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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Sep 23 2011 7:48am
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Hammie’s The State of the Program for September 23rd  

This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.

News and Discussion Items:

Bannings: Wizards has shaken up several formats. The announcement is here, and the explanation is here. So what happened? In short:
 
The BanHammer went BAM!   BAM! BAM! BAM!      BAM!
 
BAM!
 
BAM!
 
It was obvious that Modern needed some changes. It got them. Wizards banned Cloudpost, Blazing Shoal, Ponder, Preordain, (Green Sun’s Zenith) and Rite of Flame
 
Extended also got some attention. That format will have to do without Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Stoneforge Mystic, Ponder, Preordain and Mental Misstep
 
Mental Misstep is banned in Legacy as well. That should help the format regain some of its diversity, and hopefully its players. 
 
In Vintage, Wizards is unbanning Fact or Fiction
 
No changes to Standard, but since the format will be completely changed in a couple days, that’s no surprise.
 
I’ll talk a bit more about bannings in the editorial section.
 
PT Honolulu Online PTQ schedule up now: Check it out here. The format is Innistrad sealed, and they start October 16th. The cost is 30 TIX.
 
Classic League Cage Match: The Classic League Season III won’t start until after Innistad appears online. To fill the time, MMogg is running a single elimination event.  The format is Classic. The deadline to register is today – Friday, Sept. 23rd. You can register by sending an email with your MTGO name and your decklist (as a .txt file) to mtgoclassicleague@gmail.com.   Good luck, all – expect for those paired against me, of course. 
 
Last MOCS of the Year: the MOCs champs are wrapping up for the year. The Last Chance Qualifier will be October 8th at 11am PDT. The format is sealed, and the cost is 30 TIX. First place goes to Worlds in San Francisco. GL, and I hope to see you there!
 
Innistrad Prerelease this Weekend! The midnight Prerelease seems like a perfect time to unleash the horror. Prereleases are probably more fun than any other type of paper tournament. If you play paper – go! If you are an online player only, you have to wait until mid-October to play with the new cards.
 
The weekly blog update was a blank again this week. The Wizards team is ramping up for Innistrad, so little else is happening at the moment. 
 

Editorial Section: The Ban Hammer does not mean Magic is dying.

Bannings happen.  Every time they do, the Internet explodes with people screaming that the sky is falling, that Wizards has killed the affected formats, that the bannings are totally unnecessary, etc., etc.  None of that has been true in the past, and the only thing that was new this time was that a larger portion of the rants were on Twitter.
 
Same old, same old.
 
Seriously, take it from me, bannings happen, and Magic goes on. I know. I have now lived through a lot of them. I think somewhere around 60 changes to the B&R list, affecting something close to 200 cards.
 
I started playing competitive Magic back around 1998.   Back then, Cursed Scroll was banned in Tempest block constructed. A couple months after Urza’s Saga was released, and after Pro Tour Rome / combo winter, Academy and friends were banned. A few months later, Wizards issued an emergency banning to kill JarGrim – a brutally broken deck. 
 
In Extended, Wizards issued three separate sets of bannings to try to kill Trix, then rotated the format. Wizards also banned Survival of the Fittest, Entomb, etc., etc. – but left Tinker alive to showcase the artifacts in Mirrodin Block. After the disastrous Pro Tour Belcher, Tinker was banned. I wrote retrospectives and format overviews for Extended for years, and every one started with a list of banned cards.
 
Come 2002, Mirrodin caused more problems, which required several sets of Standard bannings. Several Mirrodin block cards, like Skullclamp, were banned in other formats. Some still are.
 
Some bannings were not made on power level grounds. (Sensei’s Divining Top), (and before it Shahrazad), were banned because they made games take forever. As a paper Magic judge, I rejoiced when Top was banned, and I was not alone.    
 
Legacy, Vintage and Classic have all seen dozens of cards banned, and some cards come off the banned list. Magic survived every single time.
 
For those of you that have not seen many bannings, this can seem exciting, even earth shattering. If you see enough of them, you realize that they are merely changes, and Magic will go on. 
 
