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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
May 11 2018 12:00pm
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State of the Program for May 11th 2018
 
In the News
Triple Lorwyn Drafts Coming: Next downtime, Wizards will let us draft triple Lorwyn flashback drafts. (Yes, it is a short news week when this is the lead.)
 
Magic Art Wins Awards: The annual Spectrum 25 Awards for art were announced. A number of art pieces used on Magic cards and products took Gold and Silver in various categories. Details here.
 
Changes Coming to Brawl:  This blurb was written by Joshua.  Brawl is seeing some huge changes right now in paper, and soon on MTGO.  The format has a new banned list, that is not connected to the Standard format anymore, while still using the Standard cardpool.  Cards that came off the banned list are: Aetherworks Marvel, Felidar Guardian, Attune with Aether, Rogue Refiner, Rampaging Ferocidon, and Ramunap Ruins.  Cards that entered the banned list are Baral, Chief of Compliance and Sorcerous Spyglass.  Smuggler's Copter remains on the list.  The starting life total for 1v1 brawl has changed from 30 to 20.  In order to play Colorless commanders, you can use multiple copies of any one basic land.  You can read about the changes here
 
Magic Online Conduct Update: (repeat from last week) Wizards has announced that they will be more aggressive in penalizing “chronically disruptive or toxic players.”  The same options – warning, muting, suspension, all for varying lengths of time – but Wizards will be more severe up front. No specifics on why this is happening, but we have seen some instances of toxic behavior on streams, and at least one recent instance of players using fictitious trade requests to try to time out a competitor in the online PTQ. Bad behavior is bad, and I am happy to see that Wizards is taking action. As always – if you interact with a toxic player, report them. Details on Wizards new policy is 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 MTGO.com. 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
Dates
Scheduled Downtimes
May 30th and June 27th (both extended)
Constructed Leagues End
July 3, 2018
Sealed Leagues End
July 6, 2018
Core Set Magic  2019
July 13, 2018
Next B&R Announcement
July 2, 2018
Ixalan Redemption Ends
May 23, 2018
Rivals of Ixalan Redemption Ends
May 23, 2018
Dominaria Redemption Ends
 

 
WotC Covered Events
Wizards will be streaming a number of events next year, including all four Pro Tours, the Magic Championship and World Magic Cup, along with 35 Grand Prix. Since Wizards does not schedule premier events on prerelease weekends and certain holidays, that means they will be streaming an event nearly every weekend. Here’s the schedule we have so far.
 
·       May 11–13: Grand Prix Birmingham (double-GP weekend)
·       May 26–27: Grand Prix Washington, DC
·       June 1–3: Pro Tour Dominaria in Richmond, Virginia
·       June 9–10: Grand Prix Copenhagen
·       June 15–17: Grand Prix Las Vegas (double-GP weekend)
·       June 23–24: Grand Prix Pittsburgh
·       July 7–8: Grand Prix São Paulo
·       July 21–22: Grand Prix Sacramento
·       July 28–29: Grand Prix Minneapolis
·       Aug. 3–5: Pro Tour 25th Anniversary in Minneapolis, Minnesota
·       Aug. 11–12: Grand Prix Brussels
·       Aug. 18–19: Grand Prix Los Angeles
·       Aug. 25–26: Grand Prix Prague
·       Aug. 31–Sept. 2: Grand Prix Richmond (double-GP weekend)
·       Sept. 8–9: Grand Prix Detroit
·       Sept. 15–16: Grand Prix Stockholm
·       Weekend of Sept. 23–24: 2018 Magic World Championship and Team Series Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada (exact event dates TBD)
·       Oct. 6–7: Grand Prix Montreal
·       Oct. 13–14: Grand Prix Denver
·       Oct. 27–28: Grand Prix Lille
·       Nov. 3–4: Grand Prix Atlanta
·       Nov. 9–11: Pro Tour "Spaghetti" in Atlanta
·       Nov. 17–18: Grand Prix Milwaukee
·       Dec. 8–9: Grand Prix Liverpool
·       Dec. 14–16: World Magic Cup in Barcelona, Spain
 
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:
·       April 23rd forward: Dominaria
·       May 16-23: Triple Lorwyn
·       May 23-30: TBA
·       May 30-June 6: CHK / CHK / BOK
·       June 6-13: Battle of the Planes
·       June 13-July 6: Vintage Cube
 
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
Saturday, 12:00 pm PT
Sunday, 8:00 am PT
Sunday, 10:00 am PT
Sunday, noon PT

 
Opinion Section:  Battlebond
Wizards is launching a new product called Battlebond. I think this is a paper-only product. I don’t know. The set is supposed to launch in four weeks. The prerelease is in three weeks. Here’s what we know so far.
 
Battlebond Is Switching Things Up for Limited 2HG
Battlebond previews start in earnest on May 21, but we'll have some bits of information about this innovative set here and there leading up to that date. One of those bits is today!

Battlebond is going to have a slightly different alignment for Sealed and Limited Two-Headed Giant play. Sealed 2HG has typically used eight packs and Draft has typically used six packs. That's changing with Battlebond, where Sealed will use six packs and Draft will use four packs. Gavin Verhey will be back to explain more in May.
 
