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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Sep 26 2014 2:19pm
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State of the Program for September 26th 2014

In the News:

Last Couple Days for Current Standard and Return to Ravnica Drafts: With the downtime on October 1st, Standard will rotate and Return to Ravnica cards will no longer be Standard legal. At the same time, RTR block drafts will disappear. If you want to play Mono-Black devotion or Jund Walkers again, do it in the next couple days. 
 
Constructed Queues will Payout in Khans Packs Starting Oct. 8: The prize pack payout will change from M15 to Khans with the downtime on October 8th.
 
Khans Prerelease and Release Event Info: Prereleases are less than a week away. Details here.  
 
Innistrad and Cube Drafts Ongoing: This is the last week for Cube and triple Innistrad drafts. If you have never played Cube, and still have those phantom points from the free M15 prereleases, this might be time to try it out.
 
Extended Downtime on October 1st: We will have an extended downtime next Wednesday. During that downtime, Wizards will add Khans cards to the client and change the rules for the Standard format, in addition to the normal update.
 

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) Oct. 1st
·       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?) 
 

Opinion Section: Vintage Masters

Vintage Masters will leave the store, and the draft and sealed events will end with the next downtime. (For now. VMA will almost certainly return as a flashback format on occasion, but probably not too often. I expect Wizards to make sure the Power Nine continues to be scarce and expensive.) Whatever – the set is rotating out, so this seems like a good time to look back at the set, the format and all things VMA.
 
First off, VMA was Wizard’s method of releasing the Power Nine online. Wizards folks had often said that they only had the chance to debut the P9 online once, and that they wanted to do it right. They wanted Vintage to be a thing online, but wanted the P9 to feel “special.” I think they pretty much hit the sweet spot. The P9 are among the most expensive cards online, but they are not so expensive that Vintage is completely unaffordable.   (Or maybe I should say that the P9 are not so expensive that they make Vintage even more expensive, since Vintage is hardly cheap.)
 
My other big concern with VMA, back in the period between when it was announced and when we could start playing it, was whether the set would be any fun. After all, Wizards was proposing to make a limited environment featuring some of the most broken cards of all time out plus creatures from the portion of Magic’s past when creatures, frankly, sucked. I was really worried that the format would be another Masques block. Masques is also a set with a lot of bad creatures with a few insane money cards sprinkled in. While our esteemed editor is a notable exception, the general opinion of Masques block is that it really stinks. 
 
VMA, however, is completely unlike Masques block. The format has a number of viable strategies, and some cool long shots. The format is just fun. It is so good that a lot of people who rarely draft do draft VMA, as do a ton of limited junkies. Wizards did a great job of balancing out the format and keeping it interesting. Interesting enough that I plan on doing a VMA sealed this evening. Good job, Wizards.
 
The one problem linked to VMA came in mid-July, when Wizards suddenly announced that VMA drafts would be ending. This caught most of us by surprise. The initial announcement could be read several ways, but most of us had read it as having VMA limited around until Khans came out. 
 
I had a chance to talk to Worth Wolpert, Executive Producer (a/k/a the boss) of MTGO a while back. I asked him if he had any comment on VMA. His answer wasn’t what I expected. (Note – I’m doing this from memory and notes, so I’m paraphrasing, not quoting.)
 
PeteLet’s Start with VMA. Is there anything else you’d like to say about the VMA drafts being cancelled and then uncancelled?
 
WorthWe learned a valuable lesson from VMA – we have to be more precise when being vague, if that makes sense.   Ending the drafts at some point was always the plan, but the announcement was confusing. We need to work on how we make announcements flexible without being misunderstood.
 
Although Worth did not say it in so many words, I got the impression that Wizards wanted to launch VMA drafts, then cut them off when the “right” number of Power cards were in the system. That makes sense on several levels: it gets enough Power into the card pool to enable Vintage while not make Power cheap. Unlike a pre-announced end date, ending VMA when “enough” packs were in the system meant that Wizards would not have to know, in advance, how fast VMA events will fire, or how popular VMA would be. They could end VMA when it was time. Unfortunately, the initial article on VMA included what really read like a promise to run VMA events until the Khans prerelease. After rereading that release, Wizards decided that, since players had read it that way, they would keep them going.
 
Overall, that has not worked out too badly. The price of Power is probably a bit lower than Wizards may have wanted, but Black Lotus is still the most expensive card around.  The prices of other rares in the set have been hammered, but that affects the dual lands most strongly, and cheap dual lands are good for both Vintage and Legacy. 
 
