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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Mar 06 2015 1:00pm
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State of the Program for March 6th 2015

In the News:

Preview Season Starting: Wizards has started sharing previews of Dragons of Tarkir. We know the mechanic Rebound is coming back, and some of the new mechanics. The official card image site is here. Will get a preview? Will it be yet another 1U counterspell, like this one and this one? Will it appear sometime on or around March 12th? Can we give you a teaser like we did here? Well, we certainly can’t answer questions like that. We may (or may not) be bound by a confidentiality agreement. 
Legacy Cube Updated and Returning:  A new set is coming soon. That means, while we wait, Wizards will be offering some flashback queues and Cube drafts. Randy Buehler and the R&D staff have looked at the feedback and results from the last season of Cube. After crunching some numbers, they have reworked the Cube list. Mono-red aggro, which was ridiculously good, has been toned down. Mono-black aggro, which didn’t really work, has been replaced with an admitted gimmick – vampires. You can read Randy’s descriptions of the changes, and reasoning behind the vampires move, here.
Reminder: Daylight Savings Time begins this weekend.   That means the PTQ finals Sunday will begin even earlier than you might think.
Prize Payouts for Sealed Dailies Tweaked: The prize payout for KTK/FRF sealed events has been tweaked. Players who finish 3-1 will now receive 3 KTK & 3 FRF boosters, instead of 4 and 2.   This allows the prize packs to be used as entry into another sealed event. 
R&D Challenge Next Friday: The Wotc folk will be hosting an R&D challenge next Friday, at noon PDT.   The event is Standard, five rounds, and any packs won by R&D members will be given out to anyone finishing 5-0 and not a Wizards member. The list of R&D players includes Melissa DeTora, Ian Duke, Bryan Hawley, Ben Hayes, Dave Humpherys, Jackie Lee, Shawn Main, Alli Medwin, Adam Prosak and Sam Stoddard. Cost is 10 TIX. Event is Standard, five rounds of straight Swiss.
Interview with Wizzards R&D on State of Modern: Speaking of R&D, check out this interview with a Spanish TV station. Warning - contains spoilers. I found this link. The video may have been up on another site first, apologies for not finding the original. Also, the original is in Spanish, with subtitles, but you want to listen as well. 
Online PTQs now Feeding Pro Tour Magic Origins, not PT Fate Reforged: The PTQs that awarded invites for Pro Tour Fate Reforged are over. The upcoming PTQs now award invites to Pro Tour Magic Origins.

The Timeline:

This is a list of things we have been promised, or just want to see coming back.   Another good source for dates and times is the MTGO calendar. Here’s what we know, want or are tracking. 
Item: date and notes
·         Standard PTQ Finals: this Saturday, 9am Pacific, prelims Wednesday through Friday.
·         Sealed PTQ Finals: this Sunday, 7am Pacific, prelims Wednesday through Saturday.
·         MOCS Season 3: Champs 7am Pacific, March 14th. Prelims. March 11th-13th
·         Fate Reforged Standard Champs Qualifiers: March 4th – March 10th
·         Fate Reforged Limited Championship: 8am PST, Saturday, March 7th 
·         Fate Reforged Standard Championship: 8am PDT, Sunday, March 15th 
·         Leagues (Q2 2015?) Wizards said leagues will return in 2015.
·         Tempest Remastered: May 6th. Tempest block without the chaff. Code: TMR. Details here.
·         Modern Masters II: May, 29, 2015. Mirrodin through Zendikar. Details here.
·         From the Vault: Angels: October 12, 2015. Details here.
·         Magic Origins: released on MTGO July 27th, prerelease should begin July 23rdor July 24th Code: ORI
The Bug Blog Update:  The Bug Blog and Known Issues List is a weekly post by Wizards covering the most common known issues in MTGO. The Known Issues list is here. Not much change this week.

Opinion Section: Did I Misbuild? Help!

My results with the Fate Reforged / Khans format has been mixed. I started out dreadfully, going 1-3 in a prerelease and 0-3 in a Friday Night Magic draft for the first time in a year or so. Online, my drafts were bad for a while. More recently, I have seemed to get a handle on the format: I have averaged about 2-1 in online drafts and 3-0ed my last two FNMs.  Going back over my early drafts and events, I can generally see what I did wrong.  In sealed, however, I am not so sure. Please help.   Here’s my sealed pool from an early Competitive Prerelease (or maybe release) event, followed by the deck I built. I ended up 1-3, with my only win coming when a multi-queueing opponent timed out. The deck felt awful. What did I do wrong?


