The Downside to Vintage on Magic Online and GroupThink



  • I apologize in advance if this theory has been stated elsewhere, I admittedly did not spend the time to read all 122 posts in the Turbo Xerox and Monastery Mentor thread, especially given the length of some of the posts.

    With that out of the way, I think that Magic Online has negatively changed Vintage because of the structure of the events. I also think that "community wide discussion" has hurt the community as a whole.

    1. My biggest complaint is that the decklists for Vintage Dailies are posted for 4-0 and 3-1 decks. While there are players who take these events as a point of pride and want to see their name and deck posted as much as possible, it cuts down on innovation. I look at a Daily as a testing session, but why would I test with my list for Vintage Champs or another big tournament in an event where my list will be posted for public consumption if I do well? Additionally, if I played something new and creative that did well then my list would be copied or metagamed against by the others in the event. This strategy is widely accepted, but in my opinion it invalidates the metagame. It's analogous to filling your maindeck with Grafdigger's Cages and Containment Priests because you're about to play in an 8 man tournament with 2 Oath and 2 Dredge decks. There's nothing wrong with this strategy of course, but analyzing this data and presenting it as useful is asinine. I wish that after the tournament you could opt whether your list would be posted or not, so people who wanted to try out new things without losing their edge could do so and those who wanted glory could get it. As it currently stands, Vintage moves faster than it ever has, but it's all micro rather than macro changes which rewards people tuning existing decks rather than designing new archetypes.

    2. Vintage Challenges are usually 40-50 player events and reward the Top 32 players. The problem with this prize support is that it encourages people to play known commodities. If my goal is to win prize, why would I play something new and innovative rather than Mentor or Ravager Shops? I get that this is not all or even most player's goals, but when the Vintage Challenges happen every week, the prestige level is low. Mentor and Ravager Shops are powerful enough decks that if played well should at least be able to yield a 4-4 record. If you play a brew then maybe your chance of catching everyone by surprise and winning the event is higher, but your chances of going 2-6 are also much higher. From a value perspective, it makes sense to play a deck with a high floor, which feeds into the notion that we're in a two deck metagame.

    3. This critique pertains solely to TMD and Facebook, but people need to stop complaining about Vintage being so awful. I agree with the ideas that Monastery Mentor is very good and Gush/Probe getting restricted did not do enough to slow down the Delve engine, but complaining about it just turns people off from wanting to play. The Vintage community by and large has spent significantly more effort complaining about the format and squabbling over who thought Gush getting restricted would "fix" the format than it has in trying to address the problem at hand.

    If instead of focusing on whether Mentor should get restricted, the Vintage community instead worked to build a good Leovold or Paradoxical Outcome deck then Vintage would be a much better and more inviting format.



  • Thanks for your insights! While the things you listed are indeed downsides MTGO is incredibly valuable for vintage for two main reasons. One is the cost. As someone who did not get into magic until about 6 years ago the cost of real life power is astronomical. I could play literally any deck with any card for less then the price of a couple of paper moxen.

    The second reason MTGO is incredibly valuable to vintage is that there are lots of games that can be played in a short span. There are no vintage tournaments anywhere near me, sanctioned or proxied. The only way that I can play vintage on a regular basis and improve is through regular play. MTGO presents that on a consistent basis.

    One last thought on the Vintage Challenges. I personally would be more willing to try new deck ideas because the odds of placing and getting my money back are much higher than in dailies. I have a hard time not playing either shops or mentor in a daily.

    Just my two cents. Thanks for the post!



  • @KingLeovold said in The Downside to Vintage on Magic Online and GroupThink:

    Thanks for your insights! While the things you listed are indeed downsides MTGO is incredibly valuable for vintage for two main reasons. One is the cost. As someone who did not get into magic until about 6 years ago the cost of real life power is astronomical. I could play literally any deck with any card for less then the price of a couple of paper moxen.

