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By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
Feb 15 2008 1:17am
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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 Countered Countdown Timer Gone V3 Countdown is gone
V3 UI Updates V3 UI Improvements Version 184.1 of the Client contains improvements to the UI



MTGO Discussion Items: 


V3 Countdown Not Counting Down-

The V3 countdown is gone, replaced with nothing and won't be back for a while.

Morningtide Release Events-

The list of release events has been posted and there are some important changes to the lineup!  Be sure to check the announcement here

March Bannings-

It's about time for a new wave of bannings and restrictions for the MTG/MTGO worlds.  We have a couple threads to discuss the disires for changes, here and here.

UI Communication Discussion-
02-08-08 - Current:

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.

V3 Modifications
02-08-08 - Current:

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 Page02-08-08 - Current:
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!
This month's card: Solemn Simulacrum

Last week's Deck:

Deck issues and concerns:
Four removal spells, no way to handle enchantments.  Not much going on in the early game.

Game Logs:

Game 1: Dredge + Flashback
I often call decks like dredge 'Drive-by' decks in the Casual room.  They're decks that while strong, they appear stronger because the average deck just won't be prepared to beat them.  Note that I'm not complaining about them or saying they're "Cheese" or whatever the kids are calling things they dislike now-a-days... just saying that they will often give a skewed view of the strength of the deck.  Heck, I've been guilty of that plenty of times in the Cas/Cas room, and probably will be again.  However with only four ways to impact a graveyard card in my deck I got over run 6/6 wurms and recurring threats, thanks to Genesis.  I wish there was a good story in here about clinching play or a hard fought battle... but that would be lying.  It was a slow, painful death to creatures that wouldn't stay dead.

Results: 0-1

Game 2:  B/W Lifegain
This deck, I liked.  And not just because I won either.  It was a deck built around Well of Lost Dreams, lifegain and black cards that traded life for other resources.  I'm actually trying to get the list for this deck as I thought it was a neat execution of the concept.  My MVP's were Diamond Valley and Putrefy, both pitching in big-time with the game on the line.  Dodging Faith's Fetters and other removal while keeping my life high.... solid.  A timely Putrefy off the top (top deck skillz 4L!) keeps him from getting too far ahead of me in card advantage.  Once I noticed his goal of gaining life I threw everything I could at him to stop his plans of getting way ahead in the life race.  Constant pressure plus card advantage seals the game in my favor, although it was pretty close.

Game 3: B/W Darkest Hour/ Pro: Black
This game felt like a drive-by, but in retrospect it was my fault for not having enchantment removal in the main deck.  There's no excuse for a green deck not to be prepared for enchantments in some way or another, so this game should have gone down differently.  His whole gameplan revolved around Darkest Hour and taking advantage of that effect.  Protection from Black creatures, Circle of Protection: Black for the counterattacks, etc.  I wasn't really even in this game enough to cause a problem, all due to a huge hole in my deck.

Game 4: Mono Black Enchants
I know what you're thinking: what're the odds that I hit another enchantment centric deck right after that?  Well, fate is a mean chica, and while giving my opponent a dream matchup, she also mana screwed him.  I'm pretty sure that fate is related to that girl in high school... you know the one.  Anyway, I hit a great curve of beatdown creatures and he struggles to hit his land drops.  I tried to get a rematch but unfortunately Lagic: the Gathering struck and it just never happened.  

Game 5: Mono White Stuff
The Diamond Valley's really are something I probably underestimated how good these lands are, assuming you can run them that.  Spot removal is almost always removal "with benefits".  Either extra damage, or life gain or something that makes it not just removal.  Like, for example, Faith's Fetters, Agonizing Demise, and what was 'fizzled' this game: Divine Offering.  He started out small, with a flank knight, but then a Teeka's Dragon powered out by a Thunder Totem and other artifact accelerants.  He can't attack though, as I have 15 power on the board and I'm at 18 life to his 12.  He won't be able to race my Golems so he tries to build up an army.  Unfortunately for him my card advantage starts to take over the game around turn eight and I use Diamond Valley's and Solemns to dig into Harmonize to dig into removal and creatures.  Exactly why those cards are in the deck, eh?

This Weeks Deck:

Cards added:
Starting this week I'm going to start rating the cards added.  I was torn between gold stars or check marks, but then it hit me: could anything eptomize 'staple' more than Milton's Swingline?  The short answer is 'no'.  Oddly enough the long answer is 'no' also, but it involves a lot more flailing and incoherent shouting.  So we'll just stick with the 'no'.  So the amount of swinglines to the right of the card denotes how much staple-aucity said card possesses, the lower the score the more niche the card.

Solemn Simulacrum
Mystic Enforcer
Centaur Safeguard
Verdant Force
staplestaple staplestaple 
Mind Stone
staplestaple staplestaple staple

Card Choices:
So, there's probably some 'splainin' to do with regards to some of the choices in the new deck.  The first one in my mind is the Rootgrapple.  I have no Treefolk, why bother?  Well, for a couple of reasons.  First of all, it plugs my enchantment hole... wait... that didn't come out right.  It fills a need for enchantment removal in my deck.  It also kills Planeswalkers, artifacts and special lands.  It was between this and Creeping Mold.  There's nothing wrong with the Mold, however, the extra versatilty of hitting a Planeswalker and being an instant seem to make up the extra mana in the cost.

