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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Nov 27 2015 1:00pm
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State of the Program for November 27th 2015

In the News:

Power Nine Challenge this Weekend:  Wizards is offering a large Vintage event, with some serious prizes, this Sunday.  The Top 8 gets Power, plus sets of Modern Masters, etc. – same as last time around, but Wizards has made third and fourth a bit sweeter.  Third gets a Wasteland in addition to the other prizes, and fourth gets a Force of Will.
 
Big Stakes Modern Tournament:  The success of the Power Nine Challenge has inspired Wizards to try something similar in the Modern format.  The Modern Mayhem event will cost 300 Play Points, (or 30 Tix) and is capped at 1,024 players.  First place gets four sets of Modern Masters and four sets of Modern Masters 2015, plus 6 QPs.  It’s going down December 6th.    Details here.
 
First Survey Response Summary:  Wizards shared the results from their first player survey under the new feedback program.  This survey primarily covered prerelease events.  You can see the results here.   Overall, the results were about what you might expect.  Players were generally okay with prereleases, but felt the cost was a bit high relative to the prize payout.  The closest thing to a surprise was that the vast, vast majority of players couldn’t care less about avatars.  That makes sense: back when they actually did something, they made some sense, but now that they are just marginal artwork, they are totally forgettable. 
 
Notable Bugs:  The Bug Blog has been updated.  Those of you playing the Legendary Cube should know that Caged Sun, Grenzo, Dungeon Warden, Kumano, Master Yamabusho and Kurlesh, Onakke Ancient are all bugged.  You may want to read up on their faults before playing them.  The bug blog, with descriptions of the bugs, is here. On the plus side, the bug with Joraga’s Invocation that cost me a match last week is now fixed. 
 
Changes to Online PTQs:  (repeat from last week.)  Lee Sharpe announced some changes to the way online PTQs work.  It remains mostly the same – 5 round preliminary events award slots for the actual PTQ.  What has changed is that if you go 5—0 or 4-1 in a qualifier,   you earn a qualification token that will be good in any future PTQ, not just the one the following weekend.  (Caveat:  if your Prelim event was constructed, the token will only be good in constructed PTQs.  Ditto for limited.)  The new system also scheduled some preliminary PTQ events on weekends.   Read about it here.
 
Wizards is Posting 5-0 League Decks:  Each week, Wizards will be posting a random selection of the decks that went 5-0 during the previous week.   They appear under the decklist tab on MTGO.com.
 

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.   In addition, there are either one or two online PTQs each weekend, with qualifiers running the three days prior to the PTQ.
 
Item: date and notes
·         MOCS Season 1:  MOCS points now accumulate throughout the year.   
·         Power Nine Challenge:  Last Saturday of the month, at 11am Pacific.  (Next Nov. 28th)
·         Modern Challenge:  December 6th. Details here. 
·         Modern League End Date:  Wednesday, January 27, 2016
·         Standard League End Date:  Monday, January 25, 2016
·         Pauper League End Date:  Tuesday, January26, 2016
·         Legacy League:  coming sometime.
·         Sealed Leagues:  Summer 2016
·         Legendary Cube:  Nov. 18th through December 9th. Details here.
·         Oath of the Gatewatch Prerelease:  January 29–February 1, 2016
·         Regional PTQs on MTGO:  Standard.  February 20 at 3 p.m. Pacific and February 27 at 5 a.m. Pacific.   Details here.
·         Shadows over Innistrad Prerelease:  April 15-18, 2016.  Details here.
 

Opinion Section:  No Reserve List Legacy?

I have seen some interesting discussion about saving Legacy by banning everything on the Reserve list.  A representative article discussing this idea is here. The article makes two assumptions – that Wizards will not abolish the reserve list and that Legacy is in trouble if prices keep rising.  From there, the article concludes that one possible solution is to ban everything on Reserve List.  I want to look at both assumptions, and talk about the proposed solution.
 
For reference, the current Banned and Restricted Lists (by format) are here.  The Reserve List is here.  
 
Let’s talk about the Reserve List first.  The Reserve List (RL) has a long history.  Here’s a synopsis.  Magic started printing cards in 1993.  The early print runs were tiny, so those cards were in high demand.  A secondary market appeared early, and Wizards soon realized that a secondary market was critical to the entire Pro Tour marketing strategy that has kept Magic viable for decades, while pretty much every competing card game has crashed.   (For details, see my archives.) 
 
In the mid 1990’s, however, Wizards nearly killed off the secondary market when they printed Chronicles.  This was a white-bordered set that reprinted a number of high-value chase cards, and reprinted them in huge numbers.  For example, the Elder Dragons from Legends were super expensive back then, but Chronicles reprinted at least 10 times as many copies of the cards as were ever printed in Legends.  The price tanked.   More importantly, dealers made it very clear that, if Wizards was going to do that sort of reprint, then the dealers could not invest in chase cards. It was too risky.  Wizards realized that they could have either reprints or the secondary market that supported constructed play at all levels, up to and including the Pro Tour.  Wizards looked at the two revenue streams and publicly committed to never printing a set like Chronicles again. 
 
