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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Aug 21 2015 12:00pm
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State of the Program for August 21st 2015

 

In the News:

New Mulligan Rule to be Global w/ Battle for Zendikar Rules Update: Wizards has announced that the new mulligan rule tested at Pro Tour Origins will be universal with the next major rules update, which coincides with the Battle for Zendikar Prerelease. In other words, once Battle for Zendikar is here, if you don’t keep your opening seven, you may scry before beginning the game. The announcement is here, and the article explaining the rule is here.
 
Leagues Update: Wizards is giving us more information on leagues. They are now promising us Leagues in mid-September. Constructed Leagues will roll out August 26th. In Constructed Leagues, you will use the same deck for the duration of the league. Limited leagues should be out in time for Battle to Zendikar.   No information on costs, prizes or league duration was provided.  Constructed leagues will not allow for unlimited play, but have a set number of matches. Once you have played those matches, you get your prizes and are done. However, you can then rejoin the league and do it again. Read about it here, and I will discuss it further in the Opinion Section, below.
 
Play Points Arrive – Death of MTGO Fails to Happen: The new prize structure and event entry options – both involving Play Points – are up and running. So are events.  
 
Commander 2015 Decks will NOT be on MTGO, but the Cards Will Be: The Commander 2015 decks will NOT be sold online. The cards from that set that are not already on MTGO will be available, but only by inclusion in prize packs earned playing the “Legendary” Cube. The Legendary Cube launches in mid-November. This will be a phantom Cube, but will pay out 8 card “packs” as prizes. The packs will contain a mix of 149 cards, drawn from Commander 2105, past Commander sets, Planechase, Conspiracy and Commander’s Arsenal.   Commander 2015 will have 56 cards not available on MTGO. 41 of those will be treated as “rares” ion the prize packs, mixed in among a total of 79 rares and Mythics in the prize packs. We have no information, yet, on the cost to enter or the prize payout. You can read the announcement and FAQ here. I have a few thoughts on this change in the Opinion section, too.
 
Article on the History of MTGO: SaffronOlive has compiled a decent history of MTGO from initial pitch to now. It is pretty good: reasonably complete and only slightly biased, or maybe jaded is a better word. That’s impossible to avoid if you study MTGO history. Recommended.  You can read the article here. Some of the comments are worthwhile, but ignore the vitriol. 
 

The Timeline:

This is a list of things we have been promised, or just want to see coming back.   Another good source for dates and times is the MTGO calendar and the weekly blog, while the best source for known bugs is the Known Issues List. For quick reference, here are some major upcoming events.   In addition, there are either one or two online PTQs each weekend.
 
Item: date and notes
·         Modern Masters (2015) Drafts: Now until next downtime.
·         2-Player Legacy Cube Sealed:  August 26th through September 2nd.
·         Rise of the Eldrazi 6-2-2-2 Drafts:  August 26th through September 9th.
·         MOCS Season 9: runs from July 29th through August 26th. Promo is textless Cryptic Command.
·         MOCS Season 10: runs from August 26th through September 30th. Promo is an alt art Stifle.
·         Magic Origins Redemption: Begins August 26th.
·         Magic Origins Limited Championship: Sunday August 23rd. Qualifiers preceding downtime to downtime “week.” Details here.
·         Magic Origins Standard Championship: Saturday August 29th. Qualifiers preceding downtime to downtime “week.” Details here.
·         Battle for Zendikar Prerelease: starts Oct. 9th.
·         From the Vault: Angels: October 12, 2015. Details here.
·         Legendary Cube: Nov. 18th. Details here.
·         Implementation of the ‘Tuck” Rule in Commander: Delayed – no date given.
 

Opinion Section: Parsing the Leagues Announcement

Wizards has given us more information on Leagues. The article is here. I want to break it down. But first – these are not your father’s Leagues, and that’s both good and bad.
 
I played in dozens of league, back in the period that they existed. That period was between early 2005 (when we got decent Internet access at the farm) and 2008 (when v3.0 arrived and killed leagues.)   I also wrote several articles on leagues, including some fiscal analysis on how they worked. I also wrote about how they didn’t work, including this article on Fraud in Leagues. That article covers the basics of league design and payout, so if you want more details, start there.
 
Leagues ran for four weeks. They began with a sealed pool of roughly 5 packs, and each week you could add one pack to your pool. You played five matches each week for base points and could play additional matches for tie-breakers. At the end of the four weeks, the league ended and you won prizes based on final record. See the above-mentioned article for list of prizes.
 
