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Author Topic: Article: Deconstructing the Flash Argument  (Read 20775 times)
dicemanx
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« Reply #60 on: April 08, 2008, 09:04:53 am »

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Little interaction is what it's all about.

I'm assuming even you have limits though. For instance, what if we take the extreme route and unrestrict Lotus and Moxes. Would that be acceptable to you? According to your argument, you enjoy the "Blackjack" aspect of play, so what difference does it make to you if the Jewelry is unrestricted given that they are the "epicenter" of vintage and are the reason why people play this format?

I'm assuming that even you have a certain threshold of acceptability, and it happens to be lower than those that are arguing for Flash restriction. Nevertheless, the most important part of your post is this:

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First off, I couldn't care less if Flash is restricted anymore.

As Rich mentioned in the article and as I echoed in this thread (and other threads) the two camps are not equal. One camp contends that Flash is "bad" and the other predominantly contends that Flash is "not bad enough" but couldn't really care less whether Flash is restricted because they will keep on playing and having fun. A couple of individuals have made some shaky arguments that somehow Flash is good for the format (by supposedly holding powerful Gush-based decks in check), but we're still waiting for any shred of evidence that Flash has any role in that. Even if evidence were produced, the other question is whether one wrong (Flash) should be used to correct another wrong (the power of Gush-based archetypes).
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« Reply #61 on: April 08, 2008, 09:21:59 am »

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Even if evidence were produced, the other question is whether one wrong (Flash) should be used to correct another wrong (the power of Gush-based archetypes).

Wouldn't killing Merchant Scroll address both of these problems perfectly?
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« Reply #62 on: April 08, 2008, 10:48:01 am »

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Even if evidence were produced, the other question is whether one wrong (Flash) should be used to correct another wrong (the power of Gush-based archetypes).

Wouldn't killing Merchant Scroll address both of these problems perfectly?

No disagreement there - my preference is in actually restricting Scroll over Flash. The whole point of this thread is to have enough individuals agree that there is enough of a problem in the first place. The good news is that even if some have less of a problem with Flash and more of a problem with Gush-based archetypes there can be a mutually beneficial solution.
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« Reply #63 on: April 15, 2008, 03:05:45 am »

I don't feel as though the problem is actually Merchant Scroll at this point in time.  To me, the Flash Hulk combo simply seems too good.  For two Mana and two cards you can win the game on the spot--provided that your opponent doesn't have a card in play that disrupts the combo. 

In addition the combo comes nicely wrapped with the most efficient counter backup  suite in the format--8 free counterspells that help to push Flash through.  I haven't been playing a ton lately--but the games I have played with and against Flash--I certainly felt that it was the most powerful deck in every match up.  Also, I would like to point out that I haven't been doing my testing with random scrubs who don't know what they are doing.  Pretty much the only person I have around to play Vintage with is Chapin, (and sometimes Paul Nicolo) and we play once a week, or so... And it is very hard for either one of us to beat Flash with any deck other than Flash (pre or post board).

Whether or not people play it and it wins is still yet to be determined--Vintage is a slow to adapt format, but there was a pretty large percentage of the field playing Flash at the last RIW tourament and most of it finished at the top or close.  I think that the best indicator of how good Flash (the deck--not the card) is or is not will come at the Double SCG tournament.  There has been a lot of discussion about how much better Dredge and Flash are than the rest of the field--so, it will be interesting to see how players react when they have a few months to test the decks and become familiar playing with them.

More so than anything else I think Flash could easily be restricted on the merits that the combo is simply 'too good,' and 'too much for too little investment.'  I'm not sure that the argument that cards should only be restricted when a deck becomes too dominant for the metagame to hold it in check is completely valid as an excuse for not restricting Flash.  Cards have certainly been restricted simply because they were too powerful in their own right within the format of Vintage.  For instance, look at Mind's Desire--that card was restricted before it was even legal in the format for power reasons. 

