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 22nd, 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
This week, Betrayers of Kamigama (BOK) gets added to the mix so it will be two boosters of Champions of Kamigawa (CHK) followed by one of BOK.
The middle set of the Kamigawa block adds the ninjitsu mechanic, and if you've never connected with a Ninja of the Deep Hours, now's your chance! This card is also the most expensive BOK common as it is a staple of Pauper Constructed. Goryo's Vengeance at over 30 tix is the most expensive card in the set overall.
I've you've never listed to the Limited Resources podcast by Marshall Sutcliffe and Luis Scott-Vargas, it is an excellent resource for the player who wants to improve at Limited. There is also a related reddit which has a flashback draft primer page that is a great for getting familiar with these older draft formats.
Getting up to speed is essential for players seeking to minimize the costs of playing MTGO so I highly recommend reading the triple CHK primer first and then the new one.
Eldrazi decks are starting to tear up Legacy as well as Modern; check out this deck that recently finished 5-0 in a Legacy league. With the Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW) colourless cards powering up a Legacy-playable deck, combined with the recent dominance of the Modern format at the Star City Games Modern Open in Louisville, there should be no doubt about the power level of the Eldrazi and the need for a ban or two in Modern.
The fact that it is showing strength in Legacy also indicates to me that even if Splinter Twin had remained legal, the core Eldrazi deck would still be running rampant in Modern. Perhaps sideboards and colour choice would more heavily favor discard, but the OGW monsters combined with Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple are clearly overpowered.
The risk of a ban in April is getting closer to a certainty. Depending on how the triple Modern GP weekend in March turns out, that weekend could be the final nail in the coffin in at least one of the Eldrazi lands. I am doubtful that WotC would ban both lands since I suspect they would like to keep a new archetype playable for longer than three months.
If Eye of Ugin is banned, as I expect it will be, others have speculated around the use of Vesuva from Time Spiral as the likely replacement to go alongside Eldrazi Temple. The comes-into-play-tapped clause of Vesuva means that it can hardly be classified as fast mana. I would do some testing before speculating on Vesuva, but it's a possibility for the direction of Eldrazi decks in Modern after a ban of Eye of Ugin.
All Standard set prices posted gains in the past week, with OGW up an impressive 15%. At over 100 tix currently, OGW is acting more like a powerful, small third set opened as a one-of rather than as set being opened as a two-of.
This will be worth watching to try and figure out when OGW will bottom. With a little over a month to go before the release of Shadows Over Innistrad (SOI) in paper, speculators and players will be well served by identifying a price bottom for this set. At the current rate of decline, it won't occur until SOI release events start on MTGO.
In general though, players and speculators should be taking a close look at Khans of Tarkir (KTK) and Fate Reforged (FRF) cards in their collections at the moment. With both sets nearing rotation, the recent price strength is a welcome signal that the selling window on these sets is still open.
Players should hold onto their Modern playables like the KTK fetch lands. I expect strong buying from speculators and bots on these cards in particular if they fall below 6 tix. Trying to squeeze a few extra tix out of a play set of staples like the fetch lands is not worth it for players. Speculators, on the other hand, should get their tix ready to buy up as many of these cards as they can, depending on how prices evolve.
For the Market Report portfolio, I will be looking at selling the play set of Monastery Mentor. This card did not show up in Modern play with the dominance of the Eldrazi, but the introduction of Legacy leagues on MTGO has been a positive development for this Legacy-playable card. The selling window for this card is the next month. I'll be ready to sell if the current uptrend in Standard prices stalls out, or just prior to the release of SOI.
OGW boosters have crested 4 tix since the end of release events. This is an indicator that supply of these booster is now constrained, and this is a useful benchmark for guiding future speculative purchases. BFZ boosters had a similar pattern of peaking at 4 tix after release events ended.
The lesson for speculators and those players looking to stretch their tix is to hold all new boosters until release events have ended and the excess supply from release sealed queues is exhausted.
Elsewhere, both KTK and FRF boosters have moved up in the past week. This bodes well for further gains over the coming months as players look towards cheap drafts relative to the pricey drafts of the other formats. FRF looks set to easily go over 2 tix in the next couple of weeks, and KTK has a chance at hitting 3.5 tix.
Trade of the Week
As usual, the portfolio is available at this link. This week's trade is to buy Stoneforge Masterwork at junk or near-junk prices. This card is underpowered for Modern as it needs three creatures of the same tribe in play to be slightly better than Vulshok Morningstar, a card that is unplayable in Modern.
Token decks in that format prefer Glorious Anthem effects; Merfolk decks already have access to powerful lords that pump the whole tribe. It's doubtful this card will see play in Modern unless staple cards are continually banned from top decks and goblin or ally tribal decks start to emerge as legitimate decks.
Where this card could show up is clearly in Standard, where I could imagine a tribal deck based around the ally, vampire or zombie creature type emerges after the release of SOI.
The other theme that might help this card out is an equipment focus in the upcoming set. Vorthos players have already sniffed out Nahiri showing up on the flavor text of Structural Distortion from SOI.
For those that don't know, Nahiri, the Lithomancer was printed as a planeswalker from a Commander set, has art modeled after Stoneforge Mystic, and references equipment in all three of the abilities. If a Standard version of Nahiri is printed, players will have to reevaluate all equipment and equipment-referencing cards for their playability in April.