Magic Online Musings: This Week on MTGO #13

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Blisterguy takes stock of the series so far, and presents new readers with an explanation of all those weird numbers… He also takes us through a 175-player MTGO Premier Event.

First, let’s address a complaint I have received.

Dear Sir,
As much as I delight in your unparalleled humor and uniquely indifferent views on the comings and goings of modern day society, I have to say the multitudes of seemingly meaningless numbers and lists in your writings serve more to confuse than inform me. If you could perhaps take the time to include some form of detailed explanation with your offerings, I’m sure it would please not only myself, but also anyone else who takes particular enjoyment from you on StarCityGames on Wednesdays.

Somewhat Bewildered

But, uh, that left me somewhat bewildered myself. I mean, there were a lot of long words in there, miss, and we’re naught but humble pirates. I asked Craig to run it through the famous StarCityGames interneriz0r, which is what we use to prepare our articles for you each day, and came up with a translation for us humble pirates.

‘Sup Blister, You do a good job buddy, it’s true, but I’m thinking you have forgotten that not everyone reads your stuffs every week. If fact, there’s a chance that some peeps who will read this stuff in the future may not have been reading from the start, savvy? And they may not know what all of those weird numbers mean, right? Right, so you might want to explain yourself a little each week. Just a thought.

Cheers bro.

Hmm, no, I still didn’t get it. Craig? Once more through the interneriz0r if you could, my good man.


Oh right, I see what you’re saying, good point, and so on. This week I will give you a break on the endless numbers and provide short explanations for future use in future articles in, you know, the future. This is beneficial for a couple of reasons, the first being that, as mentioned above, I had kinda forgotten that the info and the way I present it had gotten both complicated and simplified at the same time, to the point where some people were left scratching their heads. The other reason being that the numbers are basically reading much the same as last week, and the week before that, and the week before that. Any further back than that, and my memories start to go a little fuzzy.

On top of that, there was a 175-player Standard tournament a couple of days ago, which probably sums everything up anyway. We’ll have a dig through that Top 8 after the brief numbers tutorial, just for gits and shiggles.

So first of all, when reading one of these articles, you’ll usually stumble across something that looks like this.

20 (15) Hand in Hand (Orzhov Aggro.) 31.25% (31.25%)
9 (5) Izzetron (Blue/Red Urzatron.) 14.06% (10.41%)

The “20” next to Hand in Hand tells us how many times a Hand in Hand deck appeared in the Top 8s of the Magic Online Premier Events held in the last week. The (15) tells us that it only appeared 15 times the week before that. Because some weeks more events are held than other weeks, the percentage of the total field (this week and last) is provided after the short description of the deck. So in this case, while we saw fewer Hand in Hand decks the week before, they still accounted for the same amount of the field. Oh, how did I get the percentages? Well, if there were eight (for instance) Top 8s, then there were 64 different Top 8 decks across that week. Any deck that appears 20 times out of 64 happens to take up 31.25% of the field. Simple!


Well, I hope so anyway.

Now, the next pile of random numbers that will confront you most weeks will look something like this:

Early Harvest 4-6 (4-6)
Birds of Paradise 4-6 (4-5)
Greater Good 2-3 (2-3)
Heartbeat of Spring 4-6 (4-6)

This is where we track the prices of cards on Magic Online. Because most buying and selling is done using Tickets as currency, the value of a card can be expressed as a single numeral. But why, may you ask, are there two numbers? You see, most buying and selling is done on the Message Board found in the Trading Post. People either advertise that they are looking to buy a card, or that they are looking to sell a card.

If everyone was buying and selling the cards at the same price, then all transactions would be processed right then and there, and the Message Board would be a lonely, empty place. Instead, there are people willing to wait. If they’re willing to wait to sell a card, they will advertise that they are looking to sell it for X. If they’re looking to buy one, they advertise that they’re buying it for Y. It all comes down to convenience. If you want to buy the card now for that Premier Event starting in five minutes, you’ll end up paying X. If you want to sell the card now to get the Tickets together to play in another draft as soon as possible, then you’re gonna be selling that card for Y.

So in the example above, people are offering to pay 4 Tickets to take a Birds of Paradise off your hands, but if you want to buy one, you’ll have to pay 6. In the same way at the Premier Events results, the numbers in parenthesis are for the week before. In this case, you’re paying more for a Birds of Paradise this week than you would have the week before. It has been bolded to show that there was a change in price (up or down) from last week to this one.

