[Free Podcast] So Many Insane Plays Podcast Episode 54: The Mid-June 2016 Vintage Metagame Update



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    Kevin Cron and Steve Menendian discuss the mid-June Vintage metagame, including MTGO Dailies, the May MTGO Premiere event, Paper results, and the NYSE Open IV.

    0:01:00: Announcements: VSL Update
    0:05:15: MTGO Daily Results
    0:20:30: May Premiere Event
    0:38:15: NYSE Open IV
    0:58:00: Jason Jaco’s 10th Place Tribal Eldrazi
    1:19:00: Looking to the future…
    1:31:25: Listener Feedback (The Vintage Watchlist)
    1:55:00: Revisiting the ethics of outside assistance on MTGO
    Total runtime: 2:16:16



  • Glad to see the revisit of MTGO ethics on the docket there. Starting to listen now and looking forward to that discussion. Thanks Kevin&Steve!



  • Listening to your discussion on Mana Crypt, Black Lotus, <> as a 6th color, etc:

    If you treat colorless as a 6th color Mana Crypt is a zero-cost artifact that taps for UU (or whichever color you prefer) and Black Lotus is a one-time use of {3}

    It's pretty easy to see that a double mox which is on-color is going to be a lot more attractive than an off-color ritual effect



  • Yes, we didn't discuss it as much as I probably should, but my point is that I think it's perfectly reasonable to Force of Will a Mana Crypt from an Eldrazi deck.


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    As usual, loved the podcast :D

    On the question of Force of Will on Mana Crypt, I wonder if we're framing the problem wrong.

    If your opponent is on Eldrazi, hitting a Mana Crypt might be one of the best things you can do with a Force of Will.

    But given that ... does the optimal anti-Eldrazi postboard plan run Force of Will at all?



  • @Brass-Man I'm on this same line of thinking tonight. My reckoning to your question is that it really depends on how many Flusters and Missteps you have in the main. (How many should be in the main is another question given this so called "Rise of the Eldrazi" that all these elves and vampires and merfolk won't shut up about... that's a different question.) But it really boils down to how much you have in the board against Eldrazi and how many "dead" cards are in the main.

    I actually think that the answer to your question is yes, assuming 4 Forces are there in the first place, I would assume that at least 3 are staying in most cases. Because how much can we possibly be bringing in? 4 or 5 cards? Any more than that, or in other words, if we suspect we're going to be playing against Eldrazi with any more confidence than having 5 sb cards against it, then why aren't more of those cards just in the main to begin with...? And if 5 cards are coming out, then why aren't we starting with the 4-5 Missteps and Flusters that are almost certainly there? I'd also seriously think about taking out Git Probes, and even Jace which I think is really bad against TKS and Smasher and Revoker anyway...

    anyway... I think Force is actually kinda good against Eldrazi. It's just a lesser removal spell to hit Thorns and mana artifacts and the odd Revoker... and if they don't draw Cavern it's great.



  • @Brass-Man said:

    As usual, loved the podcast :D

    On the question of Force of Will on Mana Crypt, I wonder if we're framing the problem wrong.

    If your opponent is on Eldrazi, hitting a Mana Crypt might be one of the best things you can do with a Force of Will.

    But given that ... does the optimal anti-Eldrazi postboard plan run Force of Will at all?

    I guess it depends on what your strategy is.

    For some strategies, it's the Eldrazi themselves that is the obstacle to winning or the biggest threat. For other strategies, it is the Sphere effects (Thalia/Null Rod/Thorn) or whatever, that is the biggest threat to winning.

    For strategies trying to attack Eldrazi with a combo plan, rather than on the ground, than siding out Force might make sense.

    Eldrazi also comes in so many flavors and forms right now, that it's difficult to make a universal statement about how to attack it. I just think that the point about countering Mana Crypt is an interesting one because of the specific way in which is generates mana.

    The immediate response to Eldrazi seems bifurcated: On the one hand, we have Aggro Gush decks loading up on Path/Plow effects, or mass sweepers like Balance. On the other hand, we have people tinkering around with things like Key/Vault or Painter combo (Painter attacking Eldrazi indirectly).

    I don't know where we are going to land, but I think it's complicated by the range of shells in which Eldrazi appear. White Eldrazi and Workshop Eldrazi both feature TKS, but they do very different things.

    The Eldrazi have a big advantage on the format in that there aren't 23 years of accumulated solutions to them - there is no Massacre/Sulfur Elemental/Elemental Blast or Hurkyl's Recall.



  • @Smmenen said:

    @Brass-Man said:

    As usual, loved the podcast :D

    On the question of Force of Will on Mana Crypt, I wonder if we're framing the problem wrong.

    If your opponent is on Eldrazi, hitting a Mana Crypt might be one of the best things you can do with a Force of Will.

