Tuesday, February 28, 2012

MTGO Library Bot 4.87 is out!

ML Bot v. 4.87 is out and is preparing the field for the return of wikiprice (on Wednesday or on Thursday). Please upgrade to the new version to make sure your chain will be listed on wikiprice

Equilibrium Point, Part 3 of 2.

Last time I went through the procedure to determine the equilibrium point of the pay-as-you-go model and the rental model. I finished by posting a table with the appropriate values. To repeat, they are as follows:

But what do these numbers mean?

These are simply the starting points. These are theoretical answers based on ideal circumstances. Your mileage will vary. If you are running a part-time bot, have a limited inventory, or not even enough ticket reserve, all of these factors will hinder the number of trades your bot will make during the day.

But if you have a high volume bot, making dozens of trades each day, then it is worth it to look at this.

While they may look scary, when you break them down into daily average, it is easier to get your head around this. Let's use the example I used last time: A LITE Bot, 2.5% fee and a one (1) month term; which yields that the bot must complete 200 tickets worth of trades in the month.

First off, 200 tickets worth of trades is not the same as profit. It can be 100 tickets coming in and 100 tickets going out over the course of the month.

Convert those 200 tickets to a daily rate, divide by 30, and you get 6 2/3 tickets per day. These numbers are easier to grasp. I'll leave it up to you to do the others.

Now check your logs. How many trades does your bot make over the course of a normal day? Yes, there will be ebbs and flows. Some days are better than others. Some weeks are better than others. Dark Ascension is being released, so we'll have more traffic now than we did a couple of weeks ago. Days with downtime also affect numbers. But over the course of a month, how many are you making? Only you can answer that one.

Suppose you determine that you're over-paying and you need to switch? That's no problem. Send a note to that wonderful Albert and he'll take of everything.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weekly Card Review (WCR2)

This is a new series of articles where I will review a card from the latest set Every week and its influences in constructed Standard, from the top mythic down to common cards that people might be ignoring their full potential. Between each review I will show a example of a deck where that card could fit. Please feel free to add more ideas and discuss the cards on each week!

Faithless Looting
This powerful common is possibly the strongest red draw spell in standard, personally, I was quite impressed with the fact that the cards you discard aren't random but chosen by you instead!
 When you look into cards like Chandra's Phoenix/Vengeful Pharaoh you then realize that you aren't really discarding cards but simply drawing 2 cards for 1 mana. Although this card is much stronger in vintage or classic, I believe that I can build a standard deck around it.
Some of the best standard cards to play around with Faithless looting are: Gravecrawler, Chandra's Phoenix, Vengeful Pharaoh, Burning Vengeance, Desperate Ravings, Unburial Rites, Ancient Grudge, Geistflame, Bump in the Night, Ghoulraiser, Gravedigger, Postmortem Lunge and Reassembling Skeleton.

Be tuned in the next few days to see what deck I managed to make around of this new gem.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Equilibrium Point Part 2

Last time I asked a question: Where is the equilibrium point when it comes to the fee structure?

As you can imagine, the answer will vary based on length of time chosen, whether Paypal or tickets are used as payment, and whether the Wikiprice message is displayed. For this example, we shall use that Wikiprice is being displayed, the bot is the LITE version and since this is a new bot, only one month is being considered. The rental price is $5.

At 2.5%, it takes 40 tickets worth of trades to accrue a fee of one (1) ticket.

So five (5) tickets means that two hundred (200) tickets worth of trades (in a month) is the equilibrium point.

That sounds like a lot of transactions I can hear you say. And it is.

These numbers were specifically chosen to make the math easy. Algebraically, it can be written as:

1/(amount of trades needed to accrue 1 ticket of fee ) = (rental price)/(X tickets worth of trades.)

Or, to make this into a spreadsheet-friendly form, also known as “solving for X:

X = ((amount of trades needed to accrue 1 ticket of fee )) x (rental price)

Looks ugly, doesn't it? It's easier than it looks. 1/40=5/X is how this looks for the example chosen.

X = 40 * 5 is how it looks for the spreadsheet version.

