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 June 20th, 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
In a surprise move, coincident with the reveal of Emrakul, the Promised End tormenting Innistrad, triple Rise of the Eldrazi (ROE) draft queues were up starting on Monday for 24 hours.
ROE is a beloved draft format and this immediately bumped the sell price of ROE boosters to 2.7 tix. Three boosters plus 2 tix is about 10 tix, which is equal to the tix-only entry fee for the flashback queues. Buying up boosters at prices below 2.4 tix for announced flashback drafts is a safe, low-risk, low-return speculative strategy. It's more akin to collecting interest on a bank deposit than true speculation to be frank. The trick is to focus on the triple booster queues.
With that in mind, there are still boosters available for below 2.4 tix for announced flashback drafts, such as triple Return to Ravnica and triple Gatecrash. For players that would like to play these queues at a discount, putting a few of these away for the future is a good idea. Speculators can be sure of a small but guaranteed return.
In the regularly scheduled flashback draft queue, Eventide (EVE) is added in this week so it will be Shadowmoor-Shadowmoor-Eventide draft. EVE has the opposing-colour filter lands like Twilight Mire anchoring its value, with the 4 tix common Nettle Sentinel another card to watch out for. It will be a good week to target Fulminator Mage as that card is not currently in vogue in Modern sideboards, but in the past it has regularly seen prices in the 15 to 20 tix range.
Scapeshift is a perfect Modern archetype for speculators to focus on. It isn't good enough to be dominant, but regularly comes into focus when it takes down a tournament.
Although not appearing in current builds, Prismatic Omen shows up in that deck from time to time and is currently on a steep decline due to speculative selling and the SHM flashback draft queues. This card will be an excellent pickup if it gets into the 3 to 4 tix range but it still has a way to go with it currently at 7 tix.
A recent example of this deck is this one from earlier in June that won a Star City Games IQ event. The deck is a bit esoteric, but Bring to Light allows for that. The card that jumped out to me though was the singleton Chandra, Flamecaller.
A six-casting cost planeswalker is not typically where your Modern deck wants to be, but experimenting with one copy seems appropriate. As a finisher, a board wipe or a fresh hand with a card drawn, this card should find a home in Modern at some point, even if it's just fringe-playable. It's something to keep in mind when Oath of the Gatewatch is set to rotate out of Standard.
The release of Eternal Masters this past weekend on MTGO has taken a significant amount of liquidity out of the economy. The set prices on Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) and Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW) both took 10% hits this week. If you missed your opportunity at getting cards from these sets while they were being drafted, current prices are quite attractive.
Part the Waterveil has come back down to the 3 tix level after briefly spiking to 10 tix. It's not clear to me whether or not the Mono-Blue Prison deck will have any legs in Standard but it's worth watching. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is another BFZ mythic rare with a recent decline, dipping below 7 tix. It's a staple of Modern Tron decks and is good value at current prices. Ramp decks in Standard are out of favor at the moment, but you never know how rotation will shape the metagame.
Speaking of rotation, the set prices of Magic Origins (ORI) and Dragons of Tarkir (DTK) are in their decline phase in both paper and digital. It's a tricky time to be targeting cards from these sets for speculation, as their prices ride the wave down into September and October.
At some point, Modern staples like Kolaghan's Command, Atarka's Command and Collected Company will all be strong buys, but we have to wait for the price to be right. Collected Company is a pillar of the Standard format, so its price will likely be much stronger for longer than the other two DTK rares listed here.
For the time being for these two sets, the safest place to focus on would be low-priced junk mythic rares. Large sets are attractive for redemption due to the redemption fee being spread out over more cards, so DTK cards like Shorecrasher Elemental and Clone Legion (both currently below 0.4 tix) are ones to accumulate. The key is not to overpay and pick off the cheapest copies you can find. Disciple of the Ring out of ORI is priced to move at below 0.3 tix. These cards will likely never see play in Modern, but redemption gives them long-term value.
Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) and Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW) boosters both dropped with the release of EMA this week on MTGO. Players need tix to play in the expensive EMA draft queues and sealed leagues, so those old BFZ block boosters get the boot to fund entry into EMA events.
This provides an excellent chance to add more of these boosters into your portfolio. If you have been getting liquid in recent weeks by selling cards for tix, OGW boosters are a great low-risk play to sock away for the end of the summer. BFZ is less attractive due to the structural imbalance between prizes and entry fees that makes OGW boosters relatively scarce.
Shadows over Innistrad (SOI) boosters also dipped over the weekend, briefly going below 2.7 tix. Although they have recovered a little since then, SOI is bound to suffer the same fate as BFZ boosters with a medium-term price closer to 2 tix.
Trade of the Week
As usual, the portfolio is available at this link. Once again the flashback queues provide the target for this week. As mentioned above, Fulminator Mage from EVE is a somewhat out-of-favor Modern sideboard card that has regularly seen prices in the 15 to 20 tix range.
A resurgence of Tron in Modern would be just the catalyst needed to push the price on this card back up near 20 tix. 10 tix was a good price at which to put a play set into the portfolio, with a 100% gain possible in the long term.