Insider: [MTGO] While You Are Not Free Drafting M15

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M15 release events have just started on MTGO and it will be the first real test for the new client without the security net of the V3 still running. In case you forgot about it, you may have a free draft package waiting for you on you account. Almost two weeks with the new client now and, despite numerous glitches and unhappy people, we haven't seen a market crash so far. Good omen?

All these changes aside, release events are usually the opportunity to find good deals among discounted cards that players are willing to let go for few extra Tix. For several cards in Theros block, it might as well be the cheapest prices you'll see before the new Standard season starts.

I'll give you my thoughts on the M15 rares next week, as there's absolutely not rush to acquire them--with very unique exceptions, all of the M15 rares will be on a downward slope until Khans of Tarkir's release next October and you are very likely to overpay if you buy them sooner than that.

Theros Block Picks

Core set releases are usually the best period to pick up cards from what will become the older Standard block in October, e.g. Theros block currently. For cards that are going to be staples for the next Standard season, they probably won't get any cheaper than now.

A lot of Theros block cards have my attention right now and I plan on buying them this week. Many cards could be worth picking up, but here are the ones I think are the most promising:

In my opinion, all ten of the temples are worth considering and picking up. The metagame of today are likely to not be the metagame of tomorrow, featuring Khans of Tarkir. Temples with the lowest value now could be the most wanted next fall. I didn't include Mana Confluence since its presence in future Standard decks might really depend on what Khans of Tarkir brings us in terms of mana fixing and/or the needs of 3-4 colors decks, and, considering this Mana Confluence's price is too high for me.

On the Devotion.decks side, green decks seem to be able to pass the Standard rotation easily. Burning-Tree Emissary is the only major loss for green decks while gaining several powerful cards from M15--Genesis Hydra, Nissa, Worldwaker, Chord of Calling and Hornet Queen.

Mono blue, red and black decks are losing much more Devotion-needed cards, especially the three mana symboled cards, Nightveil Specter and Boros Reckoner.

Rares generally don't do miracles when they have already reached a decent price, but I think Thoughtseize and Courser of Kruphix have a great future ahead. These two cards can be part of different deck strategies and are played in several formats. Remember that the courser and Sylvan Caryatid were format defining cards and omnipresent during the Pro Tour Journey into Nyx, so I expect to see them in many decks during the Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir and after.

Dozen of other rares are probably worth considering as well. Firedrinker Satyr, Satyr FiredancerFleecemane LionBoon Satyr, NighthowlerPain Seer Anger of the GodsChained to the Rocks, Silence the BelieversHerald of TormentHero of Iroas and Eidolon of Countless Battles have seen play in Theros block or Standard decks at some point this year and might make the cut once Return to Ravnica block is out and Khans of Tarkir is in.

Concerning the mythics, several of them may have a a good upside at a fairly low price right now. Their prices are likely to be even more attractive in the heat of M15 release events. I like all five Born of the Gods gods, particularly since they are under 1.5, Tix which is a nice base line if anything happen in the future.

Chromanticore at 0.4 Tix, Ashen Rider at 1 Tix and Underworld Cerberus at 0.9 Tix are also worth considering with these prices since they have seen fringe play in Theros block and Standard. With the exception of Thassa, God of the Sea, mono colored Gods from Theros currently have a decent buy price with good potential. However, they are from the first block set and it may highly depend on what Khans of Tarkir offers.

Finally, there are some cards from Journey into Nyx--such as Ajani Mentor of Heroes, Keranos, God of Storms and Eidolon of Blossoms--I wish were significantly lower. Since they are from the third set, they would not need much to rise, but I'm hesitant to buy them at their current price.

One last note on the Theros picks: I'll make the PT Khans of Tarkir a possible selling point for all of these picks. Until the Standard metagame is dictated by the pros during the PT, all cards have a fair shot and may increase in price. After the Pro Tour, the cards you picked that have not seen play may start falling, waiting for the metagame to change only several months later.

Modern Picks

Modern is kind of unseen this summer, probably because of the cancellation of the Modern PTQ on MTGO. However, looking at the Modern index you'll see that it is actually up by about 10% since the release of VMA five weeks ago.

Indeed, Modern cards playable in Vintage and Legacy are the ones that really spiked. To name a few: Hurkyl's Recall, Serum PowderForbidden OrchardTezzeret the SeekerBlightsteel ColossusMisty Rainforest and Scalding Tarn pumped up the Modern index, all while barely played in the format, or not at all.

Aside from Vintage-related fluctuations, Modern is probably stable or slightly down.

Several real Modern staples are actually close to a one year low right now and might be worth picking up during the M15 release events. Last year, Modern prices dipped a little bit as M14 release events went on, then bounced back until Theros release. Similarly, I expect Modern staples to dip a little bit, while M15 is being opened, then to rise until next October and the Khans of Tarkir release.

Note that this dip & bounce was not necessarily true for all Modern cards, but if you buy a basket of Modern positions, especially targeting those that are already low compared to their highest, I think there's a real profit opportunity here with a short three months time frame.

Here is a selection worth considering.