Much of the same screaming and crying that happens with every banning happened when Wizards first announced the creation of Standard – a rotating format. Type II, as it was called back in the day, was certain to kill Magic. It must have been a very slow-acting poison: after 15 years and over 20 Standard rotations, it’s not dead yet.
 
Are all bannings perfect – of course not. Wizards bans cards when formats are sick or injured. In those cases, there are no perfect solutions. By comparison, when a patient has cancer, the chemotherapy may make them quite sick, and make their hair fall out. Is that great? No. Is it better than dying? Yes. Bannings are the chemotherapy of Magic – the last resort taken when the existing situation is bad enough. 
 
Like anyone, I’d prefer healthy formats, but I have met many of the people at Wizards. They are really smart people, and I don’t think they would prescribe such strong medicine unless it is necessary.  
 
/me climbs down off my soapbox.
 

Tournaments:

Thursday Night Magic for the upcoming week (September 29th):  Scars Block Constructed. Cheap constructed events are always fun. The TNMO card for September is an alternative art Teetering Peaks.  
 
Let’s look at the Constructed Tournaments breakdown for the week of September 14th through September 20th.  144 constructed events fired. Let’s look at how they broke down. The most notable number is probably Legacy – a few months ago, Legacy was firing upwards of 20 events per week. Now – almost none. Hopefully, the banning of Mental Misstep will fix that problem. 
 

Format
Fired
Format
Fired
Standard
48
Standard Singleton
0
Pauper
34
Kaleidoscope
0
Momir Basic
32
100–card Singleton
0
Modern
25
Classic
1
Legacy
4
Extended
0
Scars Block Constructed
0
-
-

 
FYI: I got the number fired from the list of results, here.  
 

Cutting Edge Tech:

Standard: No paper Standard events this week, but there were lots of Standard Dailies and thee Premier events.  The top tier decks were Mono Red, lots of UB Control, UW control (some Caw-Blade, one UW with no Swords), some Splinter Twin and a smattering of Tempered Steel. I even saw a Valakut list do well, and an interesting GW Poison deck made Top 8.  So, if you are playing Standard in the next few weeks, you have a pretty varied metagame. After Innistad – well, about the time you will begin playing with the new format, the States Top 8 lists should be hitting the interwebs.  
 
Big Red
Dibarros22, 4th Place, Standard Premier Event on 9/18/2011
Creatures
3 Chandra's Phoenix
3 Ember Hauler
4 Goblin Guide
4 Grim Lavamancer
2 Hero of Oxid Ridge
1 Kargan Dragonlord
17 cards

Other Spells
3 Forked Bolt
2 Koth of the Hammer
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Searing Blaze
4 Shrine of Burning Rage
4 Staggershock
20 cards
Lands
4 Arid Mesa
11 Mountain
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Teetering Peaks
23 cards

Koth of the Hammer
Modern:  The B&R list changes will affect pretty much every deck in the format (except maybe Affinity). Results for last week are pretty much meaningless. 
 
Legacy: Legacy had very little action last week, and a lot of the decks have Mental Misstep. Nothing will happen this upcoming weekend (it’s paper prerelease time), but the following weeks will have SCG Opens. Reviewing those Top 8 lists should be very interesting.    
 
Classic fired one DE this week. Congrats to Whiffy on taking this one down. Here’s his deck. 
 
 

Card Prices:  

Note: for cards that are available in multiple sets, I am generally quoting the most recent set’s price, which is almost always the lowest. Thus, the price I’m quoting for Primeval Titan is from M12. 
 
Standard prices are bouncing back. Zendikar block is on its way out, so those prices are on the way down, at least for cards that have no home in Extended and Modern. Prices for M12 and Scars block are on hold, waiting for the first big events to define the post-Innistrad metagame.  
 

