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By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
Oct 20 2007 9:32am
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Table of contents:
Outstanding Issues
Bug Complaints
MTGO Discussion Items
Server Log In Availability

MTGO Price Movers and Shakers
Editorial Section


MTGO Announcements:

Top 8 Drafts Removed from PE's.

This past Sunday was full of non Top 8 PE's and stability suffered, greatly (check the server stats lower in this article).  However, one of the biggest issues that would normally come from crashes would be corruption and manual clearing of events which didn't seem to happen from what I could see.

10-12-07:This week the Top 8 Drafts were removed from PE's in the 2.5 client.  However, there appears to be a bug in them and this caused additional downtime to occur on Thursday morning.  According to Worth Wollpert the prizes for these Top 8's will include the packs from the draft that didn't happen. Although this may change with V3.

Top 8 Code Correction Outage
Worth's statement about top 8 prizes

Single Client Restriction Status:

Our current status is:
SCR Lifted

I will keep the status of the Single Client Restriction up to date in this section.

The single client restriction is per user, not per machine.  Meaning that only one login per person is allowed.  Bots and people breaking this rule have had their accounts banned for 24 hours recently.  Again, leaving this here for reminder slash warning.

How to handle those breaking the rules

Don't drop from PE's!!!

Leaving this here for another week as I think it bears being kept as public as possible.

I was already advocating against dropping from Premier Events due to the likelihood of getting reimbursement from a crash.  But now things are even sillier.  According to a recent email from Customer Service you may forfeit your standings if you drop from a tournament early.  Evidently it is better for you to just walk away from your screen and let the match time out and waste your opponent and other player's time than it is to be considerate and drop.

Don't Drop from Events

Outstanding Issues:

PayPal payments not going through for some users.

10-19-07:Still an issue for many.

I'm leaving this on the list because it's still an issue, and a very big issue at that.

PayPal issues.


Bug complaints:

This interaction is still broken.  And based on the latest Pro Tour results, this will be a popular deck in Extended and likely Classic.  This is not the first time that an MTG rules update has lagged far behind on MTGO and thereby invalidated a deck type.  Phyrexian Dreadnought, Flash and suspend cards like Lotus Bloom have had similar issues in the past year.

Sutured Ghoul + Tarmogoyf doesn't pump the Ghoul correctly.  And before anyone starts to yell about the Ghoul not caring about the Goyf's dynamic power, look up the Future Sight rules update information.  Or better yet, you can read about this question here and here.

MTGO Discussion Items:

We seem to be in the 'pre new set lull' that happens in the weeks between MTG Paper Releases and MTGO releases.  This time has relatively few big disucssions happening as many players are busy with the shiny new paper cards and the preparation of the MTGO events.

V3 Status Update.

This month we finally saw some updates at the high level of V3 status projects.  Items that were updated are below.  For full details please read the complete blog by Gamer_Zer0, linked below.

ECOM – Final Approval (Was Dev Complete in September)
This is the commerce side of Magic Online version 3 that allows the purchasing of cards and tickets for play.

NACS – Final Approval (Was Dev Complete in September)
New Account Creation System

Drafts – Final Approval (Was Dev Complete in September)
Drafts.  Um.. Yeah.

CSR – Final Approval (Was Dev Complete in September)
Critical System Recovery. This is the behind-the-scenes support that allows for quick and automatic recovery in the event of catastrophic failure in one or more areas.

MR – Final Approval (Was Dev Complete in September)
Maintenance Recovery. This includes the tools and support that allows the system to be taken down and brought back up for maintenance.

V3 October Update


Masters Edition 2 Wish List.

Thoughts of Masters Edition 2 have sparked quite a few imaginitave requests for cards to include.  If you have any wishes for the set add your voice in the link below!

Masters Edition 2 Wish List

MTGO Prices and Economy Disccusion.

One of the bigger discussion items this week was the implications of my work over the past two weeks in regards to MTGO prices. 

MTGO Rare Prices.

Bots, and the men who love them... or not.

Bots and their related stress on the system were once again discussed this week.  There are some rather vehement parties on

Automated nature of bots

Server Log In Availability:


So.  The worst day we've seen this month was Sunday the 14th.  Also known as, PE Sunday.  That was the day the Nix Tix, no Top 8 PE's were run and had large downtime.  More downtime than the nearly 5 hour scheduled downtime on the 17th.

Card Price Fluctuations:

First up we have the largest increase by percentage.  Cards that are gaining: Extended anti-Storm cards (Glowrider and Trinisphere), and combo cards Serum Visions and Chain of Vapor.

