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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Jan 19 2018 12:00pm
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 State of the Program for January 19th 2018

 
In the News
B&R List Update Monday:  Wizards has swung the ban hammer four times, all hitting Standard.  Attune with Aether is banned.  Rogue Refiner is banned.  Rampaging Ferocidon is banned.  Ramunap Ruins is banned.  The B&R announcement is here.  The next B&R announcement will be just after the Pro Tour.
 
Magic Online Store Items Being Removed:  Wizards is cutting a bunch of poor selling items from the MGO store.  The discontinued products include 2014 Commander decks, various Planeswalker decks, From the Vault: Transform, Iconic Masters and Play Point Bundles. 
 
Magic Arena Economy Info:  Wizards has started revealing how the MTG Arena economy will work. It is complex, and does not appear to include crafting.  The video is here. The article is here.  I’ll discuss this next week.
 
Core Set Date Change:  Wizards has announced that the date of the next Core set will be moved forward because Wizards is “really excited” about the set.  At least, that’s what the announcement said.
 
Coverage Updates Announced:  Wizards and ChannelFireball are working at improving their GP coverage.  Rich Hagon, CF Global Events Manager, has provided some details on how they are revamping viewers’ GP experience.  Details here.
 
Great Designer Search Beginning:  Wizards has announced that the first round will be essay questions – for each of the 7,000+ contestants.  That is a lot of contestants.  A lot.
 
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 Extended Downtimes
January 31st and February 28th
Constructed Leagues End
April 18, 2018
Sealed Leagues End
April 23, 2018
Core Set Magic  2019
July 13, 2018
25th Anniversary Edition Masters
March 16, 2018
Next B&R Announcement
February 12, 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:  I’m Not Sure What to Say
I you have been listening to the Twitterverse the last couple weeks, you have probably heard about sex offenders and Wizards new policy on background checks.  A lot of people have been very passionate about this.
 
First, some background. First, Wizards, the WPN and the judge program have always had a zero tolerance policy for criminals and sexual offenders.  People with such records are fired and banned from Wizards organized play.  But Wizards missed one, and left one inactive judge on the roles, and Internet trolls have tried to blow this into a huge scandal.  Wizards put out a press release and statement explaining that their policy.  The statement is here.  The announcement to stores and TOs is here.    The Code of Conduct for stores that are part of the Wizards Play Network is here.
 
I have read the press releases and the WPN Code of Conduct, and I don’t really have any arguments. The Code of Conduct includes provisions like this:
 
(c) Illegal Conduct. You will take all reasonable measures to prevent illegal or otherwise inappropriate conduct in or associated with your Retail Store or at Events.
 
I can’t really argue with that.  Yes, it is a bit vague, but the concept is absolutely sound, and all reasonable measures is reasonable language for a document that has to apply in all 195 countries worldwide, and in each of the states, provinces, districts, commonwealths, regions, counties and cities, municipalities, townships, etc. that those counties are subdivided into. 
 
It also says:
(b) Responsibility for Staff. You agree that all people and companies you employ, utilize, engage or otherwise contract with to work or provide services in your Retail Store, to assist with conducting Events (collectively "Staff") will comply with these WPN Terms and all applicable laws, ordinances, regulations and other governmental requirements. You likewise agree to comply with all federal, state, and local laws related to any employment relationship that may exist between you and your Staff consistent with Section 6. You further agree that nothing in these WPN Terms creates an employment relationship between Wizards and your Staff. You remain solely liable for all Staff activity under your WPN Membership. Protect players of all ages, to the extent permitted by applicable law, you agree to conduct background checks to meet your obligations under Section 15 on your Staff as well as those you engage with that interact with the public.
 
Again, I can’t argue with the concept.  Stores should have a zero tolerance for toxic behavior from anyone associated with the store.  The expectation that stores conduct background checks is new to the WPN code of conduct, but not new to retail stores.  We live in a world where people and organizations are demonized and destroyed for making mistakes, so stores have to protect themselves.  It is not enough to say that they will not tolerate bad behavior in their stores – they need to ensure that everyone associated with the store is above reproach.  So many stores already do background checks.  Wizards would like the rest to do so as well.
 
I have heard other community voices talking as if this just affected Magic Judges.  It affects far more people than that.  I’m not a lawyer, but I read this as affecting all people the store employs / uses to run events. This would include store employees, Magic judges, non-judges running FNM, DMs running Adventure League and Expeditions games at stores, etc.  Some Internet voices have been calling for Wizards to do the background checks for Magic judges.  That would solve some problems (and create others), but the background check expectation does not just apply to judges.  It applies to a lot of people that are affiliated with the stores, people which are not associated with Wizards in any direct way other than through a WPN store.
 