Standard & Block Cards
Price
In Stock?
Last Week
Change
$ 11.50
Y
$ 10.95
+ $ 0.55
$ 14.75
Y
$ 13.95
+ $ 0.80
$ 17.00
N
$ 16.50
+ $ 0.50
$ 3.75
Y
$ 3.95
- $ 0.20
$ 7.50
Y
$ 7.75
- $ 0.25
$ 12.25
Y
$ 14.75
- $ 2.50
$ 10.95
Y
$ 9.50
+ $ 1.45
$ 18.50
Y
$ 18.50
---
$ 16.95
N
$ 16.75
+ $ 0.20
$ 12.50
Y
$ 11.50
+ $ 1.00
$ 7.25
Y
$ 7.25
---
$ 10.00
Y
$ 9.95
+ $ 0.05
$ 13.75
N
$ 15.75
- $ 2.00
$ 18.75
N
$ 19.50
- $ 0.75
$ 10.50
Y
$ 10.50
---
$ 8.25
Y
$7.95
+ $ 0.30
 $ 14.00
Y
 $ 13.95
+ $ 0.05
$ 4.50
Y
$ 5.50
- $ 1.00
$ 1.75
Y
$ 1.30
+ $ 0.45

Modern prices are in flux. The Pro Tour is over, but the ban hammer has kicked that format in the teeth. The metagame will need to redefine itself. We will see what happens in the near future. 
 

Modern Cards
Price
In Stock?
Last Week
Change
$ 16.50
Y
$ 19.75
- $ 3.25
$ 6.25
N
$ 6.00
+ $ 0.25
$ 17.50
Y
$19.00
- $ 1.50
$ 10.50
Y
$ 11.00
- $ 0.50
$ 12.00
Y
$ 7.50
+ $ 4.50
$ 9.00
Y
$ 12.00
- $ 3.00
 $ 10.50
Y
 $ 11.00
- $ 0.50
$ 7.50
Y
$ 7.75
- $ 0.25
$ 76.00
Y
$ 78.00
- $ 2.00
$ 16.00
Y
$ 16.00
---
$ 5.75
Y
$ 6.75
- $ 1.00
$ 16.00
Y
$ 11.50
+ $ 4.50
$ 17.50
Y
$ 18.50
- $ 1.00
$ 11.50
Y
$ 10.50
+ $ 1.00
$ 17.00
N
$ 18.50
- $ 1.50

Legacy prices have stabilized.  Big Jace is down this week, but the format, overall, is waiting to see what develops. A critical card is banned, and the format will change. Everyone is brewing, not buying. In the near future, once we have a few events to scrutinize, we should see price changes. 
 

Legacy Cards
Price
In Stock?
Last Week
Change
$ 110.00
Y
$ 108.00
+ $ 2.00
$ 49.00
Y
$ 49.00
---
$ 74.10
Y
$ 74.10
---
$ 28.00
Y
$ 28.00
---
$ 33.00
Y
$ 39.75
- $ 6.75
$ 2.00
Y
$ 1.95
+ $ 0.05
$12.75
Y
$14.95
- $ 2.20
$ 18.00
N
$ 18.00
---
$ 17.50
Y
$ 17.50
---
$ 65.00
Y
$ 65.00
---
$ 41.80
Y
$ 41.80
---
$ 5.50
Y
$ 5.50
---
$ 8.75
Y
$ 8.25
+ $ 0.50
$ 14.50
N
$ 14.50
---
$ 11.95
N
$ 11.95
---
$ 5.50
Y
$ 5.75
- $ 0.25
 
 
 
 
 

Note: cards which are staples in both Legacy and Classic may appear in either list. If you don’t see a card in one list, check the other.
 
Classic prices are not moving. The format is on hold, like the rest of the Magic world, while we wait for Innistrad. In other Classic news – another month and still no word on when or how we may get Masques block. 
 

Classic Cards
Price
In Stock?
Last Week
Change
$ 94.00
Y
$ 94.00
---
$ 21.00
Y
$ 21.00
---
$ 16.00
Y
$ 16.00
---
$ 12.00
Y
$ 12.00
---
$ 14.50
Y
$ 15.00
- $ 0.50
$ 9.50
Y
$ 9.50
---
$ 28.00
Y
$ 28.00
---
$ 42.00
Y
$ 46.00
- $ 4.00
$ 42.00
Y
$ 40.00
+ $ 2.00
$ 10.50
Y
$ 10.50
---
$ 22.00
Y
$ 22.00
---

The Top Ten:

Here’s this week’s list of the top ten most expensive non-foil, non-promo cards on MTGO. No change in the rankings, but a few cards ticked up a buck or four.
 

