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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Jan 12 2018 1:00pm
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State of the Program for January 12th 2018
 
In the News
Leagues End Monday: Rivals of Ixalan will be playable on Monday. All leagues will end, then be relaunched with RIX cards legal in the format.
 
Rivals of Ixalan Preview League:  MTGO players were able to play with Rivals of Ixalan on the Thursday BEFORE the paper prerelease. Starting on Thursday, January 11th, at 11am PT, (yesterday) MTGO players got a chance to enter a keep-the-cards for-real, one-day league. In years past, we had to wait for weeks after the paper prerelease before the new sets would hit MTGO. Now, we beat paper. Sweet! Details here.
 
B&R List Update Monday: Wizards will announce changes to the Banned and Restricted List on Monday. Or not. We will have to wait until Monday to find out.
 
Vintage Cube Ends Monday: Last weekend for the cube. Enjoy.
 
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 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. 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, 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

 
 
Opinion Section:  Why We Can’t Have Good Things
I’m looking at Standard right now, and wondering if it can be saved. I’m also looking at this thing: Ravenous Chupacabra
 
 
I'm not sure this is a good thing for Standard.
 
Standard is where it is at because Wizards has decided that we cannot play decks that stop people from playing their spells. Twenty years ago, we faced land destruction decks and decks built around Winter Orb and Stasis.   Mana denial is no fun to play against, and having your lands destroyed is frustrating, I know. Mana denial decks preyed on greedy mana bases. They did not prevent those decks from existing – four and five color decks thrived in the same format that included decks build around Pillage, Thermokarst and Wildfire – but the existence of land destruction decks meant that the five colors decks had to dedicate more resources on developing their mana bases. One playset of Rampant Growth effects was not enough, and you needed a large number of multicolored lands because some of them would not survive. Today, however, four and five color decks can be built around one playset of Attunes and four Aether Hubs. 
 
Also back in the day, mono-blue decks could find enough cheap counters to basically counter everything, bounce all your lands with Capsize with buyback, then kill you slowly with a random creatureland like Stalking Stones.   These decks were Not fun to face and really tough to play through. Eventually Wizards decided fun was too important, and killed cheap generic spells like Counterspell in favor of conditional counters like Negate.   The pure control deck is gone as an archetype, which also has an impact on midrange decks like 4 color energy.   Control liked to crush that sort of deck – but control barely exists anymore.
 
Traditional Magic had one other method of limiting the power of mid-range good stuff decks – blazingly fast decks that could win before mid-range got established. Every so often, the card pool would allow a burn deck or white weenie deck to become too fast to stopped, and the format would turn into that deck and its foils. That has never been a popular answer. Having a speed deck can work to limit mid-range, provided Wizards can get exactly the right balance of speed and good stuff. That almost never happens.
 
Our current Standard shows that balance. Mid-range good stuff decks built around many colors and the Energy mechanic dominate, while a fast red deck snaps at its heals. The red deck is not fast enough, but it has a late game due to an indestructible god and a lad that deals uncounterable damage. And that is the metagame.
 
Ixalan is supposed to be a tribal block, but tribal decks simply cannot compete in this metagame – and the new Chupacabra only makes it worse. Right now, Energy decks can kill everything, so everything playable needs to have comes-into-play effects and be recurable.  Tribal decks are built around synergies, but synergies only happen when you can get multiple synergistic creatures on the battlefield at the same time.  Energy can prevent that now – and having a Ravenous Chupacabra to recur with The Scarab God is only going to make that worse.
 
But the folks at Wizards know all this, and they printed Ravenous Chupacabra anyway. That makes me wonder about next Monday’s B&R announcement. Will they try to nerf Energy?
 
Cutting Edge Tech
Standard: Last week’s GP Santa Clara was a team event, meaning each team had a player playing Standard, another playing Modern and a third playing Legacy.  The Standard players were overwhelmingly playing Energy, and the Top 4 was all Energy. Let’s just wait until we get some actual post RIX results.
 
Modern: The Top 8 Modern decks from GP Santa Clara was an interesting mix: Dredge, UW Control, just one Death’s Shadow, two Affinity, a Mardu Midrange, Eldrazi Tron and Lantern control. That’s a diverse format. I’ll feature Dredge, because I haven’t seen too much Dredge recently.

Pauper: Pauper is becoming a thing in the paper world. ChannelFireball is offering Pauper events at GPs now, and people are streaming the format. Time to take another look.  Here’s my favorite this week. I love Priest of Titania – I played her a lot back in the day.  

Pauper Elves
ENSAYNE, 5-0, competitive Pauper League - 75 Cards Total
Creature
4 Birchlore Rangers
2 Elvish Mystic
4 Elvish Vanguard
2 Essence Warden
2 Fyndhorn Elves
3 Llanowar Elves
4 Lys Alana Huntmaster
4 Nettle Sentinel
3 Priest of Titania
4 Quirion Ranger
4 Timberwatch Elf
3 Wellwisher
39 cards

Instant
2 Vines of Vastwood
2 cards
Sorcery
1 Distant Melody
4 Lead the Stampede
5 cards

Artifact
1 Viridian Longbow
1 cards
Land
13 Forest
13 cards
 


Sideboard
1 Viridian Longbow
3 Gleeful Sabotage
2 Magnify
1 Mob Justice
2 Nihil Spellbomb
2 Scattershot Archer
3 Spidersilk Armor
1 Tangle
15 cards

Legacy: The Top 8 Legacy decks from GP Santa Clara included a lot of Grixis Delver, Dark Depths, a True-Name Bug deck and a couple Show and Tell decks. I haven’t featured Show and Tell for a while.

