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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Sep 15 2017 12:00pm
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State of the Program for September 15th 2017
 
In the News
MtG: Arena: Wizards has given us a preview of MTG Arena – the next version of Magic in a digital form.  The game is orders of magnitude beyond MTGO in many respects.  I like it. I discuss the many advantages of MTG Arena, and my concern about the impact of MTG Arena on MTGO, in the opinion section. But if you want to know more: the hour long video introducing MTG Arena is here and the official announcement is here.   The MTG Arena FAQ is here.  Important part of there announcement: MTGO is not going anywhere. The article on the Future of MTGO is here.
 
Iconic Masters Coming – Complete Card List: Wizards has released the entire card pool for Iconic Masters. The gallery is here. Some good stuff in the set, and it looks fun to draft. Iconic Masters will be coming to MTGO on November 17, 2017. 
 
Leagues End Next Downtime: Current constructed Leagues will end on September 20, 2017. You should play out your matches before then. Leagues will relaunch with Ixalan added to the mix after downtime on the 20th.
 
Rotation Reminder: Just a reminder that rotation is coming soon. In mid-September Battle for Zendikar, Oath of the Gatewatch, Shadows over Innistrad, and Eldritch Moon will leave the Standard format to make room for Ixalan. (I guess Ixalan needs a lot of room.)
 
Rules Change with Iconic Masters: One rules change – with Magus of the Moon (and presumably Blood Moon) in play, non-basic lands will lose all enter the battlefield triggers and effects. This changes how they work now. The Iconic Masters FAQ is here.
 
Steamflogger Boss Does It AgainSteamflogger Boss was a joke, back in Future Site. Literally. Future Sight’s gimmick was that the set had cards and mechanics from yet to be released sets. The joke was that the things that Steamflogger Boss mentions – riggers and contraptions – were not real. What made me really unhappy was not that the card was printed but that the Boss was a rare (it would have been pretty funny at uncommon.) Being rare meant that it took the place of the rare or Mythic – for many people, the reason for opening the pack in the first place. Now, in Unstable, Steamflogger Boss will replace one of the gorgeous full-art lands. Déjà vu. I know that, if I open a Steamflogger Boss instead of my full art land, I will be upset.   
 
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
Sept. 20th, Oct. 25th, Nov. 15th & 29th  
No Downtime Scheduled
Sept. 27th, Oct. 4th & 18th, Nov. 8th & 22nd 
Sealed MOCS Monthly
September 15th, October 8th
Standard MOCS Monthly
October 21st
Current Leagues End
September 20th   
Ixalan Events Begin
September 25, 2017
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
October 17, 2017
DTK, ORI, BFZ & OGW Redemption Ends
November 2, 2017
AKH and HOU Redemption Ends
November 20, 2017
SOI and EMN Redemption Closes
April 28, 2018
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
Modern Cube
September 6th
September 24th
(break for Ixalan limited)
September 25th
October 25th
???
October 25th
November 1st
???
November 1st
November 8th
???
November 8th
November 15th
Iconic Masters
November 17th
???
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: MTG Arena
First off, I have to say that I have not played the demo. I’m basing my comments off these sources:
 
·       The hour long video introducing MTG Arena is here
·       The official announcement is here.  
·       The MTG Arena FAQ is here.
·       The article on the Future of MTGO is here.
·       The Professor’s reaction video is here. He played the demo, a lot.
·       Limited Resources with special guest Ryan Spain here.
 
I was also able to exchange brief emails with Chris Kiritz, the Senior Product Manager for Digital Magic. While time did not permit me to go very deep (that should happen in next couple weeks), Chris did confirm a couple things. And all of this is with the caveat that MTG Arena is still in alpha – still what Chris described as “a work in progress.”  Almost everything is subject to change.
 
I want to say, upfront, that I am totally in favor of MTG Arena. I think it is what Magic needs to move into the digital and esports world. A lot of people watch Hearthstone streams instead of Magic streams because Hearthstone is flashy and has cool graphics.  MTGO – not so much. With Arena, Magic gets some of that digital bling. In the video, big creatures roar when they enter the battlefield. That’s cool, I guess. (I’m old. The glitz doesn’t do much for me, but I understand the kids like it.)   When Planeswalkers enter the battlefield in MTG Arena , they speak a catch phrase. Also cool – but I hope that Wizards either varies what they say or that players can mute it. If I am grinding with a deck I want to play my Planeswalker every game, but I don’t necessarily want to hear “catchphrase!” every time. But that’s just a quibble. Let’s look beyond the cosmetic stuff.
 
