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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Jul 17 2015 12:00pm
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State of the Program for July 17th 2015

 

In the News:

“Streamer Showdowns” to Happen Monthly: Wizards has announced that they will host special drafts – streamer showdowns – between celebrity streamers once a month. Previously, these had only happened once before each new set went live. All of the drafters will stream their drafts live on Twitch.TV. The most recent showdown was yesterday, as this goes up, and featured Holiday Cube drafts. No details on when the next one will occur. If Wizards lets us know in time, I’ll mention it in SotP. Details here.
 
Major Article on Magic: The Guardian, a major British newspaper, wrote extensively about Magic. Nice to see Magic talked about in a positive light in mainstream media. Read it here.
 
MOCS and MOPR Promos: Wizards has announced the promos for next season. The promo for MOCS season 9 is the promo most hated by judges worldwide – the textless Cryptic Command.  It is a cool card, but I have had to give out many, many penalties to players that misremember the card. At least that won’t be a problem online. The event promo will be an alt art Relic Seeker, from Magic Origins, while the store promo will be the alt art Serum Visions. Even normal Serum Visions are expensive cards – the promos might be worth enough to get me to spend some money in the store, probably from each account. Too bad the prerelease objects will need to be bought in this season – but buying several of them will get you the alt art Path to Exile, so that’s something.
 
Performance Upgrade Implemented July 15thWizards rolled out the Collection Performance Upgrade last downtime.  It seems to be working. The program loads, at least for me, faster. I still get the “please wait while collection is loading” pop-up, but after other parts of the program have launched. 
 
Magic Origins Prerelease Next Friday: The next set prerelease will begin next Friday, July 24th. The main change is to the sealed deck events. In the past, sealed deck events featured five regular boosters plus a seeded booster pack. This time around, the prerelease events will still cost 20 TIX plus a prerelease object from the store, but the sealed product will include 6 ORI boosters, plus a 7 card seeded booster. Beyond that, we have all the expected drafts and sealed events. Details here.
 
Redemptions Processed During July 29th Downtime will be Delayed: All redemptions processed July 29th will not be shipped until August 6th. So redeem July 22nd or wait a bit longer.
 
Banned and Restricted Announcement: No changes. 
 

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.   
 
Item: date and notes
·       Holiday Cube Drafts: July 8th – July 22nd
·       MOCS Season 8:  runs from June 24th through July 29th
·       MOCS Season 8 Championship: 7am Pacific, August 8th. Format is Magic Origins Sealed.
·       MOCS Season 9: runs from July 29th through August 26th. Promo is textless Cryptic Command.
·       Leagues: Wizards said leagues will return in 2015.
·       Magic Origins: Prerelease begins July 24th Release events run July 27th through August12th. Code: ORI 
·       From the Vault: Angels: October 12, 2015. Details here.
 

Opinion Section: Thoughts on the Prerelease

I judged one paper Prerelease, and played in a second. I doubt that is enough to get a firm grasp on the format, but I did notice a couple things.
 
First, the color balance between the prerelease packs seemed a bit better. Players still showed a clear preference for white in this prerelease, and a clear dislike for blue and black, but the balance was not that bad. The preference was mainly due to the perception that there were more high-value rares in the white packs that that the white packs were overvalued. Overall, the balance seemed decent.
 
Second, the new pack construction – six real boosters and a seven card seeded pack – seemed far better than five normal boosters and a seeded booster in recent sets. With the old structure, if your card pool did not support your colors, you were effectively down a pack and in bad shape.  The new structure mitigates that. About the only downside I saw was that the 6.5 pack pools were very deep, with a lot of the common removal appearing everywhere. 
 
I’m not sure how deep white’s creatures are, but its removal is very solid. I played against two white players. Both had multiple Suppression Bonds and Celestial Flares, while my blue opponent had a fistful of Claustrophobias. That was tough to fight through. Even though I chose a green booster, I had nothing that could kill an enchantment in my entire pool.  Enchantment destruction seems to be scarce. If that is true in general, draft it highly. The set has a lot of Pacifism effects.
 
