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By: jamuraa, Michael Janssen
Feb 06 2008 3:25am
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Yet another week of Standard PEs have gone down in Magic Online. This week was the week with Groundhog Day in it, and Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, which means six more weeks of winter. Well I feel like I'm in that movie, because every week the schedule for the events is exactly the same. Version Three is almost upon us, and that means that the schedule is in a holding pattern. I hope that once the new version is up, we get some fancy special PEs and maybe even some entry prizes. I'm excited about the new version, which just keeps looking better and better.

Standard was originally called "Type 2", and it was the cheaper of the formats which were supported. I originally played it because I was not looking to buy hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of cards in order to play.. and because I didn't want to play with the shark at my shop who had a full set of Moxen and Loti. How much does it cost to play now though? It feels like the setup cost has gone up since I took my hiatus. Let's take a look at some of the top standard decks and work out how much they would cost to buy from zero.

Elves! has been on top of the standings for the last few weeks, so let's start there. The decklist which appeared in deviations on it costs about $310. It owes most of it's cost to some key cards which are dominating the cost - a full set of Tarmogoyf being the main factor. Nowadays a playset of the "best creature ever printed" will run you about $150 alone, which makes decks which aren't running them look much more desirable to the newbie.

Elves isn't the most expensive deck you can make out there, believe it or not. The standard "Uri Peleg" build of Doran Rock can run you just under $500. This may be caused in part by the fact that it won Worlds last year. That deck also carries a full set of Tarmogoyf, which is easily the most price-warping playset in any of the standard decks. It has runners-up in the holy crap that is expensive category though, with Ohran Viper clocking in at almost $60 for a playset, and Doran, the Siege Tower himself coming in at about $40.

Surely Tarmogoyf is skewing these results a bit, so let's look at a Tier One deck which doesn't have one of those at all. Mannequin was covered in Deviations as well, and has no Tarmos. The price is still pretty large though, coming in at just over $250. Where does the cost come from? It's more spread out instead of concentrated. The highest priced card currently is Damnation, which is almost $40 for a full playset. Add in the Thoughtseize and Pithing Needle in the sideboard and you have a deck which is up there. Interestingly, without the sideboard this deck becomes a much more manageable beast, coming in at just below $170.

So the question remains, how expensive is it really for tournament play anymore? I'm sure it is. Rogue decks are often built without some of the "money cards" of the set. As an example, the outlier deck Traumatized with a reasonable sideboard will only run you about $150, the same price as just one playset of the more expensive decks. However, I think it is the curse of the Tier One decks to be the most expensive, if only because they are the ones that are winning, making the cards in more demand. Another thing we didn't consider is that many of these decks have overlapping cards. If you do end up choking on the cost of the playsets of some great cards, you can put them in multiple decks. Manabases are especially useful in many different decks, because you want access to more colors, and pain lands will get you there every time. At any ratem, let's see which cards are in more demand this week.

Statistics for Standard PEs: 1/29/2008 to 2/05/2008

This week there were fifteen standard Premier Events (PEs) scheduled on Magic Online. An event was wiped this week due to a server crash, so we have fourteen PEs of meta this week. That's 112 top eight spots which were taken. It's yet another Groundhog Week - every event was 2x and in the exact same timeslot as last week. Standard Premier Events and got an average turnout of 37 players, slightly more than last week, and on par with the week before then. Nine of the fourteen final tables this week split.

Winner - Split - Second - Semifinals - Quarterfinals

Colors Deck Name Placings Percentage
Elves 17% (-1%)
Big Mana 15% (+7%)
Goblins 13% (+8%)
Rock 8% (+2%)
Mannequin 8% (-4%)
Pickles Blink 8% (-5%)
Doran Rock 6% (+3%)
Big Pizza 5% (new)
Reanimator 1% (+0%)
Control 1% (+1%)
Sonic Boom 1% (-1%)
Faeries 1% (+0%)
Wild Blink 1% (-1%)
Traumatized <1% (-4%)
Faeries <1% (-3%)
Knoll Storm <1% (-3%)
Primal Mannequin <1% (-2%)
  Other 2% (-1%)
  Inactivity <1% (-1%)

Surprise, surprise! Actually, that is only half-sarcastic. We had some surprises this week, and some things that were utterly unsurprising. Elves stays on the top of the standings for yet another week, but it doesn't pick up any outright wins. Big Mana, a deck which seemed to be faltering last week, is now up on top again, smacking down all the other decks that are tuned for the other metagame. But the big surprise is Goblins, who came from even farther behind than Big Mana to take the number three spot this week. Mannequin's resurgence came under fire this week, and it dropped some spots as a result. Pickles Blink is also falttering.

