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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Jun 22 2018 12:00pm
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State of the Program for June 22nd 2018
 
In the News
Treasure Chest Updates to Correct Foil Issues: For the first few days after the Dominaria launch, foil rares were not appearing. This meant these foils are in short supply. Wizards is adding these rares to Treasure Chests for two weeks to even things out.
 
Core Set 2019 Coming: Preview season is starting, and the set looks pretty good.   Wizards has made a few changes in how the design the set. They now start by designing the welcome and Planeswalker decks, adding and creating all the cards needed to make those decks good – then they build the rest of the set around that. Explanatory article here. That’s a really smart change. Then they add cards that don’t necessarily fit the themes of the set, but need a reprint (e.g. Crucible of Worlds and Scapeshift). Also a really smart use of the core set. And despite all this, the set looks really good.
 
Beta Rochester Draft: One of the most interesting side events at GP Vegas was a Beta Rochester Draft. Beta was the second Magic set, black bordered, corrected mistakes from Alpha and was printed 25 years ago. In a Rochester draft, each booster is opened and laid out face up, and all players can see who picks what. Rochester is a perfect format for viewers, especially when the cards are this valuable. (Mint condition basic Islands, for example, retail for $29.99. The Underground Sea is worth around $6,000, and black bordered power is worth more than both my cars, combined. Did they open power? Watch the video – no spoilers here.) The draft can be viewed here.  Worth watching.
 
GoFundMe for Wedge: Wedge, host of YouTube channel The Mana Source, suffered a severe back injury at GP Vegas. He required emergency surgery, and now will require a lot of financial help to pay his medical bills. Wedge is one of the bright spots in the Magic world, so check out his GoFundMe page, here. And donate – I did.
 
MTGO Satisfaction Survey Up: Wizards is running as satisfaction survey through June 29th. Took me about 5 minutes. It can be found here
 
RIX and XLN Redemptions Returning: Wizards has reordered redemption packs for both sets. Redemption will reappear “soon.”
 
I Have a New Dog: Her name is Lady Evangeline Fuzzypaws – going to call her Lady. She a new rescue we adopted last Friday. Her breed is – well, probably all of them but mainly couch hound. Definitely not a lapdog, but she climbed into Ingrid’s lap uninvited. She also climbed onto and lay down on me while I was sleeping. Cute, but I don’t really need a 55 pound blanket in midsummer.   Lady will have to learn some manners – at least how to ask. Could be worse – being friendly goes a long way. But a new dog means I haven’t had much time for anything else.
 
 
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 5th (THURSDAY) and July 25th (extended)
Constructed Leagues End
July 3, 2018
Sealed Leagues End
July 6, 2018
Core Set Magic 2019
July 13, 2018
Guilds of Ravnica
October 5, 2018
Ravnica Allegiance
January 2019
Next B&R Announcement
July 2, 2018
Ixalan Block Redemption
Out of stock – will return “soon”
Dominaria Redemption Ends
October 10, 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.
·       June 23–24: Grand Prix Pittsburgh
·       July 7–8: Grand Prix São Paulo
·       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:
·       June 13-July 5: Vintage 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:  Rochester Drafts
ChannelFireball broadcast the Beta Rochester Draft at GP Vegas.   The live stream had over 23,000 viewers, and the YouTube video has over 40,000 views. Pretty good for a side event at a GP. 
 
The draft used a format called Rochester. In a Rochester draft, each player, in turn, opens one booster and lays out the contents face up in the center of the table. The first seven player each pick one cards, in turn. The eighth player picks two cards, and then the other seven players pick cards in reverse order. That sounds confusing, but it makes more sense in practice. The player opening the booster gets first pick, the eight player gets a double pick right in the middle, and other players get as equally high and low pick. From a fairness perspective, this is better than traditional booster draft. 
 
I remember Rochester drafts well. Rochester used to be a supported draft type described in the Magic Tournament rules. It isn’t any longer, but if you Google the MTR from a decade ago, you will find complete rules and explanations. As a judge, I ran a few Rochester drafts. I also competed in a couple, including one at the equivalent of a Regional PTQ. 
 
I would love to see Rochester draft come back, at least for the Top 8 of GPs and so forth. 
 
