@moorebrother1 said in MTGO:

Here is a question for those who are on MTGO but play a good deal of Paper too. How do you buy cards? Are you buying cards for both platforms? I just bought 2 boxes of Dominaria and so Karns and Damping Sphere on Paper. I bought the Damping Sphere on MTGO but Karn is very expensive so I'm unsure of whether or not to buy him there.

I'm just looking for perspectives here.

I've been wanting to get on MTGO, but I can't stand the idea of spending all this money on something digital that I already own in paper...

Always wanted to ask about MTGO and taxes. Are prizes taxed as gambling winnings? And what about gains on sale/trade of digital cards? Does WotC provide Form W2-G and/or any other tax forms?

@moorebrother1 on Karn specifically:
when just considering the "monetary value", I would wait on buying. the set hast just been released, normally most of the cards are getting cheaper over time, because the new set gets drafted a lot (hence the cards entering the "MTGO system"). Karn will maintain its current price tag or get even more expensive if he is getting played in standard or modern a lot (cause that's mainly what most people playing online, sometimes pauper and legacy can affect the prize as well, the latter especially with the team pt coming up). Otherwise, he most likely will decline over time (to a 7-17tix range maybe?!).

On the topic of "buying into MTGO" in general:
the value of mtgo digital cards isn't just a plain downward trajectory. Even if one isn't going 5-0 in leagues consistently or win challenges etc., the trading system of MTGO makes it possible to at least in some way "grind yourself" to a sizeable collection, even with the cupple of tix you get by creating a new account. (that and the existence of third party bots is probably why they are using a different economy model within MTGA)

I think this relates to what @Chronatog is asking, and I am neither from the US nor a lawyer so I don't know (and maybe wotc adresses the gains aspect in their terms and conditions?!), but there are some patterns to be observed in the online economy as a whole as well as in specific cards.
For example just as right now every new standard set release will cause a (slight and often just temporary) drop of prices for i.e. some modern staples. A same temporary decrease can be observed with reprints of staples within Masters Sets. There are articles (i.e. over on mtggoldfish) that are explaining those patterns more elaborately and in depth than I am able to.
Moreover and other than in paper (where it is much much slower and more lineal), the value of those staples is of a rather fluctuating nature, with some seemingly having some kind of "invisible" bottom and top as well as on different amplitudes.
There are and have been even more of what some may call opportunities, from using arbitrage between bots to reacting quickly to real life implications (spoilers, cards on camera during pt coverage, you name it) - in some ways, the MTGO economy can be perceived as a stock market on speed sometimes. On a lower scale (since one can't just buy millions of one card), but with much larger percentual changes and maybe even more of a "safety net" since it is such a small ecosystem with just so many things that can influence value.

I don't know if it is legal, but it is at least possible.
Hope that gives at least some perspective to the financial aspect of the topic. Plus: excuse my bad writing since I am no mother-tongue speaker. 😉

@moorebrother Occam's Razor, it's probably your perception more than anything.

To your larger question, you sound like a better player than me. But I will say that I've gotten much better in the last 3 or 4 years, and mostly this is by watching really good streamers. I watch a lot of high end mtg streams, as well as go and chess players. I watch anyone who is willing to talk through their though process and who is rigorously logical. The slower and more maniacally rational, the better, because it gets me in the mindset where my job isn't to win, but to make good decisions. When I'm playing crappy, its usually because I'm tired and I've ceased to recognize that decisions are even being made. I don't even consider that I can wait to fetch until I have more info... that sort of thing. So watching people who never don't consider things, that helps me a lot.

@chronatog MTGO prizes are in digital objects of no value. Only if you "cash out" do you realize reportable income. FWIW, when I sold off $7500 worth of digital cards last year, I reported those on my taxes.

Paypal reports to the IRS at payments totaling $20,000 and with 200+ payments received in a year. If you don’t meet both of those criteria then PayPal doesn’t report. Personally I don’t report if PayPal doesn’t report. Every time I have cashed out I have received less than I put in originally. Even though I think technically I should report my cash out value I won’t because it seems weird to me to report it as income when I used my already taxed income to put into magic online and then just lost value before withdrawing.

Leovold brings up several good points. I wouldn't treat it as income unless it actually were income. For example, in my $7,500 above, I probably only invested close to $1,000 beforehand. The rest were prizes or card investments. Secondly, I cashed out with a check from MTGO Traders. Since that could have been reported, it's more important to self-report. Last, I don't tend to agree that "if they can't trace it, I don't have to report it" meets ethical norms. YMMV.

@bazaarofbaghdad said in MTGO:

@chronatog MTGO prizes are in digital objects of no value. Only if you "cash out" do you realize reportable income. FWIW, when I sold off $7500 worth of digital cards last year, I reported those on my taxes.

Stocks in ones brokerage account are also digital objects. However, they have value. Many so-called crypto-currency investors learned in a painful way that their tokens also have value.

Since everything on MTGO is valued in tickets and, to my knowledge, one ticket is one dollar as WotC sells tickets at this price, perhaps there is a preponderance of evidence indicating that digital objects on MRGO have value.

Anyway, I'm not arguing about how it should be. I'm trying to understand how it is now or can be in the nearest future. Magic is a hobby and as any hobby it cost money and time, but provides some economic utility. So that's alright to spend money on your hobby directly or indirectly through taxes. It's not right to create any complications with the IRS.

