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By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
Jan 10 2008 11:55pm
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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!:

01-04-08 through 01-11-08:

MED1 is now officially off sale.  According to Worth, there was a flurry of pack buying in the last 24 hours. According to reports over 8,000 packs (yes, eight thousand packs) were purchased during the last 24 hours of availability.  

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 01-11-08:
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 01-11-08:
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: 

Multiplayer not Supported in V3a:
The announcement of V3 launching without Multiplayer support and without leagues has created a bit of a stir amongst the Multiplayer community.  Please note that V3 has multiplayer functionality already, but it's not completed and it doesn't have any other option besides the very inefficient mana wheel design.

No V3 Without Multiplayer!

Green Playmat Tweak for V3:
01-04-08 through 01-11-08
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:

The countdown timer was paused for a couple of days this week while they are working on a Database issue that appears to have cropped up.  jamuraa has created a thread for tracking of the status and the announcements regarding this countdown timer, located here.

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

New Format Needed?

12-28-07 through 01-11-08:
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 01-11-08:
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:
The Great Rotate Debate of Oh Eight:
(I've said a lot of these things on the WotC boards, but not in one coherent statement, and not formatted with background history for newcomers to the debate.  :))

One of the hot topics of the past week has been the looming October 2008 rotation.  For those that are unaware, the 2008 rotation is when Invasion, Planeshift, Apocalypse, Odyssey, Torment, Judgment, Onslaught, Legions, Scourge, and  Seventh Edition (1) will no longer be legal in Extended.  This will make them legal ONLY in Classic and Classic based formats such as Prismatic, Singelton, Classic Vanguard and Classic Tribal Wars.  You may be thinking to  yourself "so what? That's what happens every three years!".  And that's true.  Extended rotations are nothing new, and the game has survived just fine so far.  There are however a few differences between the MTG:O Extended rotation and the MTG:P Extended rotation.  Namely, that MTG:O's Extended rotation is dumping those sets into an actively growing card pool instead of a static card pool that MTG:P has.

This difference actually makes going from Extended to Classic a bit easier than going from say, Extended to Legacy.  There are less cards in Classic and the cards that are coming out are almost all available directly from Wizards of the Coast.  That doesn't make it easy, per se, but it definitely makes it less of a jump.  Although, to play casually in either Classic or Legacy, you don't need to buy new cardse.  One may feel pressure to, or the desire to, but nowhere do either of those cross over into the 'need' category to continue to play.  The same is obviously not true for Tournament Constructed.  But Tournament Constructed has never a budget player's arena.

Some have said that IPA (Invasion, Planeshift, Apocalypse) on MTGO was purchased under the belief that there wouldn't be any sets before it released on MTGO.  As such, those that purchased IPA and onward under the assumption that IPA would be the alpha (alpha as in beginning, not Alpha the card set) of MTGO sets now feel misled.  It seems though, that these feelings didn't really start to boil when Mirage, or even Visions were released.  The amount of cards 'needed' from either set was quite low after all.  No.  The main complaints started after Master's Edition was slated to come off sale after four short months in the store.  Its availability lived up to Worth Wollpert's assertion that it would be a limited time offer.  Along with this news of short run of the set, the price of the crown jewel of MED: Force of Will skyrocketed.  Illustrating what was in store for the Classic format.  Although, the interesting thing about the misled feeling of a change to is this: 'Classic' didn't exist until September 2004 (2).  Before that the format was called 'Open', and it allowed all the Promo cards without the deckbuilding restrictions of 4x maximum of a card per deck.  Classic was created for the sole purpose of allowing non-IPA cards to be played.  This wasn't really a big deal until the following June (3), when Mirage was announced to be coming to MTGO.  Until Mirage, there were a total of three non-Extended legal cards: Sliver Queen, Morphling and Serra Avatar.  Now, there are four sets (MED, Mirage, Visions, Weatherlight), the promo cards, the CVP cards Sliver Queen, et al, and the Coldsnap Precon Ice Age/Alliances cards that are all Classic only.

