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By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
Dec 14 2007 12:21am
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Table of contents:
MTGO Discussion Items
Editorial Section
Server Log In Availability

MTGO Price Movers and Shakers
Public Hide List
Outstanding Issues

Bug Complaints


MTGO Announcements:
Rules at a glance:
Added no Championship events for Weatherlight Announcement. 
MTGO Rules, and you!
Single Client Restriction Snuck in One client per person is allowed.
Replay Functionality Replay Functionality Change Certain replays are back up and running.
No spamming in certain channels Buying/Selling adverts in Casual/Auction Don't spam in the auction room or casual room
Lorywn Draft Queues Lorwyn Drafts Queue change Lorwyn draft queues will only run during certain non peak times.
December Bannings Prismatic and Singleton changes Check the MTGO Discussion section here
No Champs for Weatherlight No Champs for Weatherlight Winning events doesn't enter you into a champs tourney

Disabled Replays:
Same as last week, which is sad.

Same as last week, with a bit more information regarding the fact that the new default for replays when the server is restarted is 'off'.  Meaning that whenever the server crashes or is rebooted it will come back online without replays until one of a handful of people turns them on.

Some replay functionality is back. To quote: 'Replays turned on in limited capacity. You can replay any finished games by clicking the Replay button or right clicking on the game but not double clicking. You also will not be able to replay games in an event that is currently running.'

An attempted pre-fix on the 'My Games' replay functionality caused a large amount of issues this week. More information about that in the downtime section. Needless to say, replays are still not available.
Replays are disabled for this week again since removing them appears to be having a positive impact on the server stability.

Not all ways of requesting replays were disabled.  They have been now.  This seems to have helped prevent the outright crashes, but we still have experienced a lot of lag during draft times.

In a further effort to reduce system stress, replays have been removed from the client's features.  Discussion about the change is below.

Play and Replay were in a boat...

Single Client Restrictions Status:

Our current status is: SCR Active.

Our current status is: SCR Active.

Our current status is: SCR Active.


Our current status is: SCR Active.

Our current status is: SCR Active.

Our current status is: SCR Active.

Our current status is: SCR Active.

Our current status is: SCR Active.

Our current status is: SCR Lifted.

Our current status is: SCR Active.

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


MTGO Discussion Items: 

Weatherlight Release Events:

12-14-07:The Weatherlight Release events have been fully announced now, and they are as follows:
Leagues start at 9:00 PST
Drafts start at 12:00 PST
PE's start at 14:00 PST

For some reason they have the drafts starting before the PE's, which is abnormal for release events.  Also, be aware that winning a PE won't get you invited to a championship event.  Instead it will award you a full set of Weatherlight.  Sweet.

Weatherlight Release Events Announcement

New Unofficial Formats:

12-14-07:During this week's downtime a few new format choices were given: Elder Dragon Highlander, 100 Card Singleton and Lorwyn Tribal Wars (Standard).  For those not familiar with the rules of EDH, they are listed here, and here, and in the link below.  It's a casual multiplayer format that is a ton of fun.  There are still some kinks to be worked out, but it's a great format if you've never had the pleasure of playing it.  Also, a big kudos to the MTGO team for making a format that will mirror the Paper Tribal Wars format that will be being played this winter in stores around the country.  

New Formats

V3 Progress:

Version 167 was released this week.  And it appears that we got some new art from Fifth Dawn this time.

Version 164 was released this week with more fixes to the PE's.  It still seem that a lot of people are dropping from the events.  No one's really sure what can be done to stop this behavior.

MTGO V3 Beta version .158 was released this week, and for the first time in a long time we are allowed to log in and play.  jamuraa updated his amazing comparison site already for quick compare and contrast availability.

Jamuraa's Site

Release Notes

Editorial Section:

Parting is such sweet sorrow...

