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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Apr 12 2019 12:00pm
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State of the Program for April 12th 2019
 
In the News
London Mulligan Rule inn Effect on MTGO: The new “London Mulligan” rule will be in effect on MTGO until after the Mythic Championship three weeks from now. This means no scrying – instead you will see a new hand of seven cards after a mulligan, then you choose a card for each mulligan you took and that card is put on the bottom of your library. For example, assume you open with a hand of seven nonlands, mulligan that to seven lands, then mulligan again. You have now mulliganned to five. Under the London mulligan rule, you will see a hand of seven cards and have to choose two to put under your library. 
 
War of the Spark Background Video: Wizards has taken their trailers and promotional videos up a notch. The War of the Spark trailer released at PAX East, before the final day of play at the Mythic Invitational is a whole lot more than just animated card art. Check it out here.
 
Wizards Conclusions re Mythic Invitational: Wizards shared their thoughts about the Mythic Invitational this week. The Mythic Invitational Debrief told us that viewership topped 150,000 on Sunday, which is awesome. Wizards also said the coverage was great. I agree. Wizards also admitted that Duo Standard was not a great format, and said they would be changing that in the future. Yay!  Duo Standard is bad. PVDDR also wrote about the problems with the format, here. The Professor made a video on the Worst Magic Format, Ever.  And on and on.
 
Grand Prix Decklists Going Digital: CFB has announced that, starting in late May, all decklists for constructed GPs will need to be filed electronically. CFB has an app. It works. They will also have kiosks at the event, for those who cannot decide early. Details here. And like every judge who has ever had to check badly-written decklists, I love this. I’ll explain why in the comments section.
 
War of the Spark Previews in Full Swing: Previews are happening everywhere, and will continue for the next couple weeks. The Card Image Gallery, which features all those cards officially previewed, is here.
 
The Magic Planeswalker Bracket: Wizards has announced a “playoff” / popularity contest among the War of the Spark Planeswalkers. Each Planeswalker is paired against an opponent, and fan voting propels one of the pair to the next round. It’s single elimination, leading to the “winning” Planeswalker in a few weeks. (Spoiler – it’s Nicol Bolas; the rest die.) If you fill out your bracket (today) and guess all the outcomes correctly, you can win a set of foil copies of all the Planeswalker cards. Details, and bracket, are here. Not that, in typical Wizards style, this was announced on Wednesday, and is due today, so fill it out fast.
 
MOCS Info Coming: We have second-hand info that the next MOCS championship will be coming. Wizards has started asking for player photos and data, so we may see an official webpage on the event. Maybe. 
 
Magic TV Show?: Wizards filed a copyright notice for Magic the Gathering: Season 1 and Season 2. The owners listed on the copyright filing include Wizards, Hasbro and Netflix. Will it actually happen? Time will tell.
 
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 for limited PTQs running the days immediately prior to the PTQ.
 

Upcoming Events
Dates
Scheduled Downtimes
April 24, 2019
Constructed Leagues End
April 23, 2019
Sealed Leagues End
April 26, 2019
War of the Spark
April 25th prerelease 
Modern Horizons
June 6th prerelease
Next B&R Announcement
May 20, 2019
Guilds of Ravnica Redemption
Ends May 5th
Ravnica Allegiances Redemption
Ends July 10, 2019
“Archery”
September 2019
“Baseball”
January, 2020
“Cricket”
Spring, 2020

 
2018 Magic Online Championship Series and other events
Complete details, including schedule, rules, and which online events qualify you for which online or paper events is here. In addition, Wizards will be offering these special formats:
·       Legacy Cube   March 27th to April 25th  details here.
·       War of the Spark Limited starts April 25th   
·       Modern Horizons drafts – prerelease June 6th  
 
Magic Online Format Challenges
These are high stakes events that happen every weekend. They cost 25 Tix / 250 play points, and last a number of rounds based on participation (assume 5-8), plus a single elimination Top 8. Details, including prize payouts, are here. Start times are:
 

Event Type
Start Time
Saturday, 8:00 am PT 
Saturday, 10:00 am PT
Sunday, 8:00 am PT
Sunday, 10:00 am PT

 
Opinion Section: Digital Decklists
As part of their announcement of third quarter GP locations and formats, Channel Fireball (the tournament organizer) said this:
 
Grand Prix Deck Lists Going Digital: 
More and more players are using the tools at my.cfbevents.com to submit their decklists digitally – it’s convenient, intuitive, and faster than writing out and manually submitting decklists. It also streamlines the deck list process for coverage so we can share more deck lists with you, and faster! Starting with MagicFest Kansas City on May 31st, online decklist submission will be mandatory for the Grand Prix. We will have kiosks onsite if you aren’t able to submit your list ahead of time.
 
Digital decklists! Amazing. And about time.
 
