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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Sep 02 2017 6:50am
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State of the Program for September 1st 2017
 
In the News
Ban-Hammer Hits Vintage:  Wizards made no changes to the B&R list for Standard, Modern and Legacy, possibly because they were saving it all up for Vintage. In Vintage, the two most important decks, Shops and Mentor, both took hits. Shops lost Thorn of Amethyst and Mentor lost Monastery Mentor – although “lost” is not really true, Thorn and Mentor are restricted. To balance that out, Yawgmoth's Bargain is unrestricted. Interesting. The article explaining the changes is here. The next B&R announcement will be on Tuesday, October 17, 2017. 
 
Theft Affects Ixalan Previews: Ixalan Preview Season has begun. However, a few months ago an employee allegedly stole some uncut Ixalan sheets and tried to sell them online. The employee was caught and is going to trial, but some pictures leaked. Wizards has posted all the cards on that sheet. They have also released the mechanics article early.  The main downside is that there are fewer cool cards to preview, so preview articles will be a bit sparser than usual.  The article explaining the impact, which includes the card images, is here 
 
Ixalan Mechanics Announced: Wizards has posted the mechanics article for the new set. The big change is that all Planeswalkers are not Legendary, and the Planeswalker Uniqueness rule is being replaced by the Legend rule.   We know the set has Pirates, Dinosaurs, Vampires and Merfolk. The Vampires and Merfolk don’t have new mechanics. The Pirates have Raid; abilities which do something provided the controller’s creatures have attacked (but not necessarily connected) this turn. The Dinosaurs have Enrage, which deals damage to opponents whenever the dino takes damage. We also have flip cards, vehicles (in the form of pirate ships) and treasure tokens (artifacts which can be sacked for mana.)   Read all about it, here.
 
Leagues Winding Up: 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.
 
Annual State of Design Article Posted: Every year, Mark Rosewater, head of Magic design, writes a year-in-review article. He covers what went well and what didn’t. You can read it here.
 
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.
 
Upcoming Events
Timing
Extended Downtime
Sept. 20th, Oct. 25th
Sealed MOCS Monthly
September 15th, October 8th
Standard MOCS Monthly
October 21st
Current Leagues End
September 23rd 
Ixalan release
September 25, 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
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
Worldwake Standard Gauntlet
August 30th
September 6th
Modern Cube
September 6th
September 24th
(break for Ixalan limited)
September 25th
October 25th
 
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:   Preview Season
 
Once again, early leaks have severely impacted a Magic preview season.   In this case, a thief stole some uncut Ixalan sheets and tried to sell them.   The thief was caught and is being prosecuted. The sheets were recovered. However, some pictures escaped into the wild.   Wizards has had to rework and slim down their preview season, to the detriment of players and the game as a whole. Details in this article.
 
Leaks and spoilers make me sad. Let me try to explain why.
 
Years ago, I ran a superhero roleplaying game. My world had a sort of supernatural hero dispatching system – a group of mentalists that could find heroes near a bank robbery or disaster, contact them via telepathy and send them to the scene. I didn’t let players uses these mentalists as an information source – but sometimes they could provide other services. At one point the players recaptured some stolen nuclear bombs, and contacted the mentalists to arrange a pick-up.
 
For at least a year, the players didn’t put all the clues together. Then, shortly after the nuke scenarios, they did. They suddenly realized that
1.     These amazingly powerful mentalists were actually space aliens intent on taking over the world.
2.     The players were the only people in the world who knew that the mind-reading mentalists were evil.
3.     The players had just given the mentalists nuclear weapons.
 
That revelation created a wonderful moment of stunned silence, followed by mild panic. It was one of the highlights of that entire campaign.  And the reason I tell that story is that I had very carefully built up to that moment, over many months. I had carefully controlled the information being released, so that it built to exactly that point. 
 
If someone had stolen my notes a few weeks earlier and told everyone the mentalists were the enemy, it would have spoiled much of the impact. I could not have expected the characters to give the nukes to the mentalists. I could probably have found some other way to advance the plot, but I doubt that it would have created a story worth telling a decade later.
 
