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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Dec 16 2011 9:51am
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Hammie’s The State of the Program for December 16th     

This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.
 

News and Discussion Items:

Happy Holidays! In this week’s blog post, Wizards announced details of its end of year celebration events. (Details here.) The list of special events is pretty long, and really sweet for us Classic players. Here’s the short version:
 
·        The Classic Format Celebration
·        Daily 64-Player Drafts
·        Shards of Alara block Nix Tix Drafts
·        Tempest block and Urza's block Sealed Queues
 
The Classic celebration includes 8 man queues paying out Masques block packs, plus full art Ponders for everyone, and foil Ponders for the winners. Classic daily events will also pay out Ponders. The dailies will qualify players for a Classic Championship on January 7th.
 
The 64-player Draft Queues will happen daily, in a variety of formats. Here’s the list:
 
  • Mirrodin block – Friday, December 23
  • Kamigawa block – Saturday, December 24
  • Ravnica block – Sunday, December 25
  • Time Spiral block – Monday, December 26
  • Lorwyn and Morningtide – Tuesday, December 27
  • Shadowmoor and Eventide – Wednesday, December 28
  • Shards of Alara block (block or individual boosters)– Thursday, December 29
  •  Zendikar block + Rise of Eldrazi – Friday, December 30
  • Scars of Mirrodin block – Saturday, December 31
  • Innistrad –Sunday, January 1
The Tempest and Urza’s Block sealed queues have decent payouts. See below.
 
No Downtime on the 28th: Also in this week’s blog post: because of the holiday break, Wizards will not have a downtime on the Wednesday between Christmas and New Year’s Day. They will schedule extra events to fill that time slot. The one downside is that redemption requests, which are processed during downtime so that they cannot interfere with events or trading, will not be processed that week.
 
Mercadian Masques Release Events Wrapping Up:  The Masques events will end on December 21st. Details on the release events are here. I’ll be playing in release events whenever I can.
 

Editorial Section: How to Save a Format

For the Holiday Celebration, Wizards decided to give a format a boost. Standard, Innistrad Block and Pauper clearly didn’t need help. It was the other formats that needed a helping hand. Wizards had a lot of options: Legacy, Extended, Modern, Classic, Singleton, Tribal, Prismatic, etc. etc.   All of these formats fire less than half their Dailies; many don’t fire any week to week. All need help. So, why Classic?
 
You can blame it on a handful of people: Whiffy, Hoff, Eternal Hammer, Dangerlinto, MMogg, and their co-conspirators. These people are why Wizards chose Classic.
 
These people are passionate about their format. That’s great, but it is hardly enough. BlimpytheSlugg is passionate – or at least works hard for – a bunch of formats, including Modern. If you cut AJ Impy, he bleeds a variety of blood types, but all of them are tribal. Gwyned is assembled entirely from commons, but is awesome nevertheless. The other formats have passionate defenders as well. Having passionate people is not enough.
 
(Note – I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of people here. I’ve never been great with names, and I’m sure that the instant I submit this, I’ll facepalm when I realize who I missed. I apologize.)
      
Being passionate isn’t enough. You have to take action. A number of people do. Dangerlinto created ClassicQuarter.com, a website devoted to Classic.   Other people have created websites (or at least forums threads) dedicated to all the other formats. These all help, and I appreciate all the work that these people do, and expenses they incur, to keep the sites in order. Still, a website is not enough. 
 
A lot of these people also preach the format. They write articles, do podcasts, provide decklists and advice to newcomers, and invite people like me to participate. Making newcomers welcome is a huge part of growing any format. Writing articles, week after week, is hard. I know. Everyone has a few articles in them – it is producing week after week that is a grind. Props to everyone that does – or that promotes their chosen format in any way.   Every bit helps.
 
A number of people coordinate player run events. This takes real work and dedication, and it helps keep formats alive. PREs are fun, and they help grow the format. A PRE is a low cost way for someone to get their feet wet. PREs are great – but they are not enough. 
 
Finally, the Classic community also works hard to fire Daily events. I have often been messaged when a Daily is in the 10-15 range, asking me to join. In a number of cases, people (including me) have joined and dropped, just to fire the event. 
 
