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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Jun 09 2017 11:00am
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State of the Program for June 9th 2017
 
In the News
Program Updates Announced: Chris Kiritz has announced some improvements to the client. First off, the client will now have a “full trade list” which will include all tradeable items in your account. (It is not clear, from the description, if you can make items non-tradeable to keep them off the list. I presume so.) You can also use binders, if you prefer. Second, and most important to people like me with bad Internet access, the program will be more forgiving of momentary connection issues. Finally, he has confirmed that Hour of Devastation will be released online the day after the paper prerelease. Read the announcement here (bottom half of article.)
 
MTGO Turns 15: Magic Online Digital Object was released 15 years ago. Wizards is celebrating with a number of specials during the next couple weeks. First off, all Amonkhet drafts and constructed events will a few extra packs to the prize payout. Next, Wizards is giving us special sealed events (details follow), and finally, Vintage Cube is back for a couple weeks. Details here.
 
Battle of the Planes Sealed Events: During the week of June 14th through the 21st, Wizards will be offering a special sealed event. You will be able to choose your favorite plane, then play with a sealed deck built from sets from that plane. This is a six pack sealed event, phantom, and the format will probably never repeat, so this is just for fun. The options (which you choose when you enter – this is not a gauntlet) are:

Plane
Booster #1
Booster #2
Booster #3
Booster #4
Booster #5
Booster #6
Dominaria
Onslaught
Legions
Scourge
Time Spiral
Planar Chaos
Future Sight
Innistrad
Innistrad
Innistrad
Dark Ascension
Shadows over Innistrad
Shadows over Innistrad
Eldritch Moon
Mirrodin
Mirrodin
Darksteel
Fifth Dawn
Scars of Mirrodin
Mirrodin Besieged
New Phyrexia
Ravnica
Ravnica
Guildpact
Dissension
Return to Ravnica
Gatecrash
Dragon's Maze
Zendikar
Zendikar
Worldwake
Rise of the Eldrazi
Rise of the Eldrazi
Battle for Zendikar
Oath of the Gatewatch

June MTGO Promos Announced: Wizards has revealed the promos for June, and they are good ones. The event promo is Shardless Agent, which has decent value. The store promo is Aether Hub. If you play Standard, you know this card sees play – maybe too much play. Even so, it is great to see playable, useful cards in the promo spot, instead of penny uncommons.    
 
Wizards Spoils Some Cards: Normally, I don’t cover spoilers, especially unofficial spoilers.   In this case, Wizards itself accidentally uploaded some of the marque cards from the new set. You can find the images, if you want. I think the best response, both in terms of what the cards do and why early leaks are unfortunate, is this video from Frank Lepore.
 
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. Most of the major upcoming events we know of are listed.  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
Timing
No Downtime
June 21st
Extended Downtime
June 28th
Current Leagues End
July 10, 2017
Amonkhet Limited Championship (details here)
June 18th
Amonkhet Standard Championship (details here)
June 25th
Hour of Devastation release
July 9, 2017 (day after prerelease!)
Ixalan release
September 25, 2017
Commander 2017 details here.
November 2017 on MTGO
Next B&R Announcement
June 14, 2017
DTK, ORI, BFZ & OGW Redemption Ends
November 2, 2017
SOI and EMN Redemption Closes
April 28, 2018

 
Flashback, Throwback Standard and CUBE for 2017
Wizards will be offering either a flashback draft league, a flashback Standard gauntlet, a CUBE league or prerelease / Release events each week.   Here’s the schedule so far.
 
Flashback and Such Rotation
Begins
Ends
Mirrodin Era Standard (details here)
June 7th
`June 14th
Battle of the Planes Sealed  
June 14th
June 21st
Vintage Cube
June 21st
July 10
 
The new Flashback Leagues are still draft, and still you-keep-the-cards. They are 12 TIX / product plus 2 TIX / 120 Play Points. However, they are no longer single elimination. Now you play until you have three wins or two losses. Prizes are 150 play points for three wins and 70 Play points for 2 wins. The leagues run one week.
 
The Throwback Standard Gauntlet events provide a random choice of prebuilt decks from a past standard environment. These will function like the Pro Tour Gauntlets – you won’t need to own the cards. The entry fee is 10 TIX or 100 Play Points. Prizes are in Play Points: 150 for 3-0, 100 for 2-1, 40 for 1-2 and 10 play points as a bad beats award. 
 
