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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Jan 27 2017 1:00pm
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State of the Program for January 27th 2017
 
In the News
Aether Revolt is Online:  Aether Revolt cards are now in drafts and sealed card pools, and legal in all constructed formats. 
 
FNM Promos:  Wizards has announced the FNM promos through next summer.  The big news is that an alternative art Aether Hub will be showing up as a promo.  Since the FNM promos often become store or event MOPRs promos, this is good news.  We have already seen Noose Constrictor, Fortune's Favor and Incendiary Flow, but the other three are new. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pro Tour Team Roosters Revealed:  In addition to personal honors, the Magic world has also divided into 6 player teams to compete at the Pro Tour.    At the end of the year, the teams with the best overall record will compete for glory (and some serious rewards.)   The rosters are here.
 
Pro Tour Next Week:   Play starts next Friday.  Coverage on Twitch.tv.
 
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.  Most of the major upcoming events we know of are listed.  Not listed, but important:  Wizards offers either one or two online PTQs each weekend, with qualifiers running the three days prior to the PTQ.
 
Recurring Events
Timing
Power Nine Challenge
Last Saturday of the month, at 11am Pacific
Legacy Challenge
Second Saturday of the month, at 11am Pacific
No Downtime
January 18th   
Extended Downtime
(none announced, but January 25tth likely.)
Current Leagues End
May 2, 2017
Amonkhet
May 2, 2017 MTGO release
Modern Masters 2017 Edition
March 23rd on MTGO
Next B&R Announcement
March 13, 2017
 
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
Dead spot (was to be prerelease/ release events)
January 25th
February 22nd
Throwback Standard Gauntlet (1994?)
February 22nd
March 1st
Invasion/Planeshift/Apocalypse Draft
March 1st
March 8th
Cube Draft (Cube format TBD)
March 8th
March 22nd
Modern Masters 2017 Leagues
March 22nd
April 12th
 
The new 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:  Single Game Draft League
 
Wizards has given us a new draft format:  single game matches.  This is the new face of the “friendly” draft league.  The old 6-2-2-2 draft league is still around, and called “intermediate.”    It hasn’t changed, except that Wizards added a QP to the undefeated prizes for the intermediate league.
 
Wizards introduced the new friendly league – technically the “Aether Revolt-Kaladesh Friendly Single-Game Draft League.”  You can read the Wizards announcement of the league here, and official details here, but the basic concepts is:  you draft as normal.  You then play single game matches – one game, winner takes the match.  You keep playing until you have won seven game/matches or lost four.  Like most drafts, the cost is 12 Tix or product plus 2 Tix or 120 Play Points.  Prizes range from 10 PP for going 1-4 to 120 PP for going 7-x.  Note that you can take up to three loses and still finish with the top prize. 
 
The “top prize” is, basically, getting your entry fee back, but remember that this is not a phantom draft.  You keep the cards, so that’s something.  You also get at least four matches, and possibly up to 10 matches, with the deck.  This league is not a way to grind out value.  It is, however, a reasonably priced form of entertainment.
 
Plenty to think about.  This is a new type of event.  I figured that the best way to wrap my head around it was to try it out.  I joined Wednesday night, once I got home from work.  At that point, the league had under 200 players, but that was early.  I paid my 120 Play Points and I was in the queue, as player one.  Despite that, the draft fired quickly.  I was in the queue about 2 minutes.
 
Drafting seemed normal.  Cards went around, and we all waited a lot for that one slow drafter.  The rares vanished quickly, but this was, in everything but name, a release event. Rares are more valuable now.  One thing I did notice – I found myself taking sideboard cards.  That is something I will have to break myself of if I do more of these drafts.  With single game matches, you never sideboard.  Those (Take Down)s are either going to be main deck or irrelevant. 
 
I played a couple games immediately, late that evening and before work the next morning.  Wait times were not bad – I was paired up in under a minute even when I had an undefeated record.  (Pairing for the outlying records – X-0 or 0-X – are the most difficult, and should take the longest.)  
 
