12/18/2012 Feature: "Magic Online Programs Update: MOCS, MOPR, and More"

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I do think the phantom sealed would fit the stated purpose better if it were cheaper; 8 tickets is still more than half the price of a draft. The only problem is getting the math to work out. You obviously can't give 1-2 a prize anymore. I think 4 tix for 3/1/0/0 might work.

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"While a picture is worth a thousand words, each lolcat actually produces a negative wordcount." -Ith "I think "Highly Informed Sarcasm" should be our Magic Online General motto." -Ith "Sorry, but this thread seems just like spam. TT is for off-topic discussion, not no-topic discussion." -WizO_Kwai_Chang "Stop that! If you're not careful, rational thinking may catch on!" -Sax "... the only word i see that fits is incompitant." -Mr44 (sic) "You know a thread is gonna be locked when it gets to the hexadecimal stage." -Gathion "It's a good gig" - Gleemax "I tell people often, if you guys want to rant, you've certainly got the right to (provided you obey CoC/ToS stuff), and I don't even really blame you. But if you see something you think needs changing a well thought-out, constructive post does more to make that happen." - Worth Wollpert
I do think the phantom sealed would fit the stated purpose better if it were cheaper; 8 tickets is still more than half the price of a draft. The only problem is getting the math to work out. You obviously can't give 1-2 a prize anymore. I think 4 tix for 3/1/0/0 might work.



4 ticket buy-in would be a pay-in of 32 and a pay out of 6 boosters or 24tix equivalent.  That would still be horribly bad EV, but the tradeoff (i guess) is that it is a cheap format that would draw in people who can't afford bigger tournaments.  It is more acceptable than what they offer for 8 tickets.  But it is still much worse than what I suggested which is 3 tickets and 2/1/0/0.  Even 6 tickets and 4/2/0/0 would be a fair compromise.
If they have to add 2 tix to make the 4-booster queues 'viable' from a business standpoint, so be it. It's better than this alternative.

Wizards is simply being brilliant.

Is this the first time in the history of this game that they have so many customers asking to pay more money for the same thing?
I do think the phantom sealed would fit the stated purpose better if it were cheaper; 8 tickets is still more than half the price of a draft. The only problem is getting the math to work out. You obviously can't give 1-2 a prize anymore. I think 4 tix for 3/1/0/0 might work.



But, that wouldn't remove event tix from the system at the rate that WotC needs for it to be profitable. It's the same reason why cube tix are not tradable and only useful in multiples of 10.
thats the problem. Slowly they have nickle and dimed away all of the events that offered the best value. This is just another example. When leagues come back after 10 years or whatever expect them to have horrible prizes also. Its all about the $. Only way for us to fight back is to not play but for every person with a brain there are 100 sheep that will get in line.
I do think the phantom sealed would fit the stated purpose better if it were cheaper; 8 tickets is still more than half the price of a draft. The only problem is getting the math to work out. You obviously can't give 1-2 a prize anymore. I think 4 tix for 3/1/0/0 might work.



4 ticket buy-in would be a pay-in of 32 and a pay out of 6 boosters or 24tix equivalent.  That would still be horribly bad EV, but the tradeoff (i guess) is that it is a cheap format that would draw in people who can't afford bigger tournaments.  It is more acceptable than what they offer for 8 tickets.  But it is still much worse than what I suggested which is 3 tickets and 2/1/0/0.  Even 6 tickets and 4/2/0/0 would be a fair compromise.


I maintained the exact ratio of the current phantom events, I just halved the volume.

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You posted saying my thread was moved/locked but nothing happened.


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Unfortunately, VCLs do not currently have the tools necessary to take moderation actions directly. VCLs submit their actions to ORCs, who then actually perform the action. This processing can take between a few minutes and several hours, depending on how busy/attentive the ORCs are.

If you see something that needs VCL attention, please use this thread to make a request and a VCL will look at it as soon as possible. CoC violations should be reported to Customer Service using the "report post" button. Please do not disrupt the thread by making requests of either kind in-thread.

General MTGO FAQ

Yes, the Shuffler is Random!
The definitive thread on the Magic Online shuffler.