But I'll save you the trouble of opening up a spreadsheet: here are the final values and next time, we'll go over these scary numbers and draw some conclusions.

(Apologies for this. The table I drew up looks awful in the final draft. So I took a snippet as a picture and this became shrunk. Clicking each picture will put it normal sized.)

Friday, February 24, 2012

MTGO Library Bot 4.86 is out!

MTGO Library Bot 4.86 is out and supports the wishslist buying mode for the new set DKA. Added also the DKA booster to the pricelist.

Weekly Card Review (WCR1 Part2)

This is a new series of articles where I will review a card from the latest set Every week and its influences in constructed Standard, from the top mythic down to common cards that people might be ignoring their full potential. Between each review I will show a example of a deck where that card could fit. Please feel free to add more ideas and discuss the cards on each week!

Heartless Lich
Here is the list I've ended up with, I didn't find this deck strong enough to jump into a tournament with it since its quite weak against sideboards.
 Lands : 4Drowned catacomb 6Island 6Swamp 1Mountain 2Nephalia Drownyard  2Ghost Quarter
Other Spells: 4Ponder 3Tragic Slip 4Heartless Summoning 2Forbidden Alchemy 1Black Sun's Zenith 2Sphere of the Suns
Creatures: 2Perilous Myr 1Black Cat 1Phantasmal Image 1Priest of Urabrask 4Solemn Simulacrum 2Phyrexian Metamorph 2Bloodgift Demon 3Havengul Lich 1Steel Hellkite 2Wurmcoil Engine 1Consecrated Sphinx 1Massacre Wurm 2Rune-Scarred Demon 
This deck's winning method is to build the priest of urabrask/perilous myr infinite mana/damage combo, but also has alternatives such as a early Rune-Scarred Demon(or wurmcoil engine) + clones of it backed up by a handed lich to bring it all back. This deck's main weakness is control (Specially counter spells).
Tune in next week for another card review.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Equilibrium Point, Part 1 of 2.

In the last series, I had told of a conversation I had with a friend about getting started into the botting business. While I was explaining the fee structure to him, a thought had crossed my head.

When a bot is new, say making only a handful of trades a day, it makes sense to use a pay as you go system. Likewise, if your bot does like 100 trades per day, it makes sense to pay for a defined time period.

But at some point, there is a point where it does not matter which method you choose, where there would be no difference in either method.

For those of you who have taken formal economic theory, this is a fairly common type of problem. I also will leave this as a “homework” assignment for the intellectually curious and next time, I will solve this problem: at what point should you switch your fee structure? What is the equilibrium point?

MTGO Library Bot 4.85 is out!

MTGO Library Bot 4.85 has just been released, fixing a crash occasionally occurring at the end of the trades, especially selling trades.

Monday, February 20, 2012

ML Bot 4.84 is out

Just some minor fixes in 4.84.

MTGO Library Bot 4.83 is out!

ML Bot 4.83 is out, fixing a small issue with the pricelist, containing now the "A" sides of the DKA double-sided cards.

Weekly Card Review (WCR1)

This is a new series of articles where I will review a card from the latest set Every week and its influences in constructed Standard, from the top mythic down to common cards that people might be ignoring their full potential. Between each review I will show a example of a deck where that card could fit.
Please feel free to add more ideas and discuss the cards on each week!

Havengul Lich
This new Mythic from Dark Ascention has yet not shown its full potentional and its possible combo's are not possible to count with your hands.

The big point of this creature its the ability to cast creatures from the graveyard for just a colorless mana.

The best cards to play around with Havengul Lich are: Snapcaster Mage, Priest of Urabrask, Heartless Summoning, Perilous Myr, Viridian Emissary, Mana Leak, Slash Panther, Core Prowler, Rage Extractor, Fiend Hunter, Discipline of Griselbrand, Mentor of the meek.
From Infinite card drawal, mana, damage and proliferate this card is yet to be fully discovered, the ideas for decks around this card don't stop coming. 

Be tuned in the next few days to see what deck I managed to build around of this new gem.

ML Bot 4.82 is out!

MTGO Library Bot 4.82 is out, featuring a better connection with the webserver.

This will result in less trades missing in the tradelog (the 18th February was a very bad day about this!).

