Magic Online Announcements April 5, 2016

Posted in Magic Online on April 5, 2016

By David Whitfield

David works on the Magic community team as a content specialist. He spends his days writing about Magic Online and trying to play too many colors at once in Limited.

What Is the Magic Online Weekly Announcements Blog?

Every Tuesday, we round up all of the biggest Magic Online news for the Weekly Announcements Blog.

Check in weekly for the latest updates!


Quick Links


Ongoing and Upcoming Events

Head on over to our shiny new event calendar at MTGO.com/Calendar for an easy-to-digest breakdown of events happening all across Magic Online. Events are divided into six categories:

  • Premier Play: Pro Tour Qualifier and Magic Online Championship Series Events.
  • New Set Celebrations: Prerelease Events and limited-time events for products like Modern Masters. These events appear with a greenish background on the calendar.
  • Limited Highlights: Limited Set Championships, Cubes, and Flashback Drafts.
  • Constructed Highlights: Format Challenges like the Legacy and Power 9 Challenges as well as Constructed Set Championships can be found here.
  • Streamed Events: Streamer Showdowns, the Magic Online Championship, and other Streamed Magic Online events.
  • Important Dates: Prize Rotations, B&R Updates, On-Sale Dates, and League Begin/Close/End Dates.

From now on, we'll call out certain events in the Weekly Announcements as they're first beginning, but the Magic Online calendar will be your best source to find details on events to play now or in the near future.

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New Ways to Play Leagues

Whether you want more competition or additional packs in your Magic Online Leagues, Digital Events Manager Lee Sharpe's latest article has details on League events coming soon that might interest you!

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Legendary Cube Changing to Legacy Cube

A quick note from Digital Product Manager Lee Sharpe:

We are committed to trying to find a variety of alternative event experiences to offer players on Magic Online and the Legendary Cube is another example of this goal. While the Legendary Cube has its fans, it’s clear from our data as well as feedback we’ve received from players that the Legendary Cube isn’t resonating with many of you in the way that we had hoped.

Therefore, starting Wednesday morning, April 6, at 10:00 a.m. PT, we’ll be replacing the Legendary Cube queues with Legacy Cube queues. The Legacy Cube queues will run through Friday, April 15 at 10:00 a.m. PT when Shadows over Innistrad Prereleases begin. This Legacy Cube will be the same version that ran in January. You can see more details on the cube here.

This change doesn’t mean, of course, that we will stop trying new things. We plan to keep doing so, and to keep responding to both data and player feedback as we evaluate our offerings and strive to deliver fun experiences to our players.

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Upcoming Shadows over Innistrad Streamer Showdown on April 21

If you've never seen a Streamer Showdown before, they come in two eight-player pods that feature some of the best streamers in the community brawling with the latest Magic Online sets. If you're trying to improve your game, Magic Online streamers are some of the best players out there—and some of the best teachers, too. Even if you're already a Magic pro, throw your support behind one of the competitors and cheer them on from their Twitch chat!

This Streamer Showdown will feature a Shadows over Innistrad Draft! Check out the streamer lineup below, then stop by your favorite streamer's Twitch channel on Thursday, April 21, at 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. PT (UTC-7) for the latest Streamer Showdown.

Thursday, April 21, 1:00 p.m. PT (UTC-7) Event

Thursday, April 21, 6:00 p.m. PT (UTC-7) Event

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The Year of Modern Flashbacks Moves Into Coldsnap

It's 2016: The Year of Modern Flashbacks! If you want to build up a collection for Modern, these Flashback Drafts add everything you draft to your collection once the event is over. Even if Modern isn't your thing, you can enjoy a leisurely draft through the planes of the past with rotating formats each week!

Triple Coldsnap Flashback Drafts begin Wednesday, April 6 at 10:00 a.m. PT (UTC-7) and run until the Wednesday, April 13, downtime. After that, we're taking a short Flashback Draft break for Shadows over Innistrad events. Flashback Drafts will return after the May 4 downtime, with Triple Time Spiral Drafts! Get the full schedule here and mark your calendar for the formats you're most excited about!