Perhaps we as Vintage players are asking the wrong questions with regard to the Flash situation.  Maybe the question shouldn't be "Is the Flash deck an unstoppable metagame force?  and if no leave it alone until it becomes one."  But rather, perhaps the question should be "fundamentally, is 2 mana and two cards a reasonable price to pay for ending the game at instant speed?"  The deck clearly has weaknesses and can be beaten--but I don't necessarily think that is entirely the point.  And in spite of the fact that it can be beaten--I'm not sure that the deck actually has bad EV across the field. . . . In fact,  I believe it has close to 50% or better against most of the field.  The problem with it is that while it has positive expected value against the field, it doesn't necessarily give you a lot of wiggle room with regard to play skill, which is its ultimately downfall and the reason that the really skilled players shy away from playing it. 

I have only played Flash in 1 tournament so far.  (I have only played one Vintage tournament in the past few months) and I went 3-2 and missed the playoff.  My two losses were to Juan playing CS where I never drew both pieces of my combo pieces together.  ( I would draw multiple flashes or multiple hulks)  Which, is obviously the other drawback of the deck--it is filled with cards that suck on their own.

And I lost to Paul Mastriano playing Flash--Where I got killed on the first turn with double counterspell backup, and on the second turn with counterspell backup.

Other than that I 6-0'd my other games, of which I won 3 on the first turn.  For the most part my rounds were over in 10-15 minutes and I spent the majority of the tournament not actually playing Magic, but waiting outside for pairings.  It was probably the most miserable experience I have ever had playing Magic, as the quality of my games was very low. 

Also, I didn't even remotely care about Leyline of the Void--And I was kind of happy that my opponents had it in game #2's where I had won game one.  I would board in multiple bounce spells and could easily find them, and it made it feel like my opponent had always mulliganed to 6 on the play.  (Sometimes they would mulligan to six to find the leyline and it was like X-mas).

It is kind of hard to gauge how people actually feel about Flash.  There is a strong contingent who want it gone, and a strong contingent who ardently think it should stay.  I wonder if the people in the middle lean one way more than the other.  Just from talking to people at tournaments and people who come into the game store where I work who play Vintage it seems as though most people would prefer it if Flash were restricted--but, that could just be a local thing. 

Ben, I would agree with you that Merchant Scroll should be probably be restricted as well; and I can certainly see why you would favor restricting Merchant Scroll over Flash--since you seem to be more in favor of using 'tournament dominance' as a criteria for restricting a card rather than the power level of the card.  Merchant Scroll has been at the top of the heap for years now and tends to make its way  into many of the most consistent finishers in the format.  However, have you considered using power-level as a criteria for restricting Flash, rather than just tournament success?  It becomes kind of a slippery slope because it doesn't happen very often.  Two examples I can think of are Minds Desire and Trinisphere (random 2 card combo that is degenerate, not fun, leads to non interactive games, sounds familiar?).

How much mana and how many cards is fair for a combo that says win the game?  I feel as though 2 is too little.  Also, casting Flash with Protean Hulk in your hand is by far the most broken thing that can be done in Vintage currently.  There is nothing else that even comes close to the mana and cards you have to invest--to what you get out of the exchange. 



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« Reply #64 on: April 15, 2008, 06:16:28 pm »

Well, we have an amount of time before the next round of restrictions comes in.  I enjoyed Richard's article.  I honestly don't think that Flash really makes the format non-interactive because I've now played TONS of Flash matchups that were no less interactive than most other combo decks that I have played in the past. Honestly, the deck I feel is the least fun and most non-interactive is Ichorid, but I'm not really advocating the restriction of those cards. I support the restriction of Flash, even though I am normally an advocate of non-restriction.  These are the most important reasons -

1. "Do these individuals not feel that Flash contributing to the perception of vintage as a luck-based or skill-less format is a major issue" I worry that Flash makes Vintage into the animal that so many non-vintage players believe it to be - a format that's definied by the dice roll.  I don't think that's 100% true, but if you don't play perfectly against Flash that's what's it's going to feel like.  I have always campaigned for Vintage because it is the format that I feel is the most fun to play and have always asserted that these opinions are untrue - Flash makes it a lot harder to argue.

In Vintage it normally seems acceptable to lose one of three games to the opponent "having the nuts" and at 20% Flash is right on par with those expectations, but the margin of error to be able to beat Flash is like "one mistake you die. Right now, game over."  Average players probably won't even notice the mistake they made.

2. I feel that Flash makes it difficult to innovate. It's so brutally efficient that most of the ideas my group has had lately seem to be constantly batted down by the fact that Flash is just better.  Why should we do insert idea here when we could just pay 2 mana and win the game?

