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By: JXClaytor, Joshua Claytor
May 27 2019 11:13am

State of the Program for May 24th, 2019
In the News

MOCS Champion Crowned:  Congrats to Mattia Oneto who won, the uh...2018 Magic Online Championship despite it being nearly the middle of 2019.  Mattia defeated Márcio Carvalho and Kenji Egashira on his way to the championship. Blood Moon did a lot of work for him in the finals as his Izzet Phoenix deck took out Kenji's Tron deck in the finals.  Mattia also played Azorious Aggro in Standard.  For decklists and other information check out the coverage page

Banned list Updated: 
Pauper got quite a shake up as it was announced that Daze, Gush, and Gitaxian Probe would be getting cut from the commons only format. To quote the article, these cards were removed "in order to weaken blue tempo decks without impacting the core cantrip-plus-Delver of Secrets gameplay".  The article also touched on cards that they considered to remove, and mechanics that they didn't!  Check out the full piece here.

Modern Horizons Previews: 
Modern Horizons previews started during the last day of the MOCS, you can see my thoughts on some of the cards in this week's Hot Take Corner, for the rest, point your browser here

State of Magic Online:  Some exciting things are coming to MTGO with the Modern Horizons update!  Included in this update will be the new play lobby, Modern Horizons tokens, which is a new way to pay entry, and if you buy a bundle you get some sweet addons, including an avatar of Serra the Majestic and a Flusterstorm promo.  Events are getting updated as well, as the distinction between Friendly and Competitive is ending, with a new cost (Ten tickets) and prize structure. You can see the full news here.  

Eternal Weekend:  Last Friday, Card Titan tweeted that Eternal Weekend would be happening this year from October 31st to November 3rd, in Pittsburgh, PA. 

HasCon postponed: 
The convention, which was supposed to be every two years, has been postponed, to ensure the most exciting talent, experiences, entertainment and news. 

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 MCQs each weekend, with qualifiers for limited MCQs running the days immediately prior to the MCQ.
Upcoming Events
Scheduled Downtimes
June 5th
Constructed Leagues End
July 2nd, 2019
Sealed Leagues End
July 2nd, 2019

Modern Horizons
June 6th prerelease
Next B&R Announcement
May 20, 2019
Vintage Cube
ends June 6th
Ravnica Allegiances Redemption
Ends July 10, 2019
September 2019
January, 2020
Spring, 2020
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:

Modern Horizons drafts - prerelease June 6th 
Standard MOCS Prelim - May 25, 2019
Standard MCQ - May 27, 2019
Limited MCQ - May 26, 2019

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
The Hot Take Corner

I am talking briefly about officially previewed cards from Modern Horizons this week.  I am not going to review each card, just the ones that I like.

To me Beast Within never really made sense.  Green removal should be stuff that cares about enchantments and artifacts, and the ability to kill anything felt out of flavor for me in green.  Color shifting this in to white makes a lot of sense to me, as white removal has it's drawbacks, be it the life gain from Swords to Plowshares or land fetching from Path to Exile.  This also allows a key card from Living End to maybe switch colors to a Mardu base from Jund, or even a Naya base!  Of course the best cascade spells are still Violent Outburst and Demonic Dread so maybe Jund will still be the way to go. 

I feel like Prismatic Vista is a card that could be in the Standard format in place of something like Evolving Wilds and am kinda sad that it is not in the format.  I can't see a lot of decks excited to play this as Modern is now, but something like Burn would love this if they are mono colored.  Elves should like this as well. 

Good gosh almighty, a cycle of enemy colored Canopy lands sure is nice!  These are almost strict upgrades to pain lands (you of course would run a pain land in Eldrazi decks as you need that colorless mana symbol), I am more excited about about this cycle of lands than I am about anything else in Modern Horizons previewed so far. These are going to be all over the Modern format, and I can't wait for that!

I am not sure if there is going to be an Opposition based effect in Modern Horizons, and without it, it makes Squirrel Opp impossible to play in Modern.  Does it do some neat things with Wilderness Reclamation? Sure, creating a stream of Squirrel tokens on your turn is great while you can have mana on their turn for countermagic and such.  Is squirrel aggro possibly a thing?  Probably not, but players are gonna love this I think.  Will either of them see Modern play?  I think Squirrel Nest will have a greater chance than Deep Forest Hermit, but without Opposition, it is marginal at best. 

Sneak Attack but for Planeswalkers seems safe, but it also seems like it has the chance to be incredibly broken as more and more Planeswalkers are printed.  People have pointed out the interaction with this, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, and Cloudstone Curio (see more in Around the Web) so the potential is already there to do silly things. 

