In Defense of Mishra's Workshop

Fantastic collection of thoughts.

For me, I hate to see Lodestone go because I like the more stax oriented shop lists. Losing another lock piece to restriction would likely end those decks.

@the_zeeker Swapping Golem for Chalice is technically an option, but I personally don't believe WotC will unrestrict a card that they put on the list six months ago. That's ultimately why I didn't touch on it. If that's what ends up happening though I sure will look silly 🙂

@Aaron-Patten You could be right, they'd likely mutate to a strange 3-5 color stax permutation.

Shops is crap without LSG. Trading it for Chalice is not viable.

I really enjoyed the article, and agree 100% that nothing needs to change at this time.

Just as an aside (for those playing competitive Vintage at the time), what was the issue with 4x Brainstorm? The reason I ask is that if something WERE to have to change, I'd rather see stuff come off the restricted list than placed on it, and I kinda always wondered how the meta would look if Ponder, Brainstorm and Chalice all came off at the same time...

@themonadnomad The stated issue was that it allowed storm and a few other engines to become too deterministic. With Chalice and Mental Misstep as 4-ofs I suspect they could have been just fine. I think that the Real issue was that with 4 Brainstorm and 4 Gush there was very little incentive to not play all of those as well as possibly one Fastbond in a large percentage of decks. The two cards are very effective together drawing potentially 5 new cards and even though they cost 4 cards (two land, bs, and gush) it's also only one blue mana on the turn that it happens. It allowed certain synergy based decks to dig deeply into their library for minimal mana cost thus allowing players to find their combo pieces and/or restricted cards more easily in the early turns of the game than they would have otherwise been able to. This engine only became readily played with the introduction of the Onslaught fetch lands. They were released in the same block as the storm mechanic which created some confusion as to the root cause of the issue. The response was an overtly and ultimately tragic overreaction to restrict every half decent blue card that saw play. Some of those mistakes have been corrected and some haven't.

There has been a long standing desire among many players to reduce the number of blue spells in Vintage. As a result blue decks get closer and closer to a list of restricted one-ofs as time goes on. Lately this hasn't been the case as much as it once was due to the fact that 4 Gush and 4 Preordain are possible but the ancient(1993) sentiment that blue is "un-fun" and "unfair" is still shared by a huge percentage of players (not necessarily Vintage players). The primary justification for restricting blue cards is that blue is the most heavily played colour in Vintage. The reason blue is so heavily played in Vintage is partly due to the fact that it allows for some of the most famously effective spells (Ancestral, Time Walk, etc.); however, even more importantly it allows for reactive spells such as Force of Will et al. Reactive play, and the ability to interact with an opponent is essential in Vintage since it is the format where card synergy can lead to game ending plays on any turn of the game. Without a high concentration of reactive and thus interactive game-play Vintage would be a very different format and likely one that would not appeal to as many players.

By my observation this leads to continual conflict within the community about what should be done about the blue threat and is the justification for certain odd looking restrictions of blue cards as well as the prevalence of some famously unrestricted non-blue cards as a competitive edge against blue decks. Unfortunately this also pushes some other decks out of the format as well. I see this as the core discussion of the current restricted list.

last edited by Aaron Patten

@Aaron-Patten said:

@themonadnomad This engine only became readily played with the introduction of the Onslaught fetch lands. They were released in the same set as the storm mechanic which created some confusion as to the root cause of the issue.

Just wanted to point out that this is factually incorrect. Storm was introduced in Scourge, not Onslaught.

@Leoj Good catch, thanks. Switched to "Block" instead of set since, by my perception, there was still confusion caused by the temporally close release of the two mechanics.

last edited by Aaron Patten

@Aaron-Patten It's not that Blue is any more a threat than anything else. It's just that, given the enormous power level of the core Blue cards that you run in Vintage, anything you print on that level just gets run along side them. Let's say they printed a black spell that did something horribly broken like, I dunno, regrow your entire graveyard. That would just get slotted in right next to the existing blue shells, don't you think? (P.S. Yes, this is a joke. 😛 )

Dredge and Shops are awesome because they are fundamentally incompatible with the Blue spells. I mean, sure, sometimes you see someone jam blue in a shops or dredge list, but not often and (usually) not successfully. They represent a way to play Vintage on a whole different axis.

Bottom line: they lead to a more fundamental form of format diversity than we would see if every deck started with half of its cards determined by the Reserve List. I'm sure a lot of people would enjoy the Oath v. Storm v. Tezz v. Mentor metagame. But, it feels elitist for people to say that there should be no other options.

@fsecco said:

I just want to point out that, right before Chalice of the Void's restriction, everybody was also saying that the Vintage metagame was the most healthy they've ever seen. So what is it? Now or before CotV?

Why can't it be both? I think the meta was great before and after precisely because hitting Chalice didn't cripple shops. It just shifted it around a bit.

Now, it DID cripple hatebear.dec, but that's another grumbly story...

last edited by MaximumCDawg
  • 21
  • 11025