First off, MTG Arena plays Magic. Real Magic. Not Magic Lite. Not Duelmasters. Not “sorceries only, do nothing on your opponent’s turn” pseudo-Magic. MTG Arena appears to enforce all the Magic rules on timing, priority, turn structure, etc. The demo had Ixalan cards, but those cards worked the way I would expect them to work on MTGO – aside from the cool graphics and animations and stuff. On MTGO I expect the cards to just lay there; and to be missing their artwork for the first week or so. 
 
Second, MTG Arena is built on the Unity platform. This means that the program can, eventually, run on Macs, on Steam, on tablets and phones, and, I believe, on consoles. This is huge. MTGO has always been PC only, and anyone running it on a Mac (like LR’s Marshall Sutcliff), is running a PC emulator. Actual cross-platform support is important.
 
Third, and this one is really important, the new client features an improved game rules engine and AI that incorporates computer learning to improve gameplay. This may sound like a blend of corporate speak and technobabble, but it means the game will be able make predictions based on game status.   If you don’t think this is important, just remember all those times when you had no blockers, but the game made you click through declare blockers anyway. This feature has the potential to be great. At a minimum, it has to be better than MTGO. And even if the predictive mode is not perfect, MTG Arena has a “full control” toggle – the equivalent of setting all the stops on MTGO.  With the caveat that the program is in Alpha at present and all I have seen is demos, it looks really good. Even as the AI is now, it is a huge upgrade over MTGO. The Professor from Tolarian Community College asked “why would you ever play MTGO if you could play MTG Arena?”  And that was after the Prof. spent most of Hascon playing the game.
 
Wizards has also stated that MTG Arena will integrate with paper play, and Arena players will be able to earn rewards for things like playing in a paper prerelease. Wizards has also said that there will be more rewards for playing, in game goals and achievements, etc. All of these things are still in development, so no details at present, but they all sound like things I have been advocating for for years.  
 
Other things we know so far: when introduced, the game will support limited, including draft, and Standard. The game will not, at least for now, support older formats, or include older cards. Wizards has stated that it intends MTGO, not MTG Arena, to be the home for older formats, including Modern, going forward. I’ll speculate on this, later. 
 
Wizards stated (in video, about 52 minutes in) that trading would not be enabled.  Chris Kiritz also told me that trading would not be enabled on MTG Arena – with the caveat that nothing is set in stone at this point. Alpha – remember? So no trading, at least between players.  
 
That’s what we know, based on Wizards’ statements. I’m moving on to what I deduce from the above sources.
 
I think the no trading means that MTG Arena will use a new fiscal model, quite unlike MTGO’s packs and TIX.   I’m speculating here, but I really think the MTG Arena model will involve two in game currencies – call them “Redmonds” and “Wotcies,” – in addition to actual monetary purchases in the store.  Players will be able to buy Redmonds in the store, and use them to purchase items like boosters, special card sets (e.g. intro decks) and bling (e.g. special avatars), as well as entry into events. In that last respect, Redmonds would be the equivalent of TIX.
 
Hey – just realized that players might reasonably be expected to buy Planeswalker or event decks and the like on MTG Arena. On MTGO, where commons, uncommons and most rares are generally worthless, it almost never makes fiscal sense to buy any of the preconstructed decks. On MTG Arena, however, those decks might be a great way to get started in constructed play. So we may be spending our Redmonds on that sort of thing.  Maybe.  But back to the topic at hand.: currencies.
 
Wotcies, unlike Redmonds, would not be directly purchased.  They would be earned. Wotcies would be the equivalent of a crafting material in other games, and players would use Wotcies to “craft” cards. For example – and I’m pulling these numbers out of thin air – players could convert 100 Wotcies into any uncommon, 1000 into any rare, and 5000 Wotcies into any Mythic. Players could also convert cards into Wotcies: scrap a common and you get 10 Wotcies, scrap an uncommon and you get 25 Wotcies, etc. Remember – this is all speculation: I don’t even know if MTG Arena will have something like salvaging, much less what the return on salvaging might be. That said, I am reasonably certain that you will obtain cards in MTG Arena by opening boosters or salvaging cards. You will not be able to trade for them with other players. 
 
