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Insider: MTGO Market Report for November 25th, 2015

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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.

Redemption

Below are the total set prices for all redeemable sets on MTGO. All prices are current as of November 23rd, 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.

Nov23

Theros Block & M15

The most recently rotated sets fall into two camps. Theros (THS) and Magic 2015 (M15) are not far off from their October bottoms on MTGO, but the continuing weakness in paper prices means demand from redeemers can't be counted on to support the digital set price.

When paper prices stabilize, this will set the table for gains on MTGO. Typically paper sets that have just rotated out of Standard bottom between November and December.

On the other hand, redemption is not expected to be a factor at all for Born of the Gods (BNG) and Journey Into Nyx (JOU).

On the singles front, Keranos, God of Storms from JOU continues to feature in Modern and the card is now at an all-time high of over 30 tix. With Modern season just starting to ramp up, this card looks set for further gains.

Brimaz, King of Oreskos from BNG recently appeared as a singleton in Craig Wescoe's deck at GP Pittsburgh. That was enough to push this card back above 5 tix.

Tarkir Block & Magic Origins

The Tarkir block sets all stumbled this week, with Khans of Tarkir (KTK) falling the most, by over 10%.

It's impossible to perfectly attribute the nature of this particular price move, but the sudden and broad-based decline suggests speculative selling. A card like Wingmate Roc looks to be oversold in the 6 to 7 tix range, as it is still routinely played in Standard.

Monastery Mentor has taken off this past week, vaulting past Ugin, the Spirit Dragon to become the most expensive card in Fate Reforged (FRF). Although the white three-drop is not a big player in Standard, this card shines in Legacy and Vintage, and has shown some promise in Modern. With the Legacy MOCS nearing, it is time to start selling this one.

[tt n="Monastery Mentor" a=5]

With a pending rotation in the Spring of 2016, it's not too late to speculate on cards from KTK or FRF, but the risk level grows week by week. At some point, these sets will start a steep decline that will only finish bottoming after they rotate from Standard.

Before the decline begins, it should be the speculator's goal to avoid holding onto any cards from these two sets. The first two weeks of March should be considered the drop dead period for closing any positions in Standard-only cards from KTK and FRF.

Dragons of Tarkir (DTK) and Magic Origins (ORI) were both more stable in price, sticking close to their price from last week.

Deathmist Raptor from DTK has fallen to an all-time low of 11 tix this week as it is out of favor in the Standard metagame at the moment. Although not a bargain-basement price, with 10 months left in Standard, there's still plenty of time for this card to find its footing and return to the 15-20 tix range.

Battle for Zendikar

Last year, KTK bottomed in price during the release events for DTK. Using this as a rough guide for estimating when the bottom for Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) will occur points to the release of Shadows Over Innistrad (SOI) in April 2016.

However, BFZ will go from being opened three boosters at a time in draft to only one as the format incorporates Oath of the Gatewach (OAG). This is a change from last year when FRF replaced only one booster of KTK. Thus, the bottom for BFZ could occur sooner than it did for KTK.

Right now it's unclear what the ideal window will be to stock up on BFZ cards. It's safe to say that January is too soon as that would be in advance of OAG release events. Likewise, May will be too late as that would be after SOI release events.

The Market Report will be on the lookout for signs of a bottom, but for now keep this somewhat large window in mind for speculating on BFZ singles and sets.

Standard Boosters

The introduction of Legendary Cube draft has put a crimp in most Standard booster prices as players seek to sell excess boosters in order to play the new draft format. As a result, BFZ boosters, which were hovering near 4 tix, have dipped down to 3.7 tix.

Elsewhere, both DTK and ORI appear to be completely constrained by supply---their prices have held firm at close to 4 tix despite the temporary availability of a popular alternative draft format.

As for KTK and FRF, these boosters posted a big run-up in price since October, but the trend has been interrupted. Instead of drafting with them, players would rather sell their excess KTK and FRF boosters to play Cube.

Once this iteration of Cube draft is retired on December 9th, look for the price of these two boosters to resume their upward trend. Typically there's another round of Cube and flashback drafts around Christmas, which would be another period of reduced demand for KTK and FRF boosters.

Speculators should never try to sell their positions into a period of weak demand, so those holding KTK and FRF boosters should look to the middle of December or the middle of January as the next two selling windows.

Beyond that, the end of February and early March will be the last window to sell before the looming Spring Standard rotation starts to erode demand for all things related to the first two Tarkir block sets.