Rochester draft really favors good players, but that is also true of the called drafts at GPs or PTs.  All high level drafts impose time pressures. In Rochester drafts, however, every player knows every draft pick – including those of their first round opponents.  You can hate draft and draft specific answer cards knowing full well what your first round opponent is playing – but those targeted picks may hurt you if you win the first round. Rochester draft really rewards a good memory and ability to analyze the draft as it plays out.   
 
One thing that the GP video clearly demonstrated is that Rochester is a great format for spectators. It also worked very well as a streaming format. It is far easier to follow the Beta draft at the GP than any of the traditional booster drafts. 
 
The downside to a Rochester draft is that it takes longer than a traditional draft. A called draft should take about 15 minutes, from first pick (40 seconds allowed)  through final card third pack. The Rochester draft at GP Vegas took about an hour. Rochester drafts also require a lot more oversight and logistics, so they really could not be used for the day two drafts at limited GPs. However, they could be used for the Top 8 at GPs – at least those being broadcast – and for Pro Tours. For those drafts, the additional time might be worthwhile, just to boost the viewership. And because the skill level is higher. With some really skilled commentators, Rochester drafts could be really interesting. 
 
I wonder if Wizards could program Rochester drafts into MTGO. I also wonder, if they did, whether anyone would chose to enter them. Rochester drafts are fun – but so is getting through the draft quickly so I can play.  On the other hand, it would be a blast to watch a limited Super League do a Rochester draft.
 
Cutting Edge Tech
Standard: Looking for something a bit different (meaning not red)? This deck won (albeit in a small tournament), but it did beat a lot of red decks throughout the event.
 
 
Pauper: CF ran a Pauper Championship at GP Vegas last weekend. 215 players participated. Lots of Delver, but a few other decks appeared. The winner played a UR Delver deck, but I could not find decklists before deadline for this article.
 
Modern: GP Vegas hosted a Modern GP – and Matt Nass finished strong.   Okay, he won – after a Top 8 finish in his previous GP, and a near miss in the one before. His record over the last three Modern GPs: 36-6. 
 
 
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 down this week. Until someone finds an answer to Goblin Chainwhirler, people are just going to wait for M19.      
 

Standard Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$11.37
$10.61
$0.76
7%
$11.90
$14.34
($2.44)
-17%
$8.53
$8.83
($0.30)
-3%
$5.48
$10.69
($5.21)
-49%
$8.34
$8.58
($0.24)
-3%
$25.60
$24.47
$1.13
5%
$8.57
$7.15
$1.42
20%
$33.84
$37.47
($3.63)
-10%
$6.14
$6.58
($0.44)
-7%
$22.99
$24.27
($1.28)
-5%
$9.10
$11.17
($2.07)
-19%
$5.46
$7.66
($2.20)
-29%
$7.12
$7.28
($0.16)
-2%
$8.40
$11.66
($3.26)
-28%
$14.20
$21.22
($7.02)
-33%

Modern staples: Modern prices rebounded again this week. Modern looks fairly healthy.  
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$18.18
$16.83
$1.35
8%
$25.83
$24.63
$1.20
5%
$26.97
$26.23
$0.74
3%
$20.25
$21.29
($1.04)
-5%
$23.72
$20.38
$3.34
16%
$44.85
$40.32
$4.53
11%
$30.18
$30.38
($0.20)
-1%
$49.91
$47.92
$1.99
4%
$25.51
$26.51
($1.00)
-4%
$33.76
$36.54
($2.78)
-8%
$18.01
$17.99
$0.02
0%
$43.42
$43.52
($0.10)
0%
$36.10
$35.09
$1.01
3%
$61.68
$54.62
$7.06
13%
$22.26
$21.36
$0.90
4%
$26.87
$26.56
$0.31
1%
$29.06
$28.55
$0.51
2%
$18.81
$18.38
$0.43
2%

Legacy and Vintage: Legacy and Vintage prices continue to follow a very slow downward slide.  A number of cards have fallen below the $15 (or so) threshold to stay on the table. When Leovold might fall off the table next week. I think of what I paid for my Leovolds…
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$25.53
$29.30
($3.77)
-13%
$27.50
$27.58
($0.08)
0%
$15.76
$15.51
$0.25
2%
$13.16
$11.69
$1.47
13%
$30.91
$31.32
($0.41)
-1%
$30.11
$28.86
$1.25
4%
$14.17
$15.43
($1.26)
-8%
$32.54
$33.75
($1.21)
-4%
$16.59
$17.53
($0.94)
-5%
$53.05
$50.17
$2.88
6%
$19.12
$19.12
$0.00
0%
$29.44
$28.11
$1.33
5%
$18.97
$20.73
($1.76)
-8%

