Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Modern Silverblack League

This is an invitation to come join me and my closest friends (i.e. my YouTube viewers) in a Modern Silverblack League.

What is Modern Silverblack?

Modern Silverblack allows cards printed at the common and uncommon level (black and silver rarity symbols, you see) in Modern-legal sets.
We will be following the official Modern banned list.
What does the League cost?
The League is free. There is no cost.
Can I win anything?
Yes, Cardhoarder is sponsoring us with $50 in price money.
How do I sign up?
You can follow the link below to sign up. You have to do so before October 9th.
The format is really fun. We have done a league with it before and it was very popular.
Feel free to come join us for some Silverblack fun.
Here is a video of my friend Brennon playing Ninja Bear in Silverblack vs Pauper legend Deluxeicoff.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

MTGO Library Bot 10.36

Last Wednesday WotC released a MTGO update that limits the size of the binders to 50'000 cards, including the active trade binder. The result was that we had to recode some parts of the bot to make it handle the limit.

Because of that we had some problems with wikiprice. Bots with large collections appeared as selling certain cards even if the cards were not there. We recoded the way the bots communicate with wikiprice and fixed the problem today with ML Bot 10.36.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Modern Bible of RG Tron chapter 32 - Fighting our cousin

I was originally going to talk about another matchup here (that will happen next week) but a recent discussions in the comments of one my RG Tron videos got me thinking about the matchup against Mono Blue Tron.

The two Tron decks are extremely different. I have heard people say that Mono Blue Tron is the only true control deck in Modern (and I kind of agree with that). I have heard people say that RG Tron is kind of a control deck (and I think that is only in the widest sense of the word).

The matchup is rare in tournaments. Currently RG Tron is 4,24% of the online metagame (#8) while Mono Blue Tron comes in a disheartening 40th place with 0,42% of the metagame (that is ONE deck that placed in whatever timeframe mtggoldfish uses for their statistics).

You can find the constantly updated Modern MTGO metagame report here:

My point is that the matchup is so rare in tournaments that matter that opinions on it differ widely. In fact, you have to care a little more about the opinions of the Mono Blue Tron players as they will run into the matchup far more often than the RG Tron players.

Is this a bad matchup for RG Tron?
MI honestly do not know. I have won against Mono Blue Tron every time I have played it but those were practice games and may not reflect the skill of the players that dare bring Mono Blue Tron to a tournament.

My YouTube channel's resident Mono Blue Tron expert think that the matchup is very favored for Mono Blue Tron and he has a stronger tournament pedigree than I do.

So what are the facts?
Mono Blue Tron players think that they can just counter a Karn and 1-2 other big threats and then RG Tron runs out of steam (provided that Eye of Ugin is not around) and that the mindslaver lock (or Wurmcoil beatdown perhaps) is fast enough to end the game before Emrakul comes down. 

RG Tron players think that the ability to get to Tron much faster than their blue cousin is decisive. We all know how bad counterspells are in Modern and it is hard to counter spells cast by a deck that has much more mana than you do. 

Arguably the mindslaver lock endgame is as strong as Emrakul and Mono Blue Tron can even deal with Emrakul with a well-placed Oblivion Stone. 

Here is a quote from the mtgsalvation forums from a RG Tron player: "Honestly, Blue Tron hasn’t been an issue when I play against it. You don’t really care about anything they’re doing outside of Mindslaver doing its infinite loop, so if you can keep them off that you should be golden. And even that’s tricky, as they effectively need 13 mana to do it in one turn (6 to cast, 4 to use, 2 for Academy Ruins, and then 1 more from the mana Academy Ruins can’t produce due to using its other ability) You might not even need to care about Mindslaver itself; you can just stop Academy Ruins with a Ghost Quarter or something."

Things to consider when playing RG Tron vs Mono Blue Tron
As a basis for this discussion we are going to use this sample list:

There are many versions of Mono Blue Tron and they may require you to play differently against them. Notice that this sample deck has no Oblivion Stones and thus no way to handle Emrakul.

Their creatures are kind of meh. Wurmcoil Engine is a beating but you should have no problem dealing with anything else, especially after sideboarding.

The big danger is the mindslaver lock. Any spellskites in your deck makes mindslaver an instant win so never play them and sideboard them out immediatly.

The main target with Karn Liberated is to keep them off tron by exiling a Tron piece. Exiling two Tron pieces for them is usually game.

Useful and less useful sideboard cards
Ancient Grudge: If you pack this bad boy for Affinity here is an additional matchup where it can prove useful.

Boil: Removing their blue mana seems useful.

Emrakul: If you are bold enough to do what I currently do (i.e. cut Emrakul) this is a matchup where she definitely comes in. 

Land Destruction: If you somehow found room for more Ghost Quarters in your SB they come in, of course.

Nature's Claim: Our catch-all answer seems good in this matchup too.
Slaughter Games: You can Slaughter Games for Mindslaver and then you have solved that problem. They can still win with their creatures though.


Surgical Extraction: While I consider Surgical Extraction to slow to win the RG Tron mirror we are now facing a much slower deck and I can see the point of doing all that setup and keeping them off their Tron mana .

