Welcome to the MTGO Market Report as compiled by Sylvain Lehoux and Matthew Lewis. The report is loosely broken down into two perspectives. A broader perspective will be written by Matthew and will focus on recent trends in set prices, taking into account how paper prices and MTGO prices interact. Sylvain will take a closer look at particular opportunities based on various factors such as (but not limited to) set releases, flashback drafts and banned/restricted announcements.
There will be some overlap between the two sections. As always, speculators should take into account their own budget, risk tolerance and current portfolio before taking on any recommended positions.
MTGO Sanctioned Tournament Changes
This Monday Lee Sharpe announced some big changes concerning sanctioned tournaments on MTGO. Play Points (PP) were introduced as a new prize and as a new way to enter all sorts of online sanctioned events. The idea behind the PP is to make sure that some of the awarded prizes hold a constant value (unlike the fluctuating value of boosters) and to facilitate the entry of sanctioned events for players looking to chain events (such as two-players queues). These changes will come into effect August 12th.
It is still too early to say what will be the short- and long-term effects of these changes. On Twitter, the MTGO community reacted quickly and rather negatively to this news. Louder voices are not necessarily representative of the majority of MTGO players and are also not always right about the possible implications of such changes. These PPs are a new type of product on MTGO and will probably have an impact, positive or negative, on all levels of the current MTGO economy, including booster and single prices as well as the dollar value of Tix; it is just too early to draw definitive and stark conclusions.
As always with such announcements, some people impulsively reacted by selling their collection and pledging to quit playing MTGO. There's certainly no need for such dramatic measures at this point. Previous big changes such as the increase of redemption costs, the suspension of large sanctioned events and the switch to different MTGO versions have proven to only momentarily affect the MTGO economy. MTGO didn't crash, players kept playing and speculators kept speculating.
We'll try to cover more about the potential impacts of these changes as they are implemented in the coming weeks. Also, remember that WotC's paper and MTGO teams has shown the ability to respond to comments and criticisms from the community, even as new changes take place.
Below are the total set prices for all redeemable sets on MTGO. All prices are current as of July 20th, 2015. The TCG Low and TCG Mid prices are the sum of each set’s individual card prices on TCG Player, either the low price or the mid-price respectively.
All MTGO set prices this week are taken from Goatbot’s website, and all weekly changes are now calculated relative to Goatbot’s ‘Full Set’ prices from the previous week. All monthly changes are also relative to the previous month prices, taken from Goatbot’s website at that time. Occasionally ‘Full Set’ prices are not available, and so estimated set prices are used instead.
Return to Ravnica Block & M14
Very little has changed since last week. The value of all four of these redeemable sets remained mostly flat with no significant change in the most valuable cards.
After the hype triggered by the reprint of Goblin Piledriver, Mutavault has dropped from its 9-Tix peak and stabilized slightly under 7 Tix. With or without Goblins in Modern, Mutavault remains a valuable position especially since Merfolk proved a couple of weeks ago to be a serious contender in this format.
Legion Loyalist on the other hand hasn't lost much of its recent price increase. However it would take Goblins to really take off in Modern in order for the hasty GTC goblin to push higher prices. If Goblins doesn't make a splash in Modern by the end of the redemption period for Return to Ravnica block (this Fall), Legion Loyalist could be back under the 0.5 Tix bar.
At that price it would become an interesting speculative target as the Loyalist is not only playable in Goblins decks, but has already seen fringe play in Red Aggro decks in Modern.
Theros Block & M15
The release of Magic Origins will momentarily revitalize Theros block and M15 prices. G/R Devotion, Jeskai Aggro and Abzan Control decks remained the most popular decks for the first SCG Standard event post-ORI. With this past weekend's finish, several cards, including Mana Confluence, Temple of Enlightenment, Polukranos, World Eater, Sylvan Caryatid and Hero of Iroas, regained some of the value they had lost over the past two months.
With Standard rotation approaching, these price increases are certainly not here to stay. However, after the global price depreciation initiated since the release of Modern Masters 2015, the release of Magic Origins and its subsequent Pro Tour may trigger short-term but strong rebounds on some Theros block and M15 cards.
This is the last opportunity for speculators to generate profits with positions from sets about to rotate out of Standard. Any speculations here should be consider short-term.
