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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Jul 05 2013 12:16pm
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Hammie’s The State of the Program for July 5th

This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.

In the News this Week:

MOCS Promo Announced – It’s Finally a Good One!:  The MOC participation promo this month is an alternative art Plateau.  True, Plateau, at $8, is one of the cheapest duals, but it is a dual land.  Hopefully, this indicates that Wizards is willing to up the level of MOCs promos.  Admittedly, after Cryptborn Horror anything would be an improvement, but this is actually pretty sweet.

Modern Masters PTQ on Saturday:  Want to try qualifying at one of the hardest events you will ever find?   Try the MTGO Modern Masters PTQ on Saturday.  It is 45 TIX, for a sealed deck Modern Masters event.  PTQs are big.  Modern Masters is big.  This could be the biggest online PTQ yet.  So, if you want to take a shot at a 500 players, single qualifier slot PTQ, this is it.  On the other hand, it is Modern Masters, which is a great format.

Modern Masters Online Events in Last Week:  Modern Masters is here, and ends in just a week.  Wizards is hosting 64 player premier drafts and fire on demand draft queues in both phantom and keep-the-cards versions, and has added a 6 pack phantom sealed option. However, MMA product is no longer on sale in the store.  Details here.  

Next Wide Beta Spotlight July 17th and 18th:  Wizards has not officially announced this, but the MTGO schedule shows a Wide Beta Spotlight event scheduled for two weeks from now.  Presumably, this means that, for 20 hours or so following the downtime, only the new client (Shiny) will be available.  Wizards has not told us about any special inducements to play on Shiny.  If there are none, I wonder whether constructed events will show lower numbers.  We know that the draft and sealed interfaces work fairly well, but that the collection / deck construction screen still has problems.  That makes it tough for anyone needing to construct a deck.  Of course, if you build in the old client, then save the build as a netdeck, that often works.

Password Reset Issue:  (From Wizards)  For users who need to reset their password, please be aware that this form is not working as intended. If you need to reset your password and encounter an issue, please use the Forgotten Magic Online password form on our Knowledge Base (after logging in) to get Game Support help in resetting your password.

You-Make-the-Card for Cosplay:  Wizards has announced an “audition to become a Planeswalker” cosplay contest.  You submit a photo of yourself as a Planeswalker.  The Grand Prize winner will be chosen a team of judges at Wizards, and will win a trip for two to the PAX event of their choice in 2014, including travel, hotel and event tickets. In addition, the grand prize winner will be awarded a pizza party for their favorite local Wizards Play Network (WPN) retail store.  A second place winner will be selected by popular vote. A pool of the top 10 entries will be chosen in early September and posted online for fans to vote on their favorite. The entry with the most votes will win a laptop and a copy of the recently released Magic 2014 – Duels of the Planeswalkers video game.  Details are at, along with a video of Felicia Day as Chandra Nalaar.

HammyBot Update:   It’s still around, and still a great way to get cards and support the family of the late Erik Friborg.  So far, Hammybot has raised over 6,000 TIX!  Don’t stop now!  Hammiebot still has 26,383 cards to sell, including a bunch of foils and a number of slivers.  If you are considering Slivers in Modern once M14 arrives, check it out.  If you prefer pimp-out modern or Legacy decks, check out the shiny Harmonic Sliver.   

Opinion Section: MM vs MMA

Modern Masters is a very popular format.  Drafts are firing – both phantom and non-phantom.  Cards are being pumped into the card pool.  The prices – for non-Mythics at least – are falling.  Modern Masters has valuable rares, uncommons and commons – and it works.  The value of the cards in the set made the average value of the packs close to the retail price, at least initially.   

Mercadian Masques block also has immensely valuable rares, uncommons and commons.  It also started the draft season with an average value of the cards in the pack close to the retail price of the packs.  The price of the chase rares in Mercadian Masques is higher than the chase Mythics in Moderm Masters.  Despite that, Mercadian Masques had one big difference from Modern Masters.

Last time Mercadian Masques limited was available, almost no one played it.  I really wanted a lot of the cards, but even I didn’t play it.  Modern Masters, on the other hand, is still pulling in the numbers.  I don’t really need most of the cards, and I am drafting the set.  What’s the difference?  It’s pretty simple.  Modern Masters is a great limited format.  Masques block was anything but a great limited format.  Really.  I learned to draft competitively in Masques block.  I made my first PTQ Top 8 playing Masques block.  I know Mawques block – but I don’t remember it fondly.   Masques block is full of rebel,  3/3s for 5 mana with bad abilities and cards that cared whether your lands were tapped.  It sucked – and it hasn’t gotten any better drafting Masques block packs. 

