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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Mar 08 2019 1:00pm
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State of the Program for March 8th  2019
In the News
Modern Horizons: Wizards has announced a new set, to release in June. This set will be a mix of new cards and reprints, and will be legal in Modern (and older formats.) The cards will not be legal in Standard. The 249 card set will be roughly half new cards and half reprinted from sets printed in the old frames – before Eighth Edition. The set will be released in paper and on MTGO. On MTGO, prices for packs will be $6.99. The online prerelease will begin June 6th. The announcement video and article are here. More on all this in the opinion section. 
Ravnica Remix Drafts coming to MTGO: Wizards has combined the best of Guilds of Ravnica and Ravnica Allegiances to create a new draft format. The new draft format is designed to allow you to mix and match guilds in ways that were not possible in straight GRN or RNA drafts. The queues open on March 13th. Drafts are Phantom only. Some cards have been omitted from the combined set. Details here, partway down the article. 
Dana Fisher Makes Day Two: Dana Fisher had a feature match at the end of Day One of the GP at MagicFest LA. She won, and became the youngest player ever to make Day Two of a GP. Congrats!   Her feature match is here.
Black Loti are Expensive: Not really news, but a near mint Alpha Black Lotus went for $166,100 on eBay. Screenshot here
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 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
Scheduled Downtimes
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
March 11, 2019
Guilds of Ravnica Redemption
Ends March 27, 2019 (currently out of stock)
Ravnica Allegiances Redemption
Ends July 10, 2019
September 2019
January, 2020
Spring, 2020

WotC Premier Events
Wizards has announced a number of Premier events. Here’s what we know about. Text coverage by CFBevents.
·       March 15: Tampa Bay AND Bilbao – both Modern
·       March 22: Kyoto – Standard
·       March 23: 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:
·       Ultimate Masters draft – now to March 13th
·       Ravnica Remix phantom drafts – March 13th to ???
·       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
Saturday, 8:00 am PT 
Saturday, 10:00 am PT
Sunday, 8:00 am PT
Sunday, 10:00 am PT

