The Curious Case of Mishra's Workshop

@nedleeds said in The Curious Case of Mishra's Workshop:

@smmenen said in The Curious Case of Mishra's Workshop:

The thesis of the article is that restricting Misstep will open up more strategic diversity. I have to say that I'm skeptical of that. It's true that Misstep is good against DRS and Dark Ritual, etc. But, empirically speaking, I doubt that restricting Misstep would compositionally change the Vintage metagame, in the short or long term, in any measurable way.

I disagree. 1 Misstep will change the way people approach deck building fundamentally.

I agree with this, but it doesn't compel your conclusion. I think it will lead to some fundamental deck building changes. It makes Misdirection viable again, top deck tutors better, etc.

But, I didn't deny that restricting Misstep would change deck building, even fundamentally, whatever that might mean. What I expressed skepticism over is whether restricting Misstep would "compositionally change the Vintage metagame, in any measurable way."

By "compositionally," I refer to the % admixture of Shops, Xerox, Big Blue, Dark Ritual combo, Dredge, etc. in the metagame.

I simply don't believe that restricting Mental Misstep, for example, would reduce (or increase) the % of Shop decks in the field, no matter how many indirect or secondary effects you'd like to try to point toward.

My belief is that the current Vintage metagame is a product of structural forces, not tactical effects like Misstep.

The only way I would endorse a restriction like Misstep based upon an argument like that is provisionally. If Misstep were restricted, and none of the benefits that you hoped for accrued, then, logically, you'd have to agree with it's unrestriction.

All of the available metagame evidence accumulated since Misstep was printed does not seem to support your thesis, that restricting Misstep would diversify the metagame. Until, and unless, someone can actually make a good data-based argument for this, I will likely remain a skeptic.

EDIT:

Did banning Misstep diversity Legacy? If not, why not? There may be a lesson there.

last edited by Smmenen

I think there are deck design options that literally can't get off the drawing board because of the cards dominance (or its dominance in conjunction with other forces like Shops or Dredge). But removing at least one barrier might see another archetype show some noticeable percentage. Take a strategy like Dark Depths, or maybe a creature aggro deck other than Shops. I'm not 100% that anything will take flight, but the plane isn't even getting fueled when you'd have to start that deck building exercise at 56 cards.

And to be clear, I have an agenda, I hate the card. I hate the wasted space in deck building and I hate the idiotic play pattern. The things that are redeeming about it as a tactic are there are likely less "non games" produced by a Duress effect crushing a mulliganed hand. I'm not convinced it's impact on Ancestral or top deck tutors is positive but that's purely subjective. I long ago accepted occasionally getting 'Vintaged' where several restricted cards put me so behind in the early game that a comeback is hopeless, Ancestral being a chief offender.

last edited by nedleeds

@nedleeds 3 things...

1 Though I understand how this conversation about Workshop ended up intersecting with your opinions on Misstep, lets not get off the rails in a Workshop thread.

2 I actually agree with you about Misstep in general, and would be happy to see one per deck.

3 I agree that there are decks that can't get off the ground because of this card. But that is a really bad test in general for thinking about what should be restricted. By virtue of being playable, cards will necessarily push out other cards. That effect varies from card to card, but it happens with every deck and every card. Criticizing cards because they exclude from play, other cards and decks, is something that can be done to literally any card. (Man I hate basic Island... it really pushes out basic Forest in the metagame.) Basically a one way street to restricting everything until we are playing Cloud of Faeries... that's carried to the extreme, but you get the idea. It's just not a good test of what should and shouldn't be on the list... I find.

@dice_box said in The Curious Case of Mishra's Workshop:

The one I am thinking off he was complaining about Tomb and how it had to be talked down, but fucked if I can find that now.

No idea what episode, or if this was the only occurrence, but at some point during season 6 Randy was talking for a few minute about an idea that restricting Ancient Tomb was the way to hit Shops next if need be. I believe the context was he believed it hurts enough that Shop didn't need restricted, but restricting Shop would hurt too much.

@sovarius said in The Curious Case of Mishra's Workshop:

@dice_box said in The Curious Case of Mishra's Workshop:

The one I am thinking off he was complaining about Tomb and how it had to be talked down, but fucked if I can find that now.

No idea what episode, or if this was the only occurrence, but at some point during season 6 Randy was talking for a few minute about an idea that restricting Ancient Tomb was the way to hit Shops next if need be. I believe the context was he believed it hurts enough that Shop didn't need restricted, but restricting Shop would hurt too much.

