# SMIP Podcast # 69: Three Months Later AKA The Q2 Metagame

• @topical_island While it is obviously fun to do so, individuals testing hypothetical decks against each other do little to predict what metagame emerges from unrestrictions.

• @hrishi How would we know that?

• @topical_island How do you expect two individuals with their own biases to predict the entire metagame following an unrestriction based off the results of playtesting a few hypothetical decks?

It's impossible. You can make educated guesses, and that's the best case scenario.

• Yea if only Wotc gave a shit enuff about vintage to get a team of ppl to playtest ideas before making decisions

Dream Job

• @hrishi The point here is that there is effectively no testing. The ratio of hypothesis to experimentation is way out of whack. This is so deeply unscientific, as to be... really odd, I guess is the phrase. You are setting the bar at "predict the whole metagame", then predicting that we would fail that standard. Sure. We would certainly fail that standard. I'll give you that...

Anyway. I'll just restate my thesis here. We should test. We should test a lot more than we do, since... for all the quibbling on the daily quibbler here, almost nobody does testing. They don't even use a hypergeometric calculator to reckon the rate that they would cast key spells on turn 1 for that matter, which really only takes 20 mins or so to give pretty solid results.

We are seriously just eyeballing cards here most of the time and going... naaaa, or, hey looks good. If bias is your fear, then let me humbly suggest that empiricism might be the antidote you're looking for.

• @nedleeds I think this is a pretty good analysis of the problem and its causes and wish this was more visible to others.

• The odd thing about unrestricted Library is that every deck would have to pack answers for it. The format would revolve around Wastelands and Crucible and Excavator or City in a Bottle. So you don't want to unrestrict a card that will affect EVERY deck and change the whole dynamic of the format...

You guys are also forgetting the near future we know is going to happen with Sorcerous Spyglass. It makes Flash worse and will be able to handle a lot of stuff easily. So I think a lot of the unrestriction discussion should consider it because it will be important imo.

I agree Bargain is safe, and I'd try Seal and Flash (one at a time).

Maybe next ban announcement could be:
DOWN
Mentor
Ballista (I feel this is what makes shops so reliable right now)

UP
Bargain
Flash

• @topical_island I feel the point I made was missed, so I'll re-iterate. I HAVE done the testing you have suggested multiple times in the past. Before Gush and Probe was restricted, I tested a 4x Necropotence deck against the entire gauntlet and it was most certainly not a metagame monster that was undefeatable. Before this, I tested Mind's Desire, Windfall and Channel. Necropotence was beyond safe from my testing. Yet what has my testing accomplished? I always cite it in threads about unrestrictions. If I talk about unrestricted Necropotence here or anywhere else, one of the following will happen.

1. The testing will get dismissed.
2. I'll get called insane and my points will be dismissed.
3. All of the above

What's the point of testing again? People have inherent biases that aren't going away, even with testing.

• @hrishi Cool.

1. I'm sorry. I didn't know that you had done testing. I really encourage you to keep doing it, and to post results here on the forums (,where it will likely be dismissed by some).

2. I'm sorry. People here can be dismissive and that's too bad. But if the testing is solid, that really shouldn't matter. Decks with 4 Shops draw at least 1 in their opening 7, 39.9% of the time. That's just true... I mean, some people think I'm an idiot. And that's much more difficult to test, so they might be right. But the results of other experiments notwithstanding, even if they think Shop doesn't get drawn that much because I'm an idiot... they are just wrong. Again, not about the idiot part. About the 39%. If people want to come on here and be flat wrong... well... obviously we haven't found the antidote for that yet. But if we ever do, I think testing and data will likely be part of the cocktail of cures. And in the mean time, again, I encourage your testing and would love to hear what your results are. The point of the testing is to figure out what the truth is... let's have cultivate a healthy bias toward trying to do that.

• Ballista (I feel this is what makes shops so reliable right now)

People keep suggesting this is the card to restrict from Shops, but Niels Thiim's winning list from the most recent challenge didn't run Ballista. And even before Ballista, Shops was extremely successful (verging on dominant) with Triskelion. Hitting this card just doesn't make sense - there is both a functional alternative as well as other viable decks within the archetype that would not be impacted.

• @chubbyrain I don't think theres really anything to restrict in shops outside of Workshops itself unfortunately. Sphere is a good call by Steve I guess and maybe we should try that before pulling the plug on shops.
But restricting Ballista would open up the meta, which has a pretty big choke on small creatures because of it. I'm not saying it would make Shops lose positions, but it would definitely make more archetypes viable. Humans for example is not an option with so many Ballistas around.

• Ballista (I feel this is what makes shops so reliable right now)

People keep suggesting this is the card to restrict from Shops, but Niels Thiim's winning list from the most recent challenge didn't run Ballista. And even before Ballista, Shops was extremely successful (verging on dominant) with Triskelion. Hitting this card just doesn't make sense - there is both a functional alternative as well as other viable decks within the archetype that would not be impacted.

There have been times in recent history where the same could have been said about both Thorn of Amythist and Sphere of Resistanec. There was a stax deck that didn't run Thorn and a aggro deck that didn't run Sphere which each made a significant showing at different times in the last year.

• @chubbyrain ppppfffff... since when do restrictions have to make sense? (pssst... hey actually all we have to do to get it restricted is to convince enough other people around here and on twitter. So shhhh... let's just let this thing play out and my Oath deck will get a lot better. Mums the word.)

• Here's a far out idea.

We know Workshop and Mentor could be hit, and this would (perhaps degenerately) lowe percentages for workshop ans mentor decks. But, mentor can fall back on Pyro. Workshop has nothing.

What, before restricting Workshop, they print a new version in a direct to eternal product? Like a workshop that produces 2, so there's an artifact version of eldrazi temple?

• Lots of good conversation, here. Thanks, everyone.

To clarify one summation that Steve mentioned regarding my unrestriction position: I believe that each of the four cards we seriously discussed could be unrestricted, but not all at once. Multiple unrestrictions is just as dangerous and problematic as multiple restrictions. Here's the order I would do them in, given the choice:

1. Bargain
2. Seal
3. Windfall
4. Library

I know that Library carries certain risks. I don't believe such risks would result in any sort of synonym for "ruination" of the format. Some people - possibly many - might not like the result. <- This statement describes every Vintage metagame I have ever been a part of. As such, I don't consider it a primary reason for inaction.

No, I've not tested any of these proposals. It would be a fun exercise, but too time-consuming and ultimately fruitless, for reasons already discussed.

Thanks, everyone, for listening and for being so passionate about the format!

• @nedleeds I think this is a pretty good analysis of the problem and its causes and wish this was more visible to others.

Thanks. It's my opinion of the problem, though I don't have a firm opinion on a 'solution'. I look "back" to 2011 and 2012 with fondness but there may not be a workable solution for some of the reasons they touched on in the cast. But I would start the solution by restricting Misstep and hope that it reintroduced some natural predators for Thorn decks back into the wild.

• I think unrestrictions are far more exciting and interesting than restrictions.

Seems to make people happier, too.

WAF/WHF