Since you are only playing single games, the timer is shortened. Each player’s clock starts with 12 minutes.  Even though I have a slow and laggy connection, and this was my first draft with the new set, I had no problems finishing my games.  
 
So I have now played through one and a half leagues.  The big difference is, obviously, that the match lasts one game.  For me, that did make a real difference.
 
First of all, seeing a bomb rare very early in the match seems to feel a lot worse.  This may just be me being salty, since I lost a couple games to stupid flying bombs that came out super early. 
 
I also lost to a couple things that should not work – and would not work in a regular match. Things like Siege Modification on a Consulate Dreadnought – that sort of thing might work game one, but in a normal match you would sideboard in answers.  In this format, you never get a chance to sideboard.  You can also never come back from an opponent’s fast start.
 
Wining the die roll is also much more advantageous in single game matches.  If your opponent curves out, you probably cannot win – and you do not get the chance to come back in game two, because there isn’t one.
 
Did I mention that I am salty?  I bombed out of the first draft, and the handful of play points did nothing to make me feel better about it.  It’s possible that I just drafted and played badly, and the format itself is not at fault.   Nonetheless, I am not happy, and that may be influencing my views, so fair warning.  I did finish my first draft with a loss due to a misclick through misunderstanding how a new card was implemented, then a double mulligan, then a single mulligan and never drawing a land.   So I’m salty.
 
I also found that I never won a game in which I mulliganed, and never lost when my opponents mulliganed.  The scry one helps, but mulligans are very damaging, and you don’t get more games to even this out.  In other formats that have single game matches, like Commander, Wizards allows a “free” mulligan; the first mulligan goes to seven cards, then subsequent mulligans tick down the card count.   I asked Lee Sharpe about this, and he said that Wizards was not going to implement a free mulligan in this format.  The four losses are intended to partly offset this – in effect, you have three games to lose and still win the top prize.   That is true.
 
Overall, the single game format is comparable to normal drafts.  If you go undefeated, you play one more game than you would in a normal three round draft.   If you lose your first four games, you will be, in theory, out a match sooner than in a normal draft.  However, most players who go 0-2 in a normal draft drop, or end up with a meaningless bye in the last round, so this seems reasonable.       
 
After playing through one and a half leagues, I am not in love with the format, but I will probably draft it again.   One advantage to the format is that it does let me sneak games into the small chunks of time I can free up.   For example, I had 15-20 minutes between the time I popped the pizza in the oven and dinnertime. That was enough time for a “match” in his league, but not enough to play one in a traditional draft league.  That’s a real advantage, at least for people like me.   The leagues also seem to finish faster, and – at least so far – the “matches” pair faster than other leagues.  That’s good.  The downside, of course, is that it is a bit further from a “pure” drafting experience, but the trade-offs seem reasonable.  Given a choice, I would prefer a chance to sit around a table with seven friends and draft paper cards.  That is rarely possible, so we play online instead.  Online play is not perfect, but it is a reasonable alternative.  Likewise, if you can play for long periods of time, then I would recommend the other draft leagues.  However, if all you have is short bursts of time, then I recommend this format.  It isn’t perfect, but it is way, way better than not playing.
 
And now I have to submit this article, so I can get back to my league.
 
Cutting Edge Tech
 

Standard:  We have a new Standard.   SCG ran an Open last weekend in Columbus.  The Top 64 decklists are here.   The new hotness is clearly the Copycat deck, with Saheeli Rai / Felidar Guardian playing the part of Splinter Twin.  The Copycat had over two dozen appearances in the Top 64.   Well, we now know it works.  The question for next week and the Pro Tour is whether it can be hated out.
 
