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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Dec 13 2013 12:51pm
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The State of the Program for December 13th 2013

This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.
 

In the News this Week:

Scheduled Play is Back: Well, for the most part. Wizards has announced the return of Daily and Premier events. The article is here. This is step one – Wizards has said that it will tweak the schedule based on player reactions and performance. Here’s a quick rundown of the changes: I do a longer analysis lower down in this article.
 
1.    Daily events are back with the same cost and prize payout.
2.    Premier events are back with a lower entry cost and better prize payout.
3.    Daily events run every hour on the hour. The same format is offered at the same time every day of the week.
4.    Premier events happen on the half hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
5.    Momir Vig and Pauper events are not currently offered as Dailies. They do appear in the Premier event lists.
6.    Daily and Premier events are capped at 128 players.
7.    Non-Phantom six pack Theros Sealed 8-man queues are disappearing.
8.    TNMO is also disappearing.
 
That’s the short version of what we know.  I spend some time speculating on the whys and wherefores, below.
 
Flashback Draft Update: The “Flashback” format for this week is Rise of the Eldrazi. See the section on fiscal analysis of flashback formats, below, for more info.
 
Cube Drafts Coming Dec. 18th: The Cube will be up and running from Dec. 18th through January 8th. The Flashback format that will run opposite these events is Mercadian Masques. 
 
Sam Black’s Facebook PostSam Black wrote about the Top 100 players list on Hearthstone, and how that motivated him. He compared this with the elimination of ELO ratings in Magic. That spawned an interesting discussion.  Personally, I am firmly on the “eliminating ELO ratings was a good thing” side. Patrick Sullivan and Brian Kibler do the best job of explaining why ratings were a disincentive to actually playing events: Pros because playing at an FNM could cost ratings points and invites, and newer players because a low ELO ratings basically reinforces the message “you suck at this.” I have done some opinion pieces on this in the past, and am not trying to start that debate here (unless you want me to write about it again, if so, tell me in the comments.) At the moment, though that debate is occurring on Facebook.
 
Good Article on the Relative Cost of Standard and Legacy: Chas Andres over at SCG has written one of the better articles on the cost of formats over time. He goes beyond the typical, and overly simplistic, “you only have to buy a Legacy deck once, and it is good forever” argument, and looks at what it actually costs to stay competitive in both formats. The only downside is that the article is premium, but it is almost worth the cost of premium by itself. This article is pretty close to what I would have written, had I had the time to crunch all the numbers. The article is here.       
 
HammyBot Update:   It’s still around, and still a great way to get cards and support the family of the late Erik Friborg. So far, Hammybot has raised almost 6,200 TIX! Keep it going! Hammybot still has 25,525 cards to sell, including a number of foil Mythics. Hammybot also has a nice collection of Foil lands, so if you want to pimp out your constructed decks… 
 

Fiscal Analysis of Flashback Formats:

This week, the flashback format is Rise of Eldrazi. This is clearly a format you only want to play if you enjoy it or already have the packs – this one does not have a high EV. The average value of an opened Rise booster is just $1.16. Only one Mythic – Linvala – is worth what the draft costs, and only one rare – Splinter Twin – is worth the price of a pack. Here’s the very short list of money cards:
 

Card
Current Retail Price
Linvala, Keeper of Silence
$    15.83
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
$       8.69
All Is Dust
$       8.55
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
$       8.40
Vengevine
$       8.16
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
$       7.00
Gideon Jura
$       4.17
Splinter Twin
$       4.00

  

Opinion Section: The Whys and Wherefores of the New Event Schedule

Dailies are back. They have changed a bit. What we know of the changes, and the explanation of the changes, comes from this article. I want to look at some of those changes, and speculate on the reasons they were made.
 
1) Changes to prize payouts: Well, the cynics who worried that this was just a plot to cut the payout of Daily events, including me, were wrong. Dailies came back with the same prize structure.   That’s great. The Premier events came back with both a price cut (down two TIX) and an increase in payout. That’s not too surprising. Wizards wants the Premier events to be exciting and popular. They weren’t – compared to dailies, they were really just long. The changes should help the numbers.
 
