Wednesday, September 28, 2016

10-tix Modern

Me and my  buddies at MagicGatheringStrat are running a Modern League starting this week so get your decks in before Sunday. It is a budget league so decks can cost no more than 10 tickets. That seemed like an interesting challenge.

The league is free to enter and we do have prizes.

You will find all the revelant information in this video.

I started thinking about this format. I checked out my old Urzatron Modern Silverblack deck but the Urzalands are too expensive for 10-tix Modern.

Then it occured to me! Burn! Mono Red Burn. Boring perhaps but always a strong contender in budget formats.

This is the list I came up with

2 Flames of the Blood Hand
4 Hellspark Elemental
4 Keldon Marauders
4 Lava Spike
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Magma Jet
19 Mountain
4 Rift Bolt
3 Searing Blaze
4 Shard Volley
4 Skullcrack
4 Thermo-Alchemist

2 Aggressive Mining
4 Dragon's Claw
2 Electrickery
2 Flames of the Blood Hand
1 Searing Blaze
4 Smash to Smithereens

It comes in a 9.86 tickets today. Do you have any suggestions for improvements? 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

What does Kaladesh mean for Pauper?

This time, right before the release of another big set, the Interwebs fill up with articles that speak about interesting cards for Pauper, the all-common format, mainly played on Magic Online.

I am here to disappoint you.

Pauper contains commons going all the way back to Magic's creation. That means that a new set of 264 cards is going to make a minimal impact. Still, we sometimes get a gem or two (such as Thermo-Alchemist in Eldritch Moon). Remember - to put some card in your deck from Kaladesh, you have to take out a card that is probably pre-NWO and amazing.

Here are the cards I think have a real possibility of finding a spot in a tier 1-3  deck in Pauper. They are listed in order with the likeliest card at the top.

Gearseeker Serpent: A 5/6 for UU could see play in Affinity. Quicksilver Behemoth has seen play and is just a 4/5 at a similar mana cost. However, two blue colored mana could be too steep. Being 5/6 is so good, though, being able to block Gurmag Angler is worth a lot.

Fragmentize: The ability to disenchant something for 1 mana can not be ignored. This will see sideboard play.

Dramatic Reversal: This has no home in an existing deck but the effect is so powerful that maybe, just maybe, something could be built around this.

Cathartic Reunion: Tormenting Voice saw fringe play in tier 3 decks. This card is clearly more powerful some of the time and it just reeks of combo potential. It will probably just not be as good as the blue alternatives.

Reckless Fireweaver: Its base stats are very weak at 1/3 for R1 but the effect is very powerful. It don't see it finding a spot in Affinity (what do you cut?) but there are some rogue decks that could benefit from this.

Take Down: Stompy and other green decks could use a card like this. The ability to take down a Spire Golem for 1 mana is nothing to sneeze at. However, I believe Scattershot Archer will remain the better choice.

Salivating Gremlins: This card is not good but we know that people will try to break it. It will appear in brews.

Larger than Life: Infect might just want this. Trample is sweet and similar cards have seen play.

Self-Assembler: Getting four 4/4s will be useful for some decks, especially decks that don't have access to green for Auroch's Herd

Dhund Operative: I have seen Suicide Black lists sporting 4 Vault of Whispers and 4 Bonded Constructs in a desperate attempt to make this playable. There might be a better way so I figured the card deserved a mention at least.

I have not mentioned reprints (I am looking at you, Prophetic Prism) that are already established in the format.

This list can become very different if the next set contains any playable Pauper cards that use Energy. If that is the case we have to reconsider cards such as the Puzzleknots but for now they are all useless to us.

How to draft Kaladesh?

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 rather appear in your deck.

1st pick:
artifact: Skysovereign, Consul Flagship.
white: Aetherstorm Roc, Angel of Invention.
blue: Confiscation Coup.
red: Chandra, Torch of Defiance.
black: Demon of Dark Schemes, Noxious Gearhulk.
green: Nissa, Vital Force, Verdurous Gearhulk.

