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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Dec 19 2014 1:00pm
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State of the Program for December 19th 2014

In the News:

MTGO Holiday Gifts! Wizards has given us holiday gifts. Everyone who logged in even once between November 26th and the December 17th downtime will be given a premium Everflowing Chalice and 16 Phantom Points. The Phantom Points will get you into a Cube draft, Phantom drafts in other formats, or might be useful in getting into other drafts or possibly a prerelease.
 
Previews for Next Set Starting Soon:  Fate Reforged is coming soon. Previews will start after the Holidays. We have a card! And that’s all I can say, until January 7th. From Wizard’s email: Please keep it secret and safe until then, or Hasbro Ninjas will totally sabotage your New Year’s resolutions. But I think I can give you this without too much risk – after all, it would probably costs Wizards a small fortune to send Ninjas this far into the frozen tundra. Here’s our preview card:
 
 
 
Tune in January 7th to see the other side.
 
R&D Challenge Today - Modern: Approximately three hours after this article goes up, Wizards will be holding a five round Modern event with Wizards R&D members participating. The event is Modern, five rounds, cost of 10 TIX. The R&D team will include Dave Humpherys, Bryan Hawley, Ben Hayes, Jackie Lee, Allison Medwin, Adam Prosak, Yoni Skolnik, and James Sooymembers.  
 
Downtimes Shifted for the Holidays: Wizards has moved the downtimes scheduled for the holidays. Instead of downtimes on the Wednesdays falling on Christmas and New Year’s Eves, Wizards has rescheduled them to Mondays Dec. 22nd and Jan. 5th.   
 
MOCS and Player Rewards Promos for January: For the period from January 5th through January 28th, the MOCS promo will be Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. The event promo will be an alternative art Kiora’s Follower, and the store activity promo will be a Rattleclaw Mystic with some sweet new art. Nothing earth-shattering, but not total garbage. 
 

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. Here’s what we know. Sorry if we missed something – Wizards often announces these events after weekly articles like this one have been submitted.
 
Item: date it will return and notes
·       Vintage Gold Queues: Now to Dec 22ndVintage 2-mans, 10 TIX, winner gets 5 packs.
·       Holiday Cube: Now to Jan. 5th   Holiday Cube is the powered Cube.
·       Mirage Block Draft Queues: Now to Dec 22nd
·       Saga Block Draft Queues:  Dec. 22nd to Jan 5th
·       Holiday Festival Vintage Championship: December 20th – qualifiers Dec 10th - 19th
·       MOCS Last Chance Qualifiers: Dec. 20th and 27th
·       Holiday Magic Online Judge Open: Dec. 27th. 1pm PST. Free phantom sealed for certified judges.
·       Khans PTQ Finals: Dec. 28th7:00 am Pacific
·       Leagues (June 2015?) Wizards said leagues will return in 2015.
·       Modern Masters II: May, 29, 2015. Mirrodin through Zendikar. Details here.
 

The Bug Blog Update

The Bug Blog is a weekly post by Wizards covering the most common known issues in MTGO. The blog is published late Thursday or early Friday, so I may be a bit behind. The most recent one up, as I write this, is from December 12th.  The only new bug that week was that Song of the Dryads does not work properly when it enchants a Control Magic-type aura. 
 

Opinion Section: Community 

Last summer, I had a chance to talk with Worth Wolpert, the Wizard in charge of MTGO. I asked a bunch of questions, but one question and answer stuck with me.
 
Question: If you had a wish and could use it to fix one thing on or about MTGO, what would it be?  
 
Worth, as would any gamer, immediately wished for more wishes.
 
His response, from the middle of last summer, was that he had to wish for performance and stability. It was MTGO’s largest problem, especially back then. However, he added that if he had a second wish, he would wish to improve the community side of the program. He wanted MTGO to be more social. When you logged on, he wanted the program to let you know what your buddies were doing. You should be able to communicate with them easily, to watch their games, share decklists and cards. In short, Worth wanted MTGO to be something you did with friends. It was something Wizards was working on, but getting the program to run came first. 
 
That’s still true.
 
