menu

Insider: MTGO Market Report for February 17th, 2016

Are you a Quiet Speculation member?

If not, now is a perfect time to join up! Our powerful tools, breaking-news analysis, and exclusive Discord channel will make sure you stay up to date and ahead of the curve.

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.

Redemption

Below are the total set prices for all redeemable sets on MTGO. All prices are current as of February 15th, 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.

Feb15

Flashback Draft of the Week

Flashback drafts restart this week with triple Champions of Kamigawa (CHK) beginning on Wednesday the 17th. A few of the rares to keep an eye out for from this set are Through the Breach, Boseiju, Who Shelters All and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. There are also a couple of valuable uncommons in Sensei's Divining Top and Ghostly Prison. Pauper players will want to get their set of Lava Spike over the next couple of weeks as well.

Triple CHK is a slower draft format in my memory, but don't pass up those Kabuto Moths! This card has an ability which lets you dominate combat, and is also close to being a reasonable body on a flier already. Throw in relevant creature type in spirit and you have a first pick common, no problem. White has some of the top commons and this is one of them.

This set is from the pre-mythic era, so all rares and uncommons will show up less often than you would see from a current set. Speculators and players looking to buy CHK cards as drafters sell them should look towards the second week of flashback drafts as Betrayers of Kamigama gets added to the mix.

Legacy and Vintage

The big news this week was the announcement of Eternal Masters and its release date. Splashy cards included are Force of Will as a mythic rare and Wasteland at rare. Forum member and Quiet Speculation writer Alexander Carl has started a thread on Reserved List cards that could or are already seeing a price bump as a result of the announcement.

That's an excellent starting place for anyone interested in playing Legacy or Vintage, though keep in mind the Reserved List does not exist on MTGO. Any card can be "printed" online and a substantial amount of Vintage Masters cards were introduced into the MTGO economy two years ago.

Novice speculators would do themselves a favor by avoiding speculating on these formats. The player base is small when compared to Modern, and the bots typically have higher margins on these older cards.

Modern

For those redeemable sets that are out of Standard, it's obvious something unusual happened with Theros (THS) in the past week. A 28% decline in one week is a substantial drop for any set, including those being drafted. The event that occurred to precipitate this move was THS sets going out of stock for redemption in the MTGO store. This change removed the link to tangible value that redemption provides.

With that link gone, the supply and demand are free to wreak havoc on prices. In this case, a race to the bottom has occurred as players and bots try to sell their devalued stock.

For those who don't know, there are two important dates for set redemption. First, there is the guarantee date. Standard sets are always redeemable and the guarantee date occurs after a set has rotated out of Standard. After that date, sets may be redeemed but the guarantee of the set being in stock has expired. Essentially, WotC will print new sets to demand before the guarantee date, but afterwards they will no longer print new sets and will just run through their existing stock until it is gone.

The other date is for redemption cutoff. After this date, even if there are sets still in stock, WotC will no longer redeem the sets in question. This date occurs a year after rotation.

In the case of THS, WotC ran out of stock a few months after that guarantee date and about nine months before the cutoff date. It's worth noting that WotC has run out of the last two Fall set releases to rotate out of Standard, namely Return to Ravnica and now Theros.

This will be worth considering in the Spring when Khans of Tarkir (KTK) rotates out of Standard. If KTK will only be redeemable for a few months after it rotates, then junk mythic rares from that set will be quite risky.

Standard

With madness spoiled as a keyword out of Shadows Over Innistrad, Jace, Vryn's Prodigy // Jace, Telepath Unbound has gone on to the rare heights of 80+ tix for a single copy. Currently Jace represents over 50% of the sticker price for a set of Magic Origins (ORI). This type of imbalance won't last forever, so I've taken to examining where value may have appeared in ORI.

As usual, the first stop I make in any examination is the junk mythic rare file. Currently priced below 0.2 tix is Disciple of the Ring. This price is very low for a mythic rare from a redeemable large set. Patient speculators should put away a few copies of this card into their long-term hold binder.

By the time ORI rotates out of Standard, value will flow from Jace to the rest of the set as that card goes from being a pillar of Standard to Modern playable. I give it a 95% probability that Disciple of the Ring will go higher than 0.4 tix by December of 2016.