Magic Math Made Easy
Draw probabilities, Swiss results, Elo ratings and booster EV

Event EV Calculator
Calculate the EV for any event with a fixed number of rounds and prizes based on record

Dual means two. A duel is a battle between two people. Lands that make two colors of mana are dual lands. A normal Magic battle is a duel.
Thanks to PhoenixLAU for the [thread=1097559]awesome avatar[/thread]!
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"While a picture is worth a thousand words, each lolcat actually produces a negative wordcount." -Ith "I think "Highly Informed Sarcasm" should be our Magic Online General motto." -Ith "Sorry, but this thread seems just like spam. TT is for off-topic discussion, not no-topic discussion." -WizO_Kwai_Chang "Stop that! If you're not careful, rational thinking may catch on!" -Sax "... the only word i see that fits is incompitant." -Mr44 (sic) "You know a thread is gonna be locked when it gets to the hexadecimal stage." -Gathion "It's a good gig" - Gleemax "I tell people often, if you guys want to rant, you've certainly got the right to (provided you obey CoC/ToS stuff), and I don't even really blame you. But if you see something you think needs changing a well thought-out, constructive post does more to make that happen." - Worth Wollpert
I do think the phantom sealed would fit the stated purpose better if it were cheaper; 8 tickets is still more than half the price of a draft. The only problem is getting the math to work out. You obviously can't give 1-2 a prize anymore. I think 4 tix for 3/1/0/0 might work.



4 ticket buy-in would be a pay-in of 32 and a pay out of 6 boosters or 24tix equivalent.  That would still be horribly bad EV, but the tradeoff (i guess) is that it is a cheap format that would draw in people who can't afford bigger tournaments.  It is more acceptable than what they offer for 8 tickets.  But it is still much worse than what I suggested which is 3 tickets and 2/1/0/0.  Even 6 tickets and 4/2/0/0 would be a fair compromise.



How is 1 ticket per player to play in a limited event "horribly bad EV"?

We all want the best bang for our buck but let's be realistic, Wizards also has to make money off services provided. Even 4 tickets 2/1/0/0 would be pretty decent as it would allow us to play sealed at roughly 1.5-2 tickets per player (depending on pack price in the secondary market).

It still doesn't solve my main problem of not being allowed to take your winnings directly into the next event, but it does offer a decent chance to play a lot of sealeds at a decent cost. 
If they have to add 2 tix to make the 4-booster queues 'viable' from a business standpoint, so be it. It's better than this alternative.

Wizards is simply being brilliant.

Is this the first time in the history of this game that they have so many customers asking to pay more money for the same thing?



Well since leaving them as-is isn't an option, I'd rather have to pay a bit more than lose them altogether.
I don't understand any disadvantages to my proposal.  It is a 2-pronged approach that solves both of their "problems."  If the reasons they stated are the actual reasons for getting rid of 4 pack sealed I see no reason as to why what I suggested does not keep everybody happy.  I would love it if somebody gave some feedback about this.


You seem to have missed that some people actually like the 4 booster format. So your proposal misses that.
thats the problem. Slowly they have nickle and dimed away all of the events that offered the best value. This is just another example. When leagues come back after 10 years or whatever expect them to have horrible prizes also. Its all about the $. Only way for us to fight back is to not play but for every person with a brain there are 100 sheep that will get in line.

Leagues had pretty crappy prizes and a bad ratio when they existed...it was just a fun way for people to play as well as far more casual and budget conscious.

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If they have to add 2 tix to make the 4-booster queues 'viable' from a business standpoint, so be it. It's better than this alternative.

Wizards is simply being brilliant.

Is this the first time in the history of this game that they have so many customers asking to pay more money for the same thing?

Well since leaving them as-is isn't an option, I'd rather have to pay a bit more than lose them altogether.

Exactly! Instead of announcing a price increase while keeping the same payouts (inciting the Angry Mob), just announce you are going to cancel the event. Then, after sufficient people have begged you for a price increase, you give them what they asked for. You get to claim yet another example of listening to your customers.

As you can tell, I am assuming that these will return and am a little cynical about the whole thing...I'm also a member of the "I'll pay more for the same thing" camp.

I don't understand any disadvantages to my proposal.  It is a 2-pronged approach that solves both of their "problems."  If the reasons they stated are the actual reasons for getting rid of 4 pack sealed I see no reason as to why what I suggested does not keep everybody happy.  I would love it if somebody gave some feedback about this.


You seem to have missed that some people actually like the 4 booster format. So your proposal misses that.
thats the problem. Slowly they have nickle and dimed away all of the events that offered the best value. This is just another example. When leagues come back after 10 years or whatever expect them to have horrible prizes also. Its all about the $. Only way for us to fight back is to not play but for every person with a brain there are 100 sheep that will get in line.

Leagues had pretty crappy prizes and a bad ratio when they existed...it was just a fun way for people to play as well as far more casual and budget conscious.



That is the weakest argument possible.  There are very few people who liked 4 pack sealed because it was a 30 card format.  They liked it because it was sealed, it was quick, and it had a nice prize payout.  What you are talking about is a fringe belief. 

Switching it to 6 boosters (and keeping everything else equal) keeps it so it is still sealed, keeps it quick, and keeps the decent prize payout.  The only real disadvantage is that the entry is a bit higher so you can't play as often.  It will still get played - A LOT. 

Phantom?  No chance.  None.  Not if they keep it the way they have proposed it.  I can't believe anybody is even attempting to defend it.  Mind-blowing, really.