I have used spreadsheets to create and print decklists for over a decade. My spreadsheet had my name, DCI number, etc. in the header, and printed out the entire decklist legibly. It also ran totals, so I knew that I had 60 cards maindeck and 15 cards in the sideboard. True, I had to manually enter or copy and paste cards into my spreadsheet, but it was still better than hand writing out the decklist. My handwriting is really bad. More importantly, the spreadsheet meant I never missed a card. Leaving a playset of something off your decklist was, decades ago, a DQ offense. That was later reduced to game loss, but it was still a penalty worth avoiding. 
 
The CFB tool is better than my spreadsheet in nearly every way. It lets you copy and paste, and import in various formats. It provides totals. Most importantly, it will not let you enter cards not legal in the format. That’s great. 
 
From a judge perspective, this is amazing. I have given out a game loss for an illegible decklist. Other judges raised eyebrows, until I showed them the decklist. One line, for example, might have said “4 Tarmogoyfs,” or it might have said “7 Forests.” It might even have said “2 Liliana.” It was literally impossible to tell. But digital decklists mean they are all legible.
 
Second, digital decklists mean judges don’t have to spend time alphabetizing decklists. With paper decklists, several judges spend the first round or two on that task.   At large events, it takes longer. It helps if you seat players for the player meeting alphabetically, then collect decklists, but that doesn’t negate the problem – not if you have byes and sleep-in specials. But computerized decklists mean all the decklists are available instantly, and judges can stay on the floor watching Magic. That’s better.
 
Having digital decklists will be a real boon to coverage. In the past, coverage got copies of the pairings, and had to choose feature matches based mainly on familiar names, and what little knowledge of decks being played they had gleaned wandering the tables in early rounds. Now, with digital pairings and digital decklists, the coverage crew will know what players are playing. They can choose interesting matchups, and decide whether to record other feature matches to “timeshift” if the main match finishes quickly. 
 
More importantly, all feature matches could, in theory, be played on MTG Arena. The TO would have to supply feature match laptops – but they already bring a boatload of laptops for scorekeeping, registration, etc. etc. With digital decklists, coverage could have the decklists preloaded into special Arena accounts (e.g. “CFBFeatureMatch1,” “CFBFeatureMatch2,” etc.)  CFB could also install a couple large screens so spectators could see the players’ screens – that would be far easier to see than paper cards. 
 
Digital decklists also mean that the coverage can use overlays, like cardboardlive, that allow viewers to see decklists in real time. That’s great for viewers.
 
Cutting Edge Tech
Standard: Standard is going to add a new set soon, so we will see changes in the metagame in a couple weeks. For now, the main decks are still Red Deck Wins, White Weenie, Esper Control, Wilderness Reclamation and so forth. Here’s an archetype that is seems to be waning, but it is still the one I would like to play if I had the cards. 
 
 
Modern: I love Bedlam Reveler. Here’s another deck I would seriously consider playing, but I don’t have the Arclight Phoenixes. I can afford to buy most everything, but $200 for a playset gives even me pause. But if you got ‘em – play ‘em.
 
 
Legacy: Legacy continues to throw up new archetypes. This one has a number of really cheap, powerful creatures – including Pteramander. Nice to see the new sets making area into eternal formats.
 
 
 
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 a decade and a half now, and have never been overcharged or disappointed.
 
Standard Staples: Standard prices are making a few adjustments this week. Nexus of Fate decks have not been very popular for a while, and its price is dropping.
 

Standard Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Arclight Phoenix
$56.87
$53.01
$3.86
7%
Assassin's Trophy
$7.37
$8.26
($0.89)
-11%
Dovin, Grand Arbiter
$5.96
$5.92
$0.04
1%
Hydroid Krasis
$15.64
$17.07
($1.43)
-8%
Kaya, Orzhov Usurper
$27.14
$25.59
$1.55
6%
Prime Speaker Vannifer
$10.26
$10.73
($0.47)
-4%
Seraph of the Scales
$6.62
$7.17
($0.55)
-8%
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
$8.35
$7.84
$0.51
7%

Eternal staples:  Prices for cards in the eternal formats are continuing to climb, week by week.   
 

Eternal Format Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$25.98
$24.07
$1.91
8%
$17.18
$15.64
$1.54
10%
$28.40
$32.25
($3.85)
-12%
$12.34
$12.91
($0.57)
-4%
$11.11
$11.69
($0.58)
-5%
$30.71
$27.16
$3.55
13%
$21.72
$22.30
($0.58)
-3%
$25.45
$24.52
$0.93
4%
$38.95
$33.38
$5.57
17%
$27.48
$26.69
$0.79
3%
$47.72
$43.15
$4.57
11%
$28.06
$25.55
$2.51
10%
$36.14
$34.43
$1.71
5%
$25.77
$25.84
($0.07)
0%
(Lord Windgrace)
$24.75
$20.86
$3.89
19%
$40.93
$48.98
($8.05)
-16%
$19.90
$20.73
($0.83)
-4%
$51.87
$56.21
($4.34)
-8%
$66.94
$64.36
$2.58
4%
$9.81
$8.93
$0.88
10%
$21.24
$19.74
$1.50
8%

