Tag Archives: City of Traders

PROTRADER: #PTSOI, Magic’s Red Wedding

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By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin


Don’t miss this week’s installment of MTG Fast Finance! An on-topic, no-nonsense tour through the week’s most important Magic economy changes.


This was supposed to be a joyous occasion. Everyone showed up to a party to have a good time. We got eight different decks in the top eight, and it was one of the most stacked Pro Tours we’ve ever had. (With a finals between two of the three least qualified, but oh well.) We got to watch a vibrant Standard unfold before us, played by some of the best in the game. And yet, my Twitter timeline is full of players talking about boycotting Wizards and quitting Magic. What the hell happened?

Some time in the wee hours of Sunday morning, Helene Bergeot got on camera to make a few announcements. (I think; I was sleeping.) The tl;dr is that HOF players can now only receive a maximum of $1,500 a year for playing on the Pro Tour, as opposed to $7,500 in years past. (They only get the $1,500 for showing up to exactly one Pro Tour, the one with the HOF induction, rather than all four PTs and the World Championships.) Platinum pros will now only receive $250 for showing up at a Pro Tour or the World Champs, rather than the $3,000 and $1,000 they used to pay out, respectively.

Assuming both my interpretation of the announcement and math is correct, which is admittedly a leap, that amounts to a $6,000 pay cut for Hall of Famers, and a $11,750 pay cut for Platinum pros. Even more of a kick in the teeth is that that’s effective immediately following Pro Tour: Eldritch Moon. This means that since June of last year, players have been working to earn platinum for the coming 2016-2017 season. Now, as they’re finally crossing that threshold, the rug is being pulled out from under them. All those GPs and PTs you ground out over the last year to earn that cushy $12,000 next year as a plat? Gone. Suckers.

Matt Sperling wrote up a great piece on the changes Monday morning and is absolutely worth a read. There’s also Jon Finkel’s, and The Ferret’s. These guys, along with many others, are much more qualified to talk at length about this, so I won’t add too much. I’ll toss in my quick thoughts, and then we’ll hit the other announcement to come out of this weekend.


EDIT: On Tuesday afternoon (while this article was in the pipe to be published) Wizards announced that they’re retracting the Platinum benefits change, at least for the upcoming season. All the other changes will remain in place. They’ll also be seeking feedback ahead of Pro Tour: Eldritch Moon in August from pro players, and I expect that we’ll get a new announcement regarding platinum changes at that time. This is a positive change for platinum players, but make no mistake, this is only delaying the inevitable unless in the next two months Wizards decides to completely change course. Unlikely.

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PROTRADER: A New Modern

By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin

Banlist update

This is hands down the most surprising and unprecedented Banned & Restricted list update that Modern has seen since the format began five years ago. (Has it only been five years? It feels so much longer than that.)

Everyone knew part of Eldrazi was going; it was simply a matter of Eye of Ugin or Eldrazi Temple. Frankly I’m surprised they chose Eye. I think it’s the less consistent card and comes with greater drawbacks relative to Temple, a land which carries no penalty aside from making only colorless mana. You can’t turn-two Thought-Knot Seers with Eye, but you sure can with Temple! Whatever. What’s done is done.

No, the Eldrazi ban isn’t surprising. What’s surprising is the unbans of Ancestral Vision and Sword of the Meek. We haven’t seen a shake up this profound in Modern ever before, and it’s possible that reading between the lines will give us even more information. (Credit to @kirblar024 for initially bringing this to my attention.)

Wizards has typically held changes to Modern’s ban list until just before the Pro Tour, in order to give the top level pros a new format to take a crack at. We all get to watch exciting new decks, and pros have the ability to leverage their deck building and format exploration skills. However, seeing two unbans at this point in the year, and alongside a major ban to boot, may mean that we’re not getting another Modern Pro Tour. Without a Pro Tour to hold changes for, there’s no reason not to fire of the unbans as soon as they’re appropriate. While there was a tremendous outcry at the removal of the Modern Pro Tour initially, that was before they announced the change to the block structure. Now that we know about that change, many of us have walked back our comments about needing a non-Standard Tour. Wizards has listened in the past, and they may have again.

Ok, back on track. Eldrazi gone, Visions and Sword here. Let’s do the Eldrazi real quick.

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PROTRADER: Right Job for the Right Tool

Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin

“Oh come ooooooooon,” I groaned exasperatedly. Mike had finally drawn into his Hornet Queen, and with that, the path of the game was now firmly headed in one direction. Hornet Queen would act as a stupendous rattlesnake, preventing anyone from attacking Mike. Eventually it would get cloned. Then it would die, and someone would reanimate it. And then it would die. And brought back with Puppeteer Clique. And so on and so on, until the world was nought but fire, brimstone, and bees. Even drawing an exile effect was dead, as Mike had a sac outlet on the board.

Ten or fifteen turns later, Mike cast Sepulchral Primordial reanimating Diluvian Primordial and Sheoldred, the Whispering One. Sheoldred would reanimate Hornet Queen for the umpteenth time, and Diluvian Primordial would cast spells that had already been cast three or four times. “You need a new deck.”

  

Aside: I’m sure a lot of you reading this don’t see anything wrong with any of this. To me, this is miserable EDH. While the format can be a truly engaging, fulfilling experience, there are three things that stand in the way of a healthy game:

  1. Recursion/cloning
  2. Tutoring
  3. Unlimited hand size

EDH is at its best when it offers fresh, evolving play experiences. That’s the whole point, right? To play cool and weird cards that you don’t see elsewhere. Points one and two lead to a direct reduction in novel gameplay. Reanimating or cloning Hornet Queen (or any creature) eight times isn’t fun or interesting Magic. Casting it once is fine, sure. But over and over? It invalidates so many other creatures, so many other cards, and so many attack steps. It’s not always Hornet Queen, of course, just whatever the biggest and baddest threat on the table is. “Just run exile effects!” Those get rid of whatever the most obnoxious thing is at the time, but it will simply be replaced almost immediately with something else. There’s always a tallest building.

Similarly, tutoring reduces variety because you just end up getting the same few cards over and over. You’re either tutoring for a wrath, the same two or three creatures, or some giant game-warping permanent. Instead of playing what you draw — essentially playing your whole 99 cards — you play with what you tutor for. Suddenly you’re only casting maybe 30% of the cards in your deck, because you tutor for the same ones each and every game.

Unlimited hand size is unhealthy for two reasons. Not only does the unhindered player’s turns take an excessive amount of time because they have to decide which of their 28 cards they want to cast that turn, but because the dynamic of the game changes. Instead of several players battling for position, it becomes all-against-one, with a slow slog through one gigantic hand’s worth of resources. That player is going to hit their land drops every turn and keep presenting major threats as everyone else tries to stop them. Eventually the other three at the table will run dry on resources after answering the first 27 cards, and it’s the 28th that wins the game. It’s a tedious process that elicits a lot of head-desk reactions.

Ok, enough of my EDH soapbox. I told Mike he needed a new EDH deck, to which his response was that he agreed, and wanted to build one, but he wasn’t interested in trying to buy all the odds and ends needed to get it together. It can be a time consuming and expensive process. I commented that I’ve been successful finishing EDH decks using PucaTrade, and Mike was into it.

In fact, there’s a collection of specific goals that PucaTrade is excellent for. Last week I wrote about the state of Puca’s market, reasonable expectations for users, and the dynamic of exchange rates. This week I’m going to put some of that into concrete use scenarios that will help you maximize the utility of the product.

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PROTRADER: First Set of the Rest of Your Life

By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin

Originally I had planned on attending Grand Prix Detroit. I love Modern, I had a place to stay, and it’s only a four hour drive. Howsever, as it became clear that the format would be overrun by Eldrazi, I ended up deciding to bow out. I haven’t played against the deck once yet, and without a clear idea of what I wanted to bring myself, it simply wasn’t worth the time investment. I didn’t want to play Eldrazi, and I didn’t know what to bring that would beat Eldrazi, so what was the point?

If you didn’t catch it, during the top 8 they got Aaron Forsythe on camera and BDM asked some surprisingly pointed questions about the Eldrazi. Aaron, for all intents and purposes (not intensive purposes!), confirmed that something would be banned at the next B&R update. It sounds like they’re not sure what they want to get rid of yet, but he did make a point of saying that he doesn’t want to get rid of the deck entirely. It is, after all, just an efficient creature deck, something which doesn’t really exist in the format otherwise right now. That sounds to me like they’re going to hit either Eye of Ugin or Eldrazi Temple, but not both, and if I had to pick which one would be better at controlling the menace, it would be Temple. Eye can make a lot of mana very quickly, but the drawbacks are real. Temple is a land with absolutely no drawbacks that is just a straight sol land for Eldrazi spells. Eye still leads to the double Eldrazi Mimics on turn one, but without Temple, you can’t get the turn two Thought-Knot Seer or Reality Smasher.

Anyways, had I known there was going to be an Innistrad-themed puzzle room, I may have reconsidered. It’s a shame Wizards hadn’t made that known ahead of time, because that definitely would have pushed me back into the “it’s worth going” camp, and I bet it would have changed the minds of others that decided to hang back as well.

Puzzle rooms at each GP acted as a vehicle for spoiling new cards. We got some spicy ones, such as Relentless Dead and Archangel Avacyn/Avacyn the Purifier. I’m not going to get into those today, even though they’re clearly both intended to be constructed playable.

What I want to look at today is not what we’re gaining, but what we’re losing. It’s a short four weeks until Shadows Over Innistrad lands. It’s easy to overlook with all the other excitement in Magic right now, but this is the first new block of it’s kind. SOI is the first block to launch in the spring, rather than the fall, and it brings with it the first non-fall rotation. Given how unintuitive this is at this point, I expect it to catch a lot of people with their pants down. Standard will be dramatically impacted. Are you ready?

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