I like all three of the decks, and look forward to watching them.
Posts made by JimTosetti
RE: [Free Article] Menendian's Suggested Banned and Restricted Lists (2018)
I didn't read the entire article, but I wanted to join the discussion. I'm not opposed to theorizing ideals for Vintage, so I do appreciate this type of article. I am of the opinion that keeping the format very competitive is a positive objective. I actually think the restricted list should continue to grow without anything coming off of it right now. Wasteland is probably the only card I would be interested in seeing restricted at the moment. It has been showing up as a three of in many decks other than Shops, and it just makes some games turn into games of chance. I am unsure how Shops would proceed without four Wastelands, but I think if it were able to continue as a strong deck it would be a very positive change for the format.
Your speculation on Fastbond is interesting, but it seems like a card that creates so many strange games such as gaining millions of life with Crucible of Worlds and Zuran Orb among other combos. I feel that this does not increase the competitive level of the format, and that is why I am personally not in favor of it.
RE: So Many Insane Plays – Episode 73 – Eternal Weekend in Review
I haven't played in more than six months, but I have been following tournament results. I was basically waiting for all of the restrictions to take place that seemed inevitable. Anyway, I decided to start playing again because enough the cards had been restricted. However, it is apparent that something needs to be done again. In MUD's defense, it adds stability and predictability to the format. In doing so, it also limits what everyone can play successfully. One example (which is no longer relevant) is what Walking Ballista did to Gush Bond decks. It became a very consistent way to lose because the combo often required the player to go below five life. In my opinion, Walking Ballista is the card to restrict because it adds an incredible amount of win conditions to the deck. It can do an incredible amount of damage, or it can eliminate all types of problems. If this type of utility is to remain, I would have to insist on restricting Mishra's Workshop. We all know what this card is. A free dark ritual for a deck that is not limited by color restraints.
One could argue that Arcbound ravager is the issue, but I think the card is good for the format. It promotes an aggro strategy that sets the bar for others. As for the cards that have already been restricted, I would say they do not need to come off the list. Why repeat the past. This archetype has caused so much commotion for so many years that is should not be given back tools that help it dominate. I think that restricting Workshop would probably open the format to many new archetypes. However, I don't know how many vintage enthusiasts want a brand new format.
If Walking Ballista were restricted I would not be opposed to Thorn of Amethyst being unrestricted. I never thought I would be advocating anything positive for sphere effects, but I do appreciate the Eldrazi deck. Without Ballista, these to archetypes would probably be more evenly positioned against one another, while seemingly returning to the format to a previous state minus Ballista. To me, this a good an acceptable outcome, but we will have to see what happens.
RE: SMIP Podcast #64: Amonkhet Preview, Eternal Weekend Europe and a Restricted Mentor
I definitely understand the argument that Gush and Mud can cause one to build decks to combat both. Traditionally, I really enjoyed playing blue decks. In fact, if I had every deck on Magic online, I would play blue-based decks more than any other deck regardless of success. On Cockatrice (where the cards are free) I would break up the monotony by playing Mud and Dredge. I can say with confidence that I have played thousands of Vintage matches while analyzing results to tune my decks. One thing that has always disturbed me was blue cannibalism. This practice has always showed up at times when it seemed so out of place, or frankly just the wrong call. It has always seemed like a way to ignore Mud when it is time to prepare to play against it, and to push one's blue deck to its limits to enjoy the game more. I think that the major problem with this is that when I start to tune my deck to play Mud, even slightly, others strengthen their own decks to play against blue decks. I believe that Monastery Mentor makes this issue even greater. I have played countless people that have only ever played with a Mentor deck, and completely botch any attempts to play another deck. This is natural, and part of the learning process, but I think Mentor is sometimes an easy escape from another format. While it normally shouldn't be that big of an issue, Mentor decks are incredibly powerful and rewarding to play mistakes.
If Mentor were a restricted card, I believe that Mana Drain decks would be able to gain a threshold in the format again. I also think that Oath decks would fair much better. At the moment, I think that Oath is a good choice, but the relevant Oath builds right now are not as easy play as others. I don't want to portray a position where I think Oath is the go-to deck for new players because it can be fast and rewarding, but this style of deck has a role in Vintage. I am not completely convinced action is necessary, but when players do not attempt to explore the strengths of different archetypes, a formats issues can be highlighted. In this case, Mentor decks fueled by Gush push out different blue archetypes in my opinion, or even are just an easy go-to blue deck instead of using a Mana Drain or possibly Oath deck.
I am convinced that Gush is not a problem whatsoever, but rather Monastery Mentor is. Gush has even grown weaker with printings in the last few years in my eyes. I would also like to address the Dig Through Time Restriction. I do not think this card is over powered in Vintage, and I contest that it should never have been restricted. I think it had the unfortunate timing of being printed when Tempo decks were successful enough to include it as a four of if one so chose. My play experience caused me to think that Dig Through Time was actually a set back to most decks as more than a singleton because it would just get stuck in hand early in the game. However, Treasure Cruise fueled by Preordain made it work out. Now Paradoxical Outcome is in the format, and it is far more effective than Dig Through Time, but there is almost no complaint against it.
