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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Jun 08 2018 12:00pm
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State of the Program for June 8th 2018
 
In the News
Wyatt Darby Wins Pro Tour Chainwhirler: Pro Tour Dominaria was a very red affair, with 7 of the Top 8 decks running Goblin Chainwhirlers.  That’s a lot. We will see whether this metagame continues next week, at GP Copenhagen. Coverage of the Pro Tour is here
 
Battlebond Cards Coming – Eventually: Wizards will be bringing Battlebond cards to MTGO. The first batch will arrive July 5th, and appear in Treasure chests. Lack of resources is slowing the roll-out, so only some of the cards will be available. An explanation of the delay, and a list of cards, is here.
 
Background and Decklists for First Global Series: Wizards has given us more information on the Chinese themed Global Series: Jiang Yanggu & Mu Yanling. It is a paper set which is Standard legal in China. The explanatory article is here, the decklists are here, and the card image gallery is here. These cards are unlikely to appear on MTGO.
 
RIX and XLN Redemptions Returning: Wizards has reordered redemption packs for both sets. Redemption will reappear “soon.”
 
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 Downtimes
June 27th (both extended)
Constructed Leagues End
July 3, 2018
Sealed Leagues End
July 6, 2018
Core Set Magic  2019
July 13, 2018
Guilds of Ravnica
October 5, 2018
Ravnica Allegiance
January 2019
Next B&R Announcement
July 2, 2018
Ixalan Block Redemption
Out of stock – will return “soon”
Dominaria Redemption Ends
October 10, 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.
·       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 and other events
Complete details, including schedule, rules, and which online events qualify you for which online or paper events is here. In addition, Wizards will be offering these special formats:
·       June 6-13: Battle of the Planes (details here)
·       June 13-July 6: Vintage Cube
 
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
Sunday, noon PT

 
Opinion Section:  Time to Ban Chainwhirler?
 
Seven of the Top 8 decks ran a playset of Goblin Chainwhirler.
 
Of the 18 decks that went 9-1 or better in Standard, 13 ran the chain dude. Other decks included the Teferi deck in the Top 8, an Esper control deck played by Guilliame Matignon (someone who do well with a control deck no matter what the metagame),  a BW tokens deck and two Steel Leaf Stompy decks. 
 
Chainwhirler decks made up 36% of the day one metagame, and 42% of the day two metagame. These decks had some of the highest conversion rates among all archetypes. Excluding decks played by just a couple players, only Esper Control and BG Constrictor came close to that level of success. 
 
Goblin Chainwhirler is busted, right? It deserves to be banned, right?
 
Well, maybe. We really don’t know. One event – Pro Tour or not - is just not enough information. The big question is whether the metagame can adapt. GP Copenhagen is also Standard. Players at that event will be doing their best to beat the red menace. Let’s see what happens.   If Chainwhirler decks dominate that event, then we will see. 
 
If Chainwhirler is dominant, that will raise a host of questions. First among those, if that really is the case, how did the Play design team mess this one up.   We don’t know that they did, but since their entire purpose is to make sure that formats are balanced, this PT does not look good for them. 
 
But even assuming that Chainwhirler remains dominant, don’t expect a banning anytime soon. We are less than a month from the introduction of M19 cards into the format, which might be enough to change the metagame.   We are four months from a Standard rotation, and while Chainy will not rotate, a lot of the cards that make his deck good – cards like Heart of Kiran and Chandra – will rotate. That might be enough. Even if Standard looks bad for a while, I suspect Wizards will just live with it. The next PT is teams, so even if Standard is a truly boring series of mirror matches (unlikely), Wizards can just emphasize Modern and Legacy.
 
But all this is speculation. We don’t know if the metagame can adjust. We will see – beginning with the results of this weekend’s GP. Stay tuned.
 
