Played vintage semi seriously about 15 years ago. I have kept up with the game a bit since then, with the VSL really bringing back some interest, especially the prospect of diving back into vintage via MTGO. Entire decks are extremely affordable. My main reservation with MTGO is learning the MTGO client. I can't say it looks amazingly difficult, but it is certainly different from playing with physical cards, especially managing the stops efficiently/correctly.

Is it possible to play against other humans without paying to be in an event? Having some practice against live competition would be great so I don't end up 0-3 drop/burn $25 because I didn't know to set a stop to avoid a trigger or interact appropriately.

Thoughts from the wise ManaDrain denizens?

There are casual and practice queues that you can use to get used to MTGO. Not sure how active the vintage ones are, but you should be able to find someone to play against.

@5h1n I have written a few threads about this and my opinion of MTGO is very low. I got in about this time last year to become a better player and it did help. The buy-in right now is lower than before. MTGO will allow you to play against other humans - kind of. There is not banter or help from the people you play but you do get to play.

The leagues are the best way to be competitive but people play pick up games throughout the day. The client sucks but you figure it out. It is worth it to scratch the itch and play.

My son was born in November and I have not been able to play paper since then but MTGO has given me a way to escape and play when I get some time here and there.

last edited by moorebrother1

I love playing on MTGO. Buy-in is relatively cheap (within the spectrum of Magic prices) and I think the UI works quite well once you get the hang of it.

You can play for free in the "tournament practice" section, which has been reasonably well-populated most of the time that I've wanted a game. Just be aware that while there are plenty of good games there, the density of great players is higher in the paid leagues* so at some point you will probably get on a good run in practice and then hop in a league and get demolished by top-tier players. But it's all in good fun. 🙂

(*A league, if you don't know, is a tournament-adjacent thing where you cough up twelve bucks and play five matches on your own schedule against other people in the league. Much more convenient than the weekly tournaments if you have a bunch of other time commitments to juggle.)

last edited by craw_advantage

I remember when I first started MTGO playing pauper goblins, I lost some amount of games to clock. And it was monored aggro. So, my hint here is: learn the commands first. Be familiar with your hotkeys, because now they will save you from getting timed out and even in the future they will save you tons of time. And in your example, don't just drop leagues.

In the beginning you will probably not get positive EV out of leagues. So you are actually playing $25 to play 6 or 7 rounds (25 is the challenge on saturday, which I recommend you not to play in the beginning, as it takes a lot more of time because of rounds and you probably won't get positive EV in the beginning) or $12 to play 5 rounds (leagues). So if you drop, you will actually be paying $25 to play 3 games instead of 6.

PS.: Triggers you always have a chance to respond (unless they are split second, obv). The thing about stops, is that in certain stops you can play something proactively. When a trigger goes to stack, you will always have a chance to respond it. The usual stops to maximize your time are:
Opp: upkeep, beginning of combat (unless they are playing that goblin that creates a token at beginning of combat, then you would have to have at main), end step;
Yours: Main, attack, block, main (end step is usually depending on the situation).

My advice is: focus on learning the UI. MTGO doesn't look modern, or anything like that, but for me it's the perfect way: is simulates a MTG match, just like in paper. And though it has some bugs, they are usually minor ones.

It isn't easy to get some value out of it, but it isn't hard also. Using the EV calculator at, with 52% win rate you already have positive EV out of leagues. The prizes for tournaments are pretty nice, you can play whenever you want, don't have to interact if you don't feel like it, don't have to travel, wait for rounds (unless on challenge - but then you can wait watching some nice stuff on your computer), etc. Every program has it's bugs, and I don't recall MTGO having any major bug ATM (the only one that freaks me out is mindbreak trap not showing what you already have selected, I once lost because I had a bad mouse).

I don't know if you will, but I love playing vintage on MTGO.

PS.: If you don't have decks yet, these are my recommendations to building:
Search for archetypes
Bot chain (the best by far IMO)
Bot chain - not as good but can have a better price
Site with prices for tons of bots - This one has lots of other features too
Rarely, but sometimes it's got the best price

Oh, and another thing I forgot is that when you buy/sell on paper, you have to either do tons of research, wait some time for the card to arrive, and sell only to players to don't lose a lot of value out of it. But when you are buying/selling online and search for a lot of bots, most of the cards' higher buy price (bot buying from you) is pretty close to the lowest selling price. So you usually don't lose a lot of value/time when you buy something, then realize you don't want it and sell it again.

last edited by GutoCmtt

MTGO is the cutting edge of competitive Vintage. You will get the opportunity to play versus the newest metagame and great players. In a single challenge alone you can play versus multiple vintage world champions, VSL stars and MTGO grinders. MTGO is the best practice you can get playing Vintage outside of a small test group of similaily high level players. MTGO Vintage metagame is not held back by huge prices for paper cards. You can and will have access to switch decks at will as the metagame itterates week to week.

If you have any questions feel free to message me or stop by my stream and I will answer them live.


last edited by IamActuallyLvL1

To address your initial questions.

You can join practice room and direct challenges that cost 0$. And you can play solitare mode by yourself to learn the controls.

You can play these matches as long as you want before maybe moving onto leagues.

Leagues are 10$ and you can play 5 matches at your leisure.

The best value are challenges. These happen on Saturdays. You will play 6 rounds and 3-3 will get you your money back and better than that will be +value.

last edited by IamActuallyLvL1
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