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Author Topic: Vintage Super League  (Read 74115 times)
Smmenen
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« Reply #30 on: August 27, 2014, 05:59:51 pm »

Smmenen, I was watching your Twitch stream (since I couldn't get your match live) and was wondering: Game 1, right in the beginning, you Preordain and decides to put Misstep under because you thought he was on Shops.
I would've played differently: keeping Misstep when you don't know what your opponent is playing always seems good. And if he was actually playing Shops, Misstep could've been the FoW fodder you needed, leaving you with 2 cantrips and 1 top next turn - for me a very good position. What's your opinion on this? Am I wrong?



In my stream last night, I tried to explain this.

Basically, I'm a huge dog to Workshops, such that my only chance of winning is comboing out on turn two, if possible, and three if necessary.  Keeping Misstep is wrong because I need to dig towards restricted cards like Fastbond, Yawgmoth's Will, or cards like Doomsday. 

I'd see 7 cards: Preordain, draw step card, and Brainstorm next turn - more than enough to try to do something broken, but not if I put Mental Misstep in my hand.


Regarding menendian vs. Williams:
If williams had not tapped his two wastelands, and had one untapped, what would have been your play?

 I would have brainstormed back different cards. 

I had an Underground Sea in hand I shuffled away.   Had he not tapped both Wastelands, I would have kept it, and used it to simply hardcast Doomsday without having to use my gush.

As I stood, I shouldn't have shuffled away the Sea anyway. 

Quote

Second game:
Williams should not have played the true-name, because he was representing lethal without it. A single lord would boost his board to 8 power, so either way Menendian was forced to attempt the combo that turn anyway.
Just wondering, could your hand beat his force of will? Seems likely.

Yeah, I had Force of will, Flusterstorm, and Misstep in hand at the end of that game.  I was prepared to beat two counterspells, and he didn't even have one.

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« Reply #31 on: August 27, 2014, 08:26:50 pm »

In my stream last night, I tried to explain this.

Basically, I'm a huge dog to Workshops, such that my only chance of winning is comboing out on turn two, if possible, and three if necessary.  Keeping Misstep is wrong because I need to dig towards restricted cards like Fastbond, Yawgmoth's Will, or cards like Doomsday. 

I'd see 7 cards: Preordain, draw step card, and Brainstorm next turn - more than enough to try to do something broken, but not if I put Mental Misstep in my hand.
I saw this on the stream, that's why I asked it here Very Happy. I guess I'm not that experienced with the matchup. If I was playing that game, I'd take the more controlling role, specially because I had no idea what my opponent is playing.

I mean, what I'm trying to say is: against Workshops, I see why that's the correct play. But against an unknown deck like it was, I'd keep the Misstep. That gives me more options against everything else and, if they're actually playing Workshops, FoW'ing and pitching Misstep with 2nd turn Preordain and Brainstorm in hand isn't all that bad of a proposition.

I mean: did you do this play because you thought he was playing Shops or would you do this every single time you faced an unknown deck, just for the fear it's Shops?
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Smmenen
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« Reply #32 on: August 28, 2014, 07:30:59 pm »

In my stream last night, I tried to explain this.

Basically, I'm a huge dog to Workshops, such that my only chance of winning is comboing out on turn two, if possible, and three if necessary.  Keeping Misstep is wrong because I need to dig towards restricted cards like Fastbond, Yawgmoth's Will, or cards like Doomsday. 

I'd see 7 cards: Preordain, draw step card, and Brainstorm next turn - more than enough to try to do something broken, but not if I put Mental Misstep in my hand.
I saw this on the stream, that's why I asked it here Very Happy. I guess I'm not that experienced with the matchup. If I was playing that game, I'd take the more controlling role, specially because I had no idea what my opponent is playing.

I mean, what I'm trying to say is: against Workshops, I see why that's the correct play. But against an unknown deck like it was, I'd keep the Misstep. That gives me more options against everything else and, if they're actually playing Workshops, FoW'ing and pitching Misstep with 2nd turn Preordain and Brainstorm in hand isn't all that bad of a proposition.

I mean: did you do this play because you thought he was playing Shops or would you do this every single time you faced an unknown deck, just for the fear it's Shops?

Because I thought he was playing terra nova.
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Smmenen
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« Reply #33 on: August 28, 2014, 08:52:40 pm »

I saw the discussion on facebook.  Holy crap.  Ten times worse than anything here.   Tom Martell said that Delver and Deathrite Shaman aren't Vintage playable.  I'm not even wading into that one Wink

I also heard that Nick Detwiler and folks got into a huge debate with Tom about the validity of omitting black lotus. 
« Last Edit: August 28, 2014, 08:57:55 pm by Smmenen » Logged

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« Reply #34 on: August 28, 2014, 08:57:35 pm »

Link please?

Found it, never mind. Wow.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2014, 09:01:47 pm by HrishiQQ » Logged

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« Reply #35 on: August 28, 2014, 09:30:17 pm »

I think it's awesome to do this. This is great exposure for Vintage.

Completely agree. Happy to see high profile pros loving Vintage.
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« Reply #36 on: August 30, 2014, 01:28:23 pm »

Link please?

Found it, never mind. Wow.

Where is it?
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desolutionist
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« Reply #37 on: August 30, 2014, 03:24:21 pm »

"Hey lets invite people who don't play vintage into an exclusive and private tournament for prizes! Even though I"m the Vice President, the fact is that I want to play in a competitive vintage tournament for decent prizes; not those crappy daily events that barely fire.  I can't say I'm interested in improving MTGO or the Vintage format, I just want people to respect me and know that I know a thing or two about the vintage format.  Okay great, now lets get all these sheep that write my paycheck to watch us and I'll commentate it! Wonderful!  The cool part is that I don't have to pay for my cards, but everyone else has to pay me to play! I am officially a genius"

Want people to be interested in Vintage? And this is the best you can come up with? "Hey look at us playing vintage for cool prizes! Too bad you won't get the chance!"

Then we have this Tom Martell trying to degrade everybody so he can feel special about himself.  What a gross joke

Has anyone ever asked, hey Randy, "Why do you charge people to play Vintage online just over a thousand dollars while you only charge people who play Standard $100-$200?"
« Last Edit: August 30, 2014, 03:40:37 pm by desolutionist » Logged

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« Reply #38 on: August 30, 2014, 03:41:12 pm »

"Hey lets invite people who don't play vintage into an exclusive and private tournament for prizes! Even though I"m the Vice President, the fact is that I want to play in a competitive vintage tournament for decent prizes; not those crappy daily events that barely fire.  I can't say I'm interested in improving MTGO or the Vintage format, I just want people to respect me and know that I know a thing or two about the vintage format.  Okay great, now lets get all these sheep that write my paycheck to watch us and I'll commentate it! Wonderful!  The cool part is that I don't have to pay for my cards, but everyone else has to pay me to play! I am officially a genius"

Want people to be interested in Vintage? And this is the best you can come up with? "Hey look at us playing vintage for cool prizes! Too bad you won't get the chance!"

Then we have this Tom Martell trying to degrade everybody so he can feel special about himself.  What a gross joke

Has anyone ever asked, hey Randy, "Why do you charge people to play Vintage online just over a thousand dollars while you only charge people who play Standard $100-$200?"

That's a real harsh way to look at it Shawn. I don't think of it that way at all.
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« Reply #39 on: August 30, 2014, 03:50:36 pm »

I don't either. I do agree that the price of Vintage staples online is absurd and something needs to be done about it, but I'm not sure how much of that is on Randy. On the other hand, by including a good mix of Vintage and non-Vintage pros in the tournament, and encouraging players to play interactive, fun decks, he is exposing the format to a much larger audience than would normally pay attention to it, and (with one exception in the first round) dispelling common misconceptions such as that Vintage is all about the die roll and first-turn kills.

I still can't find the Facebook discussion. There is a very short discussion on Randy Buehler's Facebook page about Darksteel Juggernaut, but that's it.
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desolutionist
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« Reply #40 on: August 30, 2014, 04:19:39 pm »

You make a good point.  Though I feel as though mtgo is price gouging.  Evidence of this is the removal of the pauper format daily events, releasing an online only set and setting the price at $7 a "pack".

I don't know Randy personally but he represents the company as the vice president.  Apparently that doesn't mean much these days.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2014, 04:26:56 pm by desolutionist » Logged

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Smmenen
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« Reply #41 on: August 30, 2014, 04:32:10 pm »

Shawn, That's not true.

Randy parted with Wizards a few years back.  He hasn't been a vice president in a long while. 

Randy also bought all of his staples.

I also disagree that the prices are bad right now.  They are much cheaper than when I bought in! 