Largest Increase by Percentage
Card Name Percent Increased Final Price
Elvish Champion 65.00% $1.00
Serum Visions 58.33% $0.12
Predict 58.33% $0.12
Glowrider 57.14% $0.35
Trinisphere 55.56% $0.90
Glorious Anthem 53.33% $1.50
Chain of Vapor 52.00% $0.25
Goblin King 50.00% $1.00
Cytoshape 50.00% $0.50
Breakthrough 50.00% $1.00

This is the same as last week since I didn't get any new data on these.  However, for those interested 'Goyf is still climbing and is just shy of 30 tix right now. 

Largest Increase by Price
Name Price Increase Final Price
Pernicious Deed $5.00 $60.00
Vindicate $5.00 $60.00
Tarmogoyf $4.25 $25.00
Ichorid $2.00 $10.00
Destructive Flow $2.00 $29.00
Bringer of the Black Dawn $1.50 $3.50
Goblin Ringleader $1.50 $6.50
Eladamri's Call $1.50 $9.50
Haakon, Stromgald Scourge $1.25 $3.75
Siege-Gang Commander $1.25 $4.75
Siege-Gang Commander $1.25 $4.75
Exalted Angel $1.25 $7.75
Barbarian Ring $1.00 $3.00
Undiscovered Paradise $1.00 $6.75
Horizon Canopy $1.00 $7.00

Lastly we have the decreasing cards. These are displayed by percentage dropped, not biggest chunk of value dropped.

Falling card prices
Card Name Percentage Difference Final Price
Forest -169.23% $0.65
Compulsive Research -140.00% $0.05
Vampirism -140.00% $0.05
Exile -108.33% $0.12
Lord of Tresserhorn -94.44% $0.90
Arcane Denial -87.50% $0.08
Creeping Mold -87.50% $0.08
Autumn Willow -80.00% $0.50
Jokulhaups -75.00% $1.00
Spinal Villain -75.00% $0.20

Edit: I added the following chart post-submission to clarify the decreased numbers.  The numbers below are the same as the one immediately above only in reverse.  This chart shows the final price after the decrease from the previous week, instead of the amount needed for each card to return to it's previous price.  I can see how my crazy hammy logic could cause confusion.


Card Name Percentage Decreased Final Price
Forest - Promo -62.86% $0.65
Compulsive Research -58.33% $0.05
Vampirism -58.33% $0.05
Exile -52.00% $0.12
Lord of Tresserhorn -48.57% $0.90
Arcane Denial -46.67% $0.08
Creeping Mold -46.67% $0.08
Autumn Willow -44.44% $0.50
Jokulhaups -42.86% $1.00
Spinal Villain -42.86% $0.20


Editorial Section:


Right now, Classic enthusiasts are debating the impacts that a little red deck is having on the format.  The deck in question is a burn deck.  Well, to be more precise, a burn deck that gains a lot of reach through the inclusion of Skullclamp and Goblins.  The release of Masters Edition brought one particular card that has given this archetype a dangerous weapon in the name of: Goblin Grenade, oh yeah, and Lightning Bolt...  There are quite a few turns that end up taking an unaware opponent from 14 to 0 out of nowhere.  Any combination that gives you Goblin Grenade, Shrapnel Blast and Fireblast can be lethal to a deck that has already taken damage from their mana base.

The issue:
Right now, the deck can deal fifteen burn damage or even a little more by turn three.  In a vacuum, that is not a big deal mostly because it is inconsistent at doing that exact amount by turn three, and in a vacuum each player starts with twenty life.  Fortunately for us we don't play MTGO inside a vacuum as it's really noisy and dusty in there.  Unfortunately for us the deck takes advantage of a format gap between Classic and Legacy.  Burn decks are notoriously bad at any sort of mid to late game staying power.  Either they win fast or they sputter and die.  Clamping a goblin (not to be confused with flogging the dolphin) gives the deck a lot of strength to not only have an explosive turn 3 win, but it can also draw more cards than a control deck over the course of a game.

Why it's working:

The Burn decks between Legacy and Classic are pretty close, card wise.  What Classic lacks in raw burn of Chain Lightning or in functionality with Fork, it makes up for with Skullclamp reach.  It's a deck that takes advantage of the drawback of the Ravnica Duals + Onslaught Fetch Lands pain.  Nearly all multicolored decks will run appropriate fetchlands and Ravnica duals to ensure the proper colors are found in time.  What these burn decks are doing is preying upon this format defining drawback to eek out wins against many decks of the meta.

Why it's an issue:

The main reason that this deck is causing any sort of blip on the Classic radar is that it has a very strong game against one of the strongest decks in the format: Threshold.  Threshold runs a three to four color mana base that revolves around duals and fetchlands.   The average life damage done by turn three is about six damage, comprising of one Fetch land activation and paying 6 life for three Ravnica duals to hit their requisite mana.  In a perfect world, read as one with real duals, this would be one life damage, not six.  Five life is huge in Classic.  However, how does the deck do against non-multi colored decks?  Or decks that pack life gain or disruption?  Not so well, which makes the deck feel like a powerhouse from time to time but often in a tournament it sputters and can't even make the Top 8.  Also, since it's a deck that costs less than 60 tix it's easy to make and take into the Tournament Practice room.  However, when it comes to shelling out time and tix for an event not many of these decks show up.  So the majority of testing that would be done in the TP room is against decks that don't show up to the PE's and 8-mans. 

