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

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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.

Four rounds is too long for me - usually I don't have that much time.
As pointed out above, 15 out of 16 people get to pay 4 tickets just to enjoy four rounds of sealed play. That is not enough incentive for me.

I'd play in 8-person, swiss, six-booster phantom sealed, price 2 tickets, winner gets 2 boosters, two wins gets 1 booster (because I kid myself that I can usually get two out of three in such an event).

Go draft, young man, go draft!

Theoretical questions for all the four-booster supporters:

1) Would you play if they kept four-booster sealed but added two tickets to the entry (to bring it in line with other events)?
2) Would you play in non-phantom 6-booster sealed queues? (These did horribly before the invention of 4-booster, but the MTGO landscape was different back then)



Yes, and yes.  Although if the firing rate of the queue gets way too slow then I may wind up jumping into a draft queue more often - or just giving up if I don't feel like drafting.  I would actually prefer 6-pack sealed (but only if the packs arent' phatom), and if both 4-pack and 6-pack queues were up I would usually at least start out in the 6-pack queue and only switch to 4-pack if the 6-pack is firing too slowly.  I'm not likely to wait more than 15 minutes for a 8-player queue to fire.
The main reason 6B sealed failed in the past was because it was in it's own room.  I would very seldom go to the sealed room, and when I did the Q's were never close to firing.  If they put back the exact same 6B sealed in the new Limited room, I'm sure it would fire.  Not as much as 4B sealed but more then before.



Ah, yes.  Moving the sealed queue to the "draft" room where is more visible was important.  And suggested many times on these boards back in the day.  And it finally did happen - so those who claim that Wizards does not listen to us, here is at least one example where it seems that they did (and it is also clear that we were right, and they gained from listening to us).  So, I still have hope that they will see the light and put in some kind of decent sealed queue that lets us keep what we open. 

Still catching up on this thread, but so far the 6-pack entry (no tix)/8-player queue with a 7/4/2 payout seems to be closest to what we have now with 4-pack.  But do note: currently, net income to WOTC for 4-pack 5/3/1 payout is equivalent to 60 tix; that would go up to 92 tix for the 6-pack 7/4/2 payout. 

I think WOTC could juice things up more to boost up the popularity of the queues.  Consider this option: 6-pack+2 tix entry (or 26 tix); swiss, with payout 3 packs per win.  This 9/6/3 payout would still leave WOTC making 64 tix per event, more than they make now with the 4-pack queues, and right at what draft 8-4 and 321swiss net them.  I think that players would be all over that queue, and the 2 tix extra cost would be happliy paid for the payout bump.
I think WOTC could juice things up more to boost up the popularity of the queues.  Consider this option: 6-pack+2 tix entry (or 26 tix); swiss, with payout 3 packs per win.  This 9/6/3 payout would still leave WOTC making 64 tix per event, more than they make now with the 4-pack queues, and right at what draft 8-4 and 321swiss net them.  I think that players would be all over that queue, and the 2 tix extra cost would be happliy paid for the payout bump.



If you read Worth's and Lee's twitter responses it becomes very clear that what they believe was holding sealed back was to high a cost.  Note they are thinking for cost in an up front sense, not taking into account the savings a good payout gives.  So to that thinking the new sealed are better because the up front cost is cheaper.

From their perspective, they would never want to put up a 6B sealed  + 2 tix as they think the average player would see that as to expensive.  This is the reason when 4B sealed was introduced there was no tix attached, to make it as cheap as possible.  I belive they think they went a little to far on the EV of these.  If this is the case my suggestion would be changing the payout of 4B sealed to:

9points: 4 packs
6points: 3 packs
3points: 1 pack

This would change the payout to be  32 packs in, 16 packs out, or %50.  This is down from the previous, to good, %53.1 payout, but still much higher then the swiss draft payout of %42.9.  It would also make 4B sealed more in line with swiss draft where winning does not come out that far ahead, just lets you break even.

I would play these just as much with 1 less pack for winning as I always thought the previous payout was a little to generous in the long term.  The only thing that kept them from firing more was some peoples misconceptions of how 4B sealed worked.
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?



Exactly, Nushae.  As is often the case, you've cut to the crux of the issue.  WOTC doesn't seem to fully appreciate this distinction, or at least not give the value of card keeping enough weight in their decisions.
If you read Worth's and Lee's twitter responses it becomes very clear that what they believe was holding sealed back was to high a cost.  Note they are thinking for cost in an up front sense, not taking into account the savings a good payout gives.  So to that thinking the new sealed are better because the up front cost is cheaper.

