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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Feb 14 2014 1:00pm
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The State of the Program for February 14th 2014

In the News this Week:

Wizards Listens!:  Wizards created what could have been a major PR disaster, but actually listened to feedback, provided real information and changed course. The fact that they listened and responded quickly is enough to warrant mention in the news section, which is both good and sad – good because it happened, and sad because it is notable. Details below.  Kudos for the new associate community manager Wizards_Alison.   Her introduction thread, here, went up Tuesday. The disaster hit Wednesday, and she posted the resolution on Thursday. TGIF.
 
22 no 21 MTGO Formats Retired: Wizards has retired 22 formats. “Retired” means that the deck legality filters are gone from the deckbuilder and the format is no longer an option when you create a table in the various casual play rooms. The retired formats include:
·         All Block Constructed formats from Masques through Return to Ravinca. (leaving just THS Block Constructed)
·         Extended
·         All Vanguard formats except for Freeform Vanguard
·         Legacy Tribal Wars
·         Standard Tribal Wars
·         Kaleidoscope
·         Standard Singleton
·         Hero's Path
·         All Core Set Constructed
·         Duel Decks Constructed
 
The PR disaster: Wizards initially retired Legacy Tribal Wars was retired.   After a lot of public outcry, Wizards reversed course. Legacy Tribal will return. Lots of drama, but a happy ending.
 
More on this in the opinion section, below.
 
Born of the Gods Prerelease this Weekend: The prerelease events start as this goes up. The options are the same as last time.  About the only downside is that the Hero’s Path Avatars are not going to be worth much, since the Hero’s Path format is dead. Still, very few people play for the avatars so that shouldn’t change much. As with Theros, purchase your $5.00 entry object in advance. They are color coded, and include a special booster emphasizing the color. The blue prerelease foil is nuts, but I watched pretty much every color win at the prereleases I ran. Details on the MTGO prerelease here.
 
From the Vaults: Annihilation: A new FTV has been announced. The new FTV will be available I paper in late August. The online version should be out in September. Hopefully. What details we have – not many – are here.  
 
Conspiracy Summer Set: Wizards will release a new set this summer. The initial blurb is here. As I write this, the announcement is encrypted using a Vigenère cipher, which is really cool. The unencrypted version should be up by the time you read this. The big question, though, is whether this set will be available online.  (Manager's Note:  It will not be online, but key cards from the set will be in Vintage Masters.) The set is clearly geared to multiplayer. Here are the two cards spoiled so far:
 
 
I’m sure Wizards could manage to program these cards to work with the interface, but something like Cogwork Librarian would require significant reworking of the draft interface. Can they spare the resources to do it? I would think all available resources have to be devoted to getting the wide beta client up and running. My complete guess: this will be a paper only set. Any Conspiracy cards that might be played in Legacy, and are therefore needed online, would be included in Vintage Masters. We will see.  (Late edit – the decrypted announcement says that’s just what Wizards plans to do.)  The set looks cool, though. I am contacting my local gaming store to talk about running a release tournament when this comes out.
 
HammyBot Update:   Hammybot is a great way to get cards and support the family of the late Erik Friborg. So far, Hammybot has raised well over $6,000! Don’t stop now! Hammybot still has over 25,000 cards to sell, including a number of foil Mythics. Hammybot also has a nice collection of Foil lands, so if you want to pimp out your constructed decks… 
 

Opinion Section: The Second Tribal War  

With this week’s downtime, a bunch of formats were retired from MTGO.   The list of the 22 retired formats is above, in the first item in the news section. 
 
What “retired” means is that the deck builder will not check whether your deck is legal in that format. It also means that you cannot create a table that is limited to decks in the format. You can still play the formats online, but the program will not ensure that your deck, or your opponent’s deck, is legal for the format. For example, if you want to challenge people to a legacy tribal wars match, you will have to create a Legacy table, put “Tribal Wars” in the comments and hope opponents see and respect that. If the opponent sits down with a Show and Tell deck, or LED Storm, the best you can do is concede and try again.
 
So what formats can you choose when making a table?   The wide beta gives you 15 options. (The v3 client has a few extras – like M11 Core Set and Visions Theme decks – but only because, I expect, that list has not yet been cleaned up.) Here are the formats you can choose in the wide beta client. 
·         Standard
·         THS Block Constructed
·         Modern
·         Legacy
·         Planeswalker
·         Pauper
·         Standard Pauper
·         Commander
·         Planechase
·         Classic
·         Momir Basic
·         100 card singleton
·         Prismatic
·         Freeform Vanguard
·         Freeform
 
I assume that the list in the v3 client will eventually match this, once Wizards gets time to remove a few outdated formats from the v3 pull-downs. And Legacy Tribal will return, once Wizards gets it programmed.  
 