Four Color Copycat
Robert Graves, 5th place, SCG Standard Open Columbus - 75 Cards Total
Creature
4 Felidar Guardian
4 Rogue Refiner
1 Shielded Aether Thief
1 Whirler Virtuoso
4 Servant of the Conduit
2 Cloudblazer
4 Spell Queller
20 cards

Instant
4 Harnessed Lightning
2 Shock
6 cards

Sorcery
3 Attune with Aether
3 cards
Artifact
2 Prophetic Prism
2 cards

Enchantment
4 Oath of Nissa
4 cards

Planeswalker
4 Saheeli Rai
4 cards
Land
1 Spirebluff Canal
4 Botanical Sanctum
3 Inspiring Vantage
4 Aether Hub
2 Evolving Wilds
4 Forest
1 Plains
1 Mountain
1 Island
21 cards
 


Sideboard
1 Shielded Aether Thief
3 Tireless Tracker
2 Nahiri, the Harbinger
1 Jace, Unraveler of Secrets
1 Oath of Chandra
2 Radiant Flames
2 Dispel
3 Negate
15 cards
 
Modern:  We have the first few results from paper Modern events run with Aether Revolt cards.  This deck finished second, and has a couple.
 

Pauper: 
Too early for any decks with Aether Revolt cards, so here’s another classic archetype making a reappearance on the undefeated league decks.     
 
Mono-Black
Andresfelipehiguera, 5-0, Pauper Constructed League - 75 Cards Total
Creature
4 Chittering Rats
1 Crypt Rats
4 Cuombajj Witches
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
4 Phyrexian Rager
17 cards

Instant
4 Disfigure
2 Tendrils of Corruption
3 Victim of Night
9 cards
Sorcery
3 Chainer's Edict
2 Corrupt
4 Sign in Blood
2 Unearth
11 cards
Land
3 Barren Moor
20 Swamp
23 cards


Sideboard
1 Crypt Rats
4 Choking Sands
1 Death Denied
3 Duress
2 Nausea
1 Rancid Earth
3 Relic of Progenitus
15 cards
 
Legacy:  No results from events with Aether Revolt cards.   That should change by next week.
 
Vintage:  The Vintage Super League Season Six Qualifier Tournament has finished, and Rachel Agnes made it through.  Regular league play should resume next Tuesday.
 
 
 
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 again this week.  I have added a couple Aether Revolt cards, but these prices are from early this week, so they will change. 
 
Standard Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
(Archangel Avacyn)
$12.55
$15.07
($2.52)
-17%
(Chandra, Torch of Defiance)
$10.58
$10.40
$0.18
2%
(Collective Brutality)
$6.91
$6.94
($0.03)
0%
$24.65
$28.17
($3.52)
-12%
(Gisela, the Broken Blade)
$6.96
$6.68
$0.28
4%
(Grim Flayer)
$20.34
$14.71
$5.63
38%
(Heart of Kiran)
$16.00
new
(Ishkanah, Grafwidow)
$8.62
$8.57
$0.05
1%
$21.80
$19.18
$2.62
14%
$11.37
$12.32
($0.95)
-8%
(Liliana, the Last Hope)
$25.66
$32.34
($6.68)
-21%
(Nahiri, the Harbinger)
$15.55
$14.06
$1.49
11%
$15.86
$18.37
($2.51)
-14%
(Saheeli Rai)
$10.99
$8.17
$2.82
35%
$9.08
$10.35
($1.27)
-12%
(Torrential Gearhulk)
$14.31
$11.89
$2.42
20%
$6.63
$7.49
($0.86)
-11%
(Walking Ballista)
$13.00
new
$12.00
$12.47
($0.47)
-4%
Modern staples:   Modern prices are mixed again this week – more so than usual.  I knocked a few cards off the list, and a few cards may get added, but prices are realty volatile.     
 
Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$36.89
$33.95
$2.94
9%
$27.06
$23.99
$3.07
13%
$34.08
$34.43
($0.35)
-1%
$28.21
$25.49
$2.72
11%
$27.62
$27.98
($0.36)
-1%
$24.01
$28.17
($4.16)
-15%
$45.00
$44.23
$0.77
2%
$49.00
$57.83
($8.83)
-15%
$33.87
$34.55
($0.68)
-2%
$19.25
$19.99
($0.74)
-4%
$24.24
$20.07
$4.17
21%
$18.95
$17.14
$1.81
11%
$32.86
$32.33
$0.53
2%
$84.55
$78.61
$5.94
8%
$36.25
$30.47
$5.78
19%
$20.58
$21.72
($1.14)
-5%
$24.90
$22.79
$2.11
9%
$31.68
$21.69
$9.99
46%
$48.09
$51.36
($3.27)
-6%
$24.72
$21.32
$3.40
16%
Legacy and Vintage:  Legacy and Vintage are mixed this week.  Leovold came back down to earth, and power is slipping.
 
Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$26.05
$25.05
$1.00
4%
$39.71
$40.88
($1.17)
-3%
$79.31
$83.15
($3.84)
-5%
$31.78
$33.75
($1.97)
-6%
$27.93
$27.03
$0.90
3%
$46.18
$50.94
($4.76)
-9%
$43.28
$42.16
$1.12
3%
$30.11
$33.33
($3.22)
-10%
$34.98
$32.23
$2.75
9%
$33.87
$34.68
($0.81)
-2%
$36.48
$34.33
$2.15
6%
(Leovold, Emissary of Trest)
$35.37
$53.72
($18.35)
-34%
$29.17
$29.30
($0.13)
0%
$35.59
$35.59
$0.00
0%
$18.34
$22.33
($3.99)
-18%
$38.49
$38.38
$0.11
0%
$166.69
$166.69
$0.00
0%
$54.01
$49.95
$4.06
8%
$34.48
$34.31
$0.17
0%
$47.12
$43.37
$3.75
9%
$27.35
$25.69
$1.66
6%
$16.54
$15.82
$0.72
5%
$52.21
$55.08
($2.87)
-5%
Set Redemption:  You can redeem complete sets on MTGO.  You need to purchase a redemption voucher from the store for $25.  During the next downtime, Wizards removes a complete set from your account and sends you the same set in paper.   Treasure Chests and the current booster packs are here because they don’t really fit anywhere else.  Treasure Chests are settling down.  No that booster packs are out of Treasure Chests, they may settle down.  If so, I may pull them off the list.  If not, I may add Aether Revolt boosters as well.    
 
Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Aether Revolt
$123.91
n/a
Battle for Zendikar
$62.53
$70.36
($7.83)
-11%
Eldritch Moon
$105.36
$106.33
($0.97)
-1%
Kaladesh
$93.26
$84.89
$8.37
10%
Oath of the Gatewatch
$109.84
$110.85
($1.01)
-1%
Shadows over Innistrad
$73.82
$73.98
($0.16)
0%
Treasure Chest
$3.00
$3.11
($0.11)
-4%
Kaladesh Booster
$2.54
$2.59
($0.05)
-2%
 
 
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.   The list shrank a couple cards again this week, and Black Lotus is slipping.  
 