From their perspective, they would never want to put up a 6B sealed  + 2 tix as they think the average player would see that as to expensive.  This is the reason when 4B sealed was introduced there was no tix attached, to make it as cheap as possible.


I've read through their tweets, and it isn't that clear-cut to me.  But I agree that it does seem clear that they considered a low cost to enter as probabaly the most important factor.  Plus, from the article, they do seem to dismiss the idea of a non-phantom 6-pack queue being popular enought to fire consistently, and use past 6-pack queues as an example.  But this ignores the issue that those queues were also in a different room, which I think mattered a lot.  Also, entry/payout will of course factor in to how popular things are....

I belive they think they went a little to far on the EV of these.



...but it isn't the be all/end all.  I take the tweet from Worth where he said "bleh" about arguements based mostly on EV to mean that EV isn't their main consideration.  I'm not insulted at all by Worth saying that - the focus shouldn't be on EV.  That kind of focus would not result in the best overall bottom line; no one would play this game if they didn't enjoy it, and it is hard to exactly factor in enjoyment into EV calculations.  But WOTC must factor it in to their decisions, as it is even more important than EV to their bottom line, as they make no money if no one is playing.  The tough choices of what they do (as far as play options) come down to making educated guesses about how much the fun factor is worth to players for different options, and coming up with the right options/costs/payouts that maximize their net profit.  They don't always make the right educated guess.  Sometimes, they overestimate the importance of some factors and underestimate others.  They must struggle with the fact that sometimes options cannabilize too much on each other, and fracture the play audiences too much, but they can't always forsee which options will cannablize each other.  They look at feedback from the players and re-evaluate.  They don't always get it right the first, second, or third time (perhaps never, leagues I'm looking at you), but they are still in business and we're still having fun.  I'm not saying that EV doesn't matter, and I'm not saying that they don't ever look at it, but if they focus only on EV they are out of business within 6 months.

Now, time to see if MTGO is back up yet so I can get in some more 4-pack sealed before they go away (not phantom cube, tried that last night and even though it was cheaper than 4-pack sealed and it was cool to draft a mox etc., just as I suspected it felt quite hollow not keeping the cards).

4 pack sealed is pretty much exactly what I'm looking for in a limited event.

Reasonable cost of entry - and I can recoup my costs to play in another one if I go 3-0, and in most cases if I go 2-1.

I enjoy keeping my cards too. If you want any hope of capturing my business going forward, cost-effective events that allow me to keep my cards are the way to do it.  

Phantom is fine for cube (though to be honest, I'm pretty unhappy with how expensive this go around of the cube is -- probably won't be playing much more unless I keep winning out) -- but 4-pack sealed is kind of my sweet spot at the moment. 

I like a swiss event - I like being able to keep the cards, and I like the price point.

I want to keep giving you money WoTC, please don't give me a reason to stop. 
...but it isn't the be all/end all.  I take the tweet from Worth where he said "bleh" about arguements based mostly on EV to mean that EV isn't their main consideration.  I'm not insulted at all by Worth saying that - the focus shouldn't be on EV.  That kind of focus would not result in the best overall bottom line; no one would play this game if they didn't enjoy it, and it is hard to exactly factor in enjoyment into EV calculations.  But WOTC must factor it in to their decisions, as it is even more important than EV to their bottom line, as they make no money if no one is playing.  The tough choices of what they do (as far as play options) come down to making educated guesses about how much the fun factor is worth to players for different options, and coming up with the right options/costs/payouts that maximize their net profit.  They don't always make the right educated guess.  Sometimes, they overestimate the importance of some factors and underestimate others.  They must struggle with the fact that sometimes options cannabilize too much on each other, and fracture the play audiences too much, but they can't always forsee which options will cannablize each other.  They look at feedback from the players and re-evaluate.  They don't always get it right the first, second, or third time (perhaps never, leagues I'm looking at you), but they are still in business and we're still having fun.  I'm not saying that EV doesn't matter, and I'm not saying that they don't ever look at it, but if they focus only on EV they are out of business within 6 months.



I'm 100% sure Worth and Lee don't consider EV their main consideration. However, it is kinda dubious that high EV events are being scratched for lower EV follow-ups. Consider the changes they made to cube where they didn't get it right the first time, nor the second time, nor the third time (or ever thusfar).



