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 18, 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.
Plan for Amonkhet
Players will get their first taste of Amonkhet (AKH) Limited this weekend with paper prerelease events. Starting with AKH, MTGO players won't have to wait very long to start drafting the new cards, as the new set will go live on Monday, April 24. Monday is also the day for the next banned and restricted announcement which has the potential to completely shake up the Standard metagame. A little preparation in advance will help players and speculators to make the most of these events.
Right off the top, I'll be looking to accumulate playsets or more of the foil mythic rares from AKH. For reasons I've articulated in the past, these are going to be excellent stores of value over the summer. Holding all of the foil mythic rares in a basket has the potential for 10 to 20 percent returns over that time frame. Players with spare tix should definitely be looking into buying foil versions of the mythic rares instead of the regular versions, as these will hold value while regular versions will not.
I want to be a buyer of all fifteen of the AKH mythic rares as it is difficult to predict with certainty how the price of an individual card will fluctuate over time. There's no way I would have guessed that Exquisite Archangel would be the second-most expensive foil from Aether Revolt (AER), yet it's currently priced at 16 tix. Only Heart of Kiran is more expensive at 31 tix. Buy the complete basket and forget about trying to pick a winner.
Once AKH goes live on MTGO, I'll be looking to buy any foil mythic rare for around 6 tix. This was the safe level for purchasing mythic rares from AER, though some cards did dip below this level. It's also worth nothing that AKH is a large set with a different mix of mythic rarities, so my experience with AER should only be a loose guide in determining a good buy in price. I'll be looking to accumulate playsets over the first two weeks of AKH being available.
The plan will be to hold them through the summer and sell them in August or September. Having said that, there is the possibility that a breakout performance at Pro Tour Amonkhet will shoot the price of a particular mythic rare much higher. In that case, the foil versions will also catch most of that increase, as they are perfect substitutes when it comes to gameplay. Any kind of Pro Tour-driven price spike will be worth selling into and will thus force a slight deviation from the original plan to hold these into the summer. When a large fraction of the expected gains are available unexpectedly early, take the profits off the table and lower your opportunity cost. There's no sense in waiting months on an incremental gain when tix could be deployed into other opportunities.
Outside of buying and holding the foil versions, I'll also be looking to buy regular mythic rares in advance of the Pro Tour. Prices on the supply-constrained new cards can fluctuate wildly in response to showing up in feature matches, deck techs and especially by being part of the top eight decks on Sunday. This is a riskier strategy that didn't work out for me for Pro Tour Aether Revolt, but I'll be assessing each of the new mythic rares for their Standard potential over the coming weeks.
Banned and Restricted Announcement
On the same day that AKH is released on MTGO, a banned and restricted announcement will be made. Ordinarily this wouldn't be a big deal, as a new set is bound to shake up Standard and WotC would do well to get out of the way and let events unfold. However, Standard has already seen a number of bans in order to encourage deck diversity, and despite the bannings, the problem persists with the apparent dominance of Saheeli Rai-based decks.
As per MTGgoldfish, nearly 50 percent of the top decks contain the Saheeli Rai and Felidar Guardian combo. If AKH does nothing to unseat this powerful combination and the Pro Tour top eight is devoid of fresh decks, it will be a marketing failure for WotC as they showcase all-too-familiar and oppressive strategies. Look for Felidar Guardian to be banned next week and be wary of holding Saheeli; she was a sub-2 tix planeswalker prior to the release of AER, and she'll be back below that price if the combination is banned from Standard.
Trade of the Week
For a complete look at my recent purchases, please check out the portfolio. Since the end of Modern Masters 2017 (MM3) drafts, there has been a bump in prices on many Modern staples such as Scalding Tarn, Blood Moon, and Snapcaster Mage. My outlook on these has not changed, in that I expect them to drift down in price with the release of AKH and a renewed focus on Standard.
The bump in price has allowed me to sell some of my fetchlands in order to get more liquid in advance of the release of AKH. The Standard format is going to be shaken up to some degree with the possibility of a card being banned amping up that potential. In a tumultuous market, there will be opportunity to make tix as card valuations swing up and down. Selling down Modern staples is a prudent step in advance of this expected tumult.