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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Oct 20 2017 11:00am
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State of the Program for October 20th 2017
 
In the News
Magic’s Logo to Change: Wizards has determined that the Magic the Gathering logo needs an update. This article shows the new logo, as well as several of those Magic has used in the past.
 
B&R List Unchanged:   Wizards has issued the latest Banned and Restricted list update, and nothing has changed. No cards were added or removed from the list, although Wizards said they were considering taking cards off the Modern B&R list. That won’t happen until after the upcoming Modern Pro Tour. The non-announcement is here.
                                                                   
Redemption Deadline Looming: Redemption of Dragons of Tarkir, Magic Origins, Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch ends November 2nd.   Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation redemption ends November 20th.   If you want to turn your digital cards from those sets into paper, redeem them now.
 
More MTGV Arena Gameplay:  Wizards gave us another video of streamers (NumottheNummy and TrumpDC) playing on MTGA.  This week’s video featured decks made by the community, but the decks did not match up well. The video is on Twitch, and will probably on YouTube by the time you read this.  
 
Use your MOCS QP Points: This season ends November 1st. Any leftover qualifying points will be removed form accounts at that time. Last chance to use your QPs is tomorrow.    
 
Magic Coverage: Wizards is not covering anything this weekend, but SCG will have an Open. Next week Wizards will broadcast limited play from GP Phoenix.   The following weekend will bring us the Pro Tour.    
 
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
Timing
Extended Downtime
Oct. 25th, Nov. 15th & 29th  
No Downtime Scheduled
Nov. 8th & 22nd 
Constructed Leagues End (maybe)
January 15, 2018
Sealed Leagues End
January 15, 2018
Iconic Masters
November 17,  2017
Rivals of Ixalan
January 21, 2018
Core Set Magic 2019
July 20, 2018
Commander 2017 details here.
November 2017 on MTGO
25th Anniversary Edition Masters
March 16, 2018
Next B&R Announcement
January 15, 2018
DTK, ORI, BFZ & OGW Redemption Ends
November 2, 2017
AKH and HOU Redemption Ends
November 20, 2017
SOI and EMN Redemption Ends
April 28, 2018
 
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
Sunday, November 26
Monthly
Ixalan Sealed
February 10 MOCS Playoff
Saturday, December 16
Monthly
Standard
February 10 MOCS Playoff
Friday, December 29
Monthly
Ixalan Sealed
February 10 MOCS Playoff
Saturday, December 30
Open
Ixalan Sealed
Magic Online Championship, Pro Tour Dominaria, PT Challenge at Pro Tour Dominaria
Saturday, January 6
Open
Ixalan Sealed
Magic Online Championship, Pro Tour Dominaria, PT Challenge at Pro Tour Dominaria
Sunday, January 7
Monthly
Modern
February 10 MOCS Playoff
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

 
 
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
(break for Ixalan limited)
September 25th
October 25th
Triple Innistrad
October 25th
November 1st
Innistrad-era Throwback Standard Gauntlet
November 1st
November 8th
Recent Past Throwback Standard Gauntlet
November 8th
November 15th
Iconic Masters
November 17th
December 6
 
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 240 play points for three wins and 80 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: Drafting for Constructed Cards
 
Over the past many years, and especially on MTGO, I would play a lot of limited early on, with the goal of obtaining the cards I wanted for constructed formats. My format of choice for card accumulation was sealed, although I did spend some time rare-drafting the competitive draft queues, back in the day. And by rare drafting, I meant that I would take almost any and every rare that was passed my way, plus any uncommon that might have constructed value, regardless of whether it could make my deck. 
 
I’m wondering if this is a reasonable approach today. Playing sealed, that is. Rare-drafting is a huge gamble: it is almost never worth it. You can grab the occasional chase rare, but draft a real deck. 
 
I fell into the pattern of playing a lot of sealed events to build up my collection a long time ago. I’m talking 2005 or so, back when MTGO had just stopped being called MODO, and old style leagues were around. That was before BOTS and Mythics, so prices for chase rares and uncommons were a lot higher. MTGO is different today, but I am still following the patterns I developed a decade ago. 
 
Time to re-examine those patterns.
 
As I recall, I would play a couple prerelease sealed events, plus several more leagues during the release period. Back then, we could not draft the set until the release events ended, so we played sealed.   Let’s look at what that would accomplish, using Zendikar as an example. 
 
Zendikar was the first set of the block, and contained 249 cards.   The set contained 101 commons, 60 uncommons, 53 rares and 15 Mythic rares, plus 20 basic land.   Boosters contained 10 commons, 3 uncommons, 1 rare or Mythic and a full art basic land. Sealed events, IIRC, used 6 boosters. Assuming I played in eight sealed events, that would mean I opened 48 boosters. That means I would end up with roughly one of each rare, a Mythic or two, two copies of each uncommon and a playset of each common. Financially, that made sense, but that was partly because I could chain winnings, card costs and the fact that Ingrid and I used to get free booster for being high level judges. 
 
