Welcome to the MTGO Market Report as compiled by Matthew Lewis. The report will cover a range of topics, including a summary of set prices and price changes for redeemable sets, a look at the major trends in various constructed formats, and a trade of the week section that highlights a particular speculative strategy with an example and accompanying explanation.
As always, speculators should take into account their own budget, risk tolerance and current portfolio before buying or selling any digital objects. Questions will be answered and can be sent via private message or posted in the article comments.
Below are the total set prices for all redeemable sets on MTGO. All prices are current as of February 8th, 2016. 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.
Flashback Draft of the Week
Flashback drafts are on hiatus for Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW) release events. The next flashback draft will start on February 17th and will be triple Champions of Kamigawa draft to kick off Kamigawa block draft.
The Eldrazi ran roughshod over Pro Tour Oath of The Gatewatch (OGW) this past weekend. The incredibly fast starts enabled by Eye of Ugin, Eldrazi Temple and the colourless Eldrazi from OGW were breathtaking, and the dominance of the Eldrazi was evident in that they were all over the Top 8.
Being compared to Mishra's Workshop is high praise for the Worldwake and Rise of the Eldrazi lands. These strong results combined with the blistering starts the deck can put together are early warning signs of a potential banning.
After Khans of Tarkir (KTK) was released in the Fall of 2014, both Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time were banned in Modern by the January banned and restricted announcement. Those two cards warped the Modern metagame heavily in the direction of U/R Delver decks and that archetype was pushed into the 30%+ range of the recorded field from MTGO Daily Event results. A similar level of dominance from the Eldrazi based decks will be the next strong indicator that a card needs to be banned for competitive balance purposes.
The other big signal to look for in this regard is continued success in high level play. Fortunately there is a great weekend to focus on Modern on the way, with three Modern Grand Prix events happening simultaneously on the weekend of March 4th through 6th. Players will get a chance to dethrone the Eldrazi in Detroit, Bologna, and Melbourne all over the course of one weekend.
With all of this in mind, as of this moment, I put the chance of an Eye of Ugin or Eldrazi Temple ban in April at 60%. If we see more evidence of Modern Constructed dominance, that number will tick higher week by week. And if the metagame cannot adapt and Eldrazi builds dominate the Top 8 of the three Grand Prix events in March, an April banning will be all but certain.
Note, there is some chatter on Twitter that Eldrazi Temple would be the correct card to ban to weaken the Eldrazi in Modern, instead of the legendary Eye of Ugin. Regardless of the correct choice, I believe a banning is likely but that Wizards of the Coast will not ban both lands. They will not want to completely destroy a brand new Modern deck archetype which utilizes many newly-printed, Standard-legal cards.
Being able to anticipate this type of event is a huge boon for speculators and players on MTGO. Since the MTGO economy is so short-term focused, tix will be flowing to the best Modern decks and away from the decks that don't perform well. This means that many Modern staples will be out of favor over the next few months if the Eldrazi have anything to say about it.
With the conclusion of OGW release events on the horizon, it's time to start looking at constructed cards for speculative purposes again. Nothing is certain at this point, so don't go hog wild, but it's definitely time to start keeping tabs on cards like Karn Liberated and Cryptic Command, two cards that are off significantly in recent weeks. Both of these cards have been Modern staples in the past, but are out of step with the current speed of the format.
Nearing the conclusion of OGW release events is an opportunity to start looking for value in the new cards that haven't made a big splash yet. With OGW being heavily drafted for a scant two months, its time to start accumulating cards with value from this set.
Last week, Eldrazi Obligator was a card at the top of my list as it sat in the 0.1 to 0.2 tix range, but its inclusion in the winning Eldrazi deck in Atlanta meant the market moved on this card before I could. If it drifts back down below 0.5 tix it will be worth considering again, but for the moment the risk versus reward does not favor this card.
Elsewhere, there are two cards that look interesting to me on a risk versus reward basis. The first is Kozilek, the Great Distortion, sitting right now below 3 tix.
This new version of Kozilek is already cheaper than the lowest price that Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger reached in the Fall. It also is one of the few cards in the game of Magic that says (more or less), "draw seven cards." Standard Ramp decks have been featuring this card as a one-of, and I like its chances of finding a home in Modern at some point in the future. I've put this card into the Market Report portfolio this week at current prices.
The other mythic rare that has made its way into the portfolio is General Tazri. This card is a much more speculative play, but its current price below 0.2 tix suggests the market believes this card is a junk mythic rare.
With an enter-the-battlefield trigger that can find a replacement or fetch any other ally, including the shapeshifter cards like Nameless Inversion or Mirror Entity, this card has potential (EDIT: You cannot fetch Nameless Inversion since General Tazri specifies creature card). Some of that potential is in the very long term when or if more allies are printed, but the market is currently pricing this possibility at close to 0%.
The big caveat on these two speculative picks is the fact that they are small set mythic rares being opened two boosters at a time. Small sets typically don't hold much value to redeemers since the cost of redemption is spread out over fewer cards. This means that junk mythic rares have a price floor of about 0.1 tix. Although Kozilek is never going to be a junk mythic, General Tazri could definitely go lower, though not much lower in an absolute sense.
However, OGW being opened two boosters at a time in draft is a big unknown. There is no price history to set baseline expectations for how the price of cards from a small set opened in this way will evolve over time. A lack of historical data on this end means deciding on a good price to buy cards at from this set is riskier than normal.
These have been stable in the past week, with OGW boosters cresting in the 3.7 to 3.8 tix range this past weekend, and rising to 3.9 tix as of writing. It looks like the market demand is exceeding supply at the moment as prices are close to being in equilibrium with the store. There likely won't be another opportunity to buy OGW boosters at a discount until the end of March when players' attention shifts to Shadows Over Innistrad (SOI).
Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) boosters have been stable in the 3.3 to 3.4 tix range in the past week. The short-term outlook for these is murky. I suspect they will bump around in the 3.2 to 3.6 tix range before they also start weakening like OGW boosters at the end of March. Longer-term though, they will head back to 4 tix after SOI is released and new BFZ boosters are no longer being awarded as constructed prizes.
Fate Reforged and Khans of Tarkir boosters have also been stable in their recent price range of 1.4 to 1.5 tix and 2.9 to 3.0 tix respectively. These will be losing value the closer we get to the release of SOI and the rotation of these sets out of Standard, but I think there will be a window of higher prices when the novelty of OGW-based draft wears off.
Trade of the Week
The white mythic rare is a card that I will continue to buy if it stays in the 0.1 to 0.2 tix range. The time period to hold this card is indefinite, as Wizards of the Coast will invariably decide to revisit allies as a theme at some point. Down the road, any hint of competitive play in Modern will push this card up substantially from current prices.
Kozilek has more potential in the short term and I believe its application in Modern Tron decks is currently being overshadowed by the smaller Eldrazi.