Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Influences on cards value (Part 3 of 3)

In the previous parts I've shown how to predict and detect card fluctuation as soon as possible.
Today I will be showing you how to price your cards to take full advantage of it.

Pushing up your buy prices

When it comes to manually pricing a card I always try to buy for more than most other bots and sell for less, it seems ideal, but not always possible. In cards where value is very stabilized its safer to push the buying price closer to the selling price, whilst cards that tend to fluctuate are riskier.

As an example, Inferno Titan is priced at about 8.5 while Sword of Body and Mind is selling for about 7.75 but  I am buying the Sword at a higher price (6.5) than the Titan (6.25). The reason for this is because I am confident that in 2 weeks time the Equipment value should still be over the 6.5 Event tickets I paid, while the Red giant might not.

With the well known Cycle of Investor Emotions I would set Inferno Titan as going through an Euphoria or Anxiety phase.

Changing your prices in PersonalPrices.txt
Firstly you will need to remember that any price listed in the PersonalPrices.txt will ignore all other modifiers (Cardsmtgo3.txt, correction rates, personalpercentages.txt, limits and quantities) unless left blank.
My guide to do this is to play safe if you are unsure and push buy prices higher only if you feel confident to do so, as you see cards value fluctuating you will be able to identify which cards are the safe and risky ones.

On value fIuctuation I follow this small rule:
If a card value goes up, increase the selling price quickly to market price and slowly increase the buying price (0.2 per day or so).
If a card value drops and you own the card slowly decrease the selling price (0.2 per day or so) or if you don't drop it straight into the current market selling price, drop the buy price straight to market price in either situations.

Here is an example of how I manually priced my Inferno Titans before, during and after the Worlds 2011 tournament following this rule:

Might sound strange but never feel tempted in raising very quickly the buying price on a card that just gone up due to recent success because if it drops in value it results in a loss.
When running multiple bots it might be best to set buying quantities as low as 1 on cards that you buy really high, avoid buying multiple playsets in a matter of minutes. This might be crucial in case of an unexpected price drop (as happened before on standard banning of "Jace, the Mind Sculptor" and "Stoneforge Mystic" earlier this year). 

Also remember to keep PersonalPrices.txt regularly updated since those prices wont be affected by updating your mtgocards3.txt Price list! :)

MTGO Library Bot 4.69 is out!

The Mtgo update of today slightly changed the bottom-left menu, and, as result, the bot was no more able to read it correctly. In particular, the bot wasn't able to post the messages on the Classified board.

MTGO Library Bot version 4.69 fixes the issue.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

You've Got Mail Part 2

Last time we interrupted our series on little known bot features to introduce a new feature which ironically can used on vacation; the email at the end of trade. Currently, this is a mandatory feature, meaning that you will receive these emails whether you like it or not. However, this is not going to be permanent as there will be several email options coming to the bot control panel in the near future. For now though, let's discuss what we can do with these emails.

To answer that question, it all depends on what you want to do with these emails. If you have a large bot chain, or simply do not wish to be bothered with the individual trades as they happen, then simply set up a filter to delete the emails as they come in.

Just simply set up a filter which states anything from gets deleted. Then you simply do not have to deal with them.

If you want to study the trades as they come in, then set up a filter and instead of deleting the email, simply move the emails to that folder.

All of that is self-explanatory. However, let's say you want Garruk Relentless but do not wish to pay another bot for the card. After all, what's the point of having a bot buys cards for you if it can not get a card for you when you want one? Just set up a filter that states when the bot makes a trade for that card, have it not just filtered to a folder, but to send a copy to your smartphone. That's right, now you do not have to choose between setting all cards as trade-able but losing out on a specific card you want or letting all cards be trade-able and grabbing what you when you want it as you will be notified when it happens.

Next time we'll continue our look at little-known bot features that one can use while on vacation.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Influences on cards value (Part 2)

In my last article I explained how certain card's value spike after being successfully used on tournaments. Today I will teach 3 (three) methods that you can use to predict possible cards that might be currently undervalued and be going up in the future.