Wizards retired 22 formats – one briefly, more on that later – and it caught me by surprise. My first question, when I saw this, was “how did I miss this?” I watch every Magic news outlet I can find so I can write this series: I’m not supposed to overlook things like this. The short answer – I didn’t. Wizards implemented this with no warning, no prior announcements and no explanation at all. After I raised this in the forums, we did get the following answer – very quickly – from Wizards_Alison, the very new associate community manager:
 
“Hey, PRJ! We looked at the popularity of the formats. The ones we removed were the least played of our available formats.”
 
Interesting. I’ll get back to that. 
 
My second question was “what about PREs in the retired formats?” The tribal wars PREs are big. However, the website Gatherling.com has partly answered that question. A lot of player-created formats only exist in the hearts of their devotees and in the options list on Gatherling. Gatherling can enforce legality for formats like SilverBlack and Heirloom, so it should work for Legacy Tribal Wars and so forth. Having the format supported on Gatherling is not really a replacement for having the filter in the deck editor and table creator, but it might be enough to keep the PREs running.
 
The third question I had was “why?”   Why remove the formats at all? Wizards gave no explanation at all in the initial announcement.   I opened this thread, and emailed Wizard_Alison. She responded almost immediately with the above, and a bit more shortly thereafter. We asked for more details, and an explanation of why it was necessary. The community got involved about this time. PureMTGO’s AJ_Impy, and many others, protested the removal of Tribal. The debate ranged across the forums, Twitter, Facebook and the Interwebs. Less than a day later, we got more from Wizard_Alison.
 
“Sorry for the delay in response, everyone.
 
Our team has discussed and deliberated the response we've gotten for the format retirement announcement. Based off of the reaction we've received, MTGO will be bringing back Legacy Tribal Wars in the future. The other formats will remain in retirement. Our reasoning for the retirement of the other formats is primarily for the sake of new players. Removing options that players have shown less interest in removes the frustrating experience of a player building a deck in one of these formats, only to discover that very few people play them and they have few opponents to play against. Additionally, newer players can be overwhelmed by the number of format choices, and this removal helps these players more easily find an experience that is right for them.
 
I cannot provide an exact date for the return of Legacy Tribal Wars, but I can assure you that we listened to your reaction, and it will be returned in due time.”
 
First, I want to point out what a great job Alison, and Wizards, have done here. They apologized for the delay in responding, even though that delay was actually very short: just hours, which is an order of magnitude or two less than we have seen in the past.   Then they responded to our concerns, and explained why they made the decisions they did. 
 
Listen, consider, decide, explain.  
 
Perfect.
 
I believe Wizards’ explanation. Wizards spends time watching people play Magic, both for the first time and as more experienced players. I’m sure they know each problem area, and they solve them as resources permit. Right now, they have to be spending most of their resources on keeping the program running, coding new sets, squishing bugs and getting the wide beta interface finished. Problems like long pull-downs in making a table should be a much lower priority.
 
So if the problem is low priority, why kill formats now? I suspect that was a two interface thing, combined with the appearance of Born of the Gods. Born of the Gods adds new cards to the card pool. That means that Wizards has to revise the format legality filters to add BotG cards. Wizards had to add 165 cards to Standard, and Modern, and Classic, and Pauper, and Standard Pauper, and Standard Tribal, and Extended, and – well, you get the picture. And it had to get each revised list working in both the v3 and wide beta interfaces. Killing a format like Extended actually makes way more sense than wasting time on updating the card legality list. It probably took a lot less effort to prune the pulldown.
 
True, the appearance of BotG cards would have no effect on, say, Odyssey Block Constructed, but since they were already reprogramming the pull down menus, this was a great chance to clear out the deadwood. I’m sure they choose a criterion; some level of play, and killed every format that had less than that number of matches played in the last month or so. That probably made sense – but maybe they forgot that Legacy Tribal is a special case. Or maybe they only checked the Casual Play / Juff rooms, and not Anything Goes. (Most PREs run their events in the Anything Goes room.)   However it happened, Legacy Tribal was removed, but Wizards has decided to bring it back.
 
Legacy Tribal players, you will need some patience. I doubt the filters are going to come back this week, or next. It may take some time. Wizards has to program Born of the Gods into Tribal. That has to be one of the most time-consuming tasks imaginable. Take the first card: make it legal in Legacy Tribal. Check that it works with both interfaces. Second card. Add it to the Humans tribe. Add it to the Clerics tribe. Make it work with both interfaces. Third card. Add it to the Humans tribe. Add it to the Shamans tribe. Make sure it works with both interfaces. Next card – and so on.    Born of the Gods only added 165 cards to the format, but that 165 cards included a lot of tribes.  Wizards has promised to get that done, but it might not happen by the next downtime. (Or maybe it will. Fingers crossed.)
 
