Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Summary of the Pauper Gauntlet S02 round one

WARNING! This blog post contains spoilers if you have not watched all of the videos of the first round of the Pauper Gauntlet S02.

The first round of the Pauper Gauntlet has finished! The first two rounds are double elimination so a deck needs to lose both round 1 and round 2 to get eliminated. After that, it gets more serious.

But some decks lost in the first round. Actually, I was very close to the 70% win percentage I estimated. Now I want to do that again at which point only nine decks will be eliminated. That is my goal for the second round.

Basic facts

What is the Pauper Gauntlet? http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-pauper-gauntlet.html

Full list of the 77 Pauper Gauntlet decks for the second season: http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/09/the-decks-of-pauper-gauntlet.html

The above link also contains information about how you can win free prizes (including an Elspeth, Sun's Champion and two foil Shocklands).

The weekly show about the Gauntlet
I have joined The Standard Pauper Show as a host for the duration of the Pauper Gauntlet. The second half of the show will be dedicated to the Pauper Gauntlet.

Here is the third episode. This was recorded before I played the last seven decks of the Gauntlet for the first round.

These decks face the threat of elimination
After losing in the first round, these decks now will get eliminated if they lose in the second round. Without further ado, here is the list.

1landspy (lost to Elves 0-2)
Allies (lost to Slivers 0-2)
Bant Presence (lost to MUC 1-2)
Bugs & Pigs (lost to MBC 0-2)
Croca Jund (lost to MBC 0-2)

Deathtouch (lost to DelverFiend 1-2)
Dumb Green Tron (lost to Teachings 0-2)
Green Grifters (lost to Rakdos Midrange 1-2)
GruulKitty (lost to UW Tireless Tribe 1-2) (video below)
Golgari Undead Dredge (lost to Mono Blue Mill 0-2)

Infect (lost to MUC 1-2)
Mana Burn (lost to Golem Foundry 1-2)
Midnight Presence (lost to Mono Black Madness 0-2)
Mono Red Elemental Ping (lost to DelverFiend 0-2)
People of the Sun (lost to Mono Red 1-2)
Pesky Clerics (lost to Affinity 1-2)

Pox (lost to BorosKitty 0-2)
Rot Wolf Control (lost to GB Tortured Existence 1-2)
Squawks to Plowshares (lost to Azorius Mill 0-2)
Tortured Toolbox (lost to Love Train 1-2)
Turbo Fog (lost to Delver 0-2)

UB Trinket Control (lost to Delver 1-2)
White Hot Hottie (lost to Simic Infect 1-2)
Winter Zoo (lost to Tron 1-2)

For deck lists for these decks check out this link: http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/09/the-decks-of-pauper-gauntlet.html

Feature match
As mentioned, GruulKitty lost to UW Tireless Tribe. That deck was a joy to behold. Check out the match below.

What about the rest of the decks?
77 decks entered the Gauntlet. The rest of the decks not mentioned below won the first round. That means they are already qualified for round 3. I will still play them for practice. Some of them really needs that.

Yes, that means that I won 44 matches, going 44-23 for the first round of the Pauper Gauntlet S02.

I will jump straight into round two and estimate it will take another two weeks or so to finish.

MTGO Library Bot 8.60 (and previous)

In the last few days we released a couple of versions (8.56 -8.60) without writing the related posts and changelogs. These versions fixed some minor issues related to the background reload of the prices and the upload to wikiprice, two parts of the bots that have been rewritten to work in background.

With version 8.60 we are now in a very stable release, with a correct sync with wikiprice and background price reloads. If you use ML Bot 8.56, 57, 58 or 59 we suggest to upgrade to 8.60. The upgrade is not mandatory and not urgent, but your bots will benefit

Sunday, September 28, 2014

SSD vs HDD, part 1

Hard-disk drives have been the default storage component in desktop and laptop PCs for decades. Although modern hard-disk drives are far more advanced and higher-performing than their counterparts from yesteryear, on many levels their basic underlying technology remains unchanged. Hard drives are essentially metal platters with a magnetic coating. That coating stores your data. A read/write head on an arm accesses the data while the platters are spinning in a hard drive enclosure. An SSD does much the same job functionally (saving your data etc) as the HDD, but instead of a magnetic coating on top of platters, the data is stored on interconnected flash memory chips that retain the data even when there's no power present. Therefore, no mechanical parts or magnetic bits are involved what leads to much better performance. Currently, it is the fastest storage option available. To comparison, the best HDD drives read data at circa 200 MB per second, wheras SSD achieves 550 MB.

