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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Apr 19 2019 12:00pm
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State of the Program for April 19th 2019
 
In the News
War of the Spark Prerelease Next Week: It’s coming. Soon. 
 
Mythic Championship Qualifiers: Wizards has told us how players can qualify for the Mythic Championship. Wizards will hold 140 Mythic Championship Qualifiers between May 4th and June 16th.   The format is Standard. Events will be capped at 226 players. Details, and a list of locations, are here.  
 
War of the Spark Will Kill Story Characters: Wizards has linked to an article talking about killing (permanently) a major Planeswalker, and spoiling the outcome of the battle against Nicol Bolas. The article also announces the Planeswalker’s “Signature Spellboook” and identifies the eight cards it will contain. (The article is – warning: spoilers – here.)
 
Lambert House Fundraising Goodness:  Lambert House is an LGBT friendly safe house near the Wizards HQ. It is running a fundraiser featuring shirts and swag with rainbow colored Planeswalker symbols and D&D ampersands. Good cause. Check it out here.
 
War of the Spark Novel Sequel: Greg Weisman has written a sequel to the War of the Spark novel. It is called War of the Spark: Forsaken, and will be available on Google Play November 5th. And that’s about all we know.
 
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: Top Five Tournament Innovations
I started playing tournament Magic twenty years ago. Literally twenty years ago.   My first big event – and by big I mean 8 rounds of Swiss or more – was an Urza’s Saga block PTQ.  Those were the original PTQs – hundreds of players, 8-10 rounds of Swiss or more cut to Top 8, winner gets an invitation to the Pro Tour. Those were huge back in the day. 
 
We don’t have those anymore. 
 
Over the years, I have been involved in a ton of different type of tournaments. I have participated in casual store events, FNMs, Store Championships, Prereleases, Grand Prix, Grand Prix Qualifiers, States, Regionals, Pro Tours, Pro Tour Qualifiers, PPTQs, RPTQs, large conventions and several World Championships. I have been a player, a judge, a head judge and a tournament organizer. I have played in thousands of sanctioned events, and head judged over a thousand more. 
 
It’s time for a Top Five list. Here are, in my opinion, the Top 5 most important innovations in tournament Magic.
 
#5: Magic Invitationals
I don’t mean the recent Mythic Invitational. That was amazingly good from a coverage perspective, even if the format was just plain bad. The Mythic Invitational gets an honorable mention because it shows where coverage can go, but I want to talk about the Magic Invitational tournaments, which were held from 1996 through 2007.   Wizards invited, generally, 32 of the best Magic players around to play in a multi-format event. The prize for winning the event was the chance to help design a card, and to have your picture appear in the art on that card. The Invitationals were early attempts at star-building, showcased some odd formats, and brought us some great cards. Avalanche Riders was the first to be published. The Invitationals also brought us Meddling Mage, Solemn Simulacrum, Dark Confidant, Ranger of Eos and Snapcaster Mage. Important for our purposes: the 2003 Invitational was played on the brand new MTGO client. Which worked. 
 
#4 MTGO PTQs:
Originally, the only ways of qualifying for the Pro Tour involved playing paper Magic. You could qualify by winning a PTQ – which were paper only events. You could make Top 8 in a GP. Or you could qualify if your ELO rating was high enough – which meant you were ranked in the top 100 or so in the world. But then, a decade or so ago now, Wizards announced that Pro Tour qualifiers would be held on MTGO. I have to admit I thought this was a horrible idea. I was worried about outside assistance. I was worried that people would be disconnected and be knocked out of the event. I was worried that events would crash. All of these things happened, but Wizards worked through them.   And the fact that you could qualify for a Pro Tour on MTGO went a long way to legitimizing the platform.
 
#3 Store Level Prereleases:
When I first started playing competitive Magic, prereleases were few and far between. Prereleases were huge events, but scarce. In the US, we had a dozen or so prereleases. Personally, I drove 600 miles to attend our “local” prerelease. The events were a ton of fun for those people that could make it, but not for those that could not. But, beginning in Alara block, Wizards decided to bring prereleases to local stores. Instead of driving hundreds of miles to get to a prerelease, I can now attend prereleases at five stores that actually are local. It’s a huge improvement, and massively improved the number of players participating. 
 
