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 April 10, 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.
At this stage in the draft life of Kaladesh (KLD) and Aether Revolt (AER), it would ordinarily be a fantastic time to be loading up on all the cards from these sets. The shortened redemption window has substantial implications for this strategy, and so a revision to the blind, just-buy-everything approach is needed.
First off, cards from these sets will still hold value after they are no longer redeemable. The prices of every card from these sets are not going to go off a cliff in June. This is obvious if you look at the price of cards from other sets that are not redeemable, like Modern Masters 2017 (MM3). Liliana of the Veil is the flagship card of the set and has been holding to the 60-tix level. The original printing from Innistrad (ISD) has not been redeemable for over two years and remains one of the most expensive cards in Modern. The trick is that for a card to hold value despite being a digital object, it must be in demand.
Redemption always provided a floor of demand, but now every card in demand must be seeing play in Standard or Modern. This is the starting point for considering how the prices of KLD and AER will evolve over the next year. If the card is going to be played in Standard or Modern, then it will be valuable. If it is not going to be played, then it will have very little value and its price will approach zero.
The other factor to keep in mind is that the weather is warming up in the Northern Hemisphere which means that Magic players will start drifting away from the game as outdoor activities gain more appeal. The summer is a tough time to be speculating on MTGO, as you are constantly trying to buck the downward trend in overall player interest. It's much easier to be successful at speculating heading into the fall and winter, the time of the year when Standard prices reach their peaks.
For these reasons, I will not be speculating on Standard singles from KLD and AER at this time. There is too much working against them in the short term and in the long term there's no telling what the fall metagame will look like. The time to take another look at these sets will be at the end of June, after prices have settled down following the redemption cutoff. Rares and mythics that are seeing no play in Standard will be available for less than 0.05 tix, and this could be very fertile ground for long-shot speculating on cards that have at least some potential to see play.
I have been a buyer of AER sets due to their historically low prices, but my plan with these is to sell in May prior to the end of redemption. I think this trade is on a good footing, but if the list of playables from this set stays short then the gains will be minimal.
The other safe harbor for speculating in these two sets is play in Modern. Fatal Push is a staple of the format and will be the foreseeable future so there's no harm in picking these up now with an eye to next winter. As an uncommon, the redemption value in this card is quite low so I don't expect to be able to detect the effect of the end of redemption on this card's price in June.
The time to be a buyer from these sets will be at the point of maximum pessimism. The loss of the price support from redemption means that the market is set to get a whole lot more pessimistic about cards from AER and KLD. Be prepared for the selloff with a few tix in your binder and no extra cards from these sets.
After AER boosters approached 4 tix and KLD boosters got near 2 tix, a round of selling has brought their prices back down to 3.4 and 1.7 tix respectively. With only two weeks to go until Amonkhet (AKH) is released on MTGO, people holding these boosters are looking to lighten up their stashes in exchange for tix, including the bot chains that deal in boosters. There will be a buying opportunity on these in the near future, but for now it looks like the race to the bottom has just started.
Trade of the Week
For a complete look at my recent purchases, please check out the portfolio.
In any market, there is always something on sale. Looking at decks that are out of favor is a great place to find some deals, and one I've been looking at lately is Bogles. This deck is firmly planted in the lower tier of competitive decks in Modern, but it has enough power that a 5-0 list periodically shows up in the top decks of the Modern Constructed Leagues. Examining some of the components of the deck reveals that the prices of Kor Spiritdancer and Daybreak Coronet have been trending downward or staying flat in recent months. A card at a low price relative to their historical price range is a good starting point for any speculative purchase, and pictured below are the recent purchases I've made that are related to the Bogles archetype.
Although Slippery Bogle is a common, it is routinely priced higher than 1 tix. This is partly as a result of being from Shadowmoor (SHM), a set with low supply due to problems with the client when it transitioned to Version 3. The price is also supported by play in the Pauper version of Bogles. The fact that the deck is supported in two formats provides a little extra diversification, since uptake in either format will drive the price of Slippery Bogle higher.
The plan for these cards is to sit on them until Bogles makes a big splash, either through shifts in the metagame or a popular brewer championing the deck. Back when Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time were running rampant in Modern, Bogles was a great choice as a foil to these decks that relied on targeted removal. It's hard to predict these types of shifts, so a good long-term perspective is required on this type of speculative strategy. I'll be willing to hold these cards essentially indefinitely.
One that that can accelerate this process is the printing of new cards that fit into the existing archetype, filling holes in its strategy or just providing a power boost. There is a cycle of common enchantments from AKH that fit the bill as having the potential to see play in Bogles. In particular, Cartouche of Solidarity looks great as a cheap enchantment that is very similar to Hyena Umbra, a card that already sees play in the deck. The big difference is that instead of getting what amounts to a regeneration shield, you get a token, which can give some cover against sacrifice effects as well as serving as a backup creature to load up with auras.