The Reserve List policy was tweaked a couple time since then.  Prior to Mercadian Masques, some uncommons were on the list, but they were removed.  For a while Wizards was reprinting premium versions of reserved cards (e.g Judge Foils and so forth), but it stopped that in 2011.  Now, the Reserve List identifies 572 cards that Wizards promises it will never reprint.   
 
Wizards reconsidered the Reserve List circa 2010.  Columnists and players wrote endless articles and op-eds on the issue.  Wizards met with a lot of players, dealers and investors in private sessions.  It flew out representatives of various companies, as well as players who knew some of the Eternal formats very well.  It was clear that there were people and interests outside Wizards that strongly supported the Reserve List – but those voices did not speak up in public forums.  (Why should they?  Posting on a forum or blog just draws attacks from trolls.  Speaking directly to Wizards, OTOH, has an effect.)  Wizards also spent a lot of time in discussions with corporate and legal from both Wizards and parent company Hasbro.  In the end, Wizards emphatically stated that the Reserve List was going to continue, despite what they knew that meant for Vintage and Legacy.  
 
That decision has been made.  Wizards is not going to revisit it. 
 
Let’s talk money for a moment.  Let’s assume that Wizards was to break the reserve list and reprint just the cards critical for Vintage – the Power Nine.  Let’s assume that they use the new card frame and new art, so to the old versions are distinct.   If Wizards did that, prices for the old versions are going to fall.   If Vintage events start firing everywhere, that fall will be less, but they will fall.  A huge portion of the value of the Power Nine is the scarcity.   Yes, we have seen some old cards hold or even gain value when reprinted, but we also have a lot of experience with reprints crashing prices.  Look at Chronicles and Time shifted cards for Time Spiral.  We can argue over the exact effects, but let’s be very conservative and assume the old, white-bordered Power Nine drop just 10% in value.  (If Wizards were to reprint P9 in enough volume to revive Vintage, I’d predict those WB cards dropping more like 75%, but let’s assume 10% for sake of argument.) 
 
Unlimited, the set that gave use WB Power, had a print run of 40 million, giving us about 22,800 copies of each Power Card.  Those are spread among dealers, players and collectors.  SCG lists a 20 Black Lotuses on its website, plus behind the counter more in its physical store and still more that travel to SCG Opens – maybe 50 or more in inventory.  PowerNine.com has a large inventory.  More importantly, a ton of smaller card dealers have a couple copies in their stores.  We don’t know the total number of Black Lotuses held by dealers, but it could easily be 5,000, worldwide.  Using our most conservative estimate, reprinting Power only reducing the price of WB Power 10%, and having no effect on BB Power, dealers lose some $60,000,000 overnight.   Small dealers, those with only 2-3 copies of power in their inventory, are going to lose several thousand dollars, even under the most conservative estimates.  A more reasonable estimate - that WB power will lose maybe half its value – would cost those stores $10k-$15k.   Local game stores are not high margin businesses.  A loss like that could put some of them out of business.
 
Moreover, to save Vintage and Legacy, Wizards will have to reprint the dual lands.  Reprinting just the duals will cost dealers at least as much in lost value as reprinting the Power.  Dealers may also feel they have to liquidate some of their stocks of other high-cost cards, so they are not so exposed if/when Wizards reprints Tabernacles or Mishra’s Workshops.  Sure, Wizards could say they were not going to, but they say that now about P9 and duals.  If they reversed themselves and reprinted those cards, why should any dealers trust them not to reprint anything else?
 
When making a decision like this, Wizards has to think about the downside risk.  Let’s assume that Wizards reprints just the Power and the dual lands.  Let’s further assume that the black bordered copies are exotic enough to hold their value, but the white bordered versions lose half of their value.  Dealers, especially those losing huge amounts, are likely to sue.  (Arguing that they made investment decisions made on an oft-repeated promise from Wizards not to reprint copies of their most valuable cards, where that value was based mainly on scarcity, and then Wizards broke that promise and destroyed that scarcity.  That argument won’t get immediately thrown out of court.)   Wizards would have to pay to defend itself, and it could lose.  Strange things happen in court.  Worst case, Wizards might have to reimburse dealers and collectors for the lost value of the P9 and duals. 

Reimbursing for just a fifty percent drop in value in just WB power and duals would cost Wizards over $1 billion, and possibly much more.  It depends on how many sets of cards suddenly appear in the marketplace, if Wizards has to reimburse all the owners.   And that is in addition to the damage done to the relationship between the dealers and Wizards.  Dealers run the vast majority of all events, from GPs down to FNM and casual duals.  Stores and dealers make constructed possible.  Wizards may not wish to risk all of that.
 
Could Wizards decide to abolish the reserve list?  Of course.  However, I think assuming, for the purpose of argument, that the Reserve List stays is not unreasonable.  For the remainder of this article, let’s make that assumption: nothing on the Reserve List can be reprinted.        
 