And- from the Battlebond products page
 
Welcome to Battlebond, where competitors battle in pairs. Recruit a trusted partner and fight shoulder-to-shoulder, hand-in-hand, or back-to-back for glory and the roar of the crowd! Forge an unbreakable bond with your combat companion and claim your place in the pantheon of champions!
 
Wizards has also told us that the set is sports themed.
 
We have seen some spoilers, including a new set of dual lands that come into play tapped unless you have two or more opponents. That is, presumably, one of the mechanics in the set. 
 
Boosters will be $3.99. We know that.
 
Right now, that’s all we know about the set. My local game store had to sanction the prerelease weeks ago. We sanctioned it as a 2HG event, but that was a pure guess at that point.   (Glad we were right about that – but we should not have had to guess.) 
 
We should have posters up already, and info on our website weeks ago, but we didn’t get artwork, logos – the Battlebond banners didn’t appear on the WPN resources page until last week. Worse yet, we have to decide what product to use for 2HG events in Battlebond. Wizards is recommending giving out fewer packs than at any previous prerelease. Why? No idea. Someone might explain at some future date, but we need to get the posters up now. What do we say to players that really want the new cards – you get fewer, but it will be cheaper? That’s not going to impress our regulars – and if it does, how do we go back to normal amounts for future prereleases.
 
This is a major failure on Wizards behalf. Normally, prereleases area big deal. This time around, I recommended that the store consider canceling the event. This seems like the sort of thing that may well fail to fire. It would succeed if we hyped it, but I have no idea how to do that without risking over-promising or being just plain wrong. Hyping this would risk the store’s credibility – and for what. Wizards hasn’t told us.
 
Wizards, I know your financials are bad this quarter, and you have to get product out there fast, but that is no excuse not to do some basic prep work. This roll-out is bad. I hope the set can survive it.
 
Cutting Edge Tech
Standard: We have results from Dominaria Standard! You can find decklists from the Standard portion of an SCG Teams Open here, and the Standard Classic here.   Interesting. 

Modern: Another week, another new archetype for Modern.   Or not – Scapeshift had been here before.
 

Legacy
: SCG ran a teams format event, meaning one player playing Standard, the second playing Modern and the third playing a Legacy deck. This can create some strange results: a player could conceivably be carried through the event if his opponents win all their matches, but this is unlikely. The winning team fielded a classic archetype – a cross between Delver and what used to be called Canadian Threshold. 
 

Vintage: The Team Vintage Super Team is back, with team Vintage play. But this week I’m featuring a another Vintage Challenge deck. So much good stuff in this build.

 
 
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 mixed this week, but beginning to settle down. The Standard format is evolving , to form, but we can probably expect more changes.  
 

Standard Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$9.04
$10.14
($1.10)
-11%
$10.98
$16.68
($5.70)
-34%
$17.03
$18.08
($1.05)
-6%
$4.68
$6.14
($1.46)
-24%
$11.62
$8.49
$3.13
37%
$10.18
$12.66
($2.48)
-20%
$22.08
$13.88
$8.20
59%
$11.80
$8.63
$3.17
37%
$33.12
$31.64
$1.48
5%
$14.54
$21.57
($7.03)
-33%
$21.59
$23.43
($1.84)
-8%
$5.99
$6.45
($0.46)
-7%
$4.35
$6.92
($2.57)
-37%
$8.63
$9.46
($0.83)
-9%
$14.65
$17.83
($3.18)
-18%
$7.74
$7.91
($0.17)
-2%
$18.00
$13.67
$4.33
32%
$14.13
$17.38
($3.25)
-19%
$39.87
$30.94
$8.93
29%

Modern staples:  Modern prices fell again this week, but we are starting to see some rebounds. People always sell off older sets to buy new cards when a new set hits, but prices always rebound.
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$16.63
$16.94
($0.31)
-2%
$30.11
$27.80
$2.31
8%
$18.17
$16.29
$1.88
12%
$19.77
$23.15
($3.38)
-15%
$22.09
$19.49
$2.60
13%
$39.43
$51.59
($12.16)
-24%
$25.11
$25.90
($0.79)
-3%
$15.75
$21.15
($5.40)
-26%
$47.58
$47.68
($0.10)
0%
$38.18
$42.68
($4.50)
-11%
$26.77
$28.55
($1.78)
-6%
$16.67
$15.24
$1.43
9%
$51.63
$47.49
$4.14
9%
$35.42
$39.27
($3.85)
-10%
$60.36
$61.96
($1.60)
-3%
$21.32
$20.96
$0.36
2%
$20.36
$20.66
($0.30)
-1%
$23.95
$27.70
($3.75)
-14%
$21.47
$24.43
($2.96)
-12%

