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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Aug 11 2017 11:00am
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State of the Program for August 11th 2017
 
In the News
August MOPR Promo is Fatal Push: Wizards has announced that both the store and event promos for August will be an alt art Fatal Push. Since next month MOPR rewards will change over to a random promo from the list I published last week, Wizards is clearly giving the old program a big send-off.  
 
Wizards Announces More Flashback and Throwback Gauntlets: Wizards has finally announced the next month or so of events. See the Timeline for details. First up is the Ravnica Gauntlet. Info on the decks in the gauntlet is here. That list has a lot of memories, at least for me.
 
New Bug: According to the latest MTGO update: “If a creature is blocked by two creatures with combined toughness equal to the blocked creature’s power, you are unable to divide combat damage.” I have not had time this week to test this bug, but it seems highly abusable. Please remember that deliberately exploiting a known bug is both a dick move and a violation of the code of conduct, so try to avoid this.   Of course, sometimes a two-on-one block is the right play. It’s a mess, so hopefully Wizards can fix this quickly.
 
The Timeline
This is a list of things we have been promised, or we just want to see coming back.   Another good source for dates and times is the calendar and the weekly blog, while the best source for known bugs is the bug blog which appears sporadically on MTGO.com. Most of the major upcoming events we know of are listed.  Not listed, but important: Wizards offers either one or two online PTQs each weekend, with qualifiers running the three days prior to the PTQ.
 
Upcoming Events
Timing
Extended Downtime
Aug. 23rd, Sept. 20th, Oct. 25th
Sealed MOCS Monthly
September 15th, October 8th
Modern MOCS Monthly
August 27th
Standard MOCS Monthly
August 11th, October 21st
Current Leagues End
September 23rd 
Ixalan release
September 25, 2017
Rivals of Ixalan
January 21, 2018
Core Set Magic 2019
July 20, 2018
Commander 2017 details here.
November 2017 on MTGO
25th Anniversary Edition Masters
March 16, 2018
Next B&R Announcement
August 28, 2017
DTK, ORI, BFZ & OGW Redemption Ends
November 2, 2017
SOI and EMN Redemption Closes
April 28, 2018
 
Flashback, Throwback Standard and CUBE for 2017
Wizards will be offering either a flashback draft league, a flashback Standard gauntlet, a CUBE league or prerelease / Release events each week.   Here’s the schedule so far.
 
Flashback and Such Rotation
Begins
Ends
Flashback draft: Triple Odyssey
August 9th
August 16th
Ravnica Standard Gauntlet
August 16th
August 23rd
Tribal Lorwyn Gauntlet
August 23rd
August 30th
Flashback draft: TBA
August 30th
September 6th
Worldwake Standard Gauntlet
September 6th
September 13th
Modern Cube
September 13th
September 24th
(break for Ixalan limited)
September 25th
October 25th
 
The new Flashback Leagues are still draft, and you keep the cards. They are 12 TIX / product plus 2 TIX / 120 Play Points. However, they are no longer single elimination. Now you play until you have three wins or two losses. Prizes are 150 play points for three wins and 70 Play points for 2 wins. The leagues run one week.
 
The Throwback Standard Gauntlet events provide a random choice of prebuilt decks from a past standard environment. These will function like the Pro Tour Gauntlets – you won’t need to own the cards. The entry fee is 10 TIX or 100 Play Points. Prizes are in Play Points: 150 for 3-0, 100 for 2-1, 40 for 1-2 and 10 play points as a bad beats award. 
 
Opinion Section:   Grand Prix Attendance
 
Grand Prix Minneapolis was last weekend. I’m within 500 miles of the twin cities, but I did not attend this event. What is concerning is that not a lot of other players did, either. Attendance was 1150, which is good, but the attendance at the Standard GP in Minneapolis just over a year ago was over 1500. Other attendance numbers also appear to be down. If this is a trend, it would be worrying.
 
Now comparing numbers is really difficult. Events come in a number of formats, and in a lot of locations that are close but not identical.   This makes it difficult to compare. Is it reasonable of compare attendance at an event in Omaha, Nebraska with on in Kansas City, Missouri? They are close, but close enough? If one had very low attendance, was there something else going on? I remember that weather events have hurt attendance at a couple GPs I judged. We judges arrived early, but a blizzard cancelled flights across the nation, and lots of players missed day one, or could not get there at all.   Last weekend’s GP Minneapolis took place the week after a Pro Tour in Japan. Did that cause some pros to pass on this one because they spent some extra time in Japan, or just wanted to recover from jet lag? No way to know.
 
Still, looking across attendance for all events (list here) and taking known factors into account, it looks like attendance is down. Which has me wondering why.
 