Let’s look at that now. I’ll look at Amonkhet and Ixalan. I’m going to pass on Hour of Devastation, since it was a second set, and we won’t see those in the future. Here’s the breakdown.
 

Set
Commons
Uncommon
Rare
Mythic Rare
Amonkhet
101
80
53
15
Ixalan
101
80
63
15

 
On average, you would need to open about 40 boosters to get a playset of any of the commons, and over 100 to get playsets of the uncommons.  Opening 100 boosters in limited would cost something, but the exact cost will depend a lot on your results, since you can plow your winnings back into new events. The exact numbers vary, especially since you have to add TIX and Play Points into the mix, but I seem to be paying a bit under 2 TIX per booster for my limited, across all categories. YMMV, but let’s use $2 per booster as a rough cost. It’s a nice round number.
 
So, opening 100 boosters would cost around $200. Those 100 packs could be opened in 30+ drafts, 16 Competitive sealed events, or 11 Friendly sealed leagues (friendly sealed leagues let you add packs, so you open 9 pack during the course of the league.)  
 
Back when I started doing this, playing limited for cards made sense. Today, not so much. The introduction of Mythics, along with other factors, have driven the value of commons and uncommons down to practically nothing. Those 100 packs would give me a playset of commons, and half a playset of uncommons. However, I looked at the value of Ixalan cards now, and Amonkhet last June, when the set was being drafted.   A playset of Amonkhet commons, back then, was about $8, and $4 if you exclude Tattered Mummy. A half playset of Amonkhet uncommons was $3.70. In fact, $200 would buy a complete playset of the entire set, Mythics included. 
 
Ixalan prices for commons and uncommons are even worse.   Prices for rares are higher, since we are still early in the Ixalan limited season, but $200 will still buy a playset of all the commons, uncommons, rares and over half the Mythics.   
 
It’s kind of amazing how badly the value of bulk cards has fallen. I knew that the idea of playing limited to build collections was becoming less and less reasonable over time. After all, it used to be worth my time selling draft leftovers.   Not anymore. 
 
Simple rule: play limited because limited is fun, but just buy what you need for constructed. 
 
Cutting Edge Tech
 
Standard: Last weekend saw a number of Nationals events play out. Some of the T8 decklists are here. US Nationals was last weekend; the resulting US Nationals Team is Reid Duke, Gerry Thompson and – because he won the event - Oliver Tomajko.
UB Control
Oliver Tomajko, Winner, US Nationals - 75 Cards Total

Creature
3 Torrential Gearhulk
2 The Scarab God
5 cards

Enchantment
3 Search for Azcanta

Instant
4 Fatal Push
4 Censor
4 Essence Scatter
4 Disallow
3 Essence Extraction
4 Hieroglyphic Illumination
3 Vraska's Contempt
23 cards
Land
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Fetid Pools
2 Field of Ruin
1 Submerged Boneyard
2 Evolving Wilds
7 Swamp
4 Island
2 Ipnu Rivulet
24 cards
 

Sideboard
1 Essence Extraction
4 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
4 Gifted Aetherborn
3 Duress
2 Jace's Defeat
1 Negate
15 cards

Modern: SCG ran a large Modern Open last weekend. SCG seems to have realized that Modern and Legacy are more popular than they thought – they are running more Opens in both formats this season. Also some team trios constructed events with these formats.

UR Gifts Storms
Paul Muller, Winner, SCG Modern Open Charolette - 75 Cards Total
Creature
4 Baral, Chief of Compliance
2 Goblin Electromancer
6 cards

Instant
1 Noxious Revival
4 Pyretic Ritual
4 Manamorphose
3 Remand
4 Desperate Ritual
4 Gifts Ungiven
4 Opt
24 cards
Sorcery
2 Past in Flames
3 Grapeshot
4 Serum Visions
4 Sleight of Hand
13 cards
Land
4 Spirebluff Canal
4 Steam Vents
2 Island
1 Mountain
4 Shivan Reef
2 Snow-Covered Island
17 cards