The Redmonds and Wotcies system would give Wizards a lot more flexibility in creating rewards and prize payouts for events. Wizards would be able to award a mix boosters, special cards,  Redmonds and Wotcies. For example:
 
·       Win an event, get a couple boosters, some Redmonds and maybe some Wotcies. 
·       Log in and play at least one match every day for a week, get 150 Wotcies.
·       Play in the Thursday Standard Special, get a foil (Fatal Push) and 200 Wotcies, in addition to regular prizes for a Standard event.
·       Win a match with a no rares, no Mythics deck, get a 300 Wotcie bonus.
·       Craft 20 rares or Mythics, get a special full art “Master Crafter” Mountian. 
·       Win a match against a WotC employee account, get a 2 Redmond bounty.
 
And so forth. 
 
Being able to convert cards to crafting materials would solve a huge issue with MTGO – the fact that basic lands, spare commons and uncommons – even most rares – have essentially no value. Right now, I have tens of thousands of basic lands sitting in an account called PRJsLandLocker. I have another account with 80k of useless commons that even bulk dealers don’t want. All worthless. If I could convert them to a crafting material I could use to make cards I could actually use, that would be fantastic.
 
Another advantage of eliminating player-to-player trading: Wizards will not have to go through the effort of creating and maintaining a trading system. More importantly, they will not have to implement and maintain the security measures necessary to prevent players from stealing each other’s cards. This is a non-trivial savings. Maintaining security is critical to maintaining value in a collectible game, and it is neither cheap nor simple.
 
Wizards has stated that Modern and old sets will stay on MTGO. This makes some sense, if MTG Arena uses the card crafting model I described above. If MTG Arena is like most games that use this model, you will have to play frequently to get enough crafting materials. Regular play will be necessary to keep up with just Standard, and play a lot (or spend real money) to craft the necessary rares and Mythics to play Tier One Standard decks. As new sets are released, players will need to keep playing and crafting in order to get the new cards. It would likely be impossible for anyone but full-time MTG Arena players to be able to craft competitive Modern or Legacy decks.       
 
If Wizards does limit MTG Arena to just Standard and limited from here forward, that also means they avoid having to program some of the more bizarre cards from the past. Magic has a lot of cards that do very weird things in very weird ways – cards like Stasis, Chains of Mephistopheles, and Eon Hub. Or cards like Raging River or Camouflage. Camouflage’s Oracle text reads “Cast Camouflage only during your declare attackers step. This turn, instead of declaring blockers, each defending player chooses any number of creatures he or she controls and divides them into a number of piles equal to the number of attacking creatures for whom that player is the defending player. Creatures he or she controls that can block additional creatures may likewise be put into additional piles. Assign each pile to a different one of those attacking creatures at random. Each creature in a pile that can block the creature that pile is assigned to does so. (Piles can be empty.)”  There is a reason Camouflage is not on MTGO, and never will be. 
 
Yes, I know that Wizards has said that MTG Arena’s rules engine will be able to handle any card. It’s not a question of “can,” it’s a question of “should.” Should Wizards programmers spend time programming a way of skipping upkeep, just so junk rare like Eon Hub works, or do something that will affect more than the 0.0001% of the player base that will ever cast Eon Hub?  I’d answer: something else. So I think it makes sense to limit MTG Arena to Standard and limited, and let players who want to cast Eon’s Hub play on MTGO. Eon Hub, Stasis and Chains already work on that platform.
 
So what does all this mean for MTGO? Well, as Wizards has stated, here, they intend to continue to support MTGO. And “support” means continuing to program new sets, add new formats and features, and to sink both time and effort into the program. Wizards intends to keep MTGO around as the place to play Modern, Legacy, Vintage, Commander and Pauper. Wizards is even talking about major fixes to issues like the collection tab. Great – it needs it. And I believe Wizards does intend to do what it says. They really do want to keep MTGO alive and thriving.
 
They can keep MTGO alive and thriving, but they face two major challenges. These challenges are solvable, if Wizards puts in the time, thought and effort. I asked about these in my email to Wizards, and Chris not only stated that Wizards is aware of these issues, but are working on solutions. No details, both because my article deadline kept the exchange short, and because all of this is still in flux, it’s clear that Wizards also sees the problems. 
 