Interviews can be a great tool to evaluate cards before a new set comes out, this will give you a heads up on which cards might be the "bombs" of a new set and which ones wont work as well, making 2 (two) different cards that might be at a similar value on a release swerve into different directions, just like the Mythic Skaab Ruinator's value dropped down to about 2 (two) Event Tickets and the rare Snapcaster Mage's value is still steady at about 10 (ten) Event tickets.

Live Events

You don't have to wait for the tournaments results to know which cards did well, watching interviews where the top players reveal what they are taking into a big event or watching the event live are a great tool to determine those cards even before there is a top8 announced.
Jun’ya Iyanaga, the Worlds 2011 champion, had 4 (four) copies of Inferno Titan, making his deck very different from most "Kessig Titan". While watching the live coverage of the event, I didn't need to wait for the third game of the final match to know that Inferno Titan's value was going up.


Articles are a fundamental tool on new sets pre-release, since they will show you all the possible new decks with both new cards, and previous set cards that were cheap before, this also includes set spoilers because they will show you which classic cards you might already have that are going to be reprinted in a new set, causing their value to go up or possibly down depending on the current rarity or price of that card.

You can find articles like this on the official Magic the Gathering articles "Daily MTG" or in any other unofficial site such as the MTGO Library blog.

In Part 3 I will talk about the correct way to change the price on specific cards on MTGO library bot, taking full advantage of these fluctuations.

Magic the Gathering Worlds

After four days of fierce competition, Worlds 2011 in present form came to an end. In next year Worlds will look totally different, because winning the National Championship will not authorize you to participation in Worlds. Only top16 players around the world will play there. To be in exclusive top16 you must fulfill one of these conditions: be 2011 World Champion or Magic Online Champion, be winner of Pro Tour, be the top-ranked player from each geo-region, be the top-ranked player in the worldwide Planeswalker Points. By now, everyone had realistic chance to take part in Worlds, whereas in 2012 it is almost not viable for average mortal. We will watch the same faces every year during future Worlds with low chances of any new pro player revelation. Anyway, the winner of 2011 Worlds is Jun'ya Iyanaga from Japan. He played red-green Wolf Run Ramp teched to smash all agro decks. Iyanaga defeated Richard Bland of England 3-0 in the finals. I’m not going to focus on game or neither their good nor bad plays, but on something what should interest every bot owner: producing extra tickets. Let me show present you how accurately prices changed during first day of Worlds. One of players come up with a new deck running Olivia Voldaren and did 5-1 result. Market reacted immediately. Price of this card raised from 2 tickets up to 9 what is 450% return on investment during one night. Other example might be Primeval Titan 11->16 or Inferno Titan 4->8. Personally, I loathe being ripped by those who knew such new decklist faster than me. I recommend you all to read articles or watch live coverage from such events. Thanks to this action you will never sell your cards below the market price.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

MTGO Library Bot 4.67 is out!

ML Bot 4.67 fixes an issue with the reload of Mtgo on some computers.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Influences on cards value (Part 1)

One of the most important things in the business world is to predict and know how to take advantage of value fluctuating. In Magic the Gathering, there are many factors that can cause certain cards value to fluctuate, raise or drop.

In this series I will explain each one of them and in the end, tell you how to take full advantage of those value swings.

Tournaments/Event results
At major tournaments, usually the value of cards present in the top 8 decks and specially the winning one will likely spike for a few days. You will have to be able to identify the difference between a general value increase and a short term peak of demand. These can be determined by how long these cards have been present and how steady their value as been or how new cards and set rotations interact with them.

Generally speaking, Cards like Inferno Titan, which was present in the MTG Worlds 2011 winning deck are likely to be going through an euphoria phase and start dropping into their real value anytime soon, turning it into a risky card to buy just under the current sell price.

On part 2 I will tell you how to predict these fluctuations instead of reacting to them.