The difference is simple.  Masques block was a severely underpowered block.  It followed Urza’s block, which spawned combo winter, followed by emergency bannings when Urza’s Legacy hit the format.  Attendance at tournaments plummeted.   R&D was hauled into the bosses office, and threatened with mass firings if anything like Urza’s block ever happened again.  So Masques block overcompensated, and it was dull.  (The same sort of thing happened with Mirrodin and Affinity, so Kamigawa block was powered down quite a bit.) 

Modern Masters, on the other hand, was not powered down.  If anything, it was powered up.  More importantly, it was designed from the very beginning to be a great limited environment.  It shows.

I suspect that the success of Modern Masters will convince Wizards to do this again.  A couple years from now, we could see Modern Masters II, with cards running from Shards through Worldwake, or maybe even Dragon’s Maze.  

A more interesting question is whether Wizards could produce a Classic Masters Edition, made up of cards in scarce supply on MTGO, plus the cards needed to make the set playable.  This would be a lot harder to do in paper, since many of the cards you would want to reprint are on the no-reprint list.  Online, however, the only real restriction is Worth’s promise not to put Force of Will in another Masters Edition.  Everything else is fair game.

If Wizards did produce a Classic Masters Edition, it could pull on cards from Alpha through at least Masques, and maybe all the way to Onslaught.  That’s a huge card pool.  The downside, though, is that a lot of the creatures in that range are just bad,  and a lot of the spells are unbalanced.  There are also a lot of lands and unusual cards Wizards would want to pack in.  I suspect the folks at Wizards could make a good, playable limited format out of that card pool, but it would not be easy.  It would take a lot of time and effort.  The question is – is it worth it for an online only set? 

I predict that we will see a Modern Masters II in a couple years.  I am less certain that we will see a Classic Masters.   I’d love to see Wizards try, but I’m not holding my breath.  Well, maybe I am.  It sure would be nice.

Videos of the Week:

I did not have time to record a video this week – mainly because I have not had time to play any Magic this week.  However, I did have some time to watch some Modern Masters and other videos this week.  Several of them have been very strange, especially when the players are new to the format.  Here are some highlights.

Brian Kibler managed to make the finals of an MMA 8-4, despite forgetting to submit his deck (He should have been playing on the new client.)  However, he managed to win the first game with his 75 card deck in the first and second rounds. 

Conley Woods made some questionable picks while drafting Affinity (e.g. Court Homunculus over Faerie Mechanist?), but made the finals through some amazing top decking, and finding some opponents who didn’t understand some of the cards. 

LSV drafted a Dampen Thoughts / Storm deck, and made it stand up and do tricks.  LSV videos are always fun.  I have also been enjoying the LSV / Paul Cheon double team streams this week. 

Cutting Edge Tech: 

Standard:  Reid Duke won Grand Prix Miami with a Jund list.  This makes me quite happy – Reid is a great player and a true ambassador of the game.  After winning, he paused the obligatory winner photo shoot to help push a stalled car, just cause.  Coverage here.

Reid Duke, Winner, Grand Prix Miami
1 Cavern of Souls
4 Stomping Ground
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Woodland Cemetery
3 Dragonskull Summit
4 Blood Crypt
3 Rootbound Crag
2 Kessig Wolf Run
4 Thragtusk
4 Huntmaster of the Fells
3 Olivia Voldaren
2 Vampire Nighthawk
4 Farseek
2 Rakdos's Return
4 Bonfire of the Damned
2 Putrefy
2 Tragic Slip
2 Ground Seal
1 Rakdos Keyrune
2 Pillar of Flame
1 Abrupt Decay
2 Garruk, Primal Hunter

2 Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
2 Duress
2 Tragic Slip
1 Rakdos's Return
2 Ground Seal
1 Curse of Death's Hold
1 Pillar of Flame
3 Liliana of the Veil
1 Underworld Connections

Modern:  Modern Masters is supposed to pump a bunch of cards into the format.  It might do so – and once you have your cards, here’s another spicy little brew.  Right now, the main Modern action is online, but GP KC is coming up.  While you wait, here’s an old archetype, but I have not featured it for a couple months. 

