Notes on the State of Vintage, Jan 2017


  • TMD Supporter

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

    @Hrishi exactly my thoughts on this, these restrictions is whats killing the format, it always feels like my deck is a standard deck which is bound to rotate out of the format. People play vintage because they have "Fun", its the only thing that the format has to offer and nothing more.

    Without addressing the perennial trope that "Vintage is dying," this exchange just illustrates my point in this article.

    One person's desired restriction is another person's redline to quit the format. For every segment of the player base that really wants something restricted, there is another segment who will be angry or resentful if that card is restricted.

    That's why restrictions should be used only as a last resort. If history has taught us anything, it's that restrictions are never universally embraced or unambiguous improvements to the format. Even if they do more good than harm, solving bigger problems than they create, they still harm. Even the most obvious restrictions diminish someone's fun.



  • When I think of reasons to ban or restrict a card, I usually settle on three big pillars:

    1. A card is individually so powerful that it is by definition format-warping (Ancestral Recall, Tolarian Academy, Strip Mine, Tutors)
    2. A card that, while arguably not overpowered, would be used by virtually every deck or otherwise dramatically reduce the diversity or strategic depth of the format (Rishadan Port in Mercadian Standard, Mental Misstep in Legacy, Smuggler's Copter in recent Standard).
    3. A card that is significantly disruptive to any reasonable definition of fun or engaging play experience (Shahrazad, Trinisphere)

    Some people today might view Mishra's Workshop as Category 1, Gitaxian Probe as Category 2, and Sensei's Divining Top as Category 3 (for Legacy).

    I think each of these principles are broadly understandable, but with a lot of room for nuance. Bazaar of Baghdad is a remarkably powerful card, but restricting it would destroy an archetype that isn't even one of the dominant ones. Brainstorm and Ponder being restricted seems bizarre until you see what a Vintage deck with 4 of each would do to the format.

    I like to ask, "What is the most powerful card you can't believe people are allowed to play four of?" For Legacy, to me that is Brainstorm. The player-base might revolt if that was banned, however, so it won't get banned. In Vintage, to me that is Mishra's Workshop. Here, I do wonder if a Shop restriction paired with a Chalice or Lodestone un-restriction would soften the blow.

    That said, I don't think Vintage is being over-run by any one deck right now.



  • @jhport12 Nice breakdown. Some broken cards that would otherwise fall in category #1, if part of linear strategies, can (should?) be allowed since the B&R list is not needed to address the degeneracy they spawn. Playable archetype hosers exist.



  • I think that I unintentionally fell into the trap of misinterpreting MTGO results posted on TC Decks. The majority of results for most archetypes are achieved by the same people. Players are also responding accordingly to the meta with Oath. Smennen appears to be correct about letting this meta play out. I hope to see it keep adjusting, and potentially, we will see more diversity. However, I still stand by my suggestions for restriction except for Thorn of Amethyst. Thorn's restriction would likely take too much away from creature based strategies. All things considered, I think Tanglewire may be what is keeping MUD where it is considering the lock pieces that are left. Taking one more lock piece could be the final nail in the coffin for certain MUD variants, but the aggro version would probably be fine losing Sphere of Resistance.

    I was rather frustrated with the meta, so I brewed up a Paradoxical Outcome, Oath, Storm deck, and the results have been promising. I haven't had a chance to play more than a couple matches against Hatebears and MUD, and that was with the prototype for the deck. I have managed to find satisfaction in this meta, but I am not able to play any Gush Storm decks with much success. If the meta continues to evolve in the direction I am hoping, that may change as well.



  • @JimTosetti This is a good point. For the past couple weeks, I think I have been the primary representative of Oath decks on MTGO. And there's a couple people who seem to play Dredge exclusively.



  • Restrict Workshop, and Unrestrict Lodestone Golem and Trinisphere. Keep Chalice Restricted. Restrict Paradoxical Outcome and Gitaxian Probe. Watch the game completely change, for the better.



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  • @Serracollector Cannot like this enough (except Trinisphere can stay gone).

    Preordain needs to go, too.


  • TMD Supporter

    Paradoxical Outcome is one of the best things to happen to the format in a while. It's brought back restricted cards that otherwise don't see play.

    But if it were a problem, the first card to restrict is Mox Opal, the only Mox never restricted, and the best unrestricted Mox.


