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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Jan 23 2015 1:00pm
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State of the Program for January 23rd 2015

 

In the News:

Changes to the Banned and Restricted Lists: Wizards released changes to the banned and restricted lists this week. Standard is unchanged, but other formats were affected. In Modern, Dig through Time, Treasure Cruise and Birthing Pod are gone, and Golgari Grave-Troll comes back. In legacy, Treasure Cruise is banned while Worldgorger Dragon is unbanned.   In Vintage, Treasure Cruise is restricted, while Gifts Ungiven is back to a four-of. Wizards explanation of the changes is here.  
 
Fate Reforged Preview Drafts: Wizards will be hosting some FRF preview drafts on Wednesday and Thursday January 28th and 29th.  Both drafts will take place at 1pm PDT, and both will feature eight well-known streamers. Draft one includes Cameron Aldous, Randy Buehler, Thomas Delia, Frank Lepore, Tom Martell, Paul Pires, Noah Sandler and SGDoc. The second draft will include Paul Cheon, Kenji Egashira, Simon Goertzen, Julian Knab, Scott MacCallum, Graham Stark, Marshall Sutcliffe and the famous TBD.
 
Fate Reforged Prerelease and Release Info Up: Wizards has posted info on the Fate Reforged Release and Prerelease events. The initial posting said release event drafts would be $10, but that was quickly changed to $15. The posting appears to have some additional typos: for instance the payout of a four round, 16 player friendly prerelease event is listed as 3 match wins = 5 FRF packs, 2 match wins = 3 FRF boosters, 2 or 1 match win = 2 FRF boosters. All prerelease drafts will be FRF / KTK / KTK. Sealed events will include a clan-specific booster (with a foil rare or Mythic), 4 FRF boosters and a KTK booster. Triple FRF drafts will be available during the release events. Details here.       
 
Vintage Super League Returns: The VSL will restart January 28th. Like last time around, the league will feature 10 strong players: 4 Hall of Famers, 2 Platinum Pros and several Vintage stalwarts. The League will have a 9 rounds of round-robin play, followed by a playoff. The VSL is probably the biggest Vintage “event” outside of the Vintage Champs and the Bazaar of Moxen, so it’s worth a look. The announcement is here. The VSL home page is here.
 
Extended Downtime January 28thThe downtime next week will start early. Tournaments will end at 5:00am PDT and the client will shut down at 8:00am PDT.
 
Jobs at Wizards: Wizards is looking to hire an Associate Digital Product Manager, MTGO Cardsets and a Senior Project Manager, Magic Campaigns Job.   Details here and here.  
 

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. Here’s what we know, want or are tracking. This list is getting short mainly because Wizards is so bad at passing on any information about future products or events. They generally have announced these events a day or two before they happens, which means most players never hear about them, and news compilations (like State of the Program) only hear about them too late for them to be included.
 
Item: date it will return and notes
·       Fate Reforged: February 2nd release, prereleases Jan. 30th - Feb. 2nd.
·       Legacy Cube: Jan. 14th to Jan. 28th   Legacy Cube is the non-powered Cube.
·       Triple Odyssey Draft Queues: Jan. 14th to Jan. 28th  
·       Standard PTQ: Saturday, prelims Wed., Thurs. & Fri.
·       Khans Sealed PTQ: Sunday, prelims Thurs., Fri. & Sat. 
·       Leagues (June 2015?) Wizards said leagues will return in 2015.
·       Modern Masters II: May, 29, 2015. Mirrodin through Zendikar. Details here.
 

The Bug Blog Update

The Bug Blog is a weekly post by Wizards covering the most common known issues in MTGO. The blog is published late Thursday or early Friday, and I write this Wednesday, so I will be a week behind.  The most recent one up, as I write this, is from January 8th.   
 

Opinion Section: My New Account 

Last week I talked about the problems I was having constructing decks. I was occasionally trading away cards I needed when cleaning out draft leftovers. My collection was simply too large, making scrolling and searches really slow. It was also full of minor annoyances, like having the program put the recently drafted random basics into decks instead of the matched sets of old lands (e.g. Mirage Mountains, etc.) I have wanted a constructed collection, which is separate from the general collection for years – or more specifically, I did not want my draft leftovers to be dumped automatically into the card pool used to construct decks.  The client cannot handle that, but there is one obvious solution: get two accounts.
 
Actually, I have several accounts. I have the one I started playing with back in 2005.   That got super crowded, so I turned that into a storage account and created One Million Words. I played out of that one for years, but those problems with deck construction chafed. I created 3MWords, which I will use for constructed purposes. I will continue to draft and play limited events from One Million Words.  
 