That is the weakest argument possible.  There are very few people who liked 4 pack sealed because it was a 30 card format.  They liked it because it was sealed, it was quick, and it had a nice prize payout.  What you are talking about is a fringe belief. 




So the fun thing is we can go back and count. I counted 35 different people mentioning the fun aspect of the format, or something more specific that was about the format itself and not specifically the things you mentioned. So out of 172 or so posts, 35. One is the thread starter, and several are from the same person (multiple people have posted 3+ times in this thread, you and I among them). That means over 20%, probably over 33%. Not exactly what most would consider 'fringe'.

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What I want, and I think a lot of others too, is there to be a regular 6-pack sealed queue that fires on-demand, costs 24 tix or 6 packs to enter, and goes 3 rounds.

4-pack sealed is fun and quirky, but I really prefer 6-packs.

4 rounds is too long. 3 rounds is just right.

Phantom events suck for collectors.

I don't know off the top of my head how they would schedule the prize support, but so long as the EV is in line with swiss draft, I'd be happy.

Maybe there could be a way to use a combination of pack and tix to make up that 24 tix entry fee? Value the packs at 4 tix for entry purposes, and have different entry options for each combination of tix/packs. That will help players to use what they have on hand, as well as allowing the queue to absorb tix and remove them from circulation in the system.
I decided to sign up to throw in my opinion as well.

Please do not remove 4 pack sealed. It is one of the reasons why I decided to try MTGO  in the first place sicne it provides a fun and quick way to open your boosters as opposed to buying cards and boosters from bots/store. I don't even care for the payout.
That is the weakest argument possible.  There are very few people who liked 4 pack sealed because it was a 30 card format.  They liked it because it was sealed, it was quick, and it had a nice prize payout.  What you are talking about is a fringe belief. 




So the fun thing is we can go back and count. I counted 35 different people mentioning the fun aspect of the format, or something more specific that was about the format itself and not specifically the things you mentioned. So out of 172 or so posts, 35. One is the thread starter, and several are from the same person (multiple people have posted 3+ times in this thread, you and I among them). That means over 20%, probably over 33%. Not exactly what most would consider 'fringe'.



How many of the people commenting on the format were referring to it in terms of just enjoying "sealed?"  Or talking about getting to keep the cards?  Even if what you said is true I'd expect that to be a much smaller factor than the others.  It seems to me that the biggest reasons people like 4 pack sealed are ranked like this:

1. It is good value.  At least on par or better than draft.
2. It is fast.  3 rounds allows players to get in and get out quickly.
3. It gives players an option to use their packs without needing any extra costs. 

Switching to 6 pack sealed keeps the status quo for all of the above 3 things.  How big would the complaints be if they simply used the 6 pack example?  I wager they would be TINY by comparison. 

The biggest complaints with their absolutely godawful, horrible, pathetic excuse for an 8 ticket phantom alternative?

1. Horrible value.
2. You don't get to keep your cards.
3. No card-keeping alternative. 
4. 8 tickets isn't cheap enough for a low cost option.


The thing is that I accept Wizards reasoning for getting rid of 4-pack sealed.  There are chances for certain strategies to be degenerate (particularly mill).  Is that the real reason they are getting rid of it though?  I highly doubt it.  Is the "low-cost option" the reason they are offering Phantom sealed?  No.  Don't be stupid.  Those are excuses.  The reason it is going away plain and simple is money.

I bet all of those people you saw that wrote that they enjoyed the 30 card format would be much, much happier with my solution.  Might they be slightly disappointed in losing the format?  Sure, a little bit.  But not nearly as disappointed compared to what Wizards has offered as a counter.

How many of the people commenting on the format were referring to it in terms of just enjoying "sealed?"  Or talking about getting to keep the cards?  Even if what you said is true I'd expect that to be a much smaller factor than the others.  It seems to me that the biggest reasons people like 4 pack sealed are ranked like this:

1. It is good value.  At least on par or better than draft.
2. It is fast.  3 rounds allows players to get in and get out quickly.
3. It gives players an option to use their packs without needing any extra costs. 

Switching to 6 pack sealed keeps the status quo for all of the above 3 things.  How big would the complaints be if they simply used the 6 pack example?  I wager they would be TINY by comparison. 

The biggest complaints with their absolutely godawful, horrible, pathetic excuse for an 8 ticket phantom alternative?

1. Horrible value.
2. You don't get to keep your cards.
3. No card-keeping alternative. 
4. 8 tickets isn't cheap enough for a low cost option.


The thing is that I accept Wizards reasoning for getting rid of 4-pack sealed.  There are chances for certain strategies to be degenerate (particularly mill).  Is that the real reason they are getting rid of it though?  I highly doubt it.  Is the "low-cost option" the reason they are offering Phantom sealed?  No.  Don't be stupid.  Those are excuses.  The reason it is going away plain and simple is money.

