The Curious Case of Mishra's Workshop

Updated original post with Eternal Central link if usenet burns your eyes.

@nedleeds I prefer to keep my eyes. Thanks. 🙂

A 13 paragraph article, ostensibly about Mishra's Workshop, but Mental Misstep was mentioned 33 times in the body compared to just 15 mentions of Workshop. It was really an article about Misstep, despite the title.

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.

But if you could prove a compositional shift that results because of Misstep, I would be more inclined to your view. But that would take more work than you've put in here. I think that the metagame shifts have occurred for deeper structural reasons unrelated to Misstep.

The rhetorical reference to previous, more diverse Vintage metagames, such as the 2013 metagame, is not persuasive, and undermines the article's thesis. After all, Misstep was unrestricted in 2013, and, that demonstrates that metagames are a product of structural forces, not simply extant tactics.

last edited by Smmenen

Maybe I'm alone in my opinion though.

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I'm not sure if that's responsive to me, Sean, but I never said or implied that you were the only person calling for Misstep's restriction.

Rather, I simply pointed out that the title of your article was misleading, as it was really about calling for the restriction of MIsstep, and, further, that your thesis is an empirical question, and your arguments don't really reach or address that question. Instead, there is alot of narrative or rhetoric that masks or obfuscates it.

I'm open to the argument that Misstep stifles or undermines format diversity, but I'm far from persuaded. The points you make in this article seem to lend more support to the converse - that Misstep is not directly shaping format diversity, for the reasons I mentioned above.

The Vintage format is a product of structural forces. The metagame continually expands and contracts. I'd point to 2006 and 2013 as periods of expansion and broad diversity. But Misstep does not appear to be a driving force behind metagame contraction.

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

A 13 paragraph article, ostensibly about Mishra's Workshop, but Mental Misstep was mentioned 33 times in the body compared to just 15 mentions of Workshop. It was really an article about Misstep, despite the title.

Well it's an opinion piece with a misleading title featuring Mishra's Workshop just to get the discussion going.

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. The rate at which this happens is very much up for debate given peoples recalcitrance to change, and the dearth of deck builders.

But if you could prove a compositional shift that results because of Misstep, I would be more inclined to your view. But that would take more work than you've put in here. I think that the metagame shifts have occurred for deeper structural reasons unrelated to Misstep.

The rhetorical reference to previous, more diverse Vintage metagames, such as the 2013 metagame, is not persuasive, and undermines the article's thesis. After all, Misstep was unrestricted in 2013, and, that demonstrates that metagames are a product of structural forces, not simply extant tactics.

I don't have the time likely required needed to meet your burden of proof, I admit that much. But as for what makes a Vintage metagame, I think it's nearly impossible to untangle given imperfect actors, and the difference between paper and MTGO (technically, aesthetically and financially). It's also an imperfect comparison between now and 2011,12,13 simply because there was no MTGO Vintage (December 2013?). So why even try, I'm just pointing out some general trends and that cards in a vacuum don't create stagnation.

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

I'm not sure if that's responsive to me, Sean, but I never said or implied that you were the only person calling for Misstep's restriction.

No not at all, I literally just got a look at Card Titans updated coverage page. I should have linked it.

http://www.cardtitan.com/coverage

Congrats to all the competitors!

last edited by nedleeds

@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.

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