February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement

Everytime a B&R discussion erupts in the last few years Workshops is always mentioned, and to be honest from a pure power level and format health its rediculous that this card is unrestricted compared to some cards on the list.
Workshops is way more powerful than a lot of cards that are already restricted.
There is a huge difference between restricting cards for powerlevel reasons only (which would be the reason to restrict shops) or also because they promote "unfun" gameplay (i believe cards like chalice of the void fall under that category)
In a hypothetically world where financial value and emotional attachement to a card or strategy would not be a factor, but just powerlevel and format health, this would not be a debate at all. Workshops has become the to Vintage what Brainstorm is too Legacy. Everybody knows its way too powerful, but most people kind of agree that it defines the format.

I see two possibilities.
First try to power down this Strategy so it gets in line with the rest of the format, which means restricting shops.
Restrict Workshops, unrestrict Lodestone, Thorn of Amethyst. (and then maybe look at some other hugely discussed cards like MM, also unrestrict Gush and Gitaxian Probe, since those two restrictions where an error to restrict in the first place, and only weakend strategies that where not a problem with the cards legal, while not touching the targeted deck at all)

Second try to power up the rest of the field to compete with the power of shops, that means unrestricting a lot of cards, that are just worse than workshop for sure. Also unrestrict some shops cards again, since we are not really holding back now.
Unrestrict: Demonic Consultation, Dig Through Time, Gitaxian Probe, Gush, Imperial Seal, Lodestone Golem, Lotus Petal, Merchant Scroll, Monastery Mentor, Ponder, Thorn of Amethyst, Windfall.

EDIT: reading my own words i realize how crazy those sound, and the second possibility will probably make the format kind of unplayable, with those exact actions. However i still like the "power up the rest of the format" approach

last edited by Aelien

@smmenen said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

Disagree completely.

No offense, but it sounds like you are not well informed on the role that data plays in this debate.

This debate has been going on for some time and has a much wider breadth than peoples implementation and interpretation of data alone

The explanation is simple: when a deck become too large a part of the Top 8 metagame, it begins to dominate the format. Note: we don't care about metagame %. A deck could be 80% of the metagame, but 0% of Top 8s and sub 30% win percentage. What matters is win percentage and Top 8 penetration.

This is not true at all. If a rouge deck has 3 seats in 2 major events and just happens to luck its way into top 8s from favorable pairings, it would have disproportionate representation in said top brackets. I doubt that alone would be enough. Likewise if a deck is completely over represented in a field, mathematically the percentage it would place in top 8 would be larger and its win rate would steer closer and closer to 50%, but once again I doubt that alone would be enough to merit action alone.

"Fun" is not entirely subjective. The core element to fun is meaningful choice: meaningful deck choice, meaningful game choices, etc. To have fun, players need meaningful choice among decks. This requires a diversity of decks. When a deck is monopolistic or dominant, there is no meaningful deck choice. Therefore, data is integral to B&R discussions. It's the main purpose of them.

Fun is the closet thing I can think of to a purely subjective thing. My grandmother would mindlessly pump nickels into a slot machine in Atlantic City week after week. No choice, No decision making, basically no agency at all except to decide to do it or not to do it, yet to her it was completely fun, while to me I cannot think of much anything I would want to do less.

If the DCI uses Top 8 data to make restrictions, why the hell would the Vintage community separate data and B&R restriction discussion? That makes absolutely no sense.

Because some of us do not agree with this methodology. Data tells us the results of what is, not the results of what could be, and for some of us that is more relevant. I am of the camp that would much rather see a large restricted list that provides more opportunity for viable brewing in the format. My ideal vintage is a format that has as many decks as modern, a price point for some lists with a low end similar to standard, and vintages depth of in game decision making. I think restricting shops would help get us closer to that paradigm, which is what I would like to subjectively see. The data bears out the fact that the format is not what I want it to be more so than anything else.

@protoaddct said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

@smmenen said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

Disagree completely.

No offense, but it sounds like you are not well informed on the role that data plays in this debate.

This debate has been going on for some time and has a much wider breadth than peoples implementation and interpretation of data alone

The issue, as you framed it, is whether data analysis has a role in Vintage Restricted list debates. Your position is that it should not. Mine is that it should.

Your posts reveal a lack of understanding of how data has been used in these debate, by the community and DCI.

