Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The slaughter in round 3 of the Pauper Gauntlet

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

Basic facts
What is the Pauper Gauntlet?

Full list of the 77 Pauper Gauntlet decks for the second season: 

The above link also contains information about how you can win free prizes (including an Elspeth, Sun's Champion and two foil Shocklands (paper) by watching the pauper Gauntlet

The fallen heroes
Only three decks perished during the double elimination rounds (Stupid Green Tron, Deathtouch and Pox). When we started the third round, we moved into single elimination and started playing in the Tournament Practice room. That changed everything. Decks started to get eliminated - a lot!

These are the fallen heroes of the third round (so far - it is not finished yet):

Mono Black Control (yes, the #1 favorite is gone)
White Hot Hottie

Hobo Omelette
Glass Cannon Red (despite its very impressive performance in r1 and r2)
Midnight Presence
Mono Green Devotion

Mono Red Kuldotha Tron
RG Madness
Thunder Trees
Turbo Fog

UB Creatureless Control

For deck lists for these decks check out this link:

Is there hope?

There is indeed hope as there will be a voteback after round 4. That voteback will happen here on mtgolibrary and the THREE (3) decks that gets the most votes return to the competition in round 5! Every deck will get to make an argument for its return when that time comes.

Feature match

Not every deck lost. Here are two epic battles that I actually won (I have won a majority of the matches so far).

Gray Mercenaries of Asphodel did what MBC could not and survived the round against one of the very worst matchups for a black control deck

Croca Jund crushed DelverFiend/EyeCandy

What will happen now?
77 decks entered the Gauntlet. 58 decks remain. Round 3 is single elimination in the Tournament Practice Room. Expect the bloodbath to continue. My orginal estimate was about 20-30 casualties in the third round, maybe even more. We have 16 so far.

How can you follow the Pauper Gauntlet?
The twitter account @MagicGathStrat tweets whenever a video is uploaded to the two YouTube channels that feature the Gauntlet: MagicGatheringStrat and sngprop.

How to start your bot the right way Part 4

Hi Everyone!

We've all got our ideas written down and we know what the plan is, right? The next big mystery to solve is how we are planning to acquire inventory. There are several ways to obtain inventory, I'm going to tell you flat out the best way is to find someone selling an entire collection. A lot of times they need the money, or don't look at Magic Online cards as an investment and are happy with however much money they will get for the collection.

I'll tell you a few things that I always look for that separate a great deal from a less than great deal. The first is look at the collection and determine how many "money" cards there are. Look for desirable cards, cards popular in Standard and Modern on Magic Online are a good indicator that the set hadn't already been picked through. You don't need pre-picked through sets. Also look at the number of money cards vs the total number of cards. I looked at a collection recently that had a Mox pearl and literally nothing but bulk rares and commons and uncommons. A lot of sellers a sneaky and try to make it look like a good collection with a good "headliner" card with a weak collection.

On what to avoid, if anyone says "we tried running a bot" or anything along those lines, avoid at all costs. If someone else is treating their cards like a business it's likely that you're not getting a good deal.

This is part of your bot where "business" comes into play and making good decisions can't be taught, you really just have to look at the information and try to determine what's important and what's not and make decisions off the most relevant data.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Virtualization - How to setup a virtual machine - v4 - Bot manual

What is a virtual machine?
A virtual machine is a computer inside a computer that allows you to run a fully functional Operating system or in our case a bot without interruption of your main computer. 

How many machines can I run on my computer?

This all depends on your computer specs, typically each virtual machine takes about 1 CPU, 2.5gb of ram, and 20 gb of hard disk space. Keep in mind you need to keep 1 cpu and 4 gb of ram open for the main operating system. 

How do I set a virtual machine up?

Here is a step by step guide on how to set a fully working windows 7 virtual machine on your system with the bot installed and ready to go using Vmware workstation 10. 

Step 1: Download our windows 7 virtual machine image. You should use this download manager from Microsoft to download the vmware image because file is very large. Just tell the download manager to download the file: . Unzip in a location a common location.

Step 2: Download Vmware workstation 11.  You will need to create an account (this is free).