So this week showed a big hole in my green decks to date, one that I probably have plugged, at least a little.  Also, I now have my full set of Solemns for any future control decks that I might run!

Tune in next week when I show how this deck performs as well as my next card choice for BaCooN!

Playa's holiday... aka Morningtide release events.
About every three months the denizens of MTGO are graced with a set release.  I often feel like a released inmate seeing an old re-run for the first time.  Even though I know it aint new, it's new to me.  Over time, my release event participation has changed.  I've gone from joining at least four Release Leagues to joining maybe one release league and then doing a Premier Event or two and a handfull of drafts.  This got me to thinking that it might be worth the time to enumerate the differences in formats for those newer players or for the players who may be in a bit of a rut in regards to release events.  Below I've broken out the pro's and con's of each format, as well as defining who would get the most out of the individual formats.  

League: Premier Event: Draft:
Lots of play time Faster than Leagues 100% New cards
A bit more 'casual' Immediate prizes Fastest way to get new cards
  Immediate availability of the cards for trade Immediate availability of the cards for trade
  Immediate avatar Immediate prizes
  Crashes net a refund Choice of cards, pick and choose
    Crashes net a refund

League: Premier Event: Draft:
Long delay before cards for trade All at once, dedicated hours All at once, dedicated hours
Extremely long delay before avatar is available Harder competition than leagues Expensive if you can't get past the first round
Crashes don't compensate your play time    
Best for: Impatient collectors, newer players, unfamiliar players, and players who can't dedicate a contiguous chunk of time for playing.  Leagues are generally the first part of the release events to start firing.  The consist of one Tournamnet pack and three boosters of the most recent set.  In this case it will be a Lorwyn Tournament pack and three Morningtide Boosters.  The main drawback to leagues though are the fact that you can't drop from them and you cannot trade out cards from the set.  Essentially, you're stuck with the cards for a week until the league ends.  And by that time, the cards value has dropped tremendously.  This isn't an issue if you don't plan on parting with them after the week is up.  However, I see players ask every release how to drop from the league or sell their cards, not realizing that they're locked in until the league ends.  Another drawback is the pronounced delay in receiving your participation avatars... often up to a month later.  Again, the upshot is that if you were looking to get going with the avatar and then joined the league, you're still stranded until WotC gets around to granting them.  Leagues are quite nice for newer players since they give you a lot of opportunities to play with the cards and to play with your deck.  

1 Lorwyn Tournament Pack, 3 Morningtide boosters, 2 Event Tickets

How to get there:
From the home screen click on the Leagues button, and select the league you wish to join.

Premier Events:
Best for: Sellers, familiar players, and players who can dedicate a large chunk of time to play one event.  Premier Events (PE's for short) are a swiss style tournament that happens all at once.  For those unfamiliar with the term 'Swiss Tournament', it means that even if you lose a match you can keep playing in each round until the event is over.  A loss does not drop you from the tournament.  The drawback from this format is farily obvious in that it requires a large commitment of time all at once to participate.  Also it's much less forgiving that Leagues are since  The upsides to this format however is that as soon as the event is done (or as soon as you drop) you can sell the cards you opened.  Thus allowing you to recoup the costs of the event at a much more efficient rate.  Also, you get the avatar right away, which is often a handy feature.

1 Lorwyn Tournament Pack, 3 Morningtide boosters, 2 Event Tickets

How to get there:
From the home screen click on the Sanctioned Tournament button, then click on the Premier Events button.  Then select the PE you wish to join.

Best for: Very familiar players, good drafters, and collectors.  Release drafts are perhaps the best time to draft a new set.  You'll often see more bad players and  rare drafter (of which I've been known to do) and you'll get 100% new cards.  This becomes nice if you've already purchased the cards you wanted from the previous set and aren't intersted in those cards anymore.  Drafts share a very important benefit with PE's, and that is the immediate availability of the cards after the event.  This means that even if you lose in the first round you can sell any rares you don't want or need to help fund the next draft and take a bit of the sting out of the cost.  The drawbacks of draft are that if you lose, it gets expensive very fast.  If you can't get past the first round then the cost will increase quickly. Just getting past the first round every other time helps drop the price to a very reasonable amount.   However, even if you only get past the first round every other time, you essentially are paying $10 per draft since you can reuse product that you've won as entry into the next draft.

Either: 2 Lorwyn Boosters + 1 Morningtide Booster + 2 Event Tickets OR 3 Morningtide boosters + 2 Event Tickets

How to get there:
From the home screen click on the Sanctioned Tournament button, then click on the Draft 8 Player button.  Then select the draft queue you wish to join.  Important! there are a lot of draft queue's to choose from.  You would probably be best served by switching to spreadsheet view (if you see tables in the room click on the spreadsheet in the upper right hand corner) then join the queue you are interested in.  For a new drafter a 4-3-2-2 draft queue is probably the best choice.   The 4-3-2-2 describes the pack payout.  It means that for first place you get 4 packs, 3 for second, and 2 and three packs for third and fourth place, respectively.

