Wizards has now announced the first half of their long-awaited online Player Rewards program. Here's a link. The program is pretty sweet - it simply adds cards to your account, for free. There are multiple levels, and as you qualify for higher and higher levels, the rewards accumulate. The nice thing is that you get all the cards for all levels you have earned - so if you reach level 5 in a given month, you get five cards for that month: the level one card, the level two card, the level three card and so on.
I should explain the all caps cards (e.g. TERROR) in the summary, although many of you will have gotten the point already. Wizards recently gave out some cool promo cards - most notably textless Terrors, and Incinerates which will be distributed in August. That is slightly ironic, since both of those cards are rotating out of the core set in late July, when M10 appears online. Incinerate is being replaced by Lightning Bolt (yes, really), and Terror is being replaced by "Doom Blade." Textless promos - you are no longer playable. On the flip side, Fireball is coming back, and a textless version was a past promo card. Over time, it all works out.
Getting started in the Player Rewards program is pretty easy: the next time you log into Magic Online, you will see a pop-up box that invites you to join. Read - or at least scroll through - the rules, then click the "get rewards" button. (Wouldn't it be great to include a screen shot of the box here? Yes, but I didn't think of it - and once you accept, you don't see the pop-up again.) You can also click the "send me email" button and earn a couple extra points.
Accumulating points is the whole point (I'ze so punny) of the program. The more points you earn, the more loot you get - just like the paper version.
Just logging on a couple times during a month (okay - a minimum of five times) will get you Level 1 status for that month. The Tier one card is sweet - a digital version of a Euro land. Euro lands are some really cool, and quite rare, basic lands. My wife bought a couple packs of them, back in the day, and has played them in her PTQ and EDH decks ever since. Here they are.
Not bad, considering that all you really have to do is log in once a week or so.
You can also earn points for playing in events, provided that you stay in for the minimum number of rounds. Wizards has a nifty little table for points - let's see if I can recreate it.
|Players in Event
||Min. Rounds to Play
I have played in two drafts since the program began on July 1st. That adds another 6 points, so I'm already qualified for Tier 2. The prize for Tier 2 is a foil Euro land - chosen at random. I hope I get the Island. I like that art.
Note that the Player Rewards program does not care how you finished. You get the same number of points for finishing first in a draft, or getting eliminated in the first round. That makes sense - the Player Rewards program is intended to reward players for participating. MTGO already provides rewards for winning - stuff like Prize packs, special avatars, cards, Season Championships promo cards, etc. I think I won five packs in the two drafts - in addition to earning the six points for the Player Rewards program.
I have also qualified for the Lorwyn and Mirage Sealed Challenges this weekend. I checked Mirage - about 75 players have qualified for that event. If I play - and I am planning on it - I will get another 7 points. My name is missing from the Lorwyn list, at the moment, but I won a sealed qualifier, so that should be fixed soon. The list for that is longer, so playing in that event should be worth at least another 8 points.
With just those two events, I will be at 26 points which means I make Tier 3. Here's the Tier 3 promo card.
Reasonably cool. I have one - I could use another.
I also have three Shadowmoor tourney packs in my account, and enough Eventide packs to get me into three sealed events. Those will be worth another 9 points. I also have a bunch of draft sets in various flavors, so I'll get into a couple drafts. Two additional drafts, plus the sealeds, will get me over 40 points, the threshhold for Tier 4. The Tier 4 card is seriously cool.
Kird Ape is playable online - in both Extended and Vintage. I would also not be surprised to see it reappear in a core set sometime. Whatever - I like it.
The player rewards program accumulates points for the entire month. I know that I will play in a couple Tempest sealed events, since I really want the Tempest lands.
I carry a draft box with sleeves, plus 18 copies of particular lands already sleeved in my (paper) draft box. I have 18 copies of the Tempest Mountain with the two peaks curling towards each other presleeved. I also have Urza's Saga Plains, Urza's Saga Lightning Strike Islands, Mercadian Masques Swamps and - I can't remember which forests. I carry 18 copies of each land - all with identical pictures. I don't want to give my opponents any additional information if they see my hand (via Duress, or whatever), so I make sure I don't accidentally play a land with a picture my opponent hasn't seen. That's why all the pictures match. I want to do that online - and do it with cool lands. Hence the Tempest sealed events. (Or maybe Euro lands...)
/end another digression
With just a bit of luck - and if I qualify for the Shadowmoor or Tempest Sealed challenges - I can hit 80 points and make Tier 5. Tier 5 would give me a foil Kird Ape.
FOIL KIRD APE! COMIN' AT YA!!
The points needed for each Tier double each time. Tier 6 requires 160 points. That may be hard to do, given that I will have to spend a lot of time at work, and more time running and attending paper prereleases and PTQs this month. I may not have time to MODO as much as I would like. If I can make it, however, I will get a Tier 6 card. This month, the Tier 6 card is Dr. Teeth.
I checked my account. I do not own a Psychatog. Not a one - and I play a fair amount of 100 card singleton. I should. Now I will.
I was going to add "I hope" - but hope has little to do with it. I have a monthly budget of $100 to spend at the online store. Spending money at the store earns you points: $1 = 1 point. I didn't spend my whole budget last month, and I already know that I will be buying TIX and some Tempest tournament packs. That should get me Tier 6 easily, and possibly Tier 7 - which would get me a FOIL Dr. Teeth.
Of course, Tier 7 is 320 points - which is tough. Tier 8 is tougher - that requires 640 points. I don't think I can make that this month, but come January, when I am stuck inside more... The Tier 8 card, though, is a good one. I have a paper copy, in foil. Great art. Take a look.
A foil textless Damnation comes, along with all of the above, if you hit 1,280 points and make Tier 9. That's a ton - but serious dealers like Heath spend that much every new set. Better yet, if Heath spends more than $1,280, Heath will start up the ladder again, and earn more cards. If he earns 2,560 points, he will get two of everything, and so on.
Will anyone spend that much - well, M10 is scheduled to go on sale at the end of the month. To get a playset of all the Mythics, you will need to bust 480 packs, which would cost $1,920 (plus tax, but the tax does not earn points.) 1,920 points get you two of everything except for just one foil Damnation.
Not too bad.
The lands will be available for three months. The higher level promo cards change every month.
I'll be looking forward to everything I get. I just wish I had a better chance to get more lands. I may have to trade for them. Or I could just aim for playsets of all of them - in foil where possible. I would need a max of 24 of any given land - even if I am going to be playing a serious mono-colored control deck, I can't see needing more than 24, since I would have at least a couple non-basics. Since they come at random, I would need to cycle through the series 120 times to get them all. That would mean earning just 153,600 points. I could probably spend just $150,000 or so, and get the rest playing in events.
I'll have to talk to Ingrid, but I'm sure she will agree. She likes Euro lands, too - I'll take the foil Islands and Forests, and she can have the other foil versions. Or vice versa.
Seems like a plan.
"one million words" on MTGO.
p.s. The program is apparently only available in the US so far, (sorry foreigners - your time will come) and various terms and conditions apply. See the link for all the legal stuff.