Agree with this. Manabases are the most important component of a deck in Magic because you simply can't do anything without one that functions properly. Change the overall options for a manabase, and you change the overall options for decks entirely.
Look in the opposite direction, what if we unrestricted Lotus, and Moxen? The format would be homogenized super fast due to all of the best mana sources being available as 4-ofs instead of singletons.
Here is the manabase from one of Stephen's Pyromancer Gush decks (VSL Season 5):
1 Flooded Strand
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Polluted Delta
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Tropical Island
3 Underground Sea
2 Volcanic Island
This is already running 1 of each blue fetch. You'd be restricted to playing off-color fetches that can only find your duals (and not basic island). It also runs 2 Trop, 3 sea, and 2 Volc. You'd have to play 4 shock lands in places of duals to get that same mix. So that is a significant downgrade in terms of mana base to support Gush in the same fashion.
Taking repeated lightning bolts, and shocks in your Gush deck may seem fine in some matchups, but against Shops, Delver, or any other aggressive strategy that damage will add up and it would hurt the deck's overall win %. Reduced ability to fetch basic island as your first land is also a pretty big limiter in matchups against Wasteland.
EDIT: Woops should have gone back further, original example was post restriction.
Fetch + Duals make mana fixing too easy. Anyone that has played another format knows the difference between a Legacy/Vintage land base and whatever random lands are available in Standard/Limited. The issue is also not just the number of colors, but the number of color combinations. Being able to cast UU, WW, and R all in the same deck with basic land access, and minimal life payment is not something that you see in other formats.
You can very easily build a manabase that can support these multiple color combinations without fetch lands. Those manabases are way more vulnerable to Wasteland though, and/or have penalties associated with them (like paying 1 life each time you tap a land). That balances the fact that you are getting access to more color combinations than you really should.
As for specific cards that are impacted, I think the most obvious card that can come off the restricted list with Fetches/Duals gone is Gush. Beyond that, you have things, like Ponder/Brainstorm, that typically want a shuffle after being used.
What rule would we need for Lodestone golem? Any 4 mana artifact that doesn't completely suck?
He wasn't playable in other format because they don't have Mishra's Workshop, which they certainly have rules against creating another Mishra's Workshop, although they came very close with the Eldrazi Lands.
"GrowATog Arises" - This is when I really started to play in proxy tournaments so certainly got me hooked on Vintage. It was rare for someone to actually play any of the combo decks, or Workshops so we got to play a lot of blue mirrors. Mono Blue with Morphling and then restricted Mind over Matter+Arcanis the Omnipotent combo was fun to battle the GrowATog and Fish decks of that time.
"Lodestone & Jace Era begins" to "Delver Rising" - I know this is a long time period, but to me this was the era that I perhaps enjoyed the most. The "Lodestone" era was the only time in Vintage that I can recall, where you were truly required to play a fair deck. I recall the first question for a valid deck was "Can it beat turn 1 Lodestone?", and if your answer was no then the deck was basically unplayable. The slower format allowed me to tinker with a number of combos, and control decks that just wouldn't work in the faster iterations of the format. Landstill, and Dredge with transformed sideboards were personal favorites of mine. Nothing beats the joy of Cavern into Divining Witch into Laboratory Maniac and then answering their final removal spell with a Bazaar activation.
My biggest problem is that a couple of sentence explanation is often the most transparency we get on their decision making process. This leads us to have to make up stuff on how they are handling the list. It seems to me that they don't actually have any logic, or cohesive mission statement for the format. They just give the squeaky wheels more grease, and hope that it doesn't fall off the tracks. So in essence, the B&R list is run by community members just not community members as a whole, but those that are willing to complain a lot publicly about it.
Look, I've been where you are, and its not fun. Lets just try to have a little more fun on here. You are a really good person so I hate to see how upset you get in these discussions. It would be nice if you (and some others) could take these discussions a little more casually. This is a game and a format that we all love! I think we should be able to just have a conversation, and not try to constantly "prove" our points.
Brian did spend those hours writing very thoughtful opinions on the B&R list, and it just turned into one of the worst flame wars that I can recall. So I personally have no desire to spend hours writing another similar article to get attacked immediately by someone that stops reading on the first couple of sentences of my post. The last article that I spent a couple weeks on (collecting data and writing) that I posted here (wasn't even about the B&R list, it was just about dredge) even received the same vitriol. So I haven't had a ton of desire to spend all that time to get a bunch of very negative responses. When Calvin's site was still up and running, I did enjoy writing there though and this site used to be fun to write on. Its disappointing because the community can be a lot of fun in person, but for some reason this forum seems to bring out the worst in people.
Take case and point this discussion here, where Protoaddict basically says: "Hey, why don't we come together as a community and create a better format that works for everyone?" and everyone is going to come in here and tell him that his idea is terrible.
This would essentially be like drafting a "Constitution" of Vintage. I think it seems worthy to try to attempt. You are never going to get 100% consensus on anything, but you could get a majority public vote that creates a democratic system instead of the dictatorship that we currently have from whoever is policing the format at this point. I mean, generally speaking, I think Democracy >>> Dictatorship.
Chess is objectively a better game then checkers, but neither of them have variance. The comparison here is Poker vs Chess. I enjoy both games personally, but I feel this game is much, much closer to Poker than to Chess due to the high variance game to game.
Variance reduction is attempted by a number of rules in the game. Among them, like you mention, is creating duplicitous effects, you can see a greater effect in other formats because of this since every card can be played as a 4-of.
Magic also uses the concept of a series to reduce variance (playing best 2 of 3 to decide a match; although more variance is then added by having sideboards). If high variance was truly a desire-able trait then we would not play best 2 of 3. We would just play 1 game. This concept of a series of games is taken from what Poker, Sports, and other games have used for years. Best of 3 is basically a bare minimum in terms of creating a series. The game was better, in my opinion, when they played best of 5 and it would be even better if it was practical to play even more games. Drawing conclusions from as little as 2 games as to the better player/deck is extremely fault when each game itself has as much variability as it does in a game of Vintage Magic.
The existence of companions in a format greatly reduces variation as there is no variance as to whether or not you have access to that companion. Imagine guaranteeing a land, or guaranteeing any other non-companion card. Companions themselves are just a very small subset of cards (literally 1 card in Vintage's case for the past month prior to this).
Disappointed in the announcement. I have to agree with Desolutionist that the game looked more interesting than it has in years with Lurrus around.
I also don't think Zirda is really all that much less broken after doing some testing. That card did get hit with the ban hammer in legacy. (The issues with Zirda seem to stem from the difficulty of executing an infinite combo on MTGO) Any additional companion printings (and exisiting ones) are still at risk for needing to be banned now under this precedent.
DECK VARIANCE IS THE LIFEBLOOD OF THE GAME
Based on this story, this is the opinion of two unnamed interns from over 20 years ago, I really hope they aren't still making major game design decisions based on a couple of people that weren't even noteworthy enough to remember their names. Both those players could've even changed their minds in the last 20+ years.
Deck variance, in general, is a large reason that I have strongly favored Dredge, and what pushes a lot of players away from the game. It feels fair/fun to me to lose to your own decision making process, and your own decisions. It feels less fair/fun to me to lose simply to the game's shuffling and mulligan mechanics. I was excited to have some more options, outside of Dredge, that could give a more consistent game experience. Alas, it looks like they are now unlikely to support such a concept in Vintage/Legacy moving forward.
75% of decks playing blue heavy decks to accommodate Force of Will is not diversity, lol. The only thing less diverse than a typical Vintage is a Magic tournament in terms of gender.
That said, the game outside of Vintage/Legacy is incredibly diverse. Standard and Modern force diversity through two different concepts, rotation in standard's case and heavy policing of the most powerful strategies in Modern. Vintage and Legacy due to the "grandfather" clause that apparently we are abiding by willingly now, basically all but guarantees that diversity will never happen. There will always be a best Force of Will deck, a best Bazaar deck, and a best Workshop deck. There used to be a best Ritual deck too, but apparently they didn't make the cut point for the "grandfather" clause and died of a heart attack in their mid 40s before their kids could procreate.
They weren't. They thought the deckbuilding restrictions were enough to balance the companions. They screwed up. The plan was not to make Companions an integral part of Magic but kind of fringe strategies similar, yet obviously better than Battle of Wits, that could create different ways of playing the game, not completely redefine competitive Magic over one set.
I have a very hard time believing that they didn't know that a set of 10 legendary creatures that they compared to "Commanders" wasn't going to have a large impact on the game.
I don't think you have to make it clearer because I don't think anyone is disagreeing that Lurrus is absolutely broken right now, but my argument is that is because he has so little competition in the companion slot.
What you seem to be suggesting is that Wizards had to be aware of the implications of the mechanic in terms of improved win %'s solely on getting a free card. Therefore, they had to be aware that its existence would eventually lead to every deck needing to play a companion.
If every deck has a companion in the future, then its essentially like we have card classes in MTG as well.
Consider that their announcement did not mention any action towards Modern, or Standard. I believe that means that they are unlikely to make a move against the Companion mechanic.
What they could do in the meantime, given that there is so little competition for Lurrus, is to remove some power 3+ drops from the restricted list to try and create a power disparity such that the deck building constraints are too great to play the card. There are quite a few cards from Shops that were just recently restricted that could stem the bleeding a bit, and at least create a 2-deck format. Potentially throw in some combo cards, like Necropotence and Flash, and we may be able to get back to a 3-deck format.