Hammie’s The State of the Program for January 25th
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.
In the News this Week:
Gatecrash Prerelease and Release Event Details Announced: Gatecrash prereleases will happen, in the paper world, this weekend. Online, the prerelease events start February 8th at 10:00am PDT. The prereleases will be the same as the RtR prereleases. You choose your guild, and get 5 normal Gatecrash boosters plus one guild specific booster. Details here.
MTGO Cube Returns: As Wizards promised, during the slack time between the paper prerelease and the Gatecrash online prerelease, we will be able to draft the MTGO Cube. The cube is not powered this time around – it reverts to the build used at the Community Cup Championship last year. Details here.
Zendikar Drafts Return: Also during the slack time between the paper prerelease and the Gatecrash online prerelease, Wizards is bringing back Zendikar drafts. The drafts will be WW/Zen/Zen, and prize payouts will be 4-3-2-2 in Zendikar and Wordlwake packs. Details here.
Magic Online Adds a Quick Reference Schedule: Wizards has long has a master schedule here. It was a bit confusing, and you almost had to know what you wanted in advance to find anything. What they have now added is a simple table showing all the major events and deadlines: time and date of PTQs, MOCS events, MOCS and MOPR season end dates, etc. Very helpful.
HammyBot: Still here!HammyBot was created to sell the late Erik Friborg’s MTGO collection to raise money for his widow and son. HammyBot is a great way to get cards while supporting the family of someone who supported the community. Here’s an update on the Bot, plus a note on a cool card that I saw on HammyBot.
Cards left on HammyBot: 28,124
TIX raised so far: 4,928
Cool HammyBot card of the week: Momir Vig Avatar
Multiball! Hammie playing Momir Vig is one of the main reasons we won the first Community Cup Challenge. If you have never played, get your avatar and try it out. The format is wild.
Battling with the New Interface
Each week I intend to record a video of me doing something using the beta interface. I am not an expert, but I am becoming a fan. Wizards really should provide tutorials, but until they do, this is what you get. This week I play around with the collection and trade interfaces. I am trying to get rid of the spare cards I accumulated drafting. An apology for the long pauses in the video – I spent a lot of time (and I mean a lot of time) waiting for the program to load or refresh.
The next update of the beta interface is supposed to include improvements to the trade and collection modules. They need it. I did not really intend to have this section concentrate on the trade interface, but here’s what happened when I tried to shoot a video later on last week.
Repeating last week’s advice – after you download the beta, let it spend some time loading card images, etc. I found performance to be terrible initially, but it improved after about an hour. You don’t want to be playing seriously during that first hour. This happened to me on both of the two machines I have installed the beta on, but that is a small sample size. YMMV.
Opinion Section: The Other Shoe Drops
Late last year, Wizards killed four pack sealed. The format, in which players opened four boosters and played 30 card decks, was extremely popular. Players loved it, and a lot of people complained heartily when it died. I think, now, we know why it had to go.
One viable path to victory for the guild will be mill. Even the common mill cards are decent. Some of them have cipher, which allows them to be reused – and Dimir has unblockable creatures. Casting Paranoid Delusions (mill 3, cipher for UB) and ciphering it onto a Deathcult Rogue (2/2 unlockable except for rogues, 1UB) will happen often enough, since both are commons. That combination would mill 6 on turn four (3 for the initial cast, 3 more when the rogue attacks). In a 30 card deck, a player will have about 20 cards left on turn four – 14 after the mill. With just that common creature attacking, ciphered with that common mill card, the player will be decked in just four hits. If the Dimir opponent has any additional mill spells, it will be faster. Most backbreaking would be if the opponent has Psychic Strike (1UB, counter target spell, mill 2) for the removal spell which could kill the ciphered rogue. This would not happen every game, but often enough that the format would be pretty stupid.
Dimir guild is tuned so that a mill strategy is playable when an opponent has a 40 card deck. It would have been way to good in 30 card decks.
Cutting Edge Tech:
Standard: This week I’m going to pull a deck off MTGO, from a recent Premier event. Jund has done well recently, in a variety of events.
MrTrundle, Winner, Standard Premier #4910575 on 01/21/2013
Return to Ravnica Block Constructed: The most recent RtR Constructed Premier event also featured the usual Azorious and Bant decks, and even a Chromatic Lantern deck. The winner was a Rakdos deck. RtR Block constructed will change with the introduction of Gatecrash, but if you are looking for something new until then, check this out.
NIWAKA, Winner, RTR Block Constructed Premier #4910490 on 01/18/2013
Modern: We have had a bunch of PTQs, but the largest Modern event this week was GP Bilbao. Almost a thousand players showed up, and in the end a new archetype beat Jund in the finals. Coverage is here.
Legacy: SCG is back after the holiday season. Last week’s Legacy Open was held in Dallas. The top deck lists start here. The winner is a good indication of why the price of Show and Tell is still climbing, and why Sneak Attack is almost expensive enough to warrant a slot in the price lists.
Sneak and Show
Will Craddock, Winner, SCG Legacy Open Dallas, 1/20/2013
Classic: No Classic events fired this week. On the plus side, Round Three of the Classic Quarter Invitational will start after Gatecrash is in the stores. More details when they become available.
Notes: All my prices come from MTGOTraders.com. For cards that are available in multiple sets, I am quoting the most recent set’s price. Thus, the price I’m quoting for Garruk Relentless is from M13. These cards are also available from the MTGOTraders Bots, so check out mtgotradersbot, mtgotradersbot2,mtgotradersbot3, mtgotradersbot4, mtgotradersbot5, CardCaddy and CardWareHouse. These Bots often have the cards in stock even when the online store shows as out. Now, on to prices.
Standard prices are falling. This is not too surprising, since we are at the end of the Standard cycle. The PTQ season is Modern, and Standard is about to change with the arrival of Gatecrash. The drop is not surprising, and nothing to worry about. People are just liquidating any spares while getting ready for the prerelease and release events.
Legacy and Classic prices are much more stable than Modern prices. The big mover is Show and Tell. That amuses me – I remember when Show and Tell was pretty much a bulk rare, saved only by casual interest. That’s a long time ago.
Here’s this week’s list of the non-foil, non-premium cards on MTGO that cost more than $25 each. Note the Force of Will has fallen again, but Goyf fell faster. The list itself has shrunk – a half dozen cards dropped below $25. Here’s this week’s list of MTGO gold:
Lion's Eye Diamond
Force of Will
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Show and Tell
Geist of Saint Traft
Bonfire of the Damned
Liliana of the Veil
Linvala, Keeper of Silence
The big number is the retail price of a playset (4 copies) of every non-foil 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 $22,438. Down a couple hundred bucks – but wait until Gatecrash arrives…
Nothing much this week. I was travelling on business, and the hotel internet was not all it could be. This weekend, however, will be all paper prereleases, both as a player and judge.