Most Expensive Cards
Price
Set
Last Week
$ 108.00
MED 1
# 1
$ 94.00
Mirage
# 2
$ 76.00
Future Sight
# 3
$ 74.10
Apocalypse
# 4
$ 65.00
Visions
# 5
$ 49.00
Tempest
# 6
$ 44.00
Apocalypse
# 8
$ 42.00
Odyssey
# 9
$ 42.00
Weatherlight
# 7
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
$ 34.00
Dissension
# 10

Weekly Highlights:

I am playing a lot more paper Magic than MTGO at the moment – and I will send the weekend doing the whole prerelease thing. I’m looking forward to that.
 
PRJ
 
“one million words” on MTGO.

19 Comments

I am of the opinion that by Raddman at Fri, 09/23/2011 - 08:16
Raddman's picture
5

I am of the opinion that banning misstep won't have a huge impact on Legacy events increasing. I'm pretty sure the only reason they are on the decline was due to Modern, which is exactly the way WOTC intended things to happen.

As usual, this seems intentional on their part. For the people who say, "WOTC doesn't make money on the secondary market." Please keep being naive, there are reprints coming, you can count on that.

If SCG replaces Legacy with Modern next year for their events, you can kiss the Legacy format goodbye. I hope things don't come to that and hopefully I'm over reacting, but seriously WOTC, leave Legacy alone!

Funny to think of the collective heads at WOTC thinking outloud......."Hummmm, Legacy decks are getting expensive, how can we lower the prices of this format?" "Oh, I know, let's make a new format, call it Modern and have the best creature in Legacy also be legal in our new format." Then let's ban the old duals to make new duals playable and then later on reprint them as a way to lower the price jumps that we created in the first place.

I'm usually not a WOTC basher. Usually, I feel it is their company and they have a history of doing what they think is best for the long run of their product. This time I totally disagree. Why in the heck would they help neuter one of the strongest formats for paper and online........

UGH.................now banning misstep means Counterbalance decks move to the top and seriously which would you rather have, a format with misstep or a format dominated by Counterbalance. I can tell you which one will attract newer players!

- End Rant -

id rather have counterbalance by Clan Magic Eternal at Fri, 09/23/2011 - 08:20
Clan Magic Eternal's picture

id rather have counterbalance then misstep. At least zoo and gobblins can compete with counterblance.....

Zoo has had no problems by Raddman at Fri, 09/23/2011 - 08:43
Raddman's picture

Zoo has had no problems competing with misstep, it adjusted just fine. And seriously, who cares about goblins, it wasn't much of a threat before misstep.

? by Atomsk at Sat, 09/24/2011 - 01:44
Atomsk's picture

So the creation of Modern had nothing to do with Extended being a dead format?

And the choice to make Modern begin from Mirrodin and not use the over-extended format was aimed at hurting Legacy?

And the resurgence of Legacy had nothing to do with SCG events? And their intention was to build a healthy format and not cash in on the resulting boom in prices (a'la the wasteland buyout and price hike)?

And the gradual slow in interest in Legacy had nothing to do with the inflated card prices that occurred before Modern? The restrictive prices that many writers commented on paralleling those of Vintage and therefore being problematic to the format's long term future.

You've just fallen into the Wizard's conspiracy hole before attributing real, known facts to the problem.

I suppose I should respond to by Raddman at Sat, 09/24/2011 - 08:56
Raddman's picture

I suppose I should respond to your post in an arrogant, aggressive tone since that seems to be your approach to my post. But alas, I won't fall into that trap.

Yes, Modern was created due to the deadness of Ext, but I hardly see how that has anything to do with my hatred of the format and how it has lead to less online Legacy events. Why didn't they try to revitalize ext if that was truly the problem?