I have other comments, but I don’t have enough experience to determine whether the comments are reasonable or not. I think I will just close by saying that Origins feels more like a standard set than a core set, but not a terribly powerful set. We had bombs, but they tended to be negated. The games were somewhat grindy, unless someone missed land drops or flooded. In those cases, the set seemed to punish them severely.  I think that means that you should work to ensure consistency in your deck. Bombs were generally neutralized (e.g. Suppression Bonds), and the win tended to go to whomever could grind it out consistently.   That said – remember that I am basing these opinions on a small sample size. YMMV. 
 
One final thought:  I think Wizards has finally managed to find a reasonable price point for  prereleases.  The prizes are not insane, but the cost of the event is not much above the cost of the packs.  I will play in them, if I can.  (I am going to be travelling to GP Dallas, so I MAY or may not find time.)    
 

Cutting Edge Tech:

This Week: We are in the run-up to a new format.   In the paper world, Magic Origins is now legal in constructed. The first major events in the format will happen tomorrow, but with the prereleases last weekend we have not seen much innovation. On MTGO, we have a couple more weeks of pre-Origins formats. Therefore, instead of looking for new decks this week, I will be looking at getting into constructed MTGO on a budget.   Specifically, I will be looking at getting into all three major formats for a couple hundred dollars or so.   The best budget decks are generally red, and that is what I will work with. 
 
Standard: We had a red deck finish in the Top 16 at a recent GP. That’s a decent starting point. This deck retails for about $110, with $82 of that being the Eidolons.   Eidolons are played in a number of formats, and are holding their price quite well, so they are worth the investment if at all possible. Other than the Eidolons, the only mildly costly cards are the Stokes which are under $3 each. This is about as cheap a deck as you could want, but if I were to play it, I would consider adding a couple fetchlands.   The Tarkir fetchlands are cheap, for now, and you will always want fetchlands in any constructed format in which they are legal. I would invest in the Tarkir ones now, but might wait on the Zendikar fetches until Return to Zendikar comes out this fall.
 
Red Deck Wins
Maximo Bindelli, 9-16th, GP Buenos Aires
Creatures
4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
2 Goblin Heelcutter
4 Foundry Street Denizen
4 Monastery Swiftspear
2 Zurgo Bellstriker
4 Lightning Berserker
12 cards

Other Spells
4 Dragon Fodder
4 Hordeling Outburst
4 Lightning Strike
4 Stoke the Flames
4 Wild Slash
28 cards
 
Lands
20 Mountain
20 cards

Eidolon of the Great Revel
 
Modern: Red decks are also doing fairly well in Modern.   If you bought the Standard deck listed about, upgrading to this deck will cost another $135.   The majority of that cost is in the lands, specifically the fetchlands. However, these are all Tarkir fetches, and they are a worthwhile purchase at the moment.   The other expensive card in this list is Goblin Guides, but they have been a staple in red decks since they were printed and will hold their price. 
 
 
Legacy: Red decks win in Legacy, too.   This build has the chops, and only costs $88 over and above the two decks listed above. Thirty dollars of that cost are the Arid Mesas, and you could wait for Return to Zendikar for those without seriously hurting the deck.   One other large expense is the Pyroblasts in the sideboard, but I would not recommend scrimping on those. Legacy is a blue-heavy format. You will want them.
 
Legacy Burn
Brandon Borowicz, Second, SCG Super IQ Columbus
Creatures
4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
4 Goblin Guide
1 Vexing Shusher
13 cards

Other Spells
4 Rift Bolt
4 Lava Spike
3 Sulfuric Vortex
4 Price of Progress
4 Fireblast
4 Chain Lightning
4 Lightning Bolt
27 cards
 
Lands
2 Arid Mesa
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Wooded Foothills
10 Mountain
20 cards

Fireblast
 
Vintage: Vintage Super League is back. This time around, the league is playing an 8 player double elimination event, tailored to finish when Magic Origins hits MTGO. Several players were playing Frobots, a workshop deck designed by Eric Froehlich (and others).
 
