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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Jul 03 2015 2:38pm
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State of the Program for July 3rd 2015

In the News:

Magic Origins Prerelease and Release Info Announced: The next set prerelease will begin 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.
Collection Performance Upgrade: Wizards will implement a series of improvements to the collection management functions of MTGO on July 8th. This should improve speed of log ins and make moving large groups of cards easier and more efficient. This may also reduce the “Waiting for Main Navigation” pop-ups. These changes have long been needed. Fingers crossed that they work and don’t break anything else. 
Changes to the Mulligan Rule:   Wizards has announced that they will be testing a new mulligan rule at Pro Tour Origins. The rule is pretty much the same (start w/ seven, mull one less each time, etc.) The change is that anyone who mulligans to less than seven is allowed to Scry once after they have chosen to keep. Note that this is being *tested* at the Pro Tour. It is not yet a thing anywhere else, but it could be if all goes well. Note that this is not the first time changes like this have been tested at the PT. The current mulligan rule is often called the “Paris” mulligan because it was first tested at PT Paris back in 1999. 
The rationale is pretty clear, here. The loss of a card or two due to a mulligan is harsh. The ability to Scry once partly mitigates that.   I would expect that MTGO played a part in this decision. Wizards crunches a lot of data from MTGO, and I am sure that they looked at the correlation between double mulligans and non-interactive games. The article announcing the change has more details.    
Owen Turtenwald Wins Standard Super League:  The finals were not as dramatic as the semi-finals, but Owen and Josh played four interesting matches. In the end, Owen won the SSL. Next week, Randy Buehler’s team will begin an abbreviated Vintage League, followed by larger Modern and Standard events once Magic Origins is online. Details here. 
Modern Masters 2015 Limited Ends Next Wednesday: This is your last weekend to play MM15. I know I will be playing – I still have a half dozen packs to burn through. MM15 drafts end with the next downtime, but will be replaced with the Holiday cube.

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
·         Phantom Mirrodin Block Drafts: June 24th – July 8th.
·         Holiday Cube Drafts: July 8th – July 22nd
·         Modern Masters 2015: Continues through July 8th. Details here.
·         MOCS Season 7 Championship:  7am Pacific, July 4th. Format is Modern.
·         MOCS Season 8:  runs from June 24th through July 29th
·         MOCS Season 8 Championship: 7am Pacific, August 8th. Format is Magic Origins Sealed.
·         Leagues: Wizards said leagues will return in 2015.
·         Modern Festival Prelims: June 24th – July 5th. Details here.
·         Modern Festival Finals: Sunday, July 5th
·         Magic Origins: released on MTGO July 27th, prerelease should begin July 23rdor July 24th Code: ORI Previews have started.
·         From the Vault: Angels: October 12, 2015. Details here.

Opinion Section: Civility in Magic, Take 196

Once again, we have a social media storm over women in Magic, plus another couple on various players and so forth.
Enough. The “don’t be a jerk” rule should apply. 
I still hear people arguing that it something is not explicitly illegal, it is okay. No, it isn’t. Actions fall somewhere along a spectrum from massively altruistic / saintly to reprehensible. Sanctions don’t kick in until you get quite a ways over on the evil side of the spectrum. Long before you hit the “illegal” part of that spectrum you are in the rude/harmful/unpleasant area. For example, if you are a guest in my house, and take a dump on the coffee table, you have not committed an illegal act. You certainly have, however, committed a major faux pas and I will never invite you back. 
There are a ton of things that you simply don’t do in civilized society that are not illegal, but do nothing but harm to those around you. They are typically done by immature people, or those with mental illnesses or problems. Please, people, if you find yourself being a jerk, grow up or find help, or both. 
In our local gaming community, we don’t have problems with incivility. We have created an environment where it is rare, and quietly talk to players when and if something happens. This creates the expectation of civility, and we almost never have repeat problems. I have also seen stores where jerky behavior is tolerated, and it spreads – but that is also reversible. 
You can have a civil community and still enjoy playing Magic. In fact, you will probably enjoy playing Magic a lot more in jerk-free areas. All it takes is just telling people, when necessary, “hey, dude, don’t be a jerk.”
If everyone does that, maybe I won’t have to write this editorial again.

Random MTGO Suggestion of the Week: 

The list of events in the limited queue should change color as they get closer to filling. That might provide an incentive for players to jump in.
I submitted this suggestion to If you have recommendations or advice, send them to that email address. Wizards does read them.     

Cutting Edge Tech:

Standard: GP Buenos Aires, held last weekend, was Standard. The Top 8 was a mix of Abzan Megamorph, Mardu Dragons (2), Esper Dragons, Abzan Aggro (2), RG Devotion, and Abzan Control. Coverage is here.
Modern: Grand Prix Singapore was this week’s Modern GP. The Top 8 was Affinity (2), Jund (2), Abzan Midrange, Temur Twin, 4-Color Company, and Temur Delver. Coverage is here.
Pauper: I may stop presenting Pauper decks. Looking at recent events, it almost looks like there is only one deck in the format.  In the last event I watched, this deck filled three of the 4-0 slots. 
UB Delve
Mebigunot, 4-0, Pauper Daily #8418477 on 06/28/2015
4 Delver of Secrets
2 Sultai Scavenger
6 cards

