Technically Speaking: Bringing Magic 2015 Online

Posted in Magic Online on August 12, 2014

By Jesse Raymond

Introduced to Magic by a family friend as a child in 1993, Seattle native Jesse Raymond excitedly joined Wizards of the Coast twenty years later as Magic Online's first Technical Artist. Jesse hasn't seen that family friend in years, but hopes Wilhelm stumbles across this one day so Jesse can say "thank you!"

August
July 30 - August 27
 
MOCS Promo
MOPR Event Promo

Hello and welcome! I’m very excited to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how we brought the Magic 2015 card update to Magic Online. We’ll look at what changed on the card faces and walk through how those changes went from the printed card to Magic Online. We’ll also talk about why we can’t just use the same process to make print and digital cards simultaneously, and what makes them different.

Magic 2015 is an exciting milestone in Magic history because, for the first time since Eighth Edition, the frames and fonts on the faces of Magic cards have undergone a makeover. This facelift not only modernizes the look and feel of Magic with elements like the sleeker black card border, but also brings some improved functionality to the table, too. To begin with, we’ve switched to using Beleren, our new font designed specifically for Magic. We’ve also improved how the collector’s information is organized and displayed, making it easier for human or machine eye alike to sort cards. The most notable change is the addition of the foil stamp of authenticity on rare and mythic rare cards, which also adds some flare to make those cards feel more special than common, uncommon, and basic land cards. In addition to those major changes, the devil was in the details for Magic 2015, since every element on the card face had moved or changed, even if slightly. For comparison, here’s how Magic Online displays Hoarding Dragon in the Eighth Edition and Magic 2015 frame style:

One of the biggest challenges we face with digital Magic is that our needs are wildly different from printed Magic when it’s time for production. Print and digital share the same designs and image assets but, beyond that, they are two very different creatures. While print has to worry about the limitations of ink and presses, digital has to work within the boundaries of code and dynamics. Keeping those differences in mind, we knew very early that we need to break the design files down into individual pieces and then rebuild those pieces into the Magic Online version of Magic 2015.

We needed a way to track all of those details and changes, and we needed a blueprint so we’d know how to rebuild the card face once the design was broken down into individual elements. So, we created design specs. These specs delved deeply into the design details, including measurements and unit conversions, typeface specifics, styling rules, and other various production notes. By documenting all of these details, the team had a roadmap to success that we could all follow.

As you’ve probably already guessed at some point in the past, we don’t recreate each card individually. We use frame templates, which are collections of code and image assets. Every element of a card, including the background, text, art, power/toughness, collector’s info, and stamp of authenticity, are layered upon each other piece-by-piece. By using templates, we can reproduce a dynamic version of any card in our database on demand.

To create the template, we separated all of the elements into three majors groups: background, regular size and large size. The template is separated into these three groups to support game play performance, which can be a concern when displaying numerous cards at once.

The background consists of the texture files for the background, title plaque, type plaque, power/toughness plaque, rules textbox and the stamp of authenticity, as well as a vector path for the pinlines that tie it all together. The background has access to textures and color swatches for every color in Magic, which means that we only need a single template to create a card of any color. By following hybrid and multicolor rules, the cards are also able to intelligently use gradients and/or gold when a card meets the correct conditions. Since it is more performance-friendly, once the card background is rendered, we flatten the entire background into a single image file and cache it, allowing us to use it numerous times with only a tiny hit to overall rendering speed with every instance on the screen.

The standard and zoom-view groups are partially redundant in that they both have instructions coded for how to style the same elements of the foreground, and both versions overlay onto the same instance of the background. For example, both standard and zoom views include the card name, mana cost, type, expansion symbol, rules text, and power/toughness, but they treat elements very differently. Standard view uses truncation and stricter legibility rules to support cards in the collection and on the battlefield, since these are the scenes that have the potential to display the cards at small scale. The zoom view can be seen in the Preview Pane and when zooming in on a card, and it maintains the “true view” of a card by scaling text instead of truncating it. The goal of the large-sized card is to provide a high-quality view of the card, while the goal of the standard card view is performance-driven game play. With these goals in mind, we chose to only show the collector’s information on the large card. It’s also why we have two foreground groups in our card templates. Here’s an example of the background by itself, the large card and the regular card (image scaled up for comparison sake), respectively:

The templates are built to be as flexible as possible, and have the potential to be any color, creature or noncreature card, with or without the stamp of authenticity, and with or without any watermark. For example, by having a few switches flipped under-the-hood, a common red sorcery, a green promo creature, and hybrid land can all share the same template, despite the differences that make them distinct from one another.

Template flexibility also allows a card to change color on the battlefield, something that printed Magic simply can’t do. Let’s see this in action by using Magic 2015’s favorite color-changing spell, Turn to Frog:

While templates are incredibly useful, there is one thing to consider. Templates are not one-size-fits-all. Even though we’ve done a great job of being able to create nearly every card in an expansion with a single template, cards like Planeswalkers and tokens are simply just not similar enough to fit into the same mold. For the Magic 2015 release on Magic Online, we ended up creating seven new frame templates:

  • Standard cards
  • Planeswalkers with three abilities
  • Planeswalkers with four abilities
  • Tokens with rules text
  • Tokens without rules textbox
  • Full art promos
  • Emblems

Many of you are probably as surprised as I was when I found out we had to double up on Planeswalkers and tokens. Garruk, Apex Predator, the only four-ability Planeswalker in the set, is not that different from the rest of the Magic 2015 Planeswalkers is he? When it comes down to factors like the size of the art window versus the size of the rules text area, Garruk becomes different enough that he and any future four-ability Planeswalkers needed their own template. The same is true about tokens, as the addition of the rules text box is enough to require a second template.

As you can probably imagine, creating new frame templates is going to be a high priority for Magic Online as fresh content is released. Not only do we need to create templates for brand-new frame types, but we’ll also need to create Magic 2015 versions of existing frame types as they get reprinted. For example, miracles require a unique template, so the next time we print a miracle card, we’ll have to create a new template for Magic 2015–frame miracles. By creating a second miracle template, we can keep all of the Eighth Edition–style miracles in your collection looking like they always have while being able to offer the swanky new miracle cards sporting the new Magic 2015 frames at the same time.

Well, friends, I’m sorry to say, but that concludes our behind-the-scenes tour. I’m Jesse Raymond, Magic Online’s Technical Artist, and technically speaking, this has been a blast!

Magic 2015 Core Set Championships

Posted in Magic Online on August 5, 2014

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.


August
July 30 - August 27
 
MOCS Promo
MOPR Event Promo
Hunt Bigger Game

Push yourself to the limit with Magic: The Gathering, the world’s premier trading card game. Customize your own Magic deck with potent spells and creatures, then challenge your friends to see who's the fiercest predator!

The Magic 2015 Core Set is out in the wild! Hopefully, you had a chance to participate in the Magic 2015 Prerelease Events that concluded on July 28. If not, get over to the Release Events that are going on until August 13. Do you think Garruk became the Apex Predator overnight? No way; that takes practice. Well, practice and a horrible curse, but that's beside the point. You're going to need every opportunity to study up on the set because Magic 2015 Championships are on the way!

Just like those wilderness survival shows, you'll need to know how to make the most out of limited resources to triumph over the competition in the Limited Qualifiers beginning on Wednesday, August 27. Then test your foresight and planning skills as you hunt down the competition in the Standard Qualifiers, beginning Wednesday, September 3! Participation in any qualifier event will earn you a Reclamation Sage promo card!