Less useful main deck cards
Oblivion Stone: Depends on how much junk they play. Having a reset button against artifact mana and their creatures seems useful. However, Wurmcoil gets around it. 

Nature's Claim: Seems to have plenty of targets.

Pyroclasm: Kililng Treasure Mages and Snapcasters is not why we play Pyroclasm. Sideboard out.

Relic of Progenitus: Relic stops the mindslaver lock. It also stops Snapcasters. That seems useful.

Sundering Titan: This is a very expensive way to take out one island. Sideboard out.

Ugin: A very expensive way to do 3 damage a turn. 

What do they bring in?
They fear Karn above all else and if they have them they will bring in Pithing Needles. Keep your Oblivion Stones in the deck for those. If they Pithing Needle both O-stone and Karn they are playing a lot of do-nothing cards and you might have to Ulamog them away. Or use your Nature's Claims of course.

If they have any land destruction that will surely come in.

Squelch is a card you have to be aware of.

Mike Pawliuk on the matchup
vs U Tron - I've only actually played the matchup once (!) in the Top 8 of a 1k. (Which you can read here: ) My impression is that we are favoured, but they have a lot of disruption (Chalice, Pithing Needle, GQ, counterspells). I sideboarded (with this list -2 Surgical SB, +2 Roast SB, ): OUT(6) : 4 Pyroclasm, 2 Spellskite. IN(6): 3 Nature's Claim (watch out for Chalice of the Void on 1), 2 Boil, 1 Vandalblast. With the 2 Surgical Extractions I have now, I would side them both in and take out 2 Wurmcoil.

Sample video
Here is one of the many times I have defeated Mono Blue Tron with RG Tron: 

What do you think of the matchup?
Next week we will take a look at one or more other matchups.

For a full list of the chapters of The Modern Bible:

Sunday, September 27, 2015

How to draft Battle for Zendikar?

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: Gideon, Ally of Zendikar; Quarantine Field.
blue: -
black: -
red: -
green: -
coloress: -
multi: -

2nd pick:
white: Felidar Sovereign; Planar Outburst; Stasis Snare.
blue: Drowner of Hope; Guardian of Tazeem.
black: Drana, Liberator of Malakir; Ob Nixilis Reignited; Ruinous Path; Smothering Abomination.
red: Akoum Firebird; Dragonmaster Outcast; Rolling Thunder; Serpentine Spike.
green: Greenwarden of Murasa; Woodland Wanderer.
coloress: Endless One.
multi: Brood Butcher; Kiora, Master of the Depths; Mundu, Ambush Leader; Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper; Omnath, Locus of Rage.

3rd pick:
white: Angel of Renewal;Courier Griffin; Emeria Shepherd; Encircling Fissure; Ghostly Sentinel; Gideon's Reproach; Hero of Goma Fada; Kor Bladewhirl; Kor Castigator; Lantern Scout; Lithomancer's Focus; Ondu Greathorn; Ondu Rising; Retreat to Emeria; Sheer Drop; Shadow Glider; Smite the Monstrous; Tandem Tactics.
blue: Benthic Infiltrator; Coastal Discovery; Clutch of Currents; Dampening Pulse; Eldrazi Skyspawner; Expert Influence; Incubator Drone; Ruination Guide; Scatter to the Winds; Ugin's Insight; Windrider Patrol.
black: Carrier Thrall; Grip of Desolation; Hagra Sharpshooter; Malakir Familiar; Painful Truths; Rising Miasma; Silent Skimmer; Wasteland Strangler; Zulaport Cutthroat.
red: Akoum Hellkite; Barrage Tyrant; Nettle Drone; Ondu Champion; Outnumber; Radiant Flames; Stonefury; Touch of the Void; Turn Against; Valakut Predator; Vestige of Emrakul; Vile Aggregate.
green: Beastcaller Savant; Brood Monitor; Broodhunter Wurm; Eyeless Watcher; From Beyond; Giant Mantis; Lifespring Druid; Murasa Ranger; Oran-Rief Hydra; Snapping Gnarlid; Tajuru Warcaller; Territorial Baloth; Undergrowth Champion; Unnatural Aggression.
coloress: Blight Herder; Conduit of Ruin; Deathless Behemtoh; Kozilek's Channeler; Oblivion Sower; Pilgrim's Eye.
multi: Angelic Captain; Brutal Expulsion; Catacomb Sifter; Drana's Emissary; Dust Stalker; Fathom Feeder; Forerunner of Slaughter; Grove Rumbler; Grovetender Druids; Herald of Kozilek; March from the Tombs; Resolute Blademaster; Roil Spout; Sire of Stagnation; Skyrider Elf; Ulamog's Nullifrer.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

MTGO Library Bot 10.31

Yesterday Wotc released a MTGO update that limits the binder size to 50'000 cards. This applies to the active trade binder as well and means that if you have 60'000 cards in the collection, you can make only 50'000 tradable and you have to keep the other 10'000 untradable.
If you try to add one extra card you will get an error message.