  • TMD Supporter

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

    Paradoxical Outcome is one of the best things to happen to the format in a while. It's brought back restricted cards that otherwise don't see play.

    But if it were a problem, the first card to restrict is Mox Opal, the only Mox never restricted, and the best unrestricted Mox.

    Too bad that restricting Mox Opal would make Belcher unplayable 😞 Well maybe monoblue Belcher would still be somewhat ok..



  • @yugular Belcher was playable before 4x Mox Opal

    @yugar Belcher was never good after 4x Mox Opal


  • TMD Supporter

    @Soly playable and good are two different things. I dont think the deck is so good that it can win EW or BOM. But its playable and can go 4-0 in a DE.



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

    Restrict Workshop, and Unrestrict Lodestone Golem and Trinisphere. Keep Chalice Restricted. Restrict Paradoxical Outcome and Gitaxian Probe. Watch the game completely change, for the better.

    I don't see there is any reason to restrict Paradoxical Outcome - it hasn't put up amazing results and the decks so far are very beatable?

    Workshop is weird in the way that if it didn't exist and was printed, I don't think anyone would argue a second that it shouldn't be restricted. It has just been available for so long that it is really hard to see that change.



  • The fact remains that there is no single dominant deck. This alone means that a restriction just isn't necessary.

    If you're tired of facing the same decks over and over again, that just means that you play Vintage on MTGO and get to play in 2-5 Daily Events every week.

    Since I started playing MTGO Vintage, I've played Saheeli Oath exclusively. I've managed to do pretty well in the face of Mishra's Workshop, Preordain, Gitaxian Probe, Gush and whatever else people are moaning about.

    If you hate Shops, play the thing that always beats it for awhile. If you hate Gush Mentor, do likewise.



  • Stop restricting stuff. This is Vintage. We want to play the best cards ever printed.



  • Why innovate when you can restrict whole pillars out of existence? Then we can just enjoy a blue circle jerk until the end of time.



  • If workshop is restricted, can someone find one good reason (i mean : competitive reason) to keep playing decks with about 44 artifacts inside ?

    That just means the end of MUD (that is not doom saying, just strategical fact) that would evolve to get colored and most probably still keep enough artifact to get some value from the last workshop. Let's say some kind of Tezz-like deck. So nothing really new.

    Here is what would be lost and i am curious to hear what could balance that enough to make it a good choice ...



  • If another variant were printed that only produced two mana it would be somewhat less overtly restriction worthy and still create enough incentive to play dedicated artifact based strategies.



  • If Workshop is restricted, I'll seriously consider stop playing magic. And I don't play shops myself.

    I'd much rather they start unrestricting stuff, or just print some anti-Shops cards. Leyline of Anti-Shops:
    If this is in your opening hand, you may begin the game with it on the battlefield. Artifact spells cost 2 more to cast. Or whatever. Just stop restricting stuff.


  • TMD Supporter

    Not to derail another Pro/Con Workshop thread, but I think the article glossed over the impact of MTGO a little too thinly.

    @Smmenen Do you think an article is warranted in the future regarding the massive impact MTGO has had on vintage. I can't think of anything else in the last 20yrs that has the power to pull the format in two directions as successfully.

    I'd love to hear thoughts on some of the following issues:
    Fast moving Meta (we have new archtypes almost every other set)
    Much higher data frequency than ever before
    Elite vs casual
    "Solving" the format
    Vintage fatigue
    Can vintage survive the increased scrutiny of a fast moving format that isn't watched by Wizards.
    How paper prices vs. digital prices affect their respective format (ie: MTGO might deem Workshop over-powered, but paper wants to keep it viable). Or extrapolated into how a restricted list in MTGO could theoretically be different than one created for paper.
    ...and I think the most interesting issue, how Vintage will handle the paper vs. digital schism that is less prominent than for other formats.

    I know a lot of these issues are pretty familiar to other formats, but that hasn't been the case with Vintage. It's always functioned on the side by its own rules. I'm not saying one way is better than the other, but we have to admit that Vintage is steeped in a lot of tradition, and people play it for many more reasons than simply to win.

    I think MTGO was previously a nice way to jam in some extra Vintage practice now and then, but in the last year or so, (along with VSL) there are monthly tournaments and a much larger following. Some of these issues can't be ignored.


 

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