There was also an article in the early life of MTGO that stated that it was unlikely that they would ever print old cards (4).  But even in this article it's stated that there may be a time when old cards may be coded into the system.  I've chatted with some people about this article who seem to think that the article was written with some inside information. It's impossible at this time to know if that's the case or not.  But the way I see it is this: if it was written with inside information then the conclusion plainly states that they had old sets in the back of their minds since the beginning.  If it was written without insider information then it's all just an author's point of view.  Best case scenario is that the article means nothing official.  Worst case scenario is that the article was official and plainly states their potential for releasing old sets when things stabilize. 

Possible Solution #1, CYOS - Choose your Own Standard:
This format was created for the 2007 Magic Invitational.  It allows players to choose any two blocks and a core set from which to make a deck.  This would give people a chance to use their old cards and keep up with Standard, but not worry about Classic only sets unless they wanted to use them in their Standard pool.  This is probably the best solution for MTG(P/O) in the long term.  However, implementing it now would hobble Classic even more than high priced cards.  The benefit to this format is that it rewards players for buying into full sets of cards instead of just cherry picking the top cards for the environment.  The financial implicatations to the secondary market and to WotC are still unknown, as this format only recently came into existance. 

Possible Solution #2, IPA Forward:
This has been mentioned as a way to placate those betrayed by the retroactive change to Classic.  The people who bought IPA cards believed that they were going to be set for life, so to speak.  They have stated that they feel that this initial trust was betrayed by Classic only sets.  The writing on the wall that IPA was not going to remain the oldest cards available was scrawlled in 2004 and painted neon green in 2005.  The release of Mirage and the inclusion of it into Classic was the time that WotC solidified the policy.  It was at that time that the fight for a seperate, non-Classic format should have begun.  The players that have bought into Classic since then under the premise that October 2008 will bring in an influx of Extended refugees will be equally, if not more upset if they now decide to make a Classic replacemet format before the format can even really get going.  If at some point the player base can support Classic AND a CYOS type of format then I say go for it. 

To play casual Classic, you really don't need any pre-IPA cards at all.  You can even make your own Classic game and request IPA forward only if you dont even want to play against any non-IPA cards.  Extended IS going to change, no matter what reasons or excuses crop up in the mean time.  There also may be a time when the game can support Classic as well as another eternal-ish type of format.  I feel that hobbling Classic now to appease the players who purchased IPA with the misconception that it would always be the oldest set available doesn't seem like a good idea.

I'm really not trying to trivialize anyone's concerns or frustrations.  My intent is not to say you don't deserve what you want.  My intent is to say that perhaps your base frustration lies not with the changes, but with an incorrect perception of the situation.  WotC has never said that there wouldn't be pre-IPA sets.  They've never said that there would be an eternal format for IPA forward (the first eternal format on MTGO, Classic, was created just so that pre-IPA cards could be played).  I know that there are going to be people who disagree with my conclusions here, and that's understandable.  Just please realize that all the facts and history point towards there never being a promise, real or implied that should lead you to that conclusion.

(1) http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=judge/resources/sfrextended
(2) http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=magic/magiconline/080427a
(3) http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/daily/bs15
(4) http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/feature/32

Master's Edition Off Sale Discount

Another interesting topic this week was the 'Last Chance Master's Sale'.  A historic, monumental event in the annals of MTGO.  This marked the first time that there was a bulk discount in MTGO straight from Wizards of the Coast.  The sale only lasted one day, and was essentially 40 packs for the price of 36.  Which isn't a huge deal, but it's a 10% discount.  Based on some early sales numbers provided by Worth Wollpert the one day sales figures were: at least three thousand boosters were purchased during this one day time period.  This got me to thinking, how much would the average price per card per booster have to increase to make it break even?  As of right now, the average pack break down for Master's Edition is this:

Average Common
.039 * 11 = $.429

Average Uncommon
.134 * 3 = $.402

Average Rare
1.65 * 1 = $1.65

Sum = $2.506

2.506 / 15 cards per pack = $.17 per card right now. 

