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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Nov 21 2014 1:00pm
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State of the Program for November 21st 2014

In the News:

Grand Prix New Jersey Tops 4,000 Players: Over 4,000 players showed up to play Legacy in New Jersey last weekend, while another 2,300 were playing Modern in a GP in Madrid. Another 280 players registered for GPNJ, but dropped before round one: they just wanted the swag and to be part of a huge event. I think it says a lot about the social aspects and pageantry that a premier organizer can provide at an event like GPNJ, and that MTGO cannot. Legacy events online sometimes struggle to hit 16 players, even though they cost a few dollars and no one has to travel. Paper Legacy events can pull in 4,000 players from hundreds to thousands of miles away, despite a $50 per player entry fee.      
 
Theros 4-3-2-2 Drafts Ending: After the downtime on Wednesday, November 26, Theros 4-3-2-2 Queues will no longer be available. Presumably, 8-4s and Swiss drafts will continue.
 
New Promos Announced: The MOCS promo for next month will be Vengevine. Not outstanding, but it is a $10 card that has seen occasional play in some formats. The last time Vengevine was big was when Survival of the Fittest was legal in Legacy. Maybe Wizards is going to unban Survival. The spend-enough-in-the-store promo will be an alt art Stoke the Flames, while the event activity promo will be Nekusar, the Mindrazer. Wizards has also announced the paper FNM promos through February. January is an alt art Frenzied Goblin, and February is an alt art Disdainful Stroke (my preview card!) Since the paper FNM promos are often store or activity promos, thought I’d mention it.
 
Leagues Delayed until Second Quarter 2015: Wizards has released more info on MTGO leagues. Leagues will be delayed. Wizards is now stating that they hope to deliver leagues in the first half of 2015. On a more positive note, leagues will be added to the beta test in December. After beta test, leagues will get additional tweaking, then another round of internal testing and possibly another beta. Wizards has also provided a bit more information on how the new leagues will function, here. I was going to compare old and new leagues in the Opinion section, but that should appear as a separate article early next week. 
 
Steve Menendian Wins the Vintage Super League: Season one of the Vintage Super League has ended, with Steve Menendian beating LSV in the finals. The VSL showed us some great Magic being played by a group of top caliber players. More importantly, it showed just how good streaming can get. The VSL stream showed the battlefield, both player’s hands and both commentators. Accomplishing that took private steams from each player to the control booth, a viewer watching the match, cameras on both commenters and some technology to combine the streams (combine the streams? I like this plan. I’m happy to be a part of it.) The result was impressive. Recommended, even as replays.  
 

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. Here’s what we know, want or are tracking. This list is getting short, mainly because Wizards is so bad at passing on any information about future products or events. They generally have announced these events a day or two before they happens, which means most players never hear about them, and news compilations (like State of the Program) only hear about them too late to be included.
 
Item (date it will return) and notes
·       Legacy Cube: Nov 19th to Dec 10th  Legacy Cube is new, not powered.  Details here.
·       Fowl Play II: Poultrygeist: Nov. 26th to Dec 1st Phantom sealed with bird-heavy sets.
·       Vintage Gold Queues: Dec. 10th to Dec 22nd Vintage 2-mans, 10 TIX, winner gets 5 packs.
·       Mirage Block Drafts: Dec 17th to Dec 22nd
·       Saga Block Drafts: Dec. 22nd to Jan. 5th  
·       Modern Masters: January 5th to Jan. 13th 2015
·       Holiday Cube: Dec. 7 to Jan. 5  Holiday Cube is the powered Cube.
·       Khans of Tarkir Standard Champs Qualifiers: Nov 19th to Nov 25th 
·       Khans of Tarkir Limited Championship Finals: Nov 22nd  
·       Khans of Tarkir Standard Championship Finals: Nov 29th   
·       Holiday Festival Vintage Championship: December 20th – qualifiers Dec 10th - 19th
·       Leagues (2014?) Wizards said leagues will return in 2015.
·       Modern Masters II: (May of 2015?) 
 

