I think this card has a very low floor and in certain situations an extremely high ceiling. Based on the 2 in the cost this card is going to be best in a full Moxen, Sol Ring, Mana Crypt Deck. I would not be surprised if this starts as a fringe 1 of and then works it’s way up from there.
I enjoyed this a lot, especially the Metagame analysis and prediction.
This tournament has very unique attributes (Price, non-proxy, location, timing) which I was pleasantly surprised that you debated and came to a logical consensus on. For what it’s worth, I think there will be more Jeskai and less Shops which is more in line with Steve than Kevin’s predictions.
I may have missed this, but I would have liked for a prediction of attendance, because I think that will determine a lot of the Metagame. My thought is somewhere between 100 and 150 players and I think the expected metagame will be different at 100 vs 150 players. Vintage is a format with a lot of die hards who show up and play their deck regardless of what is at the top of the heap. I think that if this event got to 200 players the meta would more closely resemble NA EW 2017 than Waterbury.
One thing which is more a compliment to the work that Ryan Matt do than a criticism of your analysis is the limited value of just having Top8 data as compared to full MW% by archetype. I know you cannot control what data is published and available, but in your analysis I think it would be beneficial to spend less time stressing what deck won the event. It goes without saying, but there are a lot of factors other than what archetype someone played that contribute to whether someone makes Top8 or not let alone wins the event outright. I think more value could be drawn from looking at the non-stock cards in the lists rather than Workshops Top8%.
I really like this card for all the reasons you said. The inevitability it provides you once resolving is massive and could make it very impactful. I wish this card were printed back in the heyday of Turbo Tezz, it would have been a great addition there. I would try something with even more artifact mana, like Grim Monolith, Voltaic Key, and maybe even a Chrome Mox or two.
I'm curious if anyone has been Game 1 Mulliganing against you, thinking you were on Dredge. I know I've done that against you once. I threw away a totally reasonable 7 because it couldn't beat Dredge, and you opened up with Blue spells! Learned my lesson.
@Maxtortion this is a common occurrence, more so in paper but to an extent in MTGO haha.
One day someone will get blown out against me by doing this, but if the last 9 years are any indication, it won’t happen any time soon unless the DCI has something to say about it.
Thank you so much for putting this together. It brought me back to my econometrics days in college when I read this. A somewhat random aside and I may be mistaken, but I think that Max was running Steel Overseers while many of the “Shops Mirrors” he played in may have been against Ravager decks that did not run Overseer. If that’s the case, Max had a huge leg up on his opponent’s from a deck design standpoint as Overseer is one of the best cards in the mirror. Similarly, Phyrexian Metamorph if played correctly can be one of the best cards in the mirror, preventing you from falling behind to your opponent’s best plays. There is a lot more I could say about the Workshop mirror, but the main takeaway I have which was mentioned is that a Ravager mirror is more similar to a game of limited than Vintage in the traditional sense. Combat math rules the roost and generally a PTQ player does more combat math than a Vintage only player and thus should be better at that, vital aspect to Ravager mirrors.
Thank you for taking the time to undertake this experiment and write this piece. Overall I greatly enjoyed this and for once don’t feel alone as a Workshop pilot who takes copious notes and tracks their results.
It felt like you slightly undersold the challenges and difficulties of running Shops. I’m not sure if that was done deliberately or if this was just a byproduct of your results which were obviously quite strong.
I enjoyed the way that you framed the Vintage Metagame with regards to 70% Blue 20% Shops 10% Dredge, but I disagree that restricting Mental Misstep solves this problem. If it’s not Mental Misstep it will be Red Elemental Blast or Spell Pierce, this problem will persist.
My take on the underlying problem is that Workshops has never actually reached the proportional Metagame percentage that it should given its power level. If the meta were 50% Blue, 40% Shops and 10% Dredge then card’s like Ancient Grudge, Dack Fayden, Hurkyl’s Recall etc would replace some of the Missteps/Pyroblasts and Workshops would thus be weakened.
I think economically something like this could only happen on Magic Online because of paper card availability in a tournament like Eternal Weekend and we would almost certainly see Mishra’s Workshop restricted before this happened, probably before the Metagame fully adjusted to this because the restrictions of Chalice, Lodestone and Thorn has by and large eliminated the strategic diversity of the Workshop archetype. This has gotten to the point where the big argument amongst Shop pilots is what you want your 7 main deck “flex slots” to be because everything is “Workshop Aggro”. The Blue decks have been homogenized, but to a much lesser degree as there are certainly more than 7 cards separating Oath, Xerox Control, Delver, Outcome, BUG etc despite all of these decks sporting Force of Will, Ancestral Recall and Time Walk. This is a long way of saying that I don’t think this problem is easy to solve and that Mental Misstep being restricted would do little to change the calculus.
Knowing what your opponent is on is HUGE....in certain matches. If you are on blue and you are facing shops and know it, what are you going to do? Are you going to mulligan into your single hurkylls? Are you going to mull until you have 3 basic/fetch lands? if you do, you likely lose on mulls more than you win on luck-sacking into the perfect hand. Your best bet is to play that deck you are comfortable with, hope to make smart plays and minimize error, and win with any luck.
Now if you are on a certain deck running 1-strip/4-waste and perhaps even something like main sorcerous spyglass and KNOW your opponent is on dredge, you are damn straight mulling a good hand of 7 for a decent hand of 6 with waste/spyglass is a HUGE gain in game 1. It is the difference between a near auto-loss into a favorable g1 matchup. Even in a deck you are semi-comfortable with as opposed to a deck you've mastered, if you have ample cards against a deck that hinges on one axis and know you are facing that deck, you are much better off. The same could be said running a null rod-based deck vs PO storm. If you know that matchup is happening, you are better off mulling into the 1-of chalice or turn 1 rod off a mox than keeping a solid hand that won't win until turn 3 or stop artifacts.
If you have 3 basic land + an orchard, and an oath...you keep that vs shops. If you have that hand vs PO, you probably lose. If you have that same hand in your oath deck and also know you have FoWs and null rods, you probably mull that away instead of hoping to live to turn 3 with no answer to getting stormed out.
So, the answer to the question again is: it depends. Based on the matchup, the knowledge vs mastery can make a big difference.
People have known what I was on for the last 5+ years and that hasn’t stopped me from succeeding. I don’t disagree that it can win you matches, but mastery is more likely to win you tournaments.
At a general level, the key to becoming a better player is to focus on the little things and understand whether the decisions you made were correct or not given the information you had available to you at the time. The posters before me made a lot of great points but I wanted to add a few things that didn't jump out to me from what has already been written here on the topic.
I have extracted a lot of meaningful insight by taking copious notes during serious testing sessions and tournaments so I can revisit key sequences after the fact. I write down all of my opening hands and spend a few minutes after most matches to document any specific details which might be useful down the road. I recommend adopting a similar approach and really committing to revisit your games to understand what happened.
In addition to taking notes, I encourage you to seek out players who are better than you and befriend them. This was the single most important thing that I did as a Magic player and I am supremely confident that I would not be anywhere close to the player or person that I am today without @Prospero as a mentor. Not everyone is as lucky as I was, but finding a good sparring partner is invaluable. Whether you actually play games together or just bounce ideas off of one another, it is significantly harder to succeed as a lone wolf rather than as a pack.
Finally and possibly most importantly, make sure you are having fun. As @Brass-Man said, getting better is a job after a certain point and it doesn't pay well, so make sure you are enjoying yourself. Personally, I try my absolute hardest to playtest in person with friends that I can play fun, competitive games with and only play MTGO as a last resort. If or when it stops being fun, don't hesitate to take a break. Personally, I play sparingly between November and February of each year to give myself time to unwind and recharge before diving into my preparation for the 6 or so paper events I play each year. Without this annual sabbatical I would have burned out long ago.