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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Jul 24 2015 12:00pm
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State of the Program for July 24th 2015

In the News:

July Event Changes: Wizards is still working to tweak constructed event payouts. Starting with the August 12th downtime, constructed events will pay out in a mix of boosters and Play Points.   Play Points (PP) can be used to enter events in lieu of Tix. For example, you can enter a booster draft with any of three options: 14 Tix, 3 boosters + 2 Tix, or 140 Play Points. One-on-one constructed events will have two options to enter – 2 Tix or 20 Play Points. Prize payouts are changing – going from just boosters to fewer boosters plus Play Points.

Old Entry Fee
New Entry Fee
Old Payout
New Payout
One on One Duel
2 Tix
2 Tix or 20 PP
1 Booster
30 PP for winner
5 PP for loser
Constructed 8 Player Single Elimination
6 Tix
6 Tix
60 PP
1st = 5 boosters
2nd = 3 boosters
3rd–4th = 2 boosters
1st = 2 packs + 140 PP
2nd = 1 pack + 60 PP
3rd–4th = 60 PP
Constructed Daily
6 Tix
12 Tix
120 PP
4-0 = 11 boosters + 3 QPs
3-1= 6 boosters + 1 QP
4-0 = 6 boosters + 360 PP + 3 QPs
3-1= 3 boosters + 180 PP + 1 QP

Lee Sharpe’s article explaining the changes and the reasoning behind the changes is here.  I break down the changes in prize payout and value in the opinion section, below. It is more complex, and far more favorable, than it appears on first glance.
Glitches Force Update: Wizards rolled out an unscheduled new build a week ago Thursday, to correct some issues created by the collections performance upgrade. The upgrade fixed several issues, but one problem won’t be fixed until next Wednesday. It might affect you. Here’s the description from the Bug Blog:
“If you are playing in a Constructed event, and you log on after a disconnection, all cards in that event’s deck will become unavailable for use in other events. This error will also cause a display issue in the Collection Scene that makes those cards also appear to vanish from your collection. These cards are not actually removed from your collection.”
“Until the issue is resolved, there is a workaround: First, finish the Constructed event and log off Magic Online. Log on again, then open that deck in the Collection Scene. Remove one card, then add it back to the deck. This will cause the cards to reappear in your collection.”
Additional New Bugs: The last update spawned some new bugs in other areas. The most notable include Mulch (and sometimes Sundering Titan) crashing MTGO when played. Puppeteer Clique – a decent card in Cube when it works – does not trigger as it should off persist. Also, using the search tool to import a deck while trading causes a crash, so don’t do that. Wait until the trade finishes.
Prize Pack Changeout: The change to packs plus Player Points won’t happen until August 12th.   With next Wednesday’s downtime, however, the prize packs will change from Dragons / Fate to Magic Origins. 
Redemptions Processed Next Downtime (July 29th) will be Delayed: All redemptions processed July 29th will not be shipped until August 6th. So redeem July 22nd or wait a bit longer.

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
·         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.
·         Play Points as Event Entry: August
·         Leagues: Wizards said leagues will return in 2015.
·         Magic Origins: Prerelease begins today. Release events run July 27th through August12th. Code: ORI 
·         From the Vault: Angels: October 12, 2015. Details here.

Opinion Section: Breaking Down the New Constructed Prizes

Effective August 12th, Wizards will be changing the prize payout for constructed queues and Daily events. Instead of paying out entirely in booster packs, the prize payout will now be a mix of boosters and Play Points (PPs).   In terms of entry into events, 10 PPs will be the same as 1 TX, although you cannot mix Tix and PPs in the same entry fee.
The other big change is that Wizards is doubling the cost of constructed Dailies. The prize payout is – well, different. We will look at that later.
Wizards has stated that they wanted Dailies to feel more “special.” Raising the price will do that. Psychologists have proven over and over again that people do place extra value on things that cost more. For example, if the exact same wine is prices at $5 and $75 a bottle, people will attribute far better attributes to the expensive wine. It’s just the way the human mind works. 
Alternatively, you can look at this as an economist. Daily events were firing quiet well, especially Standard events. Wizards had to raise the enrollment caps a while back. On demand 8man queues were not doing as well. That clearly shows that customers value the Dailies more highly, which should justify a price differential. Creating a price differential should also create a better balance in the umbers playing both options. The one question, however, is whether the prize payouts were increased to reflect the change in cost.   Evaluating this is tricky because the prize payout has changed in kind.   In the past, constructed events paid out in packs – now they pay out in packs plus PPs, and PPs are not tradeable.   Let’s look at the difference.
First off, if you are playing constructed to earn booster packs to crack, this change is probably bad for you. However, busting booster packs is probably a bad fiscal decision in any case, so I am going to ignore this corner case.
More commonly, players sold their booster packs to enter other constructed events, or used them to enter drafts.   I’ll break down both options, but let’s start with selling boosters. Nominally, boosters are worth 4 TIX, but you can only get anything close to that price when the boosters are rare – either because they are shorted relative to draft sets or because we are in the very first week or two of a new format. After that, pack prices drop off sharply, and may fall to under half that value when the market is glutted. As a global average, let us set the value of a price booster at 3 Tix. Right now, however, the buy price of a DTK booster is about to 2.7 Tix and an FRF booster is at 1.5, which shows the problem of valuing boosters. Prices for ORI packs will be closer to 4 Tix initially, but should drop back to something like this by the time the new structure goes into effect.     
Let’s convert the prize payouts into Tix, then into entry into new events.   The current system cost 6 TIX and pays out 7 DTK + 4 FRF Boosters for 4-0 and 4 DTK + 2 FRF boosters for 3-1.  The new structure pays our 6 booster + 360 PP for 4-0 and 3 boosters +180 PP. Converting all that into new event entries comes out as follows.

