Masters Flashback - What Do They Mean for Card Supply and Eternal Formats?

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I woke up today and saw some Twitter talk between Ted Knutson and TheCardNexus regarding the Masters Flashback events (which got my little cogs turning). Eternal formats on Magic Online have had trouble gaining steam due to (presumably) high barriers to entry (both monetary and mental), and my guess is that the flashback events (and other old set drafting) are implemented to make the older formats (aka the older cards) more attainable. Due to the structure of this event offering, I am not convinced that it will aid older formats much due to (1) its extreme difficulty to use prize packs efficiently to play more Limited, (2) decreasing prices due to little-to-no demand growth coupled with supply growth and (3) no incentive that does not already exist to play older formats.

I will attempt to lay out my reasoning for each of these points, but it might be a bit convoluted (as I am not going to have the time for my typical editing and revision process), so please let me know if I should attempt to clarify a point!

(1) Hard to Play Another Event with Prizes

Please keep in mind that this part of the argument is based on the current bugs in the Wide Beta trading interface *and* the normal difficulty that occurs in using the Classifieds to purchase on the secondary market. Seasoned MTGO-users might have a slew of favorite bots to buy/sell from, but it is daunting to succesfully navigate the trading part of MTGO and ensuring that whatever transaction occurs isn't decently off the par for market value (against the party with little-to-no MTGO trading experience).

The fire-on-demand queues do *not* take packs as entry, so 4-pack sealed players can only use their prize packs to enter the 64-player draft events if they do not wish to sell them (or should market saturation occur, cannot sell them). Each 4-pack sealed pays out ~1.67 3-pack draft sets for Masters Edition & Masters Edition II (spread amongst 4 players with 3-0 or 2-1 records) and ~2.33 3-pack draft sets for Masters Edition 3 & Masters Edition 4 that can only be consumed for more limited play via 64-player draft queues. It's worth noting that even the 3-0 player needs to play (and win sufficiently) another event or two or trade to be able to join one of the 64-player events and use their earned prize product.

The 64-player queues pay out packs of all one Masters Edition set, so they require no trading to play the same format again if at least 3 packs are won (which is the prize paid to 2-1 and better records, a record floor that includes 16 players in the event). Unfortunately, the 64-player queues require a heavy time investment if a player is willing to play the whole event (because they win)- 6 rounds of playing, 2 drafts and the extra downtime of waiting for all rounds to finish and those people that weren't at their computer during the draft portion during the first draft. This time investment coupled with the hourly firing rate (and lack of fire-on-demand capability) could mean that not all 64-player events fire (which begins to erode confidence in the next event will fire- possibly leading to a collapse of support by the player base). Luckily, the QP payout is nuts for the 64-player events. And MED and ME4 both have that alluring lottery feel when opening packs

Of course, a player can convert their prizes to tix on the secondary market (Classifieds) and get around the difficulty of having to find/win and secure more packs, but if any 64-player events are not all firing (or not firing regularly), the demand for packs will greatly drop (and the prices that those packs can command with drop as well). At this point, players playing the 4-pack sealed queues will have to more heavily lean on their opened cards for reclaiming value to play another 4-pack sealed.

What does this mean for older formats? These events might not add as many copies of cards as we could hope to the card pool. Card prices might not fall enough to make acquiring Masters Edition cards attractive to pontential players. Eternal format playerbases might not expand as we would hope.

(2) Prices Fall for Cards from Masters Edition Sets

Everyone likes free money (I would assume), and opening a pack of any Masters Edition can essentially be winning a small lottery (as all sets have non-foil card values currently north of 20 tickets and foil values over 50), so naturally, opening a pack of any of these sets can be very rewarding to a player. The problem lies in that these card values are based on the scarcity that we currently experience- no Masters Edition set product has entered the Magic Online system since the last flashback-style event. Once the cards start flowing, prices will fall similarly to what we've seen in Tempest and Mirage blocks (although the severity of the dips might be quite different without the fire-on-demand draft queues that accept prize packs as entry).

Decreasing prices might seem like they should be attractive to dealers and players, but they are a double-edged sword of sorts. Many players interested in owning Eternal format cards have already purchased them, and dealers that maintain a stock of these cards have a lot of them in stock. Falling prices means that many of these enterprises and individuals lose value. While this shouldn't directly concern the avid Magic Limited players, the side effect might be a greater concern: dealers don't want to pay close to market buy price before these events (or don't want to buy at all).