The point of all this is that stories depend on timing, and the gradual explanation of the plot. 
 
Spoilers spoil that timing. 
 
Wizards is trying to tell a story and build excitement as it reveals a new set a couple cards at a time. Wizards employs professionals, who spend a lot of time and effort maximizing the impact of preview season. These professionals determine when and how to reveal the information to create maximum excitement. These previews are telling a story. Stories are rarely improved if you suddenly get critical parts of later chapters early. The same thing is true of card previews.
 
Okay, I’ll climb down off my soapbox now.
 
Cutting Edge Tech
Standard: The GPs last weekend were limited, but there was a large (248 player) Standard event in Japan.  Half the Top 8 in that event was Temur Energy, but it had a few other decks. The third place deck is interesting. It is really cheap online (about 100 TIX), most of it survives rotation just fine, and Ixalan will bring more tools for this sort of deck. 
 
URb Control  
Matsumoto Yuuki,  3rd Place, 9th Qualifier God Challenge - 75 Cards Total
Instant
2 Disallow
4 Censor
3 Abrade
3 Essence Scatter
4 Glimmer of Genius
4 Harnessed Lightning
2 Magma Spray
2 Pull from Tomorrow
4 Supreme Will
28 cards

Sorcery
2 Hour of Devastation
2 cards
Planeswalker
1 Chandra, Flamecaller
2 Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh
3 cards
Land
4 Aether Hub
2 Crypt of the Eternals
7 Island
5 Mountain
4 Spirebluff Canal
1 Sunken Hollow
4 Wandering Fumarole
27 cards


Sideboard
1 Magma Spray
2 Chandra's Defeat
2 Jace's Defeat
3 Negate
2 Shielded Aether Thief
2 Summary Dismissal
2 Sweltering Suns
1 The Scarab God
15 cards
 
Modern: The Modern MOCS on Monday featured Siege Rhino! You either loved or hated that card when it was in Standard. I loved it, so here you go.
 


 Legacy: The Legacy Challenge was won by the deck I featured last week (nice job Sammy13), so I’ll feature the second place deck. On second thought, I have featured a lot of Leovold decks recently, so let’s look at the fourth place deck instead.

 

Dark Depths
WinRyder 4th Legacy Challenge - 75 Cards Total
Creature
4 Elvish Spirit Guide
3 Sylvan Safekeeper
4 Vampire Hexmage
11 cards

Instant
4 Crop Rotation
4 cards
Sorcery
4 Duress
4 Sylvan Scrying
4 Thoughtseize
12 cards

Artifact
2 Expedition Map
4 Lotus Petal
3 Pithing Needle
9 cards
Enchantment
1 Sylvan Library
1 cards

Land
3 Bayou
1 Bojuka Bog
4 Dark Depths
1 Forest
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Sejiri Steppe
1 Swamp
4 Thespian's Stage
3 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 Verdant Catacombs
23 cards
 

Sideboard
4 Abrupt Decay
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Karakas
1 Pithing Needle
4 Sphere of Resistance
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Sylvan Library
15 cards
Vintage: Vintage Leagues are underway, but the format has taken quite a hit. Mana control Shops and Mentor decks were slammed by the ban-hammer, which may or may not have hurt them. We will see. In the meantime, we had a 27 player paper Vintage event last weekend.  This deck features Notion Thief, Dack Fayden, the Greatest Thief in the Multiverse, and Jace who is, apparently, a pirate.
 
 
 
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. Everything on its way out is cratering. Remember when Kozilek’s Return was $20-$30? Not anymore.  Next week I will be trimming the table a lot – taking out everything under $5 that is due for rotation.
 