In theory, you could pay your one-time charge to enter a league and play a nearly infinite number of league matches.   It was cheap Magic, with Wizards making a small profit and players getting a bunch of cards. In reality, this worked for the most recent limited set, but not for older sets. The newest set almost always hit the cap of 256 players. Core set leagues, and the leagues from a set released a year ago, did not. In those smaller leagues, Wizards lost a bunch of money. From a player perspective, those leagues were also a bust. Almost all league matches were played on the first day of each week, when everyone got their new pack.   After that point, it was often hard finding a match, and the players you ended up facing were those with broken decks who had already gone 5-0 in point matches and were chasing tie-breakers. The program did try to match you against the players like you, but what actually happened was that you waited a while, then got paired against a player with a busted deck who was chasing tie-breakers.   In the older leagues with fewer players, you spent a lot of time wait for any kind of match before a league player appeared to play against you.   To put this in current day terms, if you wanted to play in a Magic Origins league built along the old model, you could probably play a lot of matches, although a lot of your opponents would have busted decks. If, OTOH, you wanted to play in a Theros block league, you might have trouble finding matches. 
 
Remember, I liked leagues. I played in a ton of them over the years. However, they were not perfect. They were what they were. With that caveat, let’s look Chris Kiritz’ latest leagues announcement
 
Chris begins with an apology for the delay and the announcement that Lee Sharpe will provide details (e.g. cost, prizes, scheduling, etc.) at a later time.   He then announced that Wizards will be opening constructed leagues to players in mid-September.  Sealed leagues will come later.  
 
The toughest part of making leagues work was always the pairing algorithm. Old leagues let players play 5 “for points” matches per week, plus infinite matches that just counted for tiebreakers once they had finished their per points matches. If no one else was ready for a “for points” match, you waited. After ten minutes or so, the program would pair you against any player in the league.  In more typical events online and in paper, you are paired, to the extent possible, with players with the same win-loss records. However, those events start all matches at the same time – at the beginning of the round – so finding suitable opponents is much easier. 
 
In an online league, where players can choose to join a match whenever they want, finding a suitable opponent is harder.   It depends on how many suitable players are online and ready to play.  Wizard’s announcement states “[When you] are ready to battle, you'll queue up for a match and we'll pair you with an opponent as soon as we can. This pairing will include some matchmaking, but our primary goal is to find you a suitable opponent as quickly as possible and limit the amount of time spent waiting to play Magic.” To me, this sounds like the program will attempt to match you against someone with a similar win-loss record, but if it does not find someone immediately, then it will pair you with anyone waiting for a match. 
 
The announcement does not talk about tie-breakers. I read the announcement as stating that, for constructed leagues at least, they will not apply.   Instead, “you'll have a set number of matches you can play over the duration of the League. Once you've finished all of your matches your course is over, you'll receive any prizes you've earned, and, if the League is still active, you can join again immediately.”  I read this as meaning that when you join, you will have some number of matches (e.g. 25), and once you play them all, you are done and can collect your prizes. Then if you want, you can buy back in and play another 25 matches, and so forth. This is clearly not an “infinite play” league format, but that would not really make sense for constructed.   In constructed, we already have infinite free play in the various casual play rooms. What leagues should do is provide a tournament-like opportunity to play with a less strict time commitment, and at lower cost than 2player queues. We will see if that is wat Wizards is offering.
 
If limited leagues are also a set number of matches, with no infinite play option, that might be a bigger concern. We don’t have a casual room option for endless play with a sealed deck. MTGO does not even have a decent way of asking opponents to play a sealed deck against your sealed deck. In theory, you could create a table in the casual room, as a freeform deck, but many of the people accepting your challenge will pay no attention to your request for ORI sealed decks, and you may end up playing your sealed deck against some Vintage decks in those queues. But we don’t really know if limited leagues will be a set number or not. The announcement is not clear on that point. (Although it certainly implies that they will be.) 
 
And that’s about all we can get from this announcement. Leagues are coming back. They will be different from old leagues, but we don’t know exactly how. We don’t know what they cost, or how they work, or what the prize structure looks like, or really anything. We don’t even know if you have to select one constructed deck and play it in all league matches, or if you can choose a different deck each match.   Hopefully, Lee Sharpe’s follow-up article will answer those questions. Until we get that info, though, it’s impossible to tell if leagues are going to be worth playing or not. 
 
Stay tuned.
 

