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By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
Dec 28 2007 12:11am
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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:
Removed the following line items:
SCR, December Bannings, Weatherlight Release events and Lorwyn Draft restrictiosn.
MTGO Rules, and you!
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

Disabled Replays:
11-02-07 through 12-28-07:
In a further effort to reduce system stress, replays have been removed from the client's features.  Discussion about the change is below.
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.

Play and Replay were in a boat...

Single Client Restrictions Status:

Our current status is: SCR Lifted.  
Forever it seems.  Look for this section to go away soon if that's the case.

11-02-07 through 12-21-07:
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: 

V3 Progress:

Even BIGGER news this week!  According to a recent blog entry, V3 is scheduled to be released Monday, January 28th.  You can watch the countdown here, and talk about the announcement here.  I'm working on an article that will explain in detail how to make V3 do the things that you're used to doing in V2.5.  Things like getting to the marketplace, joining events, and client configurations.

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

Classic sets: Exipiring or Eternal?
The question about what to do with Classic only sets came up after my last interview with Worth Wollpert.  It was briefly mentioned that there hasn't been any decision yet to whether or not Classic only sets would ever be removed from the store.  Discussion can be found here.

New Format Needed?
With the impending doom of the Extended 2008 rotation many players are starting to see the writing on the wall...  Your Extended card pool will go from a big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a big pond of Classic cards.  This has spooked some players and they are looking to WotC to fix it.  The two most common solutions are "Block Wars" where you can only build decks from Blocks of the same cards, or Build Your Own Standard (BYOS), where you can pick any two large sets and a core set for your available pool.  For example, you could choose Champions, Time Spiral and 9th, or Invasion, Ravnica and Xth, etc...  The latest request for this feature is here.

Classic Card Buying Tips:
Another impact of the ever hastening rotation is people are looking for advice on what to pick up to be prepared in the new environment.  A good thread for discussion of these cards can be found here

Editorial Section:

Dingus ate my baby!!

As I was playing in the Weatherlight release events I had the urge, nay... desire to make a deck around a card that it brought to MTGO.  The only problem was there weren't that many 'build around me!' cards IN Weatherlight.  Cards that only exist in Weatherlight that one would really want a deck to be built around seem to be: Bosium Strip, Doomsday, Goblin Bomb, Mana Web (Mana Web + Urborg would be quite funny, now that I think about it...) and Dingus StaffGoblin Bomb, Doomsday and the Stip are all pretty straight forward.  Bomb, you want coin flipping, and Krark's Thumb most likely.  ObvObvFObv.  Bosium Strip?  Instants and Sorceries, buh.  Probably some counterspells in the mix to keep it from getting blow'd up while we're at it.  Doomsday cries for a combo deck that needs only a few cards to win and Mana Web needed inspiration at the time.  Although now that I have an idea for it I'll probably make a deck around it.  So that left me with Dingus Staff.  

I didn't have to look far for a way to make sure that creatures die.  After all AEther Flash is in the same set!  So now I have ways to kill creatures and then turn that into damage.  But what if my opponent isn't playing with creatures, or what if all the creatures have more than two toughness?  That wouldn't work out too well, now would it?  I had to figure out a way to 'gift' my opponent with creatures that would die to two damage.  A quick search through the deck editor gave me the final piece of the puzzle: (Varchild's War Riders).  Assuming no other damage, I'd just have to sit back for four turns and my watch my opponent die.  I liked where this was heading... but four turns is a long time, especially starting on turn three at the earliest (with acceleration).  So far this is my deck skeleton:

4x Dingus Staff
4x AEther Flash
4x Varchild's War Riders

So now that I'm in White I decide to run some of the better cards for this deck.  Namely Wrath of God and Enlightened Tutor since I want to live long enough to get my 'combo' to win.  So now I'm looking at:

4x Dingus Staff
4x AEther Flash
4x Varchild's War Riders
4x Wrath of God
4x Enlightened Tutor

Which leaves me with three more '4 of' slots for the deck if I'm going to run 24 land, which is where I start my decks.  I was worried about hitting the colors so I added 4x Boros Signet, I also wanted more ways to handle creatures so I added 4x Slice and Dice to both handle tokens and dig through the deck.  My last non-land slot became 4x Hunted Dragon since it's on color and gives three 2/2 creatures under the Dingus Damage Lock. Since I have a bit of an artifact/enchantment subtheme going on here I look for some enchantments that could help me out.  The Honden's spring to mind as they give me more damage/removal and some stalling lifegain.  Looking at the deck in this state made me think it was decent as far as main deck spells go:

