I like the hate bears, personally. I like non-haymaker decks having a chance. 2/2s don't "stop you from casting spells" like trinisphere did. You can cast them...just remove the creature. Yes, that means you can't run a linear 59 cards with a single hurkyls. You ACTUALLY have to run bolts, plows, etc. GASP! The ones complaining about the hate bears are the ones who love linear strategies and don't want competition...just to win fast and brutally. They are probably the same people that kill cats and smack babies because it shows their might against a clearly inferior opponent.
I love Vintage - and I have massive contempt for the format. My contempt doesn't come from the brokenness of decks. I wasn't even feeling contempt when turn 1 Workshop-> Trinisphere (a.k.a. have FoW or you lose) was common. Granted, I was the one casting trini off workshops, but I digress .
I feel contempt for 2 reasons. One - I hate blue. I find the overwhelming number of cheap/free counterspells to be discouraging to play against. It's like playing against a shops lock, but it doesn't matter if you are on the play or draw because they have their lock for free on turn 0. I am also bitter that blue has had the most broken spells since the beginning and it continued through Urza's block. Not until afterward did they start balancing the color wheel. Just consider the 1 mana for +3 cycle. Ritual, bolt, healing salve, giant growth, ANCESTRAL FUCKIN RECALL. Counterspells are also the ONLY answer to every spell, permanent or stack. Every color has permanent removal, but only blue can reactively stop spells. Blue also has bounce to remove ANY permanent without restriction. It's just an absurdly unbalanced color.
My second reason for contempt is more for the player base. The people are cool as far as being people. They are shitty for clutching on to the blue vs shops vs dredge triangle that's been vintage since ravnica. Humans is a nice innovation and I love the new survival list. I actually run Dark Depths myself because it is universally deemed fragile and slow - and I love to prove that wrong. I like when people innovate and I like a wealth of different, viable decks (thus why I love Modern now). I can't stand when people take a deck off the internet, swap 4 cards, then add their name to it like they invented the list. Further, most people won't even try to come up with anything new because they figure someone else already made the best deck, so they'll just netdeck it and win without needing to be innovative at all. Most people copy an exact 75, and it is sickening to me. I hate it even more when people take a netdeck, change 2 cards and rename it as if it's their own invention. That's like me taking a stock 60 merfolk deck, swapping 2 silvergils for 2 merfolk tricksters and calling it Miller Merfolk...or taking Huckleberry Finn, rewriting page 67 and saying I wrote the great-American novel with my name on the cover. Magic plagerism, I consider it. Awful (if my contempt didn't come across enough).
I think counterspells are interactive in that both players act/react, but interactivity is NOT what most anti-blue players gripe about. What they really mean when they say "Counterspells are uninteractive" is "When my opponent plays counterspells, I don't feel like I'm even in the game." There are many games vs control that go like so:
Player A - plays land, mox, 1cmc spell
Player B - missteps
Player B - plays land, ponder
Player A - plays land, spell
Player B - FoWs
Player B - plays land, mox, ancestral self
Player A - plays land, plays bigger spell
Player B - mana drain
Player B - plays land, Jace TMS, brainstorms
Player A - plays land, casts spell (not a threat with Jace), resolves, casts real threat
Player B - Gush, FoW
Player B - mox, tinker for BSC, brainstorms with Jace, time walk.
In that game, Player A hangs around a few turns and there's plenty of interaction. In reality, Player B was solitairing and Player A was basically draw/land/pass for all intents and purposes. Player A may well have never sat down at the table and would have been as much "in the game."
@kistrand To piggy back on this, plan for the worst case scenario, but don't always act like the worst case scenario is the case. For example, if your opponent is on blue, has drawn some and has 5 cards in hand - he MAY have FoW, so you have to carefully consider casting that clutch spell. But if you DON'T cast that spell, and have nothing you could topdeck to push the spell through next turn, then not only did you virtually give them FoW in their hand, but you also gave them time to dig more and actually find FoW.
Sometimes they have the stop, sometimes they don't. Sometimes you cast your spell and they counter and it seems crippling (but if you held it in your hand, they'd STILL have the stop, so does it matter?). If you never cast the spell out of fear of a counter, then they ALWAYS have the stop, whether a counter is in their hand or not.
@wappla As primarily a Modern player now (I rarely play Vintage due to location, but the narrow options of viable decks is also a turnoff), I think you have a wrong view of diversity. In modern, there are 20ish linear decks, zoo/burn/GW CoCo/eldrazi/jund/death's shadow/etc. (all of which are viable depending on the meta), but there are also various combo decks, mill, lantern control, Esper control, Bant, Grixis, etc. There is real diversity (not an illusion).
