February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement



  • @john-cox said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

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

    Not only are decks with Mental Misstep neither homogenous nor dominant, they are nowhere close to being homogenous or dominant.

    Moxen, Workshop, and Bazaar will always prevent Misstep from being anywhere near as oppressive it was in other formats.

    Zero reason to consider restriction.

    Well said!
    MTG Top 8 has dredge at 10% of the format. Dredge isn't as budget as it used to be but its about as affordable as a top tier Legacy deck. I really like Vintage right now.

    Lol, Dredge plays Misstep also.



  • @nedleeds
    I was more boasting the prominence of a budget deck to exaggerate the health of the format.



  • @john-cox said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

    its about as affordable as a top tier Legacy deck. I really like Vintage right now.

    So the qualification for budget is to just be comparable in price to the most expensive decks in other formats?



  • @p3temangus

    Agreed. The 1 mana accelerators/tutors are pretty clearly less played than they could be because of the existence of Misstep.



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

    @john-cox said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

    its about as affordable as a top tier Legacy deck. I really like Vintage right now.

    So the qualification for budget is to just be comparable in price to the most expensive decks in other formats?

    5k vs 15k . Budget relatively but not absolutely.



  • The argument appears to be around what counts as "interactive" play. Players that want to control the flow of the game using counter magic play Mental Misstep to slow down development of Xerox and Combo strategies. I remember in 2010 before this card had really taken over you could play Noble Hierarch in a Fish deck and accelerate into a deck with board presence.

    This card forced other decks to combat the slow down. But, on the other hand if you could accelerate without the need to play 1 drops then your opponent has dead cards and you have cards that play past them.

    I personally, think this is an argument of interaction, because before this card, people played Daze, Stifle, Spell Pierce, etc… for the same effect.

    Mental Misstep has slowed or stopped discard spells which offer a different interaction among players. I prefer players look at the interaction an exploit the dependence of someone playing Mental Misstep. This explains Workshop decks performing above average against most blue decks.

    I prefer arguments of interaction to ask the question of how to exploit a known weakness. This is not Treasure Cruise so it can be a weakness as much as a strength.

    This strategy is very similar to Force of Will and the format as adjusted to Force of Will and we live with it. The use of this strategy prompts me to ask - Is there a card that we could petition Wizards to design to change the interaction of play around this this strategy?



  • Just wanted to add my voice to the mix - Misstep absolutely should not be restricted, its ubiquity is not a bad thing.. but rather like FOW is part of the glue that holds the format together. It makes games more interesting, not less. By punishing 1cmc spells, it pushes players into more unique draw engines, rather than the simple ancestral or mystical->ancestral

    If anything, I think the DCI should look at hitting another shops piece, perhaps Foundry Inspector. Alternatively, unrestricting Gush or Gitaxian Probe could be an interesting tack to take, but both lead down a road that I doubt the DCI wants to take



  • @ravager101 said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

    Misstep ... makes games more interesting, not less.

    Did you really type that with a straight face? Interesting? Hardly. So, I'm supposed to play this stupid card over Swords just because I should be building my deck with better "strategy" in a world of Misstep:

    alt text

    Why can't people just admit the card is stupid? And why are we comparing it to FoW? Force has a real liability to it... you are creating card disadvantage when you cast FoW for free. Misstep is a perfect 1 for 1 that is tempo positive (they spend mana and you don't). There is zero cost to the card and it's truly a feel bad moment when your opponent Missteps your Misstep as you try to remove their win con from the table with a Bolt/Plow/Pyroblast or catch back up with a Recall. It's a miserable play experience to continually account for it's presence in opponent's decks. If you need a Plow to resolve to not lose a game, you almost always have to think to yourself, I need Plow AND a Misstep to win this game. How is that reasonable?



  • @enderfall I agree with your stance, but not your reasoning. Why is "I need plow to not lose" (or win..) any different if misstep is restricted where now you need plow and 2 mana (spell pierce) or plow and more mana than the number of spells cast (fluster) or plow Fow/blue card vs an opponent with a full grip?