The Bug Blog Update:

The Bug Blog is a weekly post by Wizards covering the most common known issues in MTGO. The blog is published late Thursday or early Friday, so I may be a bit behind. The most recent one up, as I write this, is from November 13th. The blog specifically mentions, for the first time, memory leak issues. The blog had included some of the problems that Wizards thought were contributing to the memory problems, but had not been explicit. That caused some confusion, so Wizards is now explicitly including memory leaks in the blog.
 
Also of note: the list of known issues once again includes being disconnected in a draft without the client notifying you. This happens. It happened to me twice in a single draft on Tuesday. In each case, my opponent’s clock was running, but nothing was happening. I opened a cat with support, and asked “am I still connected?” When there was no response and no other messages appearing in the chat after a minute, I closed and reopened MTGO. That solved the problem, and fortunately I could reconnect quickly, but I’m worried I’ll time out doing that. It’s sad – the disconnect without notice was one of the worst bugs in v3, and I thought one reason to go to v4 was to get rid of it.  
 
Another issue I had last week was – well, let me set the scene. I drafted a sweet Sultai delve deck. I had Rakshasa Vizier in play and attacking. I had Murderous Cut in hand, with six cards in my graveyard and black untapped. My opponent cast Throttle targeting the Vizier. Blow-out, right? It was – because unbeknown to me, my graveyard was bugged.  I had been playing with the graveyard popped out in previous sessions, but apparently the program saved it incorrectly. Clicking on the icon turned it brown, as if the graveyard was popped out, but the graveyard was nowhere to be found. I minimized everything. I switched form full screen to window and back.  I contacted customer support, closed and reopened the program, but I could not click on cards in my graveyard, so I could not cast Murderous Cut via delve. In the end, since my clock was now running out, I had to let Throttle kill my Vizier. After the draft, customer service gave me a refund and referred my problem to a specialist. Eventually, they told me of a fix – click on the options gear, then on restore defaults. That worked. Remember that if your pop-ups don’t. One bonus: I lost every game one, but managed to win some games by siding out the Treasure Cruise, Bitter Revelations, etc. for random morphs and just beating down.   That’s the first time I have gotten full reimbursement not reduced by the amount of prize packs I won. It’s nice –I’m glad Wizards changed that. 
 

Cutting Edge Tech:

Standard: With several large GPs in other formats, there were no large paper Standard events last weekend. I’ve been watching online events, instead.   This deck seems to be winning a lot.
 
 
Modern: GP Madrid was last weekend, and it was Modern. Over 2,300 players showed up to play, which was a bit of a problem since the hall only held 1,900. However, Wizards organized a PTQ for the extra 400 next door, so it was almost all good. (Note: paper players – preregister! It’s important.) Anyway, 1,900 players played 15 rounds of Modern, and the Top 16 was not all Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time.   The Top 16 decklists include a couple different Birthing Pod decks, Blue Moon, Splinter Twin, Scapeshift, UR Delver, a (Through the Breech) build, Temur Delver, an actual Martyr of Sands deck, and an Abzan deck that looks like Jund with white replacing red and Siege Rhino replacing Bloodbraid Elves, That’s a really diverse metagame. A few more results like this and we may not see any bannings. The Top 16 decks and coverage are here.  
 
 
Pauper: The Pauper filter is fixed, so the decks that are showing up are actually legal in the format. Treasure Cruise is making inroads, even in Pauper. Other archetypes remain viable, however.
 
Mono-Green Auras
Dain5, 4-0, Pauper Daily #7679531 on 11/17/2014
Creatures
4 Aura Gnarlid
4 Gladecover Scout
4 Silhana Ledgewalker
4 Slippery Bogle
16 cards

Other Spells
4 Abundant Growth
3 Ancestral Mask
4 Armadillo Cloak
4 Ethereal Armor
4 Manamorphose
4 Rancor
4 Utopia Sprawl
27 cards
 
Lands
17 Forest
17 cards

Armadillo Cloak
 
Khans Block:   Khans block events continue. I can’t say much more – I don’t play or watch the format.
 
