I took a little break from Magic and I’m coming back into Vintage now. I have been looking at the decks making top 8’s and I am seeing a significant increase in non-blue based decks in the top 8. Looking at numbers from a few sites the top 8 is about 40% to 50% non-blue. Blue decks are a big bucket count Xerox, PO, BUG, Oath and so on.

I was very excited about the new cards and if the format is leaning more on creatures and non-blue then planeswalkers are not great in this meta. It is obvious that planewalkers are great but they are not very good against creature heavy decks.

Vintage is hyper-efficient right now but and creature based decks do well in a hyper efficient format. PO and Xerox are by far the largest part of the Vintage meta game.

Question is are most decks played still blue based decks? Or have we hit a tipping point where non-blue will maintain the 40% to 50% make up in the meta?

last edited by moorebrother1

I've recently gotten back into vintage myself. The increase in non-blue decks is something that I have also noticed. It seems like the new Karn is the cause for this. It can go in decks like Eldrazi, Shops, Dark Depths, and probably others. Karn gives the Eldrazi a means to basically end the game with Lattice, but can also be used for utility. Eldrazi was already very good, but this put it in a much better spot against artifact based decks.

Since Karn can lock out artifact decks while being good against Xerox it seems like it should continue to take more space in the meta. There seems to be much more Dredge than there used to be. I am not really informed about its good and bad matchups, but I know it is strong against Xerox. The last challenge also had more Oath than usual, which seems normal because it does better against Shops and creature decks than decks like RWU Xerox and Paradoxical Outcome decks.

When Oath is played more, Fish normally becomes played more. I actually played quite a few Fish decks in league today. I would think Xerox strategies would need to respond by focusing on artifact removal rather than focusing on blue match ups.

Vintage is still blue. Decks are either blue or their strategy revolves around something that beats blue. Despite shops being the best deck in the format, imho, its a not a shops format.
Shops main deck card choices are typically chosen to beat blue. Blue decks main deck choices are typically chosen to beat blue. If you go into a relatively unknown meta you are more likely to find 2-4 mental misstep than you are 2-4 hurkyl's recall for example.
Vintage is blue based.

It's not blue based so much as it's blue-centric.

Any deck you build is likely built around the idea of "How do I interact with blue decks" because they are so prominent a pillar of the format. While Shops and Dredge are as well, the planning for them is often much less of a consideration since it is often "play hate from this approved and tested list of hate cards", where as with blue you often have to think of reactive ways to deal with them or how you play on the stack, since they can attack and win from various angles.

We play the most powerful cards ever printed in MTG, and a lot of them happen to be blue. Until this changes, Vintage will always be blue-centric.

@hrishi said in Is vintage a blue format?:

We play the most powerful cards ever printed in MTG, and a lot of them happen to be blue.

I'm still not entirely sure why prized amalgam is blue but I'm not complaining

@hrishi That is an interesting point. Wizards has been printing better and better creatures. A few are blue creatures like Snapcaster, and True name but most of them are not blue. As we see more creatures and more planeswalkers, especially non-blue ones, the power cards from the old sets have to complete on a new level.

We will also see some deck play the core blue spells will really good creatures like Survival. And we see black based combo play a much smaller number of blue spells.

Wizards has made some new blue spells that were just overpowered like Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time but my guess is that it will be a very long time before that happens again.

I am guessing that the printing of better creatures and lands with more non-blue planeswalkers is going to push blue closer to 50%. If players were evaluating on best options over nostalgia we would see less blue overall in the format. You can already see that starting to happen in Legacy as Brainstorm decks are getting squeezed by the chalice decks and aggro decks.

@moorebrother1 Better creatures and planeswalkers definitely. Better spells, though? Most of the most powerful spells are still the madness from early days like Ancestral Recall/Time Walk/Tinker etc. I don't think we're getting close yet, though of course it's possible. Even if we do, it does feel like a lot of the powerful spells these days also happen to be in blue anyway, such as Treasure Cruise or Dig through Time!

last edited by Hrishi

@hrishi said in Is vintage a blue format?:

@moorebrother1 Better creatures and planeswalkers definitely. Better spells, though? Most of the most powerful spells are still the madness from early days like Ancestral Recall/Time Walk/Tinker etc. I don't think we're getting close yet, though of course it's possible. Even if we do, it does feel like a lot of the powerful spells these days also happen to be in blue anyway, such as Treasure Cruise or Dig through Time!