However, the main drawback of SSD is price - approximately 0,60 USD per 1 GB. HDD costs only few cents per 1 GB. But it is normal, every new technology is more expensive  The question is whether this investment is worth it. In next part I will walk you through the advantages and disadvantage of both disks.

The Pauper Gauntlet Round 1 is almost done

The Pauper Gauntlet has started. So far 66 decks have played. Only 11 to go! The first two rounds are double elimination so a deck needs to lose both round 1 and round 2 to get eliminated. After that, it gets more serious.

Basic facts

What is the Pauper Gauntlet? http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-pauper-gauntlet.html

Full list of the 77 Pauper Gauntlet decks for the second season: http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/09/the-decks-of-pauper-gauntlet.html

The above link also contains information about how you can win free prizes (including an Elspeth, Sun's Champion and two foil Shocklands).

The weekly show about the Gauntlet
I have joined The Standard Pauper Show as a host for the duration of the Pauper Gauntlet. The second half of the show will be dedicated to the Pauper Gauntlet.

Here is the second episode. I come in at the 20 minute mark.

The Standard Pauper Show is also available on iTunes as a mp3.

Can you win on turn 2 in Pauper?
Glass Cannon Red is probably the fastest deck in Pauper. It can do a turn two kill. Can it do it when
it counts? Lets find out.


You can read the deck list here: http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/red-glass-cannon/

Remember that you can win prizes
If you pick the winning deck of the Pauper Gauntlet and you are the first one picking it, you win a pretty nice price. I repeat this information as many of the decks (even those that have won) are still unclaimed.

Check out the details here:  http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/09/the-decks-of-pauper-gauntlet.html

Next time we will wrap up round 1 and look at what decks risk elimination in round 2.

Expanding into "new" card markets online

Hi Everyone!

Right now isn't a very exciting time on Magic Online because we already know what's coming in Khans. and there's not a whole lot else going on...GP Los Angeles is in a few weeks. I haven't ever been to a GP so I'm going to swing by because I live in Southern California. I won't be playing because I don't have any cards to build a deck.

Magic Online doesn't have anything exciting going on except for me stocking up on all the tempest cards due to the low prices caused by the flashback drafts (I have also been stocking up on Show and Tell because it's a promo and are relatively cheap right now. To spice things up, I went and did something I haven't done since the first Mirrodin block. I bought some booster boxes of paper cards. It was like a drug. I felt a rush I haven't felt in a long time when I opened three boxes worth of boosters. Then I thought about what I was going to do with all the commons. there are about 360 per box.

That got me thinking. I wonder if I could sell them. Apparently people do all sorts of weird stuff online. People were offering "repacked" Khans booster boxes that sold in the neighborhood of $30 to $40. I didn't understand it because I would just take all the good rares and leave the bulk rares. The sellers did guarantee two mythics per "box" but they were crap mythics I'm sure. I get more surprised about the things that are available every time I look online.

Then I thought that selling bulk (paper cards) online was a lot of work. I can't be mailing 100 envelopes everyday to make $30 or $40. That's really bad pay per hour.

What about Magic Online cards? I started searching around for bots who specialize in buying and selling cards in bulk quantities. After some research, it seems like it's a viable possibility. This is a fairly new idea that I think is worth researching. I don't think there's a lot of money to be made, but I think it could be profitable when people are searching for cards they need for redemption.

I also came across this idea because I don't have a lot of selection when it comes to commons and uncommons and when I started my bot I had a guy sell me 6000 standard legal cards in 15 trades. It only cost me about $6 because I was prepared for this kind of thing but I think this could be a way to unload cards that are just taking up space.

Next time you're looking for a way to expand your business, remember there are always other "card markets" within Magic Online to expand into. I thought of the standard common and uncommon markets today because I thought it is potentially profitable and it doesn't cost a lot of money to get into.

Why do investors share their picks?.. (Part 2 of 4)

Part 2 (advertising and sharing)

After the initial 900 Event Tickets spent, the investor will often advertise and share his picks. There's several reasons to do this. One of the most common reasons why they share it's to increase the value of the cards at his/her possession. The more people that follow and buy the card (now priced at 32-34 instead of 30) the higher the card will increase in value.  
This is great news for the investor, because now, the graph can not just be used to prove his/her investment knowledge, but also to estimate his/her own profits. After a couple of weeks the 
card is now being bought (by bots) for 35 tix and sold for about 40.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Why do investors share their picks?.. (Part 1 of 4)

Part 1 (The planning and investing)

Hello everyone!
On my next series I will be talking about investors and how they use their followers for their own advantage.
Often you might see a highly respectable MTGO player openly saying what cards are they investing on and why. While it seems that they are being kind to you, I would recommend you to be very careful before following them.

The first step from an investor is to pick up a realistic target, a card that has true potential to rise in value and make a profit for themselves, these are often stable rares, fetch/dual lands and so on.
They pick one of these cards, as they are hitting a "low spike". Lets imagine that the chosen card is being bought (by bots) at about 25 and sold at about 29. After buying about 30 copies at an average of 30tix each the investor spent 900 event tickets but has yet to make a profit...

MTGO Library Bot 8.55

Last week we released a major update (link here) preparing the ground for future developments.

Today we release the first "new bot-enabled" feature: the background pricelist reload.
What does it mean? It means that once the bot is running and mtgo is live, the bot can reload the prices in background, without stopping the trades for 1-2 minutes as it used to do. You won't see the loading screen - you will see it only the first time, at launch.
The reloading of the price will send a little message in the tray area.

Please note that price reloading is triggered exactly as before, namely:
  • after pause/unpause, if you changed any of these file: CardsMTGO.txt, PersonalPrices.txt, PersonalPercentages.txt, CardsForAdvertisement,txt, TransferCollection.txt
  • in few minutes if you update any of the above file without stopping the bot (for example via dropbox)
  • in few minutes if you use the "pricelist upload" feature on the Online Control Panel
ML Bot 8.55 fixes also a major problem with wikiprice, causing the bots to display uncorrect information.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What do I do with my Khans cards?

Hi Everyone!

I know a lot of you out there use Magic Finance as a way to allow yourself to be able to play Magic without having to pay for new cards and tournaments. I'm sure there are many of you who are want to get them and hold them because they are going to be valuable someday. That's true, in the long run you'd make money that way.

There is a way to make even more money. I recommend unloading the fetches, mythics, and highly anticipated rares as soon as possible. If you open them at the pre-release, sell them right away. Then buy them again during the window between 2 and 6 weeks where the prices are lower until you see a upward trend if you really need the fetches. If you don't really need them for business or pleasure, wait a little longer until the low point in December.

I know I usually stick to finance in this article, but I wanted to talk a little about business strategy today. I just wanted to use the Khans release to make a point about buying cards when they're new. I know the rule is to stay out for a little while until the prices get reasonable.Critical thinking suggests that we should avoid this time even though there is a chance for profit. There is a much bigger chance for loss so the expected value of a new card is negative almost regardless of the purchase price.

How about this idea? What is the value of having the card in stock at your bot when no one else does? I haven't done the research yet on this, but I think it's completely possible that there is significant value in having things in stock. It can draw people into your shop and potentially earn you a reputation of having "everything" in stock.

This all reminds me of a time when I used to play paper magic at a card show every weekend. There were five magic vendors. It was a great place to find fair prices on cards and trade with vendors who had literally everything. Four of the five vendors seemed (relatively) normal. There was one vendor that almost never had any people doing business. One day I had several cards I was looking to sell or trade. The owner asked if I wanted to sell or trade, I said trade is what I preferred assuming he would give more in a trade than in cash and I was right. He offered me double what any other vendor offered on all my cards. I was excited. I had him give me prices on all my cards I wanted to trade. I asked about the cards I was looking for and found that his sell prices were triple what the other vendors asked. I asked about packs and he quoted a price but said that they were double for trade. Needless to say, I knew why no one dealt with him and I took my business elsewhere.

When I first started on Magic Online I would go to bots with the best sell price for cards, when the card was more than advertised I left and didn't even bother to look at what else they had. Bait and switch is completely unacceptable and it costs goodwill.

The relationship is that while having all the new cards is great, I find that many bots use it as a lure to get me to go to their bot and overpay for everything else. Magic Online isn't perfect competition, but it's very close. There's a lot of easy access to information so cheating customers like that is pretty unlikely to work and certainly not likely to work more than once.

So, it's a good idea to have the new cards, but don't use it as a "profit" tool (as in make more money per card sold), it's for making more transactions. Ultimately, it will make your customers happier and more likely to return.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

MTGO Library Bot 8.52

ML Bot 8.52 is a minor update, fixing a problem with wikiprice and solo-buyers bot.

Will fetches be the thing to buy?

Hi Everyone!

If you haven’t noticed, I’m really excited about Fetches. I think other people will be too.

I think there will be one of two things that happen when Khans is released in a few weeks. I think that either fetch lands will be the focus, or they won't. If they do become the focus, expect everything to be inexpensive in Khans until the fetch hype dies down.

The other possibility is that they won't be the focus of the Magic Online community and people choose instead to invest in Vintage Masters cards because they are going off sale.

Obviously, the first option is a lot more likely and fetches will be the thing to buy. I bet they will be good in standard, but not as good as the Ravnica Duals were be. It's safe to say that formats other than standard will be what many (maybe even most) people want fetches for.

I don't know what everyone else is going to be doing, but I'm going to be buying all the "good" Modern, Legacy, and Vintage cards. Does that make any sense?

My strategy came from looking at Vintage Masters. Look at all the "good" Vintage cards that weren't in Vintage Masters. They skyrocketed in price. Wasteland went up to over $150. It was insane. They won't come out with another "Masters" set until next summer so if you pick up the "eternal format" staples the fetches will benefit all three eternal formats and the prices of the format staples should increase, just like when Vintage Masters came out. This won't have effect on the same scale, but the fetches will remove a barrier to the formats and will cause prices for other cards needed for the formats to go up.

The reason this happens is because there’s a value that the market holds regardless of the cards reprinted (regardless of the cards reprinted in the quantities wizards is willing to reprint). I don’t know what the key term to describe this is (I’m the very worst with key terms) but it’s a type of equilibrium. If the idea doesn’t make sense, another way to describe this phenomenon is water in a bathtub. When I throw my toy boat into the tub the water level rises everywhere except where the boat is pushing the surface of the water down. The water represents the cards needed to play in a certain format. The area the boat pushes the water down is the price of cards that were reprinted (lower). But everywhere else the water is higher (more expensive cards). I hope that helps everyone understand how the economy functions when Wizards reprints “expensive” cards.  

I have been buying all the Modern staples because I think with Vintage Masters being so popular that it already drove the prices of the older formats up and they likely won’t get a big boost from the fetch reprint. Another thing to look for is when Vintage Masters cards start getting expensive, the prices for the cards not in Vintage Masters will start to go back to their normal price. It’s a really interesting phenomenon.

This is the last really good time to pick up Vintage Masters

Vintage Masters will not be draftable for much longer. Except for the occasional flashback draft, this is the time the last draft remains are dumped onto the market.

Look at the Goldfish graph here: http://www.mtggoldfish.com/index/VMA#online

VMA has - very broadly - been rising steadily for some time now. This will not stop. People will still be needing Dual Lands, Sol Rings, Mishra's Workshops etc.

Buy some now. You will thank me in the future.

Unless you have a big bankroll I would stay away from the Power 9 (they tie up too much of your liquidity) and go for the 4-of-Mythics and the rares.

This is not the best time to pick up VMA but it is the best time from this point on and probably until the end of Magic Online.

The only great argument for not picking up VMA is that rotation is almost upon us and rotation is traditionally the best time to invest in anything on Magic Online.

Friday, September 19, 2014

MTGO Library Bot 8.50

We had some problems today with the Classified Messages - ML Bot 8.50 fixes all these

How to draft Khans of Tarkir?

Khans of Tarkir set features 269 cards. Prerelease events are about to start. New sets bring on new cards and new loves. With KTK there is no different. Basing on acronym B.R.E.A.D which is very useful way to grade cards in limited I have selected cards worth drafting in Khans. Every letter from this acronym symbolize one group of cards. Therefore, B is for Bombs, R is for Removal, E is for Evasion, A is for Aggro, D is for Dregs. I was harsh towards uncommon / rares / mythics so that there are only best possible picks presented. Here we go:

White: Wingmate Roc, High Sentinels of Arashin, Master of Pearls, Suspension Field, Herald of Anafenza,
End Hostilities, Abzan Battle Priest, Abzan Falconer,  Mardu Hordechief, Smite the Monstrous, Kill Shot, Feat of Resistance.

Blue: Thousand Winds, Clever Impersonator, Icy Blast, Mistfire Weaver, Set Adrift, Riverwheel Aerialists, Pearl Lake Ancient, Waterwhirl, Jeskai Windscout,  Mystic of the Hidden Way, Force Away, Treasure Cruise, Crippling Chill, Glacial Stalker, Scaldkin.
Green: Hooded Hydra, Heir of the Wilds, Incremental Growth, Rattleclaw Mystic, Tuskguard Captain, Meandering Towershell, Longshot Squad, Savage Punch, Alpine Grizzly, Hooting Mandrills.
Red: Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker, Ashcloud Phoenix, Crater's Claws, Arc Lightning, Dragon-Style Twins, Mardu Heart-Piercer, Bring Low, Arrow Storm, Tormenting Voice, Summit Prowler, Swift Kick.
Black: Necropolis Fiend, Murderous Cut, Ruthless Ripper, Grim Haruspex, Sultai Scavenger, Debilitating Injury, Rite of the Serpent, Disowned Ancestor, Bitter Revelation, Mardu Skullhunter.
Multicolor: Savage Knuckleblade, Abzan Ascendancy, Duneblast, Siege Rhino, Abzan Charm, Flying Crane Technique, Anafenza, the Foremost, Armament Corps, Butcher of the Horde, Rakshasa Deathdealer, Sidisi, Brood Tyrant, Surrak Dragonclaw, Mantis Rider, Ankle Shanker, Sultai Ascendancy, Highspire Mantis, Crackling Doom, Mardu Charm, Winterflame, Master the Way, Utter End, Ivorytusk Fortress, Zurgo Helmsmasher, Jeskai Ascendancy, Icefeather Aven, Sagu Mauler, Sage of the Inward Eye, Temur Charm, Sultai Charm, Jeskai Charm, Sultai Soothsayer, Death Frenzy, Abzan Guide.

Good luck!

MTGO Library Bot 8.48

This is just a minor update, fixing a crash of 8.47

MTGO Library Bot 8.47

Today we release ML Bot 8.47, a major software update we have been working on for almost two weeks.

The updated bot client fixes a number of small & big issues, but the most important changes are under the hood: we redesigned and recoded the internal data structures to be faster and cheaper in ram usage. What does this mean in practical terms?
  • First of all, the bot will easier to maintain and debug. This means a better sofware in the long run, exactly what happened in 2013 with the new website (the new site was easier to maintain than the old one, and this lead to faster development)
  • Ram usage drops from 400 MB to 100 MB. The new bot version uses less ram (see image)

  • Buying mode is slightly faster
  • Next week we will introduce the reload of the prices in background so the bot won't be "stopped" for 1-2 minutes while reloading the prices. This is possible because of the new data structures - this was not possible before
Please note that the pricelist "CardsMTGO.txt" format slightly changed (see here for reference), you may want to adjust your software if you use automated price generation. PersonalPrices.txt and PersonalPercentages.txt did not change.

We hope you'll enjoy the release! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The start of the Pauper Gauntlet

The Pauper Gauntlet has started. So far 29 decks have played. Most of them have won. The first two rounds are double elimination so a deck needs to lose both round 1 and round 2 to get eliminated. After that, it gets more serious.

Basic facts

What is the Pauper Gauntlet? http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-pauper-gauntlet.html

Full list of the 77 Pauper Gauntlet decks for the second season: http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/09/the-decks-of-pauper-gauntlet.html

The above link also contains information about how you can win free prizes (including an Elspeth, Sun's Champion and two foil Shocklands).

The weekly show about the Gauntlet
I have joined The Standard Pauper Show as a host for the duration of the Pauper Gauntlet. The second half of the show will be dedicated to the Pauper Gauntlet.

Here is the first episode. I come in at the 45 minute mark.

The existence of this show means that I will report the progress of the Gauntlet on Wednesdays here on mtgolibrary instead of Sundays as originally planned (the show airs on Tuesdays and will soon be on itunes as well if you prefer a podcast version).

Ok, back to the games.

Another Time to Buy is Coming!

Hi Everyone!

I'm sure you all know that in just a few short weeks Khans of Tarkir is releasing on MTGO. The pre-release for paper is next weekend. Like everyone else in the world who doesn't have fetch lands online, I want a set of allied colored fetches. Too bad for me, the time to buy fetches is later. At least a couple weeks after Khans comes out. It used to be a hard and fast rule that 14 days after a set was released was the best day to buy. But with recent sets, like VMA and M15, this is not the case. It really reminds me a lot of how the weather shifted during the great depression. One major cause was the "Dust Bowl". The Dust Bowl was a shift in climate that changed the viability of farming on the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles.

I mentioned that because it seems at this point at least, that the Magic Online economy is changing. It's changing in two ways. The first way is that it seems to be going slower. Years ago, the best time to buy was exactly 14 days after a set came out online. That's all changed, now it's a much longer period for the prices to drop once a set is released. The other thing is that the economy seems to be a lot more stable. Yes the cards do change price more than paper, that’s mostly because the accessibility of the market far exceeds that of the Paper market. If I want a black lotus online, I can buy one right now online and play with it in 5 minutes or less. In Paper I have to buy, wait for payment to clear, wait for shipping, and finally wait to actually play a game. So by the very nature of an electronic marketplace that we can all access with our computer it will be more volatile than the paper market that is less prone to excitement and has slower availability of data.

There will always be what some consider chaos in the Magic Online economy because it still moves very quickly, although slower than before. But the economy seems a lot more predictable to me than ever before. It could be a greater number of players online that allow the market to have more stability (with more people there comes more stability). Alternatively, it could be Vintage Masters rolling off sale. I’m not sure because we have never seen anything like Vintage Masters online before and it’s really difficult to predict when we don’t have any data to compare to. Think of it like Comps in real estate. With nothing to compare to, there’s no way to know what to charge. We don’t know what’s happening as VMA goes off sale.

On the other hand, it could be that MTGO is growing and getting more popular and more people are deciding they want to play online because it’s convenient (that’s the only reason I play online instead of paper).

I know I have mentioned it before, but it’s an exciting time in MTGO and I really like to see what’s going to happen. One thing for sure that’s going to happen. Khan fetch lands will sell for a premium the first several days they are available. I’d say that it’s the best bet to stay out of them until they have been out for 2 weeks unless you’re buying them for practically nothing. Then you’re going to want to watch their trends until they start going up. I’m going to say my standard thing (I feel like a broken record with this one), four days of climbing prices is the time to buy. I say four days because it’s safer than three from being a temporary price jump, and a real trend isn’t two days long. Usually the upward trend will start between two and six weeks after the release.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pricelist "CardsMTGO.txt" format change

Later this week we will release a major bot update. We improved and recoded a number of things - a detailed article will follow.

Among the other changes, we changed the pricelist format. The current line format is:

000#0001#5DN#C#Abuna's Chant#0.017#0.026#0.005#0.008

the new format will be:

12345#12345#000#0001#5DN#C#Abuna's Chant#0.017#0.026#0.005#0.008

You have to do nothing, the bot will recognize and load automatically the new format. If you use custom tools to create your own CardsMTGO.txt, you may want to adhere at the new format.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Speculating the Magic Online Vintage community

Hi Everyone!

The past couple weeks have been really interesting regarding Vintage Masters. I wrote last week about when to sell Vintage Masters cards and basically, the pointer was to keep until another “Masters” set comes out, other than Modern Masters 2.

There is one other thing that’s important to point out that I have been encountering a lot lately. I am an avid Magic player. In fact, I changed to online because it’s convenient to open a program and be able to play a game within a minute. Vintage is my favorite format because games are never the same and there are a lot of interesting decisions. Vintage is the most played format by me, and I noticed that most of the time, the maximum number of players in the Vintage room is 10. That’s 10 at the popular times of day. When I log on at 2am Pacific time I usually don’t get an opponent before I decide to do something else instead of play Magic. 

The thing I want to say is that it appears that there are very few avid Vintage players online. So, why are cards skyrocketing online when there seems to be less and less people playing Vintage? It’s certainly not because there are more people collecting the cards they need to play, it’s because everyone seems to be speculating that the “good” cards will keep going up. This phenomenon happened once before in the stock market….it was happening rampantly when the stock market collapsed in 2008 and caused “the great recession”. People speculated that prices will go up, the same thing is happening online. Online is a different animal, I’m not saying they are the same, but some parts of the strategies for effective investing can transfer from one to the other.

So, there’s not a lot of Vintage players who want (or can afford to) play Vintage online. What’s making the prices go up? Speculators are making the prices go up. Since Vintage is still expensive, is it possible that speculators will only be selling to other speculators? I think that’s possible until there is a point when the cards are reprinted again. It’s like the dual lands, they were really expensive even though the online community of Legacy players was really small the speculators drove the price up to over $50 for Underground Sea. When Vintage Masters was released, the price dropped very low. The price was around $15 the entire time Vintage Masters was released. The price stayed low mostly because the speculators sat back and waited for the “right time” to buy their cards. It appears now is the time.

I just wanted to take this week to talk about how speculators can change the market and make investing more challenging. It’s really something worth talking about because there’s a lot of speculating right now that seems to be driving the prices up even though the number of Vintage players are dropping (or at most, maintaining) and the popular vintage cards that aren’t in Vintage Masters are dropping.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The decks of the Pauper Gauntlet

A lot of decks are ready to start running the Pauper Gauntlet (Season 2) today. Today we I the competitors and then I will tell you about a competition between the spectators (that is: YOU GUYS).

What is the Pauper Gauntlet?

The Pauper Gauntlet is a race between decks, trying to survive the longest against random opponents.

For full details read this: http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/08/the-pauper-gauntlet.html

How can you win a prize watching the Pauper Gauntlet?
Well, to make things interesting you all get to choose a deck to champion. That means that you are the person rooting for that deck. Only one person can be the champion of a deck and the first one to claim a deck gets it. You can only claim one deck per person (no multiple accounts please) and you claim the deck by writing something like this in the comments to this blog post: "I claim Pink Pants. My name is Sam and my MTGO username is VaultBoyHunter".

For you to become champion you have to state some sort of name, have a gmail account and give me your MTGO username so I am sure I give the prize to the right person.

What is the price? The price is an Elspeth, Sun's Champion Magic Online card and some special gifts from our sponsor Peyton (!)

