SMIP Podcast # 78: Dominaria Vintage Set Review


  • TMD Supporter

    This set is pretty good. Some cards have very high ceilings. Others are merely playable. But this set is intriguing on multiple levels, and continues the long run trend of giving Workshop players more nuanced options. But the counterpoint, and fascinating item, is how Damping Sphere deals with some of the format's most annoying menaces, from Workshop itself to Mental Misstep.

    This is a big set review, but it's justified - if not warranted - by the source material. Let us know your thoughts.

    http://www.eternalcentral.com/so-many-insane-plays-podcast-episode-78-banned-and-restricted-list-update-and-dominaria-review/

    Kevin Cron and Steve Menendian discuss the recent Banned and Restricted List announcement, and review Dominaria for Vintage.

    Podcast (somanyinsaneplays): Download (Duration: 2:56:13 — 94.3MB)

    0:01:00: Team Vintage Super League
    0:04:15: Banned and Restricted List Update
    0:34:30: Rivals of Ixalan
    0:40:00: Dominaria: Nostalgia and Mechanics
    0:55:45: Damping Sphere
    1:36:00: Squee, the Immortal
    1:37:45: Broken Bond
    1:41:15: Yargle, Glutton of Urborg
    1:42:45: Weatherlight
    1:55:00: Karn, Scion of Urza
    2:14:45: Mox Amber
    2:25:15: Jhoira’s Familiar
    2:39:00: Traxos, Scourge of Kroog
    2:49:00: Zhalfirin Void
    2:50:45: Voltaic Servant
    2:53:15: Lich’s Mastery
    Total Runtime: 2:56:13
    Show Notes
    – Dominaria Card Gallery

    Contact us at @ManyInsanePlays on Twitter or e-mail us at SoManyInsanePlaysPodcast@gmail.com.



  • Completely agree with your take on Aaron's words and also share Kevin's pessimism or at least resignation towards the DCI. I'm also with Sam Black - the state of the format, or at least its management, is doing more damage than the effect of restricting a popular card. While I don't think it's a given that all pros want to play Vintage or have a healthy vision for the format, I do believe that they remain the most influential tastemakers in the game - and seeing them mostly and very vocally avoid the format these days is just bad PR for the format and hurting its prospects for growth. The hoops the VSL is jumping through this season to make the format more appealing I think is indicative of where we're at - and I don't think WOTC having ridiculous axioms like Aaron set out, is the way to improve that.

    I did have some slim hope that the remit of the Play Design team might extend to the Eternal formats. Given their name, you'd expect they might be just the people to sculpt better play experiences throughout the game. But in effect, R&D have recruited a couple more developers for Standard and called it a day. I think that's very disappointing - but perhaps one area, we could lobby to see improvement in. I want to place my faith in WOTC, I want them to boasts the best expertise and have the necessary authority when it comes to managing constructed formats. And yet, it seems a folly to trust on anything but Limited, and perhaps Standard going forward. That's a sad state of affairs.



  • Kevin, I love you to death man, love what you do. But... a little precision with the grafdigger's math.

    The maximum saturation of a card in a deck in vintage is 4 copies per game (barring basic lands and weird rats). Game 3 happens in about half of the matches, when game 1 and game 2 have different winners. So in effect there are about 150 opposing cards over 2-3 games. (It will either be exactly 120 over 2 games, or exactly 180 over 3, discrete outcomes.)

    Grafdigger's Cage was played in 58.1% of top 8 decks in the last 4 months, 3.1 copies per deck. Virtually all of these were in the SB. (GD Cage, as Oath players call it, rings in at less than 1 in 500 decks running it in the main.)

    So, Cage is 0/60 cards in game 1. Its 3.1 x 58.1% = 1.8/60 in game 2. And its half that for game 3, since game 3 only happens half the time... so .9/30. Sum it up and Cage is 2.7/150 opposing cards per match. (That sounds small, but for anyone else reading, it is actually pretty substantial over time and given it's powerful effect.)

    Force of Will is in 55.7% of decks at a rate of 3.9 per deck, in the main deck. Using the above arithmetic, that's 5.43/150 opposing cards we can expect to see. If that sounds like a lot more, it should; FoW is the most played card in vintage by a fair bit.