Let’s talk about what that means, starting with Vintage.  Vintage was a format that the folks at Wizards loved, and still love.  However, Vintage is a format defined by the Power Nine.  The Power Nine were printed in the Alpha, Beta and Unlimited sets.  We know the size of the print runs for those sets, so we know how many Black Lotuses or Moxen were ever printed.  It is not very many.  Even if every copy was still available – if none were ever lost, thrown away or eaten by washing machines or pets – then there would still not be enough to support a Pro Tour Qualifier season, or even a GP.  That’s true even if all the existing copies were on the market, but they are not.  A ton of these are in the hands of collectors who are not about to part with them, and still more are in dealer inventory.  Basically, the Reserve List meant Vintage could never be a GP format, and Wizards knew it when it created the Reserve List.
 
The same thing is true of Legacy, although the limiting factor in Legacy are the dual lands.  Dual lands were printed in the Revised edition, so there are an order of magnitude and more copies of each dual in print than any of the Power Nine.  So far, enough duals exist, and are available, to allow people to play Legacy in GPs at least.  However, the prices of duals keeps climbing.  The price of the cards is making it difficult for new players to get into Legacy, and fewer and fewer stores are offering Legacy tournaments.   Even SCG is cutting back on Legacy events.
 
Legacy isn’t dead yet. It is still popular with its base, but the cost of cards means that base is not growing like other formats.  Legacy’s long-term viability is, at least arguably, in doubt.   The people discussing No Reserve List Legacy argue that there are not enough duals and so forth to keep the format alive and growing.  That is not an unreasonable assumption.
 
So, if the Reserve List is not going away, and the Reserve List means there are not enough duals and so forth to support Legacy in the future, what do we do?   If we assume both of those statements are true, we can ban everything on the Reserve List.  That’s the proposal.  Let’s look at it in detail.
 
The Reserve List is a list of 572 cards Wizards has promised to never reprint.  Some of those are irrelevant to sanctioned play, like the Ante cards.  Others, like Shahrazad and Chaos Orb, have no place in modern tournaments.  Finally, a number are already banned in Legacy for power reasons - cards like the Power Nine and Survival of the Fittest.   That said, there are still about 540 cards on the Reserve List that are Legacy legal.
 
The first big loss, and it is a big loss, would be the dual lands.  These are everywhere in Legacy, and Legacy would be different without them.  However, the RL means we cannot play in a vibrant Legacy format with the duals, so we may have to sacrifice them.  Doing so will slow the format down a touch, but only a touch.  Modern, and even current Standard, show us how colorful a format can be without the true duals.  Legacy without duals would be a touch slower, and our mana bases a bit more painful without the duals, but it would not be unrecognizable.  
 
After removing the 30 already banned cards, and the 10 dual lands, we have some 540 cards that would be banned under the No Reserve List Legacy plan.  Of those 504 cards, the vast majority are cards like these:
 
stone calendar ANABA Ancestor (PIC=Conch Horn) Leering Gargoyle
 
Old sets had a ton of really bad cards, even at rare.  A good chunk of the Reserve List have never even been released online, and no one misses them.   Lady Caleria is online, but a 3/6 for 3WWGG that taps to bolt an attacker has never set Legacy on fire.  That’s typical of most of the Reserve List.
 
I went through the entire reserve list, card by card.  I found maybe fifty of these cards that were important in Legacy (or old Extended, which predated Legacy as the format with dual lands but no power) back in the day, but are useless now.  For example, I lost my first Extended match to Hatred, and I played a ton of matches against the Donate / Illusions of Grandeur deck. Neither of those decks has seen Legacy play for a decade or more.  That’s true of Kjeldoran Outpost, Recurring Nightmare, Power Artifact, Morphling, Braingeyser and Krovikan Horror – and maybe thirty more cards.   The vast majority of Magic players nowadays have probably never played in a tournament with those cards in the room (other than in some very well stocked dealer’s inventories.)  As sad as I am to say so, those cards just don’t matter anymore.  Not really. 
 
That leaves maybe two dozen cards that are commonly played in Legacy that would be banned – and that includes marginally playable cards like Thawing Glaciers, The Abyss, Lodestone Bauble and Powder Keg.  That said, there are a handful of important cards that would be banned under the No Reserve List proposal.  Let’s look at them, and the decks that would be affected.
 
The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale would be banned under the no reserve list proposal, and that would have a serious impact on Lands as well as eliminating a valuable sideboard card for some other decks.   Lands would also lose Mox Diamond, but those two cards might be enough to kill the archetype.  Tabernacle is the deck’s sweeper.
 
Sneak and Show loses City of Traitors, which leaves only Ancient Tomb as two mana land.  However, Show and Tell and Sneak Attack have both been reprinted, so the rest of the deck survives.
 
Another combo deck that would be in serious trouble under the No Reserve List proposal would be High Tide.   It would lose Candelabra of Tawnos, Intuition and Time Spiral.   Frantic Search alone is probably not enough brokenness to keep the deck viable, so it disappears.  As a former High Tide player, that makes me sad.  As a Legacy judge, Yay!  High Tide has slowed Legacy by thousands of hours over the last couple years.  All the other Legacy players will probably cheer if it vanishes.
 
