Is anyone enjoying this new meta?

I think I was mis-tagged on this one, I haven't read enough of this thread to know how Force of Will factors into the conversation 🙂

@brass-man Eh, I pointed out that if you say it's a two deck metagame and every deck is either a 4 Force or 4 Sphere deck, you actually cover one more deck in the top 32 of that week's challenge. So might as well argue for the restriction of Force. Didn't actually mean for that to happen...Probably wise not to read the rest of the thread.

Anyways, I'm getting tired of arguing about the health of the format. I think the death of paper Vintage is happening now because of the inertia that the high price of cards creates. Players end up heavily invested in the format, Wizards prints cards and the format changes, and those players are stuck playing a format they don't enjoy. At the same time, the high cost of entry keeps players who would enjoy the format from buying in.

Vintage has changed in the 6 years I've played. Instead of prison decks being the dominant Shops strategy, you have Ravager Shops. Instead of Mana Drain control decks, you have the Delve spells powering Blue tempo strategies. The format right now is skewed heavily towards aggro, tempo, and combo, leaving control/prison players wanting to essentially nuke the format with restrictions to every archetype. But it's only going to get worse because cards are restricted and not banned and Wizards currently designs cards that Vintage players consider to be "un-Vintage-y". I mean, it feels like most of this recent spoiler season was spent bitching about Lavinia and how hate is designed. No one except for me (and @fsecco) even thought Cindervines was good. They just wanted to complain because it was asymmetrical.

From what I can tell, it's taken its toll on paper Vintage. I used to go to local tournaments that were 32+ people and now I hear those tournaments are less than 16. Some of that is Old School and that makes sense - Old School is a format that allows players to play the decks they used to enjoy. At the same time, MTGO Vintage is going strong, despite the uncertainty of Arena. The challenge last week was 7 rounds, the league consistently stabilizes at over 100 players. I see interest in Vintage streams and hear about new players buying in because the prices are so low. It's two different environments, and that's the root of the problem.

last edited by ChubbyRain

Ah, it looks like I made the common (for me) mistake of being too glib and undercommunicating.

To clarify:

For most of my experience playing Vintage, there has been one dominant deck. In those metagames, most players are hoping things move from their one-deck metagame to a two deck metagame. To these players, the idea of a 3-deck metagame is mind-bogglingly diverse. Coming from that perspective, I thought it was funny to read people use the term "3-deck metagame" in a derogatory way. "3-deck metagame" still translates to "woah! so diverse!" in my old-vintage-player brain.

@chubbyrain said in Is anyone enjoying this new meta?:

No one except for me even thought Cindervines was good.

Hey! I want that sweet Cindervines cred too, c'mon hahahha

@fsecco Fixed, though you did bring up Kambal and then I had to tune out several posts where people tried to compare a RG Enchanment to a 1BW Creature (see point about the approach to card evaluation being unproductive).

@brass-man I'm not an old school Vintage player, and "three deck metagame" does still seem very diverse to me taking into account that that phrase refers to the number of tier one decks, rather than the number of viable decks period. Three tier one decks, approximately twice as many tier 1.5/2 archetypes, with room for rogue decks to be brewed and played credibly just sounds like what a diverse metagame looks like to me, regardless of format. An un-diverse metagame in my experience is one in which there is a single tier one deck, or a single deck-to-beat and a deck that counters that one, or a paucity of tier two archetypes to spice things up, or an impossibility of playing anything outside of the dominant archetypes without getting completely blown out. I don't think any of those describe the current Vintage metagame.

@chubbyrain said in Is anyone enjoying this new meta?:

@fsecco Fixed, though you did bring up Kambal and then I had to tune out several posts where people tried to compare a RG Enchanment to a 1BW Creature (see point about the approach to card evaluation being unproductive).

Hahahaha true. The thing is I like comparing cards as a starting point to evaluating cards. Problem is most people get tangled in the comparison and forget the differences. Cindervines has a bunch of differences to Kambal (color, type, extra removal), but it's a good starting point to compare it to Kambal and start from there. Good thing you were able to brew with it away from the Kambal role (I'm a terrible brewer myself).

The metagame is balanced and the root of today's complaints is the fact that each of the Big 4 decks are profoundly despised and loaded with disgusting play patterns that push the envelope of anything that has ever been allowed in Vintage without eventual abatement.

I call this the buffet of excrement. We have 4 options and they're all repulsive. Deer urine, cow droppings, maggot-infested underwear, and an unidentified biohazard from an old person's home. It's not that "Workshops needs a minor tweak to calibrate its win % vis-a-vis the rest of the format." It's that the whole infestation needs a spring cleaning, as Rich communicated in his interviews and as moorebrother here is beginning to witness more and moore (not a typo).

