October 17, 2017 Banned & Restricted announcement
@ten-ten Citation needed.
I do not play much paper vintage, about once a month proxy tournament is all. But I play a lot of online vintage, a few league matches almost every day. I don't see any of the concern everyone is having over shops right now. In each league I only see shops maybe once, rarely twice, some not at all. I keep playing against quite a variety of different decks. WAY more variety than prior to the last restrictions. From an on-line perspective, vintage feels likes it's in a great place to me, and I don't see need for any changes. Shops is still a thing, but it is much easier to beat now if your prepaired for it. it does not seem any more OP than any other deck.
I can see people that don't play online, and eternal weekend might be the one tournament a year they play in could feel vintage is in a bad spot. But this was just one tournament.
I have been having a blast playing a variety of big blue mana drain type decks, and even some yawgmoth's storm decks as well. I would hate to see a mishra's workshop restriction, as it would remove a key part of the meta game. Playing to beat the shops lock seems fun to me, and it is as much a part of vintage to me as the blue mirrors or dredge are.
I believe most of the concerns are based on sheer power level of the deck when played at the highest levels. I don't think Mishra's Workshop should be restricted, but I do think Foundry Inspector should be.
Let's talk about why i'm suggesting Foundry Inspector. Ok so the shops aggro deck strength lies in the ability in how fast it can pump out threats and dump its hand. There are two major enablers here to be talked about.
The first obvious enabler is Mishra's Workshop itself. It's an uncounterable 3 mana reusable black lotus that can be used to cast ANY spell in the deck. It's a 3-for-1. That's like being two turns ahead of your opponent in mana any time you play this card. It stays on the board unlike Black Lotus. It's arguably STRONGER than the most powerful card in MTG, Black Lotus, when played in the shops deck.
The second less obvious enabler is Foundry Inspector. Workshop decks have no issue powering it out turn 1 with the help of either workshop or ancient tomb + mox. It also enables workshop players to drop a lockpiece turn 1 by just playing an additional mox. It's like lodestone all over again except the opposing players needs 2 spells to handle the inspector & sphere effect instead of just 1 for the lodestone.
This is not an uncommon play at all by workshop decks. When a shops player can drop a workshop>Foundry Inspector>Sol Ring/Lotus/Crypt/2 moxes>Foundry Inspector on turn one, that is where it gets really messy. The shops player now has two 3/2 bodies ready to deal 6 damage on the board on turn 2. But wait, it get's worse. They are both cost reducers. This allows to shops to continue dropping low to the ground threats on turn 1 such as Steel Overseer, Arcbound Ravager, Walking Ballista and Hangarback Walker in preparation for a turn 2 swarm. We saw this happen on stream when shops was on the draw and they turn 2 killed their opponent. An aggro deck killing an opponent on turn 2 is unheard of in MTG. It's not interactive nor healthy for the format, or for MTG by any means. Lets say that shops didn't drop any more low to the ground threats after the double inspector opening. Lets say they dropped a turn 2 precursor golem after attacking for 6 with both inspectors. Opponent is at 14 now. Now they are staring down lethal next turn unless they have the 1 or 2 cards needed to buy them a turn or two. THis is an issue because is narrows the game down to the first few turns.
The openings and explosiveness that foundry inspector creates narrow down the entire game to the first 2 to 4 turns. The card Mishra's Workshop does not do this as it is only a land. Foundry Inspector is a threat and a cost reducer. It's a creature and miniature workshop in one. It nullifies your own lockpieces outside of trinisphere and makes big beaters like precursor golem, wurmcoil engine and steel hellkite easily castable through your own spheres.
But wait, there is more....
Having Foundry Inspector or even multiple Foundry Inspectors on the board makes it so that if your mana base gets destroy by wastelands easily recoverable. You can just play a mana source and continue dropping threats like nothing even happened.
It makes hurkyl's recall a lot less effective. So what if the blue play casts hurkyl's, you just recast your ENTIRE HAND the next turn with ease.
So why restrict Foundry Inspector over Mishra's Workshop?
This is simple, Mishra's Workshop does not enable the shops player to win turn 2 and Foundry Inspector does, even if the shops player is on the draw. We also want to avoid taking any sort of risk of hurting the player base/secondary market. Restricting Foundry Inspector is the safest bet that will slow down the explosiveness of the deck.
Restricting ravager or ballista would make the deck extremely non-interactive. It literally just becomes a pile that turns dudes sideways. It's important to keep decks interactive and fun for players. This is why WOTC has restricted lockpieces in the past. Without ravager, dack fayden becomes an issue(dack is the reason why shops started played ravager in the first place). Without ballista, cards like kataki will just completely wreck the deck. Ballista is our only answer to it. Sure, some people might suggest Triskelion, however, Triskelion costs 6 mana and our own spheres increase that cost make it harder to cast. If shops drops their hand t2 with ballista being restricted and the opponent plays a kataki, chances are the entire board outside of lands disappears. That doesn't seem like the best idea either.
