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Insider: MTGO Market Report for May 17th, 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 15, 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.

May15

Standard

With Pro Tour Amonkhet (AKH) in the books, the market is digesting the new Standard metagame and prices have dropped on every Standard set. If you were holding cards from the Aetherworks Marvel or Zombie decks, you had a chance to sell your cards this weekend for good prices. If you were holding cards from Mardu vehicles, selling prior to the weekend would have been better, as prices have slumped on cards from this deck. Archangel Avacyn // Avacyn, the Purifier and Nahiri, the Harbinger from Shadows over Innistrad (SOI) are two examples of cards that fell in price significantly in the last week.


It's important to reiterate that this not might have been the last good selling opportunity, but they are going to be harder to come by over the coming months. With warmer weather arriving in the Northern Hemisphere, there will simply be fewer players who are eager to jam Standard events on MTGO. This results in a steady erosion of prices over the summer as interest in Standard wanes.

This is not to say that there won't be profitable price swings due to trends in Standard. There's still a brand-new set to come as Hour of Devastation (HOU) will be released on July 10 on MTGO, with the associated Pro Tour event later that month. Standard prices will always react to this type of event, regardless of how the broader playerbase is choosing to spend its  time. The point is that the overall trend will be down over the coming months, and fighting the trend will be a losing proposition for speculators.

My goal over the course of the next four months is to preserve my capital and to remain invested in liquid assets like Aether Revolt (AER) and Kaladesh (KLD) boosters. Regular readers will also know that I am fan of foil mythic rares from AER, and I'll be repeating that trade for foil mythic rares from HOU. Apart from these trades, I want to be out of speculating on cards played in Standard, as fighting the downward trend is not where I want to be. The best time of the year to be deploying tix on MTGO is in October and November, so I am keeping those months in mind as I refrain from speculating on cards in Standard.


On a more short-term basis, Chandra, Flamecaller saw a big jump this week and now sits at over 7 tix. It's definitely seeing application as a sweeper in Marvel decks against Zombies, so I expect it to see higher prices in the short term. Ten tix is possible over the coming weeks, but I'll be a seller into further price strength.

On the full-set front, a reminder that AER and KLD will go offline for redemption in June. I'm still holding my sets of AER, but any resurgence in Mardu Vehicles (and thus Heart of Kiran) will be a good time to exit this trade. Full set prices got as high as 58 tix last week, but it looks like they won't be getting over 60 tix at this point. Any price strength over the next two weeks should be considered a good time to sell AER sets.

Modern

While Standard is not the place to be as the temperature warms up, Modern actually benefits near the end of the summer due to boredom with Standard and a looming rotation. August and September usually sees near-term price peaks for cards from Modern. Standard is pretty stale by that point, so players tend to dip their toes into alternative Constructed formats. That's the next-best selling window for Modern cards.

Speculators can therefore be looking to buy out-of-favor Modern staples and playables. If they reach an attractive price point, then it's fine to start buying. Look to the trade of the week for a good example of this. Otherwise, a long-term outlook to the fall is prudent. I think cards from Modern Masters 2017 (MM3) will be excellent speculative targets in October and November.

Trade of the Week

For a complete look at my recent purchases, please check out the portfolio. This week, I've been buying Elspeth, Sun's Champion. This card has cycled up and down a few times over the last year, going from around 4 tix to touching as high as 8 tix recently. It sometimes sees play in Modern, but I think there will be support for this card from Commander as well. I anticipate this card will return to the 8-tix level, and possibly higher than that, some time over the next six months.

Cards like this, that regularly cycle up and down, should be part of a speculator's portfolio. It's difficult to discern exactly why the prices fluctuate up and down so much, but it's enough to know that the pattern regularly repeats. Buying on the dips and sell into the upswings can generate small but consistent profits, and Elspeth is a card that I've already bought and sold a couple of times in the past year. One more cycle up doesn't seem out of the question.

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