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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
May 03 2013 12:07pm
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Hammie’s The State of the Program for May 3rd

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

In the News this Week:

Ham on Wry II: ZippytheSlug is once again organizing a player run event to honor the late Eric “Hamtastic” Friborg – the originator of State of the Program, and a great community activist. The event will be Classic, with no entry fee but a ton of prizes.  Details here.
 
For the really hardcore PRE fanatics, try the Hamtastic Marathon. That means playing in Eurodrive! (1v1 Modern, Single elimination) at 1200 GMT, Tribal Apocalypse (1v1 Legacy Tribal Wars, 3 (or more) rounds Swiss) at 1500 GMT, and Ham on Wry II at 1800 GMT. Additional prizes for everyone who does.
 
MTGO will Shut Down the Current Client from Downtime May 8th to noon May 10th(Repeat from Last Week) Wizards is styling this the Wide Beta Spotlight. Basically, they really, really want everyone to try the new client (a/k/a the wide beta or “Shiny” to use the R&D codename.) They have tried upselling the new client (lots of articles, etc.), featuring it (MOCS Champs, streaming the R&D event, etc. all in wide beta) and even bribing players (free Cube TIX, promo codes for special cards you can obtain only through Shiny.) So far, only 30% of MTGO users have tried it – but 70% of those who have tried it use it most of the time. The problem has been convincing the 70% that have never tried Shiny to try it. 
 
Now, Wizards is playing hardball. From the end of the downtime on May 8th to noon on May 10th, only the new client will be live. The old client will come back up on Friday, May 10th. In the interim, if you want to play MTGO, you have to try the new client. This is indeed carrot and stick – and the stick is pretty big. To make the carrot equally big, Wizards will start the prerelease a day early. This means the Dragon’s Maze prereleases will start on the 9th, but if you want to play in them, you will need to play on Shiny. 
 
Wizards is Promising a New Build before the Wide Beta Spotlight: The April 24th build of Shiny, the wide beta client, appears to have introduced a number of new bugs. Some are minor, and mainly affect appearance. Others are more significant, and many players are reporting crashes.  The forums discussing Shiny are here and here. On a more positive side, if you want to see all the bugs and problems Wizards has quashed over the six months or so, here’s the list.
 
Pack Prices will be Strained: Once again, the prize payout will be skewed. A lot more Dragon’s Maze packs will be awarded in limited than other packs, leading to the problem of drafters having a surplus of DMZ and a shortage of everything else.  That means that the price of DMZ packs will be low. That’s bad news if you play constructed.   This issue is discussed here.
 
From the Blog this Week: The blog had a number of minor stories. First, Cube is back, until May 8th. The new TNMO card is an alternative art Judge’s Familiar. (Yes, a common that is not even playable in limited...) The MTGO PTQ this weekend is Standard. Other than that, the news is the Wide Beta Spotlight, which I already discussed.
 
Auto-submit for Limited – Shiny Only: Wizards has clarified the auto-submit function in Shiny. The program will use the deck as built if 1) the deck is legal, 2) you have not submitted a deck, 3) the deck construction timer is expiring and 4) you have not edited the deck in the last 30 seconds. Clearly, this is intended to fix the problem of players that build their decks and either forget to submit them or misclick the submit tab. (I have occasionally tried to click submit but been a pixel or so off.) 
  
Major BOT Chains May Be Shutting Down May 8th through May 10th: A couple of major dealers online have discussed shutting down during the Wide Beat Spotlight. Currently (meaning as I write this – before the update on Wednesday), Shiny simply does not handle trades well enough. The crashes, bugs and problems are bad enough that most of the dealers recommend that users reinstall v3 to complete trades. Unless the upgrade fixes everything, the major traders will simply shut down until the v3 interface comes back up on May 10th. If that happens, we may have a world without BOTs for a few days. All trading will be person to person, and the BOTs will not update prices, so you will be on your own guessing value. Also, remember that if you post an offer in the marketplace on Shiny, you cannot cancel that offer, even once you have sold the cards. 
 
Information for Bug Reports: (repeat from last week) Typically, when users discuss bugs, either in a bug report or on the forums, the techies ask for details on your system / system specs. I asked what info Wizards wanted, and how to get it. Here’s the response.
 
Me: How should we report “full system specs?” 
 
