Magic Online Musings: This Week on MTGO #10

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Blisterguy dodges bullets in his quest for online statistics, and brings us the best and worst of the price changes in the MTGO marketplace. Invaluable stuff for fans of electrical cards.

I was feeling bad for a moment there. For some reason I was under the impression that I had promised to talk about Magic Online leagues this week, but after checking over last week’s edition, I see that I had mentioned it as a possibility in the future, so I’m somewhat off the hook!

I bet you’re curious about what it actually is I have to talk about instead of leagues, aren’t you? Yes you are, don’t deny it. You know you want to know what it is that I know, and if you knew what I knew you would know that it’s true! Unfortunately, what I know at any given time can be summed up in something like three hundred words or less. That’s why I get the Magic Online column dedicated to following some trends or another and full of a bunch of numbers, ‘cept half the time I can’t remember what those are either. Oh calamity!

Oh no, now I feel bad. With all of that buildup you’d think I had something special in store for you all this week. No, the only think special in store this week are the Visions packs, which happen to contain Goblin Swine-Riders. I have a collection of well over 600 of these pieces of trash in real life, and I suspect I’ll be able to reach and perhaps even surpass that number online.

(Just before we go any further, you’re dreaming if you think I’m gonna pay for them. I have paid for roughly zero of those actual cardboard ones, and I don’t see any reason to break the habit now.)

{y} Accepting donations of Goblin Swine-Riders… no, seriously {y}

Anyway, let me just explain how this little inferior Goblin fetish came about. Way back in the day when I first started playing the Magic Cards, people used to pack the first few pages of their binders with multiple copies of some special card that took their fancy. It was all “oh look at my three pages of Serra Angels” and “ooh, that’s nothing, I have over a hundred Sengir Vampires” with a touch of “oh really?” and “yeah really”.

In their defense, this did help add the much-needed weight to everyone’s binders. This meant we had at least half a chance when it came to beating back the dinosaurs, saber-toothed octogenarians, and previous StarCityGames.com editors such as the Ferrett, Omeed Dariani, and William Shakespeare. But yeah, with everyone poncing about with their mystical collections of noobiness, I couldn’t resist the golden opportunity to you know, take the piss. I went home in search of the worst, most valueless card possible, and the little piggy that really couldn’t was the best (worst?) I could find.

When I fronted up at the card store with my saber-teeth scarred binder and announced, “Oh look at my three pages of OMG Goblin Swine-Riders,” everyone said, “hey, that’s awesome, have all of mine.” I thought uh-oh, while countless others chimed in with “yeah, have mine too!”

What monster had I created? What fell beast had I unwittingly unleashed upon an unsuspecting and undeserving world? Oh noes!”

So yeah, that’s how it started, and that’s why people give me Swine-Riders.

But that’s still not what I planned to talk about today. Then again, I have trouble remembering the last time I stayed on this planet mentally, let alone on topic. The first thing I want to talk about is my friend Mike. Most of you won’t know Mike, but some of you who assume you don’t know Mike because Mike and I live in New Zealand are actually wrong. You may be surprised to know that Mike moved here last year from Little Rock Arkansas, where he ran “the GameRoom” at the “Family Games Center” or something like that. Anyway, Mike Rodieck, also known as “Tall Mike” because he stands far too close to seven foot tall, entered the New Zealand No Limit Hold ‘em Champs this past weekend and walked away in third place with something like $14,000 (US) to his name. Sure, it’s no David Williams or Jon Finkel type finish, but we’re all awfully proud of him, and he wanted to give mad props and shout outs to his homeys back in Ah-Kansas.

(Those of you who didn’t and don’t know Mike can tune back in now.)

But wait, there’s more! … to come after the metagame snapshot. Haha, what a tease I am! Now, I thought it best to explain why I’m not going more in depth these days, as far as who managed to struggle to the top of each Top 8 pile. You see, to make the Top 8, you usually need at least X-1-1, and that takes at the very least a good deck. To make the finals, you need some good match ups and perhaps a touch of luck, and to be quite honest, that’s not overly relevant for metagaminess type stuff.