Standard Legal Sets: This table tracks the cost of a single copy of every card in each Standard legal set, plus Treasure Chests and the current booster pack. I’ll keep tracking these because they are interesting (at least to me).   
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Core Set 2019
$94.10
$97.58
($3.48)
-4%
Dominaria
$31.31
$31.59
($0.28)
-1%
Guilds of Ravnica
$131.19
$124.31
$6.88
6%
Ixalan
$20.68
$21.47
($0.79)
-4%
Ravnica Allegiances
$114.00
$114.85
($0.85)
-1%
Rivals of Ixalan
$3.00
$22.61
($19.61)
-87%
Treasure Chest
$2.17
$2.10
$0.07
3%
Ravnica Allegiance Booster
$2.23
$2.41
($0.18)
-7%

 
 
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.  The list grew this week – climbing to 57 cards. And True-Name Nemesis has climbed back up the rankings. It’s even more expensive than Arclight Phoenix. 
 

Name
Set
Rarity
 Price
Black Lotus
 1E
Rare
 $ 222.52
Mox Sapphire
 1E
Rare
 $ 126.44
Mox Emerald
 1E
Rare
 $ 92.73
Mox Ruby
 1E
Rare
 $ 85.11
Mox Jet
 1E
Rare
 $ 79.62
Ancestral Recall
 1E
Rare
 $ 73.76
True-Name Nemesis
 PZ1
Mythic Rare
 $ 67.44
True-Name Nemesis
 C13
Rare
 $ 66.94
Mox Pearl
 1E
Rare
 $ 64.62
Time Walk
 1E
Rare
 $ 60.31
Arclight Phoenix
 GRN
Mythic Rare
 $ 56.87
Surgical Extraction
 NPH
Rare
 $ 52.20
Surgical Extraction
 MM2
Rare
 $ 51.87
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 WWK
Mythic Rare
 $ 50.63
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 A25
Mythic Rare
 $ 50.23
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 50.11
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 VMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 50.06
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 47.72
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
 $ 45.93
Gemstone Mine
 TSB
Rare
 $ 41.95
Mox Opal
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 40.93
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
 $ 39.08
Gemstone Mine
 WL
Uncommon
 $ 38.95
Liliana of the Veil
 UMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 37.69
Liliana of the Veil
 UBT
Mythic Rare
 $ 37.04
Liliana of the Veil
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $ 36.54
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
 $ 36.14
Dark Depths
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $ 35.57
Karn Liberated
 NPH
Mythic Rare
 $ 35.28
Unmask
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $ 32.98
Karn Liberated
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 32.55
Karn Liberated
 UBT
Mythic Rare
 $ 31.82
Engineered Explosives
 UMA
Rare
 $ 31.45
Engineered Explosives
 MMA
Rare
 $ 31.25
Engineered Explosives
 5DN
Rare
 $ 30.97
Engineered Explosives
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 30.91
Timetwister
 1E
Rare
 $ 30.84
Chalice of the Void
 A25
Mythic Rare
 $ 30.78
Engineered Explosives
 UBT
Mythic Rare
 $ 30.71
Chalice of the Void
 MMA
Rare
 $ 29.83
Chalice of the Void
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 29.49
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
 $ 29.25
Chalice of the Void
 MRD
Rare
 $ 28.40
Karn Liberated
 UMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 28.06
Horizon Canopy
 IMA
Rare
 $ 28.03
Horizon Canopy
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 28.00
Horizon Canopy
 FUT
Rare
 $ 27.48
Kaya, Orzhov Usurper
 RNA
Mythic Rare
 $ 27.14
Force of Will
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 26.93
Back to Basics
 UMA
Rare
 $ 26.55
Dark Depths
 UBT
Mythic Rare
 $ 26.38
Force of Will
 MS3
Mythic Rare
 $ 26.29
Back to Basics
 UZ
Rare
 $ 25.98
Liliana, the Last Hope
 MS4
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.84
Liliana, the Last Hope
 EMN
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.77
Scalding Tarn
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.64
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
 $ 25.45

 
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 $ 14,630. That’s up another $255 from last week.   These prices have been climbing week by week for over two months now.
 
In Closing
The new set looks to be extremely powerful. I like the concept of giving Planeswalkers static abilities, but I’m wondering if that is going to further reduce the playability of the course of the traditional sources of static abilities: actual enchantments and artifacts. Maybe it’s just my innate cynicism, but I keep wondering if this change is intended to make best of one better:  Sticking static abilities on Planeswalkers means players do not have to maindeck cards like Naturalize.  
 
We won’t know how this plays out until we actually get our hands on the cards. Personally, I don’t have too many worries.  Play design has done a decent job balancing formats for the last couple sets.
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” on MTGO. “4MWords” on Arena. 
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.