Posts made by evouga
posted in Vintage News read more

I feel obliged to point out that there have been significant attempts at creating MtG Turing machines before:

The main difference in this preprint is that the Turing machine runs fully automatically, and continued operation does not depend on any player choices including agreeing to play all "may" abilities.

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

For decks with access to colored mana I think Engineered Explosives has too many advantages over this land and plays the same role.

I agree this is one of the few ways Shops can deal with Null Rod, but

  • the slowness and dissynergy with Workshop is unfortunate
  • Null Rod is more of a nuisance than a silver bullet against Shops anyway.
posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

It's a fun effect, but textbook win-more. Not sure where this would find a home.

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

Notice this Teferi is nuts in Landstill.

  1. Bounces any pesky creatures that your opponent managed to resolve pre-Standstill.
  2. Stops your opponent from cracking Standstill on your EOT, or from countering your counterspells.
  3. Any time you feel like it, bounce Standstill, play out your hand, replay Standstill. Opponent can't take advantage of the window.
posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

I'm replying to the great excitement expressed above at the -2 ability. I never argued that Saheeli is unplayable.

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

Hmm the passive effect is clearly playable at two mana, and almost certainly playable at three mana with more flexible color requirements as well.

Being a Planeswalker is a boon in some matchups (the control mirror) and a liability in others (anything creature-based that can go around or through a few Servo tokens, e.g. Shops).

I'm not so convinced about the utility of the activated ability. What exactly are you copying from and to? Copying a tapped Time Vault onto an untapped artifact is game-winning. You can also net 1-2 mana by turning a Mox into something like Mana Vault, Mana Crypt, or Black Lotus. But these seem more like ancillary bonuses than strong reasons to play Saheeli in the first place.

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

How much early-Wastelanding is this guy going to stop, though, at the WW price point?

posted in Vintage News read more


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.

posted in Vintage News read more

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.

posted in Vintage News read more

Here is the additional analysis you asked about in the podcast:

Probabilities of finding a Bazaar under the Vancouver system:

Bazaars\Powders 0 1 4
1 38.58% 41.45% 51.77%
4 86.50% 88.70% 94.18%

For the London system:

Bazaars\Powders 0 1 4
1 58.04% 62.14% 75.52%
4 97.18% 98.08% 99.57%

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:

posted in Vintage Community read more

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

Ancestral Recall
Black Lotus
Demonic Tutor
Mana Crypt
Mana Vault
Mind's Desire
Sol Ring
Strip Mine
Time Vault
Time Walk
Tolarian Academy
Wheel of Fortune
Yawgmoth's Will

posted in Vintage Community read more

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.

posted in Vintage Community read more

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.

posted in Vintage Community read more

@chubbyrain said in Is anyone enjoying this new meta?:

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.

posted in Vintage Community read more

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 😉

posted in Decks read more

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.

posted in Decks read more

Maybe try Ub instead of Ug, to let you splash Dark Confidant, Thoughtseize, and possibly Deathrite Shaman?

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

I like the Ancestral plan but think it's best to wait and do it during the opponent's upkeep, to dodge Mindbreak Trap, since you've already used your land drop and are unlikely to draw into any immediate action (Mox + second Top, etc).

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

@dshin said in Anti-Dredge Strategy - from a Dredge Expert:

A more rigorous take on this debate:

Suppose you are allowed to run as many Leylines as you want. Let p[n] be the probability of winning a tournament with optimal deck construction given the constraint that you must run exactly n Leyline’s.

For any integer n, let S(n) be the following assertion:

max(p[0], p[n]) > max(p[1], p[2], ..., p[n-1])

The “0 or 4” crowd is then asserting that S(4) is true and can be deduced from first principles. Let’s assume they are right.

Now if Leyline is playable, then S(75) is clearly false.

This implies that if you consider the statements S(4), S(5), S(6), ..., S(75), then there is some magic k for which S(k) can be proven to be true from first principles, while S(k+1) cannot.

What is this magic k, and what is so special about it, that allows you to make a from-first-principles argument for S(k) but not for S(k+1)?

If no such k can be identified, then the “0 or 4” crowd must be wrong. It may indeed be the case that 0 or 4 is better than 1, 2, or 3, but that fact cannot be deduced from first principles.

If your premise is

  • you must mulligan until you find a Leyline (even if you have zero Leylines in your deck) and you cannot attempt any other deck construction or mulligan strategy

then you and @ajfirecracker are entirely correct. The first Leyline most increases your chance of success, and each subsequent Leyline is weaker than the first (with 75 Leylines obviously useless, unless you're on the draw-go-until-they-deck-themselves plan).

I don't understand why people are so hung up on the (obviously absurd) premise I boxed above. The alternative to running 1 Leyline and mulliganing until you find it is not running 0 Leylines and mulliganing until you find it. It's building a completely different deck with a different strategy for defeating Dredge (such as cantripping into multiple copies of Priest or Rest in Peace.) In this sense a "Leyline mulligan" strategy with 4 Leylines can be more effective than a completely different "cantrip into hate" strategy with zero Leylines which is in turn more effective than a "Leyline mulligan" strategy with 3 Leylines.

This is the argument I and other "4 or 0" people are advancing. Not some straw-man (and incorrect) simplistic assertion about hypergeometric distributions. @dshin's calculations are completely valid but irrelevant to the argument I'm actually advancing.

I again suggest thinking of Workshops as a second view on the same phenomenon. A blue deck with zero non-Moxen artifacts is strictly worse if you add a random Workshop. Once you add the first Workshop and start adding expensive artifacts, you are pursuing a new strategy and now adding three more Workshops is optimal (with diminishing returns as you add more Workshops, with the tipping point well above the maximum allowed 4 copies). The vast majority of Vintage decks want 0 or 4 Workshops. This has nothing to do with p[n].

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

@ChubbyRain ajfirecracker presented a (well-reasoned) argument against the "0 or 4 Leylines" advice, based on a hypothetical format where 5 Leylines are legal, and offered three potential resolutions to the paradox he constructed. Search for "There are a limited number of ways to avoid that conclusion." to find his post.

I was responding to this argument. I'm not claiming that it's never correct to run 2 Leylines, nor am I claiming that no Vintage deck runs 2 Workshops, but these rare corner cases are not especially germane to analyzing ajfirecracker's argument that the "0 or 4" advice is generically unsound.