Opinion Section II: FtV Angels and Commander 2015

The FtV Angels set will be available in the store next month. Commander 2015 decks, on the other hand, will not. I think I understand why. The FtV sets are collectibles, featuring special foils and a lot of custom art. People value the look of FtV cards, and enough people are willing to pay the premium prices to make the purchase. Wizards may not sell a ton of online FtVs, but they sell enough to cover the costs of creating and coding the cards. 
 
On the other end of the spectrum are the clash packs. Wizards creates and sells these in the paper world. The typical clash pack set comes with two deck which can be played against each other, or combined to create a reasonably competitive Standard deck for FNM and so forth. In the paper world, clash packs are a reasonably costed entry level product. Online, where non-chase cards are super cheap, the value of a clash pack like Armed and Dangerous doesn’t come anywhere close to the $29.99 MSRP, despite having Dromoka’s Command and Collected Company. 
 
In the past, Wizards has tried selling the Intro Packs (e.g. these) online, but the MSRP has been so much higher than the value of the cards that players almost never bought them. The same has been true of most other precons and clash packs. A few Commander decks sold, but only when they were the only source for chase cards like True-Name Nemesis or Containment Priest. I bought those packs, but for cards that did not get close to the MSRP of the pack, like Toxic Deluge, I bought those cards as singles through MTGOTraders.com. Another impact of the Commander decks: the lesser cards reprinted in a chase commander deck became really cheap, since a lot more copies flooded the market. 
 
This time around, Wizards is trying something new. Instead of trying to sell the five Commander 2015 decks, they are releasing the 56 new cards contained in those decks a different way. Wizards is bundling them into special 8 card “prize packs” and giving them away as prizes in the new Legendary Cube. The 41 almost certainly best cards from Commander 2015 will appear as rares and Mythics in those prize packs. This could work. It might get more copies of these cards into the system than through selling Commander decks, without further trashing the value of the cards being reprinted in those decks.  Only time will tell whether this approach puts too many or too few copies of these new cards into the online card pool, and that will depend on how good the Legendary cube is, how many prize packs are being given out per draft and how many Legacy staples are in the new cards being released in Commander 2015. One advantage, though – if the next Containment Priest ends up selling for $50+, Wizards can just schedule more Legendary Cube drafts and increase the supply, or make it a MOCS promo or something. 
 
The concept looks solid. We will have to see how it shakes out. 
 

Random MTGO Suggestion of the Week: 

MTGO needs a filter to hide employee only and new player events, and show/no show filters for 8-4 and 4-3-2-2 events.  I am not eligible for either employee only or new player events, and I don’t really want them cluttering up my queues. I just want to be able to list the types of events I play in.  For me, I would like to be able to choose NOT 8-4s, NOT Phantom, and NOT “Employee Only” or “New Player Only.” I might toggle 4 pack sealed on or off (probably off), and would choose formats based on what packs I had, but that’s where I would start.
 
If you have a suggestion for an improvement to MTGO, send it to magiconlinefeedback@wizards.com.       
 

Cutting Edge Tech:

Standard: The Standard metagame has shifted again. At the Pro Tour, red decks won out. At the GP two weeks ago, we saw Thopters and a mill deck. Now we have come full circle, and Abzan has reclaimed top spot, at least for a little while.  Coverage of GP London is here
 
 
Modern:  Collected Company Elves, featuring a bunch of ORI cards. 
 
Collected Elves
ProPlayer77, 4-0, Modern Daily #8582443 on 08/19/2015
Creatures
4 Elvish Archdruid
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Elvish Visionary
3 Ezuri, Renegade Leader
4 Heritage Druid
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Nettle Sentinel
3 Sylvan Messenger
30 cards

Other Spells
4 Cavern of Souls
4 Dwynen's Elite
4 Collected Company
3 Lead the Stampede
11 cards
 
Lands
6 Forest
4 Horizon Canopy
2 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
1 Pendelhaven
2 Razorverge Thicket
15 cards

Ezuri, Renegade Leader
 
Legacy & Vintage: SCG ran the GP last weekend, so no large Legacy events. Next week, though, we should have result from Eternal Weekend with both the Legacy and Vintage World Champs. 
 

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 rebounded this week, as players realized that the world was not ending and that they still wanted to play Standard.    
 