Appealing to metagame % and win-rates is part of a McNamara fallacy that omits too many experiential factors that otherwise make the game worth playing. We know it's "balanced." There are four options for the main course and they're all wrong.

I've started playing more on MTGO recently and I can't say my anecdotal experience supports the claim that Vintage is "solved" or a "three deck" format. I routinely lose to skilled players piloting Landstill, Dark Depths combo, some Arclight Phoenix contraption, some kind of Argothian Enchantress deck, etc etc.

If it were all PO decks, Shops, and Dredge I would be winning constantly 😉

@chubbyrain said in Is anyone enjoying this new meta?:

From what I can tell, it's taken its toll on paper Vintage. I used to go to local tournaments that were 32+ people and now I hear those tournaments are less than 16. Some of that is Old School and that makes sense - Old School is a format that allows players to play the decks they used to enjoy.

The problem with Old School is that the format's gratuitously elitist reprint and proxy policy basically guarantees no new players enter the format. I've been collecting cards since Revised yet I would need to spend my entire life savings to build an Old School deck.

These debates are messy because people are talking past each other. Even worse, some people are saying one thing when they mean another.

To disaggregate a bit:

  1. Diversity - is the format diverse? Are there a sufficiently large enough number of viable decks?

  2. Balance - is the format balanced? This is measured by overall win rates: Is there a deck with a much higher win percentage than others? Or is the format actually competitive in terms of win rate.

  3. Polarization - Are the matchups close or polarized? This is measured by match-to-match win rates. You can have both diversity and balance, but still have a high degree of matchup polarization (The extrene version of this is Rock, Paper, Scissors, with 0% or 100% win rates, depending on the match).

  4. Interactivity - do the matchups "feel" skill intensive? In other words, do decisions players make matter?

In some respects, all four questions can be assessed empirically. The first three are largely quantitative questions. Although the fourth is more qualitative, there are empirical tools that can be used, such as players surveys, likert scales, and also assessing whether skill correlates with outcomes.

This data set can help answer: http://www.themanadrain.com/topic/2419/mtgo-vintage-challenge-compiled-results

That database has both 1) overall match win rates, and 2) match to match win rates, so we can use that to assess the answers to each of the first three questions directly.

But we should be clear on what we mean. When @brianpk80 says it's "We know it's "balanced.", actually that might not be true. It's diverse (which is what I think he means), but that doesn't mean the format is balanced. Looking at the win rates, I see Shops win rates is creeping up in the last month. Or, even if it is balanced, that doesn't mean the matchups aren't polarized.

My concern is that matchups are increasingly polarizing, and that polarity is correllated with a feeling of non-interactivity. I fear that Lavinia may be polarizing match-to-match win rates, even if that isn't fully reflected in overall win rates.

Interesting to note, though, that in @k0dy's dataset that PO and Shops have 50% win rates against each other, with something like 700 matches in the dataset. That's as close a matchup as you can get!

last edited by Smmenen

One idea I've suggested in the past is testing Vintage tournaments where matches last more than three games (by adopting a best-of-five format, say). This is one way to combat the variance/"polarity" concern articulated in this thread. Individual games might still be blowouts but the outcome of the match would shift more towards deckbuilding and play skill than blind luck.

@evouga said in Is anyone enjoying this new meta?:

One idea I've suggested in the past is testing Vintage tournaments where matches last more than three games (by adopting a best-of-five format, say). This is one way to combat the variance/"polarity" concern articulated in this thread. Individual games might still be blowouts but the outcome of the match would shift more towards deckbuilding and play skill than blind luck.

I would love a best of five format, this would solve play/draw issues, help deal with variance, and (hopefully) hate out the bogeymen of the format.

@smmenen I like the way that you approached this. My feelings about the meta were more about polarization than Diversity and Balance. I have a difficult time linking interactivity to enjoyment of Magic.

I took my own advice and played something different and a little janky. I played Cindervines since @ChubbyRain had some much fun with it and I did not take it too seriously and I am having fun again.

@evouga said in Is anyone enjoying this new meta?:

One idea I've suggested in the past is testing Vintage tournaments where matches last more than three games (by adopting a best-of-five format, say). This is one way to combat the variance/"polarity" concern articulated in this thread. Individual games might still be blowouts but the outcome of the match would shift more towards deckbuilding and play skill than blind luck.

Just to be clear, matchup polarization & variance arent the same thing.

You can have extreme polarization with zero variance, as in rock, paper, scissors.

In fact, Turning matchups to best of five would actually heighten/increase/exacerbate polarization, because it would reduce the wins underdogs accrue through luck.

That doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea; just that it wouldn’t reduce polarization.

@craw_advantage said in Is anyone enjoying this new meta?:

@nedleeds said in Is anyone enjoying this new meta

Let me know when you choose not to include a card in a new deck (without your own 3.8 Missteps) because it gets countered by Force of Will.

