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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Sep 12 2014 12:00pm
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State of the Program for September 12th 2014

 

In the News:

Community Cup Begins Today: The Community Cup playoffs begin today and run through the weekend. Coverage is on Twitch.tv/magic and Twitter. Details here
  
Community Cup Side Events Beginning Now: Wizards is offering two special events in conjunction with the Community Cup. The first is an R&D Challenge which takes place at noon, PDT, today. It is a five round Vintage event. The cost is 10 TIX, with prizes going down to players with a 3-2 record. The format is Vintage. The second series of events are 8 pack phantom sealed events happening at five different times Saturday and Sunday. The community was voting on the packs to be used. As I write this, the mix of packs chosen has not been announced. Details on all these events here.
 
Wasteland Lottery to Begin September 17thWizards will be bring us flashback drafts beginning with Tempest block on Sept. 17, followed by triple Innistrad on Sept. 24th. Save your TIX, because Tempest has Wasteland, the $135 uncommon. Innistrad also has a $100 card, but Liliana of the Veil is a Mythic.   That makes the chances of drawing a winning ticket lower, but Innistrad is a better draft environment.
 
CUBE to Return: Wizards has announced that CUBE will return to MTGO on Sept. 17th.   The cube has been revised, with over 50 cards replaced.
 
Extended Downtime Sept. 24thJust a word of warning, MTGO will be down early that day. Events will close at midnight PDT. 
 

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. I also created another list for notable bugs. If you know of one that has not been fixed (and you or someone has filed a bug report) please let me know.
 
Item (date it will return) and notes
·         Khans of Tarkir: (October) Prerelease Oct. 3-6. Details here.
·         Standard Rotation: (October) Should be Oct. 9th, but could be Oct. 2nd
·         Leagues (2014) Wizards has promised that leagues will return this year. Details here.
·         From the Vault: Annihilation: (10/6/2014) Moved from August 22 to October 6.
·         Duel Decks: Speed vs. Cunning (10/6/2014) Details here.
·         Commander 2014: (11/21/2014) Details here.
·         Modern Masters II: (May of 2015?) 
 

The Fiscal Value of Old Sets: Tempest

Wizards is bring back Tempest drafts for one week only. Tempest limited is a decent format, but the big appeal is the $100+ uncommon.  The plan is to open Wasteland.  That’s not the only money card in Tempest block, though. Here are the other cards with a value of $5 or more.  I would recommend opening one of those, since the value of most commons and uncommons from a Legacy/Vintage only block is pretty low. 
 

Card
Rarity
Set
Price
Wasteland
U
TE
$ 113.95
City of Traitors
R
EX
$ 48.67
Intuition
R
TE
$ 27.00
Grindstone
R
TE
$ 18.90
Ensnaring Bridge
R
ST
$ 17.32
Humility
R
TE
$ 17.08
Scroll Rack
R
TE
$ 13.55
Mox Diamond
R
ST
$ 11.16
Time Warp
R
TE
$ 8.34
Aluren
R
TE
$ 6.37
Oath of Druids
R
EX
$ 5.61
Earthcraft
R
TE
$ 5.34
Meditate
R
TE
$ 5.03
Volrath's Stronghold
R
ST
$ 5.00

 

State of the Client: Trading Away Draft Leftovers Part II

I have been testing different areas of the client recently. I drafted, and that worked. I constructed a deck from a written list, and that worked better than expected. Last week I tried trading. I was trying to move my draft leftovers from main account to my wife’s account (for anything sets she hadn’t completed) or to my storage account. I spent hours trying to identify the extras and move them into my “active binder” so I could trade them away. It didn’t go very well. You can read about that here.
 
This week I wanted to try actually trading those to Ingrid’s account. The goal is to trade her enough copies to give her a playset of anything she doesn’t have four of. How hard can that be?
 
First, the background. I am doing these tests on either my desktop or laptop machine. The desktop is a Windows 7 machine with a decent nvidea graphics board. It is by no means a gaming powerhouse – it is what my local computer store built for me three years ago for about $800, including transferring my data from the smoking ruins of my last desktop system. My laptop is an anemic single core Acer Aspire 5532 (review.) My Internet connection is DSL, running at 1.5M down, 300k up on a good day, which is all that I can get here in the country. This test was done on the desktop, trading cards to Ingrid’s account running on the laptop, and vice versa.
 
