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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Aug 10 2018 12:00pm
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State of the Program for August 10th 2018
 
In the News
Pro Tour 25th Anniversary in the Books: Pro Tour 25th Anniversary was last weekend. The team of Wu, Hull and Orange beat team CFB in the finals.   Coverage is here
 
The Silver Showcase Happened: Wizards paid eight players $150,000 to play a draft in a limited format that was never played before, and will never be again. I don’t blame Wizards for wanting to do stuff to attract new players – but this was a bust.   .
 
Nexus of Fates in (more) Treasure Chests: Wizards has upped the drop rate of Nexus of Fate in Treasure Chests from now until August 15th. Details here.
 
Cube Spotlight – Pro Tour Cube: The next Cube Spotlight deck will be Pro Tour Cube, featuring only card that made Top 8 in a constructed Pro Tour over the years. Details here.
 
Channel Fireball’s Top 100 All Time Magic Cards: CFB is running a series of videos listing (their choices) the Top 100 cards of all time. Each video covers ten cards. The first video is here, and features Reid Duke, Tom Martell and Gerry Thompson. Videos will go up once a week.
 
 
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
August 29th and September 26th (both extended)
Constructed Leagues End
September 25, 2018
Sealed Leagues End
September 28, 2018
Guilds of Ravnica
October 5, 2018
Ravnica Allegiance
January 2019
Next B&R Announcement
August 20, 2018
Dominaria Redemption Ends
October 10, 2018
Core Set 2019 Redemption Ends
December 26, 2018

 
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.
·       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:
·       August 8-August 15: Pauper Gauntlet
·       August 15-August 22: Cube Spotlight Series – Pro Tour Cube
·       August 22-August 29: TBD
·       August 29-September 5: Triple Khans of Tarkir
·       September 5-September 28: Legacy 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:
 

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
Sunday, noon PT

 
Opinion Section:  Nexus of Fate
Nexus of Fate was a breakout card at last weekend’s Pro Tour.  The Turbo Fog deck was well positioned to beat up on aggressive decks like Steel Leaf Stompy and RB Aggro. Eight Fog effects, backed up by insane amounts of card drawing leading into Teferi, Karn and infinite turns was tough for those decks to overcome. That may or may not last. Turbo Fog is, in effect, a combo deck. If decks adjust – for example, if the aggro decks start sideboarding four Duress and maybe some extra discard, Turbo Fog may lose a lot of its consistency. Turbo Fog did well at the PT. We will see whether it does well at the standard GPs in the next couple weeks.
 
Having Nexus of Fate doing well raises some interesting issues. Nexus of Fate was the prerelease Buy-a-Box promo in the paper world. By-a-Box promos are special foil cards given to players when they buy a box (36) boosters from a bricks and mortar store. Buy-a-box foil promos have existed for a number of years. Prior to this year, however, they have been special art foil copies of cards in the set. For example, the Buy-a-box promo for Aether Revolt was Scrap Trawler. We saw a few of those on camera last weekend.
 
One problem with foils – and I am speaking as a paper judge here – is that they warp when it gets humid. Ingrid just received her most recent set of Exemplar foils: after a couple hours in the air, they are almost tubes. In paper magic, if the only foils in your deck are a set of buy-a-box promos, you will have to work like crazy to flatten the cards. Otherwise, the curved cards mean that you, or a judge like me, can cut to one of those cards pretty much every time. That’s a problem, and likely a marked cards penalty. As a paper player, I don’t play foils if I can avoid it, unless I can foil my entire deck.
 
Generally, judges are not allowed to create proxies of card, other than limited cards damaged during the event. Wizards has created an exception, and allowed the head judge to create proxies of cards that only exist in foil, for players that are not otherwise playing foils in their deck. At the Pro Tour, at least one player had proxies for his Nexus of Fate foils. 
 
