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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
May 17 2013 2:41pm
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Hammie’s The State of the Program for May 10th

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

In the News this Week:

Dragon’s Maze Release Events Firing Now: The prerelease is over. The release events are up and running. They include booster daft queues, 16 player Sealed Deck (2 DGM, 2 GTC, 2 RTR), and – by the time you read this – Sealed events with Top 8 drafts and 64 players Premier Draft events.   Details here.
 
Modern Masters to Arrive Online on June 14th: Wizards just updated the online event calendar to include Modern Masters. No info on release events, if any, yet. However, Chris (WotC_K) responded in this forum thread about why there was no info on release events with “we like to finish one release before marketing the next.” Sounds promising. Stay tuned.
 
You Make the Card Enters Elimination Rounds: The You Make the Card community project has entered the elimination rounds. Wizards culled the field, and left us with the eight “best” submissions. These paired off in an set of elimination votes. As I write this, no winners have been declared, but that may soon change. Details, and the first round of elimination votes, here.  
 
Pro Tour Dragon’s Maze is On: It will be running as you read this. Except, of course, for those of you who read this in the future. Hello future people.
 
Guilds in Ravinca Block Drafts: Neale Talbot created this excellent graphic to show which color options tie to which guilds in later packs. For example, if you draft RWU in Dragon’s Maze, you will only have the Boros guild to choose from in Gatecrash, but in the Return the Ravnica pack you can select both Azorious and Izzet cards – all in addition to mono-colored cards in those colors, of course. Neale’s article is here.  
 
 
 
HammyBot: Still going strong! HammyBot was created to sell the late Erik Friborg’s MTGO collection to raise money for his widow and son. HammyBot is a great way to get cards while supporting the family of someone who supported the community. Here’s an update on the Bot, plus a buy recommendation for a card on HammyBot.
 
            Cards left on HammyBot: 26,519
TIX raised so far: 5,912
            Cool HammyBot card of the week: Mana Drain. Vintage is coming!
 

Opinion Section: The Slivers Controversy

M14 will have Slivers – at least, cards named Slivers.  A lot of people have been talking about this. A lot of the talk has been negative. People are not happy about the return. They like slivers, but these are different. The art is different. The way slivers work is different. The feel is different. People don’t like change, but this is more than just change. 
 
This may seem like piling on, but let’s look at the issues, starting with the art. Here are some classic slivers.   Note that all the slivers have wedge shaped heads, one are with a big claw, tails – but no faces.   Slivers may also have wings or stingers, but they always used to have the wedge head, the big talon and tails. That’s it. For example:

 
 
In comparison, here is the art spoiled so far.  Do these look like slivers, or do they look like early concept drawings for a new Predator movie?

 
 
I have a problem with the art. I played a lot of Slivers. I played Slivers back when Christian Luhrs rode Counter Slivers to a first after Swiss finish at Pro Tour Chicago. Back then, Slivers were good, and they had a distinct feel and look. The look – well, see above. As for the feel – I address that below. Before leaving the art, though, I have to raise one more thought. Wizards fired the artistic / flavor director for Magic a few months ago, IIRC. I wonder if this is related to the Slivers malfunction.
 
The second big change is in how Slivers work. All the old slivers read “all slivers gain/have…”   The new slivers read “slivers you control have/get…” This is not at all the same thing. Back in the day, the Slivers mirror match was intensely convoluted.   Any attempt to develop your board might end up adding your opponent – and the abilities of Acidic Sliver and Hibernation Sliver let you remove your slivers from the battlefield at instant speed. This made for some really complex, and fascinating, board states. Watching Counter Slivers mirror matches was fun. (Playing them was not, but it was a real test of your skills.) With the M14 Slivers, all of that complexity is lost. Playing, or not playing, one of your slivers has no effect on your opponent’s slivers. 
 
Back in the day, Slivers were a great creature type because they were pushed.  Their costs were fairly low, compared to what they quickly became.   One reason that they could be undercosted was that the abilities affected your opponent’s slivers – and that was a disadvantage. By removing that disadvantage, Wizards is removing the excuse for undercosting Slivers. Unless Wizards just wants to make them broken (and from the ones spoiled so far, they do not), Slivers will have to cost more than comparable creatures.   Sliver will be like Zendikar Allies – and allies was never a competitive deck, much less a format defining staple like Counter Slivers was back in the day.   
 