Getting the account was pretty straightforward. I went to the Wizards website, and entered my name and birthdate. I also got to choose a user name. When I had been working on my article for last week, I checked whether 1MWords was available, but I didn’t buy it at that point. Then my article went up, and by the time I got home, 1MWords was no longer available. 3MWords was, so that’s what I used. A few minutes and $9.99 plus tax later, I had another new account. 
 
New accounts have to be approved, but that happened somewhere in the middle of FNM, so I had my new account when I got home. The new account came with a number of things:
·       5 TIX
·       640 Commons and uncommons, including 50 of each basic land
·       20 new player points (enough for 5 drafts)
·       5 avatars: Jace, Garruk, etc.
·       A welcome to MTGO message from Wizards.
 
My first job was to look over the 640 new cards. They were a fairly random mix of Standard legal commons and uncommons. I could have built some decent casual decks from that mix, but I wasn’t interested in cluttering up this account with junk. I kept a Seeker of the Way and some non-basic lands, and traded the rest to my storage account. Then I started trading cards from One Million Words. I had made a special trade binder last week, and dropped playsets of stuff I wanted, plus the cool basic lands, into it during lulls between matches for a couple days.   I brought everything I thought I might someday want, including cards for ancient broken decks, like Academy and JarGrim. I have been thinking about doing some “Old vs. New” videos. In the end, I traded a couple thousand cards into the new account. That’s way less than the 40k in the old account, and that does make searches infinitely faster. 
 
The new account had 20 new player points. Those points are not tradable, and – as far as I could tell – are only usable in the new player drafts.  These are 4 player, two round Swiss drafts. They pay out in special 5 card packs that are also not tradable. You win 5 packs for going 2-0, 3 packs for 1-1and 1 pack for 0-2. Four player drafts are interesting, but packs lap too quickly. These drafts also seem to feature way too many Ankle Shankers – I faced that card in five of my first seven matches which is ridiculous. In the end, I won somewhere between 15 and 20 of the 5 card boosters. They included a reasonable mix of commons, uncommons and a couple rares – all from Khans. I traded almost all of those away to a storage account, too.
 
So far, I have only had enough time to play through the five mini-drafts and build a couple decks. I have traded the cards between accounts. This proved surprisingly easy: my computer can run several MTGO sessions simultaneously, and the client is pretty good at keeping the windows separate. 
 
In all,  I played ten matches in the new players queue. Only three opponents played like new players. Two had problems with the interface, and one had trouble submitting his deck. The others seemed well versed in not only Magic drafting but in the interface as well. Most seemed well versed in clock management and seemed to be using F2 and F6. This makes me wonder what portion of new accounts are really new players, and what portion are players who open new accounts because their old accounts are too stuffed with junk cards. I don’t know, and the sample size I am working off is way too small, but I wonder.    
 
Random MTGO Suggestion of the Day: The draft timer should change color when it shifts from counting up for round time to counting down to the next round start. A color change would draw your attention. Maybe yellow? Note: I submitted this suggestion to magiconlinefeedback@wizards.com. If you have recommendations or advice, send them there. Wizards does read them.     
 

Cutting Edge Tech:

No decks this week. First, last weekend was the paper prerelease, so there were almost no major constructed events played last weekend. Second, the new set will appear in paper constructed today, and will be online shortly. That will have a huge impact on Standard and in block.   In older formats, the new set will have a lesser impact, but those formats were all affected by serious B&R list changes.   What does all this mean? It means that last weekend’s decks are pretty much irrelevant. 
 
Cutting edge tech will be back next week with decklists reflecting the new set and the new B&R list.
 

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 almost a decade now, and have never been overcharged or disappointed.
 
Standard staples: Standard prices dropped hard this week. Not too surprising – prices always drop as everyone sells everything they don’t think will be good when the new set arrives. Most of those people are wrong, so prices will bounce back on many of these cards. 
 

Standard & Block Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$9.65
$10.04
($0.39)
-4%
$5.52
$6.44
($0.92)
-14%
$19.65
$21.63
($1.98)
-9%
$12.23
$13.88
($1.65)
-12%
$11.79
$14.68
($2.89)
-20%
$7.93
$8.18
($0.25)
-3%
$17.97
$21.49
($3.52)
-16%
$15.28
$17.38
($2.10)
-12%
$7.89
$8.41
($0.52)
-6%
$6.52
$7.18
($0.66)
-9%
$15.06
$17.43
($2.37)
-14%
$20.47
$21.51
($1.04)
-5%
$16.80
$17.46
($0.66)
-4%
$4.89
$5.30
($0.41)
-8%
$7.88
$9.32
($1.44)
-15%
$7.97
$8.70
($0.73)
-8%
$11.12
$13.00
($1.88)
-14%
$13.60
$13.56
$0.04
0%
$6.62
$7.58
($0.96)
-13%
$15.52
$17.52
($2.00)
-11%
$11.97
$13.52
($1.55)
-11%

