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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Mar 22 2019 1:00pm
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State of the Program for March 22nd 2019 

In the News

London Mulligan to be Tested on MTGO:  From April 10th until May 1st, the London mulligan will be in effect on MTGO.  The London mulligan will be tested at Mythic Championship London.  If the tests - MC and MTGO – prove successful, it could replace the current Vancouver / Scry mulligan.   With the London mulligan, players draw a new seven cards each time they mulligan, then put excess cards on the bottom of their library,

MOCS Schedule Up:  The MOCS schedule for the next few months is up.  See it on the MTGP calendar, here.   Info on the MOCS is here.  Additional note:  the June 15th MOCS will be Modern Horizons sealed.

Mythic Invitational Coming:  March 28-31.  Next week.

MTG Arena Getting Bling:  Wizards is giving Arena some cosmetic upgrades – including card sleeves, special art treatments and other things that you can unlock with gold or gems.  I begged Wizards to implement these in MTGO years ago - no luck.  But Arena has them now. Read about it here.   Coming soon -  Arena sleeves will wear out over time.  You can get a warning for marked cards if you don’t replace them every dozen events or so. Just like real life.   

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 for limited PTQs running the days immediately prior to the PTQ. 

Upcoming Events

Dates

Scheduled Downtimes

March 27th

Constructed Leagues End

April 23, 2019

Sealed Leagues End

April 26, 2019

War of the Spark

April 25, 2019 

Modern Horizons

June 6th prerelease

Next B&R Announcement

May 20, 2019

Guilds of Ravnica Redemption

Ends March 27, 2019 (currently out of stock)

Ravnica Allegiances Redemption

Ends July 10, 2019

“Archery”

September 2019

“Baseball”

January, 2020

“Cricket”

Spring, 2020

 WotC Premier Events

Wizards has announced a number of Premier events.  Here’s what we know about. Text coverage by CFBevents.

  • ·         March 22:  Kyoto – Standard
  • ·         March 28:  Arena Invitational – will be streamed
  • ·         March 29:  Calgary – Modern

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:

  • ·         Ravnica Remix phantom drafts – March 13th to March 27th
  • ·         Legacy Cube   March 27th to April 25th  details here.
  • ·         War of the Spark Limited  starts April 25th   
  • ·         Modern Horizons drafts – prerelease June 6th  

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

Modern Challenge

Saturday, 8:00 am PT 

Vintage Challenge

Saturday, 10:00 am PT

Legacy Challenge

Sunday, 8:00 am PT

Pauper Challenge

Sunday, 10:00 am PT

 

Opinion Section: MTGO vs Arena Play II

I am trying to compare MTGO and MTG Arena.   As part of that, I have been trying to play the same formats on both platforms.  Sometimes that works, sometimes not.  

I intended to play Pauper in both formats, but missed the Pauper events on Arena.  Apparently Arena only offers formats other than Standard and Draft on weekends, and only on certain weekends.  I didn’t have time to play on the weekend, so I couldn’t play Pauper.  I assume that, once the number of players on Arena climbs further, the other formats might be supported at all times.  Or maybe not.  Arena should have plenty of players to support multiple format.  At least, I would think so.

Standard, of course, is playable most of the time.  On Arena, I have one reasonably competitive deck.  It is a mono-green aggro deck that took all of my Mythic and rare wildcards to craft – and only that only worked because it was mono-colored.  It runs 23 forests.  I did not have enough rares to construct a competitive manabase for a multicolored deck.  I can only play that deck in best of one matches, since I didn’t have the cards to complete a sideboard.  On the plus side, I can play a lot of Bo1 matches.  I have had maybe two hours on Arena with the deck, and I have just made gold.  Personally, I am finding playing the same deck over and over boring, but it is what I have.  I can play other decks in unranked Bo1 matches, where I am less likely to face tier one decks.  And I can draft, when I have the gold and/or gems. 

On MTGO, I have plenty of cards and TIX, and can build multiple decks.  The MTGO interface is far more familiar than Arena, and I don’t get surprised.  (On Arena I lost a match because it autopassed me through my opponent’s turn, even though I was planning on killing a Search for Azcanta with my Thrashing Brontodon.)   The only downside to MTGO is that the wait for matches in the friendly Standard league can take a while:  this afternoon I waited almost five minutes before being paired.  But I was paired, and won.  That’s part of why I’m high on MTGO at the moment. 

