Single Card Discussion - Lavinia, Azorious Renegade

@chubbyrain very interesting discussion thus far.

The way that I look at this card is through a rubric similar to Mystic Remora, that is to say that in a mirror matchup the player that plays this card first is vastly advantaged. Therefore a turn one play of this is much more powerful than subsequent turns.

Paradoxical Outcome decks will undeniably be able to cast this on turn 1 via:

11x on colour producing lands (fetches, sans library)
2x moxes
4x opals
1x black lotus

With secondary non-mana utility cards

1x Time walk
1x Demonic Tutor
1x Petal (if played)
1x Repeal (in specific situations)
Etc

Thus approx 20 cards allow for some instance of a turn 1 Lavinia.

That is incredibly powerful. Especially considering that I've applied this card to an existing archetype with no changes to strategy.

NBA

@nba84 Yeah, that is a nightmare to calculate. I really don't think PO will maindeck the card as it dilutes the combo and space is pretty tight in most lists.

I think from PO's perspective it's powerful in the mirror but it is somewhat lacking against xerox as it doesn't help against Pyroblast. Does that make it better than Remora, Grid, or Kambal? We'll have to see how players apply it. There are certainly some interesting interplays there as Lavinia is good against Remora and Grid while bad against Kambal and Karakas. It will lead to cool deck building decisions. πŸ™‚

This card is nuts... just bananas to my eyes...i'd be runing 3-4 copies in any blu deck i'm playing. You don't realize the power of the one sided cotv here... and in the blu mirror the first guy to land this will see his win % improved by ALOT. Guys.... preorder your sets asap this card will be The New Mentor

Eh, another good hate cards gets printed, and once again all the big blue players are clutching their (Mox) pearls.

Vintage is a format defined by its β€œso many insane plays.” It’s not entirely unfair to complain about WotC repeated printing

Creature β€” Human
CMC 2
Stop having fun guys.

If I wanted to play the midrange creature deck mirror I would play Standard.

(I say that tongue in cheek as Standard is actually the best it’s been in years, with UW-based control and spell-based UR decks both viable and strong.)

last edited by evouga

@evouga I would push back that Vintage is merely about "so many insane plays," as you put it. I think many would argue that Vintage is about the most vast and varied card pool available in all of magic. Without a couple "let's slow down some of those insane plays" decks being viable in the format pretty much every good deck begins like:

Deck X:

Land
5-7 Blue Fetches
4-8 Blue Duals/basic islands
1 Library of Alexandria
0-1 Tolarian Academy

1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Emerald

Creatures
1 Monastery Mentor (very very often)
1-4 Snapcaster Mage (also often at least one and often 3-4 in any non-PO blue deck other than Oath and Landstill)

Instants
4 Force of Will
0-4 Mental Misstep (with many many decks running the full 4)
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Brainstorm
1 Dig Through Time
1-2 Flusterstorm

Sorceries
1 Gitaxian Probe
1 Ponder
3-4 Preordain (thankfully some PO lists have cut down a tiny bit on this card and it's puke-worthy boringness)
1 Time Walk
1 Treasure Cruise

So that is a minimum 33 cards that ALL the most played blue decks in the format share! If we got down to the nitty gritty of looking at PO vs. Jeskai Delve Control we would see an even more startling homogeneity. My point is, without "the fun police" I'm pretty sure that most players would just play insane 4 MOpal decks and turd all over the format without a second thought. The is definitely NOT the Vintage of meaningful card choices and deck choices that I want to be a part of. I, for one, am happy that they keep raising the bar on hate because maybe now every deck will NOT start with those same usual suspects. I am particularly interested to see if there will every be a critical mass of cheap and incidental hate for Dig + Cruise that it will actually be more advantageous to move towards something like Intuition AK again. I am so sick of restricted spells defining this format. They should be the spice of the format: you add what you think goes well with the dish, but you don't just dump all the spices into all your meals. Then all you've done is create a whole-lotta-yuck souffle.

