@Soly what you just wrote is basically the complete opposite of what is actually happening. Gush can easily encourage boring and degenerate play patterns in the abstract, so it's definitely something to watch for. But in today's specific environment the only viable Gush-driven play pattern that is genuinely uninteresting is Mentor-as-proxy-for-Tendrils/Tinker. It's tough to get around - the tactical weaknesses of Mentor are offset by the tactical strengths of white control cards. Wouldn't mind restriction of Mentor just because it's frankly a little boring, but this opinion isn't super strong.
The other effects of Gush today are awesome.
- Games that don't end OR effectively end before turn 3
- Cards that are one thing some of the time and something else other times (think Lightning Bolt, or JVP, or better yet Bolt and JVP in the same deck)
- Explicitly bringing the necessary skill of considering mana efficiency and mana curve out of good deck designers
- Meaningful combat in some matchups. This includes blocking and removal, but also tempo-related concepts like racing and how it affects the sequencing of plays
- Less off-color Moxen and more attention to color balance in manabases.
- Multi-purpose lands. This feeds back into the "things that are two different things" theme - Gush decks are running Strip Mines etc. to make sure they have big enough manabases but can do something with excess land. It would be better still if the format shifted to a place where Gush decks had to consider sometimes running creature-lands - or if non-Gush decks got edge from being able to more easily run them.
This needs to go even further. Vintage would be better, for instance, if value 2-for-1s like Searing Blaze were viable. Then players could squeeze more out of their decks, and gameplay gets more interesting and varied. This is more likely with Gush than without: to use my example, Searing Blaze is only a 2-for-1 if damage to the face and damage to small creatures are actually valued effects.
Basically, circa-2006 Vintage really only made you care about one thing (accumulate enough stuff to resolve Yawg Will) and 2016/17 Vintage makes you care about multiple things. Which is awesome.
I suspect you won't agree with any of this, but you want Vintage Magic to be chess and I prefer that Vintage Magic be Magic.
Also: I'm sure you're very skilled, but maybe you're overestimating your own skill when you talk about how you're not winning as often now?
Andy Markiton's deck had 26 mana sources. Academy produces variable mana, but the whole manabase produces approximately 41 mana. So the average mana per source is approximately 1.5.
So your Revoker or Sphere or whatever are realistically costed as 1-drops (ish). The aggressive Ravagers and Ballistas are 1-drops too. Precursor Golem is a 3-drop. Lodestone Golem is between 2 and 3. Foundry Inspector is reliably a 2-drop and not uncommonly a 1-drop, and can effectively double (and sometimes triple) your mana supply.
That's the real way to think about it. None of this "Black Lotus land" bullshit.
In isolation the Shop 1-drops are comparable to a few things that non-Shop decks have, like Delver. Their 2 and 3 drops are pretty world class. But Shops have no deck manipulation and some unevenness in their manabase so they will pay the cost of more mulligans.
It's not surprising that Oath does well since their 2-drop can outclass Shops' 2-drops. Spot removal isnt a "plan" because there are so many scenarios where even a Swords to Plowshares effectively costs more than the thing it's removing. It can complement a plan though, by taking out some of Shops' unbalancing elements (like Revoker) so that your actual plan can execute. If you don't want to Oath, you need to outclass Shops on curve some other way. I see a few ways to do this already in the Vintage card pool.
By the way, I have extreme happiness that combo is completely crushed by Shops and also oppressed by Missteps. I have no time for the line of thought that conflates the notion of "Dark Ritual is viable" with "Vintage is diverse and healthy".
I wouldn't mind the complaining if Randy and co were actually right. But they aren't. The above just illustrates it - the notion that you should be able to win against Shops if you just jam enough removal and mana.
No!!! Like every other format, you have to think about how your strategy lines up against theirs.
@Islandswamp have you played Hearthstone? The game itself is nowhere as deep as Magic, but it is a way better overall product than MTGO.