Another interesting tidbit: a Mox Emerald was, IIRC, the first piece of power ever opened on MTGO.   I have an amusing mental picture of the Wizards folks, on the days after VMA was released, periodically checking the master database and watching the totals for various power. They noticed when the first Mox appear, and tweeted when the first foil Black Lotus was cracked. Fun – and I would love to have the ability to query that database.  To actually be able to know how many Mox Sapphires are in the system, or how many uncracked Masques packs. Etc.
 

Cutting Edge Tech:

Standard and Modern: With the paper prerelease happening last weekend, we have not yet seen any tournaments featuring Khans cards. That will change tomorrow, with the SCG opens, so expect to see some new decks next week. One of the more interesting decks is the combo deck Sam Black wrote about over on SCG Premium. It will be interesting to see if it is actually viable. 
 
Vintage:  The Vintage League play is continuing, and Vintage won’t be affected much, even though the card pool will grow by almost 2%.  This week’s games were awesome. My favorite was probably the LSV / Wraptor match. Video here. The start of game three was amazing.
 
 
 

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 again this week, but cards seeing a bunch of good results, like Rabblemaster, are climbing.  
 

Standard & Block Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$8.37
$9.42
($1.05)
-11%
$5.89
$7.53
($1.64)
-22%
$11.77
$12.79
($1.02)
-8%
$17.21
$16.51
$0.70
4%
$7.62
$8.71
($1.09)
-13%
$13.50
$14.13
($0.63)
-4%
$5.64
$7.10
($1.46)
-21%
$17.61
$16.33
$1.28
8%
(Garrukk, Apex Predator)
$7.61
$8.26
($0.65)
-8%
$8.90
$8.03
$0.87
11%
$17.16
new
n/a
n/a
$13.24
$14.05
($0.81)
-6%
$16.98
$18.26
($1.28)
-7%
$6.77
$8.09
($1.32)
-16%
$28.11
$32.08
($3.97)
-12%
$13.93
$14.00
($0.07)
-1%
$7.88
$7.88
$0.00
0%
$11.61
$11.23
$0.38
3%
$16.25
$18.63
($2.38)
-13%
$7.88
$9.94
($2.06)
-21%

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. Liliana is up, despite the start of triple Innnistrad drafts. My guess is that speculators dumped them when the drafts were announced, people bought, driving the short term price back up. Or something. MTGO actions are not always rational. 
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$41.27
$41.27
$0.00
0%
$12.94
$13.52
($0.58)
-4%
$27.29
$27.29
$0.00
0%
$17.41
$17.41
$0.00
0%
$18.45
$18.45
$0.00
0%
$23.49
$25.06
($1.57)
-6%
$29.05
$30.21
($1.16)
-4%
$12.27
$12.48
($0.21)
-2%
$27.26
$28.51
($1.25)
-4%
$58.91
$60.88
($1.97)
-3%
$36.80
$36.80
$0.00
0%
$79.78
$74.46
$5.32
7%
$32.34
$32.34
$0.00
0%
$86.23
$90.07
($3.84)
-4%
$40.04
$40.04
$0.00
0%
$20.32
$21.56
($1.24)
-6%
$19.57
$18.52
$1.05
6%
$28.82
$34.38
($5.56)
-16%
$21.49
$22.85
($1.36)
-6%
$20.77
$22.80
($2.03)
-9%
$95.26
$95.88
($0.62)
-1%
$30.13
$30.13
$0.00
0%
$63.36
$63.36
$0.00
0%

 
Legacy / Vintage: Legacy and Vintage prices were pretty stable this week. VMA drafts and sealed are winding down, so the supply is shrinking and speculators are getting in on the action. The Tempest drafts have not had much of an impact, so far. 
 

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$93.97
$85.83
$8.14
9%
$222.23
$207.89
$14.34
7%
$41.25
$46.72
($5.47)
-12%
$29.79
$29.79
$0.00
0%
$21.87
$21.87
$0.00
0%
$19.03
$20.03
($1.00)
-5%
$33.80
$36.96
($3.16)
-9%
$34.62
$34.62
$0.00
0%
$27.15
$25.77
$1.38
5%
$54.05
$55.25
($1.20)
-2%
$18.06
$18.06
$0.00
0%
$25.87
$27.00
($1.13)
-4%
$27.81
$29.00
($1.19)
-4%
$17.49
$16.36
$1.13
7%
$95.25
$95.25
$0.00
0%
$83.28
$76.27
$7.01
9%
$50.87
$47.89
$2.98
6%
$110.47
$103.31
$7.16
7%
$13.45
$16.86
($3.41)
-20%
$19.95
$23.42
($3.47)
-15%
$140.83
$140.83
$0.00
0%
$64.47
$64.47
$0.00
0%
$40.51
$40.51
$0.00
0%
$68.26
$68.26
$0.00
0%
$41.74
$41.74
$0.00
0%
$19.90
$20.70
($0.80)
-4%
$33.63
$33.63
$0.00
0%
$104.46
$102.53
$1.93
2%