2nd pick:
artifact: Multiform Wonder, Smuggler's Copter.
white: Cataclysmic Gearhulk, Fumigate, Skywhaler’s Shot.
blue: Saheeli's Artistry, Torrential Gearhulk.
red: Combustible Gearhulk, Skyship Stalker.
black: Marionette Master.
green: Bristling Hydra, Cultivator of Blades.
multi: Cloudblazer, Depala, Pilot Exemplar, Dovin Baan, Rashmi, Eternities Crafter, Unlicensed Disintegration, Voltaic Brawler.

3rd pick:
artifact: Ballista Charger, Bomat Bazaar Barge, Chief of the Foundry, Cultivator's Caravan, Filigree Familiar, Fleetwheel Cruiser, Foundry Inspector, Iron League Steed, Key to the City, Metalwork Colossus, Narnam Cobra, Renegade Freighter, Scrapheap Scrounger, Sky Skiff, Snare Thopter.
white: Aerial Responder, Aviary Mechanic, Captured by the Consulate, Consul’s Shieldguard, Fairgrounds Warden, Fragmentize, Gearshift Ace, Glint-Sleeve Artisan, Impeccable Timing, Master Trinketeer, Propellor Pioneer, Revoke Privileges, Skyswirl Harrier, Thriving Ibex, Visionary Augmenter, Wispweaver Angel.
blue: Aether Meltdown, Aether Theorist, Aethersquall Ancient, Experimental Aviator, Gearseeker Serpent, Glimmer of Genius, Glint-Nest Crane, Insidious Will, Janjeet Sentry, Long-Finned Skywhale, Malfunction, Nimble Innovator; Padeem, Consul of Innovation, Shrewd Negotiation, Wind Drake.
red: Aethertorch Renegade, Brazen Scourge, Chandra’s Pyrohelix, Fateful Showdown, Furious Reprisal, Harnessed Lightning, Lathnu Hellion, Maulfist Doorbuster, Pia Nalaar, Spontaneous Artist, Thriving Grubs, Welding Sparks.
black: Aetherborn Marauder, Ambitious Aetherborn, Dhund Operative, Die Young, Eliminate the Competition, Essence Extraction, Gonti, Lord of Luxury, Lawless Broker, Live Fast, Make Obsolete, Maulfist Squad, Ovalchase Daredevil, Prakhata Club Security, Subtle Strike, Syndicate Trafficker, Thriving Rats, Tidy Conclusion.
green: Arborback Stomper, Architect of the Untamed, Armorcraft Judge, Elegant Edgecrafters, Hunt the Weak, Kujar Seedsculptor, Longtusk Cub, Nature’s Way, Peema Outrider, Riparian Tiger, Servant of the Conduit, Thriving Rhino.
multi: Contraband Kingpin, Empyreal Voyager, Kambal, Consul of Allocation, Restoration Gearsmith, Veteran Motorist, Whirler Virtuoso.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Mtgo hotfix for broken binder

*UPDATE*  The binder problem seems to be fixed.

WotC just deployed a hotfix to the active trade binder problem. You need to restart your MTGO and the binders should be working fine as usual.

Our team is now doing tests, we'll keep you informed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Kaladesh limited first impressions

One of my favorit sets to draft (and play Sealed) was Mirrodin. The fact that there were so many artifacts meant there was so much good stuff for every deck. It felt like christmas in every draft. I was on hiatus during Scars of Mirrodin which means that I have been waiting a long time for Kaladesh limited. The fact that draft is now played in league form makes it even more interesting.

Magic Online prereleases being on October 7th. I quit limited early during BFZ. I think this might be the time to get back in.

What to expect of the format
The commons look very strong. Black has a 3/2 deathtouch creature at common! I think we can expect a faster than average format. It will not be Magic Origins or Zendikar fast though.
Because the commons and uncommons look strong I think we can expect a pauper format, i.e. it will a format not dominated by bomb rares. 
A lot of cards generate bonuses for artifacts. Artifacts will be better than usual
Play 17 lands. As there are some sinks, I would tend to go 18 more than 16.
2/2s for 2 are probably not good enough even though the format is fast. 