Opinion Section:  Ban Aetherworks?
The next banned and restricted announcement will happen next week. The big question is whether Wizards will ban something to nerf Aetherworks Marvel in Standard. The question is whether the deck is too good.
 
Aetherworks Marvel requires 4 mana to cast, and six energy to spin. Once you spin it, you look at the top six cards in your library and cast one of them without paying its mana cost.
 
This is a powerful effect.   It was super powerful in a previous version of Standard, when it was being used to fetch Emrakul, the Promised End. Wizards banned Emrakul to keep the deck in check. However, Wizards did not ban Aetherworks Marvel, and it is now being used to cast another massive Eldrazi – Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. Does this matter? More importantly, does this matter enough to warrant a banning?
 
The first question is whether the deck itself is unfair. The deck (for a decklist, see the Standard section of Cutting Edge Tech) can easily hit four mana, and often six energy, on turn four. This means that it can, if everything goes well, drop a turn four Ulamog. Dropping an indestructible 10/10 on turn four generally wins the game. Since Ulamog also exiles two of your opponent’s permanents and has a massive mill effect when it attacks, casting it on turn four almost always means a concession. 
 
That’s not how Standard is supposed to play out.  Sure, sometimes speed decks, like Goblins or Burn, can get a dominant position and force a concession on turn four, but those decks are built purely for speed. The way to beat those decks is to survive past turn four or five, stabilize, then win. The speed decks in Standard are generally dangerous early, but once you stabilize they struggle to win. Aetherworks, on the other hand, is always dangerous. It is a long-term control deck with an “Oops, I Win” combo. 
 
One question is how often that Oops, I Win happens on turn four. Frank Karsten did the math – it happens just under 10% of the time. That’s not insane, but it does mean that if you play in a GP, the odds are good that it will happen to you at least once during the weekend. That’s bad, but not horrific. However, one problem with Aetherworks Marvel is that even if you beat the odds on turn four, the Marvel player is going to be spinning it again and again during the match, unless you kill them first. 
 
Ten percent is a tricky number.   It is high enough to be significant, but not high enough to be an automatic ban. If a turn four kill happened 25 or 50 percent of the time, a ban would be almost inevitable.  If turn four kills happened two percent of the time, we would not even be discussing this. Ten percent is somewhere in between, and Wizards could easily go either way.
 
The other question is whether the format is suffering. If everyone is happy with a format, then it does not matter whether there is a turn four combo, or even a turn two combo, and bannings are probably not required. If players hate the format, then Wizards needs to take action. So, do players hate the format?  Let’s look at some data. We had three Standard GPs last weekend.
 
·       GP Omaha had 832 players. In 2015, GP Omaha was Modern, and about 1200 players attended.  In 2013, a Standard GP in Phoenix (not exactly comparable, but it is in the southwest US) drew 1,461.
·       GP Amsterdam had 1,170 players. In 2015, a Standard GP in Brussels drew 1,938 players.
·       GP Manila had 757 players. In 2010, a Standard GP in Manila drew 1,071 players, while a 2012 event drew 1,108 and a 2015 Standard GP drew 1,401.
 
So the numbers are down, but that is partly due to having three GPs on the same weekend.  (But the previous weekend had multiple Modern events, with GP Kobe pulling in 2,800, GP Copenhagen drawing 1,800, and the SCG Modern Open drawing hundred more.) Attendance looks to be down, but enough to warrant a ban? I’m not sure. I wish I had access to the number of players playing at Standard FNMs last Friday, and could compare that to the numbers playing at this time in years past. But I don’t.  
 
Based on the data from the GPs listed above, I could make a defensible argument that attendance is down, at least somewhat, from the past. Maybe. I could not definitively state that it is down enough to justify a ban. On the other hand, it those numbers are representative of Magic attendance at all events, that would justify a ban.
 
In other words, I don’t know. We may see bannings on Standard next week, and we may not. I could see, based on the information I have, Wizards justifiably banning something, or leaving the format alone. Time will tell.
 
Maybe this is the time to send Wizards some pizzas? It “worked” last time.
 
Cutting Edge Tech
Standard: We had three Standard GPs last week. Coverage of GP Amsterdam is here. Coverage of GP Omaha is here. Coverage of GP Manila is here. And here is Brad Nelson’s GP winning Marvel deck.
 