With the consolidation, Wizards cut the number of formats it has to program to 16 (when you include Legacy Tribal.)   Let’s look at the choices.
 
The first group of formats are those with regularly scheduled sanctioned tournaments – namely Standard, THS block constructed, Modern, Legacy, Classic, Pauper and Momir Vig. These are obvious inclusions.   
 
The next group of formats are those for which Wizards sells special cards, like Commander and Planechase. Those are also obvious keeps. So is Vanguard, at some level. I have accumulated a lot of avatars over the years, and the Hero’s Path cards are avatars. They can all be played in Freeform Vanguard. 
 
The Planeswalker format is aimed at new players, with special features that help you teach them, so that is a given. Freeform (and Freeform Vangaurd) are catch-alls: less formats than categories that lets you play anything.   You have to have those. 
 
That leave four formats that exist because people play them, and enjoy them. 
 
·         Standard Pauper
·         100 card singleton
·         Prismatic
·         And Legacy Tribal (coming soon.)
 
That seems like a reasonable compromise.   It gives players who like cheap decks, or random decks, or really big decks, or tribal decks, a way to play. That should make everyone happy. (Except the person who now has to code Tribal.)  
 
The compromise was necessary: programming a format does not seem to be trivial work. You have to go through the entire 14k card set and tag each card as in or out of each format. It’s not like you can tag entire sets: because of reprints, pretty much every set has some cards legal in every format. I play old frame Syncopates in my Standard decks, and the Spire Golems in a lot of Pauper decks come from Duel Decks. And basic lands should be playable everywhere, no matter which set they come from. Programming format legality lists is not trivial.  
 
Overall, I think Wizards handled this pretty well, with the exception of the initial non-announcement / lack of warning. 
 
Bug?: I want to end with an oddity that has me confused. I was looking at the collection screen in the wide beta client while researching this part of the article. On the formats options tab, it lists the format, followed by the number of cards I own that are legal in the format. For example, my collection screen reads “Freeform Vanguard: 10674.”   However, my collection lists 10,676 cards. So what two cards are in my collection, but are not legal in Freeform or Freeform Vanguard? I never opened my Planeswalker pack, and I am looking at the cards tab, not other products tab, so that’s not it. It’s not Gleemox.  I have one, but it shows up as playable in Freeform. 
 
If anyone knows, please tell me.   If anyone knows how to search for cards that are NOT legal in a format, in the wide beta, please let me know. Thanks.
 

Cutting Edge Tech: 

Standard: Wizards held the first Super Sunday Series event, held at Wizards HQ in Renton. To qualify, you had to win a qualifying tournament held on Sunday at a GP. You want my definition of a challenging event – try a Sunday qualifying event at a GP, which will be filled with pros who didn’t make the cut. This event had 40-odd players who had won such events. The format was mixed, but the breakdown of Standard decks played by people making the T8 was three Orzhov control, two Azorius Control, two Mono-Black and one deck called Ephara & Friends. The winner? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. (Break out the air guitar.)
 
Mono-Black Devotion
Owen Turtenwald, Winner, Super Sunday Series, Standard Decklist
4 Temple of Deceit
4 Mutavault
18 Swamp
4 Pack Rat
4 Nightveil Specter
4 Desecration Demon
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
4 Hero's Downfall
4 Thoughtseize
4 Bile Blight
2 Devour Flesh
4 Underworld Connections
 
3 Lifebane Zombie
3 Duress
2 Erebos, God of the Dead
2 Drown in Sorrow
2 Devour Flesh
2 Dark Betrayal
1 Doom Blade
 
Modern: The next Pro Tour, which will be Modern, is one week away. A lot of Pros are testing, but they are keeping their innovative tech to themselves. The online tournaments have only just implemented the new B&R list and MTGO.com does not show any post-change results. That said, here’s a winning deck that is still legal for the format.  
 
UR Delver
Becks84, 4-0, Modern Daily #6710713 on 02/10/2014
6 Island
4 Misty Rainforest
1 Mountain
2 Mutavault
4 Scalding Tarn
3 Steam Vents
4 Delver of Secrets
1 Grim Lavamancer
4 Snapcaster Mage
1 Vendilion Clique
4 Young Pyromancer
1 Electrolyze
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Pillar of Flame
4 Remand
4 Serum Visions
2 Spell Pierce
2 Spell Snare
3 Vapor Snag
 
2 Blood Moon
2 Combust
2 Magma Spray
2 Negate
2 Shatterstorm
1 Sowing Salt
2 Spellskite
2 Thundermaw Hellkite
 
Pauper: Blue does it again: another blue deck took down the most recent Pauper premier event.   Islands, Counterspell and fliers are apparently eternal.
 