New mechanics and how they will affect the format
Energy - this mechanic is hard to evaluate at this early stage. Will probably help finish games if they go late. It looks like a deep mechanic with lots of play to it. 
Fabricate - full of options. Will make the format more interesting. I will tend to evaluate cards with Fabricate a little higher. 
Vehicles - they look so bad but I expect them to be better than expected and matter. I will be scared of including too many in my deck. Imagine having a vehicle out with no creatures. That is basically the same as taking a mulligan.

Here is an overview of the new mechanics in Kaladesh:

Fix your trade binder after the Mtgo Update

We found a way to fix the trade binders after the Mtgo update.

This is a bug preventing everyone (including 'humans') from adding / removing cards to the active trade binder. The binder is basically broken. There is nothing you can do to fix, you have to trash it and create a new one. Below the exact procedure

1) you need to create a new binder, empty 
2) you need to make it active 
3) you need to erase the old trade binder 
4) restart mtgo, let the bot go and handle the client as usual

Bugs in MTGO 93.633

The latest version of MTGO, released by WotC few hours ago, is heavily bugged. We had to rewrite parts of the bot to bypass these bugs and we will be publishing a bot update in few hours. 

There could be some errors on your MTGO that do not depend on ML Bot. The most common are:
  • a constant "Loading Magic Online" alert message. If you have so, your account is unable to trade. You need to move MTGO to another pc and / or clone your virtual machine from a working one

  • impossibility to make your cards tradable. This happens on some accounts, and it is not related to the "Loading Magic Online". Not even manually you can make cards tradable

Beside that, the rest of the bot and mtgo is working.

Monday, September 19, 2016

How to build a Modern deck cheaply?

While it is not really possible to buy a Modern deck cheaply without a lot of patience, there is certainly a way to spend your money effectively and efficiently to avoid the prohibitive costs of some Modern decks. Here are some basic tips to follow as you are picking up staples for a new deck. Keep in mind that these strategies are predicated on patience. If you absolutely must play a new deck tomorrow, you will not find this information beneficial.

Before even starting to make the investment proxy your deck first. Find a deck you enjoy and want to build. It seems pretty obvious but I know so many players without a clear plan of what they even want to play. Maybe you own a few Arcbound Ravagers and want to play Affinity but also own some Noble Hierarchs and wouldn’t mind playing a green deck. Later you have a lot of money in cards and no deck.

Buy the cheap cards first 
Modern cards don’t usually get cheaper over time. Without any reprints, a card can quickly gain on value over the course of time. Take a Modern Masters set as example. When the full spoiler was revealed, the cards that were not included in the set skyrocketed. Cheap card were not cheap cards anymore. Even the commons are destined for rising prices.

Buy the most expenisve cards later
Many players start building a deck from the most expensive cards, assuming the rest should fall into place more easily. Indeed, it is true, but only if you manage to get full deck quickly, but if you know that it will take you months to complete a deck it is rather a bad decision, becasue these cards are on WotC's radar and the probability of reprint is higher. Product announcements are every six months

Buy recent reprints
If you acquire recent reprints with right timing you cannot loose money on this investment. If you are thinking of Modern in longterm it is usually a good decision to buy a playset of recent reprints, because sooner or later you will need these cards and they are much cheaper now due to high supply. Tip: Heritage Druid, Inquistion of Kozilek should be on your radar now.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Kaladesh Masterpieces

It seems that the Zendikar expeditions were quite successful so now we are doing it again in Kaladesh.

Kaladesh Masterpieces will be coveted cards such as Sword of Fire and Ice and Mana Crypt. They will be found in new-art, foil-only versions at a rate of roughly 1 out of every 144 boosters. I think that is the same rate as the expeditions. Almost all of the Masterpieces are reprints.

So why does Wizards do this? Three reasons.

