Friday, January 30, 2015

MTGO Library Bot 9.17 - Fate Reforged

Fate Reforged is here! ML Bot 9.17 supports the new set FRF. The updated pricelist is available for download on the Online Control Panel and for free during the update process. LITE bot users have to update the pricelist as well.

Happy release events!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Pauper Gauntlet enters the Tournament Rounds

We started this adventure in August with 77 decks and after a turbulent round 9 we now only have two decks left. One of these will be the winner - maybe even this week!

It is Stompy vs Burn.

The result of round 12 was surprising.

Stompy ran into my Magic mentor, Power_T, playing RB LD Flashback (?).

Burn went up against Affinity. I have played this matchup from both sides several times in the Gauntlet and I feel that Burn is slightly favored. My opponent disagreed. He managed to land the right number of early 4/4s and proceeded to destroy me.

So with both deck losing in round 12 (after they both went 11-0), the Gauntlet goes into the tournament rounds.

Here are the competitors:

Championed by Denofbears
This very aggressive weenie deck has crushed every opponent with cheap green creatures and pump spells.
Deck list here:

Championed by jphsnake
Casting 7 lightning bolts to the face is still a viable tactic in magic it seems. Despite having played this deck a lot I only had a 55% winning record before I switched to this build right before the Gauntlet. And it seems to have worked!
Deck list:

Upcoming rounds
Round 13 is the two-man round. Both decks play a two-man tournament. There is about 50% chance that the Gauntlet continues into round 14 after that (if both decks win or both decks lose).

Round 14 is the eight-man round. This should settle things. I sure hope it does because if it doesn't I am going to have to play middle-of-the-night Pauper Daily Events in round 15. More about that next week if it happens, but hopefully we will have a winner to present here.

Which deck do you think will win the Pauper Gauntlet?

Basic facts
What is the Pauper Gauntlet?

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

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.

MTGO Library Bot 9.16

Today MTGO update broke the "opening of the trades", used in AutoTransfer modes. Basically, WotC changed the height of the contextual menus and thus the bot was unable to click them properly.

ML Bot 9.16 fixes the problem. The update is strongly recommended.

The new Modern

Hi Everyone!

Now that Pod and those evil blue cards are banned from Modern, What's going to happen? I guessed at the beginning that Splinter Twin is the new best Modern deck. It was the only real tier 1 deck in the format before Khans came out. Jund hasn't been exactly tier 1 since Deathrite got banned.

I thought Jund could see a resurgence, but I have been seeing a lot of Junk (or Abzan) modern decks. It looks like white now replaces red in the BGx decks. This is happening because of Siege Rhino. At first I thought it was unlikely that white could be better than red. Red facilitated all the burn that took care of small creatures or finished off the opponent at the end of the game. White has Siege Rhino. I don't know if rhino is really that good or if it's hype (not to say Rhino isn't good, I just don't know if it's just that good).

Rhino does trample, it is resistant to burn (takes two of most burn spells to kill), drains opponent for three when it comes into play and gains you three life. It does do it all for real cheap, only four mana.

Keep an eye on Siege Rhino for to see if it's really a great four drop, or if it just worked well in Pod. My concern is that it may not be as good if you have to pay an actual four mana for it than if you pay one colorless and zero life and put a -1/-1 counter on your kitchen finks.

It may be the best four drop creature but it also may be prohibitive to cast due to being three colors. I think this is less likely to be a problem in Modern than Standard due to dual lands and all 10 fetches being available.

Anyway, let's look at Rhino in Modern and see what it does at Pro Tour Fate Reforged.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

More Limited Lessons

This is the second part of our new video series focusing on the ins and outs of Limited Play.

The first two lessons were about The Value of a Card and How to Play around a Card. You can find them here:

Today we will talk about signals, drafting and deckbuilding.


Drafting and Deckbuilding

Coming subjects
Quadrant Theory

If you like this series, please let us know and there might be even more episodes.

MTGO Library Bot 9.14

ML Bot 9.14 is a minor build that fixes some aspects of 9.13 and old versions. It is mainly focused on stability and contains a number of little tweaks.

Moderns Fate, Reforged!

Hi Everyone!
On Wednesday of this week, I posted about how Pod, cruise, and Dig were banned in Modern. They were everywhere and were cards that were extremely good and would likely warp Modern had they not been banned. Pod was banned because of it's insane power level.