Eternal Witness and Kitchen Finks are at an extremely low buy price now as well:


Alternatively, I'm also watching Snapcaster Mage and Dark Confidant. They are both far from a low point, but they are one of the most played creatures in Vintage,  Legacy and Modern. I'm considering buying these during M15 release events if their prices experience some weakness, keeping them until the Khans of Tarkir release as well.

Vintage Picks

Vintage prices, especially P9 pieces, have had a bumpy road since Vintage Masters was released last month. It seems the prices of all Vintage staples are now set to stabilize.

VMA release events seemed to have been a success and Vintage on MTGO is slowly but surely establishing itself. If everything holds, VMA boosters should be available from the store until around Khans of Tarkir release. This being said, with M15 now available, VMA is going to be less and less opened, and the prices should start heading up slowly.

I don't see VMA cards benefiting from a huge discount, since people will need Tix for M15 release events, but these two coming weeks may be the last opportunity to gather VMA staples at a relatively low price.

I might pick up a restricted playset or two of P9 for personal use, especially since prices should be higher in the mid/long run. Best deals probably lie among rare and mythic staples in Legacy and Vintage, as well as being playable as 4-ofs, such as these:

Among these, I particularly like Dack Fayden and Council's Judgment. Both have a good playability potential and haven't been print before. As a mythic, I have a lot of expectations for Dack in the long run.

All the other 1-of Vintage staples are worth it as well. You may want to complete your Vintage collection/decks or start to build your cube on MTGO!

M15 Picks

During the release events, there's usually not much to pick. Pretty much everything is going to lose value. Well, almost everything.

Thanks to the little experiment I made with M14 mythics, it appears that betting on all the mythics at once, about two weeks after the release of the core set was a good strategy.

Here is how I plan to adjust the strategy based on my previous results and based on the fact that we have a Standard Pro Tour right in middle of release events:

  • I would try to buy an equal amount in Tix of all non junk mythics, to a limit of 100 copies. Above 100 copies it gets more delicate to sell without altering the %, especially if you have to sell a mythic that has not spiked.
  • The best overall window to buy is the 2nd weekend and 2nd week after release, so right during the PT. I would not touch any mythic that makes noise at the PT. Prices of these mythics are likely to go up and kind of falsify the strategy (these mythics might not be played with Khans of Tarkir, and that's a real risk).
  • For the Junk mythics, I would wait for them to be available at .50 Tix or under. It may take more than two weeks to reach this level, but all junk mythics touch that baseline at some point.

As for the rares, I would not buy any of them until later in September. Even the ones that may find a home in our old Standard metagame. The only option I see with rares is to perform some Quick Flips during the PT. Be careful, prices might spike really hard and fall flat the next day.


Hope you'll find a way to enjoy the M15 release events, whether it is by playing or by taking some opportunities to invest.


Thanks for reading,

Sylvain Lehoux

10 thoughts on “Insider: [MTGO] While You Are Not Free Drafting M15

    1. As Alexander Carl pointed out at me it is indirectly possible:

      Gather the card you want to play cube with, maybe in one separated MTGO account so there’s only the cube cards on it.

      Then draft your cube via a draft software where you can build your card pool, such as

      Then each player get the cards from his/her draft from the cube account.

      Better do that with friends and or people you, as the cube owner have to trust them to return the card when done.

      Also, you can only build a pauper cube or any cheap cube, not necessarily a Powered cube such as the one played on MTGO.

      Nonetheless, it remains kind of possible to reproduce the cube as on MTGO and “practice” with people you trust.

      With this possibility I’m seriously considering building a powered cube over the next months, turning some of my profit into cube pieces, and waiting for reprints/flashback drafts to gather expensive cards.
      With VMA, that’s a great occasion to gather a lot of vintage/legacy cards cheaper than ever.

    2. My MTGO clan has a cube for years. Our clan leader just spent the money to upgrade into a power cube. We use to draft it once or twice a week but some of the core clan member left and we are lucky to get the cube running one a month now. Also the limited resource clan has a cube. I have my second account in that clan incase I wanted to cube with them. is the only play I still know that can run the cube draft. There where better option but they all seems to be gone now.

  1. I was wondering. Is it possible for an economy to crash if everyone expects it to crash?

    I mean, the biggest crashes were, at least to my limited knowledge, unexpected.

    If the economy is not peeking, and everyone expects a crash, than everyone is very protective and no one will take risks anymore.

    so it’s not a surprise there is no crash now.

    1. Crash may have been a little bit strong. I meant by that an abrupt decrease (~20%, or more) of most MTGO prices, such as what we observed when special events were canceled last year or during the V2-V3 transition.

      Some players (probably less than expected) stopped playing and/or sold their account.

      As of know, it’s like nothing happened.

    2. Your comment seems to be talking generally, not specifically about MTGO, right?

      I can’t talk about economies in general, but it’s known that if everyone thinks a bank will crash, the influx of people withdrawing money can in fact cause it to crash, making it a self fulfilling prophecy.

    1. I was referring to the prerelease phantom points and item received on any account visited since 2008. Allowing you to enter prerelease sealed for free, and maybe draft with subsequent earned boosters.

      Alternatively, you can also draft any phantom events anytime with these 35 phantom points.

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