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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Dec 29 2017 1:05pm
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State of the Program for December 29th 2017
 
In the News
End of Year News Shutdown:  Wizards has put the mothership into “best of 2017” mode, and announced that last week’s MTGO blog is the last of the year. Since Wizards does not schedule major tournaments over the holidays, that means that news will be scarce until the new set spoilers start in early January. 
 
Play Design and Digital Magic: A few weeks back (sorry I missed it first time around) Melissa De Tora wrote an article talking about how digital Magic affects card design. (Don’t worry, it’s not causing any harm.) The article is here.
 
WoTC President Speaks Up on Community and Harassment: (Repeat from last week because it is worth noting again.) Chris Cook posted an article on the mothership on Wizards commitment to a fair and welcoming community.  The “Commitment to Each Other” sets forth four principles: Put Fun First, Welcome Everyone, Respect your Play Environment and Follow the Rules. Further information, including more on what those principles mean, is here. I’ve always followed those principles around my home table, and enforced them at the events I run and stores I attend.
 
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. 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
Dates
Scheduled Downtime
January 10th, January 31st (extended)
Constructed Leagues End
January 15, 2018
Sealed Leagues End
January 15, 2018
Rivals of Ixalan Released
January 21, 2018
Core Set Magic  2019
July 20, 2018
25th Anniversary Edition Masters
March 16, 2018
Next B&R Announcement
January 15, 2018
SOI and EMN Redemption Ends
April 28, 2018
Ixalan Redemption Ends
May 23, 2018
Rivals of Ixalan Redemption Ends
May 23, 2018

 
WotC Covered Events
Wizards will be streaming a number of events next year, including all four Pro Tours, the Magic Championship and World Magic Cup, along with 35 Grand Prix. Since Wizards does not schedule premier events on prerelease weekends and certain holidays, that means they will be streaming an event nearly every weekend. Here’s the schedule we have so far.
·       Jan. 6–7: Grand Prix Santa Clara
·       Jan. 20–21: Grand Prix Indianapolis
·       Jan. 27–28: Grand Prix London
·       Feb. 3–5: Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan in Bilbao, Spain
·       Feb. 10–11: Grand Prix Toronto
·       Feb. 17–18: Grand Prix Lyon
·       Feb. 24–25: Grand Prix Memphis
·       March 2–4: Magic Online Championship in Renton, Washington
·       March 10–11: Grand Prix Madrid
·       April 6–8: Grand Prix Seattle (double-GP weekend)
·       April 14–15: Grand Prix Memphis
·       April 28–29: Grand Prix Bologna
·       May 5–6: Grand Prix Dallas
·       May 11–13: Grand Prix Birmingham (double-GP weekend)
·       May 26–27: Grand Prix Washington, DC
·       June 1–3: Pro Tour Dominaria in Richmond, Virginia
·       June 9–10: Grand Prix Copenhagen
·       June 15–17: Grand Prix Las Vegas (double-GP weekend)
·       June 23–24: Grand Prix Pittsburgh
·       July 7–8: Grand Prix São Paulo
·       July 21–22: Grand Prix Sacramento
·       July 28–29: Grand Prix Minneapolis
·       Aug. 3–5: Pro Tour 25th Anniversary in Minneapolis, Minnesota
·       Aug. 11–12: Grand Prix Brussels
·       Aug. 18–19: Grand Prix Los Angeles
·       Aug. 25–26: Grand Prix Prague
·       Aug. 31–Sept. 2: Grand Prix Richmond (double-GP weekend)
·       Sept. 8–9: Grand Prix Detroit
·       Sept. 15–16: Grand Prix Stockholm
·       Weekend of Sept. 23–24: 2018 Magic World Championship and Team Series Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada (exact event dates TBD)
·       Oct. 6–7: Grand Prix Montreal
·       Oct. 13–14: Grand Prix Denver
·       Oct. 27–28: Grand Prix Lille
·       Nov. 3–4: Grand Prix Atlanta
·       Nov. 9–11: Pro Tour "Spaghetti" in Atlanta
·       Nov. 17–18: Grand Prix Milwaukee
·       Dec. 8–9: Grand Prix Liverpool
·       Dec. 14–16: World Magic Cup in Barcelona, Spain
 
2018 Magic Online Championship Series
Complete details, including schedule, rules, and which online events qualify you for which online or paper events is here.   Here are the main dates for the next quarter:
 

