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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Sep 29 2017 12:00pm
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State of the Program for September 29th 2017
 
In the News
New and Improved Redemption Process: You will no longer have to wait for a downtime to redeem sets. Redemption will now process every Thursday, between 2am and 3am PT. With Wizards scheduling fewer downtimes, this is a good change. And speaking of redemption, remember that redemption closes for six sets, including Amonkhet block, in November.
 
Magic’s 25th Anniversary $1M Tournament: The Pro Tour next year in Minneapolis will include a special Exhibition Event with a combined $1M prize pool. No details on the exhibition event, except that it is invitation-only and the prize pool for that event is $150k. Wizards has also announced tweaks to the Pro Player Club. Details 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. 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
Oct. 4th & 18th, Nov. 8th & 22nd 
Sealed MOCS Monthly
October 8th
Standard MOCS Monthly
October 21st
Constructed Leagues End
October 18, 2017
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
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: Jace, Returning
 
At the paper prerelease, I spent some time talking about the good and bad parts of Magic – as players do, and the new set. Even some of the non-players chipped in all the good things they had heard about the set. They talked about dinosaurs and treasure hunting and Mesoamerica. One non-player said “I was almost ready to take up the game, then I saw that Jace was in it, again.” That set off a discussion of how much Jace is too much (consensus – we are way past that point.) But at the end, Ben started a discussion that led to a brilliant conclusion. I’ll explain, later. First, some history.
 
In the beginning, there was this guy.  
 
Jace Beleren
 
He was first printed in Lorwyn, in fall of 2007.   Jace was reprinted in this form in the M10, M11 and M12 core sets. That meant Jace Beleren was Standard legal form 2007 through 2013.
 
But Jace Beleren fell to sideboard status, because Jace was printed in this incredibly busted aspect at about the same time. 
 
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 
Back then, Jace Beleren could kill an opponent’s Jace TMS – which was critically important from the time Jace TMS appeared in Worldwake until he was banned in Standard.   Jace TMS dominated Standard for the time he was legal, and many people celebrated when he left. But about them we got a new Jace, who appeared in three straight core sets: M12, M13 and M14.
 
Jace, Memory Adept
 
Return to Ravinca (2012) brought us this version:
 
Jace, Architect of Thought
 
And for M15, Jace came back in this iteration: 
 
Jace, the Living Guildpact
 
In Magic Origins, Jace turned into a flip card.
 
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
 
In Shadows over Innistrad, Jace looked like this:
 
             
And in Ixalan, Jace appears in two forms:
 
  and
 
That is a lot of Jaces. 
 
Jace first appeared in 2007, as one of the initial Lorwyn Planeswalkers. He has now been reprinted, in various standard guises, over a dozen times. He has been printed and reprinted more than any other Planeswalker – only Chandra and Liliana come close. Since Planeswalkers were introduced as a card type, Jace has been in print in some form continuously.  
 
He has been involved in every single Standard format for the last decade.
 
Jace is now in Ixalan. According to the story, he has been trapped there. He lost his memory and is unable to Planeswalk away.  That’s why he is “Jace, Castaway.” 
 
When we were discussing this, we were all agreed that we would be happiest if Jace was stuck in Ixalan forever. We all agreed that we were tired of every single set introducing a cool and innovative world, but instead of exploring that world, the world just became a stage on which the same band of superheroes battled.   Every set became “Avengers on Ravnica” or “Innistrad – and the JLA are there!” The setting - the cool worldbuilding - was almost irrelevant.  And now we have Ixalan - with Jace.
 
When we were discussing this at the prerelease, we decided that we wanted Jace to stay trapped on Ixalan – at least until we revisit Ixalan years from now. At that point, we could find out that Jace had just escaped, so he would not appear in Return to Ixalan either. We would be more than happy with that. 
 
Years ago, some marketing professional told Wizards that they need recurring central characters around which the story would revolve. Recurring characters would keep fans coming back set after set.  The marketing professional felt that having the very best game ever created wasn’t enough. 
 
Wizards followed that advice.  We have recurring characters - the Super Friends / Guildpact.  Up until now, they are everywhere.  But even Mark Rosewater has admitted that enough is enough. Actually, he admitted that the current crop has been a bit over-used. He said the major Planeswalkers – Jace, Chandra, Liliana - would appear less frequently.
 
“Less frequently” means not gone forever. 
 
Sigh.
 
Ben had a great idea, though. He suggested that Jace’s exile on Ixalan, and the fact that he could not Planeswalk, would drive Jace out of his mind. He would go nuts.  And when he finally returns, he would still be insane.
 