The big gainer this week is Goblins, the deck that I just can't predict. Last week it was the big loser, faltering and losing a ton of spots. This week it is up there with the best decks in the format yet again. Will next week see another drop in our Boggart friends? The big loser this week is Pickles Blink, dropping in part I suspect because of the very fast clock that Goblins puts out. Pickles Blink depends on bouncing things to hand and not seeing them all on the board again next turn, but Goblins is pretty good at dumping guys on the table and turning them sideways quickly.

There are three decks in this week's "other" category. We saw yet another top eight by the Mystical Teachings blue-black deck, but it didn't get beyond the quarterfinals. Red Deck Wins also made a single placement, but I like it so much that it's going to be the Outlier this week. The last deck in the errant category is a green-white-red deck running Kavu Predator, but strangely I didn't see any Fiery Justice. The deck was very aggro-oriented and had an excellent curve.

Mode of the Week: Big Pizza

Readers with a keen eye might have noticed there was a new deck this week in the metagame statistics that I haven't mentioned yet. That's because Big Pizza is the Mode this week. This deck seemed to come out of nowhere this week and grab a decent amount of top eight berths. However, I discovered the origins of the deck when checking out the Magic Daily News (warning: Japanese). It was played in one of the Grand Prix Trials in Japan by Ikawa Yoshihiko. These Trials were run after Morningtide was legal in standard, so the deck was running up against new tech left and right and winning nonetheless. Why the deck is named Big Pizza is anyone's guess.

This deck has a core which looks very similar to the previous outlier deck GW Mana Ramp, but has a few key distinctions from that deck. The first is the inclusion of blue for the Aeon Chronicler, which has a big impact on the game. You can suspend the chronicler for three or four turns, and get a source of card advantage which is uncounterable. It also runs Eyes of the Wisent in the sideboard, which is huge tech against the various blue-based control decks out there. The other sideboard tech is the Detritivore, which can just wreck Doran Rock decks as they are running almost all non-basic lands.

While I didn't see a ton of people playing this deck this week, it looks like it is very resilient to the curent online metagame - you might be seeing it in PEs this week more.

Outlier of the week: Red Deck Wins

This week's outlier is Red Deck Wins, which doesn't seem to be super strong in the current metagame, but is a classic archetype so I thought I would cover it here. It seems to pop into the top eight standings every week or two with one or two spots. This is a decklist from earlier in the year, with the card which is currently a trademark of the deck - Keldon Megaliths being played is how I know I'm looking at a Red Deck Wins. The land is pretty good to play in Red Deck Wins (RDW from now on), because RDW is focused on burn and creatures that you can play out, so it empties it's hand fairly consistently.

RDW is an aggro deck to the core, playing a set of creatures which is focused on getting onto the board and going into the red zone. After you whittle away your opponent's life with the early creatures, you can either lay down your bigger guys to win, often bringing a Greater Gargadon out of suspended state by saccing a lot of tokens and lands, or aim some burn directly at the head of your opponent. As mentioned before, the deck does have a bit of a problem keeping it's hand full, so sometimes the Threaten is replaced with Browbeat in order to get extra cards.

It has bad matchups against control usually - the sideboard brings in Manabarbs in this build, which penalizes the opposing player for tapping lands to counter your cheaper spells. Red Deck Wins isn't really going anywhere any time soon, but you can expect to see a couple in a PE I think every time, as it's not too expensive to make and has the advantage of surprise. The amount of burn and aggro gives this deck a bunch of fans, and you can be sure that if it becomes viable in the future again, it will show up.