Randy also routinely criticizes the the program.
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« Reply #42 on: August 30, 2014, 04:53:42 pm »

Oh I see.  I apologize Randy!

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« Reply #43 on: August 30, 2014, 05:20:05 pm »

https://www.facebook.com/durkbrian/posts/918343304849072?comment_id=919903421359727&offset=0&total_comments=59&notif_t=feed_comment_reply

I was told that you need to be friends with Brian to read it. It's actually worthwhile to see some of the insights from both sides. I'll see if I can find a way to transcribe most of it.

EDIT: I turned it into a Word document if anyone wants it.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2014, 05:26:28 pm by Samoht » Logged

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« Reply #44 on: August 30, 2014, 05:50:27 pm »

I think any exposure for Vintage is good. I would have liked to see more dedicated Vintage players along with a wider representation of archetypes but from a promoter's standpoint, it makes more sense to get as many big names as possible. I also think the discussions about certain card choices are good for Vintage even if I think that the pros could not be more off.
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« Reply #45 on: August 30, 2014, 06:15:56 pm »

Brian Durkin August 27 at 3:10pm •
Vintage Friends Assemble: Rich Shay, Nick Detwiler, Will Magrann, and Craig Berry. I'm in a debate right now with Tom Martell on Twitter about why Terra Nova isn't playing Lotus. LOL.
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•   Jon Johnson and Matthew Bevenour like this.
•   
Rich Shay I'd always run Lotus in my Workshop decks. But then, I'm not on The Twitter to discuss this sort of thing. And of course, I haven't played a Workshop deck since 2005.
August 27 at 3:13pm • Like • 1
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Brian Durkin Well Will Magrann and Nick Detwiler have been championing this style deck for a while, and those guys seem to know their brown cards pretty well. Obviously anyone can be wrong, but it's been a interesting debate regardless. Just hope I'm not letting them down. LOL.
August 27 at 3:17pm • Like
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Will Magrann Terra Nova doesn't have something broken to accelerate into like smokestack or Kuldotha. Instead you just want to build spheres until your opponent can't play anything. To do that you want permanent mana sources, not one turn shots.
August 27 at 3:19pm • Unlike • 6
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Brian Durkin That's what I said, but he has counterpoints. I heard him say that he believes Lotus is the most powerful card, so I think there is some bias of "every deck should be playing it" going on.

I think his point of having more ways to make a turn 1 Lodestone or possibly double spheres is reasonable, I agree with your logic Will Magrann. Also I assume that you wouldn't mind having more ways to make spheres on turn 1, but Lotus just gets squeezed out to make room for other cards.
August 27 at 3:21pm • Like • 1
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Brian Durkin Oh and he absolutely hates Darksteel Juggernaut. LOL.
August 27 at 3:21pm • Like • 1
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Will Magrann He also knows next to nothing about Vintage. Same with Buehler and LSV. The commentating was hilarious. I'm at work on my phone so I can't write out some long response on it
August 27 at 3:23pm • Like • 1
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Brian Durkin Hehehe. Unfortunately true. Yeah it was fun to listen to Buehler and LSV be confused that Mutavault was in a vintage deck. But yeah, that's what happens when you don't have an intimate knowledge of the format or the deck(s).
August 27 at 3:24pm • Like • 1
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Will Magrann I heard the deck did win Waterbury on Saturday...
August 27 at 3:30pm • Like • 5
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Brian Durkin Oh yeah. Congrats. LOL
August 27 at 3:31pm • Like • 3
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Nick Detwiler I'll have a long response to this up shortly.
August 27 at 3:57pm • Like • 7
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Glenn Jones Can someone link me to a list? Context
August 27 at 4:06pm • Like • 1
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Will Magrann Here's what I played at Waterbury
 Here's what I played at Waterbury
4 Mishra's Workshop
4 Mishra's Factory
4 Wasteland
4 Ancient Tomb
4 Mutavault
1 Strip Mine
1 Tolarian Academy
1 Karakas
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Sol Ring

4 Lodestone Golem
4 Phyrexian Revoker
4 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Darksteel Juggernaut

4 Dismember
3 Chalice of the Void
4 Sphere of Resistance
4 Thorn of Amethyst
3 Null Rod

Sideboard:
4 Grafdigger's Cage
3 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
2 Sculpting Steel
2 Mortarpod
2 Batterskull
1 Karakas
1 Darksteel Juggernaut
August 27 at 4:14pm • Like • 1
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Brian Durkin Sorry Glen. Thanks Will.
August 27 at 4:31pm • Like
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Nick Detwiler Well, here we go…

For starters, let's establish a few things:

First up, Tom Martell, along with every other player competing in this Vintage event, is a phenomenal, phenomenal, phenomenal player. These guys are absolutely elite Magic players. They all have great accomplishments to their names and absolutely every one of them has a resume that would compare favorably to just about everyone else on the planet. This isn't hyperbole, this is the truth.

Second up, Tom Martell is a very, very bright guy. You don't have the level of success that he has had without having the mental fortitude to back it up. His comments should be given weight and heft, if only for the aforementioned two reasons.

Third up, 99.9% of the Magic community doesn't know who I am, doesn't know what I do, and doesn't know much of anything about Vintage. There are (according to Wizards' estimates) 12,000,000 people in the world who play Magic in some form, albeit casual, or Pro Tour level play. There are, at most, only a couple of thousand of people in the world who would call themselves Vintage pilots first (and I believe that I'm seriously overestimating that number, but do so to feel safe in making my point). Vintage is a format that very, very few people care about.

So, with all of that given, and keeping all of that in mind as I go forward let's get down to business.

Brian has hit on the main point with Lotus; Black Lotus, as good as it is, is not a recurrable mana source. It's a one shot boost that will help the deck play an additional spell, maybe two if the mana is right.

One of the fundamentals that I eventually understood is the difference between the same card in different decks. Black Lotus is probably the best card ever printed, but that doesn't mean that it's the best card ever printed in every deck. The logical extension of that argument would have everyone playing mirrored maindecks because they were all the 60 'best' cards ever printed.

Consider Black Lotus in TPS. Pretty brutal, huh? The card allows for an ostensibly free Yawgmoth's Will, and then nets an extra three mana towards the kill once that Will has resolved. It's arguably the most important card in the deck. Or, consider Rich's NWCS deck. With Welders, it's a mana boost that allows for controlling the board via early counters, or planeswalkers, or whatever, and then also has the added benefit of putting an artifact in yard to turn on his Welders. Great card. Now consider Terra Nova.

Terra Nova doesn't win on the back of one card. That Black Lotus isn't powering out a chain of Spheres, it's powering out a Sphere. Or a Lodestone. When you lose to Shops, you don't lose because they cast one Sphere or one Lodestone, you lost because they had a Sphere or two, a Chalice, a Null Rod, a Lodestone, etc. on board, after having Wasted or Stripped you. It's the cacophany of effects, not the sole effect, that beats you.

Next up, let's consider card advantage. While this may seem counter-intuitive, given that we're discussing Shops, this is a point of concern. I do not have cards that draw me cards, or wildly make up for the distance I may have lagged behind when I fall back. I have cards that work in concert with each other. I can't trade all my cards for yours, 1:1, because I will lose, every time. I need to ensure that I get as much use out of my cards as possible, as it's the only way that I can make up for the absurd board states that a blue pilot is able to create. My Workshops function as three of your lands. My Tombs function as two. Those are the cards that let me play cards like Wasteland, and use them profitably. I don't run Lotus, again, because it's a one turn boost. And it costs me a card. I need that card.

Vintage is a format defined by the smallest of percentages. We've all seen Rounders, and we all know the line about how (paraphrasing) 'No limit hold'em was the only pure form of the game (poker) left'. A few of us feel this way about Vintage. Those of us dedicated enough to play the format as frequently as we do, dedicating thousands and thousands of dollars to play in events that nearly all the Magic community couldn't care less about, have learned many tough lessons along the way. Those little percentage points add up. If I bleed a few here and there, I'm suddenly a dog. And if I capitalize on them, potentially making decisions that you think are egregious errors, I may be wildly favored. Vintage is a game of the smallest of margins because the cards are so powerful. I wouldn't have it any other way.
August 27 at 4:57pm • Unlike • 7
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Nick Detwiler With all of that said, there is something else that has been on my mind about this event.

When I saw the announcement of this event, I immediately checked the roster. I hoped to see a different cast than the cast that I saw. There are myriad examples of poor play at high level Vintage events by the Vintage 'ringers'. That said, I saw a collection of some of the greatest players in the game, but I didn't see many guys that I felt knew Vintage all that well. If I had to play Tom Martell in 100 matches of any non-Vintage format, I'm sure that my records in the various format matches would be uniformly horrific. But does he know Vintage? Terra Nova has been around since December 2012, and neither of the commentators knew what the deck was.