Once natural selection has left only the fiercest competitors standing, qualified players will receive an invitation to participate in a corresponding Championship Final Event. On Saturday, September 6, the Magic 2015 Limited Championship Finals take place at 8:00 a.m. Pacific. The Limited Championship is a Swiss Sealed event followed by a Top 8 Draft. Once the Limited Champion has claimed their prize, the hunt for a Standard Constructed Champion begins.

The Magic 2015 Standard Championship Finals begin at 8:00 a.m. Pacific on Saturday, September 13. The Standard Championship is a Swiss Constructed event followed by a single-elimination, Top 8, Standard match-up to decide the victor.

In addition to big booster prizes, all players participating in a Championship Final will earn promotional versions of In Garruk's Wake and Chief Engineer.

Refer to the tables below for the full details!

Quick Links

Magic 2015 Participation Promo Cards
Participation Promo Card Event Participation

Participate in a Magic 2015 Core Set Championship Qualifier.

Participate in a Magic 2015 Core Set Championship Final.

Participate in a Magic 2015 Core Set Championship Final.

Magic 2015 Core Set Championship Qualifiers

Magic 2015 Limited Championship Qualifiers
START TIMES
  • Wednesday, August 27, 12:30 p.m. until Tuesday, September 2, 12:00 a.m.
  • Event runs every three hours, on the half hour.
  • All times are Pacific (for UTC, add 7 hours)
LOCATION Scheduled Events
ENTRY OPTIONS
Option 1 Option 2
30 Event Tickets 6 Event Tickets
plus product
PRODUCT 6 Magic 2015 booster packs
SIZE 33-64 players
PLAY STYLE Swiss
FORMAT Sealed
DURATION 20 minutes deck-building time. Five rounds, each round up to 50 minutes.
PRIZES
Match Wins Prizes QPs
5 Wins 16 Magic 2015 booster packs and an invite to the Magic 2015 Limited Championship Finals 4
4 Wins 12 Magic 2015 booster packs and an invite to the Magic 2015 Limited Championship Finals 2
3 Wins 8 Magic 2015 booster packs 0
Participation Prize: All players participating in a Magic 2015 Championship Qualifier will receive a special promo version of Reclamation Sage.

Magic 2015 Standard Championship Qualifiers
START TIMES
  • Wednesday, September 3, 12:30 p.m. until Tuesday, September 9, 12:00 a.m.
  • Event runs every three hours, on the half hour.
  • All times are Pacific (for UTC, add 7 hours)
LOCATION Scheduled Events
ENTRY OPTIONS
Option 1
15 Event Tickets
PRODUCT 1 Standard Legal Constructed deck
SIZE 33-64 players
PLAY STYLE Swiss
FORMAT Constructed
DURATION Five rounds, each round up to 50 minutes.
PRIZES
Match Wins Prizes QPs
5 Wins 15 Magic 2015 booster packs and an invite to the Magic 2015 Standard Championship Finals 4
4 Wins 10 Magic 2015 booster packs and an invite to the Magic 2015 Standard Championship Finals 2
3 Wins 5 Magic 2015 booster packs 0
Participation Prize: All players participating in a Magic 2015 Championship Qualifier will receive a special promo version of Reclamation Sage.

Magic 2015 Core Set Championship Finals

Magic 2015 Limited Championship Finals
START TIMES
  • Saturday, September 6, 8:00 a.m.
  • All times are Pacific (for UTC, add 7 hours)
LOCATION Scheduled Events
ENTRY OPTIONS
Option 1
Invite Only
PRODUCT 6 Magic 2015 booster packs provided by Magic Online
SIZE 65-672 players
PLAY STYLE Swiss with Top 8
FORMAT Sealed
DURATION 20 minutes deck-building time. Each round will be up to 50 minutes with the number of rounds determined by attendance, followed by a Top 8 Draft.
PRIZES
Place Prizes QPs
1st 20 Magic 2015 booster packs, 2 premium sets of Magic 2015, and 2 regular sets of Magic 2015 15
2nd 20 Magic 2015 booster packs, 1 premium set of Magic 2015, and 1 regular set of Magic 2015 15
3rd-4th 20 Magic 2015 booster packs and 1 premium set of Magic 2015 15
5th-8th 20 Magic 2015 booster packs and 1 regular set of Magic 2015 15
9th-32nd 15 Magic 2015 booster packs 0
33rd-128th 5 Magic 2015 booster packs 0
Participation Prize: All players participating in a Magic 2015 Championship Final will receive a special promo version of Chief Engineer and In Garruk's Wake.

Magic 2015 Standard Championship Finals
START TIMES
  • Saturday, September 13, 8:00 a.m.
  • All times are Pacific (for UTC, add 7 hours)
LOCATION Scheduled Events
ENTRY OPTIONS
Option 1
Invite Only
PRODUCT 1 Standard Legal Constructed deck
SIZE 8-672 players
PLAY STYLE Swiss with Top 8 playoff
FORMAT Constructed
DURATION Each round will be up to 50 minutes with the number of rounds determined by attendance, followed by Top 8 Standard Single-Elimination.
PRIZES
Place Prizes QPs
1st 20 Magic 2015 booster packs, 2 premium sets of Magic 2015, and 2 regular sets of Magic 2015 15
2nd 20 Magic 2015 booster packs, 1 premium set of Magic 2015, and 1 regular set of Magic 2015 15
3rd-4th 20 Magic 2015 booster packs, and 1 premium set of Magic 2015 15
5th-8th 20 Magic 2015 booster packs, and 1 regular set of Magic 2015 15
9th-32nd 15 Magic 2015 booster packs 0
33rd-128th 5 Magic 2015 booster packs 0
Participation Prize: All players participating in a Magic 2015 Championship Final will receive a special promo version of Chief Engineer and In Garruk's Wake.

Guidelines for PTQ Finals and MOCS Finals

Posted in Magic Online Event Info on July 30, 2014

By Wizards of the Coast

In the past few months we have made a number of improvements to Magic Online in order to properly support premier events. We've added additional team members dedicated to supporting events, deployed better tools to make them effective at solving issues when needed, and continued our dedication to improving event stability and quality. We have successfully run multiple test events with these improvements in place, including the Magic Online Championship Appreciation events, to ensure the best possible player experience when Premier Play returns to Magic Online. Additionally, we've created and have published our guidelines for reconciliation when there are unforeseen issues with events. We recognize that no matter how prepared we are, factors such as general Internet issues, Magic Online application issues, and general troubleshooting issues can and will still need to be addressed. You can find these new guidelines below.

We have broken down the issues that occur with Premier Play Events into three categories; individual player issues, event-impacting issues, and event catastrophe issues. For each category, we want to both define what the category means and let you know what to expect in case you find yourself experiencing an issue within a Premier Play event.

These guidelines are designed to cover the PTQ Finals and MOCS Finals on Magic Online, as these are the events that have full Digital Event Coordinator (DEC) support.

Individual Player Issues within PTQ/MOCS Finals

Individual player issues include, but aren't limited to, individual player lag, accidently dropping from an event, or a game-impacting bug. When this type of issue does occur, the player should reach out to our in-game Online Response Crew (ORCs) for immediate assistance. If after talking with an ORC the issue is not resolved, at that point we encourage you to send a bug/reimbursement request along with supporting evidence around the issue (screenshots and game numbers are always highly encouraged).

