one million words's picture
By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Jul 20 2018 12:00pm
0
Login or register to post comments
5589 views


 

State of the Program for July 20th 2018
 
In the News
Wizards to Do More with Twitch: Wizards has announced that they will be streaming and otherwise producing more videos for their Twitch channel. Trick Jarrett provided some info towards the end of this video. One of the attractions announced on that video is R&D Play MTG – the first of which is here.
 
Brawl Announcement:   Starting life totals, and some other factors, have been adjusted in 1v1 Brawl. Those changes should be in effect on MTGO by now. The announcement is here.
 
MTGO Customer Support Update: Customer support for MTGO now lives at mtgo-support.wizards.com. Use that site for reporting bugs, requesting reimbursement, sending feedback, getting help with account problems, or anything else for which you need customer service.
 
A Lawyer Discusses the Reserve List: Scott Peitzer, a lawyer specializing in contract law, wrote an article about the reserve list. You can read it here. In the first article in what promises to be an interesting series, the lawyer defines promissory estoppel, the legal principle on which a lawsuit over abandoning the Reserve List would be fought.    
 
A Very Short Booster Box Game Video: The Professor, over at Tolarian Community College, played the booster box game with M19. Spoiler – the video is short.   
 
Other Paper World News: As an economist by training, I dislike trade wars. They cause far more damage than benefit – and one of the damages is that Magic is being hit with a tariff. That will hurt Canadian Magic players and Wizards itself. In probably unrelated news, Wizards has lifted the ban on alcohol at Magic events. Details on the new policy is here.
 
The Timeline
This is a list of things we have been promised, or we just want to see coming back. Another good source for dates and times is the calendar and the weekly blog, while the best source for known bugs is the bug blog which appears sporadically on MTGO.com. Not listed, but important: Wizards offers either one or two online PTQs each weekend, with qualifiers running the three days prior to the PTQ.
 

Upcoming Events
Dates
Scheduled Downtimes
July 25th (extended)
Constructed Leagues End
September 25, 2018
Sealed Leagues End
September 28, 2018
Guilds of Ravnica
October 5, 2018
Ravnica Allegiance
January 2019
Next B&R Announcement
August 20, 2018
Dominaria Redemption Ends
October 10, 2018
Core Set 2019 Redemption Ends
December 26, 2018

 
WotC Covered Events
Wizards will be streaming a number of events next year, including all four Pro Tours, the Magic Championship and World Magic Cup, along with 35 Grand Prix. Since Wizards does not schedule premier events on prerelease weekends and certain holidays, that means they will be streaming an event nearly every weekend. Here’s the schedule we have so far.
·       July 21–22: Grand Prix Sacramento
·       July 28–29: Grand Prix Minneapolis
·       Aug. 3–5: Pro Tour 25th Anniversary in Minneapolis, Minnesota
·       Aug. 11–12: Grand Prix Brussels
·       Aug. 18–19: Grand Prix Los Angeles
·       Aug. 25–26: Grand Prix Prague
·       Aug. 31–Sept. 2: Grand Prix Richmond (double-GP weekend)
·       Sept. 8–9: Grand Prix Detroit
·       Sept. 15–16: Grand Prix Stockholm
·       Weekend of Sept. 23–24: 2018 Magic World Championship and Team Series Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada (exact event dates TBD)
·       Oct. 6–7: Grand Prix Montreal
·       Oct. 13–14: Grand Prix Denver
·       Oct. 27–28: Grand Prix Lille
·       Nov. 3–4: Grand Prix Atlanta
·       Nov. 9–11: Pro Tour "Spaghetti" in Atlanta
·       Nov. 17–18: Grand Prix Milwaukee
·       Dec. 8–9: Grand Prix Liverpool
·       Dec. 14–16: World Magic Cup in Barcelona, Spain
 