What can be done:

Wait it out.  Despite the rather heated discussion on the Classic Quarter forums I don't think there's much to be done about this deck.  Niche decks aren't only an issue in Classic.  In a Standard season not too long ago decks began to run One with Nothing as a foil to Owling Mine decks that were taking advantage of the meta at that time.  Strange things happen in formats sometimes and this appears to be one of them.  If the deck really isn't good enough to win an 8 man, or top 8 a PE then it will decrease in popularity to the point that Threshold players don't have to spend much time worrying about it.  My personal thoughts is that RDW/Clamp&Burn/Burn will settle itself into a Tier 2 or Tier 1.5 deck just like it is in Legacy.  It's easy enough to hate out, but expending sideboard slots to do so weakens the other decks against match-ups like Affinity.

Changes to the live MTGO Client:
From Worth Wolpert on the MTGO boards here:

Starting next week (during the downtime) in our efforts to find places to increase server stability, we are going to do a few things:1. We will be limiting the number of "game" instances one client can have open to 2, rather than 10. That is, you can have your game open, with a replay, or a premier event and a draft, or 2 replays, etc. We're going to try throttling back some of the bandwidth that's getting used up from people requesting TONS of replays. Honestly I had no idea it was as high as it is, but when elf enabled some logging a few weeks ago we realized that it might be a problem, so we're going to limit it and see if it helps.

The only concern I have is for wanting to be able to replay all three games of a match before they disappear and now having to be a bit quicker or miss one of them.  Others have mentioned that they would keep all the games for an even open at once.  While I can see that it has benefits I find it hard to believe that one needs ten separate replays to remember each game.  If someone really want to keep track of cards played by an opponent my guess is that they'll need to screen shot the replay, or copy out the text from the bottom of the screen to be looked through.

2. We will be removing the Adjourn feature. This hasn't worked right in ages (did it ever?) and is causing some server side lag.

Good riddance!  Seriously though, this is a long time coming.  Right now there is a frustrating experience known as 'Adjourn Spamming' an opponent.  Some folks have complained that their opponents have used this 'feature' in a very unsportsmanlike manner by repeatedly requesting to 'Adjourn this game?' with their opponent.  I've only ever adjourned one game in three years... and my opponent never came back before the adjourn disappeared...

3. We will be temporarily removing the ability to send offline messages to people in your buddy list, as we're positive that messages that are sent but not responded to are causing server side lag as well. I know some folks find this feature useful, but we're going to see if it makes a difference lag-wise/ database-wise if we turn this off for a while.

I'm skeptical about this being helpful, however, I'm willing to live without this feature for some testing.  Although without clearing out the previously waiting messages I'd be surprised to see anything come from this change.

Features we've added in the recent past that you may or may not be aware of but are cool:

1. The ability to turn on chat logging in your client. I will ask elf to post in this thread to explain how to toggle this on/off.

Um, okay.  Not sure why this is showing up now, but I'm sure that some people will enjoy this feature.  I'm a big fan of keeping information around for fact checking and sanity checks when needed.

2. Auto-screenshots of every trade. Again, these are dumped in a folder, I will have elf explain in more detail.

Another good feature that seems late to the party.  Hopefully the naming convention of the images is descriptive with party's name, timestamp, and other pertinent information listed in the name.  Also, I hope that the v3 crew doesn't get upset by having to keep track of a moving target of V2.5 changes.

Also a note about LRW events:

2x events will be run with no top 8's and we're going to slightly modify the prize payout structure, I will get elf or WotC_ScottL to explain that in the events forum before LRW release events arrive.

4x events will be run WITH top 8's the traditional way for those of you who prefer that style and length of play.

Hopefully those concerned about the top 8 changes can rest a little easier for the time being.  Big events get the 'big event' treatment of an associated top 8 draft.  Shorter events get a more casual non top 8 configuration to hopefully reduce the time each one takes to complete.

Single client restriction was lifted during the downtime today and will be reinstated next week during the downtime.

Beauty, eh?  This will give some folks the opportunity to transfer cards from excess accounts to main accounts and so forth.  Also, it gives all the multi-bot families a time to get their throughput numbers back up.  Good news for the botters and the bottees.

Constructed 8 man payouts have changed as of today as well, with less FUT and more TSP and PLC in the prize pool.

According to information given on the MTGO Boards, the payouts should now be:
Old and busted: TPFF/PF/F/F
New hotness: TTPF/TP/F/F

Hopefully this will help put more Time Spiral packs in the system and balance the pack prices out over time.  Right in time for Lorwyn!


