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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Apr 20 2018 12:00pm
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State of the Program for April 20th 2018
 
In the News
No B&R Changes: Wizards announced no changes to any format. Everything is fine. The next B&R announcement is July 2nd.  1v1 commander, however, did see some changes. You can read about that here.
 
Redemption Ending Soon: Redemption for sets of Shadows over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon end April 28th. Redemption for Ixalan and Rivals of Ixalan ends May 23rd.
 
First Female GP Winner: Last week, we have the first ever 18-0 record sat a GP. This week, we have the first GP female champion. About time. Congrats Jessica! 
 
Dominaria is on MTGO Now!: Dominaria leagues and drafts are firing, and Dominaria is legal for play in Standard . Time to play.
 
You Can Now Target Planeswalkers: One of the rule changes coming with Dominaria is that you no longer need to – and, in fact, cannot – redirect damage from your opponent to your opponent’s Planeswalkers. Instead, you can target the Planeswalkers directly. Also, if you bolt your opponent, you will not have an opportunity to change that to Jace, so be careful.
 
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
Dates
Scheduled Downtimes
May 9th
Constructed Leagues End
(a long time from now) 
Sealed Leagues End
April 23, 2018
Core Set Magic  2019
July 13, 2018
Next B&R Announcement
July 2, 2018
SOI and EMN Redemption Ends
April 28, 2018
Ixalan Redemption Ends
May 23, 2018
Rivals of Ixalan Redemption Ends
May 23, 2018
Dominaria Redemption Ends
 

WotC Covered Events
Wizards will be streaming a number of events next year, including all four Pro Tours, the Magic Championship and World Magic Cup, along with 35 Grand Prix. Since Wizards does not schedule premier events on prerelease weekends and certain holidays, that means they will be streaming an event nearly every weekend. Here’s the schedule we have so far.
·       April 28–29: Grand Prix Bologna
·       May 5–6: Grand Prix Dallas
·       May 11–13: Grand Prix Birmingham (double-GP weekend)
·       May 26–27: Grand Prix Washington, DC
·       June 1–3: Pro Tour Dominaria in Richmond, Virginia
·       June 9–10: Grand Prix Copenhagen
·       June 15–17: Grand Prix Las Vegas (double-GP weekend)
·       June 23–24: Grand Prix Pittsburgh
·       July 7–8: Grand Prix São Paulo
·       July 21–22: Grand Prix Sacramento
·       July 28–29: Grand Prix Minneapolis
·       Aug. 3–5: Pro Tour 25th Anniversary in Minneapolis, Minnesota
·       Aug. 11–12: Grand Prix Brussels
·       Aug. 18–19: Grand Prix Los Angeles
·       Aug. 25–26: Grand Prix Prague
·       Aug. 31–Sept. 2: Grand Prix Richmond (double-GP weekend)
·       Sept. 8–9: Grand Prix Detroit
·       Sept. 15–16: Grand Prix Stockholm
·       Weekend of Sept. 23–24: 2018 Magic World Championship and Team Series Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada (exact event dates TBD)
·       Oct. 6–7: Grand Prix Montreal
·       Oct. 13–14: Grand Prix Denver
·       Oct. 27–28: Grand Prix Lille
·       Nov. 3–4: Grand Prix Atlanta
·       Nov. 9–11: Pro Tour "Spaghetti" in Atlanta
·       Nov. 17–18: Grand Prix Milwaukee
·       Dec. 8–9: Grand Prix Liverpool
·       Dec. 14–16: World Magic Cup in Barcelona, Spain
 
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:
·       April 23rd forward: Dominaria
·       May 16-23: Triple Lorwyn
·       May 23-30: TBA
·       May 30-June 6: CHK / CHK / BOK
·       June 6-13: Battle of the Planes
·       June 13-July 6:  Vintage Cube
 
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:
 
NOTE: not this weekend – paused for the prerelease.
 

Event Type
Start Time
Saturday, 8:00 am PT
Saturday, 10:00 am PT
Saturday, 12:00 pm PT
Sunday, 8:00 am PT
Sunday, 10:00 am PT

 
Opinion Section:  Set Reviews and Moving
We moved our offices from one building to another this week. We are slowly getting unpacked. The network is up and most computer functions are working again. No printers, yet, but we can live without those for a few days. My chair never arrived, so I am standing or sitting on my deck for now. It's pretty much over, but it has messed up my week.
 