Cutting Edge Tech
Standard: The Pro Tour was Standard – well, Standard and draft. The Standard was defined by Goblin Chainwhirler.   Exactly one deck did not run the chainy dude, and that deck won exactly Zero games in the Top 8. Given that the Top 8 at the Pro Tour is best of five, that says a lot. PT coverage is here.
 

Brawl: 
The bannings have finally gone into effect, and a number of new archetypes are appearing. The first set of decklists are here.
 

Pauper: 
This week’s Pauper League was not a sea of blue, for a change. 

 


Modern
: SCG ran a lot of Modern Regionals last weekend, opposite the Pro Tour. The decklists are in the sideboard on the SCG home page.
 
 
 
Legacy: The decklist that won the Legacy Challenge made me double-check that this was not a Vintage list.   Dack Fayden sees far more play in the format with all the mana artifacts. 
 
 
 
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. The Pro Tour showed us that Llanowar Elves are not breaking the format. Goblin Chainwhirler is making green ramp decks unplayable. Whether that is a good or bad thing probably depends on what you think of green ramp decks.      
 

Standard Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$5.89
$5.11
$0.78
15%
$9.56
$8.93
$0.63
7%
$18.65
$18.51
$0.14
1%
$5.13
$4.66
$0.47
10%
$5.21
$11.37
($6.16)
-54%
$13.40
$11.08
$2.32
21%
$15.90
$19.38
($3.48)
-18%
$8.14
$12.86
($4.72)
-37%
$24.82
$29.49
($4.67)
-16%
$7.30
$7.71
($0.41)
-5%
$42.01
$31.08
$10.93
35%
$6.15
$7.57
($1.42)
-19%
$5.43
$5.81
($0.38)
-7%
$23.03
$29.70
($6.67)
-22%
$15.34
$16.67
($1.33)
-8%
$9.67
$8.10
$1.57
19%
$9.56
$9.91
($0.35)
-4%
$11.66
$7.52
$4.14
55%
$16.87
$26.28
($9.41)
-36%

Modern staples: Modern prices were mixed this week, but the trend was definitely downward. 
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$16.02
$16.16
($0.14)
-1%
$23.14
$25.85
($2.71)
-10%
$25.50
$25.91
($0.41)
-2%
$21.09
$19.28
$1.81
9%
$23.42
$29.58
($6.16)
-21%
$38.57
$38.59
($0.02)
0%
$29.81
$29.17
$0.64
2%
$15.55
$17.16
($1.61)
-9%
$43.66
$48.76
($5.10)
-10%
$27.26
$27.33
($0.07)
0%
$34.83
$29.70
$5.13
17%
$19.68
$25.11
($5.43)
-22%
$43.12
$50.81
($7.69)
-15%
$34.23
$35.32
($1.09)
-3%
$56.00
$51.33
$4.67
9%
$23.21
$24.86
($1.65)
-7%
$27.21
$23.53
$3.68
16%
$27.51
$24.97
$2.54
10%
$19.91
$21.57
($1.66)
-8%

Legacy and Vintage: Legacy and Vintage prices continue to follow a very slow downward slide, like everything else. 
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$30.90
$30.59
$0.31
1%
$27.62
$27.80
($0.18)
-1%
$14.18
$18.85
($4.67)
-25%
$11.06
$9.42
$1.64
17%
$31.60
$31.32
$0.28
1%
$29.59
$29.59
$0.00
0%
$13.69
$14.72
($1.03)
-7%
$33.75
$33.78
($0.03)
0%
$22.00
$26.38
($4.38)
-17%
$52.89
$57.11
($4.22)
-7%
$27.11
$25.92
$1.19
5%
$10.65
$10.57
$0.08
1%
$20.24
$20.88
($0.64)
-3%

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).
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Aether Revolt
$90.99
$109.30
($18.31)
-17%
Amonkhet
$70.39
$82.41
($12.02)
-15%
Dominaria
$96.91
$115.47
($18.56)
-16%
Ixalan
$87.73
$87.73
$0.00
0%
Hour of Devastation
$44.10
$48.48
($4.38)
-9%
Kaladesh
$63.39
$73.58
($10.19)
-14%
Rivals of Ixalan
$93.22
$91.76
$1.46
2%
Treasure Chest
$2.14
$2.25
($0.11)
-5%
Dominaria Booster
$3.32
$3.30
$0.02
1%

 
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 has shrunk a bit this week, and Mox Opal has passed True-Name, but not much else has changed.
 