Before we go any further, I will present some numbers on potential volumes. Let's say that all of the 64-player drafts fire- that's 24 of each format for a combined total of 5,184 packs opened (and roughly that many rares of each set into the cardpool). Here are the # of rares in each set: MED 60; ME2 80; ME3 75; ME4 105. Simple division tells us that would add roughly 86 of each MED rare (or enough Force of Wills for roughly 21 players), 64 of each ME2 rare, 69 of each ME3 rare and 49 of each ME4 rare (and roughly 104 of each dual land, as they are printed in two of the sets, ME2/3 and ME4). Then, approximately every eight 4-Pack Sealed adds one of each MED card (for the most added cards per sealed), and approximately every 13 of these events adds one of each ME4 card (for the least added cards per sealed). I have no idea what frequency the 4-pack Sealed will be played in, but for the sake of continuing this with numbers, let's say that the same number of people needed to fire all of the 64-Player events also play 4-pack Sealed (resulting in 768 4-pack sealed events firing- probably a very, very conservative number, but possibly balancing a generous rate on the 64-player drafts assumed to fire). This would add roughly 102 of each MED rare, 76 of each ME2 rare, 81 of each ME3 rare and 58 of each ME4 rare.

Given current, rough market buy prices for these sets (via nova), (MED: 141 Buy), (ME2: 111 Buy), (ME3: 116 Buy), (ME4:242 Buy), it would take approximately  85,342 tickets to buy the cards listed in the scenario above. Now, that is not an accurate picture, as prices will decrease, so let's assume that prices fall overall by a sizeable amount, like 30 percent. This still is about 60,000 tickets to buy all of the rares opened via this event. Where will this influx of interest come from if not Eternal format aficionados and business owners? Very few individuals/business on Magic Online have that sort of extra capital laying around (and the one that might buying all of these cards is scary for me to consider). Will a hidden cache of interest spring up from the speculation market (looking to make long-term gains on large sums of capital invested) or will a 30-40% price cut on some big hitters be enough to pull in prospective Eternal players? Maybe that's where the buying will come from, but I am hesistant to assume it.

Truth be told, only a small fraction of cards will even be sellable after the opening events. MED has 7 rares over 2 tix (and only one over 10). The "best" set, ME4, has about 12 cards in the 10-20 ticket range before these Events. Most people don't want to buy Wiitigos and Champion Lancers in great volume. This issue will further fuel that sadness presented in item (1)- it will be harder (than normal for Limited events) to play a large number of Masters flashback events for an affordable cost. Not enough product will be opened to support Eternal playerbase growth much more than it already has been.

(3) No Real Incentive to Own Eternal Cards Opened for Play

Beyond possibly lowering prices of Masters Edition sets a sizeable amount (but not to the point of Standard affordability- probably closer to Modern), there is no incentive to acquire/keep the cards that are opened in these events. These offerings are just flashy, higher-EV Limited events for players and offer very little to promote owning an Eternal format deck or playing in Eternal format events.

If I am just too jaded on this issue, having seen struggling Eternal formats on Magic Online since I've been active again (Morningtide), please snap me out of this stupor.

A deck becoming 50-200 tickets cheaper (due to increased demand) when it costs 600-1000 to begin will not generate interest in playing formats with these decks.

What I'd Like to See

Eternal formats on Magic Online need support with ... wait for it ... organized play initiatives. Classic boomed with the Winter Celebration last year- why can't the Eternal community have that sort of support *and* flashback events to help keep cards coming into the system? We should have a reason to be excited to own cards opened in these events besides the tix that they can bring on the secondary market. Perhaps it is time to have an Eternal-only tournament circuit on MTGO.

Imagine an Eternal MOCS-style event series that was fed only through formats that used Eternal cardpools or eternal-only sets (like flashback Limited events). These events could even give away the cool, new art promos that Wizards has commissioned for the cube. This *also* removes QPs from being allocated to the current MOCS system through weird formats (and could possibly lower the amount of participants in a given MOCS, even if it is just slightly).

Well, I have kind of lost steam on writing for now (it's been a few hours since I started this), but I think that these throwback events are a good time to talk about Magic Online organized play and an opportunity for WotC to couple unique Magic Online experiences (Limited formats that are rare or don't exist in paper) with growing a healthy subculture in our community of gamers.