Dominaria has been fully revealed now. The Card Image Gallery is complete. I am really tempted to do a set review. The problem is that my history of set reviews is not great. I tend to rave about cards that never end up seeing any competitive play, and missing cards that define archetypes and become tournament staples. Actually, real staples – things like the 1 or 2 mana burn spells, the cheap white removal, the 2 mana counterspell, etc. – those I spot. I just get enthusiastic about the wrong cards.  Worse yet, I have trouble getting too excited about new sets and new cards. Well, generally not too excited. Cards like Damping Sphere will be impactful, and I think that is kinda cool.  I like it - but I also like playing Tron. 
 
I have similar problems writing set reviews about limited. I've done this too many times before.  I have watched Serra Angel appear in the gallery over a dozen times now, and have known that it was great every time. I have seen countless version of the blue mill spell and/or creature appear. (This set has Diligent Excavator, and it is not going to  spawn a draft archetype this tie, either.)  The new black Terror ((Cast Down)) will be great.  And Icy Manipulator is back. It’s going to be great in limited. It always is.
 
But what does have me excited is what is back! This set is a throwback to early Magic, when Dominaria was where all the action started. I remember so many of these cards! I also get so many of the throwbacks. Benalish knights  – if not Benalish Knight itself – are back. Mesa Unicorn is nothing exciting from a limited or constructed standpoint, but neither was Mesa Pegasus. That said, we had literally dozens of Mesa Pegasi in our collection back in the day. And the set has Ghitu and Keldons and Homarids and the Thran and on and on.
 
The cards are amazingly nostalgic for me, and the handful of Magic players as old as I am.
 
We have cards that used to be banned, or restricted coming back. We have Juggernaut. We have a new Regrowth. (Yes, the B&R list has been strange at times.  Jugs was banned, and Regrowth was restricted in Vintage for a decade or more.)
 
We have a new Yawgmoth’s card. I love all things Yawgmoth.  For almost a decade, I wrote a column called Yawgmoth’s Whimsy. My column was semi-casual – something (Yawgmoth’s Will) was not. Now other Yawgmoth spells were nothing special: (Yawgmoth’s Edict) and Agenda never saw serious play, but the new card looks quite solid. I think.
 
Red has some new old toys.  Goblin Warchief, Skirk Prospector and Siege-Gang Commander were the core of some powerful decks back in the day. The coupled with Patriarch's Bidding and Goblin Sharpshooter to make a really good combo deck, and Goblins has been a tier one archetype on and off for years.   And now the first three are back. It’s not at all clear that Goblins has what it needs to make a comeback, but maybe in Modern? We will see. Warchief is potent.
 
Jaya Ballard is back. Google the sayings of Jaya Ballard, Task Mage. Some of the best flavor text ever written is credited to Jaya Ballard – and some was just inspired by her. Is here Planeswalker card any good? Who cares – she’s a win just because of her past.
 
Green has Llanowar Elves back. Wizards has said that one casting cost mana creatures were too good – but this set has the Lawnmower Elf himself.   And, because you need something to ramp to, it has Thorn Elemental at uncommon. More importantly, it has “the best fattie ever printed:” Verdant Force.   Verdant Force was the Force part of Secret Force –  the great mono-green fatties deck that saw Pro Tour play late last century.  Creatures have come a long, long way since 1998, but I’m hoping to cast Verdant Force again, at least in limited. 
 
Anyway, the set looks really good. I’m more excited for this set than anything I have seen in a long, long time. We may find that some of the cards are too good for limited, or that Standard will also be a mess. Hopefully not – what I do know is that I ordered several extra booster boxes of Dominaria and look forward to lot so of drafts and sealed events with friends, and maybe some Winston drafts with Ingrid.  Ordering extra booster boxes is not something I have done for years. 
 
Cutting Edge Tech
Standard: It’s a week before Dominaria becomes Standard legal. All tech from last weekend is stale. The first events to include Dominaria cards will happen next weekend. 
 
Modern: GP Hartford brought us yet another new winning deck and combo archetype. Matt Nass won the event with Ironworks. This probably does not make Wizards very happy – Ironworks is a boring deck to watch. It is like watching the old Eggs decks – something I did a lot of when judging Modern events back before that deck was banned.   Wizards didn’t ban it this week – we will see what happens in June. Coverage of the GP is here.
 