Sideboard
4 Pieces of the Puzzle
1 Dismember
2 Dispel
2 Empty the Warrens
1 Wipe Away
2 Shattering Spree
3 Lightning Bolt
15 cards
Legacy: A couple weeks ago, 299 players brought their Legacy decks to Hamburg, Germany. The Top 8 contained one Food Chain deck. Nom nom nom. 
Vintage: The VSL “Brewer’s League” is underway. The rules state that players cannot repeat decks, so we are seeing some interesting decks. This version of Dredge also won a Vintage Challenge for Erin. Note the transformational sideboard.
Dredge
Erin Campbell, Week 5, VSL Brewer’s Challenge - 75 Cards Total
Creature
4 Narcomoeba
2 Golgari Thug
4 Bloodghast
4 Stinkweed Imp
4 Prized Amalgam
2 Ichorid
4 Golgari Grave-Troll
1 Dragonlord Kolaghan
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
26 cards

Instant
4 Mental Misstep
4 Force of Will
8 cards
Sorcery
4 Cabal Therapy
2 Dread Return
6 cards

Artifact
4 Serum Powder
4 cards
Enchantment
4 Bridge from Below
4 cards

Land
4 Bazaar of Baghdad
2 Dakmor Salvage
2 Mana Confluence
4 Undiscovered Paradise
12 cards
 

Sideboard
4 Mindbreak Trap
4 Hollow One
4 Nature's Claim
3 Gurmag Angler
15 cards
 
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: Wizards has printed a ton of Nationals decklists, and prices are reacting. And I hope you have your Scarab Gods already. They are not showing any sign of dropping.
 

Standard Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$6.83
$3.70
$3.13
85%
$9.15
$6.23
$2.92
47%
$33.72
$40.45
($6.73)
-17%
$5.39
$6.41
($1.02)
-16%
$12.24
$8.79
$3.45
39%
$14.67
$15.27
($0.60)
-4%
$10.03
$8.30
$1.73
21%
Huatli, Dinosaur Knight
$5.35
$5.35
$0.00
0%
$10.56
$9.79
$0.77
8%
$48.24
$46.83
$1.41
3%
$27.71
$27.26
$0.45
2%
$12.50
$11.42
$1.08
9%
$11.00
$10.43
$0.57
5%

Modern staples:  Modern prices are back to normal now. The price drops are almost all attributable to Iconic Masters, which will be out later this month.    
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$14.51
$14.25
$0.26
2%
$18.05
$15.91
$2.14
13%
$27.37
$23.33
$4.04
17%
$31.44
$30.58
$0.86
3%
$21.23
$16.53
$4.70
28%
$10.95
$12.66
($1.71)
-14%
$16.88
$18.17
($1.29)
-7%
$23.24
$22.41
$0.83
4%
$28.20
$28.59
($0.39)
-1%
$17.61
$17.81
($0.20)
-1%
$27.62
$27.30
$0.32
1%
$61.59
$69.58
($7.99)
-11%
$21.49
$22.70
($1.21)
-5%
$47.30
$44.51
$2.79
6%
$15.66
$15.46
$0.20
1%
$23.51
$23.03
$0.48
2%
$29.75
$26.04
$3.71
14%
$17.05
$18.42
($1.37)
-7%
$21.17
$23.78
($2.61)
-11%
$10.69
$9.63
$1.06
11%

Legacy and Vintage: Vintage and Legacy prices are back to a more normal level of churn.  
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$50.89
$50.82
$0.07
0%
$20.63
$19.09
$1.54
8%
$19.17
$26.67
($7.50)
-28%
$94.88
$94.88
$0.00
0%
$34.71
$33.17
$1.54
5%
$38.35
$38.01
$0.34
1%
$29.05
$27.44
$1.61
6%
$23.23
$23.52
($0.29)
-1%
$35.77
$34.75
$1.02
3%
$41.24
$41.94
($0.70)
-2%
$36.93
$47.46
($10.53)
-22%
$23.26
$24.60
($1.34)
-5%
$27.47
$33.43
($5.96)
-18%
$119.07
$132.97
($13.90)
-10%
$24.45
$26.60
($2.15)
-8%
$22.50
$26.92
($4.42)
-16%
$28.31
$27.30
$1.01
4%
$23.70
$26.00
($2.30)
-9%
$19.88
$18.07
$1.81
10%
$37.42
$39.04
($1.62)
-4%

 
* A significantly cheaper promo version of Rishadan Port is available, but I do not include promos prices on the table. MTGO has over 900 promo cards on the list, and occasionally those cards are sold out for months at a time, so their prices do not reflect the market price. I tried checking numbers in stock, but 900+ is too many.   
 
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
$81.93
$73.64
$8.29
11%
Amonkhet
$97.19
$93.02
$4.17
4%
Ixalan
$78.34
$72.82
$5.52
8%
Hour of Devastation
$87.42
$84.44
$2.98
4%
Kaladesh
$140.59
$144.38
($3.79)
-3%
Treasure Chest
$2.27
$2.25
$0.02
1%
Ixalan Booster
$3.40
$3.40
$0.00
0%

 
 
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. Two weeks ago the Power Nine (except TimeTwister) made it back on the list. This week, the last of them (except for Black Lotus) fell back. 
 