2) Capping attendance at 128 players: This one was also obvious. Large events implode. We don’t know exactly why, but we do know that having events implode was terrible PR for Wizards, not to mention a huge loss of revenue. Wizards apparently believes that events of 128 players or less are probably not at risk, so that’s what we can have. As Wizards does more testing, we may get higher limits, or we may not. It really depends on what exactly is going wrong.
 
A quick look at the scheduled events room shows that most events are now firing, and only Standard is pushing the cap. Wizards will probably be watching the numbers. If Standard keeps capping out, that means players are unable to play, and money is being left on the table. If that continues, I could see Wizards wedging in a couple more Standard events, either at the half hour, or doubling up certain slots. 
 
3) Change to fixed time slots: Before the suspension of DEs and PEs, formats were offered at differing times every day. Legacy might happen at 9am Monday, 11am Tuesday and so forth. Now, events happen at the same time every day. This is both good and bad: good because event scheduled are predictable, but bad if your favorite format only occurs at inconvenient times. It is a tradeoff.
 
I know that I did not remember the schedule, and had no idea what fired at what time on which days. I also do not get to play MTGO all that regularly. Instead, on the rare occasions that I had four hours I could devote to MTGO, I would go to the scheduled events room, find nothing of interest at that time, and leave. I suspect that Wizards tracks that sort of behavior – they should – and will check it again after the new system has been in place for a while. If the number of people who arrive, find nothing they want and leave goes down, that probably means the new system works better. If, on the other hand, the total number of peeps entering the room goes down, we may see a change back.
 
One thing that will not happen, regardless of fixed or sliding slots: it is impossible for all formats to be scheduled at times that work for all players. Magic players live in all time zones, and all have different personal schedules. Any schedule is either going to be inconvenient for some, or have so many events that many events don’t fire. 
 
What we do know is that this schedule is not final. Wizards has said it is going to monitor player activity and feedback, and may make changes. It’s an experiment. If it works out, great, if not, Wizards has learned something. That’s why you experiment in the first place. 
 
A few people have called for a kind of happy medium: two fixed schedules – one for Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and a different one for the rest of the week.   That might be worth trying, especially if enough people can’t make the current schedule work. 
 
If the new schedule does not work for you, or if it does, let Wizards know. Comments can be directed to the forums, or emailed to Mike Turian at WotC. Just be civil. Personally, I have seen people screaming and ranting and threatening to quit Magic for 15 years. Almost all of them are lying, and I just ignore those rants. I suspect most folks at WotC also give far less weight to that sort of feedback. What does get attention is a clear explanation of the problem, and a recommended solution. That doesn’t mean the solution will be adopted, but it certainly raises the chance.
 
4)  A lot of people are screaming about this online: Well, duh. Of course we are hearing the people for whom the schedule doesn’t work, but that’s a self-selecting sample. No one looks at the schedule, then rushes to the forums or Facebook to write “okay, I can work with this. I can play in this event, and this other one works for me on the weekend.”   
 
5) There are fewer events / slots: Of course. The program was crashing. When the steering goes out and causes your car to crash, and you fix it, you don’t jump back in and test it at 70mph.   You start out slow, and if everything works, you gradually speed up. I expect Wizards to add events, based on how the program performs and what the players want and do.
 
6)  Elimination of 6 pack on demand queues: Had to happen. This was clearly a format designed to replace sealed DEs while they were suspended. It also had a very good prize payout – good enough that it could be seen as an unstated apology for the loss of DEs. Now DEs are back, and the Sealed DEs and on-demand sealed events would clearly fight for players, probably to the extent that neither would fire as well. That said, I hope Wizards looks at the data from the on demand sealed queues, and considers replacing 4 pack sealed with 6 pack sealed. The success of 6 pack sealed might also indicate that players would embrace special 6 pack non-phantom queues for events like Fowl Play. It is worth a look.
 
Personally, I will miss the sealed queues. Given my schedule, the events worked well and were one of the few I actually played repeatedly in recent weeks.  
 
