For the first time in it’s decade-long existence, Magic Online will finally be graced by the presence of the most powerful cards in the history of the game. Black Lotus, Time Walk, Ancestral Recall, and all five Moxen will be playable thanks to the new Vintage Masters. This special set which contains only reprints of non-Modern-legal cards (and Conspiracy cards that otherwise would not be available online) had it’s pre-release this week and the community has been abuzz with anticipation. Will the set live up to the hype? We logged into the beta client to find out.

Vintage Masters

With almost an hour and a half before deck construction began, the 9:00 AM Vintage Masters Premier Sealed event was capped with 128 players signed up. I was number 56 on the list, and I woke up around 6:45 AM to make sure I got in. I had some time to kill so I tabbed over to the Trade page in the Beta client. A number of listings were up for people buying Power Nine cards. The first human listed was offering 90 tickets for a Black Lotus, 80 for Ancestral Recall, 70 for Time Walk, 50 for Mox Jet and Sapphire, 45 for Mox Ruby, Pearl, or Emerald, and a lowly 35 for Timetwister. The other prices being offered up by various bots and humans varied wildly. One user, named Tabasco, was only offering 50 for Black Lotus. The user below him, pbharley, was willing to part with 250 tickets to own one. The only seller at that time was looking for 295. The demand clearly out-paced the supply of a card that had only been available for less than 48 hours.

A few things immediately caught my eye in this pool. First was the shiny Badlands. I guess a shiny dual land is nicer than no dual land, but Badlands is not in very high demand. Mishra’s Workshop also caught my eye but a quick check of my artifacts informed me that this would end up not making the cut. Then I noticed the words Elephant Guide, and then again, and again. Triple guide seemed too good to be true. The first build I tried was a U/G deck with a bunch of nice card advantage and madness outlets. It was cute but I wasn’t sure it would be powerful enough. So I swapped blue out for black to get the three solid two-drops I had in black plus all the removal spells. I threw in Reanimate and Visara for fun. You never know.

Building with cards that hadn’t seen a printing press in at least a decade was a lot of fun. I ended up finishing the event with a 4-3 record, just out of the prize payout to top 32. In round two my opponent had Mox Pearl and in round five my opponent had Time Walk. It was very, very strange to see those cards outside of a cube environment. By the time I had finished most of the bots were paying 200 tickets for Black Lotus and in the mid 100s for Moxen. More packs were being opened but not enough to bring the price down at all. I found a bot willing to give me just over 30 tickets for a Muzzio, a Brainstorm, and the Workshop and Badlands I had opened. I had lost 15 tickets for what remained from my pool.

48 hours after packs of Vintage Masters first became available, only a dozen listings were interested in buying foil Power Nine cards. None of them had listed any prices. I contacted a few of them and learned that the going rate for a foil Black Lotus was currently around 400 tickets. Foil Moxen were in the low 200’s while Ancestral Recall and Time Walk were in the high 200’s. The price on the foils would come down somewhat by Sunday. Meanwhile the non-foil prices came down significantly. By mid-day on Sunday, 48 hours after prerelease events began, you could have a Black Lotus for just over 100 tickets, and the rest of the power for under 100 each. Prices were likely to continue to fall.

It remains to be seen if the Vintage format will really take off online, but for now Wizards has accomplished their primary goal. The Power Nine are finally available on Magic Online. That is, just like their cardboard bretheren, if you have the money to buy them.



Pro Tour Update

Top 25 Update

There were no Grand Prix tournaments last weekend and nothing in the top 25 rankings changed.

Grand Prix Moscow

In Soviet Russia, Grand Prix Wins You!

Wizards of the Coast began printing cards in the Cyrillic alphabet for the Russian-speaking world with the release of the 9th Edition Core Set in 2005. Almost ten years later the game has grown significantly in the former Soviet Union. This weekend, 532 planeswalkers gathered in the Russian city of Moscow to battle for the title of Grand Prix Champion. Among them was a single representative of the Top-25 Ranked pro players in the world: (16) Shi Tian Lee from Hong Kong. At the end of the first day, Lee managed to just make it into day two with a 6-2-0 record (when was the last time we saw a Grand Prix with only eight rounds on day one?). It was a collection of Russian players sitting at the top holding six of the top eight places after eight rounds.

On day two, Shi Tian Lee went on a tear, picking up 16 points in six rounds of Standard constructed. Lee won five straight matches to shoot up to the top of the standings and drew into the top-8 in the final round to finish sixth overall, and get paired against Ukrainian Sergi Sushalskyy in the quarterfinals. Lee’s undefeated day two ended in the quarterfinals and Sushalskyy went on to play in the semifinals against Igor Gorbunov. Gorbunov, a 32-year old restaurant owner from Moscow won their semifinal match and ultimately won the entire tournament with a Boros burn deck.

Congrats to Igor Gorbunov, winner of Grand Prix Moscow!

The Quick Hits

  • Marcos Rodriguez breaks down the MTGO Community Cup including the who, what, where, when and why the hell does this thing still exist [PureMTGO]
  • Wizards debuted a new gameplay trailer for Duels of the Planeswalkers 2015 at E3 this week and it looks so good that it still baffles everyone as to why MTGO looks like garbage [Magic Arcana]
  • Everyone complained about the timing of Wizards change to the Grand Prix bye system, so they acquiesced and pushed the change out to November [DailyMTG]
  • Speaking of Duels of the Planeswalkers, you can get these two alternate-art promos in cardboard for buying the game [Magic Arcana]
  • Nick Spagnolo shares a few personal stories about the amazing community and people built around the game of Magic [TCGPlayer]
  • Bryan Cogman, a writer on HBO’s Game of Thrones, tweeted this week that he would be writing the script for the upcoming Magic movie [Gathering Magic]
  • Paulo answers questions from fans on Twitter in a mailbag-esque column this week [PV’s Playhouse]
  • Magic 2015’s sample 30-card decks will include standard-legal cards not printed in M15 packs… weird [Magic Arcana]
  • Brian Kibler shares a story of how he almost got kicked out of boarding school for going to a Pro Tour [BMKGaming]

Wallpaper of the Week

Coming to theaters this summer, Disney’s Hunchback of the Flarg

This week, in honor of Vintage Masters, we have this Grenzo, Dungeon Warden wallpaper. Grenzo is technically a Conspiracy card, but since that set won’t be made available online, most of the new cards were added to Vintage Masters to get them into online Commander decks. Sneaky move Wizards, but it works. What doesn’t work is this boring wallpaper. Don’t get me wrong, Grenzo is a funny-looking goblin and all, and the art fits the theme and setting of Conspiracy, but it’s just not interesting enough for a desktop wallpaper.

Grade: C-

The Week Ahead

The Grand Prix circuit returns to North America next weekend with a stop in Chicago for the first Standard GP in the states since Phoenix over two months ago. Chicago last hosted a Grand Prix in the fall of 2012 when Jacob Wilson won his first GP title with Jund (Modern). In fact, Chicago used to be a regular location in the early days of the Pro Tour. The highest level of the game was showcased in the Windy City in 2003, 2000, 1999, 1998, and 1997. Unfortunately it’s been over a decade since a PT event graced the shores of Lake Michigan. Perhaps a return is due in the near future.

What We Learned is a weekly feature here at Hipsters of the Coast written by former amateur Magic Player Rich Stein, who came really close to making day two of a Grand Prix on several occasions. Each week we will take a look at the past seven days of major events, big news items, and community happenings so that you can keep up-to-date on all the latest and greatest Magic: the Gathering community news.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.