A couple years ago, when I got back into Magic and learned about this new "Modern" format, I looked over a lot of the cards in gatherer. I just browsed because I left right as Time Spiral came out and immediately knew that the Shock Lands from Ravnica would be staples and that there had to be a way to make Birthing Pod awesome. I had envisioned a way to fetch up tons of utility creatures with sweet comes into play abilities (this was before I saw the decklists of current at the time modern decks). I was happy when I saw Pod winning (or at least doing really well) after I started following competitive Magic again.

Why did Pod get banned? It got banned because with better creatures coming out, Pod gets better. It's not an exact comparison, but when deciding on creature decks, there's creatures with Pod and creatures without pod (any non-pod creature deck). Unfortunately Pod was so good that it made the former better in almost all cases. It had the best creatures and could tutor for the specific one for a certain circumstance. Also, as better creatures come out, Pod gets a greater amount of better than non-pod decks using the same creature. I think the Siege Rhino broke the camels back.

So where is Modern going? This week cards for Jund, and any blue control deck went up by a ton in price. That means Jund, Junk, UWR Control, Twin, or Scapeshift could be the next top deck in Modern.

I personally think that Jund won't be as good as it was before the Deathrite banning because DRS could speed up the deck, buy time, stop graveyard shenanigans, and ultimately kill you with it's black mana ability.

I think Scapeshift and Twin will be the top two decks in the new Modern. Scapeshift an
d Twin both have a "combo kill" where they play one (or one at the end of your turn and another on their turn) spell and kill you immediately. Twin was once one of the top decks before Khans was released and Scapeshift was a deck, never quite in the same class as Pod and Twin, but with the weakened format it could be a real deck.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

'God packs' in Fate Reforged

Some time ago I wrote about 'god packs' where every card in the booster pack was a god from the Theros block. It looks like Wizards implemented similar marketing strategy, but instead of gods we may find this time a fetchland in every booster pack from 'god Fate Reforged booster boxes'.

Take a look at this video. Someone is opening a full box of packs and finds a fetchland in every booster pack. I’m not sure if this is a printing error or a marketing campaing, but it is pretty exciting.

Friday, January 23, 2015

MTGO Library Bot 9.13

ML Bot 9.13 fixes a problem with the local bot database, sometimes locking and not updating properly in the case of multiple price updates (for example if you have a batch task that updates your pricelist, or your PersonalPrices.txt every X minutes).

While this was an extreme condition and almost always never happening, we fixed it because wikiprice was completely out of sync.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The final two decks of the second Pauper Gauntlet

We started this adventure in August with 77 decks and after a turbulent round 9 we now only have two decks left. One of these will be the winner - maybe even this week!

It is Stompy vs Burn. Both decks have a fantastic 11-0 record in this season of the Pauper Gauntlet

Championed by Denofbears
This very aggressive weenie deck has crushed every opponent with cheap green creatures and pump spells.
Deck list here:

Championed by jphsnake
Casting 7 lightning bolts to the face is still a viable tactic in magic it seems. Despite having played this deck a lot I only had a 55% winning record before I switched to this build right before the Gauntlet. And it seems to have worked!
Deck list:

Upcoming rounds
Round 12 is coming up. If one deck wins and one deck loses, we have a winner. If not, we move into the tournament rounds. More about that next week if it happens.

Which deck do you think will win the Pauper Gauntlet?

Basic facts
What is the Pauper Gauntlet?

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

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.

Treasure Cruise is banned, I'll just play Pod then.

Hi Everyone!
For all those who live under a rock, Pod, Treasure Cruise, and Dig Through Time were banned in Modern this week. Golgari Grave-Troll was unbanned.

I'll admit that I didn't think Cruise and Dig were getting banned, they were good, but not so good that they were unbeatable evidenced by 5 of the last 12 Grand Prix winning decks being Pod.

Does that make Pod unbeatable? No, but it makes it the best deck when it won almost half the GP's. Since Pod became a deck i always thought it was overpowered and it got banned because of it's power level.

