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By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
Dec 18 2008 9:43pm
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Editorial Section:
Announcing the Classic player of the Year race for 2009!

First of all... what?
Classic Player of the Year is a joint effort between dangerlinto and WotC to help build up and promote the long term playing of the Classic format.  It's not a one time and you win something big sort of deal.  It's designed to promote a long term stance of the format.

How does it work?
Make the Top 8 of a Classic event and get points towards the end result.  The player with the most points at the end of the year wins a little something-something.  And by "little something-something" I mean a set of Master's Edition 3!

Why does Classic get so much support? 
Because they've made it happen.  Players like dangerlinto, Javasci, etc, have been putting in hours and hours and hours of work for their beloved format.  They've been writing about, mentioning it, building hype for it, debunking rumors about it and generally just keeping it in the public spotlight as much as they could at the time.  They stepped up and worked with Worth Wollpert (Brand manager of MTGO) and WotC_Mike (the MTGO Tournament Coordinator) and contacted people inside WotC to keep the format on the minds of the decision makers inside the company.

That leads me into part two of this Editorial Section... The power of the people!

This week I want to touch on a topic I've been working on over on the WotC boards.  That topic is: giving WotC a reason to support your format.   I've seen this topic come up in various guises over the past few weeks ranging in topics from "Why not peasant?" to "Why not multiplayer?" and "Why not Old Singleton?".

The blunt answer is this: WotC is only acting on solid business data.  If you can't prove that your format should get financial backing (either through events, or format creation, or development time) then WotC will not move forward on it.  And this one change of leadership has made me more secure in purchasing MTGO cards than any other in recent history.  It's the mark of a group making intelligent, informed decisions.  It's the mark of a leadership team that is making choices with data instead of pressure.  It's the mark of a long term plan.  I couldn't safely say that MTGO had a plan at the beginning of the year.  Or if they did, they sure didn't look like it.  As far as I could tell, at the beginning of the year they were just trying to keep things moving and not fall apart.  Now they seem to be making decisions that impact us now but also set up plans down the road.  A welcome change as far as I'm concerned.  This does have a fairly interesting side effect though...

If you can't prove something, don't expect it to get done.  The advice I've given people who want to see certain changes exist (namely format changes, but it applies to each aspect of the business as well) is to organize, mobilize and vocalize. 

Figure out *what* your cause is.  What do you want accomplished.  Be specific, don't be vague, don't expect it anyone to know anything about the cause.  Clarify any ambiguous statements.  Provide history and background.  Define terms as much as possible.  Essentially, explicitly state your goals and the steps you will take to get there.

So you've got a plan.  Now what?  Recruite people.  Be vocal.  Get together to talk about your plans and how you'll get to the end result and how each person cna help.  Start gathering people together who think like you, or that agree with your format/change/idea.  Get them on board with the plan and start heading out to find more people who feel the same... and that leads me to the next step...

That leads me to Vocalize.  Talk about your format/request/improvement.  Keep bringing it up (within the confines of the rules of the area, of course).  Be persistent.  Stay focused and don't give up.

Recent examples of this in action:

  • 321 Swiss for Tempest
  • Pauper, the Format
  • Legacy Decisions
  • Pauper Banning Decisions
  • Classic Player of the Year
  • Online Promos

All have been consistently and unwaveringly mentioned to WotC over the years.  Sometimes to the point of frustration on both sides.  But perseverance and dedication will pay off if you can get enough people together and provide factual, hard information about your goals to WotC.

Author's Note:
I wrote this before the WotC article went live this week, which says very similar things to what I've suggested.  If you want your format to get/retain WotC support, play it, and keep getting more people to play it.  Figures I'd get scooped by the mothership... :(

Discussion Items:

Casual Decks #1:
This one is about brainstorming solutions to the problem.  Did you know that the Anything Goes room was started in 2004?  Now you know!

Casual Decks #2:
This one is about figuring out which room you should be playing in, and what you should be expecting when you do.

Upcoming Holiday Events!:
1) A good MTGO Promo for playing in ANY event (yes, even Pauper).
2) 8 Player Sealed Swiss, prize payout explanation is
3) More NIX TIX!

Casual Decks #3:
This one is about the same as #2, but in the other direction. 

Multiplayer Thoughts:
If you've ever wondered about what it would take to make Multiplayer into a tournament format, or have input to give regarding the format, then I strongly urge any and all to post in the thread above.