2018 Magic Online Championship Series and other events
Complete details, including schedule, rules, and which online events qualify you for which online or paper events is here. In addition, Wizards will be offering these special formats:
·       (no special formats – play Core Set 2019)
·       August 1-August 8: Triple Zendikar
·       August 8-August 15: Pauper Gauntlet
·       August 15-August 22: Cube Spotlight Series (details TBD)
·       August 22-August 29: TBD
·       August 29-September 5: Triple Khans of Tarkir
·       September 5-September 28: Legacy Cube
 
Magic Online Format Challenges
These are high stakes events that happen every weekend. They cost 25 Tix / 250 play points, and last a number of rounds based on participation (assume 5-8), plus a single elimination Top 8. Details, including prize payouts, are here. Start times are:
 

Event Type
Start Time
Saturday, 8:00 am PT
Saturday, 10:00 am PT
Saturday, 12:00 pm PT
Sunday, 8:00 am PT
Sunday, 10:00 am PT
Sunday, noon PT

 
Opinion Section:  The 5 Most Important Bannings in Magic History
Magic Mics listed their Top 10 Banned or Restricted cards. (The YouTube version is here.) That got me thinking about bannings, restrictions and so forth. I have a long experience with these – I have lived / played through 42 separate B&R announcements, which banned or restricted 172 different cards. That is 172 cards in Standard, Legacy, Extended and Vintage – and not double counting cards that are banned or restricted in multiple formats at the same time.  That’s 42 B&R announcements taking 172 cards out of major formats from spring of 1999 (when I started playing tournament Magic) to now. That’s a lot of changes, and it inspired me to make a list of the Top 5 bannings that changed Magic for the better.  
 
Before I begin, though, I want to include some “bannings” that are not on the list, but were critical to the creation of Magic as we know it. The first of these is the requirement that constructed decks include 60 cards, and the related four-of limit.   Early tournaments did not include this rule – and the result was a broken format. Here’s a quote from a 2003 article on the mothership:
 
I had a deck that could win in one turn about 90 percent of the time," recalls founder and former Wizards of the Coast President Peter Adkison, recalling the early days of Magic. "It had Black Lotuses, Mox Sapphirees, Time Walks, Ancestral Recalls, Timetwisters, and Juggernauts. Dave Howell ran a 'tournament' where any deck was allowed, and several people showed up with one-turn killer decks. The winner was the deck that could do its one-turn kill the most times in a row." The winner, Adkison says, achieved this goal some 80 times.
 
Having 80 turn one wins in a single tournament is not healthy, and completely justified the 60 / 4 of rule. 
 
The second banning/restriction/change that I am not including on my list is the creation of Standard, then called Type II, and the later creation of Extended, Legacy, Vintage, block formats and so forth. All of these formats banned cards of a certain vintage or earlier.   Standard, for example, generally bans cards that were not printed in the last two years or so. Again, these restrictions were critical to keeping Magic healthy over the years, but I am not going to include it on the list. It’s too big and too important.   It also happened before I started playing tournament Magic.  
 
Honorable Mention: Shahrazad
I am going to start with an honorable mention: a banning that I support primarily because I am often a judge. Shahrazad is a card that will never be online, and hopefully will never be played in tournament Magic again. That’s not because the card is broken, and certainly not because it isn’t flavorful.   It is a great design. I even love the art.   What I don’t love is the effect on tournament play.
 
Shahrazad is a sorcery that says, in effect, leave your hand, graveyard and permanents in place, then shuffle up your libraries and play another game with those cards. Around the kitchen tale, that’s cool.   In a tournament venue, when players have limited space, that’s a problem. In a venue, you can’t move to another table, or have everyone slid over. Moreover, players were playing fast RW decks, winning game one and then siding in four copies of Shahrazad and four Forks.  At that point, their goal was to make sure game 2 never finished because it involved multiple subgames, and subgames within subgames. Shahrazad wasn’t exactly slow play, but it was really close, and players often did slow-play while trying to drag out game two. Shahrazad is a cool card, but it completely deserves its banning in all sanctioned tournaments. 
 