Ben suggested making Jace, Returned, red – the color of insanity.  Brilliant!
 
My suggestion was to make him Jace, Master of Coin Flips. And if you really want to make us happy, he should cost 6RRR and have really crazy (as opposed to useful) abilities. And would it be too much to ask to have him show up in Unreasonable, the Un set Mark Rosewater can go nuts over five years from now?  Have him appear there, five years from now.
 
And not before.
 
Sorry, Gavin, but we have had enough of Jace for a while. Really. You can still cosplay Jace TMS – that’s fine – but please stop with the endless Jace variants.  We don't need Jaces in every single Standard from now until Magic’s 50th anniversary.   
 
 
Cutting Edge Tech
Standard: I’m going to skip most cutting edge tech again this week. The first event of the new Standard season will happen tomorrow. So far, all we have is speculation, and I’m not sure who or what to believe. Next week, we will have results. 
 
Modern, Legacy and Vintage have had no major events, and the 5-0 decks from the Competitive Leagues have not featured any cards from the new set. For that matter, they have not listed any archetypes I haven’t featured recently. So I’ll wait for next week.  
 
Cutting edge tech will be back next week. I promise. 
 
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: The format has rotated. A few cards have moved onto to Modern list, but most of the cards from the rotated sets have lost most of their value. I have several Ixalan cards on the table, and a number of others that I am tracking, but prices this early in the format are super-volatile. 
 

Standard Cards
Price
2 Weeks Ago
Change
% Change
$26.13
n/a
n/a
n/a
$37.58
$34.69
$2.89
8%
$12.01
$8.57
$3.44
40%
$9.53
$9.25
$0.28
3%
$13.41
$7.75
$5.66
73%
$9.77
$11.47
($1.70)
-15%
$7.35
n/a
n/a
n/a
$9.95
n/a
n/a
n/a
$10.95
n/a
n/a
n/a
$5.70
$5.40
$0.30
6%
$6.79
$8.35
($1.56)
-19%
$21.42
$17.32
$4.10
24%
$17.16
$18.85
($1.69)
-9%
$9.11
n/a
n/a
n/a
$10.16
$10.43
($0.27)
-3%

Modern staples:  Modern prices are mixed this week. Iconic Masters has had it impact, and now some cards are rebounding. Like Bauble.    
 

Modern Cards
Price
2 Weeks Ago
Change
% Change
$9.25
$8.51
$0.74
9%
$17.51
$17.42
$0.09
1%
$21.00
$22.66
($1.66)
-7%
$28.22
$28.86
($0.64)
-2%
$35.88
$42.69
($6.81)
-16%
$25.05
$22.62
$2.43
11%
$21.18
$20.62
$0.56
3%
$27.50
$33.54
($6.04)
-18%
$33.54
$32.42
$1.12
3%
$13.18
$15.25
($2.07)
-14%
$23.40
$27.40
($4.00)
-15%
$31.80
$35.02
($3.22)
-9%
$83.50
$78.05
$5.45
7%
$23.10
$20.07
$3.03
15%
$9.36
$6.60
$2.76
42%
$62.74
$63.68
($0.94)
-1%
$17.93
$17.46
$0.47
3%
$28.31
$29.50
($1.19)
-4%
$29.81
$31.18
($1.37)
-4%
$26.35
$25.31
$1.04
4%
$25.21
$25.19
$0.02
0%
$8.86
$12.03
($3.17)
-26%

Legacy and Vintage: Vintage prices dropped again this week. Those people that wanted to get into a Vintage league are in, and have their cards. The rest aren’t interested.
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
2 Weeks Ago
Change
% Change
$13.17
$22.17
($9.00)
-41%
$60.29
$72.26
($11.97)
-17%
$18.59
$21.36
($2.77)
-13%
$40.92
$40.77
$0.15
0%
$94.83
$98.13
($3.30)
-3%
$34.73
$33.49
$1.24
4%
$37.68
$38.10
($0.42)
-1%
$20.20
$24.75
($4.55)
-18%
$24.80
$29.27
($4.47)
-15%
$24.97
$24.41
$0.56
2%
$31.74
$29.49
$2.25
8%
$42.23
$41.88
$0.35
1%
$49.53
$55.92
($6.39)
-11%
$51.71
$59.66
($7.95)
-13%
$36.25
$42.98
($6.73)
-16%
$143.81
$142.95
$0.86
1%
$29.07
$28.62
$0.45
2%
$30.79
$28.81
$1.98
7%
$34.86
$42.75
($7.89)
-18%
$25.92
$26.81
($0.89)
-3%
$26.92
$25.20
$1.72
7%
$38.51
$43.59
($5.08)
-12%