Legacy and Vintage: Legacy and Vintage continue to drop. 
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$26.69
$31.50
($4.81)
-15%
$25.11
$25.83
($0.72)
-3%
$14.69
$15.29
($0.60)
-4%
$20.13
$19.91
$0.22
1%
$14.32
$16.28
($1.96)
-12%
$32.46
$32.69
($0.23)
-1%
$37.02
$38.91
($1.89)
-5%
$11.03
$12.99
($1.96)
-15%
$34.90
$37.52
($2.62)
-7%
$28.33
$29.55
($1.22)
-4%
$10.67
$14.08
($3.41)
-24%
$79.60
$81.04
($1.44)
-2%
$23.67
$21.14
$2.53
12%
$14.00
$13.83
$0.17
1%
$29.23
$33.06
($3.83)
-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).   
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Aether Revolt
$135.47
$117.83
$17.64
15%
Amonkhet
$85.24
$85.88
($0.64)
-1%
Dominaria
$106.56
$118.16
($11.60)
- 10%
Ixalan
$89.58
$92.19
($2.61)
-3%
Hour of Devastation
$50.13
$51.13
($1.00)
-2%
Kaladesh
$90.26
$94.02
($3.76)
-4%
Rivals of Ixalan
$85.18
$84.81
$0.37
0%
Treasure Chest
$2.25
$2.35
($0.10)
-4%
Dominaria Booster
$3.28
$3.45
($0.17)
-5%

 
 
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 has shrunk to 50 cards this week. That’s the smallest list in a long while.
 

Name
Set
Rarity
Price
True-Name Nemesis
PZ1
Mythic Rare
$ 79.82
True-Name Nemesis
C13
Rare
$ 79.60
Black Lotus
1E
Rare
$ 71.93
Mox Opal
MM2
Mythic Rare
$ 65.15
Mox Opal
SOM
Mythic Rare
$ 60.45
Mox Opal
MS2
Bonus
$ 60.36
Liliana of the Veil
MM3
Mythic Rare
$ 57.13
Liliana of the Veil
ISD
Mythic Rare
$ 51.63
Horizon Canopy
EXP
Mythic Rare
$ 50.34
Force of Will
MED
Rare
$ 49.60
Horizon Canopy
FUT
Rare
$ 49.56
Horizon Canopy
IMA
Rare
$ 47.58
Mox Diamond
TPR
Mythic Rare
$ 42.41
Engineered Explosives
MMA
Rare
$ 42.20
Engineered Explosives
MS2
Bonus
$ 41.00
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
EMA
Mythic Rare
$ 40.75
Force of Will
EMA
Mythic Rare
$ 40.60
Wasteland
TPR
Rare
$ 40.55
Walking Ballista
AER
Rare
$ 39.87
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
A25
Mythic Rare
$ 39.66
Force of Will
VMA
Rare
$ 39.65
Engineered Explosives
5DN
Rare
$ 39.43
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
VMA
Mythic Rare
$ 38.73
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
WWK
Mythic Rare
$ 38.18
Dark Depths
V16
Mythic Rare
$ 37.65
Mox Sapphire
1E
Rare
$ 37.23
Force of Will
MS3
Special
$ 37.02
Unmask
V16
Mythic Rare
$ 36.34
Liliana, the Last Hope
EMN
Mythic Rare
$ 35.42
Wasteland
TE
Uncommon
$ 34.93
Misdirection
MM
Rare
$ 34.90
Ancestral Recall
1E
Rare
$ 33.60
Mox Emerald
1E
Rare
$ 33.19
Karn, Scion of Urza
DAR
Mythic Rare
$ 33.12
Exploration
UZ
Rare
$ 32.46
Wasteland
EXP
Mythic Rare
$ 32.35
Mox Ruby
1E
Rare
$ 32.23
City of Traitors
EX
Rare
$ 30.51
Underground Sea
ME4
Rare
$ 30.50
Mox Jet
1E
Rare
$ 30.27
Cavern of Souls
MM3
Mythic Rare
$ 30.15
Cavern of Souls
AVR
Rare
$ 30.11
Underground Sea
ME2
Rare
$ 29.52
Wasteland
EMA
Rare
$ 29.23
Show and Tell
UZ
Rare
$ 28.33
Ensnaring Bridge
7E
Rare
$ 28.27
Ensnaring Bridge
MS2
Bonus
$ 27.89
Karn Liberated
MM2
Mythic Rare
$ 27.66
Karn Liberated
NPH
Mythic Rare
$ 26.77
Black Lotus
VMA
Bonus
$ 26.69
Gorilla Shaman
ALL
Common
$ 26.47
Surgical Extraction
NPH
Rare
$ 26.22
Mox Diamond
ST
Rare
$ 25.68
Ensnaring Bridge
A25
Mythic Rare
$ 25.63
Ensnaring Bridge
ST
Rare
$ 25.43
Ensnaring Bridge
8ED
Rare
$ 25.11
City of Traitors
TPR
Rare
$ 25.11

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 $ 19,070. That’s down another $480 from last week. The Modern crash continues, and Vintage is following.
 
In Closing
Guilty pleasures this week: Matt Sperling’s Sick of It – Dominaria article. I agree with nearly everything on the list (except #13.) The dry sarcasm also matched my mood pretty well this week. I also really liked BBD’s article on reforming Standard. I’m not sure his suggestions would be the right answer, but it is worth thinking about. Wizards, are you listening?. 
 
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” on MTGO 
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.