Event Date
Event Type
Event Format
Invites
Saturday, December 30
Open
Ixalan Sealed
Magic Online Championship, Pro Tour Dominaria, PT Challenge at Pro Tour Dominaria
Saturday, January 6
Open
Ixalan Sealed
Magic Online Championship, Pro Tour Dominaria, PT Challenge at Pro Tour Dominaria
Sunday, January 7
Monthly
Modern
February 10 MOCS Playoff
Saturday, January 27
Monthly
Standard
February 10 MOCS Playoff
Sunday, January 28
Monthly
Ixalan-Rivals of Ixalan Sealed
February 10 MOCS Playoff
Saturday, February 10
Playoff
Standard
Magic Online Championship, Pro Tour Dominaria, PT Challenge at Pro Tour Dominaria

 
Magic Online Format Challenges
These are high stakes events that happen every weekend.   They cost 25 Tix / 250 play points, and last a number of rounds based on participation (assume 5-8), plus a single elimination Top 8. Details, including prize payouts, are here. Start times are:
 

Event Type
Start Time
Saturday, 8:00 am PT
Saturday, 10:00 am PT
Saturday, 12:00 pm PT
Sunday, 8:00 am PT
Sunday, 10:00 am PT

 
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
Vintage Cube
December 20th
January 15th
[time off for Rivals of Ixalan events]
January 15th
???

 
The Flashback Leagues are still draft, and still 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:  End of Year Wrap-up
2017 has been a lousy year.  American democracy is broken in some fundamental ways, but that’s a topic for another venue. I lost both of my dogs to cancer, and got to spend a lot of money on house repairs. But this column is about Magic, superficially digital Magic, and the year in Magic was a lot less dreadful. At the very least, it shows signs of promise, so let’s look at that.
 
Standard: Standard is not in a good place right now. In fact, it is a very narrow format, with a clear top deck, a couple variants of the top deck and one other Tier I deck. That is not healthy, and attendance at Standard events is down. About the best we can say about the format is that Wizards has not had to ban anything from the most recent set. That’s not much.  
 
On the plus side, Wizards realized they had a problem and took action. After R&D failed to spot the Saheeli Rai / Felidar Guardian combo, they created a team specifically charged with looking at new sets from the point of view of maintaining decent limited and constructed formats – with an emphasis on draft and Standard. That team was created early in 2017. Since sets are designed and finalized months in advance of release, the new Play Design team has not had much chance to impact Standard so far. Going forward, however, we can expect that the team – which has a large number of former Pro players – to give us a better Standard experience. And even if the Play Design team cannot prevent Wizards from releasing another broken mechanic like Energy, at least they may save us from another Aetherworks Marvel.
 
MTG Arena: 2017 has brought us videos, and a closed beta, of the next version of digital Magic: MTG Arena. Arena is still in the design phase, and a lot of it is still subject to change. What appears to be certain, however, is that Arena will be a collectible card game, but not a trading card game. Arena, from all we have seen and heard, will be similar to Hearthstone, in that you will have to earn and craft cards, not buy or trade for them. Given that Hearthstone has an order of magnitude more players than MTGO, this may not be a bad approach. Wizards also looks like they intend to keep MTGO around as the place to play older formats.   The concepts are good, but I will admit to being a bit nervous. Wizards is juggling a couple valuable properties here, and I really hope they don’t let anything come crashing down. Next year will be interesting at the very least.
 
Bullying: The one and only thing that can kill Magic is the players – specifically the toxic players.  I have seen many other games and gaming communities taken over by immature, loudmouthed, crude and offensive players. Those gaming communities then shrank as all the decent people left, and revenues shrank at the same rate. Once those games or communities were no longer sufficiently profitable, the company pulled the plug. We had some low points this year, but Wizards has finally woke up and is taking action. About time.
 
Power Nine Online: This one is personal, but I am very happy to see the original power nine – with the original art and frames – back online. I didn’t open any during the VMA events, but I am seriously considering buying some to replace those weirdly framed, unrecognizable art versions I now have.   All I need now to replicate my paper decks are the Unglued – not Unhinged, Unglued – full art lands.    
 
Cutting Edge Tech
Standard: Other than the Standard MOCS, the most recent large Standard event was the Standard challenger finals from Japan. 235 players brought their Standard decks. The Top 8 was three Red decks, four Temur Energy and one Grixis Control.
 
