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 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 for the next three weeks as the focus shifts to the new limited environment with the introduction of Eldritch Moon (EMN) to Shadows over Innistrad (SOI) draft and sealed deck. EMN prerelease events run this weekend and then EMN is officially being released on MTGO next Monday. Flashback drafts will return with triple Zendikar (ZEN) draft on August 17th.
Eldritch Moon Prerelease Weekend
Prior to the release of SOI in the spring, prereleases had a low expected value relative to release events. For SOI, WoTC got rid of release events completely and rejigged the entry fees and prize structure to make prereleases better value than they had been previously.
One of the key changes was to give out a random foil rare or foil mythic rare for everyone entering the prerelease league, just like in paper prerelease events. The difference with MTGO is that the awarded foil doesn't have a date stamp and is identical to a normal foil rare or foil mythic rare from the set in question. Since the new prerelease events were so popular with SOI, this flooded the market with foil rares and foil mythic rares, which has depressed prices for these cards relative to how prerelease and release events used to be structured.
If you are looking to pick up playsets of the new cards and want to dive in right away, buying foil mythic rares on the first weekend will not lose tix over the long term. This is based off of the observed prices of SOI foil mythic rares since that set was released in April. On April 18th, a playset of foil mythic rares from SOI would have cost 624 tix, an average of 10.4 tix per copy. Today, a playset will cost 636 tix, an average of 10.6 tix per copy.
Notably though, value has flowed between cards in the intervening months. Although Archangel Avacyn // Avacyn, the Purifier is still the most expensive foil mythic rare, going from 28 tix to 24.5 tix, the next most expensive was Sorin, Grim Nemesis at 13 tix, which now sells for 9 tix. Claiming that second spot is another planeswalker, Nahiri, the Harbinger which was 7.8 tix on April 18th and now is priced at 18.2 tix.
For speculators and patient players, waiting a little might yield better prices. If one had waited until the first week of May, a playset of foil mythic rares from SOI reached 556 tix or an average of 9.3 tix per foil mythic rare. Generally though, for foil mythic rares from EMN, prices in the 5 to 7 tix range should be considered good value.
Otherwise, the extra foil rares awarded for playing in prerelease leagues also have the impact of making foil uncommons relatively scarce. Be on the lookout for these this weekend as there will be pressure on them to move higher.
One final note for players who might have built up a stockpile of SOI boosters. The market price on these is set to drop drastically as demand will be greatly reduced with the introduction of EMN. Where previously a draft would take three SOI boosters, now a draft will only require one.
Since the market price of SOI boosters is below the store price of about 4 tix, we know there is a significant amount of excess supply on the market. When demand drops and supply remains constant, prices fall. This is what was observed with Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) boosters over the past year, and it's still not clear if those booster have reached their ultimate bottom.
Standard prices are showing some stability this week in comparison to the selloff being observed in Modern. Players and speculators alike will have itchy trigger fingers this week, trying to anticipate and figure out how EMN will impact Standard and what the pros will be be playing in Australia two weekends hence at Pro Tour Eldritch Moon.
Early results from Standard with the inclusion of EMN gives three important new cards to consider. Selfless Spirit, Spell Queller and Thalia, Heretic Cathar all showed up in the winning deck at this past weekend's Star City Games Open. And if Bant Collected Company decks aren't your thing, then the first two cards also powered up the new U/W Spirits archetype which made a showing in the Top 32 of that event.
Look for a dip in prices this week with prereleases soaking up a lot of tix. Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) boosters are off their low of 1.6 tix but will likely revisit that level. These are not considered a buy due to the entry and prize structure of BFZ block drafts favoring Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW) boosters over BFZ boosters. Speculators holding BFZ boosters should look to the end of August and early September as the next window to sell these.
OGW boosters have been holding their price better than BFZ boosters at 3.3 tix and should be considered a buy at 3 tix or less. They will also see an uptick in demand later this summer as drafters get bored of SOI block draft, but the higher-value cards inside combined with the aforementioned structural differences will support higher prices.
Trade of the Week
As usual, the portfolio is available at this link. This week's trade is a speculative Modern pick, Gemstone Caverns. Describing this card as fringe-playable would be a bit generous, but the newly printed Eternal Scourge helps in defraying the cost of playing this on turn zero. It's doubtful the Eldrazi will rise again in Modern to the degree that prompted the Eye of Ugin banning, but interactions like this one do help.
Gemstone Caverns is uniquely positioned for Eldrazi decks to take advantage of it since if you are on the play, it is a land that produces colourless mana for Thought-Knot Seer and friends, while on the draw it can act like a Mox Diamond, accelerating your turn one plays and allowing you to play one-mana instants on your opponent's first turn.