Here's what I played:
1 Aven Surveyor
2 Typhoid Rats
1 Grim Haruspex
1 Alesha's Vanguard
1 Orc Sureshot
1 Sidisi's Pet
1 Swarm of Bloodflies
1 Soulflayer
1 Sibsig Host
2 Dragon Bell Monk
1 Sandsteppe Outcast
1 Abzan Skycaptain
1 Abzan Runemark
1 Kill Shot
2 Sandblast
1 Lightform
1 Crippling Chill
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Whisk Away
1 Tranquil Cove
2 Dismal Backwater
1 Opulent Palace
1 Sultai Emissary
5 Plains
3 Island
5 Swamp
Notable Sideboard
1 Smite the Monstrous
1 Abzan Advantage
1 Unyeilding Krumar
I tried a number of builds. The next most promising was a Sultai build, but that meant replacing two Sandblasts and a Kill Shot with Grim Contest and Hunt the Weak. On the plus side, the mana base was better, provided I was willing to play the Embodiments of Spring. On the downside, no Sandblasts and I was playing Embodiment of Spring.  I saved that build and tried it a couple games twos, but it didn't do any better. I think the Esper build was the best of a bad situation. Am I wrong?
How would you have built this deck?   Tell us in the comments.

Cutting Edge Tech:

Standard: Last weekend a number of Standard events were played. Many of the same decks continued to do well. However, Antonino De Rosa managed to win a large side event at GP Memphis with something that is quite different, built around the last “You Build the Card” card and Dark Deal, a card that was generally considered unplayable in any format.   Frank Karsten then reworked the deck to plug some holes. Still probably not what you want to play online, since it struggles against mono-red aggro, but an interesting take nonetheless.
Waste Not Dark Deal
Frank Karsten, from the article here..
0 cards

Other Spells
2 Torrent Elemental
3 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
4 Gurmag Angler
3 Thoughtseize
3 Sign in Blood
4 Waste Not
3 Bile Blight
4 Dark Deal
4 Rakshasa's Secret
3 Hero's Downfall
2 Treasure Cruise
2 Empty the Pits
24 cards
4 Temple of Deceit
4 Dismal Backwater
4 Polluted Delta
4 Bloodstained Mire
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Island
5 Swamp
23 cards

Waste Not
Modern: Star City Games held a Modern GP last weekend, or at least the next best thing. Over 750 players showed up for the SCG Modern Open in Baltimore. When the dust had settled, Gerard Fabiano had prevailed with a Sultai control deck featuring Tasigur. Coverage and decklists are here.
Pauper: We had a couple cool new decks do well in Pauper. These decks also managed to do so by not using Treasure Cruise. The Pauper event on Tuesday had two such decks, but I am going to feature the Slivers deck, because I love Slivers.
TheBaartol, 4-0, Pauper Daily #8022261 on 03/03/2015
4 Muscle Sliver
4 Plated Sliver
4 Predatory Sliver
2 Quick Sliver
4 Sidewinder Sliver
4 Sinew Sliver
2 Spinneret Sliver
3 Talon Sliver
4 Virulent Sliver
31 cards

Other Spells
4 Commune with Nature
3 Journey to Nowhere
7 cards
2 Blossoming Sands
10 Forest
10 Plains
22 cards

Muscle Sliver
Legacy: SCG also ran the biggest Legacy event last weekend – the SCG Legacy IQ in Baltimore. The Top 16 decks included a mix of the usual suspects, including both red and green Stoneblade, a couple Sultai Delvers, Grixis Delver, Dredge, Elves, Metalworker, Death and Taxes, Storm, as well as two Lands decks that both finished in the Top 4. 
Vintage: The Vintage Super League is in week five. Eric Froehlich is in first place. This week he is playing a shops deck very similar to Abstrak66’s list I featured last week.   In other news, a few players are trying Monastery Mentor and Gifts Ungiven builds, but neither of those is putting up solid results so far. We will see two weeks from now, when the players change decks again. We may see more tuned versions then. As for this week, I want to highlight LSV’s deck. He is 4-1 in the league, and undefeated with this build (although he did not do all that well in his last video over on CFB.)  
Card Prices
Note: all my prices come from the fine folks at 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 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 almost a decade now, and have never been overcharged or disappointed.
Standard staples: Standard prices oscillated this week, with no real trend.   As always, stuff that gets played goes up.

Standard & Block Cards
Last Week
% Change

Modern staples:  Modern prices are showing the effect of the new metagame defined by the recent Pro Tour. 

Modern Cards
Last Week
% Change

Legacy / Vintage staples: Legacy and Vintage prices were mixed this week, but Vintage staples from VMA regained some ground.  Tempest block rares and Wasteland continue to drop as hoarders dump their stocks. Mercadian Masques prices are also down a bit. I suspect people are considering that MM could be draftable, if you cut the 60% of the cards that are just bad.

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Last Week
% Change

Set Redemption: You can redeem complete sets on MTGO. You need to purchase a redemption voucher from the store for $25. During the next downtime, Wizards removes a complete set from your account, and sends you the same set in paper.   For those of you who redeem, here are the retail prices of one of everything set currently available in the store, excluding sets that are not currently draftable or not redeemable.    

