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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
May 04 2018 12:00pm
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State of the Program for May 4th 2018
 
In the News
Magic Online Conduct Update: 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.
 
Wizards Sends EVERY Local Game Store a Suspension Notice: As screw-ups go, this one is epic. Background: stores can qualify to be members of the Wizards Play Network (WPN). WPN membership is huge – it allows stores to schedule events and get access to special deals. Being removed from the WPN is for stores what a suspension is for players. On Tuesday, Wizards sent every store involved in the WPN a notice that the store was being removed from the network for “delinquent events.” Every store. Imagine if Wizards sent every single Magic player notification that they had a 3 year suspension for bad conduct. And, of course, the Wizards switchboards were jammed, so no one could find out what was going on.        
 
Dominaria Prerelease: Wizards announced that the paper Dominaria Prerelease set the record for largest ever. More players played in more events than ever before, and more players got new DCI numbers at those events.  Some were brand new players, and some were old players coming back after a long absence, and all that is great news for Wizards.
 
Team Play Design Wins Modern Super League: The Modern Super League has concluded. The team of Wizards employees for the Play Design group won the entire event, beating the team for ChannelFireball in the finals.   So, if you have any question about whether the folks at play design can play… You can watch the finals are here.
 
Foil Legends Missing on MTGO: During at least early release weekend, the coalition for Dominaria packs appeared to be messed up. The foil copies of 38 Legends were nowhere to be found. Apparently, there was a collation error. The best analysis I have found on this issue so far is here.
 
Kelly Diggs Leaves Wizards: Kelly Diggs has said that he is no longer working for Wizards. No explanation – just a statement that neither congratulations nor commiserations are necessary. I wish him well. Kelly has done a lot of good stuff in his 11 years at Wizards, including being creative lead for Dominaria.
 
Reminder - You Must Target Planeswalkers: One of the rule changes coming with Dominaria is that you no longer need to – and, in fact, cannot – redirect damage from your opponent to your opponent’s Planeswalkers. Instead, you can target the Planeswalkers directly. If you bolt your opponent, you will not have an opportunity to change that to Jace, so be careful.
 
Professor’s Overview of the Arena Beta: If you are interested in MTG Arena, the video is worth watching.
 
Wizards Fundraiser for the Seattle LGBTQ Community: Wizards is selling shirts and hoodies to support Lambert House, a community house for the Seattle area LGBTQ community.   The Magic related shirts, hoodies, etc – which feature a rainbow Planeswalker symbol, are available here. The D&D related shirts, hoodies, etc – which feature a rainbow Dragon Ampersand symbol, are available here.  
 
Weekly MTG Show on Twitch: Wizards is launching a weekly Twitch.tv show on Thursdays at 2-3pm PT. The show will feature people from inside Wizards.
 
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 5–6: Grand Prix Dallas
·       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:  More on the Arena Economy
I wanted to write more about the Arena economy this week.   I did – but it turned in to a rant. I deleted it. What I wrote was funny, but unnecessarily harsh and pessimistic. 
 
I have to keep telling myself that this is still in beta. Wizards is trying things out – including this approach to an economic model. 
 
The main reason not to write this piece at this time – I really want to rant and kick stuff. I have spent three full days trying to resolve a few messes at work. Just one example: after negotiating, cajoling and leading dragging several attorneys through a statutory maze to a place we could all live with, the resolution was almost derailed because one of the attorneys could not file the consensus document. The server was throwing cryptic (to the attorney, at least) error messages. A couple hours later, after looking through guts of the application with some of our IT folks, I found the problem:  the server was finding potentially malicious code in one of the fields. It was finding a non-ASCII character (other than @) in an email address.  I had to contact the attorney, privately, and explain that email addresses have the @. Addresses with hashtags are something else. Once the attorney entered an email address in the box for email address, it worked.
 
This is beginning to be amusing, now, but it was just the topping on the sundae at work today. A couple hours from now I’ll probably be recovered, but a couple hours from now this article will be really, really late and Joshua will be as happy with me as I was with that attorney.  
 
It was a great rant. Super caustic – but not something I should publish.
 
But I saved the draft. If next week is like this one, I may decide to rant away.
 
Cutting Edge Tech
Standard: We have results from Dominaria Standard! You can find decklists from an SCG Classic here, and the Standard Challenge here.   The SCG event decklists are a bit suspect since it is a lot harder to get paper cards the weekend the set releases, but the Challenge should reflect the new format. At least, for now.
Modern: Another week, another new archetype for Modern.   This one uses the trick of casting Gifts Ungiven and finding just two cards – typically Elesh Norn and Unburial Rites. Both of those cards end up in the graveyard. End step Gifts means you can unbury Elesh Norn on your turn, which is often game over against a lot of decks.
 
