Thursday, July 30, 2015

MTGO Library Bot 10.02 and 10.03

We have just released ML Bot versions 10.02 and 10.03.
The update introduces a number improvements on different aspects of the bot.

  • We introduced the option "check foil and regular prices" to automatically check if a foil price is lower than its regular counterpart. If the selling foil price is lower than the regular sell price, the foil sell price is increased. Analogously if the foil buy price is lower than the regular buy price, the regular buy price is lowered. Please note that some foil cards are actually cheaper than their regular counterparts, so using the option could results in sub-optimal prices and a slower inventory rotation.

  • We fixed a problem with overbuying cards when using shared inventory and solo-buyer bots.
  • We added 2 new modes in the "Automated Card Transfer" tab: "Refill (get cards, do not use my collection settings)" and "Refill (give cards, do not use my collection settings)", These mode differs from the usual "Refill" modes in the sense that they do not respect your collection settings and just fill up to "X" cards. If you set your bot to buy up to 8 rare cards and "Refill until 12", the old modes will not not pick any cards (because they respect your settings in the Collection Tab, 8x) while the new modes will transfer 4 cards (12 - 8 = 4), ignoring the Collection Tab.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cards I am buying right now

These are the cards I am picking up to sell later right now on Magic Online. I am not saying they are the best pickups. It just the ones I am buying personally. If you know of better pickups please let me know in the comments.

Fate Reforged
Fate Reforged was a small set with only a couple of valuable cards. They seem really cheap right now.

Picking those up to sell during a Standard price spike or long after rotation.
Monastery Mentor 8.36
Tasigur 4.34
Ugin 8.59

These cards are mostly in case of a Standard price spike. They just look very cheap.
Shaman of the Great Hunt 0.82
Brutal Hordechief 0.74
Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker 4.75

I am also picking up some boosters hoping that their price increases after Play Points become a reality

Dragons of Tarkir Booster 2,14
Khans of Tarkir Booster 1.87

Long term specs
As long term specs I am picking up some rares that would skyrocket if reprinted and some Pauper cards that look like they could gain solid value in a couple of years

Chainer's Edict 0,05
Curfew 0.04
Spellstutter Sprite 0.04
Gush 0.05
Icequake 0.04
Underworld Connections 0.02
Desecration Demon 0.02
Mind Grind 0.02
Possibility Storm 0.02
Sylvan Primordial 0.02
Any RTR or GTC Shockland while Modern prices fall

Extended sell & buy price consistency

Yesterday we updated the server to handle the Sell (and Buy) price consistency "over" the maximum protection values of 100%. You can now choose 110% and 105% . What does this mean?

Setting a value higher than 100% (for example 105% or 110%) results in trades with a profit. Please note that if your protection percentage is set too high for too long you risk not selling the card, and therefore not re-buying it at the market value. This may result in a lower than normal inventory rotation and an overall loss in profits. Remember that some cards fall in price and if you don't keep up with the market you may be holding onto the card for too long.

For the original article about price consistency (introduced one year ago), please read here:
For the manual, please read here:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Coming soon: automatically checked "Use PersonalPrices.txt"

Next week we will release a bot update that automatically enables the checkbox "Use PersonalPrices.txt". We enabled it by default because this was a worthless setting and a frequent source of confusion and errors.

If you don't want to use PersonalPrices.txt to customize the prices just make sure there are no such files in the "\prices" folder. If you don't remember where you installed the bot, you can quickly access the folder "\prices" by clicking on the button "Prices Folder" on the bottom-right corner of the bot client GUI.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Let's talk more about Play Points.

Hi Everyone!

It appears that I made a huge error (well not really) when reading the article talking about Play Points on the Wizards site.

The error was that I thought it said the points were tradable. They are not.

This is a big deal.

It's not like Wizards is even trying to make us think they care about the cost to their players. They are giving us prizes that can only be spent on playing more events. That's like when (way back) companies would play workers in vouchers only good at their store forcing employees to give their entire pay back to the employer.

Now wait a minute, there might not be anything wrong with play points; but if it walks like a duck.

What about Play Points seems wrong? The company sells cards why aren't the prizes cards? Because Play Points are crappy.

Hmmm...Mystery solved, that was easy.

I think play points are trying to cut out the selling of booster packs to Bots for tickets to play more tournaments.

This is a huge problem because Wizards has adamantly said they don't get involved in the secondary market. Unfortunately, this looks an awful lot like they're simply negating the necessity of a secondary market. The entire idea is that they will be able to sell more booster packs this way.

I'm sure most people have a great opinion of Wizards of the Coast but I have found that the company has absolutely zero regard for their customers. They are clearly taking advantage of having a monopoly on Magic Online. They are trying to cheap out on prizes and squeeze more profit from people by making the thing that draws players to Magic Online (the ease of finding competitive play) worse.

