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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Jan 08 2016 1:00pm
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State of the Program for January 8th 2016

 

In the News:

Oath of the Gatewatch Spoiler Season Underway: Cards are appearing on the official card gallery, here. The mechanics article is here.
 
Flashback Drafts : The year of flashback drafts have begun. The drafts will use real cards, not Phantom, but will pay out entirely in Play Points. Details here. Now through next downtime we have Triple Mirrodin. After next Wednesday, you can draft Mirrodin/Mirrodin/Darksteel until Jan. 20th. NEW FEATURE: I am adding a list of high—value cards from the Flashback formats each week. See below.
 
Legacy Cube Fixed and Returning: Wizards has made some changes to the Legacy (non-powered) cube. Most of the mana rocks are gone, and blue loses some counters. Details here. Legacy Cube will be back next week after the downtime.
 
MOCS Promo Error: The version of the Accumulated Knowledge added to players’ accounts as a MOCS promo had the wrong art. Wizards is working on a version with the correct art. That should be distributed on January 27th.  Players get to keep the previous version as well.
 

The Timeline:

This is a list of things we have been promised, or just want to see coming back.   Another good source for dates and times is the MTGO calendar and the weekly blog, while the best source for known bugs is the Known Issues List. For quick reference, here are some major upcoming events.   In addition, there are either one or two online PTQs each weekend, with qualifiers running the three days prior to the PTQ.
 
Item: date and notes
·         Legacy Cube: January 13th through January 29th.   Details here.
·         Power Nine Challenge: Last Saturday of the month, at 11am Pacific. 
·         Modern League End Date: Wednesday, January 27, 2016
·         Standard League End Date: Monday, January 25, 2016
·         Pauper League End Date: Tuesday, January26, 2016
·         Sealed Leagues: Summer 2016
·         Oath of the Gatewatch Prerelease: January 29–February 1, 2016
·         Regional PTQs on MTGO: Standard. February 20 at 3 p.m. Pacific and February 27 at 5 a.m. Pacific.   Details here.
·         Shadows over Innistrad Prerelease: April 15-18, 2016. Details here.
 
Flashback Schedule:
Flashback drafts are 10Tix / 100 Play Points / 2 Tix plus product, not Phantom, single elim and pay out in play points: 200 for first, 100 for second, 50 for third and fourth. 
·         Triple Mirrodin: January 6, 2016 to January 13, 2016
·         2 Mirrodin and 1 Darksteel: January 13, 2016 to January 20, 2016
·         Mirrodin, Darksteel, and Fifth Dawn: January 20, 2016 to January 27, 2016
·         Triple Champions of Kamigawa: February 17, 2016 to February 24, 2016
·         2 Champions of Kamigawa and 1 Betrayers of Kamigawa: February 24 to March 2, 2016
·         Champions, Betrayers, and Saviors of Kamigawa: March 2, 2016 to March 9, 2016
·         Triple Ninth Edition: March 9, 2016 to March 16, 2016
·         Triple Ravnica: March 16, 2016 to March 23, 2016
·         2 Ravnica and 1 Guildpact: March 23, 2016 to March 30, 2016
·         Ravnica, Guildpact, and Dissension: March 30, 2016 to April 6, 2016
·         Triple Coldsnap: April 6, 2016 to April 13, 2016
·         Triple Time Spiral: May 4, 2016 to May 11, 2016
·         2 Time Spiral and 1 Planar Chaos: May 11, 2016 to May 18, 2016
·         Time Spiral, Planar Chaos, and Future Sight: May 18, 2016 to May 25, 2016
·         Triple Tenth Edition: May 25, 2016 to June 1, 2016
 
Flashback Drafts Format and No-Pass List:
The current flashback format is triple Mirrodin. The top money cards (those over $4) in that format are:
·         Oblivion Stone $35.54
·         Glimmervoid   $10.30
·         Chalice of the Void  $8.99
·         Chrome Mox   $8.34
 
After next downtime, we add Darksteel to the mix. That set has more money rares than straight Mirrodin. They include:
·         Arcbound Ravager $10.06
·         Trinisphere   $7.70
·         Sundering Titan   $7.57
·         Sword of Fire and Ice $7.23
·         Serum Powder   $7.00
·         Æther Vial   $5.89
·         Sword of Light and Shadow   $4.67
·         Mycosynth Lattice   $4.52
 
Also Skullclamp, which isn’t money, but is insane in limited. And in constructed. 
 

