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By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
Mar 28 2008 8:22am
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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:
Announcement Link Summary
Single Client Restrictions removed SCR's Removed Removed SCR's now that release events are over.
Planar Chaos Redemption Off line Planar Chaos Redemption - Off line PLC redemption removed due to no more product
Lorwyn Redemption Back Lorwyn Redemption Lorwyn Redemption is back online.
MTGO Article Submissions being acccepted Articles for MTGO The MTGO website will now publish a user submitted article

 MTGO Discussion Items:   

Commander (aka EDH) discussion thread
03-14-08 to Current
There have been a few Commander games done by the community lately and the tales of triumph certainly make the format sound intriguing.  I'd recommend that anyone who is interested in a unique Multiplayer Free For All (FFA) format to check out this link Commander Stories

PRE Sponsors and Hosts:
Discussion about Player Run Events and the impacts that their sponsors should have has been a busy topic this week.  If you have some experiences or would just like to discuss it, the thread can be located here

People breaking the SCR Restrictions:
It seems that each release event has at least a few people who seem to feel that the rules don't apply to them and that they can keep running multiple accounts as they see fit.  Essentially this turns the SCR's into a self penalizing system where the only ones impacted are those who follow the rules.  Luckily, Worth is around to put the smack down on those who don't feel the need to follow the rules.  Discussion can be found here.

Is Magic Fading Away:
A good discussion about the current state of Magic and MTGO.  Discussion.

Community Submitted Articles:
As I mentioned above, the Magic Online web page is accepting submissions for user created content.  However, due to the time delay in the posting process, anything that revolves around an active meta game or pricing structure will likely be out of date relatively fast.  I see the most successful articles being linked to how to guides, format information, etc.  More information can be found here.


Editorial Section:

So, I've been working on a theory for a while now.  The theory started when I was looking over Morningtide cards for potential Classic viability.  In a nutshell, I believe you can predict the majority of Classic viable cards based on plugging them into a matrix that gauges the following:
Converted Mana Cost/Alternate Method of Payment/Impact/Relative Power

For example, Shard Volley:
Low CMC, no alternative payment, high impact, medium relative power compared to other available items in it's CMC (Lightning Bolt being the highest power).  Shard Volley is solid burn and has seen top 8 play already.  It is close to Lightning Bolt in the decks that run it.

Next example: (Chameleon Collosus):
Medium CMC, no alt, high impact, medium/low relative power.  In a format that has access to all the creatures on MTGO, Cham. Collosus just doesn't cut the mustard.  He's an unfortunate victim of Swords to Plowshares, Pox, and Smallpox.

The break off point for Classic is about three mana.  Why three mana?  Bananas! that's why.  Why bananas?  Because that :censored: is bananas!  b-a-n-a-n-a-s!  ahem... For Extended, I'd say the cut off point shifts up by one to four mana and yet another one mana for Standard, due to the relative speed and available acceleration of the formats.

Card name Converted Mana Cost Alternate Method of Payment Impact Relative Power (Classic)
Shard Volley 1 1 7 7
Chameleon Collosus 4 4 6 3
Swords to Plowshares 1 1 8 10
Demigod of Revenge 5 5 5 5

Take the lowest cost of the CMC/Alt payment and subtract it from the break off CMC of the format (three, in Classic's case), we'll call this 'lowCMC, then sum the impact and the relative power to other cards.  Then, apply the following: Impact + RP + lowCMC.  If the result is less than 10, you'll likely not see the card in the format.  If it's between ten and fifteen, you'll see it occasionally.  If it's above fiften, expect it to be a main deck inclusion into most decks of the type.  This method of rating seems to rely on some personal preference.  For instance, what if I like Condemn better than Swords because it won me my first draft?  In that case, I'm mis evaluating the card and my numbers will be off accordingly.  So, while this formula helps to evaluate new versions of known cards what about completely new cards?  Surprisingly, there aren't really that many truly new cards out per set.  Looking at Morningtide, there's nothing truly 'new' in the set.  There's Creatures, Lands, burn, removal, enchantments, equipment, etc... all of which have to compete with every other card in their respective formats.  The last 'new' cards were Planeswalkers who have certainly had an impact in Standard and Extended.  I'm waiting to see how they fare in Classic, but I imagine that they're going to remain out of the realm of playability for the most part.

