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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Feb 28 2014 1:00pm
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The State of the Program for February 28th 2014

In the News this Week:

Wizards Bans Accounts for Bad Behavior:  Wizards has indefinitely muted some users, and terminated the accounts of others. This was done because of “behavior that was negative to the Magic community.” In other words, Wizards finally acted against some of the obnoxious jerks. Thank you Wizards. And for everyone else – keep reporting these folks. It does help.   Details here.
 
BOT Accounts Banned: Wizards also banned some accounts – rumored to be BOTs - for “unauthorized client interactions.” This probably means BOTs that were manipulating into the client. BOTs that function by emulating mouse clicks and keyboard controls are fine. BOTs that interact with the client at a much lower level are not. Wizards has banned BOT accounts a few years ago for this problem, and did so again recently. Review the Code of Conduct here. Details here. Discussion here.
 
The Pro Tour was Awesome!:  The timing was really awkward for me, a lot of the name players I root for got knocked out early, and I had other things I wanted to do last weekend. Even so, I watched a ton of Pro Tour coverage. The Modern format was full of fascinating decks, and a ton of really good Magic was played. I highly recommend checking out the coverage and the videos.   More in the Modern section of Cutting Edge Tech.
 
Jon Loucks Article: Jon wrote about the challenges of programming Born of the Gods cards here. One of the more interesting parts was a discussion of Whims of the Fates – and the changes it has brought to R&D. Whims of the Fates allows players to divide their permanents into three piles, and one of those piles, at random, is destroyed. (Pro tip: you can divide them all, nothing, nothing, and the odds are 2 in 3 you lose nothing.) It’s a card that appeals to the contingent that likes coin flips. I’m not part of that contingent, so I find the card pretty silly. However, Whims of the Fates required a ton of work to program (details in the article.) The end result is that the MTGO programming staff will have some input on the card creation process – not to kill good ideas, but to make sure fringe cards like this are done in ways that don’t require massive changes to MTGO. (Another possible outcome – cards that would require excessive programming and are not tournament worthy this could be included in paper only products, like Conspiracy.)
 
The article also explained that coding the Hero’s Path format took too much time/effort, which is why the hero avatars earned during the Born of the Gods events do nothing but look pretty. And this may be the saddest line in the article: “Since we couldn’t implement on Magic Online the Face the Hydra deck that would be used in stores, we created the Magic Online Face the Hydra Challenge. We streamed the event, and I even wore a hydra costume.”       
 
Wizards Job:  Wizards is advertising for an Operations Technician - Game Support person. They are looking for someone in the Renton area since they are not paying relocation costs, but if you are willing to move at your own expense… Details here
 

The Timeline:

This may be a new, recurring feature, if people like it.  We will see. I am planning to track some missing / coming / expected events and features, both as reminder and information source. Please let me know what else I should be tracking, and let me know if I missed a comment or link.
 

Item
Last Online
Expected
Source / Details
Journey into Nyx
n/a
5/12/2014
Source = Calendar
Vintage Masters
n/a
6/16/2014
Details here.
CUBE
2/12/2014
5/1/2014?
Usually 2 weeks before a new set appears.
Legacy Tribal Wars
2/14/2014
“in due time”
Latest comment was Post #46 here.
Magic 2015
 
7/28/2014
Source = Calendar
Modern Masters
Jan. 2014
?
(I just want it back.)
Leagues
2008
2014
Most recent comment.
V3 Client Shutdown
n/a
Not set
When Wide Beta is ready, plus “months” of warning
Duel Decks: Jace vs. Vraska
n/a
5/12/2014
Details here.

 

 

 

 

 

Cutting Edge Tech: 

Standard: Last weekend, a number of stores ran TCGPlayer Appreciation Weekend events. I’m featuring the winning deck from the Legion Events tournament because Legion is good people, and from my neck of the woods. More decklists here.