Standard & Block Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$10.27
$6.16
$4.11
67%
$7.79
$7.14
$0.65
9%
$22.55
$22.19
$0.36
2%
$9.15
$7.83
$1.32
17%
$14.12
$10.22
$3.90
38%
$7.43
$4.83
$2.60
54%
$16.91
$19.30
($2.39)
-12%
$10.31
$7.47
$2.84
38%
$6.84
$4.78
$2.06
43%
$8.89
$6.54
$2.35
36%
$26.45
$25.66
$0.79
3%
$19.21
$21.42
($2.21)
-10%
$7.67
$6.65
$1.02
15%
$10.72
$7.82
$2.90
37%
$9.02
$8.02
$1.00
12%
$14.27
$13.88
$0.39
3%
$6.94
$6.55
$0.39
6%
$5.68
$5.81
($0.13)
-2%
$10.58
$6.79
$3.79
56%
$13.53
$13.54
($0.01)
0%
$12.28
$8.74
$3.54
41%
$7.26
$6.22
$1.04
17%
$9.55
$9.01
$0.54
6%

Modern staples:  Modern prices also made a comeback, but not as strong as Standard prices. That will wait until Modern is a qualifying format, again. 
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$12.72
$13.20
($0.48)
-4%
$26.82
$26.86
($0.04)
0%
$27.46
$29.90
($2.44)
-8%
$23.59
$24.22
($0.63)
-3%
$15.74
$14.20
$1.54
11%
$13.06
$12.23
$0.83
7%
$12.56
$10.82
$1.74
16%
$37.19
$36.23
$0.96
3%
$21.10
$24.96
($3.86)
-15%
$16.49
$14.58
$1.91
13%
$10.66
$11.58
($0.92)
-8%
$89.65
$86.51
$3.14
4%
$24.03
$23.24
$0.79
3%
$16.91
$18.33
($1.42)
-8%
$22.48
$23.15
($0.67)
-3%
$40.66
$37.46
$3.20
9%
$12.36
$13.79
($1.43)
-10%
$18.37
$15.03
$3.34
22%
$10.10
$10.65
($0.55)
-5%
$46.69
$45.68
$1.01
2%
$28.27
$28.04
$0.23
1%
$17.70
$16.06
$1.64
10%
$20.06
$21.16
($1.10)
-5%

Legacy / Vintage staples: This week, Legacy and Vintage staples also climbed. The power came back after an excessive sell off.   Stifle fell, but that’s to be expected. It is not played all that heavily, and it was just announced as a MOCS promo.      
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$33.99
$31.07
$2.92
9%
$85.34
$81.36
$3.98
5%
$26.91
$26.76
$0.15
1%
$22.72
$22.91
($0.19)
-1%
$39.80
$39.35
$0.45
1%
$22.94
$22.13
$0.81
4%
$26.83
$24.74
$2.09
8%
$25.01
$24.26
$0.75
3%
$24.13
$23.75
$0.38
2%
$33.15
$31.30
$1.85
6%
$18.62
$17.93
$0.69
4%
$117.68
$115.55
$2.13
2%
$27.16
$23.86
$3.30
14%
$41.83
$44.52
($2.69)
-6%
$163.97
$158.13
$5.84
4%
$58.25
$57.04
$1.21
2%
$19.29
$19.42
($0.13)
-1%
$21.39
$27.43
($6.04)
-22%
$22.19
$21.56
$0.63
3%
$25.76
$26.30
($0.54)
-2%
$21.87
$21.26
$0.61
3%
$23.39
$22.90
$0.49
2%
$11.90
$11.41
$0.49
4%
$18.64
$18.36
$0.28
2%
$21.00
$20.37
$0.63
3%
$65.25
$71.07
($5.82)
-8%

 
Set Redemption: You can redeem complete sets on MTGO. You need to purchase a redemption voucher from the store for $25. During the next downtime, Wizards removes a complete set from your account, and sends you the same set in paper.   For those of you who redeem, here are the retail prices of one of everything set currently available in the store, excluding sets that are not currently draftable or not redeemable.  
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Born of the Gods
$32.62
$34.24
($1.62)
-5%
Dragons of Tarkir
$128.06
$104.14
$23.92
23%
Fate Reforged
$54.60
$51.46
$3.14
6%
Journey into Nyx
$107.77
$100.97
$6.80
7%
Khans of Tarkir
$79.82
$78.11
$1.71
2%
M15
$79.82
$74.20
$5.62
8%
Magic Origins
$100.07
$102.82
($2.75)
-3%
Theros
$56.38
$45.80
$10.58
23%

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 shrinking. We are now down to thirty cards, four of which are duplicates. In other news, Wasteland has almost passed Black Lotus.
 