Unusual rulings from Gatherer

Battle of Wits: In tournaments, you must be able to shuffle your entire deck within a reasonable amount of time.
Candles of Leng: Unless something weird happens, the card that's drawn will be the card that was revealed.
Char-Rumbler: Yes, Char-Rumbler's printed power is -1. (...)
Chaos Orb: You can't interfere in any physical way with the casting of this card.
Chaos Orb: It must flip 360 degrees (that's what "flip" means). And this flip must be in the air and not in your hand.
Demonic Pact: Yes, if the fourth mode is the only one remaining, you must choose it. You read the whole contract, right?
Falling Star: It must flip like a coin and not like a Frisbee.
Forced Fruition: Yes, the opponent draws seven cards. It's not optional.
Gideon Jura: (...)He may block any eligible attacking creature, including one that's attacking him! (...)
Goblin Game: When it comes to choice of items, use common sense. (...)
Island of Wak-Wak: This is not an Island.
Lich's Mirror: (...) If you would lose the game again for any of the reasons above, Lich's Mirror has its effect again...and again...and again. (...)
Lion's Eye Diamond: (...) Yes, this is a bit weird.
Lore Seeker: The booster pack can be from any Magic: The Gathering set, but you must provide it. Consult your co-conspirators for guidance.
Lore Seeker: (...) You may look at the cards in that pack, but you can’t draft any cards from it. You’ll pass the new booster pack as normal. That was very generous of you.
Mindslaver: You could gain control of yourself using Mindslaver, but gaining control of yourself doesn't really do anything.
Misthollow Griffin: Misthollow Griffin can also be cast from a player's hand.
Nameless Race: This currently has no creature type. It's Nameless.
Relentless Rats: Yes, you're allowed to have a deck consisting of sixty Relentless Rats and nothing else.
Skyshroud Falcon: No it is not a Falcon creature type. It is a Bird.
Sleeper Agent: This card is a bit weird. (...)
Steamflogger Boss: Contraption is a new artifact type. There are currently no artifacts with this type. And there's no current game meaning of "assemble."
Power Play: (...) Not all power plays bear fruit.
Promised Kannushi: Yes, Soulshift 7. (...)

The Modern Bible of RG Tron chapter 23 - Why does this deck ever lose?

There are basically three ways you lose when you are playing RG Tron in Modern.

#1 You don't get to Tron (early game)
You can't assemble Tron in play and are overrun by creatures (or defeated by other means) despite Oblivion Stones and Pyroclasms. Burn, Infect and Affinity can win against you in this way. Other midrangy decks can get here if they can successfully disrupt your Tron Engine (by Fulminator Mage, for example).

#2 You play against a combo deck that is just faster than you (early game)
Combo decks don't care about Oblivion Stones and Pyroclasms. You often have to resort to sideboard cards to protect you in this case. This is mainly what your sideboard is there to prevent.

#3 You get to Tron but not to Emrakul and run out of gas (mid-game)
The most common way this happens is if you get to Tron, sweep their board and then your one threat is a Wurmcoil Engine that gets Path to Exiled or otherwise dealt with (perhaps counterspelled). Eye of Ugin is meant to prevent this. With all your bombs and your ways to get to Eye of Ugin (Stirrings, Map, Scrying) this is perhaps the most rare way to lose.

You never lose in the lategame.
Noone has a better lategame than this deck. Noone. You cast Emrakul and win. This is the main reason you play a 15-mana creature in your deck. However, very few decks have a lategame that is more powerful than Ulamog and three Wurmcoil Engines or a Sundering Titan followed by Wurmcoil beats. This raises a legitimate concern - do we really need to play Emrakul at all? We will adress that in the next chapter.

Consider these points when you build your deck
If you don't lose then you win. Sounds basic doesn't it? But think about it again - if you can avoid losing in the three ways above you will always win against any deck as your lategame is so powerful. This means that almost every card in your deck is there to prevent you from losing! 

This makes me question the validity of Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. He is useless without having your three Urza lands in play. He does nothing against combo. He might prevent losses in the midgame but that seems to be his only asset and there are so many cards in the deck that prevents you from losing when you have Tron assembled. What is he good for? Abzan? What else?

I may yet be convinced about the usefulness of Ugin, but so far I am not. If you get Tron and a bomb you usually win even in the midgame. 

Next week we will do the unthinkable and cut Emrakul from the deck to see what happens.

For a full list of the chapters of The Modern Bible check out this link:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

MTGO Library Bot 10.01 - Magic Origins

We have just released ML Bot 10.01, supporting the new set Magic Origins (ORI). The pricelist is available online for download and during the installation process, as well in the installer.

Lite bots should update their pricelist as well otherwise the bot will not be able to recognize the ORI cards.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Play Points?

Hi Everyone!

So Wizards announced "play points" on Magic Online.

I'm not even going to go into the "economics of competitive play" because the prize structure is what it is and whatever.

