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.
Below are the total set prices for all redeemable sets on MTGO. All prices are current as of October 13th, 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.
Theros Block & M15
This week saw the price trajectories for digital and paper sets of Theros (THS) diverge, shown in the "Weekly Change" and "Monthly Change" sections above. This is a signal that the bottom is in and speculators should begin deploying tix into Modern staples and mythic rares from THS.
As paper prices shift to an upward trend, the groundwork is laid for future demand from redeemers seeking to capitalize on the price difference between paper and digital. It's no surprise that THS is bottoming just after its rotation. Take advantage of this cycle by targeting cards like Elspeth, Sun's Champion which is currently at 1.2 tix.
M15 doesn't have the same value proposition as THS, with a smaller gap between a set on MTGO and the TCG Low price. For this reason, it's riskier at this point to go bottom-fishing for cards from this set.
Junk mythic rares at 0.4 tix or less are still reasonable targets, but broad purchases are not yet recommended. Enemy-colour pain lands, Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, Chord of Calling and four single-printing planeswalkers should ensure good value for M15, but the bottom is not yet in on these cards.
For the impact of rotation on MTGO prices, look to the price of former Standard staple Temple of Malady. This rare from Journey Into Nyx was higher than 20 tix in the last year, and it currently sells for 0.04 tix. Although it's not clear whether this particular card will ever be played in Modern, junk rare prices are attractive entry points for cards with potential, even if slight.
Put a few of these in your long-term, long-shot spec basket as the risk-reward ratio is favorable. Temple of Epiphany is a similar story, but at a higher entry price it's not worth tying up a significant amount of tix. If the blue-red temple drops into the 0.1 tix or less range, it will be time to start buying.
On the topic of temples, Temple of Malice from BNG is played as a four-of in Modern Grishoalbrand decks. At prices less than o.2 tix, it is considered a buy. Elsewhere in the middle set from Theros block, Courser of Kruphix has fallen below 1 tix and should be on speculators' list for rotation pick-ups.
Brimaz, King of Oreskos is another one to keep an eye on. This card is on the short list of white three-drops that can be considered Modern and Legacy fringe playable. Players shouldn't hesitate to pick up their playset at current prices.
Tarkir Block & Magic Origins
A set of Origins (ORI) is up substantially this past week, showing a 10% increase. ORI is no longer being heavily drafted and shows a $58 difference between digital and TCG Low set prices ($33 after the redemption fee).
A narrowing of these two prices is inevitable as redeemers take supply out of the MTGO market. Speculators who have been buying cards from ORI will see steady gains in the near term as this process unfolds.
The Tarkir block sets do not have the same potential, but value will flow to and from different cards as Fall Standard takes shape. One of the early winners of this process is Warden of the First Tree from FRF, which has risen to over 8 tix and is now the most expensive card from that set. Look for a further price increase this weekend if the card continues to show up in Abzan strategies at PT BFZ.
From DTK, both Zurgo Bellstriker and Thunderbreak Regent have seen gains on the back of the early success of Atarka Red. Aggressive red strategies usually have success out of the gate in any new iteration of Standard and they are often a cheaper deck to put together on MTGO. Both cards look set for further gains over the coming weeks, but they might run out of steam as the format adapts to beat this strategy.
All boosters from Tarkir block and Magic Origins have dipped in price with the start of BFZ release events. Once the excitement around the new set dies down, players will naturally gravitate towards their favorite formats from the previous year.
The relatively cheap price of these boosters will also encourage drafting them. Speculators should not hesitate to buy them up at current prices. ORI and DTK boosters will reach 4 tix at some point over the next eight months and should be considered the top two targets for boosters at the moment.
Battle for Zendikar
BFZ prereleases have come and gone and release events are in full swing. Price changes for this set will be entered in the set price table starting next week.
At the moment, most of the set's value is tied to Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, but it's still new enough for a breakout card at PT BFZ to jump much higher. Oblivion Sower and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger at 6 to 7 tix have potential as breakout candidates heading into this weekend and are worth keeping an eye on.
Those who are looking to play with the new cards should consider pursuing the foil mythic rare strategy detailed earlier by Matthew Lewis in September.
This strategy recommends buying a playset of each of the foil mythic rares from BFZ. Due to the dynamics of the MTGO economy, a basket of foil mythic rares will actually accrue value over the coming month.
Although the upfront costs are higher, players should have faith that their tix are much safer in foil mythic rares than in regular versions. It's guaranteed that Gideon, Ally of Zendikar will fall below 20 tix by March, but the foil version could well hold onto 30 tix over the same time frame.
Battle for Zendikar release events are upon us and the Total Price Modern Index faithfully reflects the seasonal price depreciation. The index has already dropped by 7% compared to last week and the fall is likely to continue. This is a perfect time to stock up on relatively cheap Modern positions.
While many prices are falling to new lows every day, catching the absolute floor should not be the end goal. Rather, speculators should aim to identify as many solid targets as possible that fit their bankroll and portfolio strategy. The Modern Staples list linked above is a great tool to find speculative targets.
Cheap cards experience the biggest price fluctuations by percentage and thus are more interesting for speculators, especially those with smaller bankrolls. About a dozen Modern staples have lost 50% or more of their value in less than a week, including Stony Silence, Gitaxian Probe, Tectonic Edge, Rest in Peace, Slippery Bogle and Serum Visions. The other cards mentioned last week have also dipped further.
ZEN Fetchlands have also been affected by a significant price drop last week. Misty Rainforest, Arid Mesa and Scalding Tarn have lost 20% or more since last Wednesday. This is probably the combined effect of BFZ release events and the new Expedition lands weighing on original ZEN fetchlands.
The long-term effect of Expedition lands might drag the price of all ZEN fetchlands down farther for months to come, and speculators should be cautious about a small rebound in ZEN fetchland prices this time around.
Some of these dramatic price changes are an opportunity for speculators to reinforce positions they already hold. For instance, if your bankroll and portfolio strategy allow it, Serum Visions is a position worth consolidating as a perennial must-have in Modern.
Legacy & Vintage
Legacy and Vintage prices continue mostly flat, with only expensive Legacy staples such as Rishadan Port, Sneak Attack, Misdirection and Show and Tell gaining some ground. The November Legacy MOCS, one of the few events likely to move Legacy prices, will start at the end of the month. Griselbrand has been announced as the promo.
Through the Official MTGO Tumblr, Lee Sharpe announced the first major Vintage event to be held on Saturday, October 24. Vintage players have been waiting months for a large event to sink their teeth into, but that's no guarantee that a large crowd will show up, nor that it will impact prices.
A successful and repeated tournament series is needed to draw a large number of players and put prices on an upward trend. The only upside for players at this point is that Vintage has never been cheaper on MTGO--this might be a big incentive to buy into the format.
This week's big breakthrough comes from Crop Rotation. After being under 0.5 Tix for almost two years, the green instant first jumped to 1 Tix about a month ago, then came back to 0.2 Tix last week before exploding to ~1.5 Tix this week.
Despite seeing little to no play, even in Pauper, Seal of Strength also moved out of bulk range to the neighborhood of 0.5 Tix. On the other side, Nettle Sentinel, also a Modern staple, has dropped from its previous floor of 2 Tix to 1.4 Tix, an eight-month low.
Targeted Speculative Buying Opportunities