Once a card goes beyond that cut off point with no alternate way to cast it, it almost always loses viability in the respective format.  The major exception to that rule is combo decks.  Dragonstorm, Enduring Ideal, Mind's Desire, Reveilark all break the cardinal rule of mana cost cut off points.  Although in most of those situations there's a way to cheat them out ahead of schedule, usually through mana acceleration.  The other exception is random synergy.  Cards like Phyrexian Dreadnought, on their own, probably wouldn't make the cut.  However, mix in some Stifle-age and you've got yourself a solid threat the brings the beats AND makes you coffee in the morning.  

Does this work for every card, regardless of format?  Of course not.  The intracasies of Magic: the Gathering keep any hard and fast rules from applying to any card comparison.  However, with a bit of thinking and a good baseline of existing cards in a format, you may be surprised at how often you can call out a specific card in a format.

As information on Shadowmoor starts to trickle out I'll pump it through the Ham-o-Tron 2000 to see how it does.  Maybe it'll be awesome, maybe it'll be a complete failure... either way, I'm looking forward to trying it out with cards we get spoiled starting next week!

I can't believe it's not BaCooN!

BaCooN #2 Week 4, Korlash: Back to Basics
A Classic Deck 

1x Grimoire Thief
4x Trinket Mage
4x Drift of Phantasms

Other Spells:
4x Arcane Denial
4x Counterspell
4x Freed from the Real
4x Muddle the Mixture
4x Paradise Mantle
4x Serum Visions
4x Ponder

23x Island
Solemn Simulacrum

I often use the term 'drive by' deck in my walkthroughs to denote a one shot deck that wins game one pretty easily because most decks aren't prepared for it.  I often shy away from them in Cas/Cas unless they have enough disruptable pieces to make them exceptionally fragile.  

While I'm figuring out where I want the BaCooN series to go, I figured I'd provide a 'drive by' deck for you all.  I stumbled upon this combo while perusing the boards on WotC's site (yeah, I'm a filthy netdecker... youwannafightaboutit?).  The combo is this: Paradise Mantle + Grimoire Thief + Freed from the Real.  You tap the Thief to produce Blue mana, thus activiating the mill ability.  Then, you use the blue mana to untap the Thief, repeat about twenty times, and you've won.  Without acceleration it can win on turn four.  Which is a pretty quick win, if your opponent is a goldfish anyway.  If I were making it non-budgetized, I'd run 4x Chrome Mox, 4x Force of Will in there as well.  The reason I'm only running one Thief?  Well, I was planning on this becoming a BaCooN deck, and it may still become one... eventually.  I've played a few games with this deck and it's nerve rattling.  Only having one way to win in the entire deck and no recursion feels a lot like 'pants down' Magic.  But so far, the deck has won almost every game... as expected of a drive by deck, I guess.  The only games I didn't win were when I was either too conservative, or I misclicked and sacrificed the Thief on accident.  D'oh!

I often find myself leaning towards playing control type decks, I especially love Mono Black Control.  I like providing the answers until my opponent runs out of questions, moreso than trying to provide questions and hope my opponent can't answer them.  So playing a combo deck in the Casual room already has me out of my safety bubble.  Add in the very low amount of forgiveness this deck has (one way to win, you have to protect her) and I felt like I needed a valium while playing this deck.  The win also needs you to resolve and attach a few different items, which open it up to enchantment, artifact, and creature removal weaknesses.  That's why I'm running hard counters.  One resolved Disenchant while I'm assembling the win and I'm in a lot of trouble.  One resolved Terror and this deck will lose.  There's no "Plan B".  Eek.