Mono Blue
Cweaver, Winner, Pauper Premier #6710662 on 02/09/2014
17 Island
4 Cloud of FAeries
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Ninja of the Deep Hours
4 Spellstutter Sprite
3 Spire Golem
1 Stormbound Geist
2 Bonesplitter
4 Counterspell
2 Daze
2 Exclude
2 Gush
4 Ponder
4 Preordain
3 Snap
 
3 Coral Net
2 Curse of Chains
3 Hydroblast
3 Serrated Arrows
2 Steel Sabotage
2 Stormbound Geist
 
Legacy: SCG held a Legacy Open in Nashville. Born of the Gods was legal, but not heavily played. Even the new 3/1 that hoses brainstorm was not common – but maybe that’s why the winning deck sideboarded Sulfur Elementals.
 
RUG Delver
Taylor Scott, Winner, SCG Legacy Open on 2/9/2014
4 Delver of Secrets
2 Forked Bolt
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Misty Rainforest
2 Spell Pierce
4 Ponder
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Spell Snare
4 Stifle
4 Nimble Mongoose
4 Daze
4 Brainstorm
4 Wasteland
4 Force of Will
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Tropical Island
3 Volcanic Island
 
Sideboard
2 Grafdigger's Cage
2 Flusterstorm
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Sulfur Elemental
2 Rough
1 Ancient Grudge
3 Submerge
3 Red Elemental Blast
 
Classic:  Wizards moved Classic back to Saturday night, and the events are firing. This was the last week with Lodestone Golem and Sphere of Resistance unrestricted, and both the first and second place decks played them. The first deck which will be legal next week finished third.   
 
Tezzeret
Cronin, 3-1, Classic Daily #6710642 on 02/09/2014
2 Island
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Polluted Delta
2 Seat of the Synod
1 Tolarian Academy
2 Tropical Island
4 Underground Sea
1 Vault of Whispers
1 Blightsteel Colossus
4 Brainstorm
1 Demonic Tutor
4 Force of Will
3 Grim Monolith
1 Imperial Seal
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
4 Lotus Petal
1 Mana Crypt
4 Mana Drain
1 Mana Vault
1 Mental Misstep
1 Sol Ring
2 Tezzeret the Seeker
3 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
1 Time Vault
1 Tinker
1 Vampiric Tutor
2 Voltaic Key
1 Yawgmoth's Will
 
4 Grafdigger's Cage
4 Leyline of the Void
3 Mindbreak Trap
1 Ravenous Trap
3 Toxic Deluge
 

Card Prices: 

Notes: All my prices come from MTGOTraders.com. For cards that are available in multiple sets, I am quoting the lower price. Thus, the price I’m quoting for Thoughtseize is generally the Theros price. In certain other cases (e.g Brainstorm) I will note which version I track. All these cards are generally available from the MTGOTraders Bots, so check out mtgotradersbot, mtgotradersbot2, mtgotradersbot3, mtgotradersbot4, mtgotradersbot5, CardCaddy and CardWareHouse, or you can order them directly from the website. Now, on to prices.
 
The cost of entire sets is relevant if you redeem, but it is also a decent indicator of overall trends. This week, things moved around a bit. A lot of the drop, though, can be attributed to the rise and fall of certain chase cards. For example, a big chunk of the value of a Dragon’s Maze set is Voice of Resurgence, which dipped this week.
 
Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Dragon's Maze
$76.67
$77.14
($0.47)
-1%
Born of the Gods
coming
soon
Gatecrash
$111.71
$111.51
$0.20
0%
M14
$142.98
$147.44
($4.46)
-3%
Return to Ravnica
$156.71
$161.35
($4.64)
-3%
Theros
$119.32
$112.17
$7.15
6%
Standard prices are moving around, but are overall slightly down.  We are in the calm before Born of the Gods begins shifting the format. The one big change is Domri Rade, which is a bit surprising, given that RG did not perform all that well at either the Super Sunday Series or SCG Standard Open.
 