 
Modern staples:  Modern prices are clearly showing the effects of the B&R changes. Birthing Pod, and the cards that are strong in the Pod decks, are down. Goyf, Dark Confidant and Liliana are coming back strong. Karn is riding high after both winning a big event and seeing its major rivals fall to the ban hammer. 
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$37.44
$38.25
($0.81)
-2%
$9.84
$16.39
($6.55)
-40%
$18.90
$17.65
$1.25
7%
$12.46
$10.04
$2.42
24%
$9.55
$9.55
$0.00
0%
$8.84
$10.66
($1.82)
-17%
$21.94
$15.55
$6.39
41%
$27.16
$16.44
$10.72
65%
$14.90
$14.90
$0.00
0%
$25.98
$20.58
$5.40
26%
$52.15
$52.15
$0.00
0%
$39.03
$25.62
$13.41
52%
$91.06
$62.66
$28.40
45%
$25.59
$29.55
($3.96)
-13%
$45.09
$44.59
$0.50
1%
$29.72
$35.59
($5.87)
-16%
$27.58
$23.26
$4.32
19%
$31.28
$33.70
($2.42)
-7%
$28.51
$29.49
($0.98)
-3%
$17.28
$15.56
$1.72
11%
$81.79
$64.08
$17.71
28%
$19.43
$19.43
$0.00
0%
$37.43
$31.38
$6.05
19%
$23.28
$36.46
($13.18)
-36%

 
Legacy / Vintage staples: Legacy and Vintage prices are pretty stable this week.   We may some impact of the B&R change, but probably not for a while.   
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$58.20
$58.20
$0.00
0%
$153.66
$159.17
($5.51)
-3%
$37.03
$38.42
($1.39)
-4%
$30.73
$29.42
$1.31
4%
$29.86
$29.86
$0.00
0%
$30.19
$30.99
($0.80)
-3%
$11.19
$11.49
($0.30)
-3%
$36.81
$36.81
$0.00
0%
$27.28
$27.28
$0.00
0%
$26.22
$26.85
($0.63)
-2%
$27.44
$27.44
$0.00
0%
$17.12
$17.64
($0.52)
-3%
$13.59
$13.59
$0.00
0%
$112.42
$104.59
$7.83
7%
$51.38
$51.38
$0.00
0%
$81.34
$76.88
$4.46
6%
$148.15
$148.15
$0.00
0%
$44.51
$44.51
$0.00
0%
$29.99
$32.22
($2.23)
-7%
$49.38
$47.44
$1.94
4%
$27.61
$33.57
($5.96)
-18%
$18.23
$19.25
($1.02)
-5%
$32.31
$32.31
$0.00
0%
$101.61
$101.61
$0.00
0%

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.   For those of you who redeem, here are the retail prices of one of everything set currently available in the store, excluding sets that are not currently draftable or not redeemable.    
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Born of the Gods
$69.38
$79.68
($10.30)
-13%
Journey into Nix
$108.13
$118.35
($10.22)
-9%
Khans of Trakir
$96.26
$105.00
($8.74)
-8%
M15
$146.10
$155.42
($9.32)
-6%
Theros
$106.68
$117.14
($10.46)
-9%

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. 
 

 

Black Lotus

 
B
VMA
$    153.66
Rishadan Port
R
MM
$    148.15
Misdirection
R
MM
$    112.42
Wasteland
U
TE
$    101.61
Liliana of the Veil
M
ISD
$      91.06
Tarmogoyf
R
FUT
$      89.53
Tarmogoyf
M
MMA
$      81.79
Mox Sapphire
B
VMA
$      81.34
Ancestral Recall
B
VMA
$      58.20
Force of Will
R
MED
$      55.59
Griselbrand
M
AVR
$      52.15
Mox Jet
B
VMA
$      51.38
Infernal Tutor
R
DIS
$      51.34
Time Walk
B
VMA
$      49.38
Mox Ruby
B
VMA
$      48.32
Mox Opal
M
SOM
$      45.09
Show and Tell
R
UZ
$      44.51
Karn Liberated
M
NPH
$      39.03
Vendilion Clique
M
MMA
$      37.76
Batterskull
M
NPH
$      37.44
Vendilion Clique
R
MOR
$      37.43
City of Traitors
R
EX
$      37.03
Force of Will
R
VMA
$      36.81
Tangle Wire
R
NE
$      34.82
Mox Emerald
B
VMA
$      33.92
Toxic Deluge
R
C13
$      33.30
Mox Pearl
B
VMA
$      32.57
Undiscovered Paradise
R
VI
$      32.31
Scalding Tarn
R
ZEN
$      31.28
Volcanic Island
R
ME4
$      31.18
Daze
C
DD2
$      30.97
Containment Priest
R
C14
$      30.73
Daze
C
NE
$      30.19
Sneak Attack
R
UZ
$      29.99
Dark Depths
R
CSP
$      29.86
Volcanic Island
R
ME3
$      29.78
Noble Hierarch
R
CON
$      29.72
Primeval Titan
M
M12
$      29.68
Scapeshift
R
MOR
$      28.51
Auriok Champion
R
5DN
$      28.31
True-Name Nemesis
R
C13
$      27.61
Primeval Titan
M
M11
$      27.58
Dark Confidant
M
MMA
$      27.47
Intuition
R
TE
$      27.44
Gaea's Cradle
R
UZ
$      27.28
Dark Confidant
R
RAV
$      27.16
Lion's Eye Diamond
R
MI
$      26.31
Hurkyl's Recall
R
10E
$      26.22
Fulminator Mage
R
SHM
$      25.98
Linvala, Keeper of Silence
M
ROE
$      25.59

