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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Dec 04 2015 1:00pm
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State of the Program for December 4th 2015


In the News:

Modern Mayhem Event Sunday: The event will cost 300 Play Points or 30 TIX, and is capped at 1,024 players. First place gets four sets of Modern Masters and four sets of Modern Masters 2015, plus 6 QPs. Prizes stretch down from there through the top 32 finishers. Details here.
Junk Removal: During Wednesday’s downtime, Wizards removed the old Mirran and Phyrexian Warmarks and any leftover prerelease objects from player’s accounts. These things were useless, will never be used again, and many players were unhappy having these cluttering up their accounts.  Wizards listened to the complaints, and they are gone.
Article on Possible Changes to MTGO Events: Mishra’s Photoshop posts Magic related pictures, etc., on Twitter and Facebook. This week he also published an article over on CF discussing 8 changes he would make to MTGO events. I disagree with some of his recommendations, but it makes an interesting read. Article is here.
Streamer Showdown Next Thursday: Wizards will be hosting another Streamer Showdown next Thursday.   Streamer showdowns involve 8 online personalities all streaming the same draft. No details on times or participants, but expect one draft mid-afternoon and one in the evening. Format will be BFZ.
More Issues Coming Out of Downtime: When MTGO rebooted after the downtime this week, trades and payments in the store were not working correctly. The store and new account creation were down for a few hours.

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, with qualifiers running the three days prior to the PTQ.
Item: date and notes
·       Power Nine Challenge: Last Saturday of the month, at 11am Pacific. (Next Dec. ??h)
·       Modern Mayhem Challenge: December 6th.
·       Modern League End Date: Wednesday, January 27, 2016
·       Standard League End Date: Monday, January 25, 2016
·       Pauper League End Date: Tuesday, January26, 2016
·       Legacy League: coming sometime.
·       Sealed Leagues: Summer 2016
·       Legendary Cube: Nov. 18th through December 9th. Details here.
·       Oath of the Gatewatch Prerelease: January 29–February 1, 2016
·       Regional PTQs on MTGO: Standard. February 20 at 3 p.m. Pacific and February 27 at 5 a.m. Pacific.   Details here.
·       Shadows over Innistrad Prerelease: April 15-18, 2016. Details here.

Opinion Section: Phantom Sounding as Bit Better?

I started musing about shifting entirely to Phantom limited, and buying the singles I need for constructed.  Right now, nearly everything not Mythic is super cheap.  Back in the day, I used to play sealed to build up a collection of commons and uncommons, plus a few rares.  Nowadays, however, buying a playset of commons and uncommons costs, I think, less than a single booster.  I need to research that. 
I also need to think more about this.  I had some more written about this, but I erased it.  It needs more thought and research.  And I need to crunch more numbers. 
But for now, a question:  does it make any sense to play only Phantom limited events, and buy all the singles needed for Constructed? 

Random MTGO Suggestion of the Week

We need more Cube.  Six more days will not be enough. .
If you have a suggestion for an improvement to MTGO, send it to

Cutting Edge Tech:

Standard: The winner of last week’s MTGO PTQ. It’s not Esper Dragons, and it’s not Dark Jeskai. And it is completely lacking in Siege Rhinos. 
Mardu Aggro
Tulio_Jaudy, Winner, MTGO PTQ November 28th
4 Seeker of the Way
4 Abbot of Keral Keep
4 Hangarback Walker
3 Pia and Kiran Nalaar
4 cards

Other Spells
1 Ob Nixilis Reignited
2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
4 Crackling Doom
2 Duress
4 Fiery Impulse
4 Kolaghan's Command
2 Murderous Cut
1 Utter End

15 cards
3 Battlefield Forge
4 Bloodstained Mire
2 Mountain
4 Nomad Outpost
2 Swamp
4 Wooded Foothills
1 Canopy Vista
4 Shambling Vent
1 Smoldering Marsh
19 cards

Crackling Doom
Modern:  Wizards has started publishing the decklists that go 5-0 in Leagues. A lot of different archetypes showed up, including most of the standard. I’ll feature a Temur Delver deck this week. I haven’t done that in a while.
Pauper:   If you are looking to get into Pauper, or just curious about the format, you need to check out Alex Ullman’s format overview. It includes decklists for the major archetypes, and is highly recommended. Alex’s collection of decklists is pretty comprehensive, but I found at least one outlier in the 5-0 lists for this week. 
Legacy: The SCG Legacy Open last weekend drew 524 players – not bad for a “dying format.” The Top 30 decklists are here. Naming these decks is getting hard as people are splashing for everything. This is a Junk deck with the Punishing Fire combo strapped on top. 
Vintage: The Power Nine Challenge was last weekend. Vintage has changed since Chalice of the Void was restricted. Storm seems to be the best deck out there. It won the Power Nine Challenge, and it is tearing up the Vintage Super League LCQ. The Power Nine Challenge T8 decklists are here.