So seventeen cents per card per pack is the average right now.  Lets look at how many cards you're getting and how much they'll cost you from the Wacky Worth's Discount MED Extravaganza: $146.43 / 600 cards = $.24 per card.  That's what we'll need to hit before we can 'break even' from our purchase.  $.24/$.17 = 1.411, or 141.1% of their current value aka a 41.1% increase.  If we think that the average card will gain more than 50% over time then it's worth the money.  If we don't believe that to be the case it's probably not worth it. The chart below shows the return based on each 10% increase.  I believe that MED can, and likely will, accomplish this break even feat in the next eighteen months.  The set contains many casual gems that will be popular in Classic based formats.  Cards like Nevinyrral's Disk, Berserk, Hymn to Tourach, Lightning Bolt and others will be sought after in the future.  I expect the majority of the value increase will come from the chase uncommons and casual chase rares.  I will add this to my list of items to keep track of from time to time and see what's happening with prices of the set, and determine if it really was worth it to buy the '40 for 36' deal after all.  If the average doubles, you will come out about $56 dollars ahead of where you were.  While that's not Bahama's retirement level bling, it's not bad for sitting on some cards and playing with them for next twelve to eighteen months.  I probably won't cover this every week, but I do intend on covering it as anything of interest happens, either losses or gains.
Common 11 $0.03900 100.00% $0.42900 Average Card Price per Pack $146/600 = $.24 - Avg ROI
Uncommon 3 $0.13400 100.00% $0.40200
Rare 1 $1.67500 100.00% $1.67500 $0.17 -$0.07 -$43.76
Common 11 $0.03900 110.00% $0.47190
Uncommon 3 $0.13400 110.00% $0.44220
Rare 1 $1.67500 110.00% $1.84250 $0.18 -$0.06 -33.736
Common 11 $0.03900 120.00% $0.51480
Uncommon 3 $0.13400 120.00% $0.48240
Rare 1 $1.67500 120.00% $2.01000 $0.20 -$0.04 -23.712
Common 11 $0.03900 130.00% $0.55770
Uncommon 3 $0.13400 130.00% $0.52260
Rare 1 $1.67500 130.00% $2.17750 $0.22 -$0.02 -13.688
Common 11 $0.03900 140.00% $0.60060
Uncommon 3 $0.13400 140.00% $0.56280
Rare 1 $1.67500 140.00% $2.34500 $0.23 -$0.01 -3.664
Common 11 $0.03900 150.00% $0.64350
Uncommon 3 $0.13400 150.00% $0.60300
Rare 1 $1.67500 150.00% $2.51250 $0.25 $0.01 6.36
Common 11 $0.03900 160.00% $0.68640
Uncommon 3 $0.13400 160.00% $0.64320
Rare 1 $1.67500 160.00% $2.68000 $0.27 $0.03 16.384
Common 11 $0.03900 170.00% $0.72930
Uncommon 3 $0.13400 170.00% $0.68340
Rare 1 $1.67500 170.00% $2.84750 $0.28 $0.04 26.408
Common 11 $0.03900 180.00% $0.77220
Uncommon 3 $0.13400 180.00% $0.72360
Rare 1 $1.67500 180.00% $3.01500 $0.30 $0.06 36.432
Common 11 $0.03900 190.00% $0.81510
Uncommon 3 $0.13400 190.00% $0.76380
Rare 1 $1.67500 190.00% $3.18250 $0.32 $0.08 46.456
Common 11 $0.03900 200.00% $0.85800
Uncommon 3 $0.13400 200.00% $0.80400
Rare 1 $1.67500 200.00% $3.35000 $0.33 $0.09 56.48

To compare this to cracking Lorwyn packs, you would need a 90% increase before you break even with Lorwyn.

