The Restrictions Are Just a First Step Toward Fixing Vintage: Brian DeMars

Great article written by Brian DeMars, long time Vintage player and lover, features other big names in the Vintage community along with some thoughts from people on Twitter.

https://www.channelfireball.com/articles/the-restrictions-are-just-a-first-step-toward-fixing-vintage/

Well written and articulated. 9/10. I hope they do continue the steps to make the format I love a more enjoyable one.

I really don't understand the attitude here towards Dredge. 14% metagame share was high enough to merit two restrictions, but now "Dredge will be a deck to watch–if it’s metagame % creeps up, nix another card until it feels like a reasonable deck." What metagame percent is acceptable if 14% is enough to trigger multiple restrictions? What does feeling like a reasonable deck have to do with anything? If you think Dredge is fundamentally unreasonable when it's just another deck you should just restrict Bazaar and be done with it. Dressing it up as some sort of concern over metagame share is pure nonsense.

@ajfirecracker
Or the dredge mechanic in general. Has dredge? Restricted. Problem (possibly) solved.

Demars always hates dredge. To him it shouldn't be a viable archetype. Take any of his vintage musings with a huge grain of salt.

"Mishra’s Workshop is directly responsible for SIX restrictions now"

I would like to know how many cards are restricted due to islands...

But..., nice article.

To me it's more about how busted the deck is. If the deck has a 14% metagame share with other decks having to pack 7-10 dedicated slots to play against it, it's clearly warping the metagame. Dredge is the deck we kinda get used to waste 6 sideboard slots. Pre-ban the sideboard had to be 12-14 slots for dredge and artifact.

About the 'island' comment, you should compare island to wastes. When we see a land with 'tap to add UUU. Use this mana only to cast instant or sorcery spells' it will make sense. Mishra's workshop has made a lot of cards get restricted so that it doesn't need to, and that's a pretty loud fact.

Is 40-50% enough to restrict multiple cards? That's the percentage of top 8's BUGx had in August and it being one of the few decks that could compete with Dredge without being completely warped was a major reason why. Focusing solely on a Dredge's metagame percentage from August as a counterpoint to restriction is an intellectually dishonest argument. It's cherrypicking a statistic and not providing relevant context.

last edited by ChubbyRain

@gutocmtt said in The Restrictions Are Just a First Step Toward Fixing Vintage: Brian DeMars:

To me it's more about how busted the deck is. If the deck has a 14% metagame share with other decks having to pack 7-10 dedicated slots to play against it, it's clearly warping the metagame. Dredge is the deck we kinda get used to waste 6 sideboard slots. Pre-ban the sideboard had to be 12-14 slots for dredge and artifact.

About the 'island' comment, you should compare island to wastes. When we see a land with 'tap to add UUU. Use this mana only to cast instant or sorcery spells' it will make sense. Mishra's workshop has made a lot of cards get restricted so that it doesn't need to, and that's a pretty loud fact.

Jejeje... It was only a "joke". But, it's funny that Manu people are speaking about highlander mud, when blue decks are commander decks with 4 fows since... when? 2008?

@gutocmtt said in The Restrictions Are Just a First Step Toward Fixing Vintage: Brian DeMars:

About the 'island' comment, you should compare island to wastes. When we see a land with 'tap to add UUU. Use this mana only to cast instant or sorcery spells' it will make sense. Mishra's workshop has made a lot of cards get restricted so that it doesn't need to, and that's a pretty loud fact.

I hate this logic so much. I thought we were over the "Workshop is Black Lotus" argument. Artifact mana is way more restrictive than that and makes deckbuilding for it very eschewed. A "Black Lotus land" would've been restricted ages ago since if wouldn't have any deckbuilding constraints at all. They're 2 entirely different things.

@nsammael said in The Restrictions Are Just a First Step Toward Fixing Vintage: Brian DeMars:

I would like to know how many cards are restricted due to islands...

Probably just Gush.

These are also bad arguments:

  1. Saying Mishra's Workshop is not literally Black Lotus conflates the meaning of the argument and ignores the intent. Mishra's Workshop creates a tempo advantage, enables Shops decks to jump the curve, and makes the modern costing of Artifacts problematic as you can't take Workshop into consideration when pricing cards for Standard. Black Lotus has a similar effect in jumping the curve and effectively powering out spells earlier than they were intended to be cast. The type restriction is not relevant to the argument being made. Whether or not you believe this should be a core part of the Vintage experience or limited via restriction is the essence of the argument, but trying to deflect the analogue away from its intent is disingenuous. @fsecco, it's pretty clear what you hate isn't "logic" because you ignored @GutoCmtt's inclusion of a type restriction in the analogy. You just had a reflexive action to what was said, which is the flaw of these B&R threads.

  2. The argument that "Mishra's Workshop had caused a lot of cards to be restricted" is popular and not limited to Guto, but I would argue it's specious. Vintage has the limitation that a portion of many decks' manabases is composed of artifacts, which honestly makes cards like Chalice, Trinisphere, and Karn pretty incompatible with the format. I'm not sure how many people have tried Karndrazi or similar decks, but each of these cards is incredibly powerful on the play because you are forcing your opponent to play Legacy while you continue playing Vintage. When you get to cast a 4 drop on turn 1 and your opponent plays a 1 drop (or nothing because of a Sphere or Trinisphere), that's not a very interactive game of Magic. The reason Chalice Trinisphere and Karn and restricted is more a product of Moxen than a product of Mishra's Workshop. Similarly, restricting Forge is suspect given the amount of Moxen and other fast mana available in Vintage and not in other formats. Forge sees play in Legacy with the Sol lands in decks like Bomberman because of how broken it is with 0 casting cost artifacts. Having played the deck, I am skeptical that simply restricting Workshop would be enough to diminish the decks brokenness. That leaves Thorn of Amethyst and Lodestone Golem as cards that were likely restricted because of Mishra's Workshop. Maybe Memory Jar? Pretty skeptical on that one as well. In any case, I wouldn't say there are a ton of artifacts restricted just because of one card. Rather a confluence of factors contributed.