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
$65.28
$82.73
($17.45)
-21%
Amonkhet
$55.00
$54.71
$0.29
1%
Dominaria
$97.52
$99.61
($2.09)
-2%
Ixalan
$85.07
$84.72
$0.35
0%
Hour of Devastation
$29.85
$33.24
($3.39)
-10%
Kaladesh
$46.66
$53.77
($7.11)
-13%
Rivals of Ixalan
$84.95
$89.58
($4.63)
-5%
Treasure Chest
$2.17
$2.10
$0.07
3%
Dominaria Booster
$3.37
$3.27
$0.10
3%

 
 
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.  Not much changed this week.
 

Name
Set
Rarity
 Price
Black Lotus
 1E
Rare
 $ 80.38
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
 $ 62.75
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 62.61
Mox Opal
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 61.68
True-Name Nemesis
 PZ1
Mythic Rare
 $ 53.83
True-Name Nemesis
 C13
Rare
 $ 53.05
Horizon Canopy
 IMA
Rare
 $ 51.15
Horizon Canopy
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 50.40
Horizon Canopy
 FUT
Rare
 $ 49.91
Engineered Explosives
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 45.51
Engineered Explosives
 5DN
Rare
 $ 44.98
Engineered Explosives
 MMA
Rare
 $ 44.85
Mox Sapphire
 1E
Rare
 $ 44.79
Liliana of the Veil
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $ 44.17
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
 $ 43.42
Mox Emerald
 1E
Rare
 $ 37.74
Karn Liberated
 NPH
Mythic Rare
 $ 37.36
Dark Depths
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $ 37.19
Ancestral Recall
 1E
Rare
 $ 36.72
Mox Jet
 1E
Rare
 $ 36.64
Unmask
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $ 36.54
Liliana, the Last Hope
 EMN
Mythic Rare
 $ 36.10
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
 $ 36.02
Mox Ruby
 1E
Rare
 $ 36.01
Rekindling Phoenix
 RIX
Mythic Rare
 $ 33.84
Karn Liberated
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 33.76
Mox Diamond
 TPR
Mythic Rare
 $ 32.92
Misdirection
 MM
Rare
 $ 32.54
Force of Will
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 31.20
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
 $ 31.19
Scalding Tarn
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 30.91
Exploration
 UZ
Rare
 $ 30.91
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
 $ 30.75
Ensnaring Bridge
 A25
Mythic Rare
 $ 30.72
Surgical Extraction
 NPH
Rare
 $ 30.68
City of Traitors
 EX
Rare
 $ 30.34
Ensnaring Bridge
 7E
Rare
 $ 30.33
Ensnaring Bridge
 ST
Rare
 $ 30.31
Ensnaring Bridge
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 30.26
Ensnaring Bridge
 8ED
Rare
 $ 30.18
Force of Will
 MS3
Special
 $ 30.11
Underground Sea
 ME4
Rare
 $ 29.58
Unmask
 MM
Rare
 $ 29.44
Surgical Extraction
 MM2
Rare
 $ 29.06
Underground Sea
 ME2
Rare
 $ 28.53
City of Traitors
 TPR
Rare
 $ 27.50
Scalding Tarn
 MM3
Rare
 $ 27.13
Celestial Colonnade
 WWK
Rare
 $ 26.97
Scalding Tarn
 ZEN
Rare
 $ 26.87
Mox Diamond
 ST
Rare
 $ 26.74
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 WWK
Mythic Rare
 $ 26.68
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 26.42
Cavern of Souls
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $ 26.30
Cavern of Souls
 AVR
Rare
 $ 25.83
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 VMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.79
Mox Pearl
 1E
Rare
 $ 25.75
Gorilla Shaman
 ALL
Common
 $ 25.62
Karn, Scion of Urza
 DAR
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.60
Black Lotus
 VMA
Bonus
 $ 25.53
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 A25
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.51
Time Walk
 1E
Rare
 $ 25.31

 
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 $ 17,125. That’s down just $50 from last week. 
 
In Closing
Lady. A new dog –especially a rescued stray – is a lot of work, but worth it. She’s pretty skinny now, and having some health issues, but we’ll get her better soon. We’ve done this before.
 
 
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” on MTGO
 
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.