Those are my thoughts.

I agree that some hate cards are needed to preserve metagame diversity, but according to mtgdecks.net/Vintage at least, the current metagame is 25% Paradoxical Outcome, 25% shops, and a long tail of other archetypes. Additionally https://mtgdecks.net/Vintage/most-played-cards does not bear out your hypothesis that all, or even most, decks play the same 33-card shell. There are more Basking Rootwallas in the format than Mentors (sure, Mentor is restricted, but still.)

It does not bother me in the least that almost all decks run power. Without these cards we're literally playing Legacy. What's the point?

@evouga except you're not playing legacy even if not all moxen show up in each deck (contrary to what most "sky is falling" Vintage enthusiasts might have you believe). It's fine to run moxen, even all of them, but it shouldn't be an automatic in a customizable card game. This isn't chess. There was a time when Chalice was unrestricted and a lot of "fairer" decks would elect to play 2-3 on color moxen because it was strategically prudent to do so. Were these the dark ages of Vintage? I don't think a lot of players would have said that back then. I want there to be more variance in building decks. That is 100% my goal for the format. I think any card that can make auto-starting with the same cast of characters NOT a given is a good card for the format.

@stormanimagus Without the one-sided and uncounterable Human 'fun police' we'll still have enough complex and fascinating decks to play against that keep blue decks in check.

Comparing PO and Jeskai Xerox isn't really 'getting down to the nitty gritty.' It doesn't matter if these two decks share many cards. How many cards some deck shares with another deck is insignificant if the decks as a whole play completely differently. In fact, to use your terms, Xerox could often be considered 'fun police' for PO, except the games still manage to be more interactive than blue vs hatebear games, despite PO being involved.

Also, regarding your response to evouga, 'almost all decks running power' is not the same as 'almost all decks running all moxen.' It's a fact, as you probably know, that there are many successful decks in the meta right now that don't run all moxen. So it isn't 'an automatic in a customizable card game' to run all moxen right now. Even without cards like Lavinia. Even without any literally one-sided hate card at all, I doubt all decks would want to run all moxen. Beyond some point it's just inefficient to include what amounts to colorless mana when you could be including spells instead.

In my opinion, hate cards that help nurture interesting deckbuilding and gameplay usually affect both players. The one-sidedness of hate cards should be the result of a board state produced by appropriate deckbuilding and in-game decisions by players in consideration of symmetrical effects, so that there are aspects to play around, play into, untangle, etc. for both players. One-sidedness should not be literally written on the textbox of single 2cmc cards that you slam onto the table turn 1, then again if/when it gets removed, so on and so forth.

Obviously what is 'interesting' depends on what you want from the game. But I think the majority of Vintage players, regardless of whether they play Shops, Xerox, Combo, or whatever else, are attracted to the format because of the many complex, or outright convoluted lines of play that emerge each turn as a result of the interactions among the cards in play and the cards that could be played. And this kind of gameplay is slowly being reduced as each new set brings more one-sided 'I don't care as long as I win' cards that are the result of WotC pushing what they think will be most popular with casual players, rather than promoting the kind of gameplay that many Vintage players love.

This is understandable, as WotC is a company interested in selling product. But in order to preserve and develop the unique intricacy and resulting appeal of Vintage gameplay, it may be necessary to simply ban some of these new cards that too easily reduce possible lines of play. Card diversity for the sake of card diversity doesn't necessarily promote engaging (or diverse, if diversity is important in this context) gameplay. I would rather play in a format with a smaller card pool, more card interactions, and more possible lines of play, than a format with a huge card pool with less interactions and less possible lines of play.

last edited by Guest

@juice-mane the one part I agree with on is that they could have easily made this card symmetrical and it would have still been fine. It would have, in fact, been WAAAAY better for the kinds of decks I like to build in that my dude decks would be the ONLY ones that would run it and other blue pilots wouldn't run it because it would limit their ability to play their spells. But I digress. I think your opinion is actually understandable. . . if you are coming from the assumption that blue-on-blue as it currently looks is way more interactive than blue vs. hatebears/humans or blue vs. shops or blue vs. dredge. . .

