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 December 14th, 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
All these sets once again posted price gains last week. Magic 2015 (M15) was the biggest gainer, having risen 6 tix over the previous week.
One of the cards that saw a move was Chandra, Pyromaster, which had dipped below 2 tix. This planeswalker has been Modern-playable in the past, and it bumped up to over 3 tix after featuring in Saffron Olive's Free Win Red deck last week.
The other main factor in M15's rise this week was the official unveiling of the new colourless mana symbol, which is being retroactively added to all colourless-producing lands, including the enemy painlands.
Speculators and players are expecting these lands to deliver extra utility after Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW) is released, and have consequently driven up the prices on the M15 versions.
Tarkir Block & Magic Origins
Khans of Tarkir (KTK) was the only one of these sets to see a decline in the past week, while Fate Reforged (FRF) jumped 9% on the back of Monastery Mentor and Soulfire Grand Master. Dragons of Tarkir (DTK) was up 1 tix in the last week.
Battle for Zendikar
With a hefty 10% increase in the past week, it appears that Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) has put in a price bottom. This might not be the ultimate low for this set, but it gives speculators a price to consider if or when it returns to this level.
The next time it will approach this price will be during OGW release events. Be sure to stock up on tix in advance so as not to be caught in the liquidity crunch. When cards go on sale, such as during release events, having a supply of tix handy in order to take advantage is prudent.
With the Legendary Cube retiring, interest has returned to the Tarkir block draft formats and ORI draft. This has pushed the price of DTK and ORI boosters over 4 tix.
KTK and FRF boosters are holding steady at 3.4 and 2.6 tix respectively, but time is running out for them to see much higher prices in the near term. It's more prudent to start selling these boosters now before OGW is released and interest in older draft formats dries up completely.
This week Wizards announced that 2016 would be the Year of Modern Flashbacks, beginning with 8th Edition in January and running sequentially through all the Modern-era draft formats. These queues will be slightly cheaper than normal draft queues. One can enter with 10 tix, 100 play points or 2 tix and the appropriate boosters. Also, they are non-phantom and pay out in play points only.
This means cheap boosters will be a way to enter these queues at a discount, so players should stock up on any booster cheaper than 2.67 tix from their favorite draft formats. Speculators should be more discerning and stick to boosters at 2 tix or less.
One more note. Since the draft formats will be introduced in their historical sequence, large sets will be opened for longer.
For example, Time Spiral (TSP) block draft will start with triple TSP for a week, then introduce one booster of Planar Chaos (PLC) for a week, then finish it off with a final week drafting the full block. Any booster that gets drafted for three weeks should end up around 2.7 tix due to the extra demand these queues will create.
Even the much maligned Theros (THS) boosters have a chance of getting back to 2+ tix, since entering a triple THS draft would only cost 4.5 tix using product at current prices. Such a substantial discount will not last long if and when THS becomes the flashback draft format of the week, expected sometime in 2016.
In a context of ever-climbing Modern prices, the ranks of Modern staples matching their previous record high keeps growing. This week, Inquisition of Kozilek, Blood Moon, Rest in Peace, Nettle Sentinel, Creeping Corrosion, Kitchen Finks and Scalding Tarn, among others, equaled or exceeded their past high.
The optimal selling window for the average Modern staple is getting closer. On a case-by-case basis several positions, including Voice of Resurgence, Horizon Canopy, Scapeshift, Grove of the Burnwillows and Oblivion Stone, are plateauing and facing some price resistance while at or near their all-time high.
If further price gains are possible moving forward, this price resistance might signal a good opportunity for speculators to cash out and secure benefits accumulated over the past two months.
The hype generated by a potential unban of Stoneforge Mystic not only carried the price of the Worldwake (WWK) creature over 7 Tix, but also bumped the price of the most playable equipment in Modern. Sword of Fire and Ice, Sword of Feast and Famine and Sword of War and Peace rose by 20% to 70% in just a week.
Speculation related to the Stoneforge Mystic case will come to a crossroads mid-January with the B&R list announcement. At this point speculators will be facing two options. Each will have to decide for themselves a line of action before that date:
1) Selling positions for some profit to avoid the crash if Stoneforge Mystic remains banned in Modern, and missing on greater profits in the case of unbanning; or,
2) Holding onto positions for substantial additional profits if Stoneforge Mystic becomes legal in Modern, but carrying the risk of no profit or even losses if Stoneforge Mystic stays banned. If the latter occurs, prices will collapse in a matter of hours.
Lastly, as mentioned above, Lee Sharp announced this Monday that 2016 will be the year of Modern flashback drafts. This is fairly big news for players and a puzzle to solve for speculators. Almost every week through 2016 a different Modern-legal format will be drafted, starting with 8th Edition and moving up chronologically (Mirrodin block, Kamigawa block, etc.)
As for any flashback drafts, cards opened during such events are expected to dip in price. That means pretty much all of the Modern card pool will be affected at some point in 2016. Starting in only few weeks, speculators should check their Modern inventory and sell positions consequently.
On the positive side, not only is the whole agenda known in advance, but these events will create buying opportunities once drafted Modern staples drop in price.
Another, more unusual, speculative opportunity reported by Matt Lewis earlier this week is to invest in boosters to be drafted during these flashback events that are currently valued around or below 2 tix.
Boosters can be used to enter the flashback drafts but are not awarded as prizes. This creates a net need for boosters, at least until the combined value of three packs reaches 8 tix, the alternative entry cost payable in tix.
Legacy & Vintage
One week after the end of Legendary Cube drafts, the value of the Legendary Cube set is up by about 15% and the price of PZ1 packs got bumped by 0.3 - 0.5 tix. Pauper, Modern and Legacy staples, as well as several Commander 2015 cards, have shown double- or even triple-digit percentage point growth over the past few days.
With no references from tournament results or past prices to anchor them, Commander 2015 cards that started extremely low could see tremendous price changes in the coming months.
These may ultimately represent great speculative opportunities, but tread carefully. The risk-reward here is difficult to assess, as these cards are only Legacy-playable with, for the most part, no chance of seeing competitive play.
The beneficial effect of Pauper leagues continues to affect prices and the popularity of the format. The number of decklists appearing under each archetype in the Pauper Metagame section on MTGGoldfish.com has quintupled compared to a month and a half ago.
Although the same player can now enter more events than in the past, these numbers reflect an increased popularity of the format, and a greater total number of players entering Pauper events on MTGO.
With prices pushing higher and higher, estimating the potential new ceiling of Pauper staples is a wild guess. Speculators are always encouraged to secure their profits after a strong price hike.
This is especially so considering the chain of events lining up over the next few weeks--Holiday Cube drafts, Modern flashback drafts, the release of Oath of the Gatewatch and Pro Tour Oath featuring Modern Constructed.
Targeted Speculative Buying Opportunities
Targeted Speculative Selling Opportunities
Dig Through Time
Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
Shaman of the Great Hunt
Warden of the First Tree
Crux of Fate