Standard Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$10.09
$9.82
$0.27
3%
$40.26
$43.14
($2.88)
-7%
$12.32
$13.44
($1.12)
-8%
$5.64
$5.22
$0.42
8%
$6.78
$5.12
$1.66
32%
$6.13
$6.89
($0.76)
-11%
$7.86
$8.42
($0.56)
-7%
$8.26
$8.96
($0.70)
-8%
$7.02
$10.09
($3.07)
-30%
$2.98
$5.23
($2.25)
-43%
$28.25
$26.58
$1.67
6%
$7.50
$7.94
($0.44)
-6%
$6.32
$7.28
($0.96)
-13%
$2.71
$7.38
($4.67)
-63%
$6.29
$6.29
$0.00
0%
$9.00
$10.11
($1.11)
-11%
$17.38
$11.42
$5.96
52%
$10.56
$9.02
$1.54
17%
$19.28
$19.37
($0.09)
0%
$4.40
$4.65
($0.25)
-5%
$12.40
$12.72
($0.32)
-3%
$4.45
$5.81
($1.36)
-23%

Modern staples:  Modern prices are pretty quiet again this week, but generally up overall. It’s just before a new set, so I don’t expect much activity in the non-rotating formats.  
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$16.63
$15.98
$0.65
4%
$17.74
$17.98
($0.24)
-1%
$24.16
$24.81
($0.65)
-3%
$43.28
$41.10
$2.18
5%
$25.08
$22.41
$2.67
12%
$23.20
$27.10
($3.90)
-14%
$21.14
$20.46
$0.68
3%
$36.62
$36.58
$0.04
0%
$34.88
$34.46
$0.42
1%
$21.62
$21.33
$0.29
1%
$36.56
$34.36
$2.20
6%
$38.91
$40.22
($1.31)
-3%
$71.78
$70.61
$1.17
2%
$12.89
$11.28
$1.61
14%
$55.85
$53.91
$1.94
4%
$19.58
$21.64
($2.06)
-10%
$26.09
$26.81
($0.72)
-3%
$30.63
$33.81
($3.18)
-9%
$26.26
$26.46
($0.20)
-1%
$25.64
$26.14
($0.50)
-2%

Legacy and Vintage: Legacy prices are quiet. Vintage prices have jumped, again. Vintage Leagues are starting, and the bannings should breath some new life into the format.  
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$25.15
$16.62
$8.53
51%
$84.58
$65.02
$19.56
30%
$41.67
$41.67
$0.00
0%
$89.69
$87.71
$1.98
2%
$34.36
$30.20
$4.16
14%
$38.08
$38.07
$0.01
0%
$25.87
$27.21
($1.34)
-5%
$37.54
$38.11
($0.57)
-1%
$24.60
$22.46
$2.14
10%
$32.89
$29.41
$3.48
12%
$42.30
$41.93
$0.37
1%
$58.81
$59.00
($0.19)
0%
$50.57
$50.35
$0.22
0%
$38.94
$28.79
$10.15
35%
$142.95
$144.23
($1.28)
-1%
$26.92
$28.28
($1.36)
-5%
$47.18
$45.45
$1.73
4%
$28.87
$28.78
$0.09
0%
$22.40
$20.73
$1.67
8%
$46.25
$47.40
($1.15)
-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).  Can you tell which sets are rotating? 
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Aether Revolt
$72.35
$69.23
$3.12
5%
Amonkhet
$74.78
$76.50
($1.72)
-2%
Battle for Zendikar
$24.20
$25.88
($1.68)
-6%
Eldritch Moon
$65.51
$69.09
($3.58)
-5%
Hour of Devastation
$54.27
$54.16
$0.11
0%
Kaladesh
$139.86
$140.62
($0.76)
-1%
Oath of the Gatewatch
$45.91
$55.20
($9.29)
-17%
Shadows over Innistrad
$25.27
$35.90
($10.63)
-30%
Treasure Chest
$2.25
$2.35
($0.10)
-4%
Amonkhet Booster
$2.03
$2.16
($0.13)
-6%
Hour of Devastation
$3.63
$3.88
($0.25)
-6%

 
 
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. Pretty similar to last week, except that Vintage staples are climbing, and some of the Power has made it back on the table. 
 

