Restricting powder may actually be pointless because people may stop using it all together
You may well be right about that, although it's important to note that Serum Powder is significantly more powerful under the London system than Vancouver, since you can tuck away cards that are crucial to your game plan (dredgers; Bridge from Below; etc) before exiling your hand. It doesn't sound crazy to me that it might be optimal in a post-London world to aggressively mulligan and Powder not just for a Bazaar, but for a Bazaar as well as some supporting cards.
Great point! Here are those curves. To keep the plot simple I limited the data to the three most interesting scenarios:
- the status quo (Vancouver mulligan with no cards restricted)
- London mulligan with no restrictions
- London mulligan with Serum Powder restricted
- London mulligan with Bazaar restricted
The x-axis is cumulative, i.e., the leftmost column is the probability of finding a Bazaar under any circumstance, the second column is the probability of finding a Bazaar and at least one other card in hand, etc.
One interesting result here is that restricting Serum Powder, and instating the London mulligan, would increase the overall chance of Dredge finding a Bazaar, but decrease the probability of Dredge having three or more non-Bazaar cards left over after mulliganing. Of course, since the London mulligan allows the Dredge pilot to sculpt that hand, having fewer expected total cards in hand at the beginning of the game may not impact the deck's performance much.
Here is the additional analysis you asked about in the podcast:
Probabilities of finding a Bazaar under the Vancouver system:
For the London system:
Methodology: I assumed you
- keep any hand with at least one Bazaar
- use Serum Powder whenever you draw it and do not have a Bazaar
- under the London system, tuck any extra Serum Powders back in your deck before any use of Serum Powder.
Mathematica source code: https://www.dropbox.com/s/np0y0maooxln4cr/mulligan.nb?dl=0
I like the idea of a Grand Experiment, but if we're going to do it, we should go whole hog, and not second-guess ourselves and special-plead why some cards are more dangerous than others. In particular, I'm not convinced these cards are "incredibly obviously detrimental to the game as it relates to the Vintage Format."
Brainstorm: legal in Legacy without issues, was legal in Vintage for a long time without major issues
Chalice of the Void: was legal in Vintage for a long time without major issues
Dig Through Time: "just" a late-game draw spell
Flash: one of many 2-card combos in Vintage
Gitaxian Probe: "free perfection information is bad" is not the same as "incredibly obviously detrimental"
Library of Alexandria: pretty terrible outside of the blue mirror
Memory Jar: only "incredibly obviously" broken in format with unrestricted Tinker
Merchant Scroll: it's not "incredibly obvious" that tutoring up Gush is even all that good in a deck with much stronger Shops decks
Monastery Mentor: not "incredibly obviously detrimental" in a format with stronger Shops and powerful alternative combo engines
Mystical Tutor: slow tutor in a much faster format
Treasure Cruise: "just" a late-game draw spell
Trinisphere: probably very unfun, but not incredibly obviously so in a completely different format
Leaving as "incredibly obviously detrimental" only
Wheel of Fortune
I don't think restricting Force of Will would be good for the format. Unlike Mental Misstep, FoW is card-disadvantageous and so is used, grudgingly, as an emergency measure to stop turn 1 or 2 backbreaking tactics like Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Tinker, draw 7s, etc. Between Force of Will and more frequently successful Turn 1 broken plays, I think Forces are the lesser evil.
One idea I've suggested in the past is testing Vintage tournaments where matches last more than three games (by adopting a best-of-five format, say). This is one way to combat the variance/"polarity" concern articulated in this thread. Individual games might still be blowouts but the outcome of the match would shift more towards deckbuilding and play skill than blind luck.
From what I can tell, it's taken its toll on paper Vintage. I used to go to local tournaments that were 32+ people and now I hear those tournaments are less than 16. Some of that is Old School and that makes sense - Old School is a format that allows players to play the decks they used to enjoy.
The problem with Old School is that the format's gratuitously elitist reprint and proxy policy basically guarantees no new players enter the format. I've been collecting cards since Revised yet I would need to spend my entire life savings to build an Old School deck.
I've started playing more on MTGO recently and I can't say my anecdotal experience supports the claim that Vintage is "solved" or a "three deck" format. I routinely lose to skilled players piloting Landstill, Dark Depths combo, some Arclight Phoenix contraption, some kind of Argothian Enchantress deck, etc etc.
If it were all PO decks, Shops, and Dredge I would be winning constantly
I tried a few matches on MTGO with different color configurations (Rg, Ru, Rb) and it was fairly miserable; you get outraced by Dredge, Survival, PO, Arclight Phoenixes, and your creatures quickly get outclassed by Humans. The post-sideboard Shops matchup is easy though
By far the best feeling when playing burn was getting a Dark Confidant into play, so if I were to try to push the deck further I would start from there.