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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Dec 23 2011 1:07am
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Hammie’s The State of the Program for December 23rd     

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

News and Discussion Items:

Banned and Restricted List Changes: The new B&R list is out, and Modern got a shakeup. (Explanation here.) Zoo has been very good in that format: too good. Wizards has banned Wild Nacatl. Wizards also killed the Punishing Fire / (Grove of the Burn Willows) combo by banning Punishing Fire. True, that combo was in Zoo, but it was also showing up in everything, including decks like Splinter Twin. Modern needed a bit of a shake-up, and it got it. The B&R lists for other formats are unchanged. (Wizards announces changes to online formats, like Classic, separately.) 
 
Limited Resources Podcast Interviews Ryan Spain: Ryan Spain is back on Limited Resources podcast! Well, this week, at least. Ryan was one of the original hosts, before he was hired by Wizards to work as the R&D representative on the MTGO team. He was back on the podcast to talk about MTGO, his work in R&D and the new interface. I have only had time to listen to about a third of the podcast, but that was enough to add it to this article. If you care about MTGO, listen to this podcast.
 
Third Set to be Large: Wizards released some more information about the third set in the Innistrad block. The big news is that Avacyn Restored will be a large, stand-alone set, like Rise of the Eldrazi. This means that we will be building Innistrad block constructed decks with all three sets, but we will be drafting triple Innistrad, then Dark Ascension / Innistrad / Innistrad, then triple Avacyn Restored. The announcement also states that the Pro Tour will be Innistrad block constructed and Avacyn Restored draft. In related news, Mark Rosewater tweeted that Dark Ascension will have two sided cards, but Avacyn Restored will not.
 
MOCS for 2012: Wizards has announced the new and improved Magic Online Championship Series. Details here. The program has been tweaked, and the new year will be divided into 12 seasons, but the heart of the MOCS is unchanged. One new feature: you will see MOCs points in your inventory. They will accumulate as you earn them, so you will not need to go to the website and hope it has been updated recently. Personally, I’m hoping that Wizards will remove the Warmarks to make room, but we can’t have everything.
 
Happy Holidays! The Winter Celebration events have started.   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 prizes for the Classic Champs will be sweet, and worth a bazillion TIX. 
 
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 8-player queues have decent payouts. Go two and one, and you get enough sealed product to enter another queue. Go 3-0 and you win ten packs (4 first set, 3 second and third.) The cost is 24 TIX or product to enter, and even if you get stomped, the average value of the cards in a Tempest sealed pool is $17.65. For Saga, the average is $ 16.16.  That’s a decent EV. It gets better if you crack a Wasteland or even a Cloud of Faeries – which is not all that hard, since Wasteland is uncommon, and Cloud is common. 
 
No Downtime on the 28thBecause 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.
 
Shards of Alara Block Sealed Event: If you have spare time on Christmas day (in other words, you’ve broken all your toys and don’t want to watch football), Wizards will be hosting a Shards of Alara block sealed event. Details here.
 

Editorial Section: Playing the Masques Lottery

The Masques release events are done. The draft queues are still open, but they are not firing very often. The Classic Winter Celebration events may kick some more packs into the mix: Classic pays out in Masques packs. That’s a big improvement over old payout: M12 packs were never very exciting.
 
I invested heavily, both in TIX and especially in time, in these events. I wanted a lot of the old cards, mainly for nostalgia purposes, and because I wanted to play old decks again. A very few of the cards I intended to play in Classic and Legacy. Doing the math, it appears I have busted slightly under 80 packs of Masques, in a mix of sealed and draft events. That also means I probably paid another 80 or so TIX in entry fees. Let’s see what I got with all that.
 
First off, I opened one (Rishadan Port). Given that the set has almost 200 rares, opening even one in under 100 packs is beating the odds. My complaint, though, is that Port costs $62.00 at the moment. For Jace’s sake, why? Rishadan Port is not played. Seriously: StarCity games has a database for all the Top 8 decks from the last year’s SCG Legacy Opens plus the Legacy GPs. You know how many decks have Force of Will in that database: over 400. You know how many have even a single Rishadan Port? A couple Goblin decks from a year ago, and that is about it. A pair of 43 Lands decks made Top 8 last summer, but those were just “old deck gets lucky” flukes. The card is much less playable than Tangle Wire, but it is a lot more expensive. I have no idea why.
 