6) Elimination of TNMO: This was an attempt to recreate FNM online. The downside is that MTGO just does not have to same social dynamic as a small store event. TNMO was not the fun, casual, generally shark-free environment that makes FNM great. TNMO apparently didn’t do what Wizards wanted it to do, so we saw a couple revisions of TNMO over the last couple years. Moreover, and this has to be at least as important, TNMO often attracted more than 128 players. My guess: the combination of problems with what it was supposed to do, coupled with the problems of having attendance hitting the cap, meant Wizards decided to shelve it, at least for now. Once the program is again capable of supporting large events, TNMO might come back.
 
7)  Elimination of Pauper or Momir Vig Dailies:  Wizards has stated that it wants the Dailies to look more like the paper counterparts. If you play paper events, like FNM or Grand Prixs, you may be playing limited, Standard, Blokc, Modern or Legacy, but you won’t play Momir Vig or Pauper. I suspect Wizards wants, once they finally get the program working, to be able to cross market. They want to be able to say “did you enjoy playing this here? Did you know that you can play it online / at your LGS / at a GP?”   That said, there is clearly a place for formats like Pauper and Momir Vig. Wizards has decided that that place is in the fire on demand 8 man queues, and in Premier events. 
 
I do realize that the elimination of the Daily Pauper and Momir Vig events means the end of really cheap events that can grind tickets. Is that good or bad? I need a lot more time and space to discuss that, so look for that analysis in the coming weeks.   
 
8) Classic happens at 2:30pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday: Classic gets special treatment. It is the only format to get a special weekend slot. As Wizards said, it wants to preserve Classic as a bridge to Vintage, which is coming next summer. The problem is that the format has a very, very small player base. Right now, that player base is mainly in the US, and was sufficient to fire one event most Saturday nights. The new time slot may not work for some of those players, but it may be better for European players – and, right now, the largest sanctioned Vintage communities are in Europe. Will the time change kill Classic, or reinvigorate the format? Only time will tell.
 

Cutting Edge Tech: 

Standard: Last weekend, we had a Standard GP in ice-covered Dallas (aka GP Hoth II.)   Coverage is here. The Top 8 featured a bunch of UW Control decks, a black devotion build, a couple WB decks and an Rg Aggro build. The decks I want to highlight, though are the Wb and Rw Aggro decks. These are the cheapest builds to come out of the GP, so you can expect to see a lot of them.   (And, yes, Wizards did report that the red deck had an 11 card sideboard.)
 
Mostly White Orzhov Aggro
Ben Stark, Top 8, Grand Prix Dallas Fort Worth 2013
Creatures
4 Dryad Militant
4 Boros Elite
4 Daring Skyjek
4 Precinct Captain
3 Imposing Sovereign
2 Xathrid Necromancer
4 Banisher Priest
25 cards

Other Spells
4 Temple of Silence
4 Soldier of the Pantheon
2 Spear of Heliod
4 Brave the Elements
3 Orzhov Charm
7 cards
 
Lands
8 Plains
1 Swamp
1 Orzhov Guildgate
4 Mutavault
4 Godless Shrine
18 cards

Orzhov Charm
 
 
Mostly Red Boros Burn
Darin Minard's, Top 8, Grand Prix Dallas Fort Worth
Creatures
4 Young Pyromancer
4 Chandra's Phoenix
8 cards

Other Spells
4 Temple of Triumph
4 Temple of Silence
4 Boros Charm
4 Skullcrack
4 Lightning Strike
4 Magma Jet
4 Chained to the Rocks
4 Warleader's Helix
4 Shock
2 Chandra, Pyromaster
 
Lands
10 Mountain
4 Sacred Foundry
14 cards

Sideboard
4 Boros Reckoner
3 Spark Trooper
4 Assemble the Legion
11 cards - really
 
Assemble the Legion
 
Modern, Pauper, Classic and Theros Block Constructed back next week: Next week we should have results from the newly returned Premier events. Until then, the 8 man results seem too random.  
 