Melira Pod
_VFS_, Winner, Modern Premier #5625405 on 07/01/2013

3 Forest
3 Gavony Township
1 Godless Shrine
1 Marsh Flats
3 Misty Rainforest
2 Overgrown Tomb
3 Razorverge Thicket
1 Swamp
1 Temple Garden
4 Verdant Catacombs
1 Woodland Cemetery
4 Birds of Paradise
2 Deathrite Shaman
1 Entomber Exarch
1 Eternal Witness
4 Kitchen Finks
2 Melira, Sylvok Outcast
2 Murderous Redcap
1 Orzhov Pontiff
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Reveillark
1 Spellskite
2 Viscera Seer
2 Voice of Resurgence
1 Wall of Roots
2 Abrupt Decay
4 Birthing Pod
3 Chord of Calling
2 Thoughtseize

2 Abrupt Decay
1 Aven Mindcensor
1 Fulminator Mage
1 Harmonic Sliver
2 Lingering Souls
1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
1 Obstinate Baloth
1 Shriekmaw
1 Sigarda, Host of Herons
1 Sin Collector
2 Thoughtseize
1 Voice of Resurgence

RTR Block Constructed:  Right now, this format is only played much online. The turnouts online are good.  Here’s the winner of the latest Modern Premier.

RTR Block Junk
hman56, Winner, RTR Block Constructed Premier #5625412 on 07/01/2013

3 Forest
4 Godless Shrine
2 Golgari Guildgate
2 Orzhov Guildgate
4 Overgrown Tomb
1 Plains
4 Selesnya Guildgate
1 Swamp
4 Temple Garden
4 Experiment One
4 Lotleth Troll
4 Loxodon Smiter
3 Obzedat, Ghost Council
3 Sin Collector
2 Varolz, the Scar-Striped
4 Voice of Resurgence
2 Abrupt Decay
4 Advent of the Wurm
2 Devour Flesh
3 Selesnya Charm

1 Abrupt Decay
1 Devour Flesh
2 Golgari Charm
3 Pack Rat
2 Trostani, Selesnya's Voice
2 Underworld Connections
4 Unflinching Courage

Legacy:   This weekend SCG was hosting the GP, so it did not have a Legacy Open.   Maybe next week.

Card Prices

Notes: All my prices come from  For cards that are available in multiple sets, I am quoting the most recent set’s price.  Thus, the price I’m quoting for Garruk Relentless is from M13.  These cards are also available from the MTGOTraders Bots,  so check out mtgotradersbot, mtgotradersbot2,mtgotradersbot3, mtgotradersbot4, mtgotradersbot5, CardCaddy and CardWareHouse.  These Bots often have the cards in stock even when the online store shows as out.  Now, on to prices.

Standard prices up this week, probably because everyone is drafting Modern Masters, and the dip in other drafts is reducing the supply of new cards. 

Standard & Block Cards Price  Last Week Change   % Change 
Voice of Resurgence  $44.27   $39.57  $4.70    12% 
Ral Zarek $9.24  $8.13  $1.11  14%
Blood Baron of Vizkopa $11.07  $8.38  $2.69  32%
Liliana of the Veil $43.85  $41.88  $1.97  5%
Geist of Saint Traft $28.38  $27.63  $0.75  3%
Cavern of Souls   $9.40  $9.24  $0.16  2%
Bonfire of the Damned  $22.08  $18.05  $4.03  22%
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage  $9.73  $10.00  ($0.27) -3%
Falkenrath Aristocrat $12.21  $11.96  $0.25  2%
Griselbrand  $15.60  $15.60  $0.00  0%
Sorin, Lord of Innistrad  $13.76  $16.97  ($3.21) -19%
Garruk Relentless $15.27  $12.52  $2.75  22%
Garruk, Primal Hunter  $11.19  $11.63  ($0.44) -4%
Huntmaster of the Fells  $8.64  $6.87  $1.77  26%
Thundermaw Hellkite $24.96  $17.57  $7.39  42%
Restoration Angel   $14.17  $12.51  $1.66  13%
Sphinx’s Revelation    $33.63  $31.89  $1.74  5%
Hellrider $6.33  $5.82  $0.51  9%
Snapcaster Mage $6.92  $6.03  $0.89  15%
Thragtusk $5.43  $5.14  $0.29  6%
Domri Rade $16.00  $14.86  $1.14  8%
Angel of Serenity $15.43  $18.36  ($2.93) -16%
Boros Reckoner $7.80  $6.75  $1.05  16%
Jace, Architect of Thought $15.23  $14.41  $0.82  6%
Craterhoof Behemoth $6.81  $7.03  ($0.22) -3%
Olivia Voldaren $12.22  $11.48  $0.74  6%
Obzedat, Ghost Council  $10.56  $8.17  $2.39  29%

Modern prices are still jumping all over the place.  Modern Masters is here, and prices have adjusted.  The volume being opened is enough to affect prices of rares, but is not having much impact on the prices of the mythics.  What are climbing are the prices of cards not in Modern Masters.

