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 July 18th, 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
This week the New World Order continues to unfold in the flashback draft queues with Magic 2010 (M10). Picking up where Shards of Alara block left off with powered-up creatures, we now see a return to resonance and flavor with brand new cards like Baneslayer Angel, Vampire Nocturnus and Ant Queen. The original five planeswalkers also make their return, but this time at the mythic rarity.
Despite the power level of the creatures, the removal spells are still very efficient when compared to more recent sets. The quality of removal available at common is exceptional. Look no further than the reprinting of Lightning Bolt in this set as well as Doom Blade, a variant on Terror.
Although blue's card drawing spells and permission took a step back in this set, Divination and Essence Scatter are still rock-solid in the common slot. As well, there are two excellent cards at uncommon in Mind Control and Sleep, both of which can break open a game. Forcing blue in draft is not as good as it was in previous core sets, but there are still plenty of reasons to move into blue if the cards are flowing.
Red is a colour that will attract a lot of first picks and will be splashed for, but is not a deep colour in general. Green has some impressive creatures, but the efficient removal in the set can still lead to large tempo swings. Drafters should look to build their deck around the colours black, blue or white due to the quality of the commons, but no colour should be ruled out if the draft points to that colour being open.
On the value side of things, M10 is quite weak with many reprints among the more desirable cards. The only notable Modern staple to watch out for is Birds of Paradise, but there are a few Modern playables in Time Warp, Elvish Archdruid and Goblin Chieftain. Enjoy drafting this set, but don't count on getting your tix back in the cards you draft.
There is some price weakness kicking in for Modern with the paper prerelease and the pending online prerelease of Eldritch Moon (EMN). The usual liquidity crunch is expected to take a bite out of all prices in the coming weeks, but compounding this is the upcoming Zendikar (ZEN) block flashback drafts which will be heavily subscribed to.
The presence of the fetchlands in this set, a fun and quick draft format, and the discounted flashback draft price of 10 tix should ensure a healthy amount of cards from ZEN are due to come onto the market. Players and speculators appear to be anticipating this with the recent price weakness seen in cards like Verdant Catacombs, Misty Rainforest and Goblin Guide all heading lower in the past week.
If you've been paid attention to Sylvain's article this week, you'll see he is getting prepared for these events by trying to raise tix and to get liquid. This is great advice, and all players and speculators should be slimming down their collections and portfolios to take advantage of the upcoming sale prices.
Standard took a back seat this past weekend to the EMN prerelease events so I hope you took advantage and played a few rounds of Shadows over Innistrad (SOI) block sealed deck at your local game store. I got to play six rounds of sealed deck, but I didn't get a strong impression from any of the new cards.
Players around me seemed to like the emerge mechanic, and Gerry Thompson is also big on Elder Deep-Fiend as the new Eldrazi menace to watch out for. We'll see what the Star City Games circuits cooks up this weekend in the new Standard format before the pros get to tackle the same problem at Pro Tour EMN in Sydney the first weekend of August.
Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) boosters have smashed through the 1.8 tix level to hit a new low of 1.6 tix. Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW) boosters have held up better and have stuck to around 3.3 tix even while BFZ boosters have continued to head lower.
At this point, it's safe to say that the market is very well supplied in BFZ boosters and only a sustained increase in the value of the contents will drive prices higher. OGW boosters appear to be closer to being supply-constrained, and this will continue with the draft prize distribution skewing the supply of BFZ relative to OGW.
The big lesson to take from the ongoing price decline of BFZ boosters is to avoid speculating on boosters from the large set of any given block. Although SOI boosters have crept back up above 3.3 tix, the short- and long-term outlook for these digital objects is grim. It will be much better to stock up on EMN boosters over SOI boosters at just about any price.
Trade of the Week
As usual, the portfolio is available at this link. Although the time is correct to be stockpiling tix, there's always value around if you know where to look. This week I saw opportunity in two different mythic rares from Magic Origins (ORI), Disciple of the Ring and Erebos's Titan, both priced at around 0.2 tix. If we look to recently rotated large sets that are still available for redemption, we'll be able to compare the prices of mythic rares to see if this price is good value.
With Theros (THS) sets no longer redeemable due to being out of stock, the mythic rares from this set hold very little value and are not a good comparison for ORI. Khans of Tarkir (KTK) and Magic 2015 (M15) on the other hand are both still redeemable and their lowest priced mythic rares are Wingmate Roc and Soul of Innistrad at 0.79 and 0.29 tix respectively.
Although ORI is not as attractive a redemption target as KTK, it will probably be at least as good as M15 is currently. I wouldn't be looking to stock up on junk ORI mythic rares at any price, but below 0.2 tix the risk versus reward is balanced in favor of the patient speculator.
Although the Standard-playable cards from ORI will still have lots of room to come down in price over the summer, the junk mythic rares are a great place to be hunting for value over the coming weeks. With rotation just around the corner, value will be flowing to the redemption bottleneck in mythic rares once prices bottom out in the Fall.