As you may or may not be aware, Chris Romeo has announced that he will stop writing as of this week due to health related issues.  I would like to wish him the best of luck in his upcoming trials.  Chris is a big reason why I write today (so blame him if you hate my writing!).  He was my favorite author when I started playing just a handful of years ago.  His style, humor and 'voice' were distinct and inviting.  He made deck building on a budget fun and amazing and showed that one can have fun without the expensive rares; and he did it in a way that I hadn't seen before.  His decks ranged from whacky creations to toned down tourney decks to modified preconstructed decks and everything in between.  He may not have been the first to evolve precon's but he defitely made it his own.  In fact, I'd be surprised if many of the budget authors today don't owe Chris a lot for the work he's done.

This man (and dare I say, possibly even 'da man') has been writing for years and years and years.  He's barely missed any of his weekly articles.  That would be impressive even without knowing how much work goes into an article each week.  After taking care of a weekly article series (in one form or another) for just around a year, I have a lot of respect for the man and his dedication to the game and dedication to writing.  He's put a lot of work into building not only budget decks, but a lot of work into the world of budget deckbuilding.  I was crestfallen to see this familiar face fall away from frequent writing.  (Alliteration: an amazingly amusing way of articulation).

So I felt that I owed this frugal fella a tribute, as he truly was instrumental to my continuing to play this game after I first started.  I spent many a morning laughing at his outlooks on this game we love.  And of course we can't ignore the cheesecake.

This article started to sound like a eulogy, and I didn't think that Chris would want anything so somber done on his behalf so I rounded up some out of context quotes, just for the heck of it:

"I'm a pimp. Buy this, sucka duck" (1)
"Dear Gawd, it makes me sweat like a third-grader trying out to be an altar boy." (2)
"So, I looked for an Old Guy's Dragon" (3)
"No, wait, I just did what he did. The faulty syllogism, not the stinky poo." (4)

Chris, while you may never have won a pro tour, or made a new Top-8 deck you certainly impacted a lot of players over the years.  I for one will miss knowing that you're out there fighting the good fight on behalf of the budget players everywhere.

I hope you're out there reading this, Chris, I sincerely hope that you can recover from your ailments and find a renewed zest for your Magic love.  My best wishes to you and your family during this time.

(1) http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/article/12446.html
(2) http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/article/13801.html
(3) http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/article/14197.html
(4) http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/article/14298.html

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery I'm going to try to flatter the heck out of Romeo right now.  It's time for a Precon Evolution, with a hamtastic twist.  I'm going to evolve a Classic theme deck and see what I can make happen.

The deck?  Fiery Fury from Weatherlight.  Why?  Because it has a good base to start from and can go a couple differnent directions, depending on what I feel like accomplishing with it.  Oh, and becauase it's hot just like everyone says Romeo is.

3 Bloodrock Cyclops
1 Suq'Ata Lancer
2 Talruum Minotaur
2 Viashino Sandstalker
1 Wildfire Emissary
3 Goblin Vandal
1 Hulking Cyclops
3 Lava Hounds
2 Roc Hatchling

1 Crystal Vein
23 Mountain
3 Mind Stone
3 Cone of Flame
2 Fireblast
1 Firestorm
1 Heart of Bogardan
3 Incinerate
2 Kaervek's Torch
2 Spitting Earth
1 Thunderbolt

My first thought is that the deck has a very solid base of creatures and burn.  It almost looks like a sligh type build with burn and hasty creatures.  I could build on that some more, or I could start moving it towards a red control type package with burn and removal keeping things under control until I drop a hard to deal with creature and finish the game in a few turns.  But that will be decided upon after I get some games in with this deck and see what works and what doesn't.

First impressions:
I went 4-0 in the Casual room.  The games weren't even close.  Out of the box, this deck does is fast and focused.  The games were over turn six or earlier, and usually ended with me holding burn and creatures in hand and a Mind Stone in play for extra cards if needed.  

