MTGO July 2016 Power 9 Challenge

@cYnic said:

One should really note that Gush decks have not shown a win rate substantially higher than 50% in all of 2016. It seems a bit silly to go ranting and raving on about how they are this dominant force without having actual statistics to provide even a sliver of correlation here.

If anything shops was the one delivering 60%+ match win performances.

Statements like these make me regret actually doing the work to generate such values... The more prevalent a deck is, the lower its win percentage will be especially when that deck is both skill-intensive to pilot and requires deft deckbuilding considerations to navigate the various hate people play. It also doesn't help that the majority of Vintage players are at an FNM level when it comes to understanding the rules/fundamentals and that the format has an incredibly high degree of variance relative to other formats.

@wappla said:

so is Gush overplayed? Or are people playing the wrong cards in their Gush deck (something chubbyrain has claimed/shown to be impossible)? Or are people playing Gush decks poorly?

I have claimed that the actual win conditions you run in Gush is of limited importance, not that it's impossible to play the wrong cards in Gush. To answer your other questions, the fact that people are playing non-Gush Blue decks means Gush is underplayed and I commented on player skill above...

Does Win % exclude the mirror? Otherwise it is not surprising that the best, most widely played deck in the format has a win % near 50%.

@evouga said:

Does Win % exclude the mirror? Otherwise it is not surprising that the best, most widely played deck in the format has a win % near 50%.

Yes, we have our sheet built to exclude mirror matches. The issue is though that a deck becomes targeted the larger the percentage of the metagame it is...you get Gush decks built with more hate for the mirror and other decks with more Sudden Shocks, Verdicts, etc...and you get people netdecking outdated lists and running them into a hostile field without experience. I went through all the NYSE lists and there were many players running Sylvan Mentor lists or Thing-Beserker because they copied Rich Shay and were completely unprepared to deal with Eldrazi. Good players don't care...Ryan and Princess Power will continue winning tournaments because Gush IS that good.

Maybe... is Gush (even the newer lists with plenty of Swords and Paths) really all that good against Eldrazi? It hasn't seemed that way in my testing, nor is that borne out in the stats above. Now it may be that people don't want to play Eldrazi, because they prefer to pilot blue decks or Workshops, but this unwillingness is different than Gush being an unstoppable force in the metagame.

@Prospero

Thanks for your perspective.

There's also the possibility that you're wrong but this doesn't seem to be a discussion point people are willing to concede.

Most of the fear mongering prior to restrictions was vapid at best and seems to have resulted in, well, nothing. I'm still waiting for the combo winter people were promising once the format police "were unfairly removed from the format". Yet now I just see more creature decks and a whole new archetype added to the format.

Based on a lot of comments I've seen it just seems to me as though people are upset because they feel slighted in some way, not because the format is worse off.

last edited by Guest

@wappla said:

so is Gush overplayed? Or are people playing the wrong cards in their Gush deck (something chubbyrain has claimed/shown to be impossible)? Or are people playing Gush decks poorly?

I would say Gush is definitely overplayed, and played poorly as a wide assumption of the whole; I've watched players miss their land drop, then gush (returning two lands) on my end step; I just chuckle.

@evouga said:

Maybe... is Gush (even the newer lists with plenty of Swords and Paths) really all that good against Eldrazi? It hasn't seemed that way in my testing, nor is that borne out in the stats above. Now it may be that people don't want to play Eldrazi, because they prefer to pilot blue decks or Workshops, but this unwillingness is different than Gush being an unstoppable force in the metagame.

@diophan beat it twice during the event. The matchup really isn't that bad...just board out a Gush and the dead counters, sit back on removal, walkers, and token generators, and respect TKS and Reality Smasher.

I think it's worth stating that Gush can beat Eldrazi with an opposite approach as well. As a Delver pilot, I didn't respect Thought-Knot Seer as a relevant threat, and I had success in the event racing both White Eldrazi and Eldrazi Shops with Delver, Pyromancer, and Lightning Bolt. My thinking is that having an aggressive plan marginalizes Thought-Knot's Thoughtseize effect. Spending removal on a vanilla 4/4 that has already Thoughtseized me is fine but not always what I wanted to be doing. The whole reason people are playing these cards is because spot removal is bad against them (incidentally, my evaluation of new Thalia has sunk for the same reason). It's much better to answer it with tokens. If I negate the body with a 1/1 token I got for free, I've pulled even on cards and am likely ahead on mana.

While Grixis Pyromancer has better if less removal than I had in the event, I think their plan is similarly focused on Young Pyromancer, who, it should be said, is better against Eldrazi than Monastery Mentor.

last edited by wappla

43.1% of the field. Jeez.

@vaughnbros said:

43.1% of the field. Jeez.

The breakdown is just one picture down if you missed it.

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last edited by Guest

@socialite I saw it. As many Mentor alone as all Shops and Eldrazi combined.

@vaughnbros said:

@socialite I saw it. As many Mentor alone as all Shops and Eldrazi combined.

Yeah, seems like a popular deck.

@socialite Popular for the people still playing the format. Drop in attendence, but still the same number of gush decks.

@vaughnbros There were three GPs last weekend, and a new set was just preleased on MTGO.

@vaughnbros said:

@socialite Popular for the people still playing the format. Drop in attendence, but still the same number of gush decks.

I could care less about MTGO attendance metrics, it seems pretty clear as an outsider that WotC does quite a good job stifling accessibility to Vintage specific events in general. Also for what it's worth my local scene is blowing up.

@socialite That's nice.

@wappla

Ive noticed that Mentor is fairly weak to Drain as well. The Young Pyromancer decks are a lot more effective at implementing their tempo plan before Drain comes online.

I've Drained some Young Pyromancers but it just is not as impressive. I'd much rather hit them with an Izzet Staticaster, Plague Spitter, or something that nets advantage.

last edited by desolutionist

@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.

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