 All of the above actions are important to growing a format, and I am grateful to everyone who does any of those. However, in the end Wizards looks at both who is passionate about the format, and whether those formats make them any money. Wizards is, after all, a business. I would guess that the final decision about which format the Holiday Celebration events would push was made about a month ago. About a month ago, Classic fired three Dailies in one week. The other formats didn’t. 
 
Recently, Modern and Legacy have also fired events, which is great. 
 
Personally, I’d love to see all the formats grow to the point that Wizards gives them all Holiday presents. For now – well, seeing them help Classic is a start.
 
As for the folks that have supported Classic all this time – congrats on a job well done. Pat yourselves on the back, but use the other hand to click on the enter button. The seasonal events are coming. The trick now is to make them fire, too.
  

Tournaments:

Thursday Night Magic for the upcoming week (December 22nd ): Innistrad 6-Booster Sealed. It’s cheap practice for the PTQs – now that the season is pretty much over.  The TNMO card for December is an alternative art Savage Lands.  
 
I am going to try to feature some player run events (PREs) each week.   Here’s this week’s list:
 
Event Name
MPDC
Tribal Apocalypse
Format:
Standard Pauper
Legacy Tribal
Time:
6pm GMT
5pm GMT
Day
Monday
Saturday
Contact person
BlippyTheSlug
Information:
Room / location
/join mpdc
/join tribal (I think)
Notes:
Pauper articles here and here
Swiss rds
Let’s look at the Constructed Tournaments breakdown for the week of November 30th       through December 6h.  Eighty-five constructed events fired this week – that’s below average, once again. Classic both fired one event. Modern fired two (congrats to the Modern folk!) Let’s look at how the events Wizards reported broke down. 
 
Format
Fired
Format
Fired
Standard
35
Standard Singleton
0
Pauper
28
Kaleidoscope
0
Innistrad Block Const.
19
100–card Singleton
0
Classic
1
Modern
2
Legacy
0
Extended
0
FYI: I got the number fired from the list of results, here.  
 

Cutting Edge Tech:

Standard:  SCG held a Standard Open and their Invitational last weekend.   The format was reasonably well mixed, although combo is nowhere to be seen.
 
Place
Standard Open
Invitational
First
Tempered Steel
Illusions
Second
Solar Flare
Illusions
Third
Wolf Run White
Wolf Run Pod
Fourth
Infect
Solar Flare
Fifth
W/U Humans
Esper Control
Sixth
Township Tokens
Illusions
Seventh
Tempered Steel
Five-Color Control
Eighth
Illusions
Tempered Steel
 
Modern: The Modern folks fired two events last week! Excellent – there is every chance they may save the format on MTGO.  The events are here and here. The winning decks are a Bant deck similar to one I have featured in the recent past, and a Mystical Teachings deck. Here’s the Teachings list  – and I should note that this deck does not contain any cards that are rumored to be on the chopping block December 20th. (When the new banned and restricted list is announced.)
 

 

 
Innistrad Block Constructed: ISD Constructed is still going strong.  Events have been firing right and left. I am still working on drafting my way to playsets of critical cards, so I have not been playing the format at all. What I can do is provide the decklist of the winner of the most recent daily event.
 
Bloodgift Voldaren
hongen11221986 (4-0), ISD Block Constructed Daily #3137489 on 12/14/2011
Creatures
4 Bloodgift Demon
3 Olivia Voldaren
7 cards

Other Spells
4 Brimstone Volley
4 Devil's Play
4 Garruk Relentless
4 Geistflame
4 Liliana of the Veil
4 Sever the Bloodline
2 Traveler's Amulet
1 Witchbane Orb
3 Blasphemous Act
3 Dead Weight
3 Heretic's Punishment
3 Naturalize
3 Witchbane Orb
42 cards
Lands
1 Forest
10 Mountain
2 Shimmering Grotto
9 Swamp
4 Woodland Cemetery
26 cards
 
Olivia Voldaren

 

Legacy: StarCity Games held their Invitational and a Legacy Open last weekend. Here are the Top 8s from each event. The metagame looks reasonably open – which makes waiting for the next update to the Banned and Restricted list, coming December 20th even more interesting.  Will anything change? I’ll tell you next week.
 