As we know that Premier Play events have an extra level of importance to our players, we will be making sure that each individual player issue reported through the bug/reimbursement system gets escalated to be reviewed by our Magic Online support team so that we can do as much as possible to resolve the issue. If an issue cannot be addressed during an event, most issues should be addressed within two days following the event.

Event-Impacting Issues within PTQ/MOCS Finals

Event-impacting issues include, but aren't limited to, issues that impact all or many players in an event, but then those issues are successfully mitigated by the Magic Online system or our Digital Event Coordinators. An example of an event-impacting issue would be a delay caused by an individual round not concluding properly until the DEC activates the new tools to help the round conclude properly. Another example is if a large number of players started experiencing system lag, at which point the Digital Event Coordinators would go about extending the in-game and global timers so that event integrity would remain intact.

Previously, the above examples would have compromised the event integrity to a point where the event would have been canceled. Now, in situations such as this, we expect to have the issue resolved and players communicated with within 45 minutes of the initial issue discovery. While we always encourage players to reach out if they feel as though an issue is occurring, we ask for your patience in order to get to a resolution as quickly as possible. As we understand that even up to a 45 minute delay is not ideal, for events that experience significant delays we will grant each player in the event a Draft Pack of the current set within two days of the event finish. The Digital Event Coordinators will announce to the players in the event that we are working through this type of issue and will let players to know if they are receiving a Draft Pack. Players should not need to file for reimbursement unless the two-day window has passed and they have not received the Draft Pack.

Event Catastrophe within PTQ/MOCS Finals

Our goal within Magic Online is to do everything within our power to make sure we avoid this outcome. An event catastrophe is any PTQ/MOCS Finals event that doesn't successfully complete with event integrity intact to a winner. Unfortunately, there are some situations that arise that leave us no choice but to declare an event ended prematurely. While our goal is to avoid this situation completely, we want to better clarify what players should expect when this does occur.

With the exception of events that are in the Top 8, any event that does not successfully complete will have all of the following occur:

 

  • There will be a makeup event starting at the same time and day as the impacted event one week later. The makeup event will have the same prize structure as the original event.
  • All players X–2 or better (calculated from the last fully completed round) will be invited to the makeup event. For instance, if you were 4–2 in an event that had completed Round 6 when an issue occurred, you would receive an invitation to the makeup event.
  • All players in the original, impacted event will receive one pack per match win (calculated from the last fully completed round).
  • If the issue occurs after Round 4 or later in the original event, players who are X–1 or better (calculated from the last fully completed round) will receive an additional one pack per match win.
  • Players would receive the above regardless if they were active or had dropped from the event.
  • All of the above are in addition to any other grants. For instance, if an event has both an event-impacting issue and an event catastrophe, players would receive both the Draft Pack from the impacting issue and the above from the event catastrophe.
  • If the Magic Online system has awarded prizes to the event, those prizes will be retained by the players. Players will keep the cards they have opened in Limited events.
  • We will contact players through our communication channels within 45 minutes of an event catastrophe. We will strive to make the contact quicker within the Magic Online client, however please note that depending on the extent of the issue we may need to resort to communication outside the client to inform players of the situation.
  • You will not need to file for reimbursement; the Magic Online team will handle it automatically. All reimbursements will be completed within two days after the original date. The makeup event and the appropriate invitations will be created following the next Wednesday downtime.

 

For events that are in the Top 8, instead of the above we will do the following:

Constructed events in Top 8:

 

  • We will look to restart the current round within 60 minutes of the issue. Players still in the event should expect to receive a contact within that time from our Digital Event Coordinators to let them know what next steps are.
  • When the Constructed event is remade, players will be able to switch their deck choice for the makeup event.

 

Limited events in Top 8:

 

  • We will look to restart the current round within 60 minutes of the issue. Players still in the event should expect to receive a contact within that time from our Digital Event Coordinators to let them know what next steps are.
  • If the event did not progress past the Top 8 round, we will have a redraft with all eight players.
  • If the event is in the Top 4 or Top 2, we will set up a Sealed Deck event for the remaining players.

 

These are intended only as a guideline to help establish expectations if an event issue does occur. As each circumstance is individual, please respect that we will do our best to handle each situation as we feel is best. If you ever have any issue within Magic Online, we encourage you to reach out to our Game Support team here.

Premier Play Returns to Magic Online!

Posted in Magic Online on July 30, 2014

By Mike Turian

Before joining Magic Online as its digital product manager, Mike worked as a producer for Wizards's technology department, a product manager for organized play, and as an R&D lead developer. He has played Magic Online since it came out in 2002 and Magic since The Dark.

Today, I am excited to announce that Pro Tour Qualifiers (PTQ) and the Magic Online Championship Series (MOCS) events are both returning to Magic Online starting this August! We know that our players have been eagerly awaiting the return of these events as premier play is one of the key reasons that so many people play Magic Online. Premier play is a huge part of delivering awesome Magic experiences within Magic Online, so we are excited that Magic Online will again offer a path to the Pro Tour.

Quick Links:
The Return of the Magic Online Championship Series Events
The Return of the Pro Tour Qualifier Events
Pro Tour Challenge

In the past few months, we have made a number of improvements to Magic Online in order to properly support Premier Events. We've added additional team members dedicated to supporting events, deployed better tools to make them effective at solving issues when needed, and continued our dedication to improving event stability and quality. We have successfully run multiple test events with these improvements in place, including the Magic Online Championship Appreciation events, to ensure the best possible player experience when premier play returns to Magic Online. Additionally, we've created and have published our guidelines for reconciliation when there are unforeseen issues with events. We recognize that no matter how prepared we are, factors such as general Internet issues, Magic Online application issues, and general troubleshooting issues can and will still need to be addressed. You can find these new guidelines here.

The Return of the Magic Online Championship Series Events

Each MOCS season, players compete to become that season's Magic Online Championship Series champion.

At the conclusion of each year, the following players receive invitations to the Magic Online Championship and their chance to compete for their share of more than $100,000, increased Pro Club status, and an invitation to the Magic World Championship:

  • The winner of each MOCS Season Final
  • The winner of our Player of the Year event
  • The winners of the two Last Chance Qualifiers
  • Last year's Magic Online Championship winner (Lars Dam in 2013)

You can read the full details of the MOCS program here.

The MOCS program will be keeping the same structure as it had prior to premier play being put on hold. Each month, our top players will have the opportunity to play in any of six MOCS Preliminary events, followed later that week by a MOCS Season Finals event. The first MOCS events will return to Magic Online with the July (Season 8) Preliminaries, starting on August 6, with the season finals occurring on August 9.

Along with staying consistent with previously announced Finals dates, we have planned out all makeup events for the Finals that had been postponed. Each Final will have six Preliminary events that will occur during the week leading up to the respective Seasons Finals.

