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By: under_the_hammer, Andrew Phillips
Oct 24 2013 4:39am
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The power 9 is coming to MTGO!

Finally, Finally, Finally, we have the roadmap for the Power 9 release on MTGO.  I am sure you have all seen the official announcement but if not check it out here-  http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg_daily_other_10212013_vintagemasters

We have a release date and at least partial information on the release plan. We will get Power 9 and we will get some reprints. I have a plan for the reprints in Vintage Masters which I would like to share for discussion in this article BUT before we begin let us look back at the two previous articles in this mini-series. It will give you a flavour of the long wait, the anticipation, and the investment of both time and money of the early classic founders. 

The first article was published way back in September 2009 - and The full article of Episode I can be found here: http://puremtgo.com/articles/eternal-uncertainty.  To paint the picture, this was written shortly after the release of both Master's Edition 3 and from the Vault Exiled, at a time where online players first got the chance to play with Goblin Lackey, Tinker, Mana Drain and Bazaar of Baghdad among others! The article focused on the key differences between Legacy, Vintage and Classic through the eyes of the Banned and Restricted list of the respective formats and concluded with a series of Scenario's and comments for discussion. Remember this pre-dated legacy online, and I was calling out for a road-map from WOTC on the future direction of Eternal Magic Online and adding to the debate on whether or not the Power 9 should/would be released online. A tweet on twitter from the Community from the Hamtastic Community Cup read as follows "Power 9 on MODO: "I never like to say never, buuuut..." Worth says bigger fish to fry and can only do it once" 

The second article was published in June 2011 - and The full article of Episode I can be found here: http://puremtgo.com/articles/eternal-uncertainty-two-years The article recapped on the birth of Legacy at the release of Urza's Saga and speculated that one way to maintain the mystic of the Power 9 would be to release the alternative arts on MTGO and keep the iconic originals for the Paper-World. It mentions the possibility that Power 9 was originally intended for MED 4 (As we know MED4 failed to deliver the Power 9 but in my mind it took us an almighty step closer with the release of Time Vault, Mana Vault, Fastbond, Library of Alexandria and other broken cards from the Vintage Restricted List) and whether Power 9 release would be tied to the launch of the new client (which is still.... under development).  

Vintage Masters Edition: What we know, what we hope it will be.

Prerelease Events June 13-16, 2014
Magic Online Release Date June 16, 2014

Vintage Masters has stolen the successful template of Modern Masters: it will be a non-redeemable set available only in Magic Online in 15-card booster packs at a cost of $6.99 per pack and each pack will contain the following:

  • 10 commons
  • 3 uncommons
  • 1 rare or mythic rare
  • 1 premium foil card (any rarity, including the extremely rare premium foil Power Nine card), OR 1 Power Nine card

Distribution of Power 9 and Price:
We do not currently now the set size or distribution of Power Nine cards. It is reasonable to speculate that WOTC intend them to be less frequently opened than a mythic rare else why shift them to share the foil slot. How rare? - We just don't know yet, to be honest I am not sure even WOTC knows yet. Whilst (most) players will only want one copy of each of these that should help with demand, but it is safe to say people will pick up extra's for speculative reasons, whilst others will want a copy for nostalgia just to say they "own" them. Not to mention all of the bots that will want them to sit as inventory forever more! I assume that Vintage Masters will be available in the future and that there will be other drafts to support the birth of Vintage. There will be premium foil versions of the Power Nine as part of Vintage Masters release. It is really hard to speculate on the price until we see the distribution but dont underestimate the demand for these. Eternal players love their foils, more so than any other part of the Online Community.

Cost of Vintage and the Case for Multiple Reprints:
We know that Vintage Masters will also have new artwork for several other classic cards so expect reprints of other Vintage playable staples!! Before I share my plan for the reprints, let us take a look at the cost of cards on MTGO as they currently stood before the Vintage Masters Announcement. The table below shows some of the more expensive cards from MTGO. Now Lion's Eye Diamond is restricted in Vintage and see's very little play but the price is really crazy and this card is highly sought after in Legacy. If Vintage is to be successful on MTGO I really believe these prices need to come down. The only way to achieve that is with increased supply and I would hope that many of these high-ticket items are reprinted in this set.  Force of Will over $100 and Wasteland over $80 is a huge barrier to entry for both Legacy and Vintage. The other way to increase supply is to make the old sets available to draft and make it desirable to draft them (hold that thought!)