From everything I have seen so far, it seems unlikely that Wizards has pushed Slivers enough to be a competitive deck, especially in wider formats like Modern. If they have, however, it may create a different problem – at least in paper. If slivers is a thing in Modern, it will almost certainly involve Sinew Sliver and so forth – old, highly cost effective slivers that affect all slivers. This will create confusion, as players will need to track which slivers pump all slivers, and which only pump their own slivers. As a paper judge, I am not looking forward to the judge calls because players got confused about this. That’s a minor concern – especially for the MTGO only crowd – but just one more reason I am unhappy about the new “slivers.”
 

Cutting Edge Tech: 

Standard:  We had a number of Standard events, both online and in the paper world.  The old familiar archetypes – Jund, Junk Rites, Gruul Aggro, Bant Auras and UWR Flash are all still doing well. We have also seen some new archetypes appearing. Prime Speaker Bant decks have made a couple Top 8s recently, including here
 
 
Return to Ravnica Block: A Pro Tour in the format is happening right now.   That said, we did have a Block Premier last weekend, and people played with DGM cards. Here’s the winning deck. (Note: I am impressed with anyone that can get three copies of a chase Mythic – Ral Zarek – on the day the set goes on sale.)
 
 
Modern: We had a Modern GP last week. Sam Pardee took down GP Portland with Melira Pod. The Top 8 saw two more Melira Pod decks, two Affinity decks, two Scapeshift decks and a RWU control deck. That sounds like a solved format, but if you look at the Top 16 or Top 32, you see a lot more variety, from Craig Wescoe’s WB Tokens to Finkel’s Storm to PSulli’s Zoo to a Living End deck to an actual Star Spangled Slaughter update.   Details are here. Star Spangled Slaughter was a RWU Lightning Angel control deck that Ingrid played at GP Vegas back about 2001. I can’t resist featuring something that retro.
 
 
Legacy: Nothing much this week. StarCityGames held a sealed event instead of the more typical Legacy event on Sunday. A few Legacy Dailies fired, and I found one new deck with a good finish. See what you think.
 
 
Classic: Classic has disappeared, again, after firing one event. In other Classic news, registration for the fourth (and final) ClassicQuarter Invitational Qualifier ends tonight at midnight. Details here.
 

Card Prices:  

Notes: All my prices come from MTGOTraders.com. For cards that are available in multiple sets, I am quoting the most recent set’s price. Thus, the price I’m quoting for Garruk Relentless is from M13. These cards are also available from the MTGOTraders Bots,  so check out mtgotradersbot, mtgotradersbot2,mtgotradersbot3, mtgotradersbot4, mtgotradersbot5, CardCaddy and CardWareHouse. These Bots often have the cards in stock even when the online store shows as out. Now, on to prices.
 
I have added the top 4 Dragon’s Maze cards to the table. The big kahuna is Voice of Resurgence. Guess how many I have opened? The biggest loser is Falkenrath Aristocrat, since Warped Physique blows it out.
 

Standard & Block Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$28.14
n/a
n/a
n/a
$15.12
n/a
n/a
n/a
$8.05
n/a
n/a
n/a
$6.31
n/a
n/a
n/a
$39.77
$40.79
($1.02)
-3%
$32.99
$30.73
$2.26
7%
$11.94
$14.28
($2.34)
-16%
$26.99
$26.88
$0.11
0%
$11.10
$13.25
($2.15)
-16%
$17.98
$22.75
($4.77)
-21%
$13.13
$13.32
($0.19)
-1%
$14.58
$18.48
($3.90)
-21%
$16.94
$16.94
$0.00
0%
$14.68
$14.28
$0.40
3%
$17.41
$16.80
$0.61
4%
$20.76
$23.66
($2.90)
-12%
$14.61
$17.08
($2.47)
-14%
$32.46
$36.49
($4.03)
-11%
$6.23
$5.36
$0.87
16%
$6.93
$6.95
($0.02)
0%
$9.30
$11.05
($1.75)
-16%
$6.21
$6.21
$0.00
0%
$13.28
$14.27
($0.99)
-7%
$17.52
$20.03
($2.51)
-13%
$5.25
$6.39
($1.14)
-18%
$13.55
$13.39
$0.16
1%
$8.72
$10.74
($2.02)
-19%
$15.79
$14.23
$1.56
11%
$13.35
$15.84
($2.49)
-16%

