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By: JXClaytor, Joshua Claytor
Jun 07 2019 12:00pm

State of the Program for June 7th, 2019
In the News

Magic: The Gathering Adapted for Netflix:  Broke early Monday morning that the directors of Avengers: Endgame, Joe and Anthony Russo are developing an animated show based on Magic for Netflix, the streaming giant.  They will oversee the creation of an all new storyline, and Henry Gilroy and Jose Molina are set to be showrunners.  Yoriaki Mochizuki is in place to direct, and Bardel Entertainment is set to lead animation.  There are a ton of huge names attached to this project, and you can read about it more here, from Polygon. 

London Mulligan is Coming:  Also breaking early Monday was news that the London Mulligan is coming to Magic full time. It apparently played well enough for them to keep it after seeing data from the Mythic Championship and MTGO.  For the full article click here, and make sure to check out Around the Web too, for Zvi's thoughts!  

New Play Lobby is Live on MTGO
:  With the update this past Wednesday, the new Play Lobby went live on MTGO. 

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 MCQs each weekend, with qualifiers for limited MCQs running the days immediately prior to the MCQ.
Upcoming Events
Scheduled Downtimes
July 2nd, 2019
Constructed Leagues End
July 2nd, 2019
Sealed Leagues End
July 2nd, 2019
Vintage Cube
ends June 6th
Ravnica Allegiances Redemption
Ends July 10, 2019
September 2019
January, 2020
Spring, 2020
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:

Modern Horizons drafts - prerelease June 6th 
Limited MOCS - June 9th Phantom Modern Horizons Sealed. 

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
Sunday, 8:00 am PT
Sunday, 10:00 am PT
The Hot Take Corner

I thought I was going to be clever and make a riff on Sperling's Sick of It, but I'm just a mediocre white man doing mediocre things. I'm not clever enough to do that, nor am I good enough with words to do it, but after suffering through this week on Twitter, and watching other players suffer for having the audacity to ask for help, I can't go on without saying anything.

Cutting travel awards from the prizes of MCQs was a mistake that Wizards of the Coast did not foresee, and is one that can easily be fixed by shifting the burden to the tournament organizer as a rule for running the event.  Yes, the tournament organizer will either have to up the cost of entry or profit a little less per event, but a travel award is clearly a thing needed for each MCQ, for each season, for each event.  If the players playing for the slot have to pay a bit more to subsidize the company that is making money for an even larger company, I guess so be it, but as the bottom rung we're gonna get stuck with these costs anyways, and clearly that would be better than relying on the kindness of strangers to help out.  At least then you're not sticking yourself out there to be mocked by the upper crust of Magic's elite. 

Currently Magic social media is up in arms about people using America's largest healthcare provider to help pay for their trip to Barcelona.  I'm having a really hard time understanding why it bothers so many people, and as a member of America's lowest caste and someone who has relied on GoFundMe before to help finance the cost of home repairs, I feel like I am able to comment here.  It wasn't even a successful one, as I still lack hot water in my house and have two holes in my ceiling.  However, the roof was repaired, the damage didn't get any worse, and I am thankful that friends and strangers saw my plea and decided to help out. 

Literally no one with a crowdfunding goal to get to the MC is doing anything wrong.  They are just doing something that people disagree with, and as such are getting gatekept from reaching their own dreams because they aren't doing it the right way.  Some are saying to sell equity, which makes sense and then if the worst happens and you only make 500 (minimum cash based on published prized from London), some are attacking people that won MCQs after accepting a prize split, and even worse still is the player that foiled out their deck asking for help. 

The first thing I would like to say is this, if you don't want to donate, then don't.  No one is forcing you to do so. 

You know what else no one is forcing you to do?  No one is forcing you to be an edgelord while you tell them no.

So before I go further in this I decided to look in to what a flight, hotel room and food for a week would cost me. 

Kayak tells me I can get a flight from Louisville to Barcelona for 1376. That seems pretty reasonable to me.

I apparently can get lodging at a hostel for 39 dollars a day, but I'm almost 40 a hostel seems weird to me, so I would want a hotel room, the cheapest I could find is 70 a day, so 7 nights would be 553.  That's also on my own, I'm a grown man, and the idea of sleeping on the floor in a room filled with other Magic players no longer appeals to me. 

My diet is weird, so I could probably go to a grocery store and buy shelf stable food for the week, snacks for the actual mythic championship and such, my weekly grocery cost is 60-100 dollars. 

Any souvenirs that I pick up would come from the Mythic Championship swag or my food budget. 

So for me, a week's trip to Spain would come in under 2100 dollars.  That's just finding the cheepest stuff I could.  It does not include gas to get to the airport and back, my passport fees, or any other incidental costs. 

Anything less than a top 24 finish and I am losing money.  Very clearly the dream of playing Magic for a living is out of reach for the vast majority of players, and that's okay for the most part. 

What's not okay is shaming players who are trying to make the most of what they have right now.  What is not okay is making players who want to make memories feel bad about doing so.  What's the price of a memory?  What's the price of accomplishing a goal?  According to Langston Hughes, a dream deferred is a dream denied, and most players, who think they will get back to the pinnacle won't.  I'm sure Allen Iverson thought he would get back to the finals but he did. 

I touched on how to fix this earlier.  Wizards should be stepping in in the future to ensure that organizers help at the very least with travel costs.  Yes that will get passed on to the players as an entry fee increase, but wouldn't that be better than humbling players that are trying to their best? 

I've seen some scorching hot takes coming from Magic social media about this, here's the thing, most of these takes are coming from players that are well off.  A poker playing millionaire dunking on those in need?  Not needed!  A lawyer punching down in the name of satire?  My good sir, satire doesn't punch down, you're just being a jerk, because that is the brand you've cultivated. Look at the anime avatars and frog avatars defending these people, then maybe reflect on the company you keep. 

Arguing that the player that foiled his deck out isn't deserving of help is a garbage take, and it's very similar to those scorching dumpster fires that try to end welfare systems based on a poor person dressing nicely, having a cell phone, eating something a bit more expensive, or having a nicer car.  Poor people are allowed to have nice things, and I don't know how else I'm supposed to explain that to you!  When I was married and on food stamps while my wife was out of work, our case worker commented on the new car we drove in to a meeting one day.  It wasn't a new car, her parents bought it for us, and it was a gift from them to us.  The cell phones I bought?  They came off eBay.  The jersey I wore in to the meeting, I'm one hundred percent sure it came from a sweatshop, because Mitchell & Ness gear doesn't typically go for 30 dollars. We had nice things because guess what you all, poverty is crushing, it is soul destroying!  Did this case worker know our story?  She actually should have, because she was the mother of a daughter I dated in high school!  Making us sell our nice things doesn't do anything other than make us feel bad for existing and having hopes.  Get out of here with that take, the welfare queen is a myth. 

Another story came out about a player taking a prize split in the top eight.  They are also clearly not deserving of help because they shouldn't have split.  Prize payouts are so top heavy that it makes sense to prize split so more than one person can cover expenses for the MCQ.  Accepting a split doesn't mean that person is any worse for asking for help.  It was sensible to do so. 

You don't have to agree with me, but seriously attacking people because they dare ask for help is one of the worst looks I have seen come from Magic players in some time.  Thankfully Gerry T and Brian Kibler and others rose up and helped some of the players. 

I get it, you enjoy the smell of your own farts, and you think you're better than everyone else, and well I guess you are, but if you really want to help these players, here is what you do.  It's super simple and best of all, it's free! 

Just stop talking.  Be welcoming and understand that everyone has a different story.  If the conservative theory of bootstrapping worked for you, that's outstanding, but it's not going to be the same for everyone.  Don't gatekeep the poor, because a lot of us contribute so much to this game. 

If that won't do, here is another free option for you to take. Be kind.  You don't know anyone's stories and judging them is entirely unfair.  You have no idea what their struggle is, what their background is, what the cost to meet their dream was.  Just be kind.  That's a much better look. 

Cutting Edge Tech

Standard: Standard is rapidly evolving and it seems like each week there is a new best deck in the format. I'm a big fan of all the playable strategies in this standard, less a big fan of all the static abilities on Planeswalkers that I have forgotten about.  I can't count the number of times I have ticked down a Teferi, Time Raveler to draw a card only to see an opposing Narset, Parter of Veils and no card coming in to my hand. 

Karn, the Great Creator continues to run all over non-rotating formats.  Who know that this walker and Mycosynth Lattice would be the greatest pairing since peanut butter and chocolate?

: You know what is better than blowing up all the lands?  Blowing up all the lands and then locking the opponent out with Karn!  Karn doesn't even belong in this deck!  It's just be included because well, it's a very powerful interaction that just ends hope for your opponent.

:  Step 1:  Get a lot of mana thanks to a Defender and Freed from the Real (It's not just a podcast!).  Step 2:  Capsize lock your opponent.  Step 3:  ???? Step 4:  Win the game. 

:  Look I keep a spreadsheet open of all the decks I talk about here in this section and well Vintage is running out of decks for me to cover unless I dive deep.  The format that allows you to play with the most powerful cards is also really constant, you see the same things over and over again. 

Winner's Circle

The Winner's Circle is where I will recognize winners of the past events on MTGO.
Sealed MCQ:  Yoshidora won a slot to the Mythic Championship with their victory in the Sealed MCQ.  Check out the draft deck here!   
Modern MCQ:  Kadoonyec won an invitation to the Mythic Championship with Mono Green Tron. 
Vintage Challenge: Ecobaronen won with Shops, continuing to showcase the power that is Mishra's Workshop and artifacts! 
Modern Challenge:  Mtg-Max won the Modern Challenge with Humans! 
Legacy Challenge:  Smdster won with UR Delver. 
Pauper Challenge:  You can see the list above, Raptor 56 won with Defender combo! 

Around the Web

MTGOTraders YouTube:  Did you know that MTGOTraders.com has a YouTube page with videos added Monday, Wednesday and Friday?  Well if not, now you do, and you can find it here

After Deadline Last Week:  Zvi Mowshowitz, intelligent human being, Magic Hall of Famer, and all around good person wrote about the London Mulligan a few months ago.  With it being added to Magic, I wanted to share his thoughts on the mulligan. 

Also after deadline was Jim Davis with a look at one of the sweeter Standard decks, 4 Color Dreadhorde. 

Monday:  Arne Huschenbeth wrote an article for an update on Esper Planeswalkers and included a guide for it. 

Tuesday:  To be honest, I spent the day playing Dauntless, so I have nothing for Tuesday.  Sorry! 

Wednesday:  DM Cross, for EDHrec.com wrote about the site now supporting Oathbreaker, a really sweet Commander variant.  Check it out here.

Thursday: Our good friend ChesirePlaysGames had a sweet one on oathbreakermtg.org.

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 a decade and a half now, and have never been overcharged or disappointed.
Standard Staples: Oh gosh some staples fell off the list this week, Nexus of Fate is finally below 5 dollars.  Divine Visitation and Ral, Izzet Viceroy are both gone as well.  Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God has apparently stuck close by to the meditation realm.  Gideon Blackblade is resting in peace and Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge has walked away.  We've got two new additions to the week though, as Aggressive Mammoth tramples its way on to the list, and Ilharg, the Raze-Board sneak attacks its way on as well! 

Standard Cards Price Last Week Change % Change
Arclight Phoenix $33.86 $35.94 ($2.08) -6%
Assassin's Trophy $6.59 $6.20 $0.39 6%
Teferi, Time Raveler $13.86 $15.87 ($2.01) -13%
Hydroid Krasis $25.13 $28.25 ($3.12) -11%
Kaya, Orzhov Usurper $23.98 $24.66 ($0.68) -3%
Prime Speaker Vannifer $7.84 $7.60 $0.24 3%
Seraph of the Scales $8.18 $7.99 $0.19 2%
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria $7.21 $6.87 $0.34 5%
Firesong and Sunspeaker $5.13 $5.13 $0.00 0%
Vraska, Golgari Queen $9.45 $10.44 ($0.99) -9%
Finale of Devastation $7.58 $5.91 $1.67 28%
God-Eternal Kefnet $9.04 $8.90 $0.14 2%
Karn, the Great Creator $9.74 $12.98 ($3.24) -25%
Finale of Promise $19.68 $11.52 $8.16 71%
Ilharg, the Raze-Boar $10.38

Aggressive Mammoth $5.11

Eternal staples:  Oh gosh, I can't wait to see what Modern Horizons adds to this chart.  Early additions might include Force of Negation, Echo of Eons and Wrenn and Six depending on the new homes that these cards find.  Should be an exciting shakeup to a list that doesn't see a ton of new stuff added, but will probably see Daze removed. 

Eternal Format Cards Price Last Week Change % Change
Back to Basics $12.29 $13.09 ($0.80) -6%
Cavern of Souls $17.41 $22.10 ($4.69) -21%
Chalice of the Void $18.62 $24.73 ($6.11) -25%
City of Traitors $27.06 $26.63 $0.43 2%
Daze $4.71 $4.06 $0.65 16%
Engineered Explosives $18.64 $20.12 ($1.48) -7%
Ensnaring Bridge $26.74 $25.70 $1.04 4%
Force of Will $19.42 $20.45 ($1.03) -5%
Gemstone Mine $13.61 $12.33 $1.28 10%
Horizon Canopy $25.59 $21.10 $4.49 21%
Jace, the Mind Sculptor $40.07 $45.99 ($5.92) -13%
Karn Liberated $19.19 $25.23 ($6.04) -24%
Liliana of the Veil $29.76 $27.79 $1.97 7%
Liliana, the Last Hope $14.91 $16.32 ($1.41) -9%
Auriok Champion $16.87 $15.13 $1.74 12%
Mox Opal $28.58 $30.16 ($1.58) -5%
Scalding Tarn $18.03 $17.99 $0.04 0%
Surgical Extraction $38.60 $36.68 $1.92 5%
True-Name Nemesis $55.34 $61.95 ($6.61) -11%
Underground Sea $8.19 $8.98 ($0.79) -9%
Wasteland $15.86 $13.98 $1.88 13%
Mishra's Bauble $9.40 $9.40 $0.00 0%
Snapcaster Mage $9.20 $7.88 $1.32 17%
Trinisphere $15.01 $14.94 $0.07 0%
Mox Diamond $17.45 $19.80 ($2.35) -12%
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).  This is being kept as a small tribute to Pete!