Commentators have also been talking about the expense and effort of conducting background checks.  This varies, depending on how deep a dive stores do.  I did some research on this, and prices vary.  Checking the local sex offender database is generally free, and a number of companies provide the service.  Checking nationally can cost $3-$5,at least in the US.   Criminal background checks can be a bit more, or more in areas where governments charge for access to databases.  The checks can also be more expensive if they verify IDs (e.g. check social security numbers or equivalent), immigration status, credit history, history of tenant/landlord issue, etc.  The WPN CoC does not require stores to go that far.  It does require stores, in my non-lawyerly opinion, to at least check the local registry of known sex offenders.  I don’t find that unreasonable.
 
I can’t get too worked up about this. Stores that cater to kids as well as adults, and have play spaces that allow teens to play should exclude all known sex offenders.  They should also work to exclude, or at least repress, bullying and other obnoxious behavior.  Stating this in the code of conduct seems fine to me.  It’s not perfect, but little in this world is.
 
Next week I expect I’ll talk about the newly announced MTG Arena economic model.  Which is also not perfect, but intriguing.  Or, at least, the few details we know so far.
 
Cutting Edge Tech
Standard:  We have the first set of 5-0 decks from the Standard Leagues that include cards from Rivals of Ixalan, and exclude the newly banned cards.   
 
RB Cupacabra
Cull_the_Weak, 5-0, Competitive Standard League - 75 Cards Total

Creature
4 Gifted Aetherborn
4 Glorybringer
2 Ravenous Chupacabra
4 Rekindling Phoenix
2 Tetzimoc, Primal Death
8 cards

Instant
4 Abrade
4 Fatal Push
8 cards

Artifact
4 Treasure Map

Sorcery
3 Sweltering Suns
3 cards

Planeswalker
4 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
1 Liliana, Death's Majesty
5 cards
Land
4 Canyon Slough
4 Dragonskull Summit
4 Evolving Wilds
5 Mountain
1 Scavenger Grounds
6 Swamp
24 cards
 


Sideboard
1 Liliana, Death's Majesty
4 Bontu's Last Reckoning
1 Cut/Ribbons
4 Duress
2 Unlicensed Disintegration
2 Vraska's Contempt
14 cards
 
Modern:  Back to the Leagues this week, because there are no major events during prerelease weekend.  I looked for Rival cards in the lists, but didn't find any. Maybe next week.

 

Pauper:  Pauper is becoming a thing in the paper world.  ChannelFireball is offering Pauper events at GPs now, and people are streaming the format.  This week I’m featuring a Ninja deck, because Wizards has fixed the ninja bug. The cards work, now.   
Blue Beats
TIKIPANDA, 5-0, competitive Pauper League - 75 Cards Total
Creature
4 Augur of Bolas
4 Faerie Miscreant
4 Mulldrifter
4 Ninja of the Deep Hours
4 Spellstutter Sprite
20 cards

Instant
4 Counterspell
1 Deprive
1 Essence Scatter
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Spell Pierce
11 cards
Sorcery
4 Flame Slash
4 Preordain
8 cards
Land
9 Island
4 Izzet Boilerworks
4 Izzet Guildgate
4 Swiftwater Cliffs
21 cards


Sideboard
1 Spell Pierce
2 Dispel
3 Echoing Ruin
2 Electrickery
1 Negate
3 Pyroblast
2 Stormbound Geist
1 Void Snare
15 cards
 
Legacy:  No big events during the prerelease weekend, so I looked to the Leagues.
 
Vintage: No large Vintage events over the holidays, so I’m looking through the Leagues.  This week, the Competitive Vintage League listed exactly one deck, so I will feature that.

 

 
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 up a bunch.  Players seem happier in this new, post-bannings world.  I have included a couple RIX cards – we will see how their prices shake out.
 
Standard Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$11.16
$7.47
$3.69
49%
$6.11
$6.09
$0.02
0%
$10.35
$7.55
$2.80
37%
$28.41
$27.45
$0.96
3%
$6.36
$6.01
$0.35
6%
$9.51
$10.49
($0.98)
-9%
$8.50
$5.85
$2.65
45%
$11.08
new
n/a
n/a
$21.22
new
n/a
n/a
$11.65
new
n/a
n/a
$8.39
$6.01
$2.38
40%
$33.95
$25.70
$8.25
32%
$17.34
$13.68
$3.66
27%
$10.04
$10.63
($0.59)
-6%
$10.26
$7.63
$2.63
34%
 
Modern staples:   Modern took a hit this week, but most of the changes are small.
 
Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$13.38
$13.64
($0.26)
-2%
$25.74
$29.75
($4.01)
-13%
$32.76
$30.91
$1.85
6%
$30.87
$30.03
$0.84
3%
$13.80
$17.89
($4.09)
-23%
$20.09
$20.45
($0.36)
-2%
$20.41
$20.08
$0.33
2%
$36.99
$39.25
($2.26)
-6%
$33.57
$35.59
($2.02)
-6%
$28.30
$29.13
($0.83)
-3%
$34.84
$42.11
($7.27)
-17%
$57.69
$58.83
($1.14)
-2%
$29.31
$29.06
$0.25
1%
$59.10
$63.48
($4.38)
-7%
$18.99
$21.43
($2.44)
-11%
$29.79
$31.02
($1.23)
-4%
$22.02
$23.51
($1.49)
-6%
$28.98
$31.04
($2.06)
-7%
$22.74
$25.38
($2.64)
-10%
Legacy and Vintage:  A fair amount of churn this week, but nothing really significant.
 
Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$46.76
$50.88
($4.12)
-8%
$21.04
$20.72
$0.32
2%
$71.25
$73.40
($2.15)
-3%
$39.07
$37.42
$1.65
4%
$20.37
$20.60
($0.23)
-1%
$18.00
$17.29
$0.71
4%
$34.37
$32.81
$1.56
5%
$40.99
$40.69
$0.30
1%
$20.16
$26.11
($5.95)
-23%
$19.48
$23.51
($4.03)
-17%
$31.89
$39.31
($7.42)
-19%
$24.27
$21.83
$2.44
11%
$70.70
$68.22
$2.48
4%
$19.86
$19.38
$0.48
2%
$14.53
$15.42
($0.89)
-6%
$42.98
$41.35
$1.63
4%
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).   Prices have rebounded.
Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Aether Revolt
$76.66
$58.95
$17.71
30%
Amonkhet
$69.68
$66.38
$3.30
5%
Ixalan
$79.58
$77.57
$2.01
3%
Hour of Devastation
$65.92
$54.22
$11.70
22%
Kaladesh
$112.69
$91.13
$21.56
24%
Rivals of Ixalan
$122.45
new
n/a
n/a
Treasure Chest
$2.51
$2.41
$0.10
4%
Ixalan Booster
$3.41
$2.57
$0.84
33%
Rivals of Ixalan Booster
$3.41
new
n/a
n/a
 
 
 
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.   No Rivals on the list, but close.
 
Name
Set
Rarity
 Price
Black Lotus
1E
Rare
 $    105.60
Exploration
UZ
Rare
 $      71.25
True-Name Nemesis
PZ1
Mythic Rare
 $      71.19
True-Name Nemesis
C13
Rare
 $      70.70
Mox Opal
MS2
Bonus
 $      65.13
Force of Will
MED
Rare
 $      63.36
Mox Opal
SOM
Mythic Rare
 $      62.95
Mox Sapphire
1E
Rare
 $      62.26
Mox Opal
MM2
Mythic Rare
 $      59.10
Liliana of the Veil
ISD
Mythic Rare
 $      57.94
Liliana of the Veil
MM3
Mythic Rare
 $      57.69
Ancestral Recall
1E
Rare
 $      56.17
Mox Diamond
TPR
Mythic Rare
 $      50.45
Mox Ruby
1E
Rare
 $      49.28
Wasteland
TE
Uncommon
 $      48.57
Mox Emerald
1E
Rare
 $      48.11
Black Lotus
VMA
Bonus
 $      46.76
Mox Jet
1E
Rare
 $      44.74
Force of Will
EMA
Mythic Rare
 $      44.22
Wasteland
TPR
Rare
 $      43.21
Wasteland
EMA
Rare
 $      43.01
Wasteland
EXP
Mythic Rare
 $      42.98
Misdirection
MM
Rare
 $      40.99
Force of Will
VMA
Rare
 $      40.60
Mox Pearl
1E
Rare
 $      40.06
Engineered Explosives
5DN
Rare
 $      39.92
Engineered Explosives
MMA
Rare
 $      39.80
Karn Liberated
NPH
Mythic Rare
 $      39.36
Force of Will
MS3
Special
 $      39.07
Time Walk
1E
Rare
 $      37.80
The Scarab God
MS3
Special
 $      37.43
Ensnaring Bridge
7E
Rare
 $      37.10
Engineered Explosives
MS2
Bonus
 $      36.99
Scalding Tarn
EXP
Mythic Rare
 $      35.72
Ensnaring Bridge
8ED
Rare
 $      35.65
Unmask
V16
Mythic Rare
 $      35.54
Ensnaring Bridge
ST
Rare
 $      35.19
Karn Liberated
MM2
Mythic Rare
 $      34.84
Dark Depths
V16
Mythic Rare
 $      34.76
Leovold, Emissary of Trest
PZ2
Mythic Rare
 $      34.37
The Scarab God
HOU
Mythic Rare
 $      33.95
Underground Sea
ME2
Rare
 $      33.81
Ensnaring Bridge
MS2
Bonus
 $      33.57
Celestial Colonnade
WWK
Rare
 $      32.76
Chalice of the Void
MS2
Bonus
 $      32.40
Rishadan Port
MM
Rare
 $      31.89
Scalding Tarn
MM3
Rare
 $      31.65
Chalice of the Void
MMA
Rare
 $      31.15
Underground Sea
ME4
Rare
 $      31.04
Chalice of the Void
MRD
Rare
 $      30.87
Scalding Tarn
ZEN
Rare
 $      29.79
Surgical Extraction
NPH
Rare
 $      29.76
Liliana, the Last Hope
EMN
Mythic Rare
 $      29.31
Horizon Canopy
EXP
Mythic Rare
 $      29.29
Cavern of Souls
MM3
Mythic Rare
 $      29.13
Surgical Extraction
MM2
Rare
 $      28.98
Blood Moon
8ED
Rare
 $      28.67
Horizon Canopy
FUT
Rare
 $      28.42
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
KLD
Mythic Rare
 $      28.41
Horizon Canopy
IMA
Rare
 $      28.30
Blood Moon
MS3
Special
 $      28.12
Blood Moon
9ED
Rare
 $      27.97
Containment Priest
PZ1
Rare
 $      27.59
Gorilla Shaman
ALL
Common
 $      27.31
Blood Moon
MM3
Rare
 $      27.04
Containment Priest
C14
Rare
 $      26.87
Tarmogoyf
FUT
Rare
 $      26.52
Blood Moon
MMA
Rare
 $      25.78
Cavern of Souls
AVR
Rare
 $      25.74
Tarmogoyf
MMA
Mythic Rare
 $      25.51
Mox Diamond
ST
Rare
 $      25.49
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
V17
Mythic Rare
 $      25.00
 