Modern prices are falling this week as well, pretty much across the board. The only bump from the Modern GP may be to Affinity. Ravager is up. 
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$60.76
$63.33
($2.57)
-4%
$24.52
$27.09
($2.57)
-9%
$10.26
$10.29
($0.03)
0%
$14.67
$16.09
($1.42)
-9%
$10.82
$11.54
($0.72)
-6%
$17.12
$17.12
$0.00
0%
$21.55
$22.50
($0.95)
-4%
$15.66
$15.66
$0.00
0%
$16.13
$16.13
$0.00
0%
$19.32
$20.21
($0.89)
-4%
$18.22
$18.91
($0.69)
-4%
$11.91
$11.91
$0.00
0%
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
$15.40
$15.40
$0.00
0%
$14.57
$15.18
($0.61)
-4%
$5.81
$5.81
$0.00
0%
$3.97
$4.05
($0.08)
-2%
$8.10
$8.10
$0.00
0%
$25.87
$25.87
$0.00
0%
$10.39
$11.44
($1.05)
-9%
$27.73
$28.48
($0.75)
-3%
$11.10
$11.70
($0.60)
-5%
$15.07
$15.07
$0.00
0%
$28.33
$28.98
($0.65)
-2%
$7.93
$7.18
$0.75
10%
$7.86
$9.00
($1.14)
-13%
$9.87
$9.64
$0.23
2%
$5.50
$5.50
$0.00
0%

Legacy and Classic are pretty stable. Masques block rares are up. Probably because no one can spell “Masques.” 
 

Legacy / Classic Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$134.94
$134.94
$0.00
0%
$101.00
$101.00
$0.00
0%
Vampiric Tutor
$32.08
$30.26
$1.82
6%
$39.97
$37.13
$2.84
8%
$57.33
$57.33
$0.00
0%
$61.73
$63.80
($2.07)
-3%
$22.69
$22.69
$0.00
0%
$31.99
$31.99
$0.00
0%
$25.14
$23.94
$1.20
5%
$18.63
$18.63
$0.00
0%
$63.67
$60.46
$3.21
5%
$12.53
$12.53
$0.00
0%
$16.43
$15.49
$0.94
6%
$21.64
$21.64
$0.00
0%
$14.19
$14.19
$0.00
0%
$43.19
$43.19
$0.00
0%
$25.93
$25.93
$0.00
0%
$24.55
$25.12
($0.57)
-2%
$15.76
$15.76
$0.00
0%
$45.84
$41.43
$4.41
11%
$21.80
$26.10
($4.30)
-16%
$75.94
$75.94
$0.00
0%
$45.33
$45.33
$0.00
0%
$11.00
$11.00
$0.00
0%
$16.75
$16.75
$0.00
0%
$8.60
$9.18
($0.58)
-6%

Pauper prices are pretty stable again this week. Just a few minor fluctuations here and there.    
 

Pauper Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$4.44
$4.53
($0.09)
-2%
$4.04
$4.25
($0.21)
-5%
$1.42
$1.72
($0.30)
-17%
$5.91
$5.91
$0.00
0%
$2.71
$2.71
$0.00
0%
$8.14
$8.14
$0.00
0%
$3.40
$3.64
($0.24)
-7%
$11.41
$11.41
$0.00
0%
$1.38
$1.30
$0.08
6%
$4.78
$4.78
$0.00
0%
$8.22
$8.22
$0.00
0%
$3.56
$3.86
($0.30)
-8%
$4.16
$4.83
($0.67)
-14%
$2.07
$2.27
($0.20)
-9%
$3.06
$3.19
($0.13)
-4%
$3.43
$3.43
$0.00
0%
$4.97
$4.97
$0.00
0%
$2.69
$2.54
$0.15
6%
$6.48
$6.63
($0.15)
-2%
$2.20
$2.20
$0.00
0%
$0.78
$1.18
($0.40)
-34%
$2.07
$2.07
$0.00
0%
$2.44
$2.44
$0.00
0%
$2.63
$2.63
$0.00
0%

The Good Stuff:

The Good Stuff starts with a list of the non-foil, non-premium cards on MTGO that cost more than $25 each. This week, Dragon’s Maze adds Voice of Resurgence to the list, and the list has grown to almost 30 cards.   
 