Card
Set
Rarity
Price
Rishadan Port
 MM
Rare
$ 163.97
Misdirection
 MM
Rare
$ 117.68
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
$ 89.65
Black Lotus
 VMA
Bonus
$ 85.34
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
$ 71.57
Wasteland
 TPR
Rare
$ 65.25
Show and Tell
 UZ
Rare
$ 58.25
Tangle Wire
 NE
Rare
$ 56.16
Tarmogoyf
 MMA
Mythic Rare
$ 49.05
Tarmogoyf
 FUT
Rare
$ 48.42
Tarmogoyf
 MM2
Mythic Rare
$ 46.69
Mox Sapphire
 VMA
Bonus
$ 41.83
Scalding Tarn
 ZEN
Rare
$ 40.66
Doomsday
 WL
Rare
$ 39.80
Griselbrand
 AVR
Mythic Rare
$ 37.19
Ancestral Recall
 VMA
Bonus
$ 33.99
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
$ 33.96
Infernal Tutor
 DIS
Rare
$ 33.15
Twilight Mire
 EVE
Rare
$ 28.27
Batterskull
 NPH
Mythic Rare
$ 27.46
Mox Jet
 VMA
Bonus
$ 27.16
Daze
 DD2
Common
$ 27.03
Containment Priest
 C14
Rare
$ 26.91
Food Chain
 MM
Rare
$ 26.83
Auriok Champion
 5DN
Rare
$ 26.82
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
 ORI
Mythic Rare
$ 26.45
Time Walk
 VMA
Bonus
$ 25.76
Ensnaring Bridge
 ST
Rare
$ 25.62
Blood Moon
 MMA
Rare
$ 25.09
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
$ 25.01

The big number is the retail price of a playset (4 copies) of every card available on MTGO. Assuming you bought the least expensive version available, the cost of owning a playset of every card on MTGO you can own is $ 24,060.  That’s UP over $900 from last week. A rebound! Sweet.    
 

Weekly Highlights:

I just got back form a week’s vacation. That did not leave me much time to do anything else, but I did get into a couple drafts. 
 
I also apologize for any typos in this article. I cut my index finger, and typing with a big bandage is a pain in every way. It gives a whole new meaning to “fat finger.”
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” and “3MWords” on MTGO
 
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.
 
HammyBot Still Running: HammyBot was set up to sell off Erik Friborg’s collection, with all proceeds going to his wife and son. So far, HammyBot has raised over $8,000, but there are a lot of cards left in the collection. Those cards are being sold at 10% below retail price. Erik died five years ago, so HammyBot does not include any standard legal cards, but it includes a ton of Masters Edition and Vintage cards, and some nice Modern bargains. 
 

31 Comments

MTGO did die a little bit by Lagrange at Fri, 08/21/2015 - 12:31
Lagrange's picture

MTGO did die a little bit with the arrival of Play Points. I am hoping for a swift resurrection.

I agree with you. With every by TugaChampion at Fri, 08/21/2015 - 19:35
TugaChampion's picture

I agree with you. With every bad decision, mtgo doesn't die but it gets worse or "dies a little". Can you imagine how many more players mtgo would have if they did not screw up during the v2 to v3 switch? During the v3 to v4 switch? Stupid bans because there are many bugs and people ask for refund? Turning the only EV+ events into overpriced EV- crap and giving us untradable stuff? And all the other times they screwed up really bad?

News by Sensei at Fri, 08/21/2015 - 12:49
Sensei's picture

I'm not sure I'd say "wasteland has almost passed black lotus" as news when last week the difference was $10 and this week the gap doubled to $20

Of course mtgo didn't die! by Joe Fiorini at Fri, 08/21/2015 - 13:20
Joe Fiorini's picture

Of course mtgo didn't die! Just my desire to play in the tournaments they offer died. That's not something that they are concerned with, so it doesn't matter to anyone else but me.

With due respect for your by Bazaar of Baghdad at Fri, 08/21/2015 - 15:46
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

With due respect for your awesome column, can you explain this comment please: "In those smaller leagues, Wizards lost a bunch of money." How did turning the on switch for a given league cost MTGO a bunch of money? This statement smells of b.s.

They lost money in the sense by longtimegone at Fri, 08/21/2015 - 16:15
longtimegone's picture

They lost money in the sense that they gave out significantly more in prizes than they took in as entry fees. As the number of players went up, the prizes/entry fees quickly went back in Wizard's favor.

I understand they took in by Bazaar of Baghdad at Fri, 08/21/2015 - 16:54
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

I understand they took in lots of invested player capital, but just what did WotC pony up? How much capital did they spend to fire that event compared to if they hadn't fired that event? I suspect near $0.00. In essence, they profited plenty, though not nearly as much as in larger events.