    But given that ... does the optimal anti-Eldrazi postboard plan run Force of Will at all?

    I guess it depends on what your strategy is.

    For some strategies, it's the Eldrazi themselves that is the obstacle to winning or the biggest threat. For other strategies, it is the Sphere effects (Thalia/Null Rod/Thorn) or whatever, that is the biggest threat to winning.

    For strategies trying to attack Eldrazi with a combo plan, rather than on the ground, than siding out Force might make sense.

    Eldrazi also comes in so many flavors and forms right now, that it's difficult to make a universal statement about how to attack it. I just think that the point about countering Mana Crypt is an interesting one because of the specific way in which is generates mana.

    The immediate response to Eldrazi seems bifurcated: On the one hand, we have Aggro Gush decks loading up on Path/Plow effects, or mass sweepers like Balance. On the other hand, we have people tinkering around with things like Key/Vault or Painter combo (Painter attacking Eldrazi indirectly).

    I don't know where we are going to land, but I think it's complicated by the range of shells in which Eldrazi appear. White Eldrazi and Workshop Eldrazi both feature TKS, but they do very different things.

    The Eldrazi have a big advantage on the format in that there aren't 23 years of accumulated solutions to them - there is no Massacre/Sulfur Elemental/Elemental Blast or Hurkyl's Recall.

    I disagree that Eldrazi have a big advantage due to being new; there have been similar decks like Eldrazi in the past. Anyone who has played on Magic Workstation can probably relate. Aven Mindcensor + Blood Moon, Glowrider + Thorn of Amethyst, and Sphere of Resistance + Chains of Mephistophles are just a few examples of combinations that have existed for years and that are probably even more difficult to deal with than the Eldrazi. The fact that these combos are not simultaneously dealt with by Hurkyl's Recall is exactly the point.

    Eldrazi is only being propped up because the flavor of the cards are new but the actual tactics are old. Workshop decks used to play Juggernaut all the time; All this (the Eldrazi) is, is a Juggernaut Stax deck with a new flavor of cards and much excitement.

    The cantrip blue decks have had a weakness to aggro because much of the deck is designed for blue vs. blue games. Dredge has been taking advantage of that weakness for years, and Goblins/Merfolk are amongst other aggro decks that are fully ready to take take down an unsuspecting Gush player. Despite this weakness, very few people have actually gone the aggro route because people just play what they play. This Eldrazi invasion is people actually taking the initiative to play something that beats the cantrip Blue deck.

    People were playing the Eldrazi deck in Vintage back when the set first was released. But it wasn't until Randy 4-0ed that daily did it actually spike to metagame-participant levels. This is due to the influence that pro players and magic online have on Vintage. The fact the Eldrazi is new is also exciting, although the tactics aren't brand new.

    One thing different about the Eldrazi (compared to decks of the past) is that they are BIG, although just vanilla creatures. How does a Reality Smasher stop a Yawgmoth's Will? Is a 4 mana Duress really that good in a format with Vampiric Tutor? Is a Reality Smasher + Thorn of Amethyst more difficult to deal with than an Aven Mincensor + Thorn of Amethyst?

    Could you imagine, during Gifts era, someone casting a 5 mana 5/5? Its a Juggernaut.



  • @desolutionist Yes. A Reality Smasher and Thorn is much tougher to deal with than an Aven Mindcensor and Thorn.

    A 4 mana Duress is bad.
    A 4 Mana Duress that exiles the card and then hits for 4 (even though the opponent gets to draw a card if it dies) is very good, even in a format with Vamp, which is restricted, and only played in 28% of decks according to mtgtop8 (meaning that against an unknown opponent, there is about a 3.5% chance that they have Vamp in an opening hand... also Brainstorm is good against TKS... so double that to 7% chance of one of those two..., now take away the games where Vamp and Brainstorm just get locked out by Thorns, Thalia's, Chalices etc... TKS is hardly having a difficult time doing damage to people's hands.

    I disagree that Eldrazi is winning just because it's new (though I don't think that's exactly what Steve was saying)... I think it wins because the cards are very very powerful.



  • The fact that peoples sideboards have been stretched out so thin to answer Mentor, dredge, Oath, storm, workshops and now eldrazi certainly doesn't help. If there wasn't so much blue cannibalism over maindecks in the format with narrow printings like mental misstep and flusterstorm, things might look different. How good would these eldrazi decks be if blue decks had a sideboard, cavern hadn't been printed and all blue decks had 4 fow 4 mana drain maindeck + that old brainstorm consistency?



  • @Macdeath Yeah. I mean the if Cavern hadn't been printed thing... sure. How good would blue be if Force and Ancestral and Timewalk and Brainstorm hadn't been printed?...