Red Decks Win
Mitsuyasu Yuuki, Winner, 10th Standard God Challenger - 75 Cards Total
Creature
3 Ahn-Crop Crasher
4 Bomat Courier
3 Earthshaker Khenra
2 Harsh Mentor
4 Hazoret the Fervent
2 Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
2 Rampaging Ferocidon
4 Soul-Scar Mage
22 cards

Instant
3 Abrade
4 Lightning Strike
4 Shock
11 cards
Planeswalker
1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
1 cards
Land
1 Scavenger Grounds
4 Sunscorched Desert
15 Mountain
4 Ramunap Ruins
24 cards


Sideboard
2 Aethersphere Harvester
2 Chandra's Defeat
2 Glorybringer
2 Pia Nalaar
1 Magma Spray
2 Rampaging Ferocidon
1 Abrade
3 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
15 cards
Modern: We had a Modern PTQ on MTGO a week ago Sunday. That’s the last large Modern event I have decklists for, so we’ll use it. Besides, with 347 players, it’s worth noting.  
 

Pauper: Pauper is seeing a bit of a resurgence ever since major streamers, like the Professor and NumottheNummy, started playing the format. I haven’t played for a while, so this may be a new to everyone, but it is new to me. I like the interaction between Inside Out and Tireless Tribe, and I have always like Shadow Rift to make things almost unblockable. 

Shadowy Seekers
THEFLOTIST, 5-0, Competitive Paper League - 75 Cards Total
Creature
4 Seeker of the Way
4 Tireless Tribe
8 cards

Instant
2 Apostle's Blessing
4 Brainstorm
4 Circular Logic
2 Dispel
4 Gush
4 Inside Out
2 Repeal
4 Shadow Rift
26 cards
Sorcery
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Ponder
8 cards
Land
4 Ash Barrens
10 Island
2 Plains
2 Terramorphic Expanse
18 cards


Sideboard
1 Apostle's Blessing
2 Augur of Bolas
4 Gut Shot
3 Spell Pierce
3 Stormbound Geist
2 Sunlance
15 cards
Legacy: No big Legacy events in the recent weeks, so let’s check out the Leagues. Here’s an old friend.
 
 
Vintage:   The Vintage Leagues show just two decks this week – Paradoxical Outcome with Mentor and Snapcaster Control.   We’ve seen these before, but since we now have real Power online… 

 

 
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 mixed this week, but the trend is much better than last week.
 

Standard Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$7.96
$7.87
$0.09
1%
$8.09
$8.59
($0.50)
-6%
$7.20
$7.46
($0.26)
-3%
$31.03
$25.77
$5.26
20%
$6.52
$5.76
$0.76
13%
$11.60
$10.10
$1.50
15%
$5.37
$6.51
($1.14)
-18%
$8.69
$6.23
$2.46
39%
$30.52
$24.73
$5.79
23%
$13.72
$15.09
($1.37)
-9%
$10.41
$10.64
($0.23)
-2%
$9.22
$8.46
$0.76
9%

Modern staples:  Modern prices were mixed again this week. Last week the drops were generally larger than the gains. This week it is the reverse.   
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$14.19
$13.99
$0.20
1%
$25.89
$21.35
$4.54
21%
$29.00
$25.45
$3.55
14%
$26.93
$27.81
($0.88)
-3%
$17.47
$13.93
$3.54
25%
$21.26
$18.16
$3.10
17%
$21.45
$23.10
($1.65)
-7%
$40.53
$41.18
($0.65)
-2%
$32.66
$30.64
$2.02
7%
$21.22
$22.45
($1.23)
-5%
$42.02
$42.39
($0.37)
-1%
$60.56
$57.73
$2.83
5%
$29.86
$32.61
($2.75)
-8%
$55.40
$57.78
($2.38)
-4%
$18.60
$19.33
($0.73)
-4%
$33.99
$31.23
$2.76
9%
$22.25
$24.09
($1.84)
-8%
$30.87
$29.55
$1.32
4%
$24.81
$25.26
($0.45)
-2%

Legacy and Vintage: Vintage and Legacy prices are mixed this week. Vintage seems to be getting a boost out of having the real Power Nine online.
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$63.71
$52.17
$11.54
22%
$20.42
$20.64
($0.22)
-1%
$74.11
$82.59
($8.48)
-10%
$40.31
$35.81
$4.50
13%
$22.54
$25.75
($3.21)
-12%
$20.32
$21.50
($1.18)
-5%
$32.46
$30.72
$1.74
6%
$41.39
$41.39
$0.00
0%
$25.89
$26.03
($0.14)
-1%
$29.28
$28.37
$0.91
3%
$43.65
$47.78
($4.13)
-9%
$19.62
$19.41
$0.21
1%
$72.77
$68.46
$4.31
6%
$18.97
$18.22
$0.75
4%
$17.85
$16.62
$1.23
7%
$39.17
$36.94
$2.23
6%

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 pack. I’ll keep tracking these because they are interesting (at least to me).  Everything is down this week.
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Aether Revolt
$63.24
$61.81
$1.43
2%
Amonkhet
$73.99
$68.49
$5.50
8%
Ixalan
$69.19
$68.76
$0.43
1%
Hour of Devastation
$60.83
$52.21
$8.62
17%
Kaladesh
$102.93
$95.46
$7.47
8%
Treasure Chest
$2.22
$2.21
$0.01
0%
Ixalan Booster
$3.05
$2.83
$0.22
8%

 
 
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. Nothing is above a hundred bucks. The number of cards on the list is up slightly again this week – just a bit under 70 cards now.   We have added the old frame Power to the list.
 