After a month or so of playing both programs against each other, I don’t know that I have a clear preference.  Both let you play Magic. Both enforce the rules of Magic correctly.  MTGO has more options.  Arena has lots more animations and, I believe, sound effects.  I have learned to live with the animations, and play with the sound off, so I can tolerate Arena.  (I still don’t understand why I have a bug crawling up my screen, but I suspect I’m not the target audience for that sort of thing.)  For that matter, I turned the MTGO sound effects off many years ago.

My one concern with Arena is that I could not see how the financial model could make sense.  I have spent $5. On the program, and have no intention of paying more.  Despite that, I have been able to build a constructed deck in just over a month, and play in a couple drafts a week, just by completing dailies and winning a bit more than I lose.  That’s okay for me, but I’m not sure Wizards could support the program if too many of us play that way.

Well, now we know a bit more.  Wizards has announced a bunch of bling for Arena:  digital sleeves, special art, special avatars - all available for purchase.  This sort of thing seems to work.  I see customer armor and mount skins in Guild Wars, purple guns in PUBG, and we once had custom playmats and avatars in older versions of MTGO.  It seems to work.  I really have no idea if it will work well enough to support MTG Arena.  We will see.  If the price of drafts and events rises six months from now, we will know it didn’t work well enough.     

Cutting Edge Tech

Standard:  I have been playing a bunch of Arena and some MTGO, and I keep running into this deck.  Odds are you have, too.


Modern
:  We had two Modern GPs last week.  Both of them had a ton of Faithless Lootings throughout the Top 8.  Mox Opal and Ancient Stirrings also made some appearances, but Faithless Looting was the big winner.  Unless the Modern format Mythic Championship shows us a completely new metagame, I would expect to see bannings next time around.   


Pauper
: Here’s another of my favorite Pauper decks, at least for MTGO.  I pulled this list from a CFB article.   On Arena, with it’s far more limited card pool, the most common deck is a mill version built around Persistent Petitioners.

 

Legacy:  SCG held a Legacy Classic in Philadelphia  last weekend.  The Top 8 was a bit Delver heavy, but varied.  We even saw a Food Chain build make it in.

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 making a few adjustments this week.  These fluctuations seem normal.  The one exception is Kaya.  With Esper replacing Bant as the control deck, people want their Kaya’s.

 

Standard Cards

Price

Last Week

Change

% Change

Arclight Phoenix

$55.03

$55.95

($0.92)

-2%

Assassin's Trophy

$6.65

$6.28

$0.37

6%

Dovin, Grand Arbiter

$6.31

$7.31

($1.00)

-14%

Hydroid Krasis

$17.17

$22.70

($5.53)

-24%

Kaya, Orzhov Usurper

$16.86

$7.94

$8.92

112%

Nexus of Fate

$8.14

$13.69

($5.55)

-41%

Prime Speaker Vannifer

$12.88

$15.99

($3.11)

-19%

Ral, Izzet Viceroy

$5.39

$6.35

($0.96)

-15%

Seraph of the Scales

$8.07

$8.55

($0.48)

-6%

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

$6.93

$7.41

($0.48)

-6%

Eternal staples:  Prices for cards in the eternal formats are continuing to climb, probably powered by the expectation of Modern Horizons.  I pulled Black Lotus off the table.  Right now, the new border version is $13.  The original version is $222.  That’s a huge spread, and listing either price seems unrepresentative. 

 

Eternal Format Cards

Price

Last Week

Change

% Change

Cavern of Souls

$11.87

$15.19

($3.32)

-22%

Chalice of the Void

$29.93

$29.50

$0.43

1%

City of Traitors

$12.26

$15.66

($3.40)

-22%

Daze

$11.54

$11.48

$0.06

1%

Engineered Explosives

$20.87

$17.06

$3.81

22%

Ensnaring Bridge

$20.00

$18.09

$1.91

11%

Force of Will

$25.92

$21.73

$4.19

19%

Gemstone Mine

$30.31

$22.31

$8.00

36%

Horizon Canopy

$26.50

$23.46

$3.04

13%

Jace, the Mind Sculptor

$33.68

$30.70

$2.98

10%

Karn Liberated

$17.63

$15.94

$1.69

11%

Liliana of the Veil

$28.02

$28.35

($0.33)

-1%

Liliana, the Last Hope

$24.65

$24.65

$0.00

0%

Mox Opal

$50.57

$44.34

$6.23

14%

Scalding Tarn

$19.21

$22.08

($2.87)

