Back in November, Knut suggested to find the ten most important issues to Type 1 players and to base an article on this. I thought of ten questions on my own which I polled members of The Mana Drain on. Helping me to interpret the data is Steve”Smmennycakes” (he loves it when you call him that) Menendian and providing color commentary is Vintage World Champ Carl Winter. I found five main points from the polls:
1) Type 1 players want to have fun at their tournies
2) They want to play”their” decks, but they also want to win
3) They like cards that are powerful, but prefer cards that are useful
4) They don’t necessarily have all the facts regarding Magic, but they know their format
5) They want their format to grow, but would prefer if it didn’t happen so quickly
Here are the polls and their results:
#1: Timmy, Johnny, or Spike?
I treated both versions of each category (Johnny/Spike and Spike/Johnny, etc.) as being the same.
Spike and Johnny/Spike like to win. They like powerful cards. The difference between them is that Johnny/Spike likes to win on his own terms. This can vary anywhere from building competitive rogue decks to building their own versions”from scratch” of established decks. A Johnny/Spike will never directly take someone else’s decklist. In a way, the Johnny/Spike embodies the”casual competitive” nature of Type 1 that a lot of Type 1 players enjoy so much. Johnny/Spike isn’t totally about winning like Spike is, but he also isn’t totally about just”doing his thing” like Johnny is.
I have a problem with this. I think players need to be ready to straight up copy a decklist. Tuning is good, but sometimes decks are perfect or nearly so. Many players fancy themselves”Spikes” when they are actually Johnny/Spikes. People say,”What’s the fun in playing someone else’s deck?” or something to that extent. This is a critically flawed attitude. We need predictable, coherent metagames. If people aren’t willing to do this, we may have long terms problems in Type One.
#2: What type of cards would you like to see R&D develop more of?
Cards with general utility (fetchlands)
Cards which are strong in every format (Fact or Fiction)
Cards designed with T1 in mind (Chalice of the Void)
Design”mistakes” (Mind’s Desire)
The most common responses for other were for people that wanted new cards with interesting, unique effects
This poll surprised me somewhat, because I didn’t think that”cards designed with Type 1 in mind” would score so poorly. While my only example that I gave in the poll for”cards with general utility” were the fetchlands, cards like Fire / Ice also fall into this category. These are the kind of cards that make decks run more smoothly and effectively, but aren’t the kind of cards that you can build a whole new deck around. Those kind of cards fall more into the other four categories. I think this poll corresponds pretty well with the first poll. Maro’s example of a Johnny/Spike card was Basking Rootwalla, which I think is kind of like a fetchland or a Fire/Ice. It’s a card with a powerful effect, but it isn’t the card that you build the deck around. That’s the Wild Mongrel’s job.
I think your poll is flawed. The examples you gave distorted the answers you gave. If you hadn’t given examples, but had simply left the choices, you would have had totally different answers. It’s very difficult to say that you didn’t like Fetchlands more than the rest of those cards.
I don’t get it. I’m so not as cool as you two.
#3: Do you play any other formats?
The current PTQ format
The most common responses for”a combination” involved typically playing 1.5 along with casual formats and multiplayer
This is a very important poll when considering the Type 1 community when they speak out. Only 8% of the players polled said that they stay current with PTQ formats, and at least 41% (and probably closer to around 60%) do not play any of the current formats. The two important facts to glean from this are that there are probably going to be a lot of stereotypes tossed around about what they think the other formats are and why Type 1 is better (“Type 2 players are all unsportsmanlike””Type 2 costs so much money because you need Chrome Mox and Oblivion Stone for your deck.”) The second is that the”we buy boxes too!” argument is a lot thinner when you aren’t trying to get cards to fill out your playsets or to get packs for drafting.
I think you are totally wrong on this one. I think the”a combination” does not reflect people who play T1 and 1.5. I think the 1.5 and T1 players are almost completely represented in the 10% who voted for 1.5. I also think there is probably a 5-10% overlap of T1 and Five-Color.
Draft is so much better than Type 1.
#4: Do you have a pet deck?
No, although I play decks that fit my style
Yes, although I don’t play it if it doesn’t perform
Yes, but for a different reason
Yes, and I play it in almost every tourney
No, I play the best deck at the time
Yes, but for monetary reasons
The most common responses for”yes, but for a different reason” was that they built a”fun” deck that they kept around but that was not for tournament play.
Ignoring”Yes, but for a different reason,” since it mostly had to do with non-tournament decks, the important note here is the very low placing of”No, I play the best deck at the time.” For a while, I was personally fairly concerned about this. From the period of about the summer until next week, it was quite commonly believed that Long.dec was not the best deck, since there typically were not that many of them making top 8’s in larger tournaments. At the same time, it was also argued by people like Steve Menendian that it was the best deck and showed detailed step-by-step logs of how it could win through fairly strong resistance by its opponent, but only if the person playing the deck took the time to thoroughly test each match-up and to play each game flawlessly.
However, the recent restrictions of Lion’s Eye Diamond, Burning Wish, and Chrome Mox showed that despite the relative lack of tournament showings, the DCI would act on more theoretical grounds when dealing with restrictions. I feel that this is a very important precedent, because the results of this poll (and also with my first poll) show that it might be difficult to identify which decks are degenerate because of skewed deck choice based on personal preference rather than win percentages and raw power.
I completely agree with your implied criticism.
#5: What do you think of budget decks?