So, fine, maybe they just don't know Shops. It's possible, given that Shop players tend to be fanatical niche pilots who don't really leave their pillar. Trust me, I would know.

But what was the field for this event? Storm decks, Merfolk decks and Chris Pikula on Shops? I know that Randy Buehler has no idea who I am, and that's fine because this isn't about me, but I voiced a real concern when this whole thing was announced; would Vintage be properly represented? Would we see what Vintage really looked like? Because when I looked at the list of the guys that were playing, incredible pilots, all of them, I saw a sea of blue pilots. And as critical as it is to have blue represented in any Vintage event (and the full gamut of blue, from aggressive creature strategies, to the Oath decks, to the combo variants, to the modern Slaver decks, etc., etc., etc.), blue isn't, shouldn't, mustn't be the sole representative at the party. There are other decks in the format. I was concerned that people who hadn't seen the format would be presented with a distorted vision of what Vintage was.

And I was right.

I was concerned because I didn't want the tournament to be a farce. And it sure feels like one. This isn't about playing Vintage, this is about a bunch of phenomenal, gifted, accomplished players playing the cards that they want to play. This is not Vintage. This is guys playing their pet decks at the highest level possible, and finding themselves upset when somebody plays something that they don't want to see. Merfolk is a strong deck, and an important part of the metagame. The work that Joel Lim and Matt Bliffert put in is something that should not be taken for granted; they built a monster. Why is Merfolk 30% of the field? Because the three guys on Merfolk knew that the seven other guys in the event were very likely to play blue. Merfolk can have some real problems with Dredge, and it can have a rough Shop match. But it terrorizes the blue pilots, and that's what this was all about in the end; the blue pilots, playing blue, fighting blue, endlessly, ad nauseum, ad infinitum.

The sad part in all of this is that there is so much more to the format, and we're not likely to see it. Last week, Ari Lax put up a video article on SCG about 'Martello Stax'. Let's note a couple of things:

1. Stax refers to decks that run Smokestack (of which we find none in this deck).
2. The list in question was apparently Keith Seals' Metalworker/Forgemaster list (which isn't Martello Shops).

At the end of the video, Ari calls 'Martello Stax' "unplayable in Vintage". Ari Lax is another example of a phenomenal pilot, accomplished player, and genuine talent who doesn't know Vintage. If he was referring to Martello Shops, let's remind him that the deck has been a beast in the hands of several Workshop pilots, and that it put Raf Forino in top four at Vintage Champs two years ago. If he's referring to Keith's deck, let's remember that it just won a 92 man tournament. Is it possible that, with all his skill, talent and work (which is (and I'm not being hyperbolic) considerable) that Ari Lax doesn't know Vintage, and may have something to learn about the format?

I never really wanted to make the Pro Tour and I have a tremendous amount of respect for those that have, and for the guys who are battling in this event. But this is not Vintage, as much as those involved may want us to believe.
August 27 at 4:57pm • Unlike • 8
•   
Nick Detwiler Facebook didn't like it as one post, so we get two instead.

I'm aware that my opinions there may not be popular, but there we go.
August 27 at 4:58pm • Like • 2
•   
Nick Detwiler Also, Raffaele Forino, Vincent Forino.
August 27 at 5:00pm • Like • 3
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Brian Durkin  I agree completely about the pilots being the best around, but not being familiar with the format. When I saw the roster, I immediately favored Rich and Steve; although they might not be the best MTG players when it comes to tight mechanical plays, they were the experts on the format. I told a friend today that it's like someone being a master with an instrument, but not understanding how a particular genre of music works with that instrument.

So yeah I had fun tweeting with Tom simply because I liked to see how his brain worked and assessed the format. Although he is unfamiliar with the decks and the metagame, he's a brilliant MTG player. But being someone that has been connected to the Vintage community for many years, I felt like it was a discussion I could debate. It's always a pleasure to chat with someone that knowledgeable about a game.

I hear your concern Nick, but I hope over time the "pros" that are doing the VLS or videos on SCG will keep working at the format and bring their expertise to the environment. Now we get to watch the learning curve, but I hope in the future we get to see these pros with some brews that turn the format upside down.
August 27 at 5:24pm • Like
•   
Brian Durkin Side Note: the overall metagame for vintage online does feel a bit wonky. If the mantra of "become an expert at a deck" is true is Legacy, I think it's just as (if not more) important in vintage. With that said, I think most people who play MTGO Vintage are still playing pet decks, and really haven't faced people who have played XYZ deck for ages.

The IRL meta is also affected by this. With people like Jake and Horning not playing as often if at all, I've noticed a lot less success with dredge.

TL;DR: In Vintage, you need an intimate understanding of your deck.
August 27 at 5:27pm • Like
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Rich Shay In all fairness, I'm playing a pet deck on MODO.
August 27 at 5:33pm • Like • 3
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Nick Detwiler In my haste (which seems absurd, given the time it took to write all that out) I didn't get into why Darksteel Juggernaut is good. And it is good, in its proper place. I don't have the time now, but I'd add that you shouldn't hate on a card when you don't understand its role.
August 27 at 6:51pm • Like • 1
•   
Shawn Anthony down with the professional vintage noobs
August 27 at 8:23pm • Like
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Brad Granberry "He also knows next to nothing about Vintage. Same with Buehler and LSV"

I can't agree with this at all. Buehler was the commentator at Vintage world champs last year, and he & Elias did a great job. Buehler knew a surprising breadth of knowledge about the format and was up to date about the workings of it.

LSV, similarly, plays a good chunk of Vintage and I've seen him playing a wide variety of decks. I was proud when I read a tournament report of his when he netdecked Terastodon Oath and played it in a Vintage tournament. Even now he plays Vintage on MODO and occasionally shares those videos on his website.

Regardless, criticizing Hall of Fame players does not seem wise, and it certainly does not add credibility to the argument at hand. The person presenting the idea has little bearing on the merit of the idea itself.

That being said I agree with the ultimate conclusion. But we don't need to claim that Buehler and LSV know next to nothing about Vintage to arrive at that conclusion.
August 28 at 9:41am • Like • 6
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Rich Shay Well said, Brad.
August 28 at 9:51am • Like • 1
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Nick Coss I wanted to play in this event. next time!
August 28 at 9:54am • Unlike • 2
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Brian Durkin Buehler and LSV aren't totally clueless about the format. I guess I was disappointed that they needed to look up what won the most recent Waterbury, and that Terra Nova was so foriegn. To me that hurt their credibility as far as currently being on top of the meta, even though in the past they have both demonstrated interest and knowledge of Vintage. Someone like Tom Martell, although an incredible master at Magic, I don't remember seeing his name show up in or around Vintage.
August 28 at 10:14am • Unlike • 1
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Will Magrann You’re right Brad, I responded to this immediately after watching the match which LSV and Randy commentated and it irked me. Their constant referral to the deck as “Stax” greatly influenced my perception of their knowledge of the format. In my opinion Terra Nova is currently the best deck in the format or at least the Northeast metagame and yet they knew next to nothing about it.
I wish that I hadn’t hastily replied with such negative comments, it was certainly poor judgment on my part.
August 28 at 11:31am • Unlike • 5
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Brad Granberry It's all good.
August 28 at 1:52pm • Unlike • 3
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Tom Martell About to read through this thread as was just pointed to it. Before starting, just want to say thank you to Nick for the level of detail and logical thought process I'm already seeing. I'll post a detailed response in a bit.

In response to Will, I think it is a common fallacy to over weight vintage as a niche or boutique format that players need to dedicate themselves to to understand. I pick decks to play in tournaments without a complete knowledge of the format all of the time - part of my skillset is the ability to make logical inferences and good decisions on imperfect information.

I agree that there are occasionally subtle nuances that could be missed in doing so, but you can't just dismiss LSV or me because we don't play as much vintage as other formats. Maybe after reading through Nick's posts I will acknowledge that Darksteel Juggernaut is one such point that I initially missed, but I will be surprised if so
August 28 at 4:55pm • Like • 4
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Tom Martell On Black Lotus:

The real discussion here is velocity of plays vs. consistency of plays. Black Lotus is a huge velocity spike. The reason I intuitively believe it has to be correct to play Lotus is its proximity to Workshop in this deck. If Workshop is the best card, having a 1 turn Workshop boost can't be that far behind.

Most shops decks are mana denial decks that stop your opponent from pursuing their primary game plan. You need enough velocity to execute your plan before your opponent can play all of their business and negate what you are doing.

I am sure I can do a bunch of math to model this and quantify each category, but I'm going to try a qualitative approach to explaining my gut reaction and see where that gets us.

I'm going to start by arguing against the corrolary - if I think you want Lotus over Mox, can you demonstrate why you want Mox over Lotus?