    The second reason MTGO is incredibly valuable to vintage is that there are lots of games that can be played in a short span. There are no vintage tournaments anywhere near me, sanctioned or proxied. The only way that I can play vintage on a regular basis and improve is through regular play. MTGO presents that on a consistent basis.

    One last thought on the Vintage Challenges. I personally would be more willing to try new deck ideas because the odds of placing and getting my money back are much higher than in dailies. I have a hard time not playing either shops or mentor in a daily.

    Just my two cents. Thanks for the post!

    You're totally right, Magic Online makes Vintage a lot more accessible, I may have undersold this exceptionally important piece. My post was more a critique of the way that Vintage is structured on Magic Online than that it's a thing.



  • @Will I think you may be overlooking one huge aspect of vintage/how the dci handles the B&R. They pay very little attention to this format and have not made the right choices for the B&R list. Unless we make a huge deal publicly about it, it's just going to get swept under the rug. Just remember, the squeaky wheel always gets the grease(or attention). That is why there is such an outcry. It's deliberate and has a purpose. Sure, certain aspects of it may seem unhealthy, but ask your self this....Would you rather vintage just die off because of wotc's neglect when it comes to properly managing the format/B&R or would you rather go through this period we are going through currently to get things right?



  • @BobbyVictory I think I would rather them just surrender it to the community, similar to how EDH is governed. Maybe then we could get more targeted printings as well that would be able to help other archetypes and colors out.



  • @themonadnomad That is a bad idea when the decision makers have less to lose and don't have their livelihood tied to the game.



  • @BobbyVictory Who has their livelihood tied to Vintage though? There really is not that much in the way of event support.



  • @themonadnomad Vintage is still a bi-product of wotc, their name is tied to it. If you give the power of format governance to the community, you can bet you'll get someone that just wants to push their own agenda fueled by their own preferences instead of what is actually best for the format. Also, in regards to your edh comment, hasn't wotc stepped in a taken control and started making changes?


  • Administrators

    There's a lot going on in this post! I want to say that I strongly agree with your third point, but I slightly disagree with your first two.

    @Will said in The Downside to Vintage on Magic Online and GroupThink:

    [...] it cuts down on innovation. I look at a Daily as a testing session, but why would I test with my list for Vintage Champs or another big tournament in an event where my list will be posted for public consumption if I do well?

    I understand not wanting to reveal tech before a big event, but I have a contrasting opinion here. Just as a point of advice, if innovating is something that's important to you, I HIGHLY recommend playing in vintage dailies. Yes, a public decklist can take some surprise value out of a list, but that disadvantage is dwarfed by gigantic advantage in deck quality you get by playing the deck in a serious tournament against a variety of opponents. Avoiding dailies is going to make your lists (and your play) significantly worse than someone who doesn't, public decklists or no.

    Beyond that, taking advantage of a fixed meta is possibly the best path to being rewarded for creative deckbuilding.

    I also think you might be overvaluing the importance of the information. Right now the best performing deck on MTGO, from a match win % perspective, is Desolutionist's Gifts deck. There are about 3 total players running the deck online, despite those results. The lists have been public on MtgGoldfish, and Desolutionist has posted a few versions of the list here on TMD.

    ... How many matches have you tested against it? How many cards are you running in your sideboard, just for that matchup? ... now how many games are have you tested against Workshops?

    I can't speak to whether people are choosing not to innovate because of public decklists on MTGO, but if they are, they're wasting a big opportunity.



  • @BobbyVictory Honestly I haven't played a game of EDH in over a year, but last I heard it was still being regulated by the Rules Committee for EDH. Things certainly could have changed, however...


  • Administrators

    @Will said in The Downside to Vintage on Magic Online and GroupThink:

    Vintage Challenges are usually 40-50 player events and reward the Top 32 players. The problem with this prize support is that it encourages people to play known commodities.

    I'm not sure the math works out on this one. I just looked over standings for the past 3 Challenge events. At the 40-50 player range, most 2-4 players get prizes. In my experience it's fairly common for players to drop at low records without telling the client they're dropping, meaning you could get paired up and win without playing. I have gone 1-4 in matches and won my money back in prize support before.

