Insider: MTGO Market Report for March 30th, 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.


Below are the total set prices for all redeemable sets on MTGO. All prices are current as of March 29th, 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 the ten guilds are now all represented in Ravnica block draft with the addition of Dissension (DIS). The last set features the blue-white guild Azorius, the red-black guild of Rakdos, and the blue-green guild of Simic.

At this point, if you haven't gotten the hang of drafting with the powerful karoo lands and the signets, then I suggest skipping the format as the multi-colour craziness gets amped up with the complete block.

Also, be sure to read up on the Guildpact draft primer written up by Oraymw at this link, and the Ravnica: City of Guilds draft primer at this link. If they complete the cycle, I'm sure the Dissension draft primer will be just as useful.


The key thing to keep in mind this week with Modern is that the Banned and Restricted announcement will go live on Monday April 4th. The Wizards of the Coast (WoTC) website typically updates just before 11 am EST, so if you have some free time, it can pay to be sitting at your computer and reacting to the news before the bots do.

After the banning is announced, the market will react quickly. Staples from all non-Eldrazi decks will see higher prices in the short term, and the banned card (or cards) will see a steep decline in price.

Almost undoubtedly the market's first take will be incorrect and an overreaction. Speculators would do well to sell any excess cards into any price spike, as well as to look for potential long-term targets in the banned card. With Eldrazi showing up in Legacy, any short-term drop due to a banning in Modern will eventually get erased by interest from Legacy players.

If WoTC throws us a curveball and bans some other card in addition to something from the Eldrazi archetype, be sure to avoid cards from the impacted archetype. For example, if Mox Opal is banned, Affinity will come under selling pressure.


Sets of Magic Origins (ORI) briefly dipped below 120 tix this week, dragged down by the price of Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. This card dropped more than 30% from its high of over 90 tix all the way down to 60 tix. It has rebounded on speculative buying over the weekend and now sits at 70 tix. This type of price action is striking but not unprecedented. Look for further analysis on this card in the Trade of the Week section.

Elsewhere, some buying interest has shown up for Khans of Tarkir (KTK). As the price of Standard playables has come down, value has started showing up elsewhere in this set. We can see the result by the rise in price of the junk mythic rares from this set such as Narset, Enlightened Master and Sidisi, Brood Tyrant, which are both around 2 tix now.

This is evidence that a bottom has been reached, and with the valuable fetch lands in this set, I wouldn't expect significant further price drops on KTK. Only a significant drop in paper sets or redemption sets going out of stock would lower the price floor on KTK going forward.

The other rotating set, Fate Reforged (FRF), has very little value in comparison. Do not expect junk mythic rares from this set to reach a similar price as those from KTK. Speculators and players should only be targeting staples from this set with eternal applications such as Monastery Mentor, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and Tasigur, the Golden Fang.

Standard Boosters

FRF and KTK boosters have taken another big hit this week, with the former dropping to an all time low of just over 1 tix and the latter down to 2.5 tix. Both of these have the potential to be a decent target for speculators and players.

As always, the price is what matters. For FRF, prices in the 0.5 to 0.7 tix range are considered to be good long-term value. KTK has further to go to reach a decent buying range, but 1.0 to 1.2 tix is considered a safe price range.

Players who can put these aside for the long term, with an eye to a KTK-KTK-FRF flashback draft queue down the road, should sock a few draft sets away during SOI release events.

Trade of the Week

As usual, the portfolio is available at this link. This week I was watching the price on Jace, Vryn's Prodigy as it tumbled from 90 tix all the way to 60 tix. A 33% drop in a little over a week can occur for a number of cards, but for a high-priced format pillar like Jace, this type of drop is very noticeable.

Fortunately, if you've watched the MTGO market like I have for a number of years, you may recall a similar event from a few years ago. Check out the chart below on the New Phyrexia mythic rare Sword of War and Peace.


Before the banning of Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Stoneforge Mystic, Sword of War and Peace had played a key role in the dominant Caw Blade deck. The following season saw a decrease in its pedigree but it continued to see regular play in Delver as well as other archetypes.

In January the price rose to over 40 tix, but Dark Ascension release events caused many players to sell their copies for tix in order to play with the new cards. It dropped substantially at the end of February 2012 to below 30 tix, a drop of about 30% from its high of 42 tix. After the dust had settled from release events, players realized the Sword was as powerful as ever and the price advanced to new highs, nearly touching 50 tix.

The price of Jace has been moving in a very similar fashion. Have a look at the chart below, where I've drawn bounds on the price channel we've seen so far in order to illustrate the longer-term trend. If Jace were to continue to be a format pillar in Standard, then a rebound to over 90 tix is quite possible, based off of how the price of Sword of War and Peace behaved in February and March of 2012.



On Thursday, in the midst of the price drop, I noticed that MTGO Traders' listed buy price of 64 tix was 2 tix higher than Goatbot's sell price of 62 tix. Although it didn't look like the bottom had been reached yet, in this case I decided to take the available arbitrage, so I ponied up my tix with an eye to buying from Goatbots and reselling to MTGO Traders.

It turns out that MTGO Traders was fully stocked, so they were not actually buying any copies. With the price of Jace still in decline, this looked like it could turn out bad for me, but if we were close to the bottom then it would turn out okay. I decided to come back the next day and see where prices had moved to then.

On Friday, prices were still lower, with copies available for 57.5 tix. I sucked it up and bought another playset at this price. Fortunately, on Saturday morning it looked like buying interest had started to creep into the market, as there were fewer copies available at good prices. Now I was satisfied that in and around 60 tix was going to be the bottom, and that my initial purchase at 62 tix would turn out to be fine.

Writing this after the weekend, it looks like a bunch of speculators have moved into the market and driven up the price back to 70 tix. At this time, I think there's a 75% chance that it returns to over 80 tix over the next three months.

If Jace, Vryn's Prodigy continues to be a pillar of Standard and a madness deck ranks as one of the best decks, then the price could make a push to 100+ tix, which would be the first card in Standard to reach that price level since Jace, the Mind Sculptor breached that level before being banned.

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