Name
Set
Rarity
 Price
Black Lotus
 1E
Rare
 $      96.97
True-Name Nemesis
 PZ1
Mythic Rare
 $      76.23
Exploration
 UZ
Rare
 $      74.11
True-Name Nemesis
 C13
Rare
 $      72.77
Black Lotus
 VMA
Bonus
 $      63.71
Mox Sapphire
 1E
Rare
 $      62.49
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
 $      61.32
Liliana of the Veil
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $      60.56
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
 $      60.07
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
 $      59.78
Mox Opal
 MS2
Bonus
 $      59.50
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $      55.40
Ancestral Recall
 1E
Rare
 $      53.72
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
 $      50.94
Mox Diamond
 TPR
Mythic Rare
 $      49.74
Mox Ruby
 1E
Rare
 $      45.90
Mox Jet
 1E
Rare
 $      44.99
Mox Emerald
 1E
Rare
 $      44.78
Rishadan Port
 MM
Rare
 $      43.65
Karn Liberated
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $      43.40
Wasteland
 TPR
Rare
 $      42.10
Karn Liberated
 NPH
Mythic Rare
 $      42.02
Misdirection
 MM
Rare
 $      41.39
Engineered Explosives
 5DN
Rare
 $      41.10
Force of Will
 MS3
Special
 $      40.91
Engineered Explosives
 MMA
Rare
 $      40.56
Engineered Explosives
 MS2
Bonus
 $      40.53
Force of Will
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $      40.48
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
 $      40.31
Wasteland
 EMA
Rare
 $      39.49
Wasteland
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $      39.17
Time Walk
 1E
Rare
 $      38.83
Mox Pearl
 1E
Rare
 $      37.47
Scalding Tarn
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $      35.00
Scalding Tarn
 ZEN
Rare
 $      34.96
Mox Diamond
 ST
Rare
 $      34.80
Dark Depths
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $      34.76
Ensnaring Bridge
 ST
Rare
 $      34.14
Unmask
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $      34.07
Scalding Tarn
 MM3
Rare
 $      33.99
Ensnaring Bridge
 MS2
Bonus
 $      33.99
Underground Sea
 ME2
Rare
 $      33.24
Ensnaring Bridge
 7E
Rare
 $      33.05
Ensnaring Bridge
 8ED
Rare
 $      32.66
Leovold, Emissary of Trest
 PZ2
Mythic Rare
 $      32.46
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
 KLD
Mythic Rare
 $      31.03
Surgical Extraction
 MM2
Rare
 $      30.92
Underground Sea
 ME4
Rare
 $      30.88
Surgical Extraction
 NPH
Rare
 $      30.87
The Scarab God
 HOU
Mythic Rare
 $      30.52
The Scarab God
 MS3
Special
 $      30.51
Liliana, the Last Hope
 EMN
Mythic Rare
 $      29.86
Mox Sapphire
 VMA
Bonus
 $      29.28
Celestial Colonnade
 WWK
Rare
 $      29.00
Tarmogoyf
 FUT
Rare
 $      28.28
Chalice of the Void
 MRD
Rare
 $      28.22
Chalice of the Void
 MMA
Rare
 $      27.31
Gorilla Shaman
 ALL
Common
 $     27.27
Mystic Confluence
 PZ1
Rare
 $      27.06
Chalice of the Void
 MS2
Bonus
 $      26.93
Tarmogoyf
 MMA
Mythic Rare
 $      26.44
Blood Moon
 MS3
Special
 $      26.23
Cavern of Souls
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $      26.11
Cavern of Souls
 AVR
Rare
 $      25.89
Mox Diamond
 V10
Mythic Rare
 $      25.89
Containment Priest
 PZ1
Rare
 $      25.24
Tarmogoyf
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $      25.16

 
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 $ 19,690. That’s up about $590 from last week. 
 
Weekly Highlights
 
Happy Holidays everyone!
 
 
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.  
 

 

1 Comments

Unglued – not Unhinged, Unglued – by Sensei at Fri, 12/29/2017 - 13:39
Sensei's picture

Unglued not unstable?