Opinion Section: Leaks and Spoilers

You have probably heard that a group of judges and others have been suspended for being part of the OGW leaks early last year. It’s been all over the Twitterverse. Wizards has commented a couple times, and Helene Bergeot even appeared on a podcast talk about this. I want to talk about leaks and penalties for leaking info in general. I’m writing a 20,000 foot overview here, so please don’t take any of this as legal advice or expect specifics.  
 
In the current case, as I understand it, a source inside Wizards was leaking cards to someone, who then shared them with a private social media group generally used by judges for discussing judge stuff. This had been going on for several sets, but was only discovered when someone in the group shared the info with someone who posted the pictures to Twitter.  Wizards then suspended pretty much everyone involved, for varying lengths of time. The longest suspensions went to the people first receiving the images, and to the person who posted them to Twitter.
 
Some thoughts one this whole mess.
 
First, this is consistent with past practice. Those of you who were around few years back probably remember when the Player of the Year was suspended for three years when he was involved in leaking the New Phyrexia “God Book.” (Details here.) The circumstances were similar. Those of you who have been around as long as I have may remember Rancored Elf, who was the source of a lot of spoiler leaks back on MTGNews. He also got hit with a major suspension. Wizards does not mess around with leaks.
 
Actually, they have no choice. The once sentence summary of intellectual property law is that if you don’t fight for your copyright everywhere, all the time, you lose it. If Wizards lost the copyright to Magic, that would be a disaster for the company and players. That’s why Wizards has to sue companies like Hex, and why websites like this one always include statements that the Wizards owns its intellectual property when they use Wizards cards or artwork.
 
Wizards also takes damage when stuff is spoiled early. Wizards explained this in its article, but the independent websites also lose revenue when stuff gets spoiled. I have had my preview cards spoiled three times. Once we didn’t even bother to run my article. In the other two instances, page views were way, way down. Since preview articles generate ten times as many visits as regular articles, and since at least some of those people who come for the preview article end up reading the series and visiting the website later on, those spoilers take eyeballs and revenue away from sites like this one. And all for nothing but letting people seeing something a few days early. 
 
Yes, I dislike leaks and spoilers. 
 
I do want to talk about the myths, fears and rumors I have heard.
 
First off, I have heard people complaining that their rights have been violated. I’m sorry, but this is much more akin to an interaction between a company and its employees. Rights exist when you have an enforceable document defining those rights. The constitution and code of statutes defines our rights with respect to our government. However, we are not dealing with the government here, unless Wizards brings criminal charges against those stealing its intellectual property. If that happens, the defendants will have some rights, since the government will be acting against them.
 
When it is a question of the rights of a company like Wizards versus an employee, then those rights are primarily defined by the employment contract.   If the employees have a union, then that contract was probably negotiated between employer and employees one a somewhat level playing field, and the employees probably have some right to arbitration, appeal, etc. If the company is not unionized, then the employee contract was written by the employer, and is only as generous as the employer wishes to make it. (A few legal restrictions may apply, such as minimum wage and anti-discrimination provisions, but in the US those have been watered down for the last 30 years at least, and are not really relevant to this case.) In this particular case, the employee who leaked the data probably violated both work rules and a non-disclosure agreement, so that employee has no pretty much no legal defense against any punitive action Wizards might take. We don’t know what it was, other than Helene Bergeot statement that internal action had been taken. This might be anything from a verbal reprimand to criminal prosecution. We don’t know. I do know about one previous case of an inadvertent leak – that employee was immediately fired.        
 
