Vintage 101: Gushstravaganza!


  • TMD Supporter

    Special thanks to Ryan Eberhart and Matthew Murray.

    http://www.mtggoldfish.com/articles/vintage-101-gushstravaganza

    If you've been paying attention, you know the gist of it. There are more Gush Mentor decks being played on MTGO than ever before. Workshop decks were barely present. I'm still hoping this is just an overreaction, much like the large amount of Tezzcast decks that were online immediately following the unrestriction of TfK.



  • @Islandswamp Gush is crazy. The gush numbers are crazy I mean... but I think the takeaway might just be that MTGO tends to be a little swinging in terms of deck population.


  • TMD Supporter

    @Topical_Island yeah I'm hoping things balance out eventually.



  • @Topical_Island said:

    @Islandswamp Gush is crazy. The gush numbers are crazy I mean... but I think the takeaway might just be that MTGO tends to be a little swinging in terms of deck population.

    Maybe. MTGO is certainly more flexible and players can swap decks much more easily than paper, but it's also a sharp (to use a gambling term) population of players who worry about and select events based on EV as much as anything else (there's even an event EV calculator on the goatbots site). [This is an MTGO generalization - not a fact about the Vintage P9 player population.]

    That's what will be interesting to see if it shakes out. Two big questions moving forward will be: (1) Will the 'average' player continue to play Mentor? MTGO loves a net deck, but net decking @The-Atog-Lord 's deck doesn't necessarily get you his playskill. Based on the April P9 data put together by @diophan and @ChubbyRain, it's not an 'easy' deck to play by any means (really, what Vintage deck is?). From the data, 27 players 'sleeved up' Gush decks and 8 of them made top 16. Those 8 players had a combined 41-15 match record while the other 19 players combined to go 13-37 with the deck (I assumed that the top 8 matchups were included in the breakdown, otherwise my numbers may be slightly off, but still severely skewed towards the top 8 finishers with the deck). There are probably several players wondering why folks continue to call it the 'best' deck (or maybe Kai is correct and Gush is really just a bad card). (2) How quickly will a 'solution' emerge? I think there are a lot of things to consider as to how quickly a 'solution' will be discovered, if one is needed. Most decks in the format are still playable and can still win, especially if you get paired with Joe Blow on Gush/Mentor instead of @The-Atog-Lord . Are they good choices if you want to win a daily or a P9, though? I don't know, it seems like it may depend more on who you get paired with - a Vintage expert or a Vintage novice. Parsing through the data (which is still a small set), Mentor isn't as 'obvious' a deck choice (for the masses) as folks give it credit for being. You still need to know how to pilot it (like so many other Vintage decks). I'll be curious to see how the next big paper events go as well as how the online meta continues to evolve...



  • It was interesting to see the VSL tend so far away from Gush Mentor....hopefully it's an indication of things to come! :D



  • @OurLadyInRed said:

    It was interesting to see the VSL tend so far away from Gush Mentor....hopefully it's an indication of things to come! :D

    I concur. I think this Power Nine Challenge is probably more a case of "a deck just disappeared, queue a proven deck."

    I think as this metagame develops decks are going to evolve.



  • @Winterstar Yeah... I'd say that since the player pool is "sharp" (I guess I agree with that... why not?) it stands to reason that if Gush is way overpopulated, then one of these "sharp" folks is going to start playing something expressly to beat Gush. It seems like that's the first step in Gush population control.


  • TMD Supporter

    I think it's pretty clear that Gush is the best unrestricted draw spell in the format.
    Mentor is the .most powerful grow creature in a vacuum. An early mentor is highly likely to win a game. It seems natural that people would pick it up.
    I'm sure people just wanted to play a proven strategy in a somewhat unknown meta.



  • @Winterstar said:

    @OurLadyInRed said:

    It was interesting to see the VSL tend so far away from Gush Mentor....hopefully it's an indication of things to come! :D

    I concur. I think this Power Nine Challenge is probably more a case of "a deck just disappeared, queue a proven deck."

    I think as this metagame develops decks are going to evolve.

    I suspect that had more to do with the unfamiliarity of the Pros with the format. If you look at the four "Vintage experts", Andy, Nick, Brian, and Steve, three of them opted for Gush decks and two for Gush Mentor.

