Notes on the State of Vintage, Jan 2017



  • If you aggregate Workshops vs Gush from Matt and Ryan's data, you will find the deck was 59% against Gush from June until present. Sample size is 273 matches. What a nadir!
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    Rich's whining about Gush while registering Workshops was too much to take last night.


  • TMD Supporter

    @wappla said in Notes on the State of Vintage, Jan 2017:

    If you aggregate Workshops vs Gush from Matt and Ryan's data, you will find the deck was 59% against Gush from June until present. Sample size is 273 matches. What a nadir!

    Rich's whining about Gush while registering Workshops was too much to take last night.

    The other ridiculous thing Rich said is that Brainstorm's restriction destroyed Vintage.

    I don't see how that's even a remotely supportable or knowable claim, since Brainstorm was simultaneously restricted with 4 other cards (Gush included!), and there were tons of large Vintage tournaments after the restriction.

    In fact, the 3 months between the mass restrictions of Brainstorm and co in July, 2008 and the release of Shards of Alara is possibly my single favorite period in Vintage history. That was the brief emergence of Strategic Planning Slaver and TPS right before the Time Vault era. That was an amazing time.

    Moreover, like Golem, the necessity of Brainstorm's restriction is self evident after the fact.



  • I don't have enough popcorn for this revelation and roast.


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    @Hrishi said in Notes on the State of Vintage, Jan 2017:

    @Smmenen I REALLY don't want to get into this argument in this thread, but I know people who believe Gush is overdue a restriction feel that DCI policy marginalises them,

    But if the DCI doesn't feel that way, then how is it fair to Gush pilots to restrict Gush? You would be marginalizing Gush players unfairly.
    Why wouldnt Gush players do the same thing you complain about (i.e. Play less, other games, etc.)?



  • @Smmenen They would, absolutely. Any decision has to marginalise one group over another. Each person is going to, presumably, belong to a different group if their views on what is "fun" is different. When DCI's view disagrees with my view, I will most certainly play less if I'm not having as much fun. This is purely a subjective view on the matter, of course.



  • @wappla @smmenen Rather than engaging in a conversation you're using a number to refute a position Rich did not even take--Rich did not say shops is bad against gush.

    Let's pretend there are 3 decks in vintage:
    Rock (shops)
    Scissor (gush)
    Paper (big blue/blue control)

    Each has a favorable (60% matchup) against the one you would expect. You can argue against my assumptions but that's not the point.

    If everyone acts rationally the metagame reaches an equilibrium of equal representation and equal winrate. The problem is that 60% of the metagame refuses to play Rock. To quote Chris Pikula from two seasons ago "Why are you playing vintage if not to cast ancestral recall?"

    The result of this bias is exactly what we see in the current metagame. Most of the anti-Rock people switch to Scissors because a disproportionate amount of the meta is Scissor/Paper. Rock has an overall favorable winrate because of its Scissor matchup and the lack of Paper.

    I am pretty sure that Rich's point is that this state of affairs is not particularly fun for the anti-Rock players. Your guy's point is that Rock has a good winrate. There is no contradiction here. How much should we care that people don't have fun playing Rock? This gets back to @Brass-Man 's point about the philosophy of B&R policy.


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    @Hrishi said in Notes on the State of Vintage, Jan 2017:

    @Smmenen They would, absolutely. Any decision has to marginalise one group over another. .

    No, it doesn't.

    Every decision impacts player segments unevenly. I pointed this out to Brassman:

    "Neutrality and impartiality doesn't preclude making decisions that have the effect of favoring one player segment over another.

    Every B&R list decision necessarily affects/harms the most impacted group more. That's not problematic. That's an inevitable byproduct of good management.

    Whats problematic is when the DCI makes decisions to placate a vocal player segment over another rather than because of objective or neutral criteria.

    That kind of decisionmaking delegitimates the format and marginalizes it in the minds of potential format players."

    There are neutral ways to resolve competing desires in a way that is fair, even if the losing side is unhappy with the result.

    Our entire system of justice is built on this idea. One side wins, another loses. But justice must be blind and impartial to maintain its legitimacy.

    Biased or partial decision-making that placates a vocal segment in a non-neutral way marginalizes other segments in a very different - and far more pronounced way - than being unhappy with the result of a fair process.



  • @themonadnomad said in Notes on the State of Vintage, Jan 2017:

    I feel like there should really be more answer cards printed in Commander/Conspiracy/Planechase/etc. Instead of leaning on more restrictions. I'd actually like to see things come OFF the restricted list and just have better cards for answering the "problem" cards/decks. Strange that there isn't at least one person pushing for this at Wizards...

    So I want to say that I love the first part of this statement (i.e., more answer cards) while I am currently neutral on the second part.

    I have my own wonky opinions on some things. Everyone agrees (I think) that blue is the most powerful color in Vintage> However, Conspiracy and Commander (and Archenemy and anything new) all present opportunities to create answer cards that don't go into Modern/Standard. And any answer card that isn't broken could, of course, go in a regular set.

    Also, make answer cards that aren't available to every single color or archetype. Make a green pitch counter spell creature (like Vine Dryad) that counters an artifact or enchantment spell. It could hurt Shops and Paradoxical Outcome, but wouldn't necessarily find an immediate home in a preexisting archetype. Make a black enchantment Chalice of the Void that only affects one or two spell types (like, say, Instants). Hinder overpowered cards or archetypes while creating more opportunities for Vintage deck diversity.



  • @Smmenen said in Notes on the State of Vintage, Jan 2017:

    There are neutral ways to resolve competing desires in a way that is fair, even if the losing side is unhappy with the result.