#2 SCG Opens
Once upon a time, the only really big events were all sponsored by Wizards, and they were all few and far between. Wizards gave us a couple dozen GPs per year, plus Regionals, State Championships and the occasional large events at conventions like GenCon. A handful of stores in major metropolitan areas held large events, but not many, and only in those stores’ home areas. Then, a decade or so ago, StarCity Games decided to organize a series of Open tournaments in cities across the US. SCG initially ran 10-proxy Vintage events, but their real goal in holding these events was to buy and sell cards in areas beyond Virginia.  In a happy coincidence, SCG learned that they events would be both profitable and popular, and the SCG Tour has grown ever since, and even spawn similar non-Wizards Magic tournament series in other areas.  
 
#1 The Pro Tour:
This one is completely obvious. The Pro Tour was a Wizards invention. Nothing else like it existed for a collectible card game, or for anything outside of maybe Chess, Bridge and Go. The Pro Tour was incredibly important in growing and sustaining Magic. It is almost certain that, without the Pro Tour, Magic would not have survived for decades. The Pro Tour has evolved over time, as have the methods of qualifying for it, but it is still there. So is Magic. 
 
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 Recalmation and so forth. Here’s something a bit different. 
 
 
Modern: Grand Prix San Paolo was last weekend. The winning deck was a personal favorite – Green Tron – so of course I am going to feature it. Note, though , that this event did not use the London mulligan. We will see whether the upcoming Modern Pro Tour (er, Mythic Championship), which uses the London mulligan, has the same metagame. Should be interesting.
 
 
 
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 dropping.   It’s a week before rotation – everyone playing in the format has their decks, and people are beginning to sell off to raise TIX for the prerelease. Price drops are to be expected.
 

Standard Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Arclight Phoenix
$52.33
$56.87
($4.54)
-8%
Assassin's Trophy
$6.35
$7.37
($1.02)
-14%
Dovin, Grand Arbiter
$5.43
$5.96
($0.53)
-9%
Hydroid Krasis
$12.62
$15.64
($3.02)
-19%
Kaya, Orzhov Usurper
$17.21
$27.14
($9.93)
-37%
Prime Speaker Vannifer
$8.76
$10.26
($1.50)
-15%
Seraph of the Scales
$5.43
$6.62
($1.19)
-18%
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
$8.66
$8.35
$0.31
4%

Eternal staples:  Prices for cards in the eternal formats are continuing to climb, week by week.   It’s interesting that some of the Legacy/Vintage only cards, like City of Traitors, are also climbing.
 

Eternal Format Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$26.57
$25.98
$0.59
2%
$17.75
$17.18
$0.57
3%
$28.37
$28.40
($0.03)
0%
$16.85
$12.34
$4.51
37%
$10.94
$11.11
($0.17)
-2%
$31.10
$30.71
$0.39
1%
$21.72
$21.72
$0.00
0%
$26.62
$25.45
$1.17
5%
$36.40
$38.95
($2.55)
-7%
$28.20
$27.48
$0.72
3%
$50.55
$47.72
$2.83
6%
$28.37
$28.06
$0.31
1%
$36.77
$36.14
$0.63
2%
$24.60
$25.77
($1.17)
-5%
Lord Windgrace
$26.75
$24.75
$2.00
8%
$43.56
$40.93
$2.63
6%
$19.97
$19.90
$0.07
0%
$49.55
$51.87
($2.32)
-4%
$66.89
$66.94
($0.05)
0%
$10.77
$9.81
$0.96
10%
$21.04
$21.24
($0.20)
-1%

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
$96.35
$94.10
$2.25
2%
Dominaria
$33.48
$31.31
$2.17
7%
Guilds of Ravnica
$125.20
$131.19
($5.99)
-5%
Ixalan
$21.27
$20.68
$0.59
3%
Ravnica Allegiances
$107.60
$114.00
($6.40)
-6%
Rivals of Ixalan
$21.10
$3.00
$18.10
603%
Treasure Chest
$2.17
$2.17
$0.00
0%
Ravnica Allegiance Booster
$2.37
$2.23
$0.14
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.  The list grew this week – climbing to 58 cards. And now Jace is heading back up the rankings.
 