They replace phantom points, we will be able to trade these points or use them to enter events. It sounds to me like they will become another form of currency online. Is that bad? I don't know. A lot of people would like to play in events with winnings from previous events, but if you ask me, that's just the "public" reason Wizards gives.

Aside: I have a tendency to rant and rave about bad ideas of others. I'm extremely critical and question how people making such poor decisions get to be in charge of anything because the fact is that decisions are the key to leadership and the MOST relevant factor in determining who should lead a group...Regardless, WOTC has always....seriously, I remember when I played in the mid 1990's it was the same, had really bad excuses for things. WOTC said in the article announcing Play Points that players wanted prizes they could play in tournaments. If this isn't a weak excuse, you should stay out of the Board Room.

Aaaaannnnnnndddddd we're back on topic: The real reason is likely the same reason for all (yes, I said all, as in each and every) changes that have been happening in Magic and Magic Online in the past several months.....MONEY.

But how is it about money? Well, It's going to take product out of the market. When product in the form of prizes leaves the market what happens? the price goes up. Does WOTC care that prices will go up? Yes and no. They don't care because they don't get involved in the secondary market. They do care because if demand is x and supply is decreased, what happens? The relative demand (I'm not quite sure if that's actually a term, but it works here) increases (cutting supply is identical to increasing the number of cards desired) driving the price up. So demand is now 1.2x and prices are 1.2p (p is price and at demand x the price is p).

Now, here's the really neat part that will only apply to Magic Online. We get to see a perfect competition market in action (almost). When you look at Magic Online, it's pretty much perfect competition, Every product is identical and no one can provide any extra service to you.

There's also a price ceiling $3.99. We will all just buy packs when it's statistically cheaper to buy them than single cards so the price will never exceed $3.99 per pack (packs and unnamed single cards behave identically in this example).

So, now that we know all this stuff that doesn't really matter, all that matters is that demand is 1.2x and price is 1.2p let's see what we can take from all this ranting and raving.

Demand curves are funny because if the market price is $1.00 I'll sell as many as everyone else when I set my price at the market price and if I set my price at way below market, I'll sell lots more (how much more, or less in a moment depends on the elasticity of demand (that WOTC is probably banking on being .000001 but it's not relevant right now). So if I sell my cards for more than the market price I'll sell less, but I'll sell some, the higher the price, the more I will sell.

So there's all that to get cards out of circulation to drive prices up to promote the sale of more cards on Magic Online.

The other possible motive is that players don't want to pay retail on Magic Online (people don't pay $3.99 for packs in real life even from the LGS) for cards that aren't worth anything near their price. The only thing keeping the prices up is the ability to redeem cards. For reference, last week, the highest priced KTK foils are Hooded Hydra and Clever Impersonator.

So maybe WOTC is trying to make the cards more valuable on Magic online to increase the number of players because I'd bet anything that the idea of Magic Online is a huge hit in surveys. (too bad it's an incredibly poor functioning program).

Another Aside: Just today I saw Duels of the Planeswalkers (or whatever it's called for Magic Origins) on the Magic site and it was way better than Magic Online, it had a lot of "hearthstone like" stuff going on with animations and other cool stuff....the only problem was that it looked like I was playing it on my Nintendo 64. It was so sweet, it was as good as Doom64 (doom 64 did not have good graphics, maybe it did at the time, but still, not good graphics).

Rant off.

What does spring rotation mean for Khans of Tarkir prices?

18-month rotation will soon be in effect. In fact, Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged will rotate out in March/April 2015 (I don't think there is an exact date yet) after being legal in Standard for only 18 months.

What do we know about speculation in the fall set of yesteryear?
Fact #1: The good time to buy last years fall set (Khans of Tarkir in that case) is usually during the summer when interest is low and prices will rise when interest for Standard increases again in the fall. The peak price is usually in January or February in the next year (2016 in this case) before prices start to drop because of fall rotation. This could be a little bit different because KTK has not been drafted for a long time, but for simplicity's sake we will assume that this is true for KTK (and even more so for FRF).

I talk about this at length in this blog post:

Fact #2: When a set rotates in October it is usually a good idea to start selling in March/April, i.e. six months before rotation. That would mean that October 2015 would be the month to start selling Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged. That is very close to the time when they should be peaking because of Face #1

Fact #3: Eternally playable cards (such as fetchlands and Siege Rhino) are probably less affected by fact #1 and fact #2.

How will this play out? We don't know. We have no precedent for this. We do not really know which force is the stronger one here - low supply or rotation.

What should we do?
The safe bet is to sit this one out. Sell your Theros stuff before the end of October as you normally would. If anything has the time to spike - nice! Sell for a profit. Otherwise just get out in order to cut your losses.

The other option is to believe that the fall in price due to rotation will be somewhat delayed and that it is safe to own the KTK and FRF cards until December. Do this at your own peril.

It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. It will set expectations for how to handle Dragons of Tarkir come March/April 2016.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Surges in Format Popularity on Magic Online

TarmogoyfHi Everyone!

