Vintage 101: The Final Cat's Meow

Hey Joe, thanks for taking the time to write this! This is bound to be another thread about Lurrus, the vintage metagame, and banned and restricted list so let's dive into it!

You said you explored other possibilities such as modifying the companion mechanic rather than banning Lurrus outright, but have you considered ALL the possibilities, such as UNRESTRICTIONS to counterbalance the strong incentive to play Lurrus? Currently that seems to be best action the DCI should have taken in the May 18 announcement. There are many cards on the restriction list that if they were unrestricted, would give players a tough choice rather than just slotting Lurrus into their existing 74. For example, is a 4x Tinker deck better than a deck with access to Lurrus? It's a fair competition and would lead to format diversity.

I also sense bias with regards to Paradoxical Outcome. I don't believe it should be restricted an an ideal Vintage format, but given the state of the current restriction list it definitely belongs with the likes of Brainstorm, Ponder, Probe, Gush, DTT, Narset, Merchant Scroll, and Treasure Cruise. Paradoxical Outcome doesn't go into the same decks as a lot of those cards, but it produces a comparable amount of draw power. If Paradoxical Outcome is unrestricted, then some of those other options should be unrestricted as well. Prevalence of Null Rod, a very narrow magic card, is not a metric of how dominant another magic card is. Otherwise you could argue DTT does not deserve to be restricted because people of the time were not playing Dryad Militant. Or you could even say Karn shouldn't have been restricted because it was being dominated by BUG Fish (Null Rod) at the time.

So again, I don't believe Paradoxical Outcome should be restricted in the long-run, but if the DCI continues on the tit-for-tat, near-sighted restriction policy in the short-run, it deserves to be the next victim.

@desolutionist 4x tinker would be degenerate as shit. Even if you did unrestrict it, Lurrus could just run vault/keys with Lurrus and 4x tinker. That wouldn't solve anything, but would strengthen Lurrus. The trouble with the restricted list, outside of mentor, is that almost all of it is spells or permanents that cost 2 or less. None of that helps. Permanents that cost 3+ tend to be checked by the fact that they cost 3+ to some extent.

I think maindeck Lurrus (maybe even restricted) would be fine. I could even see decks with 4x main Lurrus becoming a bit problematic, but not nearly as bad as with Companion. The cleanest fix, again, was to just make "outside of the game" as "Companion Zone" instead of sideboard and remove that zone from Vintage play. The fact that they didn't do that and decided to ban multiple companions in Legacy (and I believe Zirda won't be far behind in Vintage once people really start testing with it), tells me that they are planning on more sets of companions and don't want to throw out a whole planned set before it hits the printers. When the poll asked if people would want to see a mechanic shifted to a different plane, they surely were not talking about mutate!

@thewhitedragon69

What do you mean by "degenerate" exactly? It is evidently not the best in the games I've played and observed. Tinker comes at a cost (of sacrificing an artifact). It's a relatively fair card while on the stack. I'd like to gather more evidence, but I believe the status quo is impacting your line of thought. I would love to play some games, if you'd like to try it.

I think Tinker - Bolas would be the preferred Tinker deck or at least a major competing force with Lurrus decks. I haven't given serious thought to the Time Vault version because of the inherent disadvantage of two-card combos, but I believe that too can be solved with additional unrestrictions and people wouldn't necessarily cling to Lurrus after coming to the realization that the deck constraint is too great.

Here are the restricted cards with cmc > 2 that would counteract Lurrus prevalence:

Lodestone Golem
Trinisphere
Tinker*
Monastery Mentor
Necropotence
Narset
Karn
Memory Jar
Mystic Forge
Golgari Grave Troll
Flash*
Channel*

That's at least 5 different archetypes that don't want or need Lurrus.

Let me ask you a question, which unrestriction would lead to Lurrus constraints being too great of an opportunity cost?

Additionally, would an unrestriction of Gush and other blue draw spells leave Lurrus' ability obsolete? It certainly would! Since, you're not going to play Urza's Bauble in your gush deck and Lurrus' ability is just not good enough in that reality.

It is evident that the current restriction list is the only force that necessitated the banning of Lurrus. The companion mechanic is NOT too good for past Vintage metagames and the DCI could tailor its dominance with unrestrictions.

last edited by desolutionist

@desolutionist said in Vintage 101: The Final Cat's Meow:

So again, I don't believe Paradoxical Outcome should be restricted in the long-run, but if the DCI continues on the tit-for-tat, near-sighted restriction policy in the short-run, it deserves to be the next victim.

PO is a lot like Gush. It bounces your cards at instant speed, it can lead to net mana gains, and it draws cards. Both cards had archetypes built around then, and the cross section of cards they use were similar in many decks. I think you need to apply to it the same logic that we apply to gush to this.

I think some restrictions and some unrestrictions would have been a good step, but not specifically to address what they were trying to address with Lurrus.

@thewhitedragon69 said in Vintage 101: The Final Cat's Meow:

When the poll asked if people would want to see a mechanic shifted to a different plane, they surely were not talking about mutate!