The explanation is simple: when a deck become too large a part of the Top 8 metagame, it begins to dominate the format. Note: we don't care about metagame %. A deck could be 80% of the metagame, but 0% of Top 8s and sub 30% win percentage. What matters is win percentage and Top 8 penetration.

This is not true at all. If a rouge deck has 3 seats in 2 major events and just happens to luck its way into top 8s from favorable pairings, it would have disproportionate representation in said top brackets. I doubt that alone would be enough.

Again, you are displaying your ignorance.

A single Top 8 does not and has never prompted the DCI to restrict a card. When I say "% of Top 8s" we are talking about large samples with many Top 8s included. I simply do not know how this could have escaped you.

This debate was kick -started by Chubby Rain's post, which aggregated many Top 8s from Vintage Challenges. But the gold standard is work like this: http://themanadrain.com/topic/476/vintage-metagame-report-april-to-june

In that post, Matt aggregated THIRTY ONE different Top 8s.

So, No, a "rouge" deck (it's spelled "rogue" by the way) could not luck it's way into a disproportionate share of Top 8s. That's why we NEVER look at a single Top 8 result. We aggregate Top 8s into as many results as we can, and we look and track the result over time. In other words, we try to make sure that the deck is dominate over many months and multiple tournament regions before the DCI takes restriction.

And yes, the DCI based it's restrictions of Mentor and Thorn on Top 8 data, as I just showed. And it's done this before.

Likewise if a deck is completely over represented in a field, mathematically the percentage it would place in top 8 would be larger and its win rate would steer closer and closer to 50%, but once again I doubt that alone would be enough to merit action alone.

Think again: The DCI just took action in Standard because of Win Percentages.

https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/news/january-15-2018-banned-and-restricted-announcement-2018-01-15

Read carefully.

"Fun" is not entirely subjective. The core element to fun is meaningful choice: meaningful deck choice, meaningful game choices, etc. To have fun, players need meaningful choice among decks. This requires a diversity of decks. When a deck is monopolistic or dominant, there is no meaningful deck choice. Therefore, data is integral to B&R discussions. It's the main purpose of them.

Fun is the closet thing I can think of to a purely subjective thing.

I said NOT ENTIRELY. Which means, of course, there is a large subjective element.

But there is also a large consensus that certain formats are not fun. To wit: Format's dominated by a single deck are not fun. "Meaningful choice" is a necessary element to a fun Magic format, by broad consensus.

The analog is anti-trust law. To keep markets competitive, the government prosecutes harmful monopolies. In Magic, the DCI bans or restricts cards from dominant decks.

My grandmother would mindlessly pump nickels into a slot machine in Atlantic City week after week. No choice, No decision making, basically no agency at all except to decide to do it or not to do it, yet to her it was completely fun, while to me I cannot think of much anything I would want to do less.

Magic is not slots. There are different standards for fun in Magic than slots.

If the DCI uses Top 8 data to make restrictions, why the hell would the Vintage community separate data and B&R restriction discussion? That makes absolutely no sense.

Because some of us do not agree with this methodology.

It doesn't matter whether we agree or not. It's the methodology that the DCI uses, and IMO justifiably so. So, asking ourselves not to speak in the vernacular of the DCI is foolish, and a kind of epistemology of ignorance.

Data tells us the results of what is, not the results of what could be, and for some of us that is more relevant. I am of the camp that would much rather see a large restricted list that provides more opportunity for viable brewing in the format. My ideal vintage is a format that has as many decks as modern, a price point for some lists with a low end similar to standard, and vintages depth of in game decision making. I think restricting shops would help get us closer to that paradigm, which is what I would like to subjectively see. The data bears out the fact that the format is not what I want it to be more so than anything else.

So, if the data tells you that, then why are you against using data in B&R list discussion? That seems ridiculous given what you just said. Your posts are incoherent and barely make sense. I'm surprised, because I haven't seen or don't recall this kind of behavior from you before.

last edited by Smmenen

@smmenen said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

The issue, as you framed it, is whether data analysis has a role in Vintage Restricted list debates. Your position is that it should not. Mine is that it should.

Your posts reveal a lack of understanding of how data has been used in these debate, by the community and DCI.

My contention is that the debate cannot be framed as a purely analytical one as well as a purely subjective/feels based one. There is some overlap but by and large the two stances are inherently arguing different things and when they interact they often create a insurmountable barrier.