As far as the resurgence of Legacy, I could be wrong, but pretty sure Legacy had the largest tournament ever and that tournament took place before SCG was running their weekend opens. SCG is a business and by running opens they obv were looking towards making profits, which I have no malice towards. No matter what their intentions, at least they did something to help the format, whereas Wizards has and will not.

What gradual slow interest in Legacy are you talking about. The paper scene has been booming thanks to SCG and prior to Modern coming online, online Legacy events were firing at a constant pace. Misstep did not cause the recent dip in events, modern did, that's a fact.

The restrictive prices are really a non-factor because eternal formats both online and for paper are and will continue to be expensive. With the creation of Modern, now eternal card prices are further scarred.

Just take a look at Modern staples that are also Legacy staples, ie tarmo, Vendilion Clique, Dark Confidant, Engineered Explosives just to name a few.

The creation of Modern drove some Legacy staples higher causing even a higher barrier of entry into an already expensive eternal format.

You don't know me so let me make this very clear. I am usually not a Wizards basher. Go back, read all my articles, read all my comments and you will find that that is a fact.

This isn't a conspiracy, but just another example of how Wizards caters to the collectors vs. the players. Screw the reserve list, reprint the duals already.

I did not know Jace, the Mind by Gardevi at Fri, 09/23/2011 - 08:25
Gardevi's picture

I did not know Jace, the Mind Sculptor was also printed in Dissension.

I dont think anyone is trying by ShardFenix at Fri, 09/23/2011 - 09:41
ShardFenix's picture

I dont think anyone is trying to kill legacy or anything as some might state. Aaron Forsythe did an interview recently explaining that due to the fact that apparently Wotc hands are tied as far as the reserve list goes they understand that legacy can only grow to X people playing the format before its full. This is due to a limited number of the bigger cards in the format (duals and FoW). So they created another modern format that allowed reprints so people could continue playing with cards they owned. I fail to see how any of that signals a death knell for legacy. Maybe online where supplies arent as limited as paper its tougher to understand this concept, but there are only so many duals in existence. Only so many people can play legacy at any given time. With Modern they admitted that yes they wanted an easier to moderate eternal format where if card deand began exponentially exceeding supply they could rectify the situation. Certainly seems like a far better business plan than supporting formats that really have no sound way of bringing in revenue due to the majority of the staples being available only on the secondary market.

Ah... by howlett23 at Fri, 09/23/2011 - 09:46
howlett23's picture
5

combo winter, such fun. I mean broken, stupid fun, but fun still. Perhaps I'm just an old dog reminiscing about the golden days of magic but what a time that was! yes, noobies, bannings haven't been very frequent, but it's not the end of the world, life goes on. We should be grateful that WotC is actually keeping an eye on all the degenerate interactions since they are approaching the 15,000 card mark.

Stroking Moma was one of the by Paul Leicht at Fri, 09/23/2011 - 10:06
Paul Leicht's picture

Stroking Moma was one of the most fun decks to tweak and unfun to play against. And yeah I laughed out loud when I read the banned list. I was a little disappointed in GSZ being taken out even as I understood the reason for it but otherwise I think this is a great thing.

The Modern format is far from dead and now there is more room for the creative minds amongst us to find new ways to break old cards.

One big jump in price that by themonkey at Fri, 09/23/2011 - 11:20
themonkey's picture

One big jump in price that didn't make you Standard list was Ratchet Bomb. It jumped from $0.80 to $2.00 in a week. I think everyone is looking at the new standard and sees how this will shut down token decks, transformed werewolves (or any other double faced card), many of the aggro decks, and is great enchantment and artifact removal for the colors that don't have access to them. Plus you can now use it twice with Buried Ruin.

The only banning that really surprised me was that Cloudpost was gone instead of Vesuva. I agree that having 8 functional Cloudposts (in addition to 4 Glimmerposts) in a deck is incredible, but 4 Cloudposts in a deck doesn't seem that great.

Questioning Innistrad Rules.. YAY! by Alternate at Fri, 09/23/2011 - 13:42
Alternate's picture

I question about that. When a card is flipped over, is it's converted mana cost 0 or the initial casting cost? And how would this work with Green Sun's Zenith or Birthing Pod?