I remember last summer when Vintage Masters was here and prices of the "ultra mythics" were sky high, then after it left the prices dropped.

I didn't really expect it, because I didn't think everyone would be so excited at Magic 2015 (if you remember there were free sealed events and it didn't impact Standard much). I assumed this was because it was a "special set" that introduced a new format to Magic Online.

Well, I wasn't exactly right. The same thing seems to happen with other sets. The other sets I'm talking about are "special" also, but it's not about a new set. I'm talking about Modern Masters 2015, Tarmogoyf, specifically.

What's the deal? Normally, cards go up significantly after they are off sale online. That's not the case with Tarmy right now. It's only marginally higher than it's lowest point ever on Magic Online.

The deal is that people get all excited about new standard cards and sell off cards in order to buy new ones.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Modern Bible of RG Tron chapter 22 - Tips for playing the deck

I will soon be going into specific matchups (chapter 25) but before that we need to talk about why this deck would ever lose (chapter 23), if we really need a 15-mana creature (chapter 24) and some general guidelines for playing the deck (this chapter).

If you want to see some specific matchup covered you need to say so in the comments. 

This deck is all about playing Karn Liberated on turn three. For some tips on playing Karn correctly, please refer to the chapter before this. Here is a link for your convenience:

General tips for playing RG Tron in Modern

  • Never for fall the temptation to play 19 lands.
  • Relic of Progenitus is metagame dependent. If it really does nothing, you can probably cut 1-2 Relics.
  • Cracks egg only if you want to dig that very turn
  • Saving an egg for when you need colored mana is OK but remember that it is a tradeoff - you are one turn behind compared to if you had cracked that egg.
  • If you don't need to crack an egg right away consider cracking the egg at the end of opponent's turn to get around sorcery speed discard effects (Liliana of the Veil, Thoughtseize etc)
  • Tend to play Urza lands before any other land so you have the option of lucking into Tron on turn three. Remember that as soon as you play a non-Urza land on turn 1 or 2 you are giving up the most powerful play in your deck; Turn 3 Karn!
  • Karn Liberated is the most powerful card in your deck. Never forget that. Your deck is a Karn deck more than it is an Urzatron deck.
  • Use Boil at the end of the counterspell player's turn to force a counterspell if you have a good play on your own turn. They can't counter both and they HAVE to counter Boil.
  • If you are in risk of dying tend to play Wurmcoil Engine before Karn Liberated. Otherwise always play Karn if he will survive until your next turn.
  • To kill a Tarmogoyf first cast Pyroclasm, THEN crack Relic. Think about it.
  • Sideboard out Emrakul against anything fast. Your 15-mana creature will not make a difference against fast aggressive decks. 
  • You probably need 2-3 Nature's Claim in the 2nd duel if there is any risk of a Stony Silence or any other decisive sideboard hate from the other deck. This is especially true for any white deck that will probably have Stony Silence in the sideboard for Affinity.
  • Stony Silence is the #1 card you fear after sideboarding.
  • Never take out Ancient Stirrings
  • Never take out a land unless it is Eye of Ugin against fast matchups.
  • Learn the mulligan guidelines.  Mulliganing correctly is very important when playing RG Tron.
  • Never try to use sideboard cards that are only good against sideboard cards. That will dillute your deck. Remember that your deck is built to find the lands it needs. Cards like Crucible of Worlds are trap cards.
  • Our worst matchups are combo decks.
  • Having two basic Forest in your deck protects you from making Path to Exile into Swords to Plowshares and Ghost Quarter into Strip Mine. Your first forest will often be in play or in your hand.
  • Consider playing your map/Sylvan Scrying last. Often you will have 1-2 Urza lands and can cycle into a missing piece to get the last piece with your targeted search.
  • Against a very diverse metagame RG Tron becomes a better choice as this deck thrives on rogue decks of any kind (as long as they are not combo decks).
  • The success of RG Tron is very metagame dependant. If RG Tron is a poor choice (Splinter Twin is currently dominating, for example) you are probably better off playing an entirely different deck than trying to tune your sideboard to a anti-tron metagame.
  • Mono Blue Tron is an entirely different deck. Do not assume that lessons you learn about this deck applies to Mono Blue Tron. They do apply to GW Tron, though.

If you have any tips to add to list list, please let me know in the comments.

For a full list of the chapters of The Modern Bible check out this link:

Magic Origins: combat tricks

Surprises are not welcomed during a draft. You should be able to predict what your opponent may be holding in his hand in order to minimalize the risk of misplay. To this end, I've prepared a list of cards that do unexpected combat tricks - instants.