    As long as Challenges continue to be so unpopular, the prize structure is DRAMATICALLY positive EV. Prizes to top 32 in a 40 person event is pretty unheard of in paper. Typically paper tournaments in the 40-50 player range pay out to top 8 only, I've been to plenty that only pay out to top 4. This incredibly deep support, if anything encourages people to experiment with decks.

    If you're playing in a metagame with better prize support than this, PLEASE let me know, so I can consider moving there :D



  • To people advocating giving the Vintage list over to fans like EDH, this is honestly a completely different situation. EDH was a fan-created format shepherded by high level judges that Wizards adopted as a casual format. They let those people keep control over the paper version of the format (Wizards sets the online banned list) because they created the format and had input from people Wizards respect the opinions of. Wizards didn't hand the power over to fans, they just didn't muscle them out. Vintage, on the other hand, had always been under Wizards' watch (or neglect, depending on how you see it) as a recognized tournament format. They aren't about to cede control of it to the fans for that reason, they require their sanctioned formats to follow their guidelines. If EDH evolved into a fully sanctioned tournament format Wizards would almost certainly seize control of the list at that point.


  • Administrators

    @Will said in The Downside to Vintage on Magic Online and GroupThink:

    [...] people need to stop complaining about Vintage being so awful. I agree with the ideas that Monastery Mentor is very good and Gush/Probe getting restricted did not do enough to slow down the Delve engine, but complaining about it just turns people off from wanting to play. The Vintage community by and large has spent significantly more effort complaining about the format and squabbling over who thought Gush getting restricted would "fix" the format than it has in trying to address the problem at hand.
    .
    If instead of focusing on whether Mentor should get restricted, the Vintage community instead worked to build a good Leovold or Paradoxical Outcome deck then Vintage would be a much better and more inviting format.

    Now THIS ... THIS I agree with 100%.

    I get that people are disappointed in the format right now, and I get that there are people out there who don't play, and would play if it was changed. A lot of people think the format isn't worth playing now, and want to change it. I'm not one of those people, but I have been in the past, and I get how frustrating it is.

    I understand that people want to voice those concerns to WotC. While I think that, say, Twitter (which WotC reads a lot more than TMD) makes a lot more sense as a way to voice those concerns, I'm reluctant to take TMD away as a platform for that. (Though I'm SO tempted ... and more tempted by the day).

    ...

    But there are also a lot of people who just want to play vintage. I know this because there are a lot of people out there who are still playing vintage. There are people working on ways to beat Shops and Mentor decks, and there are people working on ways to improve Shops and Mentor decks to counter them.

    The amount of people who are actively playing, building, and innovating in vintage right now exceeds the amount that were doing it when I started in 2002. MTGO has exploded, there are pockets of players all around the world, the VSL has a gigantic audience, and Vintage Champs has an attendance higher than GPs were when I was starting out.

    But if you just looked at TMD, you'd think the format has shrunk. These players aren't posting on TMD. If you were a new player who just watched the VSL and you wanted to get into the format, you'd go to Facebook or Reddit or TMD and you'd ask about Vintage and you'd see nothing but complaints and you'd assume the format is dead and you wouldn't even start.

    There are people who complain and also push the format forward, but it's rare. Disappointment with the format tends to act as a short-circuit where people accept the fact that a format is "wrong" or "unbalanced" and completely give up on the beautiful challenge of trying to win in an unbalanced format. The people trying to solve that challenge win more, they play more, they're frankly a lot more interesting, but they don't post on TMD.

    I ask people I know who play vintage but don't post online, "Why not?". I get a lot of answers, and some are solvable and some aren't ... but a recurring theme is that nobody wants to deal with the negativity. That isn't limited to threads about the format, but it often starts there and spreads elsewhere

    I want people with legitimate complaints to have a platform to be heard - but I also want a vintage strategy website. TMD is the first but it's not currently the second. Given that there are tons of public platforms for complaining and no large public english-speaking vintage strategy sites, it's hard to reconcile the two.


