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By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
Jan 04 2008 12:18am
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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:
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
Master's Edition Off sale!:
Worth recently announced that Master's Edition will go off sale during next week's downtime.  This has had an immediate impact on the price of Force of Will. 
MED Off sale in less than a week!

Disabled Replays:
11-02-07 through 01-04-08:
In a further effort to reduce system stress, replays have been removed from the client's default 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:

12-28-07 through 01-04-08:
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: 

Green Playmat Tweak for V3:

The Green felt playmat is strangely missing from V3, so some industrious users have figured out how to replace it.  Detailed instructions are here.

V3 Progress:

Version  3.0.751.0 was released this week.  At the time of this writing the system was still in maintenance so I was unable to see what, if anything, changed on the client side for this update.  The countdown timer is at 23.  Twenty.  Three. Days.  Eep!

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: Expiring or Eternal?

One more week for this item since it's still getting some good discussion on the boards.

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?
12-28-07 through 01-04-08:
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:
12-28-07 through 01-04-08:
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:
Spotlight on: Pauper Prismatic Singleton

This week I thought I'd bring a fun, whacky, and cheap format to your attention.  The format?  Pauper Prismatic Singleton.  Combining the restrictiveness of three niche formats into one we get a result that is a blast to play!  I notice that I suffer from 'I-know-it-so-everyone-else-must-know-it-too-itis', so I'll provide some quick background information about the sub-formats that comprise the set of restrictions we face when building a PPS deck.

Prismatic: Minimum 250 cards, 20 of each color.  Long ban list.
Singelton: Only basic lands are allowed to have more than one copy.  Small banned list of Skullclamp, Flash, Evacuation, Umezawa's Jitte.  None of which are applicable to the Commons format.
Pauper: All commons, all the time!

So with that out of the way allow me to introduce you to don_quichote, captain of a PPS clan.

MTGO Name?

EF: When did you start playing Magic?
DQ: With 4th Edition

EF: When did you start playing Magic: Online?
DQ: 1 year after it came out

EF: Tell us a little about your clan:
DQ: I founded the clan a couple of years ago when the format was brand new.

EF: Can you tell us a little about the PPS format?
DQ: It makes me a bit proud that I was the first one to have that idea on Magic Online, and that it has found so many friends so far.
Being a logical carry-on of the "limited" idea and the rise of "prismatic", it might not be the invention of the wheel for most of the magic geeks, but for me personally it was the beginning of a mind-challenging corner of magic that would keep me interested and excited until today.
I introduced the abbreviation PPS too, which most of the people are using today.

EF: Tell us a little about the PS format:
DQ: I played it only with physical cards, but it couldn't make me happy for long because the randomness of prismatic didn't play along well with the rare spoilers. Usually the one who could play 1 or 2 spoilers first would win. Also the existence of mass removal made it very controllish - which reduced all aggro plans to ruins. PS is better than Singleton but absolutely no match for the challenge and fun which is PPS.

Format Specific Questions, PPS:

EF: The recent bannings in Prismatic (Transmute Cards) will be removing quite a few cards that see play but haven't proven to be broken. What are your thoughts on that?
DQ: We have had some hot discussions about that topic in our forum, and there are a handful of different opinions on it. Most of the people seem to accept just anything what the DCI decides, who never based their decisions regarding Prismatic on any of the branching sub-formats.
My personal opinion on that is: no common card has proven to be broken in PPS yet. There are good ones like the transmuters, Grim Harvest or Sprout Swarm, and they represent really powerful examples of powerful commons. But I feel that none of them can single-handedly win against a prepared opponent. The diversity of PPS was always my primary goal. It's actually VERY cool to play such coarse strategies as land destruction, counter and discard, because the randomness of PPS keeps it in a healthy balance.

EF: What's your favorite part about the PPS format?

DQ: Diversity and Challenge.
Long games.
Tricky deck building.
Generally nice and thoughtful people.
The fact that even beginners can have fun together with veterans easily.

EF: How long have you been playing PPS?

DQ: Hm, I started playing a 300 card deck with physical cards that had no rares and all 5 colors many many years ago. But real PPS began 4 or 5 years ago. Don't remember that exactly.

EF: Are there any defined 'archtypes' in PPS?

DQ: Basically it's all about aggro, control and its many different aspects and mix-ups. There is no true combo by its original meaning, because the randomness prevents that strategy.
We do have many subtle variations of aggro and control, though. Some rely on speed, some on evasion, some on card advantage, or even land destruction. There is a place in PPS for cards which you would normally never play in constructed. It feels more like limited, and that is just great.

EF: Combo seems near impossible at first glance. How hard is it build a combo deck for the format?

DQ: Oh, I shouldn't have answered that before and save my breath ...
It's nearly impossible by its original meaning. Infinite mana or 20 damage in one blow are very very difficult - though not impossible - to achieve. So it's realistic to say that "combo" does not exist. But if you are willing to accept "synergy" as the new translation for combo, you will see that there are many many true game-breaking combos that can easily bring you into a winning position, and that is as good as "going off" in one turn. In the slow world of PPS this takes usually a couple more turn. An example for that would be the combo of Skinthinner, Gutless Ghoul and Grim Harvest.