Name
Set
Rarity
 Price
Black Lotus
 1E
Rare
 $ 76.73
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
 $ 56.64
Mox Opal
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 56.55
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 56.00
True-Name Nemesis
 C13
Rare
 $ 53.06
True-Name Nemesis
 PZ1
Mythic Rare
 $ 52.89
Horizon Canopy
 IMA
Rare
 $ 48.76
Horizon Canopy
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 47.53
Liliana of the Veil
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $ 47.23
Horizon Canopy
 FUT
Rare
 $ 43.66
Engineered Explosives
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 43.20
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
 $ 43.12
Mox Sapphire
 1E
Rare
 $ 42.70
Rekindling Phoenix
 RIX
Mythic Rare
 $ 42.01
Engineered Explosives
 5DN
Rare
 $ 39.47
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
 $ 39.03
Engineered Explosives
 MMA
Rare
 $ 38.57
Dark Depths
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $ 37.19
Mox Diamond
 TPR
Mythic Rare
 $ 37.15
Unmask
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $ 36.54
Ancestral Recall
 1E
Rare
 $ 35.96
Karn Liberated
 NPH
Mythic Rare
 $ 35.73
Karn Liberated
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 34.83
Mox Emerald
 1E
Rare
 $ 34.79
Mox Ruby
 1E
Rare
 $ 34.44
Liliana, the Last Hope
 EMN
Mythic Rare
 $ 34.23
Misdirection
 MM
Rare
 $ 33.75
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
 $ 32.50
Ensnaring Bridge
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 32.43
Mox Jet
 1E
Rare
 $ 32.30
Exploration
 UZ
Rare
 $  31.60
Force of Will
 MS3
Special
 $ 31.06
Black Lotus
 VMA
Bonus
 $ 30.90
Ensnaring Bridge
 ST
Rare
 $ 30.38
Ensnaring Bridge
 7E
Rare
 $ 30.30
Underground Sea
 ME4
Rare
 $ 30.25
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
 $ 30.11
Ensnaring Bridge
 8ED
Rare
 $ 30.10
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 WWK
Mythic Rare
 $ 29.86
Ensnaring Bridge
 A25
Mythic Rare
 $ 29.81
City of Traitors
 EX
Rare
 $ 29.74
Force of Will
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 29.59
Underground Sea
 ME2
Rare
 $ 29.42
Scalding Tarn
 MM3
Rare
 $ 28.35
Scalding Tarn
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 28.05
Surgical Extraction
 MM2
Rare
 $ 27.71
City of Traitors
 TPR
Rare
 $ 27.62
Surgical Extraction
 NPH
Rare
 $ 27.51
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 VMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 27.48
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 27.39
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 A25
Mythic Rare
 $ 27.26
Scalding Tarn
 ZEN
Rare
 $ 27.21
Wasteland
 TPR
Rare
 $ 27.14
Unmask
 MM
Rare
 $ 27.11
Mox Diamond
 ST
Rare
 $ 27.01
Gorilla Shaman
 ALL
Common
 $ 25.62
Celestial Colonnade
 WWK
Rare
 $ 25.50

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 $ 17,520. That’s down another $670 from last week. 
 
In Closing
The Wisconsin Public TV Auction was last weekend. A long work week, plus commutes, plus another sixty or more hours at auction; I’m beat. I only got to watch a couple minutes of the PT live, but I’m catching up now.
 
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” on MTGO
 
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.