  • TMD Supporter

    @Will,

    The problem with your post is that it arrives in the middle of a fairly intense debate over the handling and management of the format, positions itself as if it is neutral or even orthogonal to that debate, while it actually drives a stake through one side.

    Firstly, the subject line and the predicate for the post is that there is some kind of group think occurring that is most acute on MTGO that is actually misrepresenting the consolidation of the format - making it seem worse than it actually is. Out of context, this would seem neutral, but right now we are undertaking an evaluation of the impact of the April restrictions, a little more than 3 months out. The results from the MTGO challenges shows that Shops and Mentor are 70% of the 11 Top 8s since April 24th compared to under 50% for the previous 10 events.

    If the explanation for those consolidation of the metagame is simply " group think" rather than actual metagame market dynamics, then the criticisms of the DCI are undermined: the results aren't a result of DCI action so much as it is "group think." This a wrong factually, IMO, but more importantly, it's wrong as an ideological position that serves the defenders of the April decision.

    I am sympathetic to the anxieties and concerns raised by MTGO. After all, in January, I wrote a longish article that integrated some of the points you suggest. There I said, for example:

    The third perspective is a relatively new one for Vintage, and it is a way that Magic Online has changed Vintage. Preparing for daily tournaments is a very different effort than preparing for one of a few very large tournaments per year, as was the case in the heyday of the Waterbury tournament. Although there are still players who plan and prepare months before the Vintage Championship, the dynamic in the Magic Online environment is quite different.

    When decklists are published on a daily basis, the rewards for taking risks and investing time and energy in novel strategies are greatly diminished. Instead, there is a much greater reward from playing low risk decks and a premium on consistency. After all, the spoils for 4-0ing a daily aren’t sufficient to incentivize the development of new decks over tuning up existing ones and tightening up your play.

    This is a fundamental difference between paper Magic and Magic Online. If you examine the metagame breakdowns of larger paper tournaments and the larger Magic Online Vintage tournaments, paper tournaments are more diverse, with more players playing marginal strategies, and even doing well. In contrast, Magic Online events are more homogeneous, with fewer fringe decks.

    This is one of the sources of anxiety. The production of daily decklists changes the perception of the format, especially from the quarterly or even annual perspectives. Even two weeks of similar daily results can now result in complaints about the format being monotonous, despite the fact that this would be perfectly normal from a paper Vintage perspective, where events unspool at a slower clip. But, critically, this perception is generated among both Magic Online players and paper Vintage players from simply reading tournament reports.

    BUT...the argument that the results on MTGO are groupthink is a pretty silly position. In the extreme, if what people played were primarily or even largely a function of network effects and group think rather than a desire to win and expected match wins, then the DCI's use of the restriction tool to curb dominant decks would be relatively ineffective. People would continue to play the same deck regardless.

    As I said, this is an extreme version of that position. At the other extreme, I don't think metagames, like markets, are perfectly efficient, either. There are always people who don't play the best deck, or play for other reasons than winning. But they are relatively efficient. The best decks, over time, tend to become a larger part of the metagame and a greater % of Top 8s. This is an empirical reality. Moreover, the "group think" model dramatically underestimates how much it takes for a metagame to be completely transformed.

    A single player winning a tournament twice in a row will have players join that bandwagon. It's happened countless times in Vintage history from Robert Vroman to Eric Becker. It only takes 1 player in tournament to win a tournament. So even if 50% of the field is just following a group-think, it takes very, very little to change the composition of a Top 8. Remember, a single player is 12.5% of a Top 8. That's a huge percentage.

    No, the current metagame is not a result of group think. Magic Online may be accelerating the Vintage metagame by quickly determining what the best decks are. But that's because they truly are the best decks. Not because of a herd mentality.

    1. My biggest complaint is that the decklists for Vintage Dailies are posted for 4-0 and 3-1 decks. While there are players who take these events as a point of pride and want to see their name and deck posted as much as possible, it cuts down on innovation.

