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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 19th, 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
Sets of Theros (THS) rebounded an impressive 14% this past week. There is still some value in rares such as the Modern staple Thoughtseize, now over 5 tix. This card will appreciate in price to 10+ tix at some point over the next 18 months. Speculators would do well to stock up on this heavily played card.
Fringe Modern-playable cards like Sylvan Caryatid are worth a punt as well at junk rare prices, but a much longer time frame is required. Buy and hold this one only as a low probability speculative strategy.
Rotating out of Standard has been much less kind to Born of the Gods (BNG), off another 9% this week and 26% in the last month. Despite this drop, there is still very little value in this set overall.
If digital prices remain at this depressed level, and the TCG Low paper price rises into the 40+ tix range, some amount of demand from redeemers would be triggered. As prices currently stand, look only to Modern-playable cards from this set for a chance at gains down the road.
Although facing a similar hurdle as a small set, Journey Into Nyx (JOU) has the benefit of being a third set and featuring two Modern-playable cards in Keranos, God of Storms and Eidolon of the Great Revel.
Players should not hesitate to buy their playsets of these cards at current prices. The selloff from rotation has passed and both cards appear to have put in a cautious bottom.[tt n="Eidolon of the Great Revel" a=5]
Magic: 2015 (M15) is off 11% this week and starting to look like excellent value. Sliver Hivelord is currently the most expensive card in the set at 7 tix.
Looking to M14 as a guide, that set saw the most value accrue to Archangel of Thune after it rotated out of Standard. Sliver Hivelord compares well to that card, as both are fringe Modern-playable, have some casual appeal and are first printings.
After poking around the classified ads and the bots, it's clear that this mythic rare is in short supply. Look for gains from redemption to accrue to it.
Tarkir Block & Magic Origins
Magic Origins (ORI) continues to represent excellent value on MTGO. Although Jace, Vryn's Prodigy is grabbing the headlines, the overall outlook on ORI continues to be positive as well. It's doubtful we've seen the peak, and speculators should continue to hold this set into the winter.
Event-driven price spikes are fine to sell into, but the overall trend will be higher over the coming months, so selling out completely is not recommended. Hangarback Walker is likely to reach 20 tix at some point, and Jace might not have reached its peak, even though it nearly touched 70 tix this week.
The two large sets from Tarkir block are in a spot similar to ORI. Price increases in paper will translate to higher digital prices through redemption, and with Tarkir block overshadowing Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) in Standard, there is no reason to expect lower prices in the near term.
The trend is your friend in this case, and those that have been holding cards from Khans of Tarkir and Dragons of Tarkir will be rewarded over the coming months with higher prices.
Fate Reforged will not have the same appeal to redeemers due to a relatively small differential between digital and paper prices. Selective selling over the coming months is recommended, especially in response to results-driven price increases.
Soulfire Grand Master and Warden of the First Tree appear poised to hold key spots in Fall Standard. Further gains on these cards are thus expected as players increase play on MTGO with the onset of winter.
Battle for Zendikar
The cards from BFZ with the biggest impact on Standard so far include the new dual lands and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. With cards form KTK block and ORI still dominating Standard, the value of BFZ sets will be low, for both paper and digital.
The other factor which will impact set prices are the Expeditions. In paper these add some value to a booster. Over the long term, however, that value has to come from the rest of the set--the price of a BFZ booster is the same as any other, and BFZ will be printed to demand.
The online versions of the Expeditions are not redeemable, which eliminates one of the normal sources of price support for online sets. With lower paper prices and less redemption to buttress the set, we can expect BFZ prices on MTGO to be lower than an average set.
All of these factors are working in the same direction: bringing the price of BFZ down. Looking to the price trajectory of KTK last year, that set hit 100 tix by the second week of November. BFZ, which was released almost a week later than KTK was, is close to breaching that price already. No speculator should be considering any purchases from BFZ until January at the earliest.
The one bright spot so far comes from the foil mythic rare strategy. This is an excellent strategy for those looking to play with the new cards, but who don't want to bleed value over time.
The price of a playset of foil mythic rares has been stable, and I purchased my playset last Monday.