Never though about that. I can see the logic there and have no counter-arguments (although that's probably because I haven't though about this before and haven't seen anyone else talk about it). Interesting.

I’m all for seeing Misstep go, but I question restricting it will weaken Shops. Sure, if the 3 spots were put towards cards that are good against shops, then that helps. But who’s to say players will just swap in good shop cards. Maybe people just add in more Pyroblast or Flusterstorm.

It’s not a card that would need to change, as much as how decks are built.

@topical_island said in The Curious Case of Mishra's Workshop:

@nedleeds 3 things...

1 Though I understand how this conversation about Workshop ended up intersecting with your opinions on Misstep, lets not get off the rails in a Workshop thread.

2 I actually agree with you about Misstep in general, and would be happy to see one per deck.

3 I agree that there are decks that can't get off the ground because of this card. But that is a really bad test in general for thinking about what should be restricted. By virtue of being playable, cards will necessarily push out other cards. That effect varies from card to card, but it happens with every deck and every card. Criticizing cards because they exclude from play, other cards and decks, is something that can be done to literally any card. (Man I hate basic Island... it really pushes out basic Forest in the metagame.) Basically a one way street to restricting everything until we are playing Cloud of Faeries... that's carried to the extreme, but you get the idea. It's just not a good test of what should and shouldn't be on the list... I find.

I tried to convince you of #3 by pointing out that Misstep alone is a card, because of it's pure efficiency (no mana, instant, happens to also be blue) and encroaching effect on deck building space that has this effect. Like Swords to Plowshares doesn't stop people from playing Delver. They exchange on a 1 mana for 1 mana, 1 card for 1 card basis. Maybe I didn't convince you, but that was my point. If you play Delver now, you have to play Misstep (and data show that people do max Misstep when playing Delver) because getting your Delver Misstepped is such a tempo drag you need to have a chance to Misstep the Misstep. You don't play Force to Force Force in every case because Forces cost is very high. Anyway, thanks for reading and for the feedback.

@mdkubiak said in The Curious Case of Mishra's Workshop:

I’m all for seeing Misstep go, but I question restricting it will weaken Shops. Sure, if the 3 spots were put towards cards that are good against shops, then that helps. But who’s to say players will just swap in good shop cards. Maybe people just add in more Pyroblast or Flusterstorm.

It’s not a card that would need to change, as much as how decks are built.

Agree with you here, I posit the question in the article about whether that "deck building space" will be reclaimed or just used on other dead cards vs. taxing decks.

Given the hostage exchange nature of how they run things it's probable that not one thing would go if they decided to take action on Misstep. If you asked me I might say Walking Ballista. Ravager is powerful and is an effective foil to removal, but I feel like Ballista is whats making the aggro build so far and way the version of choice. There is sometimes risk associated with Ravager, obviously not if an opponent is Wasted and Sphered into oblivion but that's very hard to do these days given the paucity of spheres. Ballista is a Fireball with legs that gives the deck post combat reach. It's a Shock / Gut Shot that nails other creatures that would otherwise pressure the shop player in some way (a mana dork, a delver, Kataki, a pridemage, a legionnaire). I don't think restricting Sphere is good for Vintage given the power level of the blue restricted list and the unrestricted draw spells (preordain, po). No Revoker means Dack just mutes the deck, and losing Revoker sucks because it's playable in any creature deck (junk, mono-white, etc.).

@nedleeds Oh, you don't need to convince me. I'm there already.

I'm just saying that the test of, X card makes Y deck unplayable, isn't a very good test objectively, since there will be a Y for nearly every X, so it's kinda meaningless.

Specifically here, I think 1 Misstep per deck would make BUG type decks much stronger. Those have traditionally been good against Shops. And since I don't personally like Misstep that much anyway, for reasons I have mentioned any number of times on these forums already. It feels like a two birds with one stone situation to me... I think Misstep on the list opens up space for specific decks that could address a perceived problem created by Workshop. (Though I've never really been convinced that there is a problem to begin with there.)

Additionally, I, who have never once played Workshop for anything more than testing against it, would be really sad to see it get put on the list. Compared to Misstep, which I don't think very many people would really care about. I can't imagine anyone saying how much they missed the mystique of classic vintage flavor that was Misstep...