So there you have it!  The past 7 days in a nutshell. (Help! we're in a nutshell!I'd like to wish Evan Erwin best of luck in the Magic Invitational. 

I think that during each Paper->MTGO lull I'll find a topic that I can really dig deeply into for Editorial information.  This time was the rare prices and economics of MTGO.  I'll think about what else I see as a recurring or often discussed topic and try to take it apart as well as I can.  If you have any ideas for topics to see covered in depth I'd be happy to hear them!

Until next week, <insert cliche catch phrase here>



by Rob Rogers at Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:15
Rob Rogers's picture

Sorry, but I can't follow your explanation. Percentage increase and percentage decrease have fairly specific mathematical meanings that are not being followed here, unless I'm just really missing something. The percentage change is based on the original price.

For example, if Goblin King is selling for 50 cents and increases to one dollar, that's a 100% increase (the cost is increased by 100% of its original amount). If it weer selling for 50 cents and dropped to 25 cents, that's a 50% decrease (the cost is decreased by 50% of its original amount).

Well done as always by iceage4life at Tue, 10/23/2007 - 01:46
iceage4life's picture

Solid report as we've come to expect :)

I'm really wondering when we'll see Vampiric Tutor on the decreasing price list.  It seems odd that it has lost maybe 5% of it's value post restriction. 

I give 110%... by hamtastic at Tue, 10/23/2007 - 10:11
hamtastic's picture

The percentage shows how much you'd have to increase it to get it back to what it was last week.  Meaning that Card | % | Price means that you'd have to multiply the price of this weeks card against the percentage (to the positive) to get what it was.  I'll add in a more normal view of those cards though, since I can see where the current version is a bit more abstract.


by runeliger at Mon, 10/22/2007 - 12:25
runeliger's picture

er the last comment I made was directed towards pcjr. But yes, I understand it's been lifted. Can't wait till ya next article

Percentage changes by Rob Rogers at Mon, 10/22/2007 - 17:06
Rob Rogers's picture

I think that some of your percentage cost changes might be off somewhat. Any decrease of 100 percent would make the card free (and 140%, for example, would mean that you'd be paid to take the card). As another example, if I remember correctly, Goblin King was going for about 50 cents and now it's going for a dollar. That's not a 50 percent increase; it's a 100 percent increase.

by hamtastic at Mon, 10/22/2007 - 12:08
hamtastic's picture

My bad Sebastian!

And as for  your other comment ("Uh, 1 account per player restriction dude..."), I'm not sure what you mean. 

The 1 Single Client Restriction (SCR) is currently lifted.  It will be on again for the Lorwyn release, but that's not what Worth was talking about.  The change coming up for replay instances is only restricting the replays not the amount of game instances.  As it was originally stated by Worth, we'd only be able to have two game instances open.  Meaning that at most we could be in 2 events.  This has been ammended in my reply above to mean that you can still have up to 10 game instances open (as it is now) but if you have a game up you cannot send a replay request. 

Update from Worth by hamtastic at Sun, 10/21/2007 - 17:06
hamtastic's picture




Minor modification after talking with elf regarding number of game instances available to be open at one time:

The new change means that you will only be able to request a replay if you are NOT already engaged in ANY game instance activity. All other game instance requests are fine, meaning that if you want to play in 3 PE's, 2 drafts, and a casual game all at once, that would be fine/possible.

What we're really trying to do with this change is drive down huge replay requests hitting the queue all at once.

As far as the LRW 2x/4x top8/no top8 thing, Scott is still out of the office in Essen for the Magic invitational, we'll discuss it when he gets back next week and post something definitive before LRW release events begin on 11/2."

Meaning that you can still have multiple playing instances open.  Just not as many replay instances. 


Thanks for the feedback Sebastion!. :)

by runeliger at Sun, 10/21/2007 - 18:40
runeliger's picture

Uh, 1 account per player restriction dude...

 Also Erik, it's Sebastian with an A :P

replays by pcjr at Sun, 10/21/2007 - 15:47
pcjr's picture

Seems like if you want to play in 2+ PEs at once, you might want to use multiple accounts and therefore multiple instances of the client. If you have a relatively modern computer, you should be able to run multiple VMs, each with their own MtGO client running. I have a one year old Mac that I use to play, I run a couple of VMs at once when I need to.

by runeliger at Sun, 10/21/2007 - 08:59
runeliger's picture

The heck!? 2 game instances?

Erik, what about those of us who play 2 PEs+ at once? Will we still be able to to do that? (And trust me, there's quite a few players who do this)

Just wondering

Love this article series... I used to be able to keep up with the boards, but nowadays with class, I perfer to play magic versus read about MODO... Your article really helps me a bunch!