In the paper world, a lot of what makes large, multi-round events tolerable is hanging out with friends when you are not playing. It’s the social interactions and the chance to discuss matches, plays and matchups. On MTGO, streamers experiences some of this but for most MTGO players, events are solitary happenings.  I think that’s one reason that large events, like the old PEs, so rarely fire unless they have very large payouts. Sitting through eight hours of Magic interspersed with long waits for the next round to start is a grind and players don’t like it. So few players liked those events that Wizards eventually stopped offering PEs, at least in most formats and on most days. 
 
Wizards needs to learn how to support social activities online. It is not one of their strengths. A few years ago, the forums community was really strong. It’s pretty much dead now. Clans have almost no function in the client. Chat is something most people minimize and forget. Right now, playing MTGO is not like solitary confinement, but it is closer to that than to a paper event. Hopefully, that will change.
 

Value of Old Formats: Urza’s Saga

We are about a week away from Saga block flashback drafts. It is a chance to play with Pestilence as a common, and draft black accordingly. On average, the contents of a Saga block draft set are only worth about $6.87, retail, so you will want to grab the money cards when you see them. To help you out, here’s a list of everything worth more than the price of a booster pack.
 

Name
Rarity
Set
Price
Show and Tell
R
UZ
$  49.47
Sneak Attack
R
UZ
$  39.11
Gaea's Cradle
R
UZ
$  30.06
Time Spiral
R
UZ
$  21.44
Exploration
R
UZ
$  19.64
Grim Monolith
R
UL
$  13.24
Goblin Welder
R
UL
$  12.80
Argothian Enchantress
R
UZ
$  12.69
Serra's Sanctum
R
UZ
$  12.66
Metalworker
R
UD
$  11.95
Back to Basics
R
UZ
$  11.25
Academy Rector
R
UD
$  8.35
Gilded Drake
R
UZ
$  7.56
Phyrexian Tower
R
UZ
$  6.78
Replenish
R
UD
$  5.28
Treachery
R
UD
$  4.32
Defense Grid
R
UL
$  4.29

 

Cutting Edge Tech:

Standard:  The SCG Invitational was last weekend. In the end, it was won by an aggro Jeskai deck. The Top 16 decklists are here
 
 
Modern: The format staples are doing what they always do, but you could face just about anything in a Daily. For example:
 
 
Khans Block Constructed:  Block format is still firing events, and does not look to be fully solved so far. This week, Jeskai Tokens took top honors, with a couple Anafenza decks, a Mardu beatdown and an Ashcloud Temur decks trailing by a match. 
 
Jeskai Beasts
Spasticjr, 4-0, KTK Block Constructed Daily #7776396 on 12/13/2014
Creatures
2 Jeskai Elder
4 Mantis Rider
4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Seeker of the Way
14 cards

Other Spells
3 Disdainful Stroke
1 Feat of Resistance
4 Hordeling Outburst
3 Jeskai Ascendancy
1 Jeskai Charm
2 Ride Down
4 Singing Bell Strike
4 Treasure Cruise
22 cards
 
Lands
4 Island
3 Mountain
4 Mystic Monastery
3 Plains
4 Swiftwater Cliffs
3 Tranquil Cove
3 Wind-Scarred Crag
24 cards

Seeker of the Way
 
Legacy: The SCG Invitational included a Legacy portion. The Top 8 was a mix of Delver, Storm and Jeskai Ascendancy Combo. The Top 16 decklists are here
 
 
Pauper: I have been thinking about putting together a Pauper deck to play between rounds at FNM, or other times when I need a more casual deck. This one looks fun. 
 
 
Vintage:  Holy Cow – the Vintage Daily had enough players that three finished 4-0.   That means we had to have somewhere around 70 players. For a format that has had trouble firing, that’s awesome.   Now two of the undefeated decks were Delver / Young Pyromancer decks like the ones I’ve been featuring in recent weeks. The third was an actual Storm combo deck. Nice to see that doing well. Late edit: Caleb posted a video of his event over on Channel Fireball.
 
 
 

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 almost a decade now, and have never been overcharged or disappointed.
 
Standard staples: Standard prices shuffled around a bit again this week. Overall, we are very slightly down, but this is just reshuffling. No trends. 
 