MTGO Library Bot 4.66 is out!

Version 4.66 features a number of small patches to make the bot smoother and smarter.

ML Bot 4.66 has also a lighter and better connection to our server.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

You've Got Mail (Part 1)

We interrupt this series on little known bot features that you can utilize on vacation to discuss a new feature, which ironically, can also be used on vacation.. the Email after trades feature.

You probably noticed this sometime on Sunday when this feature went live when you started seeing these emails coming to your email address which you used to register your bot(s). Currently, the emails contain the basic information that is available when you use the website. A trade which one of my bots performed is listed below:

Mtgo Library Bot trades Report

Buddy name:





01x Blight Mamba (SOM,regular) 0.004
01x Burning Vengeance (ISD,regular) 0.013
01x Chancellor of the Spires (NPH,foil) 0.144
01x Chancellor of the Tangle (NPH,foil) 0.149
01x Contested War Zone (MBS,regular) 0.031
01x Crossway Vampire (ISD,regular) 0.004
01x Despise (NPH,regular) 0.013
01x Divine Reckoning (ISD,regular) 0.028
03x Feeling of Dread (ISD,regular) 0.005
01x Fresh Meat (NPH,foil) 0.252
01x Geist-Honored Monk (ISD,regular) 0.405
01x Ghost Quarter (ISD,foil) 0.013
01x Gideon%5C%27s Lawkeeper (M12,regular) 0.007
01x Gitaxian Probe (NPH,regular) 0.007
01x Glimmerpost (SOM,regular) 0.007
02x Goblin Fireslinger (M12,regular) 0.007
01x Gruesome Encore (MBS,foil) 0.013
01x Hand of the Praetors (SOM,foil) 0.403
02x Heartless Summoning (ISD,regular) 0.450
01x Hinterland Harbor (ISD,regular) 1.431
02x Intangible Virtue (ISD,regular) 0.013
01x Invisible Stalker (ISD,regular) 0.013
01x Invisible Stalker (ISD,foil) 0.013
01x Manic Vandal (M12,regular) 0.004
01x Mental Misstep (NPH,regular) 0.013
01x Moment of Heroism (ISD,regular) 0.004
01x Naturalize (M12,regular) 0.005
01x Night Terrors (ISD,regular) 0.004
01x Stonehorn Dignitary (M12,regular) 0.007
01x Stony Silence (ISD,regular) 0.031
01x Stromkirk Noble (ISD,regular) 1.926
01x Thraben Sentry (ISD,regular) 0.005
01x Timely Reinforcements (M12,regular) 0.013
01x Turn the Tide (MBS,foil) 0.006
03x Unruly Mob (ISD,regular) 0.004
01x Witchbane Orb (ISD,regular) 0.121


6.056 tixs, 43 cards involved

Incoming tixs:


Old buddy credits:


New Buddy credits:

0.944 (6.056 + 0 - 7)

Tix you have:


Trade fee:

0 ( 0% - pro license )

Total renting fee:



Screenshot 1 - Screenshot 2

The information is fairly basic. It lists the bot and the user who did business with the bot. It tells you if the bot bought, sold, or traded. Sets, and foil status as well as price per card is listed along with the totals. The screenshots are hyperlinks so you can click on them and see the actual trades.

Personally, I never get tired of seeing trades like this. A new customer and a large transaction. What's not to like?

Next time, I'll go into more details and how we can use these emails to better get a handle on our business.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Emails at the end of the trades


as most of you noticed, we introduced a new feature, the "emails" at the end of the trades. These emails will be delivered in real time and report the details of the trade in a synthetic manner.

Personally I believe this is a great feature to control the bot in real time, especially if you have a smartphone and  a mobile internet connection.

The service is still "beta", there are still a couple of minor issues but we are working on them.