I couldn't disagree more.

What I personally find fascinating about Vintage is the wildly different starting points that decks can be founded from. I mean look at the format as it is right now!

  1. A viable deck that runs zero colored spells because it can jump the curve with a highly conditional reusable +3 mana land.

  2. Two viable decks that run to varying degrees around a land from Arabian Nights that is, on its surface, card disadvantage! One of these decks can actually win the game without resolving any spells and the other has effectively found a way to play around graveyard hate and run a moderately effect static hate package while beating down.

  3. A deck that revolves around giving your opponent creatures with a land to put into play dumb fatties with cool effects where the list of combinations of 3-4 dudes you can run is as limitless as your imagination. This deck also has recently featured cool tech like Slice and Dice and Archon of Valor's Reach. This deck can also relatively easily run 5-colors and so is ripe for creativity. It also has some natural foils and certain cards that are super effective vs. it.

  4. A deck that can make amazing use of Snapcaster Mage and that is able to not overcommit itself to one line of play or have one particularly weak inflection point. It is often infuriating to face this deck cause it doesn't have glaring weaknesses, but I'm glad it's part of the format. I would call Jeskai Mentor what Landstill kinda used to be. It's the 50/50 deck that good pilots can often leverage to 55/45/

  5. A flexible and blazing fast combo deck with some of the sickest and most consistent turn 1-2s I've seen since Flash.dec broke the format. In my opinion, Paradoxical Outcome ought to join some of its other blue outlaws on the restricted list.

  6. A still viable deck featuring a quick mana boost of BBB that can better play around the Outcome kryptonite of Stony Silence.

  7. A Colorless deck that isn't based around artifacts but rather aggressive Aliens.

7b. A version similar to the colorless version but that gets to run a taxing human soldier and her sister as well as that annoying priest that contains things.

  1. A bunch of wild 2-card combo decks, now with cards that are in a 'frenzy' to experiment with old combos that seek to cast free spinning dreidels to draw their whole deck.

  2. A fringe playable deck running little humans, wizards, spirits and such that is constantly doing what it can to contain the insanity of the rest of the format :P.

Now I think #9 on this list is playable, don't get me wrong. But I do think it is absolutely fair to have it be pushed a bit by WOTC because no hate-bear or human deck has carved out more than about 2% of the meta in any month and seeing it in a top 8 is essentially an aberration. So I think you are totally unfounded in whining about a 'fun police,' as you put it, that doesn't even really exist in any statistically relevant numbers. If humans starts being like 15% of the field but 25 or 30% of top 8s let's talk again and I will let you say "you told me so." I doubt that will happen any time soon. And that bet only counts for Cavern/Creature decks running this card, not for Jeskai or Delver decks running it. Those decks already exist and this card would just be there to hate on other blue decks and the mirror.

Again, I agree with you that they really didn't have to make this symmetrical and it still would have been abusable. Frankly, I wish that's what they had done. But, I think to say that it is wrong to print cards with these sorts of effects is just a cry from the status quo elite for things to remain stale and boring in Vintage. I like that they are trying to shake things up and I don't think this one card is going to curtail the broken things players do in Vintage in any meaningful way. It might just mean that more decks splash that Karakas in the sideboard or, you know, run ACTUAL removal and not just that 1 tutorable repeal. Or you can just NOT prepare for this card and occasionally get #wrekt by it πŸ˜› lolololol. I really don't give a flying fart if that makes you feel bad. Deal with it and start building your decks to deal with it.

Mike. . .

Drop.

last edited by Stormanimagus

I don't disagree with any particular point you're making, but I do want to point out that a deck does not have to have 30% metagame presence to be format-warping. Consider that Dredge is current around 10% of the metagame and yet the entire format plays with only half of a sideboard because of it.

