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 24, 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.
This week, Amonkhet (AKH) has been added to the weekly prices. The TCGplayer prices are estimates only and the MTGO price is the sum of the sale prices that MTGOtraders had listed on its website just prior to the online release of the new set. Next week the reported prices will be developed in the same way as the rest of the sets. Finally, the prices were collected prior to the Banning and Restricted announcement on Monday morning.
The Banned and Restricted Announcement
With no changes to the banned list in Standard, WotC will wait to see how AKH shakes up the format before considering further shakeups. Aaron Forsythe revealed on Twitter that the scheduling of the banned and restricted announcement prior to the Pro Tour was intended as a way to impact the Modern metagame. But with Modern Pro Tours no longer a thing, perhaps WotC will return to one announcement per season. The next one occurs on June 14, about a month after Pro Tour Amonkhet.
The banning of Sensei's Divining Top in Legacy will have a big impact on that format. Miracles was consistently the best deck in recent years, but it's essentially no longer playable without being able to rely on Counterbalance. For speculators, this is an interesting opportunity. Keep in mind that Grand Prix Las Vegas in mid June will feature Legacy Constructed. With a wide-open format, players will need to do extensive testing, so it's safe to expect an influx of players and tix into the MTGO Legacy market.
An early potential deck to get new life is the High Tide combo archetype. It's possible High Tide moves into the space vacated by Miracles in the Legacy metagame. Merchant Scroll is a card I have bought and sold recently for the Market Report Portfolio, and it's a four-of in High Tide. With its price back down to the 2-tix level, I've started buying again. Since it is Modern legal, there's always a chance that the card starts to see uptake in that format too. Last thing to keep in mind about this card: it's managed to avoid being on the curated card list for Treasure Chests, which means its current supply is fixed.
We'll get a look at what the pros think of the format in a few weeks at Pro Tour Amonkhet in Nashville. We'll also see the first Star City Games circuit event this weekend. The usual pattern is for the Star City Games grinders to play the decks they are most comfortable with. This means that we shouldn't expect to see much innovation this weekend, but it will still be worth paying attention to for clues about the direction of the Standard metagame. At the moment, it's safe to assume continued dominance from Copy Cat and Mardu Vehicles.
Dredge has quietly made a comeback in the online Modern metagame, and I trace that resurgence to the addition of Vengeful Pharaoh to the archetype. This is a low-cost and effective way of fighting Death's Shadow that is unique to Dredge. It's fluctuated between 0.5 tix and 2 tix in the last year, but if it takes a foothold in this deck, look for it to start hitting higher prices.
Prices on many cards from Modern Masters 2017 (MM3) have taken a hit this week. Scalding Tarn was over 20 tix last week, but today it is down to 16 tix. There will be ups and downs on these cards, so hardworking speculators should be able to take advantage of these fluctuations. However, if you don't have time to watch the tape all day, then the best long-term buying opportunity on cards from MM3 will not be until October.
Players are currently trading in their Kaladesh (KLD) and Aether Revolt (AER) boosters in order to join the AKH Draft and Sealed Deck leagues. This has put significant short-term downward pressure on their prices, as they are now 3.0 tix and 1.3 tix respectively, although prices have dipped lower than this.
This type of short-term behavior is typical around the release of any new set online as players do their best to keep playing without spending any extra money. Since the bots are set up to operate on low margins, they have to slash prices as players start selling their old boosters. This is where speculators have great opportunities for acting in a different direction than the market. When the market is selling off, it's time to be a buyer.
KLD and AER boosters will still be in demand until September as the alternative Draft format to AKH. As a cheap Draft format, these boosters will be in demand from budget-conscious players. There will also be players that don't like AKH Draft or just want some variety. I anticipate Draft sets of KLD and AER to sell for about 9 tix before long, so buying now for about 7 tix is a good place for speculators to move some tix into.
With the removal of Shadows Over Innistrad (SOI) block Draft queues, prices on SOI and Eldritch Moon (EMN) boosters have begun their descent. SOI boosters are close to their price bottom as they are already under 1 tix, which is a price usually reserved for boosters from sets that have rotated out of Standard. Although I would not recommend buying SOI boosters, it's not correct to sell these, as there is very limited downside at current prices. EMN is a different story, though, with a price that is over three times higher than the expected value of its booster contents. Look for EMN boosters to come down below 2 tix over the coming months.
Trade of the Week
For a complete look at my recent purchases, please check out the portfolio. Prior to the release of AKH, I sold down all my copies of Vendilion Clique. This is a card that I had bought last year when the flashback draft format was Lorwyn (LOR) and Morningtide (MOR) draft.
Although I had to be extremely patient with this card, it had been creeping higher for months now and was firmly in profitable territory. The trigger for my sales was when I noticed that the Modern Masters 2015 (MM2) version had dropped by a couple of tix and the bots were well supplied with this version. Heading into the release of AKH, I'd expect the prices to normalize and head lower with the MOR version the one to drop in price.
With a little over twenty copies in the portfolio, I was able to sell most of my copies at a price I was happy with. The trick is to identify the bots that are buying at good prices and to sell a playset or two to multiple operators. By spreading your sales around, you'll be able to sell your copies before an individual operator drops their buy price.