White: Celestial Flare, Enshrounding Mist, Gideon's Phalanx, Mighty Leap, Swift Reckoning.
Blue: Disperse, Harbringer of the Tides, Hydrolash, Mizzium Meddler, Nivix Barrier, Send to Sleep, Turn to Frog.
Black: Cruel Revival, Dark Dabbling, Touch of Moonglove, Unholy Hunger.
Red: Chandra's Fury, Fiery Conclusion, Fiery Impulse, Ravaging Blaze, Smash to Smithereens, Titan's Strength.
Green: Aeriel Volley, Might of the Masses, Titanic Growth, Vine Snare.
Multi: Boundling Krasis, Thunderclap Wyvern.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Magic Origins Impact on Modern!

Goblin PiledriverHi Everyone!

Sorry for writing on Friday instead of Wednesday like I usually do. I have had the roughest July in my life and this week was my busiest week of work of the year. Fortunately things can go back to normal now!

Anyway, it's a little stale on Magic Online right now. During the Magic Origins previews there was a lot going on in terms of speculation. But now that the set is out in paper it made me think about two things. First I thought about Goblins, then about Elves.

Shaman of the PackGoblins and Elves are two of my favorite decks, in fact my first Magic Online Legacy deck was Goblins, it's by no means tier 1, but it sure is fun to play. Modern is getting Goblin Piledriver for the first time. Piledriver is by far one of the single best goblins ever printed. It's going to be an amazing addition to Goblins.

Elves are getting the Shaman of the Pack. Shaman of the pack is like a Gray Merchant for Elves. I think there are plenty of games where the opponent is at 7 or 8 life and drops a large creature to block and eat an elf a turn so it would appear that the aggro plan isn't going to pull off a win. That's where Shaman comes in, he drains your opponent and beats cards like Ensnaring Bridge or Ghostly Prison.

Those are two cards that I will be trying out in Modern and I think you should too!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

MTGO Library Bot 9.98

Few hours ago we released ML Bot 9.98. With 9.98 we restored the bot full functionality after the mtgo update. In case you don't know, yesterday WotC released a massive client update and this broke a couple of things on the bot.

We are happy to see that the new mtgo client is faster than the old one and, even if this required some rework on the bot, we are happy with what wotc did. The new client has still some bugs but we feel it's a step in the right direction.

We have to talk about the Modern Ban List

What cards should really be on the Modern ban list? Which cards need to come off it?

We published this video yesterday and it got the discussion going. 

Jace hardly sees any play in Legacy anymore. Would he really take over Modern if he was unbanned?

Is Bloodbraid Elf still a force if allowed into the format? If so, is it just because of Kolaghan's command?

Would the artifact lands really break the format? Pauper went the other way, just banning Cranial Plating instead.

Does something need to be banned in Amulet Bloom? What about Hive Mind? Is that a fair card?

And what about Ancestral Visions? Its not Treasure Cruise, after all.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

MTGO Library Bot 9.93

ML Bot 9.93 introduces the "market share" info boxes on the Online Control Panel, on the dashboard, right below the central graphs (scroll down if you have a small screen).

What is there? The market share boxes tell you how your bots are doing in the Magic Online market, with reference to the number and the value of the trades. In the example below, the bots did trades for 0.91% of the value of the market in the last 7 days, and 0.89% in the last month (the bots basically earned a 0.02% share).

The idea is to give you a measure of "how much" you are performing compared to other bots, so you can answer questions like: "this week I did well: is this because my bots are doing well, or is this because the overall MTGO economy is doing well?". And viceversa: "this month I had few trades: and I losing trades and market share, or is the overall economy slowing down a bit?" 

How to draft Magic Origins?

I'm going to present you the list of cards, starting from the best pick during the draft and ending on the least desirable card. For instance, if you don't have any card from "2nd pick" card pool you look for cards in "3rd pick". Cards not mentioned below shouldn't appear in your deck. Notwithstanding, cards like vanilla creature 2/2 for 2 mana are as well essential in your deck in order to be able to stop early threats of your opponent.

1st pick:
white: Archangel of Tithes, Kytheon's Irregulars
blue: -
black: -
red: Pia and Kiran Nalaar
green: Managorger Hydra

2nd pick:
white: Kytheon, Hero of Akros, Hixus, Prison Warden, Sentinel of the Eternal Watch, Tragic Arrogance
blue: Alhammarret, High Arbiter, Disciple of the Ring, Soulblade Djinn, Whirler Rogue
black: Gilt-Leaf Winnower, Kothophed, Soul Hoarder, Languish
red: -
green: Nissa, Vastwood Seer, Outland Colossus, Woodland Bellower
multi: -
artifact: Hangarback Walker