    Again, completely wrong, as a factual matter: Have you looked through the dailies carefully in the last few months? Kevin and I just recently compiled every single daily since April. There are TONS Of experimental decks in the 3-1 and 4-0 results.

    In July alone, there were BUG decks with Fastbond, Excavator and Zuran Orb, Splinter Twin Control, Teen Titans (a Welder Reanimator deck), WBG Eldrazi, Gifts Control, PO Oath Combo, and tons of other experimental and innovative decks. Going to June, you have decks like Illusory Angel Control, and much more.

    If anything, the dailies are the place for experimentation, and it's evident. Your "biggest complaint" appears to be poorly founded or unfounded.

    I look at a Daily as a testing session, but why would I test with my list for Vintage Champs or another big tournament in an event where my list will be posted for public consumption if I do well?

    This is a solipsism error. Just because you don't, doesn't mean people don't either.

    1. This critique pertains solely to TMD and Facebook, but people need to stop complaining about Vintage being so awful.

    Tell that to the people who complained, ceaselessly, about Gush before it was restricted. Having waged an unrelenting campaign against Gush, and having won, you are now asking the losers to go home, and have the winners roll up their mat behind them, when the manifest errors of that decision and it's illogic are becoming more obvious by the day.

    No thanks.

    Complaining is the primary mechanism by which those who are unhappy with the April restrictions (which according to polls, is a majority of Vintage players) are able to convey the depth and breadth of their anger. That, and voting with their feet. When Brainstorm was restricted, a large contingent of the Vintage player base, according to some, quit Vintage.

    It would be completely unjustified and unfair to ask people who are unhappy to silence themselves when earlier complainers had unlimited scope for complaining about Gush.

    Quite the opposite of you, if people are unhappy with the restrictions, I encourage them to speak up, not be silent, and voice their outrage and their concerns about the direction of the format. They should publish articles, write to Wizards, and post messages here and beyond.

    Asking people who are unhappy with the restriction is silence themselves tantamount to asking them to muffle themselves. Yet, no one asked the Gush complainers to muffle their unhappiness with Gush. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

    I agree with the ideas that Monastery Mentor is very good and Gush/Probe getting restricted did not do enough to slow down the Delve engine, but complaining about it just turns people off from wanting to play. The Vintage community by and large has spent significantly more effort complaining about the format and squabbling over who thought Gush getting restricted would "fix" the format than it has in trying to address the problem at hand.

    I could not disagree more: short term pain in the interest of a better long term format is always worth it. We need to get the ship righted, and that means criticizing what happened in April and the current state of the metagame, loudly and proudly. Not silencing our discontent to serve the interests of those who are responsible for bringing about our current wicked state of affairs.



  • @Smmenen said in The Downside to Vintage on Magic Online and GroupThink:

    No, the current metagame is not a result of group think. Magic Online may be accelerating the Vintage metagame by quickly determining what the best decks are. But that's because they truly are the best decks. Not because of a herd mentality.

    I'd add in the caveat of "the best decks playable on the online platform in the metagame defined by that platform."

    I'm not certain if the best version of dredge is the one that is played online, because the Undiscovered Paradise bug means that it is certainly sub-optimal to try to run that build in an event.

    Likewise, decks with click-intensive-yet-deterministic loops are likewise not part of the meta. Because Bomberman/Worldgorger is fun, but not when you time out trying to win. It's completely possible those decks are not optimal in the real world over the decks that have been refined through many iterations on mtgo, but the limitations of the platform are still the limitations of the platofrm.

    Issues with targeting for flusterstorm and mindbreak trap also spring to mind.



  • @Winterstar said in The Downside to Vintage on Magic Online and GroupThink:

    @Smmenen said in The Downside to Vintage on Magic Online and GroupThink:

    No, the current metagame is not a result of group think. Magic Online may be accelerating the Vintage metagame by quickly determining what the best decks are. But that's because they truly are the best decks. Not because of a herd mentality.

    I'd add in the caveat of "the best decks playable on the online platform in the metagame defined by that platform."