    I dislike Misstep b/c of my perceptions about stifled creativity (despite the detractors stating that none of the 1 CMC spells were good before misstep). Vintage is not in a terrible place right now, nor do I believe that Misstep is the key to blue's future domination of our artifact overlords. Frankly, i just enjoy the occasional shakeup, makes life interesting.



  • @p3temangus I agree, the differences are subtle, but take into account situations where the opponent taps out to play said win con. Misstep is just about the only card you have to worry about in the scenario. Sure, FoW could be there, but they would also need another Blue card (i.e. lower odds). If you're opponent has a single card in hand, you have to factor in the chance that that single card is a Misstep. I mean, if they have a full grip and you only have a Plow, then you really didn't have a prayer anyway, but Misstep just makes situational Magic less interesting.



  • The price of playing in an Ancestral Recall format is that you need Misstep to mitigate the blowouts.



  • @bazaarofbaghdad So Vintage sucked for 18 years before Misstep was printed? Were people really saying to themselves in 2006, "man, I really wish they would print a free hoser to Ancestral, that would really make this format so much better"?



  • @enderfall No, but the subset of games in the Vintage format where an Ancestral Recall blowout occurred without sufficient tools to combat it probably sucked.



  • @bazaarofbaghdad So we substitute it for an unrestricted herp-derp card that has wide ranging reach far beyond Ancestral? Sounds like a good trade off to me. Let's not pretend that there weren't measures to stop Ancestral. Could you get blown out by an Ancestral? Of course, that was part of Vintage. Same with Tinker, Yawgwill, Time Walk, etc. There used to be a lot of answers to Ancestral... Duress, Pyroblast, REB, Misdirection, and so on. Misstep wasn't needed to control Ancestral. The collateral damage that Misstep has caused vastly outweighs whatever saving grace might have been implemented to prevent Ancestral blowouts. Let's unrestrict Strip Mine to make sure we have enough answers to Library of Alexandria while we're at it?



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

    @bazaarofbaghdad So Vintage sucked for 18 years before Misstep was printed? Were people really saying to themselves in 2006, "man, I really wish they would print a free hoser to Ancestral, that would really make this format so much better"?

    You have to understand there are players who've never seen a blue stew list without delve cards and 4 misstep 4 force plus stew as the starting point for every blue deck. It's a different perspective and sometimes its hard to understand it, that may be why people make claims that a new phyrexia card is the formats glue. They can't imagine a format where Spell Pierce resolves or Steel Sabotage and Thoughtseize main win the biggest paper event ever at the time, in a top 8 with one shop deck out of 483 .... when Shops had 4 LSG, 4 Chalice, 9 Spheres. It's simply about efficiency, that same event misstep was legal, but missteps efficacy wanes when nobody is playing it. But once a few people start playing it, everyone not eschewing 1 drops or maining Defense Grid has to play 4 because nothing beats free. There's also (as we see in dredge) no real opportunity cost to play the card besides losing game 1 % to the 20% of the field on Spheres. Force has an actual cost. On the other side of the coin there isn't 1 spell that's chucked during a deck building exercise because it gets Forced, or Mana Drained. But a quick listen to any set review reveals plenty of good 1 cc spells that cost actual (mostly sorcery speed) Magic: The Gathering Mana (tm) that never get played because the exchange of a sorcery speed actual mana, vs. a Skillstep is an untenable exchange ... Unlessssss you fill your deck with your 3.8 Missteps, wow such innovate, many skill, much deck building. You had one more. Got me. That's the misery of Misstep. I'm not saying restricting it will cure everyone's complaints or all the formats warts but it will at least expand deck building space which may serve those goals.