Name
Set
Rarity
 Price
Exploration
 UZ
Rare
 $      89.69
Black Lotus
 VMA
Bonus
 $      84.58
Liliana of the Veil
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $      73.06
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
 $      71.78
Mystic Confluence
 PZ1
Rare
 $      58.81
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
 $      56.97
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $      56.93
Mox Opal
 MS2
Bonus
 $      55.85
Mox Diamond
 ST
Rare
 $      54.82
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
 $      54.35
Mox Diamond
 V10
Mythic Rare
 $      51.16
Mox Diamond
 TPR
Mythic Rare
 $      50.57
Wasteland
 TPR
Rare
 $      49.81
Wasteland
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $      49.17
Horizon Canopy
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $      48.40
True-Name Nemesis
 C13
Rare
 $      47.80
True-Name Nemesis
 PZ1
Mythic Rare
 $      47.18
Wasteland
 EMA
Rare
 $      46.25
Chalice of the Void
 MS2
Bonus
 $      45.53
Chalice of the Void
 MMA
Rare
 $      44.10
Chalice of the Void
 MRD
Rare
 $      43.28
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
 $      43.13
Misdirection
 MM
Rare
 $      42.30
Dark Depths
 CSP
Rare
 $      41.88
Dark Depths
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $      41.67
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
 KLD
Mythic Rare
 $      40.26
Karn Liberated
 NPH
Mythic Rare
 $      39.12
Mox Sapphire
 VMA
Bonus
 $      38.94
Karn Liberated
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $      38.91
Gaea's Cradle
 UZ
Rare
 $      38.08
Infernal Tutor
 DIS
Rare
 $      37.54
Ensnaring Bridge
 ST
Rare
 $      37.37
Engineered Explosives
 MS2
Bonus
 $      37.17
Engineered Explosives
 MMA
Rare
 $      36.68
Engineered Explosives
 5DN
Rare
 $      36.62
Horizon Canopy
 FUT
Rare
 $      36.56
Ensnaring Bridge
 MS2
Bonus
 $      36.54
Unmask
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $      36.07
Force of Will
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $      35.97
Ensnaring Bridge
 8ED
Rare
 $      35.42
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
 $      35.12
Ensnaring Bridge
 7E
Rare
 $      34.88
Force of Will
 MS3
Special
 $      34.36
Leovold, Emissary of Trest
 PZ2
Mythic Rare
 $      32.89
Scalding Tarn
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $      32.18
Underground Sea
 ME2
Rare
 $      31.47
Underground Sea
 ME4
Rare
 $      30.69
Scapeshift
 MOR
Rare
 $      30.63
Volcanic Island
 ME3
Rare
 $      29.80
Mox Ruby
 VMA
Bonus
 $      29.00
Unmask
 MM
Rare
 $      28.87
Tempt with Discovery
 C13
Rare
 $      28.81
Containment Priest
 PZ1
Rare
 $      28.34
Liliana, the Last Hope
 EMN
Mythic Rare
 $      28.25
City of Traitors
 EX
Rare
 $      28.06
Tarmogoyf
 FUT
Rare
 $      27.81
Cavern of Souls
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $      27.42
Gorilla Shaman
 ALL
Common
 $      27.32
Tarmogoyf
 MMA
Mythic Rare
 $      27.18
City of Traitors
 TPR
Rare
 $      27.11
Show and Tell
 UZ
Rare
 $      26.92
Scalding Tarn
 MM3
Rare
 $      26.77
Surgical Extraction
 NPH
Rare
 $      26.39
Surgical Extraction
 MM2
Rare
 $      26.26
Scalding Tarn
 ZEN
Rare
 $      26.09
Volcanic Island
 ME4
Rare
 $      26.05
Grim Monolith
 UL
Rare
 $      25.87
Tarmogoyf
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $      25.82
Tarmogoyf
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $      25.64
Mox Jet
 VMA
Bonus
 $      25.58
Ancestral Recall
 VMA
Bonus
 $      25.15
Celestial Colonnade
 WWK
Rare
 $      25.08

 
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 $ 23,035. That’s up about $20 from last week. Vintage has offset the crash in rotating Standard card prices.
 
Weekly Highlights
 
I will be running a PPTQ at The Labyrinth Games in Baraboo, WI on Saturday. Everyone should attend, especially those of you who may have to make international flights.  I’m giving everyone almost an entire day's warning, so you have no excuse...
 