 
 

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 all relatively stable again this week, with a few fluctuations as people begin brewing with Magic Origins cards. We are in the quiet period before the new set arrives. Check back next week.
 

Standard & Block Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$5.37
$5.41
($0.04)
-1%
$5.41
$5.39
$0.02
0%
$24.19
$24.61
($0.42)
-2%
$7.44
$7.60
($0.16)
-2%
$14.85
$15.59
($0.74)
-5%
$20.43
$21.40
($0.97)
-5%
$8.61
$8.33
$0.28
3%
$10.22
$11.40
($1.18)
-10%
$24.89
$24.21
$0.68
3%
$7.26
$7.36
($0.10)
-1%
$10.88
$10.55
$0.33
3%
$10.47
$10.59
($0.12)
-1%
$8.30
$8.81
($0.51)
-6%
$5.57
$5.62
($0.05)
-1%
$10.17
$9.48
$0.69
7%
$6.00
$6.21
($0.21)
-3%
$8.69
$8.56
$0.13
2%
$8.91
$8.79
$0.12
1%
$5.94
$5.85
$0.09
2%

Modern staples:  Modern prices have been volatile in the last couple weeks. That continues.  This will continue until the Modern PTQs wrap up.
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$20.98
$21.14
($0.16)
-1%
$27.05
$26.43
$0.62
2%
$37.28
$38.10
($0.82)
-2%
$37.03
$40.96
($3.93)
-10%
$19.99
$22.63
($2.64)
-12%
$17.10
$16.00
$1.10
7%
$16.51
$13.30
$3.21
24%
$56.48
$58.46
($1.98)
-3%
$31.37
$32.21
($0.84)
-3%
$19.80
$22.26
($2.46)
-11%
$14.05
$14.05
$0.00
0%
$106.75
$101.77
$4.98
5%
$26.65
$23.16
$3.49
15%
$18.83
$24.62
($5.79)
-24%
$24.57
$24.48
$0.09
0%
$34.65
$42.72
($8.07)
-19%
$17.79
$17.13
$0.66
4%
$14.02
$11.48
$2.54
22%
$56.00
$53.87
$2.13
4%
$30.55
$30.73
($0.18)
-1%
$19.57
$17.64
$1.93
11%
$27.07
$26.41
$0.66
2%

Legacy / Vintage staples: This week, Legacy and Vintage staples climbed a bit, but not much. Vintage is pretty quiet, despite the return of the VSL. No big changes.     
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$41.23
$38.45
$2.78
7%
$107.12
$109.21
($2.09)
-2%
$28.20
$26.37
$1.83
7%
$16.64
$16.64
$0.00
0%
$19.20
$19.91
($0.71)
-4%
$26.53
$26.03
$0.50
2%
$38.73
$37.55
$1.18
3%
$31.26
$29.81
$1.45
5%
$24.70
$24.30
$0.40
2%
$29.76
$29.44
$0.32
1%
$16.04
$15.77
$0.27
2%
$115.57
$115.57
$0.00
0%
$29.03
$27.48
$1.55
6%
$61.62
$60.31
$1.31
2%
$158.49
$158.49
$0.00
0%
$59.12
$57.27
$1.85
3%
$21.30
$21.44
($0.14)
-1%
$30.61
$30.45
$0.16
1%
$22.38
$22.38
$0.00
0%
$33.96
$30.49
$3.47
11%
$23.25
$22.77
$0.48
2%
$27.44
$30.48
($3.04)
-10%
$14.42
$14.18
$0.24
2%
$19.14
$18.97
$0.17
1%
$20.62
$20.62
$0.00
0%
$83.37
$82.31
$1.06
1%