3. It sure seems like you need to sideboard a lot of stuff to be competitive against Flash.  There just seems like something wrong with that.

Merchant Scroll - I've been thinking Merchant Scroll needed the ax for a long time.  Still, it's not as big of a problem as Flash.  If you restrict Flash and not Scroll then you have to be REALLY careful with your Flash card, if it gets countered then you'll probably need to do something awkward to get it back.  I'll be happy either way on this card.  I feel it is right on par with many other things that have been restricted in the past, but I don't feel like it's a massive problem either.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2008, 06:26:38 pm by Mr. Type 4 » Logged

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« Reply #65 on: April 21, 2008, 04:25:42 pm »

The last time we had this arguement, apparently back when Flash was putting up weaker numbers and showing up less, someone totally hit the nail on the head... I forget who, but I'll paraphrase:

Flash isn't lame because it's dominating or warping the format, it's lame because it ping-pongs around the winner brackets knocking out good players who don't deserve it for no reason before fizzling out.  That one guy with Flash would ruin the day of 3-4 other people before probability caught up with it, without giving them the satisfaction of feeling they were fairly beaten or had any real control over their bid for top 8.

I remember drawing similar Trinisphere comparisons at the time, and continue to feel that way.  The fact that it's possible to win against it doesn't mean it isn't making the game worse as a whole.  Unfortunately that debate is too subjective to honestly settle, but a deck that always feels like an uphill battle to play against is always going to get a lot more patience than a deck that feels like a waste of time to sit down across from.

In Vegeta's article posted in the open forum, he quotes Pat Chapin on something regarding the difference between "skilled players" who make savage plays and "skilled players" who pick the right deck.  Vintage has classically resisted environments that favor the second player type over the first, and Flash as a metagame consideration pushes in the opposite direction.

Having been away from the metagame pulse too long I won't argue that now is definitely the time to deal with it, but I will say that the restriction of flash, if it were to happen, would be something I couldn't really object to.  That says something in itself.
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« Reply #66 on: April 27, 2008, 12:26:54 am »

Today I played Flash in a 24 player Vintage event. The field featured 5-6 Flash decks. Here are the T8 results:

Flash vs. Control Slaver (Slaver wins)
Flash vs. Birdshit (Flash wins)
Flash vs. Flash (Flash wins)
Ichorid vs. (?) (Ichorid wins)

Flash and Ichorid split in the finals.

I went 4-0 in the swiss and lost the Flash mirror in the T8. My matchups:

R1: Affinity (2-1)
R2: Mana Ichorid (2-0)
R3: Tyrant Oath (2-0)
R4: Mana Ichorid (2-1)

T8: Flash (1-2)

I played 13 games in total throughout the day. I had 2 first turn kills, one with counter backup, and one with double counter backup. In one of those games, my opponent had double counter backup and survived to see a few more turns before I topdecked a Scroll and won. I also had two wins where I killed my opponent on my second turn, and anything other than Extirpate or Leyline that they might've had in hand would've been irrelevant.

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Quote from: coyoteuglly on Yesterday at 03:10:55 PM
The third smaller factor is that the format is still seen as completely luck based.  And while I can not honestly say this is entirely untrue, as there are a lot of things that happen where you are just simply boned (turn 1 Orchard/Oath, or turn 1 Flash kill you, top deck YawgWill).  There is still a decent amount of interactivity involved, where playskill will win the day.  And dispelling the myth that T1 is COMPLETLY luck based will go a long way towards getting more people involved in the format.  Because over the long run the best players will win the most.  But it is hard to get someone to believe that when they show up for there first tournament and get Flashed out on turn one twice in round one.

I agree with everything you've said above. For the first time though, I actually empathize with those who know nothing about Vintage and make claims that it is very luck based, because this is the closest they've ever been to the truth. Yes, there is still a decent amount of interactivity, but why should Vintage players settle for that? In days of Vintage passed, the format had plenty of broken plays and yet was far more interactive than it is today. Games were longer and more gruelling, and thus allowed for more decisions to be made. While there is still interactivity in Vintage, it is at an all-time low, and I think that's something that Vintage players should not stand for.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2008, 12:01:11 pm by Shock Wave » Logged

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