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Insider: [MTGO] Update on RTR & M14 – Reacting to Changes in the Rotation Trend

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I have been on vacation the past week and a half and got disconnected almost completely from the internet, including from my MTGO investing activities. I didn't bring my laptop with me and my cell phone is at least the grandfather of a smart phone so I pretty much had nothing to keep me updated of the latest trends, and I couldn't have done anything anyway.

Before I switched to vacation mode I had made a little memo to myself about cards to buy or keep on watch, including Modern, Return to Ravnica block and M14 cards. I was expecting to make a good round of purchases at the end of October after my break. I was waiting for prices to be at their lowest, in particular concerning the cards freshly rotated out of Standard.

During the past several weeks I have been saying that the end of October is historically the best period of the year to buy cards from sets that just rotated out of Standard. I said that this trend is pretty much always true for rares and also a good period to pick up mythics, although the latter need to be evaluated case by case.

For Return to Ravnica block and M14 rares I mentioned and recommended many times on the forums to wait for the end of October before making any move, despite the fact that some rares were clearly not following the trend established in the past two or three years. Steam Vents, Abrupt Decay and Deathrite Shaman were not really at their all-time low last week.

Now, back from vacation, I am definitely stocking up Return to Ravnica block and M14 cards, many of them at a little premium. Incidentally this situation follows the words of my article two weeks ago. Given the circumstances, I found myself buying several cards at a higher price than I had expected to. I didn't catch the absolute bottom and it doesn't really matter. Even with a 10-15% higher price, these opportunities are still good at the moment.

A New Norm?

At rotation, rares of all sets have always behaved the same. In my article last September I showed that all Eternal staples, or staples-to-be, that rotate out of Standard see a bottom in late October to early November. Snapcaster Mage, Birthing Pod, Inkmoth Nexus, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Restoration Angel and Cavern of Souls didn't escape the trend--they all reached their nadir in October or November. Not before, and not later.

This year, with Return to Ravnica, Gatecrash and M14 (no card from Dragon's Maze is really concerned here) things are different, and there's more than just one isolated case. If the general trend of bottoming around October is still here, several cards seemed to have bottomed well before the end of October or have not bottomed at all.

Cards that have obvious roles in eternal formats, Modern primarily, unexpectedly kept a flat or upward trend since this summer. Take a look at few examples.

The five RTR shock lands have been at their lowest, in average, this summer. After a little bump after the M15 release they went down a little bit for Khans of Tarkir release and that was it. Steam Vents is obviously the exception caused by the surge of blue-red decks in Modern, but who knew one of these lands would get so much interest at this point in time in the heat of a new fall set release?

GTC shock lands behaved slightly differently but also got a low point early in June during VMA release events that was matched only in early October during KTK release. After this brief dip, prices went up again, sooner than anticipated.

Despite being banned in Modern and seeing fringe play in Standard, Deathrite Shaman never dipped to its previous lowest point in May. Abrupt Decay reached its highest this summer and never really went down since. Like many other cards these two black-green cards saw a little dip for KTK release, far from the big price depreciation I was expected by October.

Rest in Peace is another card I was hoping to stock up at a very low price. The white enchantment never matched so far its lowest of last June, and I missed the dip early this October.

In M14, Scavenging Ooze also dipped around KTK release but not as low as it was in last July. The ooze is already back on track.

Finally, Mutavault is one of the very few card that "respected" the price pattern I was hoping to see for others. Probably because the card was extremely popular in Standard and is not so played in eternal formats. The land saw its lowest point mid-October.

So much for the theory that all rares bottomed in October-November with no exceptions...

The only common trend with all these cards is that they saw a price dip during Khans of Tarkir release, but not an absolute bottom.

Why is this so different this year? I'm not really sure and it may have to do with several factors, including more speculators and more people aware of these rotation opportunities, valuable sets, V4, the Standard Pro Tour in August, etc… This is also warning me to be more vigilant next year and that I should start buying cards during the summer if prices look good with the option to finalize my purchases around the fall set release.

Okay, so standards have been shook up and if you are in my boat you have been late on catching up the best deal for rotating cards. Nonetheless late is better than never. Let see what we are left to deal with. Some rares may still represent a great opportunity now, as well as some mythics which have reached a fairly low point now.

Rares

With the exception of Steam Vents, I've been buying all the other shock lands these past days. I'm not getting the best price for many of them but they hold a strong value going forward.

The blue-red shock is simply too high for me now. The hype created around the blue-red Modern decks thanks to Treasure Cruise and Monastery Swiftspear has pushed Steam Vents too high too fast. There's no profit to be made for me with this one in the short to mid-term.