In fairness, I know Andy really likes Misstep since it holds down combo (storm decks I think is what he means). Which is a fair point, though I would say that the might of Workshop is doing that anyway.

That's my take.

Wow... I'm just catching up on the anti-shops fall out post Eternal Weekend.

Vintage is fast assuming aspects of that highest stakes version of the Mesoamerican Ball game, the one where the winner get's sacrificed after the tourney so as to ensure that the sun will come up the next day. What is the compulsion to restrict the best deck all the time...? Clearly the problem isn't the cards at this point; it's the decision making process. We've finally cut out the analysis process altogether and are overtly using winning at all, as evidence for restriction... which if you think about it for about 70 seconds, you start to realize how perverse that is.

last edited by Topical_Island

@topical_island I don't think it is just in response to this last tournament. I have known about and played vintage for 3 years. Shops has been hands down the best deck for the entire time I have known Vintage. It has seen 3 or 4 restrictions in that time and yet still dominates due to new printings. 5 out of 8 at Vintage Champs is a lot but it is just emblematic of the past few years.

@kingleovold You're right, but to me, it's just exploded in conversation since champs. I have never given my opinion of workshops nearly as much as I have in the past week or so.

@kingleovold Exactly. And that is my point. People now are essentially just leading with the statement that Shops is the "best deck" as evidence toward the conclusion that it needs to be restricted... In your case, if you are advocating for restriction (which you didn't actually do in your post - I'm really trying to not put words in your mouth here, so sorry if you feel like I am at any point), the argument goes, "it has been the best deck for 3 years, therefore it needs restriction." Again, if you aren't saying that exactly, I'm sorry, but more generally, I would say that's a pretty standard example of the sort of argument that gets made...

And that is a crazy standard. Imagine if that process actually played out for a moment, and we bought the logic that "its the best deck, therefore restriction." Presumably the restriction would work, in that Shops would no longer be the "best deck" and then there would be another "best deck"... then what? I think we all can see where this is going. Mesoamerican ball game with human sacrifice to the winner... (Sidenote: Mesoamerican ball game is deeply cool. First sport ever to use a rubber ball.)

So, let's try this logic instead. Shops is the best deck...

No, That's it. Just shops is the best deck... big deal. It should be the best deck. Why wouldn't it be? They printed Trinesphere, Chalice, Ravager, Lodestone, Revoker, Metamorph, Ballista... and Cage (a really key card). Before those cards, they printed Hurkyl's and Energy Flux and... what Null Rod I guess. During the time of printing those pro Shops cards I mentioned, they gave anti-shops players... what? Dack? Stoney Silence which is probably worse than the already very medium Null Rod. Abrade? Ancient Grudge? So yeah, no kidding guys, the Shops deck is great...

So what? It should be. It should be the best deck, but it's still hardly unbeatable. You can for sure find a deck that is good against it (see the Oath decks from Champs). But people generally don't... The meta right now is like entering a paper rock scissors tourney where 50% of the field just insists on throwing Scissors almost all of the time, and then complaining that Rock is the best throw... Right. Rock is the best throw. Stop the presses.

So what should happen? Well over time, they should just print better answers to a deck that plays only artifacts... (Really Wizards, there isn't a better way to punish that? Come on...and don't gimme that, they don't print cards for Vintage. I know they say that because they want to be bound to no responsibility at all... but what was Cage? So fine. Don't "print cards for vintage", just do more of whatever you want to call Cage. Do that. Call it what you want wizards.) And secondly, people should wake up to the fact that Shops is the "best deck", but also realize that there isn't anything inherently wrong with that, and just adjust. Mainboard more Grudge and fewer Missteps? Run Oath more? Mainboard more Explosives. Sudden Shock? (Surprisingly good against Aggro Shops, and known to be decent against tempo blue.)

As blue players, we should be trying to cut the corner on Shops more, and instead of just focusing on the mirror, we should be trying to find more cards that are great against Shops, and still workable against blue, instead of playing cards that are very good against blue and have no writing against Shops... then being aghast at how strong this deck is. If one really thought Shops was that strong... why run those 4 Missteps?

But sure. Shops' position in the meta is great. Its recent printings are great. It's win % recently is great... though not unbeatably great. So what?

Seriously though, the standard of, this deck is the best, therefore restriction... wow. Not a good standard for obvious reasons.

@hierarchnoble I see absolutely nothing wrong with that.