Opinion Section: Magic Horizons
Modern Horizons is the next set to impact Modern, but this is not a Modern Masters set. Indeed, this set will not contain any cards that are currently Modern legal. The 249 card set will be roughly half new cards and half reprinted from sets printed in the old frames – before Eighth Edition. The announcement video and article are here
The newly created cards will be previewed sometime in May. We will also hear about the reprints around then – but we can speculate on them now. Basically, anything from Alpha through Onslaught block could be reprinted, except for anything already in Modern, and anything on the Reserve List. That’s a lot of cards. I played a lot of those, back when they were in Standard or old Extended. Here are five types of cards I think we will see, and five off the wall picks.  The main types first.
A Solid Counter: I expect Wizards will give us at least one really powerful counterspell reprint. I see four likely options. The first, and by far the least likely, is Force Spike. It is more versatile than Spell Pierce, but unless Wizards also give us a really powerful two mana counter, Force Spike will not be useful on its own. Daze would be more powerful, but I don’t think it would be good for the format:  Daze seems to favor combo decks more than control, and combo decks don’t need the assist. Force of Will is a more interesting option – decent in blue-heavy combo decks, but far better in control. I could see Wizards giving us Force of Will in Modern, but I think classic Counterspell is what we will see. Remand is the format’s best counterspell, but a true two-mana counter would be better at stopping combo, without being turned to the dark side.
Decent Pinpoint Removal:  I suspect we will get at least one solid removal spell, and possibly several. Snuff Out seems likely, but I want something more versatile. I want Vindicate . I am willing to pay one more mana to lose the disadvantage of Assassin’s Trophy. I want to kill Planeswalkers, creatures, artifacts, enchantments, lands – everything. Give me Vindicate.
A New Thoughtseize: Wizards has already previewed a creature-based Cabal Therapy effect, but I want more. I think Unmask might find a home in Modern. It is an answer, albeit one with a high downside, to a lot of combo and problematic decks. I’m not really sure that this would be any better than Duress out of the sideboard, but Unmask into Surgical Extraction is kinda fun. 
A Playable Creature:   If Wizards give us Counterspell, expensive creatures you actually cast will be even less viable than they are now. That means the creatures have to be three casting cost or less, and have a powerful impact. Back before Mirrodin creatures were pretty bad, so the list of viable and unprinted options is short . The most discussed are probably Goblin Lackey, Basking Rootwalla and maybe Psychatog. My personal preference would be for Yavimaya Elder, although that is probably not good enough. I just loved the Elder, back in the day. 
Yavimaya Elder
More Graveyard Hate: Most of the great anti-graveyard cards (e.g. Tormod’s Crypt) have already been reprinted into Modern, but one serious option has not. Planar Void is a Leyline of the Void for one black mana.   I had a couple in the sideboard when I Top 8ed Extended PTQs two weekends in a row, back when Replenish combo was a thing. Rest in Peace is better than Planar Void, but not in black decks, and not on turn one. 
Planar Void 
A Solid Sweeper: The format could use an answer to the prison decks, to Blood Moon, weenie swarms and to decks with a bunch of on-the-battlefield combo parts. My favorite such answer used to be Pernicious Deed, but Deed does not kill Planeswalkers. That’s a big problem. Frank Karsten had a different suggestion: Nevinyrral’s Disk.   Disk kills Planeswalkers. It kills Ensnaring Bridge and Amulets. It kills Worship and Blood Moon.  It kills weenie hoards during the attack step. It works against everything – except Stony Silence and Null Rod. Four mana plus an untap may be way too slow for Modern, but it could be fun to find out.      
Nevinyrral's Disk 
And now, onto some off the wall ideas. 
Brainstorm: In the video introducing the set, Wizards hinted at a really important, popular blue card but said they could not reveal it yet.   I think that card could be Brainstorm. This is a stretch, especially for a format where Preordain is already banned, but Brainstorm is a hugely popular card in Legacy. If Wizards is looking at making Modern into Legacy without the Reserve list, Brainstorm could be in Modern Horizons. Maybe – and only if Wizards throws in other answers to combo decks. 
Vampiric Tutor: I loved playing Vampiric Tutor, back in the day. Could Wizards reprint it, in a format with Death’s Shadow?  Of course not. It is almost certainly way, way too good – it is, after all,  banned in Legacy and restricted in Vintage. I just added it to the list to give people something to rant about. 
Vampiric Tutor 
Sylvan Library: I have been playing GB Rock decks forever, including Jund and Junk builds. They are not quite good enough – not even with Dark Confidant. However, Sylvan Library is not on the Reserve List, and could be enough to make Jund viable again. Or maybe it would just enable some green based Death’s Shadow deck – I don’t know. I think it would be worth a try.  
Sylvan Library 
Spike Cannibal: Yes, it is too slow and too narrow, but I loved stealing counters from other Spikes and Arcbound Ravagers. However, if the set has even a minor counters theme, it could be playable in MH drafts, and might be a worthwhile sideboard option in the future. If a deck with lots of +1/+1 counters, on creatures, is ever a thing. But since the Cannibal  is barely playable in a toolbox multiplayer Commander deck, forget I mentioned it. 
Spike Cannibal 
Riding the Dilu Horse: If Wizards wants to add a (currently) really expensive, but reprintable, paper card to the set,  this could be it. Riding the Dilu Horse reads, in effect, this creature gets +2/+2 and is unblockable forever. The card is a sorcery which makes the creature unblockable  by creatures which don’t have Horsemanship – an ability that does not currently exist in Modern. Yes, it could be busted in Infect decks, but this is a format with fast Emrakuls and so forth.  Would a three mana sorcery that pumps just one creature really be all that good? Bogles probably says yes – but not if we have Deed or Nev’s Disk. Could be fun to find out.
Riding the Dilu Horse 
These are just pure speculations.  It’s Brainstorming – pure and simple. Fortunately, Wizards has a play-design team that will actually test whether weird ideas like these would break the format, so I don’t have to. I can just say “give ‘em Horsemanship.”   I don’t have to be serious.
Finally, some thoughts on what I hope we don’t see: more prison or land destruction cards.
Modern is already a format with a lot of combo, and a lot of prison decks. Fair, mid-range decks (which I prefer) already have a tough time. Adding cards like WastelandCataclysm or Armageddon could create new archetypes: Noble Hierarch into Knight of the Reliquary into turn three Armageddon would be one example. I do have some great memories of playing Armageddon in decks with Birds of Paradise, Wall of Roots and Yavimaya Elders, but that does not mean I want to face Hate Bears / Geddon decks. But maybe Wizards will disagree. We will know in May. 
Cutting Edge Tech
Standard: The Mythic Championship showcased Mono-blue Aggro. This week, we have a backlash of sorts. The MTGO Standard Premier Top 8 had a single Mono-blue deck, and a lot of white weenie. The winning deck was a Temur Reclamation build, but the one I am most curious about was the second place deck.    I wonder if I can put it together before next week’s Standard event at my LGS.
Modern: The GP at MagicFest A was a Modern event. Almost 1,600 players took part. In the end, Michael Bernat took it down. I’ve lost to Michael at events in the past – nice to see him win one without trampling me en route. 
Pauper: For the first time ever, wizards has allowed a TO to run a Pauper format Mythic Championship Qualifier. That’s quite a development – it was less than a year ago that the I wrote a news blurb about sanctioned Pauper side events at GPs. Pauper guru Alex Ullman wrote about the T8 here.
Legacy: SCG held a Legacy Open in Syracuse last weekend. Big paper Legacy events are increasingly rare, but they do draw players. This one pulled in 656 competitors. The Top 8 was a bunch of what you would expect – although it was nice to see Dragon Stompy make it in. 
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 over a decade now, and have never been overcharged or disappointed.
Standard Staples: Standard prices are rocketed last week, and are making a few adjustments this week. Hydroid Krasis is moving back down to just really expensive, but Arclight Phoenix continues to soar (sorry).   Arclight is big in Standard and Modern, and multi-format staples are always expensive.   