Azorious Control
CJ Moore, Winner, Legion Events Appreciation Weekend
Creatures
1 AEtherling
1 cards

Other Spells
3 Azorius Charm
4 Detention Sphere
4 Dissolve
1 Elixir of Immortality
2 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
4 Jace, Architect of Thought
4 Last Breath
1 Quicken
4 Sphinx's Revelation
4 Supreme Verdict
2 Syncopate
4 Temple of Enlightenment
33 cards
 
Lands
4 Hallowed Fountain
7 Island
2 Mutavault
7 Plains
1 Temple of Deceit
1 Temple of Silence
22 cards

Elspeth, Sun's Champion
 
Modern: We had an amazing Pro Tour last weekend. A Master of Waves deck splashed red for Blood Moon. A Splinter Twin deck splashed for Tarmogoyf. The Top 8 had eight different archetypes (although Splinter Twin and Tarmo-Twin are clearly related.)  The coverage is here. LSV wrote a some great overview articles for the Modern format going forward here and here.  The list of all Modern decks going 6-x or better in constructed is here.  I am just going to look decks I like. They include the most discussed deck (but mainly because Blue Moon was unexpected – it won’t surprise people anymore), the top two decks and one I am strongly considering playing.  On a side note, the bannings, unbannings and non-bannings all appeared to be the right call.  Birthing Pod wasn’t banned and Melira-Pod proved to be just another deck in the field. Wild Nacatl turned out to be nothing more than a cute kitty, and Bitterblossom was barely present. Melira-Pod finished second not because it is broken but because it is really powerful, and because the pilot is a long-time online grinder who knows the deck inside out. In this PT, knowing the format really, really well proved more important than raw skill. The top of the standings contained more Modern experts than name players – and that’s a good thing.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pauper: Blue dominated the most recent PE, again. Three of the top 4 decks were distinctly soggy, if not waterlogged, as was a large portion of the Top 8. They did vary – from control to combo-mill to Counter Burn.  The third place deck was at least a different color.
 
Elves
cjlack92, Third Place, Pauper Premier #6767373 on 02/24/2014
Creatures
4 Birchlore Rangers
3 Elvish Mystic
2 Fyndhorn Elves
3 Llanowar Elves
4 Llanowar Sentinel
4 Nettle Sentinel
4 Priest of Titania
4 Quirion Ranger
3 Sylvan Ranger
4 Timberwatch Elf
4 Wellwisher
39 cards

Other Spells
4 Distant Melody
2 Spidersilk Armor
2 Viridian Longbow
8 cards
 
Lands
12 Forest
1 Island
13 cards

Priest of Titania
 
Legacy: SCG ran a Legacy Open last weekend.  Some of the Top 8 decks are here. (I’m not sure why some are missing. It may get fixed at some point.)   Once again, the Top 8 had an interesting mix of decks. 
 
 
Classic: I had planned on playing in last weekend’s Classic event, but it did something that I wasn’t used to: it fired on time. I sat down at the computer at 8:31 (the dogs were poky) , and the event was already running. Bad for me, but good for Classic. Enderfall took the event down with a control list featuring Back to Basics, a sort of blue Blood Moon. 
 
 

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. Born of the Gods is beginning to approach saturation. Theros has rebounded a bit.  
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Born of the Gods
$92.48
$115.18
($22.70)
-20%
Dragon's Maze
$70.91
$76.37
($5.46)
-7%
Gatecrash
$111.23
$109.79
$1.44
1%
M14
$137.93
$137.12
$0.81
1%
Return to Ravnica
$153.12
$145.73
$7.39
5%
Theros
$110.89
$106.79
$4.10
4%

Standard prices are moving around, but are overall slightly down.  Born of the Gods has been shifting the format, but we are beginning to see a metagame.  Born of the Gods cards had been commanding a premium, then dropped, and now everything it evening out.
 