They should be”good”
They should be”playable”
It doesn’t matter how good they are
There should always be one top tier budget deck
They should be”good,” and B/R policy should facilitate this
I have no opinion
I purposely left terms like”good” and”playable” to be ambiguous
I didn’t include what I thought should happen so that budget decks could be”good” or”playable,” because I really just wanted to know opinions rather than solutions, since most of the solutions are just flat out unfeasible (proxies in sanctioned tournaments, reprints, etc.). It would be nice if budget decks could be”good.” Right now, I think they are”playable” simply because as metagames develop, the tier one decks usually start to become inbred so that they can fight each other and simply try to rely on broken power-based draws to beat decks like budget and cut all their cards that could help them in those match-ups like Powder Keg for cards like Back to Basics.
The best example of this was when Invasion came out and the three tier one decks (Accelerated Blue, Keeper, and Workshop beatdown) were all based around playing four Fact or Fiction. The decks could frequently power through budget decks simply through strong draws like turn 1 Mana Leak, turn 2 Fact or Fiction, Force of Will your spell, turn 3 Morphling, but usually couldn’t beat the budget decks if they played huge amounts of hate game 1, with Stompy decks often going turn 1 Hidden Gibbons, Rushwood Legate, turn 2 Null Rod. It’ll be tough figuring out how to make budget decks”good” though.
This is a messy issue, I’d rather not comment.
#6: Why do you think that Type 1 is in its current state?
People are taking deckbuilding seriously
The cardpool is being explored more
Too many weird interactions slip past R&D
The cardpool has reached”critical mass”
Players are bringing in knowledge from other formats
I generally agree with the fact that deckbuilding is being taken more seriously, I am really surprised that”players are bringing knowledge from other formats” is ranked so low, which makes no sense to me. Looking at various decks that were considered the best decks in Type 1 over the last four years or so, Trix and Gro were Extended decks, Accelerated Blue and Psychatog were Standard decks, and Long.dec was based on the Yawgmoth’s Will/Lion’s Eye Diamond engine which powered a bunch of Extended decks such as Jar. Granted, the other formats aren’t played as much, but those are pretty famous decks.
I think implied in”taking deckbuilding more seriously” is importing ideas from other formats. If people are more serious about deckbuilding, they will be looking for ideas wherever they might come. I think that the last year of deckbuilding reflects innovation new to Type One. Mask, TnT, Long, Rector decks, Stax are Type One conceived and designed and not really borrowed so much from other formats. Tog certainly is 1.x conceived but GroAtog, while Gro-based, is conceptually T1 exclusive since the fetchlands are really what made that deck possible and they never came into 1.x until after Duals had left.
#7: Why do you play Type 1?
I like playing with broken cards
I like playing with cards with will always be playable
I like the laid-back nature of the tourneys
I like playing with the cards I started with
I played other formats until my cards rotated out
I don’t have time to stay current with newer formats
I like how the cards don’t lose their value
I like how my deck will always be playable
I like how I don’t have to buy new cards
The most common response for other were that people enjoyed the close-knit nature of the Type 1 community
The most popular response is the reason people should be playing T1. There is really no other valid reason for people who are serious about T1.
I totally agree. Most of the other options refer more to just wanting to have a sort of”casual competitive” format that invariably has to become either totally casual or totally competitive.
Speaking of the”close-knit nature of the Type 1 community,” contrary to what he says, JP is my barn and not the other way around.
#8: What do you consider the”best” set?
Ten other sets received one vote, which made up 18% of the vote. I let people vote for up to two sets here.
#9: What is your favorite set?
Ten other sets received one vote, which made up 17% of the vote. I let people vote for up to two sets here
I put these polls in mostly for fun and my own personal edification. Mostly, they say that”good” means powerful and”fun” means flavorful. Get a good mix of those in new sets and you can be sure that they’ll be a hit with Type 1 players.
These are irrelevant issues to me.
Hey, I voted for 8th Edition. Why isn’t it up there?
Pretty much every set got one vote, so I only counted the ones with multiple votes.
But it has such a sexxxxay layout! [Does anyone else picture Carl as Francis from PvP? – Knut]
#10: When was your favorite period in Type 1’s history?
June 2002-January 2003 (TnT-era, pre-GAT)
October 2000-January 2002 (Four FoF-era)
January 2002-June 2002 (post-FoF, pre-TnT)
January 2003-July 2003 (GAT-era)
Before October 1998 (pre-Urza’s Saga)
July 2003-October 2003 (post-GAT, pre-Mirrodin)
September 1999-October 2000 (post-Academy, pre-4 FoF)
October 1998-September 1999 (Academy-era)
This is one of the most interesting polls. I’ll break down what each choice really means
#1: One good aggro deck, one good control deck, and not that much else
#2: Overpowered control and the best time for budget
#3-4: Unexplored metagames
#5: The best time for proxy decks
#6: For those that liked the old Type 1 before it got heavily powered up
#7: Very defined metagame because of Vintage Worlds
#8-9: Combo dark ages
It is bad that the TnT time was the most popular. It looks like people liked T1 the best before people started breaking it. Before GAT, Stax, and now Long.
I totally agree. In the first two poll results, nothing was really happening with the metagame during those time periods, and as you can see, those were pretty big chunks of time (eighteen months between the two.) Basically during those times, you had around two or three tier 1 decks and then a lot of random stuff showing up at tournies. I guess it gave the impression that anything was playable, but a nuts draw for TnT or Accelerated Blue was impossible for a random deck to beat.
One last thing: Knut wants me to write regularly for SCG, but I’m pretty bad at coming up with ideas for articles. [I do. I think JP is particularly insightful and rather amusing to boot. – Knut] Leave some suggestions in the forum feedback for this article or toss out some emails to me. I’m not going to handle simple deck articles because these are common enough on SCG both among feature writers and from daily submissions. Think creative. If I get enough good suggestions, I’ll try to pump articles out fairly regularly.
jpmeyer at cwru dot edu (you know, so spambots won’t get me)