Modern Cards Price Last Week Change % Change
Tarmogoyf $56.25  $56.25  $0.00  0%
Vendilion Clique $25.34  $21.91  $3.43  16%
Vedalken Shackles $7.67  $6.92  $0.75  11%
Mutavault $11.13  $11.84  ($0.71) -6%
Scalding Tarn $19.64  $15.50  $4.14  27%
Linvala, Keeper of Silence  $19.17  $18.06  $1.11  6%
Engineered Explosives   $4.75  $4.75  $0.00  0%
Cryptic Command $8.72  $9.35  ($0.63) -7%
Elspeth, Knight Errant   $5.81  $6.55  ($0.74) -11%
Dark Confidant $16.22  $18.85  ($2.63) -14%
Thoughtseize $24.97  $26.68  ($1.71) -6%
Kiki-Jiki Mirror Breaker   $7.97  $7.81  $0.16  2%
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn $12.89  $12.89  $0.00  0%
Oblivion Stone $10.41  $8.57  $1.84  21%
Eye of Ugin $5.66  $5.66  $0.00  0%
Damnation $8.48  $8.11  $0.37  5%
Kataki, War's Wage   $1.74  $2.08  ($0.34) -16%
Batterskull $27.34  $25.91  $1.43  6%
Cascade Bluffs $10.25  $10.04  $0.21  2%
Mox Opal $39.30  $39.30  $0.00  0%
Sword of Feast and Famine   $8.69  $8.69  $0.00  0%
Sword of Light and Shadow $4.46  $4.82  ($0.36) -7%
Karn Liberated    $26.53  $25.92  $0.61  2%
Scapeshift $18.68  $17.17  $1.51  9%
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite   $8.27  $7.10  $1.17  16%
Arcbound Ravager $4.78  $4.37  $0.41  9%
Daybreak Coronet $8.68  $8.17  $0.51  6%

Legacy and Classic are pretty stable.  Force of Will fell a trifle, but everything else is pretty much unchanged. 

Legacy / Classic Cards Price Last Week Change % Change
Lion’s Eye Diamond   $129.75  $129.75  $0.00  0%
Force of Will  (MED) $93.62  $96.11  ($2.49) -3%
Vampiric Tutor $33.35  $33.35  $0.00  0%
Underground Sea  (MED IV)   $39.38  $40.38  ($1.00) -2%
Jace, the Mind Sculptor   $51.28  $50.98  $0.30  1%
Wasteland $65.62  $66.21  ($0.59) -1%
Null Rod $20.23  $20.23  $0.00  0%
Vindicate $31.99  $31.99  $0.00  0%
Natural Order $25.17  $25.17  $0.00  0%
Scavenging Ooze $13.50  $13.50  $0.00  0%
Show and Tell $66.37  $66.37  $0.00  0%
Mox Diamond $13.36  $13.36  $0.00  0%
Entomb $17.56  $17.56  $0.00  0%
Pernicious Deed $21.13  $21.13  $0.00  0%
Metalworker $15.41  $15.41  $0.00  0%
Gaea's Cradle   $47.00  $47.00  $0.00  0%
City of Traitors   $35.89  $35.89  $0.00  0%
Mishra’s Workshop   $24.73  $24.75  ($0.02) 0%
Undiscovered Paradise $15.76  $15.76  $0.00  0%
Tangle Wire $44.64  $44.64  $0.00  0%
Flusterstorm $15.08  $15.08  $0.00  0%
Rishadan Port $72.10  $72.10  $0.00  0%
Misdirection $57.48  $57.48  $0.00  0%
Baleful Strix $10.13  $10.13  $0.00  0%
Tolarian Academy $16.75  $16.75  $0.00  0%
Shardless Agent $6.17  $5.66  $0.51  9%

Pauper prices are jumping around again this this week.  As always.