Peyton adds the following to the prize (all to the champion of the winning deck, the brewers and I only get the glory): 1 Foil RTR Blood Crypt (NM), 1 Foil GTC Godless Shrine (NM), 1 Foil ALA Wild Nacatl (MP)  (these are all paper cards).

The decks of the Pauper Gauntlet

Full deck lists and information about the deck is available if you click the links. 

This season I did not limit entry strictly by color so certain color combinations are overrepresented. This is mainly due to the decks being innovative even though sharing colors with other decks. If you feel that this should be more stricly limited next season, please let me know in the comments below. We did enforce such a limit last season.

All deck names are decided by the brewers in almost all cases.

If you are scared by the sheer number of decks, remember two things; First, the Gauntlet will eliminate a lot of decks if they are bad at an early state (round 3-4 probably) and second, I can handle it. I am ready to play a giganormous amount of Pauper matches. If you feel you can't stand to watch the bulk of the matches, just tune in for round 5 and onwards.

Mono Black Decks

MBC: The boogie man of the format. Captained by Witchkingx5. http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/08/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-15-mono-black-control/

Deathtouch by Muratcan Simsek. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/assassins-apprentice/

Gray Mercenaries of Asphodel by Aught3. https://deckbox.org/sets/742302

Mono Black Land Destruction by Mario. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/01-09-14-mono-black-land-destruction/

Pox by Peyton. http://deckstats.net/decks/3099/126874-pauper-pox?saved=1&lng=en

Mono Blue Decks

Delver: As played by cweaver. http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/07/the-pauper-gauntlet-competitor-7-delver.html

Illusory Tricks: Bava's illusion deck got second place last year but he is intent on it winning this year. http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/06/illusory-tricks-better-than-second-place/

Mono Blue Artifactshttp://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/05-09-14-u-artifact/

MUC: Mono Blue Control as played by someoldguy. http://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/224376#online

Mono Green Decks
It is interesting to note the apparent variety of Mono Green Decks possible in Pauper. 
BeastDown: Beast tribal by jphsnakehttp://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/04-09-14-beastdown/

Dumb Green Tron by VaultBoyHunter. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/dumb-green-tron/

Elves by Aught3. https://deckbox.org/sets/726350

Green Griftershttp://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/green-grifters/

Green One: By Deluxeicoff. http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/07/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-5-green-one.html

Infect by Aught3. https://deckbox.org/sets/722967

Mono Green Devotion by jphsnake. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/04-09-14-wPB-mono-green-devotion/

Rot Wolf Control by Fanofhistory captained by VaultBoyHunter. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/rot-wolf-control/

Stompy: Little green men. http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/07/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-13-stompy/

Mono Red Decks

Burn: As played by hey_guess_what. http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2013/11/the-top-decks-of-pauper-burn.html

Glass Cannon Red by David Shaffer, captained by VaultBoyHunter. The most aggressive deck in Pauper? http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/red-glass-cannon/

Goblins. As played by Jason Moore. http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/08/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-9-goblins.html

Mono Red Elemental Ping by Nate Spires. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/monored-elemental-ping/

Mono Red Heroic by jphsnake. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/05-09-14-mono-red-heroic/

Mono Red Kuldotha Tron by VaultBoyHunter. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/rebirth-tron/

Mono White Decks
Devil Children by jphsnake, captained by VaultBoyHunter. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/devils-children/

Metalcraft by Deluxeicoff. http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/09/pauper-gauntlet-deck-metalcraft.html

People of the Sun by JS Bangs. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/31-08-14-people-of-the-sun/

Rebel Grind by Aught3. https://deckbox.org/sets/751913

Rise of the Legionnaire by Donny Silva. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/rise-of-the-legionnaire/

Squawks to Plowshares by jphsnake. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/squawks-to-plowshares/

Azorius Decks
AzoriusKitty by ShaffaWaffa5: I could not decide which version to run so I am running both. http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/08/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-14-azoriuskitty-by-shaffawaffa5/

AzoriusKitty by Power_T: http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/08/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-15-azoriuskitty-by-power_t/

CawBlade by Dior F.  https://deckbox.org/sets/780936

Boros Decks
BorosKitty: The winner of the last Pauper Gauntlet. Revised and captained by VaultBoyHunter. http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/07/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-12-boros-kitty/

Dimir Decks

Dimir Cipher Tricks by Michael Gray. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/dimir-cipher-tricks/

Dimir Teachings by VaultBoyHunter. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/31-08-14-dimir-teachings/

Exhume Control: By David Shaffer. http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/07/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-3-exhume.html

