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Author Topic: FREE ARTICLE: Interview with Buehler - Want to Learn Meandeck Gifts?  (Read 8350 times)
Smmenen
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« on: August 03, 2005, 11:21:38 pm »

http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/article/10179.html

This would normally be a Premium article, but we have made this available to all readers of our site. Premium members should consider this a Premium article for the day that everyone else gets to read. Non-Premium members - consider this a sample of what you would see on the Premium side of the site nearly every day. And just to blow your minds, it includes statements like the following: "I'm actually growing to hate Mana Drain. It's probably the worst card in the deck right now and I sideboard out 3 of them with some regularity." What deck is Randy Buehler referencing and what other insights does the Director of R&D have for Magic players everywhere? The answer is only a click away.


« Last Edit: August 04, 2005, 12:12:27 pm by Smmenen » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2005, 02:30:41 am »

Nice article, well done.
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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2005, 02:50:25 am »

I liked what he said about Mana Drain being fairly suboptimal.¬  This smacks somewhat of what Purple Hat was saying earlier about how we have a tendency to stick to our "roots," as it were, when we build decks.¬  Control decklists begin with "4 Mana Drain" right below "4 Force of Will, 1 Ancestral, 1 Mox Sapphire, etc."¬  But when I was tinkering with Orchard Oath for SCGP9 II (before Meandeck Oath was unveiled), I hated Mana Drain because there was nothing interesting to do with the mana.¬  Except for Fact or Fiction (and, in some builds, Tinker and/or Intuition), I wasn't playing with anything that costed more than 1 colorless mana.¬  I would frequently find myself needing to Drain a Force during my opponent's turn and then burn for 4 after casting Oath (or something similar).¬  I think that it should be something we think of a lot sooner to cut Mana Drain (acknowledging that Randy is not removing them for the same reasons I was, but pointing out that he is removing them nonetheless).

On another note, he complained about not being able to Burning Wish for artifact removal.¬  There are some good options, most notably Echoing Ruin and Primitive Justice.¬  I haven't actually done much testing with Gifts, but does anyone think that a card like this could be sideboard material, possibly in place of Shattering Pulse?¬  I've rarely payed the buyback on Pulse when I've used it in other decks, so the ability to Wish for it might be a better advantage.¬  Alternatively, Primitive Justice can be Rack and Ruin for R more and also be Shatter for 1 less, so maybe RnR is the one to go.¬  Seems like it could be worth a look.
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2005, 03:20:36 am »

Meltdown is another good sorcery speed artifact killer.  It wipes the board and can be the most mana efficient alternative in the right situation.
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2005, 04:11:31 am »

I liked what he said about Mana Drain being fairly suboptimal.  This smacks somewhat of what Purple Hat was saying earlier about how we have a tendency to stick to our "roots," as it were, when we build decks.  Control decklists begin with "4 Mana Drain" right below "4 Force of Will, 1 Ancestral, 1 Mox Sapphire, etc."  But when I was tinkering with Orchard Oath for SCGP9 II (before Meandeck Oath was unveiled), I hated Mana Drain because there was nothing interesting to do with the mana.

Discussion on the topic of using standards can be read here.
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« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2005, 05:58:12 am »

I liked what he said about Mana Drain being fairly suboptimal.

Yes. That bit probably was the most interesting detail of the article, which was very solid and a good read. It is interesting to look into the mind of a Pro Tour player who apparently does think more "cutthroat" and in details than in the broader sweeps less professional players (talking about myself here) often do.

Quote from: Randy Buehler on SCG
The Duresses turned out to be amazing for me. I never got a TPS opponent, but I did get the Gifts mirror multiple times plus a couple of Oath combo decks and a Mono-Blue Control. Duress was awesome against all of them.

Randy made me re-think Duress in the MG sideboard, although I am not sure how good they will be if everybody runs them. There might be a way to win that particular sideboard war... He proposes Duress against Oath, though, which I wonder about. Sure, it's good, but doesn't Oath usually play 2-4 Strips and Wastelands, too? Is the chance of a first-turn Duress worth getting your black cut off against Oath? My instinct says no, especially since MG has five pitch counters vs Oath if you run Disrupting Shoal in place of one Misdirection (and I probably will stand alone on that for ages, but that's life). Impulse is interesting.