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 $ 20,040.  That’s up an insignificant $15 from last week, and that includes the increase from adding a playset of Rivals to the total. 
 
Weekly Highlights
I have started listening to Magic Mics again.  I listened back when the podcast first appeared, but dropped it a couple years back.  Evan has always been interesting, even way back when he was doing videos, but I always found him a bit weak on tournament tech and issues.  I also found the podcast, back then, a bit rough.  Not anymore.  The podcast is more polished, the cohosts get along better, and the pacing is great.  Recommended.
 
I also got to experience a paper prerelease last weekend.  Not a lot to say – the set seems fun.  People enjoyed themselves, but that has been true at pretty much every prerelease I have ever participated in.  We’ll see if this lasts.
 
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” on MTGO
 
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.
 

8 Comments

FTV by Sensei at Fri, 01/19/2018 - 21:31
Sensei's picture

V17 singles don't exist online. It's more fake than the "news" from Breitbart

re by Hearts at Sat, 01/20/2018 - 09:19
Hearts's picture

Completely ridiculous about wpn and criminality. If the state/country authority is of the opinion that the given person is not to be behind bars then that is it. Again I think Pete is a clown.

Again? I've never seen you by Paul Leicht at Sat, 01/20/2018 - 13:18
Paul Leicht's picture

Again? I've never seen you say that before. But given that you seem unable to be positive toward the article writer, why not just stop wasting your time posting? It would not surprise me to find that you think anyone who does not agree 100% with you is a clown, so commentary seems utterly useless to you. (Why would a clown care what you think? They have a circus to run...)

re by Hearts at Sun, 01/21/2018 - 23:51
Hearts's picture

I dare say that this even is prosecutable by the person/earlier criminal who is shut out.

The tones of the some of the by Alphi at Mon, 01/22/2018 - 08:25
Alphi's picture

The tones of the some of the comments in these later State of the Programme are dis-heart-ening. If Pete is a clown, he's my favourite clown. Heck, I still read this despite having stopped playing a while ago (I got tired of V4 before it got a chance to become decent). I just hope one million words is not a limit set in stone or anything.

When I posted my article by Paul Leicht at Mon, 01/22/2018 - 08:51
Paul Leicht's picture

When I posted my article about him quite a few years ago, it was a milestone he had passed even years before and it stuck because it became his magic online name.

Oh good! So we can wish for by Alphi at Mon, 01/22/2018 - 09:27
Alphi's picture

Oh good! So we can wish for excellent health - and a great circus, I guess - and look forward the next milestone then. One billion words? Giga verbum would make for one mean online name... :)

Pete does a tremendous job by MichelleWong at Tue, 01/23/2018 - 04:13
MichelleWong's picture
5

Pete does a tremendous job writing these articles, and we are all very grateful and impressed by them, week in, week out.

I might have some controversial views about Jeremy Hambly which I'm sure Pete does not agree with (and seemingly everyone on this site doesn't agree with), however that fact lessens not a drop of my respect for Pete and these articles.

If this is a circus, then I call it a Cirque du Soleil, and a jolly nice tent to be under.