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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Sep 19 2014 1:00pm
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State of the Program for September 19th 2014

 

In the News:

Khans Full Spoiler Up: The paper world prereleases are this weekend. The complete visual spoiler is up.   Coverage is everywhere. (But not here. Two reasons: first, you can Khans info everywhere, and second, I’m not really all that good at set reviews.) 
 
Khans Prerelease and Release Event Info: The info page for the events is up. The prerelease will be similar to past prereleases. The “Friendly” and “Competitive” event options will continue. (Friendly has the prize pool spread further down the standings, competitive events cluster the payout at the top of the standings.) We will also continue to get special boosters featuring our chosen clans for this event, but the prerelease foils will be one of eight for each clan. Wizards has learned that having a single card for each color, and having one of those cards be much better than the others leads to problems. 
 
Community Cup Team Wins:  The community team won, just like it was supposed to. They get the glory, and everyone who logged in to MTGO during the tournament gets a free Survival of the Fittest. Seems good.   You can see the highlights of the event here.  
 
Extended Downtime Sept. 24thJust a word of warning, MTGO will be down early that day. Events will close at midnight PDT. 
 
Vintage Super League: TheKidsArentAlright pointed out a cool event that is running at present. The Vintage Super League is 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). Kids said “If you're a fan of, or even just mildly interested in, Vintage Magic I highly recommend checking it out.” I agree.
 
More Bug Fixes: We had another downtime, another large client upgrade released, and a number of bugs that have caused problems are reputedly being stomped. (Reputedly, because I write large chunks of this article early in the week, and I have not yet had time to test these fixes. The bug fix I am happiest to hear is fixed happened when an opponent revealed their hand after a match ended. That box, with the revealed hand, stayed on screen during subsequent matches. Fixed now. 
 
Theros Block Intro Packs Leaving Store: The store will stop selling Theros block Intro Packs on October 8th. That’s just the intro packs – Theros booster packs will still be available until this time next year. Although I have not seen an official announcement, Return to Ravnica block booster packs will probably also stop being sold in the store sometime in October. 
 
October Promos Announced: The MOC promo will be Entomb. The event participation promo will be Prophet of Kruphix (NOT Courser of Kruphix, but still good.) The store activity promo will be an alt art Fanatic of Xenagos.
 

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?) 
 
 

State of the Client: Collection Management and Trading First World Problems

a/k/a Why the collection tool rarity sort is a fail, and why fixing it will be hard.

From the twitterverse this week, because I was feeling kinda the same way:
Brad Nelson@fffreakmtg  ·  Sept 8  I seriously am one of the biggest fans of playing Magic, but I don't know if I can take this program much longer.
 
I’m not that close to breaking, but my state of the client review this week is not good. I am continuing to work on selling spare cards, and I found more problems; serious ones this time around. I made a video of the problems and my reactions to it. It ran half an hour. I rescripted and reshot it: the second version is still 20 minutes, but better. Here it is.
 
 

 
For those of you that don’t have time to watch the video, here’s a recap.
 
My storage account has 67,000+ cards. That’s too many to put in one trade binder. I first tried to create a “Good Stuff” binder by adding just the Mythics, rares, and  specials to a “Good Stuff” binder. This bombed, because the rarity filter is garbage (more on why later.) Then I created six binders – one for just lands, one for just enchantments, etc. This “works”, and the video shows how to do it, but it’s a pain.
Back to the rarity filter. If I click on Mythics in the collection screen, my Findhorn Elves (an MED common) will pop up. I don’t actually own any “Mythic” Findhorn Elves, but there was a FtV version of the card that had a Mythic badge. Why the confusion? Here’s my guess – because Wizards combined the collection and deckbuilding screens and tools. These tools treat “Mythic” as a format, not a type. The video explains it in more details, but the basic rule for deck construction is that if any version of a card is legal in a format, then all versions of the card are legal. For example, if I wanted to add Naturalize to the sideboard of my constructed deck, but the only versions of Naturalize I own are from Onslaught, they are still legal.   The Onslaught set has not been in Standard for a decade, but Naturalize is in M15, so that particular Onslaught card is legal. That’s a basic rule of deck construction . The problem comes because the Collection screen is applying that same logic to collection management: one Fyndhorn Elves is a Mythic, therefore all copies should show up under a search for Mythics. 
 
In the video, I go into more detail on the problem, why I think Wizards didn’t see it coming (spoiler – because they have god accounts and don’t manage collections), and offer some other ideas for fixing the problem.   The final point I made, I want to make again, because Wizards clearly didn’t understand. 
 
Wizards, we beta testers kept asking for a “binder view.” This was only partly because we wanted to be able to view our collections. A more important reason was because a “binder view,” and the tools that go with it, are necessary to manage our collections. This is not an aesthetics issue. This is a core functionality issue , which, in my opinion, does not function. 
 