Place
Legacy Open
Invitational
First
U/W Stoneblade
Bant Stoneblade
Second
Zoo
U/R Delver
Third.
Esper Stoneblade
Pox
Fourth
Dredge
Dredge
Fifth
Zoo
G/B Explorer Rock
Sixth
U/R Delver
RUG Tempo
Seventh
U/W Stoneblade
Naya Stoneblade
Eighth
Imperial Painter
U/W Stoneblade
Classic fired just one Daily this week. The winning deck was Xcorpio’s Delver/Snapcaster Mage brew. (I still haven’t opened any Snapcasters, and I don’t want to buy what I will probably open, but I may buy them just to play this deck.)
 
Great Classic Year in Review article this week. A lot of work went into it, and it shows. Highly, highly recommended.
 
Note – Fact or Fiction is still bugged online. The caster ends up choosing what goes in each pile. The workaround in Classic matches is to simply tell your opponent what the split should be, and the caster splits it that way. Not perfect, but Classic players are a decent bunch, and don’t abuse that bug.  
 
Pauper: Pauper is the second most commonly played format online. We had a bunch of events, but I still don’t know the format all that well, so I am just going to post the winning deck from the most recent Pauper Daily Event.  
 

 

Goblins
Wynner64 (4-0), Pauper Daily #3137490 on 12/14/2011
Creatures
2 Goblin Arsonist
4 Goblin Bushwhacker
4 Goblin Cohort
4 Goblin Sledder
4 Mogg Conscripts
4 Mogg Flunkies
4 Mogg Raider
3 Mogg War Marshal
4 Sparksmith
33 cards

Other Spells
3 Chain Lightning
1 Death Spark
2 Fireblast
4 Lightning Bolt
10 cards
Lands
0 cards

Mogg Flunkies
 

Card Prices:  

Notes: All my prices come from MTGOTraders.com. For cards that are available in multiple sets, I am quoting the most recent set’s price. Thus, the price I’m quoting for Primeval Titan is from M12. If I list a card as out of stock, don’t assume you can’t buy it.  MTGOTraders stocks their Bots first, so the MTGOTradersBot1, MTGOTradersBot2, MTGOTradersBot3, or MTGOTradersBot4 often have cards to sell even when the online store is out. Now, on to prices.
 
Standard is pretty stable. A few cards are oscillating, but prices are pretty much unchanged.
 
Standard & Block Cards
Price
In Stock?
Last Week
Change
$ 20.32
Y
$ 19.74
+ $ 0.58
$ 9.03
Y
$ 9.43
- $ 0.30
$ 16.36
Y
$ 13.11
+ $ 3.25
$ 19.48
Y
$ 18.80
+ $ 0.68
(Gavony Township)
$ 0.55
Y
$ 0.42
+ $ 0.13
$ 0.32
Y
$ 0.38
- $ 0.06
$ 4.81
Y
$ 4.80
+ $ 0.01
$ 1.86
Y
$ 3.24
- $ 0.1.38
$ 18.57
Y
$ 17.46
+ $ 1.11
$ 2.73
Y
$ 2.68
+ $ 0.05
$ 2.08
Y
$ 2.32
- $ 0.24
(Woodland Cemetery)
$ 1.24
Y
$ 1.67
- $ 0.43
$ 12.45
Y
$ 11.57
+ $ 0.57
$ 18.14
Y
$ 16.38
+ $ 1.76
$ 12.99
Y
$ 13.12
- $ 0.13
$ 14.89
Y
$ 14.31
+ $ 0.58
$ 20.19
Y
$ 18.32
+ $ 2.10
 $ 11.82
Y
 $ 11.73
+ $ 0.09
$ 4.07
Y
$ 4.12
- $ 0.05
$ 16.89
Y
$ 16.41
+ $ 0.48
$ 27.26
Y
$ 28.05
- $ 0.79
$ 16.64
Y
$ 16.64
---
$ 14.09
Y
$ 13.31
+ $ 0.78
$ 17.53
Y
$ 18.03
- $ 0.50
$ 20.99
Y
$ 19.25
+ $ 1.74
$ 21.43
Y
$ 21.27
+ $ 0.16
$ 6.52
Y
$ 7.19
- $ 0.67
$ 10.38
Y
$ 10.54
- $ 0.16
$ 18.82
Y
$ 16.62
+ $ 2.20
Modern prices are up, for everything except Grove of the Burnwillows. Grove is the outlier because it is rumored to be on the short list for banning. We will know next week. Everything else is going up as we head into a Modern PTQ season.
 