Standard & Block Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$5.91
$5.91
$0.00
0%
$21.51
$20.60
$0.91
4%
$21.05
$26.00
($4.95)
-19%
$17.61
$19.63
($2.02)
-10%
$16.98
$17.83
($0.85)
-5%
$7.08
$7.53
($0.45)
-6%
$32.43
$31.10
$1.33
4%
$13.30
$12.79
$0.51
4%
$7.43
$8.52
($1.09)
-13%
$11.22
$12.18
($0.96)
-8%
$27.60
$26.96
$0.64
2%
$13.00
$16.33
($3.33)
-20%
$7.09
$6.45
$0.64
10%
$27.61
$26.58
$1.03
4%
$10.52
$11.71
($1.19)
-10%
$11.53
$9.44
$2.09
22%
$11.75
$7.97
$3.78
47%
$31.33
$32.53
($1.20)
-4%
$16.30
$15.35
$0.95
6%
$7.30
$7.15
$0.15
2%
$28.43
$31.27
($2.84)
-9%
(Xenagos, God of the Revels)
$6.83
$8.34
($1.51)
-18%
$8.26
$7.72
$0.54
7%

Modern prices are bouncing around a bit, are climbing as we gear up for the Modeern PTQ season. The Pro Tour had the predictable impact: the cards that did well climbed, while cards that proved to be overrated (*cough* Bitterblossom *cough*) fell.
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$24.68
$20.54
$4.14
20%
$10.72
$7.60
$3.12
41%
$33.52
$34.36
($0.84)
-2%
$13.91
$13.61
$0.30
2%
$35.20
$41.67
($6.47)
-16%
$12.34
$8.48
$3.86
46%
$16.25
$16.90
($0.65)
-4%
$26.71
$24.40
$2.31
9%
$16.00
$17.07
($1.07)
-6%
$19.44
$20.21
($0.77)
-4%
$18.93
$16.51
$2.42
15%
$13.08
$13.47
($0.39)
-3%
$13.21
$10.51
$2.70
26%
$26.00
$24.67
$1.33
5%
$28.34
$27.18
$1.16
4%
$38.35
$43.13
($4.78)
-11%
$29.90
$35.31
($5.41)
-15%
$9.33
$9.30
$0.03
0%
$59.91
$59.37
$0.54
1%
$16.03
$15.07
$0.96
6%
$50.48
$48.03
$2.45
5%
$32.39
$36.37
($3.98)
-11%
$7.88
$8.77
($0.89)
-10%
$22.48
$11.32
$11.16
99%
$27.09
$28.79
($1.70)
-6%
$36.52
$25.16
$11.36
45%
$16.32
$15.29
$1.03
7%
$13.84
$13.10
$0.74
6%
$76.91
$80.29
($3.38)
-4%
$48.18
$46.54
$1.64
4%

Pauper prices are moving around. I don’t understand why. That’s not new: Pauper seems to have its own rules and drivers.
 

Pauper Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$1.25
$1.31
($0.06)
-5%
$2.95
$2.63
$0.32
12%
$1.16
$0.45
$0.71
158%
$2.47
$2.63
($0.16)
-6%
$2.86
$2.38
$0.48
20%
$4.34
$4.34
$0.00
0%
$9.54
$10.88
($1.34)
-12%
$1.51
$1.29
$0.22
17%
$1.48
$1.65
($0.17)
-10%
$2.74
$3.05
($0.31)
-10%
$4.98
$4.98
$0.00
0%
$3.18
$3.42
($0.24)
-7%
$3.13
$3.87
($0.74)
-19%
$0.76
$0.76
$0.00
0%
$0.81
$1.31
($0.50)
-38%
$2.94
$3.70
($0.76)
-21%
$1.93
$2.06
($0.13)
-6%
$5.44
$5.06
$0.38
8%
$0.86
$0.93
($0.07)
-8%
$0.33
$0.40
($0.07)
-18%
$1.15
$0.79
$0.36
46%

I added some cards to the Legacy and Classic list, just in time to see a widespread fall in prices. The majority of the cards heading down were Legacy cards, not Classic staples (except for Underground Sea, which is ubiquitous.) I’m not sure what prompted this.
 