The first problem is getting cards onto MTGO after limited play migrates to MTG Arena. For the past decade and a half, cards have been added to the MTGO cardpool via boosters. Players have opened boosters in draft, in sealed, and sometimes just by cracking them, but limited play accounts for the vast, vast majority of opened product. This method of filling the card pool worked well for sets that were drafted a lot, but failed when they were not. Mercadian Masques was not drafted much, which is why Rishadan Port is $140.   Future Sight was also not drafted much (the v2-v3 transition meant drafts were turned off for most of the period Future Sight was draftable), and that’s why Tarmogoyf, Horizon Canopy and Grove of the Burnwillows have been so expensive online. 

Once MTG Arena goes live, most new set drafts will happen on MTG Arena. As the Professor said in his video, “There is no reason to play MTGO if you can play Arena.”  Arena will have a better play interface, won’t ask you to declare blockers when you have none, and will generally be where all the other drafters are. Moreover, if my speculation about the MTG Arena fiscal model is correct, you will want to play on the platform as much as possible, so you can earn Redmonds and Wotcies. All of this will mean that very, very few new set boosters will be opened on MTGO, so cards from those sets could be in short supply. This would impact older formats. Recently printed cards are important to all the old formats (think Fatal Push)   Future sets will likely include plenty of cards that will become Modern, Legacy and Vintage staples.   The question will be how to get enough copies of those cards into the MTGO card pool, if not via drafts.
 
This problem is hardly insurmountable. Wizards could link players MTGO and MTG Arena accounts, and – provided both accounts are actively played – replicate anything that was opened or “crafted” on Arena in the player’s MTGO account. Or, better yet, just replicate uncommons or better. (I don’t want lots of commons cluttering my MTGO account – never have, never will.)  
 
Another alternative – allow players to transfer cards from their Arena account to their MTGO account. Neither of these suggestions aren’t perfect: I include them just to show that Wizards can overcome the problem, if works at it.
 
The second potential problem with the fiscal model I described above is the impact on the digital card dealers. If MTG Arena does not allow trading, then it won’t have dealers. If dealers are only going to be trading in cards on MTGO, and not converting draft leftovers into new drafts, that could have a big impact. A number of websites exist only because they are supported by card sales. Without those sales, those sites – and their content – could disappear (although PureMTGO.com is also supported by paper card store Cape Fear Games, so hopefully it’s immune.)  Equally important, constructed formats like Modern and Legacy flourish only because dealers make it easy to get the cards you need. If MTGO loses the dealers, the program likely folds. People will not continue to play on the platform you have to find all your cards trading with other players on the trading post.      
 
Again, this issue is solvable. For example, let’s assume that Wizards only replicated the cards that players crafted on MTG Arena – not those they opened in booster packs. That would make even commons and uncommons valuable on MTGO, since the supply would be much smaller. Wizards could give dealers the ability to buy boosters in bulk at a discount – something like 30% off purchases of boosters 1,000 at a time.  That would allow the dealer to stock up affordably.  Something like what I propose could keep the dealers in business, sites online, prices for cards reasonable and MTGO alive as the place to play old formats. 
 
To recap: MTG Arena looks really good. The people who have actually played it seem to like it – even those not working for Wizards (hi, Prof.) MTG Arena is digital Magic, not Magic Lite.  MTGO will continue to exist pretty much unchanged, but with some tweaks to ow the cardpool gets filled. Wizards is working on that stuff.
 
Also, huge thanks to Chris Kiritz for his quick response to my initial email. I will be asking him more questions. Expect his answers – at least to those questions he can answer – in future weeks.
 
Cutting Edge Tech
I’m going to skip cutting edge tech for this week. Standard, as we know it, ends next Wednesday. Modern and Legacy had no major events, and I have not yet found the decklists for Vintage Masters. (In other news, Vintage Masters started a new season last Tuesday.) 
 
I also spent way too much time on the opinion section and my deadline is well, technically past. No time to search for decks. 
 
Cutting edge tech will be back once Ixalan starts appearing in tournament results. Or next week, if I see something cool.
 
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: We are coming up on rotation. Things on their way out are (generally) cratering. A couple weeks from now, I’ll add Ixalan cards to the table.
 