  • At the request of Andy, I'm reposting here:

    Introduction

    The restriction of Thorn of Amethyst and Monastery Mentor took effect September 1 2017. That means we are over 6 months out from that restriction and I think it is worth looking back at how effective those moves were. As many of you know, Ryan Eberhart (@diophan) and I spend quite a bit of time collecting metagame data from major paper events and the MTGO challenges. We do this for a couple of reasons. Personally, I use this data when it comes to creating new decks. The version of Snapcaster Control that I've played in the last three challenges was heavily influenced by what I saw from our challenge data. The prevalence of Shops and Planeswalkers in both Oath and Xerox (i.e. cantrip heavy blue decks) motivated me to shift the removal suite to Lightning Bolts and Fiery Confluences instead of Swords to Plowshares and Balance. This was further justified by an absence of Eldrazi and Merfolk decks in the format. Honestly, that was my primary reason and hope when we started collecting data: that what we gathered would be used to promote innovation in a small format like Vintage.

    Alternatively, Ryan and I wanted to provide an accurate picture of the Vintage metagame for use in discussions involving the Restricted list. Much of what we read previously tended to be hyperbolic, opinionated, and poorly reasoned. We hoped people would use our data in forming conclusions like scientists or researchers. In both cases what we wished to happen didn't actually happen. Most responses to our posts consisted of hyperbolic, opinionated, and poorly reasoned arguments, just now with cherry-picked data. There was very little commentary on trends and how to combat them, no brewing of decks. We went from posting results weekly after each Challenge, to monthly aggregations of the previous month's events, to not posting or gathering data from February. In effect, Ryan and I burnt out, on both playing Vintage and collecting data about the format. We asked for help and nothing really materialized. The reason I'm bringing this up is that I don't know if we will continue this in the future. So if you do find this beneficial, please let us know and considering helping out if you play Vintage on MTGO. The Challenges continue to be excellent EV, with the top 32 (basically any 3-3 and several 2-4s) making their entry fee back. Power is affordable - a set of VMA Power 9 costs less than 100 dollars. Complete decks range from 120 tix for Dredge, 300 tix for DPS, 500 tix for Ravager Shops, and 700 tix for UWR Mentor or UW Landstill. Which serves as a pretty good segue into the next section...

    Paper vs Online Metagames

    We hear a lot of comments concerning real or perceived differences between these two metagames, often in the context of B&R discussions. While I appreciate that players may play Vintage in widely divergent paper metagames, that doesn't invalidate data collected in other metagames. At the end of the day, the DCI is going to base their decisions on the data they have available. This likely is limited to the large sanctioned events of European, North American, and Japanese Eternal Weekends, along with the results from MTGO Leagues and Vintage Challenges, so that's where we've focused our efforts. And, frankly, the MTGO metagame has several advantages compared to paper Vintage. The cost of decks is lower, even considering proxies, which allows players more freedom in deck selection. Events are more frequent and typically larger than their paper counterparts. We are looking at four 40+ person events whereas a local tournament may have one monthly event with 17-32 players. This gives us a much larger sample size from which to draw conclusions. And finally, players on MTGO tend to do very well in paper tournaments such as the 2018 North American Champs. Winner Andrew Markiton (MTGO: Montolio), finalist Rich Shay (The Atog Lord), Patrick Fehling (Clone9), Brian Kelly (brianpk80), and Eric Vergo (caggii) all are regulars on MTGO.

    Before the Restriction

    The Gush and Gitaxian Probe restriction took effect April 24 2017, so we used the May through July challenges to establish a baseline. Individual events can be found by searching TMD, but the compiled data is available here.

    0_1520841492153_ce0a9883-e958-4c88-a1f4-ccd386cf3102-image.png

    Following the Restriction

    We changed our spreadsheets when we moved to monthly reporting. It allowed us to do a month-by-month breakdown of events. Note: February's metagame breakdown is drawn from the Top 32 results of that month's challenges. As mentioned previously, we didn't do our usual data collection for that month. Also, January is missing an event in which Ryan and I were unable to participate.