    I'm not certain if the best version of dredge is the one that is played online, because the Undiscovered Paradise bug means that it is certainly sub-optimal to try to run that build in an event.

    Likewise, decks with click-intensive-yet-deterministic loops are likewise not part of the meta. Because Bomberman/Worldgorger is fun, but not when you time out trying to win. It's completely possible those decks are not optimal in the real world over the decks that have been refined through many iterations on mtgo, but the limitations of the platform are still the limitations of the platofrm.

    Issues with targeting for flusterstorm and mindbreak trap also spring to mind.

    I can't help but think this is a major part of the perceived problem in vintage right now. A LOT of our compiled tournament data comes from MTGO. And while I definitely applaud the efforts of those who take time to compile and present the data - it is very much one sided. We may have individual tournaments with decklists for paper magic. But we have nothing, data-wise, like the compilation of data for mtgo tournaments. And the mtgo tournaments ARE a different animal.

    This may just be confirmation bias as well, but I've noticed that a large majority of the complaints, both before and after the restriction of gush/probe came from people who are primarily on mtgo. Again, I have no hard and fast set of data to say X number of people are mtgo player, Y are paper players and Z are cross-overs. Just going by the eyeball test of the people on both sides of the debate who are most vociferous in keeping the debate going.


  • TMD Supporter

    @Khahan said in The Downside to Vintage on Magic Online and GroupThink:

    @Winterstar said in The Downside to Vintage on Magic Online and GroupThink:

    @Smmenen said in The Downside to Vintage on Magic Online and GroupThink:

    No, the current metagame is not a result of group think. Magic Online may be accelerating the Vintage metagame by quickly determining what the best decks are. But that's because they truly are the best decks. Not because of a herd mentality.

    I'd add in the caveat of "the best decks playable on the online platform in the metagame defined by that platform."

    I'm not certain if the best version of dredge is the one that is played online, because the Undiscovered Paradise bug means that it is certainly sub-optimal to try to run that build in an event.

    Likewise, decks with click-intensive-yet-deterministic loops are likewise not part of the meta. Because Bomberman/Worldgorger is fun, but not when you time out trying to win. It's completely possible those decks are not optimal in the real world over the decks that have been refined through many iterations on mtgo, but the limitations of the platform are still the limitations of the platofrm.

    Issues with targeting for flusterstorm and mindbreak trap also spring to mind.

    I can't help but think this is a major part of the perceived problem in vintage right now. A LOT of our compiled tournament data comes from MTGO. And while I definitely applaud the efforts of those who take time to compile and present the data - it is very much one sided. We may have individual tournaments with decklists for paper magic. But we have nothing, data-wise, like the compilation of data for mtgo tournaments. And the mtgo tournaments ARE a different animal.

    This may just be confirmation bias as well, but I've noticed that a large majority of the complaints, both before and after the restriction of gush/probe came from people who are primarily on mtgo. Again, I have no hard and fast set of data to say X number of people are mtgo player, Y are paper players and Z are cross-overs. Just going by the eyeball test of the people on both sides of the debate who are most vociferous in keeping the debate going.

    While I certainly agree with Winterstar's point, I also think that experienced Vintage players are capable of assimilating multiple and different data sets into a coherent framework. Implicitly, I tend to weight larger paper tournaments more than smaller, local events. While many paper events diverge a bit from MTGO, there is a surprising amount of convergence. Kevin and I compiled all of the results since April 24th, and the dailies are further from the Challenges than paper is from the challenges. Think about that.

    Moreover, as the paper tournament sizes get larger, the results tend to match MTGO more and more, at least in my observation. Take a look at the NYSE Top 8 as an example. It was 100% Shops and Mentor.



  • @Smmenen said in The Downside to Vintage on Magic Online and GroupThink:

    @Khahan said in The Downside to Vintage on Magic Online and GroupThink:

    @Winterstar said in The Downside to Vintage on Magic Online and GroupThink:

    @Smmenen said in The Downside to Vintage on Magic Online and GroupThink:

    No, the current metagame is not a result of group think. Magic Online may be accelerating the Vintage metagame by quickly determining what the best decks are. But that's because they truly are the best decks. Not because of a herd mentality.