What cards worked:
Lava Hounds were great.  The damage to myself never really mattered during the games.
Spitting Earth filled a very important role for getting my creatures through,  much like what Skred is doing for Skred Red decks in Standard today.
Incinerate was just as strong as ever.

What cards didn't work:
Roc Hatchling. It's a first turn play, which the deck needs to curve out as best as it can.  But this card really doesn't mesh well with the aggro feel of the deck.  You have to wait four turns for it to do 3 damage, and in the mean time it can't hold any creatures back because it dies to eveything but doesn't take them with it.  This really needs to be a more aggressive creature or possibly some low cost burn spell.  The one advantage this card has is that it's good against control decks since it comes down on turn one under all but Force of Will.
Goblin Vandal.  There are better options for one drop creatures and better options for cheap artifact destruction.  He's neat, but not strong at doing either of his abilities.  Also, I don't really want to slow my damage down to destroy stuff.
Firestorm.  Kind of didn't work.  This is a great card in some decks.  Not so great in this deck though, as this deck generally wins way too fast for it to become useful.  When I cast it I had to target some of my beefy creatures just to let it take out enough of my opponents creatures.  Also this deck runs low on cards pretty fast making the amount of power from this card vary wildly.

Idea's for the deck:
This deck screams to become an aggro burn deck.  Looking at the cards that will likely be cut makes me think that most of the deck won't be Weatherlight cards once I'm done.  Like a chicken on the edge of a road I have to decide: do I cross?  If I cross this road the deck will be stronger for it.  If I don't the deck will have more flavor, but less power.  If I choose the latter I become a slave to my theme, and I don't think that this theme is worth throwing away power.  

Deck changes:
Roc Hatchling
-3 Goblin Vandal
+4 Genju of the Spires
+1 Viashino Sandstalker

I wanted to still have something to do on turn one.  Something that was more of a clock than the Roc's and more irritating than the Vandals.  For that, I went to Genju of the Spire.  The Genju is my 'go to guy' in casual red aggro since it comes down turn one and keeps coming back, even if someone kills it.  In short, he's a nightmare against control decks.  It also plays very well with Fireblast in that you can stack the damage and sacrifice it for the blast.  The third Sandstalker comes in to round out the three drop spot some more.

-1 Firestorm
-1 Wildfire Emissary
-3 Bloodrock Cyclops
-1 Hulking Cyclops
+1 Spitting Earth
+4 Lightning Bolt
+2 Suq'Ata Lancer

I cleaned up most of the "one of's" and replaced them with more copies of some cards and 4x Lightning Bolt.  Why 4x Bolt?  Because it's freakin' Lightning Bolt!  If you're red, and want to deal damage, it's what you want most of the time.  Buying 4x of this card will fill a lot of deckbuilding holes in your budget decks.  I left the Heart of Bogardan for a wee bit of randomness and as a potential mid to late game stall breaker.  

Instead of incremental changes I cleaned house.  Nearly 20% of the deck got pulled and replaced.  The end result looks like an Extended+ deck.  Although the majority of that is due to so many Weatherlight reprints in Xth edition.  Cone of Flame, Incinerate, and Spitting Earth are all in Xth and they're all wonderful in this deck.

So how did it do?  I went 3-0 in my next set of games, playing out pretty much exactly how you'd expect it to by this point.  The Mind Stones were amazing for some extra reach and the burn and big creatures sealed the deal.  There's a reason why this card sees play in Standard tourney decks.  Acceleration + draw when you need it... to quote Joe Dirt: "Daaaaaang".

Adding money to the deck:
Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade.  Replace the Torches with Demonfires, replace the Sandstalkers with Ball Lightnings, and replace the Lava Hounds/Talruum Minotaurs with Giant Solifuges.  The burn is already very solid so it really shouldn't need much more help than it already has.  And if you wanted to run Snow Mountains instead of regular Mountains and run Skred over Spitting Earth, that could certainly be justified as well, and might even allow a couple of Scrying Sheets to be used for more draw.  Although if you have nothing better to do than activate some sheets then you're probably in trouble.

