Vintage Champs 2017 and the State of Vintage
Jaco breaks it down and advises that we take some time to adjust to this newest metagame.
@Lysandros You missed the point completely.
I'm saying maybe it's time for shop players to learn how to diversify rather than rely on lucky opening hands to steal games. Not like it's dredge, come on.
So let's say players put some time into testing a -3 LSG shop build. They practice, go out, win a few events, but lose more than Gush / Mentor; they don't really even outpace Dredge. Overall the deck is good, but is less of the field than Gush / Blue Mess, has a lower or equal win rate and doesn't convert in the top 8; Oath seems to win everything. But the internet finds the list! The bane of MTGO! The crying begins anew on the formats loudest most watched platform and another restriction happens. This is basically what happened after the chalice restriction. Even worse the DCI is so rash to act they don't even let the calendar turn to another Vintage champs for you to even try the list. I'm saying the incentive to innovate or spend time (which dedicated Vintage players have less of for Magic than your average grinder) gets kicked in the nuts when the DCI makes these restrictions seemingly based on hurt feelings or aesthetics.
@desolutionist https://www.twitch.tv/cardtitan/v/98040029?t=03m00s Joseph plays a Mox Sapphire into a Thorn of Amethyst with no other mana sources in play
and it's an awful play ... there's a Smokestack on 2 ... you pass and hope Jacob sacs the Smokestack. Putting either the Sapphire or the Strand into play is fucking terrible. The guy literally has no idea how to play against the card. He isn't cheating. He's a sloppy player who got a GRV for that play.
I had started to put my thoughts together pre-Mentor Thorn restriction but never published anything. This article is a little long winded but traces the intersection of the last 6 or so years of events that led us here on the precipice of Workshop being restricted.
@nedleeds Yes. I said given that Workshops exist, why is LSG not broken? I agree that Workshop is a broken card, but it isn't going anywhere, for many reasons.
Saying LSG dies to removal is not a good argument, I don't think. Every card can be answered. Is Oath broken, for example? Maybe, but saying it isn't because Disenchant is in the format is not a good argument, in my mind. Isn't it a better question to ask, "How often does the presence of LSG in the format as a metagame consideration, and in a game as a card, lead to games where skill (of deckbuilding and play) does not determine the victor?" For example, remember Delver, when Treasure Cruise was legal, just two years ago or so? It was unbelievably frustrating to play at that time if you weren't on Delver. You'd outplay your opponent, they'd topdeck a Cruise, and win. Wins earned off the back of overpowered cards, not overpowered players, were all over the place.
To put it another way, I love playing intricate games against good players. I hate losing to bad players who lean on brokenness to win (though I don't mind losing to a pile of restricted cards -- it happens). And, importantly, it feels uninteresting to play against good players who have to shoehorn themselves into a broken strategy because it's too good to ignore.
How is that not an optimal framework?
Because your idea of fun, intricate, and skill is entirely subjective. I just need to quote you and change one card.
"How often does the presence of Oath in the format as a metagame consideration, and in a game as a card, lead to games where skill (of deckbuilding and play) does not determine the victor?"
I find being on the ass end of Oath, Orchard, Go as interesting 'skill intensive' and fun as driving an ice pick through my left testicle. I hate it, I think it's uninteresting, dumb and totally 'unfun'. But I don't think it should be restricted because it's Vintage. Man up and deal with it. Your deck won't beat everything game one the strategies in Vintage are too varied (or they were). Some games you just aren't winning no matter what, the power level of the card pool is just too great.
"though I don't mind losing to a pile of restricted cards -- it happens"
There are more blue or hijacked blue restricted cards than Lodestone Golems. It's doesn't trouble you to lose to those? What's the difference? Losing is losing. You just chuckle off Tinker Blightsteel with a gentlemanly smirk, but a Golem sends you packing? Makes no sense to me.
Oath! It's what for dinner. Asian vintage champs was won on the back of the Oath player not knowing how EE worked and not making Orchard tokens with Urborg out. Mox, Orchard into Oath is truly compelling theater. Glad that pesky 5/3 that dies to everything ever printed got restricted.
Nothing to get over, nobody is mad or anything. I'm just pointing out that these are loud voices that appear to shape DCI policy, playing on the highest stage and they play like this. Nobody wants to talk about playing basic lands, diversifying their counterspells, etc.. The narrative after the game is often her, der broken golem, can't beat it, ban it.
Just want to point out that I'm not dominant in anyway and lost to Tribal Vampires for my second loss in the 4th round after which I dropped.
Also, the best thing that could happen for Gush decks ability to fight Thorn decks would be to restrict Mental Misstep. Prior to that blight on Magic being printed Spell Pierce and Spell Snare provided protection against Spheres without the card disadvantage of Force. Since the average "Gush Player" won't sacrifice a millimeter in the Misstep Circle Jerk and stop playing 4 x MM, 2-3 Fluster, 0-2 Pyroblasts main they get savaged in any matchup with a Wasteland and a Sphere. They'd lose to Glowrider midrange. Throw in a few Snares and Pierces and maybe a real removal suite and watch your matchup improve.
I'm curious to hear some nuanced theories about what would actually happen if Workshop was Restricted.
People would cry about losing to Ancient Tomb and it would be the next to go. The cries of losing to prison are always the loudest.
In the low variance world of 4 round events Shops can look daunting, but losing out on the most powerful draw, cantrip cards ever printed over 8+ rounds is what balances the card out to some degree.
White Eldrazi threads the needle combining the prison of shops with "real" lands and diversifying the threat base such that narrow solutions (Hurkyl's, Energy Flux, Kataki, Shattering Spree, Pulverize) are no longer a panacea. There's an argument to be made that White Eldrazi is a superior prison deck than any popular deck with 4 Shops. Restricting Shop only helps reinforce its dominance of the archetype. Does this solve whatever play experience problem you hope to change by restricting Shop?
One factor for Thalia's emergence was the printing of TKS. It paired a credible tough to kill threat with Thalia. I played quite a bit of Thalia during the Cruise era, and the card that vexed me more than anything was Lightning Bolt. There weren't many credible Cavern-friendly threats to pair with her that had more than 2 toughness.
Can't wait to tap my lotus land and try to cast Time Walk, Ancestral, Brainstorm, Dig through Time, Treasure Cruise and Jace. When my incredulous opponent stares at me I'll just say, 'the internet says it's a black lotus'. Shops plays cards that wouldn't make a draft deck that are only played because Workshop is legal. The cards are garbage and aren't playable otherwise.