2003 to 2007. Mana Drains and Brainstorms vs Smokestacks and Welders. Dragon, Sui Black, Madness, Oshawa Stompy, Tog, Keeper, Long, Control Slaver, TNT, GAT, Masknought, Lockjaw, Duct tape. Real games that lasted more than 3 turns before someone's fate was sealed. 4 Brainstorms, no Orchards, no Pokemon decks. "In play" and "RFG" terminology, C-wishing Ancestral back to your hand after Skeletal Scrying it away, Mana Burn, floating mana through upkeep into draw phase after tapping down to wire. No planeswalkers, mirror effects (Shroud vs Hexproof), Wizards not dumbing down the game to make it easier for 12 year olds to understand. Old borders, less reprints, no mythical. I think I forgot to mention 4 Brainstorm. Mana Drains, Mana Drains, Mana Drains. Oh, and Brainstorm.
@moorebrother1 You do realize that for many of us MTGO is the only place we can play vintage since there is no paper community, and for younger players the only way they can afford entering the format? I think without MTGO, vintage would be rather dead by now.
Most of us have been playing well before Khans, and all the restrictions so I think we are all a bit nostalgic for the time periods prior. Shops was pretty awful to play with/against during the Lodestone era, but even then Shops had a few variants and there were plenty of ebbs and flows within what blue and fish decks were the best. The macro meta percentages may have been similar, but those variants within each archetype gave the format a better feel. All the restrictions to Workshops have killed the variation in that archetype. The new printings / restrictions to blue has hurt the variation there as well. So the issue is not so much the macrotypes now, its that there is very little variation within some of the major macrotypes. E.g., Workshops has basically 1 variant: Ravager Shops.
Wizards missed a big opportunity from Khans to pre-Chalice restriction to make a statement in regards to the restricted list. They could have gone the route of unrestricting a bunch of storm cards. Instead, they went the route of policing the format, continued that route to the point of restricting such cards as Thorn of Amethyst and we are left with what it is.
The biggest problem with all these restrictions to me seems to be the fact that the format is slow to adapt, and innovate (due to low numbers of players and high cost of switching decks). So when you kill a deck (or multiple decks) as some of these restrictions did then it takes a long time for the format to recover and regain whatever diversity it previously had.
@kistrand I understand that MTGO has increased the audience of the format but for a lot of us the "Golden Age" was before MTGO. I know the costs are crazy, I play Old School and trust me the costs are way worst there.
I think proxy tournaments offer a social place to play and still give players a place to innovate.
My issue with MTGO is that a fairly large chunk of the players do NOT have the cards and are only invested in the format via MTGO.
My other issue with MTGO is that player like myself who is invested in paper and continues to make the investment in paper has the horrible choice of buying cards twice.
I bought into MTGO then I bought in a second time to update my decks spending a considerable amount of money. I looked into getting out to realize that I would only get 30% back.
The "fun" I have playing magic and especially Vintage is playing with players socially.
I can tell you that our measure of Vintage is lopsided since we use MTGO to measure the format on a weekly basis then we freak out over paper results from large tournaments where only people who own cards can play.
@smmenen I do not think that anyone disagrees with you that the format is healthy now. The point is that the format for many of us is different and to be honest, I'm not sure I like it.
I have been playing almost as long as you and I have seen so many shifts over this years and this last shift is a very large one for us older players.
It takes time for people to adjust to a new normal and to see if they like it. Most of the "feelings" are about adjustment. Some people may take a break, some will quit and we hopefully will see some new faces - that's just how this works.
The hard part is that the costs make it so hard to get in that we may not get as many new faces as we need.
My biggest problem is how idiotproof the format has become. You can literally pass turn to your opponent turn 1, let them draw a card, play a land, and ANCESTRAL ON THE FUCKING END STEP like you have no idea how to play Magic: The Gathering, and it doesn't matter because the first Outcome says U: Draw 3, then the second says 0: Draw 5, add 1UR to your Pool, and the third says "congrats moron, skill game".
I like the current metagame actually, and I don't think anything should be restricted at the moment. I really don't get why anyone would want Mental Misstep restricted in particular.
I would, however, like to see Channel, Imperial Seal, Mystical Tutor, Fastbond and Flash unrestricted. Probably a few more cards could come off the restricted list as well.
@vaughnbros I think I share your sentiments, in the sense that perhaps the best metric is not the diversity between specific decks (such as PO, Shops, Oath, Dredge, etc) but the variety of single cards and numbers of said cards within each specific deck.
I personally believe that this homogenization of each particular deck type is partially due to the relative ease of switching between decks on MTGO; as well as perhaps the abundance of information on 'the best strategy' espoused via MTGO aggregation websites (mtgotop8, mtggoldish).
Net decking is certainly a thing that has become much more common due to MTGO.
I know from previously playing a lot of Workshops (and still playing it occasionally) that there is just a vast difference between Ravager shops and other builds at this point. Even at Martello Shops peak there were still some other builds, like Terra Nova and Slash Panther Shops, that weren't that far behind it. The restrictions to all of the lock pieces really forces the deck to be an aggro deck, and doesn't let it be a control deck that it used to be capable of being.
For me the golden eras of vintage are the gifts era (2005ish) and the second gush era (2009ish although there wasn't a whole lot of diversity then)
In both of those eras there were decent paper scenes, and you could buy a paper vintage deck for less than a legacy deck right now. I really enjoyed vintage a lot back then so I guess I'm biased.