Anyone want to help me work out what should go into what I can only imagine is the deck that would best reflect how others view our format:
Here is a list I've been having fun with:
1 Black Lotus
1 Lotus Petal
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mana Crypt
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Vault
4 Dark Ritual
3 Cabal Ritual
1 Flooded Strand
4 Polluted Delta
2 Underground Sea
1 Library of Alexandria
1 Tolarian Academy
1 Chain of Vapor
1 Hurkyl's Recall
3 Defense Grid
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Gitaxian Probe
1 Time Walk
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Demonic Tutor
3 Dark Petition
2 Yawgmoth's Bargain
1 Mind's Desire
1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 Monastery Mentor
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Defense Grid
1 Blightsteel Colossus
1 Kambal, Consul of Allocation
3 Hurkyl's Recall
1 Echoing Truth
4 Ravenous Trap
The main feature of this list vs traditional lists is the white splash to have access to Mentor main deck as an alternate win condition, and relevant sideboard cards for the Outcome and Lavinia match-ups.
Vs tempo/control blue decks, you want to be leveraging defense grid to prevent them from interacting on the stack and use your bounce spells for their permanent-based hate.
Vs Outcome, you are slightly faster on average, you have better disruption and post board you get access to Kambal which they will likely not expect.
VS Shops you are a severe underdog g1 unless they fail to deploy a lock piece on turn 1, you can kill them turn 1, find your 1 Hurkyl's recall and/or are able to deploy an early Mentor.
Post-board gets much better since you have a better chance of finding an alternate win-con, you have more stable mana, 4 Hurkyl's recall and balance.
Vs non-pitch Dredge, you are one of the few decks that can race g1 (especially if you are on the play), post board your plan is to use 1 piece of hate to throw them off slightly tempo-wise which is usually enough for you to squeeze in a win.
VS pitch dredge you want to be doing the same thing except you will need your defense grids and duress effects to strip away their counterspells first, which can make the matchup a lot trickier.
I would like to see some changes, can't lie that I felt a little disappointed when I saw "no changes" in the latest B&R announcement (and I'm sure I'm not the only one).
But I think some of the solutions listed in this thread are a little too drastic. On one hand, some people are advocating to restrict everything that is deemed "unfair" (even advocating for Banning cards) and on the other hand, people want to massively unrestrict.
Back in 2012-13 (when Vintage was in its so-called "golden Age"), some people were advocating for restricting oath because oath into Griselbrand is just bonkers.
The problem if you start restricting every card that is alienating and unfun to play against, is that you'll constantly need to restrict more and more cards until we end up playing legacy with a restricted list instead of a banned list.
Banning cards is an absolute no go in my mind and goes against the "spirit" of the format.
Mass un-restrictions with the possibility of re-restricting a bunch of problematic cards also seems completely chaotic for reasons Chubbyrain mentioned (no incentive to build a deck you know is going to get restricted, potential for absolutely poor gameplay, ... etc)
I think we can find some sort of middle ground that helps bring back the current tier 1 decks back into the fold so that we can see less non-games and adds more diversity by making marginalized decks viable again.
To achieve this goal, below is a list of B&R changes that I believe would help.
-Bridge from Below
-Some combination of Foundry Inspector, Arcbound Ravager and/or Walking Ballista
Here is my logic behind the restrictions listed above, in order to put current tier 1 decks on a level playing field with decks that have fallen out of favor:
Preordain restricted would take away the critical mass that lets xerox decks snowball into the restricted draw spells. Also helps by limiting PO's ability to set up in the early game and find answers to the silver bullets. The main collateral damage is Oath which really needs preordain to shore its inherent inconsistency. Xerox being weakened leaves room for more diversity within blue decks by making decks like Rector Flash, Landstill, Blue Moon, Grixis, ... viable again
Mox Opal is one of the vital cards PO needs to be able to chain multiple outcomes and achieve a critical mass of artifacts to abuse Outcome. I would rather not Restrict Outcome itself immediately because it would kill the deck and I believe that Preordain and Opal restricted should be enough to make the deck more tolerable as a first measure.
Hollow one lets dredge decks completely sidestep Hate and Makes Survival a little too consistent at being able to play 2 creatures a turn for Vengevine recursion or sidestep graveyard hate entirely. Survival is still extremely underrated, underestimated and I believe currently grossly underrepresented.
While the restriction of Golgari Grave-Troll should have a profound impact on Dredge, I believe it does not fundamentally address the problem. Bridge for Below would be much better a slowing dredge down/increase diversity within the Archetype and by reducing the number of hate cards players would be playing in their sideboard, put the deck at a different equilibrium between sideboard hate and its own viability.
For shops, I think the main problem is that despite restrictions the deck has gotten a lot faster and Workshop aggro has completely crowded out the other Shops variants. So, rather than restrict lock pieces I think a better approach would be to restrict some of the cards that enable the aggressive component of the deck. Doing so will reduce the number of non-games and increase the diversity within workshop decks (make Smokestack and Kuldotha's Forgemaster great again).
Foundry Inspector sped up aggro shops so much that even if you have fewer ways to disrupt your opponent and can't consistently deploy a lock piece every turn, you just gained so much speed that you don't need as much disruption. Basically negating the impact of the restriction of lock pieces like thorn and chalice.
Arcbound Ravager is basically the core of the deck at this point, with many of the deck's synergies being centered around the card (Walking Ballista, Steel Overseer, Hangarback Walker, ...). Restricting it would make many of these creatures much worse and probably force a complete rehaul of the creature suite.