I think this effect has been somewhat overstated. Most decklists I see still tend to favor 1cmc spells over 2cmc alternatives, even when the latter exists as a stronger version of the effect.

And those decklists all play Misstep. Even Dredge. Outcome with Preordain is maybe the lone exception among the 4 decks that get played in Vintage.

@john-cox said in Is anyone enjoying this new meta?:

@nedleeds FWIW I have a lot of turn one kill decks I can't play because they auto loose to Force of will.

Sure but "turn one kill decks" is a strategy, not a card.

@nedleeds said in Is anyone enjoying this new meta?:

@craw_advantage said in Is anyone enjoying this new meta?:

@nedleeds said in Is anyone enjoying this new meta

Let me know when you choose not to include a card in a new deck (without your own 3.8 Missteps) because it gets countered by Force of Will.

I think this effect has been somewhat overstated. Most decklists I see still tend to favor 1cmc spells over 2cmc alternatives, even when the latter exists as a stronger version of the effect.

And those decklists all play Misstep. Even Dredge. Outcome with Preordain is maybe the lone exception among the 4 decks that get played in Vintage.

Yeah, but I don't think that's such a mitigating factor. Decks play Misstep if it fits into their gameplan because it's a powerful card. Protecting your own spells is nice, but you'd rather use it to counter something your opponent plays, right? If Misstep were really fundamentally distorting the value of 1cmc versus 2cmc spells, I think people would choose to play superior un-Missteppable versions of cards and thus preserve their Missteps in hand and pull way ahead in the Misstep wars.

@craw_advantage said in Is anyone enjoying this new meta?:

@nedleeds said in Is anyone enjoying this new meta?:

@craw_advantage said in Is anyone enjoying this new meta?:

@nedleeds said in Is anyone enjoying this new meta

Let me know when you choose not to include a card in a new deck (without your own 3.8 Missteps) because it gets countered by Force of Will.

I think this effect has been somewhat overstated. Most decklists I see still tend to favor 1cmc spells over 2cmc alternatives, even when the latter exists as a stronger version of the effect.

And those decklists all play Misstep. Even Dredge. Outcome with Preordain is maybe the lone exception among the 4 decks that get played in Vintage.

Decks play Misstep if it fits into their gameplan because it's a powerful card. Protecting your own spells is nice, but you'd rather use it to counter something your opponent plays, right? If Misstep were really fundamentally distorting the value of 1cmc versus 2cmc spells, I think people would choose to play superior un-Missteppable versions of cards and thus preserve their Missteps in hand and pull way ahead in the Misstep wars.

Decks play Misstep because it's 0 or +1 mana and you need it to Misstep Missteps as well as other efficient spells. If it were really to counter other spells it would probably get played more in Shops (though multiple Spheres pose an issue with casting it off Shop).

It's gotten a little bit better I guess, I mean a couple of years ago Misstep was +1 mana and +1 token. Misstep as a 0 mana / +1 mana investment against casting a Deathrite Shaman or a Thoughtseize is such a complete tempo and mana investment beating that if you choose to include the latter two cards in your deck you are compelled to either play your own 3.8 Missteps or choose to just get destroyed by every non PO, non Shop deck.

Some people don't mind and just stuff every deck they make with them, they don't mind the 'i haz more' play pattern either. I think it's a miserable card at design time and at run time.

There's also the cascading effects of Misstep like making Redpyroblast unplayable without it. There could be competitive decks with red that could actually resolve the card Pyroblast against opposing blue decks without watering down their 75 with their own 3.8 Missteps.

Cards like Mystic Remora, DRS, Hierarch, and 100 other creatures.

Then there's the game one effect vs. sphere decks where the 3.8misstep.dec player keeps a 2 misstep hand just has a non-game.

I know some players have only begun playing on the last 4-5 years but there was actually a time when Misstep Incest (tm) hadn't taken ahold yet. It was before delve, dack, tokens ruined Vintage forever.

http://www.tcdecks.net/deck.php?id=6153

483 players. Basically the biggest paper sanctioned Vintage event ever (?). Top 8 has 2 Missteps in a sideboard. But once decks begin to play it in large numbers maindeck, then you are forced to also play it or skip 1 because nothing beats free.

@nedleeds said in Is anyone enjoying this new meta?:

@john-cox said in Is anyone enjoying this new meta?:

@nedleeds FWIW I have a lot of turn one kill decks I can't play because they auto loose to Force of will.

Sure but "turn one kill decks" is a strategy, not a card.

I'm not playing Goblin Charbelcher because of force of will. I think Two Card monte would get really good without Force of will too, so theres Helm of Obedience and Painter's Servant/Grindstone I'm not playing because of Force of will.
I know people play these decks, but the metas are light on blue and the decks get a lot better without FoW in the pool.

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