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Collection Evaluation

Did you ever want to do an evaluation of your MTGO collection and get an instant result?
I have created an evaluation tool based on the Swebot pricing. Free to use for everyone!
To check it out simply go to www.mtgoswebot.com/Evaluation and upload your .CSV file!
Although you first have to log on / create an account and write something in the forum before you can use it!
The evaluation tool is still in an early stage and might not work as it should at all times! If you should get an error when evaluating i will automatically get an error report and i will look in to it as soon as possible.
Everything you need to know how to use the evaluation and a guide how to create a .CSV file of your collection is on the site! :)
If you have a big collection the evaluation may take very long time!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wikiprice down for maintenance


we shut down wikiprice again for maintenance. Unfortunately wikiprice is still a little unstable and sometimes presents uncorrect data. We are working on it and fixing all the bugs.
Expect to see wikiprice up again for Monday morning.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Confessions of a Botter, Part 3

In this series, I've been recapping a conversation I had a friend about stepping into the world of botting.

Bottom line, how much is this gonna cost me and how quickly can I see a profit?” he asks.

Let's see. $10 for a bot name. Relatively insignificant. A computer, which you have in droves. We'll start you off on a pay-as-you-go fee until your bot gets enough customers to warrant the other fee. The biggest expense you will have is obtaining the collection. Depending on the size of the collection, it could easily be a few hundred dollars.

As far as how quickly you will see a profit, it really depends on how large your collection is. The more unique cards you have, the more potential sales you will get. It also depends on the bot itself.”

As in a catchy name?” he jumps in.

Not so much a name as players are not affected by that per se. But if you get lucky and can buy bots from someone leaving the bot business, you can shave a lot of time as the bot will have its previous reputation. Of course, this assumes that the previous owner did not do anything to sabotage that aspect.”

So when can we get started?”

How about right now?” I counter.

And so begins my friend's journey into botting. As it was around 23:00 on a Friday evening when we reached this point, I thought I would give him some tasks to do to prepare for this:

[1] Pick a machine, wipe its drive and install Windows. Apply all patches as need. Avoid putting unnecessary programs on this machine.

[2] Purchase a name for the bot.

[3] Download .NET and Magic Online and log into MTGO.

[4] Visit MTGOLibrary and register your bot there.

I visited him later that weekend and helped him polish off some things and gave him some excess inventory to get started and thus he began his botting journey.

Next time, I am going to travel down a side road of this conversation. It got me thinking on something we do not discuss so I will discuss that next time.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

MTGO Library Bot 4.81 is out!

Here at mtgolibrary we had a very long day.

A server is up and running, the DNS is propagating and in short time you should be able to use the bot and visit the website as usual. ML Bot 4.81 is out, fixing a crash at startup due to the new "large" PRM set, that now counts 933 cards. MTGO Library Bot 4.81 supports also the new set, Dark Ascension (DKA)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Confessions of a Botter (Part 3)

In this series, I am recanting a conversation I had with a friend on a Friday evening. We continue that conversation...

How much does it cost?
“What do you mean `How much does it cost'?” I reply.
“The bot. How much is it?”
“Oh. It really depends on which bot you get and what license you choose. You can pick a pay-as-you-go model which takes a ticket after about 32 tickets of trades, or you get pick time-license from one month to lifetime. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

That choice will also be influenced by which bot you choose. The LITE bot is very inexpensive and a good way to get started into botting with little risk. The PROFESSIONAL bot is not cheap but you can really see the rewards as you can plainly see.” I continue while showing up a nice stash of $20 bills.

“What about maintenance?”
“That could be a problem for you.”
“What do you mean?” my friend asks.
The bot is well written and fairly stable. You do not need to babysit it so you go to work confident that the bot will run correctly."

But the bot is not something that is a `set-it-and-forget-it' thing either. Many get into this thinking they can run X bots and go on vacation and when they come back, Y tickets will be waiting for them all ready to post on Ebay. You do need to do some maintenance on the bots.