Show and Tell
Jonathan Angelescu, Second Place Team, GP Santa Clara - 75 Cards Total
Creature
4 Griselbrand
4 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
8 cards

Instant
2 Spell Pierce
2 Flusterstorm
4 Force of Will
4 Brainstorm
12 cards
Sorcery
4 Show and Tell
3 Preordain
4 Ponder
11 cards

Artifact
4 Lotus Petal
4 cards
Enchantment
4 Sneak Attack
2 Omniscience
6 cards

Land
3 Volcanic Island
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Polluted Delta
1 Mountain
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Flooded Strand
3 Island
2 City of Traitors
3 Ancient Tomb
19 cards
 

Sideboard
1 Wipe Away
2 Through the Breach
2 Pyroclasm
4 Leyline of Sanctity
2 Grafdigger's Cage
2 Defense Grid
2 Blood Moon
15 cards

Vintage: No large Vintage events over the holidays, so I’m looking through the Leagues. I could feature Dredge, to complement the featured Modern deck, but I prefer this one.

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 down a bit, since two weeks ago. We are in the pause before the new set hits. Correction – by the time you read this, the new set will be here. 
 

Standard Cards
Price
2 Weeks Ago
Change
% Change
$7.47
$7.96
($0.49)
-6%
$6.09
$8.09
($2.00)
-25%
$7.55
$7.20
$0.35
5%
$27.45
$31.03
($3.58)
-12%
$6.01
$6.52
($0.51)
-8%
$10.49
$11.60
($1.11)
-10%
$5.85
$5.37
$0.48
9%
$6.01
$8.69
($2.68)
-31%
$25.70
$30.52
($4.82)
-16%
$13.68
$13.72
($0.04)
0%
$10.63
$10.41
$0.22
2%
$7.63
$9.22
($1.59)
-17%

Modern staples:  Modern is popular, and the prices are doing well.  A few swings, but that seems typical.   
 

Modern Cards
Price
2 Weeks Ago
Change
% Change
$13.64
$14.19
($0.55)
-4%
$29.75
$25.89
$3.86
15%
$30.91
$29.00
$1.91
7%
$30.03
$26.93
$3.10
12%
$17.89
$17.47
$0.42
2%
$20.45
$21.26
($0.81)
-4%
$20.08
$21.45
($1.37)
-6%
$39.25
$40.53
($1.28)
-3%
$35.59
$32.66
$2.93
9%
$29.13
$21.22
$7.91
37%
$42.11
$42.02
$0.09
0%
$58.83
$60.56
($1.73)
-3%
$29.06
$29.86
($0.80)
-3%
$63.48
$55.40
$8.08
15%
$21.43
$18.60
$2.83
15%
$31.02
$33.99
($2.97)
-9%
$23.51
$22.25
$1.26
6%
$31.04
$30.87
$0.17
1%
$25.38
$24.81
$0.57
2%

Legacy and Vintage: The old Black Lotus with the wrong picture is dropping in price. The rest of the cards are down a little bit, but this seems like normal churn. Downward churn, but these prices move around a lot.
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
2 Weeks Ago
Change
% Change
$50.88
$63.71
($12.83)
-20%
$20.72
$20.42
$0.30
1%
$73.40
$74.11
($0.71)
-1%
$37.42
$40.31
($2.89)
-7%
$20.60
$22.54
($1.94)
-9%
$17.29
$20.32
($3.03)
-15%
$32.81
$32.46
$0.35
1%
$40.69
$41.39
($0.70)
-2%
$26.11
$25.89
$0.22
1%
$23.51
$29.28
($5.77)
-20%
$39.31
$43.65
($4.34)
-10%
$21.83
$19.62
$2.21
11%
$68.22
$72.77
($4.55)
-6%
$19.38
$18.97
$0.41
2%
$15.42
$17.85
($2.43)
-14%
$41.35
$39.17
$2.18
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).  But not this week.
 
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, and Black Lotus is back on top. Where it should be.
 