As for the judges and players involved – they have even fewer “rights” in this matter. Magic judges are in category somewhere between volunteer and employee – the status is not particularly clear, and probably varies country by country. What is pretty clear is that judges do not have a contractual relationship with Wizards, other than when judges are hired as independent contractors for specific events like Pro Tours. Basically, judges have no legally enforceable rights in this relationship. Wizards can do whatever they feel is appropriate.   Wizards does feel the weight of public opinion resulting from their actions, but in the end they can choose to take whatever action they deem appropriate. They can certainly suspend judges for a period of time, demote them or throw them out of the judge program. It is Wizards’ program, and they can do whatever they want with it. Yes, if they make enough bad decisions, they may lose customers, but that does not mean that the judges have any rights beyond those Wizards grants them.
 
The fact that these were judges makes this a special case, just like the fact that Guillaume Matignon was the reigning World Champion when he leaked the New Phyrexia “godbook” made that a special case.   If anything, it probably forced Wizards to be less lenient, since sanctioning people like this sends a stronger message, but I don’t know that. But let’s not talk about special cases – let’s talk about what any player might expect if they get caught up in a leak.
 
As a player, your “rights” in such a matter are governed by contract. What contract, you ask? If you play MTGO, it’s the contract you signed when you clicked accept on the terms screen after every major upgrade, and in the code of conduct it references. If you are a paper player, it’s the contract you entered into when you signed your DCI card.  Have you read those?   If not, let me summarize – they primarily protect the company against you, not the other way around.
 
Players have very few “rights” with regard to Wizards, but that does not mean that that Wizards can do whatever they want. The relationship between customer and company is voluntary, and customers can leave whenever they want. When companies stop paying attention to their customers, those customers find another company. That is very strong leverage, and Wizards knows it. Wizards is also pretty good at customer relations – far better than most of the companies I deal with professionally. (That said, I deal professionally with telecom, cellular and cable companies – companies that have some of the worst customer service ratings in the world.)  
 
In short, this sort of thing is not a question of rights, but of balancing customer relations with punishing behavior that really was harmful to the brand and to Wizards retail partners. While Wizards is not always good at PR, and not at all good at digital products, it is reasonably good at customer relations.
 
So let’s look at the most recent situation, as I understand it from various sources including the MTGFocus podcast with Helene Bergeot. A source inside Wizards leaked info to someone outside the company. That person was either was a part of a discussion group on social media or shared it with such a group. This had been happening for several sets. This time around, someone on that discussion group shared the leaked cards with an outsider who posted the pictures to the world at large. 
 
This may not be a perfect summation of the situation, but I want to talk about the punishment of leaks in general, not the specifics of this case, so let’s assume adopt it as a hypothetical. Let’s look at each level of the situation. 
 
The first person in the chain was the Wizards employee. That person was stealing intellectual property, and may well be liable for criminal prosecution if Wizards so chooses. (Questions of intellectual property under the new copyright laws and newly passed digital property provisions of the last budget bill are beyond where I am willing or qualified to go.) Suffice it to say that Wizards had the authority to take punitive action, and has done so.
 
The next person in the chain was the person who received information from the Wizards employee and shared it with a few others. This person is, in effect, receiving stolen goods and moving them on. This person also had to know that they were violating Wizards rules, and probably some laws. This person had to know they were dealing with someone with privileged access to information, and that this information was being leaked. Hypothetically, the very first time this happened, the person may not have realized that the cards were real, but this happened for several sets. If you get cards the first time, you might conceivably think they are fakes. After the cards prove to be real for a couple sets, however, you have to know that you are dealing with a genuine leak.   This person was knowingly the other end of the direct leak, and Wizards is going to punish that person severely.  
 
Think about this as if it were a case of employee theft of physical property: the employee is stealing office furniture. If the employee then sells it to a fence that knows the chairs are stolen, that fence is guilty of receiving stolen goods and could be prosecuted.  Or think of it as accessory after the fact – being knowingly in receipt of stolen goods makes you guilty in the eyes of the law. This being intellectual property makes that more intangible, but no less true. (Caveat – I am still speaking at a 10,000 foot level.   Specific statues vary, especially if you are outside the US, and the relevant provisions in last month’s US budget bill have not been tested in court, so we don’t know exactly how this shales out. The principle, however, has been tested in court.)
 
Legality aside, Wizards has been consistent in suspending, for years, the person who receives the info from the inside source. Don’t be that person.
 