RE: SMIP Podcast #64: Amonkhet Preview, Eternal Weekend Europe and a Restricted Mentor
I applaud the relevance of these topics. That said, I think the conceptual framework of the Vintage format is at question here. With nothing more than a brief reasoning for restricting and unrestricting, it is difficult to ascertain what the goal is for the format. The game is not static, but constantly evolving with new printings. I have not personally researched what WOTC's or the DCI's objectives are for Vintage, but I have read diversity and fun are among them. I have had an interest in competitive play in other formats, so I have formed my own conclusions about what competitive play is and what facilitates it, as well as hinders it.
Knowledge of one's deck, its capabilities, its strengths, and its weaknesses, must be examined to evaluate a one's chances of success. The game becomes more simplistic if one is only required to combat around six decks, but can become overly complicated if there are more than six known highly competitive decks. However, when there are less than three power decks, new questions arise. These questions can include: are certain cards more powerful than others, are certain strategies more powerful than others; and if either of these questions are the case, what can a deck builder do to strategically advance their position? When there are no known ways to shift the meta game beyond a constant back and forth (which could largely be caused by player preference such as blue cannibalization) I think potential restrictions should be evaluated.
In the past few months I have read very persuasive arguments for the restrictions of certain cards, namely Monastery Mentor and Gush. There is no need, or real impact to restating these arguments, because they are well known. Because of the last few months discussions, I have been inspired to critically evaluate the circumstances surrounding Vintage. A few months in this format is equates to a "blink of the eye". Some people think no restrictions are in order, others think otherwise. My research has found that the meta has shifted from Gush, to Landstill, to Mud, to Dredge, and then to Eldrazi (a Thorn of Amethyst variant of Shops of you will). This means that deck builders are still finding options and responding effectively.
At least five different archetypes are at play here: Landstill, Mud, Mentor Gush, Dredge, and Eldrazi. Without researching further, concerning top four finishes, I am glad that players are able to respond to conditions in the meta. Sometimes different blue archetypes are the response, and in this case it is: two blue decks, one artifact deck, Dredge, and one hybrid hatebears/thorn build. This causes me to ask myself certain questions. What more could I ask for in a format, and can I formulate a response not only to the last known winning deck, but to variations of these five winning archetypes?
I had taken a break from Magic in my last semester of college (accountancy was my major), so that I could focus on a strong finish. When I returned, I naturally set forth to find the best response to the meta. I think my return to the game was a couple months after Landstill's big finish. My first thoughts were on my pet deck, BUG Gushbond. Early play testing revealed to me that Walking Ballista has killed that archetype, and Gush decks were now using Wasteland, further adding to my detriment. My next thought was that Oath of Druids could be a strong response to Shops, Eldrazi, Dredge, and Gush. This is where things got interesting for me.
I normally played on Cockatrice, but I found the player base had somewhat deteriorated. I knew at least 60 Vintage players there, but I was lucky to find games now. I set out to build my deck, and It looked like it was going to be Griselbrand Oath/Tendrils. My success was good enough to think that I could achieve good results In a Power Nine Challenge, so I bought the deck on Magic Online. I was surprised to find myself losing the majority of my early games. However, I responded by making slight changes, and within a week or two, I found that my account showed at least an 11-4 record with the deck. I found subtle changes and responses to what I was seeing (namely Sphinx of the Steel Wind) were the reason for the increase in success. After boredom of playing one deck, I traded Oath for Mud. I noticed that I was having more fun, yet marginal results. Within one week, I formulated a simple response, and soon after the deck's results were at 15-2.
Myself, and others may ask, "what is the significance or cause of these results?" Personally, I have found that prior knowledge, current involvement, and study of the format were the biggest factors in these successes. My past experiences and knowledge of the game definitely guided me. These included: competition from top level Oath players on Coctatrice (and learning from them), my interest in TPS and Gush/Tendrils inspired by Stephen Menendian and Louis Scott Vargas, watching and listening to Rich Shay play Mud and learning some tricks about the deck from watching Erich Froelich (on the VSL if I am correct), and putting to use my theoretical knowledge of competitive play. That said, I am not convinced of the significances. These are not major tournament results, but rather the accumulation of single matches over time.
Why do these things matter know though? The Oath of Druids/Tendils deck was basically what was missing from top four finishes if I am correct, and Thorn Variants are currently very good. This causes me to believe that the results were not so much a result of my ability to play, but rather to respond to the better decks in the format. Without making this post too much longer, I would like to pose some questions. Why aren't Mana Drain decks present in the top eights of major tournaments anymore? Will players be able to respond to Thorn decks? Do blue decks require more intuition to play successfully? To add a more personal perspective this post, I know from IQ tests that my intuition is not nearly what my interpretive skills are. Does this mean that I or similar minded players are better suited for decks that combat the meta with answers rather than proactive strategies? With five different decks winning major tournaments, is Vintage where it should be? Would restricting one or two cards create more diversity? Are players frustrated with different outcomes from playing different decks? Do the Power levels of certain cards warrant restriction regardless of top level performances?