The DCI just took action in Standard because of Win Percentages.

https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/news/january-15-2018-banned-and-restricted-announcement-2018-01-15

Read carefully.

They also decided to ban Rampaging Ferocidon, a card they themselves admit was not specifically the largest offender compared to Hazoret or Bombat. If we were to base the decision purely on win percentages, they would not have made this call, but sided on the side they perceived to be the more fun (or less unfun as it were) course of action. The data they used to make this judgement was in large part because of some sort of future league testing that likely did not have nearly as much of a sample behind it, as well as some healthy assumptions based on what they thought interactions would be with cards not yet released.

I do not believe that WOTC/DCI make banning decisions on results alone, and things such as player perception, monetary ramifications, and tourney attendance are equally large drivers. Some of those have data sets behind them, and they may not all tell the same story. Player perception is very much more a judgement call than it is a hard science.

Magic is not slots. There are different standards for fun in Magic than slots.

You yourself said:

"Fun" is not entirely subjective. The core element to fun is meaningful choice: meaningful deck choice, meaningful game choices, etc. To have fun, players need meaningful choice among decks. This requires a diversity of decks. When a deck is monopolistic or dominant, there is no meaningful deck choice. Therefore, data is integral to B&R discussions. It's the main purpose of them.

You did not frame that as pertaining only to magic, you said fun, so i used a parallel gaming example.

So, if the data tells you that, then why are you against using data in B&R list discussion? That seems ridiculous given what you just said. Your posts are incoherent and barely make sense. I'm surprised, because I haven't seen or don't recall this kind of behavior from you before.

I am not totally against using it, I am suggesting guardrails on it's usage in discourse that was not intended to be a hard analytical look at a topic. I am against the fact that I have seen no compelling discussion take place on this board or others in recent years that does not eventually get derailed by a straw man argument about data and how it trumps all. If enough players are upset enough that it would affect how much they play, what they play, even if it is based on faulty information, it is still relevant to the decision making process.

It's like coming into a post about which classical artist was more relevant to a person, Da Vinci or Michelangelo, and having someone walk into that post and say that Da Vinci had more popularly known pieces and is thus the definitive correct answer.

That you are surprised by my behavior is of no concern to me, because I am not in the market to cater my opinion to conform with expectations you may have. I have been an advocate for the restriction of workshops for some time now, and that is evidenced in some of my other posts. Also displayed in those posts are data driven arguments by people saying I am incorrect to want that, even though my want for it is subjective and based on my perception and assumptions of what the format would be if the card was reduced in numbers, yet not devoid of data based reasoning.

I truly believe that workshops (and some other cards but most egregiously workshops) is the reason that the format has X amount of viable archetypes and not X+Y. Tournament win percentages and representation will not show you what decks are not viable to bring to an event, just how the things that were there did.

@protoaddct said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

I am not totally against using it, I am suggesting guardrails on it's usage in discourse that was not intended to be a hard analytical look at a topic.

Well, that's not what you said. You said that data analysis should not be permitted in B&R discussion threads. You said "I think data driven discussions are healthy and have a place, but I don't think you can have them in the same thread."

That's a pretty extreme position given the centrality of the role of data in DCI B&R decision making, which you seemed to be pretty ill-informed of until now.

In any case, no one ever said that the DCI ONLY uses data to make it's decisions - but it is absolutely the case that a good deal of what you said wasn't true. Data plays a significant role in the DCI's decision matrix.

To take an extreme case, if there was a deck that was consistently 60% of Top 8s for more than 6 months, and also had a 60% win percentage, is there any doubt that that deck would have a restriction, regardless of any of the other factors you mentioned? There is no doubt in my mind.

It's like coming into a post about which classical artist was more relevant to a person, Da Vinci or Michelangelo, and having someone walk into that post and say that Da Vinci had more popularly known pieces and is thus the definitive correct answer.

Magic is a game with performance metrics. Artwork is not. We can measure market share of Magic decks just like we can measure corporation's market performance and market share or like we can measure sports teams performance and dominance. It's not the same thing as saying that a poem or sculpture is objectively superior to another.