People point at these cards and see answers to Splinter Twin and are calling for its unbanning, and those people are arguing in bad faith and just want more games of Magic.  I miss Splinter Twin too, but these cards, while fine aren't reason enough to unban the powerful combo engine.  Force of Despair just makes people play around things differently, Force of Negation is a fair version of Force of Will and I think is going to be a wonderful addition to Modern.  Force of Vigor would answer it very well as well, and possibly case the archetype to shift back to Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker like it already has but even with these cards, Splinter Twin would still be more powerful than what should be allowed in Modern. 

Yes, I say this fully knowing that there is a turn one kill combo in the format, and that other decks can kill on turn three.  The consistency of Twin would break up a lot of what makes Modern great I feel. 

A better body than Magus of the Bazaar this flying 3/4 gives Dredge a back up beatdown plan (well strengthens one with Bloodghast and Prized Amalgam).  The stapled on single use of Bazaar of Baghdad can allow for some truly explosive, though a bit more far, turns. I am excited to see where this card goes! 

Seemingly made for decks like Soul Sisters, this is an upgrade to Ranger of Eos.  While you are only getting one creature with it's enter the battlefield ability, you get a sweet sac effect to combat stuff like Storm.  I can't wait to respond to a lot of rituals getting cast with this ability! 

I am super glad that this play on Mother of Runes isn't a human.  The Human deck is strong as it stands and will continue to get great new toys in each new set, but something like this won't typically go in there, but does make Death and Taxes a little bit stronger as this is a much needed effect for that deck. 

Astral Drift is a fixed version of Astral Slide that doesn't trigger off of the opponent's cycling.  In Onslaught Block it was considering more powerful because every deck cycled, but this, more so than Slide will encourage players to truly build around it.  Could this give Approach of the Second Sun a new home in Modern with it's cycling shell from past Standard?  Probably not, but this and morph creatures are still pretty powerful! 

Reprints I am excited to see enter Modern:

Altar of Dementia
Crypt Rats
Fact or Fiction
Goblin Matron
Lava Dart
Spore Frog

Cutting Edge Tech

StandardCommand the Dreadhorde has started to see a lot of play in Standard recently.  Playing like a Golgari Explore deck, this deck can ride the life gain from Wildgrowth Walker in to truly gamebreaking Commands that just overwhelm your opponent.

Karn, the Great Creator continues to show up in Modern, this week we're showing off a Mono Red Prison deck where he really shines!  Make sure to be aware of Mycosynth Lattice, which Karn can get with his minus ability.  Have an answer to that, or be locked out of the game! 

Dreadhorde Arcanist has found a home in this Izzet Wizards deck.  Being able to attack, replay spells and keep up the pressure is a really nice bit of reach for this deck to have! 

Vintage:  Here is a storm list with a card that Vintage players were super hyped for when it was spoiled. Bolas's Citadel allows you to play cards off the top of the deck at the cost of life, which should help you in case you fizzle with the combo, and can also serve as a kill condition with the activated ability if things get dire! 

Winner's Circle

The Winner's Circle is where I will recognize winners of the past events on MTGO.

I've already hit the MOCS Champion, so let's start off with the past weekend's Challenge events and MCQ!  Links in the description will go to the decklists for the event. 

Sealed WAR MCQfloatius qualified for the MC with a 2-1 victory over Dot11.  Also qualfying in another MCQ was bistromathtician
Pauper Challenge:  cha21 won 2-0 over Modern_Monkey.  cha11 won with UR Delver
Legacy Challenge:  Playing Affinity (I guess that's what we're calling it, but it was mono artifact beatdown), Antarctica won 2-0 over Alexeylvanov and their Dredge deck.
Vintage Challenge:  Wordy333 took Karn, the Great Creator to a win in this week's Vintage Challenge.  Two different Mishra's Workshop decks met in the finals. 
Modern Challenge:  phizzle and their UW Control deck beat eXavie and their Izzet Phoenix deck 2-1.

Around the Web

MTGOTraders YouTube:  Did you know that MTGOTraders.com has a YouTube page with videos added Monday, Wednesday and Friday?  Well if not, now you do, and you can find it here

Monday:  Monday SaffronOlive wrote about Disorganized Play and the Magic Pro League.  A lot of criticism, but it comes from a very good place. 

:  While it was published last Friday, it caught my attention on Tuesday, so I am going to count it.  Shaheen Soorani wrote about what competitive Magic means for him. I thought it was a well a thought out piece. 