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B&R Updates Go Into Effect April 13 on Magic Online

In case you missed it, Banned and Restricted updates to Vintage and Modern can be found here. These changes will go into effect on Magic Online on April 13, following the downtime.

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Bug Blog Delayed Until April 14

The Bug Blog that would normally post on Thursday, April 7, is being rescheduled to April 14. Circumstances are always-changing as we build up to a set release—postponing the Bug Blog until April 14 will give us a much better idea of what known issues may be present when Shadows over Innistrad launches on Magic Online. Aside from this Bug Blog, all others will remain on their regular schedule, so we will have a Bug Blog on both April 14 and April 21.

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Changes to Viewing Replays

With the downtime on April 13, players will no longer be able to watch replays of matches or events they did not participate in. This change includes replays for open play matches, but will not affect the ability to watch those matches in progress. Also note that if you participate in a tournament (though not a League), you’ll be able to replay any of the matches from that event as long as it is visible in the Play Lobby.

As stewards of Magic, we in R&D feel that this action is necessary to prevent data mining that contributes to Constructed formats growing stale before their time. At its essence, Magic is best when it's a game of exploration and puzzle-solving: this is why providing new formats and new experiences are so important. By gathering large sets of data from Magic Online events, a given format too-rapidly changes from exciting exploration to cold statistical analysis. While the analysis may be fascinating, it generally makes for far less compelling gameplay. This leads to reduced enthusiasm about the analyzed format, which in turn ultimately hurts not just Magic content creators worldwide, but the game as a whole.

Beyond keeping formats fresh, we expect that many of those players who want to use Magic Online to playtest decks without sharing their latest inventions will appreciate this change to increase their privacy.

We encourage players to discuss and write about Magic as they explore the game and its various formats. We know that many players have used Magic Online replays to watch enjoyable high-level games of Magic. As an alternative, we recommend watching some of the many players who stream their Magic Online play, either as a live feed or archived video.

- Magic Online R&D

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Attention Windows XP and Vista Users

After the May 4th downtime, Windows XP users and Windows Vista users with Service Pack 1 will be unable to download or play Magic Online due to Magic Online upgrading to the .NET 4.5.2 Framework. This upgrade is a necessary one for us to continue to improve Magic Online.

Windows XP does not support .NET 4.5.2, so those users will have to upgrade their operating system to continue playing Magic Online.

Windows Vista does support .NET 4.5.2, but only if Vista users have Service Pack 2 installed. Please visit this link for information on determining which Service Pack you have, and how to upgrade Service Packs at no charge.

Some users may also have to upgrade the .NET Framework on their machine. You can visit this website for information on how to determine which .NET Framework is installed on your machine. If you do need to upgrade your .NET Framework, please visit this website to obtain the upgrade at no charge.

Downloading these updates can take a significant amount of time, so we recommend downloading as soon as possible.

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Complete your league matches by the morning of April 13

At 7:00 a.m. PT on April 13, Leagues currently in progress will end. Make sure you have finished your League matches by then! New Constructed Leagues will begin after the April 13 downtime, and you can play in a Shadows over Innistrad Prerelease Sealed League starting April 15!

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No Downtime on April 6

In an effort to make sure Magic Online is available when you want to play Magic, we’re working on ways to reduce the number of times we have to bring the system offline for maintenance. As a first step we’re simply going to eliminate at least one downtime each month.

Here are the dates of the exact downtimes we’ll be skipping in the first half of 2016:

  • April 6
  • April 20
  • May 11
  • June 8
  • June 22

During these weeks without a downtime, Magic Online will NOT be processing set redemptions. This means that if your redemption order wasn't made prior to the March 30 downtime, it won't be processed until April 13. Furthermore, if your order isn't made prior to the April 13 downtime, it won't be processed until April 27 since we are skipping the April 20 downtime as well.

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