Honestly, I'm feeling a little ganged up on here. I just spent $1500 trying to play online when I already own all of the cards.
My experiences on MTGO have been a mixed bag. I see on this site that people use data and anecdotes from MTGO all of the time.
I have a high level of respect for people who play at Championship levels, I'm trying to get to that level. My observations were meant to highlight big differences from playing paper to playing MTGO.
I used language not to judge or demonize and I put this into context of a "In My Opinion" view.
@moorebrother1 That's totally fair for you to say. I think some players (like myself) who have played a lot of MTGO can get defensive about this subject.
I think some of the points you brought up might be too-broad generalizations that won't apply to most people ... but I also think there are plenty of completely valid arguments against playing online, and I don't think any less of players who decide it isn't for them - it's not always for me, either.
The Game isn't even released and i am already waiting for Mtg: Arena to feature Vintage. To be honest the game flow is pretty fluent and the full control mode seems like it can handle Vintage play patterns and complexities, as someone who still refuses to buy into mtgo, Vintage on this new platform might just loosen my wallet.
Edit: Yes i know its far from finished, there are many features missing like a play history (did he scry on top with that preordain 2 spells ago?) Also Vintage, and other true eternal formats, will probably be the last thing added into that client, not being able to trade might also make it hard to the needed cards, though the wildcard system might handle this well. I just want to say, that if wizards does this correctly, the client has potential.
I was thinking about playing in the league and I noticed that the number of players currently in the league was down to 42 from over 100 about a month ago. I also just checked the results from this weekend https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/mtgo-standings/vintage-challenge-2018-04-22 and there were only 32 players.
Is there a downturn in MTGO competitive play or is this just a timing issue?
I prefer paper events over MTGO and I don't play in any of Challenges myself, I will occasionally play in a league but rarely.
@moorebrother1 It's a timing issue. Each league is timed up with new set releases, of which Dominaria was just released. When you go to the league page, make sure you keep track of the "League Ends" date, as that will show you when the fewest # of players will be, and the following day would begin the new league.
I don't think you are wrong at all - MTGO is just a completely different animal. Some people like both, some prefer one over the other. Both certainly have their list of merits and flaws ... you just have to decide for yourself if you think MTGO is worth it for you.
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. I bought 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.
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...
@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.
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.