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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
May 23 2015 12:43pm
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State of the Program for May 22nd 2015


In the News:

Magnus Lantto Wins the 2014 MOCS Championship:   The 2014 MOCS Championship was last weekend. Magnus Lantto won, with convincing performances in all formats and a sweep in the finals. Congratulations!  Coverage is here.
MOCS Promo Announced: The June MOCS promo will be a Birds of Paradise with some sweet art. The card itself – Birds – is readily available and cheap, but the new art is decent.  
The store events promo is a Sunscorch Regent, and the store promo is a Frost Walker with the FNM artwork.
Modern Masters 2015 Release Date moved forward a day: Modern Masters 2015 will now arrive on May 28th, giving players one day to practice before the triple GP weekend. It’s not a lot of time, but it is at least something. 
Modern Festival: (repeat from last week) Wizards is throwing a Modern Festival, culminating in a tournament with a massive grand prize. Beginning June 24th, Wizards will replace the Modern Dailies with Modern Festival Prelim events. These events will be five rounds each. They will pay out in Modern Masters packs plus qualifications for the finals to players with 5-0 or 4-1 records, and all participants will receive an alternative art Eternal Witness promo card (that’s card, not avatar.) The qualification is for the Modern Festival Finals on Sunday July 5th. The prizes for that event are amazing, with 33-64th place paying out 6 Modern Masters 2015 boosters, while the winner gets a complete set of every modern legal card, plus Premium Modern Masters and Modern Masters 2015 sets. Details here.
Bug Blog Updated: Wizards has updated the Bug Blog. In addition to a couple “routine” bugs, Wizards announced a couple that seem significant. First, using undo repeatedly with Haven of the Spirit Dragon can cause a crash, so be careful.   Second, multiple attempts to spectate a game can cause a crash (and doing that deliberately is a jerk move, in addition to violating the CoC.) Third, casting Provoke on a Mogg Flunkies when it is the only creature that player controls locks the game. Once again, doing this deliberately to draw a game is a turd move and could get your account locked. The May 21st version of the Bug Blog is here.

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 and the weekly blog, while the best source for known bugs is the Known Issues List. For quick reference, here are some major upcoming events.   
Item: date and notes
·       MOCS Season 6:  runs from April 29th through May 27th 
·       MOCS Season 6 Championship: 7am Pacific, June . 
·       Dragons of Tarkir Limited Championship: Saturday, June 20th, 8am PDT
·       Dragons of Tarkir Standard Championship: Sunday, June 28th, 8am PDT 
·       Leagues (Q2 2015?) Wizards said leagues will return in 2015.
·       Modern Masters 2015: May, 28, 2015. Mirrodin through Zendikar. Details here.
·       Modern Festival: June 24th – July 5th. Details here.
·       Magic Origins: released on MTGO July 27th, prerelease should begin July 23rdor July 24th Code: ORI
·       From the Vault: Angels: October 12, 2015. Details here.