A bigger potential issue is the supply of these cards. Nexus of Fate was the buy-a-box at the prerelease promos. Players were technically only allowed to buy Nexus when they bought a box at a brick and mortar store during the prerelease, or with boxes once the set was officially released. However, stores only could get limited supplies: I believe high tier stores could get up to 96 copies of the card.   I don’t know how many stores there are worldwide, but I doubt it is more than 10,000. That would mean that there are likely fewer than 100,000 copies of Nexus of Fate in existence.  100,000 is not a lot. Wizards has said that roughly 40 million Revised (first white bordered set, 1994) cards were printed, which works out to about 23,000 copies of each rare from that set. The Mirage set (1997) set had a print run of around 400 million card, meaning that over 240,000 copies of every rare were printed. Set sizes have continued to explode since then, but we don’t have reliable data. What is pretty certain is that the number of copies of Nexus of Fate in the card pool is lower than the number of any given Mythic from M19. 
 
We also know that, as of late Thursday, Star City Games was pricing Nexus at $45 per copy, and was sold out. So were all the other paper sites I checked.   If you want to play Turbo Fog at the GP this weekend, I hope you have your cards already.
 
Having Nexus of Fate at $45 and out of stock is slightly worrying, but not that unusual for the week after it was a breakout card at the Pro Tour. For example, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is also priced at $45 at Star City, and is also out of stock. If the metagame can adjust to Turbo Fog this weekend, this will not be a problem.  The price will drop and, as players shift to other decks, the number in stores will rise. In the unlikely event that the metagame cannot find an answer to Turbo Fog, then the card might turn into another Jace, the Mind Sculptor and break the $500 per playset barrier.  Maybe – I really doubt that will happen. I’m hearing that adding eight discard cads to the sideboard flips the RB Aggro matchup from can’t win to can’t lose. Clearly some hyperbole there. The GP results will tell us how much. 
 
Wizards fixed the Nexus of Fate shortfall on MTGO by upping the drop rate in Treasure Chests.  Fixing it in the paper world will be more difficult, but I am not at all sure that any action will be necessary. Even if Nexus of Fate stays at $50, I don’t see that as a problem. Some card is going to be the expensive chase rare in the set. So long as players can find copies to play, then it is not a serious issue. Cards cost money, and that’s okay because some of that money goes to the stores that give us a place to play.   Some that money goes to the dealers that make constructed Magic possibly, and some of that goes to Wizards, which makes Magic. 
 
While Nexus of Fate is somewhere between interesting and slightly worrying, I don’t want Wizards to stop the Buy-a-box promo program. I bought five boxes of M19 at my local games store, and I was quite happy to have $40 stapled to each box. The buy-a-box program means stores sell more boxes, which is great. Wizards should not change that. They might need to have some sort of backup program, in case the promos are too good – and I wish they could get us non-foil copies – but overall the program looks fine.
    
Cutting Edge Tech
Standard: The Pro Tour was a team event, with one player playing Standard, one playing Modern, and one player playing Legacy. That means that the decks in the Top 4 are not necessarily representative – for example, one player piloting Storm in the final rounds had lost eight matches but his team had carried him. But some decks were doing better than their teams. Dave Williams tweeted that he was 22-6 in games with this deck. Expect to see it around online. 
 

 
Pauper: Pauper players are going to be playing in the Pauper Gauntlet. The eleven preconstructed decks are here.  Or if you want something more, here’s the deck that won the Pauper Challenge.
 
 
Modern: Pro Tour 25th Anniversary included a Modern portion. A lot of interesting decks appeared. Here’s the one I am pulling together.   
 
 
Legacy: Pro Tour 25th Anniversary also included a Legacy portion.   We saw a number of classic Legacy staples, like Grixis Delver. Team CFB brought a new build – they brought Death Shadow to Legacy. This could be an interesting addition to the metagame, especially in paper. This is a lot more affordable than most Legacy decks. Watery Grave is nowhere near as expensive as Underground Sea in the paper world. 
 
 
 
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 back to a normal level of fluctuation and churn this week. The downward trend from the pre-M19 era seems to have halted.       
 