  • First it paid out in regular boosters and had tremendous EV for players: 8*7 tickets entry gave out 12 boosters. No need to say these events were popular, resulting in dropping booster prices for ISD and DKA. Obviously this was a problem for Wizards, as no one buys those boosters in the store when you can buy them in secondary market for 3-3.25 tickets. Although lowered booster prices made cube winnings less attractive, the fact those same low prices made regular DII drafts cheaper compensated for that. Conclusion: good for players, bad for Wizards. Result: change

  • Second time round they paid out in TSP block boosters. Same entry, same payout, but because hardly anybody actually wanted to draft Timespiral these boosters became worthless. A draftset is currently still only 5 tickets and I doubt this will ever change. Conclusion: horrible for players, but because of the fun-factor of Cube people kept playing = good for Wizards. Result: no change

  • Third time lucky? Nope. Exactly the same payout structure happened for the next Cube outing, with Onslaught block packs. Currently a draftset OLS is 4 tickets! Woohoo! The public outcry that followed made sure Wizards had to change something, otherwise Cube wouldn't survive. Conclusion: bad for players, bad for Wizards. Result: cube tickets

  • Wizards grabbed the chance to make a change in payout structure. Entry increased to 8 tickets with prize support lowered to an equivalent of 9 boosters. Wait you say, pay more to win less? Yes. And part of the prize support isn't even tradable and can only be used to enter new cube queues, but only if you have a certain amount. Once again horrible for players, but since the previous two outings were equally horrible people seemed to have accepted it.


Now 4-pack sealed is next in line. It had the best EV of all limited events, it has to go for "other reasons". Replace it with a lower value alternative, which will probably not be as popular due to various reasons given in this thread. Then in a couple of months time conclude people don't seem to like phantom events and replace them with a normal 6-booster sealed queue, with a worse payout than the 4-pack sealed queues.

All we can do is vote with our wallets. I haven't played any Cube since cubetickets were introduced. And I don't plan on playing in the new 6-booster phantom sealed queues either. 
The reason I suggested a 4 ticket phantom format was because I figured there was a subset of players who want to play for cheap.  (I still do believe that, even if they aren't represented on this forum.)  All of the people who responded negatively basically said they wouldn't play because of the E.V.  That, of course, is to be expected.  The thing is that the E.V. of that 4 ticket sealed isn't actually that horrible depending on how you look at it.  The RATIO is bad.  But the payout against playtime isn't bad at all.  Paying 4 tickets to play in a sealed event is probably a good deal for a lot of people who just want to play the game. 

My theory was that Phantom Sealed isn't going to work unless it:

1. Has AMAZING E.V.  I'm think to the point where going 2-1 nets you a profit. 

OR

2. Is incredibly cheap to enter.  This still isn't going to draw people attached to E.V., but it should attract people who just want the tournament experience for cheap or possibly people who want to grind QPs for cheap.


My theory was that Phantom Sealed isn't going to work unless it:

1. Has AMAZING E.V.  I'm think to the point where going 2-1 nets you a profit. 

OR

2. Is incredibly cheap to enter.  This still isn't going to draw people attached to E.V., but it should attract people who just want the tournament experience for cheap or possibly people who want to grind QPs for cheap.



I agree, and they made it exactely to fit your reason number 2. It is, by some tickets margin, the cheapest way to enter a limited event at 8 tickets entry. It is even cheaper than the 4-pack sealed they removed, which cost 3 boosters to enter. So if there's a crowd who just want to play a queue with the lowest upfront cost, no matter what the payout is, these new events will do fine. I think it is reasonable WotC tries to target this audience, and to give them a friendly environment to dabble into tournaments for the first time (assuming most players with this preference are newer or (below) average players) it is a good business move to have these queues have less EV than other offerings.

Perhaps the market is big enough to also have 4-pack sealed alongside these cheap phantom events - I don't know. I'm sure WotC will try to figure that out and act accordingly.