Mostly, it is more Windows than anything else. You need to run Windows Update and you need to check and see if there are any MTGO issues that need attention. And that's the daily maintenance. There is the weekly maintenance and some work you need to do when a new set comes out. Since we both know your sixty (60) hour a week job, this is something you have to decide if you wish to commit to this.”
What does my friend decide? Tune in next time and let's see where this goes.

Monday, February 13, 2012

MTGO Library Bot 4.80 is out!

ML Bot 4.80 is out. It offers a better, lighter and more reliable connection with the wikiprice service. Wikiprice will be online again tomorrow.

Wikiprice down for maintenance

Hello to everyone,
wikiprice is currently down for maintenance. You can still visiti the page www.mtgolibrary.com/wiki.php, bu you won't find any card until tomorrow.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Quo Vadis Standard?

In paper Magic there have recently been two big tournaments promoting Dark Ascension. There were held in Standard format. I did some research and checked the top8 decklists in order to see how Dark Ascension will affect on Standard. To my surprise there were only few cards from Dark Ascension there. They can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Metagame didn’t change much. No revelations. I found only one new deck - mono green agro, which is responsible for a raise of prices of Garruk’s and Sword of War and Peace last days. Rest decks are just modifications of well-known decks. Some of them don’t run even one card from Dark Ascension or they use only one uncommon.

The conclusion is really simple don’t expect big demand on Dark Ascension cards after 3-4 weeks after Release Events. In the first days prices are always skyhigh, but later it is going to be quite cheap set, unless some professional players come up with a new decklist containing more Mythics or Rare cards from Dark Ascension. We must wait and observe how the future unfolds. Dark Ascension goes on sale in the Magic Online Store on Monday, February 20 at 9:00 AM PST and the Release Events begin after the downtime Wednesday, February 22.

Here you can find decklist from: Pro Tour Honolulu and SCG Open.

Running bots using minimal resources (Part 6 of 6)

Hello, on these series I will help you on how to setup a bot or multiple bots.My main focus will be not on how to configure and install everything, but on how to save as much memory and resources helping bot users with slower computers to experience a performance boost.

part 1  Virtual Machines
part 2  Operative System
part 3  Operative system Tweaks
part 4  Required software
part 5  Keeping resources to a minimum
part 6  Hardware recommendations and Conclusion

6:  Hardware recommendations and Conclusion

I will separate my recommendations depending if you use your computer exclusively for bots or also for personal use or gaming.

For many applications the number of cores isn't much relevant on a processor, but when it comes to running multiple Virtual Machines  they can be crucial on the performance. If you use the PC exclusively for bots, my recommendation will be investing in a Intel Xeon Processor, with the biggest number of cores and the high QPI of 6.4GT/s its a top choice if you can afford, if in the other hand you still run the PC for personal use/gaming etc, a i5-2500k or i7 should be enough to run 5-6 bots on the same PC without any problems.

This one is very straight forward. with about 2-4gb required for most users usage + 2~GB required per virtual machine, I would recommend to run 4+2xNumber of bots GBs if you use the PC for gaming and about 2+2x Number of bots if you run it exclusively for botting. Higher frequency and/or lower timings usually don't bring a much noticeable boost in performance.

Solid State drives have a huge advantage on loading times, both windows and MTGO and having those fewer seconds of loading , less noise, less heat and less fragmentation I would recommend nothing but SSD's to run your machines main operative system and Virtual Machines.
I Recommend a SSD with a size of about 30GB for main OS and typical programs you usually install with Windows +6GB per bot (See previous parts to see on how making a small sized VM drive and fit windows and MTGO library into it).
Remember that you can still have a big Hard Disk Drive to store all the other non botting stuff.

Graphics Card
This one is mostly deppending on you gaming needs. If you wish to run a PC exclusively for bots you should save some money on this component since it wont affect your boting performance as long as it has a minimal memory and processing power to load all the virtual machines needs(any new "cheap range" pci-e graphics card with 512mb is more than enough).
 Remember to consider if you require support for multiple monitors.

Stability, Stability and... yes.. Stability. A rock solid stable and quality motherboard should be a priority, make sure yours will be compatible with all hardware choices and that isn't causing trouble to anyone else (a quick search online should do the trick).