Many cards are on a similar power level, but some are more powerful in certain builds and less so than others. Kalitas, for example, is a powerful creature in Jund. He is much less good in something like BW tokens. Vintage however...ancestral is just best in everything that taps islands, so there's no real thinking about what fits where when it comes to several staple cards.
Modern doesn't have the problem of people not knowing what is optimal...it's just that different lists can have different cards be optimal, and a card that is optimal in one strategy is just okay in another. Also there are a ton of solid decks that are viable choices to win any tourney. The entire color pie is equally competitive. It's not just blue splashing whatever support color. You can run into a billion different decks in a big tourney and your SB needs to really account for a lot of things (and your deck be fast enough or resilient enough to beat lots of other strategies). On the other hand, vintage basically has a big handful of cards that go in every deck and a chunk that is different depending on kill condition. Every blue deck runs ancestral, walk, FoW, (and lately gush), etc. Every shop deck runs thorn/chalice/golem, trini, etc. Vintage tourneys are basically a field of X workshops, gush decks, and bazaar...an occasional storm or oath deck in the mix.
You think in-game choices are all that matter, but many of us like deck building as much as the in-game. Modern also has a slew of in game choices outside of some super-linear aggro decks, but I disagree that in-game is all that matters. Winning with your own deck creation is also very gratifying as opposed to just grabbing whatever list so-and-so played and tweaking 2 cards. To me, that's letting someone else do the heavy lifting and claiming victory on the back of their work.
Side note, if you think your card choices/in-game decisions don't matter in Modern because you face one of 4 decks and lose no matter what, you have not been playing enough modern...at least not well. Play decisions matter a LOT in anything that's not all burn/creatures, of which there are a ton of choices. That's also where deck building choices come in - you need to build versatile decks that handle a lot.
I personally like being able to choose between one of 50 decks or building my own and being able to win a tourney. Having to pick between 7-8 deck choices to have any viable chance of winning is far more limiting to me. It seems you'd like a format of just 1 deck where the only decider of win/loss is how you play the deck. That's basically poker. And while I love poker, I also like games where I have choices and freedom to design outside of the game play. I don't like rock-paper-scissors. A format where a multitude of strategies and card choices are viable and equally powerful to the rest is a good thing IMO.
I've found the 1-1 battle to be a losing proposition. Hurkyll''s is good for a sweep if you can really capitalize on the clean board (like a P.O. turn). But even after hurkyll's, you are still countering 1 card at the cost of 2 most times (FoW), and they just have more threats/prison than you have counters. The same goes for swords or disenchant, they have more threatening spells than you can 1-1 remove, but it's even worse now because of ballista/ravager - they will get a +1/+1 or ping for a bunch of damage in exchange for your removal spell.
I have found only a couple tactics to be useful:
Permanent sweepers: Seeds of innocence, by force, shatterstorm, serenity. These are all clean sweeps that negate ravager's dodge ability. They can ravager onto ballista for damage or load up a hangarback, but if they don't have ravager AND one of those outlets, they get swept with no benefit of ravager. Serenity is the fastest mana-wise, but in reality the slowest as you often want the effect the turn you draw it, not the turn after. Serenity also has the drawback of killing your enchantments...which is the next point of attack.
Tax effects: Energy Flux, Tabernacle, Ghostly Prison. E-flux is standard goodness, but they can sometimes pay the mana and swing. Tabernacle is even easier to pay for and swing and they don't need to pay to keep lock pieces on board. Ghostly prison has been my own tech lately as they have to choose between hitting me with their 2/2 balista, 2/1 revoker, 2/2 factory, etc. and can often never swing with more than 1. It doesn't stop them outright and it won't stop ravager/ballista shenanigans, but it does buy time. If you want more time, then you need option 3...
Prison the prison: Stony Silence, Null Rod, Moat. This has been my favorite line as of late. Stony silence and null rod are wrecking balls to the greater field at large, but shops has become VERY reliant on activated artifact abilities lately. Besides hitting their ramp mana, you shut off ravager, overseer, ballista, hangarback, triskelion. You are now left facing a horde of 2/2, 3/3, 2/1, 3/2 ground pounders with the one-of 5/3 (sans metamorph making even more copies). If you can land a moat afterward, it's GG as they have no way to swing or shoot you. Granted, that's a tall order with you shutting off your own ramp and it costing 4 or more through spheres, but if you land moat first - say off of a sol ring or lotus - and THEN stony silence, they just crap bricks. If you can turn 1 stony before they get to play, I'd still do that. You'll slow their explosiveness considerably (especially if they didn't keep a workshop hand) and will get enough time to hit 4 mana.