I would like to voice my complaint about taking away the 4-pack sealed. I understand your point of view Wizards and I understand that mil is really strong in 4-pack sealed but that’s really only a problem when you have a lot of mill cards. I opened a M13 Jace, the one that’s 0 to mil and mil a lot, and only went 2-1 still. I really like the 4-pack format, I know it’s different for seasoned players who are used to 40 card decks but just because it’s a little different doesn’t make it bad. It’s a different way to deck build and that’s all. There is a learning curve to the difference between 4 and 6 pack but in all reality there is a learning curve for all of magic it’s self. I think the different format makes some of us a better magic player all together. I really liked the prize pay-out in 4-pack and I feel like the new phantom draft that you want to do isn’t the same. The only event that I do is the 4-pack sealed and I have come to love it as my favorite magic format I would really be upset if you stopped doing the 4-pack sealed so I would like you to reconsider. Those of us in the MTGO community who play 4-pack sealed understand the format and understand how to build decks around it. I feel that this decision will make a lot of people un-happy and while I understand that Wizards only wants to help us I think taking away some players favorite formats might be the wrong way to do it. If you still want to put the phantoms in there, there is no reason why they can’t co-exist together. So Wizards I would like you to please reconsider the decision to do away with the 4-pack sealed.

When there's a small set released, Wizards holds triple-small set drafts during the release week. I don't think Wizards does set development around this draft format. I hope the elimination of four-pack sealed isn't a sign that triple-small set drafts are going away. I like the occasional imbalanced, degenerate strategies.
When there's a small set released, Wizards holds triple-small set drafts during the release week. I don't think Wizards does set development around this draft format. I hope the elimination of four-pack sealed isn't a sign that triple-small set drafts are going away. I like the occasional imbalanced, degenerate strategies.



I remember triple Savious of Kamigawa (as bad as it was)

EOT - I cast [CARD]Spiritual Visit[/CARD], splicing [CARD]Spiritual Visit[/CARD], [CARD]Spiritual Visit[/CARD], [CARD]Spiritual Visit[/CARD], [CARD]Spiritual Visit[/CARD] and [CARD]Spiritual Visit[/CARD].

Untap, [CARD]Charge across the Araba[/CARD]
You can do some fun things when playing with packs in a manner that wasn't originally intended!
What if they tweak 4 packed sealed a tad and kept entry and payout the same...    The kicker is pack 5 and 6 are phantom...  Boom I fixed it,  unless its just impossible to mix phantom and non phantom cards.
4-pack and 6-pack are different formats. I like the 4-pack format. I would occasionally play Shivdaddy's format if that was my only choice, but it wouldn't be as fun for me.

Just adding my thoughts to these changes (it's all been said, but :


1) The change to monthly promo cards is disappointing. 2 cards per month, no lands... ugh.


2) Phantom events are terrible. I collect cards.


3) MOCS change is decent... except I doubt I will be playing as much as I used to, so I likely won't be qualifying for it.


4) New player events... meh I'm not a new player.



Overall, my playing has been decreasing steadily as Wizards continues to make this experience worse for players. 

If they honestly wanted to give players a cheaper option for sealed, and remove the 'abnormal format' (that they believe 4 booster sealed is) we would be seeing something like:

3tix entry phantom sealed swiss - 2-1-1-1 payout.

As well as having a normal 6 booster (no tix) queue that pays out - 7-4-4-4-2-2-2-0

That way people that want the cheap option, can do the phantom event, those that want to keep their cards, do the other one.
If they honestly wanted to give players a cheaper option for sealed, and remove the 'abnormal format' (that they believe 4 booster sealed is) we would be seeing something like:

3tix entry phantom sealed swiss - 2-1-1-1 payout.

As well as having a normal 6 booster (no tix) queue that pays out - 7-4-4-4-2-2-2-0

That way people that want the cheap option, can do the phantom event, those that want to keep their cards, do the other one.



Heh, that is EXACTLY what I suggested earlier in this thread.  Good to see I'm not alone. 
about to play a 4pack sealed

i kinda wish i was playing holiday cube

but i feel compelled to grind these while they are still available

 
I will sorely miss the 4 booster sealed.  I hate drafting.  I will never play a phantom event.  I always play all three rounds, because I love playing.  Like others have posted, the daily events don't match up with my schedule most of the time.  Lee Sharpe said I have other options, but what are they?

To me, replacing 4 booster sealed with phantom sealed makes as much sense as offering sealed with single elimination.  No one was asking for it, and most of the people playing 4 booster sealed won't enjoy it.

My suggestion is to make two changes: 5 boosters (still no tix), with 40 card decks.  Back when they were selling tournament packs, 5 packs were all you got.  The sets had significantly more cards, with a good number of truly unplayable cards (the infamous Chimney Imp is from this time).  R&D might not develop for 40 card decks from 5 boosters, but with the different quality and quantity of cards I bet it's better than it was back then.  Offer this alongside the phantom experiment.  I think that the overlap between the people who want to play traditional sealed with the people who want cheap limited is tiny, so they won't compete with each other.
I will sorely miss the 4 booster sealed.  I hate drafting.  I will never play a phantom event.  I always play all three rounds, because I love playing.  Like others have posted, the daily events don't match up with my schedule most of the time.  Lee Sharpe said I have other options, but what are they?

To me, replacing 4 booster sealed with phantom sealed makes as much sense as offering sealed with single elimination.  No one was asking for it, and most of the people playing 4 booster sealed won't enjoy it.

My suggestion is to make two changes: 5 boosters (still no tix), with 40 card decks.  Back when they were selling tournament packs, 5 packs were all you got.  The sets had significantly more cards, with a good number of truly unplayable cards (the infamous Chimney Imp is from this time).  R&D might not develop for 40 card decks from 5 boosters, but with the different quality and quantity of cards I bet it's better than it was back then.  Offer this alongside the phantom experiment.  I think that the overlap between the people who want to play traditional sealed with the people who want cheap limited is tiny, so they won't compete with each other.



It doesn't make sense to move up to 5 from 4.  It isn't as if the extra booster (to six) is the backbreaker.  I think most people would simply prefer them to change it to six if they HAVE to get rid of 4-booster sealed.  If you threw a booster away you'd have people playing 3 and 4 color jank decks because they don't have enough cards.

It DOES make sense to just move to 6 booster sealed with no tickets.  It keeps the format how they want it.  Wizards would like you to believe that the reason they cannot offer this is because not enough people would play it.  Except, they're wrong.  People might grumble a bit because it costs more, but if they up the prize ratio to compensate for the change equally (7/4/2) people are still going to flock to it.

I think they only way Phantom Sealed is going to work is if they drastically lower the entry.  (Down to 3 or 4) 



If they honestly wanted to give players a cheaper option for sealed, and remove the 'abnormal format' (that they believe 4 booster sealed is) we would be seeing something like:

3tix entry phantom sealed swiss - 2-1-1-1 payout.

As well as having a normal 6 booster (no tix) queue that pays out - 7-4-4-4-2-2-2-0

That way people that want the cheap option, can do the phantom event, those that want to keep their cards, do the other one.



Yes, price of entry is a problem. As Niabock said above, you hit a run of bad pools, and you can get in financial trouble. It should even up later, but to take advantage of that, you need to have some tickets stashed away to tide you over the bad times. That's probably too much plan-ahead for the beginners.

I support the first of the above proposals. It feels so good to me, it might merit a thread of its own.

Go draft, young man, go draft!

If they honestly wanted to give players a cheaper option for sealed, and remove the 'abnormal format' (that they believe 4 booster sealed is) we would be seeing something like:

3tix entry phantom sealed swiss - 2-1-1-1 payout.



Payout is too high for this one: 24 tickets entry offer 20 tickets worth of prizes, that's not good enough for Wizards.
Probably needs to be 4 tickets for Wizards to be worth it, needs to be a booster instead of 4 tickets to be interesting for me.

4pack sealed is the reason I play Magic today. It's been my format of choice since late 2010. I was initially attracted to its prize structure and the way it grows your nonrare collection naturally, without warping from draft preference.

The phantom queue idea is interesting, but the proposed payout is unacceptable. I will not play any queue that does not give at least a slight reward to a player who wins 2/3 of his or her matches. As of now, 2-1 gives you 2 packs, which would typically sell at 3.5 each. The cost of the queue should be no more than 6 tickets so that a 2-1 performance yields 1 ticket profit. 1 ticket profit is close to the average profit of a 4pack 2-1 performance today, averaging over many seasons of play from Scars to RtR, when you calculate the average resale value of rares.

Rewarding good players is crucial to sustaining player moral. When the good players (those who win 66% or more) are only breaking even or are at a loss, the status of being good becomes less respected and aspired to. It is a mistake to think that the masses of players will all fall under the spell of desiring to play on the PT or the MOCS. Many of us need more than a pipe dream to encourage us to get better or keep playing, and that need is fulfilled by rewarding regular people for good play in regular events.

Please pay attention to the success of the new phantom queues and consider bringing 4pack back or reducing the cost to attract more players if profit is down.

I've said this before and I'll say it again as a warning to new players who aren't totally hooked yet. Magic is a great game, and you may find yourself loving a particular niche of it or basing your decision to play it on the status quo at that time. But out of your control, the authorities may some day make a change that altogether removes your favorite aspect of the game or breaks whatever unspoken consumer contract you have, and on that day the thing you love will be taken from you and you'll be powerless as a minority voice, while the majority of players carry on not caring about what you cared about, washing out your grievances with a growing profit signal.
First it paid out in regular boosters and had tremendous EV for players: 8*7 tickets entry gave out 12 boosters. No need to say these events were popular, resulting in dropping booster prices for ISD and DKA. Obviously this was a problem for Wizards, as no one buys those boosters in the store when you can buy them in secondary market for 3-3.25 tickets.



Without going into the rest of your post, I would like to point out that this part is logically false. 8*7 tix for 12 boosters comes out at 4.6 tix per booster, MORE than the store charges. The event effectively sells packs for more than store prices. If you can buy them secondary for 3.25, someone else has paid the difference for you. For WotC it doesn't matter who pays as long as someone does.

They are fine with ppl buying for 3.25 from a bot, since it means an above average amount of packs has already been sold for 4.6. Look elsewhere for reasons they want to reduce Cube payout.
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Without going into the rest of your post, I would like to point out that this part is logically false. 8*7 tix for 12 boosters comes out at 4.6 tix per booster, MORE than the store charges. The event effectively sells packs for more than store prices. If you can buy them secondary for 3.25, someone else has paid the difference for you. For WotC it doesn't matter who pays as long as someone does.

They are fine with ppl buying for 3.25 from a bot, since it means an above average amount of packs has already been sold for 4.6. Look elsewhere for reasons they want to reduce Cube payout.



I'm not saying Cube events had positive EV, I'm saying the negative EV of only 1 ticket per player for 2-3 hours of fun was great.
Compare this to draft where the same 2-3 hours spent usually costs 4+ tickets per player. 
I 100% agree with elpato's post.  With these payouts, you can reach the finals of the tournament and still come out behind.  For a phantom sealed event to only have 1 out of 8 of the players even "win" enough to cover their entry fee is unacceptable.  I thought the whole point of phantom queues was to make them cheaper and a better value for the players, but these queues are possibly the worst value out there.  In the month or so before M14 comes out, M13 packs will fall to about 2.7, as Core-Constructed packs always do at that time.  It used to be a time when I would play a ton of 4-pack sealed since there was so many pack still out there in circulation.  Now, the M13 sealed will go competely unplayed because the prizes will be 3-2-1, or in tickets 8.1, 5.4, 2.7, and you can't even use packs to enter.  You have to pay the full 8 tickets.  

The incentives of playing enough MTGO to become good at a format and do well in tournaments are starting to really decrease for a large group of players.  

Without going into the rest of your post, I would like to point out that this part is logically false. 8*7 tix for 12 boosters comes out at 4.6 tix per booster, MORE than the store charges. The event effectively sells packs for more than store prices. If you can buy them secondary for 3.25, someone else has paid the difference for you. For WotC it doesn't matter who pays as long as someone does.

They are fine with ppl buying for 3.25 from a bot, since it means an above average amount of packs has already been sold for 4.6. Look elsewhere for reasons they want to reduce Cube payout.



I'm not saying Cube events had positive EV, I'm saying the negative EV of only 1 ticket per player for 2-3 hours of fun was great.
Compare this to draft where the same 2-3 hours spent usually costs 4+ tickets per player. 



I was specifically addressing the part "no one buys those boosters in the store when you can buy them in secondary market for 3-3.25 tickets". This is simply false. They ARE bought from WotC through the events. It is true that the event effectively causes more tix to be consumed (and thus bought) than packs, but to WotC it doesn't matter WHAT is sold; money = money.
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I was specifically addressing the part "no one buys those boosters in the store when you can buy them in secondary market for 3-3.25 tickets". This is simply false. They ARE bought from WotC through the events. It is true that the event effectively causes more tix to be consumed (and thus bought) than packs, but to WotC it doesn't matter WHAT is sold; money = money.



Agree, "no one" is false. But less people will if you can also 'buy' them at a very small premium of $0.67 while also playing cube for 2-3 hours.
In draft we are paying $6.83* for a booster, much more profitable for Wizards.

* entry: 8*14= 112, value of opened product: 8*3*1.25=30, total cost=112-30=$82. $82/12 boosters won = $6.83 for each booster.
At the risk of repeating myself, I will ask that if they are getting rid of 4-pack sealed, then please replace it with non-phantom 6-pack sealed, w/ 3 rounds swiss pairings, and firing on-demand in the regular limited queues.

I'm not crying so much over the loss of 4-pack sealed. The high EV wasn't the draw, nor was the price point.

I'm upset because the alternatives offered don't work for me. I'll play sealed over draft every day of the week. WotC took away the one sealed option that met my needs as a player.

What are my other sealed options? Phantom events make no sense for collectors. The scheduled events don't line up with my schedule, and 4 rounds is too long.

Now what? You're basically saying that I either have to play drafts, or play in events where I don't get to keep the cards, or find more time in my life to play the scheduled events. Sorry, but those options just don't work for me.
I know my favorite part of magic is opening a pack of cards, I would think this is many peoples favorite part.  Phantom events are a cool idea, but its directly the opposite of mine and many others favorite part of magic.  I just love busting open a sealed pool, looking over them and crossing my fingers for a big money mythic/rare!  I personally would not play a phantom event unless it was dirt cheap or a crazy high EV, both not likely.
Can someone help me figure this out: Is there any reason to keep playing on one account after you get 15 QP's if you are trying to earn 4 FOW's, or is it better to switch accounts and try to get 15 on it? Also, do people that qualify for the MOCS Finals get an extra copy, so it would be worth it to try to earn 35?



Oh yeah, Getting rid of the 4 pack for Phantom is an incredibly terrible idea. Idiotic.




And PLEASE get rid of the AUTO-SCROLL during big tournaments!         
Can someone help me figure this out: Is there any reason to keep playing on one account after you get 15 QP's if you are trying to earn 4 FOW's, or is it better to switch accounts and try to get 15 on it? Also, do people that qualify for the MOCS Finals get an extra copy, so it would be worth it to try to earn 35?

Oh yeah, Getting rid of the 4 pack for Phantom is an incredibly terrible idea. Idiotic.

And PLEASE get rid of the AUTO-SCROLL during big tournaments!         



The prelim event COST (ie use up) 15 QP's. So you can join 1 prelim event for every 15 QP's you have. You can in fact join all 4 if you win enough QP's. The finals COST 35 QP's which can either be earnt from grinding or by winning (placing highly) in a prelim events. I think the maximum number of FOW's you can get is 6 if you enter and win all the prelim events and then do well in the finals.

Also auto scroll seems to be gone in the beta.

I've bought the cards and made a deck Now how do I win at this?

Can someone help me figure this out: Is there any reason to keep playing on one account after you get 15 QP's if you are trying to earn 4 FOW's, or is it better to switch accounts and try to get 15 on it? Also, do people that qualify for the MOCS Finals get an extra copy, so it would be worth it to try to earn 35?



I think switching is best if you're purely interested in FOW. The first 15 QPs earn you a FoW, the 2nd 15 only net you another chance to play in a preliminary where you can win another if your record is good enough.
I've been playing M:tG since revised came out.  I've never been a very good player, but have always had fun playing.  Sealed has always been my favorite format.  Right around the time MTGO was released, I moved to an area where I didn't know anyone who played.  So MTGO became the easiest way for me to play. 

I played in Leagues for years and loved them.  They were my favorite format for M:tG.  I was really upset when they were taken away and it was very obvious that it was done for monetary reasons.  It took a long time for me to find another format that appealed to me even remotely as much as leagues - that format was 4 pack sealed.  It was quick (I've played tourneys that ran 3 rounds in under 2 hours), challenging and gave the thrill of opening packs.  I was fortunate enough to go infinite for about 6 weeks on M12 tourneys earlier this year.  I never had any other runs of going infinite that lasted more than 3-4 tourneys, but that one just kept going - mainly because I already had all the cards I needed and didn't keep many of the rares/mythics.  I realized that if I could go infinite for that long (even just once), players that are better than me were probably doing similar things on a more consistant basis - and it probably wouldn't be long before WotC decided to take action.  It looks like that's what were seeing now.