Let’s move on to the social media discussion group that had been sharing and discussing the images internally. Wizards gave all of these people minor bans – 3 months – for participating in the discussion and/or not having reported the problem. The Twitterverse and other online discussions have questioned whether this means that we are all supposed to report our friends whenever we see them share something that might possibly be a leak, and whether everyone might be subject to sanctions just for looking at a leaked image. Note that that is not what happened in this scenario. In my hypothetical scenario, and – according to Wizards own statement, in the case of the judge group – this has been happening for several sets.   If you get a card early once, you might wonder if it is real.   If you get card images early set after set, and they all provide to be completely accurate, you should expect that the new images are accurate, and that you are dealing with a real leak.
 
My conclusion: if you see a leaked card on twitter or elsewhere, and you did not post it, Wizards is not going after you. They have publically said that. If, on the other hand, you see what you believe are real cards showing up in your private discussion group before they show up anywhere else, then you might be party to a leak. You should either get whoever posted then to admit they are fakes (and keep that email), or report this to Wizards or get out of the group.   Again, the very first time this happens Wizards is not going to come after you, but if your group gets leaked images early set after set, you really cannot expect Wizards to believe you didn’t know this was a leak.
 
Finally, this brings us to the person that first posted the pictures to the world at large. Leaked cards do damage. When knowledge of that card is restricted to a small group, the damage is minimal.   When that leaked card escapes to the world at large, the damage is immense.   The person that first releases that image to the world is going to be hit with a ban-hammer, and hit hard, anytime that Wizards can identify them. 
 
Don’t be that person.
 
If you get a brand new leaked image, and you have any thought that the cards image might be real, search for the image elsewhere.   If it is already up on other social media, go ahead and share (but I would keep a screenshot of the other sources, complete with a time code.) If you cannot find the image elsewhere, then I would email it to Wizards with a message saying “I got this cool card image. I would like to share it with the world. Is that okay?” Then give Wizards some time to respond. 
 
Or just wait until someone else spoils it before you post your copy.  Wizards is always going to go after the person who spoils cards – don’t be that person. 
 

Random MTGO Suggestion of the Week

Asking again: How about a filter to filter out new player drafts from the limited on-demand queue? Ditto for Wizards employees only events.   I really don’t want to see what I cannot play in.
 
If you have a suggestion for an improvement to MTGO, send it to magiconlinefeedback@wizards.com.
 

Cutting Edge Tech:

Standard: The SCG Standard event was small, since the main event was Modern. The format is also wrapping up. In three weeks, we will have results with OGW in the mix. This time around, the finals was a 4 Color Rally mirror match. The rest of the Top 8 had a pair of Abzan Aggro and a pair of BW Controls. The BW Control is the closest thing to a new deck in the mix. The Top 16 finishers’ decklists are here
 
BW Control
Brett Tetley, 7th Place, SCG Standard Cincinnati
Creatures
4 Seeker of the Way
4 cards

Other Spells
1 Planar Outburst
3 Stasis Snare
3 Ob Nixilis Reignited
2 Ruinous Path
3 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
3 Silkwrap
3 Secure the Wastes
1 Valorous Stance
2 Sorin, Solemn Visitor
2 Utter End
1 Murderous Cut
4 Read the Bones
2 Ultimate Price
22 cards
 
Lands
6 Plains
5 Swamp
4 Shambling Vent
3 Blighted Fen
4 Scoured Barrens
4 Caves of Koilos
15 cards

Seeker of the Way
 
Modern:  The SCG Open last weekend had Modern as the feature format, and over 1,000 players showed up to play Magic – on a holiday weekend no less. That is the highest turnout ever for an SCG Modern event, possibly for an SCG event period. The Top 32 decks are here.   
 
 
Pauper:   If you are looking to get into Pauper, or just curious about the format, you need to read Alex Ullman’s format overview. But for a TL:DR – blue decks win. This week’s list of 5-0 Pauper decks had five straight blue decks before I found anything else, and eight of the ten 5-0 decks ran Islands. Here’s the first anything else.
 