* 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).  The list has rotated – and the price for the new set won’t last.     
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Aether Revolt
$70.02
$71.97
($1.95)
-3%
Amonkhet
$82.73
$75.88
$6.85
9%
Ixalan
$197.21
n/a
n/a
n/a
Hour of Devastation
$59.01
$53.52
$5.49
10%
Kaladesh
$116.06
$116.15
($0.09)
0%
Treasure Chest
$2.25
$2.25
$0.00
0%
Ixalan Booster
$3.55
n/a
n/a
n/a

 
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
 $ 143.81
Exploration
 UZ
Rare
 $ 94.83
Liliana of the Veil
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $ 88.28
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
 $ 83.70
Mox Opal
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 62.95
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
 $ 62.92
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 62.74
Black Lotus
 VMA
Bonus
 $ 60.29
Mox Diamond
 TPR
Mythic Rare
 $ 57.88
Mox Diamond
 V10
Mythic Rare
 $ 54.89
Mystic Confluence
 PZ1
Rare
 $ 51.71
Mox Diamond
 ST
Rare
 $ 49.53
Wasteland
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 46.51
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
 $ 46.08
Chalice of the Void
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 44.93
Wasteland
 TPR
Rare
 $ 44.11
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
 $ 42.52
Misdirection
 MM
Rare
 $ 42.23
Dark Depths
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $ 41.67
Dark Depths
 CSP
Rare
 $ 40.92
Force of Will
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 39.16
Wasteland
 EMA
Rare
 $ 38.51
Horizon Canopy
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 38.05
Gaea's Cradle
 UZ
Rare
 $ 37.68
Ensnaring Bridge
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 37.66
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
 KLD
Mythic Rare
 $ 37.58
Chalice of the Void
 MMA
Rare
 $ 37.11
Force of Will
 MS3
Special
 $ 36.72
Mox Sapphire
 VMA
Bonus
 $ 36.25
Unmask
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $ 36.07
Chalice of the Void
 MRD
Rare
 $ 35.88
True-Name Nemesis
 PZ1
Mythic Rare
 $ 35.47
Ensnaring Bridge
 7E
Rare
 $ 35.21
True-Name Nemesis
 C13
Rare
 $ 34.86
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
 $ 34.73
Ensnaring Bridge
 ST
Rare
 $ 33.75
Ensnaring Bridge
 8ED
Rare
 $ 33.54
Underground Sea
 ME4
Rare
 $ 32.76
Karn Liberated
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 31.80
Karn Liberated
 NPH
Mythic Rare
 $ 31.80
Leovold, Emissary of Trest
 PZ2
Mythic Rare
 $ 31.74
Underground Sea
 ME2
Rare
 $ 31.17
Scalding Tarn
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 31.05
Tempt with Discovery
 C13
Rare
 $ 30.79
Volcanic Island
 ME3
Rare
 $ 30.10
Scapeshift
 MOR
Rare
 $ 29.81
Engineered Explosives
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 29.22
Show and Tell
 UZ
Rare
 $ 29.07
Scalding Tarn
 MM3
Rare
 $ 28.31
Scalding Tarn
 ZEN
Rare
 $ 28.31
Celestial Colonnade
 WWK
Rare
 $ 28.22
Engineered Explosives
 MMA
Rare
 $ 27.74
Volcanic Island
 ME4
Rare
 $ 27.58
Engineered Explosives
 5DN
Rare
 $ 27.50
Gorilla Shaman
 ALL
Common
 $ 27.32
Tarmogoyf
 MMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 26.95
Volcanic Island
 VMA
Rare
 $ 26.92
City of Traitors
 EX
Rare
 $ 26.76
Surgical Extraction
 NPH
Rare
 $ 26.73
Surgical Extraction
 MM2
Rare
 $ 26.35
Carnage Tyrant
 XLN
Mythic Rare
 $ 26.13
Tarmogoyf
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.97
Unmask
 MM
Rare
 $ 25.92
Tarmogoyf
 FUT
Rare
 $ 25.84
Tarmogoyf
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.21
Containment Priest
 PZ1
Rare
 $ 25.20
Collected Company
 DTK
Rare
 $ 25.05

 
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 $ 22,440. That’s up about $100 from two weeks ago.
 
