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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Dec 08 2017 1:00pm
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State of the Program for December 8th 2017
 
In the News
Japan Wins World Magic Cup: Japan edged out Poland to win the World Magic. Coverage is here
 
Real Power Nine Coming to MTGO: This one excites me! Wizards is giving us a chance to get the actual Power Nine – as in the actual Power Nine, with the real frame and the real artwork. These cards will be available in booster packs in a special Vintage Masters draft coming next week. Details here.
 
Reid Duke Wins Vintage Super League: The VSL finals happened Tuesday. Reid Duke played Kevin Cron in a best of five matches final. Reid was coming off the World Magic Cup, and was playing in the wee early hours at his hotel in Spain. Despite that, he and Kevin Cron played a series of really good, really intense games. Worth watching.
 
More MTGA Videos Up:  Wizards has shown us more of MTG Arena.   This week we saw a video showing the new deck editor and some match play.
 
Standard Gauntlet of Greatness Here: The final Throwback Standard Gauntlet will be up through next downtime. It includes the best decks from the Throwback Gauntlets form earlier this year. Full details are here.
 
Amonkhet Redemption Glitch: Players who unsuccessfully attempted to purchase one or more Amonkhet (Regular) Redemption Sets between Monday, November 20, and the cutoff date of 10 a.m. PT on Wednesday, November 22, should contact Game Support via the Help Form by 10 a.m. PT Monday.
 
The Timeline
This is a list of things we have been promised, or we just want to see coming back.   Another good source for dates and times is the calendar and the weekly blog, while the best source for known bugs is the bug blog which appears sporadically on MTGO.com. Not listed, but important: Wizards offers either one or two online PTQs each weekend, with qualifiers running the three days prior to the PTQ.
 

Upcoming Events
Timing
Scheduled Downtime
December 13th,
Constructed Leagues End
January 15, 2018
Sealed Leagues End
January 15, 2018
Rivals of Ixalan
January 21, 2018
Core Set Magic 2019
July 20, 2018
25th Anniversary Edition Masters
March 16, 2018
Next B&R Announcement
January 15, 2018
SOI and EMN Redemption Ends
April 28, 2018
Ixalan Redemption Ends
May 23, 2018
Rivals of Ixalan Redemption Ends
May 23, 2018

 
2018 Magic Online Championship Series
Complete details, including schedule, rules, and which online events qualify you for which online or paper events is here.   Here are the main dates for the next quarter:
 

Event Date
Event Type
Event Format
Invites
Saturday, December 16
Monthly
Standard
February 10 MOCS Playoff
Friday, December 29
Monthly
Ixalan Sealed
February 10 MOCS Playoff
Saturday, December 30
Open
Ixalan Sealed
Magic Online Championship, Pro Tour Dominaria, PT Challenge at Pro Tour Dominaria
Saturday, January 6
Open
Ixalan Sealed
Magic Online Championship, Pro Tour Dominaria, PT Challenge at Pro Tour Dominaria
Sunday, January 7
Monthly
Modern
February 10 MOCS Playoff
Saturday, January 27
Monthly
Standard
February 10 MOCS Playoff
Sunday, January 28
Monthly
Ixalan-Rivals of Ixalan Sealed
February 10 MOCS Playoff
Saturday, February 10
Playoff
Standard
Magic Online Championship, Pro Tour Dominaria, PT Challenge at Pro Tour Dominaria

 
Magic Online Format Challenges
These are high stakes events that happen every weekend.   They cost 25 Tix / 250 play points, and last a number of rounds based on participation (assume 5-8), plus a single elimination Top 8. Details, including prize payouts, are here. Start times are:
 

Event Type
Start Time
Saturday, 8:00 am PT
Saturday, 10:00 am PT
Saturday, 12:00 pm PT
Sunday, 8:00 am PT
Sunday, 10:00 am PT

 
Flashback, Throwback Standard and CUBE for 2017
Wizards will be offering either a flashback draft league, a flashback Standard gauntlet, a CUBE league or prerelease / Release events each week.   Here’s the schedule so far.
 

Flashback and Such Rotation
Begins
Ends
Standard Gauntlet of Greatness
December 6th
December 13th
Triple Lorwyn
December 13th
December 20th
Vintage Cube
December 20th
January 15th
[time off for Rivals of Ixalan events]
January 15th
???