I bet all of those people you saw that wrote that they enjoyed the 30 card format would be much, much happier with my solution.  Might they be slightly disappointed in losing the format?  Sure, a little bit.  But not nearly as disappointed compared to what Wizards has offered as a counter.



Right there with you. I want non-phantom 6-pack sealed, 3 rounds, firing on-demand. Wizards, I hope you are listening.
Pretty bumbed to read the news that 4-booster sealed is going. I just recently came back after 6 years of not playing. The 4-booster sealed is practically all I have been playing. Great way to both play and compete.


Why would I pay 8 dollars to play an event where I dont even keep my cards?
That is the weakest argument possible.  There are very few people who liked 4 pack sealed because it was a 30 card format. 



If given a choice between 4-booster and 6-booster sealed, ignoring all other factors, I would choose 4 booster. I like the smaller deck sizes and that you'll see more of your cards during an event. I also like the deck building choices associated with the smaller size.
That is the weakest argument possible.  There are very few people who liked 4 pack sealed because it was a 30 card format. 



If given a choicce between 4-booster and 6-booster sealed, ignoring all other factors, I would choose 4 booster. I like the smaller deck sizes and that you'll see more of your cards during an event. I also like the deck building choices associated with the smaller size.



Ok.  Would you prefer 4 booster Phantom Sealed with the same payout Wizards has offered?  Or would you prefer 6 booster Sealed where you keep the cards and the prizes are in the same ratio as current 4 booster sealed?

Is it the format change to 40 cards that bugs you the most?  Or is it the rest?  I'm venturing it is the rest.

Okay... If they improve the EV of the phantom sealed queues, I might play.

8 tix * 8 players = 64 tix paid in.
Prize structure is 3/2/2/2/1/1/1/0 for a total of 12 packs
64 / 12 = 5.33 per pack paid out.

Lower it to 6 tix * 8 players = 48 tix paid in.
48 / 12 = 4 tix per pack paid out, which is equal to MSRP.

It won't cost them any extra in overhead expense to maintain this queue. It's not like the Cube, that requires constant tweaking and maintenance. Players are not keeping the cards they open, so there is no reason to charge above the value of the product being paid out.
Okay... If they improve the EV of the phantom sealed queues, I might play.

8 tix * 8 players = 64 tix paid in.
Prize structure is 3/2/2/2/1/1/1/0 for a total of 12 packs
64 / 12 = 5.33 per pack paid out.

Lower it to 6 tix * 8 players = 48 tix paid in.
48 / 12 = 4 tix per pack paid out, which is equal to MSRP.

It won't cost them any extra in overhead expense to maintain this queue. It's not like the Cube, that requires constant tweaking and maintenance. Players are not keeping the cards they open, so there is no reason to charge above the value of the product being paid out.



I agree pretty much 100% with this.  If they are going to make a phantom option that is the way that they really need to do it. 

I still wouldn't play it though.  I know lots of people wouldn't.  They want an option where you keep your cards.  I don't disagree with having a phantom option if it is similar to the proposed above.  But I think they need both Phantom AND Real. 

Having a promo that can only be accessed by spending money in the store and not accessable through financial transactions in the client is disgusting. It's not a surprise, given how the RtR prerelases required you to spend money in the store to participate in those events, but it's a trend that once again penalises players who finance themselves within MtGO without interaction with the store.




I never spent a dime in the store  (not since 2009 or so anyway)   I can't imagine why I would find it important to get a free card that is probably worth 0.5 tix at most on the secondary market. (It wouldn't surprice me if it's closer to 0.05 tix actually)

I base this on the fact that I have dozens (hundreds?)  promo cards on my account no bot  has been interested in buying for the last few years.
If I would work at Wizards, this whole change the 4-pack sealed issue would teach me 3 things:

-  Never start a format by giving it a permanent good EV tournament. It will only give people the idea that they now have the right to play for free.
-  More than 50% of the players think they can attain average EV.
- If you want bad players to start playing tournaments, make it a bad EV tournament from the get-go.

Ironically, I agree with some of the 4-pack sealed defenders that the best Wizards move might have been to cut 4-pack seales altogether first, claiming they were just not lucrative enough, then later add the 6-pack phantom sealeds claiming they were for a different audience (even if this isn't true - which I can't know). This 'replacement' isn't going over very well since the new thing seems to be targeted at a completely different audience than the old thing. People don't see themselves as part of an audience though - they see themselves as part of THE audience. 

PS. I'm still very excited about the FOW promo. Awesome!
Here's some points form summary of MY opinion, not much actual facts. Money Mouth

1.  Phantom sealed with current prizing structure might open up new market but I highly doubt it.  It's created just as an excuse to stop the less profitable format of 4-pack sealed.  I might not even play a phantom sealed with NO entry cost due to the fact that people will just drop with poor pool and make the gaming experience bad.

