This is getting off topic though. My main point is that through Restricting everything you reduce the need to keep purchasing play sets of expensive new cards. At most you need to get 1.
Other discussion aside, I have long loved this idea and would love a singleton vintage format.
I'm pretty sure this is the most expensive game out there (at least the most expensive that I am aware of), and its not even remotely close.
Apparently you have never played Golf.
I mean, one would make the argument that the cards you buy for magic maintain their values better than other products and can actually appreciate in value unlike almost any other game. Most videos games cannot even be traded or resold at this point, and consoles resell for pennies on the dollar.
The game does have a high bar to entry, and there is a tinge of irony to the fact that people with 20-40k price tag decks are complaining about a 75 dollar card, but in honestly most other magic formats are even more expensive to keep us with at this point. Standard basically requires you to buy a new deck every 3 months. Modern and Pioneer you run the risk of your entire strategy being banned because they remove a pivotal card.
I would love to see the price tag go down, but most of the pricing is driven by the free market right now with the exception of the fixed product with set MSRP, but even they get gouged. WOTC has even taken very public steps to reprint staples and pricy cards like grim tutor as of late, and they get yelled at for doing that as much as they get yelled at for not doing it. I'm not sure you can put the genie back in the lamp at this point.
The other issue is that the cost of playing is still very prohibitive. Not just with the reserved list that will just keep rising, but the new cards are rarely ever cheap. The mythic rare system along with these limited release sets are a blight on the game. Dropping $50 on 1 copy of some random new card every time they do that is just an awful feeling. The game is expensive enough just throwing money at entry fees.
I think the Mythic rare system is no longer a concern. Most Mythics are standard card garbage and it is not uncommon for the most expensive card in a set to be a regular rare. The most important card in any given set as far as vintage is concerned is very often not the mythic anyway, and that still has no bearing on price because the rare can be worth more than all the mythics. That is assuming a set has any cards in it that are relevant at all.
- Aether Revolt - Walking Ballista
- Guilds of Ravnica - Assassins Trophy
- Ravnica Alliegiance - Kaya?
- War of the Spark -Teferi, Karn
- Eldrane - Oko, borrower, Once upon, Mystic Sancturay all below the most expensive version. Also alternate arts tanked standard frame cards so they are now even cheaper
- Theros - Thassa's Oracle
The addition of fixed product like commander decks and secret lairs have not shown to have a substantial effect on staple cards either, unless the one you want is specifically the fancy framed one.
That being said, the game is expensive, no doubt. If you play the MTG Finance game and get into the trading/wheeling and dealing part of the hobby it becomes a little easier but thats not for everyone. I do not think if we suddenly got rid of Mythic cards it would make the finance that more manageable though, and the reserve list does far more to the cost people experience to get into vintage than any new printings.
I recognize I'm still one of the odd ones out here but I actually want more restrictions because I feel that part of vintages identity is being a heavily singleton format. My wants are not really based on balance issues at all but rather forcing decks to play variety within their strategy.
I would love to see the following:
- Mox opal - OP pointed out that it would be consistent with the restriction of other fast mana rocks, and in many deck mox opal really does function as Alpha Mox 6.
- Force of will - Sacrilege! We no longer live in a world where this is the only option to stop degenerate plays and has become more of a degenerate play enabler than not. FON is a perfectly reasonable replacement to prevent degenerate plays but not encourage them like FOW does, plus we still have access to the singleton MM, Mindbreak trap, etc. I think the addition of FON is actually the thing that pushed FOW over the edge because there is enough critical mass now to do manaless pitch decks or just never allow your opponent a real play.
- Underworld breach - I think this has been proven at this point to not only play in the same space as another restricted card (yawgs) but to be more flexible and often times a better card. I cannot see a reason to keep one restricted and not the other one, unless people think Yawg's is safe to come off the list (maybe it is?)
- Workshops - I still believe that not only would that deck still exist and be perfectly viable in a world with 1 shops, I think restricting the card opens up the space for brown decks to not be so homogeneous, and maybe brown Eldrazi could make a come back.
- Bazaar - I think you would have to restrict this is you made the other restrictions because it would become much more a pillar and its relative power would be much higher. It also forces some degenerate strategies to do things like play mana, which is not an unreasonable expectation in this game. I could be talked down from this one.
- Preordain - Its power level is on par with the other restricted cantrips, slightly less but I don't think substantially enough to not also merit a restriction, as part of the reason the cantrips are currently restricted is how the selection effect is more prominent when you hit a critical mass of them. More so than that though I just think that the play pattern of a deck that just cantrips all day is obnoxious and leads to drawn out games in a tourney setting.