Randy's deck is the perfect example of how you have to adapt MG to your own preferences and skills. Play what you are comfortable with, since there is no objectively best build of MG (yet?) and sometimes not even a consensus build. In that respect, it is much like Keeper of old: powerful and so customable that beyond the generel structure, you never know exactly what is going to hit you.

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« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2005, 11:56:23 am »

I thought his comment about an extra land was interesting.  It might be correct to cut a Misdirection for another Snow-Covered Island in Stax heavy metas.

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« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2005, 12:00:04 pm »

I thought the most interesting parts of the article were that he said that Gifts Ungiven was a "way, way" better draw card than Thirst for Knowledge and that he said that this was the most complex deck he ever played.

Wow. 
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« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2005, 01:04:31 pm »

That's probably partly because of Gifts Ungiven itself, and what to do to get the most card advantage out of one situation, or break loose from a disadvantaged board position.  It's often helpful to just look at it like, "This Gifts Ungiven will get me two cards I want, now how do I make sure those end up in my hand?"
Thirst for Knowledge does not do this.  Thirst for Knowledge can often draw you into complete ass, and although seeing three new cards from the top of your library is a good thing, it's not a guarantee like Gifts Ungiven is.

And yes, Steven, it is a very complicated deck to play.  If you think of it as a simple deck involving the strategy of "I play spells and I win," you will lose.  I ran into a Gifts player round 8 in Chicago with this sort of mentality, and I ate him alive.

Interesting article - it IS nice to see how the head of Magic: the Gathering R&D views our format as always, and it's good to hear they find excitement in our format.  When you think about it, if you're prevented from sanctioned tournament play and still want to play the game, Vintage may well be the best place to do it.
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« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2005, 01:30:51 pm »

"in search of worthy opponents and glorious booty. [Prizes people, not strippers. - Knut, clarifying for the often adolescent audience]"
Knut you have such a sick mind.
I liked the article though, but I probably won't get Premium membership anyway, I'm just too cheap.
And congratulations to Randy
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« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2005, 01:59:29 pm »

Nice article and nice to see he still has the stuff to win.

What do you think of his ideas about the deck. Specifically him going slightly back towards original gifts builds.

What do you think of him thinking about getting the duresses back in, taking drains out because of the not wanting to tap out on your own turn. Losing 2 merchant scrolls for 2 impulses.
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« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2005, 02:46:32 pm »

Nice article and nice to see he still has the stuff to win.

What do you think of his ideas about the deck. Specifically him going slightly back towards original gifts builds.

What do you think of him thinking about getting the duresses back in, taking drains out because of the not wanting to tap out on your own turn. Losing 2 merchant scrolls for 2 impulses.

He didn't go back at all.  He cut two scrolls for two impulse.  That's a step forward in some respects. Not backward toward older gifts list. 
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« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2005, 03:55:38 pm »

That was a good read. I am glad that someone who actually has some control over the game actually enjoys the format. I wouldn't be surprised if they eventually make Vintage a major format like they did with Legacy. That would be great for the game.

On another note I like the impulses, because when you draw a like 3 Merchant Scroll it does such sometimes.


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« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2005, 07:19:10 pm »

first off great article.

I liked what he said about duress.  I was running 3 duress in the board (due to combo) and they worked great.  I wonder if duress instead of drains could make the deck better?  thoughts?

I also liked the idea of 2 impulse.  it helps make the deck be consistent
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« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2005, 07:45:35 pm »

It seems that the impulse idea just comes down to play style.  If your more of a control player, then impulse sounds like a better idea than 4 scroll.  Of course, if your very aggressive with the deck like me, then scrolls are a bit better since your just cutting the crap right into the recall then combo.

