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 29th, 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 & Magic 2015
The recent weakness in these sets appears to have been a temporary phenomenon. All four sets have posted gains this week on MTGO and are also showing strength in paper.
Speculators holding this card should consider selling in advance of the upcoming Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW) release events. This card will be one to revisit if it comes back down into the 20-to-25-tix range again. For the moment it doesn't look likely to pierce 50 tix.
Tarkir Block & Magic Origins
This is the moment to start planning which cards to target from these sets heading into 2016 and the spring. Khans of Tarkir (KTK) and Fate Reforged (FRF) are risky waters to fish in since they will be rotating out of Standard in April. Nevertheless, the short-term need for tix will soon dominate and players will look to sell their cards to play more OGW release events.
A card like Anafenza, the Foremost is still going to be a Standard staple in March since it is unlikely to be replaced in Abzan deck lists by anything in OGW. Therefore, if it dips into the 7-to-8-tix range in January, don't hesitate to pull the trigger on a playset or two.
Being opportunistic with your tix is the name of the game when the liquidity crunch arrives. If the price of a card looks too low, just ask yourself, "Is this card cheap because players need tix, or for some other reason?" If you can't figure out another reason why a card would be so cheap, just hand over the tix for your copies, await the end of the liquidity crunch and then sell them back into the market.
Players are looking to "rent out" their cards for tix, but to do so they have to pay a premium. Good speculators will happily "borrow" these cards for a few weeks while players get preoccupied with OGW Limited.
Just be sure to have some tix on hand in advance and a list of staples that will continue to be played in Standard. Have a price in mind that you are ready to pay but also be ready to change your mind if Standard pushes in a strange new direction which would render all your assumptions moot.
Cards from Dragons of Tarkir (DTK) and Magic Origins (ORI) are also good candidates for this type of strategy, but you can relax the need for the cards in question to be Standard staples.
Since both sets will continue to be Standard-legal into the summer, include cards that are underplayed relative to their power level on your list. For example, if Deathmist Raptor fell into the 8-to-9-tix range, it would be prudent to squirrel away a few playsets for April.
Battle for Zendikar
As the excitement around the Vintage Cube queues fade, a renewed supply of Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) singles have hit the market, dragging down the set price closer to its December low of 59 tix. On top of that, the surge of interest in the various Eldrazi builds popping up in Modern has been sated. Players only need to buy their sets of Oblivion Sower and Wasteland Strangler once.
Last week's recommendation to wait for an ultimate bottom during Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW) release events is looking like an accurate prediction. Hold off on large speculative moves into BFZ cards and sets until that time.
As usual, it's a fine time to target junk rare and junk mythic rares for long-term accumulation, especially for cards with some Standard potential. Just be sure not to overpay on cards that are highly speculative in nature. If they were any good at the moment, they would not be priced at junk levels.
BFZ boosters are reaching an attractive entry point in the range of 3.2 to 3.35 tix. Long-term, these boosters will follow the lead of DTK and ORI and reach a price of 4 tix.
The transition to this higher price will not be smooth. There will be ups and down associated with all the normal events that occur in the MTGO economy, but the supply of boosters in the post-play points era is very much finite. Eventually this supply will dwindle and prices will head to 4 tix or even higher.
In the short term, the absolute bottom for BFZ boosters is not yet here, which will depend on how they are awarded for prizes after the release of OGW. It's expected that constructed prizes will switch to awarding OGW boosters. If that's the case, then the supply of BFZ will be capped and the rise to 4 tix will be irresistible.
Speculators should steer clear of KTK and FRF boosters at this time. They will quickly become a lame-duck draft format as we near the release of Shadows over Innistrad (SOI) and the rotation of these sets out of Standard.
Since these boosters were being awarded as prizes before the release of play points, the available supply is still large. As rotation nears, the value of the cards inside these boosters will fall. With an irrelevant draft format and a falling expected value, players will be trying to turn these diminished assets into tix. The result will be a steadily falling price. Bottom fishing on KTK and FRF boosters is not recommended.
December comes to an end and the majority of Modern positions have reached much higher prices they were three to five months ago. While the Modern Format Price Index has flattened out recently, the Modern Masters 2015 Price Index continues its impressive upward trend. A new Modern contender---B/x Eldrazi---notably gave Eldrazi Temple and Eye of Ugin a huge boost in the past two weeks.
In the following weeks speculators should be looking to take their profit on numerous Modern investments. Several events are susceptible to affect Modern prices in January, and selling when prices are high and volatility low is always a wise move.
With the opening of the “year of Modern” and its flashback draft series today, Modern staples one after another will take a dive over the next twelve months.
Later this month, the release of Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW) and its Pro Tour featuring Modern Constructed may have a mixed effect on Modern prices. While some cards could spike during Pro Tour OGW, others may dip if unseen on camera.
As for any new set release, prices across all formats, including Modern, may tank a bit. Finally, the B&R list announcement is always something to seriously consider when it comes to Modern speculations.
Secured profit generated from sales this coming month could easily be put to work with the continuous buying opportunities created by Modern flashback drafts in 2016. Speculators may want to start picking up discounted cards on the weekend and should be ready for another round of pick-up on Mondays and Tuesdays (before the flashback format rotates) if prices keep dropping.
Legacy & Vintage
As we anticipated a few weeks ago, the value of the Legendary Cube (PZ1) set and PZ1 Prize Packs is following an upward trend initiated earlier this month.
On the one hand, the ceiling for several of the top cards in this set is capped by the fact that all special packs, such as Commander and Planechase, are still available in the MTGO store. Toxic Deluge, True-Name Nemesis and Containment Priest, for instance, have a price limit around 35 tix since decks containing these cards can be purchased for $34.99.
On the other hand, cards from Commander 2015 set are only available through PZ1 packs, currently unavailable in the MTGO store. With a finite number of PZ1 boosters in circulation, prices are poised to go up as demand increases. Mythics and rares from the Commander 2015 sets could easily reach 30 tix or more with relatively little extra demand.
This past weekend the December MTGO Power Nine Challenge (P9C) attracted 86 players, a rather large number considering the tournament took place the day after Christmas. This attendance is in line with the previous two P9C's and keeps the momentum going for Vintage prices on MTGO.
This Vintage trend is certainly no match for Standard and Modern in terms of speculation, but it offers much better price certainty for players now looking to venture into Vintage online.
Daze, also a Legacy staple, is by far the most expensive card in the Pauper format. Last week the blue instant from Nemesis renewed its record high above the 30 tix bar.
The Pauper boom is reaching new summits again this week. A bulk card for as long as its price has been recorded until very recently, Ramosian Rally skyrocketed above 2 tix over the past few days, a symbol of the speculative potential of Pauper these days.
Earlier this week MTGGoldfish introduced “Pennywise Pauper,” a new series dedicated to Pauper and alternative builds in the format. MTGGoldfish is now attracting a tremendous crowd, and Saffron Olive's series on budget/Modern decks already has a history of generating price spikes.
The Pauper deck featured this week, U/W Tron, included three copies of Rhystic Circle, an otherwise unplayable white common from Prophecy. As of Tuesday, the simple mention of this card has moved its price up from ground level to 0.2 tix. Pauper speculators would do well to keep this article series on their radar moving forward.