Other than that I think it's more than safe to remove Lurris from banning as the companion change has made him pretty tame and more of a main deck inclusion than a companion. I also really start to wonder if balance merits inclusion on the restricted list anymore. Does anyone think it would be that degenerate in a world with so many more pitch spells and non mana decks? Not a hill I would die on but I think it merits some questioning.
Including the two in the deck and explore itself, there are up to 12 explore specific effects that I am aware of that are good. Why exactly 6? Why not 3, or 4, or 11, or 12? Why 2 Uro -the clearly more powerful of the 2? 2 vs 3 mana is clearly important (just like 1 vs 2 mana).
Fastbond has significant advantages. It’s a perfect card as a singleton. Much worse in multiples. I feel like the 1st Fastbond is probably better than the 6th explore.
We then have the pseudo-explores that are part of an engine, like Oracle of Mul Daya, and its many interactions. Is the 1st copy of an explore engine better than the 5th or 6th copy of explore? I think Uro being in the deck is probably good enough to not want this effect. But I would still consider looking into it.
Landing the first fastbond does not actually do much in this deck unless you are holding gush, because you want to cast the explore cards for cantripping. You take a lot of utility away from those cards if they just become expensive street wraiths.
I think the fastbond build is just a whole different animal. If i was trying to run fastbond I would very likely try and cut Uro for something else since he loses so much utility, and I would want to consider cards this list has completely forgone like Crucible of Worlds and stripmine.
The 2 snow covered lands did get me thinking though that if there isn't a build that uses Astrolabes over preordains and can then use an oko or 2 because it has animation targets. With enough snow Ice Fang starts to look very appealing too.
The explore effects cantrip which is a whole other level of utility over fastbond, plus spiral is dual pitchable so I imagine that is important as well.
Fastbond would give explosive turns but it does not seem like this deck would have a way to capitalize on it without more draw engines. The one Gush plus Mystic could lead to some strong loops with Fastbond but that feels more like a god hand scenario where as the explore effect make it play more like xerox. If you have fastbond then half of Uros utility is severly hampered.
I also imagine since the deck does not win on the spot the lifeloss is relevant untill uro comes on board, but then Uro is not great in a deck that wants to land a fastbond anyway.
Fair, but you can also look for non-blastable wincons too. I mean the deck is in an interesting place in that it is eschewing a lot of pretty typical cards, so some lesser used options come to mind.
True-Name Nemesis seems like a solid answer to issues you may have with other strategies.
How often do you find you lose to low threat count? You only have 4 wincons in the deck and sideboard, 2 of which are answerable with any creature removal and the other 2 which are also soft to graveyard hate. It feels to me like there may be some merit to adding a 5th wincon that attacks on a different vector, like a JTMS or Oko over the 4th preordain. Oko is probably particularly well suited for this list as it plays offense and defense and is pitchable to everything if needed.
I used Vector Asp for a long time and it did what it needed to do. Likewise in a more creature heavy meta Ichorclaw Myr was a total trap for my opponent. If they blocked with a chump like an elf or snapcaster I would be able to trample it and get that built in Bushido 2 so the opponents block would often wind up being the thing that gave me lethal. I don't think that paradigm holds here but being colorless is a big help.
I very much like the Green Black build of the deck more than any version I ever played with Blue. It was far more consistent a combo kill by using discard proactively where as with blue the games turn into chipfests. I do like the Probe for information in the deck and the single MM of course.
I wonder how great Hierarch actually is. The +1/+1 attack is important but I wonder how many games you are using her for mana 1 time in total, in which case having an off color mox or the ESGs may make more sense.
Forgot about blossoming, been a hot min since I played the list. I still think it's worth looking at the times when you cast vines on one and ask how often it happens. Defense also protects you against pyroclasm though it has not been relevant for some time.
I think my last legacy list was 17 lands and 2 of them were inkmoth so with moxen and lotus 20 does seem high. The list is super soft against wastelands and getting stuck on colorless sucks.
Cards I would consider, based on my legacy play
- Elvish Spirit guide - helps you get lethal on the turn that matters, and your deck really is not looking for long game. Like it over Lotus Petal because it can get around Null rods and COTV on 0. Also let's you surprise them from tapped out with vines which basically becomes force of will for green in a lot of cases.