Now on to the actual list:  
 
5) Survival of the Fittest in Extended, March 2001
 
This is on my list for purely personal reasons. The last constructed deck I played in big event after big event was a GB Survival deck. I loved that deck, and I was really good with it. I made multiple Top 8s in big events, and came one play short of a Pro Tour invite with that deck. And then Wizards banned Survival of the Fittest and the deck was gone. 
 
Banning Survival was probably the right call, because it had spawned an insane deck. My GB Survival deck was a toolbox with extremely complex lines of play, but it was nothing to the Survival deck called Full English Breakfast.   Paul Barclay – the creator, high level judge and English rules manager – rated the play difficulty of this deck as a 9 on a scale where Trix (or, in modern day parlance, Ironworks) rated a 6. A friend won a PTQ with a cool play with this deck which turned out to be illegal.   He didn’t realize that. The opponent didn’t realize it. The judges watching the match didn’t realize it. The editors at Wizards didn’t realize it when they published it as the play of the month in Sideboard magazine. It’s a complex deck. And, although it pains me to say it, Survival is busted.
 
4)  Jace, the Mind Sculptor in Standard, June, 2011
 
Jace, TMS, was the poster boy of Magic at this time. It was pushed heavily in design, and featured in a lot of Magic advertising and promotional activities.  Wizards had Jace, TMS on the banner on their website, and it loomed over events from big banners given to local stores. Jace’s face was everywhere.  So was the card, which was over $100 in both the paper and online world.  It was also the center of the Caw-Blade deck that ruled Standard.  What made that deck busted was Squadron Hawk, which turned Jace’s Brainstorm ability into Ancestral RecallStoneforge Mystic helped, but the package was built around the card advantage Jace created.
 
This banning made my list because it proved that Wizards would sacrifice their marquee card – and the most expensive card in the format – to keep Standard healthy. 
 
3) The Artifact Lands, in Standard in March, 2005
 
Magic has faced a couple famously bad times; times when Standard was in enough trouble that players were leaving the game. One such time was when Caw-Blade ruled the roost.   More recently, the Saheeli Rai combo and energy decks have been a problem justifying bannings. Before that we had necro summer, combo winter, and Affinity. My number three set of bannings were made to kill, or at least neuter, Affinity.  
 
Affinity was bad. The deck was beatable, but only if you played a deck that couldn’t really beat anything else. Affinity was simply the best deck, and the majority of players at any Standard event were playing it. It was not actually that fun to play, or play against. The mirror match sucked.   More importantly, attendance at Standard events at all levels, from FNM to GPs, was dropping like a stone.  (I remember hearing that attendance was less than 50% of what it was a year previously.)   Wizards acted – and they banned not only Arcbound Ravager, the rare at the center of the deck, but Disciple of the Vault and a bunch of common lands as well. It was necessary.
 
2) Memory Jar, Extended and Standard, retroactively banned in March, 1999
 
The end of 1998 was called, in the world of Magic, Combo Winter. Some of the most broken decks ever played were played at that time. The Pro Tour in Rome featured a Tolarian Academy deck that could, with a good draw, generate nearly infinite mana on turn one. Other decks, like Free Whalely, could generate literally infinite mana in the first couple turns. Urza’s Saga was so broken that it caused the first bannings in Standard ever in January of that year, and another round in March. In all, ten cards from Saga block were made unplayable.
 
A week after the ban, Randy Buehler flew to GP Vienna with yet another combo deck capable of turn one kills. This deck killed with Memory Jar and Megrim, and it was absolutely insane. In mid-march, Wizards retroactively added Memory Jar to the March banned list. This was the only time Wizards has ever done an “emergency” banning.   It was necessary – having a Jargrim spring following combo winter might have killed Magic.
 