Abzan Midrange
Garruk17, 4-0, KTK Block Constructed Daily #7679593 on 11/19/2014
Creatures
3 Anafenza, the Foremost
4 Heir of the Wilds
4 Rakshasa Deathdealer
4 Siege Rhino
3 Wingmate Roc
18 cards

Other Spells
4 Abzan Charm
3 Debilitating Injury
2 Despise
2 Murderous Cut
2 Sorin, Solemn Visitor
2 Suspension Field
2 Utter End
17 cards
 
Lands
1 Blossoming Sands
3 Forest
4 Jungle Hollow
2 Plains
4 Sandsteppe Citadel
4 Scoured Barrens
3 Swamp
4 Windswept Heath
25 cards

Rakshasa Deathdealer
 
Legacy: SCG did not hold a Legacy Open last weekend – they were too busy putting on a gigantic Legacy GP. GPNJ was huge, with over 4,000 players competing in the 15 rounds of Swiss. Even day two, after the cut was huge – it was larger than at least the first three Grand Prix I competed in, back in the day. The Top 16 decks are here, and coverage is here. Despite the hype over Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time, the metagame was diverse and interesting. The winning deck, however, was running a full set of Treasure Cruises. 
 
 
Vintage:  The Vintage Super League finals were this week, in which Steve Menendian defeated LSV three matches to one. It was an epic battle. Vintage Super League will take December off before kicking off season two in January. 
 
 
 

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 almost a decade now, and have never been overcharged or disappointed.
 
Standard staples: Standard prices shuffled around a bit this week, but I can’t see any obvious trends.  
 

Standard & Block Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$13.08
$13.78
($0.70)
-5%
$20.99
$24.76
($3.77)
-15%
$9.03
$8.26
$0.77
9%
$11.80
$12.23
($0.43)
-4%
$4.87
$4.40
$0.47
11%
$8.83
$8.50
$0.33
4%
$17.41
$17.07
$0.34
2%
$13.85
$12.00
$1.85
15%
$14.99
$16.09
($1.10)
-7%
$6.33
$6.23
$0.10
2%
$18.05
$19.77
($1.72)
-9%
$15.63
$15.41
$0.22
1%
$11.46
$12.08
($0.62)
-5%
$5.36
$5.60
($0.24)
-4%
$12.27
$13.72
($1.45)
-11%
$13.79
$14.26
($0.47)
-3%
$11.20
$12.36
($1.16)
-9%
$14.20
$16.19
($1.99)
-12%
$8.35
$9.46
($1.11)
-12%

Modern staples:  Modern prices rebounded this week. One notable exception was Liliana. Did I miss something, like having her featured in a duel deck? Or is this just because Jund isn’t much good anymore?
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$37.19
$36.57
$0.62
2%
$9.55
$8.86
$0.69
8%
$20.04
$19.08
$0.96
5%
$17.66
$16.95
$0.71
4%
$15.84
$15.84
$0.00
0%
$26.37
$24.00
$2.37
10%
$18.91
$20.61
($1.70)
-8%
$19.46
$19.14
$0.32
2%
$18.68
$19.00
($0.32)
-2%
$48.32
$48.32
$0.00
0%
$25.41
$26.06
($0.65)
-2%
$47.96
$58.14
($10.18)
-18%
$20.78
$21.91
($1.13)
-5%
$53.81
$51.13
$2.68
5%
$29.86
$23.63
$6.23
26%
$18.24
$17.35
$0.89
5%
$36.04
$38.55
($2.51)
-7%
$33.07
$23.34
$9.73
42%
$20.83
$19.80
$1.03
5%
$77.12
$77.41
($0.29)
0%
$19.31
$20.60
($1.29)
-6%
$45.91
$48.20
($2.29)
-5%
$16.47
$15.64
$0.83
5%

