MTGO July 2016 Power 9 Challenge

@Prospero

I sympathize with your frustration. I can't imagine what it would be like to work on a single pillar almost exclusively for virtually a decade, and to have the DCI systematically attack with with a succession of restrictions, especially when I don't believe those restrictions are warranted. On the other hand, I am very familiar with what it's like to have the DCI take away my favorite toys. It's happened all too often.

I also realize that there can be a good faith disagreement as to whether the DCI should or should not have restricted either Chalice of the Void or Lodestone Golem. I think there are good arguments on both sides of that debate, and, personally, I've never fully resolved how I feel about the restriction of Golem - that is, whether it was truly necessary, or whether it was a good thing or not, etc.

That said, as much as empathize with your pain, and respect the presentation of your views, the lone paragraph about Gush just struck the wrong note. It was a discordant sound. In an otherwise well presented, and cogent post, the paragraph about Gush not only didn't make sense, but it was fairly out of place.

In an eleven paragraph post, one of your main points was that you don't want to have to play a format, where, as you put it you need, "duals, fetches, Flusterstorms, etc.) in order to keep playing Vintage."

Not only do I think that is an excellent point, and a valid concern, but I agree entirely. Yet, that's exactly what I found so discordant and jarring about your Gush paragraph. In an otherwise very linear and well presented critique of current DCI policy, there is an out of place attack on Gush that in no way makes sense relative to the main point I just re-articulated.

What does restricting or not restricting Gush have to do with whether Vintage is a format where you need duals, fetches, flusterstorms, etc. in order to compete?

Your 1-paragraph critique of Gush does not mesh at all with your overall vision of the format.

  1. If the goal is to not require people to play blue decks, then restricting Gush would have the exact opposite effect, if Gush's critics are to be believed. The main argument advanced by Gush's most vociferous critics is that "Gush is suppressing other blue decks," that it is crowding out other blue strategies.

If that argument is to be credited, then the predictable effect of restricting Gush is not to strengthen the Workshop pillar or create space for non-blue decks; but exactly the opposite. They argue that Gush's restriction would bring back slower/bigger mana blue decks (which are stronger against Shops), and strengthen other blue decks.

  1. If slower big blue decks come back, that would actually weaken Workshops, and make non-blue decks a smaller part of the metagame.

If there is one thing we've learned over more than a decade of data observation in this format, it's that Gush decks always boost Workshop decks. Workshop decks are always at peak representation in top performing decks in Gush environments, because they prey on Gush decks. Restricting Gush would not only make blue decks better in general, but also diminish the presence of non-blue decks in the format, including Workshop decks.

The Q2 metagame report reinforces this finding. http://www.themanadrain.com/topic/476/vintage-metagame-report-april-to-june/61

The June metagame was roughly:
30% Gush
23% Shops and Eldrazi
20% Other Blue Decks (Oath, Blue Control, Big Blue)
15% Combo
6% Dredge
5% Hatebears/Merfolk

In other words, non-Flusterstorm/Dual/Fetch decks were about 50% of the metagame. Restricting Gush would not incraase non-blue decks % of Top performing decks in the metagame.

Just as a matter of logic, restricting Gush does not seem to have any relationship whatsoever with either the goal of 1) increasing the % of non-blue decks in the format or 2) boosting the fortunes of Shops.

Logically, one proposal that would help move in that direction would be advocating the unrestriction of Chalice, but that's not something you even recommended. That would be a proposal well tailored to advancing your vision.

I think that, because of the restriction of Golem, a strong case could be made about unrestricting Chalice - that the subsequent restriction helped rebalance the metagame, and made the prior restriction less necessary. I think others could get behind that as well. I certainly would.

A similar critique of another stray sentence could be leveled here:

The argument can be made that the only pillars that are strong right now are Null Rod and Force of Will. That's bullshit.

I don't think Force of Will is a place to stake your case.

Force of Will decks have historically hovered between 60-66% of the Vintage metagame, at least when I used to conduct metagame reports. That was true in 2005, 2008, 2010, and 2012, and it's probably true today. I don't think that Force of Will is the or has ever been "the problem" or "a problem," or else it would have been restricted years ago.

Moreover, Force of Will really isn't a pillar. Merfolk decks play it, but so do combo decks, like Belcher, and control decks, like Landstill.

In any case, while I not only empathized with and enjoyed your overall post, the comment about Gush was fairly out of place, and, I think, undermined the strength of your vision. It wouldn't do anything you want to see happen, as you've articulated it. It wasn't tailored to your aspirations for the format.

If the goal is to make Shops and other non-blue decks better, then restricting Gush would likely have the opposite effect.

