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By: Joe Fiorini, Joseph G Fiorini
May 08 2015 11:00am
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The Prison-Industrial Complex

     This week, I'm going to be talking about the most recent deck that I've picked up. This deck is undeniably powerful, and has frustrated me to no end when I've played against it. I've in fact lost to this deck on numerous occasions. Most recently, I had a frustrating loss to this deck in a Daily Event this past weekend.

     The deck I'm speaking of, is Stax. Mishra's Workshop decks have been the bane of my Magical existence since I started playing Vintage. I have a terrible win-rate against the deck, and the wins that I do have all came from practice matches. Hopefully, by learning to play the deck, I can gain at least two things:

     1) I want to experience the inner workings of this deck through playing it. TurboK, a friend I made in the Vintage Dailies, told me that he had the idea of picking the deck up as a way of improving his play-skill while playing against it. I thought about this for a while and decided that this actually seemed like a great idea, and I figured I would just go ahead and take his advice. 

     2) I want to win more games, period. I've tried so very hard to build and play the most consistent Monastery Mentor deck that I could, but last weekend, I fell short again. I'm hoping that I can improve my results with the help from Urza's estranged brother. 

     Now, I've known how successful this archetype has been on MTGO. I've lost to it many times, and I've even heard one person (TurboK again) refer to it as the best deck in Vintage. I've even heard people talk about how often the deck wins merely by winning the die-roll. 

     If every single source of information is pointing to a hypothesis of "Mishra's Workshop-based Prison decks are extremely powerful", then why have I resisted the urge to play the deck for so long? I've thought about this question a whole lot. I think I've found my answer.

Force of Will is my crutch.

     Plain and simple, I don't like playing Eternal formats without Counterspells, especially Force of Will. The idea that I may lose a game because a stray card slipped unnoticed past my defenses is utterly horrifying to me. I'm not a fan of losing, and the act of countering an important spell like a baseball player nailing an inside fastball gives me a feeling of security. With Force of Will in particular, the card has always made me feel safe going into a match, because I can counter that turn-zero Goblin Charbelcher, or whatever nonsense my opponent is planning.

     The thing is, this attachment to Counterspells can easily become a hindrance to a player's development as a Vintage Mage. I've thrown everything I have into trying to become an expert at this one format, it might behoove me to get some experience that's outside my usual wheelhouse. 

     I generally gravitate towards decks that are controlling, and that's where my love for Counterspells come from. The fact that controlling decks typically use Counterspells also lead me to avoid switching from Mono-Blue Tron to Red-Green Tron back when I was infatuated with Modern. The Blue Tron, I felt, must be much more controlling of a deck, as it played all sorts of card-draw and counter-magic. Soon after making the transition to R/G Karn Tron, I learned that controlling the game with eight sweeper spells (Pyroclasm and Oblivion Stone) and Karn Liberated was actually quite easy.

     The point of the Tron reference is to illustrate that controlling decks can play other types of cards besides Counterspells. Mishra's Workshop decks generally fall under the "Prison" category, which is essentially a type of control. In this archetype, countering spells isn't necessary. If you've done your job correctly, your opponents won't be casting any spells for you to counter.

225

The Mana-Denial Trifecta

     So, I'm temporarily trading in my Forces for Trinispheres, and my Monastery Mentors for Lodestone Golems. There may be games where someone breaks away and steals a game before I can put down a lock piece, but I'm willing to take that chance if it means I get to play a consistent deck. 

 

 

 

     This is a list that I borrowed (meaning copied) from Montolio. He personally crushed my hopes and dreams with this type of deck in a Daily Event, and from my side of the table, the deck seemed really good. This particular version was a 4-0 list, and that's a place I like to start when learning an archetype. Let's go ahead and break the deck down into its various parts.

Forgemaster Shops Deck Tech

     Mana:

Mishra's Workshop Tolarian Academy Ancient Tomb Mana Crypt Sol Ring Mox Jet Mox Pearl Mox Ruby Mox Sapphire Cavern of Souls

     This deck plays a whopping 26 mana-sources, although five of them (four Wastelands and Strip Mine) aren't really intended to be used for mana most of the time. This is a ton of land, and not something you'd see in a normal Vintage deck. In many ways, this deck plays like a big-mana deck (12-Post or Tron) in that it wants to use lands that make more than one mana. There isn't any real card draw, other than Staff of Nin, and no card selection either. So, hitting all of the possible land-drops is key.