Pauper Cards Price Last Week Change % Change
Crypt Rats  [VI]   $4.47  $4.12  $0.35  8%
Snap $6.16  $3.87  $2.29  59%
Chain Lightning  [ME3]   $0.81  $0.57  $0.24  42%
Gorilla Shaman [ME2]   $5.60  $5.86  ($0.26) -4%
Prohibit $2.00  $1.82  $0.18  10%
Cloud of Faeries $8.17  $6.97  $1.20  17%
Moment's Peace $1.11  $0.94  $0.17  18%
Daze  [NE]   $8.41  $8.98  ($0.57) -6%
Nettle Sentinel $1.42  $0.91  $0.51  56%
Accumulated Knowledge   $2.39  $1.90  $0.49  26%
Serrated Arrows $5.93  $6.25  ($0.32) -5%
Brainstorm  [MM]   $2.50  $2.27  $0.23  10%
Pyroblast $3.90  $4.21  ($0.31) -7%
Hydroblast $2.97  $2.64  $0.33  13%
Fireblast  [Visions]   $1.97  $1.65  $0.32  19%
Quirion Ranger  [VI] $3.67  $3.67  $0.00  0%
Gush $4.34  $4.70  ($0.36) -8%
Crop Rotation $0.58  $0.65  ($0.07) -11%
Ancestral Mask $3.97  $4.52  ($0.55) -12%
Armadillo Cloak $1.55  $1.55  $0.00  0%
Mogg Raider $0.77  $0.71  $0.06  8%
Standard Bearer $1.61  $1.32  $0.29  22%
Unearth $1.66  $1.66  $0.00  0%
Diabolic Edict $2.07  $2.07  $0.00  0%

The Good Stuff:

The Good Stuff starts with a list of the non-foil, non-premium cards on MTGO that cost more than $25 each. This week, the dual lands were the big gainers, and the chase cards not in Modern Masters stayed strong.  Anything in Modern Masters, aside from Goyf, fell off the table.

Card Rarity Set  Price
Lion's Eye Diamond R MI  $  129.75
Force of Will R MED  $    93.62
Rishadan Port R MM  $    72.10
Show and Tell R UZ  $    66.37
Wasteland U TE  $    65.62
Tarmogoyf R FUT  $    59.50
Misdirection R MM  $    57.48
Tarmogoyf M MMA  $    56.25
Jace, the Mind Sculptor M WWK  $    51.28
Gaea's Cradle R UZ  $    47.00
Tangle Wire R NE  $    44.64
Voice of Resurgence M DGM  $    44.27
Liliana of the Veil M ISD  $    43.85
Underground Sea R ME2  $    40.49
Underground Sea R ME4  $    39.38
Mox Opal M SOM  $    39.30
City of Traitors R EX  $    35.89
Sphinx's Revelation M RTR  $    33.63
Vampiric Tutor R VI  $    33.35
Vindicate R AP  $    31.99
Geist of Saint Traft M ISD  $    28.38
Batterskull M NPH  $    27.34
Karn Liberated M NPH  $    26.53
Vendilion Clique M MMA  $    26.45
Tropical Island R ME3  $    25.92
Bayou R ME3  $    25.91
Tundra R ME2  $    25.47
Tropical Island R ME4  $    25.41
Vendilion Clique R MOR  $    25.34
Bayou R ME4  $    25.29
Natural Order R VI  $    25.17

The big number is the retail price of a playset (4 copies) of every non-foil 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 $22,315  That’s up about three hundred since last week.

Weekly Highlights:

Another week with way too much everything else, and not enough Magic.  Hopefully that will change this weekend.

Finally, an apology for the lack of formatting this week.  Something is screwed up, either in my browsers or in the connection between my browsers and the website, but all attempts to copy my article reduces it to plain text.  It also strips formatting form the decklist boxes, and removes all hyperlinks.  I tried to manually enter the hyperlinks, but I probably missed many.  Sorry about all this.  Hopefully we will have this back to normal next week. 


“one million words” on MTGO.




RE: The Wide Beta Spotlight by BlippyTheSlug at Fri, 07/05/2013 - 18:49
BlippyTheSlug's picture

The Wide Beta Spotlight that was on the calendar is off it again. This has happened twice. The twitterverse indicates that it is NOT happening on those dates, and has been pushed back, possibly til after M14?

They are just trying to make by one million words at Sat, 07/06/2013 - 06:42
one million words's picture

They are just trying to make our lives interesting.

Makes me wonder if they use the calendar for anything else. It still doesn't show the release date for M14, much less Theros.

Thinking about previous promo by smack8001 at Tue, 07/09/2013 - 10:56
smack8001's picture

Thinking about previous promo cards: Pete, when you judge a paper tournament do you give out lint from your dryer as a promo? Probably not because TO's are not in the habit of handing out garbage as an incentive. Maybe Worth is learning this lesson.

I it foil alt by gamemaster32 at Wed, 07/10/2013 - 10:52
gamemaster32's picture

I it foil alt art dryer lint......cause that is def gonna go up in value over time.