Modern Cards
Price
In Stock?
Last Week
Change
$ 25.25
Y
$ 22.54
+ $ 2.71
$ 9.58
Y
$ 7.75
+ $ 1.77
$ 17.06
Y
$ 16.43
+ $ 0.63
$ 13.75
Y
$ 14.91
- $ 1.16
$ 9.15
Y
$ 7.37
+ $ 1.78
$ 19.80
Y
$ 19.60
+ $ 0.20
$ 9.33
Y
$ 7.58
+ $ 1.75
$ 9.18
Y
$ 8.40
+ $ 0.78
$ 86.14
Y
$ 71.98
+ $ 14.16
$ 14.98
Y
$ 12.96
+ $ 2.02
$ 3.07
Y
$ 2.95
+ $ 0.12
$ 11.91
Y
$ 8.94
+ $ 2.97
$ 13.39
Y
$ 12.88
+ $ 0.51
$ 10.70
Y
$ 9.43
+ $ 1.27
$ 11.00
N
$ 10.83
+ $ 0.17
Legacy prices have stabilized.   It is probably time to clean up this list. Hymn to Tourach and Undiscovered Paradise are not that interesting (Hymn’s cheap, and Paradise is not being played), so I pulled them and added Riptide Laboratory, Flusterstorm, Tower of the Magistrate and Scavenging Ooze.   I also moved Entomb up from Classic. What other changes should I make?
 
Legacy Cards
Price
In Stock?
Last Week
Change
$ 104.99
Y
$ 106.69
- $ 1.70
$ 36.60
Y
$ 38.10
- $ 1.50
$ 71.54
Y
$ 71.54
---
$ 26.19
Y
$ 25.85
+ $ 0.34
$ 36.50
Y
$ 36.14
+ $ 0.36
$ 38.99
Y
$ 43.12
- $ 4.13
$ 22.97
N
$ 20.17
+ $ 2.80
$ 20.37
N
$ 18.86
+ $ 1.51
$ 16.17
Y
$ 16.31
- $ 0.14
$ 33.64
Y
$ 37.98
- $ 4.34
$ 39.98
Y
$ 39.98
---
(Tower of the Magistrate)
$ 6.75
Y
$ 8.00
- $ 1.25
$ 6.53
Y
$ 6.73
- $ 0.20
$ 2.19
Y
$ 2.91
- $ 0.72
$ 14.95
N
$ 14.95
---
Note: cards which are staples in both Legacy and Classic may appear in either list. If you don’t see a card in one list, check the other.
 
Classic prices are oscillating slightly, but overall headed up. This trend should continue if more players try to gear up for the Classic Seasonal queues. 
 
Classic Cards
Price
In Stock?
Last Week
Change
$ 97.81
Y
$ 97.81
---
$ 25.04
Y
$ 23.35
+ $ 1.69
$ 12.14
Y
$ 12.14
---
$ 9.99
Y
$ 10.38
- $ 0.39
$ 24.56
Y
$ 24.38
+ $ 0.18
$ 13.61
Y
$ 12.78
+ $ 0.83
$ 14.00
Y
$ 13.87
+ $ 0.13
$ 8.63
Y
$ 8.63
---
$ 30.82
Y
$ 31.41
- $ 0.59
$ 40.22
Y
$ 40.22
---
$ 3.32
Y
$ 3.32
---
$ 9.82
Y
$ 9.69
+ $ 0.13
$ 23.00
Y
$ 23.00
---

The Top Ten:

Here’s this week’s list of the top ten most expensive non-foil, non-promo cards on MTGO. Two Masques block cards have cracked the top ten and are climbing. Jace has been knocked out.       
 
Most Expensive Cards
Price
Set
Last Week
$ 104.99
MED I
# 1
$ 97.81
Mirage
# 2
$ 86.14
Future Sight
# 3
$ 71.54
Apocalypse
# 4
(Rishadan Port)
$ 62.00
Masques
# 5
$ 43.12
Nemesis
# 6
$ 42.00
Weatherlight
n/a
$ 41.80
Apocalypse
# 9
$ 40.22
Visions
# 6
$ 39.55
Tempest
# 10

Deck Prices:

Too busy this week. Maybe later.
 