Eighty packs should, on average, give me about one playset of each common, and roughly one copy of each uncommon. Not quite the way it worked. Of the playable commons – cards like Gush, Snuff Out, Land Grant, Invigorate, etc., I got fewer than that. Of the real trash, like Air Bladder and Plague Fiend – I have a bazillion. Of the uncommons I wanted, I have one Submerge, on Massacre and a Daze. 
 
Overall, I did not win this lottery. Lotteries are a tax on people with poor math skills, and I didn’t pay attention to the math. Worse yet, I was able to get into just two of the large sealed pools, and finished 9th and 10th, so I am not qualified for the Masques Championship. Sigh.
 
On the plus side, I still have 16 packs left over, so I may be able to get into some Masques drafts in the near future.
  

Tournaments:

Thursday Night Magic for the upcoming week (December 29th ): Pauper constructed. It’s the cheapest way to get tournament experience in the cheapest format. The TNMO card for December is an alternative art Savage Lands.  
 
No one told me about any new player run events this week, so I have nothing to report. If you want your PRE to be featured, shoot me an email at pete{dot}jahn{at}gmail{dot}com.
 
Let’s look at the Constructed Tournaments breakdown for the week of December 15th   through December 21st.    116 constructed events fired this week – the numbers are recovering! Classic both fired two event. Legacy and Modern fired many – those formats appear to be on the way back. Sweet!
 
Format
Fired
Format
Fired
Standard
44
Standard Singleton
0
Pauper
32
Kaleidoscope
0
Innistrad Block Const.
21
100–card Singleton
0
Classic
2
Modern
12
Legacy
5
Extended
0
 
FYI: I got the number fired from the list of results, here.  
 

Cutting Edge Tech:

Standard:  Most of the Standard being played now is online. The format is still fairly diverse, but combo is nowhere to be seen while UW Illusions, UW Humans and Solar Flare variants seem to be everywhere.
 
Modern: The Modern folks fired lots of events last week! Fantastic! The most interesting decklist I found was one that put Steel of the Godhead on Geist of Saint Traft. An unblockable, untargetable, lifelinked 4/4 that spits out Angel tokens seems pretty good.  
 

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. I did skim the decklists from the recent IBC events, but the winning deck look a lot like what I have posted in recent weeks. Put another way, I don’t know any cutting edge tech this week.

 
Legacy: Legacy also fired a number of events last week, which is great to see, even if the events were just TNMOs. One event was won by a really old-school deck: Goblins.  (And I thought the red menace was gone for good.) Here’s that list.
 
 
Classic fired two Daily events this week.  No Classic tech this week – just a strong recommendation to check out Penguin TV this week. Whiffy covers the metagame and provides videos of his most recent event. More importantly, he offers up several budget decks for people wanting to play in the Classic events during the Winter Celebration. A great resource for anyone that wants to have some classic fun over the Holidays.
 
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.  I may well play this in TNMO next week.
 
Mono Black Control
_DissonancE_ (4-0), Pauper Daily #3192781 on 12/22/2011
Creatures
4 Chittering Rats
4 Phyrexian Rager
8 cards

Other Spells
2 Corrupt
3 Dead Weight
1 Diabolic Edict
4 Doom Blade
3 Echoing Decay
4 Geth's Verdict
4 Serrated Arrows
4 Sign in Blood
1 Snuff Out
1 Tendrils of Corruption
1 Unmake
1 Victim of Night
28 cards
Lands
4 Barren Moor
19 Swamp
23 cards

Sideboard
4 Carnophage
4 Duress
3 Shrivel
4 Vampire Lacerator
15 cards
Chittering rats

 

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 the cards in stock 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.   Overall, things are going up slowly.
 
