Insider: MTGO Standard and Extended Buy Lists

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This week we’re going to take a look at some of the MTGO pricing that is floating around out there. I’ve imported the pricing from every site that I could find and produce usable data from. There are surprisingly few posted price lists online for MTGO. For the data I was able to locate and use I’d like to thank Supernovabots, Magic Traders, Sharpbot, and Foggy. I was unable to pull down the data from CardHoarder, MTGO Academy, and MTGO Library. Some of those listed above that I was able to capture don’t have Buy Lists or Price Lists online, or in one case generates all their pricing figures as pictures instead of text. I may be able to do more in the future when I’m running something more sophisticated than Excel, but for now this is what I could get. Some of the online listings don’t allow browsing and you have to search for cards one at a time. If you have a favorite that isn’t listed here, please let me know and I will try to add it.

These spread sheets are all templated off of those designed for paper Magic so they may look a bit familiar. Keep in mind that like the other lists I work with, they will continue to get updated as time goes on, so you can always check back in later to this same article to see what might have changed.

First up, we have our Top 60 list. You may also notice that I have many of the columns figures going out to three digits after the decimal. This isn’t really nessesary for some of the charts, but some of the bots list prices at less than a cent, and this is a tradeoff so that my sheet doesn’t just round them to $0.00.

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Just like in the world of offline MTG Jace, the Mind Sculptor is still sculpting the minds of players into the top spot for Standard and Extended. Next in line for the most valuable cards being bot bought are Vengevine, Primeval Titan, and Lotus Cobra. It takes five cards down the list before we hit our first Extended card Figure of Destiny. It’s about this time that we start to see the bigger differences between online and offline. A paper Figure of Destiny goes for under $9, but online it’s more than double. I would imagine that is a scarcity issue more than its relative worth. If anyone can point me toward MTGO historical population and sales figures we might be able to get a reason being such a swing. I’m thinking that if a set is relatively unpopular online for some reason we end up with a very different economy then we do IRL. For physical cards the markert is going to at least get it’s initial print run, no matter how popular it is… Online though only gets how many are purchased, one for one, so there would be fewer cards out there and available if it suddenly “got good” later on. Figure of Destiny was always good, but perhaps that was realized too late? Going on down the list we start to get into more Extended cards like Bitterblossom and Mutavault, the Fae staples. I did a double take, and rechecked my numbers when i saw that Superovabots was buying and selling Twilight Mire for over $20. There also seems to be a large disparity in what the bots are selling for and some of the deals going through in eBay. There isn’t much data there, but we’ll look at it more later on in this article.

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This is only a guess since I don’t operate a bot myself, but the 24 hour nature of Magic Online must play into the slim margins on these cards. With the top end cards show margins as small as 6% there must also be a very large number of Commons and Uncommons being played to make this a viable system for any serious bot owner. I could also image that a series of market driven price cuts just got away from the big providers and ended up being the norm. Other than changes to the order of the cards on the Standard list above, it’s only two cards different from the paper version (Online has Eldrazi Monument and Avenger of Zendikar, where offline has Frost Titan and Abyssal Persecutor). The Extended lists share six of the same cards and the values are wildly different. I may have to focus in on that a bit more in another article. On to our MTGO Womby lists.

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I have a bit of a caveat on these lists. The eBay community for MTGO cards is nowhere close to as large as it is for the cardboard croud. For our purposes this means that there are far fewer sales to be able to track and that has some adverse effects on our data. Normally, in order to eliminate false positives, I establish a minimum threshold number of transactions. The data that comes from MagicTraders doesn’t filter out completed but unpurchased sales, so if someone puts up a sale for a random Uncommon at 100 times the price, realizes the mistake and deletes the auction, it gets counted as a sale. Generally, if i card has fewer than say, 10 sales in a month I don’t count it. This is not something I can do with the MTGO list because nearly all the cards have only a single monthly transaction. So if something looks wrong here, it might be one of these false positive sales.

This may in fact be the case with the Time Warp that has a paper price of $7, and MTGO price of about $3 and an eBay price of about $1. If you can grab MTGO Time Warps for $1 on eBay and sell them to randombot for almost $3… more power to you! Take a look at the other items on this list where you might be able to rake in the tickets and pay for that Insider Subscription you’ve had your heart set on (or already purchased!)