Weekly Highlights:

BlippytheSlug invited me to the Tribal Apocalypse event last Saturday. He contacted me about an hour ahead of time, so I had to scramble for a deck. I had enjoyed playing Illusions in Classic, so that was a start. I pulled the cards not legal for Legacy Tribal (Strip Mine, AEther Vial, Mental Misstep, etc.) and two of the Spell Pierces. I added some (Cloud Skate)s, a couple random illusions, plus two Counterspells and 2 Excludes. I was ready to battle. 
 
I don’t really remember my first match much at all, and only remember part of the second. Halfway through my first round, I got an email from the Classic crew that their DE was at 15 players. I joined to fire it, but since I had 6 TIX invested, I tried to play in both. Bad plan. I punted the match in both events. I think it was my first round in Tribal. My second match was against a UB Zombie control deck running Vengeful Pharaoh and (Geth’s Verdict), which gave me fits. However, I managed to push damage through. I won the match by activating  Mutavault using its own mana, which let me keep my flier alive just long enough.
 
My third round was against AJ Impy of podcasting fame. He was playing an Cloudpost Eldrazi deck – but my opening hand had an Island, three Illusions costing 1U each, Force of Will and three Wastelands. I dropped an Illusion, Forced an Oblivion Stone and Wastelanded him into submission. Game two I again drew a bunch of Wastelands, but he did get lands into play, and on the final turn, he assembled 10 mana and cast Kozilek: I Dazed it. 
 
I would definitely like to play in this event again. I’ll just have to find time: relatives in town this weekend, then traveling for Christmas and New Years. Sometime, though. It’s too much fun to miss.
 
PRJ
 
“one million words” on MTGO.

10 Comments

Thank you by apaulogy at Fri, 12/16/2011 - 12:15
apaulogy's picture
5

Your PRE section describes exactly what I am trying to do with Modern. I know I have a lot of work left to do, but, even though you didn't say anything about me specifically, I appreciate knowing that someone knows the amount of work involved with this.

I know how hard it must be for you to make articles every week. I appreciate every single one.

Thanks, Pete. Happy Holidays.

One of those I forgot by one million words at Fri, 12/16/2011 - 14:43
one million words's picture

Argh - facepalm.

Apaulogy should have been in the list. You were in the mental list I was making planning this article during my commute, and one of the names I could not remember when finally writing.

Sorry.

It is okay by apaulogy at Fri, 12/16/2011 - 14:51
apaulogy's picture

I don't fault you. I am a n00b around here. I appreciate the ad hoc mention. :)

No apaulogy necessary (see what I did there?)

BTW-shameless plug- I am 32 today. This is a great b-day present. A mention from the infamous one million words!!!

Thank you.

happy b day guy. dont get to by whiffy at Fri, 12/16/2011 - 15:15
whiffy's picture

happy b day guy. dont get to hammered. I apulogise (ehh, ehh,) if thats corny.

Happy Birthday young un! :D by Paul Leicht at Fri, 12/16/2011 - 17:37
Paul Leicht's picture

Happy Birthday young un! :D

Thanks again by apaulogy at Fri, 12/16/2011 - 19:25
apaulogy's picture

Paul and George- My favorite Pure peeps that share names with 2 Beatles :D

yay for classic. yay for by whiffy at Fri, 12/16/2011 - 12:31
whiffy's picture

yay for classic.
yay for pete.
yay for pure.

Im not sure why they chose classic, other then its the best format.....
but the desision was made as early as august 23rd. thats when danger linto announced that the poty race would run all the way till january 7th. come on out guys!. my article next week will have some budget friendly classic options in it to entice different player groups. on top of budgety decks like dredge and gw hate.

I got the Red cards by apaulogy at Fri, 12/16/2011 - 14:18
apaulogy's picture

I am going to join in on your guys' Holiday celebration.

Hopefully I can win something now!!

See you all in the winter celebration and congrats on establishing your format.

Nice to see classic get some by endless at Fri, 12/16/2011 - 13:20
endless's picture
5

Nice to see classic get some true recognition. Thanks to all the guys who've helped classic grow over the last few years, and thanks to wotc for recognizing all the hard work that's gone into it.

You know what would have been by Calavera at Sat, 12/17/2011 - 22:23
Calavera's picture

You know what would have been really awesome....

If they had put the Classic PE schedule up already!

It takes a lot of planning for me to block out 5+ hours... the sooner I know when they are the more likely I can play in them...