3rd pick:
white: Anointer of Champions, Blessed Spirits, Celestial Flare, Consul's Lieutenant, Gideon's Phalanx, Knight of Pilgrim's Road, Knight of the White Orchid, Knightly Valor, Patron of the Valiant, Stalwart Aven, Relic Seeker, Suppression Bonds, Swift Reckoning, Topan Freeblade, Vryn Wingmare, War Oracle.
blue: Anchor to the Aether, Aspiring Aeronaut, Clash of Wills, Claustrophobia, Harbinger of the Tides, Hydrolash, Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, Jhessian Thief, Mizzium Meddler, Ringwarden Owl, Separatist Voidmage, Sigiled Starfish, Stratus Walk, Tower Geist.
black: Cruel Revival, Deadbridge Shaman, Erebos’s Titan, Eyeblight Assassin, Eyeblight Massacre, Fetid Imp, Graveblade Marauder, Liliana, Heretical Healer, Malakir Cullblade, Nantuko Husk, Priest of the Blood Rite, Read the Bones, Reave Soul, Shadows of the Past, Shambling Ghoul, Unholy Hunger.
red: Abbot of Keral Keep, Acolyte of the Inferno, Akroan Sergeant, Avaricious Dragon, Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh, Chandra's Ignition, Embermaw Hellion, Exquisite Firecraft, Fiery Impulse, Firefiend Elemental, Ghirapur Gearcrafter, Lightning Javelin, Molten Vortex, Ravaging Blaze, Scab-Clan Berserker, Seismic Elemental, Skyraker Giant, Thopter Engineer.
green: Conclave Naturalists, Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen, Dwynen's Elite, Elvish Visionary, Hitchclaw Recluse, Joraga Invocation, Leaf Gilder, Llanowar Empath, Nissa's Revelation, Pharika's Disciple, Rhox Maulers, Skysnare Spider, Somberwald Alpha, Timberpack Wolf, Undercity Troll, Wild Instincts.
multi: Blazing Hellhound, Blood-Cursed Knight, Bounding Krasis, Citadel Castellan, Iroas's Champion, Possessed Skaab, Thunderclap Wyvern, Zendikar Incarnate,

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Magic Origins Finance Advice

Hi Everyone!

I'm sure you all heard about the reprint of Goblin Piledriver. It caused many Modern legal goblin cards to spike in price.

I said before to wait to buy if you haven't already because the price should drop once Origins is released and goblins still isn't a thing in Modern (if it does become a thing you should buy now, but I think one major card in Goblin War Chief is missing from Modern to make Goblins a real force in Modern). Legion Loyalist spiked, then dropped, and now is climbing slightly. The important thing to remember is that neither of these cards are any substantial amount higher than when Piledriver was announced as a reprint. Wait until everyone tries to build goblins and watch the next major Modern tournament winner be Twin or Collected company or something that's already an established deck.

I really don't like giving specific advice like this because people get too worked up about it being exactly right or not, but the point I always try to make is that everyone needs to look at available information and make good decisions based on that information.

Happy Investing!

The Modern Bible of RG Tron chapter 21 - Doing the right thing with Karn Liberated

Karn Liberated is the most important card in the RG Tron deck for Modern. Your main plan is to have seven mana on turn three and resolve Karn Liberated. Once you do that you are presented with a lot of choice. Doing the right thing with Karn can be tricky.

Lets look at the three abilities.

+4 Target player exiles a card from his or her hand. 
Its super discard. He can't use the card for anything. He can't get it back. You get four loyalty counters. The main problem with this ability is that it does not affect the board. In Modern you might very well be about to die when Karn comes down and you do not have the luxury to use this ability. If you have time (maybe because of a well-placed sweeper such as Pyroclasm or Oblivion Stone) this is an excellent choice of what to do with Karn.

-3 Exile target permanent
This is immensly powerful. Karn can do this twice, which makes him a super powerful two-for-one targeting anything on the board that is not hexproof. The problem with the first use of this ability is that it leaves Karn open for that most format defining of cards: Lightning Bolt. Some of the time you are happy getting rid of their biggest threat and one of their Lightning Bolts for your turn three play but some of the time this will not be enough.

-14 Lots of text
The ultimate is cute and will decide some very long and grindy decks. You should of course never forget about it but in the first 120 matches I played with the deck I got to ultimate Karn Liberated once. This is the least important of Karn Liberated's abilities. Exiling your own Emrakul and then ultimating Karn is a pretty sweet way to win (if you don't have the 15 mana to play Emrakul) but it is not a way many games of Magic will be decided.

General tips about playing and using Karn

  • Karn must stay alive.
  • If you see no threats and you can't disrupt your opponents mana base reliably, use the +4 ability.
  • If you have another Karn in your hand and your opponent does not have counterspells you may use the first Karn to two-for-one with two -3 activations and then play your second Karn. Using the 2nd Karn's -3 ability the same turn feels a bit like cheating.
  • If there is a single game-winning threat coming at you, use the -3 ability. If there is a risk of a Lightning Bolt, consider whether you have the time to +4 instead and still survive.
  • If there is too much aggro on the board for Karn to handle, try to play a Wurmcoil Engine or a sweeper instead.
  • Karn's main mission is to stabilize the board to allow Wurmcoil Engine or your Eye of Ugin + Eldrazi/Titan plan to take over the game.
  • If you have the time, always put a fate counter on Karn before you activate your Oblivion Stone.
  • Remember that land are key targets in certain matchups (such as the mirror)
  • Against Burn always use the +4 ability if you will survive whatever is on the board plus six damage.