Look for a follow-up article detailing the results of pursuing this strategy in early 2016. Although the upfront costs are higher, players should have faith that their tix are much safer in foil mythic rares than in regular versions.
In the shadow of Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar, Modern prices have found a bottom this past week. The Modern Total Format Price index actually shows a slight progression compared to last week.
Looking closer, several Modern positions we've discussed for the past two weeks, as well as other Modern staples, have seen some upward price movements over the past few days. Nettle Sentinel, Rest in Peace, Tectonic Edge, Stony Silence, Ranger of Eos, Torpor Orb and Gitaxian Probe are among the positions that have gained 25% or more in the last seven days or so. Other positions are likely to follow, including more expensive Modern staples.
Positions such as Blood Moon, Magus of the Moon, Celestial Colonnade, Inkmoth Nexus, Twilight Mire, Creeping Tar Pit and Through the Breach should also be on the rise for the next two to three months, although at a more steady pace than cheaper, more volatile positions.
While prices may still drop further in some individual cases, this period of the year is usually a great time to invest in Modern, with expected profits to be collected later this Winter.
Interest in Modern is currently low as players dig into the new Standard format. As the Standard metagame gets solved in the following weeks, players will seek diversity and many will turn to Modern. Prices will most likely ramp up until Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch, featuring Modern Constructed, in February 2016. This time around Modern will also be the format for the PTQ season.
As always, a basket-type approach will expose you to the fewest risks and is the most likely to yield positive returns down the road.
Lastly, this Monday Lee Sharpe announced a special flashback draft event featuring triple Innistrad to celebrate Halloween. This event will start next week and last through November 4th.
Innistrad was a highly popular set to draft and has two of the most impactful cards currently in Modern--Snapcaster Mage and Liliana of the Veil. Jam in Geist of Saint Traft, Past in Flames and Olivia Voldaren and we are left with a value set players should be more than eager to draft.
This certainly is a windfall for speculators, and provides the opportunity to stock up on some of the best Modern staples before the Winter.
Legacy & Vintage
Along with the Halloween event, more details have been given out about the recurrent MTGO Vintage tournaments. The Power Nine Challenge will be held every month starting Saturday, October the 24th. For a 25 Tix entry fee, players will fight for a first prize worth approximately 450 Tix.
Is it enough to attract Vintage players en masse? Is it enough to make this event the Vintage tournament players don’t want to miss? And most of all, will this drive Vintage Masters prices up?
At this point, after so many disillusions with Vintage specs, nothing guarantees this event will have a positive impact on prices, let alone a strong and durable one.
Even if it does herald a turn in VMA prices, it's difficult to argue such an opportunity will be better than the multiple ones we mentioned above with Modern. The simplest way to gauge the skepticism from speculators and players is to look at the flat line of the VMA price index after Lee Sharp's announcement.
The very few positions speculators should have on their radar now are cards that feature in both Legacy and Vintage. These include Force of Will, Wasteland, Daze and the dual lands, some of which rebounded only mildly on Monday.
Red was color of the week in Pauper with more than 20% of the top finishers this week playing Mono-Red Goblins. Outside of Pyroblast and Gorilla Shaman in the sideboard, the deck is worth less than 10 Tix.
Mogg Raider is the only other card above bulk, which has seen clear price cycles since earlier this Spring. Currently sitting above 1 Tix, it is an interesting target to keep an eye on if it dips below 0.5 Tix.
More broadly, while many cards in Pauper such as Chittering Rats, Unearth, Quirion Ranger, Moment's Peace and Firebolt keep cycling up and down, other Pauper staples like Sunscape Familiar and Standard Bearer haven’t moved much over the past couple weeks.
The absence of distinct seasons and uniform cycle patterns can make Pauper a difficult format to follow for speculators. While reasonable profits are possible, Pauper speculators are definitely encouraged to monitor positions carefully on a regular basis.
Targeted Speculative Buying Opportunities
Through the Breach
Eidolon of the Great Revel
Magus of the Moon
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Sower of Temptation
Temple of Epiphany
Keranos, God of Storms
Targeted Speculative Selling Opportunities