Saying that a deck is dominant in Magic and needs DCI intervention is absolutely no different than the US government's argument in 1999 that Microsoft was a monopoly and needed antitrust intervention for the same reason. It's a policy choice based upon market dynamics. It's not about right/wrong or beauty and aesthetics. It's about consistent application of a policy based upon precedent, past policy decisions grounded in certain policy values, like promoting a diverse format and maintaining competitive balance.

I truly believe that workshops (and some other cards but most egregiously workshops) is the reason that the format has X amount of viable archetypes and not X+Y. Tournament win percentages and representation will not show you what decks are not viable to bring to an event, just how the things that were there did.

Actually, the main point of Chubbyrain's post was to show that Workshops are too good in this environment. I agree with him. It sounds like you do too.

last edited by Smmenen

@nedleeds the insult wasn't directed at you, though you fall into it. Heh.

I don't disagree that archetypes (Rituals, I'm looking at you) may become playable, but most people are arguing that if Misstep gets restricted, the blue players will play "more respectable counterspells versus Workshop", which is just blatantly false. Misdirection and more Pyroblasts and Flusterstorm will just be the new thing.

@13nova I disagree with this argument because, Thoughtseize is a very playable card against most blue decks but it is currently unplayable. And, Creature decks will increase with decks like Goblins, Merfolk and other Fish variants that will make Flusterstorm and Misdirection harder to play. Finally, Stifle used to be a card in Vintage. If Mental Misstep was gone, I'm sure a 1 blue land destruction spell will see play again.

last edited by moorebrother1

We can argue all day whether Mental Misstep restriction would allow for a bunch of decks to become viable, but until it happens (if) we won't know for sure. However, I am in currently in the camp that much won't change. I don't see Merfolk and Goblins being that good in Vintage regardless.

@moorebrother1 Stifle was a card in vintage in 2006. I wouldn't be so sure that would come back, and Goblins and Merfolk aren't a real thing either, and weren't a real thing for a long time even before Mental Misstep was printed.

@moorebrother1 said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

@13nova I disagree with this argument because, Thoughtseize is a very playable card against most blue decks but it is currently unplayable. And, Creature decks will increase with decks like Goblins, Merfolk and other Fish variants that will make Flusterstorm and Misdirection harder to play. Finally, Stifle used to be a card in Vintage. If Mental Misstep was gone, I'm sure a 1 blue land destruction spell will see play again.

I'm not sure I follow. Merfolk plays 4 Cursecatcher and 1 Ancestral Recall as their only 1-drops -
and then 4 Mental Misstep. How does Mental Misstep make Merfolk bad? If anything, Mental Misstep makes the deck better. That said, it's probably not a very good deck, but I don't get your logic on the matter.

And, I would add, I believe that to be the case for all Fish/Hatebear decks. Mental Misstep makes those decks better, not worse: 1) Because the Fish/Hatebear decks don't play many 1-drops themselves, and 2) because these decks benefit from "free"/turn 1 answers to broken stuff and cantrips as well as protection against the most commonly played removal.

last edited by Griselbrother

@griselbrother Yeah, I think the assumption that restricting Misstep makes creature decks more viable is pretty absurd. A restriction of Misstep doesn't erase 5 years of power creep. You have Goblins going up against Walking Ballistas, Elemental and Monk tonkens, not to mention whatever Paradoxicals endgame is. I don't see Goblins or Merfolk really coming out ahead in that exchange.

@chubbyrain It does not make tribal good specifically, but it does make delver better-ish since a large tenant of that deck is to get early tempo and keep it. Other 1 drop creatures that come to mind are Monastery Swiftspear and any number of elves.

Not inconsequentially, it weakens Delve and some dredge decks as well. Weakening dredge specifically I think helps creature based decks as well since dredge can prey on them pretty often, but weakening treasure cruise and DDT are also things that help creature based strategies as well if only by the virtue that those decks either use those cards worse than others or not at all.

last edited by Protoaddict

As the owner of 4 Mishra ‘s Workshop, I do believe we are looking at the eventual restriction of Workshops. This is not me saying I believe it should or shouldn’t be restricted. I have not studied the data like some people here or currently as strongly opinionated as I used to be for Shops. I just feel that’s the path we are going down in. If I’m right, I hope it’s sooner than later to get it over with.

I just wonder if they keep hitting shop pieces, is a Shops deck just going to end up looking like a blue deck with a bunch of 1 ofs. Either way is fine with me. Either you have a bunch of shop pieces restricted, or remove most of them from being restricted (within reason) and restrict shops.