Name
Set
Rarity
 Price
Rishadan Port
 MM
Rare
 $  166.69
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
 $    84.55
Black Lotus
 VMA
Bonus
 $    79.13
Ensnaring Bridge
 ST
Rare
 $    62.41
Wasteland
 TPR
Rare
 $    57.76
Wasteland
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $    56.94
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
 $    56.09
Ensnaring Bridge
 7E
Rare
 $    54.16
Show and Tell
 UZ
Rare
 $    54.01
True-Name Nemesis
 PZ1
Mythic Rare
 $    53.79
Wasteland
 EMA
Rare
 $    52.21
Tarmogoyf
 MMA
Mythic Rare
 $    49.42
Ensnaring Bridge
 8ED
Rare
 $    49.12
Ensnaring Bridge
 MS2
Bonus
 $    49.00
Tarmogoyf
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $    48.34
Tarmogoyf
 FUT
Rare
 $    48.09
Unmask
 MM
Rare
 $    46.56
Exploration
 UZ
Rare
 $    46.18
Engineered Explosives
 MMA
Rare
 $    45.89
Engineered Explosives
 5DN
Rare
 $    45.26
Engineered Explosives
 MS2
Bonus
 $    45.00
Food Chain
 MM
Rare
 $    43.28
True-Name Nemesis
 C13
Rare
 $    41.72
Back to Basics
 UZ
Rare
 $    39.71
Mox Sapphire
 VMA
Bonus
 $    38.49
Ancestral Vision
 DD2
Rare
 $    37.36
Ancestral Vision
 TSP
Rare
 $    36.89
Mox Opal
 MS2
Bonus
 $    36.84
Blood Moon
 MMA
Rare
 $    36.64
Infernal Tutor
 DIS
Rare
 $    36.48
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $    36.32
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
 $    36.25
Misdirection
 MM
Rare
 $    35.59
Leovold, Emissary of Trest
 PZ2
Mythic Rare
 $    35.37
Containment Priest
 PZ1
Rare
 $    35.28
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
 $    35.26
From the Ashes
 C13
Rare
 $    34.98
Tangle Wire
 NE
Rare
 $    34.48
Blood Moon
 9ED
Rare
 $    34.21
Blood Moon
 8ED
Rare
 $    34.08
Griselbrand
 AVR
Mythic Rare
 $    33.87
Gaea's Cradle
 UZ
Rare
 $    33.87
Karn Liberated
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $    33.21
Scalding Tarn
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $    32.95
Karn Liberated
 NPH
Mythic Rare
 $    32.86
Force of Will
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $    32.01
Containment Priest
 C14
Rare
 $    31.78
Scapeshift
 MOR
Rare
 $    31.68
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
 $    30.11
Meren of Clan Nel Toth
 PZ1
Rare
 $    29.17
Chalice of the Void
 MS2
Bonus
 $    29.00
Chalice of the Void
 MMA
Rare
 $    28.66
Cavern of Souls
 AVR
Rare
 $    28.21
Doomsday
 WL
Rare
 $    27.93
Chalice of the Void
 MRD
Rare
 $    27.62
Unmask
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $    27.35
Batterskull
 NPH
Mythic Rare
 $    27.06
Ancestral Recall
 VMA
Bonus
 $    26.05
Liliana, the Last Hope
 EMN
Mythic Rare
 $    25.66
Horizon Canopy
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $    25.47
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 $ 24,915.  That is up about $150 from last week.
 
Weekly Highlights
 
 
It was fun while it lasted.
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” and “3MWords” 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.   

 

 

4 Comments

"Pro Tour Team 'Roosters' by Procrastination at Fri, 01/27/2017 - 13:23
Procrastination's picture
5

"Pro Tour Team 'Roosters' Revealed:" Easily my favorite typo ever. Seriously, I want someone to draw each team's rooster mascot for us!!

Apropos, given the Chinese by AJ_Impy at Fri, 01/27/2017 - 15:22
AJ_Impy's picture

Apropos, given the Chinese new year.

I think that prize structure by Generalissimo at Fri, 01/27/2017 - 13:35
Generalissimo's picture

I think that prize structure for the Single Game Legaue was a mistake. Regardless of how the actual value works out when you add the cards opened, seeing that the absolute best prize you can win is the entry fee back viscerally feels like a rip off. It's just a very bad first impression to launch a new tournament structure with and would it really have been too much for the top prize to be 150 points or 120 points and a Treasure Chest or something?

prize structure by Bipto at Fri, 01/27/2017 - 18:42
Bipto's picture

well the pack-per-win swiss queue that is the ancestor of single game leagues had a strictly worse payout for years.