To give you some extra motivation to read through this, while I am $34 in the hole on MTGO currently (probably better than some can say :P) my net worth on MTGO, due to some incredible luck, is $79. That is, if I cashed out right now, I would be $46 richer than I was ten days ago. It's small change, but at the same time, 136% returns. I am sure the investor inside you would be perfectly happy with that. (I admit it's probably not sustainable over the long run.)
Day 1: When I finally broke down and bought an account, I had my eyes on one thing: Momir Basic. This was supposedly a format which took away the skill and had a consistent net positive payout. That in itself sounded excellent, but on top of that, the format sounded like a blast.
Momir Basic is a variant on the Vanguard format (which is something very similar to Commander/EDH. You can read more about it here.) in which both players must use the Momir Vig avatar and a deck which consists of 60 lands. Now, Momir's ability is simple: pay X, discard a card: put a creature token of a random creature token with CMC X into play. In other words, the format is completely random.
Momir Vig can be bought in the official store for $10, along with some basic lands and some guru lands. There is also some demand for Momir in the secondary markets. You can expect to sell him for 10 and buy him for 12.
The added premium for Momir in the secondary market seems to be the cost of not having to pay in cash. For instance, once you've gone infinite, if it comes down to the choice of buying Momir with tix for 12 or paying for him with $10, it's likely you'll opt for 12 tix because you effectively have infinite tix. (Hence, gone infinite.)
Now, I didn't dive into this format right away, mainly because I didn't feel like dropping more money down after having already spent $10 for an account and all its goodies.
Speaking of which, let's talk about what you exactly get with an account.
- An assortment of M13 cards (commons, some uncommons)
- DotP cards (only usable in select formats, cannot be mixed with normal cards)
- One M13 booster pack
- Two event tickets (effectively $2)
- Four new player tickets
- Five Vanguard avatars
Since you're here to talk money, let's talk money. The Vanguard avatars, DotP cards, and M13 card assortment you initially get is about worthless. The M13 cards are good for constructing some decks, but you don't really get enough to make anything meaningful. It's still best to hold onto them though since there are some here and there which you'll make use of. As you can see, I have yet to even open my DotP package. I hear it makes for an easier transition from the DotP games, but if you're an experienced M:tG player, you probably don't need these. I can't comment on players just starting out, however.
The four new player tickets are interesting. At first it seems like you've been given effectively $4 for special new-player-only tournaments, which should be even better than event tickets since these new player tournaments should be less competitive, right?
Maybe. I don't actually know. I still have all of my new player tickets; they're really not worth using. Here's why:
In order to participate in a new player event, you need one new player ticket and one event ticket. You compete with some other people in a phantom draft or sealed (meaning you keep none of the cards) for the grand prize of a promo card and a Magic 2013 booster, if you win two our of two rounds. While the new player tickets might be good for getting used to drafts or the interface at lower cost, you can play games for free in the free play area if you want to get used to the interface, and reading drafting strategy or doing real phantom drafts for real prizes is probably best. That being said, these have an EV comparable to other events, so they might be worth doing early on.
EDIT: I've revised the above paragraph since discovering new player events also give out a Magic 2013 booster. It may be worth using these tickets after all.
The two event tickets are self-explanatory. They're worth $2, same as it costs to buy them. The M13 booster pack is interesting though. While you might be tempted to open it at first, I'll parrot the advice I heard from elsewhere - don't. You instantly lose a ton of the value just in opening it for a chance to gain something cool. Hold onto it instead.
Now, I read somewhere that you could also sell this booster pack away for tix. Don't do this either; I learned the hard way. Unless the price is high (~3 tix) and you are okay with waiting for the price to drop (and it will; I came in when it was at ~2.2 tix) before you draft M13, or you just never intend to draft M13, wait on it. I sold my pack for 2.1 tix, and the next day, went and bought three packs do draft with for 2.2 each. A net loss of 10 cents isn't much, but it could have been worse. Please note that selling for 2.9 tix is not the same as selling for 3 tix. The difference is a little more than 10 cents; I'll get into this when I talk about the classifieds section.
I imagine these last two paragraphs will be obsolete this summer once M14 hits; new accounts will be outfitted with a pack of M14 and M14 cards rather than M13 cards. However, this should still hold true, just that a high price for M14 will be about 4.1 tix and a good low for buying in will be 3 tix for a few months.
So, that's Momir Basic and new accounts in a nutshell. I'll be back to cover the secondary market for MTGO next time!