The second list shows you similar data but it’s bots vs. bots. In the case of the number one slot (at the time of writing) Jenara, Asura of War, it’s certinaly some kind of mistake that they are selling the card for so much less than they are buying them for. I would not in fact advocate taking advantage of their clerical error since those kinds of things are a drain on the whole community and kindness tends to be self-rewarding, but there are going to be some legitimate times that one bot will need cards and pay more for them than others are selling them for. If any bot owners are reading this, make sure to get your sales online so that I can track these points of viable cross selling! For the rest of you guys, gobble ‘em up!

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Here we have the full list of MTGO Standard and Extended Rares in alpha order by set. If you want to look something up, this is the place.

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Once more we have some Womby Lists, eBay and Stores. These are a lot more Rares than Mythics in Standard and Mythic so there are more options to make some margins. Take a look and hunt down the bots to grab what you can.

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Above are the complete MTGO Uncommon lists.

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Much like in corporeal Magic there aren’t many opportunities for Uncommons. The best suggestion I have is to try and get deals on the higher value ones and trade them in… this might be more tedious then it’s worth though.

That’s all I have for this week. If you guys have anything in mind that you'd like to see or a different way to arrange the data, let me know.

Magic Analyist
Chris McNutt
Level 1 Judge
@fatecreatr on Twitter

Chris McNutt

Born in Seattle, Washington, Chris McNutt has been playing and collecting Magic: The Gathering since Unlimited Edition. As an active player, tournament organizer and judge he regularly scrubs out of Pro Tour Qualifiers but inexplicably cleans up at the local draft tables. When not net decking Chris is either busy working as an Information Technology Sales Rep or spending time with his family. Other non-magical pastimes include playing guitar and an unhealthy number of video games. Cursed with an undying love of generating spreadsheets purely for “fun”, he’ll be crunching the numbers each week in order to serve up delicious data burritos to the salivating, hungry readers of Quiet Speculation.

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5 thoughts on “Insider: MTGO Standard and Extended Buy Lists

  1. This is awesome.
    If you're interested in the incongruity between paper and online card values, I recommend looking into pauper as there are many commons from older sets that carry high prices online compared to very low prices in paper… for instance Prohibit will cost you like 10 cents in paper but is very hard to find online and can run you more than 3 tickets.

    Also, regarding your comment about the popularity of sets when you were talking about FoD: a huge factor in the price and scarcity of cards is set redemption. If a set had a high redemption rate or if a card was thought to be bad (and players had no problem bulking them in with their set redemption rather than saving a play set) you'll get cards that are rarer/pricier than others. About a month ago, Figure of Destiny could be found for something like 12 tix because of the release of the Fire and Lightning deck as a tournament prize during the winter celebration. For whatever reason, some bots started dropping their price on the Figure–I guess under the assumption that the market would be flooded with them. And I can only assume that bot operators are more likely to keep "good" cards in their system and redeem what at the time seem like bulk rares… like Prismatic Omen.

    Great article. Thanks!

  2. Thanks – I've been hoping for something like this for quite a long time. The MTGO economy is quite opaque, and it's hard to do the kind of analysis you get in paper. With regard to the disparity for Shadowmoor and Eventide cards, it is important to note that these sets were released around the time of the troubled version 3 upgrade of the MTGO client, and thus a very small number of packs were drafted. Also, Eventide was a small set in a two-set draft format (SHM/SHM/EVE) that came right before the release of the core set, which further reduced drafting (although this phenomenon was duplicated in paper).

    You should definitely include MTGOTRADERS in future buylists, as they are a major bot provider and online card store. They post a "hotlist" on their site which is a selection of cards they are paying high on. If the other sites are doing this as well, that could explain the thin margins; it may be that they are paying less for cards that are not in such high demand. Erik Friborg (hamtastic) has a weekly column on PureMTGO (sponsored by MTGO Traders) that usually has pricing data on major movers, although this is what you would pay, not what you would receive from a bot. This indicates that MTGO Traders does keep a database of prices, although I don't know if they would be willing to share it.

    1. That's pretty interesting about the version 3 launch and it makes sense. It's the digital analog to a major card shipment sinking into the ocean i suppose.

      I am able to import the buy lists from MTGO Traders, but not their sale pricing since the prices are actually images and not text. I would guess that this was intentional instead of incidental, but I can certainly contact them to see if they have alternate data posted online that I can use.

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