Name
Set
Rarity
 Price
Black Lotus
 1E
Rare
 $ 103.33
Mox Opal
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 74.42
Exploration
 UZ
Rare
 $ 73.40
True-Name Nemesis
 PZ1
Mythic Rare
 $ 68.48
True-Name Nemesis
 C13
Rare
 $ 68.22
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
 $ 64.22
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 63.48
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
 $ 62.74
Mox Sapphire
 1E
Rare
 $ 62.26
Liliana of the Veil
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $ 62.01
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
 $ 58.83
Ancestral Recall
 1E
Rare
 $ 55.78
Black Lotus
 VMA
Bonus
 $ 50.88
Mox Diamond
 TPR
Mythic Rare
 $ 50.62
Mox Ruby
 1E
Rare
 $ 48.13
Mox Emerald
 1E
Rare
 $ 46.99
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
 $ 45.93
Wasteland
 TPR
Rare
 $ 44.55
Wasteland
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 44.35
Mox Jet
 1E
Rare
 $ 44.22
Karn Liberated
 NPH
Mythic Rare
 $ 43.56
Force of Will
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 43.31
Karn Liberated
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 42.11
Wasteland
 EMA
Rare
 $ 41.35
Misdirection
 MM
Rare
 $ 40.69
Engineered Explosives
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 40.35
Engineered Explosives
 5DN
Rare
 $ 40.05
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
 $ 39.79
Rishadan Port
 MM
Rare
 $ 39.31
Engineered Explosives
 MMA
Rare
 $ 39.25
Mox Pearl
 1E
Rare
 $ 39.00
Time Walk
 1E
Rare
 $ 37.95
Force of Will
 MS3
Special
 $ 37.42
Ensnaring Bridge
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 36.63
Ensnaring Bridge
 ST
Rare
 $ 36.40
Ensnaring Bridge
 7E
Rare
 $ 36.18
Scalding Tarn
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 36.02
Ensnaring Bridge
 8ED
Rare
 $ 35.59
Unmask
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $ 35.54
Dark Depths
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $ 34.76
Underground Sea
 ME2
Rare
 $ 33.67
Leovold, Emissary of Trest
 PZ2
Mythic Rare
 $ 32.81
Chalice of the Void
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 32.75
Scalding Tarn
 ZEN
Rare
 $ 31.79
Chalice of the Void
 MRD
Rare
 $ 31.45
Mox Diamond
 ST
Rare
 $ 31.31
Surgical Extraction
 MM2
Rare
 $ 31.04
Surgical Extraction
 NPH
Rare
 $ 31.04
Scalding Tarn
 MM3
Rare
 $ 31.02
Celestial Colonnade
 WWK
Rare
 $ 30.91
Underground Sea
 ME4
Rare
 $ 30.84
Chalice of the Void
 MMA
Rare
 $ 30.03
Cavern of Souls
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $ 29.81
Cavern of Souls
 AVR
Rare
 $ 29.75
Horizon Canopy
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 29.60
Horizon Canopy
 IMA
Rare
 $ 29.35
Horizon Canopy
 FUT
Rare
 $ 29.13
Liliana, the Last Hope
 EMN
Mythic Rare
 $ 29.06
The Scarab God
 MS3
Special
 $ 28.69
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
 KLD
Mythic Rare
 $ 27.45
Gorilla Shaman
 ALL
Common
 $ 27.31
Blood Moon
 9ED
Rare
 $ 27.06
Blood Moon
 MS3
Special
 $ 27.06
Containment Priest
 C14
Rare
 $ 26.36
Blood Moon
 MM3
Rare
 $ 26.32
Blood Moon
 8ED
Rare
 $ 26.27
Blood Moon
 MMA
Rare
 $ 26.19
Mox Diamond
 V10
Mythic Rare
 $ 26.11
Containment Priest
 PZ1
Rare
 $ 25.97
Tarmogoyf
 FUT
Rare
 $ 25.86
The Scarab God
 HOU
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.70
Tarmogoyf
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.66
Tarmogoyf
 MMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.52
Tarmogoyf
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.38

 
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 $ 20,025. That’s down an almost insignificant $80 from last week. 
 
Weekly Highlights
I managed to squeeze in one preview league. It was great to be able to play with the new cards before the paper prerelease. I have often read the prerelease FAQ and spent time with the image gallery, but I don’t really know the cards until I have played them. It should make the paper prereleases better. 
 
I went 2-2, with one match ending as I timed out with lethal, unblockable fliers attacking, as I was clicking pass to end of turn. I lost another match to a greedy mana base. I didn’t think I could build a two color deck, so I built a three color good stuff deck without any mana fixing. I figure I’ll revisit my deck later this week. Much to learn.
 
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” on MTGO
 
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.
 

 

4 Comments

re by Hearts at Sat, 01/13/2018 - 02:42
Hearts's picture

Pete saying that land destruction and control-U decks are taking away the fun for some doesnt come from nowhere I agree.

However, I can say for sure that the lack of those types of decks takes away a lot of strategy/fun for the better mtg players. On the pro tour these options would bring a lot to the game and PV, LSV, Finkel and so on would love this.

Also remember; It is possible to make lgs/house rules to disallow such and such decks if desirable locally.

Its been a known thing for by JXClaytor at Sun, 01/14/2018 - 03:16
JXClaytor's picture

Its been a known thing for nearly 16 years. This isn't a new development in the least

https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/latest-developments/land-d...

http://markrosewater.tumblr.com/post/154751683168/what-do-you-say-to-the...

re by Hearts at Sun, 01/14/2018 - 09:41
Hearts's picture

Mountain + Jackal Pup

"Will they try to nerf by Alphi at Tue, 01/16/2018 - 11:04
Alphi's picture

"Will they try to nerf Energy?"

Good guess. :)