Step 3: Install VMware Workstation 11, Please contact us on how to acquire a cd key for VMware workstation 11.

Step 4; Open the virtual machine you downloaded in step 1. You need to know the location of this file, click on the little blue file that ends in extension .vmx

Step 5: When prompted Click I copied this virtual machine. 

Now you have a full working virtual machine, if you need to make more than one you can just clone this one to make it easier. Use the diagram below for a reference. 

NOTE: You will need to change permissions on the ML Bot folder to allow files to be written there. 

How to Clone your bot:

Step 1: Right click the bot , manage, clone,

Step 2: click next.

Step 3: Clone from the current state in the virtual machine.

Step 4:  Clone Method: Create a full clone

Step 5: Choose the name and location  and click finish 

5 mistakes during drafting, part 3

3. You play first if your deck is aggressive. You draw first if you have a control build. 
It is more complicated, though. For instance, letting your opponent start in sideboarded games, where two aggro decks are involved, is usually smart move. One extra card in fast environment makes a difference. In these games players are trading their resources early and often until the battle of attrition ends in a topdeck. Here goes another example. Assuming, your deck has some advantage spells, similar to Divination or Read the Bones you should play first. So, decision to play or draw should be based on the specifics of your deck and it is not a black-and-white issue

4. Take risk to end up with 3-0
 Don't risk your tournament on poor drafting. Remain logical, regardless of opened or passed to you cardsYou cannot win every tournament. 

5. Don't draft the same colors as adjacent players do. 
Players next to each other tend to avoid being in overlapping color. Indeed, reading signals is very important, but you cannot stay away from the colors of adjacent players. There is a myth that if you draft the same color(s) as the player to your right that you will both finish the draft with poor decks. This detrimental conflict can be the case if you overlap with the person passing to you in packs one and three, however if you overlap with the person on your right exclusively in pack two it will likely be beneficial.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Playing Tendrils in Vintage

As you might know, I am Swedish and I have managed to attract a couple of good Swedish video makers to my YouTube channel MagicGatheringStrat. One of them is Binkabi and he made a set of videos about playing Tendrils in Vintage that I figured would be interesting to publish here as well.

First, lets hear what Binkabi has to say about the deck.

Binkabi: "I don't wana brag, but I actually do have a full set of power 9! On Magic Online, that is... But still, Vintage is pretty popular and alot of fun,
so hopefully you will enjoy those videos despite my lack of experience in the format! It is also highly appreciated if you take the time to leave a comment
if you have found something that I could have done differently. I promise, there will be plenty to choose from!"

Deck List

1 Tolaria West
2 Island
2 Swamp
4 Polluted Delta
3 Underground Sea
2 Scalding Tarn

1 Blightsteel Colossus

1 Time Walk
1 Timetwister
1 Tinker
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Yawghmoth's Will
1 Mind's Desire
1 Preordain
1 Ponder
1 Demonic Tutor
4 Duress

1 Ancestral Recall
4 Dark Ritual
1 Mental Misstep
1 Brainstorm
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Rebuild
1 Chain of Vapor
4 Force of Will

1 Mox Opal
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Black Lotus
1 Memory Jar
1 Mana Vault
1 Mana Crypt
1 Lotus Petal
1 Sol Ring
1 Time Vault
1 Voltaic Key

1 Yawghmoth's Bargain
1 Necropotence

2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor


2 Steel Sabotage
2 Rebuild
2 Thoughtseize
1 Yixlid Jailer
4 Leyline of the Void
1 Island
3 Tormod's Crypt

Deck Tech video

Some matches

How to start your bot the right way Part 3

Hi Everyone!

Now that we have our goals set and the strategy to differentiate ourselves set, what comes next? The next step is to look over your bot options. MTGOLibrary offers bots for a monthly, yearly, or lifetime license. There are also options for paying per transaction.

The transaction cost per trade is 2.5%. If you plan to buy and sell cards in bulk this is an excellent option. This model is most effective when you are trying to do business mostly in inexpensive cards. Many bulk bots can be found on Magic Online and this is an excellent strategy because most trades are for a lot of cards for a low dollar amount. What if I want to deal in more expensive cards?