Cheers!
Chris
I agree with most of your analysis here, Chris, so I'll do a short and longer version.

The short version is that Legacy was cannabalized by Modern, then stared to drive itself out of business with increased prices (which is why we will now have a moden Master's edition) and so the need for these cards (MED 1, II, II, IV) online is driven only by the leftover legacy junkies, the tiny classic crowd and the casual EDH crowd.

That's a small crowd.

I don't see people getting into these all that much.  I do see some of them firing, but all it will do is slightly lower the prices for some of the cards.  You are 100% correct that with no adjoining push into the constructed market which make up ~100% of the demand to play limited with these cards in the first place, it's unlikely the influx of cards will meet with a corresponding influx of players.

The long version goes deeper and further - and after 8 years it shows that there is a massive schism between a cadre of Magic-related factions.  These are Digital, Paper, Eternal, Faux-Eternal, Standard formats.  The only combination of these that works as expected for all parties (consumer and seller) are the Digital Standard and Paper Standard formats.  These line up well together.   The Faux Eternal formats, to which I think I'll begin to start calling them, are Legacy and Modern, and any other line in-the-sand format WoTC can come with later on.  These do NOT mesh well on the pure basis by which the cards which are legal in them were released.   In an effort to shorten the long version lets just say that Paper Legacy has huge shortage problems which apparently can't be solved due to the reserve list, Paper Modern has the same growing is which is going to be solved in a way which is almost totally meaningless for online users, and I could write a thesis on why never the twain shall meet their digital counterparts.  To be fair, it's possible for Modern to right itself, but you can take a look online and see that the new modern masters editions probably weren't something that will be needed in 2013 - the market is more efficient online for those cards. And of course, Vintage and Classic are schismed in so many ways that I hear astrophysists are required to calculate the differences.

The problem lies in that MTGO, which appears perfectly capable of rectifying these problems in about 15 different ways, chooses (at least, how it appears to us) to ignore the differences and treat some faction in a completely inappropriate manner.  Why oh why is a classic or legacy event structured online in the EXACT same way as a STD event.   We've both met the people in charge at WoTC, Chris.  We know they are not obtuse.  I'm relatively sure that if I suggested to them the best way to get Faux/Eternal constructed events online humming would be to have Player Run tournaments where the TO could take in tickets in exchange for putting up cards for prizes, they'd say the idea has a ton of merit and then point to the  inability of the MTGO software and back end to handle such an idea, or point out how it would run afoul of some minor gambling law, or some niggling factor that will forever keep such things on the back burner.

We are no closer to solving these problems.  No amount of the same from WoTC will fix these schisms - no tournaments or releases (well, except the 9 cards they haven't released) will ever rectify the problems, and it's worrying because the problems facing different factions are so disparate from each other and WOTC seems to hope and pray that there is a one-cut-fits all approach to all of them.


Classic Quarter
(www.classicquarter.com)
Since PRES are largely sponsored by businesses anyway what you need is a business that focuses on PRE entrys  and prizes. Where the business is comprised of members who wish to play and buy in as a share of the company. Then you aren't charging a fee to join a tourney you are charging a membership fee which garners rewards for the players and incidentally builds a prize pool from which to run free tourneys (only open to members of the business.) I am not 100% sure that would fly but at least it seems that this is what some clans do privately anyway.

Winter.Wolf (ugh at this new forum with the ridiculous double login)

Chris,

As I pointed out in my old post community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758... I firmly believe that Wotc needs to take an all of the above approach to Eternal... work to decrease the barrier to entry and provide better tournament experiences for Players of Classic.

I hope we do see something in 2013!
Calavera on MTGO I collect Zendikar Foil Basic lands. Trade me yours! Things that I want to see changed on MTGO: 1: 64 man drafts added to rotation of Events. 2: Visual/Audible Notification of disconnect, deckbuild/afk time expiring and round starts. 3: Prize Payouts as close to draft sets as possible. 4: Rotate Classic draft queues monthly! 5: MOCS level events for Classic/Pauper 6: Power 9! 7: Award Promo Cards for Constructed PEs (esp for Legacy/Classic) 8: Program Split option back in! 9: Set Favorite version in deck editor (i.e. always use x swamp) 10: Better sorting of gold cards in deck editor. 11: Bring leagues Back!
That is really the only other barrier left is the PRE so third parties can offer substantially "better" or different prizes for Online events. 