Legacy: SCG ran a Legacy Open last weekend in Oakland. The Top 32 decks are here. The winning deck was, once again, Esper Stoneblade with True-Name Nemesis (which will not be available in the store until December 20th, so you will have to wait until then to play it.) In the meantime, you might want to try out the third place Affinity deck. It is at least something new (or at least old enough to seem new –it’s been a while since Affinity won a Legacy event.)
 
Tezzeret Affinity
Ian Anderson, Third Place, SCG Legacy Open in Oakland
Creatures
4 Vault Skirge
4 Signal Pest
4 Memnite
4 Etched Champion
4 Arcbound Ravager
4 Ornithopter
24 cards

Other Spells
3 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
4 Mox Opal
4 Springleaf Drum
4 Thoughtseize
4 Cranial Plating
19 cards
 
Lands
1 Academy Ruins
4 Ancient Den
4 Vault of Whispers
4 Seat of the Synod
4 Ancient Tomb
17 cards

Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
 

Card Prices: 

Notes: All my prices come from MTGOTraders.com. For cards that are available in multiple sets, I am quoting the lower price. Thus, the price I’m quoting for Thoughtseize is generally the Theros price. In certain other cases (e.g Brainstorm) I will note which version I track. All these cards are generally available from the MTGOTraders Bots, so check out mtgotradersbot, mtgotradersbot2, mtgotradersbot3, mtgotradersbot4, mtgotradersbot5, CardCaddy and CardWareHouse, as well as from the website directly. Now, on to prices.
 
The cost of entire sets is relevant if you redeem, but it is also a decent indicator of overall trends. Right now, I think we are seeing a combination of the rebound after the panic following the scheduled events suspension, coupled with the fat that Theros is still being drafted heavily.
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Dragon's Maze
$82.89
$76.66
$6.23
8%
Gatecrash
$101.66
$97.99
$3.67
4%
M14
$151.77
$145.66
$6.11
4%
Return to Ravnica
$162.26
$160.69
$1.57
1%
Theros
$114.44
$114.38
$0.06
0%

Standard prices are back to a more normal behavior – oscillating around the same basic level. Some cards are up, some down, but taken as a whole, the list is up about 1%.
 

Standard & Block Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$6.64
$6.80
($0.16)
-2%
$12.36
$10.87
$1.49
14%
$5.96
$5.89
$0.07
1%
$19.76
$15.31
$4.45
29%
$6.84
$7.04
($0.20)
-3%
$18.94
$19.53
($0.59)
-3%
$11.17
$10.34
$0.83
8%
$6.16
$6.56
($0.40)
-6%
$15.24
$17.20
($1.96)
-11%
$37.26
$38.23
($0.97)
-3%
$7.48
$7.28
$0.20
3%
$10.00
$9.93
$0.07
1%
$25.91
$24.28
$1.63
7%
$8.62
$9.00
($0.38)
-4%
$7.96
$8.56
($0.60)
-7%
$5.45
$6.07
($0.62)
-10%
(Sphinx’s Revelation)
$34.18
$31.69
$2.49
8%
$13.90
$14.48
($0.58)
-4%
$9.73
$10.32
($0.59)
-6%
$5.50
$5.65
($0.15)
-3%
$31.55
$30.96
$0.59
2%
$6.70
$6.83
($0.13)
-2%

Modern prices are just oscillating a bit, waiting for Dailies to return. The return of Modern Masters drafts, for just one week, bumped some cards down a touch, but they should be back at their old levels shortly.
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$12.78
$13.12
($0.34)
-3%
$20.48
$20.96
($0.48)
-2%
$7.76
$7.55
$0.21
3%
$17.31
$17.31
$0.00
0%
$12.12
$15.29
($3.17)
-21%
$12.19
$11.98
$0.21
2%
$19.48
$21.62
($2.14)
-10%
$9.43
$9.43
$0.00
0%
$11.43
$11.43
$0.00
0%
$5.78
$8.52
($2.74)
-32%
$8.69
$8.92
($0.23)
-3%
$36.29
$34.78
$1.51
4%
$15.81
$15.81
$0.00
0%
$21.49
$20.39
$1.10
5%
$34.93
$33.24
$1.69
5%
$7.92
$8.95
($1.03)
-12%
$49.61
$48.51
$1.10
2%
$15.83
$16.30
($0.47)
-3%
$38.90
$37.92
$0.98
3%
$14.40
$16.17
($1.77)
-11%
$13.38
$13.38
$0.00
0%
$22.46
$20.75
$1.71
8%
$8.69
$8.75
($0.06)
-1%
$5.51
$5.70
($0.19)
-3%
$7.43
$7.43
$0.00
0%
$63.25
$67.95
($4.70)
-7%
$9.96
$9.70
$0.26
3%
$23.77
$28.50
($4.73)
-17%