Power Supply
Just like the motherboard, stable voltages can be the key to success, also remember that this beast will be on 24/7 powering a always in 50%+ usage powerful CPU and likely to have no "rest", so make sure you buy a reliable and powerful one to your system.


I dedicated some attention to this one myself, with a constant cpu usage and memory load I've decided to use water cooling on my system. It's quieter, cooler and in my opinion safer than air cooling, mostly to the fact that if something fails, it will still cool for a few minutes and the temperature alarms will give me time to act, while if a fan fails, its more likely to cause overheat damage. Be aware that most new CPU's and Motherboards will slowdown your processor or shutdown your system if a certain threshold is reached (usually of about 90-95 Celsius) but this doesn't make your PC immune to overheating damage.

I Hope this series helped you on setting up your first botting machine or improve your current one. From tweaking the OS to the use of software to improve bots independence, we did learn to make the most of our hardware or on which one to pick if you're building from scratch. If you have any more questions regarding this series or suggestions please drop a comment.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Confessions of a Botter (Part 2)

Last time I recapped a conversation I had with a friend who inquired about how he could get into this businesses.
So what do I need to get started?”
First off, you need an account to place your inventory in. I would suggest getting a bot name from Wizards of the Coast for $10. It also separates your collection from your inventory so you can play without having to move cards around and not having to play a deck because your bot doesn't have the requisite number of cards.” I state.
Plus” I added. “having a `bot' in your name leaves no doubt about you being a bot. The stigma of dealing with bots is long over as anyone who spends any time on the Internet has dealt with them, whether willing or not.”
And where do I get the cards for inventory?” my friend asked.
The quick way is to buy a collection from Ebay. That requires upfront money. If you just stock up with tickets and go that route, you will get a collection but it will take some time before you have a large enough inventory to warrant decent daily sales.”
I then spent the next lot of minutes going through the details of the slower method of obtaining an inventory. Do you start with just Standard, Extended, or go with everything?
Next time, I'll be continuing this conversation.
By the way, in case you were thinking about computer hardware being one of the first things to have to start a bot, my friend has about a dozen computers which are in perfect working order and doing nothing. So dedicating a computer for bot purposes was not going to be a concern so neither of us ventured into this area of questioning.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Running bots using minimal resources (Part 5 of 6)

Hello, on these series I will help you on how to setup a bot or multiple bots.My main focus will be not on how to configure and install everything, but on how to save as much memory and resources helping bot users with slower computers to experience a performance boost.

part 1  Virtual Machines
part 2  Operative System
part 3  Operative system Tweaks
part 4  Required software
part 5  Keeping resources to a minimum
part 6  Hardware recommendations and Conclusion

Part 5:  Keeping resources to a minimum

Automatic Price updates
Updating prices automatically can save you hours of adjusting prices, my recommendation is to set it for more regular updates just before, during and after new set releases and less regularly in between.

MTGO Weekly Maintenance
This is a crucial couple of hours. you can use this time to delete all extra logs/temps/screenshots, reboot your main machine, defrag main machine drives and VM's Drives (Solid state drives do not require defrag) also the best time to check your main pc's updates, specially the ones that require to reboot.
You can download programs that let you set times to do all these functions without requiring to touch a single key but that takes time and a lot of effort to set it all up, but surely worth it if you want to leave your bots on for months without any assistance.

On these breaks I usually take 15-30 minutes to clean my computer dust filters, give the system a good general check, such as water cooling levels, dust, temperatures, etc.
Just make sure your computer doesn't look like the "Before" one below :)

 Soon I will give you my best Hardware recommendations and complete this series on how to run bots using minimal resources.