4x Dingus Staff
4x AEther Flash
4x Varchild's War Riders
4x Wrath of God
4x Enlightened Tutor
4x Boros Signet
4x Slice and Dice
4x Hunted Dragon
2x Honden of Infinite Rage
2x Honden of Cleansing Fire

Now for the lands.  There are plenty of good R/W lands to choose from it appears.  Since I'm not building this deck on a budget I used them all.  4x Ancient Amphitheater, 4x Sacred Foundry, 4x Battlefield Forge and lo!  what is this?  A rainbow land that gives my opponent 1/1 creatures... what joy!  4x Forbidden Orchard!  Now that I'm out of dual color lands I decided to fill in the remaining eight land slots with basics.  Four Plains and four Mountains... into the deck!  Feeling happy with the cut of my jib I wandered off into the Casual/Casual  room with the deck I named: IH8UDECK.  For reels.  Word.  No?  I heard that somewhere....

Game one: Walkerdog B/w Aggro Discard.

First game and I'm up against a Classic tourney type B/w Aggro Discard deck.  Well, needless to say, that didn't work out too well for me and I got steamrolled pretty fast.  It turns out that four card combo decks have a weak matchup against discard decks.  Also, this just in: the sky is blue.  Captain Obvious-Pants is on the scene to verify.


Game two: TeamBofBNeo R/G BoaB Hostility Deck

I recognized this deck right away.  Braid of Fire + Upwelling + burn.  I imagine that Hostility was in there too, since this was the most recent BoaB deck.  Knowing the game plan of the deck put me at ease.  It was a suboptimal (for Classic) combo/burn deck, basically.  The Braid of Fire/Upwelling combo is neat, but it's slow and makes the player dedicate a lot of turns to getting things going.

He starts off with a Ghitu Encampment followed by a Braid of Fire on the next turn, and an Upwelling on the next.  He plays and charges up some Fungal Reaches and sets down an Ashling the Pilgrim.  Meanwhile, my side of the board consisted of me playing a Dingus Staff and a War Riders for a blocker.  Turn six comes around and he activates two Ghitu Encampment's, and builds his Ashling from a 2/2 to a 4/4, just large enough not to die to my War Riders snd yet not explode.  He sends all the lands and creatures into the red zone where I cycle Slice and Dice, killing his encampents and dealing 4 damage to him from my staff.  Then I block the Ashling with my Riders and they trade, dealing 2 damage to each of us.  By this time I have a Forbidden Orchard active and am pinging him for two damage a turn despite not using the mana (thanks Upwelling!).  He concedes shorly after that.


Game three: mikelung, Tooth and Nail.
His combo is stronger and faster than my combo.  I start to get mine set up but I have no way to keep a Darksteel Collosus at bay and lose shortly after he comes into play.  I did Wrath his big green creatures, and it seems that Aether Flash doesn't target so the ability from Sylvan Safekeeper does bubkiss to prevent the damage, but it was still all for naught and I die.  Yay verily, doth I die.


Game Four: wandering_ranger, U/G Graft

I don't really know what his deck was designed to do, because it started out very slowly and I got a good hand.  Turn two Signet, turn three Dingus Staff, turn four War Rider, Turn five Hunted Dragon (attacking for 6), turn six Wrath of God, all powered out with Forbidden Orchards, for 26 damage from the staff.  Solid.


Game Five: gavinswar, WW/e

In theory, this deck should have very little trouble beating a White Weenie deck.  In actuality, getting mana screwed and having to burn tutors to get signets makes me slow enough that I can't keep up.  When I finally do get a going he has enough creatures to get damage beyond my defenses.  I did make this a close game though when I finally did get going.  But guess what.... a close game and a dollar will buy you a cup of coffee.


Time for a change:
With the deck now sitting at two wins and three losses I felt that I needed to make some changes.  Hitting the right color of mana isn't too much of a problem. I had one bad draw so far and I still made a go of it, so I'm more worried about getting some extra reach for the deck.  I decided to run 2x of each color's cycling lands to give the deck some needed cantripping.  I was tired of getting attacked to death despite drawing and casting Wrath of God.  So, trying to keep this deck in the spirit of Classic, I went with Moat.  It holds back weenie rushes, it works well with my artifact/enchantment theme, and is a solid Classic card.  win-win-win, I'd say.