 
The Flashback Leagues are still draft, and still you-keep-the-cards. They are 12 TIX / product plus 2 TIX / 120 Play Points. However, they are no longer single elimination. Now you play until you have three wins or two losses. Prizes are 150 play points for three wins and 70 Play points for 2 wins. The leagues run one week.
 
The Throwback Standard Gauntlet events provide a random choice of prebuilt decks from a past standard environment. These will function like the Pro Tour Gauntlets – you won’t need to own the cards. The entry fee is 10 TIX or 100 Play Points. Prizes are in Play Points: 150 for 3-0, 100 for 2-1, 40 for 1-2 and 10 play points as a bad beats award. 
 
Opinion Section: Does Art Matter?
 
So Wizards has announced that the will be releasing the original art Power Nine, in the original frames. In other words, the real art in the real frames. The only downside is that they are super-mythic opens in Vintage Masters drafts that will only be available for one week. 
 
Functionally, of course, both versions of the Power Nine – old frame or new – are identical. The differences are purely cosmetic. You can play either in any Vintage deck, without any change in the outcome of the game. And many people like the new frame, and the new art. You can even make a strong argument that the new art is better in any number of ways. Wizards has learned a lot about card art since 1993. 
 
But I really prefer the original art from Christopher Rush, Dan Frazier, Amy Weber and Mark Poole. Yes, the art is not consistent: Ancestral Recall’s pyramid has nothing to do with Time Walk’s skeletons, and the little grinning demon face on Mox Emerald is just strange. I don’t care.  I bought Ingrid a Mox Pearl – old frame, Dan Frazier art – for her birthday twenty years ago, and we gradually collected playsets for both of us in the following years. Back when I was using Workshops to cast Su-Chis, because it was about the best creature out there, I was playing with that art and those frames. 
 
For me, Vintage is still Type I, and should have that art. And I really, really want copies of those cards for my MTGO account. I’ll gladly sell or trade my existing new frame Power Nine set. I’m old school.
 
That’s personal preference. I don’t know how many other players have been around enough to even remember the old frames, much less prefer them. And even some players who remember cracking packs of Alliances may not prefer the old frames. Nostalgia is a tricky thing. I remember some things fondly, like my Dad’s late 60’s Mustang (gone long before I could drive.) I also remember other old cars – like the old AMC Pacer I drove making deliveries for a pharmacy – but I am NOT nostalgic for that one. Nostalgia is driven by positive memories – and I have a lot of positive memories of the original art, original frame Power Nine cards.
 
But if you prefer the newer art or newer frames, that is totally cool. It is a cosmetic difference, after all. Cosmetic differences appeal to different people, and that’s great.   It is one of the many things that makes a collectible game collectible. Also one of the things that makes the world interesting.
 
Actually, I hope that most people prefer the new art and new frames. With the old frame, classic art versions being released solely through VMA drafts for one week, very, very few of those cards will be opened. I remember how much original VMA events I entered, trying to get my first set of Power. Original VMA was out for months, and I played dozens of events. I still ended up buying most of my power. With work and all, I doubt I can manage to squeeze in more than a handful of events.   I don’t remember exactly how rare the “bonus” rarity is, but it is much rarer than Mythic. These cards are going to be really, really scarce. 
 
Maybe Wizards will give us another shot at these cards, somewhere down the line. Or maybe I’ll get lucky,
 
Cutting Edge Tech
 
Standard: The largest Standard event last weekend was the SCG Invitational, which was a mixed format event. (The World Magic Cup also had a “Standard” format, but team trios constructed Standard is a very different animal.)  The Invitational T8 had the expected mix of Energy and Ramunap Red, plus a slightly different red deck in eighth place.
Red Treasures
Rio Trevathan, 8th place, SCG Invitational - 75 Cards Total
Creature
4 Glorybringer
4 Soul-Scar Mage
2 Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
4 Bomat Courier
4 Rampaging Ferocidon
14 cards

Instant
3 Abrade
4 Lightning Strike
4 Shock
11 cards

Planeswalker
3 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
3 cards

Artifact
3 Treasure Map

Land
4 Ramunap Ruins
3 Dunes of the Dead
2 Scavenger Grounds
3 Sunscorched Desert
13 Mountain
25 cards