Opinion Section: Modern Masters 2015 Ins and Outs

This time next week, I will be at GP Las Vegas, checking out the paper version of Modern Masters 2015. The MTGO community will also be playing with Modern Masters 2015. I’m looking forward to it. I was tempted to write about MM2015 limited, but I am not really all that good at reading formats before I play them, so I’ll skip that. Instead, I’ll do what I'm good at – I’ll look at the financial side of MM2015. That’s also pretty interesting.
MM2015 includes cards from 8th Edition through the second Mirrodin block. That is quite a collection, both in terms of cost and power levels. When Wizards crafted the original Modern Masters, it created a fantastic limited format while putting a bunch more cards into circulation. Let’s see if they do it again. To start, I want to list all the cards that are worth more than $10 online, plus the high-priced commons and uncommons, in all of the sets in MM2015 but not in the original MMA.   It’s not a huge list. Cards that are NOT in MM2015 are in italics. We will talk about individual cards later.
Scars of Mirrodin / Mirrodin Besieged/ New Phyrexia
Gitaxian Probe
Inkmoth Nexus
Karn Liberated
Koth of the Hammer
Mox Opal
Phyrexian Obliterator
            Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
            Thrun, the Last Troll
Zendikar / Worldwake / Rise of the Eldrazi
            Celestial Colonnade
Creeping Tar Pit
Iona, Shield of Emeria
Inquisition of Kozilek
            also Jace, TMS, but he is banned.
Linvala, Keeper of Silence
            Scalding Tarn (actually, all the fetchlands)
Shards of Alara / Conflux / Alara Reborn
            Ajani Vengeant
Noble Hierarch
            Path to Exile
            Tezzeret the Seeker
Lorwyn / Mornigtide
            Cryptic Command
            Heritage Druid
            Sower of Temptation
            Thoughtseize it is in Theros.
            Vendilion Clique
Shadowmoor / Eventide
            Fulminator Mage
            Nettle Sentinel
Twilight Mire
            Wilt-Leaf Liege
Time Spiral / Planar Chaos / Future Sight
            Grove of the Burnwillows
            Horizon Canopy
            And Dark Depths but that is banned.
Ravnica, City of Guilds / Dissension / Guildpact
            Dark Confidant
            Infernal Tutor
            Spell Snare
Champions of Kamigawa / Betrayers of Kamigawa / Saviors of Kamigawa
            Azusa, Lost but Seeking
            Oboro, Palace in the Clouds
            Threads of Disloyalty
Mirrodin / Darksteel / Fifth Dawn
            Auriok Champion
            Crucible of Worlds
            Engineered Explosives
Oblivion Stone
Serum Visions
Sundering Titan
Core Sets
Archangel of Thune
Blood Moon
(Hurkyl’s Recall)
Primeval Titan
Thundermaw Hellkite
I’ll start with the one exclusion I can understand: Path to Exile. This was reprinted in MMA, event decks, Commander, etc. etc. Despite that, it is still expensive, indicating that the supply is still a bit thin. From that perspective, it could have been in MM2015 – but not when you look at the set’s mechanics. The set runs Eldrazi, and large creatures. I have already heard speculation that the Eldrazi are a trap, and that the ramp is not good enough. Including a one mana Swords to Plowshares effect would make monstrous creatures even worse. Note that the set does include Dismember as the one mana (and some pain) removal spell, but Dismember does not kill Eldrazi. 
Wizards realized it could not include Path to Exile in MM2015. To get more copies into print, it made Path an FNM foil.   I don’t know whether Wizards will prints more copies of the FNM foil Path than it would have printed if Path had been an uncommon in MM2015.   Given that stores get a lot more copies of the FNM foils nowadays, I suspect its FNM, but I have no hard data.
I also don’t completely understand why Serum Visions is a FNM foil, instead of being in MM2015. If I had to guess, I’d guess that having Serums plus Remand plus Repeal might have given blue too many cheap cantrips. Blue isn’t fun to play against when it is too consistent.   
Moving back to the top of the list, I see Batterskull – but I don’t see it in the MM2015 list. I really don’t understand this. Batterskull is super expensive, in both paper and online versions, and adding more copies to the cardpool would help.   It would have made a fine Mythic. Yes, it is busted in limited, but this set is quite artifact heavy, so people will be packing Naturalize effects. Now maybe it has been too long since I was on the receiving end of a Batterskull in limited, and maybe it is too broken for limited, but I don’t think so. Maybe Wizards is saving Batterskull for something else, like From the Vault Equipment or a MOCS or other Promo, but I’m surprised it wasn’t here.  
Moving on, cards like Gitaxian Probe was probably skipped because of the too many cantrips thing. Koth of the Hammer is not that expensive, and not that popular, so maybe he just didn’t fit.   Phyrexian Obliterator was almost certainly tossed because MM2015 is a multicolored format, and getting BBBB would probably be impossible. Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas and Thrun, the Last Troll? No idea. I guess they chose the other Tezzeret, and Thrun must have arrived at a meeting late, or stole Mark Rosewater’s parking place, or something.
One area where MM2105 seems to really fall short is in the lands. Looking over the list of expensive Modern cards, a very large percentage of them are lands. The list of Modern cards I track (see below) includes a bunch of lands, and many of those are single representatives of entire cycles. The list could easily include at least four Zendikar fetchlands, most of the man lands (e.g. Celestial Colonnade), the filter lands from Shadowmoor and the “future” lands from Future Sight. If I ran Wizards, I would have found room for half a dozen lands in the rare slot. Yes, I know the Zendikar fetchlands will be coming back in fall, with Return to Zendikar, but I sort of doubt that Celestial Colonnade will also return, and I am pretty sure Return will not include Twilight Mire. Reprinting the Shocklands helped, but the manabase is still a huge part of Modern’s cost, and that’s bad.
Moving on, Inquisition of Kozilek was just in an event deck, and Linvala, Keeper of Silence was big in Birthing Pod decks, but less popular now. I guess we can live without them now – or maybe Wizards is saving them for MM2017. Ditto Ajani Vengeant.
Moving on to Lorwyn, we see some other exceptions.   Heritage Druid and Nettle Sentinel are very expensive commons, but elves is not a theme in MM2015, so maybe they are being saved for something else, like a new Elves vs. Dwarves deck. I was surprised to see how expensive they have become, but I can understand not seeing them. What I was more surprised by was the lack of Control Magic effects in the set.  Now I can understand why you would not want to put Sower of Temptation in a set with Eldrazi, but I don’t understand leaving out Threads of Disloyalty. It’s expensive, hard to find and does not affect large creatures. Seems like a good fit for MM2015. 
Moving down the list, we next hit Wilt-Leaf Liege. It is not a big part of Modern at the moment, and not super-expensive, but it’s not in MM2015. That can also be said of Damnation, but both are popular cards. Moreover, Wilt-Leaf Liege is played in one fringe deck. That can also be said of Daybreak Coronet, but Coronet is in and Wilt-Leaf is out. That gets stranger when you note that Daybreak Coronet is almost unplayable, since the only non-rare auras are things like Pacifism, not Rancor. Clearly, Daybreak Coronet and Hurkyl’s Recall were tossed into the set to get the cards out there, but not Wilt-Leaf and Damnation. Interesting.
Coldsnap has one card that is expensive and not banned in Modern: Counterbalance. Wizards did not include Counterbalance. Good. Like every judge who wants rounds to finish on time, I hate that card.

