Romanticizing Card Draw Spells with "Card Draw Engine" Propaganda

@enderfall said:

I think I understand what you're trying to say here, but I think with the cards printed in the last 5-6 years, the conventional wisdom from years ago doesn't really apply. The token producing decks don't care about anything other than casting as many spells as possible as quickly as possible (or as slow rolled as you see fit if worried about a sweeper, etc). Git Probe, Gush, and Brainstorm/Ponder/Preordain are unequivocally the best for that purpose. Trapping out for 3 or 4 mana to play TfK or Fact or whatever is simply too slow compared to the so called Gush engine. For other decks, Gush might not be as perfect of a fit, such as Slaver type decks where they can better leverage the downside of TfK or even Gifts for that matter.

I see your point on the tokens; free spells are great for that. Though I definitely believe Mentor is capable of being a really great win condition in a slower approach as well. The benefits to playing a slower approach is that you get to be the guy with sweeper; you also get to play draw spells that dig deeper and have more impact, while also enjoying a well-timed Gush once a game. I think some different draw spells to better accommodate a slower approach, would work out well in this metagame.

Could another deck better leverage a combination of Gush and TfK and other traditional draw spells? Sure, but how would that deck deal with the speed and velocity of Gush decks? That's the whole point of all the B&R discussions. Gush pushes out every other Blue deck as it is currently configured because for such little resources the deck can go off and create a board state impossible to come back from when they have a full grip of counter magic.

Gush is more of a free card than it is a fast card. Common Gush decks don't actually chain Gushes anymore. They play a cantrip to get their second land, play a token generator, and then attempt to counter all your important spells while firing off a Gush every few turns. The cantrip-into-counters strategy can be exploited by rendering their counter-magic useless or also challenged directly by winning at card advantage and then sweeping the table. Card quality is also important; I've often seen Gush only draw more lands so there is some variance there.

@Brass-Man said:

But playing a number of Gush besides 4 isn't "thinking outside of the box." It's something very common. I think that's where some of the confusion is coming from.

Well if you look at the data mining, there is a strong showing for Gush. But what I really want to know is the breakdown on those Gush decks. Like some of those decks might have only 2 Gushes. I think when people speak broadly about restricting Gush, they're implying that the card is being played as a 4-of because it's too good. With the drastic changes we've seen in Vintage over the years, it wouldn't surprise me to see a card as good as Gush be put away. It's precarious against board strategies like Eldrazi.

@desolutionist said:

@ChubbyRain said:

Gush puts lands into my hand that I can then loot away with Dack. It puts cards in my graveyard for Delve. It helps me chain draw spells together with the cantrips to find the permission I need to not die. In the end it consistently produces much more raw AND virtual card advantage than any other combination of Blue cards in Vintage, whether it be Thirst/Gifts/FoF/etc.

There's the romanticizing. Your saying that your combination of cards is better than any other combination of Blue cards in Vintage. There is no evidence to support this claim.

It's incredibly frustrating for me to spend as much time as I have collecting data with Ryan and then have someone say "there is no evidence to support this claim." Consistently Gush decks as a whole have performed better than their non-Gush counterparts - look at the tournament and metagame breakdowns that we've produced. Is that wrong? Why? Do you have conflicting evidence or is this just your opinion? In forums not frequented by right-wing nut jobs with a tenuous grasp of facts, declaring something to be propaganda does not invalidate it.

There are lots of win conditions that can be used in many different decks. But I wouldn't approach deckbuilding from the assumption that Gush core is the best because I wouldn't want that to limit what I could play.

I have never been told that I am deficient in that area...

Note, Gush can be a 3 or 4 of in these decks, based on metagame - the card itself is less good against Eldrazi or Shops. If I'm going into a heavy Blue metagame, I want 4.

So if you knew you were going to play against Eldrazi/Shops in every round, but you still wanted to play a Blue deck, would you consider 2 Gushes on the basis of just being a decent draw spell?

Yes, but Shops and Eldrazi tend to be between 15-33% of a given metagame combined making such an occurrence unlikely.

You cling to '4' because it will maximize your chances to win to have a greater chance of drawing, what you think, is the decisive card against Blue. That's fine if you think that. I don't think that. Whoever has more Gushes IS NOT who necessarily wins.

I've played 3 Gush more often than I've played 4 over the past year...You are railing against an imaginary straw man. And of course whoever draws more Gushes is not necessarily going to win. You can say the same about every card in Magic. There is a correlation between running more Gushes and winning the Blue mirror though in my experience.

It's not propaganda; where are you getting that 4 of a card is necessary for an engine?

I'm not saying that 4 of a card is necessary for an engine, I'm saying that "engine" is just part of a romanticized idea of what we think this game is in terms of strategy. I'm suggesting that thinking of the game only through that lens is leaving untapped potential on the table.

The concept of an "engine" is a way of simplifying discussion and aiding in deck classification. When I say the "Gush engine", I mean the cards that I referred to previously and most people will understand that. When Ryan and I attempt to classify Gush decks, it's by this Gush core which is a collective of cards. And of course engines can change...Decks are no longer running (in general) Fastbond and Regrowth to repeated cast Gush. Most decks don't need this as they are generating enough tempo and card advantage that they don't want the inconsistencies from such cards.

If your draw suite was the cards you mentioned, I would say you were likely wrong because your deck seems to be going in different directions - Gush synergies with cheap efficient counterspells and mana light strategies, Thirst for Knowledge with heavy artifact decks, and Fact or Fiction with Drain-Will strategies. While these aren't mutually exclusive, I can't comment further without knowing the particulars. I'm really confused by this post...

Why would you criticize me for playing more expensive spells with Gush when you just boasted about playing 4RR cards with Gush? Obviously Gush helps cast expensive spells the same as it helps to cast cheap spells, but the point here is that Gush is also just a fine "draw-2". It's existence doesn't have to reflect in the card choices throughout the rest of of the deck. All of those cards are going in a direction, specifically to draw me cards.

Criticize you? I was trying to give you my honest response which had nothing to do with the "4X engine" whatever that you mentioned. There isn't really much that can be said about 6 cards in isolation; synergy is everything in Magic. And there is a difference between resolving a finisher than resolving a draw spells. If you Gush, then cast Fact or Fiction or Thirst, you might not have enough mana to play a substantial follow-up spell and you've done nothing to effect the board. I've used Chandra to off opposing Walkers and wipe away Tokens - Dragonlord Silumgar blocks the majority of creatures being played and is almost impossible to remove. The impacts on the board are substantial but they probably aren't ideal options for the format. Still, it was testing...

I'm not trying to be confusing, I'm just presenting a case for new ideas and exploration within deckbuilding.

I think it would be more productive for you to walk us through the process of how you deckbuild. "Propaganda" is a politically charged word and is best avoided in discussions pertaining to Magic as I and others didn't understand how this fit. Comments such as "If anyone is confused or mad or whatever, you don't have participate in the discussion" are unnecessary. There reason we said we were confused is that we were asking for more information so that we could participate in the discussion. And "I'm at work right now so maybe later tonight I can write some more words if I feel it's worth my time. Obviously if no one else is capable of thinking outside the box here then there really isn't anything else to say" is rather condescending.

@desolutionist said:

@Brass-Man said:

But playing a number of Gush besides 4 isn't "thinking outside of the box." It's something very common. I think that's where some of the confusion is coming from.

Well if you look at the data mining, there is a strong showing for Gush. But what I really want to know is the breakdown on those Gush decks. Like some of those decks might have only 2 Gushes. I think when people speak broadly about restricting Gush, they're implying that the card is being played as a 4-of because it's too good. With the drastic changes we've seen in Vintage over the years, it wouldn't surprise me to see a card as good as Gush be put away. It's precarious against board strategies like Eldrazi.

If you check out MTGGoldfish of the reported online decklists, there have been an average of 3.6 copies of Gush in decks that run Gush. While 4 Gush is played by the majority of Gush pilots, there are plenty running 3 and probably a couple running 2. I will also side out Gushes against Eldrazi or Shops which is a strategy I'm not sure you've addressed (I would also probably side out TFK/FoF/Gifts if I played them as they are expensive for the matchup.

last edited by ChubbyRain

@ChubbyRain

I'm not going to nitpick your post. But I will tell you that I think your data does too much averaging to reveal any concrete evidence about what is best. For example, your DPS numbers on the P9 Challenge reported a 17% MWR against Shops/Eldrazi. I had 75% MWR with a 78% GWP against those decks in this tournament. The data mining is interesting to follow though.

And if you want to reference MTGoldfish for data... they're not very good at keeping track of things just FYI.

last edited by desolutionist

@desolutionist said:

@ChubbyRain

I'm not going to nitpick your post. But I will tell you that I think your data does too much averaging to reveal any concrete evidence about what is best. For example, your DPS numbers on the P9 Challenge reported a 17% MWR against Shops/Eldrazi. I had 75% MWR with a 78% GWP against those decks in this tournament. The data mining is interesting to follow though.

And if you want to reference MTGoldfish for data... they're not very good at keeping track of things just FYI.

Limited sample size and I'm sure the 4 maindeck Pack Rats didn't hurt 😛

MTGGoldfish is good for metagame staples though their deck classification is awful (which is why Ryan and I do our own).

@desolutionist If individuals playing atypical builds want to post their decklist and a tournament report we are not discouraging that. You seem to be suggesting that we keep your deck by itself and see how it did against shops decks. By the same token, some of your shops opponents (whose decklists we don't have, btw) could object to being grouped with the other shop players because they have 2 MBT in the sideboard. It would degenerate into nonsense. For what we want to do it's neither practical nor useful to have the Power 9 challenge data be a 65x65 matrix of how individual people did against other individuals. We are trying to paint a rough picture with buckets bigger than N=1. We are not implying that you cannot tune a decklist to improve a matchup. In fact, if there is a lot of one deck and our results suggest it's a poor matchup, we are presenting data that suggests you should do exactly that.

Also with respect to MTG Goldfish, sure their machine learning classification algorithms need some tuning. I don't see what relevance that has to them calculating the average number of gushes played in a deck with gush though. One of these tasks is significantly easier than, and unrelated to, the other.

last edited by diophan

He probably means East Coast Wins.

Yeah it's East Coast Wins. At that time both Gush and Jace were unrestricted free agents but Gush was just absent from the meta. People played Bob Jace, probably because it seems more intuitive with Vault/Key, the preferred win condition at the time. Additionally people weren't able to get Gush to really work without Brainstorm and Scroll; it was at a similar spot that Gifts is in now. The best deck in the format was Espresso shops. East Coast Wins just put both of those decks out of the top tables.

I have some more to say when I get a chance...

So anyway, I respect all the people who post here. You are my peers. I work my 40 hours every week and squeeze in Vintage as much as I can between all my other responsibilities. Together, we all make Vintage what it is.

Sometimes the limitations of language and improper use of language can actually serve as a barrier to good communication. With all the ideas I have throughout my workweek about Vintage, it can be difficult to remember them all and convey them clearly in English. Let alone have the time to do it properly. So I apologize; I think you guys are right in that my original post was just not very clear.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to explain more of my train of thought here because once again, I just don't have the time right now. -_- I've got to meet people for dinner, get my deck ready for the dailies this weekend, etc. There just isn't enough time in the day; I can't rush this because then it just lead to more confusion.

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