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By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
Feb 08 2008 12:07pm
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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:
Planar Chaos Redemption Off line Planar Chaos Redemption - Off line PLC redemption removed due to no more product
(Chains of Mephistopholes) temp ban Banned in Classic: chains Chains is broken and banned in Classic
V3 Counter Paused Countdown Timer paused V3 Countdown timer paused again.
V3 UI Updates V3 UI Improvements Version 184.1 of the Client contains improvements to the UI



MTGO Discussion Items: 

PDC Filter Request-

A request for a PDC filter in the deck editor has turned into a full on discussion of the PDC format. Including financial implications, benefits, and introductions to competitive Magic.  The conversation can be found here.

UI Communication Discussion-

The community has provided a lot of details and feedback on the UI but we've never really received a hard answer for what they're willing to work on.  This prompted the following discussion wherein Worth states that nothing in the current UI is set in stone.  Details.

Morningtide MIA -

Morningtide was slated to come out on V3, but due to a couple of multi day pauses of the countdown, the community is starting to wonder if it is time to start looking for other alternatives. Namely, the potential of releasing it on V2 (and all the crashes, frustration and anger that that implies).   Morningtide Concerns .

V3 Modifications
With all the focus on V3, the crafty community has started to make their own modifications to the V3 Client.  Changes include duel scene colors and the deck editor.  See the editorial section for information on how to make changes to your UI as well as a couple modifications that are in progress.  UI Modifications.
New V3 Landing Page
- 02-08-08:
V3 is getting some attention from WotC it seems as it now has it's own dedicated launch page that includes the countdown timer, a tutorial and a link to the download.  V3 Landing Page

Editorial Section:

Building a Collection out of Nothing!: aka BaCooN!
We're kicking off week three of my BaCoon series, and I've been having a blast so far.  We left off last week with a " Mono Green" build around Solemn Simalarcum and his cohorts from Crazy Golem University.  I use the sarcasm quotes because it's kind of hard to call a deck that is almost all colorless, Mono Green.  But all the colored cards, they be Green,... so Mono Green it is!
This month's card: Solemn Simulacrum

Last week's Deck:
2x Solemn Simulacrum
4x Brass Herald
4x Tangle Golem
4x Malachite Golem

4x Mirror Golem
4x Sakura-Tribe Elder
2x Beast of Burden

2x Harmonize
4x Guardian Idol
4x Vernal Bloom
4x Utopia Vow

22x Forest

So lets do a quick recap on what this deck is 'supposed' to do.  The first thing is mana acceleration.  This is built off of the first of Solemn's abilities and is needed to make the deck put up a fight.  A fun set of plays is turn two Guardian Idol into turn three Solemn, into turn four Brass Herald.  It also has some pretty solid card advantage in the Harmonize and the Solemns.  Of the cards listed above, the only really 'staple' cards added were the two Harmonize and possibly the four Guardian Idol.  I tend to run the Idol's a lot when I want acceleration that counts as a creature and survives Wrath.  They also fit the the theme of the deck (although, they are currently bugged with their interaction with Brass Herald.  They're not getting the bonuses from the Herald as they should... *sadpanda*).  I also notice that I have what we in the bizz call 'holes'.  As in, creature removal.  I'm running the Utopia Vow's to help with that, but I have the fear that I won't be able to deal with problem opposing creatures.  However, my goal is to have the biggest creatures on the board and only use the Vow as a way to force my opponent into bad blocking decisions.

So, how'd it do?  Let's find out!

Game 1: Mono Blue Phasing/Mill
I start out with the coveted 'mulligan to five on the play'.  I get a turn two Elder but no third land in hand, which means my Solemn is stuck there for the time being.  So I attack for one on turn three and sacrifice him to get some more mana.  Turn four comes and he's not played a spell.  I try for a Solemn (topdeck'd land) but it's met with a Power Sink.  Ick.  Well, there goes my turn.  On his turn he decides to start the aggression and casts a Teferi's Drake.  My turn five consists of a Guardian Idol, followed by a turn six Tangle Golem... which gets Time Ebb'd on his next turn.  He also plays another Drake on an opposite Phase Schedule than the first, so he always has a 3/2 flyer in play.  Okay, my turn... try again.  Tangle Golem, I choose you!  He resolves and we start trading creatures.  Meanwhile, he's still got a flyer or two to keep the beats.  I try to get myself back into the game with a turn eight Harmonize into a Vernal Bloom on turn nine.   However, by Bloom gets Mind Bend'd to Islands, and I can't fight back any more.