Mox is better than Lotus when you want 2 mana evenly over two turns rather than 3 at once. The most obvious case here is with 2 Spheres. You can't cast 2 of them on 4 mana as the first one stops you from playing the second, so you would much rather have Land, Land, Mox, Sphere, Sphere than Land, Land, Lotus, Sphere, Sphere. This does not hold if the Land is a Workshop and only applies to 2 spheres specifically; if you are on Sphere / Null Rod, you would rather have the Lotus.

Are there any other times you would rather have Mox than Lotus? I honestly don't see them. Maybe there are some spots where Metamorph makes you want to have an extra mana on turn 3, but I don't like building my mana denial decks around optimizing for turn 3 interaction.
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Tom Martell On deck selection for this event, I did not select a deck like Stax / Shops variants or Dredge because those decks are geared to minimize interaction. I think they make for incredibly boring games to both play and watch. I wanted to have matches that would be exciting and flashy, so I played a deck that encouraged that. If this tournament had a $10k first prize that I was trying hard to win, I would not have played the deck I did.
August 28 at 5:12pm • Like • 2
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Rich Shay Great commentary, Tom.
August 28 at 5:20pm • Like
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Jon Johnson Somehow we have all managed to be completely civil and share thoughts in a meaningful fashion. I love this community.
August 28 at 5:41pm • Unlike • 5
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Nick Detwiler If we're discussing the velocity of the plays, we should also consider the cost of that velocity.

In occupying a space in my deck, Black Lotus will certainly accelerate one of my plays, but it will usually only accelerate the one. Consider the cards in Terra Nova, and then consider the kinds of plays that it's trying to make.

If we're going to discuss velocity, we're going to want to consider the threats that we're aiming to power out so quickly. This deck is built around its two mana plays. There are four Revokers, four Spheres, four Thorns, three Null Rods main. You've already noted that holding a Lotus and a man-land isn't enough to drop two Spheres. I'd rather have that Lotus be another land, so that I can use it to cast the first Sphere on the initial turn, and cast the second Sphere on the subsequent turn.

Blue pilots had commented that you shouldn't counter the Sphere, but the threat after the Sphere. Well, what if the Sphere was the threat? What if, with eight Sphere effects, myriad copy effects, and effective removal for cards like Dark Confidant and Trygon Predator (maindeck Dismember) and Jace, the Mind Sculptor (eight man-lands), we were able to nullify the threats that the blue pilots presented?

The Forinos and I have run Black Lotus in Espresso Stax, Martello Shops, MUD Marinara, etc. We're not espousing that Black Lotus is a bad card. Far from it. What we are saying is that there are different plays for each deck, and while the temporary mana boost may be a boon to certain decks (Martello Shops, for example), it is not the same card as it is in Terra Nova, which is trying to play control over the course of many turns. Terra Nova is not trying to immediately lock you out, it's trying to slowly tighten its grip around you until you can't do anything anymore.

The comparison of Lotus to Shop is an easy one, as they both net three mana. That said, even with the proliferation of Wasteland in this format, Workshop has a far, far better chance of being around the following turn than a spent Lotus. If you told me that I could play a fifth Ancient Tomb in lieu of the first Black Lotus, in Terra Nova, I would.

I want that Tomb (or, in your case, a Mox) over Lotus because I know that there is a very, very strong chance that it will be around the following turn to help me power out the next threat. On top of that, man-lands are very, very important to Terra Nova. With the rise of planeswalkers in Vintage, Shop decks need effective answers that can't be countered by Force of Will or Mana Drain. Man-lands are an excellent response to cards like Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Dack Fayden. Man-lands are another example of cards in Terra Nova that require consistent mana; I need to be able to activate them, turn after turn, and I can't use my Workshops to do it. Between knowing that I need to cast multiple Spheres (and knowing that I don't really have the same knockout punch that most of the other Shop decks have) and knowing that I need access to my mana in order to continue activating my man-lands (for creature combat, planeswalker removal and the eventual kill), I need to be able to tap something turn after turn after turn. One threat isn't going to do it, and that's all that my Lotus will give me.

I'd quickly note that we're leaving aside the card advantage issue. Given that it has previously been discussed, I won't bring it up again.

One of the reasons why Null Rod was the bastard child of aggressive (non-Workshop) creature decks, and not really the focal point of a very successful Shop deck (capable of remaining tier one, and fighting off the new contenders) is that Null Rod's evaluation by the Vintage community was wrong. Null Rod is a bad card with cards like Smokestack, and the aggressive creature strategies treated it as some alternate form of Tangle Wire, or a poor man's Time Walk (or two, or three, if you're lucky).

Why bring up Null Rod? Because Terra Nova is a mana denial deck, but it's not the traditional mana denial deck that you're used to seeing. Null Rod may play like a Time Walk in the decks that you're used to seeing, and that's fine, that's what it's there for. But in Terra Nova it's more akin to a Sphere. While you could make the argument that the slot for Black Lotus is any one of the 60 cards in the deck, it was cut for a land. Currently, the Black Lotus slot is occupied by Karakas, which gives me consistent mana, and also does heavy lifting against Griselbrand, Thalia, Guard of Thraben and Vendilion Clique.

Vintage is a 'fast' format, but it's slower than it has been in a while, mostly due to the rise of creatures, better hate, and a few other factors. Swords to Plowshares is one of the more played cards in Vintage, but creature removal on the whole is on the rise, and has been for a while.

Shop only has so many true win conditions, especially 'fast' win conditions. A fast Lodestone Golem is far less likely to guarantee you a win than it was in 2010, and that's fine. Smokestack is not a great card right now. I don't think there's anyone in the world who wants to run Smokestacks as badly as I do, but the card sucks at the moment.

So if we're talking about acceleration, or velocity of plays, then we should be considering just what we're accelerating into.

Finally, Darksteel Juggernaut. Darksteel Juggernaut is a very specific answer to a very specific problem. One of the issues that cropped up in testing was that the creature strategies (RUG Delver, BUG Fish, Merfolk, etc.) would have a piece of removal for the threat that you hoped to win the game with. In Merfolk's case, this was potentially something that was copied with a Phantasmal Image.

Darksteel Juggernaut, once resolved, dodges just about all the removal in the field. It doesn't dodge Swords, and it may not dodge Dismember, but you can have as many Nature's Claims, Ingot Chewers and (less profitably) Ancient Grudge's as you'd like, but you won't kill him. Juggernaut takes advantage of the kind of game that Terra Nova is trying to play (the slow build towards an opponent finding themselves incapable of winning), as it counts everything that you've previously done in every attack that it makes. Additionally, the Merfolk pilot can't profitably copy it with Phantasmal Image, as it will only count my end of the board. This, obviously, counts again for the Shop mirror, where Terra Nova is likely to have the bigger board of artifacts than any other strong Shop strategy that I can think of (outside of something like Becker's Affinity deck from 2013).

Tom, you and the guys who are playing in this event (who may not know the format as well as Rich and Steve) could play the format aggressively for a little while and pick up everything that you need to know. Every single one of you is eminently capable of being the best Vintage pilot in any room that you step into, if that's what you cared about. Given what you guys do, I more than understand the time that you guys dedicate to the other formats. If I was on the Pro Tour, I'd do just the same. I guess that all I'm saying is that I'd have liked to have seen a more representative field, and a more informed collection of players. Please don't take that as a disparaging remark, as it certainly isn't meant as one. To reiterate, all of you are elite.
August 28 at 5:49pm • Unlike • 7
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Nick Detwiler Also, as an important aside, I can count myself lucky enough to call Chris Pikula a friend. He's a standup guy and should be treated as such.
August 28 at 6:06pm • Unlike • 4
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Jon Johnson Who wasn't?
August 28 at 6:08pm • Like
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Tom Martell On the card advantage point, you are gaining virtual card advantage vis a vis your denial cards. By getting to play a 2nd lock piece on turn 1, you gain even more virtual card advantage. I would argue black lotus is a better card advantage play in this deck than a mox.
August 28 at 6:11pm • Like • 1
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Tom Martell I'm also still not sure what about the format you think we are missing with respect to this event. I think most of the decks that I see posted from vintage events are bad. Could I be wrong? Certainly. But I would honestly be very surprised if my intuition is far off with respect to decks playing cards like Restoration Angel in Vintage.
August 28 at 6:14pm • Like • 1
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Tom Martell Other than a hand with specifically 2 lands, mox, 2 spheres, when would you prefer Mox to Lotus?
August 28 at 6:14pm • Like
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Tom Martell I also think the fundamental strategy of "slow build towards an opponent finding themselves incapable of winning" is flawed for a prison deck given the prevalence of Hurkyl's Recall and the explosiveness of other decks in the field. You aren't actually locking your opponent out as you would be with Smokestack so this is a very dangerous primary game plan.
August 28 at 6:25pm • Like
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Brad Granberry What do you mean by actually locking your opponent out?

