An updated Terra Nova list performed well for the Forinos and I at Champs last year, but was an alteration or two away from putting us in contention. I picked up my second loss at 6-1, I'm not sure when they picked up theirs. If the deck had Lodestone Golem, it would be able to be adjusted, and be a player. It doesn't, so it sits on the sidelines.
The token generators have been brutal to Smokestack in general. The last iteration of the deck that was successful was a list that I played that had both Ratchet Bomb and Steel Hellkite main. Without both Chalice and Lodestone, the deck sits on the sidelines.
While I was not a fan of the Chalice-less list that Nick DiJohn was piloting to successful results, the deck was still successful in that incarnation. The loss of Lodestone Golem was brutal to that deck.
Forino put in some work in the pillar in the spring of this year, but the results weren't there with the new list at the N.Y.S.E. Open.
My Dark Depths list was absolutely crutching on Lodestone. It was critical, as it provided a reasonable clock, and also pushed the opponent to respect you with artifact removal while you had the backup plan of assembling a 20/20. Without Lodestone Golem, the deck has no clock, and thus, no distraction from the 20/20. It doesn't help that there are infinite Swords to Plowshares in the metagame right now. I can't speak for anyone else's results, but I split a top eight, split top four twice, and split a finals with the deck. Every time that I played it, I won with it. That deck is done without Lodestones, and seeing Bob Maher pick up the list for the VSL play-in was weirdly disappointing, as I don't think he realized that the deck is garbage now.
As an aside that is totally irrelevant now, I had taken to offering splits as soon as I was in top eight/top four/the finals of every tournament that I did well at because I knew that when I performed well with a Workshop deck, the commentary wouldn't be "wow, Detwiler did well" but rather "Workshops are dumb/oppressive/need to be restricted out of existence". Playing with that over my head at every event that I played in for the last three years has been ridiculous, and exhausting.
I have tens of thousands of dollars into cards that I can't play, because the pillar I've spent tens of thousands of dollars on can't compete like it could a year ago. Attendance at local events are generally down, people who have been stalwarts of the community are gone, and all I see is a few different variations on blue decks win ad nauseum. The B&R list is a personal thing for a lot of people, mostly because the barrier to entry to Vintage is so high. If I was going to play a tier one deck right now, I'd need duals, fetches, and a lot more. There was a point in time, recently, where the only pillar that was weak was Storm. 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 have let loose a few times in the last few months, and I have quickly backed off, because this whole conversation is 100% poison, and all it is guaranteed to generate is bad emotions. Nothing I say will impact the B&R list (I devoutly believe this), and yet someone like Sam Black (who doesn't play the format, and didn't even know that Bazaar hadn't been restricted as he made his ridiculous "restrict Bazaar & Workshop" argument") can influence what happens, because he's a Magic celebrity, and thousands of people who don't play the format assume he's right about things they remain ignorant of. Sam took a generic Mentor list to the VSL play-in, got beaten up, and was upset. Names don't matter here; under the right circumstances, I'll take any number of our Vintage aficionados over the PT guys. But the PT guys have megaphones, and we do not. Perhaps it's supremely arrogant on my part, but there is a part of me that believes that I bear some responsibility for Lodestone's restriction; not for results that I have put up, but for losing my match to Ochoa in the play-in finals. If I had won, I would have spent the entirety of that VSL season arguing against the Lodestone restriction, and doing it with results. Maybe that would have tipped the balance. At this point, it's another moot point in a sea of moot points.
Gush is dumb. Gush was dumb in 2003, and Gush is dumb now. Gush never should have been unrestricted, and yet I held back my opinion on it because I knew that other people enjoyed playing with it, and because Vintage was the format where we were supposed to be able to play with our cards. What's the alternative? Be vocal, demanding, and rock the boat until somebody at the DCI gives me what I want? This game is a hobby, not a job. This game is supposed to be a release, not a stress.
I have spent more time, effort, and money building the community in the last 15 years than just about anyone else in the world, and Vintage is sickening right now. I want nothing more than to be excited about the format. I want to build decks, loan them out, spread the gospel of the format, and further proselytize. I can't do what I want to do right now, because the format is not exciting, because a few very vocal people warped the format in ways they didn't understand (and don't really care to), and because as much as the salt is flowing now, I don't want to keep doing this, having this conversation, letting all of this out. I love the community, and my love for the community made me do things I didn't really want to do. When the Lodestone restriction was announced, part of me wanted to refund every N.Y.S.E. Open entry fee, sell the prize support, and be done with it. Spending over 100 hours putting together a tournament that makes no money, year after year, while you hate what has been done to the format was not an appealing prospect. Do I take the Lodestone restriction personally? Absolutely. It violated my basic standard philosophy about what Vintage was supposed to be. I started the process of selling off cards, and sold off a little over $6,000 worth before I stopped, because I know that once I sell my power and Shops that it really is over for me (and I'm not going to buy back in).
I don't want to pay the bill that was handed to me (a bill for duals, fetches, Flusterstorms, etc.) in order to keep playing Vintage, and I don't want to walk away from the game entirely. You could make the argument that Classic is nothing more than me running away from Vintage, and you wouldn't be entirely wrong. Maybe what I need is someone to just tell me to 'man up' and sell everything, take the money, walk away, and do something else with my time. But with the amount of time, effort, and money that I have spent on this game, and this format, that's a galling proposition. Workshops aren't fine, and they're not going to be fine until something is done, but the majority of Vintage players play blue, so it's only ever going to be an unpopular position among a few people while we watch the rest of the format play their blue spells.