Modern:
 Once again, I am listing a deck that caught my eye.   In this case, it was the misers Blood Moon.   Once copy maindeck, in a three color build?   That makes sense if you have some search, but this deck has just Faithless Lootings. Still, it went 5-0.
 
 
1V1 Commander: The format is happening, and we have more 5-0 decklists. This week’s development is that some of the partnering Commanders have made appearances. I won’t list the decks, but here are the Commanders, in order:
·       Breya, Etherium Shaper (twice)
·       Kraum, Ludevic's Opus  and  Vial Smasher the Fierce (four copies)
·       Zurgo Bellstriker
·       Sidisi, Undead Vizier
·       Olivia Voldaren
·       Nissa, Vastwood Seer
 
Legacy: Legacy is always interesting, with a mix of expected and unexpected cards. The card that caught my eye here is Veteran Explorer.   Only in Legacy could this card not be symmetrical.
 

Vintage: 
If you are not ready, if you skimp on sideboard cards, and if you don’t hate enough, this happens. I’d say that this isn’t even Magic, but he is playing eight counterspells.
Dredge
TIDALLIMSHADY, 4-0, Vintage Daily - 73 Cards Total
Creature
4 Bloodghast
1 Dragonlord Kolaghan
4 Golgari Grave-Troll
2 Golgari Thug
3 Ichorid
4 Narcomoeba
4 Stinkweed Imp
22 cards

Instant
4 Mental Misstep
4 Mindbreak Trap
8 cards
Sorcery
4 Cabal Therapy
2 Dread Return
6 cards

Artifact
4 Serum Powder
4 cards
Enchantment
4 Bridge from Below
4 cards

Land
4 Bazaar of Baghdad
2 Dakmor Salvage
4 Mana Confluence
4 Petrified Field
14 cards
 

Sideboard
3 Cabal Pit
3 Ingot Chewer
4 Leyline of the Void
4 Nature's Claim
1 Wispmare
15 cards
 

 

 
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 were mixed this week, but nothing moved all that much. We will see what the B&R announcement brings.    
 

Standard Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$8.87
$9.29
($0.42)
-5%
$7.80
$10.93
($3.13)
-29%
$17.83
$16.47
$1.36
8%
$13.97
$11.47
$2.50
22%
$16.02
$14.75
$1.27
9%
$5.28
$6.26
($0.98)
-16%
$19.59
$15.87
$3.72
23%
$14.49
$15.67
($1.18)
-8%
$13.62
$13.80
($0.18)
-1%
$7.54
$8.97
($1.43)
-16%
$44.03
$44.85
($0.82)
-2%
$13.82
$12.25
$1.57
13%
$11.83
$8.25
$3.58
43%
$7.88
$7.06
$0.82
12%
$7.90
$8.27
($0.37)
-4%
$8.58
$10.93
($2.35)
-22%
$20.37
$22.89
($2.52)
-11%
$16.25
$26.05
($9.80)
-38%
$5.91
$7.96
($2.05)
-26%
$7.57
$7.67
($0.10)
-1%

Modern staples:  Modern prices were pretty quiet this week. Generally, prices were up a bit. The format looks reasonably healthy.
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$30.53
$28.25
$2.28
8%
$32.22
$31.68
$0.54
2%
$17.13
$18.13
($1.00)
-6%
$22.14
$20.89
$1.25
6%
$36.24
$33.38
$2.86
9%
$25.63
$24.47
$1.16
5%
$28.68
$27.85
$0.83
3%
$39.15
$38.13
$1.02
3%
$33.60
$37.04
($3.44)
-9%
$27.13
$27.06
$0.07
0%
$23.78
$23.35
$0.43
2%
$35.28
$33.42
$1.86
6%
$26.81
$27.11
($0.30)
-1%
$72.31
$68.86
$3.45
5%
$41.21
$45.35
($4.14)
-9%
$25.81
$26.33
($0.52)
-2%
$26.10
$26.72
($0.62)
-2%
$24.83
$24.61
$0.22
1%
$28.94
$27.53
$1.41
5%
$33.34
$30.38
$2.96
10%
$32.81
$32.50
$0.31
1%
$17.56
$17.73
($0.17)
-1%

Legacy and Vintage: Not a huge amount of movement this week. Prices are quiet. I did make a couple changes to the table. Mystic Confluence is expensive enough to be worth tracking, and I knocked Ancestral Recall off the table. It is too cheap to merit a mention – which is insane considering its paper price. 
  