    Regarding the Power 9 Challenge, it was actually underrepresented based on the performance of Gush in the Dailies (which is a sampling of winning decks rather than the complete metagame). Gush is nearly 60% of the 3-1 and 4-0 decks (and 80% of these decks include Mentor). The deck wins, a lot. While metagames invariably change, I really think people are underestimating how powerful Gush is with or without Mentor...



  • This is what happens when you hack a leg off a chair....it collapses.

    1 of 2 things can happen.

    Restrictions of:
    Oath of Druids
    Gush
    Monastery mentor
    Young pyromancer
    And others

    Or unrestrict Lodestone Golem.


  • TMD Supporter

    @gkraigher If they restrict Oath of Druids I'm quitting for real. I get one Oath but they can play four abrupt decay? No thanks.


  • TMD Supporter

    @ChubbyRain People are probably underestimating Gush, but I am not one of them.

    I've written about this a little bit, and the only reason I haven't written more about it is that I don't want to see the card restricted (at least not in proximity to myself writing about it, I don't want to contribute or get blamed).

    There are tons of great card-drawing spells in Vintage. Gush is just the cheapest. it's almost free. The loss of tempo sucks, except that if you build your deck correctly and play the card well the drawback is somewhere between negligible and a bonus! Most of the time people have to tap out to play Thirst or Gifts. This makes protecting those cards much tougher than Gush, you could potentially cast Gush and protect it with mana drain, Flusterstorm, Spell Pierce, and you've got two mana at least floating that you can pay for an opponent'spell pierce with, if you have a little extra you could probably pay for a flusterstorm too.
    Does anyone know the exact statistics of saturation of Gush VS TfK? I know Gush is played in more decks, but I don't know what the difference is. And the best Thirst deck seems to be playing a couple copies of Gush too...



  • @Islandswamp

    Outside the top 50 most commonly played spells (noncreature, nonland) according to MTGGoldfish.

    According to my data on Daily results...There was 1 3-1 deck that ran 2 Thirst for Knowledge (Isomorphic's Academy deck)...out of 85 total 4-0 and 3-1 decklists.


  • TMD Supporter

    @ChubbyRain Wow! I knew it would be a vast difference, but honestly I expected more.

    I really like casting Gush. Not just in Aggro/Control type decks. I love the Gushbond Storm decks quite a bit, so I'd be sad to see it go. I would expect to see fewer Delver/Pyro/Mentor type decks in the format if it was restricted, I don't know if that's a bad thing or not. By all accounts the format is more creature-centric than ever before, and that perhaps is a good thing.



  • @Islandswamp

    I'm with you man. I don't want to see more cards restricted, I want to see less.



  • Thanks again for another great piece, Joe. Always looking forward to Fridays, yours is one of two mtg articles I read nearly every week without fail.

    I don't think Oath is anyway near restrict-worthy, with the amount of hate that is commonly played against dredge that also hits Oath.Gush has been on the list before but if the current status of affairs continues my preference would be to un-restrict lodestone then restrict mentor before considering gush.

    Gush bond is something unique to vintage and was central to my first online deck before I got power, and I then graduated to gush pyro which was competitive even with only a couple of pieces of power I added as I went along. So I'd hate to see gush go as it can fuel budget strategies.



  • Thanks for the excellent article once again Joe. I think there should be no ore restrictions to balance things out, un-restrictions would be better in my opinion so that the metagame is even at a higher level of power rather than at a lower level. It's vintage after all, not modern.


  • TMD Supporter

    @kistrand I agree. I quit Modern when Pod was banned because I hated the constant bannings.



  • Good read. I'd like less restrictions and new printings in the Eternal-only sets to help balance things. Look how great Containment Priest was at addressing a tough to solve archtype(s). Flusterstorm, Dack and Portal also. If Gush is too good unrestrict something to try to shake it up, or print something like my invitational card, BB - 1/3 - Human Cleric Flash Chains of Mephistopheles :)

    This year we get a Commander product and Conspiracy II here's hoping these have some nice eternal playables.

    Conspiracy (August 26, 2016) and Eldritch Moon (July?) will be released before champs

    ... commander is unlikely to be out by then.


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