Other Spells
4 Dismal Backwater
4 Gurmag Angler
3 Agony Warp
4 Brainstorm
4 Counterspell
3 Deprive
1 Doom Blade
4 Ghastly Demise
4 Mental Note
1 Miscalculation
2 Ponder
2 Think Twice
4 Thought Scour
40 cards
3 Evolving Wilds
8 Island
2 Swamp
1 Terramorphic Expanse
14 cards

Gurmag Angler
Legacy: Taking another look at online Legacy this week. I can’t remember ever seeing the featured deck before. It has a number of mana denial elements – Choke, Trinisphere, Chalice of the Void) plus a Green Sun’s Zenith tutor package. It is a fascinating deck, and one I may have to put together sometime.
Vintage: An old classic took down a Vintage Daily recently. It has been a while since I have seen Oath on top of the heap. In other Vintage news, the Vintage Super League will resume next Tuesday. The league will have a short run this time around – just until Magic Origins appears online. This version of the League has eight players playing a double elimination event. 

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 over the place this week. Some cards that fell hard last week recovered. Others shifted. As people begin brewing with Magic Origins cards the volatility will continue. 

Standard & Block Cards
Last Week
% Change

Modern staples:  Modern prices were all over the place this week. The changes appear to be responses to recent events. People are changing decks, but I don’t see any real trends. 

Modern Cards
Last Week
% Change

Legacy / Vintage staples: This week, Legacy and Vintage staples moved around a bit, but not much. The Power Nine prices fell again this week. Other stuff oscillated. 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 price of one of everything set currently available in the store, excluding sets that are not currently draftable or not redeemable.   

Complete Set
Last Week
% Change
Born of the Gods
Dragons of Tarkir
Fate Reforged
Journey into Nix
Khans of Tarkir

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 grew further, as more and more Modern staples that were not in MM2015 are climbing. Black Lotus has now fallen to third most expensive card on MTGO. I predicted that Wasteland will hit $100 by the end of the year; it seems well on its way.

Rishadan Port
$ 156.10
$ 112.34
Black Lotus
$ 108.05
Liliana of the Veil
Mythic Rare
$   99.64
$   80.49
$   79.62
$   59.80
Mox Sapphire
$   59.33
Mythic Rare
$   57.79
Show and Tell
$   56.61
Mythic Rare
$   55.03
Tangle Wire
$   54.03
Mythic Rare
$   49.68
Blood Moon
$   45.50
Blood Moon
$   44.00
Blood Moon
$   43.57
Force of Will
$   40.26
Mythic Rare
$   39.94
Ancestral Recall
$   38.32
Scalding Tarn
$   37.74
$   37.55
Horizon Canopy
$   36.10
Grove of the Burnwillows
$   35.16
Mox Ruby
$   31.86
True-Name Nemesis
$  31.39
Time Walk
$   30.44
Twilight Mire
$   30.43
Oblivion Stone
$   29.53
Infernal Tutor
$   29.46
Oblivion Stone
$   29.33
$   29.21
Inkmoth Nexus
$   28.87
Force of Will
$   28.25
Creeping Tar Pit
$   27.14
Mox Jet
$   26.88
Auriok Champion
$   26.54
Cavern of Souls
$   26.24
$   26.02
Containment Priest
$   25.10
$   25.04

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 $ 26,250.  That’s up a lot from last week, but I did make a few refinements in processing the data, so some of that change may be an artifact of that change. 

Weekly Highlights:

I played a bunch of Modern Masters 2105 this week. Still not making a profit, but the 6-2-2-2 queues are being very nice to me. I have tried to play every archetype, but I am having my best success with 5 color good stuff, GW tokens and RB aggro. Still, it is all good. I just hope Wizards brings back Modern Masters again, at least occasionally. I’d be happy with either original Modern Masters or Modern Masters 2015.
“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. 


I've said it before and I'll by xger at Sun, 07/05/2015 - 00:25
xger's picture

I've said it before and I'll say it again: The best and probably most complete realistic way to end the incivility is for local stores to ban it. A simple set of rules: no insulting, no offensive words (swearing, and some other choice words, most notably rape), clothes must cover skin appropriately (gets both provocative clothing and butt crack), and be respectful. If you break those, the store suspends/bans you.

I would venture that card by Rerepete at Mon, 07/06/2015 - 13:30
Rerepete's picture

I would venture that card stores, like bookstores, are low profit makers. As such, I cannot see them banning any customers.

But otherwise, I agree with your statement.

But low profit may be by Bazaar of Baghdad at Mon, 07/06/2015 - 14:22
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

But low profit may be causally connected to rude behavior. I'm not suggesting likelihood, but merely pointing out the possibility.

So kind of a gamble for the by Rerepete at Mon, 07/06/2015 - 16:26
Rerepete's picture

So kind of a gamble for the store owner. Suspend/ban a profit source(s) and risk not making enough $ to pay the rent vs more potential customers.

Most cards shops I have been in have had environmental issues even disregarding the patrons therein. Older buildings in run-down neighborhoods, with dim lighting and old musty carpet, being the norm.

Player Bans... by Fred1160 at Thu, 07/09/2015 - 09:01
Fred1160's picture

I've known of card shops that did ban players in spite of the loss of income from them. Their standpoint was, "I'd rather lose one customer than to lose ALL my customers."
I've also seen stores that didn't ban people who needed it and they indeed ran off all the other customers. Those people didn't want to hang around obnoxious jerks when there were other options available.