Okay, there you have it. I guess Craig can somehow hyperlink to this part in future to save us copying and pasting it all over the place like some kind of bad gimmick. Because as we all know, I am not a man who uses gimmicks!




Damnit! Now, let’s go check out the Top 8 of that 175-player tournament!

After the smoke of the Swiss rounds had cleared, eight people stood tall as having made it through the playoffs. I’m sure other people somehow managed to stand out for other reasons, but they were not joining these people in playing off for the 4x prizes.

JoelG — Zoo
Aegis HK2 — Magnivore
chen_ge — Hand in Hand
supakitchar — Izzetron
Svyatogor — Hand in Hand
Russian Playa — Hand in Hand
Rorix_RJ — Izzet Control
Vainis — Dimir Control

On the first table, Aegis HK2 tried to keep JoelG on the back foot with an early Eye to Nowhere on a land. However, JoelG’s Zoo inhabitants don’t take too many mana to play, and he was soon beating Aegis HK2 into submission with an Umezawa’s Jitte’d Watchwolf. In game 2, Aegis HK2 finally appeared to be getting into the game once he Volcanic Hammered JoelG’s Kird Ape and Mana Leaked his Paladin en-Vec on the same turn. Unfortunately, he couldn’t continue stopping JoelG’s threats, and after a nice Bathe in Light countering a double Pyroclasm, JoelG was up 2-0.

Meanwhile, chen_ge was taking advantage of supakitchar’s inability to complete his Tron set and was throwing as many small Black and White creatures into the breach. Supakitchar finally succumbed to his lackluster draw and decided to have a go at game 2, only to see chen_ge mercilessly attack his hand with Ravenous Rats, Shrieking Grotesque, Okiba-Gang Shinobi, Castigate, Distress and Cranial Extraction, while filling up on gas from a sideboarded Phyrexian Arena. It took a while, but supakitchar bowed out as well.

Svyatogor and Russian Playa went Hand in Hand with their deck choice (lolol I kill me!), resulting in a mirror match grind the likes of which nobody wishes to be in. Russian Playa managed to claim game 1 by eventually flying over with a pair of Shrieking Grotesques, only to be overpowered by Svyatogor’s Ghost Council of Orzhova backed by a small army in game 2. Svyatogor managed to bring an army again in game 3, this time with more Umezawa’s Jittes than Russian Playa could muster.

For the final table, Rorix_RJ and Vainis made it a battle of the Islands. Both players played out quite a few lands, and while Rorix_RJ complimented his Islands with Mountains, Vainis walked the quieter path, reviving the Dimir with his Black mana. Both players played spells and had them countered, until the big bombs started dropping. There were Melokus and Keigas and even Niv-Mizzet came out to play, the later taking game 1 home for Rorix_RJ. In game 2, Vainis got a relatively early (turn 8) Jushi Apprentice to stick, and just plain outdrew Rorix_RJ to force the match into the final game. Vainis again got to keep a Jushi going long enough to win the late game. The decisive play no doubt being Vainis’s Disrupting Shoal on Rorix_RJ’s attempt at a turn 2 Jushi on the play.

JoelG — Zoo
Svyatogor — Hand in Hand
chen_ge — Hand in Hand
Vainis — Dimir Control

In the semis, JoelG crushed Svyatogor in two straight thanks to the awesome power of the Jitte. Svyatogor even conceded game 2 on 20 life thanks to JoelG having a Jitte in play and a Paladin en-Vec on the stack. Vainis took his match in two as well, again having the Jushi out early in game 1, and by owning game 2 with the Meloku / Keiga combo.

JoelG — Zoo
Vainis — Dimir Control

And what an exciting final it was! Down the to line, JoelG and his Zoo successfully finished game 1 with a Char, despite Vainis appearing to have main deck Threads of Disloyalty technology all up in there. Vainis boldly took back game 2 with some hot, hot Last Gasp, Repeal, and Ribbons of Night action, topping his curve off with Meloku like any self-respecting Blue mage would. Game 3 went much the same way, with Vainis again managing to get JoelG’s soldiers under control, but chose to finish it this time with Keiga, the Tide Star.

So it’s grats to Vainis, who not only won a 175-player tournament, but also did it with a deck that most people have given up for dead.

Until next week my good, good people (especially with BBQ sauce…) take care!



(no gimmicks here, honestly!)