    Our entire system of justice is built on this idea. One side wins, another loses. But justice must be blind and impartial to maintain its legitimacy.

    The difference here is that this is a game, and people are free to walk away from this game if they are unhappy with the result. You can, in fact, choose to not deal with a decision you disagree with. You still need to "deal" with the decision making of our justice system even if you are unhappy with the result.


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    @diophan said in Notes on the State of Vintage, Jan 2017:

    @wappla @smmenen To quote Chris Pikula from two seasons ago "Why are you playing vintage if not to cast ancestral recall?"

    The result of this bias is exactly what we see in the current metagame.

    Well, if you read the article this thread is about, or my views in this thread or elsewhere, it should be clear that I also disagree with Mr Pikula. But that doesnt absolve Rich from asserting patently unsupportable and/or false claims like he did with respect to the impact of Brainstorm's restriction on the format.

    This article tried to uncover the true sources of discontent in the format, and what we should do about it.


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    @Hrishi said in Notes on the State of Vintage, Jan 2017:

    @Smmenen said in Notes on the State of Vintage, Jan 2017:

    There are neutral ways to resolve competing desires in a way that is fair, even if the losing side is unhappy with the result.

    Our entire system of justice is built on this idea. One side wins, another loses. But justice must be blind and impartial to maintain its legitimacy.

    The difference here is that this is a game, and people are free to walk away from this game if they are unhappy with the result. You can, in fact, choose to not deal with a decision you disagree with. You still need to "deal" with the decision making of our justice system even if you are unhappy with the result.

    That distinction makes no difference. The analogy to our justice system was drawn to vividly illustrate the principle, but the principle does not depend upon the validity or metaphorical mapping of the analogy.

    Your point was that any decision marginalizes one group or another. My rebuttal was that this is not so; at least, not in the sense we meant. As long as the result is fair because it resulted from a neutal and impartial process, even if some are dissappointed, they arent marginalized in the same way as when the policymaker is responding to or captured by a vocal segment. That's a permanently marginalizing event, and deeply harmful to the format.



  • @diophan the disequilibrium is an argument against Workshops, not for it. People are knowingly giving up wins to avoid playing a deck. That's not a good thing. I agree that if more people enjoyed playing Workshops and playing against it, the deck would far less problematic. The deck has been around for a long time now, though, and evidence is hardly accumulating for its being an acquired taste.

    Imagine how this conversation would be going if instead of talking about the restriction of Workshop from Vintage we were talking about the unbanning of it in Legacy. It would be a short conversation. We shouldn't allow loss aversion to blind us to what outsiders see very clearly as a bug of the format rather than a feature.

    Regardless, the choice isn't between restricting Mishra's Workshop or not. The choice is between restricting Mishra's Workshop and restricting the best card in the Workshop decks every six months. Those are both real options; the deck is acceptable when you keep it tamped down like Wizards has been doing with the Chalice and LSG restrictions.



  • @diophan said in Notes on the State of Vintage, Jan 2017:

    If everyone acts rationally the metagame reaches an equilibrium of equal representation and equal winrate. The problem is that 60% of the metagame refuses to play Rock. To quote Chris Pikula from two seasons ago "Why are you playing vintage if not to cast ancestral recall?"

    This feels true to me. That said, MTG Goldfish does have Shops at 20%+ and Mentor at 11%+ of the metagame.



  • I think most of the competitive elements of the format are gone for reasons spelled out a thousand times elsewhere and in this article. I also think that many more restrictions need to be made. These restrictions would enable more strategies to become competitive. At minimum, I think that Monastery Mentor, Gitaxian Probe, Preordain, Thorn of Amethyst, and Paradoxical Outcome should be restricted. Another complaint that I have is the praise the current format receives because of its difference from past metas. The format is basically warped beyond repair resulting in a lack of strategic diversity. It is not really worth the time to spell out every reason because I could write a book on what is wrong with this meta, but I would hope that the next b/r addresses the dominant strategies.



  • @jhport12

    This feels true to me. That said, MTG Goldfish does have Shops at 20%+ and Mentor at 11%+ of the metagame.

    This is kind of off topic and I'm not trying to be a jerk (for once). I'd just like to point out that using MTGoldfish for anything other than just carousing lists is like getting your election news from The Daily Mail.



  • @thecravenone 100% agree



  • @Smmenen The uncanny thing is that I was re-reading an article of yours from 2003 on the same issue, and then you release this one. Funny how 14 years pass and the average Vintage player still doesn't get stuff we were discussing back then.
    Magic players have an incredible tendency to repeat complaints and problems from the past. I can't understand someone who still discusses banning Workshops but then says Hitler should've studied Napoleon when he invaded Russia.

    http://www.starcitygames.com/article/5978_Old-Format--New-Conflict--Old-School-Versus-New-School-In-Type-One.html

    Just a quote from 14 years ago:

    Slowing down the format any further by restricting cards like Mishra's Workshop or Dark Ritual are only likely to increase the power of blue based control. Acceleration is one of the key ways in which decks can now get by Mana Drain and it forces blue decks to actually have answers to spells which slip past. [...]
    Some people claim, erroneously, that this card should be restricted. They are upset about the speed of the format and the fact that the deck is a prison deck which either gets or fails to get a lock into place by turn 2-4. What they fail to understand is that prison wouldn't survive if it didn't do just that. Around the time I began my Stax article, around a dozen Type One players worldwide actually played Workshop prison. The fact is that Workshop is not dominant; it doesn't consistently win and distort the metagame any more than any other Tier One deck.



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