    Mental Misstep might be second. Its 54.3% at a 3.4 per main deck. That produces 4.56/150. (Although that is functionally less because it gets boarded out against Shops, so it probably sees less meta game play than that. Though the same is true of cage because it doesn't get boarded in in all cases.)

    What I actually think is second is Wasteland at 45.2% at a 3.7 per main deck, but its all in the main and nearly never gets boarded out. So... 4.17/150... but the number is solid post board.

    Functionally, in terms of the rate at which cards SEE PLAY, those are the 3 huge ones. They are out in front by a descent clip. Mishra's Workshop is probably next.

    Anyway, there is no way that Grafdigger's Cage is the most played card in vintage. Functionally, or otherwise, just because it's included in a lot of sideboards. (Most common card to be on a vintage decklist? of course, Mox Sapphire.)


  • TMD Supporter

    My issue is less with what Aaron said (although that's still concerning) than the breach of decorum/protocol by posting such a sensitive comment on twitter. I think that was really inappropriate. Given his position, it is easily read as an official statement by the DCI, which I think was a gaffe.

    The result is that it engenders the worst impulses of the player base, and the tendency towards factionalism by different player cohorts. It's too bad.

    We recorded the Dominaria review the week before last, and but did that B&R segment this past monday.



  • I'm listening to this podcast now, and I like your take on Damping Sphere. As someone, who was morning the loss of StoneBlade and started investigating Blue Moon, I think these types of decks will see a revival even over BUG. I'll keep listening, I like what I hear so far.



  • Loved as much as I've heard so far. I do think that you two underestimated Chandra, Torch of Defiance's power in your power rankings coming into Dominaria. However, I do think Chandra has lost most of it's usefulness now that its damage can't be redirected to planeswalkers with the plus one ability. I think Chandra unfortunately is now going to be cut from my Jeskai Mentor deck which is a shame because I just got a sweet custom emblem for her.



  • Thought re: Aaron's tweet- I think the "saturation metric" comment might have been about Brainstorm in Legacy.



  • @moorebrother1 This was a conclusion I reached last night too, after going 3-3 in the Challenge with a Damping Sphere BUG build. I couldn't keep up the pressure well enough, wanted access to better sideboard cards... so UW Stoneblade sprang to mind. You get Queller as a nice disruptive beater, Stoneforge to give you a quicker clock (and a way to use your mana without casting stuff through Damping Sphere), plus good token making Planswalkers (again, so you're doing stuff without casting through sphere), be it Elspeth, Gideon or even new Karn. Seems promising so far...



  • Describing what is or isn't a pillar of the format is certainly difficult, but I think that Smmenen's comparison of Workshop and Gush as pillars does not accurately describe the metrics that make something a pillar. Pillars hold up their own section of the format, and in tandem with other pillars allow for an equilibrium to be reached. In other words, to be a pillar it is necessary to provide structural integrity to both the surrounding archetype and the format as a whole. Gush is ultimately one of many blue draw engines in the format that have come to define blue decks other the years when unrestricted (although Gush does lend itself to a certain style of blue deck). I think that there was an argument for Gush as a pillar of the format prior to Mentor and the Delve spells, but these cards in particular have blurred the line between the Comer and Weissman schools. Gush is no longer a defining feature of these decks as it was in RUG Delver or UR Pyromancer, but rather just another part of an amalgam of blue card advantage/velocity spells. Gush no longer supports a distinct archetype as it once did, but rather just made the best blue deck better by being unrestricted.

    Conversely, I believe that Workshop is still necessary for the artifact prison decks to be viable, and that these decks provide an important check to other parts of the format (mostly fast combo).

    This post is really not meant to address Aaron's post though, because he put quotes around "pillars of the format" almost as if to distance himself from the actual meaning of the term.

    I too dislike that there is a need for this detente between the format's best decks to avoid one of them taking over. I still think the best way to solve this is to create some kind of replacement for Workshop that allows the deck to survive even if shop becomes restricted. This would relieve a major pressure point of the format that would hopefully not need to be counteracted given that shops decks are currently ahead in terms of metagame share and perhaps power level.



  • @skeptimist
    Agreed. I believe if they had a land that tapped for 2 mana only used to cast artifact spells or pay for abilities of artifacts that would probably be fine.

    As to the "Pillar" comment here's what I think.

    I think Pillars of a format are cards that look backward and enable a whole host of cards to be format staples that wouldn't otherwise be.

    I think Pillars of a format are cards that look forward and enable a whole host of future cards to be format staples that wouldn't otherwise be.

    Pillars of the format are the quintessential "build around" cards that find a niche in a format. Think about the pillars we currently have:

    1. Bazaar of Baghdad - without this card the entire swath of dredge cards is not viable in Vintage and that archetype is likely dead in Vintage for future printings.

    2. Mishra's Workshop - without this card a bunch of artifacts become way worse (Wurmcoil Engine, Precursor Golem, Lodestone Golem even as a 1-of, Crucible of Worlds, Tangle Wire, Foundry Inspector etc etc.) and future artifacts that are 3 or more mana probably need to be considered for playability in Vintage with a huge grain of salt. With this card in the format we have a whole host of playables and future playables that we would not otherwise have had

    3. Oath of Druids - I would call this a Pillar of the current Vintage format because, again, it enables a whole host of cards that would otherwise see no play and also future cards that would be hot garbage as well were it not for Oath's existence.

    4. Cavern of Souls - This card has been a pet card of mine for a while, but it isn't just that I love the card that I consider it a Pillar of Vintage. It enables Thalia decks to actually compete with the streamlined FoW decks and Cavern is an excellent card to outmaneuver those decks and force them to use actual removal spells over the more tempo-efficient Force of Will. Cavern enables a ton of previous printings to be amazing and also any new printings with the creature type "Human" "Eldrazi" and possibly even "Wizard" or "Elf." This card is a mainstay of the format because of the "build around" potential it has."

    5. Paradoxical Outcome - This is the only blue draw engine that I believe gets to be a Pillar because the "build around" potential is so vast. Because PO is a mana engine in addition to a draw engine, one can design entire decks around the expectation of that engine being available and it enables some pretty far out deck design (I'm looking at you Aperture Science!). I believe PO also looks to the future and enables future printings to be more broken than they'd otherwise be in Vintage though I will say that PO is predominantly broken because of something that will likely never get a new printing: moxen. And NO Mox Amber isn't a Mox we should care about in Vintage.

    6. Dark Ritual - This pillar is on life support at this point. Dark Ritual still enables a large number of previous printings to be amazing (Yawg Win, Tendrils, Dark Petition, Necropotence) and keeps cards with 1BB or BBB in future printings FAR more playable than they'd otherwise be.

    I believe there may be a couple other "Pillars" but these are the first that come to mind. Now my definition of "Pillar" is my definition. I realize it is absolutely and opinion, but I think it's a valid way to classify the label.



  • @stormanimagus said in SMIP Podcast # 78: Dominaria Vintage Set Review:

    Agreed. I believe if they had a land that tapped for 2 mana only used to cast artifact spells or pay for abilities of artifacts that would probably be fine.

    This is the solution I see Wizards eventually taking.

    Step 1: Restrict Workshop.
    Step 2: Print this card:

    Mishra's Workstation
    Land
    Tap: Add 2(Colorless). Spend this mana only to cast artifact spells.



  • I'm still a little surprised to have heard not a single vintage player talk about Precognition Field, a cheaper version of a card that once saw vintage play. I need to start paying attention to when you ask for card suggestions, because seeing a review for a vanilla 5 drop and a third unplayable Lich just stresses me out 🙂



  • @forceofnature said in SMIP Podcast # 78: Dominaria Vintage Set Review:

    @stormanimagus said in SMIP Podcast # 78: Dominaria Vintage Set Review:

    Agreed. I believe if they had a land that tapped for 2 mana only used to cast artifact spells or pay for abilities of artifacts that would probably be fine.

    This is the solution I see Wizards eventually taking.

    Step 1: Restrict Workshop.
    Step 2: Print this card:

    Mishra's Workstation
    Land
    Tap: Add 2(Colorless). Spend this mana only to cast artifact spells.