Let's say my deck plays more Sphere effects than my opponent's deck plays mana sources. Once I get ahead (say 4 Spheres to 3 mana sources), is that not a soft lock at the least? Even without Smokestack, it is unlikely my opponent will be able to cast a spell ever again.
August 28 at 6:53pm • Like
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Tom Martell Re: DSJ, I find it very hard to believe that in the history of all of magic, the best solution to "threat that doesn't die to disenchant or lightning bolt" is a 5 mana 5/5. It seems like so much has to be going right for that card to win you a game that you were otherwise going to lose. It still dies to both StP and Dismember, two of the most common removal spells in the format.

Against Merfolk specifically, Phantasmal Image can't clone it but that deck plays 4 Dismembers and free counters so they still have plenty of answers. They also have a bunch of Steel Sabotage to time walk you and 4 TNN to trump it. It is also expensive, and they can just Strip or Waste your Factory and then you are going to have a hard time getting to 5 mana (especially without Lotus). It seems like an actively bad card in the Fish matchup.
August 28 at 6:57pm • Like • 1
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Nick Detwiler Restoration Angel was a trump to the Bomberman decks of last year. It is excellent against Jace, the Mind Sculptor, it is a combat trick (which is more important now than ever before), it gains value on Trinket Mages. Craig Berry is better to argue that point than I am.

Sure, there are bad pilots in Vintage, and yes, this means that you will see cards that you find to be objectively bad. You will be right some amount of the time, and you will also be wrong some amount of the time. 'Worse than GAT' is a tongue in cheek acknowledgment of Vintage players knowing their own faults, and limits.

If the cost of playing that second lock piece is my ability to play a third, did I come out ahead? We can create hands where Lotus is excellent in Terra Nova, but I guarantee you that I have more time with the deck than anyone in the event, and I believe it correct to be left out. Could I be wrong about Lotus? Sure. You may feel this to be an admission of my own limits, but my Vintage resume is known by guys like Steve and Rich. I have won large events, and consistently finish well at large events, because I have known what I'm doing, what I'm trying to accomplish, etc. I respect what you and your fellow pros do, but I have no desire to do it. Can we admit that it's possible that less talented players who have spent years learning one set of skills may know that skill better than more talented pros, given that the pros haven't played anywhere near as much as we have?

The current counter suite available to modern Vintage pilots may be more targeted than it was in the past, in that the counters are only able to be directed at specific cards, but it is more powerful than ever before. Mental Misstep, Flusterstorm and Mindbreak Trap have been paired with Mana Drain and Force of Will. Storm, as a pillar, has suffered greatly because of this. Even the Burning Oath deck is just a bastardized Oath deck, not a true combo deck in the vein of TPS, or even Bob Tendrils. Storm stinks, and how many guys are running it? What I think you're all missing is that knowledge, combined with the foresight to play something like Fenton Oath. Shops are powerful, and a more than adequate answer to the field, yet here we are with Chris as Shops' sole representative. Aggressive creature strategies like RUG Delver and BUG Fish are excellent as well. And there are all those Storm decks that everyone seems to be on. Does everyone fully understand the format if the field is Storm, Merfolk and a Shop deck? I think the deck choices, given their age, showcase my point.

If you believe my logic to be flawed (and maybe it is), I would invite you to build a Smokestack based Shop deck that shows that I am wrong.

You guys are the best that Magic has to offer, but I think you have some things to learn before you're the best Vintage pilots, in addition to being the best at everything else you do in this game. Once again, I do respect the accomplishments and talent required to win at the highest level. You will never see a Pro Tour trophy with my name engraved on it. But I think you have work to do, and I really would love to see what new things the pro players could bring to the format, in terms of innovation. We're talking about the best players Magic, and we're criticizing the card choices of Vintage pilots, but you guys are running the lists we built, the decks we've played for years. It seems counter intuitive to claim that the pros know best while the pros run our decks.
August 28 at 6:59pm • Like • 2
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Tom Martell @Brad - Yes, if you get ahead on Spheres v. Mana Sources, you have them in a soft lock. They have a lot more mana sources than you have spheres and they have cheap ways to regain parity and only Lodestone doubles as both disruption and pressure, so they are going to have time to keep playing mana sources. I do not think this is reliable.
August 28 at 6:59pm • Like
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Tom Martell Nick, I think you are mixing pilot and deckbuilder. The best vintage player and the best magic player are very likely the same person. Even if not, the best vintage player is also going to be in the top 10 players in the world at Magic. Niche understanding of formats is much more relevant to deck construction than to play.
August 28 at 7:02pm • Like • 1
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Tom Martell I already addressed why I think that most of us didn't play Shops. Other players can speak up but I did not consider it because I did not want to play non-interactive games. I do not think that is interesting. My goal was to have interesting games, not purely maximize my EV in the tournament or to replicate a realistic tournament field.
August 28 at 7:06pm • Like
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Tom Martell I also think the cards Delver of Secrets and Deathrite Shaman are unplayable in vintage. I could see being wrong with Delver but I think anyone playing Deathrite does not understand the format.
August 28 at 7:06pm • Like
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Nick Detwiler Tom, I will have to respectfully disagree with you regarding deck building and playing. With regard to Workshops specifically, you need to obtain as much value as possible from all your cards, and if you don't fully understand why something went into a list, I'm not sure that you'd be able to adapt on the fly, getting value from cards in places you didn't expect. I think a good exams of this would be the use of Red Elemental Blast being boarded in by 5C Stax against Dredge in 2009.

I can understand where you're coming from with regards to playing, or playing against, Shops, but I'd mention that Shops don't win all the time because other Vintage pilots do interact with them. All Shop decks are beatable with the right hate. That hate won't always be Hurkyl's Recall, but the right hate in any specific match does exist, and should be properly considered before playing in an event.

If we're going to say that players played what they wanted, and not necessarily what was best positioned to win (albeit due to EV, or whatever else), can we then call this what this is? This is a collection of the great players of the game playing fun decks that they love, this is not a Vintage tournament just because all the cards played are played according to the Vintage Banned/Restricted list.
August 28 at 7:17pm • Unlike • 3
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Glenn Jones Not really weighing in on the rest of this, but regarding Nick's last paragraph:

Many people enter a large variety of tournaments with multiple goals, not all of them related to or overridden by winning; that doesn't mean they aren't participating or that the event isn't a tournament. It just means the scope of their priorities vary.

I'll also point out it's a much greater responsibility of the VSL participants to put on an entertaining show than to "show what Vintage is really like." If you want any new content to engage its audience, they have to like what they see above everything else. If you want Vintage popularized, the VSL is a godsend; Wizards wishes someone had done this for Modern when it was struggling.

There are many, much greater elements of utility in Magic content than accurately reflecting reality.
August 28 at 7:40pm • Edited • Like • 2
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Brian Durkin Great point, Glenn Jones. As a competitive player, I like to see reality so it's easy to forget about the broader audience. Regardless of how well VLS mirrors the actual meta, it is doing a lot of good for exposing Vintage to players.

Thanks Tom Martell for joining the conversation. Sorry I didn't invite you earlier (sending a friend request now so I can in the future). I started this thread mostly to call upon people that I knew had experience with Terra Nova or at least Shops, and I was curious to hear what they had to say to validate my own impressions of Terra Nova in our discussion. I'm glad to see you argue your points outside of 140 characters. It's been a civil and enlightening discussion, and I can't thank you enough for contributing. I'd also like to thank anyone else, mostly Nick Detwiler, for arguing the other side of the debate. As far as MTG content, maybe there should be broadcasts of debates. Possibly an Around the Horn style.

Tom, I am curious to learn why you believe Deathrite is so unplayable in Vintage. He doesn't see a lot of play outside of Tier 2 hate bear decks and BUG, both of which I rarely see and test against. In complete honesty I haven't even thought about his playability. What impressions about that card lead you to your conclusion?
August 28 at 9:52pm • Unlike • 1
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Tom Martell Deathrite is super grindy and relatively low power. Compared to Legacy, Vintage is much more explosive and there are a lot of decks that aren't going to put lands in their graveyard.

It needs to be in play over multiple turns to really amount to anything and that isn't how Vintage games play out. It is also a huge liability against Oath, which is non-trivial.
August 28 at 10:13pm • Like • 1
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Craig Berry When discussing the playability of certain vintage cards, you have to take region into consideration. I've never changed my deck choice for a GP, due to location; that said, I've certainly changed my deck/card choices in vintage, due to location.