Modern

Modern prices continue to cruise higher this week. Following a six-week-long price hike, the Modern Total Format Price index reached its pre-BFZ level this week and is up by more than 10% since mid-October.

On an even more impressive trend, and also illustrating the strength of Modern prices, the Modern Masters 2015 price index put up a near perfect linear upward trend since mid-October to top its record high established earlier in July. The MM2 price index is up by almost 30% since October 15th, with almost all of the top 20 most valuable MM2 cards up compared to last week.

MM2

This past weekend Pittsburgh hosted a GP featuring Modern Constructed. More than 2,600 players showed up to compete in this very diverse and popular format. More than 14 major archetypes were represented in Day 2 of the GP; the five most-played decks were Twin variants, Affinity, Jund, Zoo and Tron.

Most Modern GPs spotlight some kind of breakthrough deck. This time around it was Hulk Combo, a reanimation/combo deck relying on Protean Hulk, and Mono-U Extra Turns, a deck that wins with multiple Time Warp effects.

Although these decks aren’t exactly pure novelties in Modern, they got more attention this weekend as both made Day 2 after being featured in Deck Techs.

Key cards from these decks unsurprisingly underwent price spikes over the weekend. But what probably was a flash in the pan can nonetheless be turned into profitable speculative targets down the road, if these decks were to repeat such performances.

The diversity on Day 2 gave way to a less varied Top 8: three Twin variants, two Affinity, and one each of Grixis Control, R/G Titan Scapeshift and G/W Hate Bears. In the end, Alex Bianchi's UWR Twin deck won it all and put Restoration Angel and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker back on the Modern map.

Legacy & Vintage

Although this may be discussed further on a case-by-case basis, we consider now the optimum selling window for most Legacy staples. Most players looking to participate in the Legacy portion of this MOCS season have likely already acquired their decks. Therefore, we believe the bulk of the demand is behind us.

Infernal Tutor, for instance, hit 50 Tix again this past weekend, reaching previous heights established last February. Despite seeing no play in Modern, the tutor from Dissension doubled in price in less than a month. At this point we strongly recommend selling any copies.

IT

Counterbalance is another great example of a Legacy staple worth selling these days. The decision, however, is more delicate when it comes to Legacy staples such as Glimpse of Nature, Natural Order, Stoneforge Mystic, Sneak Attack and Show and Tell, which are performing poorly at the moment.

Even with potential small losses, we still recommend selling now, mostly to avoid exposure to uncertainty after the Legacy MOCS. Variations in Legacy prices remain fairly unpredictable, and it may take several months for the cards mentioned above to return to higher prices.

Vintage continues its slow but steady recovery although prices seem to have plateaued over the past week. Black Lotus is now priced around 130 Tix, a level it hadn’t seen since last February. Similarly, the price of the other P9 pieces is flattening these days after a month of growth.

P9

This may not be the end of the story for Vintage in the near term, with the second Power Nine Challenge tournament scheduled this Saturday. If this event attracts higher attendance than the hundred players seen during the first Power Nine Challenge, we'll very likely see another boost in Vintage prices.

Pauper

Various versions of Delver decks (Mono-U, Angler or Fiend) are monopolizing the top positions of the most-played decks in Pauper this week. With this, many Delver staples such as Cloud of Faeries, Snap, Spire Golem, Preordain, Kiln Fiend and Mental Note have risen in price since mid-October.

Other Pauper staples, including Chittering Rats, Unearth, Moment's Peace and Firebolt, are also experiencing a nice rebound since the release of BFZ last month.

[tt n="Mental Note" a=5]

This distinct raise in price was probably strengthened by the announcement of Pauper Leagues on MTGO last week. Because of its very low entry price, Pauper is a format of choice for players looking for competitive play at a minimal cost, especially as Standard decks reach prices over 1000 Tix.

For speculators this means that prices across the board will probably reach the next level. Pauper staples can be found by browsing the Pauper Metagame section on Mtggoldfish.com or the Legacy Movers & Shakers. Identifying the Pauper staples that are still languishing right now is more likely than ever to yield profits in the short term.

Some examples of Pauper staples that haven't participated in the global upward trend of the past few weeks include Sunscape Familiar, Seat of the Synod, Ancient Den, Daze and Standard Bearer.

Targeted Speculative Buying Opportunities

Standard

Wingmate Roc

Targeted Speculative Selling Opportunities

Standard

Monastery Mentor

Legacy

Deathrite Shaman
Infernal Tutor
Stoneforge Mystic
Glimpse of Nature
Show and Tell

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