ML Bot 10.31 has been released with that in mind. The bot respects the 50'000 threshold and will make tradable as many cards as possible, below 50'000. It will read your collection first and will make tradable as many different cards as possible. If, for example, you have 49'999 Lilianas, 1 Jace, 1 Garruk, the bot will make 49'998 Lilians + 1 Jace + 1 Garruk tradable (not 49'999 Lilianas+ 1 Jace).

In general we suggest to balance the collections among your bots and avoid having collection greater than 50'000 cards. You should take your time and transfer out some cards if necessary

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What's wrong with Siege Rhino?

Hi Everyone!

This week I have been thinking of my good buddy Siege Rhino. It sees Standard play, some Modern play, and perhaps most notably, it was in Pod before it was banned. So the thing that's a little crappy is that it's a solid rare that's currently available online for $2.59 and in paper for $3.50.

What's up with that?

It's the fetch lands. Fetches drove up Khans sales and unfortunately the secondary market can only support X amount as a expected value per pack ($3.99 is retail but I'd say the X is far less in paper).

So I wonder if this whole play points thing Wizards came out with is to solve what I'm going to call the Siege Rhino problem., say it isn't true

Hi Everyone,
Today I wanted to talk about something that's really been bugging me lately. It seems like a lot of videos on channelfireball showcase how bad magic online really is. It's subtle, beyond the "educational/entertainment" value of the video.

It's just everything that's bad about Magic Online. Luis Scott-Vargas has said on stream that he wanted to draft but didn't want to trade because the trade interface is so bad.

Yet, when someone says anything even remotely bad about magic or not liking a set or anything Wizards has done, it seems to be sort of, let's say, "not showcased".

It's great that CFB and WOTC have a great business relationship (I'm sure they both make tons of money from) but it seems like a situation I'm reminded of often.

This is obviously just my opinion and I could be totally wrong but I think it's a little tacky that CFB has access to many of the most popular pro players yet censors them when they don't drink the cool-aid.

It reminds me the time a business expert and their manager (not an expert at anything, only the manager because of the inability of the higher ups to recognize the manager should never have been made a manager) were sitting in a room and the manager asks the expert about a problem, the expert stated the problem, went over the major details relevant to the problem, and gave a solution that addressed all major details (and most minor details) about the problem. Well, the manager (who shouldn't be managing) did something else...wait...what? He (or she) didn't do what the expert said regardless of fool proof logic and expertise? Yes.

This happened because the manager didn't understand the subject like the expert (the non-understander being a manager is irrelevant to the story).

I think pro players (who are expert magic players) being censored is as bad as the above story. I think the pros can identify and articulate problems with the game better than most of us can. I think we're getting cheated a little when that gets suppressed.

I can't seem to get enough control, lantern control that is

Hi Everyone,
I'm the first to admit that I'm no expert Magic player, and I'm especially no expert at the Lantern Control deck.

I did give it a go. I planned on playing more matches but even I thought it took a long time. I played slow and ended up timing out, but either way it was about the 5th match I've ever played with Lantern Control.

Pauper Awaken!

I have been talking to super Pauper brewer jphsnake (famous for Pauper Gauntlet hits Love Train and Mono Red Heroic making top 10 in earlier Pauper Gauntlet seasons) about brewing with BFZ. The Pauper Gauntlet starts on November 8th just to enable brewers to include BFZ. 

He was especially interested in the new ability Awaken.

I quote:

"I want to ask you what you would put into a deck like this because I dont play delver, but I know you do, and I thought I'd want to pick your brain.

So I'm wondering if there every is room for an blue awakening deck in pauper. The 2 things I can think of that work well with awaken are Darksteel Citadel and the Freed from the Real deck (animate karoo or enchanted land, Freed it, and generate Infinite Mana). I'm not super excited about the second one mainly because Lifespark Spellbomb and Wind Zendikon are much easier to animate for a combo deck. 

The first deck, however, I really like the concept of it. Lets say I run the awakening spells Clutch of Currents and Rush of Ice. They aren't very good, yes, but they buy time on aggro while getting the upside of a lot of cool stuff. A 3/3 isn't particular exciting for 5 mana, but a 3/3 indestructible is pretty cool. So lets make a base that consists that consists of animating an indestructible land, Darksteel Citadel. 

4 Clutch of Currents
0-4 Rush of Ice
4 Wind Zendikon
4 Darksteel Citadel
4 Trinket Mage

I like the sound of this base, you have a lot of ways to make a 2/2 indestructible that double as spell effects. Trinket Mage is a great way to search for Darksteel citadel and develop into an awakening spell. Wind Zendikon on a citadel is even sweeter than Spire Golem, and combined with an awaken trigger, you get a 5/5 Flying, Indestructible. And of course, Delver and Spire Golem can make it in our decks. The awakening spells even synergize with delvers. So with this I think we could really try to make a Mono-Blue Midrange Deck. 

I want to ask your input, is there anything that makes this deck viable? What would you add and subtract from it? Awaken sounds REALLY cool to brew around

Creatures (22)

2 Rush of Ice
4 Clutch of Currents
4 Wind Zendikon
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Trinket Mage
3 Spire Golem

Spells (16)
4 Ponder
4 Preordain
4 Memory Lapse
4 Counterspell

Land (23)
4 Darksteel Citadel
19 Island"

What do you think, guys? Answer in the comments below

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A chance to get a free Thalia and UNH lands

The Community Cup took place on 19 September where Wizards Team was playing against Community.

