@ajfirecracker I noticed the force on the gush too. One of the things that makes vintage such a high variance format is then even when you make a poor play (lowers chance of winning vs a different line) sometimes you get rewarded. Its taken me along time to appreciate these subtleties - the good Dr Shay's streams are very helpful in this regard as he often explains what can go wrong taking a particular line.
Thanks @The-Atog-Lord for a thought provoking piece.
The thing that struck me most was what @chubbyrain said:
I would also argue that Gush really isn't weakened relative to the field. It still has incredible synergy with Dack Fayden, JVP, the delve spells, JTMS, Mentor, Pyromancer, Managorger Hydra, Nahiri, etc... You still end up with virtually all Blue decks adopting the same Gush Engine, just with other ways of extracting value from the card rather than a tiny manabase.
The current state of Vintage reminds of a variant my uncle and I used to play similar to today's Canadian Highlander where each card had a point value. Unlike Canadian Highlander you could play multiples - even Type 1 restricted cards - provided the overall number of points was within the limit.
As time went and more cards were printed it became impossible to keep the power level of two card combos in check without assigning absurd point values to cards which in isolation did nothing (e.g. Illusions and/or Donate). This meant they couldn't be used in other decks either. The fix was to eventually assign points to two card combos, but it was the beginning of the end of what had been an enjoyable format until then, and I'm determined to give Canadian Highlander a try at some point.
Now in Vintage there is no cap on the number of restricted cards you can have in your deck (as long as you only have one of each ). As long as Wizards continue to print cards that have synergy with the other cards in the Tier 1 decks particularly TX/Shops they will push the power level of these decks up.
I believe @Smmenen when he says that gush was not a problem pre-Khans. But I think the genie is now out of the bottle. And while it would be nice to restrict pairs of cards (i.e. you can play with only one copy of A & B (X)OR 4 copies of A X(OR) 4 copies of B) that would be simply be a different format that isn't Vintage.
Eventually synergy becomes "too good" (and I accept some people such as @brianpk80 describe this in a qualitative way and others want to see quantitative hard data based on tournament results to assess this). But if Wizard's agree something needs to be done the only tool which they have available is to restrict one of the cards that fuels the engine (or the win con).
Unless Wizard's stop printing cards that fuel these engines it seems there is only one place Vintage will end up - an endless string of restrictions. Sadly I don't see this increasing diversity if a deck of singletons is still Tier 1. Though since you'll be playing quasi-highlander maybe gameplay will be a bit more diverse and people will complain less.
I've only been playing Vintage for a little over a year but from a relative newcomers point of view its hard to decouple whether gush without mentor or vice versa would be the better deck. What I do feel quite strongly is that in a vacuum mentor is way more powerful than lodestone and its a non sequitur that lodestone is on the restricted list and mentor isn't. Arguably if lodestone was unrestricted this would help to keep greedy gush decks (including mentor in check) but that ship has sailed.
If the meta continues to play out like the last P9 challenge and a restriction is needed to balance things out I'd rather see mentor go than gush. But perhaps unrestricting lodestone would be the least bad option.
Thanks again for another great piece, Joe. Always looking forward to Fridays, yours is one of two mtg articles I read nearly every week without fail.
I don't think Oath is anyway near restrict-worthy, with the amount of hate that is commonly played against dredge that also hits Oath.Gush has been on the list before but if the current status of affairs continues my preference would be to un-restrict lodestone then restrict mentor before considering gush.
Gush bond is something unique to vintage and was central to my first online deck before I got power, and I then graduated to gush pyro which was competitive even with only a couple of pieces of power I added as I went along. So I'd hate to see gush go as it can fuel budget strategies.
I think we all might have are own little hobgoblin out there that we can't stand. For a lot of people, it's Shops or Dredge.
My hobgoblins used to be Storm and Shops. I've found that by playing them I've grown to enjoy playing against them much more. And there is something to be said about playing with a significant proportion of the restricted list in your deck
Thanks for posting, great to see the semi finalist decks for the first time, surprised how many birds of paradise there were in the top 4. Based on my experience with my local playgroups I'd always thought them underplayed but guess they were popular than I thought - a good hedge against land destruction.
Probe has a downside in multiples in your opening hand as it makes mulligan decisions more difficult. I tend to play 2 or 3 except when playing combo. How much is the prevalence of a card in winning/top8 decklists a factor in whether a card should be restricted - clearly this was the case for cruise and dig. Does anyone have comparable stats for probe?
I was for outcome being restricted at first but having read Rich's post and watched him on steam take down the P9 with a meta-gamed deck (though ironic not having to face PO) I think there are sufficient metagame answers.
I blow hot and cold on mentor depending on whether my inner Timmy, Spike or Johnny is most prevalent.
Timmy - oh look I can create lots of monks AND they grow bigger too.
Spike - I only really need a few of these and that's my primary win con sorted
Johnny- this card reduces space for deck design as it's very hard to fight against the mentor and the token it leaves behind. I then don't play it as I think it's boring and have gone as far as wondering whether the meta would be more interesting with it restricted
I think over the period since mentor was printed I've gone Timmy - Johnny - Spike
So I'm not in the restriction camp on mentor at present, but could easily see myself change my mind in future - Spoiler Alert- particularly after Week 1 of VSL S6
I'm glad to have Misstep in the format for one reason and that is if my opponent draws ancestral and I don't. But clearly another card whose existence narrows deck building options.
@Smmenen Restricting preordain I think would be interesting. It takes away the ability to cheat on mana base and makes blue decks slightly less consistent. This might open up some deck design space. It's probably showing up frequently enough in winning decks to justify consideration. On the other hand it's a card that rewards skillful play.
But having said all that I voted for no change and having read this thread I would still vote for no change.
Played my first league game last night with storm outcome bargain. Great fun to be able to pay just one match. Insane games first game op "turn 1"s off time walk then takes all the turns.
Game 2 results in crazy top deck war. I tendrils with storm count 9 on turn 1 and one copy gets forced, leaving op unable to crack a fetch and with no other mana sources (tolarian in play but no artifacts). I meanwhile have robot as my only win condition having exiled tendrils... I've no timewalk and having seen Dack game 1 terrified of having robot stolen. Eventually find a safe line.
Game 3 op tinkered turn 2.... For trinisphere...I was not expecting that. Needless to say I can't combo off before Tezz ultimate seals the deal.
Hi I'm Patrick van Beek - pvanbeek online I play evenings in Europe (EST+5). I play most decks except hatebears
Thanks to the banning of troll in modern I now play dredge too. Just need a reprint of cavern (of souls) in MM3 and I'll be in my way to hatebears too