-2 Mountain
-2 Plains
-2 Honden of Infinite Rage
-2 Honden of Cleansing Fire
+2 Secluded Steppe
+2 Forgotten Cave
+4 Moat

Game Six: ribbdog08, U/g lifegain stuff.

The only threatening cards that I saw were Essence Warden, Halcyon Glaze, Drelnoch and Dragon Blood.  All of which were handled pretty well by Wrath/Slice.  He ran out of creatures pretty quickly, which kept the Glaze from becoming a threat.  However he wasn't able to force enough damage through early and I had the game under control before too long.  This game made me realize that I had no instant speed removal in my deck, which is a bit of a concern.  I hope that doesn't come back to haunt me later...


Game Seven: DEMONGODZILLA, Mono Black Coffers Control

If you've never played with/against this type of deck I'll summarize the game: Kill creatures, use a buttload of mana to win.  His buttload of mana was spent powering up a Staff of Domination and Beacon of Unresting my dead dragons.  I'm not knocking the deck, it was a soild Mono Black deck, and I have a few Coffer Control decks myself.  However, once you've played with/against one of them you know the feeling of the games all too well.  This is a deck type that just begs to get hit by land destruction, as with even minor LD, the deck would have a much harder time of winning.  However, due to the imposed moratorium on Land Destruction in the casual room, a Coffers deck will seem like an amazing deck, instead of just a strong deck.


Game Eight: scottdawg420, Mono Black Nether-land

His deck revolved around creatures that won't stay dead.  Nether Shadow, Nether Traitor, Undead Gladiator, etc.  A turn three Aether Flash keeps his deck from dropping any more threats, followed by a turn four Moat puts the breakes on his active creatures.  As soon as he sees what is coming for him he concedes.  And not only that, he blocks me for having an 'annoying' deck.  I considered ranting about it, but it's just too humorous that a player playing a deck that was designed to never lose to removal complained about my deck that kept him from winning.  *chuckle*


Game Nine: arkhanis, U/B Counter and Discard

I think this deck is designed to get people to concede through breaking the taboos of counters and discard, as it felt like a weak deck overall.  It ran the blue discard cards that should be run in decks of it's type ((Wistfull Thinking), etc), but it just couldn't seal the deal once I got my Moat, Flash, Staff, and tokens going.  Although this game went 16 turns before he got Staff'd to death, his deck played decently well but just never got up and running.

5-4 (finally the deck is in the black)

Game Ten: clipse07, U/W Control

The lack of targeted removal is felt yet again.  Against cards like Chronozoa and Serra Avenger my deck needs to draw Wrath or Slice, and then they need to resolve to make any difference.  I finally get a Wrath through and the game starts to feel different, almost winable.  I was a bit worried when an Ivory Mask resolved across the table, but luckily for our hero both (Varchild's War Riders) and Dingus Staff don't target the opponent and I'm able to lock the game up with the combo win.  This turned out to be a best of three match, so I decided to stick it out and see how a couple more games against an opponent who knew what was coming would wind up.  I lost game two but came back to win game three at four life.  The card drawing was great in this matchup and helped me seal the deal towards the end of the game.

6-4 (kinda 7-5).

Remove Wrath of God and the Duals and Pains.  Replace Wrath with Pyroclasm and the duals/pains with Shimmering Grotto and Terramorphic Expanse and run more basic lands for the Expanses to find.  It won't be as consistent, but it should serve you quite well.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with how a deck based almost completely around Classic cards was able to do.  I dipped into more recent sets for the Wrath effects since the Wrath variants from that era are either bad, or don't exist. or suboptimal in this deck.  I'm thinking of changing up the Moat lock with Solitary Confinement plus Squee, Goblin Nabob as that's also on color for the deck.  That would probably give me the most powerful protection during the lock down period.  There's also the potential for some Abeyance/Isochron Scepter no-stick shenanigans, but that would probably get concessions right off the bat.  A card I've added after the tenth game was Burning Sands, but I've yet to play a game with that card in the deck.  As it is, I have a hard time getting people to play out the whole game and I think that killing all their lands as we go would probably scare even more people away.

Looking to the future... Tempest brings this deck the perfectly flavorful card: Humility.  That would make all creatures Moatable and then they'd all die to Slice and Dice.  Of course that would also nerf my Hunted Dragons and War Riders, so I'll have to revisit this deck then to see how it is impacted.


MTGO Year in Review:

We've had some pretty amazing things happen this year, so I thought I'd recap some of the biggest items that have in one way or another impacted our game.