Standard & Block Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$12.77
$12.77
$0.00
0%
$7.95
$8.72
($0.77)
-9%
$19.45
$18.47
$0.98
5%
$14.00
$11.51
$2.49
22%
$13.09
$13.77
($0.68)
-5%
$7.29
$7.46
($0.17)
-2%
$19.77
$20.59
($0.82)
-4%
$18.86
$19.15
($0.29)
-2%
$11.89
$11.67
$0.22
2%
$6.07
$5.77
$0.30
5%
$13.84
$14.79
($0.95)
-6%
$16.04
$15.74
$0.30
2%
$15.77
$14.47
$1.30
9%
$5.65
$5.63
$0.02
0%
$9.66
$9.78
($0.12)
-1%
$9.95
$11.19
($1.24)
-11%
$13.11
$14.57
($1.46)
-10%
$10.95
$10.79
$0.16
1%
$20.18
$19.43
$0.75
4%
$10.27
$10.49
($0.22)
-2%

Modern staples:  Modern prices rebounded after their positive rebound last week. Prices were down pretty much across the board.   A lot of this was driven by the supply of Modern Masters cards coming out of MMA drafts.
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$39.80
$39.80
$0.00
0%
$16.68
$13.85
$2.83
20%
$19.60
$19.90
($0.30)
-2%
$16.18
$18.73
($2.55)
-14%
$12.33
$13.67
($1.34)
-10%
$10.54
$16.40
($5.86)
-36%
$19.31
$27.46
($8.15)
-30%
$118.11
$18.42
$99.69
541%
$10.44
$13.73
($3.29)
-24%
$22.48
$23.40
($0.92)
-4%
$46.92
$48.32
($1.40)
-3%
$23.82
$25.41
($1.59)
-6%
$64.95
$66.34
($1.39)
-2%
$23.35
$22.09
$1.26
6%
$52.61
$56.40
($3.79)
-7%
$34.64
$37.07
($2.43)
-7%
$18.86
$18.66
$0.20
1%
$44.08
$41.22
$2.86
7%
$35.14
$38.17
($3.03)
-8%
$15.49
$17.64
($2.15)
-12%
$71.65
$75.70
($4.05)
-5%
$20.29
$19.31
$0.98
5%
$40.37
$45.99
($5.62)
-12%
$23.39
$22.84
$0.55
2%

Legacy / Vintage: Legacy and Vintage prices are pretty stable this week, except for VMA. The VMA drafts hit this week. Black Lotus is now worth less than a single Rishadan Port. For that matter, a playset of Wastelands – a Tempest uncommon – now costs more than a complete set of the Power Nine. Ridiculous. On the flip side, don’t expect VMA drafts back anytime soon. They were up this time because VMA draft was a Worlds format, and Wizards gave all the competitors VMA packs and drafts to play them in. That won’t happen again anytime soon.  
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$45.05
$43.24
$1.81
4%
$138.78
$132.40
$6.38
5%
$38.42
$38.42
$0.00
0%
(Containment Preist)
$25.31
$24.00
$1.31
5%
$28.74
$28.74
$0.00
0%
$28.00
$28.00
$0.00
0%
$9.65
$9.15
$0.50
5%
$30.70
$29.92
$0.78
3%
$29.89
$29.89
$0.00
0%
$28.42
$27.30
$1.12
4%
$27.44
$25.96
$1.48
6%
$17.91
$17.24
$0.67
4%
$13.55
$10.60
$2.95
28%
$104.59
$98.49
$6.10
6%
$35.91
$34.56
$1.35
4%
$56.70
$54.26
$2.44
4%
$140.77
$140.77
$0.00
0%
$47.51
$49.47
($1.96)
-4%
$39.11
$39.11
$0.00
0%
$34.59
$34.59
$0.00
0%
$41.70
$41.70
$0.00
0%
$15.54
$12.88
$2.66
21%
$36.68
$36.68
$0.00
0%
$101.61
$101.61
$0.00
0%

