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 budgets, risk tolerance and current portfolios before buying or selling any digital objects. Please send questions via private message or post below in the article comments.
Below are the total set prices for all redeemable sets on MTGO. All prices are current as of November 22, 2016. The TCGplayer low and TCGplayer mid prices are the sum of each set's individual card prices on TCGplayer, either the low price or the mid price respectively.
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's 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 flashback draft queue returns to a core set with Magic 2013 (M13). The titans have left the core set at this point, though Thragtusk makes an appearance as a mini titan in the rare slot. This card still shows up in Modern from time to time as life gain and a persistent board threat, so it goes for 4 tix at the moment. Omniscience is the most expensive card in the set due to its application in Legacy.
Rancor deserves special mention as an expensive uncommon at 0.8 tix. It's a staple of Pauper Constructed, as it was originally printed as a common in Urza's Legacy. As a result, it consistently fluctuates between 0.5 and 2 tix. If it takes a dip closer to the bottom end of this range, don't be afraid to accumulate these for the long term.
Two under-the-radar cards to consider from this set are Thundermaw Hellkite and Master of the Pearl Trident. Both cards have niche applications in Modern. The dragon is excellent at mopping up tokens from Lingering Souls, a card that shows up to help battle Infect and Affinity strategies. Merfolk is a fringe playable deck, but it shines in a combo-heavy environment. The time is not right for Merfolk decks nor for Thundermaw Hellkite, but the Modern metagame evolves in such a way that old strategies and ideas eventually come back to the fore.
This past weekend, Brad Nelson piloted Black-Green Delirium to first place at the Star City Games Standard Open in Knoxville. Click the link and you can check out the rest of the top decks. BG Delirium and the WU Flash strategies dominated once again, taking 12 of the top 16 slots. With Eldritch Moon (EMN) being a small summer set and having key components to both of these archetypes, it posted another price increase this week and sits at a lofty 142 tix on MTGO.
Sets in Standard typically have one or two cards that cost over 10 tix. EMN currently has three cards priced at over 20 tix, an unusual situation to be sure. It's been a fantastic set for speculators, but it's difficult to see how it could go higher from here. Remember that EMN and Shadows Over Innistrad (SOI) are still available for draft, meaning cards from these sets are still trickling into the market and will continue to do so into 2017.
Kaladesh (KLD) continues its decline in both paper and on MTGO this week. There's a very real possibility that KLD will set a record for the lowest priced large set in Standard, ever. Going below 40 tix would be quite the accomplishment, but with a shortened redemption window and the presence of Masterpieces in paper, there won't be much to support the price of this set going forward.
The 2016 World Magic Cup was won by Team Greece this past weekend. The event featured unified Modern constructed which means that each team had to build three separate Modern decks, with any one card (other than basic land) appearing in only one of the decks. Here are the top 8 team decks from the event. The top performing deck from the World Magic Cup this year was unimaginatively dubbed Blue-Red Kiln Fiend by the coverage team. This deck got its start in Pauper constructed with the Rise of the Eldrazi common Kiln Fiend, though I much prefer the moniker MTGgoldfish uses in Suicide Bloo. This name echoes the evolution of the Suicide Zoo archetype that this deck appears to be, swapping out the raw power of Death's Shadow for more card selection and interaction with blue cantrips for Thing In The Ice.
In a limited gauge of the strength of the Modern market on MTGO, Ensnaring Bridge and Blood Moon both hit all-time highs this week. Ensnaring Bridge shows up in Lantern Control decks, which got a boost from KLD with Glint-Nest Crane and Inventors' Fair, while Blood Moon shows up in a variety of decks, including the aforementioned Suicide Bloo.
Standard Boosters and Treasure Chests
Last week Treasure Chests were updated to include cards from Commander 2016, a revised curated list, and the exchange of play points for KLD boosters. They were also made tradable. The result of all these changes was an increase in the expected value of chests to over 3 tix and a market price of over 4 tix. The price of KLD boosters has also gone on a bit of a ride as a result, initially dipping down to 2.35 tix once the changes went into place. They rebounded to over 2.7 tix this weekend, before settling back down to 2.4 tix today.
With these changes being announced in advance, many players ended up holding onto the chests they had won rather than crack them right away. Once the changes were in place, there was a big push of product from chests being opened, which caused the initial crash in the price of KLD boosters. It's possible that we are through the initial, pent-up wave of chest opening, but now we are seeing a steady stream of opened chests from Constructed players who got an unexpected bump in the value of their prizes. This means a steady stream of KLD boosters onto the market which results in a steadily declining price.
Down the road, this price action will be instructive for any future changes to the composition of treasure chests. For instance, if Aether Revolt (AER) boosters will eventually replace KLD boosters, then there might be opportunity in buying and holding chests in advance of a change.
Trade of the Week
As usual, the portfolio is available at this link. This week I took the time to do some pruning of old positions that I wasn't tracking closely. There were a number of small acquisitions made earlier in the year, such as Serum Visions and Monastery Mentor. In advance of the end of the calendar year, I am looking to revamp how the portfolio is presented in order to better keep track of all the positions on the book. Cleaning up old, almost forgotten positions is a good practice to get liquid and to refocus on current opportunities.