#1: Putting part of the box value in these expensive chase cards in order to reduce the cost of Standard (it does make sense if you think hard about it).
#2: Getting old cards out there. A Modern Masters every other year is not enough. Wizards need to reduce the value of your bot collection in several ways and this is one of the better.
#3:  Another way to bling your deck (yeah, that's what they said)

And it seems that Wizards, in fact, have succeeded in achieving these three goals. Zendikar Expeditions were a hit so now we are doing it again. It works.

Here is a full list of the Masterpieces (they are all artifacts naturally):

Aether Vial
Cataclysmic Gearhulk
Champion's Helm
Chromatic Lantern
Chrome Mox
Cloudstone Curio
Combustible Gearhulk
Crucible of Worlds
Gauntlet of Power
Hangarback Walker
Lightning Greaves
Lotus Petal
Mana Crypt
Mana Vault
Mind's Eye
Mox Opal
Noxious Gearhulk
Rings of Brighthearth
Scroll Rack
Sculping Steel
Sol Ring
Solemn Simulacrum
Static Orb
Steel Overseer
Sword of Feast and Famine
Sword of Fire and Ice
Sword of Light and Shadow
Torrential Gearhulk
Verdorous Gearhulk

On another note, the set looks sweet so far. I was not around during Scars of Mirrodin but my experience from Mirrodin tells me that drafting an artifact set is great fun. I might be doing my first limited leagues soon.

Full announcement by Wizards here:

Upcoming MTGO Library Improvements

I am excited to annouce MTGO Library will be making some major improvements in the upcoming months.  As I mentioned in a prior article, there will be a new price updater that will be launched in October. In the image below you see a work-in-progress preview, so don't take it as final.

In November there will be improvements to MTGO Wikiprice with increased search speeds, the grouping of reprinted cards into one search page (In other words, if want Tarmogoyf, you don't have to search 3 different sets), and possibly a universal credit system for all ML bots to share credits.

After Christmas / January 2017, a Webshop for Wikiprice will be launched.  The new Webshop will allow customers to purchase from any bot using paypal or credit card.  And then grab the cards on single bots, or on a wikiprice collector bot (so one trade).  The goal is to make Mtgo Wikiprice a better place to shop.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Modern Masters 2017 coming on March 17, 2017

MM3 has been announced. There will be cards from Eigth Edition through Magic 2014 with the emphasis on Innistrad and Return to Ravnica blocks.

MSRP is $9.99. Hopefully that is not the online price.

The structure of the set seems to be the same as MM and MM2.

So what could the ten archetypes possibly be? These are my guesses.

WU: Fliers with detain
WB: Sacrifice - probably Humans
WG: Populate and big things
WR: Battalion seems like the natural choice but that would win against any other of these decks.
UB: Self mill. I don't think Cypher stands a chance.
UG: Please please be Evolve
UR: Spells. Possibly with Burning Vengeance. Always popular.
BG: Morbid Golgaris
BR: Vampires
GR: Werewolves

What do you think? What are your guesses? Let me know in the comments below.

Interesting that some of the archetypes will be well known because of Shadows over Innistrad being so recent.

I hate what this is going to do to my bot inventory. I think it is time to stop buying anything from ISD and RTR blocks. And it is definitely time to sell your Snapcaster Mages and Lilianas.

Full announcement here:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

How to trade in a Bear Market

As mentioned in a previous article, the mtgo market has continued to decrease in valuation.

So today I'd like to provide some tips on how to trade in a bear market.

1.  Be very selective on your purchases by purchasing cards that are fast movers, because what you buy will probably decrease in value.  
2.  Flip your cards as quickly as possible.  Again, this is because the card value will probably decrease in value.  So you want to either make a small profit or take a small loss as quickly as possible and move on to the next sale.
3.  Decrease your profit margins (lower the gap between sell and buy price) to increase inventory turns.
4.  Purchase cards over time to average down purchase price.  For example:  your bot might buy 4 quantities of a certain card, now set the buy limit to 2 or 1 quantity instead.  Then increase the buy quantity over time as prices come down so you can average down your purchase price.
5.  And of course, always maintain a certain amount of tickets on your bots at all times regardless of a Bull or Bear Market.  This builds customer loyalty and confidence in your bots.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Modern League with Naya Burn - the conclusion

A couple of weeks ago I started my very first league with a solid 2-0 result taking down Hate Bears and Affinity. You can check it out here:

Then I went 1-1 and was 3-1 going into this final match.