All in all though, I liked this deck.  It was a heart-pounding, gut-wrenching, nerve-wracking experience for me to be so far out of my comfort zone.  And it was a blast.  If you don't play combo decks often (or ever), I'd recommend it as it's an easy combo deck to play and opens your eyes to another way of playing the game.  To drop the price even further you could run Mana Leak's instead of Counterspells.  With that change the combo deck as listed is about 5 tickets or so.  If you want to increase the number of Grimoire Thiefs to three, you'd be looking at about 8 tickets for the whole deck.  A pretty cheap experiment into the world of Combos, all things considered.  

Server Log In Availability:


Card Price Fluctuations:
First up, the handy-dandy movers and shakers guide!
Card name: Amount Changed Percentage Changed Final Price
Mutavault $3.75 22.06% $20.75
Collective Restraint $1.00 7.27% $14.75
Wooded Foothills $1.00 10.00% $11.00
Adarkar Wastes $1.00 26.67% $4.75
Adarkar Wastes $0.75 20.00% $4.50
Manabarbs $0.75 27.27% $3.50
Secluded Glen $0.75 27.27% $3.50
Gilt-Leaf Palace $0.75 30.00% $3.25
Bitterblossom $0.50 3.57% $14.50
Hallowed Fountain $0.50 3.70% $14.00
Entomb $0.50 8.33% $6.50
Countryside Crusher $0.50 9.09% $6.00
Mycosynth Golem $0.50 10.00% $5.50
Rude Awakening $0.50 14.29% $4.00
Sundering Titan $0.50 14.29% $4.00
Card name: Amount Changed Percentage Changed Final Price
Vindicate -$7.00 -13.46% $45.00
Vedalken Shackles -$4.00 -16.33% $20.50
Undermine -$2.50 -11.36% $19.50
Rith, the Awakener -$2.25 -20.93% $8.50
Polluted Delta -$2.00 -14.29% $12.00
Arcbound Ravager -$2.00 -10.67% $16.75
Meddling Mage -$2.00 -5.88% $32.00
Mirari's Wake -$1.50 -20.00% $6.00
Treva, the Renewer -$1.50 -16.67% $7.50
Bloodstained Mire -$1.50 -13.04% $10.00
Blazing Specter -$1.25 -11.36% $9.75
Burning Wish -$1.25 -7.04% $16.50
Haunting Echoes -$1.25 -7.04% $16.50
Darigaaz, the Igniter -$1.00 -20.00% $4.00
Murmuring Bosk -$1.00 -20.00% $4.00
Card name: Amount Changed Percentage Changed Final Price
Oona's Blackguard -$0.50 -35.00% $0.90
Stromgald Crusader -$0.50 -25.00% $1.00
Dodecapod -$0.25 -25.00% $1.75
Persuasion -$0.25 -15.00% $0.50
Spell Snare -$0.25 -15.00% $0.50
Card name: Amount Changed Percentage Changed Final Price
Ghitu Encampment $0.35 53.85% $1.00
Harmonize $0.25 14.29% $2.00
Mind Stone $0.10 11.11% $1.00
Undead Warchief $0.10 25.00% $0.50
Ebony Owl Netsuke $0.10 25.00% $0.50

And what good would a movers/shakers list be without the charts?  None good, that what.

Some thing of definite interest to me is that we have finally fallen to a price per card that is lower than it was at the start of the year.  I'll be interested in seeing where this goes if/when V3 launches and we start to get new blood in the system.
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.  Since WotC has no control over what PayPal does they're stuck until PayPal gets it fixed.

PayPal issues


Bug Fixes:
Again, a big 'thank you' to Solice, WotC_Eric, and Dhuse for getting a hold of this information and posting it with the Server Maintenance thread.  
  • Boldwyr Heavyweights search is now optional.
  • Rhox now deals damage when it is not blocked.
  • Game no longer crashes when Hinder is used to counter a spell while Guile is in play.
  • Fix for Spawnbroker targeting.