    I'd add in the caveat of "the best decks playable on the online platform in the metagame defined by that platform."

    I'm not certain if the best version of dredge is the one that is played online, because the Undiscovered Paradise bug means that it is certainly sub-optimal to try to run that build in an event.

    Likewise, decks with click-intensive-yet-deterministic loops are likewise not part of the meta. Because Bomberman/Worldgorger is fun, but not when you time out trying to win. It's completely possible those decks are not optimal in the real world over the decks that have been refined through many iterations on mtgo, but the limitations of the platform are still the limitations of the platofrm.

    Issues with targeting for flusterstorm and mindbreak trap also spring to mind.

    I can't help but think this is a major part of the perceived problem in vintage right now. A LOT of our compiled tournament data comes from MTGO. And while I definitely applaud the efforts of those who take time to compile and present the data - it is very much one sided. We may have individual tournaments with decklists for paper magic. But we have nothing, data-wise, like the compilation of data for mtgo tournaments. And the mtgo tournaments ARE a different animal.

    This may just be confirmation bias as well, but I've noticed that a large majority of the complaints, both before and after the restriction of gush/probe came from people who are primarily on mtgo. Again, I have no hard and fast set of data to say X number of people are mtgo player, Y are paper players and Z are cross-overs. Just going by the eyeball test of the people on both sides of the debate who are most vociferous in keeping the debate going.

    While I certainly agree with Winterstar's point, I also think that experienced Vintage players are capable of assimilating multiple and different data sets into a coherent framework. Implicitly, I tend to weight larger paper tournaments more than smaller, local events. While many paper events diverge a bit from MTGO, there is a surprising amount of convergence. Kevin and I compiled all of the results since April 24th, and the dailies are further from the Challenges than paper is from the challenges. Think about that.

    Moreover, as the paper tournament sizes get larger, the results tend to match MTGO more and more, at least in my observation. Take a look at the NYSE Top 8 as an example. It was 100% Shops and Mentor.

    My point isn't that there is a divergence in the data between paper and online. My point (actually 2 points) are that 1) there is more robust data collection for online magic than paper magic 2) Regardless of what the reality of the data is, there is a generalized perception issue between the 2 formats.



  • @Smmenen

    I apologize for not fully articulating my point of view about group think by saying that I think that Shops and Mentor being perceived as the best decks helps to perpetuate the problem because they are the most played decks and unsurprisingly the most successful decks. If there was a larger sample size of players who had made the Top8 of Challenges then I think you could argue that the MTGO meta was efficient, but a large percentage of the Top8s are made up by a small percentage of the players per @p3temangus in the Turbo Xerox thread,
    "25% of the Top8s are made by 6 players
    50% of the Top8s are made by 16 players
    75% of the Top8s are made by 33 players
    53 individuals made Top8".

    It's impossible to say whether the Top 6 or 16 players would have Top8d the events that they did if they hadn't played the decks that they did, but success begets success.

    Because there is so much data available on MTGO I think people such as yourself have put too much stock in the data because there aren't even TO reports on TMD for events like the 53 player TDG Luau, while there is data ready for consumption every day on MTGO.

    My opinions about why I don't want to play in Daily events are truly just my opinions. I think that if Daily events did not post decklists or would let you choose whether your list was posted or not they would be improved. I don't want to give away my new technology for free just because there is an event to play in. One could say that this is pointless and to some degree they would be right, but the element of surprise is a real thing. It's not to say that one cannot succeed while playing what everyone knows they will be playing, because I am a testament to this not being the case. However, while people know 50 of my 75 before we sit down, the 25 they don't know can drastically change how the match goes.

    There are plenty of people who are playing in Daily events because this is their only avenue to playing Vintage on a daily basis and many of those people are more than happy to try out new and crazy ideas, but I can't be the only person who doesn't want to play their current Champs list in a daily event for fear that their list will catch on.