Pauper: Wizards banned nothing in Pauper this week.   I think that may have been a mistake. Every single deck in the Pauper Challenge T8 ran Augur of Bolas. Some were Tireless Tribe combo, others were mono blue Delver / spire decks, or blue black Gurmag Angler builds. None were interesting – and all of these are decks I have featured before. So, no decklist this week – and I may pass on showing Pauper decklists until something else appears.

 
Legacy: The Legacy Challenge winner really doesn’t want anyone else to have any fun at all. This is a Miracles decklist with Back to Basics – which is even worse than Blood Moon to play against. 

 

Vintage: The Team Vintage Super Team is back, with team Vintage play. The team decklist rules make it questionable whether the decklists will be viable in more conventional tournaments, but the decks are interesting. Fortunately, we have a new archetype from last weekend’s Vintage Challenge to think about.
 
 
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: Standard prices are down, overall, again this week. I cut a few more cards. Prices should keep dropping as we get closer to Dominaria. Some cards will then climb, once people start talking about new, Dominaria-fueled archetypes.
 

Standard Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$16.25
$19.30
($3.05)
-16%
$17.96
$19.76
($1.80)
-9%
$10.32
$10.30
$0.02
0%
Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca
$6.36
$6.27
$0.09
1%
$25.61
$24.49
$1.12
5%
$5.65
$6.01
($0.36)
-6%
$24.11
$25.85
($1.74)
-7%
$10.17
$10.21
($0.04)
0%
$26.60
$22.19
$4.41
20%

Modern staples:  Modern prices climbed again this week. Masters 25 is no longer adding new cards to the pool, so we should see the values returning to normal. Horizon Canopy desparately needs a reprint. Since that was a Future Sight card, I wonder if we might see a cycle of those cards in the fall set. Wizards needs to do something!
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$20.49
$20.19
$0.30
1%
$39.85
$37.36
$2.49
7%
$21.62
$23.79
($2.17)
-9%
$28.52
$27.55
$0.97
4%
$36.60
$31.62
$4.98
16%
$15.69
$15.05
$0.64
4%
$50.59
$56.70
($6.11)
-11%
$26.67
$24.95
$1.72
7%
$16.18
$16.87
($0.69)
-4%
$23.04
$21.41
$1.63
8%
$71.50
$65.91
$5.59
8%
$35.88
$37.77
($1.89)
-5%
$23.67
$24.37
($0.70)
-3%
$52.31
$55.30
($2.99)
-5%
$55.24
$56.25
($1.01)
-2%
$42.17
$38.23
$3.94
10%
$63.47
$61.19
$2.28
4%
$36.73
$35.36
$1.37
4%
$26.32
$26.58
($0.26)
-1%
$14.42
$15.07
($0.65)
-4%
$40.47
$36.76
$3.71
10%
$32.12
$32.61
($0.49)
-2%

Legacy and Vintage: Legacy and Vintage are generally pretty quiet this week. Rishadan Port is off the table. It was once $1,000+ per playset, now that playset is under $30.
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$32.57
$28.09
$4.48
16%
$27.66
$25.79
$1.87
7%
$20.53
$20.02
$0.51
3%
$28.77
$28.12
$0.65
2%
$18.51
$18.15
$0.36
2%
$33.76
$33.25
$0.51
2%
$34.96
$34.42
$0.54
2%
$16.06
$20.64
($4.58)
-22%
$40.52
$40.52
$0.00
0%
$29.74
$29.73
$0.01
0%
$24.04
$24.35
($0.31)
-1%
$86.71
$81.38
$5.33
7%
$19.29
$16.40
$2.89
18%
$14.15
$13.77
$0.38
3%
$34.65
$34.16
$0.49
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
Aether Revolt
$87.00
$81.29
$5.71
7%
Amonkhet
$69.40
$72.19
($2.79)
-4%
Ixalan
$83.53
$78.24
$5.29
7%
Hour of Devastation
$58.56
$58.74
($0.18)
0%
Kaladesh
$80.04
$82.05
($2.01)
-2%
Rivals of Ixalan
$81.93
$77.36
$4.57
6%
Treasure Chest
$2.60
$2.53
$0.07
3%
Ixalan Booster
$3.55
$3.77
($0.22)
-6%
Rivals of Ixalan Booster
$1.85
$2.10
($0.25)
-12%

 
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.  Horizon Canopy has now passed Jace and Black Lotus. Insane.
 