Is anyone arguing that the WotC accountants should report lost revenue on this and similar events in order to reduce their taxable income? Laughable.

Come on. Age old canard by Paul Leicht at Fri, 08/21/2015 - 17:40
Paul Leicht's picture

Come on. Age old canard there. OF COURSE resources cost them. Of course there is an opportunity cost as well and of course they pay in with work on the engine to make sure all the various wheels and cogs work without major mishap. So of course if they do not meet their expected bottom line they will see that as losses. Under performance is a loss in this kind of business. It is disingenuous to represent the costs as $0 for any individual event just because the costs are paid upfront instead of a per basis.

I disagree with all your by Bazaar of Baghdad at Fri, 08/21/2015 - 18:37
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

I disagree with all your points.

How much does the event cost in server resources to run vs. not having the event run? I suspect the cost is mostly zero, but Pete has not added any evidence to the contrary. If even 20 people (instead of 200) joined at approximately $30 in Sealed entry costs, they're making $600 in entry fees minus what, $1, in server costs compared to the event never having run.

Please explain the opportunity cost for running the event: the players playing in this event have paid full price. Even at discounted entry fees (if possible), it still way outperforms server costs compared to not having run the event.

How much work do you think they will work on the event compared to if they had not run it? I assume zero.

Their expected bottom line? They get to make up numbers now? If they fail to get 10,000 entries, they can call it a loss? I wish I could have such a failed business. I'll happily take the gains or losses for all such events (they will be gains).

It is not disingenuous to represent the costs as $0. The structure is implemented whether they push the start button or not on the more niche events.

Under your theory, they could never run a Vintage or Legacy event since it can never produce the numbers of Standard or Modern. Where are your don't-bother-WotC-will-lose-money comments in response to those petitions?

Its a non-zero money effort by kalandine at Fri, 08/21/2015 - 19:51
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Its a non-zero money effort to support leagues. All of the work, and it is clear it is a team of software developers, that has been ongoing for years working on leagues now needs to be amortized across all future leagues. In addition, the development team will need to address bugs.

Furthermore, from an accounting perspective, the cost of developing sets will now be funded to some degree by the income from leagues.

Lastly, there is a lost opportunity cost in the fact that many people who played leagues moved to drafts. Without knowing cost/structure of leagues, there is a possibility that Wizards is competing against itself in having both leagues and drafts. Analysis would need to be made to determine if the participation in leagues comes at a reduced sales to people who moved from drafts to leagues in comparison to players now injecting greater payments to the store to support leagues when they would not have paid for drafts.

Another cost is the potential for a greater need of employee/ORC support for league participants. Errors with leagues could create more refund requests. There has to be staff to review those requests and staff to investigate player complaints about league opponents.

An additional lost opportunity cost for outlying prize award percentages vs. income from participants comes when temporary drafts of old sets are done. If the inordinate prize awards for leagues with under-participation floods the market with extra copies of cards, the secondary market prices will decrease. Thus, when Wizards has a Tempest draft weekend, the impetus for people playing in that event is reduced, lowering direct sales.

Let's take this to the extreme. Wizards decides to run a draft every second. Any slots not filled by players become auto wins for the human player. No draft ever fills up. Instead each draft has 1-2 players that paid the full entry fee, but they both win 8 or 4 packs. So Wizards takes in $4 in tickets for the events for $48 in prize awards. This is effectively what was happening for lots of leagues to a less extreme perspective.

This argument fails because by xger at Fri, 08/21/2015 - 22:35
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This argument fails because if all events are treated this way, Wizards should give us everything for pennies.

In a relative sense, the small leagues lost money.

C15 by Adam_the_Mentat at Fri, 08/21/2015 - 15:51
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I don't think this plan is solid at all. I am sure they sold enough Commander decks to justify coding them. I bought 4 last time and I have a fixed budget. If you love commander, and you want the cards, you buy the deck whether its MSRP equals its EV or not. The MRSP of FTV angels is still more expensive than the EV of the cards within, and these FTV will feature foiling, which MTGO doesn't do very well. I literally have tons of friends and readers of my pure articles, and not on eof them told me they bought a FTV annihilation, but they all bought one or two commander decks. Just because MTGOtraders lists something like Well of Ideas for 3 bucks, it doesn't mean they'll ever get one in the store. The EV value of Commander decks are skewed because when someone buys one who doesnt want all the cards, they sell the ones they want and keep the ones they want. Most folks keep about the same cards-- the good cards, so those cards rarely see the secondary market. They had to code the cards they included in the Legendary Cube anyway, how much would it have really took to just put the bloody decks in the store? I have a kid, moderately like cube, and love commander. I am being FORCED to play cube for commander cards, which I may not even win, or not obtain those cards, or wait for them on the secondary market, which may takes months or years of patiently waiting for someone to sell one to MTGOtraders. For commander players, a casual format that many love, this isn't a Solid plan, pete, it's a smack in the face. They might as well have said "here's a bunch of hoops, now jump them. Oh you don't want to jump them? then no new cards for you. But paper folks? They don't have to jump. Why, because I said so!"