EF: Have you seen anyone successfully build a PPS combo deck before?

DQ: No. If somebody manages that, he has my infinite repect *Smile*

EF: What are the staple card for this format?

DQ: Wow, that would be a long list. But I believe that nobody would leave out the most powerful green mana fixers which are :
Kodama's Reach, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Harrow, Journey of Discovery, Rampant Growth, Into the North.
Also the black Terror-style cards are very popular.

Format Specific Questions, PS:

EF: How big of a difference does the inclusion of Rares have on a singleton Big Deck format?

DQ: Two things: spoilers and mass destruction. Two things you seldomly find in a world of commons. In PS this is normal.
I couldn't even compare these two worlds because they have not much in commons.

EF: What are the staple card for this format?

DQ: I am not a PS specialist. Haven't thought about it yet.

EF: Are there any cards that you hate to see resolve across the table?

DQ: Yes, cards that I play myself ... I am somewhat of a "mirror"-hater Wink
But I am aware that you can't properly hide away your good ideas. If it works, others will take it as an inspiration. That's the way magic works.

EF: Any other comments on the formats you'd like to share?

DQ: Yes. I hope that more people would gather to find a solution for that premature DCI bannings that take away our precious PPS cards. We need our own official rules subset in Magic Online. Heck, even 100 card singleton is an own format now. Why not ours.

I'd like to thank don_quichote for his time and for answering my questions about this format.  I'd ecourage anyone who is feeling a bit burnt out from their favorite format to take some time and build a deck.  But be prepared... this will probably be one of the more time consuming decks you could make since you have to keep track of many restrictions of the format.  I will link a couple of decks I put together while writing this piece.  They're probably pretty unfocused and bizarre to the hardcore PPS community, but to me, that's most of the fun.
PPS Hamtastic  The total cost of the deck with numerous foil versions of cards: 45 Big Ones.  De-foil'd the deck would probably be around 30 tix or so.  Not bad too bad, all things considered!
If you would like to participate in some PPS discussion you can head over to the PPS boards here
Server Log In Availability:

And we finish the month out in a very mild manner, which is a nice surprise.  With under a month to go before our proposed V3 launch date the servers should hold steady with no scheduled releases or major online events.  It kind of feels like the calm before a storm.



Card Price Fluctuations:

This is a bit more indicitive of what I had expected after seeing that the ticket prices have been rising lately.  Each Standard legal set dropped a small amount this week. 
But it's not all doom and gloom in MTGO city.  We have had some decent price increases in some Extended cards and some strong Standard cards. Although there were only four Standard legal cards that gained this week which reinforces the notion that Extended is the focus for many  players right now. 
As an aside the price run on Force of Will has already begun, and is still climbing (it was a few days ago, but it's now up to 32 and still sold out).  If you haven't gotten them by now, expect to have a hard time of it.
Speaking of Force of Will, I thought it'd be fun to take a look at the history of that card from release to present and see what the effect of going off sale will have on it.  I think it's had a slight impact on the price so far...
Card Name Last Week This Week Amount Different: Percent Changed
Scorched Ruins $5.00 $3.00 -$2.00 -40.00%
Null Rod $12.00 $10.00 -$2.00 -16.67%
Goblin Bomb $5.00 $3.50 -$1.50 -30.00%
Spinerock Knoll $2.75 $1.30 -$1.45 -52.73%
(Weatherlight Booster) $4.90 $3.65 -$1.25 -25.51%
Well of Knowledge $3.00 $1.75 -$1.25 -41.67%
Alabaster Dragon $3.00 $2.00 -$1.00 -33.33%
Buried Alive $3.00 $2.00 -$1.00 -33.33%
Fungus Elemental $3.00 $2.00 -$1.00 -33.33%
Gemstone Mine $3.00 $2.00 -$1.00 -33.33%
Serenity $3.00 $2.00 -$1.00 -33.33%
Urborg Justice $3.00 $2.00 -$1.00 -33.33%
Scion of Oona $3.25 $2.25 -$1.00 -30.77%
Doomsday $4.00 $3.00 -$1.00 -25.00%
Crucible of Worlds $4.75 $3.75 -$1.00 -21.05%
Card Name Last Week This Week Amount Different: Percent Changed
Force of Will $16.75 $30.00 $13.25 79.10%
Vindicate $55.00 $60.00 $5.00 9.09%
Vedalken Shackles $7.00 $11.50 $4.50 64.29%
Polluted Delta $9.50 $12.00 $2.50 26.32%
Hallowed Fountain $10.75 $12.50 $1.75 16.28%
Windswept Heath $7.75 $9.50 $1.75 22.58%
Pithing Needle $9.00 $10.50 $1.50 16.67%
Kataki, War's Wage $7.00 $8.50 $1.50 21.43%
Vexing Sphinx $1.00 $2.50 $1.50 150.00%
Flooded Strand $8.75 $10.00 $1.25 14.29%
Tarmogoyf $30.00 $31.00 $1.00 3.33%
Breeding Pool $12.00 $13.00 $1.00 8.33%
Engineered Explosives $12.00 $13.00 $1.00 8.33%
Damnation $11.00 $12.00 $1.00 9.09%
Blinkmoth Nexus $6.00 $7.00 $1.00 16.67%
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:

12-28-07 to 01-04-08:
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:
12-28-07 to 01-04-08:
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 01-04-08:
Game crashing bugs with Collective Restraint and Ghostly Prison.  Score!