Sideboard
3 Chandra's Defeat
2 Harsh Mentor
2 Hazoret the Fervent
2 Cut/Ribbons
2 Aethersphere Harvester
2 Pia Nalaar
2 Magma Spray
15 cards
 

Modern: SCG ran two Modern, or at least partly Modern, events last weekend. The Modern Open was won by a Mono-Green Tron deck. Decklists for the Open are here. The Invitational had a Modern finals. The breakout deck might be Lantern Control powered by Whir of Invention.  Video coverage of the Invitational is here.

 
Legacy: Legacy events happened worldwide last weekend, but most were small. With so many choices, I looked for interesting decks (and by “interesting”, I mean decks I would play. Besides Leovold BUG, that is.)

 

Big Red Breach
Everson Machado, Winner, Super Legacy RS - 75 Cards Total
Creature
2 Griselbrand
2 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
2 Worldspine Wurm
2 Wurmcoil Engine
3 Inferno Titan
4 Simian Spirit Guide
15 cards

Instant
4 Through the Breach
4 Seething Song
8 cards
Artifact
4 Chalice of the Void
3 Trinisphere
3 Lotus Petal
10 cards

Enchantment
4 Blood Moon
4 Sneak Attack
8 cards
Planeswalker
1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
1 cards

Land
9 Mountain
4 Ancient Tomb
4 City of Traitors
1 Sandstone Needle
18 cards
 

Sideboard
4 Leyline of the Void
2 Magus of the Moon
2 Volcanic Fallout
2 Defense Grid
1 Fiery Confluence
1 Abrade
1 Shattering Spree
1 Sorcerous Spyglass
1 Ashen Rider
15 cards
 
Vintage: The VSL playoffs are over. Reid duke beat Kevin Cron in the finals. Video Coverage is on Twitch and You Tube. The playoffs required each player to submit three unique decks. Both finals players submitted a Shops deck, a storm deck and something else. Decklists are here.  Here’s my favorite.

 

 
 
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 are down this week. Not a lot of activity. 
 

Standard Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$5.57
$6.50
($0.93)
-14%
$7.38
$7.99
($0.61)
-8%
$8.59
$8.89
($0.30)
-3%
$7.01
$7.12
($0.11)
-2%
$32.11
$36.65
($4.54)
-12%
$6.92
$6.88
$0.04
1%
$10.74
$10.55
$0.19
2%
$6.37
$8.24
($1.87)
-23%
$7.76
$8.45
($0.69)
-8%
$30.70
$32.46
($1.76)
-5%
$13.89
$16.87
($2.98)
-18%
$13.36
$12.77
$0.59
5%
$8.90
$10.80
($1.90)
-18%

Modern staples:  Modern prices were generally up this week. The format seems to be in a pretty good place. 
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$12.84
$12.43
$0.41
3%
$26.57
$26.18
$0.39
1%
$31.21
$31.07
$0.14
0%
$30.82
$33.27
($2.45)
-7%
$18.18
$18.53
($0.35)
-2%
$19.89
$18.19
$1.70
9%
$15.50
$19.83
($4.33)
-22%
$33.62
$31.62
$2.00
6%
$26.21
$27.18
($0.97)
-4%
$20.87
$19.36
$1.51
8%
$36.51
$37.64
($1.13)
-3%
$62.99
$61.50
$1.49
2%
$32.51
$31.14
$1.37
4%
$66.49
$65.09
$1.40
2%
$27.56
$26.37
$1.19
5%
$32.33
$31.61
$0.72
2%
$20.97
$22.38
($1.41)
-6%
$27.91
$22.35
$5.56
25%
$24.73
$24.99
($0.26)
-1%