WotC_K: dxdiag is best for us.   Here is how to do it: Windows Menu > Run > type: dxdiag > OK
 
After the DirectX Diagnostic Tool opens, click Save All Information and save to your computer as a .txt file. Officially, you should submit the file and a description of your problem to the bug reporting system. 
 
 To make it easier for the people in this thread, you can PM me with a short description of your issue and copy/paste the contents of the text file into the PM and I will pass it along. Just make sure you give me a description of what you are doing (in Magic Online and what other programs you are running), what the system is doing and then make sure there is a clear separation of the dxdiag. 
 
Thanks for the info, Chris.  
 
You Make the Card Update: The fourth iteration of “You Make the Card” continues. It will be a Black non-aura Enchantment.  Wizards is now accepting rules text submissions. My suggestion may or may not have been “Whenever a creature enters the battlefield, you lose 1 life and add Black to your mana pool.” Details 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: 26,504
TIX raised so far: 5,882
            Cool HammyBot card of the week:  FOIL Vendilion Clique 
 

Shiny Issues You May Want to Know About:

Personally, I am still unable to load Shiny and get it to run. So far Wizards has been unable to give me any help or advice, so most of what I reporting here is secondhand. I’ll provide the source wherever possible, but I have not been able to verify these bugs.
 
I contacted Wizards, and while they cannot verify what will be in the next build (it’s not finished, so they won’t promise what they might not be able to finish this time around), they have confirmed that there will be another build before the wide beta spotlight. That build will squish some bugs. That’s good to hear.  
 
Disabling Animate Foil Seems to Fix Some Crashes: This seems to have been the solution in a couple different threads. Foil animation is graphically intensive, so this makes some sense. Worth a try. Sample thread
 
Actually, I think that the crashes are installed mainly to keep people from overdosing on foil animation. Yup, it’s not a bug, it’s a feature.
 
 
Man, the classics just keep getting better.   That thing must be decades old.
 
Deck Editing Bug: As reported by Thumbard and others, hereIf I edit a deck in the beta and try to use it in the Tournament Practice room, it is grayed out like it is not a legal deck. It does get saved without the yellow exclamation point on the collection screen. I can log out and back in, and the deck will work fine. Does anyone else have this problem? Another user suggested a workaround: if you export and then import your changed deck then you can play it without needing to restart the client. So far, no reports of a fix to this bug.   
 
Windigo, answering the question “Is BETA CLIENT safe for Draftin/Sealed events?” in this thread.   My experience last night in an M13 Sealed was that the client crashed every single time I went to sideboard during a match, and when it restarted it it took me to the sideboard, acted like it was submitting, but then didn't actually accept my sideboard changes. That said, I otherwise did fine in the tournament.
 
So if you're really risk-averse, you should probably avoid the new client for tournaments, although if you do see a crash you should be able to close the new client and then load the old client and continue (though I have not tried that). Be careful that you don't try to close the new client from the tournament detail screen, as the client interprets that as meaning you want to drop from the tournament. (emphasis added)
 
A constructed deck can only be played in the format Shiny assigns it to, not any format in which it is legal. For example, if you have an all commons, 100 card Standard deck saved in the Standard tab, the program will not see that deck as legal in any format other than Standard, even though such a deck is, in fact, legal in most of them. According to Wizards, the work around is to create a copy of the deck in the format in which you want to play it. (This one really annoys me, because I have been working on a series of videos pitting great decks of the past against more recent decks.)
 
One Solution to Some Won’t Load Issues: From this thread. Magic Online requires two .NET components to function. First, you need .NET 4.0, followed by the NET 4.0 Client Profile. Both are necessary for MTGO to function properly. After installing, you will need to reboot your computer. Second, Magic Online uses the following ports: 7730, 7770 . Note: These are TCP, not UDP. Please make sure any firewall or security software you are using has these ports open.
 
Wacom Driver Causing Lockups: This thread describes the experiences of some users who got the Main Navigation Not Working crash because of a Wacom driver. This is similar to the problems I have, but I don’t have any of these devices. The sad part of this is that the thread is over four months old and the conflict apparently still exists.
 
Be Careful Listing Trade Offers: If you post an offer in the marketplace on Shiny, you cannot cancel that offer, even once you have sold the cards.
 

Opinion Section:  How Pessimistic Am I about Shiny?

Okay, anyone who knows me will agree that I am about as cheerful and sunny as a really grimy black hole at midnight in a sleet storm. (Yes, I know that metaphor makes no sense, but why bother to fix it? It’s not  going to help.)
 