The reason why they don't/can't work now is "tournament organizing" (prizes, standings, and parings not to mention "who won what?") can't be resolved by players in the game right now. The best way i've seen people do it is "both players have to come up with the results" which isn't always the most effecient way. Maybe tournaments that run on MTGO right now tax the system too much? Maybe it was built in a way that only WoTC can run tournaments and they are afraid of "letting that cat out of the bag".

A few reasons why some formats are more popular offline then online is the independent tournament scene. (SCG Opens for example, strongly supports Legacy, and thus Legacy "stays relevant"). Imagine what would happen if big retailers could sponser events on MTGO? Could we see SCG Opens online? I wouldn't see why not? 

The technical problems I see are:

1. Since everything happens on WoTC servers. Having a lot of PRE in the tournament "system" could cause more crashes and headaches. I'm not a programmer, I'm not a software engineer so I don't know the logistics of how taxing it is on their servers when they run a 1000 player PTQ for example. What would happen to the program if there was a PTQ, SCG Open, and a TCG event all online at the same time? (Say each event had over 700 players) that could massively affect the system (I imagine again I don't know).

2. People don't play in PREs right now because they don't know about them. To be honest, I would play in more PRE events if there was a room in the program itself where I could sign up and have it run in there. I can't be alone in this. I rarely come to this forum and I even the forums I do go to I don't go to the "events" page too often. However, when I'm on MTGO, I go straight to the 4 round event room to check out if I want to play anything in the next hour.

3. WoTC may not want to give potential profits to third parties. I imagine tournaments on MTGO bring in most of the money in the game. Why would they want to potentially lose profits by letting a third party run the event? Let's say Wizards supplied "pack support" and took "a cut" of the event's entry fee they would still be losing money because they are not getting the tickets directly or lets say that SCG allowed the entry fee be paid on their site instead? I suppose this could be the problem that is easist to remedy but it is still something to think about. What happens if a PRE crashes and people want refunds? Chances are they would go directly to WoTC and not the people running the event. That could cause some confusion with the customer base. 

I don't know what decks "should cost" but 1k decks in general are hard for a lot of players (even those with "means") to justify in purchasing. I agree that if for example the Legacy prize support was 40x dual lands to first 20x dual lands to 2/3/4 and 1 dual land 5-8. Those events would fire far more often then what they do now online. I don't see why they won't do tournaments like those.
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That is really the only other barrier left is the PRE so third parties can offer substantially "better" or different prizes for Online events. 

The reason why they don't/can't work now is "tournament organizing" (prizes, standings, and parings not to mention "who won what?") can't be resolved by players in the game right now. The best way i've seen people do it is "both players have to come up with the results" which isn't always the most effecient way. Maybe tournaments that run on MTGO right now tax the system too much? Maybe it was built in a way that only WoTC can run tournaments and they are afraid of "letting that cat out of the bag".

A few reasons why some formats are more popular offline then online is the independent tournament scene. (SCG Opens for example, strongly supports Legacy, and thus Legacy "stays relevant"). Imagine what would happen if big retailers could sponser events on MTGO? Could we see SCG Opens online? I wouldn't see why not? 

The technical problems I see are:

1. Since everything happens on WoTC servers. Having a lot of PRE in the tournament "system" could cause more crashes and headaches. I'm not a programmer, I'm not a software engineer so I don't know the logistics of how taxing it is on their servers when they run a 1000 player PTQ for example. What would happen to the program if there was a PTQ, SCG Open, and a TCG event all online at the same time? (Say each event had over 700 players) that could massively affect the system (I imagine again I don't know).

2. People don't play in PREs right now because they don't know about them. To be honest, I would play in more PRE events if there was a room in the program itself where I could sign up and have it run in there. I can't be alone in this. I rarely come to this forum and I even the forums I do go to I don't go to the "events" page too often. However, when I'm on MTGO, I go straight to the 4 round event room to check out if I want to play anything in the next hour.

3. WoTC may not want to give potential profits to third parties. I imagine tournaments on MTGO bring in most of the money in the game. Why would they want to potentially lose profits by letting a third party run the event? Let's say Wizards supplied "pack support" and took "a cut" of the event's entry fee they would still be losing money because they are not getting the tickets directly or lets say that SCG allowed the entry fee be paid on their site instead? I suppose this could be the problem that is easist to remedy but it is still something to think about. What happens if a PRE crashes and people want refunds? Chances are they would go directly to WoTC and not the people running the event. That could cause some confusion with the customer base. 