I suppose its a step forward in that it further illustrates variable deck choices based on your playstyle as well as showing that this deck isn't compromised by a few card differences exhibiting a very flexible MD and not being as rigid as most think.
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« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2005, 09:15:04 pm »

Best article i've seen you write in awhile.  Would be great to see a follow up with your comments on his comments!

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« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2005, 10:15:03 pm »

It's strange because I really love Mana Drain in the deck. Whenever I drain something, even a Gorilla Shaman, that extra mana makes it impossible to lose the game. That said, I could see siding it out in mirrors since you'll not be draining anything juicy until the game is going to be over anyway.
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« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2005, 12:16:23 am »

It's interesting to hear Randy's take on the deck. Nice job Steve.

On a side note did you talk to Randy about your thoughts on Yawg Will, or banning criteria in general? If so, are you at liberty to tell us?

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« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2005, 12:31:06 am »

It's interesting to hear Randy's take on the deck. Nice job Steve.

On a side note did you talk to Randy about your thoughts on Yawg Will, or banning criteria in general? If so, are you at liberty to tell us?

-Shawn

Thanks.¬  No I didn't and that is not something I would ask Randy about.¬ 

Quote
Best article i've seen you write in awhile.  Would be great to see a follow up with your comments on his comments!

JB

I thought about doing the article with me commenting extensively about every question he answered - but I quickly discovered that my comments were overshadowing Buehler's so I cut it entirely.  I can save it for another article. 
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« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2005, 04:32:20 am »

Very nice article.

Besides the interesting points that we have already noticed in is thread, he repeated one thing that has been said before and always makes me wonder:
"I do believe that if there was a Type 1 Pro Tour then much tighter, more focused netdecks would exist."

How much better would our tier one decks be if pro-level players would be involved in vintage?

His remark right after that is also interesting:

"I also believe that would make the format less fun for just about everyone involved."

I don't understand this. Unfortunately he doesn't expand on it. Does anybody else understand?
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« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2005, 05:32:23 am »

@ Mrieff

I know what Randy means by those statements. If pros played vintage (which ain't gonna happen so don't fret) their testing would eliminate some of the chaff that gets played. Sometimes it isn't quite as apparent as it would seem, that any particular card is not good enough to make the cut, because there are so many broken spells in any given deck, that the weak link hidden within won't cost you games. Pros make it a point to tighten up deck lists and weed out these little nuggets. They don't have to create brand new innovations. They can just make the decks we all play better, and that alone will significantly impact the format. With really tight deck lists we lose a lot of our freedom.

On a related note, pros player better than us. Our only advantage is greater understanding of the format, and if vintage were supported in a pro format, we would lose that advantage. It's no fun to be the best player in your metagame, only to have it invaded by hundreds of more skilled opponents. It may become more challenging, and possibly encourage you to improve your own skill, but most of us do not have the free time to invest into magic, that the pros will undoubtedly devote to it. Casual players in particular will get frustrated when they no longer stand a chance.

It's not that complicated actually. They are better at this game than us, and lack only the motivation that sanctioned play would provide to learn "our format," and beat us at "our" game. Nobody enjoys losing, do they?

Of course Randy would sound like he was insulting us, if he simply stated, "they are better than you, and you will lose to them." Being the nice guy that he is, he avoided actually stating what everyone should already know. "Johnny Magic is gonna make you look like and feel like an amature whe he plays against you."
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« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2005, 05:39:40 am »

@ Mrieff

I know what Randy means by those statements. If pros played vintage (which ain't gonna happen so don't fret) their testing would eliminate some of the chaff that gets played. Sometimes it isn't quite as apparent as it would seem, that any particular card is not good enough to make the cut, because there are so many broken spells in any given deck, that the weak link hidden within won't cost you games. Pros make it a point to tighten up deck lists and weed out these little nuggets. They don't have to create brand new innovations. They can just make the decks we all play better, and that alone will significantly impact the format. With really tight deck lists we lose a lot of our freedom.