From a more short-term orientation, the pending rotation of the fetchlands out of Standard means players will have to contemplate new ways to fix their mana in April. One of the colour-specific ways to do this will be with Knight of the White Orchid, which is currently under-appreciated and priced at 0.25 tix. At this price, consider this card good value for future Standard.

Standard Boosters

With the end of OGW release events this week, there will be better clarity on the direction of Standard boosters. The end of the relatively high-expected-value release events will encourage drafting of Tarkir block and Magic Origins as grinders look towards old favorite formats and the better chances of opening higher priced cards.

The boosters that speculators should be paying attention to are the ones priced below 3.5 tix, which include BFZ, KTK and FRF. Each of these boosters has the potential to see price increases over the next month.  In next week's report I will report on the development of any price trend and I will update my outlook on these boosters for March.

Trade of the Week

As usual, the portfolio is available at this link. This week is an unusual trade in which I bought the Modern Masters 2 (MM2) version of Eye of Ugin. The motivation for this trade is the price difference between the Worldwake (WWK) version and the MM2 version, with the original being twice the price at 30 tix.

On MTGO, where the majority of a card's value is derived from its in-game use, this type of difference is very unusual. In the case of something like Force of Will, which has multiple versions online, there is an observed preference for the original art version from the first Masters Edition. It goes for 40 tix at the moment, with the Vintage Masters version (with its different art) going for 28 tix. The different price for different versions has been consistent over time.

For the different versions of Eye of Ugin, there is no clear reason why one would be priced at 30 tix and the other at 15 tix. The art is identical and the in-game function is the same. The only observable difference is the mythic rare symbol on the WWK versions versus the rare symbol on the MM2 version. It's my contention that the difference in price is thus irrational and will close over time.

The reason that the difference has opened up is because the MM2 version is more liquid and is traded by more bots than the WWK version. As a result, it's found an equilibrium much sooner than original, since it is being bought and sold more often by more players, bots and speculators.

The trick for speculators is to figure out how the two prices will meet and whether they will meet before the card is banned in Modern. I think the prices will get to within 2 tix of each other in the next five weeks, and that they'll meet in the 20 to 25 tix range. I put the chance of this happening at 70% and I have purchased four copies of the MM2 version for the portfolio.

7 thoughts on “Insider: MTGO Market Report for February 17th, 2016

  1. Thanks for the notification here about THS sets, I had totally missed that one. Good to remember for future sets but kind of annoying (and not just for speculative purposes) that sets repetitively run out of stock before cut of date.

    1. Yes, with RTR and now THS going out of stock pretty quickly, the level of risk speculating on these cards after they rotate out of Standard is higher now. Buying cards from rotating sets is still worth it (especially for Modern staples), but any decent gains due to redemption should be taken and locked no longer than 3 months after rotation.

  2. That portfolio looks strange, i would like some clarification on some points:

    a) on 2/6 are you buying and selling Visions of Beyond on the same day ?

    b) Why two times 4 instead of just 8 (and a moyenne) ?

    c) Why is “OGW currently being drafted” a reason to buy cards ?

    1. a) There was an opportunity to arbitrage between a low sell price and a higher buy price, so I bought and sold two play sets to take advantage of this. Not my normal strategy due to the time involved, but grinding a couple of tix in a small portfolio can be helpful.

      b) I think it was different transactions, so I wanted to record all relevant prices. Is that your question?

      c) They are being opened in draft so they are relatively abundant. It’s definitely time to be stocking up on BFZ and OGW cards in general, since they won’t be opened by drafters very much after April.

      Hope this helps!

  3. Hey Matt, looking at buying a bot since I don’t have the time to really sit down and buy/sell manually right now. Any advice on how to go about it (or recommending to not do so) would be greatly appreciated. Also, I really miss in these articles the summary at the bottom as far as buy/sell/hold and the targeted prices for buys and sells. Feel free to reply to this comment or PM me at your convenience, and thanks as always for the great articles!

    1. I am not familiar with running a bot, but koen_knx has pointed out the forums have some threads on this that might be helpful.

      As for the targeted buys/sells, Sylvain was really the active one on that front, so I would look to see what he is doing in his High Stakes article series. I don’t intend to bring back the targeted buys/sells as a part of the report though, sorry!

Join the conversation

Want Prices?

Browse thousands of prices with the first and most comprehensive MTG Finance tool around.


Trader Tools lists both buylist and retail prices for every MTG card, going back a decade.