Pauper prices dropped a bit further this week, but not as hard as last week. As a whole, the value of the pauper cards I track fell by about 4% this week. In another format, that could be worrying. In Pauper, it’s not. Pauper prices are highly volatile. Even the news that Pauper Dailies are not returning (yet) should not seriously depress prices much further.
 

Pauper Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$3.07
$3.12
($0.05)
-2%
$6.54
$6.83
($0.29)
-4%
$1.19
$1.16
$0.03
3%
$2.19
$2.57
($0.38)
-15%
$6.07
$6.89
($0.82)
-12%
$5.37
$7.71
($2.34)
-30%
$15.32
$15.61
($0.29)
-2%
$1.61
$1.00
$0.61
61%
$1.83
$1.83
$0.00
0%
$6.55
$6.69
($0.14)
-2%
$4.89
$5.19
($0.30)
-6%
$5.77
$5.24
$0.53
10%
$2.55
$2.20
$0.35
16%
$2.94
$2.94
$0.00
0%
$1.18
$1.16
$0.02
2%
$1.08
$0.78
$0.30
38%
$1.25
$1.25
$0.00
0%
$3.28
$2.75
$0.53
19%
$2.67
$2.92
($0.25)
-9%
$5.35
$6.04
($0.69)
-11%
$3.43
$4.03
($0.60)
-15%
$0.94
$0.92
$0.02
2%
$1.82
$1.70
$0.12
7%

Legacy and Classic were pretty silent this week. The few changes were in Tempest block cards, which fell because of Tempest block drafts. Those changes won’t last: in a couple months, the price of Wasteland will be higher than ever. These drafts just don’t add enough copies to the cardpool.
 

Legacy / Classic Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$10.88
$11.45
($0.57)
-5%
$36.21
$41.75
($5.54)
-13%
$21.42
$21.42
$0.00
0%
$27.50
$28.85
($1.35)
-5%
$113.06
$104.68
$8.38
8%
$69.32
$69.32
$0.00
0%
$33.24
$33.24
$0.00
0%
$157.72
$157.72
$0.00
0%
$26.69
$26.69
$0.00
0%
$17.24
$17.24
$0.00
0%
$79.52
$79.52
$0.00
0%
$26.40
$26.40
$0.00
0%
$14.58
$15.63
($1.05)
-7%
$41.22
$41.22
$0.00
0%
$18.30
$18.30
$0.00
0%
$20.40
$20.40
$0.00
0%
$31.36
$29.22
$2.14
7%
$109.65
$102.26
$7.39
7%
$9.60
$9.18
$0.42
5%
$93.19
$93.19
$0.00
0%
$40.44
$36.58
$3.86
11%
$31.45
$31.45
$0.00
0%
$19.88
$19.88
$0.00
0%
$41.38
$37.41
$3.97
11%
$15.50
$15.50
$0.00
0%
Vampiric Tutor
$36.41
$36.41
$0.00
0%
$29.26
$29.26
$0.00
0%
$64.00
$64.00
$0.00
0%

 

The Good Stuff:

The Good Stuff starts with a list of the non-foil, non-premium cards on MTGO that cost more than $25 each. Force of Will is back above $100 – as are several other chase cards. Rishadan Port is up, again. The list of cards over $25 is now 44 cards long. 
 