One of the things that is mentioned whenever a person is seriously considering starting a business is that the person should not expect to take a vacation for at least the first three (3) years and most likely first five (5) years in operation. This is because you are so involved in its day to day operation and many startups can not afford the reliable help needed so that a business can actually operate reliably while the owner is sitting on a beach cut off from the outside world.
Fortunately for us, we do not have to worry about the bot running reliably. In the unlikely event of a problem, we can reboot the bot or the machine running the bot. If there is a tweak that needs to be made, we simply do it.
However, how do you run a bot while you are on vacation?
Sure you can run some VNC clone and remotely administer your bot that way. I did that when I was running YATbot. But I've found running VNC a little cumbersome, slow (this was years ago so the speed was an issue then, not so much now), and I just had an irksome feeling that some random probe could send a command and take over my bot machine as I had to leave an open port, a back door if you will, on my bot machine. It simply never felt right and it was always a conflict in my mind: Leave an open port but but be able to remotely administer the bot; or close the port, be secure but also be out of luck should something happen.
Fortunately for us, yet again, is that MTGO Library has several features that can be used for remote administration and this going to be the focus for the next few entries, as we wrap up the bigger topic of little known bot features. For readers in the United States, have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 18, 2011

This is for Professionals Only.

One of the biggest advantages of Magic Library is that you can simply install it, spend five (5) minutes customizing it, and setting it loose without any fear that you will be ripped off or after five (5) days, will have yet to make a trade.

In our continuing series on little known bot features, we're going to look at a feature found only in the Professional Version. (Lite Users are free to skip this article so long as you resume next time.) The feature in question is the Limits Tab.

This is a totally optional feature. It is not needed for the bot to operate normally. However, spending a little time here can definitely increase profits and/or decrease expenses, so we're going to spend a few moments looking over this easily overlooked feature.

As the name implies, this tab is where you set the limits. The limits are the MINIMUM the bot will sell a card for and the MAXIMUM the bot will pay to purchase a card. Let's look at an example:

Let's assume that there is a Mythic Rare which sells for four (4) tickets and will be bought for three (3) tickets. Normally the bot will handle this card like any other card.

Now let's add the caveat that you are just starting out and have a limited about of tickets which you can devote to increase your inventory. Using this tab, you can set limits so that you can purchase more cards instead of using your limited amount of capital on a few high-valued objects.

So we can set the tab to never spend more than one (1) ticket for a Mythic. This way, the bot will use THIS setting instead of the market price for the bot. The bot will still purchase the inexpensive Mythics, even at the market price. But by setting this tab, you won't be using all your tickets on a few select cards.

It may sound simplistic and it may sound like a useless feature. However, I've found this a very useful tool when I started using MTGO Library from Yatbot. It allowed me to increase my inventory without running out of tickets.

Next time, we're going to discuss a Go-Go song.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Copy and Paste Magic

In our continuing series on little used MTGO bot features, I'm going to refer the reader back to my prior series, Building Your Own Bot Server. I went over the advantages of not using a backup but of installation of Windows and MTGO because of the increased stability. What I neglected was that I do not do ALL of this. That's right, I cheat.

How do I cheat when installing a new bot or moving a bot to another machine? I do manually install Windows and the updates and MTGO. Doing this is not any great chore as for the most part, the installation is painless, just a time consuming background task.

However, when it comes to setting up the details of the bots, such as how many of each card to pick, which sets to buy, etc, I do not do that. Instead, I simply restore the settings from the backup.

What do you mean, restore the settings from backup?

Exactly that. If you look in the Magic Library folder, you will see two (2) files:



Each of these is a simple file which houses all the particular settings of your bot. You copy these files and transfer them to another machine. Then you're done. No more micromanaging settings and clicking all those check boxes.

But wait! There's more!

Once a day, Magic Library takes a backup of these settings. If you look in the “setting backup” folder, you will see files in the “dd-mm[botname]” and “dd-mm[botname]” format. This way, if there is a corruption somewhere, you can restore those settings by using the proper files from a time when the bot was working flawlessly. (Dropping off the date part first.)