It could be that people are still unhappy with the Standard format. We don’t really have enough data to know whether that is true, but it could be. 
 
Another factor has to be the cost. The price to play in Grand Prix Minneapolis was $80, $70 if you registered before June 23rd.   That is a lot of money for a constructed GP.  That is not reflected in prizes, either.   Only the Top 64 players cash at a GP, unless attendance tops 3,000.     
 
That price is not excessive, when you look at it from the perspective of the tournament organizer. The TO has to rent the hall, hire scorekeepers, judges and stage staff, rent tables and chairs, provide computers, monitors, printers and literally a ton of supplies. The TO also provides most of the stuff on the prize wall. At best, Wizards may give the TO a break on sealed product, but I am not sure whether that is true anymore.
 
Grand Prix used to be a lot cheaper, mainly because Wizards used to carry more of the costs. Wizards used to arrange for judges, but now the TO is responsible for hiring – and paying- judges. (Legally, having Wizards accept judges on a “volunteer” basis raises all kind s of legal issues, so Wizards turned the hiring of judges over to the TOs.)  
 
So is $70 too much for a constructed Grand Prix? It was for me, but I’m not sure how typical I am. We will have to see what happens to attendance. Or maybe I am looking at this all wrong. A year or two ago, we were discussing all the logistical problems created by huge GPs. Three thousand player GPs may sound great, but there are only a handful of venues in the entire world that can handle an event of that size. Logistically, 1,200 player events are about the right size, so maybe we should not be concerned. Maybe the increase in price has limited the size of events to something that can be reasonably handled. 
 
The first GP Minneapolis I attended had 404 players.  Compared to that, this GP did quite well.  
 
Cutting Edge Tech
Standard: GP Minneapolis (coverage here) was last weekend. The Top 8 included a number of the usual suspects: Ramunap Red, various GB builds, etc. The Tenth place deck, however, was a bit different. 
 
UW Approach of the Second Sun
Daniel Ward, 10th Place, Grand Prix Minneapolis - 75 Cards Total
Instant
4 Blessed Alliance
4 Censor
4 Glimmer of Genius
3 Hieroglyphic Illumination
4 Supreme Will
2 Unsummon


Sorcery
4 Fumigate
3 Approach of the Second Sun
 
Enchantment
4 Aether Meltdown
3 Cast Out
Land
2 Blighted Cataract
4 Irrigated Farmland
9 Island
6 Plains
4 Prairie Stream


Sideboard
4 Authority of the Consuls
1 Descend Upon the Sinful
2 Hour of Revelation
2 Linvala, the Preserver
2 Negate
2 Regal Caracal
2 Torrential Gearhulk
15 cards
 
Modern: MKM, a European card dealer and TO, ran a series of events in Prague the weekend before last. The Modern event had almost 300 players. Coverage is here. I'm going to feature this deck, because we haven't seen a lot of red decks recently, have we?  Not since the Pro Tour, and that was (two) weeks ago.  Time for a reminder.
 

Legacy: Not much Legacy news this week, so I'm going back to the MKM Legacy event two weekends ago. A 300 players event is more relevant that some random League 5-0s.

Vintage: I'm also going back the MKM Vintage Series event for my Vintage deck.  I do love Academy Rectors, even if they are just there to fetch Bargain and Omniscience. 
Card Prices
 
Note: all my prices come from the fine folks at MTGOTraders.com. These are retail prices, and generally the price of the lowest priced, actively traded version. (Prices for some rare promo versions are not updated when not in stock, so I skip those.)   You can get these cards at MTGOTraders.com web store, or from their bots: MTGOTradersBot(#) (they have bots 1-10), CardCaddy and CardWareHouse, or sell cards to MTGOTradersBuyBot(#) (they have buybots 1-4). I have bought cards from MTGOTraders for over a decade now, and have never been overcharged or disappointed.
 
Standard staples: Standard prices are all over the place again this week. A few cards that jumped last week, like Liliana, are returning to normal. The Eldrazi seemed to be the big gainers this week. 
 

