I just remember someone once telling me that Copy Artifact didn't count as an artifact for Tolarian Academy. Sorry for my ignorance. On a different sidenote, playing green also gives you access to Tranquility, a much underused card in Old School.
@chubbyrain Thanks for finding and sharing this! Those are all pretty spicy lists, especally the Geier Reach Sanitarium and Spirit of the Labyrinth soft lock in Oscar's list. Cavern of Souls is my favorite pillar, and I'm glad it hasn't crumbled.
I have a general policy position that, as a matter of principle, cards/strategies need to prove their dominance over time to merit restriction. The reason is essentially implicit in your point here: that the metagame needs time to adapt, and to demonstrate that it is incapable of adapting, to warrant the extraordinary use of an external policy intervention to address it.
As a practical matter, that means I oppose knee-jerk restrictions when new problems crop up. We need time to see whether dominant decks are truly dominant in a sustainable way, or whether they will fall back the earth.
That framing should suggest why I don't believe 3+ months into this metagame is too little time to take another action. This isn't a "new" metagame in any meaningful sense. It's not like we entered a brave new world post April, and the problems we confront today are wholly novel.
The pre-4/24 and post-4/24 metagames are extremely similar based upon MTGO Challenge Top 8s, except that the post-4/24 metagame is simply the more concentrated version. Neither of the problems that the DCI identified in it's 4/24 policy announcement - the strength of Mentor or the oppression of Workshops - have diminished since the restriction.
Any new restriction would be a stronger prescription for the same ailment, not a Rx for a new one. If we were talking about a new problem, I'd agree with you here.
I was surprised that you found Tragic Lesson so interesting; it seems to be that it's a big dud. I listened to you discuss how it bounces lands so it actually loads your hand with 3 cards, and how it has similarities to Thirst for Knowledge and Gush, and all of that. At the end of the day, though, I think you missed the forest for the trees.
The forest is this: Tragic Lesson costs 3, and for that price, you get to replace the card and dig 2 deep into your deck. This is Divination territory in a format where we can draw 3 mana for U.
Yes, you can also bounce your lands to generate mana, save them from wasteland, or simply keep more cards in your hand if you need to do that. But, these are situation-dependent uses.
The only use case that is likely to come up reliably is generating mana. "Right," you say, "and that's a lot of the reason why Gush is so good." Kind of. Gush is also free to cast, so the act of tapping UU and Gushing to replay a land generates mana. With Tragic Lesson, you have to spend 3 to get the ball rolling, so all that a replay does is gives you the option to play it for 1U if you do so at sorcery speed (because it has to be your turn still to get the land drop). Is a card that is situationally a Predict good?
Spending 3 mana to counter a wasteland is generally not a workable solution, since there will be many situations where the mana denial strategy prevents you from ever getting there. I love me some Rack and Ruin, but it sees no play over 1 casting cost removal spells.
And then we come to the comparison to Thirst and Compulsive Research. Thirst at 3 mana digs 3 deep and puts them all in your hand; and then it lets you put an artifact halfway into play by binning it. That's a ton of reliable, non-situational value that is better than Tragic's best case scenario.
This smells more like Research. You trade sorcery speed and 3 cards with discard for instant speed and 2 cards plus shenanigans. And while, as you mention, people tinker with Research, it realistically sees no active play today.
All in all, I think you guys may have gone too deep into this card. It's not a very nice-looking forest.
Thank you both for recording this! I've been trying to find the reason why I am so unenthusiastic about the format lately. I thought it may have been about other reasons, such as my lack of budget to switch archetypes or my daily dose of Vintage being tainted by the vitrol of anonymous users on TMD and Facebook. The fact of the matter is, I don't want to play Mentor or against Mentor. Unfortunately it's the TOs, and not WotC, that count the dollar votes of an angry userbase due to the low percentage of new cards finding a spot in the metagame. While the post-restriction metagame was inspirational, it was solved rather quickly, and decks that I might have been able to play were easily showcased as simply not good enough. I hope the mismanagement of Vintage is just that, and not a WotC tactic to kill support and visibility of a format that most players are priced out of.