The Community Team won, meaning that players will receive on Wensday one-each premium and non-premium of the Unhinged basic lands, plus a premium and non-premium version of Thalia, Guardian of Thraben if you were logged in specific time frame. 

Maybe it is not too late yet to log on every account you own, but make a try!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Modern Bible of RG Tron chapter 31 - RG Tron vs Scapeshift

Combo is death for RG Tron. We fear combo decks above everything else. The worst are the quick combo decks that win on turn 3 or turn 4 that we simply have no answers for in game 1 (unless you are joining the maindecking-Nature's Claim-clique). 

Fortunately for us, Scapeshift is not a turn 3 or 4 combo deck most of the time, giving us at least some hope to win.

Is this a bad matchup for RG Tron?
Yes, it is. Scapeshift does not care about our removal and we are not presenting a significant clock to them. 

There is hope that Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger can change this. See last week's blog post here:

Things to consider when playing RG Tron vs Scapeshift
One of the difficulties of playing against Scapeshift is that they can stop your significant threats with countermagic while still threatening a medium quick combo kill.

I now take the liberty of quoting MagicGatheringStrat viewer Mike Pawliuk who has fair insight into this matchup. This comes from a YouTube comment. Full credit to Mike for these tips.

Playing against Scapeshift: THRESHOLDS: 6 or fewer lands: They can't do anything. 7 lands: (Find Valakut + 6 mountains) is 18 damage (usually not enough to kill us) 8 lands: (find 2 Valakut + 6 mountains) is 36 damage. LAND NUMBERS: 2 Valkut 10 Mountain (4 Steam Vent, 4 Stomping Ground, 2 Basic Mountain) Sometimes risky players will only use 1 basic mountain and 9 total mountains. SPELLSKITE: 7 lands: (Valakut + 6 mountains) is 12 damage. 8 lands: (2 Valakut + 6 mountains) is 24 damage. 9 lands: (2 Valakut + 7 mountains) is 28 damage. WURMCOIL: An early wurmcoil can put us out of range of them. Especially if we have Spellskite and Nature's Claim. Be careful if they have Sakura Tribe Elder; they will block and sacrifice, so we won't gain life. THE TRICK: They only have 2 basics, so after Scapeshift resolves (1) if both basics are represented (either pre or post scapeshift) and (2) they only fetched 6 mountains, THEN GQ a mountain will stop the Valakut triggers from resolving (when the triggers check to see if there are 5 other mountains, they will not find them). Notice that Boil also can do "the Trick"; it's much more powerful, but can be countered. After Scapeshift resolves, if Boil Resolves and kills enough Steam Vents to get them to 5 or fewer mountains, then Valakut won't trigger. (You can also try to Boil before Scapeshift, and this will keep them from finding enough lands). Be aware of counterspells though! IF THEY PLAY VALAKUT: This is a very bad sign for them. GQ it in response to Scapeshift. They will need to fetch 8 lands (Valakut + 7 mountains) to deal 21 to you. A single wurmcoil hit will almost certainly get you out of range.

Useful and less useful sideboard cards
Boil: See above.

Firespout: Pyroclasm 5-8 would be very useful here. This matchup (and Zoo) are my main reasons for wanting Firespout in my sideboard.

Oblivion Stone: Does nothing. Sideboard out.

Slaughter Games: Take Scapeshift. This is one of the big reasons to play Slaughter Games in your sideboard.

Spellskite: See above

Less useful main deck cards
Oblivion Stone: Does nothing. Sideboard out.

Pyroclasm: Does nothing. Sideboard out.

Relic of Progenitus: Relic does very little here but at least it does cycle.

Ugin: A very expensive way to do 3 damage a turn. 

Wurmcoil Engine: He is a route to victory but he is very slow and easily counterable. Ulamog or Sundering Titan does a lot more work, especially supported by Boil.This is one of the strongest matchups for Sundering Titan (especially if you have Cavern of Souls)

What do they bring in?
If Scapeshift sideboard against us they are probably just dilluting their combo. Their best route to victory is to just combo off and watch us cry.

If there is a chance they are bringing in sideboard cards (like Chalice of the Void) you have to consider bringing in Nature's Claims.

Some Scapeshift decks have an alternate sideboard plan that can protect them against being totally rendered helpless by Slaughter Games. Be aware of this!

Sample video
In this video I take on Scapeshift with one of my RG Tron builds.

Next week we will take a look at one or more other matchups.

For a full list of the chapters of The Modern Bible:

Saturday, September 19, 2015

MTGO Library Bot 10.30

We have just released ML Bot 10.30. The new build contains a number of small tunings and tweaks, including better chat messages and a better chat management system. When trading with customers with slow computers, the first chat messages could be lost - the bot actually sends them, but the customer's slow client does not receive it. ML Bot 10.30 performs some extra checks to make sure the customer always receive the messages.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Modern Super League

After Vintage Super League and Standard Super League have been successful, its now time for the Modern Super League.