Here is a full table of MOCS events:

Date

Event

Format

Saturday, August 9, 2014

July (S8) MOCS

Magic 2015 Sealed

Saturday, August 30, 2014

December (S1) MOCS*

Standard

Saturday, September 6, 2014

August (S9) MOCS

Legacy

Sunday, September 14, 2014

January (S2) MOCS*

Standard

Saturday, September 27, 2014

February (S3) MOCS**

Vintage Masters Sealed

Saturday, October 4, 2014

September (S10) MOCS

Khans of Tarkir Sealed

Saturday, November 8, 2014

October (S11) MOCS

Standard

Saturday, November 22, 2014

March (S4) MOCS*

Modern

Saturday, November 29, 2014

April (S5) MOCS*

Khans of Tarkir Sealed

Saturday, December 6, 2014

November (S12) MOCS

Vintage Masters Sealed

Sunday, December 7, 2014

May (S6) MOCS*

Khans of Tarkir Block Constructed

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Player of the Year event

Khans of Tarkir Sealed

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Last Chance Qualifier #1

Khans of Tarkir Sealed

Sunday, December 21, 2014

June (S7) MOCS*

Holiday Cube Sealed

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Last Chance Qualifier #2

Holiday Cube Sealed

*Indicates Make up Season
**The February (S3) MOCS Season already ran Preliminary events. There will only be a Finals event for this season.
All MOCS Finals, Player of the Year and Last Chance Qualifiers Finals start at 7 a.m. Pacific.
Full information on MOCS events, including MOCS Prelim times.

The Return of the Pro Tour Qualifier Events

With the return of Pro Tour Qualifiers to Magic Online, we have adopted a new system for running PTQs on Magic Online, beginning with the February 2015 Pro Tour Qualifier season. Magic Online PTQs will now consist of a set of Preliminaries that grant invitations to the PTQ Finals. Winners of PTQ Finals receive invitations to the associated Pro Tour,as well as the Pro Tour Challenge for that Pro Tour (described below).

New Magic Online PTQ Structure:

  • Each PTQ Finals will have ten Preliminaries events earlier in the week.
  • Each Finals event will have the same play format as the Preliminaries that qualify players for the Finals.
  • Preliminaries will be 128 players and five rounds. All players who go 4–1 or better will qualify for the associated Finals.
  • Winning a Preliminary will qualify that player for the associated Finals event.
  • Players may participate in as many Preliminaries as they like (even if you have already qualified for the associated Final), but can only earn a single invitation to the PTQ Finals.
  • Preliminaries will typically cost 30 Event Tickets to enter.
  • Finals will have no entry fee but will be invitation only. They will have rounds determined by the number of players with a cut to Top 8.
  • For PTQ Finals being held on a Saturday, the Preliminaries will be held during the week leading up to the PTQ Finals at Wednesday 4:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m.; Thursday 8:30 a.m., 12:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. (all times Pacific).
  • For PTQ Finals being held on a Sunday the Preliminaries will be held during the week leading up to the PTQ Finals at Wednesday 3:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m.; Thursday 10:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m.; Friday 10:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m.; Saturday 10:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. (all times Pacific).
  • As announced in this article, Magic Online PTQs will no longer be awarding +1,000 Planeswalker Points to the winner of PTQ Finals.

Magic Online will typically host sixteen Pro Tour Qualifier Finals following each set of Preliminaries that will have the same format as their Preliminaries. On weeks that there are both Constructed and Limited PTQ Finals, the Constructed Preliminaries will qualify players for only the Constructed Finals and the Limited PTQ Preliminaries will qualify players for only the Limited PTQ Finals.

Participation in Magic Online PTQ Preliminaries and Finals is open only to players who have not been invited to the corresponding Pro Tour.

See the complete event rules here.

Here is the schedule for PTQ Finals for the PTQ February PT season on Magic Online:

Date

Type

Format

Sunday, August 31, 2014

PTQ February PT—Limited

Magic 2015 Sealed

Sunday, September 7, 2014

PTQ February PT—Limited

Magic 2015 Sealed

Sunday, September 21, 2014

PTQ February PT—Limited

Magic 2015 Sealed

Sunday, September 28, 2014

PTQ February PT—Limited

Magic 2015 Sealed

Sunday, October 5, 2014

PTQ February PT—Limited

Khans of Tarkir Sealed

Saturday, October 11, 2014

PTQ February PT—Standard

Standard

Sunday, October 12, 2014

PTQ February PT—Limited

Khans of Tarkir Sealed

Saturday, October 18, 2014

PTQ February PT—Standard

Standard

Sunday, October 19, 2014

PTQ February PT—Limited

Khans of Tarkir Sealed

Saturday, November 1, 2014

PTQ February PT—Standard

Standard

Sunday, November 2, 2014

PTQ February PT—Limited

Khans of Tarkir Sealed

Sunday, November 9, 2014

PTQ February PT—Limited

Khans of Tarkir Sealed

Saturday, November 15, 2014

PTQ February PT—Standard

Standard

Sunday, November 16, 2014

PTQ February PT—Limited

Khans of Tarkir Sealed

Sunday, November 23, 2014

PTQ February PT—Limited

Khans of Tarkir Sealed

Sunday, November 30, 2014

PTQ February PT—Limited

Khans of Tarkir Sealed

Pro Tour Challenge

Players who earn an invitation to a Pro Tour will also receive an invitation to the Pro Tour Challenge. This in-person event is held during the Pro Tour event and pits Magic Online Pro Tour Challenge invitees against one another in two-player, single-elimination tournaments for a chance to win prizes.

Prizes for the Pro Tour February 2015 Challenge and beyond have increased! Players can now win $1,500 USD plus Magic Online booster packs. Pro Tour Challenge tournaments will be scheduled around the applicable Pro Tour main event to ensure players are able to participate in both.

See the complete schedule and event rules here.

See You Online!

We are excited to bring premier play back to Magic Online. If you have any comments, concerns or feedback on this update, please direct them to MTGOFeedback@wizards.com. On Twitter, you can also follow Magic Online (@MagicOnline) or use the #MTGO tag for discussion.

Thanks,
Mike Turian
Digital Product Manager—Magic Online
Twitter: @mturian

Magic Online Announcements July 29, 2014

Posted in Magic Online on July 30, 2014

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.
Upcoming Events
July 28-August 13
10:00 a.m. Pacific (17:00 UTC)
until
12:00 a.m. Pacific (19:00 UTC)
Magic 2015 Core Set Release Events
August 13-August 19
Events run on the schedule found here.
Vintage Limited Championship Qualifiers
August 20-August 26
Events run on the schedule found here.
Vintage Constructed Championship Qualifiers
August 23
8:00 a.m. Pacific (13:00 UTC)
Vintage Limited Championship
August 30
8:00 a.m. Pacific (13:00 UTC)
Vintage Constructed Championship
What Is the Magic Online Weekly Announcements Blog?

Every Tuesday, we round up all of the biggest Magic Online news and post it right here in the Weekly Announcements Blog. Check in every Tuesday for all of the latest news!

Magic Pro Tour Qualifier Announcements Today and Tomorrow

Check out Helene Bergeot's article to read about upcoming changes to the structure of face-to-face Pro Tour Qualifiers. Once you're done with that, check out MTGO.com and DailyMTG.com tomorrow for information around Pro Tour Qualifiers on Magic Online.

Wizards of the Coast is Looking for New Team Members

Ever wanted to work at Wizards of the Coast? Now's a good time to apply! The Magic Digital Team is currently seeking to fill two positions.

Duels of The Planeswalkers, Technology Project Manager

If you love Duels of the Planeswalkers and have a passion for delivering games on-time, on-budget, and of the highest quality – then this might be the career for you!