For more expensive cards, I'd recommend buying a license. A monthly or annual license is a good option but over the long term, the best option is a lifetime license if you plan to run an ongoing business. Some good times to use the monthly or annual license is when you have a collection you'd like to sell and don't want to pay 10%+ to ebay to list your collection, also you're likely to get much less per card in this scenario.

How can we calculate what's the best option for you? It's pretty easy. If you're going to be buying and selling over the long term, I certainly recommend a lifetime license because if you buy a card and sell a card you pay a fee on buying and another fee on selling. Take the expected amount of sales you plan to make monthly plus the expected amount of purchases made monthly and add them together (you do have this expected number in your goals you set earlier, right?). If that number is more than the cost of a monthly/yearly license, get the license.

Next time we will talk about obtaining inventory.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

MTGO Library Bot 8.69

ML Bot 8.69 contains a number of fixes. In particular:

  • fixed a crash on Windows 8.1 when loading the prices
  • fixed a crash on "LauncherGUIChecker.exe"
  • the click on the "confirm" button in final confirm window is now more reliable - sometimes the bot was unable to perform the trade because MTGO "missed" the click on the button (probably due to a lag in the game)
  • fixed a problem with the login screen, probably introduced with Wednesday MTGO update
  • fixed the % loader of the Collection, no more going to 150%

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Round 2 of the Pauper Gauntlet has finished

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

Basic facts

What is the Pauper Gauntlet?

Full list of the 77 Pauper Gauntlet decks for the second season: 

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

The events of round two

Despite the fact that 23 decks faced the threat of elimination in round two, only three were actually eliminated. Yes, that means that I even won with 1-land-spy (!). It did not really happen the way I wanted to (well, it kind of did) but the important point is that the most complicated combo deck in the format is still alive.

The following three decks lost both round 1 and round 2 and are thus eliminated from further competition:

Stupid Green Tron
Deathtouch (Assassin's Apprentice)

For deck lists for these decks check out this link:

Feature match
WatchRites - a token deck with Rites of Initiation - faced off against a horde of Merfolk. If you think Pauper board states should be simple, do not watch this video :)

What will happen now
77 decks entered the Gauntlet. 74 decks remain. Round 3 is single elimination in the Tournament Practice Room. Expect a bloodbath. My estimation is about 20-30 casualties in the third round, maybe even more.

How can you follow the Pauper Gauntlet?
The twitter account @MagicGathStrat tweets whenever a video is uploaded to the two YouTube channels that feature the Gauntlet: MagicGatheringStrat and sngprop.

How to start your bot the right way Part 2

Hi Everyone!

So now that you've all got your goals set for your bot, what's next? In case you didn't read my last article, goals need to be measurable, realistic, and only depict the goal, not the method.

Many people starting any kind of business make one mistake repeatedly. They decide how they envision their company first. This is actually the second step for any business, including bots.

My recommendation is that you first set the goal, then set the path to the goal. This second step is the part where you sit down and layout a plan for your strategy to reach your goal.

Setting a strategy is tough because good strategies look remarkably similar to poor strategies. I could do an entire year worth of articles talking about strategy, but I doubt that would be interesting for anyone to read. Instead I'm going to provide one tip to keep in mind when devising a strategy: Do something different.

I mean that if you're bot is exactly like every other bot you'll probably not do as well as you can. The trick is to try to differentiate your bot. Walmart offers low prices, Nordstrom offers first class customer service. You need to find a way to differentiate what you offer to maximize your bot business.

MTGO Library Bot 8.68

Yesterday we released ML Bot 8.68. The update fixes

  • a problem with Automatic Card Transfer when a "passive" bot was also listed as "admin" - in that case the active bot was unable to complete the trade because it recognized the passive bot as administrator, and waited for input.
  • we changed the way the bot closes MTGO and made it more "gracefully" clicking "Yes" on the close dialog
  • fixed a crash on LauncherGUIChecker.exe
  • fixed a bug that caused the corruption of the database and the inability to handle trades until reinstallation of the bot

Monday, October 20, 2014

5 mistakes during drafting, part 2

1. First pick defines which color(s) you will be drafting. 
You cannot be too attached to a particular color. Instead, stay open-minded in pack number one. Focus on the signals you are receiving. Each pack provides indicators of what colors are accessible and which are not. Only after few picks in pack two you should know the combination of colors in your deck. However, it is not written in stone and there are some exceptions. For instance, you are not drafting black color, but you opened a Pack Rat in pack three. It is usually easy pick. Some cards, like Pack Rat, are unquestionable bombs, which are unbeatable if they are not stopped soon enough. Thus, commitment to black color in this case is indicated, regardless in which booster pack such card was opened.

2. You should take a slightly weaker card over a stronger card if it sends a better signal.
Simply put, in a draft, packs one and three flow clockwise. Pack two, counter-clockwise. Therefore, anticipating what is open on the right is almost always more important than on the left. Let the signals that you receive be only on your mind. Do not worry about signals which you are sending, but focus on reading signs from your co-drafter on the right. There are numerous situations wherein the player to your left will draft differently than your expectations despite your crystal clear signals. Either, because he opened a bomb rare or is disregarding the signals you are sending. Always take the best possible pick.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

When is the right time to buy Khans of Tarkir cards?

I am not going to repeat what I said a year ago, only tell you that the principles still apply.

Please reread my article from 2013:

Also notice how well the principles did apply to most Theros cards except for the ones that went into Standard decks that relied on RTR cards (such as Thassa, even though I think we might see her again).

Spoiler: The right time to invest for Standard purposes (rotation is almost always even better, but you don't want to wait until October 2016 to get your KTK goodies, do you?) is in December this year.

Khans cards will now - with a few exceptions - fall at a slow and steady pace until December.

Good luck!

How to start your bot the right way Part 1

Hi Everyone,
Today is the beginning of a new series of articles on what to do in order to start your own bot. I'm going to talk about all the aspects and decisions you need to make regarding your bot before you even get started with purchasing a card collection or a bot license.

The first thing I want to talk about is the very first thing you need to do before you do ANYTHING else. Take some time and decide what are your goals. Determining goals is the very first step when deciding what you want to do with your bot business.

Even though I just the first step is setting goals, I need to reiterate, the first step is not buying a collection, or buying tickets, or anything else. Set your goals.

One thing about setting goals that's important and most people miss. When setting goals, do not concern yourself with anything other than what the goal is. The biggest mistake I see is setting goals that are really a vision of how the company will operate (the method to get to the goal), not actual outcomes.

There are a few elements to make sure you have good goals. The first is make sure they are realistic. I'm not going to say my goal is to make $1 billion after 12 months of bot operating on MTGO because it is not a realistic goal for a MTGO bot business.

The second is make sure it's measurable. Choose a goal based on percentage or ticket value growth over a specified time period. A good example is to make 4% per month.

Those are the two most important elements after making sure the goal is measured in results rather than by the method used to reach the goal.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Wizards System Difficulties

Wizards of the CoastArchive
October 17, 2014
Today, Friday, October 17, 2014, Wizards of the Coast is experiencing issues affecting our database servers. These issues affect Magic systems such as Magic Online as well as our other systems, such as Wizards Event Reporter and the Store and Event Locator.
As of 12 noon PT we believe we have identified the problems causing these issues and are working diligently to restore our systems to full functionality. Currently we believe we will have these issues resolved prior to the start of Grand Prix Los Angeles.
More updates to come.
Retailers, if you have questions about how to run your events during this WER downtime please check your email or check the WPN site for information from the WPN team, or contact Retail Support at us.

If you were wondering why you cannot log into Magic The Gathering Online, here is the answers you are looking for. Below is the link to the site with the information for future updates:

Thank you 
MTGO Library Bot Staff

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Introducing Shared Collections

What is a Shared Collection?

Shared Collection allows you to manage your inventory by only buying a "certain amount" of a single card amongst all your bots. Bots in the same group buy and trade cards as if they have one big collection instead of smaller individual collections. Bots sharing the collections "share their collections", they are synched in real time with each other and they always know what the other bots have and want.

This is very useful for botters with multiple bots. You can now set your bots in groups that will share their inventories, the same way that you can have a group of bots share the credits. This will take each bots individual inventory and add them up for a complete shared inventory. The is useful because you can limit the amount of cards you purchase, especially those slow movers.

If you run 4 bots and you want to purchase 12 of a certain card across all the bot, here is how you could set up personalprices.txt file (you can also set the amount in the Collection tab).

Bot A =>  M14;Shock;0.05;0.09;0.02;0.03;4;0
Bot B =>  M14;Shock;0.05;0.09;0.02;0.03;4;0
Bot C =>  M14;Shock;0.05;0.09;0.02;0.03;4;0
Bot D =>  M14;Shock;0.05;0.09;0.02;0.03;0;0

Each bot will purchase up to 12 until the respected shared inventory amount is acquired, making sure you do not end up with more 12x "Shocks".

Please note that you don't need to change the individual bot settings, you just need to group them on the Online Control Panel. Since bots could end up with unbalanced stocks (for example bot A owning 12 while bot B 0), you may also want to automatically transfer the cards using the "Balance" mode.

Direct link here:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How to handle investment advice

This week, my friend Dan wrote an excellent article about when to buy eternal playable cards. The short version is when cards rotate out of standard you should buy. You can read his entire article here.

I just wanted to say from another slightly different angle regarding the specific mention of Abrupt Decay. I used to do a youtube show weekly that gave lessons on Magic Online investment theory and then gave some recommendations. The purpose of the recommendations were to really allow the viewer to look at the information available and compare them to my picks to see if they are similar in certain relevant ways.

Unfortunately for me, what ended up happening was double bad. People either thought the information was for some nefarious purpose (although it was not) or they just watched to get the recommendations to buy and sell what I said.

This was a problem for me that viewers were circumventing the purpose of the show. People wanted "get rich quick" type advice. They didn't want to learn how to do on their own. It felt like they were leaching good information to make a buck until the information went away. I was trying to teach them how to milk the cow on their own.

One thing that Dan has done is he always talks about ideas and uses specifics to back them up.

I just wanted to make sure everyone out there is taking the information and using it to make good decisions, rather than look for handouts. Abrupt Decay is probably a card where people should buy as many as you can afford because it's every-format playable. I agree with that advice, but I want to let everyone know that they should do their own research.

Doing your own research and being able to use it to make decisions is the key to running any kind of successful business and Magic Online Speculating is no exception.

I'm sure Dan intended that everyone who read his article do their own research and make their own decision as to the playability of Abrupt Decay in other formats.

Three decks eliminated from the Pauper Gauntlet!

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

The second round is still ongoing. But we have casualties, despite the double elimination nature of the first and second round (the third round will be a bloodbath!)

Basic facts

What is the Pauper Gauntlet?

Full list of the 77 Pauper Gauntlet decks for the second season:

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.

This is the episode for this week where we discuss recent events in the Pauper Gauntlet.

I come in at 35 minutes and the rest of the show is about the Pauper Gauntlet from then on.

So which decks are eliminated?

The following three decks lost both round 1 and round 2 and are thus eliminated from further competition:

Stupid Green Tron
Deathtouch (Assassin's Apprentice)

For deck lists for these decks check out this link:

Feature match
This is the battle between Pox and 1-land-spy. It is worthy of notice because the 1-land-spy combo deck just GOES OFF in a way that no Pauper deck should be able to after the bannings. This is high-level combo magic!

What about the rest of the decks?
77 decks entered the Gauntlet. 74 decks remain. However, round 2 is not finished yet. Stay tuned!

How can you follow the Pauper Gauntlet?
The twitter account @MagicGathStrat tweets whenever a video is uploaded to the two YouTube channels that feature the Gauntlet: MagicGatheringStrat and sngprop.

