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Insider: MTGO Market Report for March 22nd, 2017

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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.

Redemption

Below are the total set prices for all redeemable sets on MTGO. All prices are current as of March 21, 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.

mar21

Standard

In a previous MTGO Market Report I outlined the reasons that foil mythic rares from Aether Revolt (AER) would be a good purchase for players looking to get their hands on the new cards. Two weeks later I took my own advice and bought foil playsets of most of the mythic rares from this set. I managed to dodge buying Heart of Kiran at a good price, but eventually I completed my playsets of these cards. I'm happy to report that the trade is working out as expected in that the foil versions of the mythic rares from AER are holding their value.


Since Pro Tour Aether Revolt, prices have been largely stable with some small upside. I expect the final returns on this strategy to be in the 10- to 25-percent range. Aetherwind Basker is the only sub-6-tix card out of the whole lot at the moment, and Exquisite Archangel has inexplicably doubled in price. This disparity in outcome for individual cards highlights the importance of diversification. In order to capture the unpredictable windfall gains from one or two particular cards, one has to buy each and every foil mythic rare from a given set.

Going forward, I expect this to be a repeatable strategy for players looking to stretch their budget. The upfront cost is substantial, but with no anticipated loss of value, players should understand committing the extra funds up front will serve them very well in the long term. If you had been buying non foil play sets of these cards, you would be looking at a loss of value since the release of AER.


For speculators, this strategy will be a useful though limited tool. The Standard foil market has low liquidity relative to regular cards, so it's difficult to move a large number of any specific card. Prices adjust quickly in reaction to buying or selling, making it difficult to get consistent prices. Throw in the higher margins that bots collect on foils, and a marginal strategy can quickly turn into a bust.

Modern

Modern Masters 2017 (MM3) will be released online this week and will be available up until April 12. It will be available for sale in the store and you will be able to draft the new cards, although there will be no Sealed Deck option.


Over the next couple of weeks, the influx of supply will apply downward pressure on the prices of reprinted cards. Cube Draft is often a very popular option for play on MTGO, and this will be like that, except there will be non-phantom events where you get to keep the cards you open. I would expect a substantial amount of drafting over the next ten days, so players and speculators alike should be holding off on buying cards from this set until the second weekend of drafting.

Trade of the Week

For a complete look at my recent purchases, please check out the portfolio. This past week saw the first unofficial spoiler out of Amonkhet (AKH) with the leak of Dusk // Dawn, a new type of split card. Although not using the flashback keyword, the new keyword aftermath functions in a similar way. The leak of this card had a direct impact on my purchases this week.


Any card that can put cards in the graveyard will have bigger potential with the printing of cards similar to Dusk // Dawn. At the top of the list is Grim Flayer from Eldritch Moon (EMN). Although black/green-based decks are out of favor at the moment in Standard, this card is seeing play in Modern where it can throw Lingering Souls into the graveyard. The synergy between Grim Flayer and cards with the aftermath keyword will be similar. The only questions will be if the new cards are worth playing and whether black/green-based decks will be viable.

If Grim Flayer was 20 to 22 tix at the moment, then I would say that buying this card is too risky. Since its printing, this card has twice gotten over 25 tix, but it's usually in the 12 to 18 tix range. It's current price of 16 tix is not cheap, but there's upside at this price in my estimation, especially with the spoiling of the aftermath mechanic. We are also heading into the MM3 release window, which can trigger interest in Modern Constructed. All of these factors lined up to encourage me to purchase a number of playsets for speculative purposes.


I'll be holding these cards into the release of AKH in April. By that time, we'll have a better idea if any of the new cards with aftermath are powerful or not. I don't think Dusk // Dawn is quite good enough, and it's not in the right colours to benefit my trade, but the existence of this card gives a strong signal that graveyard strategies are going to be getting a boost.

There's also the chance that Standard gets a big shakeup with another round of bans. If Mardu Vehicles and Saheeli Rai-based decks get knocked down a peg or two via Standard card bans, then "fair" cards like Grim Flayer will see the benefit.

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