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MTG Win Trading problem finally solved

MTGO players wishing to play Standard and Vintage have long been plagued by winning traders. Unfortunately, this reflects how bad the financial situation is for some countries around the world, but it made the Standard and Vintage leagues unplayable. vintage player I’m actually level 1 has been incredibly vocal about this issue, and as the community has tried to amplify its concerns, it has been met with radio silence‚Ķuntil today.

What is Win Trading in MTGO?

Winnings trading refers to the practice of a competitor intentionally throwing the game for their opponent. This comes in many forms in games, but MTGO is particularly problematic. We will quickly describe it for explanation, but please don’t do this. It’s cheating and breaking the rules. For those who want more information, we have already had a detailed discussion of the Win Trading problem. For this reason, this overview will be brief.

In MTGO, the practice of Win Trading is performed by a player who owns multiple MTGO accounts. Unlike MTG Arena, it is very easy to double down (i.e. play two games at once) on MTGO. The player in question will try to find a place and time where the leagues won’t have a lot of players lining up. This usually happens early in the morning (for US terms) and occurs most often in Vintage and Standard league ques as they are relatively underplayed.

The goal is for two of the player’s accounts to compete against each other. One will go 5-0 in the match results while the other will go 0-5. The result: an overall gain of 150 game points and 11 treasure chests obtained quickly and without problems. It will cost you 200 game points to do so since you are registering two accounts in the league, but a 5-0 result grants the winner 11 treasure chest packs. These, by extensive means, can be exchanged for real-world currency, which more than makes up for the loss of 50 game points (since a 5-0 awards 150 game points).

Why does this affect players?

fighting rigging

The above may be fine, but why does it affect other players trying to queue in leagues? Unfortunately, due to how the match timer works when players are queuing, this allows the Win Trader to be notified when both of their accounts are not queuing correctly. In this situation, the Win Trader would remove the other player in question using a burner account. They would then hold the league player hostage by doing nothing for the duration of the game clock. Using this time, the Win Trader checks his two Win Trading accounts. This results in a free win for the hostage player, but games are so slow and monotonous that they render leagues unplayable.

Don’t forget that you also have to consider looking for delays while the Win Trader tries to hold you hostage with a burner. Having played a lot of Standard in my time, I also had an annoying time being held hostage in the queue. This put me off the MTGO experience and is one of the main reasons why I mainly play MTG Arena.

What is the solution ?

To solve the Win Trading problem, Wizards of the Coast is changing the price of the Standard and Vintage leagues to a less hefty price. The new price is as follows:

  • Five wins are worth 140 game points and five treasure chests. This is a significant downgrade from the previous 160 game points and 11 treasure chests.
  • Four wins earn 120 game points and four treasure chests. This is a slight downgrade from the previous price.
  • Three wins grant 100 game points and a treasure chest. This is the same as previous league structures.
  • Two wins give 50 game points and a treasure chest. It makes 2-3 a lot less hard, which is good.

The change in price structure should hopefully deter MTG Win Trading. However, there is a small problem here: these leagues are now less profitable for everybody. This price may still be attractive to normal players if there was more compensation in the interim results (but not enough for Win Trading to come back). Unfortunately, due to major price degradation overall, this means Vintage and Standard leagues are downright worse EV than MTGO’s more popular formats.

Will this solution work?

Given that value has been removed from the Standard and Vintage leagues overall, it’s unclear how effective this solution will actually be. Of course, you’ll eliminate Win Traders from the equation, but you can also remove any reason to play one of these leagues. Hopefully players who want to innovate in these formats will keep it alive. For my part, I have no intention of playing in the Vintage or Standard leagues anytime soon.

For those worried that their league runs will be ruined by the implementation of these changes, no need. Wizards has promised a full refund to those affected. Wizards of the Coast’s statement regarding this change can be found in these MTGO announcements.

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