2.  4-pack sealed at this moment is less profitable to WotC than draft currently.  Their market somewhat overlapped and some drafters might select 4-pack sealed instead of draft as their favorite mode of gaming.

3.  4-pack sealed without tix entry cost, even if it earns about the same amount of money as draft, pumps out more cards to the players market (exact amount unknown, but can be significant).  In short, same amount spent, more cards to players.

4.  Simply cancelling 4-pack sealed is NOT viable to WotC.  It's VERY bad publicity.  Giving a replacement format, even if it's not good, somewhat lessen the negative impact.

5.  6-pack sealed in the past did not fire was due to the fact that it's in a separate room.  Rarely some one visited it.  Offering 3 rounds 6-pack sealed on demand should attract some players even with less prize than scheduled 4 rounds 6-pack sealed.

6.  Exact prize structure for a 6-pack sealed can be discussed.  Simply doubling the structure for swiss draft would mean doubling price per hour of play for players.  Retaining the same price per hour of play for players pumps out even more cards to the players market (i.e. lowering the cost per card for player).  This may alienates draft players.

7.  Current replacement may or may not profit WotC.  4-pack sealed has its share of followers who may not switch to other profitable formats.

8.  My suggestion:  Keep the 4-pack sealed together with phantom sealed for the moment.  Once the exact acceptable 6-pack sealed payout is determined, phase out 4-pack sealed.  I don't think you will keep 4-pack sealed (faster, more luck prone) without rising its cost even if it offers something different than 6-pack sealed.

Rant:  Hey!  League should not be that hard to develop.  If you think that it's not profitable to you, I may even pay a bit more.  Like, 10 games per week for each league entry, you can buy 10 more game entries each week by paying 2 tix (exact amount can be tweaked).   So don't think that league is unprofitable and use all sort of excuses NOT to develop it.
I only been playing magic online for about a month. I have really enjoyed it so far.  I have been playing 4 pack sealed almost exclusively for many of the reasons people have already listed.  It helps build my collection and I can generally start one whenever I want instead of having to wait for one of the scheduled 6 pack events.  I'm not great at playing yet so I tend to go 1-2, which nets me a pack at the end.  So basically my packs are 25% off which is easier for me to justify on digital cards that I can't use with my friends in paper magic.

With a phantom event, I don't keep the cards.  If I maintain my same record, I pay 8 event tickets for 1 pack, so I'm basically paying double for the pack.  It just doesn't make sense and I probably won't do it.  I'd be happy to play in a sealed 6 pack queue if balance is really the issue that is driving the decision as the article says.  In any case, Wizards asked for feedback and mine is I probably won't play the phantom sealed queues.  Instead I'll try to do one of the scheduled 6 pack sealed tourneys, but so far in my roughly 1 month of playing, I haven't been able to make one yet.  The 4 rounds is a bit long to start at night, and awkward at best to schedule during the day.  :-(
I would very much so miss 4-booster sealed.  It's a really fun format, that is generally more accessible than 6 booster sealed.
It would be cool if you could choose whether to play as a phantom event or not when joining.  The cost of the event could be 8 packs if you enter it as a phantom event in which case, you don't keep the cards.  Alternatively you could choose to enter the event with 6 packs (and some amount of event tickets presumeably?) and you'd be able to keep your cards at the end.  I'm guessing this would require a fair bit of engineering (?), but that might satisfy more parties.
In my perception 4  Pack sealed was bad EV, and here are hundreds of people proving with math that it actually is the best.

Mind you, my perception is based on days long gone...

Here I was slowly eating up my 'bankroll'  as I slighly degraded from 'infinite' to 'close-but-no-cigar-finite'  .  Thinking it was me, losing the skill.  I suppose it's just  the deteriorating  of the prize structure in recent years. 

I play significantly less these days.  The bottem of the vault is in sight and when I reach it, it's time for a long break again, maybe until v4.0 hits the market in few years time.

This whole discussion made me analyze why I play 4-pack sealed so extensively.  Along with the many reasons noted by others above of time, gameplay and value, I decided it is also because I'm a Timmy.   Drafting is a very Spike activity - to be consistently successful it requires more practice and format studying than I have time to invest.  Sealed on the other hand requires less practice overall.  There's still a learning curve but not as steep.

4-pack sealed feeds my Timmy:  I get the lottery experience of "did I open one or more playable bombs" as well as did I open a high-value card.  The high-value card for me is useful either to complete a set, or as convertable currency to play more.  Because of the smaller deck size, I get to see my best cards more often, so my bombs are bombier.   So what if my opponents are too - last night I faced Niv-Mizzet in round 1 and round 3 of an event.  I'd rather win, but if I'm going to lose let it be by a freakin' dragon rather than some hyper-efficient deck of 2-drops and removal. 