1) Ante Cards, January 1994
 
I think the most important bannings Wizards ever made was when they banned ante cards. Originally, Magic was played for ante – each player pulled one card out of their deck at the beginning of the game and anted that card. The winner got to keep the ante cards. Ante was part of the design of Magic in the early years, and Wizards kept printing ante cards all the way through Ice Ages and Homelands. Ante was simply the way the game was played back then. Until it wasn’t. Ante raises lots of issues, including making the game look way too much like gambling. Being too much like gambling is a problem. Many venues won’t allow gambling, and many local game stores won’t allow gambling. 
 
More importantly, losing your cards when playing for ante feels bad. I know, I was involved in 5color for years. 5color initially allowed ante. That meant you could play Jeweled Bird, and the center of the format: Contract from Below. Contract form Below is more busted than Ancestral Recall – a lot more busted. And 5color was a great format – except for, in my opinion – ante. 5color had a huge problem pulling in new players if ante was enforced, but became super popular when it wasn’t. (Of course, Contract is silly when not playing for ante.)  
 
I know players who played with ante, and miss it. Some players – gamblers at heart – don’t mind the risk. Other – including me – hated losing our cards. I am reasonably certain that the majority of players would dislike ante, and I am sure Magic could never have grown to where it is now if ante were still a thing. And that’s why I consider banning ante cards the most important banning in Magic history. 
 
Feel free to disagree. You can debate it in the comments.
 
If you want to look over a lists of bannings, you can find one here.  It covers the major sanctioned format, but does not include the B&R lists for Pauper, Commander, 5color, Tiny Leaders, Old School Magic, etc. 
    
Cutting Edge Tech
Standard: We have had a number of Standard events now, and even more videos and streams with brewers trying out their builds. The format is evolving, but one deck is still on top.
 

Pauper: 
Lots of blue in the Pauper Challenge last weekend, but a few other archetypes appeared.   
 
 
Modern: Almost 1,500 players brought their Modern decks Sao Paulo last week. Coverage is here.   The winning deck was Mardu Pyromancer, which I have featured before. The featured deck is not new, but has not appeared for a while. 
 

Legacy: 
The SCG Team Open had a Legacy component. This was one of the first big events in Legacy since the Deathrite Shaman banning went into effect. The winning team decided that made Storm the best option.   Note that this Storm deck runs Burning Wish.   Also of interest – Bomat Courier has appeared in the format.
 
 
Vintage: The Vintage Challenge was won by another old classic – Landstill.    I like playing this deck.   I hate playing against it.
 
 
 
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 are mixed again this week. The format is somewhat constricted, but people are brewing, and a rotation is imminent.       
 

Standard Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants
$5.39
$8.40
($3.01)
-36%
Arisen Gorgon
$9.50
$7.50
$2.00
27%
Carnage Tyrant
$14.08
$11.91
$2.17
18%
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
$8.18
$6.36
$1.82
29%
Heart of Kiran
$9.00
$4.50
$4.50
100%
History of Benalia
$6.77
$6.85
($0.08)
-1%
Karn, Scion of Urza
$24.83
$24.28
$0.55
2%
Liliana, Untouched by Death
$5.47
$6.59
($1.12)
-17%
Lyra Dawnbringer
$7.06
$6.27
$0.79
13%
Nexus of Fate
$27.23
n/a
n/a
n/a
Nicol Bolas, the Ravager
$18.01
$27.67
($9.66)
-35%
Rekindling Phoenix
$20.40
$22.66
($2.26)
-10%
Search for Azcanta
$5.47
$5.84
($0.37)
-6%
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
$23.69
$22.64
$1.05
5%
The Scarab God
$5.07
$7.01
($1.94)
-28%
Vraska's Contempt
$10.31
$7.00
$3.31
47%
Walking Ballista
$11.71
$8.57
$3.14
37%