Elves is another deck which would lose some of its explosiveness, since (Gaea’s Cradle) would be banned.  However, that is the only loss.  Natural Order and Sylvan Library have been reprinted, and everything is either too new, uncommon or immune.
 
ANT decks lose (Lion’s Eye Diamond), which powers Infernal Tutor.  Other combo elements which would be banned under the proposal would be City of Traitors, Meditate and Eureka.   The Aluren deck would be dead – Aluren is on the Reserve List. 
 
I’m not sure how big the MUD deck is nowadays, but it loses some cards.  Grim Monolith and Metalworker are pretty much keys to the deck, and they would be gone.  Enchantress would lose (Serra’s Sanctum).    Reanimator would lose Shallow Grave
 
The Reserve List includes a couple important sideboard cards.  Most notably, Firestorm, Humility, Moat, Null Rod and Chains of Mephistopheles would all be banned under the No Reserve List proposal.  
 
However, that is about it.  Aside from replacing the duals with shock lands, most Legacy decks would be almost completely unaffected.  Miracles loses a couple duals.  The Sneak and Show deck I list below has to replace a City of Traitors with Ancient Tomb and three duals with shocklands.  Shardless BUG swaps duals.   Infect remains Infect.  Delver decks are unharmed.  Burn keeps burning.  Death and Taxes is still forever, and Merfolk keep swimming.   Dredge decks running LED won’t, but the rest of the deck remains intact.
 
Fixing Legacy by banning the entire Reserve List is not a ridiculous suggestion.  It will still be a format with insane combo decks, powerful cards – and mostly the same decks.  It won’t be Modern – no format with Brainstorm and fetchlands plus Wasteland will ever look like Modern.  If Wizards wants a second Eternal format, in addition to Modern, it seems like a reasonable option.  Time will tell whether it is one Wizards wants to pursue.
 

Random MTGO Suggestion of the Week

Wizards is trying another large event – in this case Modern Mayhem.  If this works, I would expect Wizards to offer more.   If so, it should create something in the program to make it easy to find out when the next such event will be, and what format.  It would be even better if you could search by format for the next event.
 
If you have a suggestion for an improvement to MTGO, send it to magiconlinefeedback@wizards.com.
 

Cutting Edge Tech:

Standard:  This week’s Standard GP was held in Japan.  Over 2,500 players came to play, but in the end it was Atarka Red standing on the smoldering ruins of the event.  Coverage is here, and the Top 8 decklists are here.  Note, however, that Siege Rhino and Abzan were a huge part of the metagame, and especially of the last chance qualifier winning decks.
 
Atarka Red
Takuma Morofuji, Winner, GP Kobe
Creatures 
Monastery Swiftspear 
Lightning Berserker 
Zurgo Bellstriker 
4 Abbot of Keral Keep
4 cards

Other Spells 
Dragon Fodder 
Hordeling Outburst 
Titan's Strength 
Wild Slash 
2 Fiery Impulse
Atarka's Command 
Temur Battle Rage 
Become Immense 
29 cards
Lands 
Wooded Foothills 
Mountain 
Bloodstained Mire 
Windswept Heath 
Forest 
2 Cinder Glade
19 cards

Sideboard 
Hordeling Outburst 
Roast 
Rending Volley 
Outpost Siege 
Act of Treason 
12 cards
Monastery Swiftspear
Modern:  GP Pittsburgh was Modern, and attracted 2,679 players.  That’s quite a crowd.  In the end, though, the winning deck was Jeskai Twin.  Two Affinity deck also made T8.  Coverage is here, and the Top 8 decklists are here.   Ninth place was Amulet Bloom – and it was popular on day two.  Odds of Amulet being banned for the next Pro Tour seem high.
 
Jeskai Twin
Alex Bianchi, Winner, GP Pittsburg – Modern
Creatures 
Wall of Omens 
Snapcaster Mage 
Deceiver Exarch 
Restoration Angel
Pestermite 
Vendilion Clique 
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker 
12 cards

Other Spells 
Serum Visions 
Lightning Bolt 
Path to Exile 
Spell Snare 
Dispel 
Remand 
Electrolyze 
Cryptic Command 
Splinter Twin 
25 cards
Lands 
Scalding Tarn 
Flooded Strand 
Steam Vents 
Hallowed Fountain 
Sacred Foundry 
Island 
Mountain 
Plains 
Sulfur Falls 
Cascade Bluffs 
Celestial Colonnade 
23 cards

Restoration Angel
Pauper:  As you read this, the Pauper League should be up and running.  Here’s one of the most common Pauper decks – mono-blue.
 
Mono Blue
Mezzel, 3-0, Pauper Premier #9045037 on 11/23/2015
Creatures 
Cloud of Faeries 
Delver of Secrets 
Ninja of the Deep Hours 
Spellstutter Sprite 
Spire Golem 
19 cards

Other Spells 
Counterspell 
Deprive 
Exclude 
Flayer Husk 
Gush 
Ponder 
Preordain 
Snap 
22 cards
Lands 
17 Island 
Quicksand 
19 cards

Sideboard 
Annul 
Coral Net 
Hydroblast 
Relic of Progenitus 
Stitched Drake 
15 cards
Ninja of the Deep Hours
Legacy:  The biggest Legacy event last weekend was an SCG Premier IQ.  It was won by one of the more common archetypes – a Show and tell deck with actual Sneak Attacks.
 