CC by dangerlinto at Fri, 09/23/2011 - 14:04
dangerlinto's picture

Apparently it's CC 0 according to the Innistrad FAQ

Originally Posted by Innistrad FAQ
"711.2b While a double-faced permanent's back face is up, it has only the characteristics of its back face. The back face doesn't have a mana cost; it has the colors in its color indicator (see rule 202.2e)."

As for GSZ, there is this rule

"711.2a In every zone other than the battlefield, and also on the battlefield with its front face up, a double-faced card has only the characteristics of its front face."

In other words you can't search for the back face of card, because none of those characteristics exist in that zone. If you birthing pod it into play, you also can't transform it

"711.3. Except for determining whether or not a permanent can transform, a spell, ability, or rule that needs information about a double-faced permanent sees only the information given by the face that's currently up.

Example: A Clone enters the battlefield as a copy of Wildblood Pack (the back face of a double-faced card). Clone will be a copy of Wildblood Pack. Because Clone is itself not a double-faced card, it can't transform."

thanks by apaulogy at Fri, 09/23/2011 - 17:36
apaulogy's picture

this is good stuff to know.

You should have made that by Alternate at Sat, 09/24/2011 - 09:28
Alternate's picture

You should have made that it's own post on this site. I don't think most people know the rules yet. Hell I don't.

So if I copy and paste Wotc's by GainsBanding at Sat, 09/24/2011 - 10:50
GainsBanding's picture

So if I copy and paste Wotc's rules article to Pure, do I get 20 tix?

http://www.wizards.com/magic/tcg/article.aspx?x=mtg/tcg/innistrad/dfcrules

;)

No, but I think there are lot by Alternate at Sat, 09/24/2011 - 13:18
Alternate's picture

No, but I think there are lot of things we still don't know about the double sided cards and MTGO and the paper cards.

But I don't know how it will work at the moment. I usually don't go to the rules unless they are going to ban something I am using.

But thanks for the link. I should read up about that. But I do think it could lead to some interesting things. Like Cryptoclasm.

I can live with the bannings by char49d at Fri, 09/23/2011 - 13:51
char49d's picture

I can live with the bannings even if I only agree with about half of them for Modern. What I can't agree with is the time they are taking to reprint certain essential cards, namely Goyf and the lesser run shocklands from Guildpact and Dissension.

The lands are at least coming down a bit in price, but the cost of Goyf, the single most played creature in the format, is distressing. It is causing the metagame to warp due to his price, similar to how legacy online is warped due to Force of Will. All of the aggressive disruptive decks like Doran, NLU, UG Faeries, Bant and Zoo variants require him, and there is no substitute. A playset for Goyf will run you around 300, down from 350, but that's just not a reasonable price for this type of format.

It doesn't matter where he gets reprinted, be it duel decks, commander or even standard, but until he does we can't have an accurate picture of the metagame.

Although there will always by Amar at Fri, 09/23/2011 - 15:20
Amar's picture

Although there will always some people who take issue with a change, Wizards doesn't have a great history of explaining their B&R updates either. In this case the original Modern list was justified by "play safe now and unban later after more is known." Which is perfectly reasonable. So, having observed a completely lack of control in the meta, many were ready for a token easing like Ancestral Vision. And then not only did that not happen, there was no hint of consideration.

Lauer should have added a paragraph explaining why this turn 3 format can't handle a card that resolves on turn 5 at this time, or why banning a bunch of 1cc is good but unbanning a card that counters 1cc is bad. Not difficult to do, but it didn't happen and I don't have tremendous sympathy for people who handle their PR so badly. Instead a common feeling now is that 6 more cards will be banned in 3 months, and 6 more after that. And the problem with that isn't that a restricted format can't be fun, but rather that people purchasing cards want stability, and people who already own want to play them.

marzial's picture
5

"PT Honolulu Online PTQ schedule up now. The format is Innistrad sealed, and they start October 16th. The cost is 30 TIX."

hmmm... this means that the Innistrad online release should be no after the 14th - 15th?

In that case online prerelease events should run 9th - 11st?

btw, thanks for the weekly effort. Great work.