I don't know what decks "should cost" but 1k decks in general are hard for a lot of players (even those with "means") to justify in purchasing. I agree that if for example the Legacy prize support was 40x dual lands to first 20x dual lands to 2/3/4 and 1 dual land 5-8. Those events would fire far more often then what they do now online. I don't see why they won't do tournaments like those.




As has been pointed out in the past WOTC loses no money on 3rd party interactions via tickets as they have already sold all the tickets being used in the system. If you were to put 10 tickets towards a PRE those 10 tickets were paid for by someone, at some point using a credit card or paypal (etc). This isn't a concern.

What may concern WOTC however is governance of gambling laws and other legal issues. So they may not be able to officially sanction tourneys run by players for that reason. (No accountability but still responsible and or liable.) In fact I would say it isn't in WOTC's interest or ours to for them to officially sanction PRES.

The purpose of the average PRE is multifold with at least one point being that players can experience a tourney like environment without committing to a full on spike experience. Heirloom in the beginning was especially like this with people bringing very wild and zany concoctions (though still fairly competitive most of the time.) I think if WOTC were to officially conduct PREs they would lose some of their attraction to certain PRE attenders.

As far as crashing is concerned that is a real sticking point I guess since there is no way in heck anyone should expect WOTC to refund money it hasn't collected. This would fall squarely on the shoulders of the TO(s) to figure out. On the other hand doing it informally means that while there is no crash protection there is also no worry of WOTC being involved.

Winter.Wolf (ugh at this new forum with the ridiculous double login)

Guys - PREs were just ONE of the many things that can be done.  There are many many more.  This isn't about having PREs online, which would be nice, but about figuring out a way to boost eternal constructed formats, thereby boosting these releases and offering more options to customers than simply increasing the size of DE from 128 to 256. ;)

For example, Chris mentioned an Eternal-only MOCS-like circuit.  I think this is a great idea for online. Want to know why?  Because it could work online.  Know where it would never work?  In paper.

Want to know why we don't have such a thing? 

So do I.

Appearances are everything, and how it appears is simply that WoTC is unwilling to participate in constructing an organized play initiative to take advantage of the many differences between online and paper.   In fact, it appears as if they are either hamstrung, handcuffed or unwilling to do so.  And that's a damn shame.

EDIT:  And when I say unwilling to do so, I mean on their own.  I should definitely state that the support has to be internal, and not external.  The CQ champs was VERY well supported by WoTC, and I can't thank them enough for that support over the years it was running.  But that support went to people who were already part of the scene.  If there is one thing that has been proven without a doubt, it's that very little can be done to encourage growth of a format if WOTC isn't doing so within their own organized play initiatives.
Classic Quarter
(www.classicquarter.com)
Guys - PREs were just ONE of the many things that can be done.  There are many many more.  This isn't about having PREs online, which would be nice, but about figuring out a way to boost eternal constructed formats, thereby boosting these releases and offering more options to customers than simply increasing the size of DE from 128 to 256. ;)

For example, Chris mentioned an Eternal-only MOCS-like circuit.  I think this is a great idea for online. Want to know why?  Because it could work online.  Know where it would never work?  In paper.

Want to know why we don't have such a thing? 

So do I.

Appearances are everything, and how it appears is simply that WoTC is unwilling to participate in constructing an organized play initiative to take advantage of the many differences between online and paper.   In fact, it appears as if they are either hamstrung, handcuffed or unwilling to do so.  And that's a damn shame.

EDIT:  And when I say unwilling to do so, I mean on their own.  I should definitely state that the support has to be internal, and not external.  The CQ champs was VERY well supported by WoTC, and I can't thank them enough for that support over the years it was running.  But that support went to people who were already part of the scene.  If there is one thing that has been proven without a doubt, it's that very little can be done to encourage growth of a format if WOTC isn't doing so within their own organized play initiatives.



They also lent support to two big PREs run this year: Hamtastic's Birthday Event (Ham on Wry) and the CCC multiball feeder both  run by the inexhaustable (if slightly rabid at this point due to continued frustrations) BlippyTheSlug.

This seems encouraging that they might lend support to well organized external events in the future.