Lock Pieces/Mana Denial:

Trinisphere Thorn of Amethyst Sphere of Resistance Lodestone Golem Wasteland Strip Mine Chalice of the Void Crucible of Worlds Phyrexian Metamorph Phyrexian Revoker Tangle Wire

     All of these cards either shut off or destroy a resource, with the exception of Crucible of Worlds which recycles Wastelands. Phyrexian Metamorph also can become things other than a lock piece, but it is in the deck for added redundancy.

     In the case of Lodestone Golem and Revoker, both of these cards can also help win a game through combat. Once upon a time, people were forced to rely on Juggernaut, and Lodestone Golem is quite the upgrade. Many matches that I've played have been won on the back of a Golem. 

     Phyrexian Revoker can shut down an opponent's Mox, Black Lotus, or any artifact that is causing you trouble. Be aware that a lot of Vintage decks play the same artifact mana-sources, because if you control a copy of the same cards, Revoker will shut that card off as well.

 Creatures/Threats/Utility

Sundering Titan Steel Hellkite Wurmcoil Engine Kuldotha Forgemaster Mishra's Factory

     I love the creatures this deck gets to play. I think that what finally sold me on the deck was my fond memories of casting Wurmcoil Engine while playing Tron in Modern. I also loved toolbox decks like pod, and this deck gets to play Kuldotha Forgemaster to find a game-winning threat, or if necessary, a missing lock-piece like Crucible of Worlds.

     Mishra's Factory was included in this category, but it is also a mana-generator if need be. The most important reason the Factories are in the list, is that man-lands provide an uncounterable clock that can be committed to the table without having to use up mana.

     Kuldotha Forgemaster is an all-star in the deck. Being able to repeatedly Tinker for a game-ending threat or sideboard card, Forgemaster is the gift that keeps on giving. Don't forget that you can cash in a useless Tangle Wire before it finally fades away. Fading (unlike the fixed version "vanishing") is templated in such a way that the cards with the ability aren't sacrificed until the turn after the last counter is removed.

 

Sideboard

The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale One copy of The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale. This non-mana producing land is great at keeping the board clear of creatures, especially tokens. Combined with the mana-denial strategy, this card is practically a zero-mana, uncounterable Wrath of God.

Duplicant Duplicant is as close to Swords to Plowshares as you can get with an artifact deck. Luckily, it's a built-in two-for-one. Just like a Nekrataal, Duplicant kills an opposing creature, and leaves a body behind. So, you're plus one creature, to their minus one creature. 187 creatures, as we used to call them back in the Mirage/Visions/Weatherlight era, are very powerful. 

     I bring this card in whenever I'm facing a deck that could contain a large creature, like a Griselbrand out of an Oath deck, or a Wurmcoil Engine in a match against the mirror. In one mirror match, I was able to stabilize my position against an opposing Wurmcoil Engine with a Forgemaster activation tutoring up a Duplicant to exile the lifelinking Wurm.

Grafdigger's Cage Four Cages. Like I say in every sideboard breakdown, Dredge is the real deal. Don't be foolhardy, pack some graveyard hate.

     Oath of Druids decks are also a bad matchup for this kind of deck, and Cage is a great way to hold the opponent back. Storm can also be slowed down with a Cage, as it makes Yawgwill worthless.

Tormod's Crypt Four Crypts, for Dredge. These, like Grafdigger's Cage, can also harm Storm decks, by exiling a graveyard in response to a Yawgmoth's Will.

Ghost Quarter A single Ghost Quarter to bring in in the mirror match. Just like Wasteland and Strip Mine, Ghost Quarter can be recycled with Crucible of Worlds. This serves to create a lock that won't ever allow your opponent to have more than one land in play. This is one of the more soul-crushing things that a Prison deck can do.

Crucible of Worlds Three copies of Crucible of Worlds. This is here, as I mentioned above, for Strip Mine recursion.

Triskelion Triskelion is great at picking off x/1's. It also can attack, or be sacrificed to a Kuldotha Forgemaster activation.

Playing with Workshop Prison

     There is a lot more to playing this archetype than I realized before trying it. Sure, the basic plan of vomiting your hand of "threats" onto the table (in this case, mostly lock-pieces and Lodestone Golems) isn't complicated. The proper sequencing is very important though, and not always easy to see to the uninitiated.

     For instance, I had a match the other day, where I simply forgot to play a Chalice of the Void set to zero. I ended up playing it a turn later, but that gave my opponent a window to cast the Mox Ruby they had in hand. I went on to lose that game, and it was very close in the end. Had I played the Chalice at the right time, my opponent would have been shut out of the game longer, and I think that I'd have won the match.

     So, what I've learned is to play lock-pieces as soon as possible. Also, I always make sure to maximize the pain that the mana-denial cards will inflict on the opponent. Take a look at these three cards, and imagine that you're on the play:

     Lodestone Golem     Thorn of Amethyst     Sphere of Resistance

     If my opening hand has those three cards, plus Mishra's Workshop, Sol Ring, Mana Crypt, in which order should the mana-taxing artifacts be played? You have remembered to play every mana-producer first (I hope), and you can make six mana, enough to play two of the lock-pieces. 

     It's pretty simple, if you're paying attention. Thorn of Amethyst affects non-creatures, so it can be played before Lodestone Golem. Lodestone Golem affects non-artifact spells, so it doesn't tax any other cards in your deck (with a few exceptions). Sphere of Resistance affects everything, so it is obviously last. So, by that logic, we have a turn one that consists of Golem and Thorn, with Sphere being playable turn two for only three mana. 

     I'd play the Thorn first, to bait out a counterspell. Lodestone Golem is more dangerous for the opponent, if that gets played first, the opponent could Force of Will it, as no taxing effect has entered play yet. If you successfully resolve Thorn first, then Lodestone Golem is essentially impossible to counter (on turn one). To top it all off, the first spell that your opponent plays will cost two more mana to play.

    While the example I used wasn't a particularly difficult one to figure out, there will be many more situations where the sequencing might be harder. The thing is, making that play or any other play incorrectly could easily cost you a game, or even an entire match. Always be aware of how your cards will interact with each other, but also be aware of how they could affect your opponent.

Send them back to the Stone-Age...

Keeping the game-state at turn zero.

     The goal with this type of deck is to stop your opponent from playing spells. Once your opponent gains a little board presence, the chances of winning the game drop dramatically. I've seen this phenomenon from both sides of the table, and it is a very sound concept.

     Here's a real life example. In a Daily Event last weekend, I faced a Stax deck with my Mentor Control deck. On turn two of game one (on the draw), I chose to play a main-phase Snapcaster Mage for no value, just because I knew that my only chance to win was getting a creature on board before it was too late. I was able to play it, because the only taxing effects in play were Thorn of Amethyst, which doesn't affect creatures.

     I went on to win that game, with Snapcaster going almost the entire distance. Sadly, I lost the next two games (only seeing one of four Ingot Chewers). The point is, even a 2/1 creature can, if left unattended, defeat a Shops deck. It's imperative that we don't allow the opponent to gain any board state.

     This idea of "sending them back to the stone-age" ties in closely to the concept of proper sequencing. If you've drawn enough mana to cast your spells, and you've sequenced plays correctly, then things should go smoothly.

Tangle Wire

     Tangle Wire was an old favorite card of mine, and I love playing with it now. The Winter Orb with fading is great at shutting down the opponent's board development. As important and strong as this card is, it's important to play it as soon as it's needed.

     Tangle Wire doesn't have to tap four permanents to be worth playing. If waiting to cast a Tangle Wire would allow your opponent to play any spells the following turn, then it is a good idea to not let that happen, and just play it right away. So, waiting until your opponent has four permanents (likely only lands) is often times the wrong choice. Just like I chose to play my Snapcaster Mage before I could get value from it, you need to be able to make a tight play, and not get greedy.

     Given the choice of playing a lock-piece or some other threat, I'll usually play the lock-piece. Getting that Kuldotha Forgemaster online a.s.a.p. might seem like a sweet play, but if it lets your opponent start to crawl back into the game, it was not the right move. Remember, if they can cast a one-drop through your Spheres, that one-drop could be an invoked Ingot Chewer or Nature's Claim. I can remember making the mistake of casting a Kuldotha Forgemaster instead of playing an extra Sphere of Resistance, because I thought my opponent was being hurt enough by the one tax-effect I had out. I also wanted to use my Forgemaster the next turn. My opponent ended up paying the extra mana for a Nature's Claim, and I lost the game several turns later.

     Stacking triggers correctly is important as well. The list covered in this article doesn't contain Smokestack, so Tangle Wire is the only triggered ability that I'll worry about for now. Just remember to put the Fading: X ability on the stack last, so that the counters come off first. This will allow you to tap less permanents, which should in turn allow you to have more untapped mana sources.

Coercive Portal     Staff of Nin

     One other important thing to consider, other than Staff of Nin(or in some decks, Coercive Portal), Workshop-Prison decks have no way to draw any cards. Therefore, wasting any card, or losing ground in any way can be devastating. There are some bombs in the deck, so it is possible to stage a comeback with something like a Wurmcoil Engine, or Sundering Titan, but it isn't something you should be counting on happening. 

     Like all Blue Mages, I started thinking about adding some sort of card-draw, or even adding colored mana sources to support some other types and colors of cards. The prevailing wisdom, which I am heeding, states that adding such things will weaken the plan of the deck by diminishing its consistency. I can see why it would be tempting to add some sort of draw engine, but I know why it would not work.

     The reason you'd want to draw cards, would be if the deck's resource-denial plan wasn't working properly, and the opponent was mounting a comeback of sorts. The problem is, if you shave lock-pieces for card-draw, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy! You'll actually need the card-draw more often, because you're failing to stop the opponent from casting cards!

Artifact Decks in Vintage, and Legacy.

     Here are a few other decks that use some of the same principles as Workshop prison. I've included a Legacy deck as well, in case anyone is interested. The Legacy list could also be a good starting point for someone who hasn't committed to Vintage yet.

 

 

     First up, is a Legacy MUD deck. This deck has many similarities to a Workshop prison deck, with the noticeable exception of Mishra's Workshop itself. Workshop is banned in Legacy, so the mana comes from the Sol Lands, as well as the Locus lands. Since Mishra's Workshop is banned in Legacy, the DCI has let Trinisphere be played in the format. The consistent turn-one Trinisphere is what broke the card in Vintage, but in Legacy the 3-ball doesn't come down until turn two, which makes the  card slightly less unfair. I think that this deck looks like a fun way to play some Legacy, and I'll be giving it a try in the near future.

     Up next, another Vintage deck. This is also a prison-style build, and this deck seeks to be as controlling as possible.

 

 

     Four copies of Mishra's Factory and four Mutavaults add up to a whole lot of man-lands. These are the most efficient threats that the deck can play, and they do a good job of cleaning up the mess after the opponent becomes locked out of the game. This list also sports a play-set of Dismember to add to the controlling aspect of the game.

     This list doesn't seem to be very popular online, as I haven't noticed any lists that looked like this in the Daily Event deck listings. If there are any Terra Nova players reading this article, I'd love to chat about your thoughts on the deck.

Sundering Titan

     Up next, we have Martello Shops, a deck that is clearly similar to the one that I've been playing. This list is a few years old, so I don't know how close it is to a stock Martello list.

 

     A big part of what separates Martello shops from other decks of its ilk is the Kuldotha Forgemaster. Forgemaster won me a match the other night, so I have a distinct fondness for the card. It reminds me of a colorless Birthing Pod, and the things that it can tutor for are even more powerful. Searching up a (Wurmcoil Engine) would require several Pod activations, while Forgemaster can just cut to the chase and get you what you need.Kuldotha Forgemaster also gives you something to do with your used-up Tangle Wires, which is a nice bonus.

     All week, I've been testing a Martello shops list in my spare time, and it has been performing remarkably well. I played against the same person playing Delver one morning, and I lost one match out of three or four. I'm playing in the tournament practice room, and I know that the competition will be stronger in the Daily Events, but I still think the positive results are an accurate portrayal of the strength this deck has.

 

 

 

     Finally, we have my favorite coffee-flavored deck, Espresso Stax. Most modern decks with the "Stax" moniker actually eschew Smokestack these days, but the name has stuck. 

     Espresso Stax doesn't try to get cute with giant battlecruisers like Wurmcoil Engine or Steel Hellkite. Instead, this list is as all-in on the prison theme as it can be. I plan on at least testing each of these Workshops variants, just to see which one performs the best. I'm not sure which version is the most powerful, but I'm quite confident that Espresso Stax has the best name. 

Serum Powder


     In the past, it was popular for Espresso Stax to feature a playset of the Mulligan Mox, Serum Powder. The idea was to give the deck more chances at finding an opening hand that couldn't be beat. While this is still a fundamentally sound concept, Serum Powder has fallen out of favor. 

 

Closing Thoughts - Why I love Vintage.

     Tournament-level Vintage Magic is the most difficult Magic I've ever played. In truth, there have been times that I've become frustrated to the point of wanting to quit. Soon after, though, that frustration fades, and I win another match, or cash another Daily Event. That's when I remember why I love it so much. 

     All of the decks in Vintage are just incredible. Even the bad decks are over-powered compared to other formats! There is an abundance of card-draw, deck manipulation. tutors, and efficient removal. This leads to some really crazy plays, which create a great show to entertain an audience with. The Vintage Super League matches with Luis Scott-Vargas facing off against Stephen Menendian had an absurd amount of views, a fact which is even more impressive when you consider the small player-base.

     For someone like myself, there is also a nostalgia aspect. Even though my original paper collection ended up in the hands of 'Your Move Games" back in 2001, I'm able to get that same thrill by owning all of those cards (and more) in my Magic Online collection. Even though I'm not able to grind PTQs to try to get on a Pro Tour, and even though I won't be playing paper Vintage any time soon, I'm able to get that experience on my laptop, and it's a wonderful thing.

     Further cementing Vintage as my favorite format, is the community of people who choose to play it. While I love the Magic community as a whole, I can say with certainty that no other group of Magic players have been as kind, helpful, and accepting to me. Right from the beginning, people offered deck advice, and did whatever else they could do to help. Nobody treated me like an outsider, something which happens all-to-often in some elitist circles in other formats. Just last weekend, I went to Reddit to post a link to one of my articles, and there was already one there. Someone had posted it already, and they were happy to discuss it with me. That's the first time that has ever happened, and I can't thank that individual enough.

     So, if you're like I once was, and you're sitting on the outside, wishing you could play Vintage, maybe you can make it a reality. It's not easy, for sure, but it can be done. I know that a lot of people would be more than glad to assist in any way they could. And remember, while the initial investment might look scary, you're buying (or trading) into a deck that is going to be as powerful two years from now as it is today. In fact, the staples you pick up will last, for all intents and purposes, an eternity. That is the true beauty of an eternal format.

Mana Drain

     Well folks, I'm fresh out of words. Until next time, try slinging some artifacts and see what kind of results you get. These Workshop decks are very powerful, and a lot more fun to play than I first imagined. And after giving someone a vicious soul-crushing with Trinisphere, Wasteland, and Crucible of Worlds, please remember to be kind and sociable. I've gone into round four of a daily needing that win to cash, won game one, only to be buried by Spheres and hammered by Golems for the next two games. It can be rough to sit through.

 

Thanks for reading!

Joe Fiorini, Islandswamp on MTGO

Follow me on Twitter @josephfiorinijr

15 Comments

Stax thoughts by Clan Magic Eternal at Fri, 05/08/2015 - 11:30
Clan Magic Eternal's picture
5

Hey Joe -

Always love the content. The sad things about decks like this and the people that rely on them is they take about four (possibly five) brain cells to pilot once you realize the sequencing required.

I have *personally* been anti-shops for quite a while - as even other linear strategies like Dredge take so much more thought and competence to pilot correctly.

The saddest thing about a shop pilot's plight is the decision making is boiled down to which order will I play my lock effects in - and the less-versed pilots may think just having lock effects is enough while completely ignoring the necessary threats.

This is also the #1 reason I am a huge Wasteland enthusiast - the card is such a good tool for taking away a lot of the inherent advantage Stax decks get (like 4 Workshops)

Good article - looking forward to the next archetype!

Zach

Well, I haven't given up on by Joe Fiorini at Fri, 05/08/2015 - 11:39
Joe Fiorini's picture

Well, I haven't given up on my other decks, but I want to win, and this deck seems both consistent and powerful.

I lost the last round once, to a shops opponent who Countered his own sol ring with his chalice set on one. That was after winning game one. If you can play like that and still cash a daily, then maybe I can too.

FYI i also built a copy of your deck. But i'm as good as you yet, so i'm not ready to take it out.

I'm not sure BUG is even the by Clan Magic Eternal at Fri, 05/08/2015 - 12:34
Clan Magic Eternal's picture

I'm not sure BUG is even the right answer in this format right now. I kind of resent the fact that results are boiled down to two categories (generally):

Mentor/Delver or Shops

I miss some of the diversity. As much as people want to act like Doomsday and Salvagers and Grixis are real options take a look at the overarching metagame right now:

http://www.mtggoldfish.com/metagame/vintage#online

That means %54.9 of the placing decks have been on those 2 categories.

