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Insider: Wide Beta Spotlight Redux

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Important Correction

In last week's Portfolio Update, I talked about buying Mirrodin Besieged (MBS) mythic rares. This has turned out to be a mistake based on incomplete information. WoTC provides two dates when it comes to redemption. The first is a guarantee date, and the second is a cut off date. We are past the guarantee date for Scars block sets, but not yet passed the cut off date.

It appears that non-foil MBS sets are no longer available for redemption. Although we are not past the cut off date, WoTC is out of stock and has no intention to reprint any regular MBS sets. This thread from the mothership makes that explicit.

This is a clear mistake on my part. The recent drop in MBS prices has to be directly attributed to this lack of availability for redemption. And with WoTC being clear in the above linked thread regarding MBS availability, there is no reason to buy MBS mythics from a redemption angle. Prices on these cards should continue to drop.

Individual cards that see Modern play such as Hero of Bladehold and Thrun, the Last Troll might see future price gains, but the short term outlook on all these cards should be considered negative. On the other hand, junk MBS mythics such as Hero of Oxid Ridge will continue to fall in price without any demand from redeemers.

This was a big mistake on my part. Any readers who bought MBS mythics as a result of last week's portfolio update should take a close look at their holdings and possibly consider liquidation. My rationale for buying these cards has turned out to be incorrect, and you should act accordingly. From my own holdings, I vow to wait one week before I sell my cards, just in case this affects prices too much.

The Beta Spotlight

Next week, Wizards of the Coast (WoTC) will make a second attempt at temporarily turning off Version 3 of the MTGO client in favour of the current iteration of Version 4. Details on the Wide Beta Spotlight can be found here. The first attempt was cancelled last month after some outcry in the forums and on Twitter that the Open Beta was not yet ready for prime time. My first article on this topic can be found here. While I haven't tested out the Beta client lately, the 24 hour spotlight has a nice carrot attached to it.

As a means to encourage users to download and test out the new client, WoTC will be offering nix tix Dragon's Maze-Gatecrash-Return to Ravnica (DGR) draft queues. Instead of 2 tix plus product to enter a draft, a player only needs product. This is a substantial discount and will trigger a 24-hour period of heavy DGR drafting. It's much easier to 'go infinite' when one is not bleeding tix just to enter a draft.

The previous carrot offered by WoTC to encourage players to go online during the spotlight was an extra day of Dragon's Maze (DGM) prereleases. Nix tix should be a significantly more attractive reason to test out the new version of the client. Previous periods of nix tix queues have seen marked increases in drafting and should be treated like a release event. In other words, expect a lot of singles to hit the secondary market.

Nix Tix = Lots of Drafting

The impacts of nix tix queues for speculators will be felt primarily in the market for booster packs. When the cost of a draft drops by 2 tix over night, booster pack prices rise in response. Excess supply of Return to Ravnica (RTR) boosters on the secondary market is minimal as they are close to the store price of $3.99. They have been in the 3.8 to 4.0 tix range lately, and so it's reasonable to expect a small bump in their price. Speculators with any left over positions in RTR should take this moment to sell into this expected price increase.

Gatecrash (GTC) boosters are still priced at a discount on the classifieds as compared to the store, but they have been drifting higher since DGM release events finished up. With the positive trend set to continue, a period of intense DGR drafting will move prices of GTC boosters higher. Speculators who have been selling their GTC boosters should pause their sales and wait until the nix tix queues further reduce the excess supply of GTC boosters. If Modern Masters is not taken up by drafters, DGR drafting will continue unabated. A price bump next week should ensure that the price GTC boosters continue upwards into the 3.7 to 3.9 tix range, which would represent a rough equilibrium with store prices and is similar to what we already see for RTR.

Lastly, DGM boosters have been sitting in the 2.5 to 2.6 tix range. Although the medium term outlook on these is not favourable, a short-term price bump is still anticipated. Due to the low margins and liquidity that boosters have on the market, a short-term flip on these is a viable strategy. Buy DGM booster today and look to sell during the period of nix tix drafting. The two caveats for this strategy are the time and effort it takes to earn a small profit on a booster, and then the possibility that players stay away from the new client. However, nix tix is a strong motivation to get online so buying DGM boosters seems like a low-risk strategy to profit on this event.

In terms of singles, expect extra supply to enter the market, depressing prices. I don't think there's a strong strategy to employ here, but if you've been thinking about selling a card like Voice of Resurgence, it could be worthwhile to sell now and buy back later. Sphinx's Revelation and other high-value mythic rares from RTR block will probably see price drops as well.

Portfolio Update

This is a brief rundown of what I am buying, selling and watching in the market.

Selling:

  • Nothing to sell at the moment.

Buying:

  • Nothing to buy at the moment.

Watching:

  • GTC boosters have increased to a profitable level, but I will still be holding for a few more weeks. I'll be interested to see how nix tix DGR drafting affects prices going forward, but I expect a price bump followed by a continued up trend. Modern Masters seems like it's priced too high to significantly affect DGM drafting.
  • Standard prices seem to have mostly stabilized for cards from Innistrad block and M13. With a few Standard PTQs on the horizon, prices should rise in the coming weeks. Geist of Saint Traft has been a solid pick up, but Restoration Angel and Thragtusk are still depressed from where they were a few weeks ago.

7 thoughts on “Insider: Wide Beta Spotlight Redux

  1. I guess you were not aware of the lowered MM-draftprice at the time you wrote this article; still I feel it’s overpriced and still I won’t play in them, but like the forums said people could be lured into it by this pricedrop.

    1. The announcement of the price drop went live just after I submitted this article so it’s unfortunately a little behind the times.

      Yesterday I went and played in a paper MM sealed deck event and it’s my first impression that MM is a fantastic limited set. MTGO grinders and players have shown that they will pay to draft fun sets, and so I expect MM to be quite popular. When a set is fun to draft, EV matters less.

      As for recent events priced at 25 tix, The Dragon’s Maze prerelease events were 25 tix and were very well attended. This leads me to think the 25 tix price point is not going to discourage drafting as much as you might think. But I remain interested in how it all plays out!

      Thanks for reading and commenting, as always.

      1. Nice comparison with the DGM prerelease events, allthough we were getting twice that many boosters in these (that’s how I look at it :p).

        I’m always happy with those prerelease price sheets we get from QS, allthough prices online are almost always lower it still gives a good idea up front what to expect (and what to be happy about when you open it). Too bad we didn’t get one this time.

        Thanks for your efforts.

  2. Thanks for the articule… I’ve been doing very well in my DM drafts wining 50% of my 8-4 and getting second place about 20% as such my boost pack collection has grown… I’ve googlesd it and still don’t understand the inpact of the Nix tikets thing is the pay out the same? if So I should get to drafting!

    1. Nix Tix simply means you only need boosters to draft, no tix required for entry. If you are doing well in drafts, the nix tix 24 hour period will noticeably bump up your gains.

  3. @Vincent yes, the payouts are exactly the same in nix tix drafts, just no entry fee to play in them (you just provide the packs and get to play)

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