Server Log In Availability:

The Yellow line picks up the last three days of December and the first week of January.  So far, things have been quiet and stable.  But that's not too surprising, as we haven't had any release events since, guess, November. 

Card Price Fluctuations:
Minor gains in three of the four Standard sets shows a stabilizing market for the time being.  The only set that dropped this week was 10th edition, and that dropped a very minor amount.  A nice stable week of Standard card prices.
I'm going to track Force of Will until it stabilizes, as I think that will be an interesting endeavor.  Here it is this week:

The following charts show the highest increase by cost, highest increase by percentage and highest decrease by cost this week.  There wasn't much that dropped this week, and there were some pretty good gains in the Classic and Extended cards.
Card name: Increase Percentage Increased Final Price
Force of Will $10.00 33.33% $40.00
Vindicate $5.00 8.33% $65.00
Ichorid $2.50 38.46% $9.00
Engineered Explosives $2.00 15.38% $15.00
Ball Lightning $1.50 33.33% $6.00
Arcbound Ravager $1.50 12.00% $14.00
Nevinyrral's Disk $1.25 35.71% $4.75
Stifle $1.25 19.23% $7.75
Leyline of the Void $1.00 33.33% $4.00
Opposition $1.00 33.33% $4.00
Goblin Ringleader $1.00 20.00% $6.00
Doran, the Siege Tower $1.00 18.18% $6.50
Tarmogoyf $1.00 3.23% $32.00
Hymn to Tourach $0.75 50.00% $2.25
Card name: Increase Percentage Increased Final Price
Lightning Bolt $0.50 100.00% $0.50
Fatal Frenzy $0.30 100.00% $0.30
Forest $0.03 60.00% $0.03
Hymn to Tourach $0.75 50.00% $0.75
Riptide Laboratory $0.20 50.00% $0.20
Card name: Decrease Percentage Decreased Final Price
Bad Moon -$0.25 -14.29% $1.50
Disintegrate -$0.25 -14.29% $1.50
Glorious Anthem -$0.25 -14.29% $1.50
Mishra's Bauble -$0.25 -14.29% $1.50
Graveborn Muse -$0.25 -12.50% $1.75
Spreading Plague -$0.25 -12.50% $1.75
Guiltfeeder -$0.20 -13.33% $1.30
Karmic Justice -$0.20 -13.33% $1.30
Akroma's Memorial -$0.15 -11.54% $1.15
Blind Seer -$0.15 -11.54% $1.15

Outstanding Issues:


PayPal payments not going through for some users:
10-12-07 through 01-11-08:
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:

Eyes of the Wisent tokens:
12-28-07 to 01-11-08:
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 01-11-08:
Game crashing bugs with Collective Restraint and Ghostly Prison.  Score!

Shielding Plax + Targeting:

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

Colfenor's Plans + extra draw:

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

Lignify + Layers:

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


Some really, really good discussion this week.  Mostly centered around the Classic format, its history and its future.  I haven't had this much fun debating on the boards for a long while.  I would like to invite anyone who doesn't often participate on the boards often to give it a try.  You'll run into some stubborn folks (like myself) from time to time, but the discussions that can be had are fun and lively!



by hamtastic at Sat, 01/12/2008 - 22:01
hamtastic's picture

Actually, I've been tracking Vindicate, Chant, Deed, Mage, and Mirari's Wake (for the casual crowd) for a couple of months.  I haven't reported anything on them yet as they've been pretty stable for a while (with exception to Chant, which dropped a bit with weatherlight).  However, once there's something interesting to report on it, I will definitely show off some numbers.  :)

Thanks for the ideas, I'll look into getting some of them charted!


Tarmogoyf by djdark01 at Sat, 01/12/2008 - 21:09
djdark01's picture

I liked the Force of Will chart, would be neat to see more of these...  Perhaps one for Tarmogoyf since it's release?  you could also add other related information like new sets, server stability and sanctioned tourny stats?  That sounds like a lot of work though, trends can be fun!