GW Pauper Hexproof
BOLO_93, 5-0, Pauper League
Creatures
4 Aura Gnarlid
4 Gladecover Scout
4 Silhana Ledgewalker
4 Slippery Bogle
16 cards

Other Spells
1 Kruphix's Insight
4 Abundant Growth
4 Ancestral Mask
4 Armadillo Cloak
4 Ethereal Armor
2 Favor of the Overbeing
4 Rancor
4 Utopia Sprawl
2 Blossoming Sands
29 cards
 
Lands
14 Forest
1 Khalni Garden
15 cards

Armadillo Cloak
 
Legacy: The only largish Legacy event last weekend was the SCG one in Cincinnati. It was not a large event. The T16 event had lots of Miracles – details here.
 
 
Vintage: The Vintage Super League Season 4 is continuing. Decklists are here. At the moment, David Ochoa is the only undefeated player.
 
 

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 were jumping around again this week. And note to the people complaining about accuracy: I pull these prices from the MTGOTraders website on Tuesday or Wednesday. I check to make sure they are right at that time. I can’t help what happens afterwards.
 

Standard Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$11.27
$11.86
($0.59)
-5%
$10.61
$9.81
$0.80
8%
$10.12
$10.90
($0.78)
-7%
$9.27
$12.62
($3.35)
-27%
$8.47
$9.40
($0.93)
-10%
$6.87
$6.37
$0.50
8%
$18.48
$19.01
($0.53)
-3%
$8.56
$8.10
$0.46
6%
$18.03
$18.92
($0.89)
-5%
$7.66
$8.90
($1.24)
-14%
$73.35
$74.84
($1.49)
-2%
$17.34
$19.84
($2.50)
-13%
$7.25
$7.25
$0.00
0%
$18.58
$26.37
($7.79)
-30%
$9.54
$12.25
($2.71)
-22%
$10.46
$7.65
$2.81
37%
$6.81
$8.35
($1.54)
-18%
$8.65
$8.22
$0.43
5%
$16.93
$13.43
$3.50
26%
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
$10.22
$8.58
$1.64
19%

Modern staples:  Modern prices were all over the place last week. The price of lands is getting ridiculous. 
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$25.87
$24.58
$1.29
5%
$23.40
$26.34
($2.94)
-11%
$32.82
$34.85
($2.03)
-6%
$28.12
$27.33
$0.79
3%
$18.15
$17.24
$0.91
5%
$23.13
$26.50
($3.37)
-13%
$12.71
$14.77
($2.06)
-14%
$30.49
$22.67
$7.82
34%
$41.17
$41.72
($0.55)
-1%
$44.11
$35.33
$8.78
25%
$26.26
$24.90
$1.36
5%
$48.16
$44.15
$4.01
9%
$91.81
$98.67
($6.86)
-7%
$42.08
$38.89
$3.19
8%
$34.57
$30.00
$4.57
15%
$56.31
$49.37
$6.94
14%
$31.42
$36.94
($5.52)
-15%
$17.86
$21.25
($3.39)
-16%
$65.68
$68.11
($2.43)
-4%
$25.66
$24.17
$1.49
6%
$20.84
$20.87
($0.03)
0%
$28.09
$27.53
$0.56
2%

Legacy and Vintage: Legacy is quiet. The Power Nine are climbing. Wasteland did not meet my prediction of last summer – it did not finish the year at $100.
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$55.69
$45.51
$10.18
22%
$139.88
$137.58
$2.30
2%
$30.81
$27.90
$2.91
10%
$43.46
$43.95
($0.49)
-1%
$30.58
$30.24
$0.34
1%
$27.64
$25.59
$2.05
8%
$28.81
$27.67
$1.14
4%
$47.08
$45.45
$1.63
4%
$106.80
$107.02
($0.22)
0%
$40.88
$36.26
$4.62
13%
$67.67
$63.88
$3.79
6%
$180.46
$179.22
$1.24
1%
$41.33
$40.91
$0.42
1%
$65.01
$64.79
$0.22
0%
$15.52
$16.64
($1.12)
-7%
$39.18
$33.60
$5.58
17%
$20.44
$19.68
$0.76
4%
$78.67
$78.76
($0.09)
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.  
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Battle for Zendikar
$74.89
$66.93
$7.96
12%
Dragons of Tarkir
$135.39
$140.83
($5.44)
-4%
Fate Reforged
$67.96
$73.84
($5.88)
-8%
Khans of Tarkir
$87.51
$93.43
($5.92)
-6%
Magic Origins
$138.82
$144.16
($5.34)
-4%

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.  The list has grown – we are back over 50 cards on the list. 
 