Lion's Eye Diamond
$ 164.57
Force of Will
$ 103.37
Rishadan Port
$   97.63
$   81.32
$   80.12
Show and Tell
$   79.85
$   76.00
City of Traitors
$   62.88
Gaea's Cradle
$   60.34
Underground Sea
$   38.98
Vampiric Tutor
$   37.11
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
$   36.89
Tropical Island
$   31.55
Tangle Wire
$   31.46
$   30.33
$   29.74
Dark Confidant
$   29.56
Mishra's Workshop
$   28.92
Mana Drain
$   26.69

A reprint plan?

I Predict No Duals, No Drains, No Oaths in Vintage Master
- But Hammer have you gone mad? Maybe but hear me out:

I think the best plan would be to reprint cards in Vintage Masters which are not in MED2/MED 3 and MED4. Cards from Mirage Block, Urza's Saga Block and Mercadian Masques Block really need to be printed in Vintage Masters as their respective sets will never fire enough drafts to dramatically impact the price. The demand to draft these sets simply isn’t there and WOTC would be better to focus earning revenue from promoting MED2/3/4 drafts and Vintage Master Drafts. In my mind the winning plan is then to simply Supplement the Vintage Master release with future releases of MED 2-4 Drafts.  Think about this... Vintage Masters doesn’t include Duals, Drains, Oaths etc. -  Instead it is the MED2-4 drafts which then provide the increase supply of Duals, Drains, Oaths, Bazaars etc.  They are the carrots to make MED2-4 draft viable and desirable long term.

This means that Vintage Masters can really cover all of the cards that need to be reprinted in this product. The Show and Tell, City of Traitors, Misdirection, Force of Will from MED 1, Flusterstorm etc ect . As well as reprints to help Legacy and Vintage I would like to see some reprints to help pauper, cards like Daze, Gorilla Shaman and Serrated Arrows could all make their way into this set. In addition to reprints on financial grounds there is the opportunity to print cards not previously online (though to be honest there are not many which would have much of a real impact), or alternate art versions that haven't made their way to MTGO yet (such as the various versions of Hymn to Tourach).

Still Eternal Uncertainty - I'd say so:

As we start to close out 2013, even though we have an announcement and a release date, it seems to me that there is still so much Eternal Uncertainty. Whether Legacy and Vintage are successful on Magic Online really does come down to the design of Vintage Masters. I am glad they are taking the months necessary to get this right rather than rushing the release to meet the 2013 promise. I fear there will be more whining about what is not in the set than what is, such is the nature of such things and we cannot please everyone but hopefully the next (and final?) article will be in 2014 reflecting on the Healthy Eternal Formats in an Uncertain world.

Let me know in the comments below about the plan not to reprint from MED2-4!

I am excited, I hope WOTC get this right and I hope Vintage thrives.

Until next time.


Proud member of Clan Magic Eternal.


Errata by under_the_hammer at Thu, 10/24/2013 - 05:54
under_the_hammer's picture

Sorry Oath of Druids is of course Tempest Block and should therefore be reprinted in Vintage Masters.

Force of Will by fmf_navy_corpsman at Thu, 10/24/2013 - 12:21
fmf_navy_corpsman's picture

Force of Will is a near absolute must to be re-printed in Vintage Masters. (Hopefully they throw in Gravity Sphere too.) Here's why. I have been playing since Beta and watched the evolution from just Magic to Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, and so on. Once they created the split formats Type 1(Now Vintage) started fading into smaller and smaller groups because the only way to compete at a tournament level was to have the Power 9. Period. So now today the only people who play Vintage are mostly those who have the Power 9. This concept may spill into Vintage as well. It's great that they are creating a new format and I forsee the Classic format going bye bye because Classic is simply MTGO's Vintage. For those who do not have the Power 9 or don't want to compete in Vintage will still have Legacy which bans the broken cards of Vintage.

Now onto the Force of Will and why it pretty much must be re-printed. Up until Force of Will was printed there was simply no way to stop the "First turn Channel/Fireball kill your opponent who doesn't get a turn" combo. An instant win in a tournament is deadly! Take a look at the card pool today. The mind boggles at the possibilites for "First turn kill your opponent who doesn't get a turn". (Painters Sevant/Grindstone comes to mind). Only one card can stop this program. Force of Will. If they do not re-print it, the Force of Wills out there now will skyrocket in price.