Results 0-1

Game 2: Mono Green Spiders + Graft
This is the game I alluded to last week, where Utopia Vow carries the day.  We're both base Green so the fact that a creature race starts is pretty much to be expected.  His first card is an Aquastrand Spider, which then get a set of Treetop Bracers.  I think about how to handle that, as my hand isn't really primed for racing yet, but I do have a Utopia Vow in hand.  I know that it's largely futile, since the Spider's counters will be moved to whatever new creatures he plays, but I need to keep him from beating me down before I can start the pressure.  I choose to Vow the Spider and pass the turn.  He follows this with a Canopy Spider and a new Bracers for it.  My response: Tangle Golem.  He sees my Golem and raises me a Blanchwood Armor.  Dang, that's not nice.  Luckily, he only has a couple of Forests out, so the beats are savage yet, but they're getting there.  I play a turn five Vernal Bloom followed by a turn six Herald netting me another Tangle Golem.  I use the extra mana from the Bloom to also play a Malachite Golem this turn.  He attacks me down to five and plays a Penumbra Spider. The race is on.  He has his evasiony, pumped spider and I have my ground forces.  Unfortunately for me, I'll be dead next turn while I'll need two turns to get through his defenses and kill him.  I have to topdeck a Utopia Vow, or it's over.  My turn seven starts, and I perform my good luck mojo dance to signal my need of one exact card: Utopia Vow.  I finish my mojo dance and f2 into my turn, only to draw: Utopia Vow.  I give grog a big sloppy statistics kiss and vow his Spider.  Then I swing in, he chooses to block my malachite and still takes trample damage.  He the counters me back to three life, where he then types the following phrase: "now im dead,  vow killed me".  A phrase I won't soon forget.

Results 1-1

Game 3: G/B Thallids
The action starts on turn two, when I play a Guardian Idol and he plays a Deathspore Thallid.  Not fearing a counter, I play a Solemn on turn three and pass the turn.  He follows that with a Thallid Shell-Dweller.  Bah!  Turn four I hit my sixth mana and drop a Brass Herald, woo!  My opponent is only on three mana and plays a morph.  Given the deck, I'm guessing that he's just played a Thelonite Hermit, but I'm in no mood to find out.  I start pushing my creatures into the Red Zone, I don't want this game to go long as he'll start getting a lot of removal, pump and creature shenanigans if things go on too long.  He walls the Herald and takes three from the Solemn.  I play a 6/5 Tangle Golem and a Guardian Idol and pass the turn.  Turn 5, he has no play... I breathe a sigh of relief as that means he's still far from flipping his Morph, I hope.  I activate my Idol and attack with everybody, again, to pressure him into losing creatures before he gets rolling.  He sends the Deathspore to meet the Tangle Golem, and he kills my Idol while protecting his Morph by using the Deathspore Thallid's -1/-1 ability.  Had the Idol gotten the proper bonus it would have been killed *grumble*.  But that's okay, because it still served my purpose of getting a creature into the graveyard for my Mirror Golem.  I have him imprint the Deathspore and he's now immune to creatures and gets a +1/+1 bump from the Herald.  Keen.  A few short turns of unblockable damage, and the game is over.

Results 2-1

Game 4: W/B Clerics feat. Eight-and-a-Half-Tails
I'll give the  five cent tour: 8.5 tails negates all my creatures and 'removal'.  He then gives all his creatures vigilance, and proceeds to bludgeon me to death with Clerics.  I have to admit though... Eight-and-a-Half-Tails was pretty brutal.  I had actually forgotten about this card (and a lot of the Kamigawa block in general, heh!).  I'll have to keep this guy in mind for casual decks in the future as he is really strong in the right deck.  Once he hit, I lost complete control of the game.  

Results 2-2

Game 5: B/U Megrim Discard
This deck was very neat.  It was a B/U deck built to actually use Megrim.  The Blue cards from Planar Chaos really stepped up the draw+discard ability, which is something that Megrim really needed.  However, his deck utilized Howling Mine, which suits my deck just fine as it allowed me to hit a turn three Tangle Golem followed by a turn four Solemn.  I take a couple of damage from a Megrim at the end of turn four since I have to discard, but I don't feel too concerned.  Until he drops a second megrim and then hits me with a Wistful Thinking knocking me 16 damage on his turn... youch.  However, he's tapped out and two damage shy of killing me when I swing back for the win on turn six.  For such a short game, it sure was a nail biter.   A scant two damage between victory and humiliating defeat.  

Results 3-2

Week three wrap-up:
I'm actually a bit surprised that I posted a winning record with this deck.  The holes in the deck (namely spot removal) and the path to victory (non-evasion creature damage) seem very problematic.  However, cheap Tangle Golems and Mono Green Card Advantage carry the day.

Adding money to the deck?  Harmonize would be a good call.  Also some ways to hurt other decks would be welcome, but the options are pretty limited when it comes to mono green.  Which brings me to next week's deck!
BaCooN - Week Four:
3x Solemn Simulacrum
4x Dross Golem
4x Sakura-Tribe Elder
4x Tangle Golem
4x Malachite Golem
4x Mirror Golem
1x Eternal Witness
1x Gravedigger

4x Putrefy
3x Harmonize
4x Guardian Idol

6x Swamp
16x Forest
2x Diamond Valley
I added the following staples to our card pool: +1 Solemn, +1 Harmonize, +1 Eternal Witness, +4 Putrefy

The witness is an expensive card, but for good reason.  The power level of the card is top notch.  You'll use her in so many decks that building them up as you can is well worth the money.
Amount out of pocket this week: $12.11

Flaying V3
Another Way to Skin a Horse.
And now for a horse of a completely different color!  

There's been a lot of discussion about V3 of late.  A lot of that lot of discussion has been in regards to the UI.  The UI... such a seemingly simple thing.  Yet, we had a very distracting UI when V3 was released to the public.  The color scheme of Brown and Green on other Brown and Green was actually causing headaches with some players (myself included).  Since the original unveiling over a year ago, things have improved by small pieces here and their, until recently.  Recently there was a large change to much of the UI.  The brown on brown swirls items were largely replaced with solid, smooth cream and white colors.  The difference is extreme.  Readability immediately jumped up on all the items changed.  Quite a few users still felt like the UI was a bit too dark, with all the black backgrounds and whatnot.  I decided to try my hand at making the client a bit less drab than the current version, and I'll walk you through how to do the same!

First, you need a decent graphics editor... and no, mspaint does not count.  My editor of choice is GIMP (short for GNU Image Manipulation Program).  It's free to download and very powerful.  Once you have that installed, you'll need to know which files you can/can't edit.  Their under the aptly named 'graphics' folder in your MTGO V3 directory (which is c:/program files/wizards of the coast/magic online III).  So starting from: "c:/program files/wizards of the coast/magic online III/graphics" we need to decide what we want to change.  Personally, I spend a lot of time in the Deck Editor and that dark black background really wears on me.  It's not 'bad' just, really dark (wow hammy... black == really dark... better write that down somewhere, genius).
(remember, we're starting all this from the Graphics folder in your MTGO III Directory)
The background used for pretty much every scene is located :
UI200610/bknd_001_512pixw_512pixh_brown_marble_cracked.png.  Changing this to something a bit lighter suits my style quite a bit better.

Next up, those textures behind the chatbox really make reading text conversastions a chore.  It would be much easier if they weren't textured, so I'm going to make mine solid white.

I cheated, I changed three of them just so that whatever happens with the defaults I'll be ready.

Now my chats are legible and my background isn't so dark.  But now the dividers in the deck editor don't really match the colors I chose for the background.  They're perfectly legible but they just don't really 'fit' like I want them to.  Well, let's fix 'em.


Once these are made to match up more closely things really start to shape up the way I want them
Grey Deck Editor

So I then wanted to see how hard it would be to change all the above pieces into another color, and it took about 20 minutes to modify everything to a new color scheme:
Purple Deck Editor

I even made the above two skins into 'patches' for anyone inetersted in just jumping to the end.

Extract the below archives to your Magic Online III directory then run the associated batch files for the one you want.  Also included in each theme is a change to the colors in the Compact and Big Card duel scenes to match the colors in the deck editor.

Granite Skin
Purple Skin

Server Log In Availability:

Due to what I can only classify as a 'data implosion', I don't have my usual weekly stats.  Luckily the servers were fairly stable and not much happened (there were a couple of downtimes of course, but when aren't there?).

Card Price Fluctuations:
First up, we have the most largest decrease by cost, then we have the gainers by amount, then the gainers by percent.

Card Name Last Week Amount Changed Percent Changed This Week
Force of Will $50.00 -$5.00 -10.00% $45.00
Pyromancer's Swath $5.75 -$1.25 -21.74% $4.50
Vedalken Shackles $26.00 -$1.00 -3.85% $25.00
Slaughter Pact $3.75 -$0.50 -13.33% $3.25
Pact of Negation $6.00 -$0.50 -8.33% $5.50
Polluted Delta $16.00 -$0.50 -3.13% $15.50
Weatherlight Booster $3.45 -$0.45 -13.04% $3.00
Fatal Frenzy $1.30 -$0.30 -23.08% $1.00
Relentless Rats $1.25 -$0.25 -20.00% $1.00
Duplicant $2.00 -$0.25 -12.50% $1.75
Ajani Goldmane $2.25 -$0.25 -11.11% $2.00
Akroma, Angel of Fury $2.25 -$0.25 -11.11% $2.00
Aeon Chronicler $2.25 -$0.25 -11.11% $2.00
Masked Admirers $2.25 -$0.25 -11.11% $2.00
Jace Beleren $2.50 -$0.25 -10.00% $2.25
Card Name Last Week Amount Changed Percent Changed This Week
Chrome Mox $16.00 $1.50 9.38% $17.50
Tarnished Citadel $3.75 $1.25 33.33% $5.00
Breeding Pool $15.00 $1.00 6.67% $16.00
Cephalid Coliseum $5.00 $1.00 20.00% $6.00
Phyrexian Marauder $3.50 $1.00 28.57% $4.50
Pithing Needle $10.00 $0.75 7.50% $10.75
Doran, the Siege Tower $9.00 $0.75 8.33% $9.75
Magus of the Moon $2.00 $0.75 37.50% $2.75
Null Rod $12.50 $0.50 4.00% $13.00
Grim Lavamancer $12.00 $0.50 4.17% $12.50
Bloodstained Mire $10.50 $0.50 4.76% $11.00
Watery Grave $9.00 $0.50 5.56% $9.50
Stomping Ground $7.00 $0.50 7.14% $7.50
Birds of Paradise $5.00 $0.50 10.00% $5.50
City of Brass $4.00 $0.50 12.50% $4.50
Card Name Last Week Amount Changed Percent Changed This Week
Teneb, the Harvester $0.30 $0.20 66.67% $0.50
Battle of Wits $0.15 $0.10 66.67% $0.25
Greater Good $0.35 $0.15 42.86% $0.50
Contested Cliffs $0.35 $0.15 42.86% $0.50
Body Double $0.35 $0.15 42.86% $0.50
Muraganda Petroglyphs $0.25 $0.10 40.00% $0.35
Tin-Wing Chimera $0.25 $0.10 40.00% $0.35
Wash Out $0.90 $0.35 38.89% $1.25
Magus of the Moon $2.00 $0.75 37.50% $2.75
Baru, Fist of Krosa $0.60 $0.20 33.33% $0.80
Jayemdae Tome $0.15 $0.05 33.33% $0.20
Dust Elemental $0.15 $0.05 33.33% $0.20
Straw Golem $0.15 $0.05 33.33% $0.20
Blasting Station $0.15 $0.05 33.33% $0.20
Vorosh, the Hunter $0.15 $0.05 33.33% $0.20
Force of Will has stabalized around 45 tix or so, and is probably going to remain about here for a while.  It's probably as good of time as any to grab them if you want them or are interested in Classic in the long term.  Yes, they are expensive, but the liklihood of them dropping is extremely slim.  But I know better than to never say never... snap.
Force of Will
Ham Jones Industrial Average:

Outstanding Issues:


PayPal payments not going through for some users:
10-12-07 through Current:
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:
Graveyard Choice Cards Crashing the game:
Play any card that targets cards in a graveyard from the game. Note that it must be optional to target them, like with Shred Memory or Decompose. Then don't choose any targets, and just hit OK. Until you concede all you can do for the rest of the game is hit the OK button with the card on the stack.  (Quoted from authenticsimpsonian).  According to a developer, this should be fixed when V3 goes live.  Newest thread located here.

Chains of Mephistopheles + Anvil of Bogardan/Forced Card Draw:
01-25-08 through Current:

Chains is causing entire hands to be emptied due to its own effect when forced to draw from another source.  This bug impacted the last Classic tourney and is probably going to happen again if it isn't fixed soon. 
*update* This card has been banned in Classic until it is resolved.

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

Shielding Plax + Targeting:
11-30-07 through
Shielding Plax is not granting untargetability correctly.

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

Lignify + Layers:
11-23-07 through
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
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. 


The UI changes that the devs have done are quite encouragaing.  I'm happy with everything they've changed so far, and that's saying quite a bit.  Or maybe their changes just seem better because of how much I disliked the previous things.  I don't know, I'm probably biased with my optimism, but I like what I've seen them do so far.  With a few more minor tweaks to remove the brown swirl from the frame I could see myself using V3 for a long time.




by hamtastic at Wed, 02/13/2008 - 19:34
hamtastic's picture

I'll see if I can grab the old numbers again.  I recall doing something similar a few months ago.

A good idea! 

I'll take a look at that by hamtastic at Wed, 02/13/2008 - 19:35
hamtastic's picture

Thanks, I'll see what I can do about getting that fixed up.

Ham jones :) daw by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 02/13/2008 - 09:15
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

do you have a "Ham Jones Industrial Average?" a year back ?

by RogueDesigner at Wed, 02/13/2008 - 10:20
RogueDesigner's picture

I love the idea of "Ham Jones" :) 

TOC by rozia (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 02/13/2008 - 10:38
rozia (Unregistered)'s picture

Your TOC links are invalid...

Attack Left bug by Felorin at Sun, 02/10/2008 - 00:47
Felorin's picture

The "attack left" bug is pretty major in FFA abd Elder Dragon Highlander games, because it isn't even dependent on any one specific card.  Just seems to hit any old game that goes on long enough to run into that bit of bad luck.


Be nice to see that one on the buglist here too.  Great job by the way, keep up the reports!  I look forward to reading them every week. 

by 53N531 at Fri, 02/08/2008 - 22:08
53N531's picture

Winrar is not letting me extract the .bat files for some reason.

by 53N531 at Fri, 02/08/2008 - 22:10
53N531's picture

Yeah, the file you uploaded for the Granite layout is corrupted. Purple looks fine.

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 02/08/2008 - 14:17
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

Can you add the Retether bug to this as well? For those who don't know, Retether has about a 50% chance of not working at all; the auras come into play, then leave play before you can attach them to anything.

by hamtastic at Fri, 02/08/2008 - 14:39
hamtastic's picture

I'll definitely get this added, either into this article or next week's.

That retether bug is huge pain though... it'll work for a while then do nothing.  At least with fully bugged cards you know not to use them.  Retether implosions are really frustrating...  *grumble*


by DRAGONDUNG at Fri, 02/08/2008 - 13:30
DRAGONDUNG's picture

As always very insightful.  The Ham jones avg is great will be a good indicator when new sets start to stabalize.  Please keep it up