 
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 price of one of everything set currently available in the store, excluding sets that are not currently draftable or not redeemable.  Slight downward drift this week, but nothing of concern.    
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Born of the Gods
$75.78
$76.33
($0.55)
-1%
Journey into Nix
$128.78
$126.74
$2.04
2%
Khans of Trakir
$109.34
$113.47
($4.13)
-4%
M15
$152.77
$153.44
($0.67)
0%
Theros
$112.52
$114.57
($2.05)
-2%

 

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 return of VMA has pushed prices down – down far enough that Black Lotus is no longer the most expensive card online. Mox Opal is just behind Mox Sapphire as the most expensive Mox, and some of the Power Nine don’t even make the list. However, VMA drafts have now ended and the prices are beginning to climb. 
 

Name
Set
Rarity
Price
Rishadan Port
MM
Rare
$ 140.77
Black Lotus
VMA
Bonus
$ 138.78
Misdirection
MM
Rare
$ 104.59
Wasteland
TE
Uncommon
$ 101.61
Tarmogoyf
FUT
Rare
$    76.18
Tarmogoyf
MMA
Mythic Rare
$    71.65
Liliana of the Veil
ISD
Mythic Rare
$    64.95
Mox Sapphire
VMA
Bonus
$    56.70
Force of Will
MED
Rare
$    55.59
Mox Opal
SOM
Mythic Rare
$    52.61
Show and Tell
UZ
Rare
$    47.51
Griselbrand
AVR
Mythic Rare
$    46.92
Vendilion Clique
MOR
Rare
$    45.99
Infernal Tutor
DIS
Rare
$    45.41
Ancestral Recall
VMA
Bonus
$    45.05
Scalding Tarn
ZEN
Rare
$    44.08
True-Name Nemesis
C13
Rare
$    41.70
Vendilion Clique
MMA
Mythic Rare
$    40.37
Batterskull
NPH
Mythic Rare
$    39.80
Sneak Attack
UZ
Rare
$    39.11
City of Traitors
EX
Rare
$    38.42
Tangle Wire
NE
Rare
$    36.83
Undiscovered Paradise
VI
Rare
$    36.68
Mox Jet
VMA
Bonus
$    35.91
Force of Will
VMA
Rare
$    35.91
Scapeshift
MOR
Rare
$    35.14
Noble Hierarch
CON
Rare
$    34.64
Time Walk
VMA
Bonus
$    34.59
Toxic Deluge
C13
Rare
$    34.44
Mox Ruby
VMA
Bonus
$    34.30
Daze
DD2
Common
$    32.13
Lion's Eye Diamond
MI
Rare
$    32.03
Gaea's Cradle
UZ
Rare
$    30.06
Dark Depths
CSP
Rare
$    28.74
Hurkyl's Recall
10E
Rare
$    28.42
Daze
NE
Common
$    28.00
Intuition
TE
Rare
$    27.44
Volcanic Island
ME4
Rare
$    26.55
Volcanic Island
ME3
Rare
$    26.10
Mox Emerald
VMA
Bonus
$    26.06
Volcanic Island
VMA
Rare
$    25.34
Containment Priest
C14
Rare
$    25.31

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 $ 25,625. That’s up about $250 from where we were last week.
 

Weekly Highlights:

The best Magic this week was last weekend, when I got together with friends and drafted Conspiracy.   The social interactions made it fun. Hopefully MTGO will get that, someday. Maybe I’ll try asking Santa.
 
PRJ
 
“one million words” 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 three 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. 
 

 

3 Comments

Nice to see my Hexproof deck by ScionOfJustice at Fri, 12/19/2014 - 14:11
ScionOfJustice's picture

Nice to see my Hexproof deck make your article. Since I changed my list by four cards I just wrote an update to explain the value of the change with video from three daily events.

The vintage deck you showed is Calebs, his was recording his matches and posted them to CFB. Cool list and I'm only missing the probes as far as the main deck goes.

I presume that Dark Confidant by AJ_Impy at Fri, 12/19/2014 - 16:28
AJ_Impy's picture

I presume that Dark Confidant spike is a typo?

yes by one million words at Fri, 12/19/2014 - 16:52
one million words's picture

I think so - but if you can sell any at that price, go for it.

Correct price is $18.11.