Standard Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$34.69
$39.54
($4.85)
-12%
$8.57
$10.63
($2.06)
-19%
$4.56
$4.94
($0.38)
-8%
$6.33
$5.54
$0.79
14%
$9.25
$7.64
$1.61
21%
$6.59
$6.57
$0.02
0%
$7.75
$9.32
($1.57)
-17%
$11.47
$10.30
$1.17
11%
$20.07
$29.18
($9.11)
-31%
$5.40
$5.47
($0.07)
-1%
$8.35
$8.06
$0.29
4%
$17.32
$20.60
($3.28)
-16%
$12.03
$12.90
($0.87)
-7%
$18.85
$19.81
($0.96)
-5%
$10.43
$11.83
($1.40)
-12%

Modern staples:  Modern prices are down this week. The biggest falls are probably due to Iconic Masters. The card pool has been released, and a lot of the expensive cards on this table are on that list.    
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$8.51
$16.86
($8.35)
-50%
$17.42
$18.14
($0.72)
-4%
$22.66
$24.37
($1.71)
-7%
$42.69
$42.69
$0.00
0%
$28.86
$29.43
($0.57)
-2%
$22.62
$24.09
($1.47)
-6%
$20.62
$20.35
$0.27
1%
$33.54
$36.58
($3.04)
-8%
$32.42
$33.00
($0.58)
-2%
$15.25
$21.62
($6.37)
-29%
$27.40
$38.30
($10.90)
-28%
$35.02
$36.96
($1.94)
-5%
$78.05
$81.51
($3.46)
-4%
$6.60
$16.26
($9.66)
-59%
$63.68
$61.40
$2.28
4%
$17.46
$16.10
$1.36
8%
$29.50
$28.46
$1.04
4%
$31.18
$30.40
$0.78
3%
$25.31
$25.64
($0.33)
-1%
$25.19
$24.29
$0.90
4%

Legacy and Vintage: Vintage prices jumped last week, and they are reverting to mean this week. Some of the other big drops are likely due to Iconic Masters.  Cards that did not make the list are climbing.
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$22.17
$30.39
($8.22)
-27%
$72.26
$94.80
($22.54)
-24%
$21.36
$25.74
($4.38)
-17%
$40.77
$41.67
($0.90)
-2%
$98.13
$91.66
$6.47
7%
$33.49
$34.24
($0.75)
-2%
$38.10
$38.45
($0.35)
-1%
$24.75
$24.92
($0.17)
-1%
$29.27
$34.62
($5.35)
-15%
$24.41
$24.84
($0.43)
-2%
$29.49
$38.86
($9.37)
-24%
$41.88
$42.30
($0.42)
-1%
$55.92
$52.02
$3.90
7%
$59.66
$59.23
$0.43
1%
$42.98
$46.21
($3.23)
-7%
$142.95
$142.95
$0.00
0%
$28.62
$29.08
($0.46)
-2%
$42.75
$43.66
($0.91)
-2%
$26.81
$26.38
$0.43
2%
$25.20
$26.00
($0.80)
-3%
$43.59
$44.48
($0.89)
-2%

 
* 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 packs. I’ll keep tracking these because they are interesting (at least to me).  A couple weeks left on this list.   
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Aether Revolt
$71.97
$75.68
($3.71)
-5%
Amonkhet
$75.88
$76.16
($0.28)
0%
Battle for Zendikar
$23.53
$22.72
$0.81
4%
Eldritch Moon
$48.34
$62.74
($14.40)
-23%
Hour of Devastation
$53.52
$53.87
($0.35)
-1%
Kaladesh
$116.15
$135.43
($19.28)
-14%
Oath of the Gatewatch
$35.85
$41.13
($5.28)
-13%
Shadows over Innistrad
$23.46
$23.40
$0.06
0%
Treasure Chest
$2.25
$2.26
($0.01)
0%
Amonkhet Booster
$1.90
$2.57
($0.67)
-26%
Hour of Devastation
$2.72
$3.72
($1.00)
-27%

  
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. Last week the Power Nine (except Timetwister) made it back on the list. This week, most of them fell back off. The list also shrank a bit as some of the cards due to appear in Iconic Masters dropped off the list. 
 

