SMIP #70 The End of the Mentor Era


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    http://www.eternalcentral.com/so-many-insane-plays-podcast-episode-70-the-end-of-the-mentor-era/

    Kevin Cron and Steve Menendian discuss the restrictions of Monastery Mentor and Thorn of Amethyst in Vintage.

    Play
    Podcast (somanyinsaneplays): Download (Duration: 1:24:44 — 90.9MB)

    0:01:00: The Announcement
    0:05:40: Praise
    0:22:30: Criticism
    0:38:00: Policy Mechanics
    0:53:00: Metagame
    1:00:00: Announcements
    1:19:45: Listener Feedback: Mirri/Commander
    Total Runtime: 1:24:44
    SHOW NOTES

    – August 28 2017 Banned & Restricted Announcement

    Contact us at @ManyInsanePlays on Twitter or e-mail us at SoManyInsanePlaysPodcast@gmail.com.


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    Looking like the metagame is exactly the same except with Young Pyros and now all Outcome decks splash for Mentor while Shops is totally fine.. this restriction is a total disaster


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    The MTGO challenge results look much healthier.

    In this episode of the podcast be forecast the resulting Metagame and I think our predictions look pretty good base on the first challenge results



  • An enjoyable listen. I'll comment more when the pain meds wear off.

    Edit:
    Griselbrand was a more recent print. 2011-12 if memory serves. But the point of Bargain being outclassed for five years stands.

    I'm not sure where I fall in the great b/r debate (and this is not the thread for it), but I always enjoy hearing the two of you chase down ideas, and the vague crystal ball gazing on what the future may hold. I will say if nothing else this feels like an exciting time in vintage.

    Lastly, I am very, very happy to hear Kevin is returning to the VSL.


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    @winterstar said in SMIP #70 The End of the Mentor Era:

    and the vague crystal ball gazing on what the future may hold.

    I was getting pretty tired by the end of the recording session for this podcast, so I may have lost the thread a couple of times, but I think we gave pretty specific predictions – in numerical terms – projecting the future metagame. I recall giving some precise percentage range for PO, workshops and other decks, and debating that with Kevin.



  • I loved the Sphere/Thorn debate, and I've always thought it's a hard decision to make. I also was in favor of Sphere since it has no splash damage and it makes creature decks better to combat MUD. Having 1 Sphere and 4 Thorns makes stuff like Deathrite Shaman or Eldrazi or Humans harder for Shops to contain - and it also makes shops better against spell-heavy decks like Outcome and control in general, so it helps balance stuff better.

    We're already seeing trends in MTGO: Paradoxical is clearly the big winner out of this restrictions (that was expected) but Shops is still doing well. What is clear to me is that blue-control has a lot more variety. BUG is back, Blightsteel is back, Grixis is back, Mana Drain is stronger, even Spell Queller made an appearance. I like where the meta is right now. In 2 months it may have deteriorated because of Outcome though, but we're seeing a huge increase in Null Rods already to try and contain that. I like this dynamics right now.



  • I enjoyed listening to this, especially the thought-provoking conversation about whether Thorn or Sphere should have been restricted. Thank you very much for making it.

    My take as a Workshop pilot given the way that Shop decks are built currently and for the foreseeable future is that Thorn's restriction hurt Workshops more than Sphere would have. I don't want to say more about this out of fear that I will compromise my competitive advantage, but I agree with Kevin's points from a Shops perspective.

    With that said though, @Smmenen, I thought that your commentary on what this restriction means for Eldrazi as well as what it may have set the format up for is the biggest problem. Thorn was an integral part of the White Eldrazi deck as well as the recent iterations of Colorless/Tribal Eldrazi. As someone who did not play either of these decks for more than a few games, it seems like this loss is catastrophic, especially given the expected rise in Outcome.

    Personally, I think that if Workshops rose to the top when the dust settles in the next six months that Sphere would be the next restriction, to further down this path of reducing the flexibility of lock pieces with which Workshops can use. I hope this isn't the case and know this isn't the ideal venue for a full fledged B&R discussion.


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    @will said in SMIP #70 The End of the Mentor Era:

    I enjoyed listening to this, especially the thought-provoking conversation about whether Thorn or Sphere should have been restricted. Thank you very much for making it.

    My take as a Workshop pilot given the way that Shop decks are built currently and for the foreseeable future is that Thorn's restriction hurt Workshops more than Sphere would have. I don't want to say more about this out of fear that I will compromise my competitive advantage, but I agree with Kevin's points from a Shops perspective.

    I didn't even understand what the DCI meant when they said that they thought Sphere would have a "deeper impact" until Kevin explained the point that Workshop's asymmetry is better maintained with Sphere than Thorn. But that completely ignores the fact that Workshops have more creatures than most other deck as well.

    The restriction of Thorn may not be deeper, but it's certainly broader. I can't understand how the DCI can so blithely ignore splash damage. Hitting White Eldrazi, which was like 2% of the previous metagame, but a larger % of the Gush metagame, is not a small thing.