Weekly Highlights
 
Paper prerelease last weekend. Before that, a fairly nuts week. Work was work, then I got to spend lots on money on stuff I didn’t really want, and take a chainsaw to fallen trees that I would have preferred to have still standing. The best part was probably throwing brush and branches on to a big fire when it was 90 degrees and humid.   And by big fire, I mean maybe 15 feet in diameter, with flames going 30 feet into the sky.   On the plus side, I now have enough firewood for at least a year, probably two. I just have to split it.
 
I want to say that while losing some trees and sustaining fixable roof damage sucks, what we have been going through this summer is nothing compared to what the hurricanes have done to the Caribbean and the south coast this year.   My damage was inconvenient. What Puerto Rico has suffered is devastating. If you can contribute to Puerto Rico relief, please do so. I have.  
 
On the plus side, I have started playing Ixalan limited. My first few matches were pretty sad, but I may be getting the hang of the format now. Still great to have the new sets on MTGO before the paper release date, instead of a few weeks afterward.
 
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.  

7 Comments

Legality by Sensei at Fri, 09/29/2017 - 12:01
Sensei's picture

Collective Brutality is a modern card, not standard

I think the main problem with by ArchGenius at Fri, 09/29/2017 - 16:15
ArchGenius's picture

I think the main problem with the guild pact was the storyline in Oath of the Guildpact. That story made so little sense.

I was quite happy between by xger at Fri, 09/29/2017 - 17:00
xger's picture

I was quite happy between Kaladesh and Hour of Devastation, because for that short period, Jace was not the most printed walker, nor was he even close to the best in standard. Chandra was always been my favorite (she seems vastly more relatable than most of the other walkers).

I've long been of the theory that Jace is the "most popular" walker only because Wizards wants him to be. His versions have been so much better than most other walkers most of the time, that of course players are going to like the most powerful. Then, when he is the center of the story time after time after time, it seems more like Wizards saying 'Jace should be your favorite' and less 'we want more Jace' from the players.

If *one* of the Gatewatch is in every other set, that seems better. At least for a while until Gatewatch fatigue passes.

I think blue is and has by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 09/30/2017 - 00:18
Kumagoro42's picture

I think blue is and has always been the favorite color of pros, Spikes and insiders, because it's the color that "plays the game", it's the color of true power (and Power), and it's the color of wizards, therefore the most representative of *Wizards*. It's even the color of their logo!
So Jace is always the best walker because Jace is *the* blue walker. Despite the fact that Jace as a character is incredibly boring and unimaginative.

To be honest, all the original walkers are super-clich├ęd, except maybe Garruk (especially with the unexpected place where they brought his arc): the impulsive pyrokinetic redhead? The dark-haired femme fatale who's queen of the dead? The noble lion from Narnia in bipedal form?

Blue is the "favorite" by xger at Sat, 09/30/2017 - 01:17
xger's picture

Blue is the "favorite" because it, for nearly all of Magic's history, has had more of the color pie, and the stronger portions of it. Card draw is strong in this game, and it got paired with things that supported to quite well. The balance isn't as bad as it used to be, but the impact will always resonate through the game.

The opinion section gave me a by ricklongo at Mon, 10/02/2017 - 14:09
ricklongo's picture
5

The opinion section gave me a good giggle. I don't agree with all of it, but I do agree with the sentiment.

In fact, once upon a time we had the Weatherlight. The Weatherlight was a skyship, and that skyship had a crew - so in a way, they were what the Gatewatch is now. I definitely understand the appeal of having a recurring cast of characters, but you know what was so great about the Weatherlight crew? They each got exactly one card - two at most, in the case of Crovax and Ertai, and in both cases they underwent severe transformation before showing up again. I remember how stoked I was to find out Squee was finally going to be printed in Mercadia, or Hanna in Invasion, or Tahngarth in Planeshift, or Gerrard in Apocalypse.

I'm okay with having an ongoing cast of central characters, but I think Wizards severely underestimates the power of finally getting to see a beloved character on card form - emphasis on 'finally'. When there's a new version of Jace/Chandra/Gideon at every corner and all virtually unchanged, it's hard to care, and even harder not to get annoyed.

Yeah the cookie cutter + by Paul Leicht at Mon, 10/02/2017 - 16:14
Paul Leicht's picture

Yeah the cookie cutter + powerful effects nature of the core PW team is what makes them unappealing to me. I am not spiky enough to appreciate cards just for their intrinsic win value. Though I am, I guess, enough of a spike to ignore my annoyance mostly. :p