Name
Set
Rarity
 Price
Rishadan Port
 MM
Rare
 $   142.95
Exploration
 UZ
Rare
 $     98.13
Liliana of the Veil
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $     78.80
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
 $     78.05
Black Lotus
 VMA
Bonus
 $     72.26
Mox Opal
 MS2
Bonus
 $     66.18
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
 $     64.80
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $     63.68
Mystic Confluence
 PZ1
Rare
 $     59.66
Mox Diamond
 TPR
Mythic Rare
 $     56.71
Mox Diamond
 V10
Mythic Rare
 $     56.23
Mox Diamond
 ST
Rare
 $     55.92
Wasteland
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $     47.45
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
 $     46.80
Wasteland
 TPR
Rare
 $     46.09
Chalice of the Void
 MS2
Bonus
 $     44.21
Wasteland
 EMA
Rare
 $     43.59
Chalice of the Void
 MMA
Rare
 $     43.31
Mox Sapphire
 VMA
Bonus
 $     42.98
True-Name Nemesis
 C13
Rare
 $     42.85
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
 $     42.79
True-Name Nemesis
 PZ1
Mythic Rare
 $     42.75
Chalice of the Void
 MRD
Rare
 $     42.69
Misdirection
 MM
Rare
 $     41.88
Dark Depths
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $     41.67
Dark Depths
 CSP
Rare
 $     40.77
Horizon Canopy
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $     40.72
Force of Will
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $     38.54
Gaea's Cradle
 UZ
Rare
 $     38.10
Karn Liberated
 NPH
Mythic Rare
 $     37.38
Unmask
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $     36.07
Karn Liberated
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $     35.02
Force of Will
 MS3
Special
 $     34.99
Ensnaring Bridge
 ST
Rare
 $     34.76
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
 KLD
Mythic Rare
 $     34.69
Ensnaring Bridge
 8ED
Rare
 $     34.64
Engineered Explosives
 MS2
Bonus
 $     34.36
Ensnaring Bridge
 7E
Rare
 $     34.11
Engineered Explosives
 5DN
Rare
 $     33.72
Engineered Explosives
 MMA
Rare
 $     33.54
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
 $     33.49
Underground Sea
 ME4
Rare
 $     33.19
Ensnaring Bridge
 MS2
Bonus
 $     32.42
Underground Sea
 ME2
Rare
 $     32.23
Scapeshift
 MOR
Rare
 $     31.18
Scalding Tarn
 MM3
Rare
 $     30.40
Scalding Tarn
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $     30.39
Volcanic Island
 ME3
Rare
 $     29.96
Tempt with Discovery
 C13
Rare
 $     29.56
Scalding Tarn
 ZEN
Rare
 $     29.50
Leovold, Emissary of Trest
 PZ2
Mythic Rare
 $     29.49
Infernal Tutor
 DIS
Rare
 $     29.27
Celestial Colonnade
 WWK
Rare
 $     28.83
Show and Tell
 UZ
Rare
 $     28.62
Containment Priest
 PZ1
Rare
 $     28.60
City of Traitors
 EX
Rare
 $     28.02
Volcanic Island
 ME4
Rare
 $     27.43
Horizon Canopy
 FUT
Rare
 $     27.40
Tarmogoyf
 MMA
Mythic Rare
 $     27.38
Gorilla Shaman
 ALL
Common
 $     27.32
Unmask
 MM
Rare
 $     26.81
Tarmogoyf
 FUT
Rare
 $     26.07
Tarmogoyf
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $     25.70
Surgical Extraction
 NPH
Rare
 $     25.61
Surgical Extraction
 MM2
Rare
 $     25.31
Volcanic Island
 VMA
Rare
 $     25.20
Tarmogoyf
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $     25.19

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 $ 222,325. That’s down about $2,275 from last week. Iconic Masters? MTG Arena? We don’t know.
 
Weekly Highlights
I am trying to finish my limited leagues and use up my spare booster packs before Ixalan makes them all worthless. Problem is I keep winning more!  I am also beginning to think about building in Ixalan Standard. Unfortunately, way too much of this thinking is done during my commutes and breaks at work – not somewhere where I can actually check cards and make lists. And I can't play with Ixalan cards.  That, however, will happen soon enough. Ixalan will hit MTGO in just 10 days.   Paper prerelease in a week. 
 