Name
Set
Rarity
 Price
Rishadan Port
 MM
Rare
 $ 180.46
Black Lotus
 VMA
Bonus
 $ 139.88
Misdirection
 MM
Rare
 $ 106.80
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
 $   91.81
Wasteland
 TPR
Rare
 $   80.14
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
 $   78.67
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
 ORI
Mythic Rare
 $   73.35
Tarmogoyf
 MMA
Mythic Rare
 $   71.64
Tarmogoyf
 FUT
Rare
 $   70.22
Mox Sapphire
 VMA
Bonus
 $   67.67
Tarmogoyf
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $   65.68
Tangle Wire
 NE
Rare
 $   65.01
Scalding Tarn
 ZEN
Rare
 $   56.31
Ancestral Recall
 VMA
Bonus
 $   55.69
Keranos, God of Storms
 JOU
Mythic Rare
 $   48.16
Infernal Tutor
 DIS
Rare
 $   47.08
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
 $   44.34
Horizon Canopy
 FUT
Rare
 $   44.11
Doomsday
 WL
Rare
 $   43.46
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $   43.27
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
 $   42.08
Show and Tell
 UZ
Rare
 $   41.33
Grove of the Burnwillows
 FUT
Rare
 $   41.17
Mox Jet
 VMA
Bonus
 $   40.88
Time Walk
 VMA
Bonus
 $   39.18
Mox Ruby
 VMA
Bonus
 $   38.25
Oblivion Stone
 MRD
Rare
 $   35.54
Oblivion Stone
 CMD
Rare
 $   34.57
Blood Moon
 9ED
Rare
 $   34.34
Blood Moon
 MMA
Rare
 $   33.59
Blood Moon
 8ED
Rare
 $   32.82
Magus of the Moon
 FUT
Rare
 $   32.25
Scapeshift
 MOR
Rare
 $   31.42
Daze
 DD2
Common
 $   31.18
Daze
 NE
Common
 $   30.81
Food Chain
 MM
Rare
 $   30.58
Griselbrand
 AVR
Mythic Rare
 $   30.49
Mox Pearl
 VMA
Bonus
 $   30.41
Mox Emerald
 VMA
Bonus
 $   29.62
Gaea's Cradle
 UZ
Rare
 $   28.81
Cavern of Souls
 AVR
Rare
 $   28.12
Voice of Resurgence
 DGM
Mythic Rare
 $   28.09
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
 $   27.64
Ensnaring Bridge
 ST
Rare
 $   27.24
Exploration
 UZ
Rare
 $   26.69
Ensnaring Bridge
 7E
Rare
 $   26.68
Inkmoth Nexus
 MBS
Rare
 $   26.26
Auriok Champion
 5DN
Rare
 $   25.87
Twilight Mire
 EVE
Rare
 $   25.66
Verdant Catacombs
 ZEN
Rare
 $   25.33

The big number is the retail price of a playset (4 copies) of every card available on MTGO. Assuming you bought the least expensive versions available, the cost of owning a playset of every card on MTGO you can own is $ 26,050.  That’s up about $800 above last week’s number.   
 

Weekly Highlights:

Still working crazy hours.   Sorry about not having an article last week. I had work, then travel, and a Badger bowl game that started at 10:30pm and ran until after 2am. Good game, though!   
 
Prerelease in ten days as I write this. Less when you read this. Find a local store and have fun.
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” and “3MWords” on MTGO
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.
 
HammyBot Super Sale: HammyBot was set up to sell off Erik Friborg’s collection, with all proceeds going to his wife and son. So far, HammyBot has raised over $8,000, but there are a lot of cards left in the collection. Those cards are being sold at MTGOTrader’s Buy Price.  
 