There is another option, but it's really more effective vs the smokestack variants of MUD...
Resource protection: Sacred Ground, Crucible of the worlds, Karmic Justice, Terra Eternal. By far, Sacred ground is my favorite here. You don't have to replay dead lands for your land drop like you do with crucible (especially if they get crucible too). You never lose land at all with sacred ground. It nerfs crucible and straight out shuts down smokestack. KJ is sweet as you get to pick off one of their permanents every time they shoot off your creature with ballista, wasteland a land, etc., but you still do lose your resource in exchange for theirs. It's the least effective and the most expensive, but it is something. Terra Eternal is better than sacred ground vs wastelands, but only marginally unless they have grave hate. It is more expensive and does squat vs smokestack. SG reigns supreme here for just 2 mana.
In ALL of these cases you'll still want 1-for-1 removal to take out the truly crippling spells that stop you from playing these other cards (crucible if they have waste, trinisphere, lodestone, revoker naming your jewelry). I find fragmentize to be the best value as it is the cheapest under spheres, hits everything in shop's deck, and doubles to kill oath so you are maximizing sb slot efficiency. Disenchant is a close runner up due to instant speed, but it costs 1 more, which means it may actually never get cast.
Notice almost all of my favorite options (bold-faced) are white. To me, it's the superior color vs anything for answer cards. It's not great as a kill outside of mentor, but it's the best answer color.
Earlier someone mentioned that the "poker" was taken out of the game by rest in peace and the like. They acknowledged decisions need to be made in deck construction with such cards, not in-game. I'm with it there. It then goes on to say Vintage should be all about "in-game" decisions. That's where I disagree. I perhaps enjoy deckbuilding 80% and playing 20%. Consequently, i always play decks I build, mostly from scratch. Some deck components build themselves obviously (i.e. 4x oath requires 4x orchard, some tutors, and a kill condition package), but I pride myself on building things that haven't been done or are deemed junky and still win. Those that know me from way back in 2002 know me from The Man Show and The Riddler. Nowadays I build things like BWG oath, ShopsDepths, and other decks that are as unique as I can make them while being good. I agree that in-game decisions are important and skilled players are a big part of the format. However, all these new hate cards add lots of dimensions to deck building - not only in options to beat other decks, but in strategies to overcome that same hate if my plan requires beating said cards. I like Vintage, Modern, and to an extent Legacy, mainly because I like being able to deck build in a variety of B/R restraints. I can see how hate bears irk people who love power plays, blue spell-slinging, drawing half their deck, and going ape on turn 1 , but these cards add a dimension to a facet of the game that many people, myself included, enjoy greatly. We can't see vintage as in-game only. Most of the battle is won before players sit at the table. If you don't believe that, try to beat your average Vintage player with mons goblin raiders.dec.
I think there were lots of great cards in this set for vintage.
The basic lands for example are beautiful art and they tap for mana as well as any basic from Alpha onward...so they have the same raw power as similar cards from the most powerful sets ever. That's strong.
Further, every blue card in the set was bomb. They all did what any card must do in vintage...pitch to FoW.
@evouga In theory, you could run a null rod based blue deck with this guy. Tezz 1.0 isn't so hot there. Seeing as how P.O. is big now and vault/key is heavily played as you note, null rod should be more prevalent. This guy dodges that bullet. Tezz 1.0 is a fantastic walker, don't get me wrong, but in different builds/situations, this guy might be as good or better. Or, run both together - with Jace as well. Artifact based superfriends? Null rod control superfriends?
@stormanimagus They've dominated before though. And they have been 30-40% at brief times. The sheer price of MWS probably keeps it less played than it would be if the cost was a nonfactor.
I don't see how you could say gush is a dominant engine, but MWS is not. Gush is the turbo in a race car...MWS is a V10 Engine.
I also disagree about shops being necessary for a healthy format. If you keep all the artifacts banned and hit MWS, sure...but unleash chalice, trinisphere (that may even be too coin-flippy with sol-lands and moxen), thorn, and golem, and you'll have the eldrazi and thalia and null rod decks totally filling that "keep storm in check" space.
Notes made during and before a match are fine. That's like studying for a test. But using friends and teammates during a match is unfair, because then your opponent isn't going 1-on-1, he's playing against several brains. Written knowledge that you produce yourself is fine. If it is written from others prior to a match, I think that's fine too. But having someone else tell you decisions to make during game play is basically making the match lopsided as it is many logic-processors (brains) vs one. Consider any other sport. If you pit one athlete vs another, either athlete is able to refer to mental notes they saw watching film on the matchup or mental notes made during the match. If one side brings in OTHER athletes so now it is 1 player vs an entire team, the 1 player's odds of winning diminish drastically. That's just unfair and thus unacceptable.