Confessions of a Botter; Part 1

My phone rings on a recent Friday evening..
Hello?” I answer.
Hey man, I really need you to come over and it is not to play games. I need to talk.” my friend pleads.
Hold on a sec.” I reply as I switch back to the prior call.
Thirty seconds later...
I need to sell of some Magic tickets.”
So you're not coming over?” my pessimistic friend concludes.
Oh, I'm coming over. I'm meeting the guy over at the gaming store down the street from your house. He'll give me the cash and he'll get his tickets.”
Didn’t you just sell him some a couple months ago?” he inquires.
Yup. 200 last time, 300 tonight.” I cheerfully reply, knowing my wife is going to be very pleased with this influx of cash coming in during the Christmas season.
You're not kidding, are you?” he inquires.
Nope. And this is good timing as well. Between Christmas, birthdays, yearly bills and other associated expenses, my wallet dreads this time of year.”
I really need to get into something like this.” my friend despairs.
With that comment, I end the call. I went over to the gaming store, met my customer and made the exchange. After some small talk, I went to my pessimistic friend's house and showed him the cash, not so much to rub it in, but more as a trophy, a prize.
So how difficult is it to get started and how much time does it require?” my friend asks as I arrive at his place.
This is the start of a nice two hour conversation that touched about everything we botters experience and absolutely none of what my friend had intended when he called me earlier that evening. The summary of which we'll get into next time.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Poker in Magic, part 4/4

Final part is about “tells”. A tell in poker is a change in a player's behavior or demeanor that is claimed by some to give clues to that player's assessment of their hand. A player gains an advantage if they observe and understand the meaning of another player's tell, particularly if the tell is unconscious and reliable. For instance, tell is when we know that our opponent beats his lip when he has good cards. Dan Herrington, who is poker expert, grouped tells into three categories: facial expression, body language, gestures. The most reliable and the clearest signs, which our body sends, are gestures.

Most players are conscious of necessity of controlling the facial expression, but they do forget about controlling other parts of their body or their behavior becomes unusual. A player who all the time was talking when he drew his starting hand suddenly mutes may send us sign: be careful, I have good cards. What is more, often players who has a good hand sit upright or their hands are shaking.

Besides observing behavior of yours opponent, you should keep two simple rules in your mind. Experienced player is conscious of his tells and he hides them better than a new or advanced player. Beginners show their true feelings by the gestures. They getting nervous and yearn when they do not draw a card which they would like to. Furthermore, weak means strong, strong means week in gauging play of unknown opponent. Usually, a human being tries to hide his true intention by acting in a totally opposite way to what he in fact thinks. Thus, players who hold weak hands attempt to convince other player at the table that they are strong: staring down an opponent. Whereas, players who hold strong hands tend to try to disguise their hand as being weak. They attempt to fly under the radar by being a passive player at the table: not making direct eye contact, they are friendly and talkative. If he says with unnatural confidence and loudly “keep” there is a high probability that he has a weak hand.

Click here to get 50 USD. You merely need to pass quiz and send them photo of your ID.(they verify people, otherwise everyone would create multiple accounts and cash out 50 USD from all accounts). Where is the catch? There is no catch! Poker platform wants to have more and more players and they lure people with free, real money. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Server down

Hello to everybody,

the server is currently down. We are working on it and it will be up and running in a couple of hours!

UPDATE: the server is up. We had 50 minutes of downtime

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Running bots using minimal resources (Part 4 of 6)

Hello, on these series I will help you on how to setup a bot or multiple bots.My main focus will be not on how to configure and install everything, but on how to save as much memory and resources helping bot users with slower computers to experience a performance boost.

part 1  Virtual Machines
part 2  Operative System
part 3  Operative system Tweaks
part 4  Required software
part 5  Keeping resources to a minimum
part 6  Hardware recommendations and Conclusion

Part 4  Required software :
Instead of browsing and downloading all the required software (which you wont be able to do since you might not have installed Internet explorer) you will have to have the standalone installers ready for the virtual machines.

I Started by installing .net 3.5 and 4.0, updated the direct x. After that i did not install MTGO or MTGO Library bots, instead i Copy/Paste the already updated/configured folders. By doing this you are saving registration clutter (Such as unistalling info about mtgo etc) which isn't required. You can also remove the Graphics for the cards, saving extra room on your small HDD.

Optionally you can install additional software to make your life easier. 
I use GoodSync to synchronize my main PC PersonalPrices.txt with the virtual machines so I don't need to copy paste. Also use it to delete the Screenshots/logs/temp folders automatically every 3 days. Note that this doesn't need to be installed on the virtual machines just make sure your main PC has authorization to edit/write files into the VM's.