On a related note, pros player better than us. Our only advantage is greater understanding of the format, and if vintage were supported in a pro format, we would lose that advantage. It's no fun to be the best player in your metagame, only to have it invaded by hundreds of more skilled opponents. It may become more challenging, and possibly encourage you to improve your own skill, but most of us do not have the free time to invest into magic, that the pros will undoubtedly devote to it. Casual players in particular will get frustrated when they no longer stand a chance.

It's not that complicated actually. They are better at this game than us, and lack only the motivation that sanctioned play would provide to learn "our format," and beat us at "our" game. Nobody enjoys losing, do they?

Of course Randy would sound like he was insulting us, if he simply stated, "they are better than you, and you will lose to them." Being the nice guy that he is, he avoided actually stating what everyone should already know. "Johnny Magic is gonna make you look like and feel like an amature whe he plays against you."



But what I don't understand is why that specifically is the case for Vintage.
In all other formats (limited, Extended etc) there are many casual/decent players, and there is a pro community. And nobody is arguing that Limited is much less fun because there are pro players out there who are just flat out better than the rest. I would argue the other way around: as long as there are people around you that are better than you, you can learn much faster. If you are the best player in your area that is much harder to do.

I have played two Pro Tours as well,  and from those few matches against excellent players I learned so much. Personally I would be delighted if Magic's best and brightest would tackle the Vintage format. Even if that means loosing to them. That would motivate me all the more to bring my play up to a higher level.
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« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2005, 05:54:43 am »

I guess FNM sometimes feels like a casual format, but at PTQs and other more "important" tournaments, the players are far more serious. I may be wrong, but even TMD vintage adepts approach our tournaments with less of a cut throat mentality, than many standard players. When I play in other formats, I frequently feel as though I have to diligently watch out for cheating, and there is almost no sense of community.

Everyone knows who the standard players are at vintage tournaments. Generally they are the ones calling for judges three times a match, and riffle shuffling the crap out of your deck; no offense intended to those of you who sling the less broken spells of other formats.

I play many formats, but imho the thing that makes vintage great is the players themselves. I have fun losing to nice people, but I have no fun winning against some of the standard players out there.

EDIT: I have met many limited/block/standard/extended players who are great people, but most of the jerks I have had the pleasure of dealing with come from the same environment. In vintage however, the jerks seem few and far between in comparison.

« Last Edit: August 06, 2005, 05:58:21 am by NastyNate » Logged
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« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2005, 01:52:44 pm »

All these comparisons between "PTQs" and vintage is really funny because of my last PTQ experience.

In January I played in my first PTQ is well over a year and I always felt like *I* was the stereotypical player that everyone else is bashing and everyone else at the tournamnet was the more casual/nice player.

In my first four rounds, I drew in round 5 against mono black control, and then I played the winner of the PTQ (Michael Pennagar who was piloting the brand new "Teen Titans' deck - aka Cerebral Assassin), and I lost, and then I played against Thomas Wood playing Mono Green Prison and I easily won game one and then in Game two I played DESIRE FOR ELEVEN with about 28 cards in my deck and ALL of my remaining desires and I stalled.¬  I mulled to 5 in game three and kept a one land hand and never saw another land.¬ 

In the first five rounds, I called the judge multiple times against my opponent.

I GOT REALLY pissed playing Michael Pennagar for two reasons:

1) he played Cabal Therapy on me and named "WHITE WALL."¬  The judges said that this was acceptable to name Sunscape Familiar because he knew what the card was.¬  Suffice to say, I immediately appealed to the head judge and asked what would happen if I was playing with Demonic Consultation and named "Lotus" or "Moat"?? Could I say that I meant Black Lotus if my opponent thought I meant Lotus Petal?¬ 

2) We got into a huge argument about what mana was floating when.¬  He made some play mistakes and the judge rewound the game.¬  I floated mana and I forgot to notate the burn.¬  On his endstep I said: Cunning Wish for card X.¬  Then, on his endstep as well he played Intuition for Cabal Therapies and got the judge to rewind the game because I forgot to take the burn so that he could FIRST MAINPHASE Cabal Therapy me.¬  WHICH WAS RETARDED.¬ 

One of the judges who is a friend of mine, Fred Donavon, commented that my behavior was a little strong - i.e. I was a little too aggressive/spikish from what he expected of me.