1) Randy Buehler becomes the VP of Digital Gaming.  While we haven't seen much input from him regarding MTGO, this action however appears to have heralded WotC's renewed efforts in MTGO.  While it means that the profits from MTGO are going to other areas, it also means that it's realized internally how well MTGO is doing for them.  When a company knows that they have a license to print money, it is usually followed quickly by a

2) Worth Wollpert becomes the MTGO Brand Manager.  This action is perhaps the single most important item in the past 365 days, and possibly ever, for MTGO.  A lot of Worth's statements sounded familiar to many old timer posters.  He said the same stuff we'd heard before but that never happened.  Many players were skeptical about his sincerety at first.  However, in the time since April, he has continually proven that he cares about MTGO, and not just as a job, but as a player.  He's taken a personal interest in the day to day frustrations that we've had as players and has disproved the nay-sayers time and again.  His comments have been followed by actions, proving that he was not just giving lip service to the community.

3) Master's Edition 1.  This was something specifically for MTGO that the paper players can't get.  For perhaps the first time in the history of the game we heard the word 'unfair' used to describe MTGO.  Since we have to put up with no alternate art promos that the paper players take for granted, as well as very delayed release events, we're usually the ones who feel as if we're getting the short end of the stick.  But for one shining moment, we were the golden children, and they were our red-headed step siblings.  

4) V3 Progress, and the countdown begins!  Perhaps the biggest single event on the horizon is the launching of V3.  For real this time.  Honest.  Probably.  Four years in the making and we finally have a 'hard' release date.  Although this release date has a built in escape hatch in the guise of a 'paused' status.  However, we will at least know when something has delayed it, and we'll have a relatively easy time of knowing when it will be released.

5) Casual Debate and Shuffler Randomness still have no consensus.  These debates have been going for so long that they're teetering on the brink of absurdity.  Neither side will budge and both sides think they're correct on a fundamental level, and that the other side is just not understanding the situation.  I look forward to the new year, which will bring even more debates about each of these items.

Server Log In Availability:

Here again we have the standard month to month chart.  I'm also in the process of finalizing the code to handle V3's login server availability so we can hit the ground running when V3 goes live.



Card Price Fluctuations:
As I said last month, I am going to take the last week of the month and track the changes to the average of the IPA rares as a whole.  The following chart shows a sharp decline from last month, mostly due to a large decrease in price of Orim's Chant

This week had very little movement in card prices, most likely due to lower traffic for buying and selling around the holidays.  However, it seems like some of the Weatherlight cards finally came down a little.  I'm still surprised at the low price of Gifts Ungiven, as that card just screams for broken things.


Card Name Amount Decreased Percent Decreased End Price
Siege-Gang Commander -0.75 -11.11% 6
Bosium Strip -0.5 -20.00% 2
Counterspell -0.5 -20.00% 2
Infernal Tribute -0.5 -20.00% 2
Liege of the Hollows -0.5 -20.00% 2
Pendrell Mists -0.5 -20.00% 2
Thran Tome -0.5 -20.00% 2
Gifts Ungiven -0.5 -16.67% 2.5
Urborg Justice -0.5 -16.67% 2.5
Firestorm -0.5 -11.11% 4
Abeyance -0.5 -5.88% 8
Engineered Explosives -0.5 -4.17% 11.5
Chrome Mox -0.5 -3.45% 14
Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician -0.3 -50.00% 0.3
Skirk Fire Marshal -0.3 -50.00% 0.3

Here we have the Standard set by week price chart.  The interesting thing?  Each set gained again.  Not a large amount mind you, but seeing yet another week of gains for Standard sets makes me happy as a player.  Consistent increases in the cost of cards shows increased demand for the cards, and not just from one set, but from many sets.  Increased demand that remains consistent is a sign of new players and player growth.  Both of which are great things to see.

Outstanding Issues:


PayPal payments not going through for some users:
10-12-07 through 12-28-07:
Overseas Paypal issues have been experiencing many issues trying to order product from the Magic Online store via PayPal.  There has not been any known updates for quite some time.  Update:  Worth has mentioned that it's not an issues from WotC's side, meaning that it's PayPal that's causing the problem.  Since WotC has no control over what PayPal does they're stuck until PayPal gets it fixed.

PayPal issues


Bug complaints:

FIXED! Grafted Wargear:

This card has been bugged for years, and appears to finally be fixed.  So for those who have been lamenting the fact that they were broken, go nuts!
Eyes of the Wisent tokens:
The tokens from this card say that they have 'Flying', but they actually do not have flying.  This is only a textual bug, but has already caused lost games through the confusion.