@Smmenen perhaps I shouldn't have used the term "Vintage Community" - it seems like the term has some built-in baggage. Honestly I'm not too concerned with the semantics of it. Whatever you want to call them, there are different groups of humans with an interest in what happens in Vintage/on TMD, and they don't all meet the three criteria you stated. Whether they're "part of the Vintage community" or not, they have opinions, and my concern is about how to weigh them.
In the BDominia era, there were few non-playing "Vintage Fans" (because there wasn't much to follow). Also most people who played vintage had SOME contact with the BDominia/Early TMD community, because you just couldn't find out about Vintage tournaments any other way. Those things have become less true over time, but in the past few years (because of MTGO), they have become a LOT less true.
Recently, MTGO vintage has become a bit of a spectator sport. The VSL Patreon has 186 paying supporters - larger than the attendance of most "very large" vintage tournaments. Eternal Weekend has viewer number in the thousands each year. I wouldn't be surprised if more people have watched Eternal Weekend coverage than have ever played vintage in the entire history of the game. Every Friday on twitch I get over 100 viewers – many of whom have never played vintage or posted on TMD – asking me questions about the format, often with some context they picked up from Twitter or Reddit.
And of course, there's another large group of players who would love to play vintage, but simply can't for logistical reasons. The price of entry is so much steeper than it was when I started, and most of the world doesn't have a local vintage community that a lone, interested player can join. There are a lot of people out there who want to play vintage, who love vintage content, and enjoy talking about vintage. These players might have very strong opinions about the format despite having never played it.
When I said I was struggling to answer the question "what is the Vintage Community?", what I really meant was "how do I prioritize the values of these different groups?"
WotC, as a business, has a clear goal and responsibility to be profitable. If there are policy decisions to be made that favor one group over another, they have to consider the relative size of those groups, and how valuable those people are as customers. I don't have the data that WotC does, but I suspect the average vintage player is a worse customer than the average VSL Patreon supporter, or even the average EW viewer (yes there is likely overlap between these groups). It should almost go without saying that the average MTGO-exclusive Vintage Player is a better customer than the average paper-exclusive Vintage Player. Most vintage-exclusive-paper-exclusive players I know haven't given money to WotC in years. Of course Wizards wants every format to be healthy and every customer to be happy, but when it comes to making decisions that affect vintage, I'm not sure interest/play/communication are on the top of their list.
When it comes to TMD, I'm not profit-obligated, and I have a smaller set of stakeholders to worry about. I'm very glad I'm not responsible for B&R decisions, but I still make decisions that help one group at the expense of another. I pretty frequently need to make a policy or moderation decision, or decide how to spend limited time or resources building things for the site, or generating content for the vintage-interested community outside of TMD.
My instinct says that everyone should count, and everyone should have a voice, but things can get bad for everyone when you serve too many masters. Should TMD have a subforum dedicated to Old School? How about art collection? Should B&R discussion be banned entirely? Should users be banned for posting low-quality decks? Should users be banned for telling other players that their ideas are low quality? Should there be gated subforums requiring written tests to enter? A lot of people use TMD for a lot of very different reasons, and far more people are interested in vintage, but don't use TMD because it doesn't provide some key resource/dynamic/interaction that they need. A lot of those key dynamics directly conflict with each other.
TMD is not a business in the way that WotC is, and I don't want it to be. That doesn't mean that some users aren't more "valuable" to me than others. There is the Patreon of course, but there are also users that create more or less content, and users that give more more or less headaches. So far I haven't really let that drive my decision making, but it's impossible not to consider it. I don't expect to get a clear answer because this isn't really a correct/incorrect sort of problem. This is more of a "this is where my head is" sort of thing than a "looking for a definitive answer" thing
@Smmenen the reason why you cannot find any historical lists with basalt monolith and power artifact is because basalt monolith recieved power level erratta that said mana from basalt monolith could not be used to untap basalt monolith.
It was designed to stop combo decks that were using goblin rocket launcher if I am remembering my 23 year old combo decks correctly. They were blue black decks being used right before legends was released.
@Smmenen I concur. I took your 4-0 mentor deck and tweaked it due to the cards I had (-2 flip jaces, +1 big jace, +1 Snapcaster) and had my first 4-0. The paradoxical outcome decks were so easy to beat when you can now main deck artifact hate.