I could continue moving backwards from here, but we are now in sets that were included in MMA. Most of the expensive cards left are either commander favorites (e.g. Azusa and Auriok Champion) not much fun in limited (e.g. Sundering Titan) or are played only in certain combo decks (e.g. Infernal Tutor and Omniscience.)   Of these all, the only one that is a Modern staple that is still hovering around $20 online, and not in MM2015, is Blood Moon.   That could stand a reprint, but the set can tolerate either Blood Moon or the Karoos (e.g. bounce lands) – not both. This time out, we get the Karoos.   
Oh, and why is Oboro, Palace in the Clouds a $10 card? I have never seen it in a decklist, and no one has ever played it against me in Commander, to the best of my knowledge.   

Cutting Edge Tech:

Standard: Last weekend’s Standard GP was in Paris. The GP had just 1,426 players – small for a European GP, but part of that was probably due to a competing US GP on the east coast. The Paris Top 8 was heavy green, plus a couple red decks.  Coverage is here.
Bant Midrange
Modern: The Modern decklist this week comes from the MOCS Championship. Magnus Lantto won. Coverage is here. Collected Company in Elves is sweet!
Pauper: I have not featured any Pauper decks for a couple weeks; mainly because I have not seen anything interesting or innovative. This week, though, I saw something that I have not featured countless times before. It’s a blue deck, featuring cheap fliers and Snap. It's new. No, not new – what’s that word? 
Same Boring ole Blue
_DissonancE_, 4-0, Pauper Daily #8273654 on 05/19/2015
4 Cloud of Faeries
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Ninja of the Deep Hours
4 Spellstutter Sprite
4 Spire Golem
20 cards