RE: SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?"
Sorry, but I'm not familiar with the quote feature, so I will just do it manually.
Smennen quoted my statement, "I have speculated in last few months about what needs restricted. One of my cards was Thorn of Amethyst. Interestingly enough the European Vintage champs was won by an Eldrazi deck, and the top 8 also contained other decks with this card. However, I am not in favor of restricting the card by itself, or possibly at all at this point. I think Thorn decks are easily addressed by numerous tools. Mentor decks on the other hand run rampant. The deck is beatable, but popularity is another factor that adds to the difficulty of controlling it. I think that Mentor is the most restictable card followed by Gitaxian Probe. In addition, I agree with Brassman about about Mental Misstep providing predictability to the format. Without it, I agree that greater variety woud be present in the meta, but I don't think there would be any strategic reason to it. One drops are efficient and powerful in Vintage, and I think keeping them in check is a good thing. If Mental Misstep were restricted I think Dark Ritual decks would quickly rise to the top."
He also quoted this statement, "Gush is another card that seems to have about as many supporters as people who want to see it restricted. I think that restricting it empowers Mana Drain decks which I would view as a positive thing. I think the best reason for keeping it unrestricted would be the Fastbond combo. However, I think this is a thing of the past considering Walking Ballista. In my opinion Oath is not doing well as a result of Gush decks."
Smennen replied, "I agree with alot of what you say, but I don't think Oath's presence in the metagame is really affected all that much by Gush decks, but rather the printing of specialized hate cards like Cage and most importantly Priest."
I should have supported that statement. I think that Gush enables players to draw into the answers for oath while maintaining the mana to cast them. That said, this would be a great advantage because not having the mana to answer the Oath of Druids that turn allows the Oath player to bring in the creature.
RE: SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?"
I am of the opinion that the VSL is nothing but a positive element of Vintage. Any format needs as many tournaments as possible to take place. In the past Vintage was suffering because not enough attention was given to it because of the lack of public events. As a result, it is possible that the WOTC and the DCI did not focus on sculpting the format the way it would others. I remember when players complained Vintage did not get the attention it needed because it did not have nearly the following as other formats. Now that it has the attention I am surprised people are now saying the attention is a negative thing.
To answer what sticks out about restrictions in Smennen's post, I think that a few things stick out. Zero restrictions for years, and then three. I think the restrictions following the stretch of no restrictions basically addressed new concerns as well as past concerns. Four Lodestone Golems and four Chalice of the Voids is an unbelievable advantage. Walking Ballista and Arcbound Ravager give the deck an extremely powerful aggro strategy, and I think it is one of the best decks still. The delve spell restrictions were necessary for sure, and likely do not require justification in this post.
The VSL has spurred interest in the format. I know that I look forward to watching it. I think that every ounce of scrutiny that WOTC and the DCI brings to any format is a positive for it. Because restrictions are made now I feel confident that WOTC is actively trying to sculpt the format to attract more players. I am not sure what causes action from them and on what time frame, but issues are addressed on a timely basis now in my opinion.
I have speculated in last few months about what needs restricted. One of my cards was Thorn of Amethyst. Interestingly enough the European Vintage champs was won by an Eldrazi deck, and the top 8 also contained other decks with this card. However, I am not in favor of restricting the card by itself, or possibly at all at this point. I think Thorn decks are easily addressed by numerous tools. Mentor decks on the other hand run rampant. The deck is beatable, but popularity is another factor that adds to the difficulty of controlling it. I think that Mentor is the most restictable card followed by Gitaxian Probe. In addition, I agree with Brassman about about Mental Misstep providing predictability to the format. Without it, I agree that greater variety woud be present in the meta, but I don't think there would be any strategic reason to it. One drops are efficient and powerful in Vintage, and I think keeping them in check is a good thing. If Mental Misstep were restricted I think Dark Ritual decks would quickly rise to the top.
Gush is another card that seems to have about as many supporters as people who want to see it restricted. I think that restricting it empowers Mana Drain decks which I would view as a positive thing. I think the best reason for keeping it unrestricted would be the Fastbond combo. However, I think this is a thing of the past considering Walking Ballista. In my opinion Oath is not doing well as a result of Gush decks. Restricting it would potentially restore the decks role in the format. Oath should be better than it is right now considering the amount of Shops, Eldrazi, and Fish decks. In fact, Leovold further restricts Fastbond/Gush's viability. Also, there were complaints about Oath's power level in the past, and I think Leovold is about as perfect as a card could be made to check its power level. On a final note, I don't think constantly restating calls for restriction have much effect, at all. I am confident WOTC and the DCI are handling this format the way they should.
RE: JANUARY 9, 2017 BANNED AND RESTRICTED ANNOUNCEMENT POLL
I wonder how the success rate of the Mentor decks would change if Gitaxian Probe were restricted. It seems there is so little for them to chance at the moment.