Magic Online – Card-Set Project Manager

Fundamental to everything we do – the Project Manager for Magic Online card-sets will have a passion working with multiple teams to deliver amazing experiences to our players – on-time, on-budget, and of the highest quality!

July MOCS and MOPR Seasons End July 30, 2014

As a reminder, the July seasons for MOCS and MOPR both end tomorrow, July 30. After the downtime tomorrow, the new August MOCS season begins! August's promo is Show and Tell! The July MOCS promo, Geist of Saint Traft, as well as the July MOPR promos, Dissolve and Magma Spray, will be granted during the downtime.

2014 Magic Online Championship Series
The MOCS 2014 August Season runs from July 30, 2014, through August 27, 2014. The promo card is:


Magic Online Player Rewards Program
The August MOPR period runs July 30, 2014, through August 27, 2014. Here are the promo cards:

Event and Prize Rotations

With the release of the Magic 2015 Core Set, events and prizes will be updated on the schedule below.

 

The Events Calendar will be updated with full details on the dates indicated.

Wednesday, July 30
Modern, Momir, Pauper, and Standard Constructed 8-Man Queues rotate to below prize schedule
1st: 5 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
2nd: 3 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
3rd-4th: 2 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
Modern, Momir, Pauper, and Standard Constructed 2-Man Queues rotate to below prize schedule
1st: 1 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
Modern and Standard Constructed Daily Events rotate to below prize schedule
4 Wins: 11 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
3 Wins: 6 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
Standard Premier Events rotate to below prize schedule
1st: 36 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
2nd: 24 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
3rd-4th: 15 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
5th-8th: 9 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
9th-16th: 6 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
17th-32nd: 3 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
Sealed Premier Events rotate to below prize schedule
1st: 36 booster packs
2nd: 24 booster packs
3rd-4th: 15 booster packs
5th-8th: 9 booster packs
9th-16th: 6 booster packs
17th-32nd: 3 booster packs
Other Premier Events rotate to below prize schedule
1st: 24 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
2nd: 15 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
3rd-4th: 12 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
5th-8th: 6 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
9th-16th: 3 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
Wednesday, August 13
Events Rotating Out
Events Rotating In
With the conclusion of Release Events, the following Magic 2015 Core Set Events rotate in:
  • 8-4 Draft Queues
  • 4-3-2-2 Draft Queues
  • Swiss Draft Queues
  • 4-Booster Sealed Queues
  • 6-Booster Sealed Daily Events
  • 6-Booster Sealed Premier Events
  • Phantom Sealed Queues
Downtime for July 30, 2014

  • All tournaments will close at 5:00 a.m. Pacific (12:00 UTC)
  • Store and trade activity will be suspended at approximately 7:45 a.m. Pacific (14:45 UTC)
  • The system will be down from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Pacific (15:00 to 19:00 UTC)

No download required this week.

R&D Feature: Thought Courier

Posted in Magic Online on July 23, 2014


July
 
MOCS July Promo
MOPR July Event Promo

Welcome back everyone! Previously in this space, Jon Loucks brought you the latest news and gossip from the front lines of Magic Online design. Now that he’s moved on, I’ll be doing the same: giving you some insight into the collective mind of the Magic Online design team.

The last few months have been very exciting. Within R&D, we moved some team members over to the digital design team: I moved from the editing team to be the dedicated editor for Magic Online, and Tom LaPille moved over from the development team to work on card set implementations. Now, we’re both focused completely on Magic Online, and I’m very excited to be working to make one of my favorite games of all time even better.

The most recent kind of “better,” of course, is the release of Magic 2015 online. This set introduces a bunch of really awesome things, not all of which are readily apparent, so today we’ll walk through some of what you’ll be seeing with this set and the latest updates to the client.

Speaking of updates to the client, it’s worth noting that Magic 2015 is the first set built and released on only the new client. As a result, since we won’t be building for two clients anymore, we’ll be able to get more done, focused as we are now on delivering new releases for just one client. This is definitely one of the best things to happen to Magic Online in a while. For more on this, check out Chris Kiritz’s article, or Worth Wollpert’s article.

Show and Tell

In addition to the numerous surveys we’ve run, the Magic Online team reads Twitter, Reddit, and a bunch of other social media regularly. It’s important for us to know what’s important to our customers, after all. One thing that has struck me is that there are a lot of features in Magic Online—some unique to the new client—that never see any discussion. Maybe it’s because everyone just knows these things, but I didn’t always know these things. I’d have appreciated someone telling me that, say, holding the M key while clicking a dual land for mana will automatically select a color, saving me a click when I’m paying a generic mana cost. Or that pressing F7 will put all of my Soul Warden triggers on the stack at the same time.

For the last few weeks, we’ve been putting out short daily articles on how to make good use of the client, and there’s also now an in-game comprehensive help manual. Click Help in the navigation bar and just about every topic in Magic Online is covered. Each section walks through using the client step by step, from interacting with your collection and building a deck to usage tips in a duel.

If there are features that you feel still aren’t fully explained, definitely let us know.

Read the Bones Cards

You may have noticed that reminder and flavor text aren’t showing up on cards without zooming in anymore. We took a look at the various ways people used that text, and in almost every case, when a player wanted to read it, they weren’t benefiting from the way we were displaying it on the battlefield.

People use reminder text as a way to understand a new (or new-to-them) mechanic, and while that text does a lot of heavy lifting in explanations, it doesn’t add much to the experienced player who knows how the mechanic works. Experienced players generally turned off reminder text anyway, because they typically know how their cards work. For those players who benefit from reading reminder text, having a necessarily abbreviated version of that text show up on the battlefield isn’t as useful as it was trying to be.

Additionally, Magic is a complicated game. Text showing up on cards in a complex board state when that text isn’t helping you understand what’s going on is far more liable to confuse than clarify. It turns out that having the Bronze Sables and Centaur Coursers showing a blank text box can help make processing board states just a little easier.

Now, this text isn’t gone. All of that italic text still shows up when you zoom in on a card or look at it in the Preview Pane. It’s still there, still easy to get to, and you can still read flavor text while waiting for your opponent to make a decision. It just won’t show up when it’s not helpful anymore.

So why did we move from offering an option to not offering an option? This is a large philosophical design question, but it’s one that players often ask. In short, options are great when you have multiple modes with each serving a different need. Unfortunately, both the “always show reminder text” and “never show reminder text” were failing to serve the needs of the audiences they were trying to serve. This balanced approach, we feel, will be able to meet everyone’s needs better than either of the old options ever could.

A Token of My Appreciation

Now that we’re freed from developing for two clients, we’re able to devote resources to improve the way that the game looks and feels. One of the things that I’m excited we were able to clean up early in this process is the presentation of tokens.

Tokens come in two broad categories of frames: with and without text boxes. On printed tokens, choosing a frame is easy: Elspeth’s Soldier tokens don’t need it, but Garruk’s black Beast tokens with their deathtouch ability certainly do.

In general, Magic Online has kept to the printed cards as much as possible. No matter what happened to the card, you’d always see Elspeth’s Soldiers without a rules text box in the frame. The advantage here is obvious: we want to keep to the printed game as much as possible. That’s the game’s greatest strength, after all: Magic Online is Magic, just online.

It’s important for Magic Online to show off the current state of an object, though. After all, we take advantage of the fact that this is a digital game by putting blue text on objects to provide clarity. Tokens deserve the same treatment as cards.

Previously, we reconciled that by maintaining the frame for tokens without rules text boxes, but adding a transparent white rectangle to act as a rules text box. It worked, but it made the text hard to read, and it made the art harder to see.

This is the same Wolf token, in the same game state. The right is the zoom view. This is obviously not ideal.

Now, though, we’ve developed the technology to dynamically change the token frame as needed. When a Soldier token gains an ability, it’ll have a rules text box the same as though it were printed with one. It won’t match printed cards, of course, but the visual will be much cleaner on the digital battlefield.

For a behind-the-scenes exclusive, take a look at this mogg. When I was putting together the pitch for this token frame dynamism, I had one of our graphic designers whip up an example of what it would look like. This guy acted as the proof of concept, and I can’t tell if he’s angry, excited, or both.

And now that it’s all implemented: a Soldier token from M15, both with and without rules text.

Indulge Me, If You Will

If you’ll indulge me a moment, I’d like to show off one of my favorite Magic 2015 cards, because it shows how we’re trying to speed up gameplay and prevent unnecessary clicks.

It’s the black Prerelease card in the upcoming Magic 2015 Prerelease events online, so we knew this card is going to see a lot of play. When this Demon’s trigger resolves, it presents your opponent with three options: sacrifice a creature, pay 3 life, or allow you to draw a card.

Under the old system, we would have presented three buttons—one for each of those options. If the opponent clicks on the sacrifice option, the opponent clicks again on the creature to sacrifice. This works, but there’s no reason to ask a player to click twice to get an effect if we can avoid it.

So here’s how it works instead: there are two buttons, and we highlight the creatures you can sacrifice. If your opponent wants you to get the card: one click. If your opponent pays life: one click. If your opponent sacrifices a creature: one click.

Ultimately, we think that this is a faster and smoother experience. What do you think?

Grasp of Phantoms

Worth talked about this in a previous article, but just as a reminder: as a thank you for playing, we're granting Phantom Points and one each of the Magic 2015 Prerelease items to every account that’s logged in at least once between April 2008 and the July 23 downtime. If you haven’t already used them on the Holiday Cube, you can use them to join a non-phantom Prerelease event for free.

I’m hoping to see a lot of you playing! It’ll be a great time, and I can’t wait to hear about everyone’s Prerelease stories.

Allison Medwin
Digital Editor, Magic Online
@trulyaliem on Twitter

Magic Online Announcements July 23, 2014

Posted in Magic Online on July 23, 2014

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.
Wednesday, July 23 Magic Online Maintenance Extended
 

We will be extending our downtime to finish up our maintenance. We expect downtime to continue until at least 1:00 p.m. Pacific. The @magiconline twitter account will tweet when Magic Online is back up.

Magic Online Announcements July 22, 2014

Posted in Magic Online on July 22, 2014

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.
Upcoming Events
July 16-July 25
Magic Online Holiday Cube (in July!)
  • Paired Format:
  • Modern Masters
July 25-July 28
10:00 a.m. Pacific (17:00 UTC)
until
10:00 a.m. Pacific (17:00 UTC)
Magic 2015 Core Set Prerelease Events
July 28-August 13
10:00 a.m. Pacific (17:00 UTC)
until
12:00 a.m. Pacific (19:00 UTC)
Magic 2015 Core Set Release Events
August 13-August 19
Events run on the schedule found here.
Vintage Limited Championship Qualifiers
August 20-August 26
Events run on the schedule found here.
Vintage Constructed Championship Qualifiers
August 23
8:00 a.m. Pacific (13:00 UTC)
Vintage Limited Championship
August 30
8:00 a.m. Pacific (13:00 UTC)
Vintage Constructed Championship
What Is the Magic Online Weekly Announcements Blog?

Every Tuesday, we round up all of the biggest Magic Online news and post it right here in the Weekly Announcements Blog. Check in every Tuesday for all of the latest news!

Vintage Masters 4-3-2-2 Draft and Swiss Sealed Queue Events Retired Friday, July 25

On Friday, July 25, the Vintage Masters 4-3-2-2 Draft and Swiss Sealed Queues will be retired. As noted in a previous blog, the rest of Vintage Masters Events will remain active on Magic Online until the release of Khans of Tarkir in the fall.

Reminder: Magic 2015 Core Set "Hunt" Prerelease Objects Not Refundable

When Magic Online returns from downtime on Wednesday, July 23, players will have 35 Phantom Points and one each of the five "Hunt" entry objects added to their accounts if they've been active on Magic Online between 2008, and the downtime on July 23. Due to the giveaway, Entry Objects for M15 Prerelease and Release Events will not be refundable.

New To Magic Online Events Refresh

In a continued effort to help new Magic Online players learn the game and the client, we are refreshing New To Magic Online Events with a new event and new prizes!

To help players get accustomed to a Limited environment, we are updating the existing suite of New Player Limited Events. The existing New Player Phantom Draft Queue will become the New To Magic Online Queue and will get new prizes that we'll talk about later in this section. We are also adding a scheduled New To Magic Online Sealed Event! To give players who are new to Magic Online the biggest possible variety of events, and to avoid duplicated formats, we will be retiring the current New Player Sealed Queue when all of the New To Magic Online Events roll out after downtime on Wednesday, July 23. The New To Magic Online Sealed Event will take its place beginning that Friday, July 25 at 12:00 p.m. Pacific. It will continue to run Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 12:00 p.m. going forward.

Maybe Limited isn't your thing though. Beginning Wednesday, July 23, players will now be able to get practice in a Constructed environment with our New To Magic Online Standard Queue Event! This new event, as well as the New To Magic Online Phantom Sealed Scheduled Events and New To Magic Online Phantom Draft Queues, will all be awarding 5-Card Booster packs — a new addition to Magic Online.

In the past, New Player Events generally awarded pre-chosen sets of cards. With the addition of 5-Card Boosters to the prize pool, New Players will have more chances to diversify their collection and get hard-to-obtain cards right out of the gate!

What exactly is in these 5-Card Booster Packs? Glad you asked! The rarity of the cards inside depends on which pack you receive. Four out of every Five boosters will be an "uncommon" pack and will award 3 random common cards and 2 random uncommon cards. One in five packs will be a "rare" pack and award 3 random commons, 1 random uncommon, and 1 random rare, or mythic rare card. Should you be lucky enough to get one, there's a chance that you'll get a premium pack that will replace a common card with a premium instead. When New Player Events launch, 5-Card Boosters will be awarding cards from the Magic 2015 Core Set! Over time, the cards that 5-Card Boosters award will rotate to new sets.

Update 07/23/2014: There was an error in Premier Event prize rotation information as it was posted yesterday. The Premier Prize information was correct for Standard and Sealed Premier Events, but not for others. The table below has been updated with the correct information.

Event and Prize Rotations

With the release of the Magic 2015 Core Set, events and prizes will be updated on the schedule below.

 

The Events Calendar will be updated with full details on the dates indicated.