Collective Restraint/Ghostly Prison Crashing games:

12-21-07 through 12-28-07:
Game crashing bugs with Collective Restraint and Ghostly Prison.  Score!

Shielding Plax + Targeting:

11-30-07 through 12-28-07:Shielding Plax is not granting untargetability correctly.  Link

Colfenor's Plans + extra draw:

11-30-07 through 12-28-07:
Colfenor's Plans is not handling extra draw actions properly. Link

Lignify + Layers:

11-23-07 through 12-28-07:
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:

10-19-07: through 12-28-07:
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.

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. 

So there it is, the last SotP for 2007!  2008 is slated to bring us V3, Tempest and MED2.  I hope you've all enjoyed the ride so far, and look forward to keeping abreast of the day to day happenings of 2008!
I've made a few changes to the format of the items to save space and to make them easier to read.  When there's been no update to an item I'll list a summary of the item and the date range of the item's status.  This should make the article feel a bit more compact while keeping the topics on the radar for the community.  I've also split the Public Hide List off to its own page so that it's not monopolizing so much of the article for a mostly static section.
I'd also like to thank you all for reading this article and for all the support, advice and criticism you've given.  The more I know about what you all want the better this article can be for you all.  And lastly I'd like to thank my wonderful wife for all the support she gives me.  I hope that everyone could be so lucky as I am.  :)



V3 date is off.. by jamuraa at Fri, 12/28/2007 - 21:55
jamuraa's picture

Love the article as normal.  The date on the v3 release is off, currently the countdown is at 30, which puts the release at January 28, not January 8 - you got me super excited for a second there.

Quite a typo by hamtastic at Fri, 12/28/2007 - 22:41
hamtastic's picture

Yeah, 8th/28th... they're close right?  :)


nice deck, try... by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 12/29/2007 - 06:50
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

Another creature that works really well with multiple Aether Flashes is Ogre Enforcer.

No worries by hamtastic at Fri, 12/28/2007 - 09:54
hamtastic's picture

No worries, man!  I was surprised how long I held out actually.  If I would have hit a wrath or a slice and dice I think I may have had a chance actually.  :)  Probably not much of a chance, but a small one.  :D

std card prices by mtgotraders at Fri, 12/28/2007 - 10:58
mtgotraders's picture

Shouldn't they go down in price as the price of tickets goes up?  Seems odd to me they keep rising.

by hamtastic at Fri, 12/28/2007 - 12:25
hamtastic's picture

That's kind of why I'm so happy (as a player)... rising ticket prices should drive down individual card prices since the currency can buy more of the product than before.  However, the prices keep rising (not largely, but incrementally) despite that.  There's really only a couple of reasons for card prices to increase: increased demand, reduced supply.  It doesn't seem like the supply is drying up with the amount of drafts and sealed that keep firing.  That leads to the other option: increased demand.  I'm not sure if it's just a fun Standard season that's driving the prices of each set up or if it's more players, or more money in the system competing for the cards... but something is behind the steady increase lately. 

The optimist in me thinks that it might be renewed buying on V3 news.  Since the last time that card prices tanked was when V3 Beta was released in a state of shambles.  Now that it's close and apparently not a complete disaster it may be that people are regaining confidence in the program's life. 

But that's just me being optimistic again... :) 

by urzishra14 at Fri, 12/28/2007 - 02:23
urzishra14's picture

love the deck.. you should write more strategy articles on fun offbeat decks.. they seem to be fun/interesting..

I also want to reiterate the release of MED when I made the switch to MTGO (mostly when I got wind of Mirage ..) I was hoping for something like this to come along.. and when it did it was awesome.. so many of my pet cards from days gone by were in this set.. anyways.. the message boards full of paper only players outraged over the set.. I felt like it was a victory for our community and a way for WoTC to show us "hey we know you guys don't get alt art promos and cool stuff like FNM, Player rewards and PTQs.. but paper players don't get sets like chronicles anymore because they blew it.. but you guys didn't so you'll get another" .. love it..

 anyways.. it is very interesting about card prices.. I wonder how some of the other blocks will fare after the extended rotation (we know that OLS, OTJ, and IPA will decrease in price.. the real question is .. how much will Mirrodin be in demand?)

Didn't mean to by walkerdog at Fri, 12/28/2007 - 09:24
walkerdog's picture

Sorry about bringing the BW into the casual room, I saw you in classic and just wanted a game (wasn't much going on in the TP room that night).  It was a cool deck, I just got creatures down before the flash stuck.