Well, because of the pause, I will probably have another full week of meta for you come next Wednesday, so we have that to look forward to. After that, I have a small project to do during the downtime that will inevitably come at some point. This week I missed all the PEs, even though I wanted to play in a couple, hopefully in the next week I will be able to sling some cards with the rest of the field out there. Until next week, Good luck in the PEs!


by jamuraa at Sat, 02/09/2008 - 02:56
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Well I'd like to clarify that I didn't write the article trying to help mtgo to sell - I just use them as a pricing source because they are pretty reasonable.  What you said is perfectly true.  There are decks out there that are very reasonably costed and can compete with the rest.  Big Pizza itself only costs about $125 and rips through a lot of decks.

Some of what makes "Tier 1" decks tier 1 is the fact that they are winning a lot of games.  Part of this is becuase they are famous, but it is a feedback loop.  People play decks because famous players play them, famous players play decks because they are good.

I also agree that decks can oftnen go without Tarmo in them, but most of the decks at the top tables every PE are with Tarmo and not without, so I used a list which included them.  Elves without Tarmos is  much cheaper, only abou $160.  I still doubt that you can get a viable standard deck for less than $100, it might be a good challenge for me eventually. 

by elrogos at Thu, 02/07/2008 - 16:19
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it is "infobot"  but it is offline from about 20 days now.

cost bot? by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 02/07/2008 - 12:10
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i just searched thru as many puremtgo articles as i could looking for this, and i just cant find it. recently there was an article that talked about a mtgo account (something like "PriceBot"), and you could message it the name of a card, and it would message you back back the average price it was being bought and sold for, and what some of the big bots were buying/selling it for at that moment.

 can anyone PLEASE help me out and tell me what the name of the bot is? thanks :(

tier 1 decks? the secret is to choose by elrogos at Thu, 02/07/2008 - 06:22
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Ehi nice article, i think the most powerful decks played on mtgo is a nice info for the players, but i really think that the entire thing about standard t1 decks cost is a bit "wrong".

You know:

- elves decks can easily cut tarmogoyfs and win the same (we always forget that tarmo are nor magical, they are addressed as "the best creature in magic" but they can be it only if played well OR if they have a great backup (think about countertop). Lots of decks splash tarmo but they could have the same power even without it (or almost the same power, given the fact that graveyards are not always this full, except if you are playing against reanimator))

- the reanimator deck with the fujita list is extremely cheap if we compare it to doranrock (well, maybe it is not tier 1, ok), but then think about mannequin, the same, it is not over the 150 $, or the most powerful aggro-control decks of the moment, faeries: they are fast, powerful, and can wreck almost any deck played at the moment, the green/blu build is magnificent, hoses control, mannequin, elves and costs, with garruk, BoP, pithing needles, yavimaya coasts etc, no more than 130/150 $.

So maybe we should decide what "tier 1" decks are on MTGO, cause it's almost a matter of "fame" of the deck: people can buy whatever they want because of the fact you find cards without the need to trade, wait for them at the shop etc, and so they build everything they see played by this or that champion without even thinking about tweaking the deck, or without even knowing how to play it. It's not that unusual to find out guys that cannot sideboard, that shoots tharmogoyfs when they could be killed even by a shock etc.

Also, we should not consider competitive worth (and 5 or 10 $ worth) those cards that are junk but that have been played by a pro: for example i remember when aethermage's touch was 0,20 $, and then when it reached 2,5 because of blinktouch! c'mon, if you have bought it at 2,5 without understanding the fact that it is not a solid card out of that weak deck, you deserve the fact that someone becomes rich on you. The same could be said now for pyromancer's swath...wanna play Dstorm now? without the control tech of ravnica and only basing your power on a weak land that can be bounced in a moment and with a "counter target triggerered ability" with split second card in standard? well man, i would never loan you any money ehehehe

So I understand that MTGO wants to sell :) but it's even true that if you are a bit clever, and if you choose wisely what to play you can spend even low amounts of money on T2 (certainly, you must have the painlands or some duals, otherwise you'll always be too slow for every competitive format)