Wednesday, July 23
Events Rotating Out
Current Magic 2014 Core Set events in the following formats will be retired:
  • 8-4 Draft Queues
  • Swiss Draft Queues
  • 4-Booster Sealed Queues
  • 6-Booster Sealed Daily Events
  • 6-Booster Sealed Premier Events
  • Phantom Sealed Queues
  • Magic Online New Player Phantom Draft Queues
  • Magic Online New Player Phantom Sealed Queues
  • Magic Online New Player Phantom Sealed Events
 
Current Theros events in the following formats will be retired:
  • Block Constructed 8-Man Queues
  • Block Constructed 2-Man Queues
  • Block Constructed Daily Events
  • Block Constructed Premier Events
Events Rotating In
  • Magic 2015 Core Set events in the following formats will rotate in *
  • * These events award the new 5-Card boosters, not full booster packs.
  • New to Magic Online Phantom Draft Queues
  • New to Magic Online 2-Player Standard Queues
  • New to Magic Online Phantom Sealed Events
Friday, July 25
Events Rotating In
Monday, July 28
Events Rotating Out
Events Rotating In
Wednesday, July 30
Modern, Momir, Pauper, and Standard Constructed 8-Man Queues rotate to below prize schedule
1st: 5 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
2nd: 3 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
3rd-4th: 2 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
Modern, Momir, Pauper, and Standard Constructed 2-Man Queues rotate to below prize schedule
1st: 1 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
Modern and Standard Constructed Daily Events rotate to below prize schedule
4 Wins: 11 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
3 Wins: 6 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
Standard Premier Events rotate to below prize schedule
1st: 36 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
2nd: 24 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
3rd-4th: 15 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
5th-8th: 9 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
9th-16th: 6 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
17th-32nd: 3 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
Sealed Premier Events rotate to below prize schedule
1st: 36 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
2nd: 24 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
3rd-4th: 15 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
5th-8th: 9 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
9th-16th: 6 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
17th-32nd: 3 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
Other Premier Events rotate to below prize schedule
1st: 24 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
2nd: 15 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
3rd-4th: 12 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
5th-8th: 6 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
9th-16th: 3 Magic 2015 Core Set booster packs
Wednesday, August 13
Events Rotating Out
Events Rotating In
With the conclusion of Release Events, the following Magic 2015 Core Set Events rotate in:
  • 8-4 Draft Queues
  • 4-3-2-2 Draft Queues
  • Swiss Draft Queues
  • 4-Booster Sealed Queues
  • 6-Booster Sealed Daily Events
  • 6-Booster Sealed Premier Events
  • Phantom Sealed Queues
Extended Downtime for July 23, 2014

  • All tournaments will close July 23, 2014, at 12:00 a.m. Pacific (7:00 UTC)
  • Store and trade activity will be suspended at approximately 2:45 a.m. Pacific(9:45 UTC)
  • The system will be down from 3:00 a.m. Pacific (10:00 UTC) until 12:00 p.m. Pacific (19:00 UTC)

Known Issues with M15:

  • 0 CMC artifacts cannot be cast when they get Convoke from Chief Engineer.
  • Land cards which have activated abilities turning them into creatures do not gain the "Elemental" subtype text from Nissa, Worldwaker's ability.
  • After targeting a player with the ability of Soul of Shandalar, all creatures are highlighted rather than only creatures of target player. Clicking an invalid target cancels the ability.
  • The Chain Veil will change a Planeswalkers' first ability to read as text describing the abilities of The Chain Veil.

Magic Online Client updates:

  • Fixed: Crash - Clicking on "Add Buddy" after removing a buddy no longer causes the client to crash
  • Fixed: Crash – The client will no longer crash when conceding game 1 and then pressing submit during sideboarding.
  • Grant: All players who have logged into Magic Online since 2008 have had those accounts receive 35 Phantom Points and 5 “Hunt” Prerelease Entry objects.
  • Fixed: Rapidly moving cards between Fact or Fiction piles no longer crashes the Magic Online client.
  • New: 5-Card Booster has been introduced.
  • New: New to Magic Online events have been reworked.
  • Update: Reminder text will only appear on cards when they are zoomed in or are being displayed in the preview window.
  • Update: Flavor text will only appear on cards when they are zoomed in or are being displayed in the preview window.
  • Update: When zooming on a tapped card, the zoomed card will now orient straight up.

Gameplay updates:

  • Fixed: Activating a Cursed Scroll now tells your opponent what card was named
  • Fixed: Marchesa, the Black Rose's delayed trigger now causes it to be returned if it dies with a +1/+1 counter on it.
  • Fixed: Thirst for Knowledge is properly restricted in Vintage.
  • Fixed: The Banned list in Magic Online for 100-card Singleton has been updated to match this list.
  • Fixed: The triggered ability of Gaze of the Gorgon now destroys creatures that were blocked by the targeted creature.
  • Fixed: The active player can no longer see which card the opponent discards to Liliana of the Veil's +1 before choosing which card he or she will discard.
  • Thirst for Knowledge now has a limit of 1 in Vintage instead of 4.
  • Update: When a Token creature is created, that is now noted in the Game Log. Ex: “Raise the Alarm creates two Soldier tokens.”
  • Update: All tokens now have, “Token” added to their type line.
  • Update: Modal spells, while on the stack, after modes have been chosen, now have the text of modes that were not chosen appear in disabled style (gray), while the chosen modes appear in black text.
  • Update: When casting a spell with Convoke, creatures that could help pay the cost are highlighted in the same style as lands.

Magic Online 12th Anniversary Event Champion

Posted in Magic Online on July 21, 2014

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.

July
 
MOCS July Promo
MOPR July Event Promo

The 12th Anniversary Championships have come and gone with great success! Not only did all the best planes and sets from Magic Online's history turn up for the festivities, hundreds of players participated in the Qualifiers for a chance at getting one of the coveted Magic Online 12th Anniversary Championship invites as well. A great celebration was had by all! Well, except for Xenagos. Just because he's the God of Revels, he thinks he can show up to any party uninvited.

Luckily, our Magic Online 12th Anniversary Event Champion was there to bounce him from the party.

What better way to celebrate Magic Online's twelve years than through contests of skill in our digital arena? Many players competed, but only one was able to earn the title. Congratulations to umbrella_merc, our Magic Online 12th Anniversary Event Champion!

The prestigious top 8!

  • umbrella_merc
  • yumyum_popcorn
  • matthewsmeg
  • Eken.
  • agent_31415
  • Chultz
  • The_Great_Dustini
  • isomorphic

The top 8 drafted Modern Masters. Check out Magic Online's Draft Viewer to see what went into drafting the top decks!

Anniversary Event Finals Recap

The Magic Online 12th Anniversary Championships saw yumyum_popcorn facing off against umbrella_merc with their Modern Masters draft decks. Yumyum_popcorn played a Blue/Black deck that was fairly faerie heavy. Umbrella_merc brought a Blue/Green deck, with a splash of White, that made strong use of fliers, Suspend, and some faeries in the mix as well. Let’s see how they matched up!

Game One

The beginning of game one was punctuated by impressive displays of back-and-forth spell slinging. Yumyum_popcorn’s Pestermite allowed yumyum_popcorn to stave off attacks in the air from umbrella_merc’s Mothdust Changeling before finally trading, sending both faeries to the graveyard.

Yumyum_popcorn started off turn 6 with two creatures on the field, Tidehollow Sculler and Rathi Trapper. By playing a Marsh Flitter, yumyum_popcorn was able to more than double the amount of creatures on the field due to the two 1/1 black Goblin Rogue tokens that come into play with Marsh Flitter. Yumyum_popcorn didn't stop there though. On turn 7, Yumyum_popcorn played a Cloudgoat Ranger, bringing not only the 3/3 Ranger out onto the field, but three 1/1 white Kithkin Soldier tokens as well. Umbrella_merc was able to get a Durkwood Baloth onto the battlefield, but it just wasn’t enough to stave the tide of yumyum_popcorn's creatures. Umbrella_merc conceded on turn 9.