Theoretical questions for all the four-booster supporters:

1) Would you play if they kept four-booster sealed but added two tickets to the entry (to bring it in line with other events)?
2) Would you play in non-phantom 6-booster sealed queues? (These did horribly before the invention of 4-booster, but the MTGO landscape was different back then)




I would probably play either of those formats, but it's hard to know if I would play as much until I actually started playing them.  I would probably also play 4 pack sealed tourneys if the payout was 4/2/1 instead of 5/3/1 - and like the formats you suggested, I would have no way of knowing how much I would play the format until I actually played it.



The problem with the EV calculators is that they totally disregard the value of the entertainment. Many even count it as a negative ("spent X hours for terrible prizes").

Look, I get EV. I'm a pretty spiky person. I average 25-30 hr/week playing live poker. I've made dozens of graphs comparing the EV of events on these boards.  But EV is not the end-all, be-all in determining the value of an event, and not all decisions need to be controlled by EV.




The above quote really upsets me.  If there's one thing that you should be able to tell from this thread is that there are A LOT of people who use EV as a major factor in what/how they play.  It's not everybody - heck, it's not me.  But there's enough of them out there that you can't just turn a blind eye and pretend that they don't exist or that they don't matter.  That's the equivalent of playing aggro decks and saying "I understand that there are people out there who play control decks - but those people are just wrong and shouldn't do that."

People only have a limited amount of money that they can spend on their entertainment.  MTGO has proven to be an outlet where peopler are willing to spend that money and 4 pack sealed is a popular event that people are willing to spend money to play.  The move to end 4 pack sealed tourneys comes across as WotC saying "Now that we know you're willing to give us your money, we want you to spend more and to do it in the way we deem appropriate."


 I realized that if I could go infinite for that long (even just once), players that are better than me were probably doing similar things on a more consistant basis - and it probably wouldn't be long before WotC decided to take action.  It loks like that's what were seeing now.



It bothers me though that they refuse to admit it.
Anyway on the whole EV =! entertainment argument, I disagree as well. For me, drafting is way more fun than sealed. But I rarely draft, because I find it too expensive. You typically skip all the 2-3 ticket cards because you need a card that works in your deck. If you go swiss, you lose money even if you win the entire draft (still find that funny). If you do 8-4, you have the chance of being eliminated in round 1. Takes half the time, costs twice as much.

I find these sealeds are the best of both worlds. You always get 3 matches out of it, and I love being able to craft something out of a pile of crap that manages to go 2-1. You keep the cards afterwards, and you build up your collection with cards you wouldn't otherwise get. 

Phantoms just do nothing for me. Not being able to keep the cards just turns me off. If the payout was OK (here comes that EV again), I would still do it, because playing is a lot of fun. However, not being able to keep the cards AND having absolutely no hope of winning anything at all, it just seems like a huge waste of my time.

The dailies are not an option to me. 4 rounds + additional players means they can last up to twice as long as the sealed queues.
So they're losing my money when they remove on-demand sealed queues. I hope people will not join these new queues, because Wizards is not listening to the outrage.. maybe they'll listen when the queues dry up.

 
Personally, I will not play in the Phantom 6 booster sealeds.  The 4 pack sealed provided the easiest way to build my collection at a reasonable price.  Worth, you are going down the same road that you traveled when you changed TNMO.   How'd that switch to Phantom work out for Wizards?  Maybe it's just me, but if I play in an event I want the cards.  Period.
How about 1/2 phantom events?  They would cost 14 tix or 3 packs and 2 tix exactly the same as a draft. You get 3 packs which you keep and then get 3 more packs to fill out your deck constuction pool. Then the prize payouts would be either 8-4 or swiss with 1 pack per win.

This would be exactly the same cost and EV as draft events as long as they didn't offer 4322 which we all know should be 5322! 
Either keep 4 pack sealeds on alongside these phantom sealeds or keep it how it is. I know there's a financial reason as to why wizards wouldn't let us just play with our packs without the need to buy tix from them (or someone else). I basically only play 4 pack sealed unless an older format is draftable (did a 4 pack sealed and an urza draft today, for example).

The prize support for 8 tickets is garbage. If you made it 5 tix entry and we got 2 packs for 2-1, that would at least look better (enough to play at least).

I care about a return, and keeping the cards is a great way to do that. Wizards just taking tickets for insufficient amounts of prize seems unfair to the player base. This change is keeping players down.

AT LEAST keep them both available for a while and just figure out what's more in demand by the amount of events played in both. That's a fair way for the public to decide what's best for MTGO.