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.   I added a slot for ORI, but we don’t have prices, yet.
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Born of the Gods
$33.40
$33.08
$0.32
1%
Dragons of Tarkir
$109.51
$110.23
($0.72)
-1%
Fate Reforged
$51.00
$50.38
$0.62
1%
Journey into Nyx
$89.38
$88.75
$0.63
1%
Khans of Tarkir
$89.34
$88.51
$0.83
1%
M15
$95.19
$98.22
($3.03)
-3%
Magic Origins
not yet
not yet
n/a
n/a
Theros
$64.37
$64.13
$0.24
0%

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. A number of Modern   cards are climbing the list, and Liliana is close to passing Black Lotus.   Wasteland is also well on its way to the $100 mark.   Quick question – should I leave all three Goyfs and Blood Moons, and both Dazes, or should I cut all but the highest priced version? I already cut promo versions of these cards off the list.
 

Name
Set
Rarity
 Price
Rishadan Port
 MM
Rare
 $   158.49
Misdirection
 MM
Rare
 $   115.57
Black Lotus
 VMA
Bonus
 $   107.12
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
 $   106.75
Wasteland
 TPR
Rare
 $     84.71
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
 $     83.37
Tarmogoyf
 FUT
Rare
 $     63.72
Mox Sapphire
 VMA
Bonus
 $     61.62
Show and Tell
 UZ
Rare
 $     59.12
Griselbrand
 AVR
Mythic Rare
 $     56.48
Tarmogoyf
 MMA
Mythic Rare
 $     56.28
Tarmogoyf
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $     56.00
Tangle Wire
 NE
Rare
 $     53.84
Blood Moon
 8ED
Rare
 $     41.44
Ancestral Recall
 VMA
Bonus
 $     41.23
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
 $     40.02
Blood Moon
 MMA
Rare
 $     39.35
Doomsday
 WL
Rare
 $     38.73
Batterskull
 NPH
Mythic Rare
 $     37.28
Blood Moon
 9ED
Rare
 $     37.03
Horizon Canopy
 FUT
Rare
 $     35.43
Scalding Tarn
 ZEN
Rare
 $     34.65
Time Walk
 VMA
Bonus
 $     33.96
Mox Ruby
 VMA
Bonus
 $     32.33
Grove of the Burnwillows
 FUT
Rare
 $     31.37
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
 $     31.26
Stifle
 SCG
Rare
 $     30.61
Creeping Tar Pit
 WWK
Rare
 $     30.58
Twilight Mire
 EVE
Rare
 $     30.55
Infernal Tutor
 DIS
Rare
 $     29.76
Magus of the Moon
 FUT
Rare
 $     29.53
Mox Jet
 VMA
Bonus
 $     29.03
Containment Priest
 C14
Rare
 $     28.20
True-Name Nemesis
 C13
Rare
 $     27.44
Voice of Resurgence
 DGM
Mythic Rare
 $     27.07
Auriok Champion
 5DN
Rare
 $     27.05
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $     26.91
Daze
 NE
Common
 $     26.91
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
 $     26.65
Daze
 DD2
Common
 $     26.53
Oblivion Stone
 CMD
Rare
 $     25.75

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 $ 26,270.  That’s down just $30 from last week. It’s the calm before the new-set storm. 
 

Weekly Highlights:

Paper prerelease. That’s about it, aside from some last minute MM15 and a few DTK drafts. 
 
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 five 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. 
 

2 Comments

According to Gatherer, there by Rerepete at Fri, 07/17/2015 - 20:49
Rerepete's picture

According to Gatherer, there are 3 enchantment removal in Origins. 2 @ common (Caustic Caterpillar, and Enlightened Ascetic); 1 @ uncommon (Conclave Naturalists).

I think leave all the by xger at Sat, 07/18/2015 - 00:43
xger's picture

I think leave all the versions for now. The list is long, but not unwieldy. Plus, if you remove some, do you leave the highest or lowest? Some people like to know when to buy, others to watch the market.

Also, the improvements didn't do anything for trade. Now I crash about every 3rd bot transaction, and its freezes up my whole computer to load a trade collection.