    You are certainly allowed to complain about the format, but the idea that you are excused in doing so because others did it is childish. You're right, I didn't make a post telling others to stop campaigning for Gush to get restricted; I didn't post at all because I was tired of hearing people complain. For someone who takes posting on this forum so seriously, I am somewhat surprised that you spend so much time and effort blaming others for what happened. My general point on the matter was that the current Vintage environment could be improved by people spending more time building, testing and discussing new decks than complaining about how overpowered Monastery Mentor and Workshop decks are.


  • TMD Supporter

    @Will said in The Downside to Vintage on Magic Online and GroupThink:

    @Smmenen

    I apologize for not fully articulating my point of view about group think by saying that I think that Shops and Mentor being perceived as the best decks helps to perpetuate the problem because they are the most played decks and unsurprisingly the most successful decks. If there was a larger sample size of players who had made the Top8 of Challenges then I think you could argue that the MTGO meta was efficient, but a large percentage of the Top8s are made up by a small percentage of the players per @p3temangus in the Turbo Xerox thread,
    "25% of the Top8s are made by 6 players
    50% of the Top8s are made by 16 players
    75% of the Top8s are made by 33 players
    53 individuals made Top8".

    It's impossible to say whether the Top 6 or 16 players would have Top8d the events that they did if they hadn't played the decks that they did, but success begets success.

    I understood what motivated your post. As I said, when presented with the fact that 70% of the MTGO Challenge Top 8s are Mentor or Shops, there has been one of two reactions, that appears to be shaped, in large part, by one's general opinion about whether the DCI made a mistake in April or not: 1) that the Vintage metagame is in really bad shape, and that there likely needs to be a B&R list change to fix it, either now or in the near future, if this persists. Or 2) the problems in the Vintage metagame are overstated by a small number of people driving the format and a larger herd-like behavior.

    I spent the bulk of my previous post refuting (2), so I'll let that stand on it's own, rather than repeat myself. I will, however, add a few subsidiary points directly responsive to the additional data you introduced. While it was true that 53 unique individuals made Top 8 in the 10 challenges I collected, there were 80 possible slots. That means 66% of the Top 8 players were unique players.

    So, your point about how "few" players actually Top8ed those 10 challenges is actually quite misleading. That's actually quite alot players given the size of those tournaments, contrary to the narrative you are propagating.

    As a point of comparison, in the 28 SCG Power Nine tournaments from 2004-2008, there were 138 unique players who top 8ed touranments in more than 7 cities, out of 216 possible slots (63.9%). So, the 10 MTGO challenges, in contrast, are actually populated at the top by more players, relatively speaking, than 28 tournaments held over 5 years in 5 or more different states.

    My opinions about why I don't want to play in Daily events are truly just my opinions.

    Except you were using your experience & interests to suggest that other people were following suit, and I presented a series of counter-examples to show that this is not the case.

    For someone who takes posting on this forum so seriously, I am somewhat surprised that you spend so much time and effort blaming others for what happened.

    Well, the DCI is to blame, isn't it? And the voices who persuaded the DCI.

    My general point on the matter was that the current Vintage environment could be improved by people spending more time building, testing and discussing new decks than complaining about how overpowered Monastery Mentor and Workshop decks are.

    Yes, I got your point. I disagree with you.

    From a strictly empirical perspective, the current Vintage metagame is literally the worst Vintage metagame I've ever seen. To take but one example, Workshops are the largest part of Top 8s I have ever seen. The current Vintage Challenges have more Workshop per Top 8 than Treasure Cruise decks when Treasure Cruise was unrestricted. It's a complete disaster. This isn't a metagame that is going to be corrected by innovation or it would have happened somewhere in the last three years.

    The Vintage metagame isn't a product of herd behavior. It's a product of deep structural forces, bad policy management and troubling printings. Diverting attention from the core, structural causes isn't going to make things better in the long run. Complaining might.


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