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 25th, 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. Note that sets of Theros (THS) are out of stock in the store, so this set is no longer redeemable.
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
Flashback drafts are on hiatus until we return with triple Time Spiral (TSP) on May 4th. The price of Ancestral Vision has been on a wild ride since it was unbanned in Modern and having triple TSP drafts will definitely put a dent in its price in the short term.
The Timeshifted Pendelhaven will also come under pressure when TSP drafts start. Triple TSP is a good draft format and should be well attended by the flashback draft crowd.
Modern and Legacy
Many Modern staples are getting into attractive price ranges in the wake of the new set release and the focus on Standard generated by Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad (SOI).
I have been putting Cavern of Souls and Grove of the Burnwillows into the portfolio since these cards have ducked under 25 tix. On top of that, Scalding Tarn and some of the other Zendikar (ZEN) fetchlands also look like they have some value at current prices.
All of these cards see play in Modern and Legacy. Although there is some reprint risk with the summer release of Eternal Masters (EMA), anything that gets consistent play in Modern should be viewed as safe from reprint. EMA is going to sell no matter what, so there is no reason for Wizards of the Coast (WoTC) to mine reprint equity in cards that can be reprinted in a Modern Masters or Standard-legal set.
Putting the ZEN fetchlands into this set alongside a bunch of other high-value reprints will just transfer that reprint equity from WoTC to the stores that are allocated their share of booster boxes. WoTC gets no extra money if stores can sell EMA boosters for above the MSRP.
If you start by looking at their incentives, it is up to WoTC to design a fun and splashy set that relieves pricing pressure from some, but not too many, expensive older cards. They are going to be packaging up cards like Wasteland and Force of Will alongside rares that are only playable in casual circles.
This past weekend saw Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad in Madrid and the pros did not disappoint, putting a large variety of viable archetypes on display in the new Standard format.
The two most expected decks in Bant Collected Company and White Aggro did show up, but a prepared field was able to push these decks out of the spotlight. That shouldn't immediately lead speculators to sell cards from these decks as the Top 8 of a mixed format event like the Pro Tour isn't the final word on where Standard will be going.
Brad Nelson's G/R Ramp deck ported in the Pyromancer's Goggles package from Todd Andersen's U/R deck and ended up in the Top 8. This innovative mash-up packs a ton of red removal with Fiery Impulse at the low end, Fall of the Titans at the high end and Kozilek's Return as a sweeper.
An interesting aspect of this deck is 10 one-casting-cost spells, including card]Traverse the Ulvenwald[/card]. With so many spells right out of the gate, this deck won't be caught doing nothing in the first couple of turns. We haven't seen the last of this deck, and we definitely haven't seen the last of the Pyromancer's Goggles package in Standard.
The SOI prerelease weekend had an impact on the price of all boosters from Standard sets. Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) boosters fell to 2.5 tix but have since rebounded to 2.6 tix. Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW) boosters have found a slightly higher bottom at 2.8 tix. For both speculators and players, these are excellent buys at current prices.
Each time a BFZ block draft fires, it consumes 24 boosters and awards 12. Entry fees can be paid through play points or tix, but to use these you are paying the full retail price. Using secondary market booster prices, you'll be able to save 3.8 tix off the entry fee for a draft, a 27% discount. The economics of the situation are clear, and it will only take a mild revival in interest in this format for prices to start climbing.
Magic Origins (ORI) and Dragons of Tarkir (DTK) boosters saw about a 10% drop and have rebounded slightly. Boosters from these two sets have the highest expected value out of all Standard sets. These will head back to 4+ tix at some point before the summer.
Trade of the Week
As usual, the portfolio is available at this link. I took the opportunity of the pre-Pro Tour hype around White Aggro decks to start selling Kytheon, Hero of Akros // Gideon, Battle-Forged. After peaking at over 13 tix, this card fell in half after it did not get significant exposure in feature matches nor in the Top 8 decks.
However, white aggro decks should continue to be a force in Standard, popping up to ruin the day of control players when they get too complacent. Look for this card to continue to firm up in the 7 to 10 tix range, with a potential price bump based off of a high-profile finish. I did not get to sell all my copies at a good price, but that is okay since I anticipate another chance to do so in the next two months.