    But on the other hand, I went through the entire Rise of Eldrazi and Oath of the Gatewatch sets looking for anti Eldrazi tech... I couldn't believe how crappy the options were. No 1 mana, cheepo, destroy target colorless creature? Thanks a bunch planeswalkers... you all showed up at Zendikar but nobody figured out a cost effective way to get rid of these pains in the butt... not even the medium sized ones? Thanks a bunch Jace... thanks Chandra... I was counting on you guys.

    It's really all about what gets and doesn't get printed in some ways.



  • I like the podcast, but for my taste you're talking and emphasizing way too much on throwing numbers around that are not very meaningful at all. You can do that if you have 2-3 standard GPs with 2000 players each. But talking about metagame %s if you are looking at 100ish decks, it's just really pointless. The angle of mentor < eldrazi < dredge is great, but then talking about win %s when you're looking at 20 matches is statisically just not relevant. You're focusing too much on pure numbers in a case where the sample sizes are too small to be meaningful.

    Taking these results as a baseline for assumptions is great, but 'eldrazi's win percentage is 58.x%' in such a small sample size is again just meaningless. It's a clue you can base assumptions on, but when looking at just 2-3 smallish tournaments, matchups, mulligans, play skill, hell, even a guy conceding a round because his girlfriend told him to get his ass home, just skews the numbers too much to focus on them as much as you guys do.



  • Could someone please explain to a relatively new player how salvager oath is hampered in MTGO?



  • @kistrand By the number of clicks necess


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    @kistrand In a paper tournament you can sacrifice Lotus for WWW, bring it back for 1W, and then say "I'm going to do this 50 times to make 50 mana"

    On magic online you actually have to do it 50 times. To generate 1 mana you need to click about 9 times on MTGO, so it could take hundreds of clicks ... all the while your clock is running down (which online is separate from your opponent's). Not impossible, but difficult and fatiguing.



  • @Brass-Man Ok, thanks Andy. I kind of thought that was the reason. But wouldn't the opponent just concede once you have the combo assembled? Would seem like a good gentleman's agreement to me so that Salvager oath would be as viable online as in real life. Of course, someone might be new to vintage and not know what's going on but there's always the chat to explain things in.


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    @kistrand said:

    @Brass-Man Ok, thanks Andy. I kind of thought that was the reason. But wouldn't the opponent just concede once you have the combo assembled? Would seem like a good gentleman's agreement to me so that Salvager oath would be as viable online as in real life. Of course, someone might be new to vintage and not know what's going on but there's always the chat to explain things in.

    I think a lot of people would concede but there's no guarantee and you certainly can't make them. It is somewhat risky to expect all or most of your opponents to give you the win- even if it's earned- when they can choose not to and take the win.



  • @kistrand said:

    @Brass-Man Ok, thanks Andy. I kind of thought that was the reason. But wouldn't the opponent just concede once you have the combo assembled? Would seem like a good gentleman's agreement to me so that Salvager oath would be as viable online as in real life. Of course, someone might be new to vintage and not know what's going on but there's always the chat to explain things in.

    There are potentially hundreds if not thousands of people who can play Vintage on Magic Online from all over the globe. Suppose someone paid 25 dollars to play in the MTGO P9 event. Do you think they would scoop if the opponent would time out?



  • @Smmenen I don't know, this is an interesting ethics dilemma: to take the win although it wasn't really a win or concede although you are likely to technically speaking win? I would certainly concede because I can't see any gratification in winning on time-out in this particular case (after all, I was well and truly beaten by my opponent's strategy). But I know I am not the most competitive-minded player out there so maybe that's why this seems so clear-cut to me.


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    It's tricky, everything on magic online is tricky.

    The way I see it, paper magic is a game where you start with 2 resources (your library and 20 life), and if you run out of either of those, you lose the game.

    Magic Online is a very similar game where you start with 3 resources (your library, 20 life, and 25 minutes), and if you run out of any, you lose the game.

    If I'm playing online, and I want to win, I choose a deck that I'm very comfortable won't need more than 25 minutes ... in the same way I chose a deck that won't need more than 20 life. To me, conceding to a Bomberman player because "they would have won if they had more time" is a lot like conceding to a misbuilt control deck (say, with no removal) because "they would have won if they had more life."

    In practice, I'll just concede to the bomberman player, because it is super boring to sit on the other side of it, and in my personal experience, they have harassed me when I haven't. In that way I usually feel guilty about conceding, because I feel like it's rewarding people for being complaining and/or making the game less fun.



  • A while back I was playing a Jeskai delver deck. In paper I ran StP maindeck and a null rod effect in the sideboard because my paper scene had some Bomberman. Online I played bolts because I "knew" no one would play a deck that didn't work. When I faced Bomberman in the daily I was very conflicted on what to do. Not only was my opponent counting on people to scoop to him, but my deck was "misbuilt" against a metagame which could contain Bomberman! I ended up conceding but was annoyed with the entire situation.


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