Also, it makes some bad cards good - I just finished a round where an opponent dropped two Chronic Floodings on me and used Doorkeeper to keep the milling pressure going. 

For me, the gameplay is the FUN. 
This is my first post to this forum. Though I seldom write to any forums. But now I am really disappointed at quitting 4 booster sealed.

---------First, and most importantly, 
Magic R&D does not do any set development around four-booster Sealed. This means that it is far more likely to be imbalanced and suffer from degenerate strategies that other formats won't experience. While trying something that has not been fully tested can be fun as limited engagements, such as the Zendikar-Worldwake-Rise of the Eldrazidrafts we offered a few years ago, we want to ensure     that our organized play offerings are as balanced and fun as possible.------

This is wrong. So many players play this format and he even said it has been a success.  That means it is balanced enough and fun.

 ----Second, thirty-card decks are not a standard size and the client does not handle them well. This causes confusion during deck building, as        most players who are familiar with Magic Limited play have been trained to use forty-card decks, and quite often this confusion leads to        players using forty-card decks in the format, putting them at a serious disadvantage just for building decks the way they have been taught to for years.-------

I don´t what the problem is with client, I haven´t noticed anything. I have played maybe 50 4 booster sealed games, I have seen once someone playing with 40 card deck. He probably learned that 30 card deck is enough too.

He didn´t say anything about Wizards not getting enough revenue from 4 booster sealed. A lot of comments has already been written how that phantom event is not cheap way to play for players. Do wizards think that their customers are really that stupid to buy this? Why don´t they tell the truth?

Please prove me and others that you are telling the truth by giving us 6 booster sealed  three round as many have proposed and try that phantom event if you like. 
The irony is that so-called phantom events have been requested for ages, by the players themselves. For those ppl "keeping your cards" is NOT an issue... I've seen numerous threads where players wanted cheaper drafts where they wouldn't keep the cards.

Operative word: cheaper.

Wizards have listened; the events have appeared and more and more of them are becoming phantom. They're just not cheaper.

To me it looks like we have two reasonably large camps: those that want to keep the cards (I would be one of them) and those who don't butmerely want to play at a cheaper rate. WotC usually replaces an event for camp 1 with an event for camp 2. Why not have them side by side?
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What is WotC's #1 product? Booster packs. We as players are aware that we pay a premium for this product and lose some "value" from opening it. We also know that every opened pack devaluates our collection over time (due to increasing supply). We not only put up with it, we love it. We love the excitement, the lottery, the collecting, even the secondary market. Most of us love to play Limited and Constructed, but you are free to choose.

Offering Phantom events that replace current in-print packs with "phantoms" is a terrible move because it devaluates the product that has and will always define Magic. I'll try to show why I believe this with an analogy: MTGO can be compared to a store offering Constructed, Draft and Sealed Tournaments. A while ago, the store owner decided to offer something special and prepared a Cube for people to play with. Players could enter without any cards, pay a small fee, play an exciting and unique tournament. After the tournament, the store owner collects his Cube and people are free to come back another time.

Now the store owner is trying to replace some of his Sealed deck tournaments. Players that want to play Sealed don't get to buy and experience Magic's premium product anymore, but pay only a tournament fee instead. They get handed a deck box with the contents resembling that of a 6-pack sealed deck. Each of the cards has to be returned to the Store owner after the tournament. He might keep them to build more sealed decks with, or shredder them. We don't know, it's none of our business.

Imagine a store offering cheap Sealed deck tournaments where you return the cards to the store after playing. Imagine them giving out not packs to crack, but preprepared deck boxes of those cards. Would players like it? Would Wizards of the Coast support such a business idea? I don't think so.
The irony is that so-called phantom events have been requested for ages, by the players themselves. For those ppl "keeping your cards" is NOT an issue... I've seen numerous threads where players wanted cheaper drafts where they wouldn't keep the cards.

Operative word: cheaper.

Wizards have listened; the events have appeared and more and more of them are becoming phantom. They're just not cheaper.

To me it looks like we have two reasonably large camps: those that want to keep the cards (I would be one of them) and those who don't butmerely want to play at a cheaper rate. WotC usually replaces an event for camp 1 with an event for camp 2. Why not have them side by side?



I think you are completely right about this. 

You know what I think?  I think Wizards sees how many people are willing to play Phantom Cube and make the wrong assumption.  They are making an absolute killing financially off of that format.  They see this and that is the major motivation to create phantom events.  They assume that people are going to fawn over them like Cube.  Well, sorry, but it isn't going to happen.  At least not in the way that they've formatted it.

I believe that there is a player demographic that exists that would enjoy playing sealed without keeping the cards.  But those players aren't stupid either and they won't want to shell out 8 tickets just for the "opportunity" to play.  I believe that phantom events would work best as daily or premiere events.  Consider them similar to a free-roll tournament that poker sites provide, though not quite "free."  Make the entry for them very small (3-4 tix) and offer very limited prize support.  I think it would draw 2 different types of players.