11 (22) Hand in Hand (Black/White Aggro Control with rat-like elements) 19.64% (30.35%)
9 (8) Heartbeat Combo (The token combo deck based around Heartbeat of Spring and Early Harvest) 16.07% (11.11%)
8 (1) Zoo (Green/White/Red Aggro. One of the oldest ever aggressive decks, no seriously) 14.28% (1.38%)
6 (11) Magnivore (Blue/Red Magnivore and Wildfire and Sorceries oh my!) 10.71% (15.27%)
5 (0) Izzetron (Blue/Red Urzatron) 8.92% (0.00 %)
4 (2) Orzhov Husk (Black/White Aggro with Nantuko Husk and Promise of Bunrei) 7.14% (2.77%)
3 (5) Ghost Dad (Black/White Tallowisp that Ben Goodman is no longer talking about) 5.35% (6.94%)
2 (6) Gruul Beats (Red/Green Aggro, grrr!) 3.57% (8.33%)
2 (2) Owling Mine (Blue/Red with Howling Mine and Ebony Owl Netsuke) 3.57% (2.77%)
2 (1) Boros Deck Wins (White/Red Aggro) 3.57% (1.38%)
1 (5) GhaziGood (Selesnya with a touch of Greater Good) 1.78% (6.94%)
1 (2) GhaziGlare (Selesnya with Glare of Subdual to taste) 1.78% (2.77%)
1 (1) Hierarch Control (Green/White/Black Control) 1.78% (1.38%)
1 (1) Angel/Weirding (Blue/White/Red Control with Zur’s Weirding and Firemane Angel) 1.78% (1.38%)
0 (2) Orzhov Control (Black/White Control) 0.00% (2.77%)
0 (1) Dimirtron (Blue/Black Urzatron) 0.00% (1.38%)
0 (1) Critical Mass (That Blue/Green Aggro Control) 0.00% (1.38%)
0 (1) Sea Stompy (Green/Red/Blue Aggro Control) 0.00% (1.38%)

Only 56 decks this week, against 72 last week. In other words, nine premier events down to seven, thanks to a Prismatic and a Tribal Wars and a couple of Extended events having a wee turn in the sandpit. Heartbeat has experienced a real surge in numbers, and the Gruul Beats decks are getting all messy with their mana again by shifting back to Zoo mode this week. The last four decks being no-shows might be an indication of a general focusing of the metagame, or could just be the slow week. I guess we’ll know eventually. You know, once this season is basically over and it’s no longer something anyone cares about.

Now, before we talk about prices, I want to touch on a subject that Robert Young wrote in about. Robert, or “hellkite” as he is known online, thought it prudent that I touch on the subject of Magic Online Store coupons, and how to spend them. And by crikey jingos and small ice creams that aren’t really enough to sate your need for a dairy treat so you need another one, he’s right!

Now as most of you know, when you buy your Magic Online account, it comes with a coupon for the same value you just spent. But that’s not the end of the coupons, on noes! If you happen to be playing in an event that cost you boosters and or tickets and the server crashes because, you know, that happens sometimes with online games, you can request a refund for the entry fee of the tournament. I can never remember how you do it, but if you click on the “Moderators & Support Staff” button in the main room slash lobby slash first thing you see when you log in under “Expert Player View,” you can just ask the helpful staff in there. They’ll no doubt have a copy and paste answer for you.

Once you get your coupon, you can head on over to the Magic Online store and spend up large! But the values of everything for sale in that there store aren’t as they seem. The basis for comparison starts of course, with the humble Ticket, which is one dollar. The Ticket is the base currency on Magic Online, and people use them to buy and sell cards and Boosters and other miscellaneous items of interest.

You’ll have noticed that the card prices listed below are listen in whole numbers, because Tickets don’t come in fractions. So while a Ticket costs one dollar at the store, a Booster pack costs $3.69 and that doesn’t divide particularly well into Tickets at all. Unfortunately, Boosters are often sold in groups of three, so while they are slightly better than flat out buying Tickets, you can do better.

A Tournament Pack, or Starter as most of us know them, are seldom sold in groups. Not only that, they’re also not given as tournament prizes and therefore the only way to get them is through the store, or by buying one from someone who has been to the store. A Starter sells for $11.29 at the store, and the buy price starts at 12 Tickets on the message board. The trick is to check which Starter is selling for more and get that. For instance, Mirage Starts are sitting at 13-14 at the moment. Choosing to sell it to someone advertising to buy, or putting up your own sell message and waiting for someone to come to you is really up to you, but it’s always better than just plain buying Tickets.