-13%

Surgical Extraction

$53.84

$62.24

($8.40)

-13%

True-Name Nemesis

$52.42

$43.56

$8.86

20%

Underground Sea

$9.86

$10.97

($1.11)

-10%

Wasteland

$17.78

$16.18

$1.60

10%

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

Core Set 2019

$98.87

$102.86

($3.99)

-4%

Dominaria

$30.19

$32.00

($1.81)

-6%

Guilds of Ravnica

$125.20

$125.35

($0.15)

0%

Ixalan

$21.91

$21.40

$0.51

2%

Ravnica Allegiances

$109.85

$118.09

($8.24)

-7%

Rivals of Ixalan

$22.90

$22.05

$0.85

4%

Treasure Chest

$2.01

$1.96

$0.05

3%

Ravnica Allegiance Booster

$2.79

$2.74

$0.05

2%

 

 

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 this week – climbing to about 50 cards.

 

Name

Set

Rarity

 Price

Black Lotus

1E

Rare

 $ 222.52

Mox Sapphire

1E

Rare

 $ 126.44

Mox Emerald

1E

Rare

 $  92.73

Mox Ruby

1E

Rare

 $  85.11

Mox Jet

1E

Rare

 $  74.37

Ancestral Recall

1E

Rare

 $  71.93

Mox Pearl

1E

Rare

 $  64.62

Time Walk

1E

Rare

 $  58.79

Surgical Extraction

MM2

Rare

 $  57.61

Arclight Phoenix

GRN

Mythic Rare

 $  55.03

Surgical Extraction

NPH

Rare

 $  53.84

True-Name Nemesis

PZ1

Mythic Rare

 $  53.27

Mox Opal

SOM

Mythic Rare

 $  52.61

True-Name Nemesis

C13

Rare

 $  52.42

Mox Opal

MM2

Mythic Rare

 $  51.83

Mox Opal

MS2

Bonus

 $  50.57

Force of Will

MED

Rare

 $  35.66

Jace, the Mind Sculptor

WWK

Mythic Rare

 $  35.19

Dark Depths

V16

Mythic Rare

 $  34.87

Jace, the Mind Sculptor

A25

Mythic Rare

 $  34.75

Jace, the Mind Sculptor

EMA

Mythic Rare

 $  33.83

Jace, the Mind Sculptor

VMA

Mythic Rare

 $  33.68

Liliana of the Veil

UBT

Mythic Rare

 $  33.48

Unmask

V16

Mythic Rare

 $  32.53

Chalice of the Void

MS2

Bonus

 $  31.20

Liliana of the Veil

UMA

Mythic Rare

 $  30.90

Timetwister

1E

Rare

 $  30.84

Chalice of the Void

A25

Mythic Rare

 $  30.83

Gemstone Mine

TSB

Rare

 $  30.48

Gemstone Mine

WL

Uncommon

 $  30.31

Chalice of the Void

MMA

Rare

 $  30.16

Chalice of the Void

MRD

Rare

 $  29.93

Liliana of the Veil

MM3

Mythic Rare

 $  29.30

Liliana, the Last Hope

EMN

Mythic Rare

 $  29.26

Liliana of the Veil

ISD

Mythic Rare

 $  28.02

Horizon Canopy

IMA

Rare

 $  27.56

Horizon Canopy

FUT

Rare

 $  26.88

Horizon Canopy

EXP

Mythic Rare

 $  26.50

Force of Will

MS3

Mythic Rare

 $  26.50

Dark Depths

UBT

Mythic Rare

 $  26.38

Force of Will

EMA

Mythic Rare

 $  26.32

Force of Will

VMA

Rare

 $  25.92

Scalding Tarn

EXP

Mythic Rare

 $  25.26

Karn Liberated

UBT

Mythic Rare

 $  25.23

Wasteland

TE

Uncommon

 $  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 $ 13,660.  That’s up about $320 from last week.   

 

In Closing

I’m on the road again this week.  It may feel strange hauling two computers, but I’m not installing all the special security overhead on my personal laptop, and I probably can’t get away with installing MTGO on the work laptop.  On the plus side the Internet connection here is better than the one at home.

Hopefully next week will be a bit less crazy.  And at the end of next week, we will see what Wizards has in mind for the Mythic Invitational.  I’m hoping the coverage will be better than the last Mythic Championship.

 

PRJ

“One Million Words” on MTGO.  “4MWords” on Arena.

 

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