Spells in the higher end of CMC spectrum are absolutley getting better (or existing for that matter). It's the lower end of CMC where there is no real room for growth. Typically the best we can hope for is something with an alternate casing cost to punch its way into the format, and ideally if they want blue to not be the dominant format they are going to have to give another color some sort of viable counter magic.

I personally always thought that blues slice of the color pie was absurd because so much of it is not shared out to the other colors. I don't think its fair that blue have 99% of all the available countermagic in the game. It would be like if green was the only color with creatres larger than 4 power or black was the only color with removal.

I'm going to go ahead and say that a red force of will that does not play well with actual force of will is the key to opening up the game a bit more and making it less blue.

@protoaddict said in Is vintage a blue format?:

I'm going to go ahead and say that a red force of will that does not play well with actual force of will is the key to opening up the game a bit more and making it less blue.

A red force of will actually makes sense:
Spell Burn 3RR
Counter target spell
Instead of paying this spells casting cost you may pay 1 life and exile a red card from your hand

flavor text: crimson the red didn't have time to waste with this encounter. Rather than waiting to see what his opponent would throw at him, Crimson used all his resources to burn the magic out of his opponent as soon he started chanting a spell.

@protoaddict I really like your point of view here. My stance has evolved a bit over time on the counterspell debate.

I think counterspells can mold a format in a very distorted way. If you look at standard it has recently turned into a heavy counter format and legacy is a heavy counter format which makes most decks hyper-efficient similar to vintage.

Modern on the other had does not have very many good counter options and the format is more aggro. It’s still efficient but in a different way.

I firmly believe the reliance on counter magic takes a certain level of fun out of the game. On the other hand, just doing whatever you want does not give us much of a game either.

My hope is that the uncounterable creatures get better but no too much better. This also feeds into the issue you just described because most of those creatures are green.

last edited by moorebrother1

@khahan said in Is vintage a blue format?:

@protoaddict said in Is vintage a blue format?:

I'm going to go ahead and say that a red force of will that does not play well with actual force of will is the key to opening up the game a bit more and making it less blue.

A red force of will actually makes sense:
Spell Burn 3RR
Counter target spell
Instead of paying this spells casting cost you may pay 1 life and exile a red card from your hand

flavor text: crimson the red didn't have time to waste with this encounter. Rather than waiting to see what his opponent would throw at him, Crimson used all his resources to burn the magic out of his opponent as soon he started chanting a spell.

See to me this works too well with Force of will, in that it can work at all with it. I actually think a red force would have to be very red in flavor but much more limited

Actual Force of will
RRR
Exile target spell. Exile this spell.
Instead of paying this spells casting cost you may reveal a red card from your hand and pay half your total life, rounded up.

@moorebrother1 said in Is vintage a blue format?:

@protoaddict I really like your point of view here. My stance has evolved a bit over time on the counterspell debate.

I think counterspells can mold a format in a very distorted way. If you look at standard it has recently turned into a heavy counter format and legacy is a heavy counter format which makes most decks hyper-efficient similar to vintage.

Modern on the other had does not have very many good counter options and the format is more aggro. It’s still efficient but in a different way.

I firmly believe the reliance on counter magic takes a certain level of fun out of the game. On the other hand, just doing whatever you want does not give us much of a game either.

My hope is that the uncounterable creatures get better but no too much better. This also feeds into the issue you just described because most of those creatures are green.

Counterspells, and specifically free ones, are a necessary evil in any format that has turn 0 kills, so I do not specifically think they are bad for the game. I just do not like that blue has near exclusivity over them. I do not think it is unreasonable for every other color to have some flavor based counter magic, and in fact in the early years and even up into the modern card frame era they did. REB, Avoid fate, Dash Hopes, Withering boon, and Mana Tithe are all good examples of flavorful counter spells. The biggest issue with them is that they are just not good enough, but that does not mean that blue needs to have sole exclusivity over 99% of the playable countermagic in the game.

To me, the mechanic of Countering is no different than the mechanic of drawing cards or direct damage. One color can be amazing at it but that does not mean every color cannot have access to it in some shape.

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