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 4th, 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
Shards of Alara (ALA) block draft continues with the addition of a booster of Conflux (CON). Be sure to check out Oraymw's triple ALA draft primer for insights into the format. This block introduced mythic rares and the three-colour mana alignments known as the shards (Naya, Grixis, Bant, Jund and Esper). Take the draft primer advice and target the high-quality mana fixing cards.
In terms of value, Path to Exile in the uncommon slot and Noble Hierarch as a rare anchor things out of CON, but ALA is not so lucky. Its most expensive card is Ajani Vengeant, a mythic rare, and it tips the scales at under 9 tix. There are a couple of Modern playables to watch out for in the rare slot though, namely Ranger of Eos and Master of Etherium.
A new entrant in the 50+ tix category is Ancestral Vision from Time Spiral (TSP). The combination of being unbanned in Modern and the upcoming Legacy festival has driven this card to its current level. Although there are no potential reprints nor TSB flashback draft queues on the horizon, this price move is excessive in the short term.
The upcoming Eldritch Moon (EMN) set release will drive interest in Standard and in the new draft format, and players and bots alike will consider selling this card for tix in order to play with the new cards. If you are holding copies and can put up with not playing with the card for a while, consider selling into this market surge.
On the other end of the spectrum, Voice of Resurgence from Dragon's Maze (DGM) has fallen down to 30 tix. This is definitely an intriguing price level as it has mostly bounced between 30 and 40 tix during 2016. Although the 30 tix level looks "safe," the timing is not good as we get closer to the release of EMN.
Also, the previous price floor was around 20 tix, so we should be on the lookout for further price declines on this card. Players and speculators alike should not hesitate to buy this Modern-playable mythic rare if it goes to 20 tix.
Most of the Standard set prices rebounded this week, coincident with the start of EMN spoilers. There's nothing like new cards to get the brewer's juices flowing, triggering buying interest in pet cards and former all-stars. An excellent example is Jace, Vryn's Prodigy // Jace, Telepath Unbound from Magic Origins (ORI). This formerly 80+ tix card recently dipped below 20 tix before rebounding this past week.
The spoiling of the new versions of Accumulated Knowledge and Kindle (Take Inventory and Galvanic Bombardment respectively), combined with a "spells matter" creature like Niblis of Frost, was enough for the market to buy back into Jace on the potential of a resurgence in Standard. Although the rotation of ORI and Dragons of Tarkir (DTK) out of Standard looms in the distance, there's still a few months of Magic to be played. Speculators will have to be nimble speculating on cards like this, but I like the pedigree on Jace as the average price has been well over 30 tix while it has been in Standard.
Although it is tempting to speculate on cards from Shadows over Innistrad (SOI) in light of the new spoilers, this is more akin to gambling than investing. A card like Mindwrack Demon or Relentless Dead can look very appealing in light of the new delirium cards and zombie creature cards. These cards might work out and become staples in new Standard archetypes. But it's very difficult to predict how a new format will unfold.
Past speculative activity in advance of the SOI release drove Drana, Liberator of Malakir from 4 to 7+ tix. With Vampires being a no show in Standard, this card now sits below 4 tix. If you timed it perfectly, you could have made a couple of tix per copy speculating on this card. But if you didn't it's possible that this card would be dead money languishing in your portfolio.
I would steer clear from speculating on any cards from SOI at this time. The time to be buying cards from the newest sets will be in August when the supply from drafters will be at a peak.
Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) and Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW) boosters both dropped with the release of Eternal Masters (EMA). OGW boosters have rebounded to the 3.5 tix level while BFZ boosters continue to languish at around 2 tix. Look for another bout of price weakness in these two boosters with the release of EMN on MTGO by the end of July.
Trade of the Week
As usual, the portfolio is available at this link. Dromoka's Command from DTK saw a substantial price decline in the past month, peaking at over 15 tix before recently coming back down to earth at 6 tix. G/W Tokens has proven to be a key pillar of the Standard format and it's probable that some form of the deck will continue to show up in numbers after the release of EMN. Buying this card now is a bet that renewed interest in the Standard format will drive it back over 10 tix.
If you are going to follow this rebound strategy, it's important to acknowledge that there is a risk in the G/W Tokens archetype falling out of favor. Combined with the pending rotation of DTK, events could conspire to drive the price of this down below 2 tix in short order.
I'll be paying attention to results from the Pro Tour and other top-level events to figure out if a tokens strategy is still viable in Standard. I'll also be paying attention to the price. A dip below 4 tix would be a negative signal that would force me to look very carefully at selling this position at a loss.