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 7, 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. Note that sets of Theros (THS), Born of the Gods (BNG), Journey Into Nyx (JOU), and Magic 2015 (M15) are no longer redeemable as the redemption cutoff date for these sets has passed. They have been removed from the price table and will no longer be reported on.
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 queues return to a core set with Magic 2012 (M12). This was the second appearance of the titan cycle, and Primeval Titan tops the list of most valuable cards from this set at over 7 tix. After that Modern staple, the set quickly veers into fringe Modern playable cards or staples that have been reprinted many times like Birds of Paradise.
One of the returning mechanics in this set was bloodthirst, which shows up on black and red creatures. The creatures featuring this mechanic tend to be excellent if you can reliably do damage to your opponent. Gorehorn Minotaurs is a potential 5/5 for 2RR and Stormblood Berzerker is a a potential 3/3 with evasion for 1R. Both of these cards are high-quality examples and should be considered top picks.
The need to "turn on" the Bloodthirst creatures made the red common Goblin Fireslinger a valuable pick in draft. If you get a chance to enter the flashback queues early on, picking up multiples of this fairly innocuous common will ensure your deck rolls out smoothly and can finish off an opponent. Forcing red in draft is a fine line of play for any drafter comfortable with aggressive strategies.
Below is a chart tracking the price of each of the Standard sets in the six months after their release. Two things jump out at me when I examine this chart. Kaladesh (KLD) is the red line in the chart and is the first set that will have a shortened redemption window. The market appears to be pricing this fact in right off the bat relative to Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) and Shadows over Innistrad (SOI), KLD has started at a lower price and this price gap has remained. In other words, KLD is cheaper than both SOI and BFZ at the same point in time.
It will be worth watching to see if this trend persists. It's possible that the shortened redemption window will generate a surge in redemption demand for KLD sets as dealers seek to wring the value out of their online assets before the redemption window closes. However, I would caution that KLD is a poor target for speculators. Once redemption on this set ends in the spring, their will be nothing to anchor the value of the set and prices will drop, especially on cards not played in Standard or Modern.
The other noticeable trend is the peaking of Eldritch Moon (EMN) in a similar time frame as Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW). Further gains are possible, but the period of rapid increases in EMN's set price appear to be over. Liliana, the Last Hope peaked at over 40 tix this past weekend and is back down to 36 tix. If you are holding copies of this card or sets of EMN, 90 percent of the price gains appear to be already baked into the current price. Selling now is a good opportunity to get liquid without too much trouble. I have sold all of my sets of EMN and have been reducing my single-card speculative positions as well.
Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth was this past weekend featuring Modern constructed. Here are links to the top eight decks and the rest of the top 64 decks. The two archetypes that got a big boost from KLD were Infect and Dredge, and both of these decks were represented in the top eight, but the finals came down to Skred Red versus Grixis Control. Skred Red won it all and Koth of the Hammer is seeing a bump this week as a result.
When trying to asses the health of the Modern market on MTGO, I look to the recent price history of Scalding Tarn as an indicator. This card had been in a downtrend for months, then the release of KLD and the announcement of Treasure Chests really put the boots to the price and it's been sitting around 22 tix in recent weeks. This week, Scalding Tarn has bumped back up to 30 tix, a sure sign of strength. Confirming this strength are the higher number of players entering the Competitive Modern League. The buying window on Modern staples in general is starting to close, so be sure to get your portfolios in order in advance of the Regional Pro Tour Qualifier season in December.
EMN boosters hit a new post-release high this week, powering all the way to 3.5 tix. That's a substantial increase of 150 percent from a low of 1.4 tix. Part of this is driven by the skewed prize distribution of the 6-2-2-2 draft queues, part of this is driven by EMN carrying the highest set price in Standard, and part of this is driven by the removal of the BFZ block draft queues. Based off how the price of EMN boosters moved over the past six weeks, Aether Revolt (AER) boosters could be an excellent speculative strategy in the spring.
Trade of the Week
As usual, the portfolio is available at this link. Ari Lax took a fringe strategy to Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth and his deck was featured in the coverage from day one. Check out the article here. The deck seeks to cast Restore Balance off of a spell with Cascade, in the same way that Living End decks do. As a result of the coverage, the namesake card saw a jump from 0.5 to 1.3 tix.
Although Lax failed to make the top 64, he likes the deck a great deal, and it's clear the deck has potential. Although it can be a bad idea to chase a price spike on MTGO based off of a fringe strategy, sometimes it's still fun to put together a deck and take it out for a spin. For players looking to try out new archetypes, there is often a way to acquire cheap copies of cards that have already jumped in price.
If you find yourself keen to try out the latest splashy deck from coverage, but prices have already jumped higher on the key cards, start your search for singles with the foil versions. Older foils are often discounted due to having no extra utility on MTGO. Foil singles are often cheaper by 10 percent or more regardless of whether or not they appeared in a new deck.
On top of that, foil prices don't tend to respond as quickly to current events. If you hunt around for foil copies, you can often buy them at yesterday's prices. This is exactly what I did on Sunday after perusing the day 1 coverage. With regular versions of Restore Balance at 1.3 tix, I was able to buy foil versions for 0.6 tix in order to build a copy of the deck to test out for myself. The next time you hear about a great new deck in Modern that you want to try out, hunt around for foil copies of the key cards and you are liable to save a few tix.