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By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
Dec 20 2007 10:19am
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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:
Static from last week.
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:
They've been turned on with a lot more regularity this week, which is nice.  However the default is still 'off' after reboots or crashes.


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 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:

Weatherlight release events have finished up this week.  Hopefully you've gotten the cards you've been after by now as there won't likely be a lot more flowing into the system as we go forward.

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:

One more week for this item, then it will be removed from the article.

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:

BIG news in the past few weeks!!! The new duel screen has been unveiled to the masses and the feedback regarding it has bee quite good.  There are still issues with the textures and dock, but the use of space of the scene itself is much much better.  Jamuraa's site linked below has the evidence.

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:
Interview with (Optimus) Worth Wollpert!  December 19th, 2007 

MED 2:
EF: What will the set size be for MED2 (Bigger than MED1, same size)? 
WW: Not sure, that’s an R&D call really and they haven’t mentioned anything yet. I would guess close to the same size, but that’s only a guess.

EF: Will MED2 contain the Duals?
WW: Yes.

EF: And if so, all 10?
WW: See answer to the previous question. :)

EF: And if so, will they be in subsequent MEDs like the pain lands are in 9th/10th?
WW: I’m not sure here either, but I highly suspect the answer is no. That would be a little contrary to the philosophy behind the MED stuff.

EF: Will MED2 have Theme Decks?
WW: Also still in the works, if we do them they will likely be built with cards from current standard and MED2 heavy, it’d be tough to make a theme deck (or 3 or 4 or whatever) out of just 180 MED2 cards. Much like the small set theme decks are built with some big set cards to round them out.

EF: And if there will be theme decks, will there be any community input for them?
WW: A fine question, what kind of thing did you have in mind here?

EF: Will we get to see more Portal cards this time?
WW: Probably. :)

V3 News:
EF: What are the next UI changes that you're looking at getting fixed (like fixing the textures, and some day the dock)?
WW: The two you mentioned are on the list, textures being a higher priority than the dock. After release we’re going to be bug bashing and stabilizing, so this stuff will have to hold for a bit, but once things calm down I expect work to continue in this area.

EF: Is the V3 release Date still Q1 2008?
EF: Any firmer dates that you can give us yet?
WW: *whistles* big announcement tomorrow or Friday :)

EF: As of right now, what are you top five projects for V3 once it's stable?
(Recognizing that they might change once V3 goes live and something steals priority.  I'm just trying to get a feel for what you'd *want* work on first).
(no specific order here other than the first three are the first three)
Multiplayer support

More duel scene tweaks
Streamlining the store, and making it more intuitive and readable, much like the home and duel scene projects.
Cleaning up leftover art issues like textures and such
Getting the deck editor to work exactly right once and for all

Sorry that’s more than 5. :)

EF: With Elder Dragon Highlander recently added to the formats list, what is the potential for adding additional formats? (like Prismatic Singleton, PDC, etc):
WW: Potential is there, but EDH was really done on Lee and elf’s personal time. Other parts of v3 will be more important, but I would love to be able to offer more (and more diverse) formats than we’ve got currently.

EF: Are there any other new projects on the horizon?
WW: Specifically MOL related? Nothing I can talk about. :) I guess there are none that I can really talk about in the digital Magic space, but there should be a couple announcements in early-mid 2008 about taking Magic to other digital venues. Exciting stuff.

EF: There was a project for fixing old bugs that was supposed to be under way post Lorwyn.  As of yet there haven't been any old bugs marked as fixed.  Has there been any update on that from the Developers?
WW: That will continue to be a priority once the initial v3 craziness settles down.

