Magic Online Musings: This Week on MTGO #29

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Blisterguy ponders the online metagame, the electronic prices of cards, and Frank Karsten’s new column. He also brings us an update on his plans to burn an Umezawa’s Jitte…

(This week’s column is brought to you by the melodious sounds of Underworld’s “Beaucoup Fish,” Strapping Young Lad’s “The New Black,” and “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.”)

Right, let’s sort the buyers from the spyers, the needy from the greedy, and those who trust me from the ones who don’t.

Good day to you all, or evening or morning or whatever it is where you are right now. Gosh, isn’t that just the draw back of a written medium for expressing communicative behavior? I can’t really tailor what I want to say to suit regional climates, tastes, trends and or opinions. Not to worry though… I’ve got one of those cool World War II tanks that have like a bridge on the back, so I’m going to be able to get over it, no problems there.

I was pleasantly surprised by Frank Karsten’s article last week on MagictheGathering.com. My initial fears that he was just going to present whatever it is that I do over here but over there – and ten times better – were apparently unfounded. Instead, he seems to have the ability to extract decklists from (I assume) the replay database or something, and is giving excellent in-depth analysis on them. This should leave me to total up replays as usual and perhaps give a bit of snapshot of what’s happening across the board in Standard on Magic Online. With any luck, we’ll both go on without stepping on anybody’s toes.

One thing that was brought up between Karsten’s column, and the forum discussion attached to it, was that everyone seems somewhat ravenous for information on Extended. This is a sentiment that has appeared here on the StarCityGames.com forums too. Actually, this seems particularly cruel of me, as you Extended fans out there are probably fizzing over about the possibility of more Extendedness. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that Extended isn’t nearly as popular as Standard.

If Extended were the format receiving full coverage, and Standard the one that was languishing off to one side somewhat, the public outcry would be far more than what we see now. That said, once the Extended PTQ season rolls around again, I plan to start opening up the Extended replays, and I assume Karsten will do the same if not sooner. However, I’m not entirely sure there are any Extended PTQ seasons any time in the near future.

… sigh…

Speaking of Standard, after last week’s influx of Coldsnap Release Events, the Standard Premier Events are back for me to track. Usually the number in brackets is the number of times the deck appeared in a Top 8 last week, but this time it’s obviously from two weeks ago. A National Championship or two has flowed under the Super Cool World War II Tank Bridge since then, and that has had some effect on the Online Metagame.

11 (11) Solar Flare (Blue/Black/White Control)
9 (6) Simic Snake Aggro Control (Green/Blue)
6 (9) Izzetron (Blue/Red Urzatron Control)
5 (4) Heartbeat (Heartbeat of Spring/Early Harvest Combo)
5 (1) Simic Erayo Ninja (The mBracht special)
4 (11) Magnivore (Blue/Red Land Destruction Control)
4 (11) Hand in Hand (Black/White Aggro Control)
4 (1) Satanic Sligh (LOL, Rakdos Burn from Karsten’s article)
4 (1) Unknown (wtf come on people, hit F2 and you pass priority, I know you can do this)
3 (0) Ghost Dad (Black/White Tallowisp Aggro)
3 (0) Blue/Black/White Control (but not Solar Flare, because flipping over a Dwagon with Bob is Bad Times)
2 (2) Sea Stompy (Green/Red/Blue Aggro Control)
2 (1) Zoo (Green/White/Red Aggro)
2 (0) Green/Black/Red Aggro Control (Golgari/Rakdos/Gruul Aggro Control)
2 (0) Dimir Control
1 (3) Gruul Beats (Green/Red Aggro)
1 (2) Simic Aggro Control (Blue/Green)
1 (1) Boros Deck Wins (Red/White Aggro)
1 (1) Azorius Control (Blue/White Control)
1 (1) Mono Green (a different guy this time!)
1 (0) Golgari Aggro Control
1 (0) Golgari Control
1 (0) Ghost Husk (Orzhov Aggro with Nantuko Husk and Promise of Bunrei)
1 (0) Izzetron Splash Green (For Simic Sky Swallower Rawr)
1 (0) Green/Blue/White Aggro Control (Or am I s’posed to call it Simic/Selesnya/Azorius Aggro Control? I dunno)
1 (0) Green/Blue/White Control (No, I think I’ll leave it as is. It won a game versus Heartbeat with a Biorhythm though, that was pretty funny)
1 (0) Dimir Snow Control (Blue/Black with Scrying Sheets and Phyrexian Ironfoot)
1 (0) White/Red/Black Aggro (Pallys, Bobs, and Rakdos Guildmage)
1 (0) Mono Blue Snow Control (Also with Ironfoot and Sheets)
0 (3) Selesnya Aggro Control (Green/White Aggro Control)
0 (2) Dimirtron (Blue/Black Urzatron)
0 (1) Mono Red Burn (With Howling Mines – yes, really)

Solar Flare is still going strong, but that could just be momentum at this point, with the many flavors of Simic Aggro control decks prancing about and taking names in the process. The solitary Rakdos Burn deck that showed up two weeks ago has since won Øyvind Andersen the Norwegian Nationals, and has subsequently been published on MagictheGathering.com, causing it to suddenly show up in numbers that actually count.