Standard Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Carnage Tyrant
$11.38
$11.57
($0.19)
-2%
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
$6.45
$8.23
($1.78)
-22%
Heart of Kiran
$8.02
$9.00
($0.98)
-11%
History of Benalia
$5.79
$6.39
($0.60)
-9%
Karn, Scion of Urza
$32.45
$27.78
$4.67
17%
Lyra Dawnbringer
$8.81
$6.85
$1.96
29%
Nexus of Fate
$37.00
$31.58
$5.42
17%
Nicol Bolas, the Ravager
$15.55
$22.11
($6.56)
-30%
Rekindling Phoenix
$31.36
$25.98
$5.38
21%
Sarkhan, Fireblood
$6.14
$5.00
$1.14
23%
Search for Azcanta
$7.00
$5.46
$1.54
28%
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
$38.69
$26.01
$12.68
49%
Vivien Reid
$6.29
$9.62
($3.33)
-35%
Vraska's Contempt
$7.42
$8.76
($1.34)
-15%
Walking Ballista
$9.57
$13.78
($4.21)
-31%

Modern staples: Modern prices were mixed again this week, but seem normal. Even Tarmogoyf has recovered. 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$15.68
$18.16
($2.48)
-14%
$25.65
$25.90
($0.25)
-1%
$23.13
$23.11
$0.02
0%
$18.78
$20.09
($1.31)
-7%
$20.70
$22.78
($2.08)
-9%
$40.86
$47.83
($6.97)
-15%
$23.33
$23.63
($0.30)
-1%
$40.31
$38.64
$1.67
4%
$35.80
$33.08
$2.72
8%
$33.02
$36.08
($3.06)
-8%
$17.59
$17.14
$0.45
3%
$30.92
$36.29
($5.37)
-15%
$28.28
$24.25
$4.03
17%
$42.20
$50.68
($8.48)
-17%
$26.18
$26.29
($0.11)
0%
$26.55
$23.77
$2.78
12%
$33.45
$34.65
($1.20)
-3%
$16.09
$8.91
$7.18
81%
$9.46
$7.21
$2.25
31%

Legacy and Vintage: I have added a couple cards to the list. Containment Priest is still fluctuating, while Brightling and Arcane Artisan are falling fast as people open more Treasure Chests. 
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$25.64
$27.22
($1.58)
-6%
$37.01
$37.81
($0.80)
-2%
$16.25
$18.59
($2.34)
-13%
$14.20
$14.66
($0.46)
-3%
$23.56
$23.86
($0.30)
-1%
$32.04
$29.55
$2.49
8%
$30.95
$31.60
($0.65)
-2%
$19.63
$21.42
($1.79)
-8%
$56.48
$60.07
($3.59)
-6%
$10.30
$9.81
$0.49
5%
$18.50
$21.05
($2.55)
-12%
$23.40
$23.07
$0.33
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
$48.34
$55.13
($6.79)
-12%
Amonkhet
$40.32
$42.71
($2.39)
-6%
Core Set 2019
$158.41
$156.33
$2.08
1%
Dominaria
$120.25
$103.85
$16.40
16%
Ixalan
$73.28
$74.23
($0.95)
-1%
Hour of Devastation
$14.95
$21.36
($6.41)
-30%
Kaladesh
$28.83
$35.79
($6.96)
-19%
Rivals of Ixalan
$77.81
$77.06
$0.75
1%
Treasure Chest
$2.29
$2.29
$0.00
0%
Core Set 2019 Booster
$3.27
$3.25
$0.02
1%

 
 
 
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 is pretty stable – holding at about 60 cards. 
 