Card
Rarity
Set
Price
Lion's Eye Diamond
R
MI
$ 157.72
Force of Will
R
MED
$ 113.06
Rishadan Port
R
MM
$ 109.65
Force of Will
R
PRM
$ 104.92
Show and Tell
R
UZ
$    93.19
Misdirection
R
MM
$    79.52
Gaea's Cradle
R
UZ
$    69.32
Wasteland
U
TE
$    64.00
Tarmogoyf
R
FUT
$    63.43
Tarmogoyf
M
MMA
$    63.25
Liliana of the Veil
M
ISD
$    49.61
Tundra
R
ME4
$    42.90
Underground Sea
R
ME4
$    41.38
Natural Order
R
VI
$    41.22
Underground Sea
R
ME2
$    41.11
Sneak Attack
R
UZ
$    40.44
Tundra
R
ME2
$    40.36
Mox Opal
M
SOM
$    38.90
Jace, Architect of Thought
M
RTR
$    37.26
Vampiric Tutor
R
VI
$    36.41
Fulminator Mage
R
SHM
$    36.29
City of Traitors
R
EX
$    36.21
Tropical Island
R
ME4
$    36.14
Karn Liberated
M
NPH
$    34.93
Sphinx's Revelation
M
RTR
$    34.18
Tropical Island
R
ME3
$    34.03
Bayou
R
ME4
$    33.77
Volcanic Island
R
ME3
$    33.60
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
M
WWK
$    33.24
Volcanic Island
R
ME4
$    32.59
Bayou
R
ME3
$    32.27
Timetwister
R
PRM
$    32.00
Voice of Resurgence
M
DGM
$    31.55
Tangle Wire
R
NE
$    31.45
Polluted Delta
R
ONS
$    31.36
Vendilion Clique
R
MOR
$    30.40
Vindicate
R
AP
$    29.26
Flusterstorm
R
CMD
$    27.50
Mana Drain
R
ME3
$    26.69
Mishra's Workshop
R
ME4
$    26.40
Mutavault
R
MOR
$    26.00
Mutavault
R
M14
$    25.91

The big number is the retail price of a playset (4 copies) of every card available on MTGO. Assuming you bought the least expensive version available, the cost of owning a playset of every card on MTGO you can own is $25,725. That’s up over $1,200 from where we were last week. In case anyone was wondering, yes, we have recovered from the big event massacre panic.
 

Weekly Highlights:

Or lowlights.   Modern Masters was the flashback format last week. I had saved up about 200 TIX, and even had tentative approval to take a day off during flashback drafts. I had talked to my boss back when the idea was first announced, and I shifted stuff around so that I really only had one week that really didn’t work. That one week – last week – was packed with all the stuff that I had moved from other weeks. The result: I did not get time to do even one Modern Masters draft. Not one.
 
Had Wizards given me even a couple days’ notice, I could have shifted stuff around again. I might not have been able to get a day off, but I could have got an evening or two free. But, because of their inane policy of keeping the format secret until it is way too late to make adjustments, they did not get my 200 TIX, and I missed my chance to play a really fun format. 
 
I don’t really understand why Wizards doesn’t want to tell us what the upcoming flashback formats are. If they are worried that knowing will cause players to not play in incurrent formats because they are waiting for a future format, I would note that that cuts both ways. In my case, I skipped Innistrad and Rise, and played very few Tempest drafts, because I was saving my spare TIX for Modern Masters and Saga. Maybe, if I am lucky, Wizards will offer Saga at some point, and I will get to use up my TIX. Or maybe they will spring Saga on us during a week where I have no time to draft, and where my weekend is already full. If so, I guess the TIX will just stay in my account.
 
We will see how it goes, but I am not very optimistic. You see, I am involved with a bunch of other things, from volunteer work to family get-togethers to meet-ups with friends to vacation – and every one of those things tends to provide me than a couple days warning. Wizards, if I commit to those things, I may not have time for a last minute flashback draft, no matter how cool it is. 
 
Here endeth the rant. 
 
PRJ
 
“one million words” on MTGO.