Standard Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$40.15
$36.17
$3.98
11%
$14.17
$17.12
($2.95)
-17%
$6.19
$6.55
($0.36)
-5%
$11.59
$11.00
$0.59
5%
$11.91
$14.62
($2.71)
-19%
$7.95
$8.24
($0.29)
-4%
$10.66
$10.14
$0.52
5%
$25.85
$26.86
($1.01)
-4%
$17.23
$14.82
$2.41
16%
$46.90
$59.85
($12.95)
-22%
$6.47
$8.65
($2.18)
-25%
Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh
$6.63
$6.00
$0.63
11%
$12.47
$7.31
$5.16
71%
$11.05
$11.91
($0.86)
-7%
$8.00
$5.64
$2.36
42%
$17.45
$11.40
$6.05
53%
$20.84
$18.87
$1.97
10%
$5.87
$5.91
($0.04)
-1%
$11.76
$11.30
$0.46
4%
World Breaker
$8.58
$6.98
$1.60
23%

Modern staples:  Modern prices are pretty quiet again this week.
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$19.42
$19.68
($0.26)
-1%
$20.23
$20.16
$0.07
0%
$20.68
$19.88
$0.80
4%
$37.20
$35.67
$1.53
4%
$31.40
$24.14
$7.26
30%
$21.30
$21.84
($0.54)
-2%
$25.32
$27.40
($2.08)
-8%
$36.99
$35.48
$1.51
4%
$36.64
$35.99
$0.65
2%
$21.41
$24.41
($3.00)
-12%
$39.19
$47.02
($7.83)
-17%
$35.52
$33.94
$1.58
5%
$72.20
$73.47
($1.27)
-2%
$17.34
$16.20
$1.14
7%
$51.48
$53.02
($1.54)
-3%
$22.16
$20.76
$1.40
7%
$26.82
$24.86
$1.96
8%
$32.22
$30.25
$1.97
7%
$26.12
$26.21
($0.09)
0%
$26.81
$27.22
($0.41)
-2%

Legacy and Vintage: Prices are slightly down this week overall, but not a lot. Nothing too surprising – this sort of churn just happens. 
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$56.32
$56.11
$0.21
0%
$41.02
$37.05
$3.97
11%
$81.01
$81.01
$0.00
0%
$33.42
$36.72
($3.30)
-9%
$38.06
$38.06
$0.00
0%
$29.25
$29.19
$0.06
0%
$39.35
$38.71
$0.64
2%
$24.03
$28.23
($4.20)
-15%
$25.95
$28.74
($2.79)
-10%
$41.93
$42.26
($0.33)
-1%
$57.43
$58.21
($0.78)
-1%
$49.53
$46.63
$2.90
6%
$146.88
$146.88
$0.00
0%
$36.18
$40.11
($3.93)
-10%
$56.52
$60.83
($4.31)
-7%
$30.78
$33.68
($2.90)
-9%
$18.91
$20.77
($1.86)
-9%
$47.53
$48.48
($0.95)
-2%

Standard Legal Sets: This table tracks the cost of a single copy of every card in each Standard legal set, plus Treasure Chests and the current booster packs. I’ll keep tracking these because they are interesting (at least to me).  
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Aether Revolt
$72.30
$70.28
$2.02
3%
Amonkhet
$72.21
$70.74
$1.47
2%
Battle for Zendikar
$40.09
$39.67
$0.42
1%
Eldritch Moon
$101.03
$123.80
($22.77)
-18%
Hour of Devastation
$48.23
$49.04
($0.81)
-2%
Kaladesh
$128.13
$116.15
$11.98
10%
Oath of the Gatewatch
$111.85
$94.69
$17.16
18%
Shadows over Innistrad
$43.79
$51.72
($7.93)
-15%
Treasure Chest
$2.22
$2.32
($0.10)
-4%
Amonkhet Booster
$2.02
$1.88
$0.14
7%
Hour of Devastation
$3.99
$3.87
$0.12
3%

 
 
The Good Stuff
 
The following is a list of all the non-promo, non-foil cards on MTGO that retail for more than $25 per card. These are the big ticket items in the world of MTGO. Pretty similar to last week. 
 