Sneak and Show
Austin Lambkin, Winner, SCG Legacy Premier IQ Kansas City
Creatures 
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn 
Griselbrand
4 cards

Other Spells 
Flusterstorm 
Gitaxian Probe 
Preordain 
Spell Pierce 
Ponder 
Brainstorm 
Sneak Attack 
Show and Tell 
Lotus Petal 
Force of Will 
36 cards
Lands 
Scalding Tarn 
Polluted Delta 
Flooded Strand 
Mountain 
Island 
City of Traitors 
Ancient Tomb 
Volcanic Island 
20 cards

Griselbrand
Vintage:  The next Power Nine Challenge will be this weekend.  Here’s an interesting Grixis deck from a recent Vintage Daily.  Note the maindeck Notion Thieves, instead of the more common Young Pyromancers.   This build keeps the Tinker-based combos, instead of the fast beats.   Also, Vintage Super League has resumed.   I will be featuring VSL decks starting next week.
 
Grixis Delver
Llanowar07, 3-1, Vintage Daily #9045008 on 11/22/2015
Creatures 
Blightsteel Colossus 
Notion Thief 
3 cards

Other Spells 
Dack Fayden 
Jace, the Mind Sculptor 
Demonic Tutor 
Time Walk 
Tinker 
Treasure Cruise 
Yawgmoth's Will 
Ancestral Recall 
Brainstorm 
Dig Through Time 
1 Fire // Ice
Flusterstorm 
Force of Will 
Lightning Bolt 
Mana Drain 
Mental Misstep 
Thirst for Knowledge 
Vampiric Tutor 
Black Lotus 
Mana Crypt 
Mox Emerald 
Mox Jet 
Mox Pearl 
Mox Ruby 
Mox Sapphire 
Sensei's Divining Top 
Sol Ring 
Time Vault 
Voltaic Key 
Illness in the Ranks 
41 cards
Lands 
Flooded Strand 
Island 
Library of Alexandria 
Polluted Delta 
Tolarian Academy 
Underground Sea 
Volcanic Island 
15 cards

notion thief

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 were generally down this week. 
 
Standard  Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
(Anafenza, the Foremost)
$13.71
$15.67
($1.96)
-13%
(Collected Company)
$11.63
$11.62
$0.01
0%
(Deathmist Raptor)
$11.32
$11.94
($0.62)
-5%
(Den Protector)
$10.59
$11.37
($0.78)
-7%
(Dragonlord Atarka)
$8.54
$11.09
($2.55)
-23%
(Dragonlord Ojutai)
$19.94
$20.43
($0.49)
-2%
(Dromoka's Command)
$6.15
$7.35
($1.20)
-16%
(Flooded Strand)
$8.66
$9.11
($0.45)
-5%
(Gideon, Ally of Zendikar)
$21.87
$23.36
($1.49)
-6%
(Hangarback Walker)
$10.43
$9.98
$0.45
5%
(Jace, Vryn's Prodigy)
$73.32
$71.21
$2.11
3%
(Kolaghan's Command)
$10.59
$9.60
$0.99
10%
(Liliana, Heretical Healer)
$6.90
$7.56
($0.66)
-9%
(Monastery Mentor)
$14.18
$10.67
$3.51
33%
(Nissa, Vastwood Seer)
$10.50
$12.65
($2.15)
-17%
(Sorin, Solemn Visitor)
$8.50
$8.60
($0.10)
-1%
(Ugin, the Spirit Dragon)
$13.92
$16.15
($2.23)
-14%
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
$7.76
$8.22
($0.46)
-6%
Modern staples:   Modern prices were pretty stable this week, with a lot of small changes in each direction.   
 
Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
(Auriok Champion)
$26.74
$26.20
$0.54
2%
$17.31
$17.33
($0.02)
0%
(Blood Moon)
$29.12
$28.58
$0.54
2%
(Cavern of Souls)
$23.34
$23.16
$0.18
1%
(Eidolon of the Great Revel)
$16.91
$18.65
($1.74)
-9%
(Ensnaring Bridge)
$25.34
$26.29
($0.95)
-4%
(Geist of Saint Traft)
$15.94
$16.25
($0.31)
-2%
$38.09
$43.59
($5.50)
-13%
(Grove of the Burnwillows)
$36.64
$37.34
($0.70)
-2%
(Horizon Canopy)
$29.82
$25.62
$4.20
16%
(Inkmoth Nexus)
$24.14
$25.27
($1.13)
-4%
(Keranos, God of Storms)
$29.65
$27.76
$1.89
7%
(Liliana of the Veil)
$95.98
$95.49
$0.49
1%
(Lord of Atlantis)
$13.96
$14.44
($0.48)
-3%
(Mox Opal)
$34.71
$35.43
($0.72)
-2%
(Oblivion Stone)
$25.66
$24.79
$0.87
4%
(Scalding Tarn)
$39.35
$41.46
($2.11)
-5%
$32.15
$29.65
$2.50
8%
(Snapcaster Mage)
$17.81
$18.14
($0.33)
-2%
$57.94
$58.37
($0.43)
-1%
(Twilight Mire)
$19.56
$19.38
$0.18
1%
(Vendilion Clique)
$17.09
$16.57
$0.52
3%
(Voice of Resurgence)
$26.18
$24.22
$1.96
8%
Legacy and Vintage:  Prices for Eternal format cards were mixed this week, but generally down
No surprise that True-Name Nemesis, Containment Priest and Toxic Deluge dropped – they are all in the Legendary Cube prize packs.  It may end up knocking them off the list. 
  
Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
(Ancestral Recall)
$39.06
$39.46
($0.40)
-1%
(Black Lotus)
$129.27
$125.60
$3.67
3%
(Containment Priest)
$10.40
$25.89
($15.49)
-60%
$20.61
$18.72
$1.89
10%
$44.59
$44.80
($0.21)
0%
(Food Chain)
$28.84
$28.84
$0.00
0%
(Force of Will)
$26.47
$29.24
($2.77)
-9%
(Gaea's Cradle)
$25.81
$25.91
($0.10)
0%
(Infernal Tutor)
$49.53
$47.00
$2.53
5%
$115.47
$115.47
$0.00
0%
(Mox Jet)
$31.67
$32.76
($1.09)
-3%
(Mox Sapphire)
$58.01
$59.11
($1.10)
-2%
(Rishadan Port)
$180.33
$178.18
$2.15
1%
(Show and Tell)
$45.01
$50.31
($5.30)
-11%
(Tangle Wire)
$65.45
$66.70
($1.25)
-2%
(The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale)
$17.89
$17.74
$0.15
1%
(Time Walk)
$27.90
$27.82
$0.08
0%
(Toxic Deluge)
$9.46
$24.87
($15.41)
-62%
(True-Name Nemesis)
$12.56
$15.14
($2.58)
-17%
$20.28
$20.34
($0.06)
0%
$77.69
$72.65
$5.04
7%
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.  
 
Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Battle for Zendikar
$72.43
$83.30
($10.87)
-13%
Dragons of Tarkir
$148.20
$153.10
($4.90)
-3%
Fate Reforged
$61.23
$61.66
($0.43)
-1%
Khans of Tarkir
$97.17
$104.95
($7.78)
-7%
Magic Origins
$132.31
$135.56
($3.25)
-2%

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.   A little reshuffling, but mainly back towards reality.  The Power Nine is climbing, and four of the five Moxen are back on the board. 
 
Name
Set
Rarity
Number
 Price
Rishadan Port
 MM
Rare
324
 $ 180.33
Black Lotus
 VMA
Bonus
4
 $ 129.27
Misdirection
 MM
Rare
87
 $ 115.47
Liliana of the Veil
 ISD
Mythic Rare
105
 $   95.98
Wasteland
 TE
Uncommon
330
 $   82.22
Wasteland
 TPR
Rare
249
 $   77.69
Jace Vryn's Prodigy
 ORI
Mythic Rare
60a
 $   73.32
Tangle Wire
 NE
Rare
139
 $   65.45
Tarmogoyf
 FUT
Rare
153
 $   61.89
Tarmogoyf
 MM2
Mythic Rare
165
 $   58.52
Mox Sapphire
 VMA
Bonus
9
 $   58.01
Tarmogoyf
 MMA
Mythic Rare
166
 $   57.94
Infernal Tutor
 DIS
Rare
46
 $   49.53
Show and Tell
 UZ
Rare
96
 $   45.01
Doomsday
 WL
Rare
66
 $   44.59
Scalding Tarn
 ZEN
Rare
223
 $   39.35
Ancestral Recall
 VMA
Bonus
1
 $   39.06
Griselbrand
 AVR
Mythic Rare
106
 $   38.09
Mox Opal
 SOM
Mythic Rare
179
 $   37.64
Grove of the Burnwillows
 FUT
Rare
176
 $   36.64
Force of Will
 MED
Rare
33
 $   36.07
Mox Opal
 MM2
Mythic Rare
223
 $   34.71
Scapeshift
 MOR
Rare
136
 $   32.15
Mox Jet
 VMA
Bonus
6
 $   31.67
Blood Moon
 MMA
Rare
106
 $   31.64
Horizon Canopy
 FUT
Rare
177
 $   29.82
Keranos God of Storms
 JOU
Mythic Rare
151
 $   29.65
Blood Moon
 9ED
Rare
176
 $   29.58
Blood Moon
 8ED
Rare
178
 $   29.12
Food Chain
 MM
Rare
246
 $   28.84
Time Walk
 VMA
Bonus
2
 $   27.90
Ensnaring Bridge
 ST
Rare
133
 $   27.78
Ensnaring Bridge
 7E
Rare
294
 $   27.02
Auriok Champion
 5DN
Rare
3
 $   26.74
Mox Pearl
 VMA
Bonus
7
 $   26.51
Force of Will
 VMA
Rare
69
 $   26.47
Oblivion Stone
 MRD
Rare
222
 $   26.34
Voice of Resurgence
 DGM
Mythic Rare
114
 $   26.18
Mox Ruby
 VMA
Bonus
8
 $   26.06
Gaea's Cradle
 UZ
Rare
321
 $   25.81
Oblivion Stone
 CMD
Rare
254
 $   25.66
Ensnaring Bridge
 8ED
Rare
300
 $   25.34
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 you can own is $ 23,610.  That’s down about $215 from last week. 
 