Fix it.
 

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.  Once again,  Rabble Red won. Once again, the rest of the Top 8 was really familiar. On the flip side, a lot of cards from each of those archetypes are rotating.
 
Rabble Red
Manuel Orellana, Winner, SCG Standard Open Atlanta
Creatures
4 Firedrinker Satyr
4 Young Pyromancer
3 Legion Loyalist
4 Rakdos Cackler
4 Chandra's Phoenix
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
23 cards

Other Spells
4 Stoke the Flames
4 Lightning Strike
4 Magma Jet
4 Shock
16 cards
 
Lands
4 Mutavault
17 Mountain
21 cards

Goblin Rabblemaster
 
Modern: SCG is also running Modern events at its opens on Sunday. I’m featuring the winning deck from that event mainly because it dovetails nicely with the featured deck from Legacy. The Top 8 from the SCG Modern Open is here.
 
 
Legacy: SCG held a Legacy Open in Atlanta last weekend. The winning deck was UWR Miracles, which is not very interesting. I was more interested in the second and third place decks – Infect, piloted by Brad Nelson and Todd Anderson.  The rest of the Top 16 decklists are here.
 
 
Vintage:  The Vintage Super League is a 10 player round robin tournament with a lot of big name Vintage players. Stephen Menendian is currently leading. Two comments on the decklist.   First, the players were allowed to change decks for week four, which Stephen did. Second, he was reasonably certain no one would play Dredge, so he has zero anti-Dredge cards in his sideboard. This might be the right metagame call for this event, but don’t do this at home.
 
 

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. And Mana Confluence is going to see play in all formats pretty much forever, so speculators are grabbing them up. 
 

Standard & Block Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$9.42
$8.91
$0.51
6%
$7.53
$8.68
($1.15)
-13%
$12.79
$15.80
($3.01)
-19%
$16.51
$15.88
$0.63
4%
$8.71
$7.28
$1.43
20%
$14.13
$12.40
$1.73
14%
$7.10
$7.83
($0.73)
-9%
$16.33
$16.12
$0.21
1%
(Garrukk, Apex Predator)
$8.26
$9.09
($0.83)
-9%
$8.03
$7.90
$0.13
2%
$14.05
$14.09
($0.04)
0%
$18.26
$13.92
$4.34
31%
$8.09
$8.89
($0.80)
-9%
$32.08
$30.89
$1.19
4%
$14.00
$14.52
($0.52)
-4%
$7.88
$9.00
($1.12)
-12%
$11.23
$10.44
$0.79
8%
(Thasssa, God of the Sea)
$5.24
$5.63
($0.39)
-7%
$18.63
$20.62
($1.99)
-10%
$9.94
$10.87
($0.93)
-9%

Modern staples: Modern cards are a mixed bag this week. Prices are shifting around a bit, but few real trends. It seems that players are playing Modern while waiting for Standard to shift.
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$41.27
$41.27
$0.00
0%
$13.52
$12.92
$0.60
5%
$27.29
$27.29
$0.00
0%
$17.41
$16.65
$0.76
5%
$18.45
$18.45
$0.00
0%
$25.06
$26.22
($1.16)
-4%
$30.21
$35.49
($5.28)
-15%
$12.48
$10.53
$1.95
19%
$28.51
$30.14
($1.63)
-5%
$60.88
$60.10
$0.78
1%
$36.80
$37.54
($0.74)
-2%
$74.46
$79.55
($5.09)
-6%
$32.34
$32.34
$0.00
0%
$90.07
$86.98
$3.09
4%
$40.04
$34.00
$6.04
18%
$21.56
$20.45
$1.11
5%
$18.52
$18.52
$0.00
0%
$34.38
$33.10
$1.28
4%
$22.85
$24.50
($1.65)
-7%
$22.80
$21.98
$0.82
4%
$95.88
$88.87
$7.01
8%
$30.13
$30.50
($0.37)
-1%
$63.36
$63.36
$0.00
0%

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 still just strange – the Commander deck it comes from is for sale in the store for $30. On the other hand, as VMA drafts finish up, the price of Power is climbing. 
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$85.83
$80.00
$5.83
7%
$207.89
$207.89
$0.00
0%
$46.72
$48.67
($1.95)
-4%
$21.87
$21.87
$0.00
0%
$29.79
$29.79
$0.00
0%
$20.03
$21.24
($1.21)
-6%
$36.96
$36.96
$0.00
0%
$34.62
$34.62
$0.00
0%
$25.77
$25.77
$0.00
0%
$55.25
$57.50
($2.25)
-4%
$18.06
$18.76
($0.70)
-4%
$27.00
$27.00
$0.00
0%
$29.00
$28.04
$0.96
3%
$16.36
$14.84
$1.52
10%
$95.25
$95.25
$0.00
0%
$76.27
$69.25
$7.02
10%
$47.89
$44.99
$2.90
6%
$103.31
$103.31
$0.00
0%
$16.86
$16.86
$0.00
0%
$23.42
$25.43
($2.01)
-8%
$140.83
$134.71
$6.12
5%
$64.47
$69.95
($5.48)
-8%
$40.51
$40.51
$0.00
0%
$68.26
$68.26
$0.00
0%
$41.74
$41.74
$0.00
0%
$20.70
$20.34
$0.36
2%
$33.63
$33.63
$0.00
0%
$102.53
$113.95
($11.42)
-10%