Deathrite Shaman may not be the best card against Gush, Storm, Oath and other broken decks, but it's absolutely fantastic against the grindy midrange decks(UWx, BUG etc) and one of the best threats against Workshop decks.

Fair Blue:
Not only does Deathrite Shaman get you ahead on mana against these kind of decks, but it's also a legitimate clock that absolutely HAS to be dealt with. It's also unbelievable against Snapcaster Mage.

Landstill:
I'ts pretty simple, if they can't remove Deathrite Shaman from the battlefield, they're stone dead.

UWx:
This is another matchup where Deathrite Shaman really shines. Much like Landstill, if a Deathrite Shaman stays in play, it can be quite difficult to win the game. Not every UWx deck is playing Snapcaster Mage(which is completely wrong not to), but against the lists that are, Deathrite Shaman is even better. Unlike Landstill, UW does put on a legitimate clock(so the game isn't completely over), but it's still a really close race.

Workshops:
I think it's pretty obvious how good this card is against the different flavor of Workshops.

Terra Nova:
Terra Nova is a deck that does everything it can to lock an opponent out of the game, via two-Spheres and Null Rod. A lot of the games lost to this deck are due to the fact that the opponent was always "one mana short." Deathrite Shaman is a non-land reliable mana source that gets around Null Rod, which is huge. Deathrite Shaman also gets you out of the jam of being "one mana short" and helps win the game by going up top, too. Between Null Rod shutting down all of Workshops own Moxen and Mishra's Workshop not being able to activate manlands, Ancient Tomb becomes one of the only mana sources that is able to animate Mutavault and Mishra's Factory. Therefore, Deathrite Shaman being able to eat away at your opponents life total goes a long way.

Martello(Forgemasters):
Martello generally only plays a few Thorn of Amethyst, alongside a few Spheres. The deck isn't trying to lock the opponent completely, it's just trying to make the opponent stumble a little bit and get a single Forgemaster activation(which is usually enough to end the game). Again, by having Deathrite Shaman as a mana source allows you to get out of the "soft lock" bind and pseudo ignore a Sphere or two. While it may not be AS good against this style of Workshops that is trying to end the game relatively fast, it's still an all star.

Crucible of Worlds:
Having the ability to remove Wasteland(s) and Strip Mine against a deck that has Crucible of Worlds is also a nice luxury, which very few cards are able to do(this applies to Landstill, too).

Like I said before, the vintage metagame is largely based on location. Here on the east coast, there's a ton of Workshops, Landstill, UW and other fair decks; this makes a card like Deathrite Shaman actually quite good. That said, I wouldn't even think about playing Deathrite Shaman in a European tournament. European vintage is a completely different ball game and is filled with a bunch of broken blue decks, Tezzeret and a few TERRIBLE workshop players. While Deathrite Shaman may be bad in that metagame, it's actually quite strong here. The fact that it's super strong in one metagame, but terrible in another leads to a lot of biased opinions(which generally aren't true), about the card.
August 28 at 10:55pm • Unlike • 3
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Nick Detwiler For whatever it's worth, I do appreciate the time that all ten men are spending to play Vintage online to a wider audience. While I wish the field was more reflective of what players see at events, there is value in watching the videos and there is insight to be gained.

While I may be wrong, I don't think that Tom or I will manage to change the other's opinions at the moment. At the very least, I do appreciate the adult conversation that we had.

Given how much I've written, I don't think there is really anything left to be said. I'm done responding here. Thanks though, guys, and good luck to all those involved in the event.
August 28 at 11:36pm • Unlike • 5
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Brad Granberry To be fair I think the field is fairly reflective of what I'd see at a Vintage event. There is Oath, Workshops, small creatures backed by permission, Gush, Storm, and traditional blue-based control.
Yesterday at 7:38am • Like
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Brian Durkin Brad Granberry I agree the pillars are there but it's a bit disproportionate, although with only ten people it's easy for that to happen. When three people play the same deck it's now 30% of the field.
Yesterday at 10:19am • Like
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Jacob Pettie I understand what entertainment value will do to help the format hopefully grow, but the harsh reality of some decks not seeing play in this VSL and getting the respect they deserve is that they will be put aside as if they do not exist because a pro player called them non-interactive or not fun to play.

Whether you like it or not, your opinions will resonate much farther than ours of the community that Vintage has been molded from. I will not claim to be some expert or have a vast understanding of everything in the game of MTG, or Vintage. I am fairly new to this format and I have seen some very disturbing remarks be the knife to the throat of the deck I love. I warn you to be careful with what you say in regard to a specific deck or archetype.

Just because you find Dredge creates "incredibly boring games to both play and watch" does not mean others should. I am not trying to convict you of doing so, but I am simply stating what you most likely already know, that you are a model, to this game we love, that people will listen to.

Dredge has seen a falling out as of late, it has been a struggle to innovate or get recognition. Maybe I am bias, but I have had some of the most interactive games I've ever played in my time, playing games 2 and 3 with Dredge. I devote so much time into really understanding and trying to make this deck into something better, not to say it is not already a format staple, but it does not get the love of others.

I am not here to convince you to play Dredge on the VSL, or to make you believe it is more of an interactive deck than you believe. I am worried for the community hit that Dredge and other decks take by your opinions. I truly believe a deck is only as strong as the community behind it. If you will, please take more time to think about card choices made by this community, because I doubt we all just throw shit at walls and hope it sticks.

Thank you all for your commitment to the format I love, and the spotlight you put on it to help it grow.
Yesterday at 10:47am • Edited • Like
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Thomas Dixon As a Blue player that has played Deathrite Shaman multiple times, I think the evaluation is off on Tom's part, but more of the format than of the card itself. While Craig has covered many things, there are a few things he left out.

The Format:
Craig has covered this a bit, but in short Vintage is not as explosive as it once was. Storm has been neutered severely by printings in the last five years or so and really only exists in a form with multiple draw 7's. Against blue decks, you're just as likely to lock yourself out as your are them when firing one off due to the abundance of amazing counterspells that cost 0 or 1 mana. Shop has received a myriad of printings to make the match up worse, and it was always stellar to start with. Even Fish have cards like Thalia, Spirit, and/or Gaddock to really muck up the engine of Storm decks. Even Dredge can just try to race. On the topic of Dredge, the bogey man in the room has been hated out of competitive play. Cards like Rest in Peace and Deathrits Shaman have weakened it. Like Storm, Dredge still has power, but it's really lacking in a lot of the teeth it used to have. We're left with TV+K/Tinker decks, Shop decks, and Rod based Tempo dominating much of the field now (certainly in the NE). In that format, explosiveness that doesn't end the game isn't nearly as valuable as consistency.

DRS in Vintage (con'td):
1) Dredge:
DRS has value here. If you have a turn 1 DRS in game 1 against Dredge you actually have a real chance to buy some time and put together a win. It's not necessarily a trump, but the card has real value in a typically explosive match up. It also obviously shines in post boarded games, where it serves as supplemental hate for your SB plan.

2) Fish:
Again, there is value that is hidden. It trades with any X/1 sure, but that's it's least efficient role. It shrinks Tarmogoyf and/or buys you time to set up. Look at the lists that have begun to dominate the metagame. There are a ton of creature based tempo style decks. DRS mucks with all of that.

3) In decks with Wasteland:
This card color fixes and presents a win condition. A color hungry deck like Keeper loves this card. It beats opposing Wasteland recursion, and to a smaller extent even early Wastelands themselves. It can allow you to play spells against Merfolk without being forced to play an Island, which is a critical line to have open.

Regarding the commentary, it isn't wrong to say that it's off. I think it has more to do with traditional roles than it does any lack of knowledge or experience. Merfolk was said to be a dog to Pitch Long when Tom and Randy were watching Efro and Raptor. That couldn't be further from the truth. At best it's a push, but I'd contend that the cheap and efficient creatures coupled with the tempo counters, null rod, and Wasteland leave Merfolk favored. Typically Storm could do whatever it wanted against Rods in the past as long as it kept the Rods off the board because none of the creatures really did anything. Merflok has cantrips, counterspells, and pumps on the team that quickly cut into the timeline needed to win for the Storm player. Minor changes in the match ups due to varying deck construction and evolution makes the older %'s to be skewed. Hurkyl's Recall has been absent from a lot of lists lately? Why is that? It's because the Shop decks have become so darn good at never letting you be 2 above the Spheres when you need to in order to capitalize on it. It's because most decks don't just win the game after it resolves. People are just playing Steel Sabotage over it because you can cast it early and it can buy you the time to make a play while still hedging for Tinker.
Yesterday at 11:37am • Like
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Luis Scott-Vargas This has been an interesting thread. Unsurprisingly, I'm pretty much in agreement with Tom with regards to Lotus, though it is definitely more of a debate than my gut reaction would have led me to believe. Regardless of that particular point (which has probably been amply debated), I like seeing the interest this has generated.

