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By: urzishra14, rob chesley
Jan 14 2008 1:33pm
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Hello. I'd like to make a comment before I begin my article. Someone asked if it was a Burger King hat that I'm wearing in my picture. Yes, yes it is.

Version 3 is coming!

Today I headed on over to the official Magic Online website and noticed something a little different. A counter counting down to the release of V3. Immediately I got excited. I read the most recent blog entry and my excitement turned sour. As many of you guys know, I'm a casual first, tournament second player and the majority of my time spent on MTGO is spent having fun in the multiplayer room gunslinging a myrad of ridiculous decks from high theme to high tuned. Here is the direct quote from GamerZero, "After launch, we plan to add: Leagues, Multiplayer, and Redemption." That is at least two-thirds of what I do on MTGO. Leagues are something I enjoy doing as it gives me a chance to "get" the limited format without the presures of 2x or 4x PEs. I love PEs, but the fact of the matter is not all of  us are destined for PE success. If I end up with a bad pool in a league, I can at least play it out and not feel like I wasted my time. I can spend more time adjusting and evaluating the card choices and I can build many decks out of the same pool. Leagues are often the only way (at least right now) to play Coldsnap. I know its not the most popular of sets, but it is the only small set geared at being fun in limited. I realize its kind of a broken format. I view it as a kind of  "Vintage" for limited. As the decks can be so incredibly one-sided. I know not every game is one-sided, but the potential is most found in Coldsnap.

I don't have any official data to back this up. I would be willing to bet that card prices will rise if Leagues are not availible for some time on MTGO V3. From all the full leagues on the system right now we can bet that a fair number of those get shifted back into the secondary market. Redemption doesn't mean too much to me. The price of cards for the next few expansions may rise a little bit, only if league play effects the secondary market greatly. I feel many players may not with to return until some of these features are reimplimented into the game. I can't say I'm too happy with the clearly "spike" centric spin they put on MTGO and launching with basically the features only the ones who like to profit from the game with, is certainly not something I'd like to see. I understand that MTGO is a business first and you got to have your money makers up and running before your keep 'em paying formats, but it just sends a bad vibe with not knowing specfic timetables for these features to return.

Classic and me

The majority of the decks I build are basically for classic. I love the other formats just as well, but the classic formats on MTGO is where its at for me. There have been a plethera of classic articles springing up on PureMTGO lately and I've read every single one of them. My favorite by far is Oddball Roundup, followed closely by the Long Term article which featured a "buy it/sell it" list for classic players. These are great resources for people like me, who may sometimes be on the outside looking in when it comes to competitive classic. There were some shakeups in some formats over the Dec. 1st Banned and Restricted announcement. They mostly just stuck to their guns when it came to format altering cards and format defining cards. There was a huge debate over the use of the transmute cards. While I disagree that they are effective tutors, they did pose dangers as they already set an example by not allowing tutors to run amok in the format. I don't really play prismatic, mostly due to the high cost of decks and interest in other more mainstream formats, but I can see the flustration on trying to smooth out draws and everytime something comes along even if it is inhearently weak it gets the axe.

Weatherlight purchases

This month is a great time to make the big purchase on mtgotraders. I just noticed the overthehill coupon code on the front page. While I personally have spent over a hundred and fifty dollars the last few weeks, I might make another big purchase at the end of the month to use the code. Now that we have the entire Mirage block online, I'm looking to fill out those interesting rares and uncommons that I may use later on down the road. Weatherlight, unfortunately, will be the most expensive, yet weakest, of the classic sets probably until prophecy comes out online. Considering the majority of the cards from Weatherlight have already been reprinted, namely Gemstone Mine and, well, Steel Golem, there really isn't much reason for me to pay a lot of attention to this set. The only card outside of the Rod that Nulls everything that I was kind of interested in was Relearn.

Relearn was a card I used extensively in my early magic playing days. My early magic playing days I was around twelve to fourteen, I really started playing magic more and more when I was fourteen and fifteen when Tempest came along. My Saturdays I spent hours with my dad scouring through card boxes at several card shops. We found some great deals, like when cards like Sol Ring sold for a buck, those were the days. But we loved going through the common boxes. We'd come up with the usual cards like Counterspell and Dark Ritual but I since I was building a milling deck that used a lot of instants and sorceries, I couldn't pass up a card like Relearn.

