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 February 6 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.
Modern is in a bear-market period with prices on multiple staples in a long-term decline. For an example of this, have a look at the chart of Scalding Tarn since the release of Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW). It's fallen from 55 tix all the way down to the 20-tix level in recent weeks.
For comparison, here's another chart of Scalding Tarn from the recent past. In it, we can see a similar decline over a shorter time frame; it moved from 45 tix all the way down to 19 tix just after the release of Dragons of Tarkir (DTK). The next part of the chart is the rise from this level back up to over 40 tix. The reason for the fall was the fear around a reprint in MM2. It was only after that full spoiler was released on May 8th that the price of Scalding Tarn began to rise into the release of MM2.
I believe the fear of being reprinted in MM3 is weighing on the price of many Modern staples, of which Scalding Tarn is an obvious example. This fear will only be lifted (or fulfilled) once previews start and the full spoiler is confirmed. Previews are set to begin at the end of the month on February 27, with the full set reveal expected on March 3.
Speculators should circle this date on their calendars as an important moment. Depending on what is in the set and what is not, prices will oscillate greatly. Just know that the fear of reprints greatly outweighs the reality of what will get reprinted. I do not expect the Zendikar fetchlands to be reprinted, and I will be holding my copies into the release of MM3.
Standard Boosters and Treasure Chests
With the end of prerelease events, there was no short term-selloff in KLD boosters as the draft format moved from triple KLD to AER-AER-KLD. Checking in on the price for KLD boosters, they have drifted down from 2 tix to 1.7 tix in the past week. A falling price is always indicative of more sellers than buyers, but as speculators, we are interested in when this might shift to favor the buyers. We'd like to catch the point when prices stop falling and start to rise, and then profit on a rebound in the price.
I see two possibilities for what is happening to the price of KLD boosters. First, instead of the weekend selloff that the prerelease events encouraged in the past, we are getting a selloff spread out over time. At some point, the selling will end and the price will start rising. I'll be watching for a leveling off in price over the coming weeks, which would be a buying opportunity.
The other possibility is that prizes awarded from the various league options are skewing the supply of KLD boosters and that this is helping to drive the price lower. Looking at the Constructed leagues, all boosters awarded are given out in the 2-1 ratio that a draft requires. This prize structure is safe and will not affect the relative price of boosters.
The available Sealed and Draft leagues are another story. Although the competitive Draft leagues maintain the 2-1 ratio, the Swiss Draft leagues skew the payouts to AER boosters. On top of that, the popular Sealed leagues (both friendly and competitive) also skew the prizes awarded to favor more AER boosters than KLD boosters. This suggests that, all things being equal, KLD boosters are the relatively scarce prize of the two – and this will encourage rising prices over time.
Unfortunately, all things are not equal. There is still a large overhang of supply on KLD boosters as a result of the switch from triple KLD Draft and from being awarded in Treasure Chests. The market has to work through this extra supply before prices can rise.
It's impossible to tell how big this overhang is, so we'll just have to keep watching to see when prices stabilize on KLD boosters. Unfortunately, we are going to run into the release of Modern Masters 2017 and then Amonkhet over the next few months, so if this waiting period extends too long. demand for KLD boosters could evaporate, sending prices much lower. If you have been a buyer in recent weeks, you might consider cutting your losses instead of holding out, as the turnaround might come too late to save your spec.
Elsewhere, Treasure Chests are seeing lower average prices since the switch to Play Points. This was not what I expected, so there must have been a portion of the market that really enjoyed getting their boosters from these. At this time, I don't think these are worth speculating on, but that might change with the release of Amonkhet.
Trade of the Week
For a complete look at my recent purchases, please check out the portfolio. This week I bought and sold AER mythic rares around the Pro Tour as I outlined last week. This trade was a total flop as I lost over 300 tix over two days. Mistakes were made!
At the top of the list of mistakes was not listening to my own advice. In order to catch the windfall of the breakout cards, you have to buy the correct basket of cards. In this case, I overthought it and avoided the breakout card of the weekend in Heart of Kiran. Having this card in my basket would have shifted the trade from a big loss to a small net profit as the card nearly doubled in price over night.
The justification I gave to avoid this card was to consider its legendary status as a detriment. In the long term, this is probably correct, but in the short term, we are trying to capture hype and a supply crunch. Here I had confused my timing priorities, which contributed to my mistake. If you are confusing short- and long-term perspectives and making speculative purchases, you are bound to make a mistake.
The part of the trade that did work out well was successfully avoiding buying some bad mythic rares. I'm going to maintain this strategy in the future, but I will implement further refinements and checks in order to avoid another short-term disaster like this.