Card Prices

Note: all my prices come from the fine folks at 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 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 were down again this week. A few cards may fall off the table.
Standard Cards
Last Week
% Change
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Modern staples:  Modern prices were pretty stable this week, with a lot of small changes in each direction.  Lands, however, soared. Cards like Grove of the Burnwillows, etc., really need to be reprinted.
Modern Cards
Last Week
% Change
Legacy and Vintage: Prices for Eternal format cards were mixed this week, but generally up. 
True-Name Nemesis, Containment Priest and Toxic Deluge have all fallen off the list, because of the Legendary Cube prize packs. We will see what happens when people burn through those packs. They may come back. 
Legacy / Vintage Cards
Last Week
% Change
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.  
Complete Set
Last Week
% Change
Battle for Zendikar
Dragons of Tarkir
Fate Reforged
Khans of Tarkir
Magic Origins

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.  Wasteland is climbing. Last summer, I predicted that it would hit $100 by the end of the year. Might not make that, but it is heading back to the ridiculous.     
Rishadan Port
 $   184.26
Black Lotus
 $   130.39
 $   112.58
Liliana of the Veil
Mythic Rare
 $     94.34
 $     82.16
 $     81.18
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
Mythic Rare
 $     68.55
Tangle Wire
 $     63.68
Mythic Rare
 $     63.44
 $     62.16
Mythic Rare
 $     61.63
Mox Sapphire
 $     59.47
Infernal Tutor
 $     47.44
 $     45.68
Grove of the Burnwillows
 $     45.20
Scalding Tarn
 $     44.06
Show and Tell
 $     42.41
 $     40.31
Mox Opal
Mythic Rare
 $     39.42
Ancestral Recall
 $     39.13
Horizon Canopy
 $     38.83
Mox Opal
Mythic Rare
 $     38.21
Blood Moon
 $     36.54
Mythic Rare
 $     36.16
Force of Will
 $     34.29
Keranos, God of Storms
Mythic Rare
 $     33.50
Blood Moon
 $     33.18
Blood Moon
 $     32.49
Voice of Resurgence
Mythic Rare
 $     30.56
Mox Jet
 $     30.55
Food Chain
 $     29.68
Time Walk
 $     29.39
Ensnaring Bridge
 $     28.91
Oblivion Stone
 $     27.72
Oblivion Stone
 $     27.42
Ensnaring Bridge
 $     26.71
Gaea's Cradle
 $     26.35
Force of Will
 $     26.17
Auriok Champion
 $     25.54
Inkmoth Nexus
 $     25.45
Mox Pearl
 $     25.41
Ensnaring Bridge
 $     25.41
Mox Ruby
 $     25.06
The big number is the retail price of a playset (4 copies) of every card available on MTGO. Assuming you bought the least expensive versions available, the cost of owning a playset of every card on MTGO you can own is $ 24,090.  That’s up about $475 from last week.   

Weekly Highlights:

I managed to play some Legendary Cube drafts this week. So far, I am averaging exactly 1.5 match wins per draft. If I draft control, I win. If I draft anything else, I don’t. Guess I’ll draft some more control. On the downside, the total value of the cards I have opened in my prize packs is still just barely over $0.80.   I’m not winning the open money lottery.
“One Million Words” and “3MWords” on MTGO
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.
HammyBot Super Sale: 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 MTGOTrader’s Buy Price.  


Phantom by Sensei at Fri, 12/04/2015 - 13:29
Sensei's picture

You can't draft the current set (BFZ) in phantom formats, only sealed. You can't play the older Standard formats (Fate Reforged/Origins) AT ALL in Phantom formats.

I've switched to pretty much by Wikki at Fri, 12/04/2015 - 13:41
Wikki's picture

I've switched to pretty much only phantom sealed events. With play points I often don't pay anything at all. I don't need to worry about crappy cards cluttering my collection as well. I buy what I need for constructed, but I don't think I'll play limited anymore if it's not phantom. I wish they had a phantom swiss though as sealed is fun, but not as fun to construct as swiss is.

If you're looking to do any by MarcosPMA at Fri, 12/04/2015 - 17:54
MarcosPMA's picture

If you're looking to do any kind of BFZ Limited then I think it's worth going phantom only. The only thing of value there is Gideon + expeditions, which means a large portion of the time you'll open cards that are worthless. I imagine the same will hold true for Oath (expeditions + a mythic or two will be worth opening). Perhaps things will change when Khans + fetchlands rotate out and we're not playing what feels like Khans Block Constructed anymore?

Collecting by hotsoss834 at Fri, 12/04/2015 - 18:12
hotsoss834's picture

You mentioned that modern lands and specifically Grove of the Burn Willows need to be reprinted. Like you I've always loved the collector aspect of MtG. Lately it seems like anything with a shred of value gets reprinted sending the price of the original version into a tailspin. I understand that lowering the cost-of-entry helps newer players get involved, but it can be infuriating to collectors who've spent countless hours and dollars amassing their collection only to watch them tank with every reprint. The collector draw of the game, specifically online where the majority of reprints happen, isn't anywhere close to where it was a few years ago. What's the motivation to collect anymore if we know the rare card we have today will be reprinted next year and then again 2 years later?

Don't mix collectors and speculators by graphoman at Sat, 12/05/2015 - 06:38
graphoman's picture

I like collecting magic. And as a collector, I don't plan to resell my collection. So I really don't care if my collection loses some value. I only care about value of cards I don't own. And if you "collecting" just to resell, you're not collector. You are speculator.

Legacy? by drinkard at Sat, 12/05/2015 - 10:23
drinkard's picture

You're collecting staples from the wrong format. Get black bordered Vintage and Legacy cards, reserved list cards, and duals if you want your collection to go up. Other Vintage and Legacy cards that are specific to the block they were printed in (Eidolon of the Great Revel, an enchantment creature or something with a block-specific mechanic) are also good picks because they are unlikely to be reprinted.

Other than that, it is easy to watch for and anticipate reprints in order to move and buy cards and protect value. When MM2015 spoiler season was ongoing, two of the first cards were Karn and Emrakul. It was easy to guess that Wizards wasn't going to have the actual Tron deck be available in limited and that Grove wasn't going to be reprinted then. I bought 10 online at just over 10 tix each, and I should have bought more. 330 tix is nice, but if I'd bought 20 I could have a Vintage deck with the profit alone.