 
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. RTR block will also rotate, so I will pull those sets sometime late next month. I will start reporting on Khans in mid-October, once the initial buying frenzy is over.      
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Born of the Gods
$74.87
$70.90
$3.97
6%
Dragon's Maze
$34.52
$37.34
($2.82)
-8%
Gatecrash
$63.19
$68.00
($4.81)
-7%
Journey into Nix
$122.17
$115.41
$6.76
6%
M14
$72.89
$77.95
($5.06)
-6%
M15
$139.41
$134.43
$4.98
4%
Return to Ravnica
$82.83
$83.58
($0.75)
-1%
Theros
$124.85
$124.08
$0.77
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 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. 
 

Black Lotus

B
VMA
 $ 207.89
Rishadan Port
R
MM
 $ 140.83
Mox Sapphire
B
VMA
 $ 103.31
Wasteland
U
TE
 $ 102.53
Tarmogoyf
M
MMA
 $   99.14
Tarmogoyf
R
FUT
 $   95.88
Misdirection
R
MM
 $   95.25
Mox Opal
M
SOM
 $   90.07
Ancestral Recall
B
VMA
 $   85.83
Mox Jet
B
VMA
 $   76.27
Liliana of the Veil
M
ISD
 $   74.46
Time Walk
B
VMA
 $   68.26
Mox Ruby
B
VMA
 $   65.79
Show and Tell
R
UZ
 $   64.47
Vendilion Clique
M
MMA
 $   64.07
Vendilion Clique
R
MOR
 $   63.36
Griselbrand
M
AVR
 $   60.88
Force of Will
R
MED
 $   56.47
Hurkyl's Recall
R
10E
 $   55.25
Mox Emerald
B
VMA
 $   49.54
Mox Pearl
B
VMA
 $   47.89
City of Traitors
R
EX
 $   46.72
Tangle Wire
R
NE
 $   42.36
True-Name Nemesis
R
C13
 $   41.74
Batterskull
M
NPH
 $   41.27
Sneak Attack
R
UZ
 $   40.51
Noble Hierarch
R
CON
 $   40.04
Dark Confidant
M
MMA
 $   37.98
Force of Will
R
VMA
 $   36.93
Karn Liberated
M
NPH
 $   36.80
Toxic Deluge
R
C13
 $   36.63
Gaea's Cradle
R
UZ
 $   34.62
Scalding Tarn
R
ZEN
 $   34.38
Undiscovered Paradise
R
VI
 $   33.63
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
 $   32.08
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
M
WWK
 $   31.57
Dark Confidant
R
RAV
 $   30.21
Twilight Mire
R
EVE
 $   30.13
Craterhoof Behemoth
M
AVR
 $   30.08
Dark Depths
R
CSP
 $   29.79
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
M
VMA
 $   29.00
Fulminator Mage
R
SHM
 $   28.51
Misty Rainforest
R
ZEN
 $   27.71
Bitterblossom
R
MOR
 $   27.29
Intuition
R
TE
 $   27.00
Unmask
R
MM
 $   26.12
Goblin Welder
R
UL
 $   25.77
Entreat the Angels
M
AVR
 $   25.58
Cryptic Command
R
MMA
 $   25.06
Cryptic Command
R
LRW
 $   25.06

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 $ 27,140. That’s up about $150 from where we were last week.
 

Weekly Highlights:

An interesting week this week. I have been sorting my paper cards, and finding a lot of strange stuff. For example, I had acquired some boxes of foreign boosters in the past, and tended to just stick the commons in an old sleeves box in the back of my storage box. It’s kinda fun to try and figure out what some random French Odyssey common or Korean Tempest card might actually be. I’m also changing from sort by set to sort everything alphabetically. It will be a hellacious job, but the advantage is that finding some cards (e.g. a playset of something printed in three sets and a commander deck) will be easier. I can also get rid of some cards: e.g. I apparently have a dozen or so Ice Age Counterspells, plus more copies of the Tempest, Mercadian Masques and various white bordered versions. I really cannot see any scenario where I actually need 50+ copies of Counterspell, so I’ll probably be selling some bulk commons. 
 
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.