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 $ 25,840. That’s up about $225 from where we were last week.
 

Weekly Highlights:

Last weekend was the paper prerelease. I managed to run a couple, but had too much other work to play in any. I am running more events this weekend, so I may not get a chance to actually play paper FRF cards before I can play them online. 
 
On the other hand, I did get some chances to play new player drafts. Two round drafts are great, at least for the standpoint of being able to squeeze them into a busy schedule. (I can’t wait for leagues.)
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” and “3MWords” on MTGO
 
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.
 
HammyBot Still Running: 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 10% below retail price. Erik died three years ago, so HammyBot does not include any standard legal cards, but it includes a ton of Masters Edition and Vintage cards, and some nice Modern bargains. 

8 Comments

Something has to be done by Joe Fiorini at Fri, 01/23/2015 - 22:12
Joe Fiorini's picture
5

Something has to be done about wasteland, I'm going nuts trying to get the last two I need.

Good Old WOTC Strikes Again... by Fred1160 at Sat, 01/24/2015 - 18:25
Fred1160's picture

The Wizards website has a survey link. When I tried to take the survey I get this:
"Thank you for your interest, but we have reached our goal of completed surveys."
This is not a survey from last year. It was posted yesterday in regard to Fate Unforged.

Yeah, the surveys they do cap by longtimegone at Sat, 01/24/2015 - 21:05
longtimegone's picture

Yeah, the surveys they do cap at a specific number of respondents, and they stop once they hit that number, how ever long it's actually been.

Thanks by Dwarven_Pony at Sat, 01/24/2015 - 22:46
Dwarven_Pony's picture

Thank you for this excellent article.

@Joe Fiorini. Wasteland will tank. It's just a matter of time before Vintage Masters II, Tempest Flashback Drafts and perhaps a MOCS promo. Can you stomach the wait until it tanks? For me, I am going to wait. I refuse to pay over $100 for a card, particularly a card that you need 4 of.

With treasure cruise banned, by Joe Fiorini at Sun, 01/25/2015 - 15:41
Joe Fiorini's picture

With treasure cruise banned, I need another deck to fall back on. I am almost done building )Delver, I just need two more wastelands.

I doubt flashback drafts are enough to drive down the price anyway. they didn't go down much last time.

I gutted my paper collection (which I'm very sad about actually) for trade-in credit at cape fear games/mtgotraders. that should help me get one and a half wastes.

Wasteland by Dwarven_Pony at Mon, 01/26/2015 - 00:18
Dwarven_Pony's picture

Joe Fiorini, your solution works. I am just worried that you will be sad when the price tanks by the end of 2015, especially if you have 4 of them. Don't forget the fate of Force of Will and Lion's Eye Diamond.

For me, I am going to draft the hell out of the next Flashback Draft (hopefully it will be TE TE TE and not the full block). Mike Turin will hopefully launch a triple Tempest draft rather than a full block draft, just like he is doing now with the triple Odyssey draft. Remember that Wasteland is an uncommon! It is bound to show up all the time! I will be there to swoop when it does.

I know. I don't want to wait. by Joe Fiorini at Mon, 01/26/2015 - 16:52
Joe Fiorini's picture

I know. I don't want to wait. I already sold out of a lot of cards to get into legacy, and every time I draw one of the two ghost quarters in my deck as placeholders, I get so annoyed.

A series of three feature by haikatokwa at Thu, 02/19/2015 - 11:03
haikatokwa's picture

A series of three feature length comedy dramas written for British television by Paul Minett and Brian Leveson. - Review Solution