Interestingly enough, my final match was against Naya Burn featuring Wild Nacatl.

The question whether to include Wild Nacatl in Naya Burn is a difficult one and seems to come down to taste - i.e. decks with or without Wild Nacatl have a similar win percentage over a large sample size.

Overall, I enjoyed my first league experience and I have already started a second one. I also like the deck quite a bit - I feel it is a very strong deck against a large amount of the field.

Here is my deck list:

Kaladesh: mechanics

Prerelease of Kaladesh starts on September, 24. This time there are no returning mechanics. Instead, we will get three totally new:
  • Crew - each Vehicle starts out as just an artifact. Well, an artifact with some potential. It is keyword ability that enables vehicles to become artifact creatures until end of turn. To activate the crew ability, tap any number of creatures you control with total power equal to or greater than the crew number. Because the crew ability doesn't use the tap symbol, you can tap any untapped creature you control, even with summoning sickness. You can even tap an animated Vehicle to crew another Vehicle. Additionally, there is a 'Pilot' creature type, which usually gives Vehicle some bonuses, if it was tapped to pay the Crew cost. 
  • Fabricate - when a creature with Fabricate enters the battlefield you may put a number of +1/+1 counters on the creature, or create a number of 1/1 colorless Servo artifact creature tokens. The number after fabricate tells you how many +1/+1 counters or Servos you get.
  • Energy counters represent Aether, a magical energy that is found throughout the Multiverse and is an integral part of the ecosystem on Kaladesh. Energy counters are a new resource, placed on players in form of a counter, likewise Poison counters. They are used to pay the cost to activate abilities. Most cards that give you energy counters also give you a way to spend them. Energy counters that you get from one card can be saved up and spent on abilities of other cards. Energy counters don't go away, there is no 'energyburn' when a phase of your turn ends. The only way to lose them is to spend them. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Average mtgo card value 8th July - 8th September

New Pricing System Coming Soon

Mtgo Library is currently working on a major improvement to the background price updater that will be released in October.  It is a total rewrite of the current one with a more advanced algorithm. The new pricing system will be dynamic and will allow the bot to follow the market immediately with two extra controls based on current sales and inventory stock.  As always, Mtgo Library continues to make investments to keep their bots on the cutting-edge.

More details to come!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Easter Eggs

An Easter egg is an intentional inside joke, hidden message, or feature in an interactive work such as a computer program, video game or other. It is no different with MtG. It's name is used to evoke the idea of a traditional Easter egg hunt.

There are many Easter eggs in MtG, but I've selected ones that I like the most. Each set has its own hidden Easter eggs. Artists have been constantly winking to us since Alpha set. Feel free to add more propositiones in comments.

Uktabi Orangutan. In this card we see some 'monkey business' going on in the background and then in Unhinged set we've got a Uktabi Kong. We may see there a results of this activity.

Flame Wave. Take a look near the center of the underside of the wave and you will see what appears to be a guy surfing on the magma. He has either protection from red or suicidal tendencies.

Forcefield. The man in the art from Forcefield is holdin up the background of Mox Jet..

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The next block is set on Amonkhet

There was a big announcement recently from Wotc.

The next block after Kaladesh is set on the world of Amonkhet, ruled by Nicol Bolas himself. The name sounds Egyptian to me. I am ready for some sphinxes, pyramids and pharaohs.

The first set of the block is "Rise Among the Worthy". It will be released on April 28, 2017.

The second set of the block is "Hour of Devastation". It will be released on July 14, 2017.

They also announced Modern Masters 2017 for March 17, 2017 featuring cards from sets from 8th Edition (Blood Moon perhaps?) through Magic 2014, probably with a focus on Innistrad and Return to Ravnica blocks.

Read the full announcement here: