Been following this thread for a while but finally have something (kinda) to contribute.
In the past, I dabbled with Thalia in Gush token decks and found the combination of Thalia and free counterspells to be the best possible thing you could be doing against other blue or combo decks (2 year old list for reference) The deck was critically weak to Workshops, however, because I was basically taking a Gush deck and adding 4 more cards that were bad against Shops to it. Can we get a couple Thalia to fit in one of these Force/Survival decks?
Here's a 62 card GUWB version with 17 blue cards that needs cards cut. Thalia eats into the blue flex count just a little too much it seems. Maybe someone with more confidence can't find the non-blue cuts. Cutting Jet and the black splash and going straight Bant would get you to 61, but with 1 fewer mana source than @kaluma's BUG (only 3 DRS/Hierarchs here because I added a fourth mox.) Maindeck Squee is another unfortunate casualty.
// 60 + 2 Maindeck (What to cut?)
3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
3 Deathrite Shaman
1 Elvish Spirit Guide
4 Basking Rootwalla
4 Hollow One
4 Survival of the Fittest
4 Bazaar of Baghdad
17 Permanent Mana Sources + Lotus
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Jet
3 Misty Rainforest
2 Tropical Island
2 Mana Confluence
2 Windswept Heath
12 Blue cards + 5 random cards that are also blue = 17
1 Ancestral Recall
4 Force of Will
4 Mental Misstep
1 Time Walk
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Trygon Predator
1 Leovold, Emissary of Trest
1 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
Shops is the tempo/prison deck you're imagining the format is missing. Mishra's Workshop and Ancient Tomb are very obviously what you need to have to facilitate playing 30 creatures.
They can push non-artifact creatures ad infinitum, if the broken mana's not there, they're all just marginal sidegrades over each other and you can't get them into play fast enough. Archetype needs at least Caverns 5-8. The current Survival decks are good evidence of this; they're using Bazaar as mana accelerant broken enough to facilitate a hatebear gameplan. No accident the most successful Thalia decks of late use either Ancient Tomb/Eldrazi Temple or Bazaar of Baghdad.
@smmenen As you well know, the issue then becomes that any subsequent printing can undo the effect of the narrow restriction and push Shops back to a problematic place. You then have an unnecessary card on the restricted list (the one you hit to tailor) and the need to add another.
And this is arguably what happened when Walking Ballista (or Fleetwheel Cruiser or Thought-Knot Seer) was printed. The meaning of the Chalice and then Lodestone restrictions was destroyed by new printings. To restore the meaning of those restrictions, you had to narrowly tailor again, by adding Thorn to the list. We now have add three Modern-legal artifacts to the Vintage restricted list in as many years and are discussing adding another.
While I agree the strategy of narrow tailoring can be effective at achieving desired metagame percentages in the short term, it leads to restricted list inflation in the long term, as we have seen.
Every deck in the format needs efficient mana acceleration beyond moxen.
- MUD has Tomb and Workshop
- Dredge has Bazaar
- Storm has Rituals
- Blue decks have Force of Will (turns all blue cards into rituals considering the fair cost of Counterspell is UU)
- Fish/Hatebears have Spirit Guides and DRS/Hierarch
The intrinsic problem of the super-archetype is that its acceleration isn't as good as the other pillars. (All the reason why White Eldrazi was the best Thalia deck the format has seen.) Every designer who has spent time in splashing around with these decks comes to appreciate this fundamental flaw.
Keep on fighting the good fight.
Not only are decks with Mental Misstep neither homogenous nor dominant, they are nowhere close to being homogenous or dominant.
Moxen, Workshop, and Bazaar will always prevent Misstep from being anywhere near as oppressive it was in other formats.
Zero reason to consider restriction.