Daily Event
Old Structure
New Structure
4.15 Re-enters
- Or -
12.45 1-on-1s
4.15 Re-enters
- Or -
24.9 1-on-1s
2.3 Re-enters
- Or -
6.9 1-on-1s
1.56 RE-enters
- Or -
12.4 1-on-1s

It just happens that the 4-0 replays values are exactly equal. If the value of packs was lower, the new structure would have a higher re-enter value. If the pack prices were higher, the older structure would be better for 4-0s.  
Pack prices would have to crash badly before the new payout for 3-1s would be better than the old structure.  The new structure is almost certainly worse for 3-1s.
Here’s the breakdown for 8 man constructed single elims. Once again, I am using the current prices for DTK and FRF packs, or a weighted average of 2.3 for the two packs paid out under the new structure.

8man Event
Old Structure
New Structure
1.85  Re-enters
4.6  Re-enters
1.15  Re-enters
2.7  Re-enters
0.7  Re-enters
1  Re-enters

The payout for the 8man single elims has been pumped. If you can average at least one win per event, you can pretty much play infinitely for free. If you can get into the finals fairly consistently, you could make a lot of PPs and earn a bunch of packs. Streamers and others with a lot of time to play should love this. It may actually be too good – I would not be surprised to see this tweaked. Hopefully, if Wizards cuts the payout here, it will raise the payout for 3-1 in Dailies at the same time.   
One on one single elimination events will also be changing the payout. If you were getting 3 TIX for the packs you won in single elims, this is a wash when you win. If less, the new payout will be better.   These events now also pay out 5 PPs to the loser, meaning that if you lose four matches, entry into the fifth is “free.”   As someone who went 1-4 the last time I played the Standard queues, then quit, I can appreciate why Wizards might do this. It takes a little of the sting out of losing.  
After crunching the numbers, I have a couple conclusions. First, I think Wizard really has downgraded Dailies. The payout for going 4-0 is the same, but 3-1 has been nerfed once again.   That hurts. If I were running this, I would have strongly considered going to 10 Tix or 100 PPs, reduced the payout on 4-0 to keep it at slightly over 4 replays, and added a small payout for 2-2: maybe 10-20 PP. I would have run the numbers on that structure, and hope that Wizards considers it.  
I hope Wizards keeps Dailies reasonable. I like having a Swiss option, but that might just be me.   I hate being eliminated early when I finally get time to play several matches.   Of course, if constructed Leagues ever actually come out, that might meet that need for “Swiss” style play.  
Allowing entry into drafts and sealed via PPs is fine, but I wonder how many players will grind 8man constructed events to the point that they have free entry into pretty much everything.   “Going infinite” used to involve eating actual Tix, which represented actual money spent at the store. Sure, the grinders might have traded for the Tix, but someone, sometime, bought them. Now, in theory, a skilled grinder could play endlessly without ever spending Tix at all. In that case, I’m not sure how Wizards continues to make money.   I’ll have to crunch some numbers on that – or just trust that Lee Sharp did so before he proposed the new structure.
Finally, let me remind you that Play Points are much, much better than packs as prizes. Play Points hold their value, consistently, and pass from format to format. You don’t need to sell them to a Bot to change formats or re-enter constructed events. They are also more divisible than Tix, and way more divisible than packs.   Play Points are great, and I think they are a significant improvement over paying prizes entirely in packs. My only real problem with this announcement concerns the payout for 3-1 finishes in Dailies.     

Cutting Edge Tech:

Standard: SCG hosted the first large event in which Magic Origins cards are legal. We saw everything from a neo-TurboFog deck to control decks built around Origins cards, but in the end one archetype was clearly dominant. Three of the top 4 decks were GR Devotion. This might just be because we are very early in the format, and most players have not had time to practice with newer archetypes. Also, if you are wondering where the Abzan decks, then check out the rest of the Top 32 decks. They are there.
Modern:  SCG also ran a Modern IQ event in Chicago. Once again the caveat that results from a tournament that happened one day after the new set went on sale may not be typical.   In fact, this top 8 featured basically no Magic Origins cards.
Legacy: SCG also ran a Legacy IQ. This Top 8 also had few Magic Origins cards, but the winning deck did feature one. (Saman of the Pack) is a fallback kill condition, albeit a minor one. Of course, you can bounce and recast it with Wirewood Symbiote.
Vintage: Vintage Super League Season 3 finished last Tuesday. Randy Buehler won out, despite losing in the first round and facing elimination every single round thereafter.   He faced a lot of Shops decks, and managed to Pulverize them all.   A new Standard Super League will start next week.

Card Prices

Note: all my prices come from the fine folks at 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 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, when I will have added ORI cards to the table, replacing the$5 cards.

Standard & Block Cards
Last Week
% Change

Modern staples:  Modern prices have been volatile in the last couple weeks. That continues.  They are beginning to slide as Modern PTQs wrap up.

Modern Cards
Last Week
% Change

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

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Last Week
% Change

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
Last Week
% Change
Born of the Gods
Dragons of Tarkir
Fate Reforged
Journey into Nix
Khans of Trakir
Magic Origins
not yet

 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 Lots has fallen to fourth place, and is close to dropping below $100.   Wasteland is also well on its way to the $100 mark.   