Another cool idea would be to pick like 5 or 10 cards that may be affected by the 08 rotation...  And see what happens along the way and when it finially hits.  Its prolly to early to think about that, but would be something I'd like to read in the future. 

by iceage4life at Sat, 01/12/2008 - 11:54
iceage4life's picture

Well I guess we have no definition of eternal format.  I think of them as formats where nothing rotates and you can play any card -bannings.  Thats how paper formats are, thats how Classic is, thats how Singleton&Prismatic are.

download issue by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 01/12/2008 - 06:13
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

I have dial-up(sux to be me). Is wotc going to come out with a V3 disc to be purchased in stores? or am i screwed...sentenced to the 72 hour download/update or whatever you want to call it?

my email is pablo_69@juno.com


or find someone  online who want to download if for you, put in on DVD ( dont think cd will fit, the beta was over 1 gig right?) and send it to you in mail? 


But I think wizards wil make a dvd box version you can buy in stores wont they? 

Eternal Format by dangerlinto at Fri, 01/11/2008 - 15:06
dangerlinto's picture

To be picky, IPA-forward would be an etneral format in the sense that nothing would ever rotate OUT of it.  Everything legal in the format remains in it forever, hence, eternal.

However, I get what you mean to say, in that it also doesn't contain all the possible cards/sets like the paper eternal formats do.

Or by Isotope (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 01/11/2008 - 13:06
Isotope (Unregistered)'s picture

You could also have a friend with broadband access download it, then burn it to a CD.

Maybe your local library would allow this too.

by iceage4life at Fri, 01/11/2008 - 11:50
iceage4life's picture

"They've never said that there would be an eternal format for IPA forward (the first eternal format on MTGO, Classic, was created just so that pre-IPA cards could be played)."

As a pointed out in one of the threads, IPA forward is not an Eternal format.


I also wonder how CYOS hobbles Classic. 

by hamtastic at Fri, 01/11/2008 - 11:50
hamtastic's picture

Because it reduces the need to buy into Classic sets, almost down to zero for the current sets in Classic, and I think reduced need is more of a problem than increased prices.

Who would choose for example, Mirage Block, for one of their CYOS sets?  I can't imagine that many people would.  If there was a way that someone could play their current Extended cards while ignoring all the Classic sets, the need to use the Classic format would drop drastically.  And right now, it can't take that type of hit.  If Classic gets usurped now, the demand for MED2 and Tempest coming out this year will suffer, which will in turn make it less interesting for more people to play, and so on.

When we have more powerful Classic sets like Tempest and Urza's then I don't see a problem with bringing CYOS into the mix.  Right now Classic is trying to grow.  I'm of the opinion that it can survive high priced cards.  Especially since most of the high priced cards are Extended cards anyway.  What it can't survive is a complete removal of the necessity of the format.  That would truly kill it before it has a chance to take off.

by hamtastic at Fri, 01/11/2008 - 09:41
hamtastic's picture

I know that the Brand Manager is aware of the dial-up issue.  The thing of it is, the game is playable on dial-up (from what I've heard), but downloading definitely isn't. 

I've suggested to WotC to make two installers:  one with the art and one wihout the art.  I don't know if that's feasible for them to do or not, but it would allow for more users to keep playing, and that's a good thing for all of us... 

A question by eotinb at Fri, 01/11/2008 - 10:52
eotinb's picture

Why do you think Choose Your Own Standard will "hobble Classic more than high priced cards"?

V3 by DURGE BLACKROC (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 01/11/2008 - 06:06
DURGE BLACKROC (Unregistered)'s picture

I have dial-up(sux to be me). Is wotc going to come out with a V3 disc to be purchased in stores? or am i screwed...sentenced to the 72 hour download/update or whatever you want to call it?

my email is pablo_69@juno.com


majorsite by dungdung at Mon, 01/24/2022 - 23:34
dungdung's picture

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