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Insider: MTGO Market Report for May 10th, 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 May 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.

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Standard

All eyes are on Standard in the lead up to Pro Tour Amonkhet (AKH) in Nashville this weekend. In the past, set releases on MTGO were close enough to the Pro Tour weekend that I had experimented with buying cards from the latest set. The strategy was to try and pick Standard-playable cards that would get highlighted by coverage. Once that happened, a demand-driven price spike would occur, and with the new set being supply-constrained, the price spike could be dramatic.

I had mixed results with this strategy when I employed it for Kaladesh (KLD) and then for Aether Revolt (AER). It could definitely use some refinement, but for this set I have decided to avoid speculating on cards from AKH. The reason is that WoTC has been able to advance the online release of AKH to the Monday after the paper prerelease.

This is a substantial change as the extra days of being able to draft this set will mean AKH is less supply-constrained for the Pro Tour weekend than any other set ever released on MTGO. With this as a big unknown factor, I think it's best for speculators to sit this one out and to see how prices respond to coverage over the weekend.

Elsewhere, there has been lots of movement in cards from the older sets in Standard. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger has seen an incredible run from 6 tix to over 24 tix in the past few weeks. This spectacular price ascent appears to have crested, so if you are holding these and not using them at the moment, take advantage of this price spike and sell now.


Zombie tribal decks have started popping up on a regular basis and the components of this deck are seeing the benefits. Cards like Dark Salvation and Diregraf Colossus were routinely priced below 0.1 tix a month ago and are now attempting to breach 1 tix. I expect these two rares will peak somewhere closer to 2 tix eventually. It's been a while since a tribal deck has seen success in Standard and so I think this deck will see widespread adoption with middling success over the summer.


Modern

Modern prices have largely recovered from their set release dip, although if you are going to be speculating in this space, you have to be a little choosy. On the downside, keep in mind that there will be a week of flashback drafts at the end of the month. From May 24 to May 31, triple Mirrodin will be available to draft for 12 tix. If you've been eyeing Chalice of the Void, it will be a fresh bump in supply that will knock a few tix off its price.

Other Modern-playable cards to keep in mind are Oblivion Stone and Glimmervoid. And although they are not Modern-legal, the artifact lands are legal in Pauper Constructed. Players who have been thinking about building Affinity in Pauper should definitely be targeting the artifact lands while they are being opened.


Standard Boosters

AER and KLD boosters have recovered from their price lows observed after the release of AKH. KLD block drafts are regularly firing and the price of a draft set has increased from below 7 tix to over 8 tix in the past two weeks. There's still room for these to move higher and I anticipate prices will be over 9 tix for a draft set in the next two months.

Trade of the Week

For a complete look at my recent purchases, please check out the portfolio. This week I took a deep dive on a number of penny rares. When you are speculating at the junk end of the spectrum, it's important to line your advantages in order to increase your chances of hitting a home run. Check them out in the image below and the explanation about each will follow.

pennyspec

First off, each of these is from KLD block, which means the heavy influx of supply from drafters is now over. It's a great time to be targeting cards from these two sets that are seeing next to zero play in competitive formats.

To start things off, Dark Intimations is nearly certain to see higher prices once the next iteration of Bolas is previewed from Hour of Devastation. There is no absolute certainty that this will happen, but there's no secret that Bolas is a key player on Amonkhet, and so it would only make sense for him to make an appearance at some point. I think this card is a role player at best, but if Bolas is a great card and this fits into a deck, then it will see higher prices.

Next, Battle at the Bridge and Whir of Invention are two cards from AER with the improvise mechanic. The sorcery is priced at junk or around 0.01 tix, while the instant has been priced at 0.2 tix or so (although it's crept up in the last week). While Battle at the Bridge is most likely a Standard-only card, Whir of Invention has Modern-playable written all over it.


Both will benefit if a deck focused around improvise makes a dent in Standard. While I am doubtful this will happen anytime soon, it's not too soon to think about Fall rotation, especially for speculative targets this cheap.

As long as artifacts continue to be printed, the space where Whir of Invention could be broken gets bigger. Sooner or later, this card could easily cause a problem in Modern.

Madcap Experiment is seeing play in Modern alongside Platinum Emperion. This is the kind of card that will take a long time to see prices higher than 1 tix. It's been opened heavily from a Fall set, it's just a rare, and it's not a format staple by any stretch. It's very likely this will take more than two years to see any substantial price increase, a long-term hold to be certain.

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