Return of Redemption!!!!!:
Some said it would never happen.  Some thought it was all a lie to keep us holding on.  But this week, they brought it back.  Huzzah and darn skippy.

/join Auction economics:
Some discussion about the maturity level of the auction room led to a very interesting discussion about the economics of the buy/sell spread of bots and small dealers.  And oh yeah, be nice to each other.  Just in general, and especially in the /join auction room!

Latest news from Worth!:
Some really good and frank discussion from our fearless potentate Worth. 


Card Prices:

Last week there was a question about seeing a card in the list twice (last week it was 3x Wrath of God).  The way that happens is if more than one version of the card increases enough to put it in the top percentage of the list.  It just so happened that every version of Wrath of God increased last week.  Much like every version of (Voice ofAll) increased this week (both of them) and as such, they're both listed.

Card name: Last Week This week Percentage Changed
Lightning Bolt 0.62 1.94 212.90%
Voice of All 0.6 1.5 150.00%
Voice of All 0.72 1.46 102.78%
Glimpse of Nature 2.94 4.41 50.00%
Lich's Mirror 0.5 0.75 50.00%
Pyrrhic Revival 0.2 0.3 50.00%
Glorious Anthem 1.7 2.43 42.94%
Mayael the Anima 0.5 0.7 40.00%
Prince of Thralls 0.5 0.7 40.00%
Sedris, the Traitor King 0.5 0.7 40.00%
Card name: Last Week This week Amount Changed
Engineered Explosives 14.85 17.82 2.97
Glimpse of Nature 2.94 4.41 1.47
Lightning Bolt 0.62 1.94 1.32
Figure of Destiny 33 34 1
Voice of All 0.6 1.5 0.9
Chalice of the Void 2.67 3.43 0.76
Rugged Prairie 6.75 7.5 0.75
Ajani Vengeant 10.75 11.5 0.75
Voice of All 0.72 1.46 0.74
Glorious Anthem 1.7 2.43 0.73
Card name: Last Week This week Percentage Changed
Horned Sliver 4 0.35 -91.25%
Shimmering Wings 0.5 0.05 -90.00%
Gaseous Form 0.35 0.05 -85.71%
Flickering Ward 1.75 0.25 -85.71%
Shocker 2 0.35 -82.50%
Propaganda 2.5 0.5 -80.00%
Whim of Volrath 2.5 0.5 -80.00%
Talon Sliver 0.5 0.1 -80.00%
Angelic Protector 0.25 0.05 -80.00%
Knight of Dawn 0.25 0.05 -80.00%
Card name: Last Week This week Amount Changed
Living Death 10 4 -6
Eladamri, Lord of Leaves 9 3 -6
Earthcraft 8 3 -5
Sarcomancy 7 2 -5
Intuition 12 8 -4
Horned Sliver 4 0.35 -3.65
Aluren 8 4.5 -3.5
Time Warp 5 1.5 -3.5
Tradewind Rider 5 1.5 -3.5
Meditate 5 1.75 -3.25

It had been a while since I was able to say: "BUH?" when looking at card prices, but I finally get to again.



Dear Voice of All,


Hugs and Kisses,


Just looking at its price jump makes me believe that it either is in a current top deck, or is about to be.  That's a huge jump from last time, and there's usually a reason for that when it happens.

As for what dropped this week, I'll give you a hint.  It rhymes with "Shmempest".  The prices on "Shmempest" tanked this week, and tanked hard.  The Classic card pool is still above where it was before Shmempest hit, but the gap is closing fast.

The other good news is that Extended gained a bit, largely on the back of Voice of All and Glimpse of Nature (again).

Last week, Mictom suggested I track some of the cards that have been moving and provide a bit more detail about them such as their history.  I absolutely love this idea as it gives me a chance to add some depth to the article and the card price section in particular.  So here are a few snippets of card movements this week:



Voice of All:



There was a TON of casual/non-casual and "what's wrong with <format x>" this week which shows a great thing: players beginning to care about the basics again.  If I were to use the level of frustration regarding the basics as a barometer for the client, I would have to say that things have improved lately (or, at least, haven't regressed). 


casual games by mtgotraders at Fri, 12/19/2008 - 10:03
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Finding "casual" classic games is super easy these days.  The number of people playing classic now has skyrocketed and most of the casual players seem to be older and more mature aka less likely to quit.

by hamtastic at Fri, 12/19/2008 - 10:49
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I've been playing a lot of casual classic lately, and almost all the decks are very 'casual'.  I beat a healing salve/bog imp deck with my Crucible of Fire/Shields of Velis Vel deck, for instance and humorously lost to a 100+ card jank deck along the way...