The deck, in it's 'final' form:

3 Lava Hounds
3 Suq'Ata Lancer
2 Talruum Minotaur
3 Viashino Sandstalker

24 Mountain
3 Cone of Flame
2 Fireblast
4 Genju of the Spires
Heart of Bogardan
3 Incinerate
2 Kaervek's Torch
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Mind Stone
3 Spitting Earth
Server Log In Availability:

This chart shows December vs. November with the weekdays being matched up to one another.  Meaning that the first data point is the first Saturday of each month, I'll keep this one updated with the current month and the previous month matching up the days as closely as possible to see if there's any patterns that show up.

Card Price Fluctuations:

This week marks the biggest week to week card price jump that I've ever seen: Pyromancer's Swath.  The amount it increased?  1,191.67%.  For reals.  Followed closely by Spinerock Knoll with a jump of 1,150%.  For double reals.  A lot of the cards on this list are in the new Dragonstorm build (Lotus Bloom, Bogardan Hellkite, Rite of Flame, Dragonstorm, Spinerock Knoll, and Pyromancer's Swath).  A funny aside on the Swath:  It was one of my cards that I laughed about when the set came out.  Although I did mention that many of my ridiculed cards could be broken, and it looks like one has been.  Oddly enough, no one fought for the honor of the swath back then.  While two wrongs don't make a right, two janks can make a deck... or so it would seem. Heh.
Card Name Last week's Price This week's Price Percentage gained
Pyromancer's Swath 0.6 7.75 1191.67%
Spinerock Knoll 0.3 3.75 1150.00%
Dragonstorm 1 3 200.00%
Dragonstorm 1 2.75 175.00%
Island 0.02 0.05 150.00%
Sheltering Ancient 0.25 0.5 100.00%
Magus of the Abyss 0.2 0.35 75.00%
Heidar, Rimewind Master 0.15 0.25 66.67%
Swamp 0.4 0.65 62.50%
Island 0.05 0.08 60.00%
Rite of Flame 0.65 1 53.85%
Mirari 0.6 0.9 50.00%
Wheel of Fate 0.4 0.6 50.00%
Thousand-Year Elixir 0.5 0.7 40.00%
Wayfarer's Bauble 0.15 0.2 33.33%
Dodecapod 1.5 2 33.33%
Story Circle 1.15 1.5 30.43%
Bringer of the Green Dawn 1 1.3 30.00%
Bogardan Hellkite 2.5 3.25 30.00%
Lotus Bloom 3.5 4.5 28.57%

Not much to say on the top 10 falling prices: it's Lorwyn.  Due to the drafting that keeps pumping more and more cards into the system.  Guile dropped a lot, probably due to the Dragonstorm deck having such a big impact on its viability.

Card Name Last week's Price This week's Price Percentage changed
Cryptic Command 9 8 -11.11%
Gaddock Teeg 3 2 -33.33%
Guile 2.5 1.5 -40.00%
Militia's Pride 1.75 0.9 -48.57%
Oona's Prowler 4.5 3.75 -16.67%
Jace Beleren 3.75 3 -20.00%
Ajani Goldmane 3.5 2.75 -21.43%
Scion of Oona 3.5 2.75 -21.43%
Wanderwine Hub 3.5 2.75 -21.43%
Chandra Nalaar 2.75 2 -27.27%
Here we have the price per rare for each Standard legal set.  Once again, the prices for most rose a little this week.  The only set that had a net loss was Lorwyn, which is to be expected, since it's the most recent set and is being heavily drafted which generally continues to depress prices.  The real shocker is that both 10E and CSP both have a better return per rare than Lorwyn does, and even Time Spiral is starting to catch up to the per rare price that Lorwyn holds right now.  This increased price for Standard rares is interesting to me, since by all accounts they should have all dipped back down this week due to ticket prices increasing and Worlds being over.  I have to start looking into what is causing this upward trend.  Just like a small rock in a shoe, this is going to irritate me until I get to the bottom of it.