Name
Set
Rarity
 Price
Rishadan Port
 MM
Rare
 $ 132.97
Exploration
 UZ
Rare
 $   94.88
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
 $   71.36
Liliana of the Veil
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $   69.58
Mox Diamond
 TPR
Mythic Rare
 $   56.87
The Scarab God
 MS3
Special
 $   51.38
Black Lotus
 VMA
Bonus
 $   50.82
Mox Diamond
 ST
Rare
 $   50.50
Mox Opal
 MS2
Bonus
 $   50.33
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
 $   49.21
Mox Diamond
 V10
Mythic Rare
 $   47.46
The Scarab God
 HOU
Mythic Rare
 $   46.83
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $   44.51
Wasteland
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $   42.71
Misdirection
 MM
Rare
 $   41.94
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
 $   41.22
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
 KLD
Mythic Rare
 $   40.45
Wasteland
 TPR
Rare
 $   40.43
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
 $   39.70
Dark Depths
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $   39.38
Wasteland
 EMA
Rare
 $   39.04
Force of Will
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $   38.41
Gaea's Cradle
 UZ
Rare
 $   38.01
Unmask
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $   35.65
Leovold, Emissary of Trest
 PZ2
Mythic Rare
 $   34.75
Ensnaring Bridge
 7E
Rare
 $   34.06
Chalice of the Void
 MS2
Bonus
 $   34.02
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
 $   34.00
Mystic Confluence
 PZ1
Rare
 $   33.43
Force of Will
 MS3
Special
 $   33.17
Underground Sea
 ME4
Rare
 $   32.21
Ensnaring Bridge
 ST
Rare
 $   32.20
True-Name Nemesis
 C13
Rare
 $   31.66
Ensnaring Bridge
 MS2
Bonus
 $   30.89
Chalice of the Void
 MMA
Rare
 $   30.87
Underground Sea
 ME2
Rare
 $   30.62
Chalice of the Void
 MRD
Rare
 $   30.58
Scalding Tarn
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $   30.35
Horizon Canopy
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $   29.64
Volcanic Island
 ME3
Rare
 $   29.04
Ensnaring Bridge
 8ED
Rare
 $   28.59
Torrential Gearhulk
 MS2
Bonus
 $   28.52
Karn Liberated
 NPH
Mythic Rare
 $   27.62
Volcanic Island
 ME4
Rare
 $   27.47
Infernal Tutor
 DIS
Rare
 $   27.44
Gorilla Shaman
 ALL
Common
 $   27.32
Karn Liberated
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $   27.30
True-Name Nemesis
 PZ1
Mythic Rare
 $   27.30
Torrential Gearhulk
 KLD
Mythic Rare
 $   27.26
Tempt with Discovery
 C13
Rare
 $   26.92
Dark Depths
 CSP
Rare
 $   26.67
Show and Tell
 UZ
Rare
 $   26.60
City of Traitors
 EX
Rare
 $   26.23
Scapeshift
 MOR
Rare
 $   26.04
Unmask
 MM
Rare
 $   26.00
Tarmogoyf
 FUT
Rare
 $   25.96

 
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 $ 20,910. That’s down about $1,525 from last week. Blame the Modern price drops.
 
Weekly Highlights
 
I was up in the Northwoods last weekend. Four days of fall colors, decent weather and wildness – and no Internet access. No Magic – I’ll be trying to get caught up this weekend. 
 
Also, I am running a PPTQ at Netherworld Games in Madison tomorrow.   Come join us.
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” 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.  

3 Comments

I get a lot of my cards from by xger at Fri, 10/20/2017 - 12:55
xger's picture

I get a lot of my cards from the Friendly sealed leagues. If you can average 6-3 over the event, it costs barely anything to keep going.

re by Hearts at Sat, 10/21/2017 - 18:01
Hearts's picture

2002(or smth) they started selling electronic boosters that arent real except for when playing mtgo, 4 dollars a piece.
Redemption was to be the thing that covered for the paper price.

Redemption had an enormous restriction, 99 percent of cards couldnt be redeemed after all. This because of only 1 common per mythic. In addition you had to collect full sets, which causes great restriction for part time players.

Do you realize how much it would cost wotc to have players redeem the rest 99 percent of cards ? Enormous amounts of money. And IF they did that this would have great negative effects for their ordinary paper sales(real boosters).

Redemption is, and has always been, a lie.

And soon mtgo will become a ghost town because of Arena, wotc will try sell the Lotuses and Wastelands all over again.

Or so you hope? by Paul Leicht at Sat, 10/21/2017 - 22:10
Paul Leicht's picture

Or so you hope?