And that's dangerous. Being a good game isn't always enough for the game to survive (otherwise Netrunner would still exist in its original form). Accessibility is important. Mindshare is important. Friction is important. Etc.
Magic has survived because despite chronic accessibility issues mostly because the paper game has dominant mindshare and minimal friction - and WotC had worked hard to cultivate this through evolving design and evolving tournament play. In the online realm they are attempting to maximize accessibility (good!) but the shittiness of the experience relative to a serious competitor of mindshare like Hearthstone deserves more than just a pithy response from you.
Why was this ever originally posted in Strategy? There's no useful strategic info in the OP. That was among many errors in judgment.
It was smart to call for Mentor's restriction months ago, before Gush was restricted and any of this happened. It is boring and ordinary to call for it now. Like most sports pundits who pretend to be smart when they dissect a team that just finished a season. In actuality they know nothing.
Gush should be unrestricted ASAP so that we can get real small ball interactive tempo strategies back into Vintage. If this happens to kill off Gifts and other such styles of decks, that's a bonus. These are masturbatory strategies that pretend to interact superficially, but are basically built to be stupidly linear and kill in uninteresting ways.
@Topical_Island the sports analogy isn't totally applicable IMO because, for instance, the other baseball teams couldn't just decide to become the Boston Red Sox (time for a little game theory etc) the same way that players can choose to switch decks.
That's all I got
Put quite frankly, there are so few "pros" whose opinion on Vintage I really have time for. Frankly their results suggest they are just not equipped to handle a real format. Goodbye, don't let door hit you etc.
It's the Randy's and the Pikula's I'm bummed out about though. These guys have earned respect through a measure of success, they should really know better. Why haven't they critically thought through what a blue-on-blue metagame actually looks like?
Do we even know if Wizards has the ability to data mine their own results?
Half kidding, but the latest @diophan repost of the P9 challenge data makes you wonder if they even have the ability to look at more than one month worth of data.
Also: their Post can basically be read as "we can't make this game interesting enough for a large group of people on the Internet" which a.) is likely untrue and b.) if true, it's their fault and not ours.
Started in Nemesis, really started to get into the game in Invasion block (most fun standalone block of all time... though the flavor of Tempest and Urza blocks was pretty amazing).
Standard wasn't interesting so I moved up to Extended, then to Vintage when Extended stopped being a thing. Was here when Brainstorm/fetchland started dominating the format, rode through all the restrictions and changes over the years since.
Vintage remains the king of all formats and really just keeps betting better. But Standard these days is pretty bitchin'... I might never have gotten into Vintage if Standard hadn't been such a clown show 15 years ago.
Masticore at #15. Now that's a list.
(I used to put Masticore in every deck back in those days so I ain't even mad)
For my money it's Lotus at #1 with a bullet. It just embodies what makes the game so addictive. Absurdly powerful, oozing with lore, kickass art, has withstood the test of time.
I'd give serious consideration to Academy at #2 just because it was the iconic card from that era of Magic. It was probably both the best and worst Magic has ever been - the card game has gotten so much better, but I don't think the flavor of Tempest into Urza block could ever be topped.
The only hate effects that even lightly feel a little annoying are the ones that hate on card draw, like Spirit Lab, Chains, Notion Thief etc. But I am obviously biased because I like drawing cards.
But you know what, card draw hate is probably something we need in Vintage. Outside of card draw, there's not really very many good 2-for-1s played in the various flavors of "blue" strategies. I was actually excited when @desolutionist used TKS in his Gifts deck last month or so., and when Kevin was experimenting with Spell Queller.
"Do I play Gorilla Shaman in Slaver" as an example of skill-intensive decision making is maybe all you really need to say about how boring mid-2000s Vintage was.
It's pretty sweet that Vintage today looks nothing like Chess. It was kind of boring and stupid when every game was a culmination of who could accumulate enough stuff to resolve Yawgmoth's Will first. Chess has more endgames FFS.
Vintage today is sweet, full stop.