Standard & Block Cards
Price
In Stock?
Last Week
Change
$ 20.71
Y
$ 20.32
+ $ 0.39
$ 9.20
Y
$ 9.03
+ $ 0.17
$ 17.51
Y
$ 16.36
+ $ 1.15
$ 17.98
Y
$ 19.48
- $ 1.50
$ 4.43
Y
$ 4.81
- $ 0.38
$ 1.96
N
$ 1.86
+ $ 0.10
$ 19.57
Y
$ 18.57
+ $ 1.00
$ 2.28
Y
$ 2.08
+ $ 0.20
$ 12.56
Y
$ 12.45
+ $ 0.11
$ 17.08
Y
$ 18.14
- $ 1.06
$ 12.59
Y
$ 12.99
- $ 0.40
$ 14.53
Y
$ 14.89
- $ 0.36
$ 18.49
Y
$ 20.19
- $ 1.70
 $ 12.27
Y
 $ 11.82
+ $ 0.45
$ 4.55
Y
$ 4.07
+ $ 0.48
$ 18.39
Y
$ 16.89
+ $ 1.50
$ 27.26
Y
$ 27.26
---
$ 22.24
Y
$ 21.43
+ $ 0.81
$ 9.03
Y
n/a
n/a
$ 16.11
Y
$ 16.64
- $ 0.53
$ 14.20
Y
$ 14.09
+ $ 0.11
$ 17.29
Y
$ 17.53
- $ 0.24
$ 20.99
Y
$ 20.99
---
$ 19.03
Y
$ 18.82
+ $ 0.21
$ 6.80
Y
$ 6.52
+ $ 0.22
$ 11.76
Y
$ 10.38
+ $ 1.36
 
 
 
 
 
 
Modern prices are soaring, for everything except Grove of the Burnwillows and Goyf. Grove is now banned, and that hurts zoo enough that a few people have sold their Goyfs. Everything else is going up as we head into a Modern PTQ season.
 
Modern Cards
Price
In Stock?
Last Week
Change
$ 26.05
Y
$ 25.25
+ $ 0.80
$ 12.05
Y
$ 9.58
+ $ 2.47
$ 17.77
Y
$ 17.06
+ $ 0.71
$ 9.95
Y
$ 13.75
- $ 3.80
$ 15.80
Y
$ 9.15
+ $ 6.75
$ 23.46
Y
$ 19.80
+ $ 3.66
$ 11.54
Y
$ 9.33
+ $ 2.21
$ 9.34
Y
$ 9.18
+ $ 0.16
$ 81.31
Y
$ 86.14
- $ 4.83
$ 14.98
Y
$ 14.98
---
$ 3.51
Y
$ 3.07
+ $ 0.44
$ 16.99
Y
$ 11.91
+ $ 5.08
$ 16.41
Y
$ 13.39
+ $ 3.02
$ 14.07
Y
$ 10.70
+ $ 3.37
$ 18.90
Y
$ 11.00
+ $ 7.90
 
Legacy prices are climbing, slowly. The format is coming back.   
 
Legacy Cards
Price
In Stock?
Last Week
Change
$ 106.60
Y
$ 104.99
+ $ 1.61
$ 39.06
Y
$ 36.60
+ $ 2.46
$ 71.54
Y
$ 71.54
---
$ 27.92
Y
$ 26.19
+ $ 1.73
$ 38.21
Y
$ 36.50
+ $ 1.71
$ 35.30
Y
$ 38.99
- $ 3.70
$ 25.39
N
$ 22.97
+ $ 2.42
$ 20.37
N
$ 20.37
---
$ 16.17
Y
$ 16.17
---
$ 36.77
Y
$ 33.64
+ $ 3.13
$ 39.22
Y
$ 39.98
- $ 0.76
(Tower of the Magistrate)
$ 7.00
Y
$ 6.75
+ $ 0.25
$ 6.85
Y
$ 6.53
+ $ 0.32
$ 2.68
Y
$ 2.19
+ $ 0.49
$ 15.76
N
$ 14.95
+ $ 0.81
 
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 dropping slightly, but that won’t last. Cards should start heading up as players try to gear up for the Classic Winter Celebration queues. 
 
Classic Cards
Price
In Stock?
Last Week
Change
$ 102.60
Y
$ 97.81
+ $ 4.79
$ 25.04
Y
$ 25.04
---
$ 12.14
Y
$ 12.14
---
$ 10.11
Y
$ 9.99
+ $ 0.12
$ 23.65
Y
$ 24.56
- $ 0.91
$ 13.61
Y
$ 13.61
---
$ 14.00
Y
$ 14.00
---
$ 8.29
Y
$ 8.63
- $ 0.34
$ 30.82
N
$ 30.82
---
$ 40.22
Y
$ 40.22
---
$ 2.96
Y
$ 3.32
- $ 0.36
$ 9.66
Y
$ 9.82
- $ 0.16
$ 21.36
Y
$ 23.00
- $ 1.64

 

The Top Ten:

Here’s this week’s list of the top ten most expensive non-foil, non-promo cards on MTGO. No changes to the rankings, even though prices have fluctuated a bit.       
 