In short, when it comes to being pessimistic, I’m a professional.
 
Despite all that, and the problems I continue to have getting Shiny to do anything, I am reasonably optimistic. I lived through the last interface upgrade.   More importantly, so did Worth and much of the MTGO crew. They also remember the problems and mistakes made. They are smart enough not to make the same mistakes again. 
 
More importantly, MTGO is now a major source of profits for Wizards and Hasbro. They are not going to screw that up if they can possibly help it. That means that Wizards can afford more programmers and spending more resources on the conversion than last time.
 
Which doesn’t mean that the transition won’t be painful. It will. We will see more things like the current can’t start game bug. That one is due to a conflict between the two platforms, and it will not be the only one. Eventually, though, we will have just one interface, and Wizards can point all their resources at it and, hopefully, make it work well.
 
That time cannot come soon enough.
 

Video of the Week:

This MJ and Andrew Cuneo discuss the new build, in the video here.   They download and start playing the new client at almost exactly 4 hours in.   Since Andrew is a programmer by trade, it is interesting to hear his take on playing Shiny for the first time. 
 

Cutting Edge Tech:

Cutting Edge Tech is taking a break this week.   The paper world had a prerelease last weekend, so no major tournaments were being played. We will have events this weekend, and those events will be played with Dragon’s Maze. Check back next week for details.
 

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.
 
Standard prices are jumping around some this week. Lots of movement, no trends.
 

Standard & Block Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$40.25
$40.31
($0.06)
0%
$25.90
$28.12
($2.22)
-8%
$16.76
$16.59
$0.17
1%
$30.40
$25.54
$4.86
19%
$14.39
$13.36
$1.03
8%
$27.27
$30.61
($3.34)
-11%
$13.70
$13.34
$0.36
3%
$18.99
$23.58
($4.59)
-19%
$16.49
$14.58
$1.91
13%
$13.35
$16.78
($3.43)
-20%
$16.91
$19.18
($2.27)
-12%
$27.19
$24.94
$2.25
9%
$15.21
$19.00
($3.79)
-20%
$39.25
$35.88
$3.37
9%
$7.64
$7.38
$0.26
4%
$6.98
$7.73
($0.75)
-10%
$9.20
$10.69
($1.49)
-14%
$7.03
$7.61
($0.58)
-8%
$14.68
$13.51
$1.17
9%
$19.31
$18.05
$1.26
7%
$6.31
$6.57
($0.26)
-4%
$14.26
$13.79
$0.47
3%
$11.68
$14.56
($2.88)
-20%
$14.32
$14.04
$0.28
2%
$17.09
$17.94
($0.85)
-5%
$5.15
$5.80
($0.65)
-11%

Modern prices are jumping around this week. Some of these changes may be driven by Legacy decks.  
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$64.19
$59.11
$5.08
9%
$29.96
$31.98
($2.02)
-6%
$10.92
$10.92
$0.00
0%
$19.65
$18.48
$1.17
6%
$12.10
$10.68
$1.42
13%
$17.12
$17.12
$0.00
0%
$23.67
$25.82
($2.15)
-8%
$17.89
$19.13
($1.24)
-6%
$15.78
$16.11
($0.33)
-2%
$19.08
$15.49
$3.59
23%
$22.93
$19.77
$3.16
16%
$11.63
$12.15
($0.52)
-4%
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
$15.40
$15.84
($0.44)
-3%
$15.52
$15.52
$0.00
0%
$5.81
$5.43
$0.38
7%
$4.14
$4.25
($0.11)
-3%
$7.96
$8.44
($0.48)
-6%
$24.51
$21.90
$2.61
12%
$13.12
$17.40
($4.28)
-25%
$25.78
$25.78
$0.00
0%
$12.00
$13.57
($1.57)
-12%
$15.07
$14.20
$0.87
6%
$27.66
$25.52
$2.14
8%
$8.32
$8.24
$0.08
1%
$9.00
$9.29
($0.29)
-3%
$9.64
$10.96
($1.32)
-12%
$5.50
$6.26
($0.76)
-12%

Legacy and Classic are, generally, climbing. Looks like Legacy is getting some love, possibly because people like Sam Black and LSV are streaming and making videos about the format. 
 

Legacy / Classic Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$138.40
$130.99
$7.41
6%
$94.20
$89.52
$4.68
5%
Vampiric Tutor
$30.26
$30.65
($0.39)
-1%
$37.13
$36.21
$0.92
3%
$58.81
$56.14
$2.67
5%
$60.49
$58.81
$1.68
3%
$22.69
$23.60
($0.91)
-4%
$31.99
$31.99
$0.00
0%
$23.94
$23.94
$0.00
0%
$18.63
$19.58
($0.95)
-5%
$60.46
$58.09
$2.37
4%
$12.53
$12.53
$0.00
0%
$15.49
$14.55
$0.94
6%
$22.03
$20.83
$1.20
6%
$14.19
$14.19
$0.00
0%
$43.19
$43.19
$0.00
0%
$25.93
$23.75
$2.18
9%
$23.57
$23.57
$0.00
0%
$15.76
$14.34
$1.42
10%
$41.43
$41.43
$0.00
0%
$27.79
$29.16
($1.37)
-5%
$68.70
$62.08
$6.62
11%
$45.33
$45.33
$0.00
0%
$10.69
$11.15
($0.46)
-4%
$16.75
$16.75
$0.00
0%
$9.66
$9.32
$0.34
4%

Pauper prices are up, down and round and round – no pattern I can see.  Like last week, Nettle Sentinel and Crop Rotation crashed, while Crypt Rats went up, again. (BTW, the B&R list was updated April 23rd, but none of the MTGO formats appear to have changed.)
 

Pauper Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$4.22
$3.44
$0.78
23%
$4.14
$3.51
$0.63
18%
$2.00
$1.78
$0.22
12%
$5.91
$5.91
$0.00
0%
$2.94
$2.94
$0.00
0%
$8.30
$8.61
($0.31)
-4%
$3.37
$3.83
($0.46)
-12%
$10.81
$10.81
$0.00
0%
$1.39
$3.29
($1.90)
-58%
$4.57
$3.00
$1.57
52%
$8.22
$8.32
($0.10)
-1%
$3.86
$3.86
$0.00
0%
$4.51
$4.26
$0.25
6%
$3.52
$3.52
$0.00
0%
$3.28
$3.28
$0.00
0%
$3.68
$2.67
$1.01
38%
$4.97
$4.58
$0.39
9%
$1.80
$2.31
($0.51)
-22%
$6.19
$5.49
$0.70
13%
$2.20
$1.99
$0.21
11%
$1.88
$2.05
($0.17)
-8%
$1.76
$1.76
$0.00
0%
$2.27
$2.38
($0.11)
-5%
$3.70
$4.19
($0.49)
-12%

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, Tarmgoyf is back in front of Wasteland, but now Rishadan Port is ahead of both of them. Force of Will looks ready to jump back over the $100 mark, but Lion’s Eye Diamond is still king, at well over $500 a playset.        
 

Card
Rarity
Set
Price
Lion's Eye Diamond
R
MI
 $ 138.40
Force of Will
R
MED
 $ 94.20
Rishadan Port
R
MM
 $ 68.70
Tarmogoyf
R
FUT
 $ 64.19
Wasteland
U
TE
 $ 60.49
Show and Tell
R
UZ
 $ 60.46
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
M
WWK
 $ 58.81
Misdirection
R
MM
 $ 45.33
Gaea's Cradle
R
UZ
 $ 43.19
Tangle Wire
R
NE
 $ 41.43
Liliana of the Veil
M
ISD
 $ 40.25
Sphinx's Revelation
M
RTR
 $ 39.25
Underground Sea
R
ME4
 $ 37.13
Underground Sea
R
ME2
 $ 36.21
Vindicate
R
AP
 $ 31.99
Bonfire of the Damned
M
AVR
 $ 30.40
Vampiric Tutor
R
VI
 $ 30.26
Vendilion Clique
R
MOR
 $ 29.96
Flusterstorm
R
CMD
 $ 27.79
Karn Liberated
M
NPH
 $ 27.66
Falkenrath Aristocrat
M
DKA
 $ 27.27
Thundermaw Hellkite
M
M13
 $ 27.19
Tropical Island
R
ME3
 $ 26.55
City of Traitors
R
EX
 $ 25.93
Geist of Saint Traft
M
ISD
 $ 25.90
Mox Opal
M
SOM
 $ 25.78
Bayou
R
ME4
 $ 25.66
Bayou
R
ME3
 $ 25.26

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 $23,640.  That’s about the same as last week. 
 