1v1 Brawl: This format is officially stupid. The two playable commanders are Baral, Chief of Compliance and Ghalta, Primal Hunger. Last weekend’s Brawl Challenge Top 16, featured 2 Ghalta’s – including the winning deck, and 14 copies of Baral. I’m not going to bother following the format until Wizards bans something. Will they? Well Wizards published an article on Tuesday where Michael Majors talked about how he finds 1v1 Brawl to be a great format for brewing. Right. Maybe the article was written a couple weeks ago. Speaking for experience, I can say it take a while for articles to get to get edited and posted on the mothership.      
 
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 Death and Taxes build in the Legacy slot. I haven’t featured Death and Taxes for a while, so here goes.
 
Vintage: The Team Vintage Super Team is back, with team Vintage play. But this week I’m featuring a Vintage Challenge deck. It is driven by Paradoxical Outcome, but does not rely on a storm kill.
 
 
 
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. As the new format shakes out, I expect a lot more changes.  
 

Standard Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Aethersphere Harvester
$10.14
$9.27
$0.87
9%
Carnage Tyrant)
$16.68
$17.42
($0.74)
-4%
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
$18.08
$20.05
($1.97)
-10%
Disallow
$6.14
$2.91
$3.23
111%
Gideon of the Trials
$8.49
$6.66
$1.83
27%
Hazoret the Fervent
$12.66
$10.29
$2.37
23%
Heart of Kiran
$13.88
$9.27
$4.61
50%
History of Benalia
$8.63
$15.80
($7.17)
-45%
Karn, Scion of Urza
$31.64
$27.87
$3.77
14%
Lyra Dawnbringer
$21.57
$12.58
$8.99
71%
Rekindling Phoenix
$23.43
$25.85
($2.42)
-9%
Rhonas the Indomitable
$6.45
$7.33
($0.88)
-12%
Scavenger Grounds
$6.92
$8.14
($1.22)
-15%
Settle the Wreckage
$9.46
$5.29
$4.17
79%
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
$17.83
$12.00
$5.83
49%
The Immortal Sun
$7.91
$6.26
$1.65
26%
The Scarab God
$13.67
$22.28
($8.61)
-39%
Torrential Gearhulk
$17.38
$12.10
$5.28
44%
Walking Ballista
$30.94
$23.72
$7.22
30%

Modern staples:  Modern prices fell hard again this week. This might mean that people are beginning to abandon MTGO for Arena – but probably not. Arena can’t even manage match play. Or B&R lists. Or – pretty much everything. 
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$16.94
$17.46
($0.52)
-3%
$27.80
$29.78
($1.98)
-7%
$16.29
$18.84
($2.55)
-14%
$23.15
$26.73
($3.58)
-13%
$19.49
$22.64
($3.15)
-14%
$12.58
$13.44
($0.86)
-6%
$51.59
$56.08
($4.49)
-8%
$25.90
$27.60
($1.70)
-6%
$12.94
$15.72
($2.78)
-18%
$21.15
$23.78
($2.63)
-11%
$47.68
$65.26
($17.58)
-27%
$28.55
$32.88
($4.33)
-13%
$15.24
$22.33
($7.09)
-32%
$42.68
$52.29
($9.61)
-18%
$47.49
$49.44
($1.95)
-4%
$39.27
$45.13
($5.86)
-13%
$61.96
$68.33
($6.37)
-9%
$20.96
$29.28
($8.32)
-28%
$20.66
$23.86
($3.20)
-13%
$27.70
$38.37
($10.67)
-28%
$24.43
$29.03
($4.60)
-16%

Legacy and Vintage: Legacy and Vintage fall down go boom. 
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$31.50
$36.45
($4.95)
-14%
$25.83
$26.61
($0.78)
-3%
$15.29
$21.18
($5.89)
-28%
$19.91
$28.02
($8.11)
-29%
$16.28
$18.25
($1.97)
-11%
$32.69
$32.30
$0.39
1%
$38.91
$40.49
($1.58)
-4%
$12.99
$18.04
($5.05)
-28%
$37.52
$38.84
($1.32)
-3%
$29.55
$29.02
$0.53
2%
$14.08
$19.96
($5.88)
-29%
$81.04
$88.36
($7.32)
-8%
$21.14
$19.91
$1.23
6%
$13.83
$15.86
($2.03)
-13%
$33.06
$34.52
($1.46)
-4%

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
$117.83
$99.12
$18.71
19%
Amonkhet
$85.88
$76.66
$9.22
12%
Dominaria
$118.16
new
n/a
n/a
Ixalan
$92.19
$93.84
($1.65)
-2%
Hour of Devastation
$51.13
$60.10
($8.97)
-15%
Kaladesh
$94.02
$87.24
$6.78
8%
Rivals of Ixalan
$84.81
$84.42
$0.39
0%
Treasure Chest
$2.35
$2.53
($0.18)
-7%
Dominaria Booster
$3.45
$3.50
($0.05)
-1%

 
 
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 60 cards this week. That’s the smallest list in a long while.
 