The players and the decks are

Patrick Dickmann (Tarmo Twin)
Reid Duke (The Rock)
Willy Edel (Abzan)
Shaun McLaren (Jund)
Cedric Philips (Zoo)
LSV (Jeskai Ascendancy)
Lee Shi Tian (Elves)
Mike Sigrist (BW Tokens)

Cedric Philips looks a bit outmatched here.

Three BGx decks is a bit disappointing but I think this will be extremely interesting. The pros often complain about Modern as a format but we mortals all love to watch and play it.

You can follow the Modern Super League every Tuesday through September 29, at 6:00 p.m. Pacific (UTC-7), the newest episode of the Modern Super League's first season airs live on

And yes, I am disappointed not to see a Tron deck. Cedric Philips is known to play Tron competetively and I think he would have at least five good matchups in this lineup.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Did anyone else notice this?

Hi Everyone!

This annoyed me a lot when I was watching Worlds Coverage. Some of the Zendikar spoilers were done with Mark Rosewater talking to Wil Wheaton.

Now, that's great that they want to spring for relevant "nerds" to present for them. There is a problem though. I have been calling it the "Star Trek problem". Recent Star Trek movies have been made to reach a larger audience. The target audience are non-fans of Star Trek.

I'm not a fan of Star Trek, but I saw one of the more recent movies, and thought it was good, apparently their plan worked.

Wizards seems to be trying to bring in "nerd types" to cater to their market. Here's the problem, and it's a normal part of sales, the customer you know will buy will always buy, they gain nothing by making the die hard magic players happy. They gain by bringing in the new players.

Should we take this as an insult? Maybe. Is early spoilers of a new set something the casual or potential player is going to be watching? Probably not.

It's marketing that adds up on paper in the marketing departments powerpoint presentation, but it's like the time Apple was introducing the Apple Watch and the presenters said "[blank] is my favorite band", while mispronouncing the band name, something a real fan would never do.

To me it makes it all seem cheesy and incredibly tacky. They need to have presenters who can actually say the card names and not make common mistakes my dad would make (he's never seen or played a game of magic in his life).

It's unbelievable! Lantern Control Won a Grand Prix.

Hi Everyone!
I don't know if everyone heard, but it made me laugh...hard.

The Lantern Control deck won GP Oklahoma.

It's funny because the deck is silly.

What makes it notable for me is that (at least at GP Oklahoma) the Modern metagame seems to have shifted from what it used to be with a couple decks played by most of the players who did well. I'm talking about twin and Pod (I know pod is gone, but it was tier 1 the entire time it existed in modern).

The format seems much more diverse, that's fun and I think it's great that so many different decks were in the top 8 of the tournament.

I also think that Lantern Control being able to win really shows that decks have shifted a lot from Jund from when Deathrite Shaman was everywhere in Jund. Seriously, does anyone think Lantern Control could have beaten old school Modern Jund? I for one do not.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

MTGO Library Bot 10.26

ML Bot 10.26 implements a new card removal mode in Buying mode. The current one is to type the card numbers you want to remove (for example: 1 3! 7 to remove card 1, card 3 and card 7). The new one let you type the price of the cards you want to remove. You can remove, for example, cards whose price is greater than 0.5 by typing ">0.5", or remove cards cheaper than 0.01 by typing "<0 .01"
We also slightly changed the quote messages in order to have shorter and clear chat message.

Battle for Zendikar: mechanics

Battle for Zendikar set is on the way, hence it is high time to introduce new mechanics:
  • Awaken N (cost) - if you cast this card for (cost), put N +1/+1 counters on target land you control and it becomes a 0/0 Elemental creature with haste. It's still a land. If that land becomes illegal target before the spell tries to resolve, the spell will be countered.
  • Converge - highlights abilites giving advantageous effect for each color of mana used to cast the spell.
  • Devoid - this card has no color. A card with devoid is colorless, even though it has colored mana in its mana cost. Devoid works in all zones, meaning that card is coloress regardless where it currently stays (library, graveyard, battlefield, hand, removed from the game).
  • Ingest - whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, that player exiles the top card of his or her library.
  • Rally - highligths abilities, that triggers whenever an Ally enters the battlefield under your control.

    A remarkable mechanic is featured on Void Winnower, which checks "even converted mana cost".

MTGO Library Bot 10.25

ML Bot 10.25 introduces a better control on regular/foil consistency. 10.25 let you specify what the bot will do when a regular price is higher than a foil price.

For sell prices, you can choose to increase the foil (sell) price at the level of the regular price or decrease the regular (sell) price at the level of the foil price.
For buy prices you can choose to increase the foil (buy) price at the level of the regular price or decrease the regular price at the level of the buy price.

Modern Bible of RG Tron chapter 30 - Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

I am a pessimist at heart and I did not expect any good cards to come out of Battle for Zendikar. I was wrong. Of the cards spoiled so far (I am writing this on September 10th) some have given rise to an interesting discussion about the future of RG Tron in Modern.

First among these is Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, obviously competing for the Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre/Sundering Titan spot in the deck. 

Emrakul and Kozilek left Zendikar and trusted Ulamog to be in charge of the place. Can he handle it?

I think we have to look at the card and not just the pretty picture in this case.

OK, maybe we even have to look at the old Ulamog as well.