Modern staples: Modern prices were mixed again this week, but generally dropping.  Sigh.
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$18.23
$17.70
$0.53
3%
$21.00
$26.02
($5.02)
-19%
$20.40
$26.30
($5.90)
-22%
$20.54
$20.60
($0.06)
0%
$19.42
$23.95
($4.53)
-19%
$54.50
$56.63
($2.13)
-4%
$25.97
$28.29
($2.32)
-8%
$37.39
$47.45
($10.06)
-21%
$29.72
$29.05
$0.67
2%
$36.70
$37.32
($0.62)
-2%
$17.94
$17.73
$0.21
1%
$34.20
$35.81
($1.61)
-4%
$25.68
$35.42
($9.74)
-27%
$55.20
$56.21
($1.01)
-2%
$22.84
$27.20
($4.36)
-16%
$23.73
$28.40
($4.67)
-16%
$36.15
$35.49
$0.66
2%
$19.16
$20.43
($1.27)
-6%

Legacy and Vintage: I have added a couple cards to the list. Containment Priest had dropped off, and had dropped below $10 for a while. (I generally use $15 as the drop point, but keep one dual on the list as a general reference. Also Daze, as the most expensive common.)   The other two cards are from Battlebond and only appear online in Treasure Chests.   Their prices will fall once more chests are opened. 
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Arcane Artisan
$27.43
new
n/a
n/a
$28.93
$29.11
($0.18)
-1%
Brightline
$70.23
new
n/a
n/a
$32.70
$25.96
$6.74
26%
$18.79
new
n/a
n/a
$13.87
$16.61
($2.74)
-16%
$26.20
$29.51
($3.31)
-11%
$34.90
$32.54
$2.36
7%
$31.60
$31.60
$0.00
0%
$19.83
$16.85
$2.98
18%
$57.99
$55.07
$2.92
5%
$9.97
$11.29
($1.32)
-12%
$27.05
$32.46
($5.41)
-17%
$26.48
$24.13
$2.35
10%

Standard Legal Sets: This table tracks the cost of a single copy of every card in each Standard legal set, plus Treasure Chests and the current booster pack. I’ll keep tracking these because they are interesting (at least to me).
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Aether Revolt
$56.60
$46.12
$10.48
23%
Amonkhet
$46.02
$42.74
$3.28
8%
Core Set 2019
$125.24
$120.50
$4.74
4%
Dominaria
$96.78
$92.37
$4.41
5%
Ixalan
$82.98
$78.64
$4.34
6%
Hour of Devastation
$24.51
$25.31
($0.80)
-3%
Kaladesh
$37.87
$31.86
$6.01
19%
Rivals of Ixalan
$74.86
$72.73
$2.13
3%
Treasure Chest
$2.31
$2.21
$0.10
5%
Core Set 2019 Booster
$3.37
$3.29
$0.08
2%

 
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 did see some changes this week – a couple Battlebond cards have appeared. They are super expensive now, but should drop as people open more Treasure Chests. 
 