I wish the metagame would diversify, but I believe two changes need to happen first, and I'm surprised no one is talking about them.

1: RESTRICT LODESTONE - been saying for years to have a lock effect and a win condition on one card is really stupid and unfair.

2: RESTRICT DIG - As much as I love it, the card has warped the metagame for blue decks. Even cards like notion thief do nothing to stop the card advantage.

Anyone out there who thinks I am wrong, I would **LOVE** for you to explain why!

I completely agree about the by TheKidsArentAlright at Fri, 05/08/2015 - 13:49
TheKidsArentAlright's picture

I completely agree about the lack of diversity and overall stale taste of the format at present. However, I'm not convinced that Lodestone and Dig are the cards that need to go. I've mentioned before that I think the real culprit is Gush, the rest of the engine just happens to synergize very well with that card and would be fine without it.

The first order effect of Gush is to relegate other blue decks. Engines like Dark Confidant, Gifts, and Thirst cannot keep up with the deck velocity or raw card advantage provided by the trifecta of Gush, cantrips, and Delve spells. The decks built around them fall by the wayside and blue becomes more or less homogenized.

So now we have a bunch of people on blue decks that want to play a ton of 1 mana spells every turn. What strategy naturally trumps that? Workshops. Shops is already an inherently powerful deck, maybe even the most powerful. With Gro decks being so popular these days, it no wonder Mishra's lands are also heavily played.

So, my counter suggestion on how we diversify the metagame:
1: Restrict Gush - It's been a problem every time it's been unrestricted, and the present is no different. Lock it up and throw away the key.

2: Unrestrict Thirst for Knowledge - With Gush out of the picture, I think we could see TfK competing with Bob, Gifts, and Fact of Fiction simultaneously diversifying blue and diminishing Workshops.

I think that monastery mentor by Joe Fiorini at Fri, 05/08/2015 - 13:56
Joe Fiorini's picture

I think that monastery mentor and the ur delver deck get a lot less powerful if gush gets restricted.

I am still new to vintage, so my opinions aren't as well informed as others. I suppose if I'd never quit magic, I'd know more about the format, as I started in 95.

I'll come up with my next by Joe Fiorini at Fri, 05/08/2015 - 21:57
Joe Fiorini's picture

I'll come up with my next deck the same way I pick which plays to make. Coin flips and Magic 8-balls. :)

David/ youhavenogame by Clan Magic Eternal at Fri, 05/08/2015 - 14:27
Clan Magic Eternal's picture
5

David/ youhavenogame here:

@TheKidsArentAlright

I have never seen your screen name in a Vintage daily before. Maybe what you are talking about is happening in the TP or cas-cas rooms (no one is playing Confidant and Gifts in the real world anymore)? Gush is not the culprit of all evil, it is perfectly balanced for Vintage. The cards that apparently put it over the top are Pyromancer, Mentor, Dack and DTT, but at the end of the day you get 2 random cards off the top of your deck and you set yourself back in tempo, which is a big liability against Shops. Drawing 2 random cards is not that strong by itself, getting to look at a fresh hand and pick the 2 best cards is, though. Not to mention the fact that you can Delve additional cards behind spheres, mitigating the mana disadvantage given by Stax.

And wtf did Thirst for Knowledge come from? Isn't that kind of a joke card? Isn't preordain just better to fix your early game, ESPECIALLY against a deck like Stax? Also, what are you going to throw away? You would have to build your deck around Thirst for it to wield any value, otherwise you pay 3 mana (100000 against Stax) to loot a couple of cards. Broken. It being still restricted is just an oversight by Wotc, and I'm sure when DTT gets restricted we will see another "prisoner exchange" like we did before with Cruise and Gifts (which obv sucks, or have you ever seen a list with more than 1 Gifts go 4-0 EVER?).

Facing shops, i'm happy by Joe Fiorini at Fri, 05/08/2015 - 15:27
Joe Fiorini's picture

Facing shops, i'm happy drawing dig, and not so much drawing gush.
I'll be kind of sad without multiple dtt, but it is probably the right thing to do in the end.

One other thing, there sure is a significant difference between the t. P. Room and the daily events.
Sometimes, I can get some good practice in in there, because people who also play in the daily events are practicing at the same time.

Other times, I've won a bunch of matches and felt like I was in good shape for the Daily. Then I'd have a mediocre at best performance in the daily.

So, your point about free play rooms and tournament play having different metagames is accurate.