Weekly Highlights:

Prerelease weekend. I had a couple very good judge trainees working, so I played and watched them run the events. It went very well on both sides. In each event, I played whichever non-Dimir guild had the least players. In the first event, I was Rakdos and found that my secret ally was Boros. The Boros pack was insane: pretty much every high pick Boros card plus Assemble the Legions. Rakdos gave me Rakdos Drake (the 1/2 unleash flier), Ogre Jailbreaker and Stab Wound – plus three on-color gates. I went 4-0 in matches and 8-0 in games. 
 
In the second pod, I was handed Orzhov partnered with Golgari. This deck did not build itself. I went 3-1, losing a very frustrating match against an opponent who did the most damage to me with the 2-1 first striker that must attack. Since my deck had 11 cheap 2/3 and 2/4 cards, and I drew literally none of them, I don’t think that the match played out the way it should have. Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe the Riot Piker is really good in sealed. 
 
In the two prerelease pods I played in, Rakdos completed the Maze first both times, despite having only four players playing it in the first (49 player) event. I also noted some Tweets mentioning Rakdos sweeping other events. Was it really that good? If so, maybe you want to consider it for the online prereleases.
 
PRJ
 
“one million words” on MTGO.
 

7 Comments

"Be careful that you don't by Bazaar of Baghdad at Fri, 05/03/2013 - 12:37
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

"Be careful that you don't try to close the new client from the tournament detail screen, as the client interprets that as meaning you want to drop from the tournament. (emphasis added)"

Of all the asinine assumptions to make... Thanks for reporting, Pete.

I think that just having a by MarcosPMA at Fri, 05/03/2013 - 15:05
MarcosPMA's picture

I think that just having a good aggressive deck in general is pretty good in the Prerealease, so Rakdos and Boros are pretty good if you have the cards for it. I drafted Dragon's Maze/Gatecrash/Return to Ravnica and managed to draft a pretty nut Boros deck and ran over everyone, so I would imagine the same holds for Sealed. In an environment where people are doing 3-5 color durdle decks, just playing 1 drop/2 drop/3 drop really puts a lot of pressure on them

MarcosPMA is right... by Fred1160 at Fri, 05/03/2013 - 16:11
Fred1160's picture

I did very well at the prerelease I attended. A lot of people played four-color decks thinking that because it was a sealed event they had plenty of time to durdle. I had three games that started out with me going, "Turn one Rakdos Cackler, unleashed" followed by "Turn two, Spike Jester, swing for five."
I won no less than three games with the red gatekeepers. I had two of them and late in the games, people would play something big to try and stabilize and then I play a Smelt-Ward guy and steal it. This was always followed by the scoop phase prior to combat.
Just like Gatecrash, Bloodrush is the real deal. I don't think I ever cast Ghor-Clan Rampager. It's too good as a combat trick: +4/+4 and trample is huge.
There are aggressive low-cost options out there. Don't make the mistake of thinking everybody is running a slow deck.

Wacom Tablet Bug by TrueHorizon at Fri, 05/03/2013 - 21:30
TrueHorizon's picture
5

Thanks for linking the Wacom Tablet thread. I was one of the posters in that thread. I wish I could say turning off the service solved all my problems, but even with the Wacom Tablet unplugged and the service disabled, Magic Online Beta crashes within minutes after being launched. Originally, I thought it was a conflict with Comodo Internet Security, which I disabled. I have no idea why I still get that error. There was another user in that thread using a Logitech mouse that was getting the "Main Navigation Not Working" crash. I feel like it is a conflict with .Net a driver, but I can't figure out what.

I've played since Beta of the original Magic Online, and I've never had this problem before. If we are going to be forced to play with the Beta client, it would be great if Wizards could track down the cause of the crash for us.

Major bots by Lagrange at Sat, 05/04/2013 - 07:19
Lagrange's picture

I will join the major bot dealers and make a protest against Shiny.

So this year I will not be riding in the Tour de France..... or maybe that is too strong of a protest?

I suspect it's "causes of the by Felorin at Sat, 05/04/2013 - 07:40
Felorin's picture

I suspect it's "causes of the crashes", I doubt they're down to just one crash bug yet.

ZippytheSlug!! by Ikoma_Aze at Sun, 05/05/2013 - 04:49
Ikoma_Aze's picture
5

Zippy the Slug made me laugh... but then again Blippytheslug is just as funny a name (just one we're used to!).

Otherwise, great article as usual!