Name
Set
Rarity
 Price
Rishadan Port *
 MM
Rare
 $ 146.88
Exploration
 UZ
Rare
 $   81.62
Liliana of the Veil
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $   73.10
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
 $   72.20
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
 $   57.66
Mystic Confluence
 PZ1
Rare
 $   57.43
True-Name Nemesis
 C13
Rare
 $   56.83
True-Name Nemesis
 PZ1
Mythic Rare
 $   56.52
Black Lotus
 VMA
Bonus
 $   56.32
Mox Opal
 MS2
Bonus
 $   55.13
Wasteland
 TPR
Rare
 $   53.82
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
 $   52.38
Horizon Canopy
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $   52.32
Wasteland
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $   52.07
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $   51.48
Mox Diamond
 V10
Mythic Rare
 $   49.76
Mox Diamond
 ST
Rare
 $   49.67
Mox Diamond
 TPR
Mythic Rare
 $   49.53
Wasteland
 EMA
Rare
 $   47.53
Liliana, the Last Hope
 EMN
Mythic Rare
 $   46.90
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
 $   44.95
Force of Will
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $   43.09
Dark Depths
 CSP
Rare
 $   42.11
Misdirection
 MM
Rare
 $   41.93
Dark Depths
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $   41.02
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
 KLD
Mythic Rare
 $   40.15
Infernal Tutor
 DIS
Rare
 $   39.35
Horizon Canopy
 FUT
Rare
 $   39.19
Ensnaring Bridge
 MS2
Bonus
 $   39.10
Chalice of the Void
 MS2
Bonus
 $   38.73
Gaea's Cradle
 UZ
Rare
 $   38.06
Chalice of the Void
 MMA
Rare
 $   38.01
Ensnaring Bridge
 8ED
Rare
 $   37.70
Engineered Explosives
 MS2
Bonus
 $   37.53
Engineered Explosives
 5DN
Rare
 $   37.51
Chalice of the Void
 MRD
Rare
 $   37.20
Ensnaring Bridge
 7E
Rare
 $   37.16
Engineered Explosives
 MMA
Rare
 $   36.99
Ensnaring Bridge
 ST
Rare
 $   36.64
Karn Liberated
 NPH
Mythic Rare
 $   36.31
Show and Tell
 UZ
Rare
 $   36.18
Unmask
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $   36.07
Karn Liberated
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $   35.52
Force of Will
 MS3
Special
 $   34.00
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
 $   33.42
Underground Sea
 ME2
Rare
 $   32.64
Scapeshift
 MOR
Rare
 $   32.22
Scalding Tarn
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $   32.20
Celestial Colonnade
 WWK
Rare
 $   31.40
Unmask
 MM
Rare
 $   30.78
Underground Sea
 ME4
Rare
 $   30.35
Tarmogoyf
 MMA
Mythic Rare
 $   29.72
Volcanic Island
 ME3
Rare
 $   29.58
Grim Monolith
 UL
Rare
 $   29.25
City of Traitors
 EX
Rare
 $   28.75
Tarmogoyf
 FUT
Rare
 $   28.66
Containment Priest
 PZ1
Rare
 $   28.55
City of Traitors
 TPR
Rare
 $   27.86
Tempt with Discovery
 C13
Rare
 $   27.61
Gorilla Shaman
 ALL
Common
 $   27.32
Volcanic Island
 ME4
Rare
 $   27.29
Tarmogoyf
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $   27.26
Scalding Tarn
 ZEN
Rare
 $   27.01
Underground Sea
 VMA
Rare
 $   26.95
Scalding Tarn
 MM3
Rare
 $   26.82
Tarmogoyf
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $   26.81
Surgical Extraction
 MM2
Rare
 $   26.47
Surgical Extraction
 NPH
Rare
 $   26.12
Leovold, Emissary of Trest
 PZ2
Mythic Rare
 $   25.95
Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
 OGW
Mythic Rare
 $   25.85
Eidolon of the Great Revel
 JOU
Rare
 $   25.32

* A significantly cheaper promo version of Rishadan Port is available, but I do not include promos prices on the table. MTGO has over 900 promo cards on the list, and occasionally those cards are sold out for months at a time, so their prices do not reflect the market price. I tried checking numbers in stock, but 900+ is too many.   
 
The big number is the retail price of a playset (4 copies) of every card available on MTGO. Assuming you bought the least expensive versions available, the cost of owning a playset of every card on MTGO is approximately $ 23,310. That’s down about $285 from last week.
 
Weekly Highlights
 
Guild Wars 2 had a big download this week, so I’ve wasted what little free time I have had playing that.   I will be playing more MTGO this week and next – I want my promo Fatal Pushes!
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” on MTGO
 
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.
 
HammyBot Super Sale: HammyBot was set up to sell off Erik Friborg’s collection, with all proceeds going to his wife and son. So far, HammyBot has raised over $8,000, but there are a lot of cards left in the collection. Those cards are being sold at MTGOTrader’s Buy Price.  

3 Comments

Yeah, $70/80 seems like way by Cheater Hater at Sat, 08/12/2017 - 01:18
Cheater Hater's picture

Yeah, $70/80 seems like way too much for a Constructed GP where the vast majority of players will get nothing. I'm surprised the grinders haven't taken a satellite approach like poker (where you get the entry fee if you win).

I went, but I took a different approach by going Sunday only for the PTQ--you only pay $50, you get 6 packs, and the minimum prize at 3-2 is 120 tickets (12 packs). Honestly, I wish they'd run a Limited GP here (though the PT means we probably don't get one next year).

It makes me so angry to see by JXClaytor at Sat, 08/12/2017 - 17:50
JXClaytor's picture

It makes me so angry to see Exploration at 80 tickets. That bothers me so dang much.

I have a foil set I'm looking by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sat, 08/12/2017 - 19:33
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

I have a foil set I'm looking to offload.