Can’t come soon enough.
 
 
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.  

11 Comments

Hogan and I talked about this by Paul Leicht at Fri, 09/15/2017 - 15:04
Paul Leicht's picture
5

Hogan and I talked about this very thing (MTGArena alongside MTGO) and basically came to the same conclusions though we are still curious what the community at large thinks of this. Thanks for your (as usual) well articulated opinion.

"When Planeswalkers enter the by ricklongo at Fri, 09/15/2017 - 16:28
ricklongo's picture
5

"When Planeswalkers enter the battlefield in MTG Arena , they speak a catch phrase. Also cool"

I'll probably come across as a grumpy geezer for this, but that's perhaps as far as possible from what I consider 'cool'.

I also have to admit Magic Arena (or at least what was revealed of it so far) doesn't do anything for me. I like Magic for the game it is, and I have zero interest in flashy graphics, sounds, and animations to go with it. By the same token, there's a chance that what drives people to Hearthstone streams is that game's simplicity, not graphics and animations.

I also couldn't care less about e-Spots, to be honest. Sometimes companies have to be smart and realize they're better off as the uncontested king of a niche than to try and confront the big boys. Trying to go toe-to-toe with Hearthstone, especially if my above comment about simplicity holds true, may lead Magic into a path which not only fails to capture big Twitch audiences, but also alienates the game's most hardcore user base.

That all said, I'm not as worried as I was before about MTGO going away, especially because I think Wizards will try their best to do right by MTGO players when it comes to transferring their current collections to a new program if the time ever comes. I guess this is the first time I'm actually glad the reserved list exists, as it shows that Wizards will go to great lenghts to honor their commitments to people who purchase their products.

If it turns out MTGO players are thrown under the bus on this one, then well, I'll quit the game. And I don't say this lightly - in fact, the mere prospect of quitting Magic has never ever been something I honestly considered, even when WotC made moves I strongly disagreed with. Losing thousands of dollars worth of cards will do the trick, though.

I ultimately hope Arena, at least in its current proposed incarnation, fails, and also hope that this failure leads them to make a program that's more sober than flashy, but that also fixes the inumerous shortcomings of Magic Online, including having multiplatform support. Not holding my breath, but a man can dream.

I am not much for the shiny by Paul Leicht at Fri, 09/15/2017 - 16:53
Paul Leicht's picture

I am not much for the shiny ponies stuff either but I recognize that some people really love that stuff. I can't imagine Arena alienating anyone unless it is very bad. MTGO is still here, Paper is still here. People that enjoy the game will still enjoy it on those platforms.

Agree that losing MTGO and my collection would probably be a Bridge too Far. But that's doomsday talk. I don't want Arena to fail at the stated intentions for it (Listen to this week's LR podcast to hear Ryan talk about it.) If it does what he says WOTCs wants it to do, MTGO should prosper not be folded into it.

I play most of card games on by JXClaytor at Fri, 09/15/2017 - 19:31
JXClaytor's picture

I play most of card games on mute because they have what I consider to be an annoying voice thing. I don't care if the next round is on them, or if it's a gift from the east, I just want to put the card in to play, and battle with it. That's it.

I still want my digital representation of a paper card game to be a cardgame sim, not generic floating stones version number 6.

I am thinking of doing a by xger at Fri, 09/15/2017 - 17:37
xger's picture

I am thinking of doing a multi-part series examining arena--it's impact, predictions, and so on. The real thing about MTGO and Arena is that once drafting is there, the finances of MTGO will look rather rotten, rather quickly. That is something I would analyze at great length.

As to the older cards on Arena--I think the point of the new enginge is that there is no extra programming for the vast majority of cards. So Eon Hub would just be added and work. Maybe the most complex might take some extra, but it sounded like the whole point was that *any* card, no matter how wonky, should be easy to add.

More work than you think by Felorin at Wed, 09/27/2017 - 17:56
Felorin's picture

If they only had Eon Hub and two or three other "special case" cards, it wouldn't be too hard. But given the vast number of special case cards, the fact that some of their special changes interact with other cards special changes (which will cause bugs and debugging/fixing time), and that some of them require additional UI just for that one card, the total amount of man hours of work to support all cards in the history of magic is pretty large.

Cards like "Goblin Game" can be a lot of extra work for us game programmers, believe me.

