Episode 35: KTK Struggle for Board Control

Direct Download: Episode 35: KTK Struggle for Board Control

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For this episode, we preach the importance of board control in Khans. Keep this topic in mind during the following segments:

  1. crack-a-pack
  2. over/under performers
  3. morphs
  4. “playing around” – Where we describe a board state and discuss different lines of play.

For everything curvingout, visit our website at www.curvingout.com Hosted by:

  • Jim Word: MTGO (gooseygoose), www.twitch.tv/gooseygoose88
  • Hien Tran: MTGO (madscrabbler)

Email: curvingout@gmail.com

Magic Online – Finance Fundamentals

Magic Online – Finance Fundamentals

For most players, Magic: the Gathering represents an expense. This is true whether you play exclusively online, paper, or a combination of both. In this article, I’m going to focus on fundamental principles exclusive to Magic Online (MTGO) that you can follow to reduce that expense.  MTGO is special as it offers the same options to everybody. Geographic locations, hectic schedules, and adverse weather conditions are no longer hurdles to play.

The Basics

To get started, you will need to download the MTGO client, and create an account. It costs $10.00 to create an account, and you will receive 680 cards, 20 new player points, and five event tickets. New player points are used to enter new player events, while event tickets are used to enter a majority of the events you’re likely accustomed to.

Assuming you have your account, it’s time to start playing. Magic Online has a multitude of constructed and limited events. Being the host of Curving Out, I’m naturally going to focus on limited events in this article. You can enter most limited events with event tickets and sealed product, or you can pay retail and just enter with a larger number of event tickets. This brings us to the first two fundamental rules of MTGO:

1.       Never buy sealed product from the store
2.      Always enter events with your own sealed product + event tickets

To understand why, let’s talk about the market place on MTGO. There are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people playing MTGO, and they all have different needs. They are playing in all kinds of events, winning booster packs as prizes, and opening booster packs in limited events. Constructed Chris just won a standard event, and received 11 booster packs. He doesn’t want to draft with those packs, so he sells them on the open market. Now obviously, since the MTGO store is already selling them for $3.99, Chris has to undercut that price. This means that as long as the MTGO store is selling boosters, you will always find a lower price on the open market. It stands to reason that if you can purchase sealed product for cheaper than retail, you shouldn’t pay retail in event tickets to enter an event.

To use the marketplace, click on the “Trade” tab on MTGO. Use the search bar and type in the three digit code for the booster pack you want. For Khans of Tarkir, that code is “KTK”. Scroll down the list and locate the cheapest price. Another option is to use outside resources to find a seller. My personal favorite is www.mtgowikiprice.com. This website allows you to search for the product you want, and it will give you a list of all the in-network bots selling and buying that product, along with the price. After using the website for several weeks, you will start to realize that a handful of bots consistently offer the best prices, and you can pick your own favorite. My favorite is Modo_Mart. I don’t want to go too deep on the difference between trading with humans vs. bots, but the major one is that you are able to deal in fractional tickets. Each bot will keep track of your credit automatically. I would suggest you deal with a small number of bots so you aren’t burned on unused credit.

Expected Value (EV)

Now that you know how to get product for cheap, it’s time to pick an event to play in. For most people, they are simply interested in playing the most current format. Right now, that is Khans of Tarkir. However, outside release events, you’ll find other formats often present higher expected values. EV for short, expected value is the amount of money you expect to win playing a given event. Positive EV’s represent a profit. Uncommons, Rares, and Mythics from off season sets will spike in price correlated with the success of decks running those cards. To give you a couple of recent examples, Stoke the Flames (uncommon) was over $6.00 on MTGO, and Mana Confluence (rare) was over $22.00. These represent price jumps of 4x to 10x their original value. This brings us to the next fundamental rule:

3.      Be willing to play in offseason, high EV events

To quickly calculate the EV of an event, you can use the website www.magicev.com. You’ll need to enter in your projected Win %, but don’t over estimate it, as even pro players would be hard pressed to win over 70% of their matches. Constructed dailies will always be a long term winner if you are a winning player, but that’s not always the case for limited events. To make money in the long run in limited, it helps to play in offseason events. As of this writing, JOU 4-pack sealed is actually the highest EV event that isn’t scheduled. For scheduled events, you can’t beat the Khans of Tarkir Limited Championship Qualifiers.

4.      Triple small set drafts offer higher EV than small/large/large draft

For two weeks after release of a small set, MTGO offers up triple small set drafts. I love these drafts for two reasons. First, they are much higher EV than their small/large/large counterparts. Everyone will want to buy all the new cards they need for their decks. Cracking three packs per draft gets you three times as many chances to pull money cards. Secondly, there are often degenerate strategies that are insanely fun if you happen to figure them out before the masses. Triple Born of the Gods was dominated by red and Loyal Pegasus.  Triple Journey into Nyx allowed you to durdle and win off of multiple Thassa’s Devourer and Rise of Eagles.

5.      Rare Draft

This isn’t day two of the GP, and you aren’t Reid Duke. Set a floor for the value of a card. If you open a card that exceeds this floor, take it even if it won’t go into your deck, assuming you are participating in a low stakes event (like an 8-4 draft). There are several assumptions behind the following number, but I believe that one card can’t improve your chances of winning by more than 5% to 10%. If you multiply that by the prize support, you’ll find that it’s correct to take cards worth two tickets or more. I’m happy to have $3-$6 fetch lands passed to me, and I will scoop them up every time. You’ll sometimes participate in a draft where you were passed enough cards of value to pay for the draft itself. Now you are free rolling the event with a slightly worse deck than you could have had. Also keep in mind that on MTGO, foil mythics command a premium because of set redemption. Unless you are fortunate enough to open a foil mythic and second mythic / rare worth more, it’s always correct to take the foil mythic.

Selling

There is a ton of value to be made by knowing seasonal patterns that repeat themselves annually. Here are a few key things to know:

6.      All else equal, cards opened in small sets will hold their value better than cards opened in large sets.
7.      Cards that perform well in premier tournaments like Grand Prix’s and Pro Tour’s will spike for 24-48 hours, then almost always fall hard to pre-spike prices.

The obvious driving force behind these rules is supply and demand. Let’s analyze the supply of each set in THS block. Three THS packs were opened by each player in every draft in the fall. Then, two THS packs were opened in the winter and one BNG pack was opened. Finally, one each of JOU, BNG, and THS was opened in the spring. Over the course of the THS draft season, THS was opened three times as much as BNG, and six times as much as JOU! The relatively low supply of JOU is reflected in the price of format staples. Temple of Malady was commanding an $18 price tag at one point, and Mana Confluence is similarly priced. Compare that to THS temples that are worth one ticket at most. To take advantage of this phenomenon, be more willing to hold onto money rares / mythics in small sets, and quickly sell money cards from large sets. You might get burned occasionally, but more often than not this will net you more money in the long run.

Generally, it is safe to sell your cards the moment you get them. During release, cards will be inflated, and most definitely fall in price. Once the set has been out for a month, card prices will be close to their lows. Now if you can afford the liquidity hit, you can save your rares / mythics from small sets to sell the following year or when a price spike occurs.

Lastly, let’s discuss the impact of premier play on card prices. Recently, Tom Ross played a blue / white heroic deck at a standard SCG open. The deck ran four Temple of Epiphany, which was previously a $2 card online. The card ended up spiking to over $6, and has started to fall. If you are steadfast in following premier events, you can sell your cards for max value.

Episode 34: KTK Draft Navigation

Direct Download: Episode 34: KTK Draft Navigation

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Contact us: curvingout@gmail.com

We’re back for good now! Remember, we will produce a podcast every other week for the foreseeable future, with additional content during off weeks. On the top of the episode, we talk about upcoming competitive events you can join.

For Magic Online, you can find a list of events here
Additionally, for Magic Online, the MOCS schedule can be found here
For your paper events, use the event locator here

After cracking a pack, we delve into the main topic of draft navigation. We finish the episode with another pack crack.

Episode 33: KTK Initial Impressions

Direct Download: Episode 33: KTK Intial Impressions

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Contact us: curvingout@gmail.com

We’re baaaack! This week, we talk about our intial impressions of KTK. At the top of the show, we discuss the future of the show, including a new proposed content release schedule. There won’t be a new show for several more weeks. Starting at the beginning of November, we will return for good on an every other week schedule. We end the show with a deeper dive into the Mardu clan, and a Khans crack-a-pack.

Episode 32: M15 Back to Basics

Listen here: Curving Out – Episode 32 – M15 Back to Basics

    News

Jim will be at Pax Prime next weekend. Check out the MTG schedule below. I’ll bring business cards to hand out. Feel free to say hello!
Pax Prime MTG Event Schedule

Next week there likely won’t be a show due to scheduling conflicts with Pax Prime.

*Hien and I crack an M15 pack, and it’s a doozy!
*Jim tells a Whale of a Tale involving our friend. I just realized he’s not a whale and my joke isn’t relevant :(
*We cover the black/green graveyard deck in the archetype spotlight.
*Our main topic is a refresher course on the fundamentals of magic. With this core set, it’s not possible to go one drop into ordeal and aggro out cheap wins. You have to play magic, so we try to offer up some tips we like to follow.

Episode 31: M15 Battle Awareness

Listen here: Curving Out – Episode 31 – Battle Awareness

*A few news items:
1) PT Dewey will be Modern. Source
2) We mentioned the team sealed GP in Nashville. It’s Friday, Oct 31st through Sunday, Nov 2nd, and hosted by “The Next Level Games”.

*We mention a few tips to help increase your playing speed.

*We crack a pack, and pick borderland maurader out of a somewhat average M15 booser.

*Our main topic focuses on many combat scenarios in M15, some of which you may already be familiar with. We go in depth on ways to play around cards, signals that your opponent has a specific card, and also tell you when it’s the best time to use your cards in combat.

Episode 30: M15 News, Archetypes, and Stories (OH MY!)

Listen here: Curving Out – Episode 30 – M15 News, Archetypes, and Stories (OH MY!)

*Take a look at my wife’s book!
Amazon
www.whinyrhino.com

*Big news item of the week – All 2015 PT’s will be Standard / Draft

*If you’re interested in streaming, “DarkestMage” put out a couple of youtube videos that are perfect for getting you started.
1) You’ll need to download OBS here
2) Broadcast settings
3) Scene setup

*Crack a Pack

*Archetype Spotlight
1) Red/Black Aggro
2) Red/Blue Artifacts

Episode 29: M15 Potpourri

Listen here: Curving Out – Episode 29 – M15 Potpourri

*We start the show off with some huge news items.
1. Huge changes to paper PTQs and GPs
2. Magic Online PTQs and MOCs return

*We crack a couple of M15 packs

*This week’s Archetype Spotlight focuses on the White / X tokens strategy that is winning more than its fair share of drafts.

*Hien and I tell some M15 stories with cool card interactions / lessons.

Episode 28 – M15 UG ETB Bounce

Listen here: Curving Out – Episode 28 – M15 UG ETB Bounce

*For our main topic, we go deep sea diving as we dissect everything you need to know about the Blue / Green archetype. This deck’s strength lies in its ability to recast creatures with potent ETB effects to maximize value. The deck shines in a longer game. We talk about everything including draft priority, deck construction, and play tips.
*We crack a quick M15 pack. We swear, it wasn’t rigged!
*We’ll be at the Boston – Worcester GP this weekend. Jim will be playing limited side events while Hien will be in the main event. We’ll have business cards and we hope to see you there!

Episode 27: M15 Initial Impressions

Listen here: Curving Out – Episode 27 – M15 Initial Impressions

*Short show today, as we are bumping up against our upload limit for the month of July. We’ll be back next week with a normal length episode (60+ minutes).
*We discuss some news events including GP Worcester, M15 release dates for both MTGO and paper, and MTGO news regarding the Beta (now current) client. Also we forgot to mention that August’s MTGO promo card is Show and Tell!
*We go over some of our initial impressions on M15. Was it fun? How fast or slow were the games?
*We take a deeper dive discussing archetypes that worked well and individual cards that over performed.