Other Spells
4 Counterspell
2 Deprive
1 Gush
2 Mana Leak
4 Ponder
4 Preordain
1 Psychic Barrier
4 Snap
22 cards
18 Island
18 cards

Ninja of the Deep Hours
Legacy: SCG will be running a Legacy Open this weekend. Last weekend, Storm took down the SCG Premier IQ. It also finished fourth, and elsewhere. Watch out for this one, it’s resurging. The first place decklist, according to the SCG website, has no sideboard but that could be an error. The fourth place Storm deck has one, if you need ideas. The Top 16 decklists are here
ANT Storm
Dustin Carriere, Winner, SCG Legacy Premier IQ
0 cards

Other Spells
4 Gitaxian Probe
1 Ad Nauseam
4 Ponder
1 Empty the Warrens
4 Rite of Flame
3 Infernal Tutor
2 Chrome Mox
4 Burning Wish
4 Cabal Therapy
2 Cabal Ritual
3 Duress
4 Brainstorm
4 Dark Ritual
4 Lotus Petal
4 Lion's Eye Diamond
48 cards
2 Misty Rainforest
2 Scalding Tarn
3 Polluted Delta
1 Badlands
2 Volcanic Island
2 Underground Sea
12 cards

Infernal Tutor
Vintage: Decklists this week come from the MOCS Championship. Magnus Lantto won. Coverage is here.

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 were mixed this week. Overall, the value of the cards on the table fell almost exactly 1%. Not much of a change.

Standard & Block Cards
Last Week
% Change

Modern staples:  Modern prices jumped this week.  People realized they needed Modern cards to play in the Modern Festival events, and the upcoming PTQ rounds. That meant they had to buy back those cards that they dumped a few weeks ago. As a result, Modern is up pretty much across the board. 

Modern Cards
Last Week
% Change

Legacy / Vintage staples: This week, the Power Nine fell again, a bit, but Vintage was slightly up overall. Legacy was generally unchanged to up, pulled by Masques block cards. Wasteland was up again, showing that making it a rare in Tempest Remastered means TMR will have pretty much zero long term effect on the price of that staple. I predict that we will see Wasteland pushing $75 by the end of the year, unless Wizards find yet another way to reprint the card.          

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 is the retail price of one of everything set currently available in the store, excluding sets that are not currently draftable or not redeemable.   DTK drafts are upping supply of those sets, but overall we are seeing very little change in set value. 

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


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 shrank a bit more this week, with all the DTK cards falling off.  Dragonlord Ojutai and Deathmist Raptor are close, but just under the $25 threshold. 

Rishadan Port
$ 154.36
Black Lotus
$ 113.36
$ 110.70
Liliana of the Veil
Mythic Rare
$ 80.51
$ 64.94
Mythic Rare
$ 62.25
Mox Sapphire
$ 58.97
$ 57.96
Show and Tell
$ 49.65
Tangle Wire
$ 47.82
$ 45.57
Force of Will
$ 44.49
Ancestral Recall
$ 41.44
Mythic Rare
$ 39.25
Mythic Rare
$ 37.64
Containment Priest
$ 36.50
Mox Opal
Mythic Rare
$ 34.92
$ 33.99
Scalding Tarn
$ 33.39
Mox Ruby
$ 32.51
Force of Will
$ 31.94
Time Walk
$ 31.92
Mox Jet
$ 29.66
True-Name Nemesis
$ 28.98
Infernal Tutor
$ 28.58
Voice of Resurgence
Mythic Rare
$ 26.98
$ 26.60
$ 26.37
Twilight Mire
$ 25.48
Vendilion Clique
$ 25.09

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 $ 22,010. Thud! That is down a full grand from where we were last week. 