The low to the ground robots are not an option to restrict as there are other ways to effectively deal with them. Hell, stony silence/null rod made them dinky little dudes that remove their ability to interact with the board. I believe the robots are balanced. Foundry Inspector is the correct choice for restriction.
Every now and then shop's power level gets out of hand. It's happened multiple times in the past. This is why we saw a chalice restriction, lodestone restriction and a thorn of amethyst restriction. No one wants to invest 10-15, or even 20k on a vintage deck/collection and not be able to cast their spells. These restrictions were completely justified to keep vintage healthy by allowing players to cast their spells keeping levels of fun intact.
The deck can still exist with these changes and still remain a flag of the format.
I hope this detailed explanation helps you understand the true power levels of Foundry Inspector.
Onto my second suggestion for an overdue and much needed restriction-Mental Misstep
Misstep is the reason why vintage growth as a whole is stagnated over the last 3 years. Lock-pieces used to be a huge contributor and have since been put in check. Now it's time for misstep to be put in check. Misstep drowns out dark ritual, crop rotation, enlightened tutor/enchantress, welder strategies, any type of poison/infect berserk, deathrite shaman etc etc. The list goes on. It's the reason why vintage is bazaar/shop/island or bust. Mental Misstep is having the same exact effect on vintage that it had on legacy. Due to vintage being bazaar/shop/island or bust, vintage will only ever attract a small fraction of the entire playerbase, players who only want to use bazaar/shop/island. Imagine how many players that play modern that can afford to play vintage who choose not to because there is no realistic options in vintage that suit their playstyle or what they enjoy that has a shot of taking 1st place in a major event. Make vintage more diverse = exponential vintage growth imo. Exponential vintage growth=more demand for vintage cards like moxes/black lotus. Your cards will go up in value. You will also have the opportunity to play something other than islands/shops/bazaars that would have a shot.
@bobbyvictory Not really. Misstep made blue too powerful in Legacy; same as Cruise & DTT.
Mental Misstep is banned.
Force of Will has long been thought of as a card that helps keep combination decks in check in Legacy and Vintage. However, it doesn't directly help decks that aren't playing blue. One idea that was floated was creating a similar card that could be played in nonblue decks. When Phyrexian mana was designed, it was an opportunity to create such a card. R&D wanted a card that could help fight combination decks, and could also fight blue decks by countering cards such as Brainstorm. Clearly printing a card like this has a lot of risk, but there is also the potential for helping the format a lot. The risk is mitigated, because if it turns out poorly, the DCI can ban the card.
Unfortunately, it turned out poorly. Looking at high-level tournaments, instead of results having blue and nonblue decks playing Mental Misstep, there are more blue decks than ever. The DCI is banning Mental Misstep, with the hopes of restoring the more diverse metagame that existed prior to the printing of Mental Misstep.
This very same thing needs to happen in vintage, a mental misstep restriction.
@bobbyvictory I prefer not to restrict MM just for the sheer fact that getting 'got' by the singleton MM would be way to tilting.
But in seriousness, I don't mind it either way. MM being a card is just one more intricacy you have to be aware of. I have played plenty of dark ritual storm decks, and it's not a game over card. It's just one more thing you have to plan your plays around. Does not seem that big of an issue to me.
@mourningpalace You are right, it's not a game over card. You do have to worry about the 8-10 other potential counterspells. FOWs, Drains, Flusterstorms, Mindbreak traps. Misstep is an extra layer that either prevents storm from trying to go off or prevents storm from trying to duress/thoughtseize a counterspell out of the blue players hand in order to land a defense grid. Blue has more ways to battle than the storm player so we need to even up the playing field by restricting misstep. It also provides room for a ton of other decks.
@chubbyrain as someone who played storm extensively for a very long period of time I agree with you that blue keeps it more in check than shops.
Misstep,Flusterstorm and Mindbreak offer cheap and efficient ways to stop the storm pilot. These cards are a big reason I originally switched from storm to the bant tempo deck (read werebear/meddling.dec) in 2015. Shops can be a problem matchup obviously but blue control has was to many cheap efficient answers currently
@fisken It's a shame that misstep has such a huge unhealthy effect on the format. At least storm players could possibly duress/thoughtseize a counterspell out of the blue mage's hand and then try to go off.
@bobbyvictory it’s more Flusterstorm and mbt
MMS just makes the storm player have to wait the extra .5-1 turn w/o going all in
@chubbyrain You are absolutely right. I am much more afraid of blue decks packing Missteps, Flusterstorms, Mindbreak Traps and god forbid, stuff like Arcane Lab than I am of facing shops when I play a combo deck.
Honestly with the taxing part of shops being weakened, it's a much easier match since it's quite trivial to consistently get a Hurkyl's Recall off. It's navigating the maze of counter magic that is difficult. Yes, there is Defense Grid and other solutions of course, but that's no answer for permanent-based disruption like Rule of Law type effects.
@bobbyvictory Durress effects are bad right now in EQUAL parts because of misstep and because fetching a Sea in a meta full of waste effects is a bad play.