Name
Set
Rarity
 Price
Black Lotus
 1E
Rare
 $ 89.90
True-Name Nemesis
 C13
Rare
 $ 58.20
True-Name Nemesis
 PZ1
Mythic Rare
 $ 56.48
Mox Sapphire
 1E
Rare
 $ 54.00
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 50.42
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
 $ 49.88
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
 $ 47.73
Engineered Explosives
 5DN
Rare
 $ 46.68
Engineered Explosives
 MMA
Rare
 $ 46.12
Ancestral Recall
 1E
Rare
 $ 43.75
Mox Opal
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 42.20
Horizon Canopy
 IMA
Rare
 $ 41.20
Horizon Canopy
 FUT
Rare
 $ 40.86
Engineered Explosives
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 40.86
Horizon Canopy
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 40.31
City of Traitors
 EX
Rare
 $ 39.99
Unmask
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $ 39.59
Mox Jet
 1E
Rare
 $ 39.27
Mox Emerald
 1E
Rare
 $ 38.72
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
 DAR
Mythic Rare
 $ 38.69
City of Traitors
 TPR
Rare
 $ 37.01
Nexus of Fate
 M19
Mythic Rare
 $ 37.00
Liliana of the Veil
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $ 36.99
Mox Ruby
 1E
Rare
 $ 36.84
Dark Depths
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $ 36.64
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 WWK
Mythic Rare
 $ 36.12
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 35.95
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 VMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 35.83
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 A25
Mythic Rare
 $ 35.80
Force of Will
 MS3
Special
 $ 35.16
Surgical Extraction
 NPH
Rare
 $ 33.75
Surgical Extraction
 MM2
Rare
 $ 33.45
Karn Liberated
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 33.17
Karn Liberated
 NPH
Mythic Rare
 $ 33.02
Force of Will
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 32.62
Karn, Scion of Urza
 DAR
Mythic Rare
 $ 32.45
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
 $ 32.26
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
 $ 32.04
Rekindling Phoenix
 RIX
Mythic Rare
 $ 31.36
Misdirection
 MM
Rare
 $ 30.95
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
 $ 30.92
Wasteland
 TPR
Rare
 $ 29.12
Liliana, the Last Hope
 EMN
Mythic Rare
 $ 28.28
Time Walk
 1E
Rare
 $ 27.99
Leyline of the Void
 GPT
Rare
 $ 27.66
Ensnaring Bridge
 7E
Rare
 $ 27.64
Noble Hierarch
 CON
Rare
 $ 27.51
Scalding Tarn
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 27.43
Leyline of the Void
 M11
Rare
 $ 27.38
Cavern of Souls
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $ 27.18
Containment Priest
 C14
Rare
 $ 26.67
Scalding Tarn
 MM3
Rare
 $ 26.55
Scalding Tarn
 ZEN
Rare
 $ 26.55
Mox Diamond
 ST
Rare
 $ 26.46
Noble Hierarch
 MM2
Rare
 $ 26.18
Mox Pearl
 1E
Rare
 $ 26.03
Cavern of Souls
 AVR
Rare
 $ 25.65
Black Lotus
 VMA
Bonus
 $ 25.64
Wasteland
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.03

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 $ 16,800. That’s down about $515 from last week. 
 
In Closing
I watched the Pro Tour last weekend, sometimes while playing Magic in another window.   I really liked the ability to watch multiple constructed formats at once. I would love to see Wizards do one team trios format like this every year. It would be a lot better than watching core set drafts every summer.
 
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” on MTGO
 
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.
 

4 Comments

Tarmogoyf by Sensei at Fri, 08/10/2018 - 18:25
Sensei's picture

Does "recover" mean "it is worth less this week than last week?"

If so then it recovered

IMO the silver showcase was by CottonRhetoric at Fri, 08/10/2018 - 19:39
CottonRhetoric's picture

IMO the silver showcase was good television!

re by Hearts at Mon, 08/13/2018 - 23:34
Hearts's picture

Lets hear about the warning and DQ intstructions/guidelines for judges next time please.

hearts, if you wanna hear by JXClaytor at Tue, 08/14/2018 - 08:51
JXClaytor's picture

hearts, if you wanna hear about it, why don't you write it?

Pete will write what he wants to, and you seem to think there is an ULTRA MK level of conspiracy among wotc and judges, so please feel free to write it, and get it out of your system.