Name
Set
Rarity
Price
Black Lotus
 1E
Rare
$ 83.89
Brightling
 BBD
Mythic Rare
$ 70.23
True-Name Nemesis
 C13
Rare
$ 63.61
Engineered Explosives
 5DN
Rare
$ 58.95
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
$ 58.07
True-Name Nemesis
 PZ1
Mythic Rare
$ 57.99
Engineered Explosives
 MMA
Rare
$ 57.37
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
$ 56.54
Mox Opal
 MS2
Bonus
$ 55.20
Engineered Explosives
 MS2
Bonus
$ 54.50
Horizon Canopy
 EXP
Mythic Rare
$ 49.06
Mox Sapphire
 1E
Rare
$ 45.80
Mox Jet
 1E
Rare
$ 39.27
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
$ 39.27
Karn Liberated
 NPH
Mythic Rare
$ 39.00
Horizon Canopy
 IMA
Rare
$ 38.62
Force of Will
 MS3
Special
$ 38.09
Unmask
 V16
Mythic Rare
$ 37.90
Ancestral Recall
 1E
Rare
$ 37.51
Horizon Canopy
 FUT
Rare
$ 37.39
Dark Depths
 V16
Mythic Rare
$ 37.19
Mox Ruby
 1E
Rare
$ 36.77
Mox Emerald
 1E
Rare
$ 36.71
Karn Liberated
 MM2
Mythic Rare
$ 36.70
Surgical Extraction
 MM2
Rare
$ 36.43
Liliana of the Veil
 MM3
Mythic Rare
$ 36.37
Surgical Extraction
 NPH
Rare
$ 36.15
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 WWK
Mythic Rare
$ 35.56
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
$ 35.02
Force of Will
 EMA
Mythic Rare
$ 34.90
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
$ 34.20
City of Traitors
 EX
Rare
$ 33.40
City of Traitors
 TPR
Rare
$ 32.70
Misdirection
 MM
Rare
$ 31.60
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
$ 31.31
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 VMA
Mythic Rare
$ 30.05
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 A25
Mythic Rare
$ 29.96
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 EMA
Mythic Rare
$ 29.72
Ensnaring Bridge
 7E
Rare
$ 29.48
Black Lotus
 VMA
Bonus
$ 28.93
Ensnaring Bridge
 A25
Mythic Rare
$ 27.80
Scalding Tarn
 EXP
Mythic Rare
$ 27.69
Wasteland
 TPR
Rare
$ 27.65
Arcane Artisan
 BBD
Mythic Rare
$ 27.43
Nexus of Fate
 M19
Mythic Rare
$ 27.23
Ensnaring Bridge
 ST
Rare
$ 27.20
Wasteland
 EXP
Mythic Rare
$ 27.19
Time Walk
 1E
Rare
$ 27.09
Unmask
 MM
Rare
$ 27.05
Cavern of Souls
 MM3
Mythic Rare
$ 26.58
Wasteland
 EMA
Rare
$ 26.48
Ensnaring Bridge
 8ED
Rare
$ 26.46
Mox Pearl
 1E
Rare
$ 26.28
Exploration
 UZ
Rare
$ 26.20
Ensnaring Bridge
 MS2
Bonus
$ 25.97
Mox Diamond
 ST
Rare
$ 25.81
Liliana, the Last Hope
 EMN
Mythic Rare
$ 25.68
Gorilla Shaman
 ALL
Common
$ 25.52

 
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 is approximately $ 17,415. That’s up $155 from last article. 
 
In Closing
Between the prereleases and launches, I have managed to play in several paper sealed events, plus some sessions playing casual multiplayer sealed.   I have opened Patient Rebuilding a couple times – and it was insane. In one event, I also opened Psychic Corrosion and lived the dream: start of turn, mill three, flip some lands, draw cards and mill more. I managed to mill nine lands in one upkeep. I have no idea if the mill strategy is feasible in draft, but Patient Rebuilding is worth it just for the card advantage. At least, I think so. It worked for me.
 
My favorite podcast this week was Magic Mics doing their Top 10 Banned or Restricted cards. It made my commute quite enjoyable, because I have owned and played with paper copies 29 of the 30 cards on their list, and played with digital versions on the last one. Besides, Magic Mics is just fun. The YouTube version is here.
 
Brian DeMars wrote another article I enjoyed this week. It was nostalgic on many levels. You can read his list of “The 8 Most Overlooked Cards in Magic History” here.
 
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” on MTGO
 
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.
 

4 Comments

Pw by Sensei at Fri, 07/20/2018 - 17:50
Sensei's picture

Can we please refrain from putting PW deck cards no one actually plays in Std into the table?

It does seem odd to include by Paul Leicht at Fri, 07/20/2018 - 21:44
Paul Leicht's picture

It does seem odd to include them in statistics just because they have a price floor below which they won't go.

Yeah, what's going on with by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 07/21/2018 - 06:02
Kumagoro42's picture

Yeah, what's going on with Arisen Gorgon? I don't remember ever noticing Planeswalker Deck exclusives reaching these prices.

re by Hearts at Sat, 07/21/2018 - 16:29
Hearts's picture

Alcohol lol, they cant be serious, which means they arent, which means they are making fun, which means they are deranged.