I'm certainly not as connected to the Vintage scene as I used to be, but I was a Vintage player well before I was a PT player, and it's gonna be hard for me to call Shop decks anything but "Stax". I understand there isn't the actual card Smokestack in there, but people call Affinity in Modern by that name regardless of how many Frogmites or Thoughtcasts are in the deck (often zero at this point). I also understand wanting to make sure "your" format is represented accurately, but there is an element of showmanship here, and like Tom said, the stakes aren't such that we are going to play decks we don't like in order to maximize win %. I actually did play the deck I'm going to play in Vintage Champs tomorrow on Magic Online, and I think it's quite good (and while I understand the point was somewhat retracted, I found it funny when it was claimed I know "next to nothing about Vintage", given how much I've played the format). I will admit that I don't know every deck in the format like I used to, but I'm pretty confident I can follow the lines of play as they unfold, and provide accurate commentary on them.

Anyways, I appreciate the lively debate, think people tend to be a bit territorial when it comes to "outsiders" playing their format (I recall debates like this popping up when Legacy started transitioning into a heavily-played big tournament format), and really do have the utmost respect for all the guys I know who play almost exclusively Vintage.

You are going to see more blue decks than a normal field in this league, but I wouldn't be surprised to see more Dredge/Stax (see, I can't not call it Stax) as the weeks rotate and people try to game what they think opponents will play. If you actually want Vintage to grow and become more popular, something like this League driving viewers to Magic Online and eventually live tournaments is the best possible thing that could happen.
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Brian Durkin Agreed about how good VLS is for format. I'm still going to watch every week and I hope it does drive up interest in vintage. Also I completely get playing decks you actually want to play. The metagame percentages are just easily skewed when it's only ten people. And it's only the first week. I hope to see more innovation as people change decks (Leyton's bauble tech to boost artifact count for opal has inspired some new brews in my copybook).

Great point, LSV, about affinity in modern. Good luck in the VLS and online champs. And thanks for joining the conversation.

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« Last Edit: August 30, 2014, 06:21:49 pm by Samoht » Logged

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« Reply #46 on: August 30, 2014, 07:38:04 pm »

Man, super good thread there. I very highly respect the level of discussion they bring. If only every debate in real life could be as productive and civil as that!

The bits about DRS and esp. Restoration Angel are very interesting, and of course, telling, because the reason they're good in the format is pretty involved. I have many of the same reservations about them as well, and would be interested to hear Martell's opinion after having played around with the top 8-10 decks for a good many hours, if he ever does.
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« Reply #47 on: August 30, 2014, 08:15:04 pm »

Man, super good thread there. I very highly respect the level of discussion they bring. If only every debate in real life could be as productive and civil as that!

The bits about DRS and esp. Restoration Angel are very interesting, and of course, telling, because the reason they're good in the format is pretty involved. I have many of the same reservations about them as well, and would be interested to hear Martell's opinion after having played around with the top 8-10 decks for a good many hours, if he ever does.

Very well put.  The comment about Delver not being playable is telling though.  I hope Rich or I win this.
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« Reply #48 on: August 30, 2014, 08:49:07 pm »

So much to delve into after going through this.

"Brian Durkin Side Note: the overall metagame for vintage online does feel a bit wonky. If the mantra of "become an expert at a deck" is true is Legacy, I think it's just as (if not more) important in vintage. With that said, I think most people who play MTGO Vintage are still playing pet decks, and really haven't faced people who have played XYZ deck for ages."

Pet decks on Magic Online? Never...
The format is definitely skewed with fetchlands, Hurkyl's Recall, Wastelands, and Griselbrands being almost prohibitively priced compared to power. Buying a set of Wastelands is as expensive as buying another set of power. I just bought two Hurkyl's Recalls for 103 tix. Griselbrands are over 60 tix. The simple fact is that the Magic Online metagame has a different set of constraints than paper metagames.

"Will: I wish that I hadn’t hastily replied with such negative comments, it was certainly poor judgment on my part."

Mad props to Will Magnon on this. This is the type of behavior that builds a better community and should be recognized when it occurs.

"LSV: Anyways, I appreciate the lively debate, think people tend to be a bit territorial when it comes to "outsiders" playing their format (I recall debates like this popping up when Legacy started transitioning into a heavily-played big tournament format), and really do have the utmost respect for all the guys I know who play almost exclusively Vintage."

Props to LSV. I feel like that was extending an olive branch of sorts. His definition of "Vintage" is going to be different from Nick's definition of "Vintage", Tom Martell's definition, and my definition.

Very well put.  The comment about Delver not being playable is telling though.  I hope Rich or I win this.

Yeah, I crunched the numbers and Delver was one of the best performing decks in the online metagame during the qualifiers. I think that gradually the online metagame will shift. Oath was initially the deck to beat, then it was NWCS, then BUG fish, then UR Delver. Now, it certainly seems to be Shops.

Restoration Angel are very interesting, and of course, telling, because the reason they're good in the format is pretty involved. I have many of the same reservations about them as well, and would be interested to hear Martell's opinion after having played around with the top 8-10 decks for a good many hours, if he ever does.

I wrote 4,000 word primer on how UW control can be adjusted to the metagame. I easily could have written 4,000 more. I'm simply going to say that I think he and other pros will change their minds about these decks.

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« Reply #49 on: August 31, 2014, 10:09:22 am »

Id expect the top to be similar to your list, though I think a few of the spots were out of order. That said, these players are so good that Martell could easily win the whole thing and I really wouldn't be surprised. It doesn't take much for that sort of thing to happen.
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« Reply #50 on: August 31, 2014, 12:22:52 pm »

Menendian and Shay probably has the greatest grasp on the format, but i think Menendians deck is better vs. the gauntlet.

I wouldn't be so quick to say that. The deck can still lose against a strong draw from Merfolk, and Terra Nova seems nearly unwinnable. The matchup against LSV's deck seems like a tossup. It could honestly be either of them who wins.

As for Martell's comments and hilarious view of the format, the most telling thing is that not one pro has created a new archetype and proven it, or solved the format, as Drew Levin foresaw. Maybe he should actually try playing Terra Nova a bunch if he wants to show everyone that Lotus is playable in that deck, instead of basing his argument on Conjecture while Nick and Will use their experience. Despite being the great player that he is, Martell didn't just win a 70 player tournament with the deck he's bashing.

As for Deathrite, it shows he doesn't know the format at all. It's just amusing at this point. Delver of Secrets, while slightly overrated, is played in a deck that still puts up great results on Magic Online.
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« Reply #51 on: August 31, 2014, 05:46:04 pm »

People do understand that after 3 rounds everyone can change decks, right?
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« Reply #52 on: August 31, 2014, 08:48:46 pm »

People do understand that after 3 rounds everyone can change decks, right?


I did forget that, but that still means that it could be either Steve or Rich.
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« Reply #53 on: August 31, 2014, 09:03:35 pm »

How many wins does someone need to make it into the top 4? I'm thinking probably just 6.
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« Reply #54 on: August 31, 2014, 09:43:14 pm »

It's actually pretty amazing that people are arguing in favor of playing Darksteel Juggernaut in Shops and cutting Black Lotus from any deck.

The Pros like Tom Martell see the fundamental game with better clarity than most Vintage lifers. People taking offense at his comments should step back and really consider what he is saying. His ability to evaluate the power level of cards in an abstract sense is key to his success with this game.

There is really very little point in playing a 5 mana 5/5 without any disruptive abilities other than the ability to dodge a subset of spot removal played in the format. Martell is simply pointing out the obvious in this circumstance.

And regarding Black Lotus - it's insane that anyone would turn down 3 free mana (in every sense) in any deck. Would it be better to have that 3 mana recurring like a Workshop? Of course. But Workshops are a land and count toward your land count. Black Lotus circumvents this restriction and can augment Workshops and other lands. In the history of Magic there is simply no greater tempo play than tapping a Black Lotus, and to even consider cutting it if you have access to it in a given format is simply to be ignorant of basic principles of Magic. Card advantage is irrelevant when a single card produces such a massive tempo boost. This is also the reason why Force of Will is played in every single blue deck that has access to it. When the tempo gains drastically outweigh the card disadvantage, it is foolish and short-sighted to cite the drawback of card disadvantage as a reason *not* to play the tempo boosting card.

Tom just understands these things intuitively as a master of the game, and the Vintage lifers arguing him on these points are just too tied to preconceived biases in this format to view the strength of their pet cards or pet strategies in an abstract, format-indifferent manner.