That's it and now you're back in business. Next time we'll continue the series on little used bot features,

Monday, November 14, 2011

MTGO Library Bot 4.65 is out!

ML Bot 4.65 now supports passwords for Magic Online with escape characters such as "^", "/" and "@"

Sunday, November 13, 2011

MTGO Library Bot 4.64 is out!

We have just released ML Bot 4.64, supporting the set From the Vault:Legends (V11) in wishlist buying mode.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Password maximum length removed

In order to increase the security of the passwords, we removed the 11-characters limit, a legacy from our old website. In a nutshell, you can now choose passwords longer than 11 chars.

In the next days mtgolibrary's staff will also implement a series of features in order to make the login and the registration process stronger.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Price is Right

In our continuing series on exploring the little known features of MTGO Library, I'm going to delve into the prevailing task of management today: Maximizing Profits and Minimizing Expenses.

A good part of Senior Management's job is to look for ways to increase revenue and decrease costs. How this is done is a very tricky proposition; which the Occupy Wall Street movement is highlighting. While global politics is not the scope of this forum, there are lessons which can be found by looking at other examples.

There are the obvious methods of doing so: The first one is to simply raise prices.

Assume you sell ten (10) rares a day for 1 ticket each. This nets you ten (10) tickets each day. Increase your prices by 10%, or 1.1 tickets each and assuming you keep selling ten (10) rares a day, you have increased your revenue by one (1) ticket.

This method has its drawbacks as Bank of America recently discovered when it announced it was raising some of its fees. If your customers balk at paying the increased price, they may be motivated to look elsewhere. There are economic theories based on finding optimum pricing for maximum profit.

The other obvious method is to decrease expenses. In traditional businesses, many times this takes the form of cutting employee pay, which the Occupy Wall Street crowd highlights. In our MTGO business, this takes the place of paying less for incoming cards.

Again, while this method will not be detected by those who buy from us, it may be detected by those who supply cards to our bots. Again, they may be motivated to find another bot to sell their cards to.

But there is yet another method which can decrease our costs with no other drawback: Wikiprice.

What is Wikiprice? It is a tool used by buyers to find which bots carry a specific card at the lowest possible price.

But more importantly to use bot owners, ticking that checkbox instantly reduces our leasing fee by 1%. This may sound like an insignificant number but in the “real world”, such a savings would get the person finding this a large bonus.

Imagine buying a chase rare for 40 tickets and selling it immediately for 60 tickets. Normally, the fee for this transaction would cost us 3½ tickets. Having that checkbox checked reduces the fee to 2½ tickets. One ticket may not sound like much, but how much business does your bot do over the course of a year? Does a simple checkbox tick save you 50 tickets? 100 tickets? More?

Monday, November 7, 2011

MTGO Library Bot 4.63 is out!

ML Bot 4.63 is out, supporting the From the Vault: Legends (V11) set. The new pricelist is available for free during the update process and as usual from the Online Control Panel.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

RTFPDF - Read the Frackin' PDF

As we leave Halloween behind us and look forward to the holiday season, I thought I would look at how we can we can maximize this annual occurrence to increase fun and profit. Large corporations plan for the holiday season around June, picking and choosing which items they are gambling will be the hot items. If this planning is good enough for the big box stores, why can't it be good enough for us?

In order to approach this, I think it would be profitable to read the manual. Oh, I know there isn't a printed manual for MTGO Library. There is a PDF that we can go over, but I am not being literal here. I am not referring to sitting down and reading an instruction manual.

What I'm referring to is going over the little used, possibly overlooked features on MTGO and see which ones need to be tweaked to improve the bot's performance and to increase profits.

I'm not planning a feature by feature exploration of the bot's features. That would bore you, my dear readers, and it would be boring for me to write it. This is not going to be an expanded explanation of things that would be printed in a 200 page manual.

Instead,we'll look at unorthodox traits to see where we can improve performance. We'll begin next time.