So now that Pod is gone and Delver isn't good, what is there in Modern? Not much. The only certainly tier 1 deck is Twin. How about Jund? Jund was good but has been hurt repeatedly by bannings. First it was bloodbraid elf, then it was Deathrite Shaman. It still existed after Deathrite was banned and it was still good powerful deck. Treasure Cruise and Dig made the 1 for 1 trades bad when Jund traded and traded until the other player Treasure Cruised or Dug Through Time, then Jund lost to overwhelming card advantage.

I'd wait Until the release weekend of Fate Reforged and pick up the "money cards" from Jund. I have a feeling that Jund and other G/B type decks are going to be tier 1 competitors now that treasure cruise is gone.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

MTGO Library Bot 9.11

ML Bot version 9.11 fixes a problem with the remote start/stop button on the Online Control Panel, sometime not appearing on the webpage.

After the recent updates, in particular the new ban list and the huge wave of fast trades following the announce, we decided to extend the overselling and overbuying protections to LITE bots as well. Before 9.11, in fact, overselling and overbuying protections worked only on PRO bots.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Update restricted & ban list

MTGO Library Bot 9.10

ML Bot 9.10 fixes a problem with making all cards tradable after a buying trade. Older versions were occasionally unable to make cards tradable immediately, resulting in cards bought and "in the account" , but not marked as tradable even after many hours.

This happened frequently on busy bots, where one trade follows the other and the bot cannot really find a moment to go to collection and make the cards tradable.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The M14 Bulk Mythics project - final evaluation

A year ago I published a video about M13 crap mythics and how I would use my theories about redemption to earn money on M14 crap mythics. A crap Mythic is a mythic that goes below 50 cent at any point of its Standard life.

My actions a year ago

I invested heavily in M14 Mythics, particularly Windreader Sphinx, Darksteel Forge, Ring of Three Wishes and Devout Invocation.

At one point I even managed to move the price on Mo Souba for Windreader Sphinx.

I had 200+ copies of some or the Mythics. I did not dare go deeper at the time. And I was right not to.

Other sets
I tried to apply the same principles to other sets and found that the principle does not at all apply to small sets (Dragon's Maze) but that it applied (though somewhat less) to big sets (such as Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash).

I am now trying actively to buy any Mythic that goes below 50 cents.

So what happened to Windreader Sphinx?
When time came for the redeemers to get their crap mythics, the price of them increased violently. Just look at this graph

The right time to sell was December 18th or 19th. If you did you were looking at a solid 400% profit in a year if you bought at the bottom. Almost exactly like I predicted back in 2013.

So how did I do?
This is probably the part of this article you can learn the most from.

First I lowered the buy price on all the M14 crap mythics to 0,05 so I would not be one of the botters buying these from anyone and then lose money.

I put half of my crap mythics on the bots for sale at the estimated peak prices in November. Then I got nervous and decreased the prices. On December 8th a scraper bought every single copy of every one of them but at that time I had decreased the price to about 150% profit. So still not breakeven.

After that I put in the rest of them, once again at the estimated peak price.

The peak came on December 18th but it was somewhat lower than I thought so I did not sell any of them. I started selling them manually to other bots and told my partners to do so too. They did but I got caught up doing other things (it was Christmas Time, after all). The bots failed to sell even though I decreased my price to be the lowest on Magic Online.

As everyone was selling (surely some did so in panic) as the price dropped that drop was swift and quite soon we were back at pre-peak prices.

So I am stuck with a lot of M14 bulk and I went about breakeven on the whole deal.

What I will do next year
I am already picking up any bulk mythics from THS, KTK and M15 but so is everyone else. There are a lot more speculators doing exactly the same thing this year. I don't think we will ever see prices drop as low as they did last year - Hythonia was almost below 30 cent at some point.

Maybe this will never get as good again ever but I will still be picking up those 50 cent mythics when I can AND next year I will pay more attention to selling them.

How to draft Fate Reforeged?

I'm going to present you the list of cards, starting from the best pick during the draft and ending on the least desirable card. For instance, if you don't have any card from "2nd pick" card pool you look for cards in "3rd pick". Cards not mentioned below shouldn't appear in your deck. Notwithstanding, cards like vanilla creature 2/2 for 2 mana are as well essential in your deck in order to be able to stop early threats of your opponent.

