Hello fellow Vintage enthusiasts,
after a small break of nearly 2 years (been busy meeting the love of my life :)) I'm back to the game now and as I like to do, I'm sucking up all the data that I can. Apparently the last months have been really wild, with a lot of broken cards entering the format and getting restricted again, as well with some former staples like Misstep saying "Goodbye". The format seems to be in a constant flux right now and I'm really eager looking forward to play it.
The problem though, is the mass-disappearance of Vintage players in Europe. Of course I can and will do play big events on MTGO, but that is not the point. There seems to be an Exodus and I want to find out whether it's something regional or rather a know phenomenon.
My main starting point with events was the Cardmarket Series. It's kind of a tournament series with different stops in Europe. Up until 2017, they held comparably big Vintage tournaments, set them on a break for 2018 and returned in 2019 (apparently the turnout was not as big as expected, but the loud voices in the community made them bring them back).
In 2017, the events had 47, 34, 30, 33 and 28 players respectively. In 2019, we got 14, 43, 17, 18 and this weekend a meager 12 (!), with just one more chance left for a bigger tournament. Ignoring the outlier in Ghent with 43 players, these numbers are weak and I don't understand how the format lost 2/3 of its player base in just 2 years.
I'm not sure whether it's that people sold their cards due to economical reasons, but Oldschool cards made a huge leap in 2017 or 2018 iIrc, so that is a possibility. Maybe it is that people were used to Vintage as a rather stable format and the changes that happen were disliked. Could also just be that the rewards have been massively cut and most people just played in all the tournaments, which they don't do anymore.
Honestly, I'm just puzzled what exactly happened in the last years. If people are demoralized I'd like to know.
I hope we can get a healthy discussion going on here. I'm interested in what the reasons for the decline could be and if it is just Europe, or if it is happening in other places as well. I'm definitely going to attend Cardmarket Series in Prague (it's a rather short ride for me and a beautiful and cheap city, so a trip there is definitely worth it, not just for Vintage) and I hope a lot of people here are going to do as well!
There is also the European Eternal Championship Weekend in Paris happening the weekend before Christmas, which I plan to attend but I'm not sure I can afford it right now. I wonder whether having the event in Paris just before Christmas is a good idea anyway, but that is open to discussion as well. And whether or not you are planning to attend.
Thanks for all the responses, let's see how many European players are active here (I guess the majority here is rather NA-centric, but maybe some of you are going to attend the European Vintage Champs as well?). Let's try to keep Vintage alive as well as possible. If the numbers at the Cardmarket Series keep being that low, I don't think that they are going to keep Vintage in the future, which would diminish the number of events even further.
I very much enjoyed this report! I wish we had more of these. Let's be honest, talk about strategy can be enlightening, but it's usually dry to read. This piece on the other hand was a lot of fun and gave me a better insight of what kind of person you are and how Vintage is played in the New World.
I'm surprised the t8 consisted of only 2 archetypes. Are Workshop decks really that much more consistent than any blue decks? With the deck being down to 8 lock pieces there should be enough hands with none or just one, but apparently the all in affinity approach is also enough to win consistently?
Also, what happened to Paradoxical and the Baral deck? Or decks with 4 hurkyls in general?
Regarding Serendib Djinn: I tried to delve into its past to find out why they made the change from destroy to sacrifice. Apparently the wording in Arabian Nights was just so random that they tried to homogenize them. Dandan says just destroy, while Junun Efreet states destroy without regeneration. To make it worse, cards like City in a Bottle and Bottle of Suleiman state the term discarded. So creatures are destroyed, everything else is discarded? But wait, Flying Carpet is not discarded but destroyed. And Diamond Valley explicitely states that a creature is sacrificed, despite that not being official language before Revised (thanks for the article, Aaron!)
All I could find was that the "Official Encyclopedia Volume 1" from 1996 already states that the Djinn sacrifices land, because apparently they can't be buried. I would be nice to get the original wording back on this one, but since the card works the way it does for more than 20 years now, I doubt this will ever happen. I'm giving up on this one and I agree that whichever Oldschool community wants to play it either has to use house rules or just play it as intended since 1996 (or 1994 even, when Revised came out - I wasn't able to find a date when the change actually happened).
I don't understand what some people expect - the rise of completely new archetypes? People abandoning Shops or the "Dack-Delve-Engine"? The restrictions happened last week and all we have is a few League 5-0s and a rather small premier, aka no relevant sample size. Also, I think that if you interpret the results things look really healthy: old archetypes can still be played with success but they dropped in overall win percentage. Delver, an archetype that was pushed to tier 3 territory suddenly was able to rack up 9-0 again.
Let's wait before becoming too vocal about nonsense restrictions - they weren't meant to invalidate archetypes but to end the previous power struggle.