Don't be so sure about that. EDH is eating that crap up and casuals love it.

@desolutionist said in Vintage 101: The Final Cat's Meow:

Here are the restricted cards with cmc > 2 that would counteract Lurrus prevalence:
Lodestone Golem
Trinisphere
Tinker*
Monastery Mentor
Necropotence
Narset
Karn
Memory Jar
Mystic Forge
Golgari Grave Troll
Flash*
Channel*

The only cards on this list that have an effect on Lurrus selection are Mentor, Necro, Karn, Narset, Flash, and Channel. The rest would strengthen other lists and make them a bit more compelling to play, but only because you are breaking them again in the same fashion they were broken in the past to merit bans. The issue here is at what cost?

Going back to 4 Gravetrolls makes pitch dredge even better but maybe not enough to get over the hump because everyone is running grave hate for everything in the format except shops, maindeck leylines and Soud-guides make sense now. Shops would have a lot more turn 1/2 games with Forge back in the mix but using Lurrus in shops was never a good idea to begin with and the game that shops won against lurrus decks like this would feel and play terrible.

I am of the mindset that Memory Jar is safe. I think Gravetroll is safe too but at the same time I'm not super compelled to remove it because I like that Dredge has to make decisions in deck building. I cannot imagine channel coming off the list with Zidra and Karn in the format.

@desolutionist I mean "degenerate" in that tinker is one of the most broken cards ever printed. It's certainly up there with DT, Yawg will. Being able to turn 1 bolas or vault/key consistently is absurd. We now have 8 keys and a TV with 4x tinker is going to be a turn 1 win a LOT.

Channel, flash, and tinker don't stop you from running Lurrus. Flash maybe only in that you need something like protean hulk to make it work. Channel can cast kaervek's torch just fine. No need for permanents.

The bulk of those cards (forge, karn, golem, trini, jar) would do nothing to impact Lurrus. They are all cards for workshop decks and unplayable as a 4x anywhere other than shops. I assume you mean to unrestrict those to make more people turn to a shops deck rather than Lurrus...but people have a hard-on for blue. You either already are a shops player or you're not. Most people don't go from a shops deck to a gush deck or vice versa. They have distinctly different feels, playstyles, and card investments that usually make a player gravitate and enjoy one or the other, but rarely both.

Narset, Necro, and Mentor would put us back to the 4x mentor deck days, which people cried about forever. 4x Narset is just a no-brainer in a world of 4x mentor. I think we'd change from a Lurrus meta to a 4x mentor/4x Narset meta in a heartbeat, and that would be equally unenjoyable. At least Lurrus is a grindy card and not just uber-busted. It was only his companion-consistency that made him truly problematic.

If you unrestrict ALL of these things, I think Lurrus dissapears, but then you fall into 4x trini/golem/karn/forge shops vs 4x mentor/narset/tinker/8-12 counterspells blue decks...and pretty much everything else wouldn't be able to compete.

@thewhitedragon69

For what it's worth, I believe Yawgmoth's Will can also be unrestricted.

I respect your opinion. I believe the thought of it is scarier than it would actually be in practice. There are 8 Keys, but also 12 Forces (and Mental Misstep, Mindbreak Trap, Null Rod, Ancient Grudge, etc) A xerox control deck would have countless ways to counteract this hypothetical Tinker-Time Vault deck which suggests to me it would lose to its own inconsistencies more often than not. I do have some minor experience playing against the deck we are speaking of as well, so I again am inviting you to play some games with me on cockatrice or mtgo to gather more real evidence.

I see you've provided counterarguments to a lot of the potential unrestrictions I proposed and I just want you to know that I respect your opinions and politely disagree. I know my position isn't the norm so I don't expect anyone to agree.

@desolutionist I appreciate the congenial discourse.

I think yawg will can be unrestricted too, but mainly because copies 2-4 are typically much worse after copy #1 has pillaged all the goodies. Also, the card is not so hot on turn 1. Tinker, on the other hand, can get some absurd things turn 1...and multiple juicy targets could make redundant copies not bad.

In a world where 8 pitch counters and FoV exist, maybe things aren't as bad as they once were. Not sure. I also think veil of summer enables some of the combo craziness, so there's that too. Could be interesting to say the least.

I'd love to try that 4x channel deck at some point - I'm KillerKarma on Cockatrice

@desolutionist

I considered that possibility, but I also wrote off that possibility because the timeframe of the announcement made that seem rather unlikely. It was a reactionary measure and it did not feel realistic to expect them to make an unrestriction.

In fact, I kind of think that we may never see another unrestriction based on how they are now approaching announcing BnR updates. Ad hoc announcements of announcements does not bode well for unbanning/unrestricting of cards at all.

Furthermore, I don't have any particular bias for any one deck (unless you count decks that include the card Risen Reef and then well let me tell you all about that), let alone PO. It really wouldn't bother me if they actually restricted it, but a lot of the data I look at really suggests that it doesn't need to be.

  • 9
    Posts
  • 460
    Views