Complete Set Price Last Week Change % Change
Core Set 2019 $93.38 $97.41 ($4.03) -4%
Dominaria $28.94 $29.86 ($0.92) -3%
Guilds of Ravnica $104.19 $116.82 ($12.63) -11%
Ixalan $18.14 $20.36 ($2.22) -11%
Ravnica Allegiances $123.31 $121.25 $2.06 2%
Rivals of Ixalan $18.83 $20.55 ($1.72) -8%
Treasure Chest $2.49 $2.36 $0.13 6%
War of the Spark Booster $2.82 $3.00 ($0.18) -6%
War of the Spark $138.60 $140.11 ($1.51) -1%

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 is interesting, at the least. This is interesting to me because a lot of these cards have been reprinted more than once, and they are still commanding a high price.

Name Set Rarity Price
Black Lotus 1E Rare 256.2
Mox Sapphire 1E Rare 142.16
Mox Emerald 1E Rare 103.18
Mox Ruby 1E Rare 100.66
Ancestral Recall 1E Rare 87.21
Mox Jet 1E Rare 82.05
Mox Pearl 1E Rare 71.74
Time Walk 1E Rare 66.91
Lord Windgrace PZ2 Mythic 60.4
True-Name Nemesis PZ1 Mythic 55.34
Karn Liberated UBT Mythic 53.5
Jace, the Mind Sculptor A25 Mythic 49.14
Jace, the Mind Sculptor EMA Mythic 41.81
Jace, the Mind Sculptor VMA Mythic 40.28
Jace, the Mind Sculptor WWK Mythic 40.07
Liliana of the Veil UBT Mythic 40.05
Liliana of the Veil UMA Mythic 39.97
Timetwister 1E Rare 39.66
True-Name Nemesis C13 Rare 38.94
Surgical Extraction MM2 Rare 38.83
Surgical Extraction NPH Rare 38.6
Force of Will MED Rare 38.11
Liliana of the Veil MM3 Mythic 37.36
Dark Depths V16 Mythic 37.28
Engineered Explosives UBT Mythic 34.5
Unmask V16 Mythic 34.13
Arclight Phoenix GRN Mythic 33.86
Karn Liberated UMA Mythic 31.11
Mox Opal MS2 Bonus 30.16
Liliana of the Veil ISD Mythic 29.76
Mox Opal MM2 Mythic 29.33
Mox Opal SOM Mythic 28.58
Kaya, Orzhov Usurper MS4 Mythic 28.47
Force of Negation MH1 Rare 28.4
Liliana, the Last Hope MS4 Mythic 28.04
Dark Depths UBT Mythic 27.33
Horizon Canopy EXP Mythic 27.07
City of Traitors EX Rare 27.06
Ensnaring Bridge MS2 Bonus 27
Ensnaring Bridge A25 Mythic 26.99
Urza, Lord High Artificer MH1 Mythic 26.85
Ensnaring Bridge ST Rare 26.74
Horizon Canopy IMA Rare 26.64
Ensnaring Bridge 7E Rare 26.35
Ensnaring Bridge 8ED Rare 26.05
Noble Hierarch UBT Mythic 25.96
Mycosynth Lattice DST Rare 25.8
Horizon Canopy FUT Rare 25.59
Hydroid Krasis RNA Mythic 25.13

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 a number that I cannot figure out still. I have actually asked Pete to do this for me, because Open Office is weird, and I have no idea what I am doing, and I am pretty close to just being a dog in a labcoat.

Never mind, ignore all of that, Pete got it done for me, because he is just the dang best. The big number this week is $14,778.48 .  That is up 529.84 from last week. It is also important to note that a new set when taking this number in to consideration.  
In Closing

Prices were done early Friday morning.  I mean early, like 3am early.  I tried to go to sleep, tossed and turned for a couple of hours, kinda faded in and out and decided that sleep was just apparently not for me.  I'm gonna try it again here in a few minutes, but I don't have the highest of hopes. 

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