Standard & Block Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$7.18
$7.56
($0.38)
-5%
$18.30
$19.41
($1.11)
-6%
$7.08
$6.39
$0.69
11%
$16.75
$16.33
$0.42
3%
$19.36
$20.73
($1.37)
-7%
$30.23
$24.45
$5.78
24%
$13.92
$12.71
$1.21
10%
$6.57
$6.76
($0.19)
-3%
$13.69
$15.38
($1.69)
-11%
$28.95
$31.64
($2.69)
-9%
$7.49
$7.25
$0.24
3%
$7.75
$7.33
$0.42
6%
$29.38
$29.35
$0.03
0%
$9.87
$10.38
($0.51)
-5%
$10.71
$9.53
$1.18
12%
$33.27
$31.84
$1.43
4%
$15.65
$15.96
($0.31)
-2%
$7.69
$7.29
$0.40
5%
$5.42
$4.86
$0.56
12%
$30.51
$30.51
$0.00
0%
$8.24
$6.73
$1.51
22%

Modern prices are generally climbing. We are coming up on a Modern Pro Tour, and a lot of pros are testing online. By now, most know what they want to test, and what works. That apparently includes Bitterblossom: it is soaring.
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$20.93
$19.25
$1.68
9%
$37.22
$37.22
$0.00
0%
$44.84
$27.92
$16.92
61%
$17.36
$16.19
$1.17
7%
$25.84
$23.90
$1.94
8%
$16.98
$16.14
$0.84
5%
$22.24
$23.75
($1.51)
-6%
$13.46
$13.46
$0.00
0%
$13.43
$12.60
$0.83
7%
$14.03
$12.84
$1.19
9%
$31.29
$32.52
($1.23)
-4%
$24.22
$24.92
($0.70)
-3%
$41.25
$41.25
$0.00
0%
$42.29
$44.91
($2.62)
-6%
$9.58
$8.97
$0.61
7%
$68.08
$58.09
$9.99
17%
$15.95
$15.09
$0.86
6%
$48.03
$47.79
$0.24
1%
$37.12
$35.11
$2.01
6%
$9.87
$10.21
($0.34)
-3%
$22.87
$23.37
($0.50)
-2%
$15.31
$15.31
$0.00
0%
$13.20
$12.21
$0.99
8%
$82.25
$80.08
$2.17
3%
$48.40
$45.16
$3.24
7%

Pauper prices are wonky this week.   The Invasion commons dropped a ton because of the extended Invasion draft week, and Urza’s block commons are also adjusting to, or recovering from, the draft influx.   Not sure about Gorilla Shaman, though.
 

Pauper Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$1.86
$1.86
$0.00
0%
$2.33
$2.33
$0.00
0%
$0.94
$1.58
($0.64)
-41%
$3.15
$2.91
$0.24
8%
$2.31
$1.98
$0.33
17%
$4.11
$4.11
$0.00
0%
$11.31
$11.97
($0.66)
-6%
$1.29
$1.09
$0.20
18%
$1.65
$1.65
$0.00
0%
$3.05
$3.28
($0.23)
-7%
$4.55
$4.07
$0.48
12%
$3.72
$3.72
$0.00
0%
$4.87
$4.85
$0.02
0%
$0.79
$0.89
($0.10)
-11%
$1.53
$1.24
$0.29
23%
$3.80
$3.54
$0.26
7%
$2.62
$2.31
$0.31
13%
$5.58
$5.58
$0.00
0%
$0.85
$1.57
($0.72)
-46%
$0.32
$1.35
($1.03)
-76%
$0.95
$1.08
($0.13)
-12%

Legacy and Classic prices were moving a bit more than usual. The big money cards climbed again. Force of Will is back over $500 a playset. Lion’s Eye Diamond is holding steady at insane. Invasion block cards dropped because of throwback drafts, but that won’t last.
 

Legacy / Classic Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$35.09
$35.09
$0.00
0%
$26.00
$24.38
$1.62
7%
$28.11
$28.11
$0.00
0%
$128.82
$130.97
($2.15)
-2%
$65.98
$65.98
$0.00
0%
$34.31
$35.19
($0.88)
-3%
$185.94
$185.94
$0.00
0%
$26.30
$26.30
$0.00
0%
$12.50
$12.50
$0.00
0%
$69.59
$66.09
$3.50
5%
$31.98
$31.98
$0.00
0%
$36.92
$36.92
$0.00
0%
$18.30
$18.30
$0.00
0%
$17.14
$22.54
($5.40)
-24%
$35.14
$37.41
($2.27)
-6%
$94.17
$94.17
$0.00
0%
$8.31
$8.31
$0.00
0%
$68.87
$68.87
$0.00
0%
$31.51
$31.51
$0.00
0%
$26.66
$26.66
$0.00
0%
$16.00
$16.00
$0.00
0%
$28.61
$28.61
$0.00
0%
$39.88
$39.88
$0.00
0%
Vampiric Tutor
$41.12
$41.12
$0.00
0%
$27.12
$31.25
($4.13)
-13%
$79.53
$79.53
$0.00
0%

The Good Stuff:

The Good Stuff starts with a list of the non-foil, non-premium cards on MTGO that cost more than $25 each – that’s $100 per playset. LED is holding at $740 a playset. Force of Will is now well above $120. The list of cards over $25 is now 57 cards long. Can Wizards do anything about this? Note that neither including cards as Mythics in Modern Masters, nor running flashback drafts knocked cards like Vendilion Clique, Tarmogoyf, Show and Tell or Rishadan Port off the list. Making Force of Will a MOCS promo also did very little to its long-term price. 
 