Legacy / Classic Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$13.07
$13.59
($0.52)
-4%
$36.33
$38.58
($2.25)
-6%
$18.90
$19.69
($0.79)
-4%
$24.75
$26.00
($1.25)
-5%
$26.11
$26.83
($0.72)
-3%
$121.46
$123.99
($2.53)
-2%
$62.55
$65.98
($3.43)
-5%
Hurkyl's Recall
$21.24
$22.12
($0.88)
-4%
$17.61
$18.52
($0.91)
-5%
$31.94
$32.71
($0.77)
-2%
$131.66
$135.00
($3.34)
-2%
$26.76
$26.76
$0.00
0%
$69.59
$69.59
$0.00
0%
$31.98
$31.98
$0.00
0%
$34.55
$36.92
($2.37)
-6%
$18.30
$18.30
$0.00
0%
$15.50
$16.17
($0.67)
-4%
$33.94
$35.14
($1.20)
-3%
$98.79
$94.17
$4.62
5%
$68.87
$68.87
$0.00
0%
$31.51
$31.51
$0.00
0%
$25.47
$26.66
($1.19)
-4%
$27.62
$28.61
($0.99)
-3%
$37.13
$38.22
($1.09)
-3%
Vampiric Tutor
$45.23
$45.23
$0.00
0%
$25.50
$25.50
$0.00
0%
$79.39
$82.38
($2.99)
-4%

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. The big change this week is LED, which fell hard once everyone learned it will be next month’s MOCS promo. The price fell, but LED is still the most expensive card on the list.  There just aren’t that many MOCS promos issued in a season. Force of Will was a MOCS promo, and its price is higher than ever. 
 

Card
Rarity
Set
Price
Lion's Eye Diamond
R
MI
$ 131.66
Force of Will
R
MED
$ 121.46
Rishadan Port
R
MM
$   98.79
Tarmogoyf
R
FUT
$    83.49
Wasteland
U
TE
$    79.39
Tarmogoyf
M
MMA
$    76.91
Misdirection
R
MM
$    69.59
Show and Tell
R
UZ
$    68.87
Gaea's Cradle
R
UZ
$    62.55
Liliana of the Veil
M
ISD
$    59.91
Tundra
R
ME4
$    51.44
Tundra
R
ME2
$    51.35
Mox Opal
M
SOM
$    50.48
Vendilion Clique
M
MMA
$    49.54
Vendilion Clique
R
MOR
$    48.18
Vampiric Tutor
R
VI
$    45.23
Bayou
R
ME4
$    39.88
Volcanic Island
R
ME3
$    39.21
Volcanic Island
R
ME4
$    39.10
Bayou
R
ME3
$    39.00
Griselbrand
M
AVR
$    38.35
Underground Sea
R
ME4
$    38.22
Underground Sea
R
ME2
$    37.13
Scalding Tarn
R
ZEN
$    36.52
City of Traitors
R
EX
$    36.33
Bitterblossom
R
MOR
$    35.20
Natural Order
R
VI
$    34.55
Tropical Island
R
ME4
$    34.03
Polluted Delta
R
ONS
$    33.94
Batterskull
M
NPH
$    33.52
Domri Rade
M
GTC
$    32.43
Noble Hierarch
R
CON
$    32.39
Mishra's Workshop
R
ME4
$    31.98
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
M
WWK
$    31.94
Mutavault
R
MOR
$    31.71
Sneak Attack
R
UZ
$    31.51
Sphinx's Revelation
M
RTR
$    31.33
Tropical Island
R
ME3
$    31.12
Karn Liberated
M
NPH
$    29.90
Voice of Resurgence
M
DGM
$    28.43
Geist of Saint Traft
M
ISD
$    28.34
Grove of the Burnwillows
R
FUT
$    28.06
Cryptic Command
R
LRW
$    28.05
Mana Crypt
R
ME2
$    27.98
Primeval Titan
M
M11
$    27.74
Threads of Disloyalty
R
BOK
$    27.62
True-Name Nemesis
R
C13
$    27.62
Mutavault
R
M14
$    27.61
Jace, Architect of Thought
M
RTR
$    27.60
Primeval Titan
M
M12
$    27.09
Mana Drain
R
ME3
$    26.76
Cryptic Command
R
MMA
$    26.71
Flusterstorm
R
CMD
$    26.11
Fulminator Mage
R
SHM
$    26.00
Vindicate
R
AP
$    25.50
Tangle Wire
R
NE
$    25.47