You are looking at this entirely from the perspective of someone who sees one or two good cards in commander, because of non-casual, competetive play, and thinking that's all that matters or, at the very least, the other cards are inconsequential because they don't help eternal formats. It's the penultimate nail in the "caring about casual players" coffin. I'm just waiting for the final nail to be pounded in, which I'm sure WOTC will come up with something soon that's just as or more so infuriating. This is not solid, it's an insult. If you don't have good enough programmers to bang out C15 in a couple days and recur your salary fees to do so, that's an internal problem. Don't make us suffer.

Good point. by Bazaar of Baghdad at Fri, 08/21/2015 - 15:56
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Good point.

There is an interesting thing by Paul Leicht at Fri, 08/21/2015 - 17:49
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There is an interesting thing going on today. We each recieved a deckbuilding kit gratis (thats 2 tix! + some junk for most of us who have decent collections but it is really good for casual wanna bes who just started up.) So there are multiple threads here.

On the one hand: WTF no Commander 2015???? Come on WoTC the casual community isn't dead yet. And on the other, they are actively encouraging new players to dip their toes into building decks if only on the shallowest end.

Constructed leagues will be coming soon. I suspect they will be filled partially with people playing with very small collections and perhaps even some of the cards included in the kit. (Swiftspear for example in each one.)

It would be really good to hear why the different pushes/and pulls. Yet again we are left to our own devices to ponder as you do as to their motives and end game.

Deck builder kit by Rerepete at Sat, 08/22/2015 - 11:31
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This seems to be related to activity. On my main account, I got it, but on my storage account (wkich I rarely use), I did not.

Odd the one I got the by Paul Leicht at Sat, 08/22/2015 - 12:43
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Odd the one I got the notification on is my beta account which I never play on but store excess cards on occasionally.

I asked essentially this on by xger at Fri, 08/21/2015 - 22:38
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I asked essentially this on the MTGO tumblr. Will there be any other way to get the CMD 15 cards. The response was basically, the secondary market. Annoying for me as I've not ever really gotten into cube at all.

Leagues by kalandine at Fri, 08/21/2015 - 19:35
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4

We read the wizards article slightly differently. I do not believe the article even hinted that sealed leagues would be around during Battle for Zendikar. Also, the article described constructed leagues as a single deck event.

While the pairing mechanism was a difficult design decision (even pairing vs. rapid play), I am not sure this difficult from a coding/implementation perspective. Furthermore, Chris's article clearly indicates the collection constraint aspects of limited leagues was a significant hurdle which they effectively delayed overcoming by going to constructed leagues.

I actually viewed the announcement very negatively towards gaining access to the leagues that I loved when I started playing online. No

I read it the same way. I by xger at Fri, 08/21/2015 - 22:39
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I read it the same way. I just really hope that sealed leagues aren't going to be a near decade of "soon"

One of the key things with by Cheater Hater at Sat, 08/22/2015 - 03:07
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One of the key things with the LCPPs is that it isn't just the new cards that are being distributed this way. The key isn't in the Commander cards though (even though stuff like Containment Priest and True-Name Nemesis helps). Instead, look to Conspiracy. Dack Fayden. Stifle. Exploration. And a little card named Misdirection. I'll be honest, Misdirection feels like the perfect card to put in the LCPPs (new art, likely to be in the Legendary Cube), but the price seems like it's too high, especially since it'll be rare (and we don't know if relative rarity of rares/mythics will be respected--more on that in my article coming early next week), and I'm expecting the LCPPs to be massively overprinted, especially compared to the printing of Commander decks (since each TNN directly put $30 in Wizards's pocket, and the ratios will presumably be a lot less, unless Wizards does something crazy like having only one pack for first or something). Then again, there are a lot of rares (and mythics) in the set, and the uncommons generally suck (the quality falls off a lot after Shardless Agent and the new stuff), so maybe the math works. Then again, the massive changes made to the article says Wizards is still doing the math, and the set might not even be final at this point...

