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Insider: MTGO Market Report for May 31st, 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 tolerances 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 29, 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

Looking at the price of Standard sets at the moment, Amonkhet (AKH) at 52 tix is very close to being the cheapest one. There's no doubt the Limited format has been popular, and this has helped to push down the price of all AKH cards. For speculators, the question is whether the the market is making a mistake and pricing AKH too low or not? In other words, are sets of AKH good value at the moment?

In order to help answer this question, it's always good practice to consider what has come before. The chart below plots out the price of the last four large-set releases relative to their release week on MTGO. AKH has been available for five weeks now and it's already cheaper than Battle for Zendikar (BFZ), Shadows Over Innistrad (SOI) and Kaladesh (KLD) at this point in its release window.

AKH

Although SOI is the best comparison in terms of a large set that is drafted over the summer, SOI did not have Masterpieces, so that makes it a poor comparison due to the redemption link. Paper prices on sets are depressed when there are Masterpieces present; thus, digital sets have a lower price floor than they otherwise would have.

KLD and BFZ are better comparisons, but as fall sets they get the tailwind of being in demand during the winter. Nevertheless, the price pattern of these two sets indicate a near-term bottom in the seventh to ninth week after release. Based off of this, I'll be a cautious buyer of AKH sets at some point over the next month.


Both Kaladesh (KLD) and Aether Revolt (AER) will be going offline for redemption in the next two weeks. June 7 will be the last day to redeem these sets. This is the first time in recent years that the redemption of Standard legal sets has gone offline, so it will be interesting to watch how their prices evolve in the next week.

Foil mythic prices in particular could get particularly strange; at the moment, GoatBots has a buy price of 34 tix on foil Exquisite Archangel and is out of stock. If you want to calculate the foil multiplier in this case, the regular version goes for 0.07 tix at the moment.


This type of price action adds a new wrinkle to the foil mythic rare strategy. There appears to be excess value accruing to some of the AER foil mythic rares in their final month of being redeemable. It certainly will encourage me to hold onto some of the AKH foils I have purchased recently for longer than I might have otherwise.

Modern

Triple Mirrodin (MRD) flashback drafts just wrapped up, so it's an excellent time to be targeting cards from this set. Chalice of the Void is down from over 40 tix, and while not a screaming buy at the current price of 33 tix, players should take advantage of this fresh injection of supply.


Better long-term targets for both players and speculators would be the artifact lands. Although banned in Modern, these are staples of Pauper. Great Furnace in particular has regularly been priced at 2 tix or higher and can currently be purchased for under 1 tix.

As of today, Khans of Tarkir (KTK) and Fate Refored (FRF) are no longer available for redemption. Cards that are played in Modern will continue to hold value, but there will no longer be the backstop of value provided by redemption. They will be removed from the MTGO Market Report price tracker next week.

Standard Boosters

On the booster front, the price of AER boosters has bounced up and down between 3.0 tix and 3.14 tix in the last few weeks. KLD boosters have seen a more stable uptrend and now sit at over 1.5 tix. The cost of a draft set has risen from 7.0 tix to 7.8 tix in the last month. Buying draft sets in the release week for AKH has been a profitable strategy, but there's further gains to be made.

The AER-KLD draft queues continue to fire at a steady rate, which means the market is working through the available supply. With four months left as the alternative Standard draft format, there is plenty of time to work through the available supply of boosters.

Trade of the Week

For a complete look at my recent trades, please check out the portfolio. This week I took advantage of the 60 tix price that complete AER sets reached and sold off my sets. I did not sell them off as complete sets, but went to my regular bots in order to sell off singles. Between selling to MTGOtraders Hot List and their regular buy bots, I managed to get 55 tix per set on the first eight sets. The last two sets I sold on the weekend for 50 tix.


Overall, this was an excellent profit of 90 tix or 22 percent in a little over two months. That even accounts for my early purchase of four sets at the 50 tix level, which turned out to be a premature move. The complete position was rounded out when I picked up the rest of the sets at a little over 40 tix in late March. Catching the precise bottom is only clear in hindsight, but I am happy with how things worked out.