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« Reply #55 on: August 31, 2014, 09:49:50 pm »

It's actually pretty amazing that people are arguing in favor of playing Darksteel Juggernaut in Shops and cutting Black Lotus from any deck.

The Pros like Tom Martell see the fundamental game with better clarity than most Vintage lifers. People taking offense at his comments should step back and really consider what he is saying. His ability to evaluate the power level of cards in an abstract sense is key to his success with this game.

There is really very little point in playing a 5 mana 5/5 without any disruptive abilities other than the ability to dodge a subset of spot removal played in the format. Martell is simply pointing out the obvious in this circumstance.

And regarding Black Lotus - it's insane that anyone would turn down 3 free mana (in every sense) in any deck. Would it be better to have that 3 mana recurring like a Workshop? Of course. But Workshops are a land and count toward your land count. Black Lotus circumvents this restriction and can augment Workshops and other lands. In the history of Magic there is simply no greater tempo play than tapping a Black Lotus, and to even consider cutting it if you have access to it in a given format is simply to be ignorant of basic principles of Magic. Card advantage is irrelevant when a single card produces such a massive tempo boost. This is also the reason why Force of Will is played in every single blue deck that has access to it. When the tempo gains drastically outweigh the card disadvantage, it is foolish and short-sighted to cite the drawback of card disadvantage as a reason *not* to play the tempo boosting card.

As a blue player that played several games against the pilots that built the deck that espouses Juggernaut and cut Lotus, let me tell you that it was more than correct for them to do it. Understanding the role of the cards in their deck and its interaction with the metagame is what makes their brand of Shops the best in the world (my opinion, but I have a slew of results to back it up). If you haven't put the work or time in that they had, it might behoove you to look beyond the simple face value of cards. It's not just the raw power level of a card that makes it into a deck, but how it fits into a scheme. Lotus is potentially the most powerful card ever printed - but it is not requisite at fulfilling every need. Darksteel Juggernaut is far from the strongest card ever printed, but it serves a critical role for the deck. With the rise of Dack Fayden it's time is passing, but that doesn't mean it wasn't right when they included it. People scoffed at Slash Panther but Ryan Glackin pushed his way to the Semi-Finals with it at Vintage Champs in 2011. Until you have tried to attack Terra Nova or with it, you probably shouldn't be so quick to point out perceived flaws that the crafters chose to include.
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« Reply #56 on: August 31, 2014, 10:00:25 pm »

As a blue player that played several games against the pilots that built the deck that espouses Juggernaut and cut Lotus, let me tell you that it was more than correct for them to do it. Understanding the role of the cards in their deck and its interaction with the metagame is what makes their brand of Shops the best in the world (my opinion, but I have a slew of results to back it up). If you haven't put the work or time in that they had, it might behoove you to look beyond the simple face value of cards. It's not just the raw power level of a card that makes it into a deck, but how it fits into a scheme. Lotus is potentially the most powerful card ever printed - but it is not requisite at fulfilling every need. Darksteel Juggernaut is far from the strongest card ever printed, but it serves a critical role for the deck. With the rise of Dack Fayden it's time is passing, but that doesn't mean it wasn't right when they included it. People scoffed at Slash Panther but Ryan Glackin pushed his way to the Semi-Finals with it at Vintage Champs in 2011. Until you have tried to attack Terra Nova or with it, you probably shouldn't be so quick to point out perceived flaws that the crafters chose to include.

It is never, EVER correct to cut Black Lotus from any list that has access to it. Ever. To even suggest such is to be completely ignorant of Magic theory. Anyone who cuts Black Lotus from their deck is playing a suboptimal deck, and anyone who willingly does so while having access to Black Lotus is someone who does not understand Magic well.

And to espouse the use of a 5 mana 5/5 with no disruptive abilities is to be a terrible judge of card power level as well. I can't take anyone seriously who suggests using such a creature in the Vintage format. Anyone who does so is simply allowing rare corner cases to prevent a more balanced, reasonable view of contextual power from developing in his mind.

Also, just because a deck playing a given sub-optimal card top8s or even wins a large tournament does not mean that that card is a correct inclusion. People win in spite of suboptimal choices all the time.

And the argument that format or metagame dictate card power level - this argument only works to a certain extent. Some cards are simply abstractly the most powerful at what they do and deserve consideration regardless of format or metagame. If Black Lotus is legal in a given format, it warrants inclusion in every deck unless even more powerful accelerants exist in that format in such numbers that Black Lotus would be the weakest of them all, which will never happen. Even the inclusion of copious amounts of hate such as Null Rod and Stony Silence would not warrant cutting Black Lotus, because the tempo boost from tapping it is simply so powerful and so singularly unique.



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« Reply #57 on: August 31, 2014, 10:16:22 pm »

So all the manaless dredge lists would become better by adding Black Lotus, right? Wink

A case can be made that Terra Nova could benefit from Black Lotus, but your posts have so much hyperbole that it is difficult to extract from them the valid points.
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« Reply #58 on: August 31, 2014, 10:20:02 pm »

So all the manaless dredge lists would become better by adding Black Lotus, right? Wink

A case can be made that Terra Nova could benefit from Black Lotus, but your posts have so much hyperbole that it is difficult to extract from them the valid points.

Only a truly "manaless" deck is the exception to what I said Razz

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« Reply #59 on: August 31, 2014, 11:32:53 pm »

As a blue player that played several games against the pilots that built the deck that espouses Juggernaut and cut Lotus, let me tell you that it was more than correct for them to do it. Understanding the role of the cards in their deck and its interaction with the metagame is what makes their brand of Shops the best in the world (my opinion, but I have a slew of results to back it up). If you haven't put the work or time in that they had, it might behoove you to look beyond the simple face value of cards. It's not just the raw power level of a card that makes it into a deck, but how it fits into a scheme. Lotus is potentially the most powerful card ever printed - but it is not requisite at fulfilling every need. Darksteel Juggernaut is far from the strongest card ever printed, but it serves a critical role for the deck. With the rise of Dack Fayden it's time is passing, but that doesn't mean it wasn't right when they included it. People scoffed at Slash Panther but Ryan Glackin pushed his way to the Semi-Finals with it at Vintage Champs in 2011. Until you have tried to attack Terra Nova or with it, you probably shouldn't be so quick to point out perceived flaws that the crafters chose to include.

It is never, EVER correct to cut Black Lotus from any list that has access to it. Ever. To even suggest such is to be completely ignorant of Magic theory. Anyone who cuts Black Lotus from their deck is playing a suboptimal deck, and anyone who willingly does so while having access to Black Lotus is someone who does not understand Magic well.

And to espouse the use of a 5 mana 5/5 with no disruptive abilities is to be a terrible judge of card power level as well. I can't take anyone seriously who suggests using such a creature in the Vintage format. Anyone who does so is simply allowing rare corner cases to prevent a more balanced, reasonable view of contextual power from developing in his mind.

Also, just because a deck playing a given sub-optimal card top8s or even wins a large tournament does not mean that that card is a correct inclusion. People win in spite of suboptimal choices all the time.

And the argument that format or metagame dictate card power level - this argument only works to a certain extent. Some cards are simply abstractly the most powerful at what they do and deserve consideration regardless of format or metagame. If Black Lotus is legal in a given format, it warrants inclusion in every deck unless even more powerful accelerants exist in that format in such numbers that Black Lotus would be the weakest of them all, which will never happen. Even the inclusion of copious amounts of hate such as Null Rod and Stony Silence would not warrant cutting Black Lotus, because the tempo boost from tapping it is simply so powerful and so singularly unique.

Actually, Shop decks have cut Lotus before and done well. The original incarnation of Espresso played Serum Powder and did not play Lotus. Again, your dismissal of some of the best shop theorists in the world only reflects your own ignorance of the pillar, not their ignorance of deck construction.

This deck hasn't done well with one pilot or in one event. It's taken down some of the biggest events in the US and has performed well for over a year. Without Lotus. It's not as cut and dry as you think and that mentality that seems to pervade a lot of players is simply ignorant. You're not evaluating the card in the context of the deck and merely looking at its abstract power. Objectively, Lotus is one of the best cards ever printed. That doesn't mean it belongs in every deck. There is a cost attached with its power. Similarly, Ancestral Recall is one of the best cards ever printed. I don't see you arguing that Terra Nova decks should play it.

I honestly can't defend DS Jug as well as some of the Shop guys can, but it was the most efficient answer to the problems that the decks had. I'll trust Raf, Vinnie, and Nick to know what cards but the screws to their opponents effectively, especially when it puts up results like this list has. Yes suboptimal builds win all the time. They don't win repeatedly in the hands of different pilots like Terra Nova has. When an archetype has several pilots in different regions putting up results, maybe it's time to be introspective about your own thoughts on it as opposed to detracting from the success.
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