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 5, 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
Triple Gatecrash (GTC) enters the flashback draft queues this week. This is an aggressive draft format where you must prioritize taking two-drops on top of identifying which guild is open to you. Here's the Limited Resources episode that covers GTC draft, and you better be prepared to play if you enter this queue, because the expected value of a GTC boosters is low. The most expensive card is Stomping Ground at 6 tix and the other shocklands range in price from 1.5 to 3.5 tix.
There are lots of cards in this set that have been Modern-playable in the past, though. Card such as Borborygmos Enraged out of Grishoalbrand decks, Domri Rade in Gruul and Naya based decks from when Brian Kibler used to play Magic and Legion Loyalist from goblin tribal decks. There are also some key uncommons that players should be ready to scoop up such as Skullcrack, Boros Charm and Burning-Tree Emissary. If you are interested in speculating on any or all of these cards, then you have to be willing to take a long-term view of the Modern format. If Modern returns to a slower pace of play after a number of bannings, then these cards could see more play. In this case of a long-shot speculative strategy like this, the opportunity cost of holding these cards is going to be high, so novice speculators should be looking elsewhere for better opportunities.
Although the bipolar Standard metagame had been fracturing on MTGO recently, the results of Grand Prix Madrid and Grand Prix Denver confirmed that the stranglehold that UW Flash and BG Delirium had on Standard is ending. Aetherworks Marvel decks had been taking up a bigger chunk of the online metagame lately, and these paper results confirmed that trend. With Delirium strategies trending down relative to where they were a few weeks ago, the price of a complete set of Eldritch Moon (EMN) has suffered, dropping by 10 percent this week. Be on the lookout for opportunities to buy the dip on EMN cards, though nothing is jumping out at me as being attractively priced at the moment.
Out of Shadows Over Innistrad (SOI), Nahiri, the Harbinger has been moving up and has just displaced Archangel Avacyn as the most expensive card in that set. SOI has moved up nicely over the past month and is getting close to being fully valued. I do think there is a little more room for the set to run higher, though. When Nahiri reaches a plateau, possibly in the low to mid 20s, I'd be inclined to sell the card.
The results from the Regional Pro Tour Qualifiers have not yet been released, so we have to look to the Star City Games Modern Open in Atlanta for a hint at the Modern metagame. Here are the Top 16 decks. Dredge took down the top spot, with GW Tron coming in second. In third place was a tribal Slivers deck powered up by Collected Company. This deck gets to use two rare lands to generate any colour of mana in Cavern of Souls and Sliver Hive. Top that off with playsets of Manaweft Sliver and Aether Vial, and this deck has no problem getting a variety of slivers into play. This deck also gets use of the tribal creature land in Mutavault.
The results remain diverse at this point and the chance of an addition to the banned list gets smaller as the results pile up. The format remains popular, and no one deck is dominant at the moment. Stay tuned for further developments, but the chance of a card being unbanned in January is going up in my view. It should be noted that there is no Modern Pro Tour event this winter to motivate a shakeup of the format, so no change to the banned list is also a possible outcome.
Trade of the Week
As usual, the portfolio is available at this link. This week there was a buildup of hype around the Aetherworks Marvel deck as it took up space in the Standard metagame on MTGO. When a deck is starting to put up results, I like to look at key cards from older sets that have been falling in price. Given a choice to speculate on a card from Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) or a card from Oath of The Gatewatch (OGW), I strongly prefer to focus my attention on a set that has shown higher peaks or more cards. In this case, I identified Kozilek's Return as a candidate to bounce up on a strong showing from the Marvel decks.
Kozilek's Return looked like a good target for a number of reasons. The hype around Aetherworks Marvel was building, and the OGW mythic rare was showing up in the main deck and often in the sideboards of this archetype. The market also looked supply constrained in the 15 to 16 tix range. Not many copies were available for sale. As a result, I decided to wade in with a purchase for the portfolio. I would wait to get the weekend results, and then hope to sell Kozilek's Return for 20 tix or higher.
With the Marvel decks putting up good results at the Grand Prix events, it looked like my strategy was going to pay off. But the price of Kozilek's Return didn't follow suit with substantial gains as it got into the 18 to 19 tix range. My decision would then be to hold on in the hopes of further gains or to sell and book a modest profit. After examining the available supply, there were ample copies for sale and so further gains looked unlikely. I decided to sell in order to book a small profit and to remain liquid for other opportunities.