Walking Ballista is just way too efficient and so much better than a similar card that was already heavily played (Triskelion). Restricting Ravager might be enough to bring it back to an acceptable level but both should not be allowed to remain unrestricted together.
Mental Misstep is just dreadful for gameplay and format warping. The old adage of "but it regulates the problematic decks" is mostly a fallacy, it is used as much as uninteractive card as it is used as an interactive card. The decks that it supposedly keeps in check can also run it and for those that can't (like DPS), were they to become problematic, there are numerous sideboard answers and worst-case scenario cards that can be restricted to reduce the consistency of those decks.
For the list of cards I listed as potential un-restrictions, the DCI would obviously have to wait for the meta to adjust post restrictions before making the move.
Windfall is just such a bad card in today's meta (and has been for a while), I would be surprised if it sees any play at all if unrestricted, since it sees virtually no play right now and is not a build around card. If some unforeseen consequence somehow still happens, I doubt it becomes as warping as something like Treasure cruise and it can always go back onto the list 3 months later.
Although since Windfall does not really help any marginal deck or make new ones possible, an argument can be made that it is not worth the "risk".
Fastbond is far less likely to be a problem without its partner in crime Gush. It would help to make Lands more viable if anything. Even if it does sometimes lead to non-games, probably nowhere near as consistently as has been acceptable historically, and in the end the benefits most likely outweigh the drawbacks.
Flash has some non-trivial amount of risk associated with it. But if the best deck it can be played in is Rector Flash, it is unlikely to prove problematic. It is extremely susceptible to graveyard hate and would replace Cabal therapy (which would have an already tight deck on slots scramble to make room for disruption). I think the upside, that it helps to make a deck that is almost viable actually viable, is worth the risk that the card represents.
Demonic Consultation is basically worse than Burning Wish and Dark Petition for decks with a high number of restricted cards and singleton win cons. It would likely promote diversity by benefiting decks with 4of combos pieces like Dark Depths or Two Card Monte (maybe even create a Lab Maniac deck?).
You need 2-3 null rods. Also, Ancient Tomb is really good in the deck. Niv Mizzet is kind of win more (you basically should already be winning if you get to resolve it). You really want to be focussing on completely disrupting your opponent's mana, controlling the game and "incidentally" win.
I was working on a list for the current meta as well, but more oriented towards the lock.
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Ruby
3 Ancient Tomb
1 Library of Alexandria
2 Volcanic Island
4 Scalding Tarn
3 Null Rod
3 Blood Moon
3 Lightning Bolt
4 Force of Will
4 Mental Misstep
2 Mana Drain
2 Snapcaster Mage
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Dig Through Time
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Time Walk
3 Young Pyromancer
2 Dack Fayden
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 Tormod's Crypt
2 Grafdigger's Cage
1 Energy Flux
1 Arcane Laboratory
1 Subterranean Tremors
4 By Force
I like the chains idea, but can Ritual Storm really afford to have sb slots dedicated to the outcome matchup?
I love Phyrexian Obliterator but since we'd be bringing it in mana denial/sphere matchups, can we reliably pay XBBBB to cast that thing when Ritual is mostly a colored mana fix?
Black knight just isn't good enough and plague spitter doesn't deal with Lavinia without therapy.
Pack rat just doesn't pan out against shops between revokers and Ballistas.
I think the only reliable plan B in the current state of things is Tinker Bot and/or Mentor if you splash white.
I like the Burning wish idea, it's much better than Petition in the face of Lavinia and/or at finding answers to disruption. It also does a better job at abusing broken cards like LED, Demonic Consultation and Gifts Ungiven. But Dark Petition has a lot more raw power and consistency.
Defense Grid is definitely the best card in the deck to bypass counterspells. Otherwise, depending on your splash color, cards like Abeyance and City of solitude can do the trick as well.
Beware that people tend to bring in artifact hate post board though.
Toxic Deluge can be too costly to be effective sometimes but is still better than most alternatives (such as Pyroclasm, Bountu's last reckoning, Virtue's Ruin, ...).
Balance is godly if you are splashing white, and as Soly said Karakas is a must have since it deals with Thalia and Lavinia.
Engineered Explosives and Echoing Truth are also worth considering as catch-all answers.
Pack Rat used to be a great plan B vs hate decks but Ballista slammed that door shut for good. Make sure to have Mentor and/or Tinker Bot as a more resilient win-con in the 75 though.
Oath of Druids can be an option too with a green splash.
I think people got spoiled by how open the format was (in terms of blue decks) during the pre-khans meta.
It seems that what people are really complaining about right now is that blue decks are mostly consolidated into either the Xerox shell or the Outcome shell.
Was thinking about this shell as well coincidentally. Null rod + B2B is a pretty hard lock. You definitely need more threats, I'm also skeptic whether you can support the Sphinx with null rod (which also happens to be extremely vulnerable to the most commonly played removal in the format Pyroblast and Swords to plowshares). I think the deck will likely struggle vs Xerox since they have a better draw engine/ answers, can play around your lock and your list is extremely soft to Lavinia.
Any reason not to splash white for better threats and answers? Have you considered Blue moon at all?
The most concise way of answering the question would be that it is both. This is part of vintage's appeal IMHO. It is at the sweet spot between both sides of the spectrum.
It is a skill-intensive format and players are competitive but at the same time, the lack of tournament support and number of players gives it a casual ambiance.
It also depends on the platform. As far as paper is concerned, it is much more community oriented. Whereas MTGO would be the competitive expression of the format. This is clearly evident in metagame differences where people tend to play what they enjoy in paper tournaments and MTGO tends to feature the tier 1 decks in larger proportion.