EF: There has been some concern low about Weatherlight sales on the boards.  How has this set sold so far (not hard numbers of course, but general WotC feeling towards its sales)?  Better/Worse than visions?
WW:  Too soon to tell, really. The release events have been just slightly disappointing, but I’m not sure how much of that is attributable to Lorwyn being so much fun and well received Ask again in a month or two. :)

EF: When will Mirage/Visions/Weatherlight go off sale?
WW: Unknown if it will, actually. I’m debating how to handle vintage sets (other than MED stuff of course) regarding this. Outlook hazy, ask again later. :)

EF: What is the overall plan for Classic products in the Online Store?
WW: Not sure what you mean by this question. I think I’m leaning towards keeping the “normal” vintage sets on sale in perpetuity. So that one day you’ll be able to go to the store and buy a Mirage tournament pack, a Nemesis booster, and an Urza’s Destiny theme deck at the same time. Like I said, I’m still thinking about the correct strategy here.

EF: You've laid out some general timelines for the Classic only sets, is there any firmer dates for the 2008 releases yet?
WW: Nothing yet, as v3 is apt to move much of those dates around. I have dates in my plan, but nothing I’m comfortable sharing yet. Tempest in Q2 is the best I can do for now. :)

EF: Is anyone at WotC keeping track of secondary market prices of IPA cards as the 2008 Extended rotation approaches?
WW: I have my eye on this, specifically. There are a lot of competing opinions on what is healthy and what isn’t. It will be interesting to see what the market bears as the event you mention approaches. It certainly affects paper card prices, so I fully expect it to affect MOL as well.

EF: Is there any MED2 card you'd like to spoil to start the way way way early buzz for the set? ;)
WW: R&D would not like me anymore if I did. :) And honestly, the set is very much in flux now, and will be for months yet.

EF: Any other announcements or comments you'd like to make while you have the attention of the readers?
WW: Just that I hope everyone is happy with the progress we’ve made and displayed on v3 in recent weeks. We’re very close now, and I know a lackluster feature set at launch has some people down in the dumps, but I do promise to make sure that everyone here at WotC knows how important those features are to our customers. Especially features that were there in 2.5 and not there for the launch of v3. We do have some cool new Also, we’re definitely going to have a rocky few weeks with the launch, and I want to encourage everyone to hang in there…maybe just play casual for a week or two and decide to spend your money again when things come around to your liking. All new digital products suffer from the same types of problems near launch times, I’m sure we’ll be no different. Heck I remember my first few weeks of EQ and World of Warcraft…not so pleasant at the time. :)

EF: Again, thank you so very much for your time and dedication.  It's simply awesome.
WW: Easy to do when you have a job you love working on a product that’s changed your life. :)
I'd like to thank Worth for taking the time to answer a few questions for me again.  If there's anything that bolsters my faith in MTGO, it's hearing from Worth.
Editorial Section #2,  Prismatic: a conundruum wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a vest.

First, a quote from the latest round of Prismatic Bannings:
"We don't want a 250-card format to be about finding particular cards consistently and that is why we have banned fifteen more tutor cards."

To me, a layperson, that means that they want the format to play a bit more 'random' than the other formats.  A fine goal indeed.  So how could things be made random?  From Aaron Forsyth, regarding the drawback of restrictions over bannings:

"So why don't we restrict cards in Standard? In general, we don't want to add more randomness to the game than there already is."

So, according to AaFo, restrictions instead of bannings lead to increased randomness, which makes sense when you think about it.  Sometimes you'll get the card in question, sometimes you wont.  Random, no?   So if restrictions lead to randomness and Prismatic is primarily about randomness, or lack of consistancy, it would seem to make more sense that a list of restrictions would be more in the spirit of the format than bannings would.

Problems of restrictions:
Restrictions are hard to balance.  Instead of just banning the trouble they would need to restrict enough of the pre-trouble to keep the trouble from getting too big.  Restrictions take more work and diligence to ensure that things aren't still broken and the steps taken were worth the effort.  This effect could be mitigated by allowing the community to discuss and determine what cards are worth restricting.  The community that plays it obviously cares deeply for it, as was evidenced by the responses to the latest round of bannings.