 
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.  As for the changes, prices always drop about now, as people unload cards that are rotating, and save up on TIX for the prerelease.     
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Born of the Gods
$71.79
$74.87
($3.08)
-4%
Dragon's Maze
$30.49
$34.52
($4.03)
-12%
Gatecrash
$56.43
$63.19
($6.76)
-11%
Journey into Nix
$106.92
$122.17
($15.25)
-12%
M14
$66.44
$72.89
($6.45)
-9%
M15
$126.76
$139.41
($12.65)
-9%
Return to Ravnica
$75.24
$82.83
($7.59)
-9%
Theros
$118.51
$124.85
($6.34)
-5%

 

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, pulling away from Wasteland and Rishadan Port. Mox Sapphire is climbing towards where it should be. Also of note: Khans of Tarkir reprint has pushed all the Onslaught fetches off the table. 
 

 

Black Lotus

 
B
VMA
222.23
Rishadan Port
R
MM
140.83
Mox Sapphire
B
VMA
110.47
Wasteland
U
TE
109.76
Tarmogoyf
R
FUT
95.88
Tarmogoyf
M
MMA
95.26
Misdirection
R
MM
95.25
Ancestral Recall
B
VMA
93.97
Mox Opal
M
SOM
86.23
Mox Jet
B
VMA
83.28
Liliana of the Veil
M
ISD
79.78
Mox Ruby
B
VMA
68.59
Time Walk
B
VMA
68.26
Show and Tell
R
UZ
64.47
Vendilion Clique
M
MMA
64.07
Vendilion Clique
R
MOR
63.36
Griselbrand
M
AVR
58.91
Force of Will
R
MED
56.47
Hurkyl's Recall
R
10E
54.05
Mox Emerald
B
VMA
53.26
Mox Pearl
B
VMA
50.87
Tangle Wire
R
NE
42.36
True-Name Nemesis
R
C13
41.74
Batterskull
M
NPH
41.27
City of Traitors
R
EX
41.25
Sneak Attack
R
UZ
40.51
Noble Hierarch
R
CON
40.04
Karn Liberated
M
NPH
36.8
Dark Confidant
M
MMA
36.67
Toxic Deluge
R
C13
36.63
Gaea's Cradle
R
UZ
34.62
Tezzeret the Seeker
M
ALA
34.12
Force of Will
R
VMA
33.8
Undiscovered Paradise
R
VI
33.63
Infernal Tutor
R
DIS
33.04
Lion's Eye Diamond
R
MI
32.87
Linvala, Keeper of Silence
M
ROE
32.34
Craterhoof Behemoth
M
AVR
31.52
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
M
WWK
30.76
Twilight Mire
R
EVE
30.13
Dark Depths
R
CSP
29.79
Dark Confidant
R
RAV
29.05
Scalding Tarn
R
ZEN
28.82
Nissa, Worldwaker
M
M15
28.11
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
M
VMA
27.81
Bitterblossom
R
MOR
27.29
Fulminator Mage
R
SHM
27.26
Goblin Welder
R
UL
27.15
Entreat the Angels
M
AVR
26.84
Intuition
R
TE
25.87
Unmask
R
MM
25.42
Cryptic Command
R
MMA
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 $ 26,620. That’s down about $300 from where we were last week.
 

Weekly Highlights:

Paper prerelease last weekend.  Also trying to get in some last VMA< and burn through the last of my RtR packs.  Also having Internet problems, which is why this article is late.  I could not get a connection to PureMTGO, or much of anything, for way too long. 
 
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. 
 

 

4 Comments

Standard prices by Adam_the_Mentat at Fri, 09/26/2014 - 16:27
Adam_the_Mentat's picture
5

Standard staples: Standard prices are, overall, up again this week? Most of your entries have red changes, dropping in price. probably a typo? Always love the State of the P!

That vintage league game was by Psychobabble at Sat, 09/27/2014 - 02:12
Psychobabble's picture

That vintage league game was incredible.

(Spoilers)

Can't believe lsv came back that 2nd game, I was just watching going there is zero ways he wins this but then draws the clutch will to completely turn it around. Sweet game.

I have just one thing to add by TugaChampion at Sat, 09/27/2014 - 04:30
TugaChampion's picture

I have just one thing to add to the VMA format. It was indeed a good format to draft (not one of the best like rise of eldrazi but still good) but the sealed format was not good. Most of the time sealed felt weak and sometimes something broken would happen and win the game.

Very nice VMA opinion by Lagrange at Sat, 09/27/2014 - 07:51
Lagrange's picture

Very nice VMA opinion section. I was starting to miss a non-state-of-the-client opinion section.