1. Those who don't have a lot of money to play the game in the first place, and are just looking for entertainment.
2. Those who want a chance to grind QPs, but can't afford the hundreds of tickets required to do so.

I don't see why a Daily event Phantom Sealed with a buy-in of 4 tickets and a payouts of 2 boosters + 3QP for 12 pts and 1 booster + 1QP for 9 pts wouldn't be profitable to both Wizards and attractive to the player base.  I would be MUCH more likely to join this kind of event.  The beauty for Wizards is that they actually would be making a good profit on it too.  For every 16 players who pay in (64 tickets) they would only be paying out a few packs and and QPs.

What is WotC's #1 product? Booster packs. We as players are aware that we pay a premium for this product and lose some "value" from opening it. We also know that every opened pack devaluates our collection over time (due to increasing supply). We not only put up with it, we love it. We love the excitement, the lottery, the collecting, even the secondary market. Most of us love to play Limited and Constructed, but you are free to choose.

Offering Phantom events that replace current in-print packs with "phantoms" is a terrible move because it devaluates the product that has and will always define Magic. I'll try to show why I believe this with an analogy: MTGO can be compared to a store offering Constructed, Draft and Sealed Tournaments. A while ago, the store owner decided to offer something special and prepared a Cube for people to play with. Players could enter without any cards, pay a small fee, play an exciting and unique tournament. After the tournament, the store owner collects his Cube and people are free to come back another time.

Now the store owner is trying to replace some of his Sealed deck tournaments. Players that want to play Sealed don't get to buy and experience Magic's premium product anymore, but pay only a tournament fee instead. They get handed a deck box with the contents resembling that of a 6-pack sealed deck. Each of the cards has to be returned to the Store owner after the tournament. He might keep them to build more sealed decks with, or shredder them. We don't know, it's none of our business.

Imagine a store offering cheap Sealed deck tournaments where you return the cards to the store after playing. Imagine them giving out not packs to crack, but preprepared deck boxes of those cards. Would players like it? Would Wizards of the Coast support such a business idea? I don't think so.



As an aside to that, it is a *massive* feel bad moment to open an expensive card, or just a card you have been chasing for ages in a phantom tournament. With stuff like cube and the new player events that used to be run, you went in and your brain knew you didn't get to keep the cards. Going into an event for a format you know and have been playing though, your mind struggles to comprehend the idea of phantom. You sort your sealed pool by rarity and feel like someone kicked you in the guts if there is something you want outside of the tournament.

Going back to your store analogy, can you imagine a store trying to promote how cube events are being run? Would players accept:

It costs $8 to play the cube, instead of giving out prizes, you get coupons based on your record, that you can only use to re-enter cube events, and you can only use them in multiples of 10. Also, they are not allowed to be shared or given away, and they only lower the price to enter to $2. Also, I will forcefully put the cube tickets into the back of your card binder, THEY CANNOT BE REMOVED UNLESS YOU ARE REMOVING 10 TO GIVE TO ME TO RE-ENTER THE CUBE. So, who's first to sign up?
I actually want to take a poll about this hypothetical format:


-- Daily Phantom Sealed --
Entry Fee: 4 Event Tickets

Rules: 6 Booster Phantom Sealed.  4-Round Swiss.  Players do not keep their card pool at the end of the tournament.

Prize Support:

12 pts: 3 Boosters and 3 QP
9 pts: 1 Booster and 1 QP


If this event were offered would you consider playing it?  If yes, why?  If no, why not? 
I actually want to take a poll about this hypothetical format:


-- Daily Phantom Sealed --
Entry Fee: 4 Event Tickets

Rules: 6 Booster Phantom Sealed.  4-Round Swiss.  Players do not keep their card pool at the end of the tournament.

Prize Support:

12 pts: 3 Boosters and 3 QP
9 pts: 1 Booster and 1 QP


If this event were offered would you consider playing it?  If yes, why?  If no, why not? 

No way I would play even with 4 event tickets.

- I don´t get to keep the cards
- After two losses most people quit. I don´t get to play and I have paid.
- 4 round is too long.
- Booster devaluation. You have to sell prizes to get tickets to enter que.
I actually want to take a poll about this hypothetical format:


-- Daily Phantom Sealed --
Entry Fee: 4 Event Tickets

Rules: 6 Booster Phantom Sealed.  4-Round Swiss.  Players do not keep their card pool at the end of the tournament.

Prize Support:

12 pts: 3 Boosters and 3 QP
9 pts: 1 Booster and 1 QP


If this event were offered would you consider playing it?  If yes, why?  If no, why not? 



This one is quite interesting to consider.