I did not get a deck builders by Joe Fiorini at Sat, 08/22/2015 - 19:44
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I did not get a deck builders tool kit. If they were tradeable i would have given it away to someone in need, but all I have there are some lovely play points.

Huh, I am guessing it was not by Paul Leicht at Sat, 08/22/2015 - 20:16
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Huh, I am guessing it was not universal as my friend's account also didn't get one. I wonder what the catch was for those who didn't get one. No announcement aside from the email exists about it.

The content of my email was as follows:

"Hi Telir,

We’ve granted you a Magic Origins Deckbuilder’s Essentials kit to grow your collection, as well as 20 Play Points! With these, you’ll be ready to participate in a new play system we’ve introduced to Magic Online.

There have been some big changes to the way events work on Magic Online over the past few weeks—mainly, the introduction of Play Points. Play Points are a new entry option for most Magic Online events and are awarded as prizes in many Constructed events. If your skills are sharp enough, you can even earn enough Play Points to immediately re-enter into events of the same type—sometimes even two more, depending on the event in question.

If you don’t have the latest version of Magic Online, download the client and play a match or two (if you forgot your password, you can reset it here). The Magic Origins Deckbuilder’s Essentials kit will help get your collection up to speed, and the 20 Play Points will grant entry into a Constructed Two-Player Queue. You might even have more than 20 Play Points waiting for you, as any Phantom Points that were in your account were multiplied by six and turned into Play Points.

If you give the new system a try, let us know what you think by contacting magiconlinefeedback@wizards.com or our Twitter account. If you need help, you can go here for directions on contacting Game Support.

Thank you for playing! We hope to see you on Magic Online.
- The Magic Online Team"

Another great move by by TugaChampion at Sun, 08/23/2015 - 03:35
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Another great move by Wizards! Give some people and leave others with nothing!

Ah, the typical magic player. by longtimegone at Sun, 08/23/2015 - 06:15
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Ah, the typical magic player. They hear that wizards is packing 10$ bills in random packs, and Wizards is scum because they haven't opened one yet.

Wait, what? Something like by TugaChampion at Sun, 08/23/2015 - 13:15
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Wait, what? Something like they did in Zendikar when they put some Power9 in a very small percentage of packs is fine. It's something that is announced and the more packs you open the higher are your chances of getting something. However, this was not announced at all and some players getting stuff while others not is pretty stupid.

Yeah not complaining about by Paul Leicht at Sun, 08/23/2015 - 15:02
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Yeah not complaining about getting them but I do think everyone should have. *shrugs* WOTC works very hard to be enigmatic. There were no tweets that I could find either.

Did you have any Play Points by MarcosPMA at Mon, 08/24/2015 - 03:27
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Did you have any Play Points to begin with? My guess is that they're giving out points to those that don't have any at all to intice them to play. That's my guess, but it could be something else instead. I've long given up trying to put logic and Magic Online together. -_-

Yep by Paul Leicht at Mon, 08/24/2015 - 03:42
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Yep. Both accounts have play points. A friend asked if my Telir account was in the beta and I was like...yeah a billion years ago...(ie the first open beta pre v1.)

Beta by Rerepete at Mon, 08/24/2015 - 21:22
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My account is my Beta account too, but I AM playing beta leagues right now.

I didn't get a deck builder's by Misterpid at Sat, 08/22/2015 - 20:17
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I didn't get a deck builder's toolkit either.

The phantom points that I had were transformed into play points - it would have been nice if my war marks had done that also.

Leagues by MichelleWong at Sun, 08/23/2015 - 08:57
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5

I am happpy that Leagues will finally be coming. Because I am one of those people who find themselves "in the mood" for a single Standard tournament per day (but I am not willing to be insulted by playing the 2-person events because of their appalling EV).

I am interested to see what the EV is for the Leagues Standard events. I suspect it will in the middle between the current EV of 2-person events (abysmal) and the Dailies (not good, but tolerable for most). Why? For 2 reasons:

1. The main purpose of Leagues is to target people who don't have enough time to enter long tournaments, but who still want to get their feet wet every so often. So these people are probably willing to pay more for the extra flexibility concerning time.

2. If the EV is the same as in Dailies, then what is the incentive to play a Daily when they can join a League? (except perhaps for those people who join dailies in order to (as Lee Sharpe put it) feel "distanced" from the crowd due to the higher level of competitiveness in the Dailies (LOL).

Any thoughts on this?