UB Creatureless Control by Johnny Lai. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/07-09-14-black-blue-creatureless-control/

UB Trinket Control: Created by Power_T. http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2013/10/the-top-decks-of-pauper-ub-trinket.html

Golgari Decks
Golgari Undead Dredge by Michael Gray. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/golgari-undead-dredge/

Project X by Dom captained by VaultBoyHunter. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/04-09-14-project-x/

Thallid Bowl Control by Hunter Oka. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/thallid-bowl-control/

Tortured Toolbox by VaultBoyHunter. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/31-08-14-tortured-toolbox/

Gruul Decks
GruulKitty by Arcadiusz Lucia. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/gr-gruul-kitty/

RG Madness by Samuel. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/05-09-14-rg-madness/

Izzet Decks
DelverFiend: As played by Farfishere. This is the deck of many names, featuring blistering fast 20-damage blows. http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/07/the-pauper-gauntlet-competitor-6.html

Izzet Control: As played by Batutinha. http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/07/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-4-izzet.html

Izzet Splice and Burn by Michael Gray. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/izzet-splice-and-burn/ 

Shock the Kitty by somewhat dyslexic. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/shock-the-kitty/

Orzhov Decks
Pesky Clerics by Aught3. https://deckbox.org/sets/748315

Selesnya Decks
GW Beatdown by Matti. http://paupertothepeople.proboards.com/thread/1004/gw-beatdown-v2

Hexproof by Aught3. https://deckbox.org/sets/772939

Midnight Presence by Aught3. https://deckbox.org/sets/770737

Slivers by Brennon. http://mtgostrat.com/2013/10/slivers-primer/

Simic Decks
Love Train: The love got 3rd place in the first season and is ready to make a giant run again. 

UG Madness by Aught3. https://deckbox.org/sets/740042

Abzan Decks
Allies: They are MARCHING OFF TO WAR! By Marvin. http://deckstats.net/deck-4820462-fa0f7baa91bc6e0607a21050f5a9cb86.html

Persistently Undying by VaultBoyHunter. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/persistently-undying/

Bant Decks
Bant Presence:  By Nic Wojak. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/bant-presence/

Turbo Fog by Aught3. https://deckbox.org/sets/748329

Esper Decks

Familiars: As played by sparow. http://archive.wizards.com/Magic/Digital/MagicOnlineTourn.aspx?x=mtg/digital/magiconline/tourn/6767329

Jeskai Decks
Cogs by Brennon. https://deckbox.org/sets/772157

Squawk Rites by jphsnake. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/squawk-rites/

Jund Decks
Croca Jund by Samuel Mensah-Romano. Crocanura is actually the Pauper Goyf. Didn't you know that? http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/croca-jund/

Thunder Trees by VaultBoyHunter. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/thunder-trees/

Sultai Decks
Bugs & Pigs. By Galactic President. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/bugs-pigs/

Crypt Songs by Samuel. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/crypt-songs-combo/

Temur Decks
RUG Tron: By Avignon. http://www.mtgoacademy.com/4-color-tron-in-pauper-constructed/

WatchRites by jphsnake. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/watchrites/

Four Color Decks

Affinity: Good old artifacts. This list is by Charnois. http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2013/11/the-top-decks-of-pauper-affinity.html

Hobo Omelette by jphsnake. An attempt at Pauper Eggs. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/hobo-omlette/

Winter Zoo by VaultBoyHunter. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/4-color-winter-zoo/

Five Color Decks

Who says Pauper does not have strong manabases?
Five Color Green.: Top 10 in the last Pauper Gauntlet. A very innovative control deck by Shyft4. http://mtgostrat.com/2013/04/1984/

Icy Hot Hottie: Elemental hotness that made top 10 in the first season of the Pauper Gauntlet. http://puremtgo.com/articles/rogue-side-episode-4-icy-hot-hottie-and-young-pyromancer

Mana Burn by jphsnake. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/07-09-14-mana-burn/

White Hot Hottie: The next generation of Hottie decks by jphsnake. http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/08/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-20-familiars/

Decks that defy color labels
1-land Spy: The comboest of combo decks in Pauper from the mind of David Shaffer, captained by Samuel Mensah-Romano. http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/05-09-14-1-land-spy-combo/

If you find any deck missing, any link that does not work or any other problem, please let me know in the comments below. 

What happens now?

Pick your deck to champion and lean back and enjoy the ride here and on the MagicGatheringStrat and sngprop YouTube channels. This is going to take a while. First, two rounds of double elimination against easier opposition. This means that only decks that lose both the match in round 1 and round 2 are eliminated before round 3. The two rounds of double elimination will hopefully give me time to learn the more complicated decks I have not played before.