Shielding Plax + Targeting:

11-30-07 through 01-04-08:
Shielding Plax is not granting untargetability correctly.  Link

Colfenor's Plans + extra draw:

11-30-07 through 01-04-08:
Colfenor's Plans is not handling extra draw actions properly. Link

Lignify + Layers:

11-23-07 through 01-04-08:
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 01-04-08:
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. 


This week was pretty slow, news and disucssion-wise, mostly due to WotC being out of the office and the impending V3 release that's now about three weeks away.  Most of the discussion has been around V3, its features, or lack thereof.  I wouldn't be too surprised if this item were the focus of most discussion for the next few weeks. 



by urzishra14 at Fri, 01/04/2008 - 11:28
urzishra14's picture

@ Umii

They have said before that the Ravnica lands are more likely to be reprinted in the future.. they are templated better then the pain lands and are better than the pain lands in many respects.. so I would expect them within the next 2 or 3 years reprint the ravnica lands quite possibly as early as 11th edition.. the ravnica lands are very popular not just in extended they were great for standard (better than the pain lands) and sit at a good power level

considering all 10 dual lands will be in one small set.. there is an "easier" chance at hitting a dual land (if there are 60 rares.. thats 1/6 chance.. better than getting foil commons and almost as good of odds of hitting any uncommon) they will probably sell for around 10 bucks while they are in print.. possibly less considering how many are really going to be out there.

I didn't find any of the cards of MED to be prohibitively expensive (while they were in print.. as a matter of fact.. the MAJORITY of cards from the set has held roughly the same value only FOW has jumped enormously in price and for good reason)

They never said they would never "print these cards again" .. expect MED tournaments like the IPA tournaments to come out.. but I would not expect them to reprint cards from any MED set for a WHILE .. at least the rares.. the uncommons I don't care too much about but they have to make a commitment to their paper players (ones who feel their cards will lose value) and their online players (ones who fully  backed MED with their wallets and their support) just printing Force of Will in every set would not make for a very good collectable game (and honestly that IS what we are really talking about) .. I've spent HUNDREDs of dollars on the long term classic potential.. its my favorite format offline.. and its increasingly becoming my favorite set online..

I don't think the dual lands will reach Force of Will prices right away but they will be saught after and out of stock in online stores for a while, but its more incentive to crack open boosters especially of a smaller set when you know you can easily get a "draft ticket" 1 in 6 usually.. come on.. drafts for this and leagues will probably easily fill up more then the last MED set..

Personally though.. I hope Portal 3 kingdoms cards are in this set.. that is one set that I never seen boosters for.

ok.. with that out of the way.. great job on the article Hamtastic.. you should link to your V3 article in your V3 section (you talk about it but since the other article is live you should link to it.. )

by hamtastic at Fri, 01/04/2008 - 11:25
hamtastic's picture

I understand your concern for Classic.  I really do.  Looking at it from a playing perspective having such a card (FoW) at a high price makes it seem like it's not going to be accessible to new or budget players.

I don't really have much to say about that at the moment.  I know that there are some who actually want that for the format.  They want a hard to get into format for those without the funds to do so.

I may have to do some thinking on some of the impacts of having ultra high cost cards in an eternal format.  There's probably a lot of good things to think about there.

Something to consider though, is that the price of the cards will only reflect what people are willing to spend on them.  One of the reason that the Power 9 fetch such high prices is power.  The other is collectibility.  The low supply and high demand help push those up to the heights they are.  I just don't see that happening, even with Force of Will.  It will get expensive for sure.  But only so far as people are willing to pay for them.  I think... :)


by Umii at Fri, 01/04/2008 - 10:36
Umii's picture

What happened to the price of Force of Will is why I am not looking forward to dual lands in MED 2.  If the current policy of reprinting staple eternal cards only once continues, the dual lands from MED 2 are going to be astronomically expensive.  Dual lands appeal to both casual and tournament players, and are useful in all types of decks.  At the moment, with MTGO not having dual lands, there is a nice difference between paper and online eternal formats.  Furthermore, the printing of dual lands will further decrease the usefulness of the Ravnica lands. I spent hundreds of dollars on those lands, like many others, and sold some of them off before Ravnica rotated.  I would be disappointed if the lands lost their eternal value and became Extended only lands.

I'd like Wizards to either be consistent in their making Magic a collectible card game, in that they don't haphazardly reprint cards, or to deemphasize the collectibility by reprinting important cards until their prices reach reasonable prices.  Intentially creating a new Vintage-like environment where key cards are prohibitively expensive would be incredibly shortsighted.

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dungdung's picture

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