Monday, October 13, 2014

5 mistakes during drafting, part 1

Draft is called the most skill intensive format, because you are building a deck on the fly. Standard very quickly becomes net decking even though it changes more frequently. On the other hand, some people say that draft is rather the most luck intensive format. Opening a couple hard to deal with bomb rares in your packs can make your deck good, even with second rate uncommons and commons cards. However, I totally disagree with this statement. If you have skill, you can overcome poor luck. I really lose a lot of respect to people repeatedly complaining about drawing bad hands or got mana screwed or flooded. Yes it happens, every deck is capable of doing that, but if it consistent, then there is a problem with you as a player or your deck in construction. Knowing when to mulligan and what hands to keep is a risk assessment skill that is invaluable to great magic players. With regards to design, if you run into the mana flood problem a lot then maybe its high time to do some math and reconsider the amount of lands you have in your deck. Likewise, color fixing and mana acceleration, and the right number of lands in a deck usually is the remedy for being color screwed. Additionally, for those that would still criticize luck being a factor in the game, there are a number of pro players every season every year with consistent above 66 percent win rates in a variety of formats including limited; thats a 2-1 match win average and these pro tend to repeat those numbers year after year when they are active. Luck is a factor, but only one in a myriad, and certainly not the most demanding of your attention. Some commonly-accepted Limited concepts are faulty, but they persist nonetheless. Skill is crucial in drafting and more about it in next part.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Pauper and Standard Pauper filters are broken

I played this match as part of the Pauper Gauntlet:

This started a twitter storm and it turns out that the Pauper and the Standard Pauper formats are broken in the sense that anything that has ever been common is legal in both formats, which should not be the case.

This leaves two formats filled with problems until a fix is delivered by Wizards (the same people who promised leagues in 2011) at some unknown date. So what do you do as a player?

Well, if someone else plays this card against you in a sanctioned tournament you will be reinbursed.

Submit your request using this link:

Then there is the hard question - should you play these cards? They help you win. If you do, are you cheating.

My friend Bava has a strong opinion on the matter.

More Pauper Gauntlet updates on Wednesday. Stay tuned!

Strategies for trading and negotiating in general - Part 4

For the fourth and final part of the series on trading strategy (for now) I wanted to cover something that's exclusive to MTGO. I know parts of this series have been more helpful for in person rather than online trades because many online trades are similar to purchases, so here's the trading tip for this week that's exclusive to online.

When you're looking for a card or playset of cards, it's tempting to find the absolute lowest price on the card. That seems like the best solution and much of the time it is, but sometimes it's not.\

Here's the scenario when it's not, if you are looking for very inexpensive cards the difference between paying .05 and .10 is 100% and seems like a lot. 100% more is a lot but when you buy the card you're going to have a credit with the bot because there are only 1 ticket increments in Magic Online. If you're never going to use your credit with the cheaper bot but you certainly will with the more expensive bot, is it worth it?

There's a lot to consider. The short answer is yes, but do your research. If a bot only has a few cards to sell and their prices are high, but have a great price on this one card, it might be better to have your credit on another bot that you're more likely to use.

Let's look at the price breakdown. You pay .05 for four copies of a card and they take 1 ticket. You have .8 credit that you'll never use because everything is overpriced from that bot (except the card you want) or the selection is very limited. Essentially you paid 1 ticket for those four cards.

If you were to buy the card from the more expensive bot that you know and use often, you have .60 credit that you'll actually use

Now I know that it's hard to say what bots you'll use and not use in the future, but it's worth tracking what bots you do business with to find out how much you have tied up in bot credits. I find that most of my trades are with the same group of bots because they seem to have the selection that I'm looking for and reasonable prices.

Until next time, good luck in the trading bazaar.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

MTGO Library Bot 8.65

With ML Bot 8.65 we slightly changed the automatic OPEN | BUSY messages to better uniform them with the Classified standards.

The new OPEN | BUSY messages now look like these:

using the forest and the fireball symbol to make the bot status more prominent.
Please note that you can create your customized OPEN | BUSY message simply by unchecking the option "automatically prefix BUSY | OPEN " in the "Messages Tab".

We also changed the messages given in a trade, working especially on the card list to make everything more readable and less verbose

Friday, October 10, 2014

MTGO Library Bot 8.64

Version 8.64 contains 2 bug fixes and a major improvement:

  • better handled the MTGO "MainNavigation" crash
  • fixed the freeze of the info panel (the vertical panel on the right, the one showing the trade info)
  • bots will now collect tixs faster using the "take 10x" option if the amount of tixs to be collect is greater than 20

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Buying cards at rotation

Every year people say that rotation is different every year - that this is the year that people have finally learned that the eternal cards are great pickups at rotation, that there is a huge number of speculators that are driving the market. The same is true for this year. True in the sense that people are saying that. And this year they may be correct!