Now that Magic Origins is released, several cards form this block are likely to increase in price just after ORI release events and until the release of Battle for Zendikar. Although the impact of ORI on the current Standard metagame will be moderate, the exploration of new strategies may potentially cause the price of any KTK block card to spike.
At this past weekend's SCG Standard Open, Matthew Tickal piloted a novel 5-Color Rally deck to 34th place. Incorporating several cards from ORI, his deck took advantage of Rally the Ancestors in an aggro/combo shell.
The white instant from FRF jumped from bulk rare to 0.4 Tix over the weekend and while this card is likely to go back to bulk soon, this is definitely a card to keep an eye on. The deck uses a fair share of Tarkir block and ORI cards that could form a viable base post-Standard rotation.
A large number of ORI cards were incorporated in several decks this past weekend. Jace, Vryn's Prodigy probably made the strongest impression and was incorporated in different deck strategies including 5-Color Rally and Jeskai decks.
Jeff Hoogland brought a UW control deck featuring a full playset of Hangarback Walker (also seen in a WR aggro deck) alongside Thopter Spy Network. The walker also made a strong impression and helped Jeff made it to the Top 8.
In total, more than 30 ORI cards including Languish, Pia and Kiran Nalaar, Goblin Piledriver, Archangel of Tithes, Knight of the White Orchid, Gather the Pack and Day's Undoing were also seen among the Top 64 decklists of this event.
All of these cards might not see play in future events but ORI has clearly already influenced the Standard environment, which is rather encouraging for both players and speculators.
This doesn't mean, however, that gains didn't occur. While several non-MM2-reprinted staples, such as the ZEN fetch lands, Blood Moon, Snapcaster Mage and Azusa, Lost but Seeking, lost some value over the past two weeks, gains were still recorded this week by at least two dozen MM2 Modern staples.
On the one hand top mythics and rares added up another 10 to 20% and some have nearly doubled up since mid-June. On the other hand some uncommons and rares that were at bulk price only two or three weeks ago such as Mutagenic Growth, Spectral Procession, Swans of Bryn Argoll, Mirran Crusader and Eye of Ugin saw strong percentage increases.
With cheaper prices comes higher volatility and speculators should expect such cards to swing frequently, with the general trend nonetheless being upward until the release of BFZ.
One should also always keep in mind the price of the original prints before MM2 release for an approximation of the potential ceiling of the MM2 version of these cards. For bulk positions, moving from 0.05 Tix to 1 Tix represents a great percentage increase and it would be reasonable to exit such positions regardless of the time left to go until September. These positions may grow fast but they also may plunge fast. Taking your profit after a 500% return is always a good move.
Legacy & Vintage
Day's Undoing was also seen in Legacy this past weekend. At the Legacy SCG Premier IQ Scott Muir's Affinity deck finished 6th with two copies of the newest iteration of Timetwister. Of note, not less than four Elves deck were found in the top 17 of this same tournament with Mike Rekow's Elves taking the trophy home with the inclusion of one ORI Shaman of the Pack as a win condition that doesn't require an attack step.
Legacy appeal is limited on MTGO and finding speculative opportunities in this format is rare and uncertain. Nevertheless, Natural Order is at an all-time low since its price was recorded by Mtggoldfish and Glimpse of Nature slipped from 11 Tix last October to 3 Tix, an almost 2-year low.
These are certainly very attractive prices for players, but as speculative targets these cards have limited upside compared to Modern or Standard specs. The potential big advantage here comes from a rather limited supply of Visions and Champions of Kamigawa cards on MTGO. As an example, the release of VMA last year showed us what the impact of a sudden demand can have on Legacy and Vintage prices.
Familiar has always been a fairly popular deck in the Pauper metagame. This UWb storm deck relies on familiars, namely Sunscape Familiar and Nightscape Familiar, to play spells such as Snap and Cloud of Faeries to untap lands (Ravnica bounce lands if possible) in order to generate mana and storm count.
Sunscape Familiar is a key card of this deck and has been only printed in Planeshift, one of the very first sets released on MTGO. Its price peaked to 4 Tix last month and is now back just under 2 Tix. Considering the recent cyclical price movements in Pauper and the extremely limited supply of the white familiar, this might be a nice speculative target.