Prize support = 1x3 + 4x1 boosters + QPs. = roughly 28 tix + QPs.  WotC's take will be 36 tix.
Each player's cost for 2 hours of play = 36/16 = 2.25 tix.
(Edit: Looks like this is off by a lot, packs should not be valuated at 4 tix)

I believe that I will play.  But given a choice of current 4-pack sealed and this, I am slightly more inclined to chose 4-pack sealed.  I am willing to pay a little more for the excitement of opening random cards. (Looks like that I am willing to pay about tix per hour or so for sealed experience, but I don't think that it applies to every one.)


I redo my calculation on the 6-pack phantom.  Entry cost = 8x8 tix = 64 tix, prize pay out = 3x1+2x3+1x3 packs = 12 packs
WotC's gain = 64 tix - 12 packs
Each player's cost for 1.5 hours of play = (64 tix - 12 packs) / 8=  8 tix - 1.5 packs which is always >= 2 tix as packs can always be bought from shop with 4 tix

4-pack sealed Entry cost = 4x8 packs = 32 packs, prize pay out = 5x1 + 3x3 + 1x3 packs = 17 packs
WotC's gain = 15 packs - value of 32 opened packs
Each player's cost for 1.5 hours of play = (15 packs - 32 opened packs) / 8

It seems that many of us value opened packs (i.e. cards) high and value of one pack < 4 dollars so that the perceived cost of each player is lower.

I don't factor in the actual win and loss ratio of players.  Weaker players have a better EV in phantom than in 4-pack sealed (but no way to have a positive value).  Weaker players MIGHT have a positve gain in normal sealed if they open up valuable cards.

Stronger players have better EV in normal sealed and is much more easier to have gains than in phantom sealed.

So, stronger player will like 4-pack sealed more because of higher EV.  Average players will like 4-pack sealed more so long as the pack prize remain less than 4 and value of an open pack to them is higher than 1.5 tix.  Weaker players are always paying something for playing in phantom sealed.  Weaker players have a chance to get positive value on normal sealed even though on average they are paying even more than phantom sealed.

Phantom sealed has a lower entry cost and this might attract some players.

My thought: Normal sealed offer more people a chance for positive gains.  Nearly everyone is paying a couple of tix in phantom sealed.  Adding to the fact that a lot of us perceived that a pack of opened cards are worth more than 1.5 tix, there is no doubt that many of us will prefer 4-pack sealed.  In fact, if the value of each opened pack is >2, on average players perceived that they are paying nothing for the sealed experience.  Note that WotC still has some incentives of offering normal sealed since their perceived cost per open pack is much less than players thought.
I actually want to take a poll about this hypothetical format:


-- Daily Phantom Sealed --
Entry Fee: 4 Event Tickets

Rules: 6 Booster Phantom Sealed.  4-Round Swiss.  Players do not keep their card pool at the end of the tournament.

Prize Support:

12 pts: 3 Boosters and 3 QP
9 pts: 1 Booster and 1 QP


If this event were offered would you consider playing it?  If yes, why?  If no, why not? 



Sounds like something Wizards would design because that's a terrible prize payout.
Only 1 player walks away with extra boosters, the rest just lost money on it.
You could go 20 minutes deckbuilding -> 30 minutes round 1 - WIN -> 30 minutes round 2 -> WIN -> 30 minutes round 3 -> WIN -> 30 minutes round 4 -> LOSE
thats 2.5 hours gone and you just lost a ticket, best case scenario. No cards to show for it. Basically goodbye time.

Plus you don't get to keep the cards. If I don't get to keep the cards it immediately becomes less interesting, and the prize payout better be such to compensate for that. It doesn't.
I actually want to take a poll about this hypothetical format:


-- Daily Phantom Sealed --
Entry Fee: 4 Event Tickets

Rules: 6 Booster Phantom Sealed.  4-Round Swiss.  Players do not keep their card pool at the end of the tournament.

Prize Support:

12 pts: 3 Boosters and 3 QP
9 pts: 1 Booster and 1 QP


If this event were offered would you consider playing it?  If yes, why?  If no, why not? 



Depends on the value of QPs. In the next MOC season I would probably play these to grind QPs for the FoW promo. But in past seasons where the promo wasn't as attractive these events don't excite me. Besides the QPs, you basically have to go 4-0 to win something (just above 6% chance for the average player).

I feel like 3-1 should net you something in events, that's a 75% win rate! 
Imagine a store offering cheap Sealed deck tournaments where you return the cards to the store after playing. Imagine them giving out not packs to crack, but preprepared deck boxes of those cards. Would players like it? Would Wizards of the Coast support such a business idea? I don't think so.



Obviously this would never be supported by Wizards of the Coast, because they don't gain anything from these events being run. That's more comparable to player run sealed events on MTGO, although then people still need to own the cards to play (=better for Wizards).
The big difference between your example and phantom events on MTGO is Wizards profits from these phantom events. Why do you think they don't support players creating their own cubes.