At the PTQ, *I* was that asshole.¬  All of my opponents were exceptionally nice and kind.¬  I am sportsmanlike, but I'm not gracious.¬  I play to win.
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« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2005, 08:58:55 pm »

Quote
1) he played Cabal Therapy on me and named "WHITE WALL."  The judges said that this was acceptable to name Sunscape Familiar because he knew what the card was.
Holy shit man, that's a TERRIBLE ruling. For that matter, I think you HAVE to name a Magic (TM) card, in the same way you can't tap a Bird of Paradise for purple mana, and you can't name "generalissimo" with Engineered Plague.
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« Reply #25 on: August 06, 2005, 11:09:14 pm »

Actually, Matt, you can provide a definitive description of the card you're referring to (that is, a description that could only define one card).¬  So if I say, "Cabal Therapy you for that blue Storm card that bounces a permanent and has the big burst in the art," then it would be acceptable to force the opponent to discard all copies of Temporal Fissure in his or her hand.¬  That said, it's STILL a terrible ruling because Steve may have been packing the super secret sideboard tech of Sunweb, in which case his opponent could have claimed to be referring to this when he saw a copy of it but no Sunscape Familiar.¬  I'm really surprised that a PTQ head judge didn't know better.
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« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2005, 12:00:10 am »

Quote
1) he played Cabal Therapy on me and named "WHITE WALL."¬  The judges said that this was acceptable to name Sunscape Familiar because he knew what the card was.
Holy shit man, that's a TERRIBLE ruling. For that matter, I think you HAVE to name a Magic (TM) card, in the same way you can't tap a Bird of Paradise for purple mana, and you can't name "generalissimo" with Engineered Plague.

Yeah dude, the judging philosophy on the matter has completely changed.¬  Go read the judges list and you'll see what I mean.¬  Andrewpate is correct.  The basic idea is that since a player can get a judge to look up the name of a card, there is no reason that they can't basically describe the characteristics sufficient to distinguish the card with Cabal Therapy.  I think that's bad becuase one of the skills iwth cards like Meddling Mage and Therapy is to know the decks and the card names.  Intent is not enough.  What about my Consult example?  Lotus could mean Gilded, Vale, Black, or Petal. 

Anyway, the point was that *I* was that "non-casual" player at the PTQ.¬  The winner was far more casual than i was.¬ 
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« Reply #27 on: August 07, 2005, 12:35:13 am »

At the PTQ, *I* was that asshole.  All of my opponents were exceptionally nice and kind.  I am sportsmanlike, but I'm not gracious.  I play to win.

Oh man, you got that dude who was playing subpar RDW (featuring Flailing Soldier and Chain of Plasma) a game loss for stacking his deck / mana weaving in round 4 (at the 3-0 table).  He was really really mad about that and bitched about it a bit later.  Man, I'd be upset if I got caught too.

Also, this thread has spiraled way off topic.
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« Reply #28 on: August 07, 2005, 12:54:40 am »

At the PTQ, *I* was that asshole.¬  All of my opponents were exceptionally nice and kind.¬  I am sportsmanlike, but I'm not gracious.¬  I play to win.

Oh man, you got that dude who was playing subpar RDW (featuring Flailing Soldier and Chain of Plasma) a game loss for stacking his deck / mana weaving in round 4 (at the 3-0 table).¬  He was really really mad about that and bitched about it a bit later.¬  Man, I'd be upset if I got caught too.

Also, this thread has spiraled way off topic.

Oh yeah.  I totally called the judge on his ass.  That only supports my point even further. 

-Stephen, ruining Vintage Stereotypes 4L. 
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« Reply #29 on: August 07, 2005, 01:11:57 am »

"The only thing I'm sure of is that the card is way, way more powerful than Thirst for Knowledge and that makes this deck pretty much strictly better than Control Slaver."

Whatever you say Randy Buehler...

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