The only explanation I might fairly impute for why you spent a few sentences on it was that it is a symbol of anger and repository for resentment. I can understand how you might feel the inequity of restricting Shop cards but leaving Gush alone. Yet, Gush decks did get multiple restriction (Treasure Cruise and Dig). And, Gush decks weren't the reason that Golem was restricted.

Restriction isn't a leveling scythe. It's not something you take to a mixed crop, cutting down everything in the field, wheat and grass alike. It's a trimming snip that targets one plant, and leaves the others alone.

If restricting Golem was a wrong, as you believe, then restricting Gush or any other card multiples or compounds the inequity. It would be like giving someone a pay cut, out of fairness, because other people were hired at a lesser rate into the same position. That's not fair. That makes the situation worse.

This is the format where people should be allowed to play with all of their cards. More unnecessary restrictions does not help us achieve that vision for the format. It takes us further away from it.

@Prospero said:

@socialite Two months ago, Workshops won a tournament. The blue decks adjusted, and Shop decks are no longer winning because they are hyper-linear and predictable. They have no backup plan. Where's Martello/Espresso/Terra Nova now?

No, Workshops won two tournaments. It won the MTGO P9 challenge, and your tournament.

Why wasn't that heralded at the time as proof that Workshops could compete? Was it because you were pessimistic about Workshops chances? Did you just feel that that was a flash in the pan performance? If so, doesn't that mean that you are viewing the experience of Workshops, post-Golem restriction, through jade-colored glasses?

Personally, I don't feel that it was a flash in the pan. I think Montolio has to be a near odds-on favorite piloting Workshops at any event in the near future. Brian S. believed, at the NYSE, that Workshops were still the best deck in the format. Is Roland Chang any less well positioned today than two months ago?

Personally, I wouldn't be surprised one bit of Montolio won the Vintage Championship this year. Workshops performed outstandingly well in the Vintage Championship last year, but it wasn't the traditional Workshop pilots, for the most part, that dominated with it. It was Shay, Mastriano, Demars,and others who made Top 9. And, now, it's Montolio leading the charge.

Workshops aren't dead; and they certainly aren't unplayable. If Montolio could win back to back major tournaments just 50 days ago, I think he's more than capable of doing it again. These things go in cycles, and I have no doubt that Shops will be back.

last edited by Smmenen

Steve, you and I are going to be on opposite ends of the spectrum here. You can think I'm wrong, and you're entitled to your opinion, but you're not going to change my belief that Gush should be restricted. I believe the card warps the metagame around it, has for years now, and needs to go as soon as possible.

But my post wasn't about whether Gush warps the metagame or not, or really whether it should be restricted or not (although that could be considered a subsidiary point). Our views on either question aren't really germane, and therefore need not be resolved here. (In fact, I could strongly believe that restricting Gush is the right thing to do, and my critique of your post's logic would still stand - so it does not depend at all on our positions on Gush.)

My post was an inquiry into what restricting Gush has to do with the vision you articulated for the format. Specifically, you complained that the you don't want to play a format where you are forced to play "dual lands, fetchlands and Flusterstorm." Restricting Gush doesn't help us address that at all. In fact, it would make that specific problem worse, by the logic of Gush's most vocal critics (of Gush acting to suppress other blue decks, and that those blue decks would be stronger against Shops than Gush decks).

In a post where I took your two main points to be about a desire to increase the % of non-blue decks in the format and strengthen the Shop pillar, the discussion of Gush was a complete non-sequitur, and in fact, would move you further away from your vision.

last edited by Smmenen

Smmenen said:

And, Gush decks weren't the reason that Golem was restricted.

I think so. You even talked about how Big Blue decks are better against Shops than Gush. Big blue decks don't struggle with Golem as much as Gush decks do. Golem and Chalice were restricted so Gush decks could play more preordains and less lands.

Chalice and Lodestone were restricted while Gush decks played 4 Mental Missteps... I mean, the Gush decks weren't even attempting to beat Shop decks.

last edited by desolutionist

@desolutionist said:

Chalice and Lodestone were restricted while Gush decks played 4 Mental Missteps... I mean, the Gush decks weren't even attempting to beat Shop decks.

Oh this. Again. 😕

last edited by Guest

@socialite said:

@desolutionist said:

Chalice and Lodestone were restricted while Gush decks played 4 Mental Missteps... I mean, the Gush decks weren't even attempting to beat Shop decks.