However, a smart person will notice that Tickets aren’t given away as prizes either, and are constantly being eaten up by tournament entry fees. That means that there are tons of people out there buying Tickets from the store and releasing them into the wild. I guess it’s a good thing that the majority of people who play Magic stick to just that, and don’t bother with websites such as this. This can be our little secret, k?


Anyhoo, prices.

Howling Mine 3-4 (3-4)
Pithing Needle 18-20 (17-20)
Umezawa’s Jitte 9-11 (9-11)

In strange and unusual breaking news, some guy was trying to sell a Jitte for 12! Everyone else still had the rest of them at 11, obviously.

Cranial Extraction 6-8 (6-8)
Dark Confidant 3-4 (3-4)
Kokusho, the Evening Star 6-8 (6-8)
Phyrexian Arena 2-4 (2-4)

Kagemaro has been deleted from the list for now, because it seems that nobody is playing straight up Blue/Black control at the moment. Several people are starting to price Phyrexian Arena and Dark Confidant up at 5, and while I don’t think Arena will climb to that permanently, I do think the Confidant will.

Gifts Ungiven 4-6 (4-6)
Kami of the Crescent Moon 4-6 (4-6)
Keiga, the Tide Star 3-5 (4-5)
Meloku, the Clouded Mirror 4-6 (4-6)

Loxodon Hierarch 4-5 (4-5)
Ghost Council of the Orzhova 6-8 (7-9)
Rumbling Slum 3-4 (3-5)
Giant Solifuge 5-7 (6-8)
Burning-Tree Shaman 6-8 (7-8)

Arashi, Sky Asunder 4-5 (4-6)
Birds of Paradise 4-6 (4-6)
Greater Good 2-4 (2-4)
Heartbeat of Spring 4-7 (—)
Early Harvest 4-7 (—)

The important rares from the Heartbeat combo deck are leaping up in value as popularity of the deck skyrockets. The sell prices and buy prices are ranging wildly, as people are trying to buy them up quicker than people are realizing they have a bunch of them in the back of their virtual binders.

Char 3-5 (4-5)
Magnivore 2-4 (3-4)
Wildfire 2-4 (3-4)

Isamaru, Hound of Konda 3-4 (3-4)
Wrath of God 9-12 (9-11)
Yosei, the Morning Star 3-5 (3-5)
Paladin en-Vec 6-8 (5-8)

It seems that the number of people actually selling Wrath of God is dropping, and therefore the price is up a little. The Paladin is continuing to increase, on the grounds that Protection from Targeted Removal, First Striking guys are apparently very good in this format. Mind you, that’s probably Umezawa’s Jitte’s fault more than anything else. I though Paladins were s’posed to wield Maces and stuff?


Forge[/author]“]Battlefield [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author] 6-8 (6-8)
Brushland 5-7 (5-7)
Llanowar Wastes 5-7 (6-8)
Shivan Reef 10-12 (10-12)
Underground River 4-6 (5-7)
Yavimaya Coast 6-7 (6-8)
Karplusan Forest 6-8 (5-7)
Caves of Koilos 9-11 (9-11)
Adarkar Wastes 6-8 (6-8)
Sulfurous Springs 5-7 (5-7)

Overgrown Tomb 6-8 (6-8)
Sacred Foundry 6-7 (6-7)
Temple Garden 6-8 (6-8)
Watery Grave 6-7 (6-7)
Stomping Ground11-13 (11-13)
Steam Vents 12-13 (12-13)
Godless Shrine 13-14 (13-15)

It’s interesting to see that Adarkar Wastes is holding its value as if the corresponding Dual Land was already available. Does anyone else get the feeling that this one will be jumping up in price quite suddenly within the next month? It’s also good to see what I hope is the start of a drop in price for Godless Shrine. That thing is way too high, and surely can’t hold that value forever.

Anyway, Craig is pestering me to turn this one in, so turn it in I shall! I’ll catch with you all next week.