Legacy and Vintage: Vintage and Legacy prices generally down, but not to an excessive amount.  Rishadan Port is slowly dropping to match the promo version’s price.
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$50.24
$53.39
($3.15)
-6%
$20.59
$20.41
$0.18
1%
$15.58
$15.54
$0.04
0%
$89.37
$89.37
$0.00
0%
$41.23
$37.00
$4.23
11%
$32.38
$34.84
($2.46)
-7%
$12.61
$14.62
($2.01)
-14%
$25.07
$25.01
$0.06
0%
$33.03
$31.92
$1.11
3%
$40.83
$40.83
$0.00
0%
$25.82
$25.88
($0.06)
0%
$29.64
$33.82
($4.18)
-12%
$60.30
$70.25
($9.95)
-14%
$19.62
$18.49
$1.13
6%
$62.20
$57.80
$4.40
8%
$19.18
$19.99
($0.81)
-4%
$20.90
$18.36
$2.54
14%
$38.95
$37.25
$1.70
5%

 
Standard Legal Sets: This table tracks the cost of a single copy of every card in each Standard legal set, plus Treasure Chests and the current booster pack. I’ll keep tracking these because they are interesting (at least to me).  
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Aether Revolt
$67.51
$73.19
($5.68)
-8%
Amonkhet
$76.95
$78.26
($1.31)
-2%
Ixalan
$72.92
$72.04
$0.88
1%
Hour of Devastation
$64.10
$65.50
($1.40)
-2%
Kaladesh
$106.45
$120.65
($14.20)
-12%
Treasure Chest
$2.47
$2.57
($0.10)
-4%
Ixalan Booster
$3.12
$3.07
$0.05
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. Nothing is above a hundred bucks. The number of cards on the list is up slightly again this week. Also, note that some of the new commander cards are on the list - probably because they are so rare in Treasure Chests.
 

Name
Set
Rarity
 Price
Exploration
 UZ
Rare
 $  89.37
Mox Opal
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 71.46
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
 $ 68.25
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 66.49
True-Name Nemesis
 C13
Rare
 $ 64.68
Liliana of the Veil
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $ 63.38
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
 $ 62.99
True-Name Nemesis
 PZ1
Mythic Rare
 $ 62.20
Rishadan Port
 MM
Rare
 $ 60.30
Mox Diamond
 TPR
Mythic Rare
 $ 53.22
Black Lotus
 VMA
Bonus
 $ 50.24
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
 $ 48.92
Force of Will
 MS3
Special
 $ 43.91
Force of Will
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 43.60
Mox Diamond
 ST
Rare
 $ 43.39
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
 $ 41.23
Misdirection
 MM
Rare
 $ 40.83
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
 $ 40.46
Edgar Markov
 PZ2
Mythic Rare
 $ 40.44
Wasteland
 TPR
Rare
 $ 39.14
Wasteland
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 39.12
Wasteland
 EMA
Rare
 $ 38.95
Karn Liberated
 NPH
Mythic Rare
 $ 37.21
Karn Liberated
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 36.51
Engineered Explosives
 5DN
Rare
 $ 36.26
Engineered Explosives
 MMA
Rare
 $ 36.19
Dark Depths
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $ 35.62
Unmask
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $ 34.07
Engineered Explosives
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 33.62
Scalding Tarn
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 33.31
Leovold, Emissary of Trest
 PZ2
Mythic Rare
 $ 33.03
Liliana, the Last Hope
 EMN
Mythic Rare
 $ 32.51
Scalding Tarn
 MM3
Rare
 $ 32.45
Gaea's Cradle
 UZ
Rare
 $ 32.38
Scalding Tarn
 ZEN
Rare
 $ 32.33
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
 KLD
Mythic Rare
 $ 32.11
Underground Sea
 ME2
Rare
 $ 31.93
Chalice of the Void
 MMA
Rare
 $ 31.86
Chalice of the Void
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 31.59
The Scarab God
 MS3
Special
 $ 31.25
Celestial Colonnade
 WWK
Rare
 $ 31.21
Ensnaring Bridge
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 30.95
Chalice of the Void
 MRD
Rare
 $ 30.82
The Scarab God
 HOU
Mythic Rare
 $ 30.70
Underground Sea
 ME4
Rare
 $ 30.66
Mystic Confluence
 PZ1
Rare
 $ 29.82
Ensnaring Bridge
 8ED
Rare
 $ 29.76
Ensnaring Bridge
 ST
Rare
 $ 29.75
Mox Sapphire
 VMA
Bonus
 $ 29.64
Ensnaring Bridge
 7E
Rare
 $ 29.21
Tarmogoyf
 FUT
Rare
 $ 28.85
Surgical Extraction
 NPH
Rare
 $ 28.30
Noble Hierarch
 CON
Rare
 $ 28.07
Surgical Extraction
 MM2
Rare
 $ 27.91
Noble Hierarch
 MM2
Rare
 $ 27.56
Gorilla Shaman
 ALL
Common
 $ 27.12
Cavern of Souls
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $ 27.11
Underground Sea
 VMA
Rare
 $ 26.64
Volcanic Island
 ME4
Rare
 $ 26.61
Cavern of Souls
 AVR
Rare
 $ 26.57
Horizon Canopy
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 26.38
Mox Diamond
 V10
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.82
Tarmogoyf
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.29
Tarmogoyf
 MMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.07
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
 ORI
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.07