I haven't seen a lot of tourney decks, and I haven't had very many whiners at all.  Also, I'm building up a clan of casual to competitive players in the clan of puremtgo9, so if that's the type of outlet that you're looking for.  Classic players who are friendly and fun.  :)

Great subject by bubbakush at Fri, 12/19/2008 - 10:57
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 Yes ,I agree we need something for the multiplayer, this is starting to get boring, same 'ol stuff everyday. Atleast a draft of some sort. I just wish I had the time or even knew how to go about it. Although I have went and posted on that thread so I hope it helps.

by aDamnAndEce(Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 12/19/2008 - 15:10
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How come Grindstone isn't in the list of cards that dropped?

I saw Grindstone go from 40 to 20 dollars or some this week.... 

by Mictom(Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 12/19/2008 - 16:25
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i can ony say thanks a ot for the new stats there. it is a nifty gimmick to see :)

great article hammy by The Original CerealKilla(Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 12/19/2008 - 20:11
The Original CerealKilla(Unregistered)'s picture

this was an excellent article. quite inspiring. look for me to vocalize about multiplayer soon. i wonder if you'd be willing to host another town hall with multiplayer being the specific topic? get back to me, you know who it is.



by MechtaK at Sat, 12/20/2008 - 07:59
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I was going to post something about leagues here and saw that leaguewarrior beat me to the punch.  My observation here is, I want to support the format and I want to push for the format but, if they are looking at the business model and the clamor for the return of leagues... we're screwed on getting them back anytime soon or at all.  All the league players have drifted away.  My conversations with people for the return of leagues has been almost nil.  The league players just aren't much around anymore, so it's hard to get backing to go to WotC and push for the format.  V3 has been out a while now, new formats and new features are being introduced all the time.  And yet, leagues, which were on the list of things to get done after such and such, have been relegated to the place where socks disappear in the clothes dryer.  I wouldn't be surprised to have an update one day and see the leagues section of the game simply disappear and become vaporware.  Sadly.

Overall Hammy, great article!

format overview by whiffy penguin(Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 12/19/2008 - 08:18
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im working on this now anon should be up in a week or 3 lol


so far i just have theory and tp room to go with no actual hard data but i can tell you there are some decks that love/hate/dont care about wasteland(duh) and the such look out for coming lunch boxes.

by urzishra(Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 12/19/2008 - 08:40
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Classic in general is a format that WoTC is neglectant to support because you really don't make that much money off of it.. yeah they do with sets for MTGO only but the overal "conglomorate" style players usually get the shaft.


While I commend WoTC for doing this, the community has to fix some underlying problems for me to return to MTGO (and Tempest is my favorite set.. go figure) one thing, it is hard to get casual games anymore.. its hard to play in them when people just quit on you because you play cool classic cards.. why the heck did I spend money on FOWs and such if people just concede when I play them? and yeah i could just enter tournaments but I don't have that kind of commitment to play usually.

 two things that would make me come back.. multiplayer tournaments (do it Texas Hold 'Em style, winner of each table moves on to the next) and Leagues..  

Good job by Anonymous(Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 12/19/2008 - 05:13
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I usually read your column, but this one stands out as one of the best.  Lots of information I missed this week. Good joob!

by Anonymous(Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 12/19/2008 - 06:03
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Agreed on Classic - but some of the Classic gurus need to write a format overview now that Gush, Daze  & Wasteland are here.  What has changed?  I know the last two PEs both came a 2-3 playes short, so no decklists.  What's going on?


AI can't do this - I don't have a competitive deck, so I lose to even the bad decks.


Hammy - Voice of All is showing up in some Reveillark decks. 

Leagues by Leaguewarrior(Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 12/19/2008 - 06:18
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"The blunt answer is this: WotC is only acting on solid business data.  If you can't prove that your format should get financial backing (either through events, or format creation, or development time) then WotC will not move forward on it."

So were are we with leagues?

roar!!! by whiffy penguin(Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 12/18/2008 - 22:28
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long live classic!!

Come play the best format ever and help grow the fastest player driven format in my memory!