 
Card
Rarity
Set
Price
Lion's Eye Diamond
R
MI
 $ 134.94
Force of Will
R
MED
 $ 101.00
Rishadan Port
R
MM
 $    75.94
Show and Tell
R
UZ
 $    63.67
Wasteland
U
TE
 $    61.73
Tarmogoyf
R
FUT
 $    60.76
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
M
WWK
 $    57.33
Tangle Wire
R
NE
 $    45.84
Misdirection
R
MM
 $    45.33
Gaea's Cradle
R
UZ
 $    43.19
Underground Sea
R
ME4
 $    39.97
Liliana of the Veil
M
ISD
 $    39.77
Underground Sea
R
ME2
 $    37.83
Geist of Saint Traft
M
ISD
 $    32.99
Sphinx's Revelation
M
RTR
 $    32.46
Vampiric Tutor
R
VI
 $    32.08
Vindicate
R
AP
 $    31.99
Karn Liberated
M
NPH
 $    28.33
Voice of Resurgence
M
DGM
 $    28.14
Mox Opal
M
SOM
 $    27.73
Tropical Island
R
ME4
 $    27.22
Bonfire of the Damned
M
AVR
 $    26.99
Tundra
R
ME4
 $    26.26
City of Traitors
R
EX
 $    25.93
Tropical Island
R
ME3
 $    25.92
Batterskull
M
NPH
 $    25.87
Bayou
R
ME3
 $    25.26
Natural Order
R
VI
 $    25.14
The big number is the retail price of a playset (4 copies) of every non-foil 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 $23,325.  That is the same number as last week, almost to the penny, even though Dragon’s Maze cards are now in the mix.
 

Weekly Highlights:

I played in a couple Prerelease events, going 4-0 and 3-1 in sealeds and 3-2 and 2-1 in drafts. That was fun. On the other hand, I tried drafting the full set at my local store and bombed. My only match win came in the 0-2 bracket. Full set draft may be trickier than I thought, but first drafts in a format when no one knows what they are doing are strange. For example, we had 4 players, including me, in Dimir. Is that insane, or is Dimir a thing?
 
PRJ
 
“one million words” on MTGO.
 

7 Comments

Here's a nice article looking by Leviathan at Fri, 05/17/2013 - 14:58
Leviathan's picture

Here's a nice article looking at the new slivers:

http://mixedknuts.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/729/

Here's my favorite editorial by CottonRhetoric at Fri, 05/17/2013 - 15:07
CottonRhetoric's picture

Here's my favorite editorial on Slivers (and it's still relevant today) http://magiclampoon.com/blog/2009/06/20/photochop-enough-already/

Sliver art WAY better - by deluxeicoff at Fri, 05/17/2013 - 17:19
deluxeicoff's picture

Sliver art WAY better - plus...slivers evolve.

Problem is not whether new by Alphi at Sat, 05/18/2013 - 02:40
Alphi's picture

Problem is not whether new art is "better", but rather with the lost identity of a beloved tribe.

"New art" I should have said by deluxeicoff at Fri, 05/17/2013 - 17:19
deluxeicoff's picture

"New art" I should have said :)

Awesome article as always by PatrykG at Sat, 05/18/2013 - 19:43
PatrykG's picture
5

I dunno that getting 3 copies of a chase mythic is impressive - I only play online so once packs were available online I bought about thirty packs for fun, and opened 3 Rals :-D No Voices, though - that's the only card I didn't get, actually, so all in all not a bad hit - lots of double rares / rare mythics - I love when that happens, not sure why/how it does tho...

I don't mind the new Slivers by KaraZorEl at Sat, 05/18/2013 - 19:49
KaraZorEl's picture

I don't mind the new Slivers necessarily- they're not really Slivers. I didn't expect them to print Crystalline Sliver, which is the best one of them all. The decision was likely made in light of standard being a "new player" format. This means that new cards aren't going to test the mental range of players who just bought their first event deck to play at an FNM.

I think I can easily say that I hate this reasoning.

Additionally, while M14 keeps getting spoiled, Modern Masters has had no spoilers at all. It's set to release in three weeks. Does Wizards want people to forget about this set, or do they want to create enough excitement around it to make people lay down two hundred dollars for a box at a store?

Disappointment all around this summer.