Legacy / Vintage: Legacy and Vintage prices are mixed this week. It looks like everyone overreacted to the announcement that VMA drafts are coming back. VMA rebounded, a bit, this week.  
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$48.96
$46.73
$2.23
5%
$169.15
$169.72
($0.57)
0%
$28.95
$25.29
$3.66
14%
$23.00
$22.00
$1.00
5%
$28.74
$28.74
$0.00
0%
$30.26
$30.26
$0.00
0%
$8.47
$8.47
$0.00
0%
$30.60
$30.17
$0.43
1%
$28.77
$27.27
$1.50
6%
$14.48
$14.90
($0.42)
-3%
$29.07
$29.07
$0.00
0%
$24.65
$24.65
$0.00
0%
$17.73
$15.25
$2.48
16%
$11.88
$11.50
$0.38
3%
$98.49
$98.49
$0.00
0%
$37.75
$37.75
$0.00
0%
$59.44
$58.36
$1.08
2%
$9.06
$8.61
$0.45
5%
$145.77
$145.77
$0.00
0%
$44.92
$44.92
$0.00
0%
$40.59
$41.68
($1.09)
-3%
$40.51
$33.15
$7.36
22%
$38.89
$37.04
$1.85
5%
$13.42
$13.79
($0.37)
-3%
$34.88
$34.88
$0.00
0%
$89.46
$86.07
$3.39
4%

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 are the retail prices of one of everything set currently available in the store, excluding sets that are not draftable.    
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Born of the Gods
$73.43
$74.12
($0.69)
-1%
Journey into Nyx
$119.42
$129.97
($10.55)
-8%
Khans of Trakir
$111.72
$120.04
($8.32)
-7%
M15
$131.48
$123.39
$8.09
7%
Theros
$107.42
$106.50
$0.92
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. Black Lotus continues to lead the pack, but the announcement that VMA drafts are coming back has meant a huge drop in the price of power.    
 

Name
Rarity
Set
Sell
Black Lotus
B
VMA
$ 169.15
Rishadan Port
R
MM
$ 145.77
Misdirection
R
MM
$    98.49
Wasteland
U
TE
$    98.40
Tarmogoyf
R
FUT
$    77.41
Tarmogoyf
M
MMA
$    77.12
Mox Sapphire
B
VMA
$    59.44
Force of Will
R
MED
$    55.59
Mox Opal
M
SOM
$    53.81
Vendilion Clique
M
MMA
$    50.99
Ancestral Recall
B
VMA
$    48.96
Griselbrand
M
AVR
$    48.32
Liliana of the Veil
M
ISD
$    47.96
Show and Tell
R
UZ
$    47.38
Vendilion Clique
R
MOR
$    45.91
Infernal Tutor
R
DIS
$    42.07
Sneak Attack
R
UZ
$    40.59
Time Walk
B
VMA
$    40.51
True-Name Nemesis
R
C13
$    38.89
Batterskull
M
NPH
$    38.32
Tangle Wire
R
NE
$    37.82
Mox Jet
B
VMA
$    37.75
Scalding Tarn
R
ZEN
$    36.04
Mox Pearl
B
VMA
$    35.75
Toxic Deluge
R
C13
$    35.63
Undiscovered Paradise
R
VI
$    34.88
Mox Ruby
B
VMA
$    34.09
Scapeshift
R
MOR
$    33.07
Daze
C
DD2
$    32.13
Lion's Eye Diamond
R
MI
$    32.03
Gaea's Cradle
R
UZ
$    31.95
Force of Will
R
VMA
$    30.60
Daze
C
NE
$    30.26
Noble Hierarch
R
CON
$    29.86
Hurkyl's Recall
R
10E
$    29.07
City of Traitors
R
EX
$    28.95
Dark Depths
R
CSP
$    28.74
Craterhoof Behemoth
M
AVR
$    28.34
Mox Emerald
B
VMA
$    27.03
Cryptic Command
R
LRW
$    26.48
Cryptic Command
R
MMA
$    26.37
Entreat the Angels
M
AVR
$    26.20
Karn Liberated
M
NPH
$    25.41

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 $ 25,270. That’s down about $200 from where we were last week.
 

Weekly Highlights:

Busy week. I had work stuff, family stuff, and got my first chance to shovel snow – lots of it. More to come. I did get to play Magic with Ingrid and friends: we played multiplayer sealed with whatever packs my friend wants to finally open. This time it was M14 and Prophecy, which is every bit as weird as it sounds. The strange formats even out one advantage I and Kurt have over the others: we know the current sealed formats and sets a lot better than our more casual opponents, but no one knows the weird mixes John brings, so it is all good.
 