  3. And comparing highlander Blue decks, this is a false dichotomy because people are using this to discuss specific restrictions. What restrictions are being contemplated so other Blue cards can come off the restricted list? There isn't a fix for Blue. The color is broken by Magic's history. Artifacts and graveyard based decks are arguably broken in part because of a singleton land.

Without Workshop, Forge is on a similar power level as other Future sight effects. If just having the effect with more colorless in its cost was strong enough, we’d have seen more impact from experimental frenzy getting printed.

If only I could just put 7-10 cards in my sideboard and near autowin a matchup against decks like BUG, Shops, and Xerox. Dredge is the weakest of the big 3. Restricting Troll changes basically no part of this.

Island and Force of Will are responsible for a number of restrictions. Gush being a big one, but also Brainstorm, Library, Ponder, Dig, TC, Scroll.

Eh, merchant scroll is restricted because of Ancestral Recall. As stated Island isn't at fault, the power lvl of early Blue is. Guaranteed if there was a land that tapped for 2 Blue that could only be used for Instants it would be auto restricted as everyone complained about turn 1 Counters to everything. And it feels no different when your opponent drops 1-2 spheres turn 1. They might as well have stopped your first X spells with counters. Issue is at least Counters are 1-1, or in the case of FoW 2-1, Spheres can literally effectively "counter" all your spells.

Don't take this as me on the side of restricting shops, just notating the difference between Island vs Shop debacle

last edited by Serracollector

@serracollector
That’s not really an accurate comp though. Spheres sometimes effectively counter all your spells, sometimes they just make you play them a turn later and are basically irrelevant.

Of course, none of that matters. We probably all know Vintage would be better if Bazaar and Shop were restricted 🤷🏻♂

@serracollector

Being able to 2-1 yourself to prevent any spell is a big reason drawing cards in blue is so good. 1UU to draw 3 isn’t really even that good.

@vaughnbros said in The Restrictions Are Just a First Step Toward Fixing Vintage: Brian DeMars:

Without Workshop, Forge is on a similar power level as other Future sight effects. If just having the effect with more colorless in its cost was strong enough, we’d have seen more impact from experimental frenzy getting printed.

If only I could just put 7-10 cards in my sideboard and near autowin a matchup against decks like BUG, Shops, and Xerox. Dredge is the weakest of the big 3. Restricting Troll changes basically no part of this.

Island and Force of Will are responsible for a number of restrictions. Gush being a big one, but also Brainstorm, Library, Ponder, Dig, TC, Scroll.

Don't blame little old island for the sins of Fetchlands, which made brainstorm playable (and ultimately, restriction worthy) and fueled delve spells into restriction. Forget the zillions of additional hours spent shuffling since Onslaught block in vintage, legacy and extended/modern, not to mention the bans these cards have led to in other formats (DRS, Divining Top, ect...).

@chubbyrain said in The Restrictions Are Just a First Step Toward Fixing Vintage: Brian DeMars:

Saying Mishra's Workshop is not literally Black Lotus conflates the meaning of the argument and ignores the intent. Mishra's Workshop creates a tempo advantage, enables Shops decks to jump the curve, and makes the modern costing of Artifacts problematic as you can't take Workshop into consideration when pricing cards for Standard. Black Lotus has a similar effect in jumping the curve and effectively powering out spells earlier than they were intended to be cast. The type restriction is not relevant to the argument being made. Whether or not you believe this should be a core part of the Vintage experience or limited via restriction is the essence of the argument, but trying to deflect the analogue away from its intent is disingenuous. @fsecco, it's pretty clear what you hate isn't "logic" because you ignored @GutoCmtt's inclusion of a type restriction in the analogy. You just had a reflexive action to what was said, which is the flaw of these B&R threads.

Ancestral Recall, FoW, Tinker, Time Walk (etc) also break away from the tempo of the game and are basically all in one color. Workshop just compensates that, exactly because it cannot cast these undercosted cards. Casting Ancestral with 1 land (when if it costed 2U we'd probably play it) is exactly what Workshop does. Time Walk should cost 3UU as is the usual, so playing it with 2 mana is tempo-wise similar to what Workshop does for artifacts. It just makes as there is one kind of card (artifacts) that can actually fight the tempo war against blue. That's why it's so different. I said this many times here, and I know we disagree, but my problem with the argument is that it's too simplistic and doesn't count that Workshop is a "Lotus" in a "Color" that's usually pretty overcosted.

tl;dr I understand the logic, I just disagree that it should be viewed like that, and saying Workshop is Lotus just makes evaluating its power/effect on the format wrongly imo.

PS:
@serracollector said in The Restrictions Are Just a First Step Toward Fixing Vintage: Brian DeMars:

Eh, merchant scroll is restricted because of Ancestral Recall.

It's not. It was because of Gush, Gifts (originally), AND Ancestral. Can you imagine if the unrestricted Scroll together with Gush in 2010?

last edited by fsecco

@chubbyrain said in The Restrictions Are Just a First Step Toward Fixing Vintage: Brian DeMars:

Is 40-50% enough to restrict multiple cards? That's the percentage of top 8's BUGx had in August and it being one of the few decks that could compete with Dredge without being completely warped was a major reason why. Focusing solely on a Dredge's metagame percentage from August as a counterpoint to restriction is an intellectually dishonest argument. It's cherrypicking a statistic and not providing relevant context.

Brian provided the statistic and explicitly said it was the one to look at. I'm not cherrypicking anything.

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