Last week, I made all (or at least most) or my redundant cards tradable. Now I wanted to launch Ingrid’s account, and trade her just those cards that she did not already have. That went reasonably well for cards that I knew had only one printing. For example, the trade showed her account as having two Reclamation Sages. Since I knew that had only ever been printed in M15, I could simply add two to the trade and I knew she was good to go. 
 
The problem came with cards like Battlefield Forge.  The program said she owned zero. Really? No. Actually, she had three: two from 9E and one from 10E. However, the only way to find this out (apparently) is to go into her collection screen and search for “Battlefield Forge” and select show all versions. After that, I could add the one copy she actually needed to the trade. Since M15 has a lot of reprints, like all core sets, this was really time consuming. 
 
The other option was to add all the cards the program showed as missing to the trade, then go into Ingrid’s collection and manually add everything over 4 copies to her trade binder, then trade those cards away to my storage account. Either way, this was a messy and inefficient process. 
 
But just to make it perfect, I would spend 10-15 minutes working on a trade, only to see this:


 
 
Not, the trade was not declined. It was not cancelled by the users. The program just hung for about 15 minutes, then cancelled the trade itself.   Rebooting both clients restored functionality, and no cards were lost, but what a waste of time.
 
After a couple attempts, I managed to move most of the cards Ingrid needed into her account. I am nowhere near done, though, and I have not moved any cards into my storage account. That also means I have not been able to sell any of my spare cards, and I have run out of tickets. This means that I have not been drafting.   I’ve been playing other games, instead. In Guild Wars 2, I don’t have to suffer to trade away my spare loot.    
 
It’s kinda sad that the collection management and trade parts of this program are bad enough to drive me to other games. 
 

Cutting Edge Tech:

Standard: We are rapidly approaching the end of the current Standard, at least in paper, but the format will live on in MTGO for a while.   It also lives on at the SCG Opens.  However, the SCG Standard Open in St. Louis looked a lot like previous weeks, with Rabble Red winning again. The rest of the Top 8 had a lot of familiar decks. The most common deck in the Top 8 was Jund Planeswalkers.
 
 
Modern: PTQ season is over, but Modern is still interesting. Here’s the winning decklist from a recent TCG Player 5k. 
 
 
Legacy: SCG held a Legacy Open in St. Louis last weekend. The winning deck was Elves, which I have featured fairly often. Second place was a Death and Taxes deck, with another version finishing fourth. I haven’t done a Death and Taxes list recently, so here you go. The rest of the Top 16 decklists are here.
 
 
Vintage:  The Vintage Championship was last weekend. The constructed event winner was playing Stax – Shops with Smokestack.   Here’s that list.
 
 

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).
 
Standard staples: Standard prices are, overall, up again this week. Cards that are due to rotate soon have dropped a bit, but cards seeing a bunch of good results, like Rabblemaster, are climbing. 
 

Standard & Block Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$8.91
$8.75
$0.16
2%
$8.68
$7.22
$1.46
20%
$15.80
$17.62
($1.82)
-10%
$15.88
$16.58
($0.70)
-4%
$7.28
$7.21
$0.07
1%
$12.40
$16.18
($3.78)
-23%
$7.83
$8.00
($0.17)
-2%
$16.12
$15.82
$0.30
2%
(Garrukk, Apex Predator)
$9.09
$7.30
$1.79
25%
$7.90
$6.62
$1.28
19%
$3.45
$5.66
($2.21)
-39%
$14.09
$14.78
($0.69)
-5%
$13.92
$13.93
($0.01)
0%
$8.89
$11.79
($2.90)
-25%
$30.89
$31.16
($0.27)
-1%
$14.52
$14.98
($0.46)
-3%
$9.00
$12.77
($3.77)
-30%
$10.44
$10.26
$0.18
2%
(Thasssa, God of the Sea)
$5.63
$6.60
($0.97)
-15%
$20.62
$25.77
($5.15)
-20%
$10.87
$11.00
($0.13)
-1%