Is there any official explanation from WotC?

@bazaarofbaghdad said in MTGO:

I wouldn't treat it as income unless it actually were income.

I wouldn't too :). But it's up to the IRS ;). I'm surprised there is no clarity on this from WotC.

@chronatog WotC has clarified over and over again that the ticket has no market value. I'm fairly certain you agree to such when you agree to the end-use license agreement. Just because you have the power to unload such on ebay or paypal doesn't mean you have the right. Of course, just because WotC says something is of no value, doesn't mean the IRS won't determine otherwise, but until the IRS does, WotC has no interest in stating otherwise.

Is it me or are there less people playing in the Leagues? 85 people currently.

The league is just an awful experience. I had stopped for many weeks and tried again last night and just cannot stand playing there. I'm going to finish this one and I'm done. I just hate it. And the challenge is even worse, I cannot give up an entire Saturday afternoon to sit in front of a computer with no personal interaction.

@oestrus It goes up over time - since it reset at the last downtime, we'll see >100 numbers for a bit, then it will grow as people become stagnant until the league is reset again in June.

The overall time it takes to get an opponent is pretty consistent with what I'm used to.

After being a paper Vintage player since 2008 I've finally hit the point where I prefer the online client to paper tournaments. I'm still planning on attending high-profile events, with the TMD Open being just on the horizon, and a private tournament series that takes place at a friend's house, but beyond that I don't find happiness in attending in-store events. I'm lucky enough to live fifteen minutes away from the face of the North American Eternal Weekend, yet I can't be bothered to get in my car and drive there. There are many reasons for this:

  1. Event frequency - I can join a League any day of the week and Challenges on a weekly basis. My LGS has events monthly, which leads to less opportunities to play. If other social plans interfere with that particular Saturday I'm out one of my twelve yearly opportunities to play Vintage locally.

  2. Collection fluidity - I sold out of paper back in 2013. That was my own mistake, but one that made sense at the time. Therefore, in 2018, I have to play Vintage with a smaller overhead. This means that I can't own more than one deck at a time, but given the frequency of events that's not nearly as much of a problem as it sounds. What is a problem, however, is when I go to make the jump from one archetype to another. This process takes an extraordinarily large amount of time. I spent two hours at my LGS on Thursday and didn't even leave with everything I was looking to buy into due to their limited inventory. Even then, my cards got me 50% of their face value in order to pay the store overhead. On MODO, my cards get me 90% of their value minimum and I can swap one deck into another in five minutes. In the future I'll try swapping cards by selling to stores online, but that doesn't alleviate concerns regarding card values.

  3. Atmosphere - At home, I can easily boot up my favorite music, TV show or Twitch stream in the background and just hang out. In person, I get to hang out with my friends, as long as they're not knee-deep in a match. However, an LGS needs to make money, and oftentimes they double book Vintage Saturdays with more popular formats. This creates a situation where I have to deal with players from other games, children, or just a glut of humanity in the narrow aisles of the retail space. It's a tough call which option wins out.

  4. Lost cost - When I travel to events, I have to write off gas, tolls, and supplies. Sleeves break, after all. Obviously I have to pay for home internet to play online or buy a computer that can run the client, but I can use both of those things for other purposes. Honestly, I started streaming with the hardware that I had just lying around, no frills.

This is my personal anecdote, and the experience of playing Vintage on either platform varies from person to person. We all have our reasons.

@hierarchnoble You are indeed correct this gets into personal preference. I work in front of a computer for 10 - 12hrs a day and the last thing I want to do is get back in front of a computer.

I find being around people very necessary part of my enjoyment in playing Magic. I never sold any significant portion of my cards.

Magic has helped me in some of the hardest moments in my life as a very necessary escape. It was also a reason my grades slipped in college and sometimes a distraction at work.

I need to interact with people to feel that this it is worth it for me. I have video games that I can play and I have other hobbies that I can do.

Without the people, then I would just find another hobby that requires interacting with people. I am a runner and that is solo activity, I do not need another solo activity in my life.

That's my perspective on why paper is so important.

last edited by moorebrother1

Please don't take my post as a personal attack worthy of rebuttal, @moorebrother1. I was merely adding my own anecdote since it dealt with the topic at hand.

@hierarchnoble I get it, we are all in different places in life. If MTGO works you that is great. It is just not working great for me.

I'm sorry for trying to treat this like a MODO thread and not like a " @moorebrother1 hates MODO and wants to remind everyone constantly" thread. I'll make no further comments.

last edited by Guest

It should be pretty self evident that some people like MTGO and some people don't. If we can't come up with anything more useful to chat about the subject, this probably doesn't need to be a thread.

For the longest time, I have considered buying into MTGO. Today, this is still something that I am on the fence about. The buy-in cost is irrelevant. My two big inhibitions are time, and potential enjoyment factor. The challenge that I have always had, and continue to have, is overcoming the ever-discussed game client limitations, and losing some of the aspects of the game that appeal the most to me (i.e. the people aspect). Streamers constantly berate MTGO, but, by virtue that they keep playing (and streaming), things are not potentially as bad as they make them out to be.

My question for people is: does the fun outweigh the frustration or vice versa, and why?

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