1st pick:
White: Monastery Mentor, Daghater the Adamant, Citadel Siege.
Blue: Torrent Elemental, Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest.
Black: Archfiend of Depravity, Mardu Strike Leader, Tasigur, the Golden Fang.
Red: Shaman of the Great Hunt, Alesha, Who Smiles at Death.
Green: Whisperwood Elemental, Warden of First Tree, Yavosa Dragonclaw.
Multi: Dromoka, the Eternal, Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury, Silumgar, the Drifting Death.

2nd pick:
White: Sandblast, Elite Scaleguard, Lightform, Valorous Stance, Dragonscale Dragon.
Blue: Cloudform, Mistfire Adept, Reality Shift, Sage-Eye Avengers, Supplant Form.
Black: Reach of Shadows, Noxious Dragon, Crux of Fate, Brutal Hordechief.
Red: Bathe in Dragonfire, Pyrotechnics, Wild Slash, Flamewake Phoenix, Mob Rule.
Green: Destructor Dragon, Temur Sabertooth, Temur War Shaman.
Multi: Cunning Strike.
Artifact: Ugin, the Spirit Dragon.

3rd pick:
White: Pressure Point, Sandsteppe Outcast, Soul Summons, Abzan Skycaptain, Arashin Cleric, Dragon Bell Monk, Channel Harm, Honor's Reward, Jeskai Barricade, Lotus-Eye Mystics, Mardu Woe-Reaper, Sage's Reverie, Wandering Champion, Wardscale Dragon,  Mastery of the Unseen, Soulfire Grand Master.
Blue: Aven Surveyor, Jeskai Runemark, Jeskai Sage, Lotus Path Djinn, Refocus, Sultai Skullkeeper, Whisk Away, Write into Being, Marang River Prowler, Mindscour Dragon, Shifting Loyalties, Jeskai Infiltrator, Monastery Siege.
Black: Douse in Gloom, Hooded Assasin, Battle Brawler, Merciless Executioner, Orc Sureshot, Qarsi High Priest, Grave Strength, Mardu Shadowspear, Sultai Emissary, Alesha's Vanguard, Ancestral Vengeance, Gurmag Angler, Typhoid Rats, Palace Siege, Soulflayer, Ghastly Concription.
Red: Goblin Heelcutter, Humble Defector, Hungering Yeti, Rageform, Shockmaw Dragon, Vaultbreaker, Collateral Damage, Fierce Invocation, Mardu Runemark, Bloodfire Enforces, Mardu Scout, Flamerush Rider, Outpost Siege.
Green: Whisperer of the Wilds, Abzan Beastmaster, Abzan-Kin Guard, Battlefront Krushok, Cached Defenses, Formless Nurturing, Ruthless Instintcs, Sudden Reclamation, Frontier Mastodon, Hunt the Weak, Sandsteppe Mastodon, Wildcall.
Multi: Ehereal Ambush, Grim Contest, Harsh Sustenance, War Flare, Atarka, Wold Render, Ojutai, Soul of Winter.
Artifact: Hero's Blade, Ugin's Construct.

MTGO Library 9.09

With ML Bot 9.09 we tuned a bit the updates released yesterday in 9.07 (
This is a maintenance build.

Colorless Manifest and Morph

Hi Everyone!

We all know by now that Fate Reforged has a new mechanic called Manifest. It puts cards from the top of our library into play face down as a 2/2 creature. If it's a creature card it can be turned face up for it's morph cost.

While I think Wizards would have avoided two different kinds of "face down creatures" in the past, it appears that they are willing to allow some greater degree of complexity to make the game better.

There's also Ugin who destroys colored permanents. A colorless deck could be a real deck. Even if not tier 1 tournament quality, it could be a popular casual deck or a secondary strategy. I only mention this because When Ghostfire Blade first came out, I knew it would be a sweet card if a colorless deck became a thing. I think a colorless deck could become a thing.

I have been buying up ghostfire blades for .01 tickets. I stay away from specific recommendations, but I am going to say it's worth buying this time.

Let's look at the potential loss. Let's look at what happens when we buy 100 copies because that's a reasonable quantity to be able to acquire. If we lose all our money (we almost never lose ALL our money) but we lose 1 ticket. What about the upside? If it becomes a tournament deck, Ghostfire Blade could go up to $1 or more. Even if it goes to .05 tix you're still quintupling your money, that's pretty good. The odds of the card going up are low and the risk is low, but the potential upside is so high that I think it's a worthwhile investment.

Remember that MTG investments are purely speculative and you shouldn't gamble with money you can't lose.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

MTGO Library Bot 9.07

We worked hard this week to deliver today ML Bot 9.07. This is a major update fixing and improving many things under the hood.

The most important improvement is that now the bot is fully synchronized with wikiprice when overselling and overbuying protections trigger. Older versions of the bot were not able to communicate to wikiprice that they were overprotecting a card and so (for example) that the selling price was higher (or the buying price was lower). While this happens rarely and only on few cards, it was annoying and reduced wikiprice usability.
We also fixed a problem with reading the chat and reloading the collection happening on Windows 8.1

In the end, update 9.07 contains many improvements that you "won't see" but that will surely help your business.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fate Reforged is coming!!!!

Hi Everyone!
Fate reforged is coming out shortly. This is exciting news, not because I'm excited about anything in Fate Reforged, to be completely honest, I can't name 3 cards from Fate Reforged. I looked over the spoiler and Ugin and some of the Manifest cards caught my eye, but other than that, it doesn't look terribly exciting to me at this point. Although I have been a little busy lately and haven't had a chance to brew up any new decks lately. Regardless, I'm super excited about Fate Reforged!

I'm excited because if you look at prices they see a sharp sudden dip right as the new set is released. This is because people unload their valuable cards to buy cards from the new set. If you looked at a graph of set prices there is a short, abrupt, dip in price for a couple (literally 2) days after the new set comes out.

I love taking the opportunity of a new set and using it to capitalize on the older set. In addition to getting a nice little price cut, the release of the new set is when the prices of the old set begin to creep up until the set rotates out of standard.

It's a good time to stock up on some cards you're short on. You can also pick many cards up for pretty significant discounts.

Only three decks remain in the Pauper Gauntlet

We started this adventure in August with 77 decks and after a turbulent round 9 we now only have three decks left. One of these will be the winner.

Championed by Denofbears
This very aggressive weenie deck has crushed every opponent with cheap green creatures and pump spells. It has a clean 9-0 record with a staggering 18-2 in duels.
Deck list here:

Championed by DanieZiltoid
The robots are doing well. The machine seems to be well oiled. By drawing a ton of cards while playing cheap 4/4s, everything falls against it. There was a loss in the double elimination rounds though. That one loss was in the mirror match against a better Affinity player.
Deck list:

Championed by jphsnake
Casting 7 lightning bolts to the face is still a viable tactic in magic it seems. Despite having played this deck a lot I only had a 55% winning record before I switched to this build right before the Gauntlet. And it seems to have worked!
Deck list:

Upcoming rounds
As we are close to the end of this exercise now I will play both round 10 and round 11 during the coming week. I assume that we will be able to crown a winner after that.

Which deck do you think will win the Pauper Gauntlet?

Basic facts
What is the Pauper Gauntlet?

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

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.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fate Reforged - new mechanics

Fate Reforged is just around the corner, so let's get familiar with mechanics in the latest set.

- Bolster N: choose a creature with the least toughness among creatures you control. If there's a tie, choose one of those creatures. Put N +1/+1 counters on it. What is important, bolster doesn't target any creature so if your opponent in response will kill a creature with the least toughness, you check which creature under your control is the weakest now and put counters on it. This mechanic appears only in Abzan.
-  Dash: you may cast a creature spell for its dash cost. If you do, it gains haste, and it's returned from the battlefield to its owner's hand at the beginning of the next end step. Of course, it will return to your hand only if it's still on the battlefield. Dash is reserved for Mardu wedge.
- Manifest: put the top card of your library face-down as a morph. It's a 2/2 colorless creature with no name, no abilities, and no creature types. You may turn it up any time for its mana cost if it is a creature card. Turning a face-down creature face up doesn't use the stack and can't be responded to.

Limited Lessons

In this episode we start a new video series focusing on the ins and outs of Limited Play.

The first two lessons will be The Value of a Card and How to Play around a Card.

The Value of  a Card

How to Play around a Card

Coming subjects
Drafting & deckbuilding
Quadrant Theory

If you like this series, please let us know and there might be even more episodes.

The seemingly ever evolving Standard Metagame

Hi Everyone!
While I do spend a lot of time looking at Magic Online data to see what cards are good investments and what cards are bad investments I didn't play a lot of Standard over the past year because I thought it was a boring format. I had a Mono Black Devotion deck when it was RTR-THS blocks but i didn't like that the same decks were the top decks for an entire year, that didn't change until Khans came out. I think the theme of the set is better than Theros block, but more importantly I like the way the multi-color clans make deck building more complex by adding an extra element of complexity to manabases by only printing enemy color pain lands and only allied color fetches with no duals to fetch.

I have had a couple standard decks since Khans came out. One is Abzan Midrange. It's pretty good and I enjoyed playing it but I have been busy the past few weeks and haven't had a chance to play as much as I usually do. I won the majority of matches I played, but when I went online this week to play I got slaughtered three rounds in a row. All three times it was a different deck, they were very aggressive and were just too fast for my midrange deck to come back from. The only games I won were games where they were severely mana screwed.

I noticed when I was looking at the top decks for Magic Online Abzan Midrange was the top deck, but since then has changed to the top deck being Abzan Aggro. It's an obvious shift that I can see when I play and a shift that shows in the number of people playing certain decks.

I looked over the top decks and found that while it's not the most played (it's the second most played) Abzan Midrange was the most expensive. I believe that the metagame is shifting to a very aggro centric metagame and the prices for Abzan Midrange cards have not caught up with the shift yet, probably from a variety of factors that cause lag, most likely the fact that while it gets slaughtered by fast decks, it's still the second most played online.

I went ahead with this knowledge and got out of all my cards that are in Abzan Midrange but not in any popular aggro decks.

Just remember that while there are many sources of information that you need to look to and accurately gauge their credibility, there are many unconventional ways to collect information and ways to back up data you collected. I do want to caution everyone that if you're specifically looking for something with anecdotal data, you'll certainly find it, do your best to be objective.

MTGO Library Bot 9.05 - remote stop and start

ML Bot 9.05 is the first major update of 2015. We are proud to announce the "remote start and stop system", meaning that you can now start and/or stop your bot(s) from remote simply by pressing a button on the Online Control Panel.
This function works only with bot version greater than 9.04 so if you are using an older version this won't work.

To use the tool please navigate to the MultiMonitor. After few seconds an orange button will appear close to each bot name (an orange button, or a blue button). Press the button and confirm the alert to send a shutdown command and stop the bot. Press the button again to send a "start" command and start the bot. All the commands are sent via push notification, so the bot will execute them immediately, without any delay.

As we did last month for SpecialBuddies, the goal is to provide a full remote access in order to control and intervene from everywhere. As time goes by we will move more and more features into the Online Control Panel and will centralize everything there.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The single most important thing when making any investment

Hi Everyone!

Those of you who know me know that I rant and rave about the ability to make good decisions as the determining factor for success at everything. I think even those of you who don't know me have read it here at some point. The belief that good decision making is the major deciding factor in your loss or victory.....I do want to point out that good decisions are the major factor of only your actions that contribute to your success, you can't control what you can't control.

The factor that changes decisions is information. When I was buying my first house, I wanted to place an offer on a house but my agent said they seller wouldn't accept at the price I wanted to offer. I'm a firm believer that saying I'd pay X is a lot different than showing up with X saying, let's make a deal. Ultimately, my agent refused to make the offer I wanted. I fired that agent. I later talked to my mortgage guy who happened to be her boyfriend so he of course defended her saying that there was another offer for more money than my offer. That made me more upset and I was certainly firing the agent after that because I didn't have all the information. I'm the decision maker, I should have all the information don't you think?

There are numerous problems with my home buying situation, The most glaring that I didn't have all the information from the person responsible for collecting information for me. The next problem is that she made her decision not to tell me on the other offer based on what the selling agent said. Let's consider the source of the "other offer" information. The source is someone who benefits from lying. I may make a higher offer so they can look good to the seller and present multiple or better offers.

Why am I telling this story? I'm telling this story because when I was in college I had a friend who was capable and smart. He got good grades and got a good job after college but he couldn't accurately determine the credibility of a source (yes, he owned more infomercial products than anyone I've ever met).

I can go on about him for pages, much longer than anyone would care to read, but the point is that he couldn't properly determine credibility. The single most important thing I do when getting any financial information regarding Magic Online investments is look at how credible is the information.

I have found that the majority of information is one of two basic types. It's either wildly unreliable, or it's wildly cynical and is information saying that no one is giving good information and they know it's bad and are doing it on purpose or it actually is bad information. I agree that the majority of information is bad regarding Magic Online finance but I don't think it's on purpose. I think a lot of people go with their "gut" instead of analyzing the data.

Just remember to always use your best judgement when determining the credibility of secondary information. If you aren't good at determining credibility or don't want to determine credibility there is another option. This is to collect your own data.

Collecting your own data takes a lot of time, is difficult to do correctly, and most people can't do it alone but it does give perfectly accurate information.

Anyway, as I say, remember it's important to think for yourself and make your own decisions when making investments.

MTGO Library Bot 9.04

Yesterday we released ML Bot 9.03 fixing an "offline" problem. We found a little bug on some bots causing the bot to restart mtgo too many times - ML Bot 9.04 fixes the problem

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Modern Gift Control

Binkabi came up with a new Modern deck on the MagicGatheringStrat YouTube channel.

The basic idea is to combine a classic UB Control shell with Gifts Ungiven for instant game wins.

He explains himself in this video

Here is the deck list

1 Slaughter Pact
4 Mana Leak
2 Path to Exile
2 Compulsive Research
1 Forbidden Alchemy
3 Gifts Ungiven
1 Murderous Cut
1 Unburial Rites
2 Dig Through Time
2 Cryptic Command
2 Damnation
1 Darkblast
4 Thoughtseize

1 Notion Thief
1 Grave Titan
1 Elesh Norn
1 Iona, Shield of Emeria
2 Snapcaster Mage

2 Celestial Colonnade
2 Darkslick Shores
2 Drowned Catacomb
4 Flooded Strand
3 Hallowed Fountain
2 Swamp
2 Island
1 Plains
4 Polluted Delta
3 Watery Grave

Here he plays the deck against an opponent playing BUG:

MTGO Library Bot 9.03

ML Bot 9.03 fixes a strange bug of Mtgo v4, resulting in your bot being "online" (apparently) but offline for the rest of the world.

The bug is pretty bizarre because on the client the bot results perfectly online (for example you can move the mtgo client, navigate the tabs, browse the collection, adjust the settings and so on...) but the rest of the world will see you offline and you won't be able to receive any trade request!

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year's Resolution

I would like to start this article with wishes of Happy New Year to each and every one.

New Year's Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It's a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. The real problem with NYR is commitment to the objective. That's why I'm going to present you a proven method which may help you to set a goal. It is based on SMART acronym

S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Amitious
R - Realistic
T- Time

Example of New Year's Resolution using SMART model:
I will make 1000 tickets a day. No doubt, it is ambitious (A). I have a specific target (S), which is measurable (M). My goal will be accomplished if by the end of 2015 I will be richer by 365 000 tickets (T). However, it is totally unrealistic (R). Come on, it is not a request show. You are not doing it to impress someone, but for yourself. A hard smoker will not cut cigarettes for very next day, but it is possible to limit the number of smokes. Step by step. That's why instead of 1000 tickets a day I'm planning to produce 10% more tickets than in a former year.

Remember that, the most common reason for participants failing their New Years' Resolutions was setting themselves unrealistic goals (35% as Wiki says).

Take your time and think of New Year's Resolution, even if you think it is silly. A good defined goal will encourage you to increased effort.

MTGO Library Bot 9.02

ML Bot 9.02 is the first release of the year 2015! We packed here many tunings and fixes we developed during the holidays, including:

  • fixed a problem causing mtgo to close at the beginning of the buying mode
  • added some log files so we can better debug problems
  • added a splash screen when closing the bot (in order to get an immediate feedback)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Featured deck of the Pauper Gauntlet: BUGs & Pigs

77 decks were submitted to the Pauper Gauntlet. GalacticPresident submitted this grindy midrange control deck and I did not take it very seriously. But it did make it to the top 10!

The idea is to abuse Grim Harvest to out-value anything. 

First, the deck list:

The deck

Creature (25)
Sorcery (4)
Instant (9)
Land (22)
Sideboard (15)

MTG Card: Brindle Boar

So how did the deck do?

Loss in round one!
The deck did lose in round one against MBC. Things did not look good for the critters.
Fortunately round 1+2 was double elimination so the deck got another chance in round two.

Round two against White Weenie
This was rough but we pulled through, winning 2-1.

Round three and four against InfectWe have a lot of removal and sacrifice effects. That turns out to be pretty good against Infect. We won both times with 2-1. We were never safe but we pulled through.

Round five against Dimir Teachings
On paper, this looked completely unwinnable. It was when we won this match that I started to pay attention. Was this a real deck?

Round six against Stompy
Stompy tends to lose against Rogue decks more than other tier 1 decks and BUGs & Pigs is good at beating creature decks so I felt we had a good chance here. We won easily in our first 2-0 victory.
Round seven against Slivers
Another 2-0 victory against a creature deck. Wow! BUGs & Pigs had made it to the top 10!

Round eight against Delver

Thank you so much, GalaticPresident, for submitting this amazing brew! It made #7 in the Pauper Gauntlet! Well done!

Basic facts
What is the Pauper Gauntlet?

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

We are now in weekly rounds
I will now play one round per week until very few decks remain. Rounds start on Wednesdays and end on Tuesdays (GMT+1) and I will summarize the rounds in the Standard Pauper Show and in blog posts here weekly.

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.

There are also bonus practice matches with some of the decks that are still in the Gauntlet on the sngprop youtube channel.

Standard investment advice for the upcoming months

Hi Everyone!

Last week I talked about buying cards that could be good in the future Standard. That's a great idea but as always, it's not the only thing to look at.

Right now in Standard there isn't really a good control deck and the format is super diverse, there are many viable decks. This is mostly because of a lack of good control cards. The cards that make control work just aren't as good as before Khans in Standard. There are two dominant deck types right now, there are aggro and midrange. There is no control deck.

I have invested and think every speculator should invest in the Rare and Mythics played in popular  midrange decks. Cards like Siege Rhino come to mind. Why do I think Midrange is the place to be? I really think Wizards has purposely built a format that has huge game swings (considering it's standard) because of a single creature like Siege Rhino or Butcher of the Horde. I think they created this Standard format this way because it always seems like either player can win, and that's fun. If you ask me, I'd bet that market research shows that players like playing where the cards are a much bigger determinant of the winner than the quality of play. Doesn't it make sense to make it possible for new players to beat good players to get the new player to play the game more?

Rant off.

Anyway, I think it's pretty important to look at any information available, even what Wizards is up to and what their goals could be. I'm betting that there won't be a good Standard control deck during the rest of Khans block (if control in standard comes back, it will be in the next block or M16 at the earliest).

I could be wrong about my assumptions about Wizards, but it's pretty blatant and even several pro players have made comments about Wizards trying to make Standard "tempo based" and not skill based.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Your Fate Reforged!

Hi Everyone!
I hope you all had a great New Year!

As you all probably know, Fate Reforged spoilers have started to come out. They are really exciting because it's going to have dragons as Tarkir changes. I don't generally care for flavor, but I think the metamorphosis of a plane is interesting and keeps Standard a fun format for the life of the block.

The thing I wanted to talk about was the Fate Reforges spoilers. There are several cards that would play nicely in current Standard decks. There are also some cards that are the missing link in a potential good decks with Fate Reforged cards. I have been picking up cards that I think will be good after Fate Reforged is released. There are numerous positives to picking these cards up now, most people don't buy into the new deck archetypes until they see success with the deck already, meaning that almost every card is cheaper now than it will be when it's in a winning deck. The other advantage is that Khans is at it's lowest price it will ever cost on Magic Online and as we all know, out of print is a bigger problem for Magic Online than it is for paper prices.

I do want to warn everyone to use their best judgement and remember that everything is speculative and you need to use caution when making these buys because there's potential to lose on your investment. The other tip I can give is to only pick cards that would be good in real tier 1 standard decks because they fetch the tickets easier than casual or lower tier decks.

Year 2014 with MTGO

PureMtgo published a very nice article about the year 2014 for MTGO. I read it. It's very interesting and gives an overall visions. You can read it here: