Insider: MTGO Market Report for December 28th, 2016

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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 25 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.


Prices on the last four sets to rotate out of Standard were all up sharply this week. Dragons of Tarkir (DTK) is getting close to being a double off its low in the fall. Paper prices on DTK, Magic Origins (ORI), Fate Reforged (FRF) and Khans of Tarkir (KTK) are all up this week as well. Speculators should be paring down their portfolios in the face of these price gains, although the strength in paper prices suggests further prices increase to come on MTGO.

All Things Aether Revolt

This past week saw most of the Aether Revolt (AER) Masterpiece Series cards spoiled and with paper prereleases a little over two weeks away, a run down of all the important dates and economic implications is appropriate. Right off the top, Ensnaring Bridge, Engineered Explosives and Chalice of the Void are all set for reprinting as Masterpieces. Check out all the revealed ones so far at this link.

These three cards are all quite valuable on MTGO and they are in short supply, so it will be interesting to see how the market reacts. The Masterpieces are beautiful and the lack of foiling on MTGO also makes them more appealing than they would be otherwise. There has been no announcement about when the contents of Treasure Chests will be adjusted to include these, but I would expect something soon.

For speculators, the first important day associated with the new set is the 16th of January. This is the Monday after the paper prerelease of AER and the day when Wizards of the Coast will make the newest banned and restricted announcement. Last time their were no changes, and I expect no new bans this time around, although the possibility of a card being removed from the banned list is there.

Modern seems to be in a good place where there are lots of competitive decks. There is no dominant strategy and the most powerful linear strategies, such as Dredge, suffer from the excellent sideboard options available to every deck. If the default perspective is to want more cards legal for play, this would be a perfect time to try removing a card from the banned list. Any card that is unbanned will see large price increases in both paper and digital.

The next important dates to consider is when AER will have online prerelease events starting January 27, followed by the official release on January 30. The prerelease events are tix or play points only, but they do pay out boosters as prizes. This means that tix will be in high demand that weekend, while all other digital objects will be valued less. In particular, the price of Kaladesh (KLD) boosters are going to drop significantly.

The reason for this future decline is that there are currently a large number of KLD boosters on the market. The market is well supplied at current prices and drafters are easily able to get their boosters at a discount to the store and to the tix only entry equivalent of 3.3 tix.

In the past month, the KLD booster price has fluctuated between 2.3 and 2.8 tix, but this is in the context of a downtrend. Once AER is released, demand for KLD boosters is going to be cut by two thirds as drafters only need one KLD booster to draft. Drafters will also be looking to sell their excess KLD boosters in order to enter prelease events. All of these factors are  going to tank the price of KLD boosters.

During the Eldritch Moon (EMN) prerelease events, Shadows Over Innistrad (SOI) boosters faced a similar situation and they dropped from over 3 tix to 2.4 tix. They subsequently recovered to over 3 tix after the opening of draft queues that would accept boosters as part of the entry fee. Catching the bottom on KLD boosters has the potential to be profitable, but it will be tricky.

A very safe buying level will be in the 1.1 to 1.3 tix range, which I expect to mean that 1.4 to 1.6 tix for KLD boosters will be a good price to buy these at. I will be looking at the market price over the course of that last weekend in January. If prices are behaving in the way that I expect, then I will be a buyer at that time. If the price remains around 2 tix, I will not be participating in this particular strategy.

A much safer move will be to buy Aether Revolt (AER) boosters during prerelease events. Since these events require tix or play points to enter, boosters will be discounted relative to their normal value. Any AER boosters priced below 3 tix represent a favorable buying price. They will sell on the market for over 3.2 tix once prerelease events conclude, so players and speculators alike should feel comfortable in building up their stash of these boosters. Balancing the time commitment versus the expected payoff is a decision everyone has to make for themselves, but this is a proven strategy for grinding a few extra tix.

The weekend after the MTGO prerelease features Pro Tour Aether Revolt in Dublin, February 3-5. With AER cards only being online for a little under ten days, the coverage of Standard constructed from Dublin will drive large price swings in the new cards. There's going to be a new card that makes a big splash during the coverage of this event, and that will push the price of that card upward. For Pro Tour Kaladesh back in October, we saw Torrential Gearhulk more than double over the course of that weekend.

Speculators seeking to try their hands at short-term strategies should look to establish their positions before coverage of the Standard rounds begins. It's easier to buy up cards when there are less market participants trying to do the same thing. Since Dublin is five hours ahead, those in the Eastern Time Zone will get to see the early coverage as they are tucking into their breakfast. Getting your cards on the Thursday or Friday morning at the latest will give you the chance to establish your position before prices get volatile. Identifying which cards to buy is an exercise to explore at the end of January after the repercussions of the new cards on the Standard metagame have started to materialize.

Trade of the Week

As usual, the portfolio is available at this link. I'm still in selling mode this week, and I have been continuing to reduce my stock of Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. I'm looking forward to the release of AER in both paper and in digital, and I am getting liquid in preparation for the upcoming opportunities. As the year comes to a close, have a look at your own portfolio and figure out where you can afford to pare down. Tix are going to be more valuable in a few weeks, so it will pay you to have some on hand.

2 thoughts on “Insider: MTGO Market Report for December 28th, 2016

  1. KTK is still redeemable but the mythics show no sign of going up, all the do is drop in value. They are now at around half what i paid for them after rotation. How is this possible, and is there any chance they will go up again ?

    1. Based on what I can see, value has accrued to the fetchlands instead of the mythic rares. This tends to happen when there are high value rares in the set. Comparing Dragons of Tarkir and Magic Origins is a great comparison to show this effect. DTK has a few pricey rares which have soaked up a bunch of value, while ORI does not and the mythic rares are the most expensive cards in that set.

      The outlook for KTK is positive at the moment; there has been lots of activity in paper on the Frontier format. KTK has many staples of that format. Although Frontier is not a supported format on MTGO, redemption is kicking as demand in paper increases.

      The big caveat is the redemption window is closing. KTK is past the guarantee date but not the cutoff date. We’ve already seen KTK sets briefly go out of stock in the store, and this tanked the prices of all cards in the set.

      Your challenge will be to balance the risk of redemption ending with the potential for some gains. I would lean towards selling sooner rather than later.

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