(I'm typing this on my phone by TheKidsArentAlright at Fri, 05/08/2015 - 17:00
TheKidsArentAlright's picture

(I'm typing this on my phone from work. Please forgive any typos or nonsensical words.)

No ,I haven't played a daily in a long time. My schedule lines up poorly with their event times. That's neither here nor there though. Numbers don't lie. Pulling data for the last 2 months shows the cantrip/Gush/delve engine as roughly 30% of the metagame. Gifts is 8%, and Bob is virtually non-existent. So, for all intents and purposes, nobody is playing those cards, and the Gush engine is the reason why.

Gush is NOT balanced. Delver was arguably the best deck before Dack, Dig, Mentor, and Cruise. Those cards just put it over the top and helped popularize it. Ok, it is just random cards off the top of your deck. So is Ancestral. The power behind Gush is that it's free. The tempo loss is mitigated by the shell built around it, and is not infrequently an advantage when trying to land a 3 drop or facing a Wasteland.

Dig is abstractly more powerful. No argument there. It requires significant setup though. Cantrips and Gush are the cards that provide it. Take that away and Dig loses a lot of its oomph. Also, Dig fits into more strategies than Gush and does not actively harm diversity, and if you're in a position to delve past spheres, chances are your already winning.

What point are you even trying to make about TfK? Its safe to unrestrict. It's a "build around me" card, or have you never seen Control Slaver? It's not trying to serve the same purpose as Preordain. The whole idea behind my suggested B&R changes is to break up the Gush engine and provide more options. Restricting DTT will not accomplish the first goal and Thirst is one of the last nonsense restrictions left.

P.S. - If you want to promote discussion, lose the attitude. If you want to promote yourself, have fun with that. I don't have the time or energy to deal with arrogance and thinly veiled insults.

I think Thirst need to be by TugaChampion at Fri, 05/08/2015 - 19:45
TugaChampion's picture

I think Thirst need to be unrestricted because it's not that powerful anymore. Maybe something should be done to dig/gush/some shops card but I also think those percentages just mean most people are playing it safe by choosing to play those decks. I still see other decks when I play fairly often and it's certainly possible to win with those other decks.

LOL by Rerepete at Sat, 05/09/2015 - 11:42
Rerepete's picture

Let's restrict all cards so everyone is on an even keel.

Then we can play Vintage 100CS.

:)

Hi Joe, Thanks for the by TurboK at Sat, 05/09/2015 - 16:17
TurboK's picture

Hi Joe,

Thanks for the shout-outs! Hope to see you in the daily later today, I might try out Martello shops to see how good it actually is! Maybe if the deck gets too dominant online something will get banned.

More likely restricted, but I by Joe Fiorini at Sat, 05/09/2015 - 19:42
Joe Fiorini's picture

More likely restricted, but I don't know.

Here's what I've discovered:

The things that make several of the top decks so good; Low mana-counts, tons of cheap spells, a huge number of one-mana spells, a reliance on those one-mana spells to find the few threats and lands that they do play, all of those things make those decks soft to an efficient, redundant, mana and resource denial plan.

I think that you could probably make a deck that was really good against Workshops, but it would likely be a dog to all of the other top decks in Vintage.

From playing the deck, I've learned what types of hands will lose. It's not always easy to see, but sometimes the deck starts off good and bricks long enough that the opponent can get some board presence, and the game is lost.

A resolved Trygon or Dack (Especially Dack) when the shops player doesn't have an active Kuldotha Forgemaster is rough.

You know, maybe if Delver decks, and similar archetypes could get away with squeezing a playset of Wastelands into their build, they'd have a better shot.

Also, I had someone manage to resolve an Energy Flux against me and that was GG. Can't pay that tax with Shop mana!

What about Hex Parasite as a by Rerepete at Mon, 05/11/2015 - 05:50
Rerepete's picture

What about Hex Parasite as a SB card for Dack?

I'm going to try and fit one by Joe Fiorini at Mon, 05/11/2015 - 11:47
Joe Fiorini's picture

I'm going to try and fit one more revoker in the main.

I'm playing the full load of taxing effects, so the fact that my opponent was able to resolve dack should show that I had some unlikely draws.

I had a belcher player turn one me (ironic that I made that specific reference in my article!), and I also had an opponent go turn One lotus into energy flux.

Every game that I lost involved my opponents managing to resolve one bomb threat Before I could lock the door on them.

I'll keep trying. I'm not ever going to stop.