Bug fixes:
  • Stinkdrinker Bandit no longer produces phantom triggers after killing an attacking unblocked rogue.
  • Lignify does not remove protection from Elves (Nath's Buffoon can be destroyed by elf spells).
  • Stenchskipper no longer triggers (heads to GY) when only it and Boggart Shenanigans are in play.
  • Updated 'Recent Sets' to be MOR, LRW, WL (In collections, scroll down tab)
  • Implemented a fix for a bug reported on technical forums here: http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1003545 (Thank you for taking the time to report!!) Copying an effect that refers to the power of the source of the effect no longer crashes the game.
  • Fix for kinship triggers not doing anything if kinship source is killed before the trigger resolves.

Chains of Mephistopheles + Anvil of Bogardan/Forced Card Draw:
01-25-08 through  02-27-08:
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. 
03-14-08 Update: Chains should now be functioning properly.

Eyes of the Wisent tokens:
12-28-07 to Morningtide Release
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.
03-14-08 Update: These tokens should now be produced correctly.

Shah of Naar Isle No card draw:
The fix is going out with the 3/12 update.

Collective Restraint / Ghostly Prison Crashing games
Fixed with the Morningtide updates.

A Lignify'd Thoughtweft Trio can no longer block more than one creature.

Stonehewer Giant now shuffles your library only once.

Rhox now always asks it's controller about how to deal it's damage. Previously, it could ask another play

Fix for bug with Bridge from Below.

Fix for bug with Stalking Vengeance
Bug Complaints:
Stomping Slabs Not working when cast targetting an opponent:
According to this: http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1006714, Stomping Slabs only allows sepukku.  Which would have been an interesting red card for the Kamigawa block, but seems out of place in the happy world of Lorwyn.

Mutavault + Elvish Champion not pumping the Vault
As reported here: http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1007524. Mutavault is currently not getting the bonus from the Champion like it should.

Body Double + Vesuvan Shapeshifter:
Reported here, these two don't interact well together.  Beware!
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.
Thieves' Auction only returning one permanent:

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.
Shielding Plax + Targeting:

11-30-07 through Current:
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. 

Update: this is currently being investigated by the devs for a fix.  I don't have any ETA as to when it wil be resolved, but rumor has it that this is in the works as we speak.


So I've kept up the new Ham Jones charts for Standard, Extended and Classic, as well as the price per card average.  How are those charts looking for information so far?  Good?  Bad?  Useful?  Are there any other charts that I can create from weekly data that would be of interest?  



by OKCoyote at Sat, 03/29/2008 - 15:02
OKCoyote's picture

Just a correction to your Announcement section - I believe Planar Chaos redemption, like Lorwyn redemption, is also back online now.


Bug spotting by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 03/29/2008 - 19:21
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

I crashed a commander game last week simply by attacking with a Tornado Elemental and trying to assign its damage onto the blocking player. Talk about 1,5 hours wasted. :(

just noticed by ArtistX at Fri, 03/28/2008 - 18:44
ArtistX's picture

I also noticed that "Pemmin's Aura" is vastly superior to "Freed from the Real" as it protects Thief (at the same cost)

Bug: Bannerets + Morph by SypherSun (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 03/29/2008 - 07:29
SypherSun (Unregistered)'s picture

We in the pauper community have had problems with a different bug: the Banneret cycle reduces the cost to play a morph of the appropriete type, wich it shouldn't do. Apperently this is a very old bug, but it has now affected PDC Standard.

by ArtistX at Fri, 03/28/2008 - 18:26
ArtistX's picture

it would be a simple matter to update your BaCooN deck with counterbalance/top engine.... and make it even more broken... since your running  both trinket mage and muddle...... as combos go it's pretty simple and not that bad....

I like combo decks myself it's heavy counters to support it that take it out of my comfort zone... =/ 

by DRAGONDUNG at Fri, 03/28/2008 - 10:34
DRAGONDUNG's picture

I would be interested in some referance points on the charts like Lor release Mor release.