Shock Lands

I'm also buying rares that have or may have a role in eternal formats. Although the price is a little steep at ~1 Tix now, I strongly believe Rest in Peace is going to hold good value in the future. I'm buying it now at its current price and I'll be ready to stock up more if its price comes back to 0.3-0.5 Tix.

This enchantment may have the same trend has Stony Silence. Several rares are at bulk price now and may see a moderate price spike if more exposed in Modern decks.

Other Rares

Mythics

I have two things to say about Return to Ravnica block and M14 mythics today. The first thing is about the mythics that have reached a lower price now than when I wrote about them two months ago, and are therefore on my buying list. The other thing is about the mythics, mostly bulk and cheap mythics, that have seen surprising spikes recently.

In My Basket

Again, I have been late for some mythics here and I'm either passing on some opportunities or buying at a slightly higher price than I could have. However, for several mythics now is the optimal time, or close, to acquire them.

Mythics

Unexpected Spikes, Unexpected Gains

About two weeks after the release of Khans of Tarkir, several mythics from Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash have experienced an abrupt spike for unclear reasons, doubling their price overnight. Inexpensive mythics were suddenly valued like never before. Here are some examples. Pretty much all the the bulk mythics from these two sets were affected.

If you don't really know the reason (and I don't really care to be honest) for such spikes I do know the impact on my bankroll--unexpected high returns in record time for these kinds of specs. Among the spikers, I was holding Worldspine Wurm and Enter the Infinite, two cards I found very attractive two months ago. Bingo.

For some reason I missed the good window to sell the Wurm--its price didn't maintain 10 Tix for more than a day or two. However I was able to sell the four playsets of Enter the Infinite I had for more than 7 Tix a piece. An incredible gain in only two months.


If you were holding some of these cards, I hope you took this godsend opportunity to convert some Tix faster than expected. All these mythics might come back to similar heights but only in several months. While MTGO has opportunities available almost at any time of the year, exciting a position sooner than anticipated because of a sudden spike is what you are looking for to grow your bankroll even faster.

Enter the Infinite could be worth 10 Tix next March but I know that my Tix will be better reinvested now in with Modern opportunities. Enter the Infinite could also be worth 4 Tix next March.

Not So Bulk Mythics

Lastly, you may have observed this too, but a lot of mythics from Return to Ravnica block and M14 that were considered as junk or bulk mythics reached pretty impressive prices these days. In addition to the mythics mentioned above, Lord of the VoidLazav, Dimir MastermindHellkite Tyrant, Utvara Hellkite, Scourge of Valkas, Rise of the Dark Realms and Ring of Three Wishes are at prices double or triple what they were when Standard-playable.


Starting from about a year after release, it appears that these guys were on an upward trend since then. Tripling your investment in 12 or 15 months is a pretty good investment. And if you are able to capitalize on the unexpected spikes we saw earlier you are holding gold bars. I'll take another look to Theros block and M15 mythics, and will give much more credit to any mythics under 0.5 Tix with a long-term perspective, providing the trend we are observing now repeats itself next year.

 

Thanks for reading,

Sylvain Lehoux

6 thoughts on “Insider: [MTGO] Update on RTR & M14 – Reacting to Changes in the Rotation Trend

  1. There’s been a suggestion in the forums that the recent price increases on junkish mythics from RTR and GTC are due to an attempt to buy out the market. Good news for those patient speculators that were holding these! Like you, I don’t care why this has happened, just that it’s bumped up the sell date on a few positions.

    1. I have read this on the forum and it could make sense but not all mythics were affected. Obzedat and Prime Speaker Zegana did show such a spike.

      Maybe the person that tried to buy out the market already got his/her copies of these 2 cards and others?

  2. Enter the infinite spiked when Containment Priest was spoiled early, as pretty much standard sneak show may scoop heavily to it. The omniscience show and tell matchup is unaffected by it.

  3. Thank you for a lots of suggestions to trade on MTGO, However, some questions has found on Thero price that come from http://www.Goatbots.com. I do not understand why some cards will inrease price for no deck supplying. JUST like Thassa, God of the Sea,Heliod, God of the Sun,Underworld Cerberus and Hythonia the Cruel. So I hope anyone can tell me the reason.

    1. The decks or the reason that make them spike is not obvious yet. MTGO is hyper reactive to anything on the web.

      Travis Woo for instance became a master in the art of creating crazy decks that can trigger big spikes with under the radar cards.

      At the moment, I don’t know what are the reasons for the cards you mentioned. Decks or redemption push?

  4. Hey Silvain, great article, I was wondering if these mythics have upside potential for redemption or future, casual playability. Thanks and keep up the good work! 🙂

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