Public Hide List

A couple of quick run throughs of the Selleing Boards this week showed no new problems.  Which is happy times indeed.  As always, if you feel you're erroneously on the list please email me at erikfriborg at gmail dot com and I'll remove you.

;11-09-07- false advert

;11-16-07 - false advert

;11-16-07 - Auction adverts
WacKy ZacKy=hide
Gulstaff Sorceror of Light=hide
Sgt. DAMOCLES=hide

;11-23-07 - Auction adverts

;11-30-07 - removed
;1for1 Uncs A=hide

Outstanding Issues:

PayPal payments not going through for some users:

Considering that this is costing them money, I have no idea why this isn't a focus for them.

Some are still working, others are still not.  No update on this yet.  Still.  Still.

Some are still working, others are still not.  No update on this yet.  Still.

Some are still working, others are still not.  No update on this yet.

Some geographies have magically started to work again, although there hasn't been any official word on this.  More information here.

I have yet to hear that this has been fixed, but it seems that there aren't any complaints about being unable to purchase from PayPal, so this is possibly better.

While there hasn't been an official update yet, reports have come in that some of the previously impacted players have been able to get purchases through.

Still an issue.  I've bumped the thread below to hopefully remind them that we are still needing a status update.


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

PayPal issues


Bug complaints:

Shielding Plax + Targeting:

No update

11-30-07:Shielding Plax is not granting untargetability correctly.  Link

Colfenor's Plans + extra draw:

No update

Colfenor's Plans is not handling extra draw actions properly. Link

Lignify + Layers:

Even more Lignify complaints this week.  If you see any other bugs, please report them at: http://wizards.custhelp.com

Still an issue as far as we know.

Lignify + Spirit Loop does not appear to follow the correct rules for timestamps and loss of abilities. More information can be found here.

Sutured Ghoul + Tarmogoyf:

No update: sad panda

Still no update on this fix.  Hopefully, hopefully, hopefully we'll see some progress made in this arena sooner rather than later.

Still no update on this fix. Hopefully, hopefully, hopefully we'll see some progress made in this arena sooner rather than later.

I had hoped to get an interview with a developer for this week but unfortunately it wasn't ready in time.  Long story short, this is still an issue as well as any other cards that received a functionality change with the Future Sight rules update.

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.


I played with the formatting of the article and moved the more dynamic pieces of the article to the top and the more static portions towards the bottom of the article.  This feels a lot better now that all the pieces that get drastically changed each week are towards the top and you don't have to go rooting through the article to find them.  Hopefully others find it easier to read as well!
And thanks to those who provided feedback last week.  I'll get some interviews out and see what I can do for getting more information from those behind the scenes people!



by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 12/14/2007 - 23:18
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

It does that for Ghostly Prison too, probably the same bug.

by hamtastic at Sat, 12/15/2007 - 11:26
hamtastic's picture

I hadn't heard about the collective restraint/ghostly prison bugs. I'll add them in next week's article.


Chains of Mephistopheles + Winds of Change by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sun, 12/16/2007 - 08:46
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

Those two cards were bugged for awhile too...  Hell, I' don't think Chains works right with half the cards on MTGO.

by Paks (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 12/14/2007 - 13:31
Paks (Unregistered)'s picture

Romeo is the master. I also enjoyed Romeo's articles every week. I hope he gets well soon.

Fantastic by JXClaytor at Fri, 12/14/2007 - 03:42
JXClaytor's picture

Great stuff.   Has anyone said anything about the game crashing when people pay for Collective Restraint?    

There is a need to get some by lenyrose2013 at Thu, 10/06/2016 - 07:06
lenyrose2013's picture

There is a need to get some interviews. Most especially if you aim to know something. - Bath Planet