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Insider: MTGO Market Report for March 16th, 2016

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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 March 14th, 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.

Mar14

Flashback Draft of the Week

This week the format will be triple Ravnica: City of Guilds (RAV). When this set was first released, it had been five years since the last multi-coloured block, Invasion. Gold cards are a very popular theme and this set brought back gold cards with a twist. In addition to normal gold cards like Loxodon Hierarch, hybrid mana was a completely new spin on gold cards.

On top of the return of gold cards, the guild system was a new way to organize a block and all of its mechanics and themes. Only four of the ten guilds would be represented in RAV, so this block was also experimenting with unbalanced colours between sets, previously seen in the Odyssey block sets Torment and Judgment.

The set was also anchored by the first four of the shock lands, which were a great twist on the original dual lands and proved to be very popular. The staggered introduction of these also had a big impact on Standard as it favored the featured guilds and their colour combinations until the block was complete.

The key thing to keep in mind when drafting triple RAV is that you really must find the guild colour pairing that is open and be drafting around the mechanic and themes of that guild. Also, don't forget that RAV had the first wave of modern karoo lands and signets, both of which provided very cheap and flexible mana fixing.

Draft the karoo lands aggressively in order to take advantage of their raw power of these lands. Playing them means that you can expand your mana curve, splash other colours, and shave lands from your total land count. When three or four of your lands tap for two mana, your land count can drop from the normal range of 17 or 18 to a lower count of 13 or 14.

Selesnya is the green-white guild and uses a token-based strategy that can take over the board by using convoke to cast large creatures. Key commons include Selesnya Evangel, Conclave Equenaut and Siege Wurm. Selesnya Guildmage is a strong first pick, though don't play it out like a two-drop and expose it to removal as it's more useful in the later stages of the game.

Golgari is the green-black guild and uses a graveyard based strategy that seeks to take advantage of the recursion on dredge cards. By activating dredge in your draw step, you can avoid having dead draws later in the game. Golgari Rotwurm is a top common and a key way to close out games, though it must be said the changes to rules around the stack do not favor the Golgari as they have many sacrifice abilities that were good with the old rules.

The red-white guild is Boros. It plays out aggressively and is less dependent on its mechanic than Golgari or Selesnya. This is red-white drafting in the jank style where Sell-Sword Brute is a totally acceptable two-drop and Boros Fury-Shield is a useful card and sometime finisher that will come to you late.

Master Warcraft is a high-impact rare that a Boros drafter should never pass and try to pick up as many Skyknight Legionnaire as possible.

The blue-black guild, Dimir, is controlling and has a relatively strong mill strategy, backed up by powerful rares and the uncommon land Duskmantle, House of Shadow. The transmute mechanic allows flexibility for this colour pair, which favors a long game and many choices.

Don't be afraid to dip into controlling dredge cards like Stinkweed Imp. Although not a high pick, Lurking Informant is a subtle way to take control of your opponent's draws and one copy should always make your deck. Vedalken Dismisser and Vedalken Entrancer are two key blue commons to look for.

You may have noticed that red and blue only show up once in each of the guilds from this set. If there's no clear signal in the draft, try to stick to black, green or white cards until the signals become clearer and you can move into the guild that's open. Lastly, if karoo lands are coming your way, just keep drafting them and worry about your colours later.

Modern

This format is still struggling with the Eldrazi menace, and unless two or more cards are banned in April, the Eldrazi will probably be around for a while. Check out this build that takes the Tron mana base and adapts it to play with the powerful Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW) colourless cards.

Standard

Prices on Standard sets are weakening in both paper and on MTGO as spoiler season for Shadows over Innistrad (SOI) ramps up. Set prices for Fate Reforged (FRF) and Khans of Tarkir (KTK) are dropping faster than the rest of Standard as rotation for these two sets looms. Don't be caught trying to unload cards from these sets at the end of the month, although players should just hold onto their fetch lands rather than trying to time the market.

Drana, Liberator of Malakir from Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) saw a big jump this week as the vampire tribe gets more cards spoiled from SOI. It had been in the 3 to 4 tix range for months before ascending into the 6 to 7 tix range this week.

It's not yet clear whether or not Drana will be Standard-playable in April so a speculator holding copies of this card might want to hedge their bets at current prices by selling some of their stock.

Standard Boosters

Both OGW and BFZ boosters are dipping on the success of sealed leagues, though OGW boosters are still over 4 tix as of writing. Look for both of these to drop further in price during release events for SOI when players are scrounging for tix to play in events with the new set. At that time, these will be a low-risk, low-reward play as they will both approach 4 tix over the summer.

FRF and KTK boosters have declined this past week and are set for further drops in price with rotation getting closer by the day. Speculators should be unwinding remaining positions and moving into tix in advance of SOI release events. After rotation, the price on these will only be tied to the EV of their contents, which will be in decline.

Trade of the Week

As usual, the portfolio is available at this link. This week highlights the sale of Jace, Architect of Thought. Although not a card that has been looked at previously, it was bought on a cyclic downswing and as the Eldrazi were overrunning Modern, with an eye to selling when Modern returned to normal after April's pending ban announcement.

In this case, the market moved sooner than expected and pushed the price to a level where further gains were not clear. With a bit of luck, this trade ripened quickly. With SOI release events on the horizon, taking advantage of this price swing and getting liquid is prudent in my mind.

3 thoughts on “Insider: MTGO Market Report for March 16th, 2016

  1. hi Matthew. I love this series and is one of the main reasons I subscribe! I use mtggoldfish to track cards prices and Drana has not been near 6-7tix since release when I look at the graph. I know they use different bot chains for prices but is this relatively large difference common between large bot chains and is there anywhere better to track the price changes at several different bots more closely? thanks

    1. As far as I know, there is no better price tracker at the moment. Prices are proprietary information so generally bot chains don’t like people to scrape and aggregate those prices. I believe mtggoldfish has an agreement with mtgotraders and cardhoader to use their prices, but someone who was trying to scrape all the prices from all the major bot chains would get some resistance.

      It looks like Drana is on the move again! No copies available at mtgotraders and goat is down to 3 copies with a price of 8 tix. The spoiling of the new Olivia has people dreaming of a red black aggro madness deck.

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