    0_1520841898474_5bb1b560-4fdc-4fdf-aa17-1ed03fe75c7a-image.png

    As can be seen by the monthly breakdown, October and November are dramatically different from the other months. The most likely explanation is that the proximity of these events to the North American Vintage Champs altered player attendance and behavior. North American Vintage Champs was October 19-21 and Ravager Shops was absolutely dominant. It met in the finals, won the tournament, placed 5 decks in the top 8, 11 decks in the top 32, and had a 58.9% win rate against the field. Yet on MTGO, Shops portion of the metagame actually fell. Among many players, there was concern that a Shops restriction was imminent, so they played other decks, leaving Shops as the "best deck" primarily played by those unfamiliar to the format. Many established players flocked to the deck that supposedly "beat" Shops, Inferno Titan Oath, as Oath's percentage of the metagame tripled from 6.4% in September to 19.0% in November. And still others went next level the various Mentor/Xerox decks that tend to beat Oath. Those decks put up an impressive 63% win rate in October and November. Now I'm not in the habit of ignoring data, but data should make sense. If it doesn't, you have to wonder what factors might be influencing or introducing bias into your study.

    0_1520843567549_3b56db52-f0c8-447d-bde4-4bf4e7d65729-image.png

    If you exclude the October and November like we did above, there is a remarkably consistent picture of Shops' dominance.The combined results show a 59.0% win rate, virtually identical to the 58.9% win rate at Champs, slightly decreased from the 59.2% win rate in the pre-Thorn metagame. The metagame share is slightly decreased but trending upward. These trends seem to hold so far in March, as you can see below. Shops has a 31.4% metagame share and a 62.1% win rate. In my opinion, the results from October and November appear as outliers rather than a true indicator of Shops place in the metagame. However, one of the reasons to write these in-depth reports is to solicit differing opinions, similar to peer-review. I invite whoever is so inclined to chime in below with their thoughts. If you feel this is some sort of adaptation by the rest of the metagame, I am curious to hear what you think that was and why the metagame revert back to its previous state.

    0_1520844219498_1ec2cbf0-9d1e-42d7-8622-50673326b56a-image.png

    What beats Shops?

    For those that do not follow other formats, Standard underwent several bannings in January. Ian Duke's explanation of those bans is well worth a read as it provides useful insight into WotC's reasoning and approach to B&R decisions. Ian spends quite a bit of time discussion the matchups of Standards top 2 decks, Temur Energy and Ramunap Red, and how these decks have a favorable matchup profile against the field, suggesting that the metagame is unable to adjust. Let's take a look at Shops' matchup profile since September:

    0_1520845394583_012674b6-5fad-4f1a-8b3a-bfc3e2cd4f7c-image.png

    With November and September removed:

    0_1521342732168_4e51d474-b180-46ed-bb89-97253172478b-image.png

    Ironically, Shops only "bad" matchup (and I admit to being a bit lazy with the statistics here - if you want the raw data and the sample sizes, it's here), is the "Other" category where we throw decks that don't fit into other categories. Apparently, the Monored Hate deck with Null Rod and Ensnaring Bridge went 5-0 against Shops in October and November... Outside of what are essentially rogue decks, Shops either has a good matchup of >55% or is essentially even (between 45% and 55%). This includes Oath, which is Shops' worse matchup but only at 47.5%. Decks that were traditionally thought to be good matchups, like Dredge and Landstill (the most popular variant in the"Blue Control" category) actually end up struggling against Shops.

    Conclusion

    The goal of this post isn't to propose specific actions: it's to establish the need for such action. The previous restriction of Thorn of Amethyst has not discernibly altered the win rate or metagame share of Shops in the MTGO Vintage Challenges or in the NA Vintage Championship. If such action was indicated then, it holds that additional action is indicated now. Of course I have my own opinion on what I think should be done. However, I want to allow some time for players to read and process this. Comments, thoughts, and opinions are welcome and encouraged.