@evouga that is true, but a player could realistically play a 4-5 round event and just "dodge" dredge and run zero cards for it because of its lack of higher % of the meta. At an 8-10 round event the odds of facing it at least once go waaay up and that is one of the reasons I love big events. They really test the mettle of a deck to face everything the format could throw at them.

last edited by Stormanimagus

To me it's always the same complaints by control-combo players. They want to mostly goldfish with counters, and get very irked when a new card would require them to have a maindeck answer that would weaken their matchup against other control-combo decks.

This new card here is strong, but it can be answered by pretty much ALL removal in the format. But people get all up in arms at the thought of putting 2-3 StP, Bolts or REB maindeck, or even Karakas.

I left this discussion when it went to the "let's complain about hate" usual thread. But man, are we REALLY using "dies to Bolt" arguments here? Haven't you ever read the famous David Price line of "there are no wrong threats, just wrong answers"? What happens when you fill your deck with 3 Plows and Karakas and your opponent just combos out? Or worse, you just don't draw them in time. Filling your deck with creature removal is not suboptimal because it makes your other combo-control matchups bad. It's suboptimal because you may not even have time to find those answers.

Remember when we had 4 Lodestone and 4 Mentor in the format what people would do? They actually would pack a bunch of creature removal in their decks. You know what happened a lot of the time? They died to those creature anyway, because once it's in play you either have the immediate answer or you lose. As much as I loathe this complaints on new hate-cards (the only way to compete with power without printing more powerful stuff is printing hate) no one is complaining of having to play creature removal, they are complaining that this gives the make a little bit more variance, since there will be more games like "He played Lodestone and I didn't have Bolt".

last edited by fsecco

@fsecco except Lavinia is nowhere near as powerful as Mentor or Lodestone cause it's a freaking 2/2! A. . . FREAKING. . . 2/2! If you can't beat that, then get adda the room!

-Storm

@stormanimagus Yep. Power and toughness is what determines how powerful a card is. Time to unrestrict every non-creature because they're not powerful.

@thecravenone That's clearly not the point and you're just being absurd.

A turn 1-2 Lodestone followed by another lock piece left you very little time to find an answer.
Mentor also usually gave you 2-3 turns to find an answer.
Creature removal was clearly not good against Lodestone and Mentor, but it's fine against this guy.

This guy prevents you from playing Moxen and betwen 0-6 spells in your deck, is a very slow clock and gets a lot worse as the game progresses.
Also, if you want it early every game, you need to run more copies, making it a risk since it's legendary.

"What happens when you fill your deck with 3 Plows and Karakas and your opponent just combos out? Or worse, you just don't draw them in time."
If you don't want to run answers to hate cards that's fine, but you can't complain about cards that prevent you from goldfishing if you're unwilling to answer them.

last edited by Wagner

@stormanimagus Did I say it was equally powerful? I just said people are willing to adapt to powerful creatures. If Lavinia ever proves to be such a thing, people will pack removal. It might work, or not, just like removal for Mentor and Lodestone didn't, but they'll try.

@wagner The theory-craft around Lavinia is that she'll also give you little time to react. You can discuss how good she is or isn't, but that's not my point.
This discussion assumes she's good enough in the meta to warrant MD answers. If she is, it's because she can give you a huge tempo boost and also make you the only player able to play countermagic. A Misstep protecting Lavinia is way powerful than a Misstep protecting Mentor, specially early game when you're the only one able to actually pay life for the Misstep.

Also, if she's that good, the answers to her are not that good. Once she's in play it becomes way harder to actually answer her, that's the point, and also the point of most playable Vintage creatures. Think Thalia, TKS, Smasher, Mentor, Golem, Snapcaster, etc. Once they hit play, the damage is already done.

You totally missed my point about answers x threats. You can simply not draw it and it'll be too late - even if you pack a ton of hate.

last edited by fsecco

@fsecco Of course you can not draw your answers, just like you can not draw your counters in time. But if no one is willing to run answers because you might not find them, then we're just back to goldfishing.

last edited by Wagner
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