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.  

 

14 Comments

Flashback drafts by Sensei at Fri, 09/01/2017 - 12:35
Sensei's picture

Prizes are actually 240 play points for three wins and 80 Play points for 2 wins

Working on that now, thank by JXClaytor at Sat, 09/02/2017 - 06:06
JXClaytor's picture

Working on that now, thank you.

Deck listed for Legacy, is by Rerepete at Sat, 09/02/2017 - 00:03
Rerepete's picture

Deck listed for Legacy, is the Modern Junk deck

Fixing now, thank you. I by JXClaytor at Sat, 09/02/2017 - 06:07
JXClaytor's picture

Fixing now, thank you. I more than likely copied the wrong bit of code from the tool we use for this, thanks again!

re by Hearts at Sat, 09/02/2017 - 05:15
Hearts's picture

Mr Jahn writes about wotc and (being) professional.

I say; Matignon, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillaume_Matignon

Wotc willingly gave him the full godbook, and he was a pt player and working for a gamer magazine, other pt players didnt get to see the same previews while Matignon was on the PT himself.

Wotc____isnt____the____slighest______proffessional.

Gosh magazines sure were a by JXClaytor at Sat, 09/02/2017 - 06:16
JXClaytor's picture

Gosh magazines sure were a strange thing. When I wrote for Scry I had multiple sets worth of god books. I was on the Pro Tour when I had Scourge and Onslaught books.

WotC exists to make and sell a profitable card game. Marketing, like giving godbooks to magazines for them to create hype for new sets, or giving sites spoilers helps to do that.

PureMTGO has on file with WotC a nondisclosure agreement. I have one file with them as well. Had I spoiled Scourge or Onslaught, I would have been in breach of that. I never shared with friends and go with writers that have earned trust for spoiler season. If they spoil it, it's on me and on the site.

I would argue that the hoops that WotC makes people go through to be a part of this special time for Magic makes them very professional. No NDAs, not prosecuting thieves (like for the recent leak) or not punishing those that break NDAs, would make them unprofessional.

re by Hearts at Sat, 09/02/2017 - 10:49
Hearts's picture

Me and you could look at the Sun or the Moon and we wouldn't agree on which one it is.

That statement doesn't by Paul Leicht at Sat, 09/02/2017 - 13:24
Paul Leicht's picture

That statement doesn't invalidate any of the facts Joshua stated so I am going to go with, if this is true it is on you. If you don't want to acknowledge facts, provable facts, then talking with you is a waste of everyone's time.

re by Hearts at Sat, 09/02/2017 - 15:56
Hearts's picture

The facts that spreading isnt prosecutable but theft is ?

Talking about such simple facts isn't interesting at all.

I mean we would probably by JXClaytor at Sat, 09/02/2017 - 15:51
JXClaytor's picture

I mean we would probably agree on which celestial body is which, I'm not one to argue facts without you know, actually knowing facts!

Not to validate Hearts, but by Rerepete at Tue, 09/05/2017 - 08:58
Rerepete's picture

Not to validate Hearts, but you admit to having god books while on the pro tour.

Unless everyone on the PT got them, WotC gave you (and however many other pros had access to the books via magazines they worked for) an advantage, not available to all.

I finished 0-4, I had no by JXClaytor at Wed, 09/06/2017 - 02:07
JXClaytor's picture

I finished 0-4, I had no advantage. I also qualified the night before the Pro Tour, there were no restrictions on tournament play at the time with my god book access.

re by Hearts at Wed, 09/06/2017 - 08:44
Hearts's picture

Matignon, Wafo Tapa and Co were drafting the cards weeks and months before rest of world could even see them.

Easy to make full pic/colored cards with printer, glue on basic lands and using sleeves. Then make random boosters based on rarity piles. More than one print of each.

yeah I guess glue, printers by JXClaytor at Wed, 09/06/2017 - 09:57
JXClaytor's picture

yeah I guess glue, printers and sleeves didn't exist when I had access.