Standard Cards
Last Week
% Change
Arclight Phoenix
Assassin's Trophy
Doom Whisperer
Dovin, Grand Arbiter
Hydroid Krasis
Nexus of Fate
Prime Speaker Vannifer
Ral, Izzet Viceroy
Seraph of the Scales
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

Eternal staples:  Prices for cards in the eternal formats are continuing to climb, probably powered by the expectation of Modern Horizons. This will be a Modern set with zero Modern-legal cards as reprints. That makes everything currently in Modern more valuable.  Also, Surgical Extraction really needs a reprint.

Eternal Format Cards
Last Week
% Change

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
Last Week
% Change
Core Set 2019
Guilds of Ravnica
Ravnica Allegiances
Rivals of Ixalan
Treasure Chest
Ravnica Allegiance Booster

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 still led by the classic frame Power Nine, but none of the new frame P9 are on the list. Scarcity – and better frames – matter.  And right behind those cards – Arclight Phoenix. 

Black Lotus
 $  213.06
Mox Sapphire
 $  123.59
Mox Ruby
 $ 85.11
Mox Emerald
 $ 85.10
Mox Jet
 $ 68.96
Ancestral Recall
 $ 66.94
Surgical Extraction
 $ 64.01
Surgical Extraction
 $ 63.78
Mox Pearl
 $ 60.71
Arclight Phoenix
Mythic Rare
 $ 59.94
Time Walk
 $ 54.84
Mox Opal
 $ 41.13
True-Name Nemesis
Mythic Rare
 $ 40.37
True-Name Nemesis
 $ 40.00
Mox Opal
Mythic Rare
 $ 38.77
Mox Opal
Mythic Rare
 $ 36.30
Dark Depths
Mythic Rare
 $ 35.42
Liliana of the Veil
Mythic Rare
 $ 32.92
Mythic Rare
 $ 31.99
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Mythic Rare
 $ 30.27
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Mythic Rare
 $ 29.92
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Mythic Rare
 $ 29.91
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Mythic Rare
 $ 29.86
Force of Will
 $ 29.68
 $ 29.27
Liliana of the Veil
Mythic Rare
 $ 29.24
Chalice of the Void
Mythic Rare
 $ 27.75
Liliana, the Last Hope
Mythic Rare
 $ 27.64
Chalice of the Void
 $ 27.59
Hydroid Krasis
Mythic Rare
 $ 27.34
Chalice of the Void
 $ 26.45
Liliana of the Veil
Mythic Rare
 $ 26.24
Liliana of the Veil
Mythic Rare
 $ 26.09
Chalice of the Void
 $ 26.08
Dark Depths
Mythic Rare
 $ 25.65
Mishra's Bauble
 $ 25.31
Mishra's Bauble
 $ 25.08

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 $ 12,920. That’s up about $560 from last week.   
In Closing
I’m liking Magic a lot at present.   I have been playing both MTGO and Arena, and am trying to pull a deck together  for a paper Standard event next week. I just need more time. I wonder if I could start a go fund me to retire and just play more Magic...
I watched a bit of the coverage of the GP at MagicFest LA. I think the coverage was better than Wizard’s coverage of the Mythic Championships. Not sure if that is good or bad.
“One Million Words” on MTGO. “4MWords” on Arena.
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.


Are you CERTAIN Disk kills by Paul Leicht at Fri, 03/08/2019 - 16:24
Paul Leicht's picture

Are you CERTAIN Disk kills planeswalkers? The text specifies Creatures, Artifacts and Enchantments and this has not been changed in gatherer which typically has the latest updated oracle text.

I guess there's always Plague by CottonRhetoric at Fri, 03/08/2019 - 18:17
CottonRhetoric's picture

I guess there's always Plague Boiler and Boompile!

No Sir Disco does not do that by lowman02 at Sat, 03/09/2019 - 11:28
lowman02's picture

Paul, no sir, Disco doesn't get the walkers, unfortunately the foresight of seeing different permanent types did not come to mind in the design of this card although, I think had they been considered the card would likely read "all non-land permanents". Think if you want to go colorless and get walkers you have to go with All is Dust or Oblivion Stone, sadly only residents in big mana decks like tron. That said, Oblivion Stone is basically the same speed as Nev's disk (acknowledging it eats 8 mana as opposed to 5 at a minimum) excepting it gets hit by Inquisition, but both pop on T5 under standard mana progression.