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 December 19, 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 is the last week of flashback drafts for 2016, and things are wrapping up with triple Magic 2014 (M14) draft. M14 features only one mythic rare over 10 tix in Archangel of Thune. This card has been as high as 39 tix in the past year; it combines with Spike Feeder for infinite life in Modern, so it was recruited to combat the Eldrazi decks that rose to dominance after Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW) was printed but before the Eye of Ugin ban. It's been resting at around 10 tix in the past few months, so it should be a fine time to add a few of these to your binder.
Scavenging Ooze is a staple of Modern, and it clocks in as the priciest rare in the set at close to 8 tix. Mutavault sees occasional play, mostly in Merflok lists. Merfolk tends to shine when combo decks are dominant, so it's definitely a niche deck at the moment in Modern. As such, Mutavault shouldn't be a major target for speculators, though picking a few of the cheapest ones off of the market is a fine long-term play.
In other flashback news, WotC has announced two weeks of flashback drafts for 2017. They are titled "Flashback Favorites" and you can read the full announcement here. They will be run as draft leagues, and the first two are triple Zendikar (ZEN) in January and Invasion-Planeshift-Apocalypse (IPA) in April.
This has a few ramifications for players and speculators. First of all, the ZEN fetchlands have fallen in price in response. This is very normal. The flashback draft queues back in August introduced a significant amount of product enter the system. However, this time the draft queues are not discounted. They are the full 12 tix to enter, or boosters plus 2 tix, which will mean there will be no extra incentive to enter these leagues. If there's no discount relative to other queues, then players will enter the ones that they are most interested in.
The other implication of this change is that boosters of the drafts in question will have a different equilibrium price. Instead of being around 2.7 tix, they will drift to 3.3 tix, since three boosters plus 2 tix equals 12 tix. Although ZEN boosters were already above the equilibrium price, and thus not subject to this effect, IPA were priced at a discount and were thus good value for those willing to sit on these for a few months. Prices for a draft set of IPA are now close to 10 tix, so there is no opportunity left here, but it's worth remembering for the next time a Flashback Favorite is announced.
There has been some early price movement in Standard due to some recent Aether Revolt (AER) spoilers. Oath of Ajani is covered here by Ryan Overturf. Players are remembering the power of the G/W tokens strategy from earlier this year, and as a result Nissa, Voice of Zendikar has bumped back up to 6 tix. The market looks set to stabilize in the 6 to 8 tix range, so if you have already missed out on this move, I would not recommend buying at this time. It will take some concrete results for this to push over 10 tix.
Two other cards from a possible cycle of rares are Quicksmith Rebel and Quicksmith Spy. Both of these cards grant one of your artifacts an ability to tap for an effect. These cards are not obviously constructed standouts, but as Pat Chapin pointed out on his Top Level podcast, Key to the City from Kaladesh (KLD) combines well here since you get the untap ability as a bonus. It's an interaction to keep in mind and the market price of this artifact has increased as a result.
Prices on the last four sets to have rotated out of Standard, in both paper and on MTGO, have all moved higher in the past week. Higher prices in paper are an excellent signal for gains to materialize on MTGO for the same set through redemption. If you've been a buyer in the fall of Dragons of Tarkir (DTK) or Magic Origins (ORI), the next month should present an excellent opportunity to harvest the gains on these sets. It's much easier to sell into a rising market, and these sets look ready to continue higher.
Golgari Grave-Troll has rebounded this week and sits at the 20 tix level after dipping briefly below 14 tix. Dredge is a player in Modern, and this card could very well be an excellent speculative vehicle as it cycles up and down in price. Keep an eye on this one, but a card like Surgical Extraction is also a very good speculative candidate. Since any deck can play it, whenever someone is in the market for Dredge hate, they will have to consider this card. At close to 20 tix, this card is near an all-time high and it looks poised to head higher.
Trade of the Week
As usual, the portfolio is available at this link. The next month is the right time to be building up your supply of tix. The best buying opportunities tend to crop up around a new set release, so it's prudent to be paring down your positions and getting liquid in advance of the AER set release.
Ulamog, the Ceasless Hunger is a card that has bumped up into the 6 to 7 tix range. It's doubtful at this point that it's going to see much more play in Standard than it does currently, so I'm willing to sell these in order to build up some tix. It's got some applications in Modern, but this is primarily a Standard card at the moment.
Take the time over the next few weeks to examine all your positions. If there are some that have been languishing and are not looking like they might get a shot in the arm in Standard from the release of AER, then consider selling. When the new set is released, it will be harder to get top dollar for your cards, so you'll want to have a few tix saved up in advance to take advantage of any opportunities that may present themselves.