Name
Set
Rarity
 Price
True-Name Nemesis
 C13
Rare
 $ 87.23
True-Name Nemesis
 PZ1
Mythic Rare
 $ 86.71
Horizon Canopy
 IMA
Rare
 $ 71.82
Horizon Canopy
 FUT
Rare
 $ 71.80
Horizon Canopy
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 71.50
Black Lotus
 1E
Rare
 $ 71.31
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
 $ 63.82
Mox Opal
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 63.50
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 63.47
Liliana of the Veil
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $ 59.84
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 WWK
Mythic Rare
 $ 58.48
Engineered Explosives
 5DN
Rare
 $ 58.40
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
 $ 58.02
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 VMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 57.16
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 56.71
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
 $ 55.24
Engineered Explosives
 MMA
Rare
 $ 54.54
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 A25
Mythic Rare
 $ 52.31
Engineered Explosives
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 50.59
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
 $ 46.00
Mox Diamond
 TPR
Mythic Rare
 $ 44.33
Liliana, the Last Hope
 EMN
Mythic Rare
 $ 42.17
Cavern of Souls
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $ 41.38
Surgical Extraction
 MM2
Rare
 $ 41.24
Misdirection
 MM
Rare
 $ 40.52
Wasteland
 TPR
Rare
 $ 40.52
Surgical Extraction
 NPH
Rare
 $ 40.47
Mox Sapphire
 1E
Rare
 $ 40.24
Force of Will
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 39.95
Cavern of Souls
 AVR
Rare
 $ 39.85
Tarmogoyf
 MMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 39.12
Karn Liberated
 NPH
Mythic Rare
 $ 38.93
Mox Emerald
 1E
Rare
 $ 38.42
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
 $ 38.31
Dark Depths
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $ 37.98
Noble Hierarch
 CON
Rare
 $ 37.48
Noble Hierarch
 MM2
Rare
 $ 36.73
Collective Brutality
 EMN
Rare
 $ 36.60
Wasteland
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 36.44
Karn Liberated
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 35.88
Force of Will
 MS3
Special
 $ 34.96
Wasteland
 EMA
Rare
 $ 34.65
Unmask
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $ 34.60
Ancestral Recall
 1E
Rare
 $ 33.99
Exploration
 UZ
Rare
 $ 33.76
Tarmogoyf
 FUT
Rare
 $ 33.37
Tarmogoyf
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $ 32.82
Black Lotus
 VMA
Bonus
 $ 32.57
Tarmogoyf
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 32.12
Mox Ruby
 1E
Rare
 $ 31.93
Underground Sea
 ME4
Rare
 $ 30.46
Underground Sea
 ME2
Rare
 $ 30.31
Chalice of the Void
 MMA
Rare
 $ 30.15
Show and Tell
 UZ
Rare
 $ 29.74
Dark Depths
 CSP
Rare
 $ 28.77
Chalice of the Void
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 28.76
Chalice of the Void
 MRD
Rare
 $ 28.75
Mox Jet
 1E
Rare
 $ 28.63
Chalice of the Void
 A25
Mythic Rare
 $ 28.52
City of Traitors
 EX
Rare
 $ 27.90
Ensnaring Bridge
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 27.78
Scalding Tarn
 MM3
Rare
 $ 27.74
Ensnaring Bridge
 ST
Rare
 $ 27.66
City of Traitors
 TPR
Rare
 $ 27.66
Scalding Tarn
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 27.53
Ensnaring Bridge
 7E
Rare
 $ 27.43
Ensnaring Bridge
 8ED
Rare
 $ 26.91
Ensnaring Bridge
 A25
Mythic Rare
 $ 26.67
Walking Ballista
 AER
Rare
 $ 26.60
Gorilla Shaman
 ALL
Common
 $ 26.47
Scalding Tarn
 ZEN
Rare
 $ 26.32
Mox Diamond
 ST
Rare
 $ 26.25
Edgar Markov
 PZ2
Mythic Rare
 $ 26.04
Rekindling Phoenix
 RIX
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.61

 
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 $ 21,750. That’s up $450 from last week.
 
Weekly Highlights
I attended a judge seminar last weekend. Interesting, and some really good presentations – but between that and the move, I haven’t played any Magic.  :(
 
I intend to play in at least one paper prerelease and run a couple others this weekend.  And, if I have any spare time, I may also play some online Dominaria events. It is such a luxury to have a new set on MTGO immediately. We used to wait two weeks before we could play a new set.  Better now.
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” on MTGO
 
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.