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 January 30 2017. 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.
Aether Revolt (AER) prices were added this week, but note that the MTGO price was input on the morning of January 30. By the afternoon, the price of AER was up to 102 tix.
Standard at Pro Tour Aether Revolt
With AER now in the mix, Standard gets a showcase this weekend in Dublin for Pro Tour Aether Revolt. The pros will be looking to exploit the post-banning metagame that has been established by the Star City Games circuit. For speculators, the weekend represents a short-term opportunity for riding coverage of the new cards and new strategies. Any card from AER that gets featured this weekend will see its price increase as a result.
For Pro Tour Kaladesh (KLD), I experimented with buying mythic rares in advance of the start of coverage and it worked out with a short-term profit. I bought four out of the five Gearhulks, eliminating Combustible Gearhulk as being Standard unplayable. Torrential Gearhulk was the winning trade and it more than made up for losses on Noxious Gearhulk and Cataclysmic Gearhulk. I managed a small profit on Verdurous Gearhulk. All trades can be viewed at the Market Report Portfolio spreadsheet.
This time around, I am going to employ a similar strategy where I am looking to capitalize on the coverage of new cards and the relatively supply-constrained MTGO market. I will ignore cards that have low potential and focus on the cards that I deem to be Standard playable.
To start with, let's eliminate Lightning Runner and Aetherwind Basker. Both of these cards generate energy, but the base statistics and abilities are too meager for the cost. At 3RR, Lightning Runner can deliver four damage with haste. In the past, we've seen cards like Thundermaw Hellkite that have flying and have five power on top of haste. What we are getting here in terms of energy does not make up for the weak power level of this card overall.
Aetherwind Basker has a less interesting take on energy and is costed at a rate that is significantly worse than Verdurous Gearhulk. Aetherwind Basker has zero potential to show up in Standard this weekend, while Lightning Runner only has a slightly better chance. I will not be buying either of these for speculative purposes this week.
Next, Planar Bridge is an easy cut since it costs a total of 14 mana to play out the best card in your deck. In the Standard cardpool, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is probably the best thing you can get on the battlefield, but even then, you don't get the cast trigger from this Eldrazi. Planar Bridge needs a bigger format with more powerful permanents to cheat out than Standard has at the moment. Indomitable Creativity will surely be broken at some point, but this is another card that would benefit from a larger card pool. Both of these cards are pure bulk for Standard purposes.
Not far behind is another unwieldy artifact in Gonti's Aether Heart. Putting aside the energy this card can generate, it costs six generic mana and eight energy to take an extra turn. For six mana alone, you can take an extra turn with Part the Waterveil, so an extra eight energy to take an extra turn makes this card prohibitively expensive for its primary function. Thumbs down on this one seeing play in Standard.
Mechanized Production is a very interesting card that offers two main features. First of all, it is a source of long-term card advantage that doesn't cost any extra mana beyond the initial casting cost of 2UU. Repeatable effects that don't require more mana will deliver inevitability in a game if you can stabilize the board, so this card has got potential right out of the gate. On top of that, it's got a novel win condition as well. Compared to Battle of Wits, this card can actually affect the board in addition to providing that novel win condition, without the deck building constraint of needing more than two hundred cards in your deck. And you get it for one generic mana cheaper! This is an easy buy I will be picking up this week.
Any new planeswalker has to be a threat to see play in Standard, so both Ajani Unyielding and Tezzeret the Schemer are going to be targets. Tezzeret is a little expensive at the moment at over 10 tix, but I'll still be looking to buy some of these just to be diversified. Missing out on that one mythic rare that doubles up this weekend will put a hole in this strategy very quickly, and a little more than 10 tix is not too expensive for a second-set mythic rare.
Herald of Anguish seems like it should see play in Standard. If it didn't have the new mechanic, improvise, a 5/5 flier for 3BB would be almost playable. Tack on the forced discard effect and the ability to convert artifacts into Disfigures for 1B and this card should find a home. I'll be a buyer this week.
Two more artifacts to consider are Heart of Kiran and Paradox Engine. Slotting into decks as a Smuggler's Copter replacement, it's no surprise that Heart of Kiran is the most expensive card in the set at the moment. But as a legendary permanent, it has a natural cap to its upside. At current prices, I am not that enthusiastic about the potential for Heart of Kiran to jump in price, though clearly it will see play in Standard. Paradox Engine looks too juicy a combo piece to ignore, but I'm afraid it's going to be overshadowed by the already successful Saheeli Rai combo decks. Both of these artifacts are interesting, but the potential for them to spike this weekend seems muted. I will not be an enthusiastic buyer, but I'll put a couple of these each into the basket.
The final mythic rare is the seven-casting cost Exquisite Archangel. The rate on this card is not great. Linvala, the Preserver rarely sees play in Standard, is a mana cheaper for the same stats and it can also have an immediate board impact. If Linvala isn't getting there, the chance of this card doing so is very small. Although it has an interesting effect, it's still a creature that can die and do nothing as a result. At 0.15 tix, this has already reached bulk mythic rare prices on MTGO. I will not be a buyer this week.
I'll be looking to buy the above-mentioned cards before official coverage starts on Friday. Thursday night into Friday morning will be my target buying window. For the cards I am not buying, I have very little reason to expect that to change. For the cards I have highlighted as having potential, I'll take into account current prices before making my final bets. This is a speculative strategy with no guarantees, but applying a little common sense can improve one's chances of success.
Trade of the Week
For a complete look at my recent purchases, please check out the portfolio which is available at this link. This week I've been adding playsets of foil mythic rares from AER, although Heart of Kiran and Planar Bridge feel a little too expensive at the moment. I expect the vehicle to be in a long-term downward trend due to being legendary and the reasonable assumption that the current high price is not going to last. For Planar Bridge, this strikes me as a bulk mythic rare, so I would be more comfortable paying around 6 tix for this rather than the current price of 8 tix. I will look to add these last two cards to my portfolio over time.
The plan with these cards has two aspects. As I discussed in the Standard section, there is the potential for a price spike on mythic rares played at Pro Tour Aether Revolt. Foil mythic rares can participate in this as well, so I will be ready to sell into any hype-driven price spikes this weekend.
In the longer term, the selling window for these will be during the month after the release of Amonkhet in the spring. KLD and AER sets will still be redeemable and I anticipate that prices on a complete set of foil mythic rares will be at least as much as they are today, with some upside potential in the 10 to 20 percent range. It's important to emphasize that the value of a set of foil mythic rares will be largely stable, which means that speculators who seek to pick and choose individual winners will be at the risk of a loss. Buy the basket and forget about them, or better yet, buy the basket and use them to play Standard for the next three months!