Modern staples: Modern cards are a mixed bag this week. We are past the Modern PTQ season, but that wasn’t applicable to online anyway.  Prices are shifting around a bit, but few real trends.
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$41.27
$42.80
($1.53)
-4%
$12.92
$11.46
$1.46
13%
$27.29
$26.35
$0.94
4%
$16.65
$17.41
($0.76)
-4%
$18.45
$18.45
$0.00
0%
$26.22
$27.00
($0.78)
-3%
$35.49
$34.28
$1.21
4%
$10.53
$10.53
$0.00
0%
$30.14
$30.14
$0.00
0%
$60.10
$60.10
$0.00
0%
$37.54
$36.38
$1.16
3%
$79.55
$95.67
($16.12)
-17%
$32.34
$32.29
$0.05
0%
$86.98
$86.98
$0.00
0%
$34.00
$35.68
($1.68)
-5%
$20.45
$20.77
($0.32)
-2%
$18.52
$17.89
$0.63
4%
$33.10
$27.58
$5.52
20%
$24.50
$23.12
$1.38
6%
$21.98
$19.67
$2.31
12%
$88.87
$88.87
$0.00
0%
$30.50
$30.50
$0.00
0%
$63.36
$60.19
$3.17
5%

Legacy / Vintage: Legacy and Vintage prices were pretty stable this week, but two cards took a tumble. Wasteland is down because Tempest block drafts will be happening shortly. Polluted Delta is crashing because it will be reprinted in Khans of Trakir. And True-Name Nemesis is just strange – the Commander deck it comes from is for sale in the store for $30.
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$80.00
$74.92
$5.08
7%
$207.89
$202.13
$5.76
3%
$48.67
$51.66
($2.99)
-6%
$21.87
$22.74
($0.87)
-4%
$29.79
$30.58
($0.79)
-3%
$21.24
$21.98
($0.74)
-3%
$36.96
$37.26
($0.30)
-1%
$34.62
$34.62
$0.00
0%
$25.77
$25.77
$0.00
0%
$57.50
$60.69
($3.19)
-5%
$18.76
$18.76
$0.00
0%
$27.00
$27.65
($0.65)
-2%
$28.04
$24.67
$3.37
14%
$14.84
$14.80
$0.04
0%
$95.25
$95.25
$0.00
0%
$69.25
$58.90
$10.35
18%
$44.99
$44.99
$0.00
0%
$103.31
$87.42
$15.89
18%
$16.86
$16.86
$0.00
0%
$25.43
$30.95
($5.52)
-18%
$134.71
$134.71
$0.00
0%
$69.95
$69.95
$0.00
0%
$40.51
$37.09
$3.42
9%
$68.26
$60.95
$7.31
12%
$41.74
$43.79
($2.05)
-5%
$20.34
$19.31
$1.03
5%
$33.63
$33.63
$0.00
0%
$113.95
$131.27
($17.32)
-13%

 
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.   I will probably stop reporting on M14 shortly. It is no longer drafted, and is about to rotate. RTR block will also rotate, so I will pull those sets sometime late next month.       
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Born of the Gods
$70.90
$76.70
($5.80)
-8%
Dragon's Maze
$37.34
$44.31
($6.97)
-16%
Gatecrash
$68.00
$69.69
($1.69)
-2%
Journey into Nix
$115.41
$113.36
$2.05
2%
M14
$77.95
$87.80
($9.85)
-11%
M15
$134.43
$129.05
$5.38
4%
Return to Ravnica
$83.58
$90.96
($7.38)
-8%
Theros
$124.08
$127.10
($3.02)
-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. Black Lotus continues to lead the pack, but Wasteland and Rishadan Port are not that far behind.   We will see whether a week of Tempest drafts can reduce the price of Wasteland. One effect we are already seeing – the announcement that Khans of Trakir will include the Onslaught fetchlands has pushed the price of all the fetches – Onslaught and Zendikar – way down. 
 