How does New Ulamog compare to Old Ulamog?
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger costs 1 mana less.
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger exiles two permanents instead of just destroying one.
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger can be reanimated
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre has Annihalator 4 which seems better than Mill 20 (at least it wins the game quicker)
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre has inevitability as he always comes back and can be fetched again and again with Eye of Ugin.

For the record, I think this is brilliant card design. Actually, the two Ulamogs serve two entirely different purposes. Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, wrecks aggro decks, killing their biggest threat and then annihilating their board. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger exiles two lands for combo decks, giving himself enough time to finish the game.

I could even see you playing both. But things get even more complicated.

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger has a friend
This card is yet unconfirmed so please have that in mind while reading on.

The big thing here is of course T3: Conduit of Ruin  T4: Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger removing two lands. Goodnight, combo.

It is a risky plan. A lot can go wrong. Even though both Conduit of Ruin and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger has cast triggers the plan does not work if Conduit of Ruin is not on the battlefield on turn 4. Path to Exile, Thought Scour, bounce .... a lot of stuff just wrecks this plan. It is still an extremely strong, game-winning play.

So what do you cut for Conduit of Ruin? I have heard different opinions. People seem to be fine cutting Relics (apparently they are not good in this meta - I am not sure I agree with that) for expensive cards (hey, it worked with Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, did it not?) but there is another very clear target for cutting; Wurmcoil Engine. While that might seem insane at first, Wurmcoil Engine's main job against combo is to be the clock and that can be accomplished with a 5/5.

So, once again, the new card is good against combo and the old card (Wurmcoil Engine) is good against aggro. Do we see a sideboard switch plan here? Maybe we can cut all our matchup specific cards (Slaughter Games, Torpor Orb etc) and just switch between Wurmcoil +Infinite Gyre team and the Conduit of Ruin + Ceaseless Hunger team?

Other interesting cards in Battle for Zendikar
There are none. Moving on.

OK, I will mention the one perhaps worth mentioning:

Desolation Twin: While 20 power for 10 mana seems like a fantastic deal (10 of it uncounterable) Desolation Twin really does not help us significantly in any matchup. 

As a sidenote I have seen some lists playing Alchemist's Vial. It cantrips and provides a critical single-creature-fog effect, but is that really better than Relic of Progenitus?

I should also mention that people are considering cutting Red and playing Hangarback Walker in the Pyroclasm spot. I will address that again if that actually becomes a thing. People try all kind of crazy stuff in RG Tron.

Next week we will cover some more matchups, unless there is another big spoiler we need to talk about.

For a full list of the chapters of The Modern Bible:

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Pauper Gauntlet Competitor #1 The Green One by Deluxeicoff

The Pauper Gauntlet is returning to mtgolibrary in November.

I will present some of the competing decks here and on in preparation.

The Green One earns a spot in the third season of the Pauper Gauntlet by getting a top 10 result last year.

For this year, I managed to get Deluxeicoff to talk about sideboarding. After three years of talking with the Pauper Master Brewer, this is the first time I get him to give me any advice on sideboarding, so that is a milestone :)

The idea behind the The Green One is to make an even more aggressive version of Stompy that goes for the face.

The Green One

2 Uktabi Drake
4 Vines
3 Bogle
4 Bonesplitter
1 Flayer HUsk
4 Vault Skirge
4 Ledgewalker
4 Quirion Ranger
4 Hunger
4 Nettle Sentinel
4 pit-skulk
4 Rancor
16 Forest
2 Khalni Garden

1 Longbow
4 Archer
3 Spore Frog
4 Moment's Peace
3 Faerie Macabre

Sideboarding advice
Delver...add 4 scattershots and 1 bow, lose 1 vines, 1 rancor, 3 ledge
Gobs/aggro...add 3 frogs and all 4 moment's - lose 3 boggle, 2 vault, 1 vine, 1 ranger
Graveyard combo (fae/mill etc) add 3 fae macabre, 3 scattershot, 1 bow, lose husk, 2 rancor, 1 hunger, 1 bonesplit, one ledge
Affinity - board same as gobs, but keep 2 vaults in and take out another vine/ranger
MBC - add scattershots to eat edicts depending on build - losing ranger, rancor, vines (1 each - mbc pretty easy matchup)

Don't discount the drake - often times if the game goes mid-long (rare) topdecking one of these with some bonesplitters laying around can be a quick green-flying ball lightning - VERY often vs. control/teachings styles, they exhaust your critters, and tap out thinking they'll have a turn for answers, nope!

For more details about the Pauper Gauntlet S03 starting on November 8th here on mtgolibrary, check out this video

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Good for players, or good for sales, or are they the same?

Hi Everyone,
I was online yesterday and I read an article on the Mothership that talked about why BFZ is different than Zendikar. It doesn't have certain types of cards and mechanics and it does have certain cards and mechanics.

Mark Rosewater specifically addressed the annihilator mechanic. It's a powerful mechanic and it's very hard to win when your opponent attacks with a creature with annihilator.

The thing that irks me is that he mentioned market research a lot. I think that's a pretty transparent statement that we only want to sell more cards.