Rishadan Port
$ 162.88
$ 116.33
Liliana of the Veil
Mythic Rare
$ 106.05
Black Lotus
$ 104.20
$ 86.37
$ 79.32
$ 64.44
Mox Sapphire
$ 59.63
Show and Tell
$ 58.70
Mythic Rare
$ 56.66
Mythic Rare
$ 56.46
Tangle Wire
$ 54.92
Mythic Rare
$ 52.93
Blood Moon
$ 41.11
Force of Will
$ 39.95
$ 39.27
Ancestral Recall
$ 37.90
Blood Moon
$ 37.04
Mythic Rare
$ 35.59
Blood Moon
$ 34.68
Horizon Canopy
$ 33.63
Grove of the Burnwillows
$ 32.04
Infernal Tutor
$ 32.02
Force of Will
$ 31.72
Magus of the Moon
$ 31.62
Mox Ruby
$ 31.32
Scalding Tarn
$ 31.32
$ 30.38
Twilight Mire
$ 30.05
Time Walk
$ 29.54
Mox Opal
Mythic Rare
$ 29.46
Mox Opal
Mythic Rare
$ 29.34
Creeping Tar Pit
$ 28.95
Containment Priest
$ 28.80
True-Name Nemesis
$ 27.76
Auriok Champion
$ 27.70
Voice of Resurgence
Mythic Rare
$ 27.55
$ 27.45
Mox Jet
$ 27.41
$ 26.31
Keranos& God of Storms
Mythic Rare
$ 25.45
Ensnaring Bridge
$ 25.33
Oblivion Stone
$ 24.76
Gaea's Cradle
$ 24.54

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 $ 26,150.  That’s down about $80 from last week, but that does not include any prices for Magic Origins. Next week. 

Weekly Highlights:

I managed to get in a few last Cube drafts, including one Tuesday night. I went 2-0, then had to take my dog out while waiting for the final round to fire. Buster was slow – really slow – and I didn’t get back in time. However, neither had my opponent and I had lost the die roll, so he timed out first. 
I have also been trying to draft away my last dozen or so Khans block packs, before everyone stops entering those queues.  It’s not working. I can get in at best a couple drafts per week, so my stockpile of packs never drops much. 
“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. 


Dailies by Sensei at Fri, 07/24/2015 - 13:10
Sensei's picture

WotC had to raise the cap on DEs because of its EV not because players preferred the four-round swiss format to a single elimination format. After this prize cratering, some DEs won't even fire after August 12th.

I don't think that ORI boosters will drop nearly as much as KTK/DTK did 16 days after release. Some number of rational players will simply hold their ORI boosters while supplies are being pumped out and sell them after Play Point implementation. There may even be speculators who hoard ORI boosters expecting them to rise post-Aug 12th.

Streamers probably hate this. Streamers are often skilled players (people do watch people lose with fun decks by the top streamers are very good at the game) and continually winning 8-mans or DEs will net you thousands of untradable Play Points instead of boosters you can sell for cards/tickets.

Good Analysis by enderfall at Fri, 07/24/2015 - 13:12
enderfall's picture

Hey Pete, thanks for your analysis on the Constructed prize payout changes. The one aspect that i believe you missed here is that if one wins enough such that they continue to pile up PP's, then the new prize payout hurts no matter what packs are worth. Particularly for fringe formats, the changes really hurt the players. Sure, people that grind Standard and occasionally draft will find PP's to be a somewhat welcome change, but for people like me who only play Vintage (and dabble in Legacy) and NEVER draft, PP's are just about the worst possible thing to happen since $25 redemption fee... which is a great point. None of these changes would be required if they just lowered the Redemption fee to a much more reasonable $10/set rate. That's still 100% higher than it used to be, and they'd probably realize additional revenue as more sets would ultimately be redeemed.

I've been surprised that no by mihahitlor at Fri, 07/24/2015 - 13:33
mihahitlor's picture

I've been surprised that no one has actually done an EV analysis of the new Daily Events, so here are a couple numbers:

You match win percentage in DEs needs to be more than 62% before you start accumulating excessive PPs. If you have match win percentage less than that you will use all of your PPs for entering fees (assuming you are a grinder who consistently plays of course).

If you have a match win percentage of 62%, you will win approximately 6.12 tix/DE under new system whereas you won 5.62 tix under old system. That is assuming the value of the booster is 3 tix for both. If the value of boosters will be higher under the new system because of lower supply, then you will win even more tix in new DEs.

Let's say your win percentage is a very high 70% and you start accumulating excessive PPs. Under the new system you will win on average 8 tix from boosters and 40 excessive PPs. Under the old system you would win 9.33 tix. So the difference is 1.33 tix but you get 40 PPs which are arguably worth much more than just 1.33 tix (it would cost you 4$ to buy them, and you can use them in drafts to turn them into tix). And that is again assuming that the price of the boosters is the same under both systems.

I am really surprised that people who have done no actual math speak like this is the end of DEs, but the trut is that EV is actually better for the grinders (people with high win percentage).

The group of people that will be worse off are those with like 50% match win percentage. You could earn a small amount of tix before (0.5/event (assuming again 3 tix booster)), while you would lose 1.8 tix now.

So its better for the good players and worse for the average/bad players.

Here are some more numbers by mihahitlor at Fri, 07/24/2015 - 15:00
mihahitlor's picture

Here are some more numbers (new system listed first, old system listed 2nd):
2.5 tix booster:
50% WR: -2.44 -0.53
52.5% WR: -1.11 0.21
55% WR: 0.3 1.01
57.5% WR: 1.82 1.85
60% WR: 3.42 2.75
62.5% WR: 5.11 (+0.8 PPs) 3.68
65% WR: 5.6 (+13 PPs) 4.68
67.5% WR: 6 (+27 PPs) 5.71
70% WR: 6.7 (+ 40 PPs) 6.78

3 tix booster:
50% WR: -1.87 0.56
52.5% WR: -0.47 1.45
55% WR: 1.03 2.41
57.5% WR: 2.63 3.42
60% WR: 4.33 4.5
62.5% WR: 6.12 (+0.08 PPs) 5.62
65% WR: 6.7 (+13 PPs) 6.81
67.5% WR: 7.3 (+27 PPs) 8.04
70% WR: 8 (+ 40 PPs) 9.33