Game 2

Umbrella_merc started off with a turn 1 Mothdust Changeling to begin ticking off points of damage in the air by turn 2. When the Mothdust Changeling went in for another attack on Turn 3, yumyum_popcorn responded by sending a Peppersmoke in its direction, which would have destroyed it had umbrella_merc not countered by playing Spellstutter Sprite, negating the Peppersmoke.

Umbrella_merc began summoning a steady stream of counter-carrying creatures on turn 4. Durkwood Baloth started off the list by going into Suspend for five turns. After that, umbrella_merc brought out two Thallid Shell-Dwellers over the next several turns.

In the meantime, yumyum_popcorn managed to play Adarkar Valkyrie alongside Kira, Great Glass-Spinner. Kira, Great Glass-Spinner blocked a Latchkey Faerie, destroying both, allowing Adarkar Valyrie to bring Latchkey Faerie back to the field under yumyum_popcorn’s control. Or it would have had umbrella_merc not sacrificed the Aether Spellbomb that’d been sitting on the field to return Latchkey Faerie back to umbrella_merc’s hand, quickly stomping out what may have been a reversal in the course of the game.

By the next turn, umbrella_merc’s Durkwood Baloth’s Suspend time expired, one Thallid Shell-Dweller spawned a Saproling, then the second Shell-Dweller spawned a second the next turn. On turn 10, umbrella_merc returned the Valkyrie to yumyum_popcorn’s hand with an Aethersnipe, and attacked with everything, bringing yumyum_popcorn to a single point of life. Yumyum_popcorn got the Adarkar Valkyrie back to the field the next turn, but couldn't stop umbrella_merc from taking the game.

Game 3

The field populated quickly in the tie-breaker game with yumyum_popcorn casting a Marsh Flitter to go along with a Pestermite, bringing the creature count up to four for yumyum_popcorn. Umbrella_merc cast a token generating creature as well, the legendary Moonfolk Wizard, Meloku the Clouded Mirror!

Umbrella_merc decided to stop yumyum_popcorn’s token creation by blinking. The first of yumyum_popcorn’s Goblin tokens was lost to a bounce by Aethersnipe on turn 5. Maintaining momentum, umbrella_merc’s Giant Dustwasp came out of Suspend on turn 6, allowing umbrella_merc to start swinging with Aethersnipe and the Giant Dustwasp. Yumyum_popcorn, undamaged at that point in the match, took one hit from the duo, dropping to a life total of 11.

Little by little, umbrella_merc had been bringing 1/1 Illusion tokens onto the field with Meloku the Clouded Mirror’s ability. By turn 7, the machine had been set in motion, and umbrella_merc began an onslaught over the next two turns that yumyum_popcorn wasn’t able to turn back, despite extensive countering.

Congratulations to umbrella_merc, our 12th Anniversary Finals Champion!

Without further ado, the winning deck:

umbrella_merc's winning White/Blue/Green Deck

Download Arena Decklist

Magic Online V3 Off Date and New Client Update

Posted in Magic Online on June 27, 2014

By Worth Wollpert

Hi all,

We are moving closer to July and I wanted to let everyone know that we'll be turning off access to the current Magic Online client (aka V3) on July 16.

As mentioned in a previous announcement, we are moving closer to July and I wanted to let everyone know that we'll be turning off access to the current Magic Online client (aka V3) on July 16. Things have gone well with development on the new client in the past few months, and we've made some great progress (more on this below).

Turning off the current client means that, as of July 16, we will remove the beta tag, and that client will become the only way to play Magic Online. More importantly, it also sets us up a more cohesive, focused approach as we combine our client-development team resources. The biggest upside here is that it will allow us to more quickly deliver better experiences to our customers.

Thank You!

We understand that every aspect of the beta client is not perfect, and we understand (and take very seriously) your feedback in the areas where we have the most opportunity to improve. In places that we are not yet meeting your expectations, we are driven and committed to improving your Magic Online experience.

In places that we are not yet meeting your expectations, we are driven and committed to improving your Magic Online experience...

We also acknowledge that change is hard, that we still have work to do, and that some players simply do not want to get used to a new Magic Online look and feel. We sincerely hope that these players will see that mid and long term benefits will be much greater than the short term adjustment phase.

To show our appreciation for your immense patience, true desire to help, and constructive feedback, during the downtime before the Magic 2015 Prereleases begin, we will be granting every account that has logged in to Magic Online since April 2008 one each of the five M15 Prerelease objects and 35 phantom points. We will be setting up special Sealed Deck Prerelease queues over M15's first weekend that will accept one Prerelease object and 35 phantom points as entry, but which are played with real packs (you keep what you open/draft) and pay out in real prizes. So whether you'd like to take us up on an M15 Prerelease on the house, or if you want to save those phantom points for later use (Holiday Cube returns July 16, for example!), that's entirely up to you.

A Countdown to Launch

Last Wednesday, June 18, we released an update to the beta client that focused on delivering new functionality and features. That update included opening trades in their own window, adding a trade binder search tool, improving how deck imports work, updates to chat, and more. The Magic Online blog has more details on what was released.

The next and final update before we turn off V3 is slated for July 9. In that build we will be pushing stability improvements, fixes to some known memory leak issues, and more feature work. Things to look for include clarifying the player info box in the Duel Scene, improved filtering in trades, streamlining/simplifying workflows around event dropping, starting work on an updated help section, and further work on chat notifications.

On June 25 we removed the download links for the current client from the account-creation portion of the Magic Online new account webpages. The link to download the current client will stay live through July 16, and ORCs in-game, as well as our Game Support teams, will be able to give players that link up to July 16 if they need it. On and after July 16, anyone who opens the current client to log in will be prompted with messaging that points to a download of the new client, and users will just need to click on the link in the message provided to start the download of the new client.

Again, I want to be very clear that we hear your feedback. We have a lot of plans for continued client development before the end of the year, and as we analyze and act on feedback (including the responses we got from the last spotlight), you will be able to see your direct feedback making a difference from build to build.

It is a little far out yet to be too specific about what will follow in the weeks and months after the client transition, but we'll be diving further into things like: Ensuring replays work correctly, updating how zones (such as the graveyard) work in the Duel Scene, exploring ways to improve card size and presentation on the battlefield, and further improving chat functionality. And Leagues, of course!

As I mentioned above, we are always working to improve Magic Online. One of the decisions we recently made that will help us deliver a better and more performant user experience is the elimination of support for Windows XP at our minimum spec level. Like Microsoft, we have decided to discontinue support for the nearly 13-year-old OS in order to make better use of the upgrades provided by more recent operating systems. As of late August, XP users should not expect to be able to access Magic Online. We don't make decisions like this lightly, but after some thoughtful analysis around actual hard data pulled from what systems our players are actually using (the vast majority are on Win7, incidentally), we made the decision to focus on operating systems from Windows Vista forward.

Thank you all again for all your continued patience and valuable feedback. I am looking forward to a fantastic summer with the new client, a clear focus, and some pretty exciting things yet to come for Magic Online.

Worth Wollpert
Executive Producer
Magic Online
Send feedback to: MagicOnlineFeedback@wizards.com
@MagicOnline

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