The guise is that they are using the research to "make a better game", unfortunately this isn't the case.

The case is that Wizards only wants players to buy cards and they don't care about the game being the best it can be.

I'd even argue that it would be better for the health of the game (maybe not for sales) if they researched the cards that see play. Not just competitive play, just the cards that are played and then identify what players like about the card and why they play those specific cards, then try to design more cards like those.

How do those cause-effect relationships work?

Hi Everyone!
Arid Mesa
I wanted to write about something that makes me chuckle a little bit (I know, almost everything makes me chuckle a little). But seriously, Battle for Zendikar.Specifically the special "Zendikar Expedition" land cards.

They are an obvious attempt to print non-standard in demand cards without tanking modern card prices like Modern Masters and Modern Masters 2015 did (oh yeah, and to make more money for Wizards by making ZE cards super, duper rare, for the record, more rare than power 9 cards from Vintage Masters).

So, are the ZE lands going to be outrageously expensive or will everything else be cheap? Are these lands going to be popular enough to cause people to buy so much BFZ that there is an abundance of every card in the set...Or are these lands really going to just be a "treat" at the rate of one per case?

My guess is somewhere in between. I'm not sure what's exactly going to happen but I have been thinking that it's possible that the additional demand from ZE cards makes everything in the set (excluding ZE, obviously) super inexpensive.

Monday, September 7, 2015

MTGO Library Bot 10.23

We have just released ML Bot 10.23, a minor update over 10.22 fixing a crash happening on the new autotransfer mode.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Modern Bible of RG Tron chapter 29 - RG Tron vs Merfolk

In this series of specific matchups I tend to dwell on the matchups that are not really easy wins or super hard to deal with. I think getting skilled with Tron is very dependent on how to handle the "even" matchups. This week we cover another one of those matchups: Merfolk.

It never feels even. It is either super easy (you pyroclasm some Merfolk) or super hard (they Spreading Sees you and overrun you with 4/4s).

Is this a bad matchup for RG Tron?
It is my humble opinion that this is a 50/50 matchup. People may disagree (and please do so in the comments). I heard the Professor discuss it on a podcast and he felt it was quite favored for Merfolk. He might very well be correct.

Things to consider when playing RG Tron vs Merfolk
The matchup is not about you getting to Tron. It is about you surviving the initial charge of Merfolk. Don't think too hard about Tron. It is perfectly acceptable to keep a hand that can cast Pyroclasm.

You have to cast Pyroclasm as soon as possible. If you let him have two lords (remember Aether Vial!) your Pyroclasms are then useless. Use them quickly and early.

Spreading Seas is a nightmare, but it does not disable you completely. Oblivion Stone can still be cast and used.

You only need the Wurmcoil Engines to win. They can win the games by themselves.

Oblivion Stone is more useful than ever in this matchup. If you can resolve and use the good old O-Stone your only remaining problem is some pesky 2/2 man-lands.

The combination of counterspells and aggressive creatures should spell your doom but remember that counterspells are really bad in Modern and that they often can be played around. Ulamog does lots of work against them.

Merfolk hits hard but they dump their hand fairly quickly and have a hard time refilling it.

Useful and less useful sideboard cards
Boil: It looks like such a good idea until you realize that your Urza's Tower is now an island thanks to Spreading Seas. I think this is not the matchup for Boil.

Chalice of the Void: Set it to 2 and watch Merfolk cry.

Firespout: Pyroclasm 5-8 would be very useful here. This matchup (and Zoo) are my main reasons for wanting Firespout in my sideboard.

Nature's Claim: You are able to remove Spreading Seas, kill Aether Vial and gain some critical lives for yourself if you really have to. Useful! Killing your own Wurmcoil Engine in response to Vapor Snag feels quite alright too.

Pithing Needle: Many players recommend it for this matchup to turn off Aether Vial. I have no experience playing the card versus Merfolk.

Rending Volley: This kills a lord, which can make all the difference. Make sure you board it in quickly. 

Spellskite: Spellskite blocks some of their creatures until you have an island and can redirect Vapor Snag from Wurmcoil but I don't think that is enough to warrant a slot in the main deck for Spellskite after the first duel.

Less useful main deck cards
Emrakul: The big girl is somewhat more useful than in other aggro matchups, but most of the time she is just a dead draw. Take her out if you are still maindecking her. 

Eye of Ugin: In theory you can chain Wurmcoil Engines with this card. I am reluctant to take it out but it is sloooow. One good principle is that if there is any chance games can go long (and they can against Merfolk), Eye should stay in.

Karn Liberated: The threats are multiple and fast. Karn does not do enough in this matchup but he is still Karn. I can see sideboarding out one to three Karns if you need the space.

Relic of Progenitus: Relic does not do anything here. 

Sundering Titan: Obviously ultra bad in this matchup. 

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon: If Karn is too slow, Ugin is even slower ... but his ability is ultra useful. To be able to kill off everything when Karn can't deal with the horde of Merfolk is very powerful. 

Ulamog, the Infnite Gyre: You are better off if this is your maindeck Eldrazi but I could see you boarding him out after the first duel. In this matchup he can often be relevant and remove a critical lord. I tend to keep him more than I board him out.