3.5 tix booster
50% WR: -1.31 1.66
52.5% WR: 0.17 2.7
55% WR: 1.75 3.81
57.5% WR: 3.44 5
60% WR: 5.24 6.25
62.5% WR: 7.13 (+0.08 PPs) 7.56
65% WR: 7.8 (+13 PPs) 8.94
67.5% WR: 8.6 (+27 PPs) 10.38
70% WR: 9.35 (+ 40 PPs) 11.89

So the higher the price of the booster (assuming the price is the same under both system), the better the old system is and vice versa. Also the higher your winrate the better new system is (or not, depending how much you value PPs). It's much worse when your winrate is under 57.5% (approximately), but if the price of the boosters will now rise this should remedy the discrepancy to some extent or even make new DEs favourable at lower win percentages (only avg. 0.5 tix price increase would go a long way as you can see from the numbers).

I think the new system is not so bad as some folks claim. If you are a grinder (player with high win percentage) I think it's comparable/better depending on some variables. If you are a casual player and the price of the boosters wont rise enough then DEs are probably not for you anymore, unless you don't mind losing money to play (which actually could lower the winrate of grinders if worse players will stop participating, so that is also a possible factor).

Working on this. by one million words at Fri, 07/24/2015 - 13:34
one million words's picture

I have thought about the problem of unredeemable play points piling up. My first thought was that you can burn through a lot of them playing drafts, but that only works if you like to draft. If you primarily play constructed, and win, you will start to pile p PPs faster than you can use them up.

One solution - Wizards could offer some form of "redeeming" PPs. For example, they might do some sort of trade of 1000 PP for a paper FtV set or something like that. (Concept off the top of my head - no idea if the math works or this is even feasible. Simple solution, though, at least when the FtVs are selling above MSRP.)

The question is how good you have to be to have that problem. I am working on crunching those numbers, but it take a while. You cannot just use a player's overall win percentage. In either Swiss or single elim., players face better opponents with each win. That's why my win percentage in round one of an event is far higher than my win percentage in round 3 when I am 2-0 at that point. I will probably have something on single elim soon, but with GenCon and GP FW easting most of my next ten days, not sure how soon.

I am really disgusted with by TugaChampion at Fri, 07/24/2015 - 13:36
TugaChampion's picture

I am really disgusted with these changes.

There have been many people defending this decision and comparing the new payout with packs at 3-3.5 (which is fair) to the old payout with the current 2.34 for DTK and 1.41 for FRF…

Seriously? While jumping into “the new prizes are terrible” without actually analyzing everything is bad, I think it’s even worse taking the time to analyze with several flaws and not understanding those flaws. One of the flaws is very huge. Let’s start with the smaller ones:

1) Wizard has always said that they only looked at the packs costing 4 because that’s what they sell them for in the store. And now that they make a change that benefits them if they look at what people sell their packs for, they do it.

2) We are all assuming 10 Play Points equals 1 tix but that is not 100% accurate. If you win enough, you might end up with Play Points that you can’t use. Sure, you can use them in drafts but in my case I never draft because I want to win as much as possible and sell the tix. Well, if I do very well, I won’t be able to sell everything which is pretty bad.

But the main flaw is: it’s very wrong to justify the new prizes being good when you compare to current pack prices. Of course the new system is better in this extreme case. The problem is that, despite pack prices being pretty bad since they increased redemption fees (the one and only real problem with mtgo’s economy), for most of the time, the prizes were still better in the old system comparing to the new one. You don’t think so? Let’s take a look at 3-1 prizes:

Under the new system and with packs at 3.5 you get (3×3.5×10)+180=285 Play Points. That’s not even 2.4 entry fees.
Under the old system with packs at 2.5 on average you get 6×2.5×10=150 Play Points. That’s 2.5 entry fees. Is it that unreal that packs are worth 2.5 on average?

Fate Reforged has been between 1.8 and 1.4 since the DEs started paying a mix of DTK and FRF. If you waited, you could have sold them for 1.6-1.7 easily by waiting for the right time during most of this period. Let’s average it at 1.5, just to lowball it, considering they were at 1.7 not long ago, before this 2-3 weeks period where most people are just drafting cube and mtgo is missing the set already released in real life. Thats 3tix for the 2 FRF packs for a 3-1.

DTK was over 3tix easily over half of the time it was paid as constructed prizes. Let’s once again ignore these past 2-3 weeks, where it took a huge drop and it’s very easy to sell them for over 3 tix. It was just a matter of waiting and getting 3.5 or more was not very hard. I’m going to use 3.25 for DTK just to lowball it as well. The 4 packs of DTK give us 13 tix from the 3-1.

13+3=16 16/6=2.67 pack average and even if I put DTK at 3 a 3-1 gives us 15 tix which is the 2.5 per pack average.

Now, I’m not saying 2.5 per pack is good but it’s still better than what we’re gonna get with the new system and that is really really bad.

Wizards just revised the by romellos at Fri, 07/24/2015 - 14:04
romellos's picture

Wizards just revised the constructed options for Legacy, Vintage and Pauper as below. Standard and Modern seems same.

Entry option: 6 tix / or 60 pp

3W: 3 booster + 80 pp
2W: 60 pp
1W: 20 pp


Lol this keeps getting worse by TugaChampion at Fri, 07/24/2015 - 14:09
TugaChampion's picture

Lol this keeps getting worse and worse.

I seriously don't know how they took all the feedback they got and turned it into this.