Misstep makes the format be more interactive and greatly increases the number of average turns a game has. I have no idea why you'd want to take that away just because it hurts a few fringe strategies. Without it we'd be much more prone to have coin-flip games than we do now.
@fsecco Please state scenarios where any 1 drop card makes a match coinflippy. I can't think of any.
@bobbyvictory Dark Ritual was the most egregious offender. Right now, I'd say the swingiest card in xerox mirrors is Ancestral Recall. And in "Big" Blue, Sol Ring and Mana Vault can enable broken turn 1 Paradoxicals and other brokenness.
Misstep makes Vintage more interactive but less diverse. With Legacy the decks are less busted so it was clear that the hit in diversity was detrimental to the format. It's much less clear in Vintage.
@chubbyrain Vintage will always have a level of variance. If they draw their one of restricted cards, that's just part of the format. The outcome hand you mention is not very common. They need to have 1 out of 2 restricted cards in the entire deck or 3 if you include mana crypt + an outcome + other artifact mana/lands. It's a nut draw that is very uncommon.
Even then blue has force of will to deal with the outcome being on the play. If they have the nuts once in a while, they have the nuts. I don't think ancestral is a great example to use for coinflippyness since blue has so many other ways to deal with ancestral-Flusterstorm, pyro/rebs, FOW, Drain...the list goes on. Misstep is just an extra unwarranted addition that also affects diversity :(
Misstep does more damage to the format than good. I don't see how mental misstep makes the format more interactive when the card is saying "no". Chalice says "no" as well and we both know that card made the format less interactive. Both cards make the format less interactive by telling your opponent "no", however, chalice is indeed stronger since it's "reusable" as it stays on the board. Misstep is free to cast, goes in any deck if they want to use it and has a negligible drawback.
@chubbyrain Do you really believe Misstep restricted would bring diversity? I can't think of 1 deck that would come back if Misstep was restricted. Maybe that Skullclamp Shops with Genesis Chamber? But that's so slower than current shops... Elves? I really think it's a misconception that those strategies are out of the format because of Misstep. They are unplayable because of several different reasons.
I also don't think diversity is the number 1 priority: if the meta is a bunch of different decks that win on turn 1, what's diversity even doing?
@fsecco Elves, ritual based decks, welder, enlightened tutor/enchantress decks, berserk/poison decks, crop rotation decks(lands and/or turbo depths), Deathrite shaman... the list goes on. Blue gets to have it all yet I can't even play something other than bazaar/shop/islands if I want a chance at placing first because of misstep. Vintage is literally following in the footsteps of legacy where the playbase devolved into mainly blue...O wait, we are already at that point right now with the exception of bazaar/shops. :(
@bobbyvictory Was there any point in Vintage history where the player base wasn't mainly blue? I don't understand your point.
Do you really believe all those decks you quoted are bad because of Misstep? Those are all fringe strategies because of a plethora of reasons. Restrict Misstep and I could bet money all of those would still be Tier 3-4 and not impact the format, with the exception of Dark Ritual based decks, which could be succesfull or not. If they are, that would only make people start playing more Mindbreak Traps as we did back in the day and would just make the format more coin-flippy..
@fsecco Misstep is the single largest contributing factor outside of the cost of cards as to why vintage only attracts people that are interested in playing decks powered by islands/bazaars/shops. So what if the archetypes I mentioned are fringe. Does that make it okay to have an imbalanced card as a 4 of that deters players from playing other archetypes? That's not really healthy by any means. There are plenty of modern players out there that can afford to play vintage that simply won't because the styles of decks they like to play are simply drowned out by misstep. Vintage could capture a larger portion of the MTG player base with this minor tweak and actually grow. It's better to have the options available for the players to choose form than not have them at all. Make vintage more diverse = exponential vintage growth imo. Exponential vintage growth=more demand for vintage cards like moxes/black lotus. Your cards will go up in value. You will also have the opportunity to play something other than islands/shops/bazaars that would have a shot.
People do play Goblin Welder, Dark Ritual and Deathrite Shaman, and those other decks/cards are held back by the fact that they can't hack it in Vintage, not Mental Misstep
Note that I say this as one of the main Dark Depths players in Vintage, so at least on that particular combo I think I have some credibility
Also, the idea that Vintage is "following in Legacy's footsteps" with a trend towards Blue as the primary color of the format shows an astounding lack of knowledge about Vintage
ack by the fact that they can't hack it in Vintage, not Mental Misstep
As I said before, Misstep is an extremely large contributing factor.
Vintage is following in legacy's footsteps when speaking about how legacy was with unbanned misstep....all revolving around blue and players gravitating towards blue. Hell, the argument we need missteps for the blue matchup even supports this concept.
Years ago we had options other than playing islands/bazaars/shops that could perform reasonably well. Now we don't. Vintage is indeed trending towards blue, or rather has already made that shift over the last several years.
Misstep is incredibly noninteractive and unhealthy for the format.