I tend to agree with Rich Shay on this one. If vintage was a magic online only format and isn't the format that it is and was more in line of something like Modern or Standard, Shops should be restricted. It's clearly above and beyond better than a lot of restricted cards. It's not even close.

However, vintage is a very unique format. It's not a GP format. It's not a pro tour format. It's a fringe format that some of us are extremely passionate about. Typically, I would say we can't consider player's emotional attachments into b/r considerations. However, something like Mishra's Workshop, in my opinion, is different. You may feel different. You may look at it a lens without emotional decisions. I can't blame players for that one. However, I cannot to be honest.

It's the format where people spend 10,000+ dollars on a deck. I have a 2 Card Monte deck- probably the most expensive deck in the format. I own all of the P9 and 4 Mishra's Workshop. I currently own zero dual lands, no Force of Wills, and 1 single fetch land (wooded foothills). It would be extremely frustrating to have 2,000 dollars of that deck be invalidated. The deck could still be playable sure and, yes, I could sell those cards and get blue duals and be back in a blue deck (not the worse thing in the world). However, what about the players that don't own blue duals or the blue only p9 cards? It may not be feasible for them.

If it was restricted, I'm not sure I would continue playing paper vintage. There's a great chance I would, I'm just honestly not sure.

last edited by mdkubiak

My thoughts, as they have always been for the past few years, is to restrict workshop. I think a lotus (perhaps the most broken mana card) that stays every turn and just TAPS for 3....that you can play up to 4 of...is just insane. If we were to say "Workshop decks, and only workshop decks, are allowed to run 4 black lotus," everyone would think that was madness. Yet that's exactly what they do now, except the lotuses don't sacrifice themselves. I am actually against restriction as much as possible, but I think with a few key restrictions, you could remove a ton from the restricted list. Give shops back golem, chalice, and thorn (the later two also helping fish and eldrazi decks) in trade for workshop. That's a 3-for-1.

Not only could you unrestrict more, but cards like ballista become safer and there'd be no need to restrict it. It also opens design space to print further 4-drop broken artifacts. With 4 workshop, printing another golem-level power card is dumb, but with 1 workshop, it becomes a possibility. I understand workshop players love their workshops, but they could get back all the restricted toys plus many more to come in the future, if they'd be willing to go down to 1 and some sol-lands. I hear people saying 1x shop makes workshop decks unplayable...and yet eldrazi did just that with 4 thorn, 4 chalice, and sol lands very successfully.

Eldrazi even ran a 1-of golem most of the time, so it's not like 4-drops are impossible without workshop. Eldrazi temple was a "sol-land" that could only cast eldrazi...otherwise it was a colorless derpland. Without chalice and thorn, Eldrazi is essentially dead and fish took a big hit. Why are we okay eradicating a competitive budget deck and nerfing fish just to hang on to the dredge/FoW/workshop triangle that is Vintage? I'd similarly restrict bazaar for much the same reason....and would even be up for restricting FoW if blue became too strong. I think if you restrict the RIGHT card, you can avoid several other restrictions and stop constricting design space for new cards. Why this need to hang on to workshop if it means unrestricting all the tools shops lost already? Everyone sees picking off one tool at a time has had almost no effect on shops' dominance. All shops players grumble every time they have a toy restricted (yet blue has a massively long list of restricted spells, and shops players are mainly fine with that). Lose 3 workshops and get back all your toys and never lose another toy again...and get new toys printed. That seems the best course to me.

edit I just read the website posted earlier:
https://www.channelfireball.com/articles/workshop-needs-to-go/
Looks like Demars copied my post, went back in time, and beat me to the punch ;). Says almost exactly what I said.

last edited by Thewhitedragon69

@thewhitedragon69 In regards to the Budget Eldrazi, it doesn't always run Thorn of Amethyst. A lot of them ran null rod instead. Especially Jaco's list. I can't agree that the deck is eradicated with a restricted Thorn of Amethyst.

*EDIT: However, yes, in the case that a restriction of Workshop does happen, I would hope a lot of those pieces go back to being unrestricted.

last edited by mdkubiak

Can't wait to tap my lotus land and try to cast Time Walk, Ancestral, Brainstorm, Dig through Time, Treasure Cruise and Jace. When my incredulous opponent stares at me I'll just say, 'the internet says it's a black lotus'. Shops plays cards that wouldn't make a draft deck that are only played because Workshop is legal. The cards are garbage and aren't playable otherwise.

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