Oh this. Again. 😕

Sigh... When will people figure out that you try to beat the decks that are the majority of the metagame, not 25%. 😕

@ChubbyRain

Shops was around 30% and if you weren't trying to beat Shops, then you weren't trying to win. BK was trying to beat Shops, so he won.

My Take:

Shops with 4x Golem was not over-powered (I won a P9 with 4 MM, 3 flusterstorm, 1 spell pierce maindeck). However Shops promoted pretty bad gameplay. So be it.

If Gush gets restricted tokens blue is still going to be very strong. The maximum artifact mana mentor decks are already good. If Gush gets restricted its easier to cut islands and run artifact mana. People could run things like Dark Confidant to make up for the loss of draw spells. BK ran a version of this deck in the VSL and its a strong deck.

@desolutionist Shops was 100 out of 462 at Vintage champs...

Edit: The point is that you should be building your main deck to maximize your win percentage against the field. Running less than 4 Missteps puts you at a significant disadvantage to other Gush decks, it makes the Combo matchups worse, and isn't ideal against other blue decks. It's not worth it in most tournaments if your goal is to win the event.

last edited by Guest

You can make the same argument towards shop decks not really trying to spec specifically for gush decks as well though. It feels to me as if many shops pilots jam the same cards into their deck and insist that the format is steered in a way that allows them to beat the most prevalent decks. When TKS/Eldrazi started to become popular it coincided with a huge, temporary boost to their win rate. Mostly because the best gush lists were those that essentially preboarded for the mirror. Now that they have shifted in their approach the same old, stale shops lists proceed to lose more.
Not actually that surprising.

Shouldn't we move to a thread "Is Shops under powered and should Gush be restricted" ?

In my opinion Gush is fine, it shouldn't be restricted and its not oppressive on the format at all. The only sad thing about Gush is that Thirst and Gifts arent seeing much play, however Gush is probably not the only reason for that and that is hardly a reason to restrict a card. Shops seems fine, its not as strong as it was before the Golem and Chalice restriction but its still a player.
I get that in Vintage players get emotionally attached to a Deck, Strategy or Archetype (i myself am very attached to ritual based Combo decks) and that attachment has some charm and can leads to great pilots and innovators. Shops is by no means dead or unplayable.

I may be biased because iam primarily a Storm player: I think the Chalice restriction was very much needed and it didn't hurt the archetype incredibly much, I think the Golem restriction was defensible but not incredibly necessary. It seemed that while Power level was a factor, the general dislike of prison strategies of some vocal people may have have been a non small factor as well.

This is just my view on the subject though and iam fairly new to the format so i might be missing the greater picture.

@Evoclipse said:

Shouldn't we move to a thread "Is Shops under powered and should Gush be restricted" ?

This is secretly the topic of every thread on TMD.

keep gush a 4 of until all the non gush players quit so they can live out their fantasy of gush mirrors where they can then eternally gush into each others faces

@cYnic said:

You can make the same argument towards shop decks not really trying to spec specifically for gush decks as well though. It feels to me as if many shops pilots jam the same cards into their deck and insist that the format is steered in a way that allows them to beat the most prevalent decks. When TKS/Eldrazi started to become popular it coincided with a huge, temporary boost to their win rate. Mostly because the best gush lists were those that essentially preboarded for the mirror. Now that they have shifted in their approach the same old, stale shops lists proceed to lose more.
Not actually that surprising.

Everything in a Shops deck in tailored for the metagame, and Gush decks. From Hangarback, to Ravagar, to Triskelion. Hell back in the day, Some Shop decks didn't play Sphere because it's not good against big blue, but obviously Sphere is very good against Gush so now they play 4-8

the following statements are true
i love and play vintage storm.
mentor is dumb
golem was fine and can just be un-restricted. (yea storm player wants golem back)
gush is fine-ish
at least 1 person at my lgs has stoped playing vintage because of the lodestone restriction
and of course "modo is a quality program". 🙂

Which decks are Big Blue and which are blue control? What is the distinguishing factor in this particular data set?

@Aaron-Patten said:

Which decks are Big Blue and which are blue control? What is the distinguishing factor in this particular data set?

Big Blue - traditional Drain lists with the broken Blue core of tutors, will, tinker. Vault key or painter in various forms.

Blue control - traditional Drain lists playing a more "fair" game like landstill, Blue Moon, Blue Angels, etc.

According to tables, Big Blue has >50% wins agains each other archetypes in particular, but still has only 48% wins against the field overall. I just can't understand how it's possible.

@Kasparadi Because it went 0% against a couple archetypes (0-1 dredge, 0-3 combo, 0-1 eldrazi). Note that 0% means 0-X, whereas the division by zero errors indicate there where no matches played.

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