    Edit: Added Archetype vs Archetype Win Rates with the Champs months removed.



  • I just want to understand why the restricted card isnt Workshop itself. Doesnt this card singlehandedly enable the problem?



  • Very nice write up, @ChubbyRain.

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

    I just want to understand why the restricted card isnt Workshop itself. Doesnt this card singlehandedly enable the problem?

    I am fairly new to the format (and I only play on MTGO, not paper), but my overall understanding is that Workshops is a card that is expensive in paper and if it were restricted then that would anger collectors.

    I'm not sure how much good restricting another shops piece (say Foundry Inspector, for example) will do in the long run. As others have pointed out, WotC will print more artifacts and eventually something will get printed and run as 4x in the shops deck and we will be right back to the starting point. Long term, however, what happens when this cycle repeats itself over and over again and shops is full of 1x restricted bombs like Trinisphere? Is the only endgame solution to restrict Workshops itself? Maybe a better solution would be to restrict Inspector now and hope that Wizards can have the prudence to not print any more broken artifacts down the line. shrug


  • TMD Supporter

    Thank you so much for posting this info.

    There is something you said in the post that I think is important, but was glossed over:

    @chubbyrain said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement: In effect, Ryan and I burnt out, on both playing Vintage and collecting data about the format.

    I would like to know more about this. Why are you burnt out?

    Are you just tired of Vintage or is there some element of dissatisfaction with the format, in your or Ryan's view? I ask not as a subsidiary or unrelated topic, but because it seems directly germane to the issue at hand.

    The reasons why people engage or don't engage with Vintage are obviously directly implicated by and implicate future B&R policy. To the extent that dissatisfaction or unhappiness with the format play a role, that seems to bear on B&R policy forward.

    The previous restriction of Thorn of Amethyst has not discernibly altered the win rate or metagame share of Shops in the MTGO Vintage Challenges or in the NA Vintage Championship. If such action was indicated then, it holds that additional action is indicated now.

    It's obvious why: they restricted Mentor as well, which was one of the cards best able to combat Shops. That's why I strongly argued that if the DCI was going to restrict Mentor, they had to restrict something from Shops as well. Can you imagine if they had followed the advice of others, and just restricted Mentor, and not something from Shops as well? Shops would be even more dominant right now.

    I think the question of what to do is difficult. I don't think that Sphere should be restricted. It's an important effect in the format. Revoker and Workshop are both options, but I'm not sure they are the best. I guess I lean towards Ravager, as it's the card that single-handedly negates removal, even on Precursor Golem. It radically powers up Ballista and Hangarback Walker as well. Foundry Inspector is very powerful, but not restriction worthy IMO. I would restrict Workshop before Inspector.



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

    Are you just tired of Vintage or is there some element of dissatisfaction with the format, in your or Ryan's view? I ask not as a subsidiary or unrelated topic, but because it seems directly germane to the issue at hand.

    I'll give an answer from a different player who know why. It's because Vintage doesn't feel fun anymore. If I want to win, I play shops, and if I want to have fun with cards...well, you're going to run into a wall of Pyroblast and Friends (in addition to shops), and that's just a disaster for your "let's have fun" brew. I attribute an additional portion of me burning out to my choice of Xerox deck being incidentally crushed by the first metagame shift (Stoneforge Mystic is a bad time into Oath and maindecked ancient grudge!), and just finding I finally got sick of the whole dig/cruise/gush/cantrip paradigm that blue has become.

    From a B&R perspective, what would bring me back is...I don't know, just outright ban Khans block from the format--Mentor, Cruise, and Dig simply synergize too well with what the format wants to be doing, and it encourages this awkward blue format where there's very rarely a chance to answer a threat outside of the stack (which pushes blue in into Flusterstorms and Pyroblasts), where before, you could legitimately fight even blue decks on the board as opposed to on the stack.

    That's my 2 cents.


 

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