I would like Arena to succeed by Master_Hades at Fri, 09/15/2017 - 17:43
Master_Hades's picture

I would like Arena to succeed because Magic is Magic so bring new players to join our game. Standard could be interesting for competitive players but not for new players. I mean, if I were a new player I would like to have fun as fast as I can. I don't want (initially) take time to learn how to build a mana base or count how many lands I need to make it work. For new and casual players would be interesting a ~Arena~ mode were you could just draft your deck from zero. Could be a 40 cards deck in this mode. With a "fixed" amount of lands so new players would not need to think about mana screw. Example, you choose a planeswalker and draft cards of the same color of your walker.

Arena don't need to support old formats like Modern/Legacy etc but could have an exclusive eternal format. "Eternal Arena" would be something like "frontier" but Arena's version. Let players play ranked in this format too and would be interesting a GP were players would play old formats of "paper magic" (modern/legacy) and also digital Eternal Arena. Could have a 4 player team that players would play Standard/Modern/Legacy and digitally play Eternal Arena.

I think that MTGO is like the "reserved list" of Digital Magic. They should not replace/abandon or overshadow it by anyway. Arena and Mtgo should not compete between them but work together to compete against other competitors.

MTGO could be ugly and weird sometimes(thanks bugs) but I love it. I just need cards to work properly and I really don't need dinosaurs doing some jump scares when I play them. It could be cool for casual/new players, I respect It, but this kind of entertainment is not for me.

While new graphics are cool, as a competitive player, I play cards because they are good and not because they have some 3d animations.

For me MTGO fits good but probably If I were a new player Arena would be better. I'm more worried about strategies and later graphics.

Roar or Quack ? by Lawnmower Elf at Sat, 09/16/2017 - 07:15
Lawnmower Elf's picture

Roar or Quack ?

Sound effects, Meh. I also have them muted.

Will someone tell me if the dino pw roars or quacks though :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cICTQX-wc8

My issue with Arena would be by Rerepete at Sat, 09/16/2017 - 12:52
Rerepete's picture

My issue with Arena would be the non-trading. Hearthstone became unappealing (aside from infantile graphics/animations) because it quickly became a pay to win game in the casual/competitive constructed matches since all the most impactful cards were only available by completing the "adventures" and the only way to do that in a timely fashion was to purchase them.

That being said, a crafting feature on MTGO would be great... 15000 basic lands to craft a Rishadan Port? I'm all for that sort of thing. Although it would throw the MTGO economy into flux for a while, it would be a way to get more copies of rarer cards onto MTGO without having to promo them. IF a limit were placed on it, it should not crash the economy.

I always used saved-up coins by Felorin at Wed, 09/27/2017 - 18:08
Felorin's picture

I always used saved-up coins from completing the daily quests to buy the add-on blocks. Of course someoneone who played Arena more often than I do wouldn't be able to do that.

MTGO Economy Suggestion by Felorin at Wed, 09/27/2017 - 18:06
Felorin's picture

Here's something that might help keep some of the flow of cards into MTGO going - I don't think this would solve all of the problem, but it could be a partial solution in conjunction with other measures.

Make it so Arena players can only draft the very newest set. This is probably how they plan to do it anyway. Then, have MTGO let you draft, say, the last year's worth of sets. This also addresses players (such as myself) who often find at the end of a draft season "Awww, I wish I could have drafted that set some more times, it was so fun". That's how I feel about Hour of Devastation right now, in fact. At each rotation, they could put some popup dialogs in Arena saying "[NewSet] is here! (Want to draft [LastSet] some more? Click here to download Magic Online!)"

I am very curious whether the correct thing to do after Arena (hopefully) takes off is to cut the price of boosters/drafts somewhat on MTGO as well. The could consider a tiered approach - drafting the latest set is at a discount, since it's competing against free drafts on Arena (or maybe you have to grind for some game currency to buy a draft, as on Hearthstone - but still it's gonna be cheaper than MTGO by far). Drafting older sets is closer to or at current MTGO pricing. This gives people some incentive to draft the latest set on MTGO also, keeping card supply flowing, as they will feel a sense of urgency. "I'd better draft it now, because if I wait till after rotation it will cost me a lot more".

Wizards, ya listening? Anyway hope that helps, unless you've already thought of all that anyway. ;)