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 April 11th, 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
Triple Coldsnap (CSP) wraps up on Wednesday. Then we're into the Shadows over Innistrad (SOI) set release window, so flashback drafts are on hiatus until we return with triple Time Spiral on May 4th.
If you are holding the recently unbanned Ancestral Vision, this is your long-range warning that three weeks of opening TSP will put a dent in the price. Remember, triple TSP will be followed by a week of Time Spiral-Planar Chaos draft, and then a week of the full TSP block draft with Future Sight.
CSP uncommon and Legacy staple Counterbalance put in a bottom over the weekend and is now back over 10 tix. Speculators should be cautious picking this card up in the short term. All eyes will be on Standard for the next month with the release of SOI. Combine that with the typical liquidity crunch, and Legacy prices will be under pressure.
A more established price floor would reduce the risk. For now any players who had been eyeing a playset should be patient and wait to see where the price ends up next week.
There will always be a few drafters who hold onto their copies with the hopes of building their Legacy collection. A new set and a fresh Standard format will quickly drain players' available tix, so those extra copies of Counterbalance will soon be converted to tix in order to play in SOI drafts.
Early returns from the post-Eldrazi Modern format are quite conservative; check out the result from the Star City Games Modern Classic in Baltimore.
Six different archetypes were represented in the Top 8 results with another four different archetypes if you include the Top 16. Ancestral Vision made an appearance in the top deck's sideboard as well as in the maindeck of the two Grixis decks that made Top 16.
Overall this appears to be a very cautious field, but with good diversity. That should encourage Modern players to trot out their favorite decks now that the Eldrazi appear to be vanquished.
Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad will be held in Madrid on Friday, April 22 through Sunday April 24. Although there are early signs of what SOI Standard will be like with the recent SCG Open results, the best signal for the direction of SOI Standard will be the top Pro Tour decks. White aggro decks have been off to a flying start, but the format will likely evolve to deal with this archetype.
For speculators benefiting from the higher prices seen on white cards from Magic Origins like Kytheon, Hero of Akros // Gideon, Battle-Forged and Archangel of Tithes, look for a price spike with the release of SOI this week. An appearance of one or two white aggro decks in the Top 8 of Madrid will cement a further price spike on cards like this.
The decision to sell into this interest over the next two weeks will be correct as aggro decks ultimately rarely end up being top tier decks.
Unlike last week, there was a big drop in BFZ and OGW boosters as we enter that awkward period where SOI is Standard-legal but not yet available on MTGO. Sealed leagues are also closed to new entrants. As a result we are seeing the start of deep selling of these boosters as players look to the new Standard format and start thinking about SOI draft and sealed deck.
Both BFZ and OGW boosters will be good long-term value. I believe there is a 98% chance that each will go higher than 4 tix over the next six months.
In the short term, though, they are set to dip further as we head into prerelease weekend on MTGO. Players looking to put a few Battle for Zendikar block draft sets into their collection will see good prices over the next two weeks.
Shadows Over Innistrad
For the release of SOI, there have been some changes made to the events on offer. Sealed release events that were tix-only and offered good prize support are being retired. In their place will be a weekend of prerelease events (both sealed leagues and swiss draft), followed by normal sealed leagues and draft queues starting on Monday.
The entry fee for prerelease events is tix or play points only. As usual, this means boosters from the new set will be temporarily worth less over the weekend.
On Monday, you'll be able to use SOI boosters to enter drafts and sealed leagues, so the value of SOI will be 4 tix at that time. On the weekend the value of a booster will be less than 4 tix since you cannot use boosters to enter new events. Those players who are tix-constrained will sell the boosters they have won in order to play more Limited events.
Both speculators and players should be willing to buy boosters for a discount over the weekend in order to sell them back into the market after Monday. The price of SOI boosters will not likely dip much below 3.5 tix, so the trade is low margin and low volume. However, if you are looking to save a few tix on the price of boosters, this weekend will be a good time to buy.
A special note on prerelease sealed leagues. In addition to the six boosters of SOI to build your deck, you will also get a bonus foil rare or foil mythic rare, similar to paper prerelease events. This extra supply of foil mythic rares should be seen as a good opportunity for pursuing the foil mythic rare strategy.
For players seeking to play with the new cards, buying the foil version of a given mythic rare is an excellent option. Unlike the regular versions, the foil versions tend to hold their value over time. Don't be afraid to scoop up any foil mythic rare in the 6 to 10 tix range this weekend, which was the bottom end of the price range observed on OGW and BFZ foil mythic rares.
Trade of the Week
As usual, the portfolio is available at this link. This week I sold Hangarback Walker for a loss. Although it is two card types for delirium, getting it into the graveyard in Standard is the trick. With Reflector Mage and Declaration in Stone looking to be Standard staples, both of these cards deal with Hangarback Walker without putting it into the graveyard.
As a regular rare that is just seeing play in the odd deck, the writing is on the wall for this card. I'm 80% certain it will not be getting back into the 10+ tix range while it's legal in Standard.