Weekly Highlights:

It’s Turkey Day in the US this week.   Happy holidays to all of you who celebrate, and happy non-holiday to everyone else.   Now go play some Magic.
 
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” and “3MWords” on MTGO
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.
 
HammyBot Super Sale:  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 MTGOTrader’s Buy Price.   
 
 

21 Comments

No-Reserve-List-Legacy by Generalissimo at Fri, 11/27/2015 - 14:09
Generalissimo's picture

No-Reserve-List-Legacy doesn't really seem like much of a solution, it just seems like a slightly modified version of the same problems as reprinting the Reserve List cards; instead of increasing supply, you're decreasing demand but the end result will be the same: the cards will lose value. I suppose there's less chance of legal action against WotC, since they never promised not to ban all of the cards but the flip-side is that you run a much greater risk of alienating current Legacy players, since you've not only devalued their collection, but also made a massive change to a format they like.

The most obvious solution to the growth of Legacy and Vintage would seem to simply be MTGO, but, for whatever reason, WotC appears to be incredibly reluctant to support the formats properly online.

I think the support for by Joe Fiorini at Fri, 11/27/2015 - 21:16
Joe Fiorini's picture

I think the support for Eternal formats online is getting much better. The thing is that Grand Prix and Pro Tours give formats a feeling of legitimacy that nothing else really does. People want to play what their heroes are playing.

I know that seems odd, but I've had people flat out say that they don't consider Vintage a real format for just that reason. Without major sanctioned Legacy tournaments available the same would be said for Legacy. It's sad, but it is just the way things work.

I for one refuse to let the Pro scene dictate what I will spend my time playing. I like dual lands, I like powerful cards, so I want to play the real eternal formats. Even if I got good enough to go to another Pro Tour (very unlikely) I wouldn't have the means to compete properly. I'm fine with playing an online only format.

Why can't wizards just allow by jay85 at Fri, 11/27/2015 - 17:51
jay85's picture
5

Why can't wizards just allow people to proxy their manabase in sanctioned tournaments?

Yeah they'd NEVER do that. To by Joe Fiorini at Fri, 11/27/2015 - 21:08
Joe Fiorini's picture

Yeah they'd NEVER do that. To them there is no reason to, and it would be a slippery slope. What about Tarmogoyf? Should they be proxied? They cost more than some reserved list cards.

I feel you, but they'd never go for that. Legacy would have to do what Vintage has done and run their own non-sanctioned events.

Re:Proxies by Rerepete at Sat, 11/28/2015 - 17:05
Rerepete's picture

I think they should allow proxies for cards on the reserve list; limiting the amount to 5-10 in the 75.

That's a slippery slope that by longtimegone at Sat, 11/28/2015 - 19:08
longtimegone's picture

That's a slippery slope that I can assure you Wizards will never set a single foot on.

The reason that there aren't by Joe Fiorini at Fri, 11/27/2015 - 21:11
Joe Fiorini's picture

The reason that there aren't any Delvers in that Grixis Delver deck is that it is actually Grixis Control, commonly referred to as Grixis Thieves (Notion Thief and Dack Fayden, the greatest thief in the multiverse). Instead of Gush and Young Pyromancer in an inherently low-CMC fair deck, that type of deck is built around Thirst for Knowledge (since the unrestriction, prior to this it was 1 TFK, Multiple DTT 1 Treasure Cruise).

This is the type of deck that took second at Vintage Champs, and it has been hovering around the most popular deck on MTGO. It has recently receded into second place, behind UWR Mentor decks.

EDIT: That dude must really hate Monastery Mentor, two MAINDECK Illness in the ranks to go with the four SB. Well, it's randomly good against Oath too.

The logistical nightmare of by Bazaar of Baghdad at Fri, 11/27/2015 - 23:38
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

The logistical nightmare of collating, maintaining, communicating, and enforcing a ban list that size...

One way to save some of by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sat, 11/28/2015 - 00:02
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

One way to save some of Legacy is to introduce new cards, especially in Legacy-only products, that highly approximate banlist cards without being a necessary addition to their respective lists. This will work with cards that are not currently played as a 4x-of. In the Lands deck, you could reprint Tabernacle as a snow land. Regular Lands players only play 1-2 copies of the card anyways, so the new analogue print merely replaces the expensive card, not augments its power. Snow duals could be fun too. Similarly, a New Moat could cost 3W or allow attacks to planeswalkers or by islandwalkers. Cards like Mox Diamond or Aluren are trickier to save since perhaps more than 4x copies would be played if available. Without being too obvious ("Sacrifice CARDNAME if you control Mox Diamond"), the new card could have a restriction like "Sacrifice CARDNAME if you control three or more artifacts."