Complete Set
Last Week
% Change
Born of the Gods
Fate Reforged
Journey into Nix
Khans of Trakir


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. Like last week, Port is still on top but Lotus closed the gap. Wasteland dropped, and Mox Sapphire is above Mox Opal.   That’s nice, but you still need four Mox Opals, and only one Sapphire.

Rishadan Port
$ 145.64
Black Lotus
$ 137.75
$ 109.57
Mythic Rare
$ 85.68
Liliana of the Veil
Mythic Rare
$ 82.77
$ 79.56
Mox Sapphire
$ 66.89
Mox Opal
Mythic Rare
$ 57.21
$ 52.75
Force of Will
$ 50.17
Ancestral Recall
$ 46.32
Show and Tell
$ 45.89
Mythic Rare
$ 45.15
Time Walk
$ 44.89
Vendilion Clique
Mythic Rare
$ 44.57
Karn Liberated
Mythic Rare
$ 43.48
Mythic Rare
$ 41.46
Vendilion Clique
$ 40.72
Tangle Wire
$ 39.12
Mox Jet
$ 37.94
Noble Hierarch
$ 36.94
Hurkyl's Recall
$ 36.62
Infernal Tutor
$ 36.41
Mox Ruby
$ 35.02
Fulminator Mage
$ 34.78
Primeval Titan
Mythic Rare
$ 34.54
Containment Priest
$ 34.20
$ 33.81
Primeval Titan
Mythic Rare
$ 33.66
Force of Will
$ 33.60
$ 30.70
True-Name Nemesis
$ 30.65
Scalding Tarn
$ 30.21
Toxic Deluge
$ 29.50
Mox Pearl
$ 28.78
Dark Depths
$ 28.62
Auriok Champion
$ 27.72
Twilight Mire
$ 27.66
$ 27.53
Gaea's Cradle
$ 27.20
Mox Emerald
$ 26.92
$ 26.70
Volcanic Island
$ 26.55
City of Traitors
$ 25.91
Sneak Attack
$ 25.08
Volcanic Island
$ 25.01

The big number is the retail price of a playset (4 copies) of every 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 $ 24,940. $25,430. That’s up about $500 from where we were last week, but that could be because I pulled the prices from another source.  It’s still prices, but I may not be stripping out all the boosters, prices for sets, etc. The price database does contain just under 40k items – I can’t check them all. 

Weekly Highlights:

I have a regular D&D game Wednesday night, but this week the DM was out of town. This gave me the chance to play at a local weekly Standard event. I played a RG aggro brew that had pretty much everything I had opened so far in paper drafts, including a Yasova Dragonclaw who was in the deck until I traded for another Outpost Siege. The deck was fun, and I drew well. My Heir of the Wilds got in front of Siege Rhinos when necessary, Stormbreath Dragons and my assortment of Phoenixes flew overhead just often enough.   I did manage a couple sweet plays. My UW Heroic opponent used Aqueous Form on his 10/10 (Battlewise Hoplight), and tried to swing past my Hornet Nest, but I was sandbagging Destructive Revelry.  
I also got a bit lucky. In the final game against Jeskai Tokens, my opponent had 6 tokens and Ascendancy on board, and two cards in hand. I had lands and a single Stormbreath Dragon in play, and I drew Boon Satyr. Bestowing the Satyr on the Dragon meant he was dead in two swings, but it also meant I was dead if he had anything to trigger the Ascendancy. However, the likelihood of me winning the game any other way was less, so I went all in. I put the odds of winning that one at about 35%, but he did manage to brick and I won. 
FWIW, the deck I played was basically this, plus some cards I can’t remember. 
RG Blitz
Pete Jahn, 4-0 at a Standard LGS event
4 Elvish Mystic
1 Rattleclaw Mystic
4 Heir of the Wilds
2 Boon Satyr
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
3 Ashcloud Phoenix
4 Stormbreath Dragon
22 cards

Other Spells
3 Outpost Siege
3 Crater's Claws
4 Lightning Strike
1 Flamewake Phoenix
2 Shaman of the Great Hunt
2 Xenagos, the Reveler
9 cards
4 Temple of Abandon
4 Wooded Foothills
8 Mountain
7 Forest
23 cards

Stormbreath Dragon
I did manage to go 4-0 with the deck. It’s a nice FNM deck, but I’m not sure it’s good enough for serious online play.  It could be good times in the tournament practice room.  
“One Million Words” and “3MWords” on MTGO
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.
HammyBot Still Running: 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 10% below retail price. Erik died three years ago, so HammyBot does not include any standard legal cards, but it includes a ton of Masters Edition and Vintage cards, and some nice Modern bargains.