22 Comments

Clan Magic Eternal's picture

Hey Pete,
It is my opinion, and that of many of the Classic regulars on CQ that this new time slot is bad in every way for continuity of Classic DE’s.
As you know, the high majority of us have full time jobs and young families.
Thus making the 5:30 EST DE on Fri, Sat and Sun challenging.
For me personally it will be dinner time and then getting the kids ready for bed from 5-7 pm.
This will entail me burdening my wife to let me sit down for 3+ hours during prime time at home.
I don't foresee myself making many of the new time slots which makes me sad.
As for accommodation to the Europeans, the time slot is better for them, but still suboptimal as it will be in around 11:30 pm when the DE starts. That is pretty hardcore if you are jumping into a queue at that time of night.
I just don’t think this works for many people, and I don’t see them firing with any consistency.
Montolio

you are probably right by one million words at Fri, 12/13/2013 - 14:28
one million words's picture

It's sad, but you may be right. Wizards needed to do something to keep the format fun and interesting a while back. If their program had supported something - anything - other than prize payout that could push Classic. I don't know what - maybe a special avatar that you could earn by playing in Classic - something. Too late now.

Wizards does need to find some way to revitalize a format with so few active players, but this wasn't it. No chance in the world that I can play Friday - it's 2:30pm on a workday for me. I'd have trouble making it if they started at 7:30 PDT on Fridays.

I was specualting, of course, about trying to attract European players. Other than that, I have no idea why they would change that. It was pretty clear what time Classic events could and would fire.

I'm hoping Wizards looks at the results and does some rebalancing. The idea of a MWF and a different TTSS schedule seems to offer a decent compromise. And sets the Sat. event at 7:30PDT - or maybe 6:30, since 7:30PDT is pretty late for me. Whatever, something that works for enough people to fire the events.

I agree with you that keeping by Procrastination at Fri, 12/13/2013 - 13:41
Procrastination's picture
5

I agree with you that keeping the flashback draft a secret isn't very helpful for those of us with busy lives. i would have loved to do an mma draft as well, but was my time was already booked. i will be sure to use the links you provided to provide some feedback.

Just throwing this out by enderfall at Sat, 12/14/2013 - 01:16
enderfall's picture

Just throwing this out there... but maybe they want to keep the draft format secret so that people don't buy their packs from bots, instead of the "store"? I have no idea how many people just pay the 15 tix instead of scouring the classifieds to save 1-2 tix.

That, or they don;t want people dumping cards in advance and depreciating the prices of the cards before the drafts even start (which in turn lowers the incentive to draft with lower EV)?

I agree with you that keeping by Procrastination at Fri, 12/13/2013 - 13:43
Procrastination's picture
5

Sorry for the triple post.

I agree with you that keeping by Procrastination at Fri, 12/13/2013 - 13:45
Procrastination's picture
5

Sorry!

I think downgrading the by Cownose at Fri, 12/13/2013 - 14:29
Cownose's picture

I think downgrading the Pauper format was a good business decision on WotC's part, as I have been saying for years that pauper likely cannibalizes both other formats AND pack sales. Allowing players to pay $10-$15 for a tier-1 deck and then play that deck for the exact same prizes as players who spend $1K+ on Modern/Legacy/Classic always seemed like an insane choice to me from a business perspective.

The EV for playing pauper is simply too good to have it constantly available--why would you play anything else (unless you are testing for paper)? In my opinion, it is good to have it around as a "gateway" format w/ PEs so new players can get their feet wet without a huge investment though.

It most likely cut both ways by xger at Fri, 12/13/2013 - 15:15
xger's picture

It most likely cut both ways to be honest. Some people would get into pauper and MTGO, find they like it enough that they jumped into other formats. It also allowed some extreme low budget players to play consistently (I am speaking of the people who would slowly lose money on dailies, maybe 3-1'ing every 4th or 5th)

Ian Anderson only made Top 8 by RexDart at Fri, 12/13/2013 - 16:04
RexDart's picture

Ian Anderson only made Top 8 of that Legacy Open by dazzling his opponents with the jazz flute. Poor ol' sods.

edit: There's a Timetwister promo listed in your "good stuff"??