The introduction of Coldsnap seems to have gone pretty much as people expected it too, feeding the Snake decks the Ohran Viper and giving rise to a Snow Deck archetype. The exact nature of how a Snow Deck should appear is somewhat up in the air at this point, but the general consensus is that Phyrexian Ironfoot holds the ground perfectly, and Scrying Sheets fuels the deck perfectly. The Golgari Control deck that appears in that list was also using Hibernation’s End, although it was hard to tell if it was having a great deal of success with it or not. After playing it out, they fetched a Birds of Paradise and then a Sakura-Tribe Elder. Plenty of mana, but yeah, how long until they actually manage to bring out something that has any semblance of impact on the board position? Who knows?

Speaking of Coldsnap, let’s bring out the card prices a little earlier in the article than usual. I have to admit, that this part of the column is both the most time consuming and my least favorite part. We’ll discuss our options on that front at a later date. Suffice to say, I suspect that the prices of these cards are failing to shift enough to maintain people’s interest.

The numbers shown, for instance, as 2-4, are the price people are buying the card for, followed by the price people are selling the card for. The prices shown in parenthesis, like this (2-4), are the prices from last week. If a card and its prices have been bolded, it’s because there has been a change in price from the week before to help you differentiate those cards from the others that are a little more… static in their movements. Card prices are in tickets, because that’s what most people buy and sell with on Magic Online. Also note that prices can fluctuate based on the time of day as well, depending on just how many people are online selling at the time. Due to my uniquely antipodean location down here in the Pacific and my tendency to hold down a regular nine to five job, the prices below end up being more of a general indication of what’s going on than an exact science.

Pithing Needle 12-16 (14-16)
Umezawa’s Jitte 7-8 (7-9)

Cranial Extraction 3-6 (4-6)
Dark Confidant 3-4 (3-4)
Persecute 1-2 (1-2)

Hooookay, Persecute is going nowhere. Quite a few people are selling them for 3, but plenty of people still have them at 2, so yeah.

Meloku the Clouded Mirror 3-4 (3-5)
Keiga, the Tide Star 3-5 (3-5)

Simic Sky Swallower 3-6 (4-6)
Voidslime 3-5 (3-5)
Giant Solifuge 2-4 (3-4)
Loxodon Hierarch 3-4 (3-4)
Burning-Tree Shaman 2-3 (2-3)
Ghost Council of Orzhova 1-3 (2-3)

Ohran Viper 5-7 (—)
Birds of Paradise 4-5 (4-5)

I’m thinking the Viper could go either way from here as far as it’s price is concerned.

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

Wrath of God 9-11 (9-11)
Paladin en-Vec 6-7 (5-7)
Adarkar Valkyrie 2-4 (—)
Yosei, the Morning Star 3-4 (3-5)

Scrying Sheets 4-6 (—)
Breeding Pool 12-14 (12-13)
Hallowed Fountain 9-11 (9-11)
Shivan Reef 8-9 (8-10)
Steam Vents 7-9 (8-10)
Godless Shrine 7-9 (7-9)
Blood Crypt 6-8 (7-8)
Stomping Ground 6-7 (6-8)
Yavimaya Coast 6-7 (5-7)
Caves of Koilos 5-7 (5-7)
Temple Garden 5-6 (5-6)
Watery Grave 5-6 (5-6)
Overgrown Tomb 5-6 (5-6)
Sacred Foundry 5-6 (5-6)
Forge[/author]“]Battlefield [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author] 3-6 (3-5)
Karplusan Forest 4-5 (3-5)
Adarkar Wastes 3-5 (4-5)
Underground River 3-5 (3-4)
Llanowar Wastes 3-4 (3-5)
Brushland 3-4 (3-5)
Sulfurous Springs 2-4 (2-4)

Last week I mentioned that I would touch on the Magic Online Price Increase scheduled to take effect October 6th this year. The only problem with that is the fact that I feel it will mean very little to the Magic Online secondary market. The only real difference I foresee at this point is the fact that a Booster Pack with now cost the same as four tickets at the online store. This should mean that people’s buy price for Boosters would now go up to four tickets each instead of three. But the fact that people sell their excess tickets on eBay at around 85% to 95% discount shows that the value of a ticket drops once it reaches Magic Online, that is if you ever wish to convert it back to “real” money. So all in all, it could mean sweet eff all.

And now to the final issue of this evening/morning/day/season’s column; What to Burn Next? You’ll have no doubt noticed that there were no pictures of cards suffering a fiery death this week, and for that I apologize. The fact of the matter is, nothing has displeased me greatly enough for me to bust out the matches. When prompted for suggestions, forum-denizen aultsimb suggested that I burn an Umezawa’s Jitte. This in itself seems like a pretty good idea, and I know that many of you would love to see the Legendary Equipment go up in flames. I’m just a little concerned that it would leave me one short of a playset and feeling pretty silly if an Extended Season did happen to pop up out of nowhere to take me by surprise.

However, I suspect there is no better way to see the Jitte off once Time Spiral becomes Standard Legal and quietly shunts Kamigawa block off to one side, so there will be an exemplary burning of an Umezawa’s Jitte at some point. In fact, I’ll see if I can’t get a hold of a Foil one, seeing as Foils seem to burn so well. Maybe I’ll even take this Foil Jitte out for a wee adventure and document it, photo-essay style, before it succumbs to the Flames of Righteous Combustible Retribution.

Anyway, one step at a time, I’ll need to acquire a Foil Jitte before I can attempt any of that kind of thing. I’ll leave you dreading the mere idea of it for now. I guess, until next week, don’t leave anything lying around that you’d be particularly offended about if it somehow managed to “accidentally” catch fire or something.