Weekly Highlights:

I was in Milwaukee last weekend, judging the TCGPlayer Diamond event.  Fun event, with a quite varied metagame. Paper magic, at least for Standard, seems to be in a very good place. I suspect Modern Masters will be equally fine. With luck, I can get into a MM2015 draft tonight.
Online has not been as good. I got into one draft this week – really all I had time for, given work and prep for Vegas. The program, or my connection, was laggy and problematic. I missed my third pick in pack two, and in pack three I locked up completely. It probably took me maybe two minutes of waiting for a pick before I finally logged off and started the reboot. Two attempts and 15 minutes later, I got back on with my last ten cards autopicked and only 2:57 left on my deck construction clock. I submitted, and got the failure to submit bug, but fortunately that was apparently in error; when I logged in again I had a 40 card deck. I tried to submit a bug report, but when I tried to log in to the Wizards site, my log in attempts were rejected, and the site brought up the “create an account” screen. Since it took me three months and dozens of contacts with Wizards customer service to get at least some bits of my old account back after the last time I used that interface, I immediately shut down my browser. The risk of having my entire match history wiped out, again, is far more costly that eating the cost of that draft.        
“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, but a generous anonymous donator added some Standard cards to the bot, it includes a ton of Masters Edition and Vintage cards, as well as some nice Modern bargains.  


Exclusions by Sensei at Fri, 05/22/2015 - 13:37
Sensei's picture

Batterskull was the GP promo for a good while.

Oboro is like Pendelhaven/Karakas. "Free" in color and benefits from not getting Boiled over. I don't play Commander but couldn't you toss Oboro in a landfall deck even if you're not blue?

Wilt-Leaf Guy by one million words at Sat, 05/23/2015 - 08:07
one million words's picture

Wilt-Leaf Mage is not in MM2015, because it is not a card. Wilt-leaf Liege is both a card and in MM2015. My bad.

For some reason I keep calling itWilt-Leaf Mage. When I did the search against both the MM2015 card list, and my folder of hundreds of tournament decklists, I failed to find Wilt-Leaf Mage. Go figure.

Sorry about that.

Wilt-Leaf Mage 1GWCreature by Procrastination at Sat, 05/23/2015 - 12:45
Procrastination's picture

Wilt-Leaf Mage 1GW
Creature - Elf Wizard

If a spell or ability an opponent controls causes you to discard Wilt-Leaf Mage, exile it instead of putting it into your graveyard.

When Wilt-Leaf Mage dies, exile it.

When Wilt-Leaf Mage enters the Exile Zone, you may find a card named Wilt-Leaf Liege from outside the game and place it on the Battlefield.

FT: I would forfeit my very existence to give my people a proper sense of inclusion.



Think of it this way... by Fred1160 at Sat, 05/23/2015 - 10:45
Fred1160's picture

Be glad your moniker is One Million Words and not One Million Mistakes!
(In other words, you are entitled to screw up occasionally.)

Drafting MM2015... by Fred1160 at Sat, 05/23/2015 - 23:57
Fred1160's picture

I drafted MM2015 twice today (that was 80 bucks BTW) and I was surprised at how bad the packs were. In one pack I opened the best card in it was a non-foil Evolving Wilds. That's sad. I opened six packs in the two drafts (and I won a pack) and the accumulated cash value of the contents of those packs is approximately twenty-five bucks. A bunch of people at the store canceled their preorders. Really, I was shocked at how bad the packs were. Out of all the drafts at the store and all the packs that were opened in said drafts the store saw ONE Tarmogoyf get opened. On the plus side it was foil.
Having said that, as for draft archetypes I found that Graft + Proliferate was really good and so was the Bloodthirst deck.

Birds of Paradise Art by GainsBanding at Sun, 05/24/2015 - 01:52
GainsBanding's picture

And they still don't have the Alpha art for Birds of Paradise online. Is Mark Poole clutching that copyright to his chest or something???