Today, Relearn would be perfect in a Blue Black extended milling deck, utilizing all the great cards from Ravnica, along with Twincast, Wild Ricochet, and Traumatize. However, in Classic, its power is not very high. Although, you might be able to mess around with a similar deck in the casual room. I came up with the following deck list just to theorize it.

9 Island
4 Watery Grave
Polluted Delta

4 Glimpse the Unthinkable
4 Twincast
4 Trickbind
4 Traumatize
4 Ponder
4 Counterspell
4 Duress
2 Relearn

2 Dralnu, Lich Lord
2 Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
Izzet Guildmage

Glimpse the Unthinkable


I suppose you could also add Jace to the deck. This is by no means a completed deck, just a starter shell, for what I would consider for the casual milling fun.  Argivian Restoration is a useful card to replay Mindslaver until we get Goblin Welder it is currently less than a quarter each, pretty much artifact zombify, but that is usually never a bad thing.  Gemstone Mine was selling over three dollars last week and has dropped to two. I would pick up a few of these as they will be useful in extended for years to come. Phrexian Furnace is a good budget sideboard card if you don't have Scrabbing Claws. I don't know if I would waste your time with it now, but it at least cantrips thats a positive. For casual games, primarily prismatic, I would look to Noble Benefactor as a way to tutor up cards in a notoriously tutor free environment. Hey, this guy might not get banned. He helps your opponent out, considering you are playing blue, you probably already have an anwser for whatever he tutored for, and you can never have too many tutors for bullets sometimes. He may be a fun card to get and throw into some casual decks. Orcish Settlers is a fun way of making everyone in the casual room block you. He blows up lands, and if you have a lot of mana, he'll blow up several lands and get you a win by concession. Yay for orcs!  Mistmoon Griffin)is a neat effect, it seems since Visions had amazing come into play effects, Weatherlight decided to do a bunch of going away effects. This one gets you a 2/2 flyer that when it dies, it replaces itself with target Akroma in your graveyard. This card would work great in decks where you have a way of discarding cards for effects. Maybe in tandum with cool spellshapers, this card could be a great addition and an interesting choice for a reanimator deck.

As for Weatherlight commons, I found Apathy to be funny. I bought someone's paper collection one time they accumulated over a hundred Apathy cards. Disrupt is a good counter against counters. Flux was a card I always thought was pretty cool, if you are holding just lands or other meaningless cards it could be a way to cycle those. Not a bad card, kind of like a mid game mulligan. I like it for PDC decks, as they generally do not have many ways "fixing" their draws, this gives them a Wheel of Fate type card, although conditional.

Community Musings

I talk a lot about Classic and casual. To me, they go hand in hand. Both are a fundemental part of the fabric of the game we all enjoy playing together. Classic players are people who generally want to win with the best and coolest effects known to Magic. They see powerful cards as a god given right to be used and games of Magic should involve the best cards ever printed. I agree with this crowd. I love throwing down the biggest most powerful cards I own into the arena to see if I can come out on top. Lately, there has been heated discussions over on the official boards about how Wizards should handle Classic and Classic based sets. By the time this article likely sees print, Master's Edition will be official out of print in the official store. Many players are outraged that this will likely cause a high barrier of entry, Force of Will as of this writing has spiked from eighteen dollars two weeks ago to close to forty and its still out of stock here, and the sites where I did find it in stock are selling them for fifty dollars each. I've had heated discussions with many promenent players and authors about the cost barrier of classic. My main concert was you need dual lands and fetch lands before you even get started, not to mention Force of WIll and Vampiric Tutor just to start out. The overall response was that I cannot worry about the cost of entry for other players, they'll find their own ways in. I have since changed my way of thinking. There will always be budget style decks, decks that do not require Force of Will, and future sets will have cards that are even better, for example, Tarmogoyf is probably the best creature card ever printed, you have to assume that similar cards with high power levels will be released in the future.