Wednesday:  Someone on the MTGLegacy sub on reddit opened up a discussion for Planebound Accomplice and how best to break it.  Infinite Walker activations is a thing that can be achieved, and you can find out how here

Thursday:  GoodGamery.com is a Magic humor site, and on Thursday, they published a list of new MPL members, to play off the amount of turnover in the program. You can check out the list here, but I think my favorite to win is Seth Garfield.  There is a little bit of profanity used for comedic effect, so just be aware of that.

Also on Thursday, Grzegorz Kowalski talked about making a deck choice for the first week of the MPL and how Dimir Control came to be the choice.  Interesting look at the thought process of picking decks goes on here

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 a decade and a half now, and have never been overcharged or disappointed.
Standard Staples: I have no idea why Kaya is so high, but she's great and she is, I suspect it's because of the effect Arena has had on new sets being opened on MTGO.  I removed the Planeswalker deck cards because well, none are in stock and it's not like those cards are seeing play in the Standard format. Liliana is probably dropping off next week. 

Standard Cards Price Last Week Change % Change
Arclight Phoenix $38.73 $30.48 $8.25 27%
Assassin's Trophy $5.95 $5.79 $0.16 3%
Teferi, Time Raveler $15.16 $17.96 ($2.80) -16%
Hydroid Krasis $29.49 $25.64 $3.85 15%
Kaya, Orzhov Usurper $25.11 $28.52 ($3.41) -12%
Prime Speaker Vannifer $7.65 $8.37 ($0.72) -9%
Seraph of the Scales $7.89 $8.31 ($0.42) -5%
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria $9.05 $12.65 ($3.60) -28%
Firesong and Sunspeaker $5.06 $5.06 $0.00 0%
Vraska, Golgari Queen $8.66 5.7 $2.96 52%
Ral, Izzet Viceroy $5.05 5.28 ($0.23) -4%
Divine Visitation $5.22 5 $0.22 4%
Nexus of Fate $7.89 9.34 ($1.45) -16%
Rekindling Phoenix $3.61 6.48 ($2.87) -44%
Finale of Devastation $5.16 New    
Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God $5.35 New    
God-Eternal Kefnet $9.20 12.31 ($3.11) -25%
Karn, the Great Creator $7.80 9.96 ($2.16) -22%
Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge $6.83 6.88 ($0.05) -1%
Finale of Promise $9.58 6.32 $3.26 52%
Gideon Blackblade $5.13 5.88 ($0.75) -13%
Liliana, Dreadhorde General $4.66 5.16 ($0.50) -10%
Eternal staples:  Prices seem to be lowering across Eternal formats. Some if has to do with Daze being banned. One could probably attribute some of the changes to the new tournament announcements that we got in the State of Magic Online article. Most of it could be because Modern testing is out of favor right now as we wait for Modern Horizons.  Look, I barely passed the two economics courses I took in college, and that was dang near a decade ago.  I don't know why.  I did expand the table a bit to add a few more cards. 

Eternal Format Cards Price Last Week Change % Change
Back to Basics $14.27 $16.28 ($2.01) -12%
Cavern of Souls $17.73 $22.57 ($4.84) -21%
Chalice of the Void $25.02 $29.20 ($4.18) -14%
City of Traitors $26.49 $25.79 $0.70 3%
Daze $9.31 $10.61 ($1.30) -12%
Engineered Explosives $21.72 $26.97 ($5.25) -19%
Ensnaring Bridge $24.48 $25.24 ($0.76) -3%
Force of Will $20.15 $22.35 ($2.20) -10%
Gemstone Mine $14.43 $15.35 ($0.92) -6%
Horizon Canopy $29.81 $37.79 ($7.98) -21%
Jace, the Mind Sculptor $47.46 $51.20 ($3.74) -7%
Karn Liberated $25.33 $27.03 ($1.70) -6%
Liliana of the Veil $30.19 $31.77 ($1.58) -5%
Liliana, the Last Hope $19.00 $26.59 ($7.59) -29%
Auriok Champion $12.26 New $12.26  
Mox Opal $30.50 $37.01 ($6.51) -18%
Scalding Tarn $17.77 $17.78 ($0.01) 0%
Surgical Extraction $39.10 $40.40 ($1.30) -3%
True-Name Nemesis $62.88 $69.37 ($6.49) -9%
Underground Sea $8.54 $7.57 $0.97 13%
Wasteland $14.56 $14.96 ($0.40) -3%
Mishra's Bauble $11.13 New
Snapcaster Mage $10.51 New
Trinisphere $16.64 New
Mox Diamond $11.56 New

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).  This is being kept as a small tribute to Pete!