    Tribal Eldrazi was the single best budget deck that ever existed in this format. 10% of the players at the NA Vintage Championship last year played it. Wiping that off the map in the interests of a slightly deeper cut makes absolutely no sense when considering paper.



  • @smmenen
    no worries, when I say "vague metagame predictions" I mean what all of the rest of us are prognosticating. My wording was not clear but I blame the pain medications (just got out of the hospital on Saturday).

    Of course, for me, the biggest question is that we are seeing a plethora of brewing right now in the leagues. I know that the changes to the b/r list undoubtedly influenced the willingness of people to experiment but I also have to wonder if the lower stakes/time frames/increase in participation is also an influence.

    In other words, I'm wondering if the leagues are going to herald and increase velocity yet due to the lower buy in might also have helped break the two deck state we experienced before the most recent announcement. No way to tell, but it makes me wonder.



  • @smmenen said in SMIP #70 The End of the Mentor Era:

    Tribal Eldrazi was the single best budget deck that ever existed in this format. 10% of the players at the NA Vintage Championship last year played it. Wiping that off the map in the interests of a slightly deeper cut makes absolutely no sense when considering paper.

    The vast majority of Tribal/Colorless Eldrazi decks at Vintage Champs were Jacodrazi variants that ran Null Rod instead of Thorn. The construction of those decks is unaffected by recent restrictions and their metagame positioning is arguably much improved - Mentor was a very significant impediment to a deck that was trying to attack with large creatures, both as a ground stall and the ability to trade a couple of Monks with Prowess triggers for your opponent's Smasher. Null Rod + Eldrazi seems like it would be strong against a field of PO and Ravager Shops. So how is this Tribal Eldrazi "wiped off the map" by this most recent restriction?

    Edit: @JACO, maybe you can chime in here?



  • The 7th place deck at NA Champs last year famously played 3 Thorns (and Worldbreaker). So maybe that's where Steve is coming from. But the majority of Null Rod / Budget builds appeared to have eschewed Thorn.

    lists with Null Rod / Smasher and Eye

    same criteria but with zero Thorns



  • If I were to build budget Eldrazi or Hatebears, a strong disruption package would be the obvious starting point. Leading that effort would have been 4 Thorns, if permissible. Since those decks don't have many good turn-1 plays, they might be forced to accelerate with full Moxen, likely precluding optimal Null Rod usage. At that point, I would abandon Thorn only if I just didn't believe in the power of the incremental value of the disruption (Thorn, Thalia, Wasteland/Strip, Big Thalia, Thought-Knot Seer). If that deck could have survived with 4 Thorns, it seems a shame to have lost it. Global-effect builds also exist (Kataki, Spirit of the Labyrinth), but they have their own problems too.



  • The core problem is bad hands of Magic: the Gathering (tm) cards ... and mulliganing to them with no way of 'unmulliganing' via a restricted draw spell. I think the short text is that thorns restriction likely hurt / killed the White Eldrazi archtype, which had already been kicked in the face by Ballista. Pre Ballista it was arguable that White Eldrazi was a stronger Thorn super-archtype than Shops, and results last Fall helped support this opinion. With 1 Thorn that archtype as previously constructed is hurt far more than 1 Thorn shop archtypes.


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    I loved the podcast! I'm hopeful that a non-Workshop Eldrazi deck still exists, as well as a serviceable Yawgmoth's Bargain deck, but overall the assessment felt spot on. I look forward to the Ixalan review!



  • Completely agree. I have been playing White Eldrazi since the restriction of COTV (and Oath of Gatewatch). I used to play Merfolk. COTV getting nuked hurt that archetype. Now Thorn getting restricted killed White Eldrazi. I have been fumbling around to other builds, color splashes, Spheres in place of Thorns to no luck. I have even splashed Blue to play Ancestral time walk and Tinker. No luck. Some one prove me wrong, but White Eldrazi is dead. The mana base was already terrible. Naming Cavern and then having a Human, Eldrazi, AND spirit in your hand was awful. Playing Golem in place of a Thorn doesn't help against PO. Playing Sphere doesn't help when trying to resolve a TKS/Smasher. And of course Thalia is legendary, by design; can't even Metamorph Thalia. So I don't know. Back to the drawing board.

    Wonderful podcast guys. Keep them coming. Will there be one more before Champs?



  • @ssasala said in SMIP #70 The End of the Mentor Era:

    Completely agree. I have been playing White Eldrazi since the restriction of COTV (and Oath of Gatewatch). I used to play Merfolk. COTV getting nuked hurt that archetype. Now Thorn getting restricted killed White Eldrazi. I have been fumbling around to other builds, color splashes, Spheres in place of Thorns to no luck. I have even splashed Blue to play Ancestral time walk and Tinker. No luck. Some one prove me wrong, but White Eldrazi is dead. The mana base was already terrible. Naming Cavern and then having a Human, Eldrazi, AND spirit in your hand was awful. Playing Golem in place of a Thorn doesn't help against PO. Playing Sphere doesn't help when trying to resolve a TKS/Smasher. And of course Thalia is legendary, by design; can't even Metamorph Thalia. So I don't know. Back to the drawing board.