First off, you all realize that a 2/2 creature is just about the easiest thing to remove in a game of magic, yes? Artifact creature is perhaps the only thing more vulnerable. If a 2/2 with a certain effect is ruining your chance of winning, your deck is too narrow or has no effects beyond its spluge-in-your-face-and-win approach.
Secondly, a hatebear shouldn't be wrecking a tournament. They won't always have the right hatebear at the right time. No hatebear beats storm and standstill and eldrazi and oath and shops all in one card. There are wrong answers, but never wrong threats.
If you are complaining about 2/2 creatures ruining a format by virtue of having effects that prevent you from going apeshit on turn 1, well, that's just silly. Null rod, chalice, trini, etc., have all been massively limiting to some strategies. And people bitched about them before. Now 2/2s are having a chance to be playable, and the people that just want to turn 1 storm 10 or tinker into win are crying. Vintage is fun because you get to play all the cards and get to have intense strategies and skillful games....not just because you get to deploy turn 1 haymakers all day.
@Evoclipse Category 3 cards are fine (ancient grudge vs artifacts), but they tend to either not do enough or become unusable against the very things they are meant to beat (think spheres locking you out from casting grudge). Duress is a fine cat 3 card, but it is meant to beat counters and counters just got missteps, so it really can't do its job. Category 2 cards (I assume you mean things like Eidolon of rhetoric, leonin arbiter) don't outright stop an opponent, they just are a nuisance that needs to be played around. Tormods crypt and ravenous trap are Cat 2. They pop once, and that's it....you just play around them. It is ONLY Cat 1 cards (needle, cage, rip, null rod, etc.) that force you to change at the deck building level. You can't play oath and just "play around" a turn 1 cage. You can't hope to outcounter blue decks to make your misstep kill that cage either, most times. Now you are FORCED to consider new angles at the deck building stage. You can run 4 missteps and hope its enough...you can run abrupt decay....you can run lab maniac instead of the big fatties. All those work, but you now must build around it...you can't play around it. I can run a stock storm list and beat a flusterstorm or a tormods. I CAN'T take a stock storm list and beat an aegis of the gods. Those Cat 1 cards are gold to a deck builder like me. You are forced to work on the puzzle that now has new pieces thrown in. You can't just ignore them and play around it. To me, these hate bears and effects like RiP not only give weaker strategies a chance to take down big dogs, but it also prevents the deck building landscape from stagnating. If a solid list can play around all the hate in-game, then there's little incentive to innovate in builds. Just in-game strategies. But these new cards shift the landscape and now you have to build differently just on the sheer fact that such cards exist, even if you never face them in a game.
Why, oh why, are people so afraid of restricting Workshop and letting chalice and golem off the list? PO and mentor (gush decks in general that run a ton of 0 drops and 1cc cantrips) would get kicked in the nuts by decks able to run 4x chalice. Even dredge and fish would utilize it easily. Shops would still have 1 workshop and 8 conditional sol-lands, making it still viable, but less likely to land a 4 drop or multiple 2 drops on turn 1. The turn 1 golem or chalice @1+sphere or chalice @2 hurts (thus why they restricted chalice and golem) is overly crippling and often GG before you ever take your first turn. But taking away the ability to get past 3 mana reliably on turn 1 and not have 6 + mana on turn 2 not only weakens shops, but it weakens gush, storm, and mentor by hitting 0 drops and giving other strategies more of a chance.
I think if you cut 3 workshop and added city of traitors, mana vault, and maybe some metalworker, Shop decks would survive just fine. They'd be taken down a peg, but it's hardly eradicating the deck. If the deck is worthless -3 workshops, your basically saying a workshop deck can't win unless it has workshop in its opener. That's hardly the case. Workshop in the opener (plus moxen) make it degenerate, but it is not a useless nerfball without workshop by far.
@protoaddct I'll add to that that fish decks (and eldrazi) also could run thorn, which stops storm/combo decks. Fish can't effectively run sphere however, so losing 3 shops and adding back 3 thorn just shifts the "storm nerfing" to fish and eldrazi instead of shops. I think just restricting workshop and taking nothing off the restricted list doesn't make much sense (as the whole purpose to restricting shops tools was to offset the degeneracy of workshop - which it didn't). I can see a release of golem and thorn with the restriction of Workshop being simultaneous. I hope it would be at least.