There's been enough unrest in the past month that I think Wizards is going to make B&R changes because the community is clamoring for it. With less than four weeks to go, it's probably a good time to step away from brewing and just play what's performing well until the hammer falls. Hopefully the decks I've been keeping my eye on to try will still be relevant on April 16th.

@mdkubiak said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

As the owner of 4 Mishra ‘s Workshop, I do believe we are looking at the eventual restriction of Workshops. This is not me saying I believe it should or shouldn’t be restricted. I have not studied the data like some people here or currently as strongly opinionated as I used to be for Shops. I just feel that’s the path we are going down in. If I’m right, I hope it’s sooner than later to get it over with.

I just wonder if they keep hitting shop pieces, is a Shops deck just going to end up looking like a blue deck with a bunch of 1 ofs. Either way is fine with me. Either you have a bunch of shop pieces restricted, or remove most of them from being restricted (within reason) and restrict shops.

It think it will have a lot more one ofs, but it will never reach the level that blue has. The mana base will compensate with a bunch of 4 ofs. Wastelands and Tomb are not going anywhere, and I would think the deck would go more heavily on redundancy at the 2 drop level with 4x ravager, ballista, etc. Basically workshops will only run singletons where it has to because of the restricted list.

@hierarchnoble

@hierarchnoble said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

There's been enough unrest in the past month that I think Wizards is going to make B&R changes because the community is clamoring for it. With less than four weeks to go, it's probably a good time to step away from brewing and just play what's performing well until the hammer falls. Hopefully the decks I've been keeping my eye on to try will still be relevant on April 16th.

I would not be surprised. I have given it thought about trading my workshops for duals. Not just because of a possible restriction, I'm just undecided if I want to go back to a more typical blue deck vs. 2 Card Monte.

last edited by mdkubiak

@mdkubiak I got rid of my Shops back in 2004 and I did not miss them for years. I recently got them back because I am very tired of Blue mirrors. When I traded my Shops the field was a bunch of Shop mirrors because this was the Trinisphere era of Vintage.

Blue was more innovative back then and had way fewer counterspells with blue mirrors all looking very different.

I am frustrated by the constant attack on Shop because to me it adds diversity to the field. I got off of MTGO because the blue mirrors there are just awful.

@moorebrother Sure, it definitely does. I'm not saying I'm for or against a restriction, as I don't want to get in the middle of the arguments. I'm just looking at it outside and I just see it happening.

On a side note, I do think Shops can still be a good deck without 4 workshops. It won't be as fast, as consistent, but I think it is wrong to say the deck would be dead without it.

I do happen to really enjoy playing blue (I loved my Grixis Painter and Thieves deck), which is what I'm debating on. Not necessarily those decks, that's just an option. If I do, it would either most likely be a Jeskai or Grixis deck (possibly BUG).

@hierarchnoble said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

There's been enough unrest in the past month that I think Wizards is going to make B&R changes because the community is clamoring for it. With less than four weeks to go, it's probably a good time to step away from brewing and just play what's performing well until the hammer falls. Hopefully the decks I've been keeping my eye on to try will still be relevant on April 16th.

I don't think the clamoring is nearly as loud as it was last year, but there does seem to be a sad inevitability to it. I also think Vintage is approaching (still a ways to go, however) critical mass and is destined to become a bunch of highlander-eque decks. I would imagine this is a long-term consequence of restriction versus banning.

Vintage "customers" now have a lot more products to choose from (Old School, EDH, Cube, etc) for their time, so the desire to "fight for stagnation," is probably not as strong as it once was. The schism between casuals and spikes will widen.

I do feel sad however that the Workshop decks seems like it will eventually solidify as a 2cc aggro deck instead of the diverse and dynamic deck it once was (stax, martello, dark depths, terra nova). Those decks seem so interesting and complex in hindsight. I can see a ravager/ballista deck still being fine after losing three shops. I don't see a Stax or Martello deck surviving that hit. But who knows??

Nobody does, which is why we keep playing!!

/old man rant 🙂

@joshuabrooks said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

interesting

I think my tier 3 (or is that 4) 2 Card Monte deck can survive, albeit with much changes to it. I already want to cut the workshops down from 4 to 3. I have a few ideas I'm tinkering with to make it be able to win beyond the combos.

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