This new Moat version might by CottonRhetoric at Sat, 11/28/2015 - 11:03
CottonRhetoric's picture

This new Moat version might warp Standard a little bit.

I by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sat, 11/28/2015 - 14:28
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

Why would such a Moat in a Legacy-only product (as mentioned above) affect Standard?

I do love how Wizards went by jay85 at Sat, 11/28/2015 - 11:34
jay85's picture

I do love how Wizards went from a Vintage Challenge to a Modern one. I guess Legacy doesn't get a monthly challenge with prizes including Rishadan Port.

My main problem with by Cownose at Sat, 11/28/2015 - 23:41
Cownose's picture

My main problem with SaffronOlive's article is that it presumes that the only way for WotC to fix the scarcity problem is to have a massive transfer of wealth from their most dedicated and longest-playing customers to WotC (they take money from us so they can have reprints that make THEM money). This seems like the absolute wrong way to look at the problem. There are more creative ways to fix the problem that both make WotC money AND don't completely annihilate thousands of dollars from every serious eternal player's collection. The idea that Eternal is a zero-sum game and that we essentially have to sacrifice so that WotC can be bothered to support our formats is an awful way to start the discussion.

Off the top of my head: what if the next commander product (to keep it out of modern) had a set of legendary true duals? That move alone would drop some legacy deck prices by hundreds (some blue decks over $1k) and increase the number of people who could play the format by 25% or more. It would allow multicolored decks access to at least one $20 dual for each color combination and they could then supplement those with a few other ABU duals as nessesary. It would hurt the value of the ABU duals a BIT, but not to the extend eliminating the reserve list or banning all reserved list cards would. Players can play legacy, WotC gets the best-selling supplemental product of all time, commander players are thrilled, current eternal players don't lose much (and even then might GAIN the ability to play more eternal)--THAT is the kind of solution this problem needs.

Except that commander players by Dawwy at Sun, 11/29/2015 - 07:09
Dawwy's picture

Except that commander players wouldn't be really thrilled - where I live most of Commander products that contain legacy staples are preordered en masse then sold for a secondary market value of often 400-600% of the initial price (which is steep in the first place after currency conversion and tax).

are there not Big Box stores by Cownose at Sun, 11/29/2015 - 19:33
Cownose's picture

are there not Big Box stores there? Target always has commander in stock at MSRP.

Target's reach isn't thorough by Paul Leicht at Sun, 11/29/2015 - 19:48
Paul Leicht's picture

Target's reach isn't thorough though I admit Kmart covers areas Target does not seem to be in. Their selection however is pretty terrible.

Especially in countries by Dawwy at Mon, 11/30/2015 - 03:25
Dawwy's picture

Especially in countries Target doesn't exist and most shops that carry mtg are special tabletop games stores. They have limited access to mtg products and they depend HEAVILY on suppliers which supply a lot of stores at once. That often causes shortages.

Outside of NA supplies are by Paul Leicht at Mon, 11/30/2015 - 08:44
Paul Leicht's picture

Outside of NA supplies are bound to be limited no matter what, sadly.

yeah, I'm not really sure "I by Cownose at Mon, 11/30/2015 - 14:05
Cownose's picture

yeah, I'm not really sure "I live in a country without good MTG distribution" is a valid reason to not include staples in commander decks. It sucks, but it is a problem that effects a minority of players. Besides, if WotC put legendary duals in the next Commander product they would HAVE to increase circulation of the decks by 5 fold, which might actually help people in areas with poor distribution rather than hurt them.

I'm really stuck on the idea of them being in a commander product though, because you would have to keep them out of Modern and I'm not sure how else to accomplish that.

Why ban ALL of the reserved list? by Felorin at Mon, 11/30/2015 - 03:26
Felorin's picture

Just banning the dual lands from Legacy takes care of like 80-90% of the price problem. Also they're the cards almost every deck runs - cards like Aluren and Metalworker are played in so much smaller a percentage of legacy decks that the current size supply is a lot more adequate to meet the demands of the format. So why ban them, and why are we banning Lady Caleria again?

Still, whether you ban the whole reserve list, or just the dual lands, it does concern me that "you can't play these dual lands in Legacy" might damage their price severely, just like "we reprinted the dual lands" would. By reducing demand, rather than by raising supply. And dropping their price is what they're presumably trying to avoid, so I'm not sure this new format is a viable solution either. Pure collectors would still want them, but collector-players would want them less, and pure players wouldn't want them at all. Less demand = lower price.

interesting solution. The by Bazaar of Baghdad at Tue, 12/01/2015 - 13:52
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

interesting solution. The best part is the simplicity and making a large swath of legacy available. The worst part is that it likely hurts existing Legacy players (who presumably have a good collection of duals) even more than the dealers. That said, it's feasible, and it doesn't break a promise. Vintage would drop in price, too, since supply would increase. Certain cards would increase in price (think: Tabernacle) as the corresponding decks become cheaper and increase in demand. As far as value goes, they never promised to artificially keep the value of the cards intact, only not to reproduce them.