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 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.
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.
@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:
" 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.