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$58.06
$56.42
$1.64
3%
$21.49
$20.62
$0.87
4%
$25.64
$25.64
$0.00
0%
$59.53
$58.68
$0.85
1%
$39.33
$40.87
($1.54)
-4%
$42.53
$42.64
($0.11)
0%
$37.45
$38.25
($0.80)
-2%
$30.26
$30.04
$0.22
1%
$42.37
$39.51
$2.86
7%
$25.63
$23.54
$2.09
9%
$38.58
$40.24
($1.66)
-4%
$24.56
$26.06
($1.50)
-6%
$43.47
$41.47
$2.00
5%
$20.60
$19.73
$0.87
4%
$61.11
$55.69
$5.42
10%
$144.98
$147.32
($2.34)
-2%
$54.39
$53.58
$0.81
2%
$70.80
$69.27
$1.53
2%
$35.65
$37.26
($1.61)
-4%
$23.06
$21.25
$1.81
9%
$57.73
$57.14
$0.59
1%

Value of 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 packs. I’ll keep tracking these because they are interesting (at least to me).  
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Aether Revolt
$68.55
$70.46
($1.91)
-3%
Amonkhet
$65.57
$68.40
($2.83)
-4%
Battle for Zendikar
$56.29
$64.52
($8.23)
-13%
Eldritch Moon
$114.58
$108.36
$6.22
6%
Kaladesh
$108.19
$107.97
$0.22
0%
Oath of the Gatewatch
$85.49
$93.36
($7.87)
-8%
Shadows over Innistrad
$69.82
$66.22
$3.60
5%
Treasure Chest
$2.40
$2.36
$0.04
2%
Amonkhet Booster
$3.32
$3.33
($0.01)
0%

 
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 now over 75 cards (including repeats), and Black Lotus has fallen to sixth most expansive. 
 

Name
Set
Rarity
 Price
Rishadan Port
 MM
Rare
 $ 144.98
Liliana of the Veil
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $   74.57
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
 $   72.31
True-Name Nemesis
 C13
Rare
 $   71.00
True-Name Nemesis
 PZ1
Mythic Rare
 $   70.80
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
 $   61.20
Mystic Confluence
 PZ1
Rare
 $   61.11
Wasteland
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $   61.04
Exploration
 UZ
Rare
 $   59.53
Wasteland
 TPR
Rare
 $   59.15
Black Lotus
 VMA
Bonus
 $   58.06
Wasteland
 EMA
Rare
 $   57.73
Show and Tell
 UZ
Rare
 $   54.39
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
 $   51.16
Force of Will
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $   47.85
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $   45.79
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
 $   45.50
Liliana, the Last Hope
 EMN
Mythic Rare
 $   44.03
Misdirection
 MM
Rare
 $   43.47
Chalice of the Void
 MS2
Bonus
 $   43.03
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
 $   42.92
Ensnaring Bridge
 MS2
Bonus
 $   42.90
Force of Will
 MS3
Special
 $   42.53
Infernal Tutor
 DIS
Rare
 $   42.37
Mox Opal
 MS2
Bonus
 $   41.21
Engineered Explosives
 MS2
Bonus
 $   40.56
Engineered Explosives
 MMA
Rare
 $   39.66
Food Chain
 MM
Rare
 $   39.33
Engineered Explosives
 5DN
Rare
 $   39.15
Leovold, Emissary of Trest
 PZ2
Mythic Rare
 $   38.58
Chalice of the Void
 MMA
Rare
 $   38.43
Mox Diamond
 ST
Rare
 $   37.53
Ensnaring Bridge
 7E
Rare
 $   37.45
Gaea's Cradle
 UZ
Rare
 $   37.45
Horizon Canopy
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $   37.43
Unmask
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $   36.95
Ensnaring Bridge
 8ED
Rare
 $   36.84
Chalice of the Void
 MRD
Rare
 $   36.24
Unmask
 MM
Rare
 $   35.65
Horizon Canopy
 FUT
Rare
 $   35.28
Tarmogoyf
 FUT
Rare
 $   34.81
Tarmogoyf
 MMA
Mythic Rare
 $   34.76
Surgical Extraction
 NPH
Rare
 $   34.49
Ensnaring Bridge
 ST
Rare
 $   33.60
Surgical Extraction
 MM2
Rare
 $   33.34
Tarmogoyf
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $   33.22
Mox Diamond
 TPR
Mythic Rare
 $   32.95
Tarmogoyf
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $   32.81
Batterskull
 NPH
Mythic Rare
 $   32.22
Mox Diamond
 V10
Mythic Rare
 $   30.88
Ancestral Vision
 DD2
Rare
 $   30.66
Ancestral Vision
 TSP
Rare
 $   30.53
Grim Monolith
 UL
Rare
 $   30.26
City of Traitors
 EX
Rare
 $   29.86
City of Traitors
 TPR
Rare
 $   29.31
Containment Priest
 PZ1
Rare
 $   29.24
Scapeshift
 MOR
Rare
 $   28.94
Eidolon of the Great Revel
 JOU
Rare
 $   28.68
Fulminator Mage
 SHM
Rare
 $   28.51
Containment Priest
 C14
Rare
 $   28.27
Underground Sea
 ME2
Rare
 $   27.94
Karn Liberated
 NPH
Mythic Rare
 $   27.72
Underground Sea
 VMA
Rare
 $   27.59
Underground Sea
 ME4
Rare
 $   27.53
Volcanic Island
 ME3
Rare
 $   27.45
Gorilla Shaman
 ALL
Common
 $   27.23
Fulminator Mage
 MM2
Rare
 $   27.13
Scalding Tarn
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $   26.84
Karn Liberated
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $   26.81
Noble Hierarch
 CON
Rare
 $   26.78
Volcanic Island
 ME4
Rare
 $   26.11
Noble Hierarch
 MM2
Rare
 $   26.10
Dark Depths
 CSP
Rare
 $   25.88
Mishra's Bauble
 CSP
Uncommon
 $   25.81
Doomsday
 WL
Rare
 $   25.64
Collected Company
 DTK
Rare
 $   25.63
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
 ORI
Mythic Rare
 $   25.63
Dark Depths
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $   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 $ 24,870. That’s down $20 from last week – remarkably little change this week or for the whole month.
 