Yeah, thats pretty bad. 60% by mihahitlor at Fri, 07/24/2015 - 14:38
mihahitlor's picture

Yeah, thats pretty bad. 60% WR and the boosters being worth 3.5 tixs (optimistic number) nets you only 1.1 tix (compared to 5.23 tix at 4 round daily).

I think it will be more by Cauchy at Fri, 07/24/2015 - 14:20
Cauchy's picture

I think it will be more expensive to draft after the change. The supply of boosters will take a significant drop. The drop will only be offset if it can be substituted with constructed players using their player points to cross over to limited thereby lowering the demand for boosters. If these two things balance each other there will be no change in prices, but I dont think that will be the case.

Standard Card prices will not change because they are linked to paper prices by redemption. Hence, the higher pack prices will be a deadweight loss to drafters - unless you accumulate a pack surplus from drafting. In that case you should be happy.

I did not read all the by mtgobeast at Fri, 07/24/2015 - 16:36
mtgobeast's picture

I did not read all the commetns just your article so if it was questionned i am sorry to repeat myself

The biggerst problem is not being able to replay. Its that if i sold the boosters i had TICKETS that gave me options. Options have value by themselfs. If I want to buy boosters to draft i could, if i wanted to buy cards for another constructed deck i could, If i wanted to sell tickets because i had too much for real cash, i could... Option has value and PP have no value but to play again. The only way that this would come to a fair thing is if it was tradable. Then the value would be the same as they claim to be (which is 10:1) .

Another note is the payout. They always claimed (and always will) that 1 booster = 4 $.. Well just for an exemple of 1 on one duel. When i won, it got me 1 booster (valued at 4$ with WOTC) now it pays 30pp (which is valued at 10:1 so 3$ or tickets).. but they still ask for 20PP (not 15 to give a 2:1 ration like the old format was). So this comes to another point

Making more money.

By giving less packs and more PP that are not tradable people will need to buy FULL MSRP booster packs. or close to it by the market value (which will be higher).

I for one have slowly have giving out MTGO in general because their practice is not toward the customer but their parent company and by cutting slowly but surely in the value people just accept it and say nothing. I love this game but unfortunatly with how many new Tcg's that exist magic is not the only one (I am not talking paper but just digital)
Hex tcg would be a good example of how value is added to the customer.

I hope that people realise that everything they do is always badly implemented.

(ps. Look at the software.... we are in 2015................ no other comment is necessary. )

"For example, if the exact by wolverine82 at Fri, 07/24/2015 - 17:29
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"For example, if the exact same wine is prices at $5 and $75 a bottle, people will attribute far better attributes to the expensive wine."

May be true but less people are willing to pay 75 for a bottle of wine.
If daily events go to 12 tix,less people will play them.
It will be much harder for people to buy cards to build a collection,since part of the prizes will be not tradable player points.

I cant understand when they say, that they want dailies to be "special",the highest level of play available competition on magic online.
Remember when there was a thing called Premier Events on mtgo,something that some players stop playing because they didnt like the prizes and others stop playing on them because of the many program crashes... and they remove them.

I dont like the changes,maybe they can adjust the entry fees or the way the player points work, i guess i will have to wait and see.

The whole thing is by TugaChampion at Fri, 07/24/2015 - 19:16
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The whole thing is disgusting. If it wasn't for the constant feedback for the past 2 years, they wouldn't change anything, even if they knew something was wrong. But since people were getting more and more vocal it seems someone said: "These guys are getting too annoying. Let's find a way to make them shut up." They came up with phantom points v2 and decided that this was the perfect opportunity to finally remove the last EV+ events MTGO offered. And since it was the players who asked for changes, they couldn't really complain. That's their logic.

I don't think I'm going to quit mtgo, at least for now, but I'll certainly cut back on playing.

I feel the same way. Nobody by Joe Fiorini at Fri, 07/24/2015 - 21:10
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I feel the same way. Nobody likes the 8-man Dailies either.

Ok, I play only Legacy and by graphoman at Fri, 07/24/2015 - 23:54
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Ok, I play only Legacy and Vintage. I like to brew a lot, and when I brew something sweet, I jump to daily to test it out. And where do I need to jump now? In an event, that costs twice as much as before? Thank you Wizards!

I've got good news and I've by longtimegone at Sat, 07/25/2015 - 01:17
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I've got good news and I've got bad news. Go read the update, they changed the price and structure of dailies for Legacy, Vintage, and Pauper.

I think it's even more bad by TugaChampion at Sat, 07/25/2015 - 04:48
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I think it's even more bad news to be honest.

After far too long of by Joe Fiorini at Sat, 07/25/2015 - 07:03
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After far too long of struggling with mana issues, negative variance, and the occasional grievous misplay, I cashed the Vintage Daily Event last night :)

My first thought? How this would have been a waste of my time under the proposed changes. First of all, I lost round one, so the best I could have hoped for under the new "improved" system would be a "free" Daily Event next time.

Let's imagine that I payed 12 for a four-round Daily and won play-points. Would it "feel more special"? Not at all. I have tickets for another event already, but what if I wanted to buy a new card for my deck that cost more than the value of the 3 packs I would have won under Play Points Prize Party? Then I'd be out-of-luck, or have to shell out more dough.

Well, the good news was that by longtimegone at Sat, 07/25/2015 - 07:04
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Well, the good news was that they still cost 6. The bad news is everything else about the events.

I don't care about the cost by TugaChampion at Sat, 07/25/2015 - 07:29
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I don't care about the cost really. Obviously if the Daily Events were at something like 60 tix, it would be bad because variance could really bankrupt you easily and not everyone would be fine with spending 60 bucks to play a 4 rounds tournament. But I wouldn't mind paying 12, if they also increased the prizes at the same rate. The big problem is turning EV+ tournaments into EV-

I feel that some newer by Joe Fiorini at Sat, 07/25/2015 - 10:50
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I feel that some newer players would be put off at losing 12 dollars a tournament if they can't crack 2 wins an event. So I emailed Lee my feelings, and this is what we got: Cheaper tournaments with way worse prizes.

I went a long time where I was either just going 2-2, or bombing out completely. It was frustrating, but I'm also not as experienced as some of the other players. And I was always switching decks to have stuff to write about. I didn't mind losing 6 tix to pilot Landstill in a Daily after only running it in one Tournament Practice match. I don't know that I'd want to play 12 tickets to play for funsies.

I emailed them today, and made some additional suggestions, but who knows what will happen. I suggested instead of DOUBLING the D.E. entry fee, to just raise it a little bit as to not be such a shock to people.

The other thing I mentioned was that many people are VERY upset that PP aren't tradeable. I suggested allowing people to buy packs with their play points at full msrp, and to make spending the pp on more events the better deal so that players who just want to play more tournaments get the value they want, and the other folks can at least get some packs to do whatever with, even if the packs are less than they would have gotten under the old system.

I don't want to see a price hike, but from a business perspective I can understand why a hike may be needed. However, I do not agree with a doubling of a price under the guise that it's some kind of "fix" or positive change.

This reminds me of the Simpsons episode where it's set in the future, Lisa is president, and they need to raise taxes. They settled on calling it a Temporary Refund Adjustment to distract people from the truth (Milhouse had pitched the term "colossal salary grab").

Sure, I guess paying 12 tix by TugaChampion at Sat, 07/25/2015 - 13:46
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Sure, I guess paying 12 tix is not good if you are trying something fun, are low of tix or are a new player but those are the situations where a 8man or 2man tournament is actually fine. I still don't understand why they messed with the entry fee and prizes of DEs. That was one of the few things that people were actually happy about mtgo. They just needed to take out half the boosters from the prizes and convert them to PPs. We would get the same deal that we have had for years and people wouldn't react this way.

You're right, except that I by Joe Fiorini at Sat, 07/25/2015 - 17:34
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You're right, except that I hate 8-man single elim, and I only played some. Also, I only have Vintage decks anymore, so I don't get on-demand 8 mans, just scheduled 8 mans.

By the way, the way people in the Vintage community are quitting, the 8 person Daily Events might not fire either.

Oh, I understand. I don't by TugaChampion at Sat, 07/25/2015 - 19:46
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Oh, I understand. I don't play 8mans as well (I guess I would if the EV was good but I'd still prefer dailies).

I do have access to modern decks (although most cards are not mine) but I haven't been willing to play it lately.

Unfortunately for my by thewoof2 at Sat, 07/25/2015 - 09:47
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Unfortunately for my interests this change is bad, but my real issue is why make this change at all. PP is just a bad version of event tickets as they are not tradeable objects. For the consumer we each have different desires so giving us tradeable objects is much better in general. If WOTC wanted to improve the event pay-outs then just do that, if they want lower denominations then make subtickets. But making untradeable items doesn't help the consumer.

My largest issue however is this shows a total lack of focus and inept prioritization at WOTC. We have an enhancement list miles long, we have been waiting for leagues, bug fixes, casual player improvements, etc and what did WOTC give us - Player Points... They must have put things on hold to jump on this idea and implementing it. In my mind this is the true problem and always has been, lack if product focus and decisions seemingly based on revenue rather than customer experience.

Well... by Fred1160 at Sat, 07/25/2015 - 10:26
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It looks like we've been Wizarded...again.

Pete, I normally love your by Cownose at Sat, 07/25/2015 - 14:56
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Pete, I normally love your articles--but I think your analysis here is WAAAAAY off.

You seem to have accepted their argument that 10PP = 1 Ticket when economically speaking that is ludicrous. 10PP cannot possibly equal 1 ticket because the play points are untradeable and only usable to enter events. Just like a $10 Starbucks gift card is not worth $10 in real money, 10PP are not worth what Lee is claiming they are. There is a MASSIVE opportunity cost with them saying I can ONLY use my prizes to enter more events (something I frankly don't really want to do as I don't ever draft and only play dailies every once in a while). I can no longer use my winnings to build new constructed decks, and now cashing out my collection becomes much harder to do. PP are only an okay substitute for real prizes if you plan to use them to draft, which I know you do--but not everyone does. I can see how this is okay from your perspective (someone with a good collection who likes to draft), but it is VERY bad for a lot of people in different situations from yourself.

Let me give you an example: I have a great Vintage collection today, but when I started playing MTGO as a poor college student that certainly wasn't the case. The first step to building my collection happened when I got 1st place in a 128 player Ravnica release league. That netted like 70 boosters as a prize (Its been a long time so I don't remember how many it was, but it was A LOT for a college student with a $25 a month MTGO budget). Selling those boosters (I don't draft) allowed me to buy in to my first serious MTGO deck and allowed me to move to constructed for years (I played more DEs back then since I had a lot more free time). The winnings I accumulated from that deck built a lot of my current collection. This is all basically impossible under the new system unless I want to grind events forever--which I really don't/didn't.

There were a ton of ways they could have fixed the booster problem without screwing over the players, but they went with the option that 1) increased the cost of playing without a matching increase in prizes, 2) gave the players far less choice in how they play the game, 3) made it nearly impossible to use your winnings to build up better constructed decks, AND 4) makes is impossible to get your money back out of your collection if you decide to sell. This option is absolutely terrible for anyone who doesn't grind drafts (and is also terrible for people who are really good to boot as they will accumulate basically worthless PP they can't use).

@Cownose by MichelleWong at Sat, 07/25/2015 - 17:47
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Cownose, I think that you have hit the nail squarely on the head. I feel the same way completely.

Fred, regarding your comment "It looks like we've been Wizarded...again". LOL that was hilarious and brilliantly accurate.

I previously could live with the DE events, but now I can't. And Dailies have become worse for me. I do not feel more special. I feel less eager to enter the Dailies now.

(in All Caps! Which doubles the weight of the rant).


"I do not feel more special. by TugaChampion at Mon, 07/27/2015 - 03:06
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"I do not feel more special. I feel less eager to enter the Dailies now."

That is the perfect description on how I and most people feel about these!

Adam_the_Mentat's picture

If Player Points can be used to play in a draft, and people are concerned they'll accumulate too many PP, wont those people with thousands of PP just jump into drafts, Rare-pick through the ten minutes or so of actual drafting, and then drop from the event? Isn't that a way to mitigate the excess untradeable PP? Sure, you may not be able to score any bombs during the draft, but isn't that a batter option than untradeable PP not worth anything? For those that love to draft, won't people who have this idea completely screw up drafting pools? If you are just gonna scoop you are going to just take all the worthwhile cards at every rarity even if they don't cohesively make a deck because you arent sticking around for the draft. So you take one white mythic, three black rares, and two valuable blue uncommons thus weakening the rest of the pool for people trying to draft an actual strategy. I live 'bye's as much as the next guy but not if cards are going to be flooded into the market anyway and if i miss out on an Archangel of Tithes because someone rare-drafted and scooped to try and sell cards for tix, something that has actual value.

Not only paying PPs for a by TugaChampion at Sun, 07/26/2015 - 04:54
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Not only paying PPs for a draft is like paying full price (because boosters will still be cheaper), but you also lose value and time. I doubt this will make many go there to simply rare draft and not play at all because that's turning your PPs into most likely less than half of their theorical value on average.

The problem is, some people just don't want to draft. I like drafting but I don't like doing it on mtgo because I'd most likely be losing money, so I do it very rarely outside of Cube.

So I wouldn't really worry about drafts being ruined.

but everyone is saying people by Adam_the_Mentat at Sun, 07/26/2015 - 07:49
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but everyone is saying people who accumulate tons and tons of PP devalue them because you have more than you can use.... unless you raredraft and dont stay for the draft. even if you only pull an EV of $7 from the cards ou raredraft, thats worth way more than untradeable PP

Yes, but that doesn't mean by TugaChampion at Sun, 07/26/2015 - 08:05
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Yes, but that doesn't mean everyone will just rare draft instead of drafting to win the draft.

I am not very invested in the by Paul Leicht at Sun, 07/26/2015 - 04:31
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I am not very invested in the whole Player Points thing because I don't generally play tourneys. (I have 96pps from the conversion and have no plans to use them.) What does bother me though is the idea of yet another sky falling because people are panicky and have no faith in the game.

On the one hand, if you play magic to any real degree of interest online you aren't really trying to build up a portfolio of investments. You are trying to build a playable collection. OK sure there are actual collectors who must have every single card. But I suspect those people are far and few between. If only because THAT task would be quite expensive (see the totals to own a playset of everything above) to manage.

And it would be an ongoing task at that. And sure sometimes your collection seems and looks like an investment. Short term investments for the volatile cards and long term for the more stable cards. But really if you view it ONLY that way you aren't getting the fun out of it you could otherwise.

On the other hand, people sell out their collections all the time. Sometimes because of cowardice/panic, sometimes because of bills, and sometimes because something else they want to buy is more urgent for them. And some (drafters) sell off anything with any value immediately so as to play again. So Player Points maybe affecting the economy is double edged.

It cuts into the amount of packs being earned by winners of tourneys and it may cut into the proceeds from drafts because of what Adam mentions: Rare Drafting. Which always happens to some degree. (But perhaps not as often online as irl.) Particularly someone drafting purely for sales value rather than playability. Is this going to be prevalent among people who don't enjoy draft but earn tons of points in constructed? Will the response to this be to make all the draft queues permanently phantom? No idea.

The Real question imho is: Are the new tourney prizes and prices (in player points) worth it? Not sure there is a good answer yet on that despite several vocal analyses in either camp. It may be, that despite the fact that you can no longer 4-0 a vintage daily (once the change happens) you may find that 3-0 is a better use of your time and the PPs while not directly translatable into earnings do count for something.

I am reserving judgement about whether they are a good or bad thing.

It's not fair to campare 4-0s by graphoman at Mon, 07/27/2015 - 02:02
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It's not fair to campare 4-0s and 3-0s. I better say it that way. Earlier, I could score 3-1 and make some profit. Now to make a profit, I need to 3-0.

I've build a huge part of my eternal collection using winnings from dailies. I've planned to get a set of Wastelands that way at the end of the year. Now it's not Wastelands, it's a land of wasted dreams.

Is it just me... by enderfall at Sun, 07/26/2015 - 12:22
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I've been thinking a lot about this, but something just occurred to me: Am I the only one thinking that WotC has made these EV- changes to help compensate for the loss of players due to how horrible the new client is? I can only imagine they are under intense pressure to continue to grow MTGO, but the client is severely holding back the best form of growth: adding new players at a rate greater than losing existing players. I would not be surprised if these changes were purposefully done to make the books for MTGO look strong(er) simply by squeezing more blood from the players, rather than offering a truly interesting platform that players are excited to play the wonderful game of Magic on.

A friend and I are trying to by Joe Fiorini at Sun, 07/26/2015 - 12:23
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A friend and I are trying to start a series of regular Vintage PRE's to give Vintage players something to do that makes it worth their time. I haven't talked to anyone who wants to play a 3 round DE with terrible prize support.

I'm keeping my account, but until things change I will not buy anything EVER from the WotC store. I used to buy tix from them, as it was quick and easy, but I am not giving them my money until I'm satisfied. I'll continue to suppor the Dealers and people who deserve it. Besides, the automated delivery bot on MTGOTraders is sweet!

Vintage PRE would be by graphoman at Mon, 07/27/2015 - 02:15
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Vintage PRE would be brilliant. PREs is one of the few things of MTGO that constatnly getting better, not worse. Only problem with it is bad time for my time zone. Can't play it at 3:00am. Wish there were more PREs for my time zone, any format besides standard is ok.

Vintage PRE by MichelleWong at Sun, 07/26/2015 - 18:15
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I would LOVE a Vintage PRE! :) by Joe Fiorini at Sun, 07/26/2015 - 18:44
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Go there, start an account so you can post, and let everyone know how the format and time works for you.

We need to find ways to fund a prize pool, but I don't know if charging an entry fee is against the TOS or what.

It is against the CoC. On the by Paul Leicht at Sun, 07/26/2015 - 18:52
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It is against the CoC. On the other hand MTGOtraders has a long tradition of funding well run/consistent PREs.

It's one thing to get a lot by TugaChampion at Sun, 07/26/2015 - 18:57
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It's one thing to get a lot of funds for a specific tournaments. It's also not that hard to give out small rewards for weekly tournaments. However, I don't think it's possible to have something similar to DEs if they're free.

"This is free event, with an optional donation of three tickets per player. After the final round has been played, donations will be redistributed between the top placing donating players (those electing to play the event sans donation can play and win the event, but are not included in the donation ticket pool) via the following scheme."

If there is a way to do this, it has to be something like this. I'm still not sure if this would be fine but it's worth asking.

Past events on by longtimegone at Sun, 07/26/2015 - 21:07
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Past events on have gone with the suggested donation method of entry fees in to a prize pool, I don't remember any problems.

That's good to know :) by TugaChampion at Mon, 07/27/2015 - 03:03
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That's good to know :)

PRE's by enderfall at Sun, 07/26/2015 - 20:24
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I've run many a PRE, all with WotC knowing exactly what I was doing. The only way for it to work is to make the event free and have a suggested donation. Most people will donate the minimum, others maybe slightly above, few will go along for the free ride. The bottom line is: it has to be free and you can pay out whatever you want from the donations.

Good luck!

I think prizes for 1st 3 by graphoman at Mon, 07/27/2015 - 02:41
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I think prizes for 1st 3 places is a bad idea. It's ok when participation is low, but it's getting ugly when more players joins event. Why not to make it like 4 rounds, 40% of pool to 4-0, 60% of pool to 3-1s, if there's more than 8 players? Numbers are not solid, just an example.

Also you'll need standings to by graphoman at Mon, 07/27/2015 - 02:48
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Also you'll need standings to determine winners, and it's always awful.

There WAS one for some time, by graphoman at Mon, 07/27/2015 - 02:51
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There WAS one for some time, but it was cancelled due to low attendance.

Dear Enderfall,I think you by MichelleWong at Mon, 07/27/2015 - 06:31
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Dear Enderfall,

I think you may be right when you said: "Am I the only one thinking that WotC has made these EV- changes to help compensate for the loss of players due to how horrible the new client is".

I think it is safe to say: "If Wizards had given us a client worthy of the 21st century (especially with compatibility with tablets), then they would have made a LOT more money from the client".

There is free software developed by volunteers called "FORGE", which is compatible with tablets and smartphones, and even has an Artificial Intelligence! And these guys are volunteers who don't charge a cent for their client.

Instead, Wizards give us a sub-standard client, and instead of showing us great improvements to the client, they push us further away by making the EV worse and worse...

The main thing people forget by Paul Leicht at Mon, 07/27/2015 - 17:05
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The main thing people forget is that WOTC being a corp has to think as a group about its bottom line before it can appease us. No matter how disastrous it feels to us to have these horrible decisions thrown in our faces the fact is they are being made to produce a better bottom line for the corporation.

That is not to say we should not protest because we should. Just be aware that bringing up Forge is not protesting. It is merely beside the point.

I worked on MTGForge if that's what you mean, early on (2009 and prior) and it was rough going for a long long time. Took a lot of testing and arguing and discussion. It was not a magic trick (pardon the pun) getting it functional and the main guy seemed to want to give up more than once.

There were definitely some things about it that are remarkable but that program did not come easily or freely. Took lots and lots of hours and patience and back to the drawing board sessions.

And I would not compare the two.

The MTGO engine is an evolution off a third party's code that's been running for the last 15 years, continuously adding new sets as they came out and while it is certainly possible it could have been made better but priorities were set to maximize profit over performance.

MTGForge is the exact opposite, a labor of love, worked on by hundreds of people (though one guy did most of the coding). And it has been in development for a long time (well over a decade). And because it is a free program it is not being made to perform feats it can barely handle like 1000 person tourneys.

And MTGForge is both client and server in one. Where as MTGO uses multiple servers and a client separately. The client is the "front end" so to speak and serves a different purpose than the engine.

I don't happen to agree with Enderfall's thought. I think they made the changes with the good faith idea to work towards improving the long term economy of the game. But that sort of thing takes time and adjustments and thinking and they must ALSO balance in their bottom line.

Play Points is hardly an exciting step but it could be used to make some of the ideas that players have been suggesting for years to come to pass. But first it has to replace and "fix" what is there. And that is bound to come with some pain. I don't think they are making the right decisions in regard to how to pay out prizes vs prices but I think those things can be adjusted.

Just keep making the right noises (Tweets?) and I think it might happen... Keeping in mind that those making the decisions serve us players 2nd or 3rd.