Name
Set
Rarity
 Price
Black Lotus
 1E
Rare
 $ 231.54
Mox Sapphire
 1E
Rare
 $ 131.42
Mox Emerald
 1E
Rare
 $ 92.64
Mox Ruby
 1E
Rare
 $ 88.81
Mox Jet
 1E
Rare
 $ 78.16
Ancestral Recall
 1E
Rare
 $ 77.00
True-Name Nemesis
 PZ1
Mythic Rare
 $ 69.01
Mox Pearl
 1E
Rare
 $ 67.29
True-Name Nemesis
 C13
Rare
 $ 66.89
Time Walk
 1E
Rare
 $ 61.41
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 WWK
Mythic Rare
 $ 52.71
Arclight Phoenix
 GRN
Mythic Rare
 $ 52.33
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 A25
Mythic Rare
 $ 51.74
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 VMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 51.61
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 50.55
Surgical Extraction
 MM2
Rare
 $ 49.69
Surgical Extraction
 NPH
Rare
 $ 49.59
Mox Opal
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 44.82
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 44.43
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
 $ 43.56
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
 $ 43.38
Karn Liberated
 NPH
Mythic Rare
 $ 42.64
Karn Liberated
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 41.28
Liliana of the Veil
 UMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 40.29
Liliana of the Veil
 UBT
Mythic Rare
 $ 38.79
Gemstone Mine
 TSB
Rare
 $ 37.84
Liliana of the Veil
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $ 37.45
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
 $ 36.77
Gemstone Mine
 WL
Uncommon
 $ 36.40
Dark Depths
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $ 36.27
Karn Liberated
 UBT
Mythic Rare
 $ 34.76
Engineered Explosives
 5DN
Rare
 $ 33.90
Unmask
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $ 33.40
Engineered Explosives
 MMA
Rare
 $ 32.85
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
 $ 32.83
Kaya, Orzhov Usurper
 RNA
Mythic Rare
 $ 32.60
Timetwister
 1E
Rare
 $ 31.35
Engineered Explosives
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 31.35
Engineered Explosives
 UMA
Rare
 $ 31.17
Engineered Explosives
 UBT
Mythic Rare
 $ 31.10
Chalice of the Void
 A25
Mythic Rare
 $ 29.43
Chalice of the Void
 MMA
Rare
 $ 28.88
Chalice of the Void
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 28.84
Horizon Canopy
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 28.67
Horizon Canopy
 IMA
Rare
 $ 28.50
Chalice of the Void
 MRD
Rare
 $ 28.37
Karn Liberated
 UMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 28.37
Horizon Canopy
 FUT
Rare
 $ 28.22
Force of Will
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 27.49
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
 $ 26.90
Back to Basics
 UZ
Rare
 $ 26.83
Lord Windgrace
 PZ2
Mythic Rare
 $ 26.75
Force of Will
 MS3
Mythic Rare
 $ 26.62
Back to Basics
 UMA
Rare
 $ 26.57
Dark Depths
 UBT
Mythic Rare
 $ 26.27
Mishra's Bauble
 CSP
Uncommon
 $ 26.10
Scalding Tarn
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.89
Liliana, the Last Hope
 MS4
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.84

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 $ 15,095. That’s up another $465 from last week.   These prices have been climbing week by week for over two months now.
 
In Closing
I have been playing a little Arena, a little MTGO, and a little paper, but mainly I’m waiting for War of the Spark. Just a week to go now.
 
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” on MTGO. “4MWords” on Arena.
 
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.
 

1 Comments

re by Hearts at Sat, 04/20/2019 - 05:13
Hearts's picture

From Alliances and forward (1995/6--->) prereleases were held for every set around my parts in europe.