Most Expensive Cards
Price
Set
Last Week
$ 106.60
MED I
# 1
$ 102.60
Mirage
# 2
$ 81.31
Future Sight
# 3
$ 71.54
Apocalypse
# 4
(RishadanPort)
$ 62.00
Masques
# 5
$ 49.00
Nemesis
# 6
$ 42.00
Weatherlight
n/a
$ 39.73
Apocalypse
# 9
$ 38.22
Visions
# 6
$ 39.55
Tempest
# 10
 

Deck Prices:

Too busy this week. Maybe later.
 

Weekly Highlights:

None. Work and relatives in town for the holidays meant I played in one or two drafts this week. Lots of fun, but the games I played were things like Bananagrams, Apples to Apples and stuff like that.
 
PRJ
 
“one million words” on MTGO.

 

9 Comments

Even if I read this article by LOurs at Fri, 12/23/2011 - 04:31
LOurs's picture
5

Even if I read this article series every week, I don’t let a comment every week. But sometime, I feel I need to do it : each article of this serie is really a must-to-be-rade, each time very interesting & enjoyable. Thank you for this awesome work Pete.

About Rishadan, the price is indeed currently irrational: the card is good and all, but I agree it enters in almost no one competitive shell nowadays. Much less than tangle wire, and probably still less than unmask or misdirection. And nothing seems to announce it would change soon. Like you, I like to collect old card to play them casualy. But like you, I cant understand this current price. I would be very interested in getting a rational explanation.

People remember when port was by Paul Leicht at Fri, 12/23/2011 - 07:00
Paul Leicht's picture

People remember when port was the relevant land card in every format so they are hoping some new decks with it will be on the rise. That's my take on it.

Great article as always! "A by themonkey at Fri, 12/23/2011 - 08:18
themonkey's picture

Great article as always!

"A more subtle reason for the banning of Wild Nacatl is the development of future Magic sets." I wonder if that means that they are thinking about reprinting the Ravnica block lands in a future set?

Apples to Apples! Ha! What an awesome party game!

I've seen port played in classic by Jyalt at Fri, 12/23/2011 - 12:00
Jyalt's picture

The same workshop deck that uses 4 Tangle Wires runs port. At least the version that went 4-0 in the last classic daily I played in did.

im pretty sure that deck by whiffy at Fri, 12/23/2011 - 12:32
whiffy's picture

im pretty sure that deck dosent want ports. not 100% but pretty sure none the less.

Port seems bad in shops as by Cownose at Sun, 12/25/2011 - 01:52
Cownose's picture

Port seems bad in shops as you cant activate it with Workshop mana. Ghost quarter seems better. Although, if you are choosing between adding Mishra's Factories and Ports, then port MIGHT be a reasonable addition. Still seems janky/win-more to me though.

Awesome article as always by PatrykG at Fri, 12/23/2011 - 13:48
PatrykG's picture
5

One thing I noticed and have been debating on constantly - has anyone else besides me noticed that it's coming soon to a point where the price of a Commander precon will soon be exceeded by the value of the cards in it? The one with Scavenging Ooze, for example, has a 26 dollar card... but the deck itself costs 30. And if you simply buy it, and then sell it right off, you'd get back in tickets what you paid and then some. Once that specific shelf hits... it will be very interesting to see if stores will do what I'm debating on doing, which is buy up a ton of the commander decks to strip. Even if I get pennies on the non-rares / non-mythics, the price of the rares and mythics'll get me over the value in tickets, that's for sure.

You wouldn't be the first by Raddman at Fri, 12/23/2011 - 16:40
Raddman's picture

You wouldn't be the first person to do something like this. I remember awhile back someone doing this with the precon deck running Sterling Groves.

yeah, the one with rhystic by blandestk at Wed, 12/28/2011 - 17:19
blandestk's picture

yeah, the one with rhystic study had cards that would put you 4 or 5 tix over the cost of buying it. i did that several times.