Card
Rarity
Set
Price
Lion's Eye Diamond
R
MI
$ 185.94
Force of Will
R
MED
$ 128.82
Rishadan Port
R
MM
$    94.17
Tarmogoyf
M
MMA
$    84.04
Tarmogoyf
R
FUT
$    82.25
Wasteland
U
TE
$    79.53
Misdirection
R
MM
$    69.59
Show and Tell
R
UZ
$    68.87
Liliana of the Veil
M
ISD
$    68.08
Gaea's Cradle
R
UZ
$    65.98
Tundra
R
ME4
$    53.61
Tundra
R
ME2
$    51.59
Vendilion Clique
M
MMA
$    50.61
Vendilion Clique
R
MOR
$    48.40
Mox Opal
M
SOM
$    48.03
Bitterblossom
R
MOR
$    44.84
Karn Liberated
M
NPH
$    42.29
Bayou
R
ME4
$    41.58
Griselbrand
M
AVR
$    41.25
Vampiric Tutor
R
VI
$    41.12
Volcanic Island
R
ME4
$    40.85
Bayou
R
ME3
$    40.51
Underground Sea
R
ME4
$    39.88
Underground Sea
R
ME2
$    38.82
Volcanic Island
R
ME3
$    38.64
Batterskull
M
NPH
$    37.22
Noble Hierarch
R
CON
$    37.12
Natural Order
R
VI
$    36.92
Tropical Island
R
ME4
$    36.05
Polluted Delta
R
ONS
$    35.14
City of Traitors
R
EX
$    35.09
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
M
WWK
$    34.31
Sphinx's Revelation
M
RTR
$    33.27
Tropical Island
R
ME3
$    32.91
Mishra's Workshop
R
ME4
$    31.98
Primeval Titan
M
M11
$    31.94
Sneak Attack
R
UZ
$    31.51
Mutavault
R
MOR
$    31.50
Fulminator Mage
R
SHM
$    31.29
Voice of Resurgence
M
DGM
$    30.51
Primeval Titan
M
M12
$    30.47
Domri Rade
M
GTC
$    30.23
Grove of the Burnwillows
R
FUT
$    29.95
Mutavault
R
M14
$    29.38
Threads of Disloyalty
R
BOK
$    29.23
Jace, Architect of Thought
M
RTR
$    28.95
True-Name Nemesis
R
C13
$    28.61
Flusterstorm
R
CMD
$    28.11
Mana Crypt
R
ME2
$    27.75
Vindicate
R
AP
$    27.12
Tangle Wire
R
NE
$    26.66
Cryptic Command
R
LRW
$    26.53
Mana Drain
R
ME3
$    26.30
Entomb
R
OD
$    26.00
Cryptic Command
R
MMA
$    25.84
Hurkyl's Recall
R
10E
$    25.40

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 $27,470. That’s up almost $700 from where we were last week.
 
PRJ
 
“one million words” on MTGO.
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.

21 Comments

Great Article as always by kalandine at Fri, 02/14/2014 - 13:56
kalandine's picture

Out of curiosity do you have a history of the cost Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. I went hunting for one recently for a casual deck and the cost was much higher than I expected (compared to other Planeswalkers based on how rarely I see Tezzeret in decks).

Also, I had to go through a ton of bots even to find him - is there a Modern deck (or any other) that uses him or has anyone heard of a new Modern deck that utilizes him?

Thanks.

Just a comment on Tezz by BlippyTheSlug at Fri, 02/14/2014 - 14:32
BlippyTheSlug's picture

Tezz Control is a deck in Modern. It doesn't show up often, but it is a deck with proven results in the dailies.

Joe Lossett (oarsman on mtgo) by ayedub at Fri, 02/14/2014 - 15:09
ayedub's picture

Joe Lossett (oarsman on mtgo) has been streaming a lot with Tezz Control in Legacy recently. Accordingly, I believe that a number of people are also buying Tezz for that deck.

I have seen a few others playing Tezz control as well, mostly since Joe started streaming it.

mtgGoldfish by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 02/14/2014 - 16:43
Kumagoro42's picture

Kalandine, I assume you don't know mtgGoldfish.com.

