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Insider: MTGO Market Report for June 28th, 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 June 27, 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. Although both Aether Revolt (AER) and Kaladesh (KLD) are no longer available for redemption, their prices will continue to be tracked while they are in Standard.

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Standard

The best indicator for paper prices is the TCGplayer mid price, since it doesn't include the low prices that make up for it with expensive shipping. Looking at each set currently in Standard, they are down in price in the past week and over the past month. Clearly the summer lull is in, though the pending release of Hour of Devastation (HOU) will inject a little excitement into the format.

On the digital side of things, Amonkhet (AKH) reached a price bottom a couple of weeks ago at 45 tix. The recorded price this week is 50 tix, while at the time this article will be published the price will be closer to 55 tix. There's no doubt in my mind that buyers have been snapping up AKH singles and sets near the end of triple AKH drafting. This also coincides with the popular Vintage Cube draft, which is reducing the amount of AKH drafts that would be firing otherwise. Once HOU hits MTGO, there will be a renewed supply of AKH into the market, and this might be the next best buying opportunity.

Looking at the chart below will crystallize what has happened. An AKH set started at a lower price than any of the last four large sets, and it has also dropped to a lower price in its first nine weeks of being available. The timing of the price bottom on AKH almost matches Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) and Kaladesh (KLD), while Shadows over Innistrad (SOI) continues to look like an anomaly.

AKH

Another interesting aspect of this chart is the path of KLD. The last point on the chart corresponds to this week's prices for KLD only. As KLD reaches a new all-time high, it's impossible to tell how the end of redemption for this set has affected its price. Although not on the chart, Aether Revolt (AER) has not suffered a steep drop and is basically flat since the end of redemption.


This is good news for those who are interested in speculating on AKH sets since it suggests the holding window could be extended past October and into the winter. With redemption on AKH ending in November, it would be great to see where AKH prices get to over the winter, since that is the regular period where prices peak in Standard.

Standard Boosters

AKH booster prices have dipped in the past week for two reasons. Vintage Cube Draft is a popular alternative Draft format, so players have been willing to sell any excess boosters they own in order to enter this queue. With AKH being the current Draft format, the price of AKH boosters has taken the biggest hit and they now sit at 2.4 tix, dropping from 3.0 tix last week. On top of this shift, there is also the extra prizes being awarded for the fifteenth anniversary of MTGO, which has added extra supply of AKH boosters into the market, even further depressing prices.

Once HOU hits and Vintage Cube Draft is retired, demand for AKH boosters will pick up, but the shift from triple AKH Draft to HOU-HOU-AKH Draft will have the opposite effect. The overall impact is hard to predict. If you are a player that is out of AKH boosters, picking up a few at current prices is prudent, but speculators should be more wary. Prices may remain flat over the next few weeks. Without a clear signal and with no historical precedent to fall back on, speculating on AKH boosters should be avoided at this time.

Checking in on the other Standard draft format, a draft set of KLD block continues selling for 8.3 tix despite the availability of Vintage Cube Draft. On top of the low spreads for these two boosters, this is an excellent signal that the market is supply constrained. If there was excess supply, we would have seen a price dip as players sold their boosters in order to enter the Vintage Cube Draft queues. Thus, any incremental demand will drive prices higher and I would not expect a price dip when HOU hits the market. The price target on a draft set of from KLD block remains 9 tix and is within striking distance.

Trade of the Week

For a complete look at my recent trades, please check out the portfolio. This week I took the plunge and started buying sets of AKH. Although I didn't time the bottom perfectly, it's just fine to be approximately right when speculating on MTGO, especially for low-risk bets such as full sets, where prices are more stable in the long term. Buying AKH sets relies on the fact that fresh supply of cards from this set will be reduced by two-thirds once HOU is added into the Draft mix. With redemption still available for the set, we are at peak suppl, so prices can be expected to be flat to rising as the summer stretches out.


The payoff for this strategy will be seen in October, when Standard rotates and the metagame undergoes a huge shift. This inevitably leads to price spikes as the market adjusts to the new metagame. Although the safest selling window will be the end of October, while AKH is still available for redemption, the best selling window might be after that. It will be interesting to observe how the prices of KLD, AER, AKH, and HOU evolve in the winter. I expect that the best selling window for all of these sets will end up being the typical Standard price peak observed in the December 2017 to March 2018 period.

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 Report

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