Name
Set
Rarity
 Price
True-Name Nemesis
 PZ1
Mythic Rare
 $ 84.65
True-Name Nemesis
 C13
Rare
 $ 81.04
Black Lotus
 1E
Rare
 $ 70.14
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 66.51
Mox Opal
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 62.78
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
 $ 61.96
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
 $ 57.33
Horizon Canopy
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 55.06
Engineered Explosives
 5DN
Rare
 $ 53.40
Engineered Explosives
 MMA
Rare
 $ 53.12
Engineered Explosives
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 51.59
Liliana of the Veil
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $ 50.29
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 A25
Mythic Rare
 $ 49.27
Horizon Canopy
 FUT
Rare
 $ 48.36
Horizon Canopy
 IMA
Rare
 $ 47.68
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
 $ 47.49
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 VMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 44.15
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
 $ 43.46
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 WWK
Mythic Rare
 $ 42.90
Mox Diamond
 TPR
Mythic Rare
 $ 42.79
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 42.68
Force of Will
 MS3
Special
 $ 41.67
Wasteland
 TPR
Rare
 $ 40.68
Force of Will
 EMA
Mythic Rare
 $ 40.45
Liliana, the Last Hope
 EMN
Mythic Rare
 $ 39.27
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
 $ 38.91
Dark Depths
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $ 37.80
Misdirection
 MM
Rare
 $ 37.52
Unmask
 V16
Mythic Rare
 $ 36.34
Mox Sapphire
 1E
Rare
 $ 36.33
Wasteland
 EXP
Mythic Rare
 $ 34.16
Ancestral Recall
 1E
Rare
 $ 33.60
Mox Emerald
 1E
Rare
 $ 33.19
Wasteland
 EMA
Rare
 $ 33.06
Cavern of Souls
 MM3
Mythic Rare
 $ 32.95
Exploration
 UZ
Rare
 $ 32.69
Mox Ruby
 1E
Rare
 $ 32.34
Karn, Scion of Urza
 DAR
Mythic Rare
 $ 31.64
Black Lotus
 VMA
Bonus
 $ 31.50
Walking Ballista
 AER
Rare
 $ 30.94
Ensnaring Bridge
 MS2
Bonus
 $ 30.54
City of Traitors
 EX
Rare
 $ 30.51
Underground Sea
 ME4
Rare
 $ 30.50
Karn Liberated
 NPH
Mythic Rare
 $ 30.16
Underground Sea
 ME2
Rare
 $ 29.69
Show and Tell
 UZ
Rare
 $ 29.55
Surgical Extraction
 NPH
Rare
 $ 29.37
Mox Jet
 1E
Rare
 $ 29.09
Ensnaring Bridge
 ST
Rare
 $ 28.80
Karn Liberated
 MM2
Mythic Rare
 $ 28.55
Tarmogoyf
 FUT
Rare
 $ 28.19
Ensnaring Bridge
 7E
Rare
 $ 27.86
Cavern of Souls
 AVR
Rare
 $ 27.80
Surgical Extraction
 MM2
Rare
 $ 27.70
Ensnaring Bridge
 A25
Mythic Rare
 $ 27.66
Gorilla Shaman
 ALL
Common
 $ 26.47
Ensnaring Bridge
 8ED
Rare
 $ 25.90
City of Traitors
 TPR
Rare
 $ 25.83
Mox Diamond
 ST
Rare
 $ 25.40

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 $ 19,550. That’s down another $1,670 from last week. The Modern crash continues, and Vintage is following.
 
In Closing
I ran a Dominaria sealed event last weekend. For the most part, the format and players were great. One player, however, should have stayed home.  That player gave me a nasty plague at the event, and I have been just miserable ever since. That’s not Dominaria’s fault, though. However, it might be  another reason to play Magic on MTGO instead of in paper.   You cannot catch the flu from an online opponent.
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” on MTGO
 
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.