 

14 Comments

"And note to the people by Cauchy at Fri, 01/08/2016 - 13:20
Cauchy's picture

"And note to the people complaining about accuracy".

I guess that is directed at me. It is totally fine to dismiss my complaint. But your standard explanation for price inaccuracy is not valid for the complaint I made.

Anyway, it is no longer an issue. Nice article and opinion section, I was hoping to read your opinion on that specific issue.

Your comment was 100% valid. by Sensei at Fri, 01/08/2016 - 13:46
Sensei's picture

Your comment was 100% valid. The prices in that article were 16 days old not 2 days old.

The following week's article pretended like there was no error and then commented on a weekly "trend" on a 14 day period. Had the second article merely stated the prices without noting changes then the error would have been restricted to one week. The error was not acknowledged so we had two erroneous articles.

seriously? by one million words at Fri, 01/08/2016 - 16:48
one million words's picture

Each week for the last four years I have pulled down the data from the MTGOTraders.com site, checked a couple big ticket, high fluctuation cards, then started cranking numbers. About two hours later I have the tables that appear in this article.

If there was a glitch in the data somewhere, I apologize. The data on previous week's prices is pulled form the previous week's data. If something is off, and I don't spot it, it promulgates. Sorry, but that's life. Each article takes 4-6 hours to produce and upload - and I generally get that uploaded just before deadline. I hate making mistakes, and I hate having things wrong, but eventually I have to stop editing and upload the ^*$@#* article.

BTW, I'm not "pretending" anything. The prices in the articles for the last couple weeks match the prices in the download file, which match the prices in the interim .csv, which match the prices in the five excel worksheets used to produce the price tables, big number, etc.

Could they all be wrong? Sure. It's possible the download was messed up, or something. I did not think to check the prices against the prices from a couple weeks ago, or from March, 2008. Given that the article was published and I cannot go back in time to fix it, it seems kinda pointless to check now. If you say it's wrong, fine, I'll accept that. I'm sorry for screwing it up.

As for not acknowledging it, I did not have time to read comments during the month of December at all. Looking back, I see that Cauchy did point is out then. Lacking a time machine, I cannot fix the more recent article. Sorry that this error invalidated two articles for you, but that's the problem with deadlines. Maybe better writers than me can be both accurate and timely, but I can't do both.

Yes I make errors. Sorry. I do my best, but )^*$ happens. Most every article is submitted late, so Joshua can't bail me out every time. Sometimes I fat finger a price. Sometimes I use the wrong wurm. Sometimes I use too many commas (okay - almost every time I use too many commas.) That's, just, going, to, happen.

FYI: I download the price data, convert commas to ampersands, convert bar marks to commas, save a .csv, move into excel, strip out foils, DKAs, promos, known database glitches, mismarks, cards with price=$0, cards with collector number =$0, booster packs, full set prices, etc. Then I copy and create four additional worksheets, one each for main data, big number, over $25, special calcs and redemption. All of those get special processing. Then I copy the "this week's prices" into last week's prices for all four pricemaker tables and enter in the new prices. Next I extract the four tables from excel and load them into the article and format them. Then I check a price or two against MTGOTraders and call it good. Only after that point do I get around to looking at the trends and writing the blurbs heading each table. It is sort of my reward for crunching all the numbers. Downside, of course, is that if I still managed to GIGO the whole mess, and I don't find it with the last price check, then it's gonna be wrong. Best I can do.

For instance, to back pete by JXClaytor at Fri, 01/08/2016 - 23:23
JXClaytor's picture

For instance, to back pete up, today's article was submitted 30 minutes before deadline. I try my best, and pete tries his best, and sometimes, a short lead to a deadline keeps my fact checking low. Pete has a wonderful real life that includes bowl games and important jobs, and has done an admirable job stepping in for hammy.

I can't fact check prices though, because I do not check them at the same time, and as much as I would like to adjust things when I get them, I can't, I'm terrible at maths, and I would more than likely mess up percentage changes :D

Even if Pete were to stop doing prices, the State of the Program is a really important article, and we thank you for stopping by the check it out. Your words and criticisms are appreciated and truly taken to heart.

