28, Jun, 22

The MTG Win Trading Problem has Finally Been Addressed

Article at a Glance

MTGO players wanting to play Standard and Vintage have been plagued by win traders for a long time now. Sadly, this reflects how poor the financial situation is for some countries worldwide, but it has made Standard and Vintage leagues unplayable. Vintage player IamActuallyLvl1 has been incredibly vocal about this problem, and while the community tried to amplify his concerns, it was met with radio silence… until today.

What is Win Trading in MTGO?

Win trading refers to the practice of one competitor intentionally throwing the game for their opponent. This comes in many forms across games, but MTGO’s is particularly problematic. We will outline it quickly for explanation, but please, don’t do this. This is straight-up cheating and breaking the rules. For those interested for more information, we had a detailed discussion on the Win Trading problem once already. Because of that, this overview will be brief.

In MTGO, the practice of Win Trading is executed by one player who owns multiple MTGO accounts. Unlike MTG Arena, its very easy to double que (meaning play two games at once) on MTGO. The player in question will try to find a place and time where leagues will not have very many players queuing. This generally happens early in the morning (for USA terms), and occurs most frequently in Vintage and Standard league ques because they are relatively underplayed.

The goal is for two of the player’s accounts to que up against each other. One will proceed to go 5-0 in match results while the other goes 0-5. The result: an overall prizing of 150 Play Points and 11 Treasure Chests achieved quickly and without issue. It will cost you 200 Play Points to do this since you are registering two accounts in the league, but a 5-0 result grants the winner 11 Treasure Chest packs. These, through some extensive means, can be exchanged for real world currency, which more than makes up for the loss of 50 Play Points (since going 5-0 grants 150 Play Points).

Why Does this Affect the Players?

fight rigging

The above may be fine, but why does that affect other players trying to queue in leagues? Unfortunately, because of how the match timer works when players queue up, this allows the Win Trader to gain some warning when his two accounts don’t queue up properly. In this situation, the Win Trader would remove the other player in que by using a burner account. They would then hold the league player hostage by doing nothing for the duration of the game timer. Using this time, the Win Trader ques their two Win Trading accounts. It results in a free win for the player being held hostage, but the games are so slow and monotonous that it makes the leagues unplayable.

Remember that you also need to account for the re-searching for delays while the Win Trader attempts to hold you hostage with a burner. Having played a lot of Standard in my time, I have also spent an annoying amount of time being held hostage in queue. This turned me off from the MTGO experience and is one of the biggest reasons I mainly play MTG Arena.

What’s the Solution?

To fix the Win Trading problem, Wizards of the Coast is changing the prizing in Standard and Vintage leagues to one that is less top-heavy. The new prizing is as such:

  • Five wins grant 140 Play Points and five Treasure Chests. This is a significant demotion from the previous 160 Play Points and 11 Treasure Chests
  • Four wins grant 120 Play Points and four Treasure Chests. This is a slight downgrade to the previous prizing.
  • Three wins grant 100 Play Point and one Treasure Chest. This is the same as previous league structures.
  • Two wins grant 50 Play Points and one Treasure Chest. This makes going 2-3 a lot less harsh, which is nice.

Changing the prizing structure should hopefully deter MTG Win Trading. However, there’s a small issue here: these leagues are now less profitable for everyone. This prizing may still be attractive to normal players if there was more compensation in the middle ground results (but not enough for Win Trading to return). Unfortunately, because of the major downgrade in prizing overall, this means that Vintage and Standard leagues are straight-up worse EV than MTGO’s more popular formats.

Will this Solution Work?

Because value has been taken out of Standard and Vintage leagues overall, its difficult to know how effective this solution will actually be. Sure, you will take Win Traders out of the equation, but you may also take out any reason to play either of these leagues at all. Hopefully, players who want to innovate in these formats will keep it alive. I, for one, have no intention in playing Vintage or Standard leagues anytime soon.

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

*MTG Rocks is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more