Weekly Highlights
 No Magic this week. My other electronic addiction – Guild Wars 2 – released a significant upgrade to World vs. World, a new legendary to chase and made some other improvements. Moreover, I am so close to having accomplished all the Mastery point events I can taste it. 
 
Unfortunately, I also have to work. It really cuts into my play time, but having an income seems like a good idea.       
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” on MTGO
 
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.
 
HammyBot Super Sale: 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 MTGOTrader’s Buy Price.  

7 Comments

"One more year and it can by Cauchy at Fri, 06/09/2017 - 11:59
Cauchy's picture
5

"One more year and it can drive!" - Not in my part of the world ;)

Constructed events by Sensei at Fri, 06/09/2017 - 12:16
Sensei's picture

Don't pay out packs. They pay out TCs

Unfortunately, I don't think by xger at Fri, 06/09/2017 - 13:07
xger's picture

Unfortunately, I don't think it's really possible to accurately compare GP numbers. Not only does a difference in cities matter (for instance, Phoenix is the main Southwest Airlines hub, so it would be a decent amount cheaper to fly to than Omaha, and it's easily drivable from LA), but so does the cost. While I do not play in the GP scene, I have seen a significant amount of chatter regarding the escalating cost. If the GP 2 years ago was $50 less to play in (completely made up number) that can impact attendance as well. Similarly, Modern has far fewer GPs, so the devoted Modern players have fewer options.

yeah if I were healthy enough by JXClaytor at Fri, 06/09/2017 - 21:07
JXClaytor's picture

yeah if I were healthy enough to play, I wouldn't unless it were in Louisville. I can't justify travel costs, then an incredibly high entry fee on top of everything else. Without GPTs happening anymore, byes are harder which is fine, but the costs are just absurd.

I mean for that money I could buy so many games for me and Cassius to play, and that entertainment would last much longer than a weekend.

Does anyone know what the 2 by MichelleWong at Fri, 06/09/2017 - 23:22
MichelleWong's picture

Does anyone know what the 2 missing cards in the Vintage Dredge deck were?

Here is the original list. by JXClaytor at Fri, 06/09/2017 - 23:45
JXClaytor's picture

Here is the original list.

https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/668295#online

hmm for some reason the deck creator here did not recognize Undiscovered Paradise

I will look into it so it by xger at Sat, 06/10/2017 - 17:09
xger's picture

I will look into it so it doesn't happen again.