Complete Set Price Last Week Change % Change
Core Set 2019 $100.50 $103.45 ($2.95) -3%
Dominaria $32.55 $36.25 ($3.70) -10%
Guilds of Ravnica $123.24 $114.77 $8.47 7%
Ixalan $20.00 $20.18 ($0.18) -1%
Ravnica Allegiances $125.77 $125.00 $0.77 1%
Rivals of Ixalan $21.84 $24.43 ($2.59) -11%
Treasure Chest $2.34 $2.25 $0.09 4%
War of the Spark Booster $3.19 $3.28 ($0.09) -3%
War of the Spark $129.69 $125.59 $4.10 3%

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 interesting, at the least. This is interesting to me because a lot of these cards have been reprinted more than once, and they are still commanding a high price.

Name Set Rarity Price
Black Lotus 1E Rare 251.28
Mox Sapphire 1E Rare 142.64
Mox Emerald 1E Rare 99.01
Mox Ruby 1E Rare 96.91
Ancestral Recall 1E Rare 86
Mox Jet 1E Rare 80.6
Mox Pearl 1E Rare 68.95
Time Walk 1E Rare 67.4
True-Name Nemesis PZ1 Mythic Rare 62.88
Jace, the Mind Sculptor A25 Mythic Rare 54.38
Lord Windgrace PZ2 Mythic Rare 50.75
Karn Liberated UBT Mythic Rare 49.49
Jace, the Mind Sculptor EMA Mythic Rare 48.47
Jace, the Mind Sculptor WWK Mythic Rare 48.17
Jace, the Mind Sculptor VMA Mythic Rare 47.46
Mycosynth Lattice DST Rare 46.8
True-Name Nemesis C13 Rare 46.39
Force of Will MED Rare 43.93
Liliana of the Veil UBT Mythic Rare 40.36
Liliana of the Veil UMA Mythic Rare 40.3
Surgical Extraction NPH Rare 39.71
Surgical Extraction MM2 Rare 39.1
Liliana of the Veil MM3 Mythic Rare 38.99
Arclight Phoenix GRN Mythic Rare 38.73
Dark Depths V16 Mythic Rare 37.28
Timetwister 1E Rare 37.19
Engineered Explosives UBT Mythic Rare 35.46
Mox Opal MM2 Mythic Rare 34.99
Unmask V16 Mythic Rare 34.15
Aminatou, the Fateshifter PZ2 Mythic Rare 33.88
Horizon Canopy EXP Mythic Rare 30.98
Mox Opal SOM Mythic Rare 30.86
Mox Opal MS2 Bonus 30.5
Liliana of the Veil ISD Mythic Rare 30.19
Karn Liberated UMA Mythic Rare 30.1
Horizon Canopy IMA Rare 29.81
Hydroid Krasis RNA Mythic Rare 29.49
Kaya, Orzhov Usurper MS4 Mythic Rare 28.79
Karn Liberated NPH Mythic Rare 27.53
Ensnaring Bridge MS2 Bonus 27.45
Dark Depths UBT Mythic Rare 27.39
Liliana, the Last Hope MS4 Mythic Rare 26.59
City of Traitors EX Rare 26.49
Chalice of the Void MMA Rare 26.29
Ensnaring Bridge 7E Rare 26.02
Ensnaring Bridge A25 Mythic Rare 26
Ensnaring Bridge 8ED Rare 25.73
Chalice of the Void A25 Mythic Rare 25.57
Chalice of the Void MS2 Bonus 25.56
Karn Liberated MM2 Mythic Rare 25.33
Kaya, Orzhov Usurper RNA Mythic Rare 25.11
Chalice of the Void MRD Rare 25.02
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 a number that I cannot figure out still. I have actually asked Pete to do this for me, because Open Office is weird, and I have no idea what I am doing, and I am pretty close to just being a dog in a labcoat.

Nevermind, ignore all of that, Pete got it done for me, because he is just the dang best. The big number this week is $14,248.64.  That is down 334 from two weeks ago. 
In Closing

Prices were gathered at 8pm EST Thursday, and they didn't seem to take nearly as long as they did last week!  The bulk of the article was also written on Thursday, spending 8 hours between research, writing, and pricing.  With that said, I am going to go relax.  I'm not sure with what, but I am sure it will be beating my head against the Arena ladder some more! 

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