Here's your history of Tezzeret's price. And everything else. MTGO Traders prices.

I'm sure you have experience by smack8001 at Fri, 02/14/2014 - 14:48
smack8001's picture

I'm sure you have experience in coding, so to say "You have to go through the entire 14k card set and tag each card as in or out of each format. " doesn't really make sense. They just write, oh I don't know, a few lines of script (i.e. a computer program) to go through each card and sort them into their tribes. Nobody would go through every 14k card; you would just write one line of code:

Card_legality(classic tribal wars) = Card_legality(classic) - Banned_list(tribal wars).

Done.

Each card object already has a tribal identifier, you could even just write a script to check the creature_type box as the deck is saved. If this were 1979 you might go through manually to tag each card, but we have computers to do that... It's really not hard. Considering that code exists already, and they can just pull it out of an earlier version of the program, this gets easier and easier. The only hard part is finding the time to allocate to it when there are other priorities facing the developers.

As always, thanks for your by Alphi at Fri, 02/14/2014 - 14:45
Alphi's picture

As always, thanks for your article.

One thing, though: I really do not think legality lists are established in the way you describe, one card at a time. Or at least, I hope so for Wizard's sake (although it would explain a lot). First off, cards are still defined by their name, a unique identifier, even if they are reprinted. Coding that Mana Leak is legal in a format is enough for the software to recognize any and all versions of Mana Leak, so there is no need to systematically revisit all formats. So old blocks can be simply ignored. As for adding the new cards, I assume they start with a basic excel file with, for example, name and rarity. Adding all commons to the pauper list and removing any redundant cards is trivial. The tribal war format would be a small step up. I don't work for Wizards, but this would be a much more logical way to go at it, and definitely not as difficult as you seem to think. Perhaps a couple of hours for one guy?

RE: Wizards Listens! by BlippyTheSlug at Fri, 02/14/2014 - 15:21
BlippyTheSlug's picture
5

While Wizzos promising to bring back Tribal Wars does show a glimmer of hope, I'm not holding my breath. I'm convinced it's Leagues all over again. "It's coming." I'd love for Tribal Wars (and K-scope, too, for that matter!) to come back next downtime, but I don't believe it'll be any time soon. 2015 if we're damn lucky.

"Making Force of Will a MOCS by LOurs at Fri, 02/14/2014 - 15:51
LOurs's picture
5

"Making Force of Will a MOCS promo also did very little to its long-term price."

True. Does somebody have any idea of the impact of these cards on the player base of legacy/classic formats ? It would be interesting to know.
Prices of Masques block staples are insane (400tix for ports playset is a joke), but maybe that vintage masters will correct that a bit.

Great job as always, by WiseGreen at Fri, 02/14/2014 - 16:15
WiseGreen's picture
5

Great job as always, Pete!

But just to throw my two cents... I know I might be in the (vocal) minority here, but this talk of "too many options confuse players" really worries me about where MTGO is going. The coding of niche formats takes too much work that should be better spent somewhere else? There's a perfectly fine solution for it: make the game moddable. Let us create our own formats and make them client-enforceable, and let us share these formats in between us.

Every step MTGO takes is the direction of making it hard for us to play (casually) the way we'd like is a step that towards reinforcing online play as an impoverished version of paper play.

Programming Tribal by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 02/14/2014 - 20:36
Kumagoro42's picture
5

"Wizards has to program Born of the Gods into Tribal. That has to be one of the most time-consuming tasks imaginable. Take the first card: make it legal in Legacy Tribal. Check that it works with both interfaces. Second card. Add it to the Humans tribe. Add it to the Clerics tribe. Make it work with both interfaces. Third card. Add it to the Humans tribe. Add it to the Shamans tribe. Make sure it works with both interfaces. Next card – and so on."

Uhm, I don't think that's the system. I know it's not in Gatherling, since I can peek behind the curtain there. I've no reason to think anything using a database (and Gatherling uses the WotC database!) works that way.

Here's how it works.
A card is entered in a database. It has fields. One of the field is the type "Creature". Another field is the subtype "Human". You have to fill every field in the card database regardless of the formats you're using, because the search filters need to find those fields upon request.

Now, there's your format. Your format says: "The deck is legal if 33% of the cards of the deck, rounded down, is a positive for the field Creature and shares at least one #keyword in the field Subtype." That's it. The format filter does the check against the database fields, not the other way around. And there's a ban list that says: "The deck is not legal if it features one of the following #cardnames". (I think DCI changed the Tribal Wars ban list only one in the last decade).

In Gatherling, once a new set comes, someone has to enter all the new cards in the card database with all their fields (they take those directly from Gatherer.com, I believe). A card doesn't have a field saying, "This is legal for Legacy Tribal Wars". It has a field saying, "This is a creature", and another saying, "This is a Human".
At that point, every PRE host has to update the list of allowed formats in their PREs. They go to "Format Editor", click "Born of the Gods", done. It takes about 10 seconds. If someone had to do it for every format and subformat in existence, that would take, let's say maybe 15 minutes? (I manage a dozen formats and subformats myself).

And this is just because Gatherling gives the hosts total control over what their events allow. It would be easy to have all the new sets (particularly the current block's sets that are legal in most formats) added by default to the card pool of every format, with the host of particular events required to go and exclude them. But it's safer the way it's done. (The hosts of Heirloom formats are probably the ones who have more work to do.)

In Heirloom we've always had by Xaoslegend at Tue, 02/25/2014 - 19:38
Xaoslegend's picture

In Heirloom we've always had to do things mostly ourselves. Before Gatherling setting up its host tools, and before Mtgotraders was kind enough to provide us with the list based on our parameters I used to go through all 14k cards manually for every update. Its not simple now but its not that bad either with the great people we have contributing to the needs of the format. It's never been something that's held us back. We've never had more than the Classic filter on MTGO for our events so this doesn't change much for us other than the Heirloom Kaleidoscope event being more of a hassle now.

I would think this would be a bigger problem for other PRES that have been relying on MTGO filters that now may have to do more work to keep things working well enough for all the players of their respective PREs. Most of the ones I can think of off the top of my head are passionate enough to adjust through it though I think. Not that it isn't kind of crummy that they have to.

Hey pete I love your by Wickedrh at Fri, 02/14/2014 - 18:42
Wickedrh's picture

Hey pete I love your articles, always something intresting.

It is nice to hear someone from Wizard finally replying for a change.

PS:When is the best time to sell modern cards? Now or wait until a day before the modern protour?

For practical purposes, I by GainsBanding at Sat, 02/15/2014 - 07:34
GainsBanding's picture

For practical purposes, I don't really care that they canceled all those formats. I've never played Mirage block constructed, for example, and if I did put together a deck, I'm not sure who I'd play against.

But as a completionist (who also wants those last 800 early cards online), I wish they'd keep everything simply to make the options available. Can't those niche formats just be put in a sub-menu to ease up the clutter and make them less visible to new players?

I'm glad they got rid of all by oraymw at Sat, 02/15/2014 - 12:52
oraymw's picture

I'm glad they got rid of all those formats. People weren't playing them, and all we had was this huge, bulky, useless list of dead formats. Sure, I could theoretically think of uses for them, like a battle of the blocks format where everyone brings their own decks, but that seems pointless. I wouldn't mind having Standard Singleton, but it makes sense that no one played it, and if you run a PRE for it, and you can still enforce the banned list.

I think that trimming down this list is a great precedent. Maybe they'll get rid of all the stinking warmarks next.

And those gold bordered by Rerepete at Sat, 02/15/2014 - 14:29
Rerepete's picture

And those gold bordered cards....Shred'em

They will never take our by JXClaytor at Sat, 02/15/2014 - 22:56
JXClaytor's picture

They will never take our warmarks :(

Warmarks by Kumagoro42 at Sun, 02/16/2014 - 20:13
Kumagoro42's picture

Guys, they did a "Get Rid of Your Warmarks" event a few months back: free tournaments where you would just use the warmarks, with no tix required (and essentially no prizes, but who cares). That's how I cleaned up my collection of all those damn things!

I got rid of mine years ago. by Paul Leicht at Sun, 02/16/2014 - 20:38
Paul Leicht's picture

I got rid of mine years ago. On both accounts. Didn't win much but it was interesting as the format we were forced to play was Scars Block.

Hmmmmmmm I must have missed by JXClaytor at Sun, 02/16/2014 - 23:48
JXClaytor's picture

Hmmmmmmm I must have missed that :(

I dont see why they couldn't by Xaoslegend at Tue, 02/25/2014 - 19:32
Xaoslegend's picture

I dont see why they couldn't just segment the options, have a n option in interface to make all formats available that is by default off then only the most popular on. It solves both problems easily. New players dont get confused, more experienced players or more interested players can see all of them. I like having more tools on the interface personally.

I don't see how getting rid of them just because you dont happen to use them is anything but unfriendly toward other players that do like them. To me they did this just to reduce their workload even if it really shouldnt be that much work to maintain them.

Do it again! by IYankemDDS at Sun, 02/16/2014 - 21:41
IYankemDDS's picture
5

Hope they'll give us another chance to get rid of 'em eventually! :P