested unrestriction of windfall. I think most people thought this was dangerous and the idea didn't get s lot of traction, but out of interest I went and did some tests with the 4 mana windfall effects in the format. Based on those, I'm pretty sure windfall is not at all safe to unrestrict. If it did come off, you would probably need to restrict all the unrestricted artifact mana, and possibly the spirit guides as well. Best leave that one alone.



  • @walking.dude What cards were you replacing them over and what did the Windfalls do vs. Forces or Spheres that the other cards didn't?



  • An unrestricted Windfall, sounds like it would slot far too easily into a PO deck. Turn 1, dump hand, don't have PO, but do have Windfall. Refill hand at expense of opponent, play more artifacts, and cast the PO I just drew.

    Now that it is relatively clear that restricting Gush didn't solve the Blue Mentor problem (and that it really didn't solve the Shops problem, which I never expected it to), I can see the argument for un-restricting Gush.

    That said, all I can see 4 Gush doing is: 1) give Oath a way to keep up with Mentor (barely... maybe), and 2) give Mentor pilots a choice between PO and Gush depending on the meta. Oh and Doomsday players, right?

    I find the argument compelling that Mentor just outclasses any other win condition for blue decks and merits restriction. Regarding Shops, I also found as an Oath player that there were many times when Shops would handily kick my butt if they landed enough sphere effects plus a Tangle Wire early on. Workshop should be restricted, but I'm not sure it ever will be.

    In my head, the best short-term fix for the meta would be un-restricting Chalice combined with the printing of a Red, Green or R/G hybrid mana cycle card that kills an artifact (or colorless permanent) when it cycles, thereby circumventing tax effects.

    Four chalice would hinder cantrip decks and PO decks. And while they would strengthen Shops and White Eldrazi, both of those decks would have to change to fit them in. Cards that cycle to kill an artifact, or do damage to a creature, or destroy a colorless permanent, would be a wonderful addition to Vintage--so long as they aren't a blue/white spell. They would cut down on Shops/Eldrazi, but not to exclusively to the benefit of the dominant blue deck.

    This is slightly off-topic, but it annoys me endlessly that blue and artifacts are so overly represented in Vintage. It shouldn't be hard to print cards in Red, Green and Black that made those colors more competitive. I am heartened by the printing of cards like Harsh Mentor and Ramunap Excavator (the latter not necessarily being good enough for Vintage). I leave out white only because White Eldrazi (or Thalia Eldrazi, really) is already competitive. In sum, I wish there was genuine color balance rather than an endless series of design mistakes for blue cards.



  • @jhport12 @BazaarOfBaghdad

    Jhport12 you're right, my testing was with a PO plus draw 7 build. Mox opal and chrome mox are both new since windfall restriction. With a lot of those plus restricted artifact mana you can just get enouph that every 7 cards has 3+ mana in it.

    I don't quite want to spill the beans on the test list yet because I may still be able to get the list working, but in goldfishes I had a lot of draws where I'd draw 7, look at my cards and be able to keep going if I had 1 extra mana. With windfall instead of PO or something else I would have an extra mana.

    I haven't gotten to testing against a live opponent yet, do not sure what the post sideboard anti sphere strategy is yet. Maybe leylines to play mana before sphere gets down and hurkels. That's getting a little off topic though.



  • You don't need a live opponent to test against Force of Will. Just ask yourself how wrecked you would be if your opponent had one. Assume your opponent will have one (or Mindbreak Trap) during game 2-3 probably 80% of the time, and any game 1s where you have been scouted for such a deck. For Thorn, you can assume game 1 disruption on probably 50% of the games. Does even casting a t.1 Windfall with 2-4 "free" permanents in play become sufficient to swing the matchup in your favor? Again, an opponent is not terribly necessary for testing purposes.



  • Since it's only really good when you cast it turn one on the play, Windfall pushes combo decks even further into the all or nothing glass canon philosophy. Consistency or speed has never been an issue for combo, the real challenge has always been resiliency.

    Windfall hasn't been optimal for a very long time. We've had more than enough unrestricted Storm enablers for a long time now like Doomsday, Ad Nauseam, Burning wish, Oath of druids, Griselbrand, Gifts Ungiven, Dark Petition, Paradoxical Outcome. Windfall is arguably worse than any/most of those cards.

    The only thing windfall does is look awesome and broken 10% of the time (when you were so far ahead already that any action card was game), but the rest of the time you draw it or in tight games you find yourself wishing it was anything else but windfall.


  • TMD Supporter

    Yeah - I have trouble imagining how Windfall is more scary than PO.



  • Consulting Maniac would certainly be a madmans playground. If we're going to keep derping with derpstep let's just unrestrict Consult. Makes for a better Dark Depths deck that can lose to 3-4 StP, 4 Derpstep Blue Heaps. At least I can get Consultation Derpstepped on your turn unlike this Imperial Seal that it rotting away in my unplayables pile.


  • TMD Supporter

    @Brass-Man said in Cards to unrestrict:

    @Aaron-Patten said in Cards to unrestrict:

    @fsecco It was restricted along with ponder and Merchant Scroll in order to address the Gush-bond engine.

    It was restricted along with Ponder, Merchant Scroll, and Gush itself. (and for that matter, Flash, which also synergized with Brainstorm, Ponder, and Merchant Scroll)

    Saying that Brainstorm/Ponder/Scroll were restricted in order to make Gush decks worse just doesn't make any sense. There was never supposed to be a time where Gush was unrestricted and Merchant Scroll wasn't. The decision to unrestrict Gush years later could not have been anticipated by the people making the restriction decision at that time.

    While I certainly believe that Brainstorm, Ponder and Scroll were restricted to attack the same set of decks that Gush was used in (as well as Flash decks), the DCI said, in 2010, that part of the reason they felt that unrestricted Gush was worth attempting was because Scroll and Brainstorm were restricted, and they were two cards Gush decks were built around:

    http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/feature/explanation-september-20-2010-br-changes-2010-09-20

    " Gush was restricted a few years ago. Brainstorm and Merchant Scroll were restricted at the same time, however, and the DCI would like to revisit whether Gush decks can be a healthy addition to the diversity of the format if you can play 4 Gush, but not 4 of either of the other cards."

    In other words, even if you don't agree that Brainstorm and Scroll partly got restricted because of Gush, it's certainly the case that their restriction was part of the reason that Gush was paroled.

    BTW, for those of you who also think that unrestrictions should/could be used to create competitors, the DCI, in the same explanation, noted that the format seemed to be dominated by Bob/Jace and Workshop decks, and they thought that Gush would not go well into either of those. So the idea of using controversial unrestrictions to promote diversity has precedent. I'd also add Burning Wish's unrestriction as another example of that.


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