Hopefully some players will use this information to expand their experiences at the Morningtide release events that are listed here:

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:
Here I show the number of cards in the system as the increasing bars, and contrasted against that is the sum of 1x individual card.
And here we have what the averageof the above chart breaks down to.  Do you ever hear people discuss 'the good old days' when bots would buy any three rares AND give you an onion for your belt?  This is why.
And the ol' standard, the movers and shakers!  The cards going up are the Extended staples.  The cards going down are mostly the Lorwyn/Standard cards. 
Card Name: Last week's Price Percent Changed Current Price:
Spiritmonger $16.00 12.50% $18.00
Sulfuric Vortex $1.50 100.00% $3.00
Breeding Pool $16.00 6.25% $17.00
Blood Crypt $8.00 12.50% $9.00
Goblin Ringleader $5.75 13.04% $6.50
Debtors' Knell $2.00 37.50% $2.75
Wash Out $1.25 60.00% $2.00
Mirror Entity $1.15 52.17% $1.75
Grim Lavamancer $12.50 4.00% $13.00
Stomping Ground $7.50 6.67% $8.00
Overgrown Tomb $6.00 8.33% $6.50
Goblin Ringleader $6.00 8.33% $6.50
Mind's Desire $5.50 9.09% $6.00
Darksteel Forge $5.50 9.09% $6.00
City of Brass $4.50 11.11% $5.00
Card Name: Last week's Price Percent Changed Current Price:
Gilt-Leaf Palace $3.50 -21.43% $2.75
Secluded Glen $2.50 -20.00% $2.00
Mystical Tutor $5.00 -10.00% $4.50
Cryptic Command $6.25 -8.00% $5.75
Thoughtseize $7.50 -6.67% $7.00
Garruk Wildspeaker $7.50 -6.67% $7.00
Stromgald Crusader $1.50 -16.67% $1.25
Engineered Plague $1.50 -16.67% $1.25
Chandra Nalaar $1.75 -14.29% $1.50
Pristine Angel $2.00 -12.50% $1.75
Gaddock Teeg $2.00 -12.50% $1.75
Dodecapod $2.00 -12.50% $1.75
Jace Beleren $2.25 -11.11% $2.00
Auntie's Hovel $2.25 -11.11% $2.00
Liliana Vess $3.00 -8.33% $2.75
Card Name: Last week's Price Percent Changed Current Price:
Tranquil Thicket $0.05 -40.00% $0.03
Dormant Volcano $0.08 -37.50% $0.05
Cautery Sliver $0.08 -37.50% $0.05
Veteran of the Depths $0.12 -33.33% $0.08
Treva's Charm $0.12 -33.33% $0.08
Spinerock Knoll $0.80 -25.00% $0.60
Soulless One $0.20 -25.00% $0.15
Oros, the Avenger $0.20 -25.00% $0.15
Gilt-Leaf Palace $3.50 -21.43% $2.75
Megrim $0.05 -20.00% $0.04
Secluded Glen $2.50 -20.00% $2.00
Karoo $0.15 -20.00% $0.12
Scalpelexis $0.50 -20.00% $0.40
Overrun $0.50 -20.00% $0.40
Mindslicer $0.50 -20.00% $0.40
And for the 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:
Retether Randomly Working:
Retether has been bugged since day one, in one way or another.  Right now it appears to randomly work and randomly do a steaming pile of nothing.  Use at your own risk.
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. 


Whew!  Another week in the books.  I'd like to again thank MTGOTraders for providing the numbers used in this article, it wouldn't be the same without them.  Also, I'd like to thank all the readers who provide so much good feedback each week.  You all make this article that much better. 




by JXClaytor at Fri, 02/15/2008 - 15:41
JXClaytor's picture

I chuckled at the swingline, as Office Space is one of my favorite movies.

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 02/15/2008 - 16:30
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture


Chains of Mephistopheles + Anvil of Bogardan

*update* This card has been banned in Classic until it is resolved.


Which card was banned?  Chains or Anvil? 

Staples by Klutz (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 02/15/2008 - 14:34
Klutz (Unregistered)'s picture

Love the staple system!  However, if you plan on investing in a 5-mana Green staple card to answer enchantments in a casual format where you're also running Diamond Valley, the card you're looking for is Indrik Stomphowler.  That's a 5-stapler card.

I also just want to add that this is an incredible series packed with tons of useful info, and it's much appreciated.

by hamtastic at Fri, 02/15/2008 - 16:53
hamtastic's picture

The way broken one: Chains of Mephistopholopholopholes.  :)

Anvil is still available for play in Classic.


The Stomphowler.. by hamtastic at Fri, 02/15/2008 - 14:50
hamtastic's picture

... I can't believe I forgot about him!  You're right, he's a solid staple for green decks.  Really good stats for the price.  The other card that I should have considered for that slot is Primal Command, especially in a deck with Eternal Witness.

A good idea for the deck though, that's for sure!