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Insider: MTGO Market Report for May 25th, 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 May 24th, 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.

May24

Flashback Draft of the Week

This week the flashback queue returns to core set draft with triple Tenth Edition. This format is similar in many respects to Ninth Edition draft, so be sure to check out my quick summary of that format in a previous Market Report. Needless to say, blue is still the best colour with many powerful commons and uncommons.

On the value front, keep your eyes out for Crucible of Worlds and Hurkyl's Recall as the two most expensive rares. Shatterstorm ranks as the most expensive non-rare at over 2 tix currently, and I would expect over the next week this would be a good target due to its usage in Modern.

Modern

Grand Prix Charlotte and Grand Prix Los Angeles shined a light on the Modern format this past weekend, and the format continues to look healthy and diverse. Top 8 decklists for the respective tournaments can be found here and here. There are no specific trends to ride out from these events, but it's easy to trust that every strategy which has had success in the past will eventually see success again. Exhibit A in the cyclical nature of Modern results is the Merfolk deck which won GP LA.

Players and speculators alike are gearing up for the release of Eternal Masters (EMA) and the resultant interest in Legacy and Vintage Constructed. The start of spoilers has had an impact on some Modern prices, such as Monastery Mentor out of Fate Reforged (FRF). This card is responsible for most of the +22% gain in that set this week.

Elsewhere, Keranos, God of Storms is dragging down the price of a set of Journey into Nyx (JOU) as it drifts below 15 tix. This card appears to be out of favor in Modern at the moment, and it looks set to find a new, post-Splinter Twin low of 13 tix or less.

Standard

Paper prices on recently rotated and Standard sets alike are down across the board this week. It's not clear where this selling pressure is coming from, but vendors could also be gearing up for the release of EMA by selling down their inventory. The pending rotation of Magic Origins (ORI) and Dragons of Tarkir (DTK) is a specter that looms over prices as well.

For the newest set, Shadows over Innistrad (SOI), we are in a period where the MTGO and paper prices are converging through redemption. The MTGO price stays relatively constant while the paper price steadily dwindles. There is still substantial room for SOI to fall further, so speculators are advised to avoid taking positions in any cards from this set, unless they are long-term positions in junk or near-junk rares.

Standard Boosters

Last week I was looking for a stabilization of the trend for the prices of Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) and Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW) boosters. Both of these took another step down in the past week, with BFZ boosters now below 2.2 tix and OGW boosters below 3.2 tix. I would attribute this price weakness to the appeal of Time Spiral block flashback drafts, featuring a handful of high-value singles in the Future Sight booster pack. Although the long-term prospects for gains on BFZ and OGW boosters are excellent, the precise timing remains elusive.

Among the current draft formats, OGW-OGW-BFZ provides the highest expected value based on the discounted cost of secondary market booster prices, the expected value of the contents of the boosters, and the prizes associated with entering eight-person draft queues.

It's only a matter of time before interest in triple SOI draft wanes, where the expected value is substantially lower in comparison. When that occurs, the rate of drafting Battle for Zendikar block will increase, and the price of boosters will go along for the ride.

This week we are back to a core set flashback draft with Tenth Edition. Core sets are typically less interesting draft formats, and Tenth Edition doesn't have a high value booster like Future Sight in the mix. With less appeal from a draft standpoint, and less appeal from a lottery standpoint, flashback drafts should see a decline in interest this week.

I anticipate a modest bounce in BFZ block drafting as a result. I put the chance of modestly higher prices on BFZ and OGW boosters next week at 85%. I expect to see the price of BFZ and OGW boosters back above 3.2 tix and 2.2 tix respectively.

Trade of the Week

As usual, the portfolio is available at this link. This week I returned to an previous failed spec with Eye of Ugin. After the Worldwake version and the Modern Masters 2015 (MM2) version diverged heavily in price during Eldrazi winter, I bought the MM2 version in order to capitalize on when the prices eventually converged. Unfortunately, this occurred after Eye of Ugin was banned in Modern.

Nevertheless, every failed spec can sow the seeds for the next successful one. With prices having collapsed all the way below 1 tix from a high of over 20 tix (for the MM2 version), there's been a mild recent rebound and now both versions are at around 1.5 tix.

The upcoming Legacy festival will drive  interest in Eldrazi Stompy and other decks, but this might not translate into a profitable spec. If it doesn't work out in the short term and available supply is still too high to allow large gains, I will be patient with this card and wait until the winter for another chance for profit during a period of elevated interest in Legacy.

If prices do bump up over 3 tix, don't forget about the Expedition version which can currently be priced below that level.

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