 
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 is approximately $ 20,340. That’s up about $300 from last week. 
 
Weekly Highlights
Power Nine!  Original art and frames!  What could be better?
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” 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.  
 

 

9 Comments

Artwork by Wikki at Fri, 12/08/2017 - 13:15
Wikki's picture
5

I love the artwork in magic. I was a big Melissa Benson fan when I first started collecting. Thankfully all images are available online so I can enjoy. No way in heck am I gonna shill out more money for a better looking artwork card for online. I take the cheapest version possible.

Artwork II by Cauchy at Fri, 12/08/2017 - 13:33
Cauchy's picture

Yeah! I wished for the old artwork in one of the recent “What do you wish for online magic?”-WotC surveys.

Now I will have to find something else to complain about?!?

From your link by Sensei at Fri, 12/08/2017 - 23:56
Sensei's picture

First, we're going to do a week of Vintage Masters flashbacks December 13–20.

This will take the place of flashbacks originally scheduled for Lorwyn. Hopefully Lorwyn fans still like the Vintage Masters events, but don't worry, we now plan to run the Lorwyn flashbacks early in 2018.

One thing I can add to the by CottonRhetoric at Sat, 12/09/2017 - 08:41
CottonRhetoric's picture

One thing I can add to the discussion of artworks (that I discovered during a nostalgic read of old Inquest magazines):

For Magic's first year or two, before it was clear how huge a success it would be, the original contract they made for art commissions was percentage based. It caused a normal salary rate for the old sets, but the more Magic started selling, the higher and higher the artists were getting paid. It soon ballooned to WAY higher than the industry average. Wizards changed the contract to a flat rate, which was still above the industry standard, but lower than the old contract, upsetting many of Magic's artists at the time. (Multiple of them voiced their opinions in the Inquest article I'm referring to.)

This explains why reprints don't always use the old art. Those images are still under the original contracts, meaning they're more expensive to include than an entirely new picture would be. Old fans such as myself do usually prefer the old art, but it comes at a cost to the company.

Something interesting in next by Hearts at Sat, 12/09/2017 - 20:19
Hearts's picture

Something interesting in next weeks opinion section please, rules, judge practices, warning-"system" or something please.

Don't like it, don't read it by TheWolf at Mon, 12/11/2017 - 05:37
TheWolf's picture

You know, if you don't like the articles, you don't have to read them. Or, better yet, why don't you submit your own article, Hearts? You seem to have a lot to say, so why not say it?

This time I disagree with by Paul Leicht at Mon, 12/11/2017 - 06:33
Paul Leicht's picture

This time I disagree with your point. Hearts certainly trolls this article (not the whole site mind you) pretty regularly which shows he reads it regularly and so he must like it for some reason. And this time he has a reasonable sounding request. When I was writing articles regularly (and even now with FFTR) I would love getting suggestions for articles even if I never had any intention of following those suggestions. I think it is fine to ask for something. Who knows? Maybe Pete will oblige sometime.

As to writing articles, while I agree anyone who wants to should, I don't think it is necessary for a regular to do so in order to be considered a participant.

Fair by TheWolf at Tue, 12/12/2017 - 22:52
TheWolf's picture

That's certainly fair. I would still encourage Hearts to submit an article, though. He/she has many opinions and rather than have them hidden in the comments, it would be good to see them out in the open.

I always love to hear from by JXClaytor at Wed, 12/13/2017 - 11:15
JXClaytor's picture

I always love to hear from new voices as well!