Aqualung for the win. :) by Paul Leicht at Fri, 12/13/2013 - 18:47
Paul Leicht's picture

Aqualung for the win. :)

If they bring back 6 pack by MarcosPMA at Fri, 12/13/2013 - 17:42
MarcosPMA's picture

If they bring back 6 pack Sealed and have it run concurrently with Sealed DE's, I'd imagine they'd have to nerf the prize payout of the 6 pack Sealed because that queue is just better EV than DE's (excluding QPs). Each win in a 8 man queue gets you 3 packs no matter what, whereas in a DE, even if you go 4-0, you're getting 2.75 packs per win. Obviously that's just packs alone, QPs are worth something to players and might offset the loss in packs per win.

I agree, its been quite a by Rasparthe at Sat, 12/14/2013 - 03:02
Rasparthe's picture

I agree, its been quite a while since I've played any Magic, since Lorwyn Block. Leagues will apparently never return, the 6pack sealed was an incredible opportunity to get back into the game. I hope they scrap the 4pack (really?? 30 card decks?)) and move to the 6pack with the same prize payout. It was a very good payout in a relevant format, something WoC seems to have troubles nailing, or perhaps caring about. If I had a choice I would vote for them to scrap DE and just have the 8man 6pack sealed events with the same payout.

Timetwister by OdinFK at Sat, 12/14/2013 - 04:46
OdinFK's picture

There is a Timetwister in the 'Good Stuff' list. I don't it is possible to own a Timetwister right now, or is it? Where would it come from?

Pete's trolling. Just like by GainsBanding at Sat, 12/14/2013 - 06:50
GainsBanding's picture

Pete's trolling. Just like he used to when he'd put "Fallen Empires" as the set Jace TMS was from.

32 sounds like a good price for Timetwister though.

We actually switched the set by JXClaytor at Sat, 12/14/2013 - 13:51
JXClaytor's picture

We actually switched the set Jace, TMS was from, I think the best one was from when he was in homelands. It was a rotating set list for Jace :D

Well, OBV by one million words at Sat, 12/14/2013 - 22:56
one million words's picture

Jace *was* the best card in Homelands, hands down.

I wish there was a like by JXClaytor at Sun, 12/15/2013 - 13:42
JXClaytor's picture

I wish there was a like button for that.

Saying that prices are cut by el_pato at Sat, 12/14/2013 - 09:21
el_pato's picture

Saying that prices are cut and prizes are better for Premier Events does not tell the whole story. The increase of the minimum players to fire the events from 33 to 65 is a big deal for EV and for getting the events to happen at all. Because prizes do not scale with the number of players, the prizes each player can expect to win go down as more players join. With the new costs and prizes, PEs that fire with 65 people now are a little bit worse than old PEs that fired at 33. On the plus side, new PEs are less sensitive to adding more players, for example the difference in value between an old PE at 33 players versus 63 players is much greater than the difference in value between a new PE at 65 players versus 95 players.

The people who benefit from the changes are the ones who weren't averse to playing larger, 60+ player PEs, Standard for example, and the people who lose are those who enjoyed sniping PEs that fired close to 33 players, core set sealed and block constructed as examples. And not only do some people lose value, they also lose the opportunity to play the event at all when it cannot reach 65 players, as happened already this weekend with at least one THS block constructed PE and one M14 sealed PE.

Yeah, I suspect that Wizards by a small child at Sun, 12/15/2013 - 22:17
a small child's picture

Yeah, I suspect that Wizards is going to have to modify the system before long. A lot of PEs are failing to fire.

Regarding the ELO debate, I by a small child at Sun, 12/15/2013 - 12:48
a small child's picture

Regarding the ELO debate, I can see why hiding ELOs on MTGO was a good idea. I do think though that they should have kept the hall of champions. That would allow for the best of both worlds -- motivate players by giving them a shot at fame but at the same time avoid the bullying that comes along with visible ratings.

this would have been a great by JXClaytor at Sun, 12/15/2013 - 13:43
JXClaytor's picture

this would have been a great idea.

Agreed by kriskurse at Mon, 12/16/2013 - 11:55
kriskurse's picture

I agree. I think that is a wonderful idea.