Best article I read this week that wasn’t mine: The Boy Who Cried Bannings
Best podcast that wasn’t FftR: Limited Resources with Ars Arcana author Matt Watkins
Best videos: I think I enjoyed LSVs own videos a bit more than the VSL finals, but not by a lot.
 
PRJ
 
“one million words” 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, so HammyBot does not include any standard legal cards, but it includes a ton of Masters Edition and Vintage cards, and some nice Modern bargains. 
 

10 Comments

I think Liliana has been by ScionOfJustice at Fri, 11/21/2014 - 13:25
ScionOfJustice's picture

I think Liliana has been dropping in price because as I've stated in my pauper articles, attrition based decks don't do well when your opponent has draw threes. Her discard ability can fuel your opponents graveyard for the cruise and then she is often seen with goyf and since your opponent can use their delve spells to minimize goyf, it makes Jund not so great and decks with Liliana in them in Modern (Jund, Junk, and 8 rack) have not been winning nearly as much as they were three months ago, outside of modern, Liliana isn't really played. I suspect Liliana will drop down to the mid-twenties like Karn and Tezz.

I agree by one million words at Fri, 11/21/2014 - 14:08
one million words's picture

I suspect your are correct, but that may change once people are less afraid of TC and Dig. Maybe.

I suspect treasure cruise by longtimegone at Fri, 11/21/2014 - 16:18
longtimegone's picture

I suspect treasure cruise will be banned in modern and bob and lili will rebound long before lili gets down to the 20s.

Her drop in price is due to by royalmtgo at Fri, 11/21/2014 - 17:02
royalmtgo's picture

Her drop in price is due to redemption ending for Innistrad.

I'm not sure how the by longtimegone at Fri, 11/21/2014 - 18:40
longtimegone's picture

I'm not sure how the possibility of redemption was holding the cards price up when the card was significantly cheaper in paper than online.

I think what he meant was by Paul Leicht at Fri, 11/21/2014 - 18:55
Paul Leicht's picture

I think what he meant was that the mythics of the set are inflated because of redemption and then you add to that the heat of being a top card in the format...Not that the price was all due to redemption.

Yes, we can't look at the by TugaChampion at Fri, 11/21/2014 - 19:02
TugaChampion's picture

Yes, we can't look at the value of a card just in itself when considering redemption. But I'm pretty sure it's because it is being played less thanks to Treasure Cruise and Dig. The redemption also has influence but if dig and cruise get banned, Liliana will rise again and she'll reach the same numbers as before, even if it takes some time.

Paper vs. online by pcjr at Fri, 11/21/2014 - 17:42
pcjr's picture

What I think is sad is that MTGO can't support a 4,000 person event without crashing.

People paying $50 to join a paper event and then dropping just to get the goodies doesn't compare to anything offered online. In fact, online you can't drop before the first round without completely withdrawing from the event. Isn't it clear that the what they offer for participating and in prizes for a Grand Prix are much different than what's ever been offerred online?

I don't think the fault is with online Legacy players.

Mtgo has trouble with events by TugaChampion at Fri, 11/21/2014 - 18:58
TugaChampion's picture

Mtgo has trouble with events of 200 players. I think if they set up an event with 4000 players we'd be without mtgo for a week at least. V3 actually handled a very big event (I don't remember the number but maybe 1000 players). It was a free Momir event that rewarded a number of avatars depending on the number of rounds you won.

I think it's anyone's fault that MTGO can't get a 4000 players event. Even if everything was well, no major bugs and the ones that appeared got quickly fixed, stable servers, everything working fine, etc it's completely different to play irl or in mtgo. That GP was a celebration of Magic. There's no way the level of interaction with other players can be the same in mtgo, even if chats were actually well implemented.

Does anyone know why KTK by TugaChampion at Fri, 11/21/2014 - 19:05
TugaChampion's picture
5

Does anyone know why KTK booster prices went from 3.2 to 2.8 or less today?