What do they bring in?
One of the reasons this matchup is not that bad for us is that they really don't have too many options. They will probably have access to some land-based land destruction (Ghost Quarter or Tectonic Edge) but their sideboard slots are commonly used for other purposes. Maybe they don't fear Tron enough.

However, they will bring in Spell Pierce for your Oblivion Stones, which Martin Juza himself feels makes Merfolk the favored deck after sideboarding.

Sample video
In this video I take on Merfolk with one of my RG Tron builds.

Next week the Eldrazi are coming back and we will have to look at some of the Battle for Zendikar spoilers

For a full list of the chapters of The Modern Bible:

New mulligan rule goes into effect worldwide

Wizards announced, that a new mulligan rule, which was tested at Pro Tour Vancouver, received a lot of positive feedback and starting with the Battle for Zendikar Prereleases the change goes into effect worldwide, including Magic Online. Simly put, any player whose opening hand has fewer cards than his or her starting hand size may scry 1. 

Basing on ChannelFireball calculation, the players mulliganing to 5 probably won something like 30% of the time and even a mulligan to 6 might drop your chances of win to around 38%. These figures would of course vary by format and by mulligan skill level, but the size of the effects were large everywhere. Mulliganing was very costly. Indeed, it still is, but your chances of winning the game are a little bit higher now.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

MTGO Library Bot 10.22

Yesterday we found a memory leakage. We are still investigating it. We released ML Bot 10.22 to temporarily fix it.

ML Bot 10.22 will constantly check MTGO memory usage and its own internal memory usage, and restart if memory consumption grows too much.
We think the issue has been introduced last Wednesday, but it's too early to say - it will probably take a couple of days to shed light.

Friday, September 4, 2015

MTGO Library Bot 10.21

In the last days we released a couple of major ML Bot updates.

The most important one is ML Bot 10.16, that moved the entire Profit & Margin tool to the online control panel. This let you change the prices in real time, without restarting the bot and from a unique panel. If you have many bots and you want to adjust their prices, you can do it here without accessing the virtual machines. This will save time and make things easier.

We also expanded the tool and let you choose a % correction for price ranges and rarity - you can have, for example, a thin margin on 50+ tixs cards and a large margin on commons.

We also introduced a new option for the "Refill" autotransfer mode, adding the "leave on donor bot at least X cards" option. This basically allows you to specify a refill target (exactly as before) but, if set > 0 , will respect the donor bot and will leave them at least "X" copies of each card.
The previous mode, without that option, worked with the X number equals to "0".

We hope you will enjoy the changes. In the next week we will have many updates regarding pricing, with more tools to offer you control over pricing. We feel that ML Bot is now technically very stable and able to cope efficiently with the MTGO client - we will now work on pricing tools to make your botting life easier.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Pauper Rogue Cup 2015 - a road to the Pauper Gauntlet

The Pauper Gauntlet season 03 is coming to mtgolibrary this fall. Open deck submissions will begin Sunday November 8th.

But before that there is the Pauper Rogue Cup 2015 happening in Sevilla, Spain thanksto my friends at

You can find the original info here:  It is all in Spanish so I will try to explain what is happening.

The Pauper Rogue Cup 2015

Because they are an outstanding amazing group, I offered the right to Cardboard Commons to do some sort of selection process for a certain number of slots in the Pauper Gauntlet. (If you are a website or community involved in the Pauper format and are interested in this for season 04 next year, please contact me).

Cardboard Commons decided to organize a special tournament to elect their candidates. They decided to focus on Rogue Brews!

In their own words (through Google Translate):
"Everyone has a moment of inspiration in which a fresh idea about a deck that revolves around our pet card or an unexplored synergy arises, but we dare not develop it for fear of being destroyed by some Tier deck at the first round. However, what if a tournament is organized that guarantees that there will be no top lists as contenders? Would you dare to show your creation to the world and to fight with other equally or even more bizarre decks than yours? Well, wait no more: Join the Rogue Cup! ^ _ ^"
Format: Classic Pauper (MTGO)
  • The main condition to be met by all participants in the Rogue Cup is that his or her deck doesn’t represent an archetype who has had a presence bigger than 2% in the Magic Online Meta (I appreciate this as the rogue decks are always the most fun to play in the Pauper Gauntlet itself).
  • This is a LIVE IRL tournament. Yes, there are several places in the world that organize live Pauper tournaments. I wish they were closer to Sweden.
Date and location: Sunday 20 September 2015 at 17: 00h in Agora Juegos (c / AsunciĆ³n 66, 41011 Sevilla).

Registration: 3 euros, complete decklist + sideboard (regardless of whether in Spanish or English), player name and DCI. Punctuality is requested to complete registration as soon as possible.

  • Store credit to be distributed among the Top Players.
  • The decks piloted by the top four of the tournament will participate in the third edition of Pauper Gauntlet, organized by MagicGatheringStrat and begin on November 8, 2015.
  • Likewise, a deck chosen by the organization according to criteria of originality, feasibility and / or flavor also get a place on the Pauper Gauntlet, regardless of their final standings in the Rogue Cup.
I will report the result of the Pauper Rogue Cup 2015 here as well of course.