Card
Rarity
Set
Price
Black Lotus
B
VMA
$ 207.89
Rishadan Port
R
MM
$ 134.71
Wasteland
U
TE
$ 113.95
Mox Sapphire
B
VMA
$ 103.31
Misdirection
R
MM
$    95.25
Tarmogoyf
M
MMA
$    92.00
Tarmogoyf
R
FUT
$    88.87
Mox Opal
M
SOM
$    86.98
Ancestral Recall
B
VMA
$    80.00
Liliana of the Veil
M
ISD
$    79.55
Show and Tell
R
UZ
$    69.95
Mox Jet
B
VMA
$    69.25
Time Walk
B
VMA
$    68.26
Vendilion Clique
M
MMA
$    63.95
Vendilion Clique
R
MOR
$    63.36
Griselbrand
M
AVR
$    60.10
Mox Ruby
B
VMA
$    59.81
Hurkyl's Recall
R
10E
$    57.50
Force of Will
R
MED
$    56.47
Mox Emerald
B
VMA
$    49.54
City of Traitors
R
EX
$    48.67
Mox Pearl
B
VMA
$    44.99
Tangle Wire
R
NE
$    43.50
True-Name Nemesis
R
C13
$    41.74
Batterskull
M
NPH
$    41.27
Sneak Attack
R
UZ
$    40.51
Dark Confidant
M
MMA
$    38.52
Karn Liberated
M
NPH
$    37.54
Force of Will
R
VMA
$    36.96
Toxic Deluge
R
C13
$    36.63
Dark Confidant
R
RAV
$    35.49
Gaea's Cradle
R
UZ
$    34.62
Noble Hierarch
R
CON
$    34.00
Undiscovered Paradise
R
VI
$    33.63
Scalding Tarn
R
ZEN
$    33.10
Infernal Tutor
R
DIS
$    33.04
Lion's Eye Diamond
R
MI
$    32.87
Tezzeret the Seeker
M
ALA
$    32.50
Linvala, Keeper of Silence
M
ROE
$    32.34
Nissa, Worldwaker
M
M15
$    30.89
Twilight Mire
R
EVE
$    30.50
Fulminator Mage
R
SHM
$    30.14
Dark Depths
R
CSP
$    29.79
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
M
WWK
$    29.26
Craterhoof Behemoth
M
AVR
$    28.80
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
M
VMA
$    28.04
Bitterblossom
R
MOR
$    27.29
Intuition
R
TE
$    27.00
Cryptic Command
R
MMA
$    27.00
Cryptic Command
R
LRW
$    26.22
Unmask
R
MM
$    26.12
Goblin Welder
R
UL
$    25.77
Polluted Delta
R
ONS
$    25.43

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 $ 26,910. That’s up about $120 from where we were last week.
 

Weekly Highlights:

An interesting week this week. I played in a few too many 8-4s, and I’m down to just 2 M15 boosters. I am also short on TIX, so I am trying to draft through my remaining RTR and Theros block packs. The RTR drafts never seem to fire when I’m around.
 
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 over 24,000 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 sets, but it includes a ton of Masters Edition and Vintage cards, and some nice Modern bargains. 
 

2 Comments

Vintage Super League by TheKidsArentAlright at Fri, 09/12/2014 - 14:51
TheKidsArentAlright's picture

In addition to the Community Cup, there's another really awesome event being run right now: the Vintage Super League. It's a round robin tournament of some of the best current pros, old Hall of Famers, and Vintage specialists hosted by Randy Buehler. The current roster is EFro, Josh Utter-Leyton, Tom Martell, David Williams, Rich Shay (The Atog Lord), Stephen Menendian (Smmenen), LSV, Bob Maher, Chris Pikula, and Randy himself. Season 1 is in full swing, entering the 4th week. Weeks 1 & 2 along with the preview show and decklists are on twitch.tv/randybuehler while week 3 and subsequent are on the big channel, twitch.tv/magic. The show airs on Tuesdays 7pm PST (10pm EST). If you're a fan of, or even just mildly interested in, Vintage Magic I highly recommend checking it out.

RTR Drafts by IYankemDDS at Sat, 09/13/2014 - 07:58
IYankemDDS's picture

They will fire, but you have to login at the right time, or sometimes be a little patient. I usually play 2-3 on the weekend, and see lots more than that fire. I prefer Swiss since I like force the 5-color deck which I call GateGate, even though I tend to go 3-0 or 2-1 in the format most of the time. It really is my favorite format right now - much better than M15 or Theros Block. I am hoping Khans will shake it up, and my best guess is my 5-color deck will still be available!