The basis of this strategy was to identify peak supply and to be a buyer of complete sets in and around that time. Peak supply is fairly easy to identify, as the drafting of AER only occurred for a few months, and it was always drafted two boosters at a time. Interest in Standard also matters, as any extra demand from Constructed players would eat up some of the supply and drive prices higher. Thus, peak supply for a given set will occur while it is still being drafted, but before interest in Standard ramps up with spoilers from the new set. AKH came out at the end of April and for the month prior, the price on a set of AER was in the low 40-tix range.

The exit point of this strategy would be in the weeks prior to the end of redemption. Redemption would backstop the value of the complete set, even when shifts in the Standard metagame triggers price fluctuations in individual cards. Holding sets past the end of AER redemption on June 7 would introduce extra risk, so the exit window was also clearly defined.


This strategy will be repeatable for Hour of Devestation (HOU). Based on how things worked out for AER, the end of August and into early September will be an excellent time to buy complete sets of HOU. Shopping around and watching out for price dips will add extra returns to this strategy. AKH and HOU will go offline for redemption in early November, so the selling window will be the second half of October.

One open question about this strategy is whether or not sets of KLD would have been a good target as well. Due to the turmoil in the Standard metagame with the printing of Felidar Guardian and the two rounds of bans, drawing a conclusion from how KLD evolved in price is impossible. At this point, I can only say that it's very easy to pin down peak supply of the small set in a given block, but the large set is ambiguous. Observing how the set price of AKH evolves will be necessary before anything definitive could be said from the available data.

Matthew Lewis

Matt Lewis currently lives in Ottawa, Canada and is a long time player and PTQ grinder who now speculates and plays exclusively on MTGO. He's always ready to discuss ideas and investment strategies, so drop him a line in the comments, the forums or on modo, username mattlewis.

View More By Matthew Lewis

Posted in Finance, Free Insider, MTGO, MTGO Market ReportTagged , , ,

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4 thoughts on “Insider: MTGO Market Report for May 31st, 2017

  1. Hey Matt,

    Do you think the end of redemption will cause a steep drop off, or more of a slow roll off in prices? I am thinking it could be a good time to pick up some under utilized cards on the cheap.

    1. I think the end of redemption will be a slow roll off in prices for cards that don’t see much play in Standard. And I agree that it could be a good time to start picking up under played cards.

      If you can identify cards that could see play in Standard, but aren’t currently, then they should be the cards that fall in price the most. If most of their value is tied to redemption, then the price should approach true junk.

      For example, Cataclysmic Gearhulk and Demon of Dark Schemes are currently priced at about 0.2 tix. I would expect these to fall into the 0.01 to 0.05 tix range after redemption ends, though I wouldn’t guess at exactly how quickly that happens. When/if they reach that price range, they might be worth buying depending on if you think they could see play in Standard. If these were going for 0.01 tix, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up 100 copies at that price.

      Planeswalkers are probably another good bet. Dovin Baan, Saheeli Rai and Nissa, Vital Force don’t see play in Standard. If that doesn’t change, then they should continue to fall in price with no redemption. I would start buying if Dovin Baan got under 0.4 tix and the other two got under 1 tix.

      Note though, Saheeli Rai does see play in Modern Copycat, so it’s possible she doesn’t drop in price. I am holding a number of copies in the portfolio.

      1. Good points, I will have to becareful of positions im already in. I am starting to look at post rotation standard, and I feel like the non UB gearhulks will start see to play, or at least get brewed with for the first pro tour. I think theres gotta be some gems in KLD block the power level is just so high. The question on my mind is, how powerful will the fall set be? Part of me feels that it just cant be as powerful as KLD, but wizards has been full of surprises over the last 18 months.

        1. Yes, Fall rotation will be the next big shift in value for Standard. I would be prepared with buy low specs from KLD, AER, AKH and HOU by early September, that being, low priced cards that have upside. Once spoilers from the fall set start, it will be harder to ‘buy low’.

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