Bad matchups for Karn Liberated
There are certain matchups where Karn Liberated is too slow to save you. In these matchups you often have to board in removal and something has to leave the deck. The correct choice can sometimes be Karn himself, even though it sounds counterproductive.

I will consider taking out one or more Karn Liberated when facing ultra fast aggro or combo decks, such as Affinity, Bogles, Burn, Infect and Zoo.

See the sideboard plans for more details (chapter 17-19).

For a full list of the chapters of The Modern Bible check out this link:

Friday, July 10, 2015

MTGO Library Bot 9.91

We released a couple of updates in close succession in the last few days. These updates include minor fixes but we thought it was necessary to release them immediately because they improve the stability of the client.

Most notably we fixed a problem with reading the commands from the chat, a MTGO crash at the login screen, a problem with the classified messages resulting in posted selling prices instead of buying price (and viceversa: buying prices posted, instead of selling prices) and a problem in loading the collection.

As you can see, these are small and "not core" issues but we preferred to release them immediately instead of waiting the next big update.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Magic Duels: Origins

Today a new product called Magic Origins is released on iOS (and soon it will be available for PC on Steam). Today I will tell you a little about what it is.

I did not notice that Duel of the Planeswalkers was cancelled and you probably did not either. This is the replacement for it but it seems that the ambitions with Magic Duels is much more, well, ambitious than Duel of the Planeswalkers ever was.

Don't quote me on this but I have the feeling that this is the product intended to take on Hearthstone.

Magic Duels is free-to-play with micropayments, so no more $10 per copy of the old game. It is also a platform intended to be upgraded with new card sets so in that sense it is closer to Magic Online than Duels ever was.

The thing you can buy for real money is Coins, the in-game currency of Magic Duels. These coins can also be earned through gameplay so in theory every aspect of the game can be enjoyed without ever putting any money into it.

Play modes
Story mode - you get to learn the story of the five Origins planeswalkers. You have to play with a fixed deck that is charasteristic for the planeswalker you are currently playing. Gideon is the one you start with.
Solo mode - Play against the AI
2-player mode - I am definitely not sure what this is.
Two-headed Giant - awesome, I love 2HG!

IOS, Steam(PC) and Xbox One. No cross-platform support. You can, however, play off-line, which is nice.

This will be a new way to play Magic. I guess it depends on the quality of the product how successful it will be. I will be sure to try it. I am sure it will be a great entry level product, just like Duels was. The question remains how much more advanced players will enjoy it.

My only intial fear/disappointment with the product (before playing it) is that its relationship to Magic Online is very unclear. Will there be an effort to port players over to Magic Online (which I really missed in Duels)? Will this eventually replace Magic Online? What does that mean for the value of our investment. There is no opportunity for botting in this product. It just looks like a really neat way to play Magic from the comfort of your own home, which is kind of what Magic Online could have been.

The Magic Duels official page:

Download Magic Duels in the Apple store:

Modern Masters 2015, we will miss you!

Hi Everyone,

Modern Masters 2015 is no longer for sale in paper, or online. Let's have a look at what's happened. It gave life to a lot of decks that were expensive that are now cheap. Look at cards like Iona, and Elesh Norn. They are very, very, cheap.

But what about the cards not in Modern Masters 2015? Sell them now. Look at cards like Inkmoth Nexus. It only sees play in a couple decks that aren't at the top of anyone's "don't lose to" list. The price skyrocketed.

I think that Wizards reprinting sets like Modern Masters doesn't lower the prices of Modern decks as a whole. It only drives up the price of cards not being reprinted. Additionally, these sets boost the popularity of Modern and more players means cards are have greater demand, thus almost offsetting the reduction in price (and in many cases driving not reprinted cards sky high. If you don't believe me look at Deceiver Exarch when Modern Masters 2015 came out.

MTGO Library Bot 9.87

We have just released ML Bot 9.87, fixing a couple of minor issues with previous versions. In particular, we fixed a bug that caused some restarts of MTGO when this was not necessary. There were two different reasons for restarts, we fixed both.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Hi Everyone!

I have had the worst imaginable past few days. I have had a lot of automobile problems and new problems that pop up after fixing an old one. It's been really stressful and I play Magic to get away. The most fun I have in Magic is when a brew turns out to be really fun, or way more competitive than we expect.

I found a deck online that didn't look good and I found out that it wasn't good. Here's the deck list:

4 Misty Rainforest
4 Wooded Foothills
3 Island
2 Steam Vents
2 Flooded Strand
1 Stomping Ground
1 Forest
1 Breeding Pool
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Tarmogoyf
3 Hooting Mandrills
2 Snapcaster Mage
4 Thought Scour
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Serum Visions
4 Gitaxian Probe
3 Stubborn Denial
2 Vapor Snag
3 Mana Leak
1 Spell Snare
2 Cryptic Command
2 Electrolyze

It looks like it has good cards, but it's a bad deck. Why?