Just look at the graph for Abrupt Decay.

You should have picked this up long ago. It will not drop to its lowest point on October 20th as it "normally would".

But even then, this does not matter. You should still pick up all the cards you need for eternal formats two weeks after rotation. You should still buy all your speculative cards two weeks after rotation.

Why? Simple. They will not get any cheaper if they are indeed eternally playable. Even if you missed the boat on Abrupt Decay, people that play only Standard (and there must be plenty of such people as Standard is by far the largest format) will have to sell theirs now, increasing supply when demand stays the same.

There is also redemption happening roughly in December for Mythics, making them great pickups right after rotation.

MTGO Library Bot 8.63

ML Bot 8.63 has just been released. We worked on two aspects:

  • during mtgo login, the login could fail resulting in a "Waiting for MTGO to load" message while mtgo is not loading. Version 8.63 handles the problem and tries again the login after 15 seconds
  • wikiprice realtime update is now more robust. When wikiprice is heavy loaded, previous bot versions could fail the update

Strategies for trading and negotiating in general - Part 3

Next, I want to talk about the "throw in" guy. When I was younger, I traded often as my funds were very limited and it was hard for me to acquire new cards by means other than trading. I found that there were some people who would trade fairly and some that wouldn't.

The most unfair deals ended up being with the people who would say things like, "That's almost fair, can you just throw in some stuff?" Ultimately it ended up with both of us "throwing in" several inexpensive cards worth very little.

What I realized they were doing was getting incremental advantage by choosing my "throw ins" that were of higher value than theirs. By the end, they had a much better deal. As soon as I realized this, I found that when I would take the value of my "throw ins" they exceeded the value of a "good" card that I wanted from the other person. When I suggested them keeping their throw ins for another good card, they said no. This was to ensure they got a good card for another good card and ended better than they started.

My advice is to avoid throw ins at all costs. If you have to trade more than one card for a card, you're trading up, that's good a lot of the time, but when you both have lists of cards it tends to be less good of a deal. If your trade with someone and they insist on "throw ins" I recommend not trading with them. There are a lot of people to trade with especially on Magic Online, you'll certainly find someone who doesn't need "throw ins".

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Strategies for trading and negotiating in general - Part 2

The first thing I want to talk about is bait and switch tactics. People will offer a card for trade or sale for a certain price. When I messaged the seller, they said they still had the card and before they took tickets said, the price had gone up and said it would be more. I told him no thanks. I think he just posted the lowest price by 1 ticket so people would go to him and then would raise the price by a couple tix in order make extra profit. It’s actually happened to me multiple times in a day, but when I check a price guide or two online, the price hadn’t changed.

Another thing I encounter are (mostly bots) who advertise cards for certain prices then charge more when you go to make the trade. It’s likely this is a mistake, but it’s not when a person does it (it’s happened to me more than once). It’s just a simple bait and switch and is pretty crappy. Much of the time it’s possible to talk the person into giving the initial price but I don’t recommend doing it.

I recommend not doing business with people who try to bait and switch. Negotiating with a bait and switcher reinforces the notion that people will still do business even if they try to bait and switch you. You shouldn’t even waste your time with them, if no one took the bait, they’d stop the tactic.
Also, remember that when you negotiate and get them to concede to the originally advertised price you didn’t win, you just got what they initially offered. What do you think the odds of getting an even better deal now that you accepted the premise that they “made a mistake” and are “willing to be fair with you” by giving the advertised price? Zero. So you’ve had to negotiate to buy for the advertised price, feel good about getting the deal that was advertised. You shouldn’t feel that way, you should be upset because you worked extra by negotiating for something that should have been there from the beginning.

I recommend you not waste your time with people who bait and switch (even if it’s a legitimate accident). It starts you off in the hole and makes the negotiation harder for you to come out the place you should have come out. 

One last thing, do you really think someone you don’t know is going to say, “oh, wait. The price went down, give me less” because a price dropped since they listed their card? I don’t.