- COTV - I see little reason not to run this at least in the side. On 0 it does not do much to you, and on 1 you still have threats to push through.
- Rangers Guile - Vines is typically better for combo kills, but I had some luck with this guy in games where I had to do chip damage. If you find that you never cast vines on 2 then this is obviously better.
Poison wins on a 3 card combo of 1 mana dork, berserk, Invigorate. It's a very low mana combo that is hampered that it needs more than 2 pieces and is affected by summoning sickness. It probably has some legs against some decks that are not prepared to fight over a one drop but also probably just dies to shops which can sphere it, ping it with ballista, or just put random 3 toughness dorks in front of it.
The creature selection in infect is not great either. For 1 drops you have elf and Asp, and the Asp is basically an installment plan 2 mana dork. At 2 mana you get 2 evasive dudes and ichorclaw who becomes much better with trample cards. If you want to try to play rituals or a lot of fast black mana you can also run Phyrexian Crusader which is a 2/2 with a lot of relevant protections (bolt, Swords, Mentor and Pyromancer tokens).
I still have my list together in legacy, I suspect it may be pretty decent in vintage because of the acceleration and fewer pieces of removal around, but I'm not sure it would be substantial enough.
I don't think a vintage elf deck would look identical to a legacy elf deck.
I mean, no deck is going to look the same now that it has an uncounterable threat that makes your deck uncounterable. It would be silly to think the ideal build is just take a legacy deck and put 4 of these in.
Years back I played an elf list in Modern that could turn 2 with some luck and very consistently put the deck into play on turn 3. Obviously a lot of the cards were meta calls for that format but the core of is still there. What does exist now that didn't exist then however is a 2 mana elf lord (elvish Clan caller), a 2 mana null rod creature that cannot be countered, a pitchable double shatter, and much more.
The paradigm has shifted though, In vintage I think your ideal opener is not necessarily going to be a mana elf like it is in the other formats, it will be this guy and fast mana rock for another thing and you are going to hope to go off with Glimpse and druid turn 2. It needs some crafting and I am waiting to see what else this set may be hiding, but I think this elf is a huge deal.
What's the "killer app" that makes you want to run Spirits over Merfolk? Lord of Atlantis is a much better value-per-mana than the spirit lords we've mentioned, and you can run 8 of them. Pilferer has a neat effect but I feel like it requires enough weird support cards that you wouldn't want it in a tribal deck even if there was a tribal deck.
Right now I think:
- Mausoleum wanderer is leagues above curse catcher
- Rattlechains is probably better than most merfolk options though I don't think there is a direct parallel. It protects your stuff in a deck you want to protect your stuff in and plays at the speed you want to play.
- Kitaki is a known quantity and is still strong when it lands
- Spell Queller is a very playable and efficient counter creature, against something that merfolk do not have
- Eidolon of Rhetoric and Spirit of the Labyrinth have a known and powerful stax effects
I'm not saying the deck is the end all be all or anything, just that it's getting more and more pieces that seem like they are totaling up to something. All of the abilities listed here are vintage relevant effects.
Elves gets absolutely shredded by Walking Ballista, and also loses to other decks just being faster / more disruptive. Elf ball is like a turn 3 or later deck that gets pushed even further in the face of disruption/bad draws.
I think the card is way more interesting if there is an application outside of Elves.
I'm unclear if that paradigm holds up. If elves gets a reasonable hand and start on the play, shops basically has to resolve the ballista turn one to kill any enabler or elves could snowball in one turn. Even without Glimpse it is not unreasonable for an elf list to put down 2 lords and be out of range.
Yes it's a good tool but since green is already Shops natural predator I think they are very well positioned after sideboarding as well to just ruin that decks day.
Just to play devils advocate, elves gets wrecked by Pyroclasm more so than Force of Will.
I cannot remember the last time I saw pyroclasm in a list, and it is sorcery speed and I think this enables you to beat that.
I'm actually trying to figure out what the most broken things this would enable right now and having trouble limiting it to one configuration.
- Glimpse of nature / Heritage druid / Nettle sentinel would be totally uncounterable and churn through your deck sometimes completely by turn 2. Unsure if the deck likes Wirewood Symbiote or Quirion Ranger better to be honest, or if it needs either.
- Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx and Gaeas cradle on turn 2 can produce stupid mana, to the point where it might even be worth running fastbond like effects. Explore may even be better because it cantrips.
- Natural order into Craterhoof could be GG
- Make tons of mana, kraveks torch or Shaman of the pack for game, maybe even splash summoners pact