Let's break down why the deck is bad. First it has only 19 lands,10 fetches) and four gitaxian probes. This is great for filling up our graveyard, but the cost of life loss is too great. They only put instant, sorcery, and land into the graveyard for Tarmogoyf, nothing out of the ordinary by turn 2 or 3 in Modern. The third problem is that it has two Cryptic Commands. Triple blue cards in a deck with 9 lands that make mana, it's always either costly in life, or it's just not worth playing.

Next we look at the 3 Hooting Mandrils (sweet card I'd like to see more in Modern) but there are four Thought this is a deck built around delve with three delve cards....doesn't sound good.

Until next time, stay away from bad decks.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Magic Origins (pre)relese: changes

Starting with Magic Origins sealed deck events features six booster packs and a seeded pack. Each seed booster contains seven cards, including a premium rare or mythic rare and a run of commons and uncommons, all sharing the color of the seed booster. The MSRP of participation in the event is 25.99 USD, so price remains the same like it was before, but we get one extra booster pack.

The Modern Bible of RG Tron chapter 20 - Gameplay videos

This week we will look at some sample videos with RG Tron. I have played more than 100 matches with the deck and filmed the majority of them. These are not the most popular, those were in chapter 10:

This week I want to focus on the 50/50 matchups and matchups where sideboarding decisions really matter.

You can find more RG Tron Gameplay videos on the YouTube channels MagicGatheringStrat and MagicGatheringStrat2.

RG Tron vs Burn
This was a very recent match where I screwed up sideboarding. I had not updated my SB plan and missed the fact that I had put Feed the Clan in the sideboard.

This is also perhaps the most interesting of all the problem matchups and worth taking a look at.

RG Tron vs Merfolk
This matchup is also very close to a 50/50 and every decision counts.

RG Tron vs Delver
Delver can overrun us if we draw poorly. This is one of the big reasons to run the full set of Pyroclasm always.

RG Tron vs Abzan

As you are probably wondering about it - yes! I am still trying out Ugin. I am still not convinced - he seems so much win-more to me, but this is the matchup where he shines.

For a full list of the chapters of The Modern Bible check out this link:

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The real reason Standard is changing.

MaroHi Everyone!

By now, everyone knows about the new three block standard and no core set. There seem to be some misconceptions about why this is happening. The official reason given by Wizards is that Standard gets stale because the third set doesn't ever do as well as the other two sets.

I just want to clarify in case anyone didn't understand what that means in "CEO of Wizards" speak. In CEO speak, it says, we'll sell more cards this way by making the cards you buy playable for a shorter time period thus increasing sales.

I'm not sure what will happen in the secondary card market, but knowing what I know about WOTC, I'd be willing to bet that they don't care. I even think the invention of the Modern format was part of this plan.

Players will certainly say they can't play if their cards rotate so quickly, WOTC has an answer.....You can play Modern! (doesn't that sound more credible than: "You can play Legacy!", I mean seriously, Legacy is super expensive and the deck price between Standard and Legacy is exponential, but Modern....hmmm.

Now, It could be that the popularity of Modern spurred the change in Standard by providing a popular format for players to go to because they can't afford the super fast rotating Standard.

I just want to point out one more thing. MaRo said they will need extra staff to "create more worlds" with two set blocks. I just want to point out that companies don't hire new people just because. The people need to be paid and they need to make more money to justify more employees..

Anyway, Just some food for thought.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The new Mulligan rule

One of the benefits of making Scry an ever green mechanic was that you could refer to it in rules text. And thus you could change the mulligan rule.

New Mulligan Rule
Mulligans work exactly the same as before but IF you did mulligan at all you start the game by scrying 1.

How does this change the game?
* Mulliganing becomes more complicated
* A duel of magic becomes more skill intensive
* Combo decks may benefit
* Good players will win a little more

Swedish tournament player Binkabi gives you his views on the new rule in this video:

Former Pro Tour Player avery61 had the following to say:
One thing this will do (in pauper) is help an already powerful deck get even better. Delver decks get to flip Delver of Secrets more often. If you have mulliganable hand and are on the play, you can scry one, looking for an instant, and ship it to the bottom if not. Play Delver and you get a much more consistent Delver game. If they can't kill Delver with a one mana spell you get to untap, play that second land and ride Delver to victory.

Knowing what that top card is really plays right into the already most powerful deck in pauper. With that said, I read once that taking a mulligan decreases your chance to win by an average of about 20%, so this mulligan will improve that but by how much? With a Delver deck it takes it right back up to average ~ so really not much advantage just, maybe, more consistency.

In modern, with all it's sac lands, this is often only a true scry if you're on the draw. The player playing 1st can scry but will then face the hard choice of whether or not to use that sac land.

It will be interesting for sure and I think much more skill intensive.

The official announcement

What do you think?
Give us your comments below.