Prismatic is Classic Based:
Classic follows the Vintage philosophy that has cards restricted instead of banned.  This is ideal for the players because it allows for formats where you can play with any card you could open from a pack.  This is important for many reasons which have been discussed elsewhere in the past.  Prismatic feels like it should have a similar philosophy of allowing cards to be played, unless they stand in direct opposition to the main spirit of the format: randomness.  Therefore, the only cards that should be banned are non-restrictive tutors.  Any card that says: "Search your library" coupled with the text: "Put that card on top" or "Put that card in your hand" should be banned as it makes decks consistent, which is against the most important part of the spirit of the format.  The perception of randomness.

In the land of the bannings the one dimensional deck is king:
Right now, there's only one deck type that isn't random: Aggro.  The way that Combo and Control work so well in other formats is that pieces are redundant or retrievable.  Right now neither archtype can do that with the lack of tutors coupled with the speed of aggro.  Whereas aggro has a leg up on the competition. It has redundancy.  Savanna Lion's and Isamaru are essentially the same creature: 2/x for W.  There are a handful of 3/x for 2 and a lot of utiltiy 2/x for 2.  There are also really strong utility or evasion 3/x creatures at 3 and really strong 4/x creatures at 4.  Leaving
the aggro deck as the only deck that can reliably execute its game plan.

So I propose the following chagnes to the format for the next time they look at it.  Bannings of the following carte blanche tutors:

Battle of Wits
Vampiric Tutor
Diabolic Tutor
Liliana Vess
Bringer of the Black Dawn
Diabolic Intent
Demonic Collusion
Long-Term Plans
Gifts Ungiven
Infernal Tutor

I think that a straight up ban of any card that gets whatever card you want and puts it in hand or on top of the library is acceptable.  Those are not really necessary in Prismatic and add to the extreme consistency that is discouraged.

What I would then change is to unban but restrict any restrictive tutors:
Merchant Scroll
Citanul Flute
Captain Sisay
Sterling Grove
Eladamri's Call
Skyship Weatherlight
Wild Research
Insidious Dreams
Tooth and Nail
Trinket Mage
Night Dealings
Eerie Procession
Time of Need
Enduring Ideal
Dimir House Guard
Netherborn Phalanx
Shred Memory
Dimir Machinations
Drift of Phantasms
Ethereal Usher
Dizzy Spell
Muddle the Mixture
Chord of Calling
Three Dreams
Dimir Infiltrator
Clutch of the Undercity
Congregation at Dawn
Protean Hulk
Momir Vig, Simic Visionary
Mystical Teachings
Summoner's Pact
Lost Auramancers
Tolaria West
Primal Command
Mystical Tutor
Worldly Tutor
Enlightened Tutor
Natural Order
Buried Alive
Mangara's Tome
Planar Portal

Perhaps a few explanations of my choices would be in order.  While Mangara's Tome and Planar Portal are both unrestrictive in selection they are very mana restrictive.  10 and 12 mana respectively is a large obstical to overcome.  If they ever became a problem in competitive play then they could be moved to the banned list.  I also put Entomb and Buried Alive into the restricted list.  They're undeniably powerful, but with them as one of's their power drops, and they're still restricted to only finding creatures.
Giving players the ability to search out removal or combo pieces is critical to balancing a meta game.  Without combo being able to beat aggro, aggro WILL run roughshot over the format.  The same thing happened to Classic before Flash was unerrata'd there.  Some flavor of Aggro/Control would always be the best deck due to the lack of an efficient combo deck.  This led to a very stale and very 'unfun' meta for many players because there was no variety in the best decks.

This is what is happening to Prismatic competitive decks right now.  The best decks will feel very similar to one another.  And if Prismatic is not meant to be a consistent format then the redundant threat aggro decks need to have a nemesis.  Unfortunately that nemesis is being beaten with a sack of oranges in the alleyway behind a movie theater right now, and is not able to play.
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.
We had a pretty good week this week with high availability most days for the Weatherlight events.  It would seem that the concern about the strain on the servers from the set was a bit overexaggerated, as there has been no abnormally high crashing like with other release events.

Card Price Fluctuations:
Last week I was curious as to what was causing the increase in average Standard rare prices.  I looked at the two that went up again this week (Coldsnape and 10th Edition) and found that Coldsnap was gaining on the back of a few choice rares.  Namely Scrying Sheets, Viper and Haakon.  10th has seen some good movement in the 5/5 for five mana that everyone loves as well as some increases based on the Lorwyn impacted Standard format.
Name Up to: From: Gain of:
Scrying Sheets 12 4.75 7.25
Ohran Viper 13 7.75 5.25
Haakon, Stromgald Scourge 6.75 2.5 4.25
Jester's Scepter 4.75 3 1.75
Lightning Serpent 2.75 1.5 1.25
10th Edition      
Razormane Masticore 3.75 1 2.75
Elvish Champion 3 0.35 2.65
Siege-Gang Commander 6 3.5 2.5
Pithing Needle 8.5 6.5 2
Underground River 5.5 3.5 2
Glorious Anthem 2.25 0.7 1.55
Coldsnap Rares gained again, the others had some minor decreases which would likely be tied into the increase of ticket value.


Public Hide List

I've removed someone who reqested their removal from the list who was seen circumventing the auction filters of using: "Buying" or "Selling".  I've also added what appears to be a bot chain that was false advertising in their Message Board statement.  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

;12-07-07 - false advert

;12-19-07 - false advert

;12-19-07 - Auction adverts

;12-19-07, removed

Outstanding Issues:


PayPal payments not going through for some users:

What's another week, eh?

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:

Collective Restraint/Ghostly Prison Crashing games:

New this week: game crashing bugs with Collective Restraint and Ghostly Prison.  Score!

Shielding Plax + Targeting:

No update

No update

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

Colfenor's Plans + extra draw:

No update


No update

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

Lignify + Layers:

No update.  Shock.

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

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.


You wanted interviews, you got 'em!  This week I sent an interview to Worth Wollpert and he stepped up big, again.  My many many thanks to Worth and the MTGO team.  Keep on improving, your actions are coming through loud and clear!



again WW is vague about all dual lands in Med II by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 12/21/2007 - 02:50
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

WW didn't answer 'yes' to the question about all 10 duals in Med II. That combined with him mentioning in his podcast interview at worlds that the duals might get released in the next fw Masters editions.

I'd love to see them all in Med II...but i doubt it. 

Duals by DarthWingnut at Fri, 12/21/2007 - 10:00
DarthWingnut's picture

Actually he did answer the "All dual lands in MED2" issue firmly.  See answer to above question :), as the answer to the above question was Yes, Worth was just being playful.  We will have all the dual lands... and now I need to buy lots of MED2 when it comes out.  BTW, how are we going to handle a week with no magic?  I'm going to go through withdrawal.... At least we finally have a date for MOL3.  Thanks again Hammy, great article as usual.

Public Hide List by hamtastic at Thu, 12/20/2007 - 11:22
hamtastic's picture

I think that starting next week I'll make the hide list it's own article and update it accordingly, then just link it.  It's taking up a lot of article space that it doesn't really need to.


Very good by iceage4life at Thu, 12/20/2007 - 10:54
iceage4life's picture

Liked this article quite a bit.  Sometimes it feels a bit short on content for someone who follows all the news anyways.  The WW interview and Prismatic coverage was good (even if you missed the Wishes ;). 

What happened to card price drops, always nice to see what is dropping too.

Last comment is there any way to hide the public hide list?  Click to see it or something.  Pretty long for something people are not really gonna read just gonna copy&paste. 

by urzishra (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 12/20/2007 - 11:16
urzishra (Unregistered)'s picture

great article as usual..

 firm comitment on the duals.. that set is going to be one of the most saught after sets on MODO.. moreso then MED1..

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dungdung's picture

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