Look, Pete's explanation is by Cauchy at Sat, 01/09/2016 - 06:54
Cauchy's picture

Look, Pete's explanation is perfectly fine. A I read it then the condense version is:
Pete has been too busy to read the comments. The price file was somehow corrupted. Pete did cross-check a sample of cards which seemed to be ok.

Having a mistake in the price data for one week is not a big deal. Repeating the mistake (without explanation) after you have been notified is a bigger deal. However, not having had the time to read the comments/notifications is perfectly fine. I dont 'require' that you or Pete use time to check the prices.

I read SotP each week and I enjoy each part of it. I enjoy the price summary section because a) it would take me forever to do it on my own b) I have no idea why the prices are moving like they do. So I highly enjoy reading Pete's take on the various trends.

Yeah Prices always fascinate by JXClaytor at Sat, 01/09/2016 - 11:57
JXClaytor's picture

Yeah Prices always fascinate me, like this week it's easy to see why stuff like Delay, Wasteland Strangler, Eldrazi Temple and Eye of Ugin are going up in the paper world.

Gaddock Teeg a few weeks ago was harder for me to figure out

Gaddock Teeg was something by Cauchy at Sat, 01/09/2016 - 15:10
Cauchy's picture

Gaddock Teeg was something like that he is popular in tiny leaders and someone did a buyout from TCGplayer. The latter was probably the bigger effect.

I wonder if it is more or less difficult do a buyout of a card online compared to in paper?

Harder, most likely. A lot of by xger at Sat, 01/09/2016 - 22:52
xger's picture

Harder, most likely. A lot of bots only allow a certain number of copies to one account. A lot also look for signs of a buy out and either raise the price or pull the card.

Last, online prices at the bots are, presumably, algorhythymicly checked and updated, so staying ahead long enough would be hard.

People still play Tiny by JXClaytor at Sun, 01/10/2016 - 02:14
JXClaytor's picture

People still play Tiny Leaders?

Probably the same people by Paul Leicht at Sun, 01/10/2016 - 05:14
Paul Leicht's picture

Probably the same people playing Old School...

If you want to go with the by Cheater Hater at Fri, 01/08/2016 - 17:47
Cheater Hater's picture

If you want to go with the godbook analogy, the "reveal to the public" was in an IRC chat. By the logic of these scattershot bannings, everyone in that chat should have been banned, and that's obviously a joke. As soon as it gets to a group of people that isn't via 1-to-1 communication, you end the chain right there--end of story. Anything else causes much more harm than good in the fear it causes among your most dedicated fanbase (or if it actually dissolved the judge program like it should have, instead of being forgotten in five minutes like Zach Jesse).

Heck, the main reason the private Facebook group existed is to discuss sensitive stuff in the region, as such it was basically required by Wizards and its concerns over privacy (which is also the reason why we've had to deal with the awful state of reporting software for so long, despite multiple offers to fix it in something much shorter than Wizards time).

If this were the first time.. by one million words at Sun, 01/10/2016 - 19:01
one million words's picture

If this was the first time leaked cards were discussed in the social media group, no one would have been banned.

After seeing cards that are not spoiled anyplace else *for several sets*, you have to know that you are dealing with a leak. If Wizards was actually supplying the information, you would have signed a confidentiality agreement. And that agreement would have been supplied by Wizards. NO ONE gets early information without direct contact with Wizards.

You also have to be a complete idiot not to know Wizards hate leaks.

The only side that's said by Cheater Hater at Mon, 01/11/2016 - 02:23
Cheater Hater's picture

The only side that's said that is Wizards; none of the people in the group are talking.

You say Wizards hates leaks, while virtually everyone else assumed Kozilek+Wastes (the leak people were banned for, not the mythic+land leak which should have been a much bigger deal, yet will probably never get punished "publicly", if at all) was an intentional leak by Wizards to start the spoiler season off with a bang.

The worst myth I saw about by xger at Sat, 01/09/2016 - 14:45
xger's picture

The worst myth I saw about these bannings is that Wizards didn't know what they were doing. For a company that has made an insanely successful, and long-lived, card game, it seems absurd to think that the ban decisions weren't heavily thought over.