I ask members of the community who feel that Master's Edition was not on sale long enough to really think about what they are saying. As of this writing, Master's is still officially on sale, it will be very interesting to see the card prices rise. It will also be fun to speculate what cards might see reprints in a future Master's set that will be released probably around September 2008. There are a lot of questions that Classic and casual members need some anwsers to. I just hope that more players realize the power of their dollar purchases and the voice that is given to us via websites like PureMTGO.

Thank you all again for the continued support through comments on my articles! Because of my card purchases made over the last few weeks, I'll come back soon with another article geared towards casual and multiplayer next time. Thanks for reading.


by tentacleboy (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 01/15/2008 - 10:15
tentacleboy (Unregistered)'s picture

I'd be really bummed out if Classic becomes just an online version of Type 1, with decks averaging 1500$.

Not gonna happen ? Think again, more players getting into the game + extended rotating in September will spike the demand for Classic staples. If the supply doesn't increase in relation to the demand, inflation ensues. 

Please, don't let this happen. Learn from past mistakes. In 1994 no one would've believed you if you told them "in 5 years the price of a Black Lotus will have quadrupled", but it did. 

by urzishra14 (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 01/15/2008 - 18:14
urzishra14 (Unregistered)'s picture

the problem I have with a lot of people is they ASSUME that classic is a format that costs a lot of money.. but in reality it isn't... not when compared to other "time" based formats.

 I assume that most players are getting into magic for the "long term" so while it may be a high barrier for entry now.. later on it isn't. MTGO is a lot different from paper.. online I only need 4 (or in some cases 1) of any given card and they are good in all my decks.. thats no so in the paper world.. although.. in the paper world you get discounts based on condition (like if you can deal with beat up duals you can get them MUCH MUCH cheaper then good looking duals)

I'm not saying that classic isn't expensive.. it is by its nature.. i was just saying that there are alternatives to the high priced cards and decks out there....

the truth of the matter is NO ONE knows what will happen when extended rotates.. it could just mean that there is a small influx of players and it could mean bargain prices for IPA era cards.. or it could be the complete opposite there is NO comparable event that has happened in MTGO history. so i'm holding my judgement for that day.

Multiplayer hurts.. if anyone has read my past articles knows that is where the "meat and potatoes" of my magic playing is spent... hopefully V3 has better dual core support as my computer currently cannot run V2 (just got a new comp)

No Leagues by DarthWingnut at Mon, 01/14/2008 - 20:29
DarthWingnut's picture

I too must admit to being disappointed by this, but not surprised.  It was said a long time ago on the message board (back when everyone assumed we would not live to see V3 actually happen) that leagues were not on the vital list of must haves for the system to be ready for V3, but would be added as quickly as possible thereafter.

I am a limited player mostly, I like Drafts, and I like Leagues.... I don't enjoy constructed nearly so much these days as I did when I was 16-17 getting into Magic for the first time back in the old days when the Dark was new, because at that time the truly nasty cards were being banned, so even starting from scratch we were able to come up with a good deck that could compete.  Online I started with the Tenth edition release, which means I am still having trouble having the cards to compete (though this is getting better)

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Mon, 01/14/2008 - 21:05
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

Thanks for the downgrade to v3! Server down meant games down. V3 means leagues/multiplayer permanently down until they put it up. When they want to put stuff up, they take forever if you look back into history. We have this trophy case of nothing even if we do win premier events. That has not been put up since the beginning of time. =(

no multi by bubbakush at Tue, 01/15/2008 - 09:20
bubbakush's picture

 i feel your pain, i love multi. i just recently learned about leagues and was waiting for mourningtide to play in my first one,well until i read the blog. But wizards has made us wait for so long for the big V3 release that we are almost half excited for them to release a not up to standard fully done product. But still the promises of stability, got to see it to believe it, brings us hope.   oh and i love the crown, makes you look more,  ah kingly

No Leagues? by jhs (Unregistered) (not verified) at Mon, 01/14/2008 - 14:27
jhs (Unregistered)'s picture

Oh, no!  That is a shame.  I have to admit I (obviously) haven't been paying any attention to the V3 blogs, but are there really no leagues for an unspecified time?  That is all I play, as I am only a month or two past being a "never played before" beginner.  Bummer.