    I don't see Wizards doing this. I just see the Shop restricted list becoming the Blue Stew restricted list over time. This was always going to be the case with an eternal format with a restricted list.

    a) Restrict the Iconic cards that you can't play anywhere else and alienate some portion of the 2,500 (?) people worldwide who play the format in sanctioned paper.

    b) Restrict the new cards that have no history or cost implications in paper and are likely broken only because of the older busted cards.

    They've chosen B and this statement seems to cement B a little further. Bazaar is hopelessly busted, Shop is hopelessly busted, Misstep is hopelessly busted. They appear to not be going anywhere.



  • @brass-man said in SMIP Podcast # 78: Dominaria Vintage Set Review:

    I'm still a little surprised to have heard not a single vintage player talk about Precognition Field, a cheaper version of a card that once saw vintage play. I need to start paying attention to when you ask for card suggestions, because seeing a review for a vanilla 5 drop and a third unplayable Lich just stresses me out 🙂

    Agree, this card is a hard control decks dream to cast off a Drain and then pretty much dominate the game. You could argue Jace is better, but this thing can't be attacked, you can Revoke it but it's pretty bad, you can't interact with Bolts. And the big '3 hole' in this is just waiting to be filled with Drain mana. Then let's say you play your 3rd blue source, you have Drain back online. It's absurd with fetches, insane with the unplayable top deck tutors, and really good with a top in play.



  • @sodoyouwearacape said in SMIP Podcast # 78: Dominaria Vintage Set Review:

    @moorebrother1 This was a conclusion I reached last night too, after going 3-3 in the Challenge with a Damping Sphere BUG build. I couldn't keep up the pressure well enough, wanted access to better sideboard cards... so UW Stoneblade sprang to mind. You get Queller as a nice disruptive beater, Stoneforge to give you a quicker clock (and a way to use your mana without casting stuff through Damping Sphere), plus good token making Planswalkers (again, so you're doing stuff without casting through sphere), be it Elspeth, Gideon or even new Karn. Seems promising so far...

    I think the deck that can leverage it best is a prison shell that isn't shops. Like G/w hate. Whether that's a good enough deck is another argument but a deck that just grinds the game to a halt.

    0_1524417529308________________plainsonasnake.png



  • I love the thorough discussion on Aaron's post, but I think you got his "100% for the players" statement all wrong.

    He's actually saying that the format is not managed by thinking about new players coming in. It's managed for the players that already play it. This is clear since he's responding to someone's (Sam's?) statement that unrestricted Workshop is keeping people out of the format.

    So no he's not saying popular vote is determining policy. He's saying they don't think about bringing in new players when managing the format. That can be a whole other issue, but it's not what you guys thought it was.


  • TMD Supporter

    @brass-man said in SMIP Podcast # 78: Dominaria Vintage Set Review:

    I'm still a little surprised to have heard not a single vintage player talk about Precognition Field, a cheaper version of a card that once saw vintage play. I need to start paying attention to when you ask for card suggestions, because seeing a review for a vanilla 5 drop and a third unplayable Lich just stresses me out 🙂

    Well remember, we only review cards that are requested. If you don’t request it, there’s a good chance we won’t review it.

    As for reviewing bad cards, blame the people who requested them. You can see who they are on Twitter



  • @smmenen yeah, I wasn't trying to call you out explicitly, I'm more surprised that there wasn't a TMD thread, Twitter comment, or Facebook post anywhere I frequent, considering the sorts of cards that get mentioned. I know how the SMIP set reviews work. If you only reviewed the cards you and Kevin thought would definitely see vintage play, it would be a very short podcast indeed 🙂



  • Steve and Kevin, you're rules afficionados like me and I wonder if you noticed the wording on the Sagas. It's nothing immediately relevant but it got me thinking since it's unprecedent and actually creates a whole new timing for things to happen:

    alt text

    The important part being: "...after your draw step, add a lore counter."

    This means that putting the counter on a Saga doesn't use the stack. It isn't at the end of your draw step nor at the beginning of your main phase. It's in between them. It's not anything ultra-relevant, but it's clearly a new timing and new design space - never before we had things happening between phases/steps.



  • @brass-man When you ask the internet, you are very likely to get things like "Gushing Grannies" and "Boaty McBoatface". Or Yargle...


 

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