    Wonderful podcast guys. Keep them coming. Will there be one more before Champs?

    I think you'll see with -3 2 colorless mana plays that the deck is sunk. You reliably had 8-9 2 colorless mana plays. Now you need to mull to white mana and your Cavern is appreciably worse when you just throw Wingmare in. Additionally adding more 1 toughness dudes (Glowrider or Wingmare) makes Ballista an even more savage beating. I think the deck will go away and move further to the left (Jacodrazi) or right (dedicated white prison / hate bear).


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    @chubbyrain said in SMIP #70 The End of the Mentor Era:

    @smmenen said in SMIP #70 The End of the Mentor Era:

    Tribal Eldrazi was the single best budget deck that ever existed in this format. 10% of the players at the NA Vintage Championship last year played it. Wiping that off the map in the interests of a slightly deeper cut makes absolutely no sense when considering paper.

    The vast majority of Tribal/Colorless Eldrazi decks at Vintage Champs were Jacodrazi variants that ran Null Rod instead of Thorn. The construction of those decks is unaffected by recent restrictions and their metagame positioning is arguably much improved - Mentor was a very significant impediment to a deck that was trying to attack with large creatures, both as a ground stall and the ability to trade a couple of Monks with Prowess triggers for your opponent's Smasher. Null Rod + Eldrazi seems like it would be strong against a field of PO and Ravager Shops. So how is this Tribal Eldrazi "wiped off the map" by this most recent restriction?

    Edit: @JACO, maybe you can chime in here?

    As soon as I wrote "wiped off the map," I considered editing it, despite being hyperbolic, at best.

    I did not go through and look at every list, but I did note that, as someone else pointed out, the Top 8 Jacodrazi deck ran Thorns. So, it's still assymetrical harm.

    I HOPE you may be right that Tribal Eldrazi is not as impacted. But the impact on White Eldrazi is damaging enough. I was heartened to encounter a strong White Eldrazi deck on MTGO recently, so I don't think that the deck is dead either.

    But the fact remains is that restricting Sphere instead of Thorn would have left both Eldrazi variants less harmed.



  • My hope is that Sorcerer's Spyglass from the new set will fill the spot of Thorn. Same CMC. First turn playable off Mox and land or Tomb. Information is valuable so peeking at your opponents hand will help you decide if you should play Thalia 1.0 or 2.0 next or land your Displacer. We will see.



  • This hate bears deck from sept 2 was very cool.

    http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/mtgo-standings/competitive-vintage-constructed-league-2017-09-02

    It played 8 spirit guides on top of several artifact sources and had maindeck stony silences instead of null rods. The deck also plays 21 white sources so it probably always plays something serious on turn one and two.



  • @chubbyrain the powerless JacoDrazi strategy really only wants Thorn of Amethyst when Storm-based combo presence is high. With the rise of Paradoxical Outcome combo it was definitely a nice tool in the toolbox, but it can be worked around when deck building. Null Rod is by far the best disruption in the deck, followed by Chalice of the Void, so if you want to add more disruption you can play 1 Thorn and 3-4 Sphere of Resistance in the 75 (they don't all have to be main deck, which is important). Mindbreak Trap has been back in my sideboard for some time now (instead of Leyline of Sanctity) to help combat combo decks, but some number of Spheres can also be at your discretion.

    The far more devastating effect of the Thorn of Amethyst restriction is to White Eldrazi. Thorn + Thalia was the basis for that deck to begin with, so I think now is the time for those White Eldrazi decks to widely adopt Null Rod/Stony Silence, as well as fully integrate Sanctum Prelate in to their builds, and change their manabase slightly to accommodate the necessary change. I played a fair amount of Prelate in the end of 2016 and early 2017 (in both Eldrazi and Junk Hatebears decks), and it is as good as advertised, if you can cast it on time.

    If the DCI wanted to hit something from Workshop decks, but still leave other decks more playable, they should have hit Sphere of Resistance, as mentioned by Steve in the podcast. They followed this logic in Modern when banning Eye of Ugin, but leaving Eldrazi Temple unbanned (when Eldrazi Temple was the stronger card in all of the problematic Eldrazi decks). That precedent and logic left Modern format Eldrazi decks hampered and slowed, but still playable, as evident with current iterations in Modern of Bant Eldrazi and EldraziTron.

    With the past 9 months of Banned & Restricted List Announcements by the DCI, and the ensuing aftermath, the most generous pundit could only claim that 2017 has been a year of questionable DCI judgement at best, and capricious or incompetent judgement at worst.


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