Winter.Wolf (ugh at this new forum with the ridiculous double login)

Guys - PREs were just ONE of the many things that can be done.  There are many many more.  This isn't about having PREs online, which would be nice, but about figuring out a way to boost eternal constructed formats, thereby boosting these releases and offering more options to customers than simply increasing the size of DE from 128 to 256. ;)

... [Removed for brevity's sake]

EDIT:  And when I say unwilling to do so, I mean on their own.  I should definitely state that the support has to be internal, and not external.  The CQ champs was VERY well supported by WoTC, and I can't thank them enough for that support over the years it was running.  But that support went to people who were already part of the scene.  If there is one thing that has been proven without a doubt, it's that very little can be done to encourage growth of a format if WOTC isn't doing so within their own organized play initiatives.



They also lent support to two big PREs run this year: Hamtastic's Birthday Event (Ham on Wry) and the CCC multiball feeder both  run by the inexhaustable (if slightly rabid at this point due to continued frustrations) BlippyTheSlug.

This seems encouraging that they might lend support to well organized external events in the future.




It also worth noting that the Classic League ft. the Classic Invitational has a pretty stacked WotC-donated prize in addition to the player-donated prizes (18 OOP boosters for 1st, 12 for 2nd, 6 for 3/4, 3 for 5-8).

I will let all of your constructive comments gestate in my brain a bit and then respond. Thanks for the time spent replying here- I appreciate it (as, I am sure, does the Eternal MTGO community *and* Wizards employees, whom frenquent all posts even if they don't respond)!

P.S. Calavera- I had never read that post- thanks for linking it!
Wonder what would happen if they made Commander a tournament format? Do you think it would have a spill over effect to Legacy and Classic? People love Commander and I would guess there's people who are competitive who play Commander and not just casual; like a few ex-clanmates I can think of lol.

Seeing these threads just makes me sad I used to play strictly eternal formats in 2010-2011, convinced to play competitively by then Cantripping. It's just seriously a sad state to see a beautiful format (vintage, classic, legacy) on life support. Lack of support is 100% the reason I stopped playing, just wasn't fun to brainstorm deck idea's, practice playing said deck against meta then sit in a DE with 2 other people. PRE's and what Mogg + Clan ME have done are cool and great substitutes for PE's, DE's and the gem back in the day "classic challenges"; but man should they even be necessary? WOTC has all the resources at their finger tips to make all formats playable, many have been harping this for well over 2+ years. IT'S ABOUT TIME TO FIGURE IT OUT OR JUST KILL OFF EVERYTHING BUT STANDARD, MODERN, BLOCK CONSTRUCTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *ok, getting angry will stop typing now*
100CS = Commander at a tournament level and the format has failed.  Ultimately some formats are going to have a lot of players and some formats aren't.  Sorry you chose a format that doesn't.  That doesn't mean that WOTC should make the other formats worse to make yours better.
100CS = Commander at a tournament level and the format has failed.  Ultimately some formats are going to have a lot of players and some formats aren't.  Sorry you chose a format that doesn't.  That doesn't mean that WOTC should make the other formats worse to make yours better.



Tip: next time, wait until somebody else brings up 100CS first before you chime in to attack the format.  

100CS = Commander at a tournament level and the format has failed.  Ultimately some formats are going to have a lot of players and some formats aren't.  Sorry you chose a format that doesn't.  That doesn't mean that WOTC should make the other formats worse to make yours better.



Extended, Modern, Classic, Legacy, 100 Card Singleton, Core Set Constructed, Standard Singleton, Old Blocks Block Constructed.

All of these formats have prospered at times while being unable to fire events at others. (Arguably, Modern has replaced Extended, but before it did, Extended was barely played off-season on MTGO.) Why did they succeed? Without tracking down sources and citing them, I would reckon greatly that it was a combination ot WotC incentives and player-base support. Without a way for a tournament organizer (which is akin to a PRE host) to promote and run events at the same level as the MTGO Scheduled Events, it is impossible to support any format at the semi-competitive level without WotC support.

What really irks me is that Eternal Magic is the cheapest I have ever seen it on Magic Online, *and* Legacy is still has a big paper following (even though fetches and dual lands are ridiculously high- the disparity much more making up for FoW's hefty MTGO pricetag). Sure, Eternal Magic has higher informational and monetary barriers to entry, but it also offers a very rich decision-making environment that cannot be rivaled by Standard or Limited. My only conclusion that these so-called failed formats are a result of poorly decided MTGO organized play initiatives with regard to Eternal Magic. It shouldn't be promoted the same as the formats that are leading to PTs and MOCSs; it needs its own, separate place in MTGO organized play.

Sneak, how does promoting something to support a different group of MTGO players hurt other formats? Most of these fringe communities are interconnected; Standard and its ilk won't hurt at all if there is a successful, competitive MTGO Eternal community.
100CS = Commander at a tournament level and the format has failed.  Ultimately some formats are going to have a lot of players and some formats aren't.  Sorry you chose a format that doesn't.  That doesn't mean that WOTC should make the other formats worse to make yours better.



Extended, Modern, Classic, Legacy, 100 Card Singleton, Core Set Constructed, Standard Singleton, Old Blocks Block Constructed.

All of these formats have prospered at times while being unable to fire events at others. (Arguably, Modern has replaced Extended, but before it did, Extended was barely played off-season on MTGO.) Why did they succeed? Without tracking down sources and citing them, I would reckon greatly that it was a combination ot WotC incentives and player-base support. Without a way for a tournament organizer (which is akin to a PRE host) to promote and run events at the same level as the MTGO Scheduled Events, it is impossible to support any format at the semi-competitive level without WotC support.

What really irks me is that Eternal Magic is the cheapest I have ever seen it on Magic Online, *and* Legacy is still has a big paper following (even though fetches and dual lands are ridiculously high- the disparity much more making up for FoW's hefty MTGO pricetag). Sure, Eternal Magic has higher informational and monetary barriers to entry, but it also offers a very rich decision-making environment that cannot be rivaled by Standard or Limited. My only conclusion that these so-called failed formats are a result of poorly decided MTGO organized play initiatives with regard to Eternal Magic. It shouldn't be promoted the same as the formats that are leading to PTs and MOCSs; it needs its own, separate place in MTGO organized play.

Sneak, how does promoting something to support a different group of MTGO players hurt other formats? Most of these fringe communities are interconnected; Standard and its ilk won't hurt at all if there is a successful, competitive MTGO Eternal community.



There are definitely gaps, Chris.  I think were the biggest gap exists stands between WoTC's ability to devote the appropriate amount of time and effort to support those formats and the return on investment for doing so.  It is so very easy for us, the players and organizers to forget that like any business, sometimes you just can't spend time and effort on something which probably could use it when it could be spent more productively somewhere else.   And while I think everyone thinks that WoTC has a money tree that they shake everytime they want to whistle in resources, the are factually still limited in where they can spend time & money.  More specifically, the problem is on the time side of the equation =  because WoTC has already thrown a not-insiginificant amount of money, as already mentioned, at PREs.  It's one way in which they've shown they are able and willing to support, but it's also one way that's ben proven time and again to be a failure at format growth.

Please, don't get me wrong - I'm not an apologist.  I think that gap can be bridged, but realistically every way I can think of doing so would require WoTC to at least make a short-term leap in terms of time & effort that I'm almost 100% is not available - currently.  I would suggest that if they can EVER get a version of MTGO out that meets their standards and come remotely close to the user's expectations, there may be more time available, at which point, I suppose it will be a good time to start asking again.

My main concern, to be frank, is that left to it's own devices, these formats may lose all momentum.  That's montroulsly bad, because starting them up again from essentially nothing takes far more effort than at least greasing the wheel, so to speak.  I can really only comment on classic, which has been fortunate enough to have several people pushing ahead and keeping interest going, and I've only been too happy to help myself over the years.



Classic Quarter
(www.classicquarter.com)
I have never heard of many of these PRE until today. And I'm not saying that ignorence on my part (I don't come to the forums that often) isn't part of the equation, but if there was a room for just PRE in the client itself, these events would fire A LOT more than they do now.

If they change prize support from current boosters to actual cards, that could help bolster the format.

Imagine if there was a Legacy event where the top prize was Foil Force of Will second prize Force of Will .. then booster support on down, that would likely fire more often than not.

Yeah, cost is a factor, it always will be. As well as offline support (Legacy is one of those "in season" formats). But cost limits people wanting to gamble at tournaments daily or even weekly.

When Legacy decks cost at least 1K and a Modern deck that can win the 4 round daily cost about 60 to 100 bucks. FOR the same prize support. Then it is an easy call to make. Every single time. 
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