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 $27,050. That’s down two hundred dollars from where we were last week. 
 

Weekly Highlights:

The Pro Tour was a lot of fun to watch. If you missed it, watch the replays.  You will be glad you did, especially if you plan on playing in the Modern PTQs.
 
I also got a chance to play in a Theros block sealed release event. Here’s my pool and build.
 
 
It turns out a deck with Xenagos, the Reveler, two Lightning Strikes, two Fall of the Hammer, a Bolt of Keranos and more removal, plus some decent red and green guys is good. Who knew?  Of course, I opened this on Monday night, so I earned a couple QPs that don’t count towards an LED. Even so, it is always fun to go 4-0. 
 
PRJ
 
“one million words” on MTGO.
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.
 

7 Comments

Thanks for you article, as by Alphi at Fri, 02/28/2014 - 13:44
Alphi's picture

Thanks for you article, as always. I really did not share your feeling concerning the Modern metagame at the pro tour. 90% of the decks were just variations on previous archetypes, nothing truly new emerged, 60% of total decks played were combo decks or had a combo element... I very believe that whatever goal WotC had in mind with the last round of banning/unbanning was not met.

I assume the Legacy sell-off, by RexDart at Fri, 02/28/2014 - 15:15
RexDart's picture

I assume the Legacy sell-off, and some of the Modern sell-off, is attributable to people cashing in for tix to draft BNG. That usually seems to happen every time there's a new set released.

Tastes vary by one million words at Fri, 02/28/2014 - 15:19
one million words's picture

What we each find pleasing differs. I liked the PT and like the format. The Top 8 had an aggro deck, a control deck and a combo deck, plus some hybrids. Several of the same archetypes reappeared, which is what should happen in an eternal format, but all were tweaked slightly, and Tarmo-Twin was arguably a new hybrid. The Amulet of Vigor deck that splashed for Hive Mind, and the Rock deck that ran Obliterator were new innovations.

I have played in, and watched, boring formats. This was not one. And it contained the sort of decks I like. But, in the end, what I like and what you like don't have to coincide. It's like art - no one type will make everyone happy. And if Modern isnn't your ppreference, hopefully you like Standard or Theros drafts. Those should get you through the MOdern season.

Ah, but I actually do enjoy by Alphi at Fri, 02/28/2014 - 20:55
Alphi's picture

Ah, but I actually do enjoy Modern, and that's why I did not like the pro tour meta game. Obliterator in GB is not new, and neither is Goyf in Twins, the later having appeared more than a year ago. The brews might be better optimized, and perhaps we will see more of these now that Jund is gone, but apart from Blue Moon, I did not find the pro's brewing particularly exciting. And I feel the format definitely felt less interactive this time around. But as you said, to each his own.

Timeline by Lagrange at Fri, 02/28/2014 - 15:56
Lagrange's picture

I like the new timeline. You could expand it to also include more about the dates of the season i.e. when will the modern season start. I am very bad at finding this kind of information.

yes. this by howlett23 at Fri, 02/28/2014 - 21:30
howlett23's picture

me too me too....I can never keep track of the "seasons".

The timeline is much by AJ_Impy at Fri, 02/28/2014 - 20:48
AJ_Impy's picture
5

The timeline is much appreciated, particularly the item coinciding with one of my primary interests.