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.
Below are the total set prices for all redeemable sets on MTGO. All prices are current as of July 4, 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.
Hour of Devastation (HOU) prereleases are this weekend in paper, followed by the set's digital release on Monday. HOU has got ramp players interested in testing the waters again with the rare Hour of Promise. This type of effect has seen play in the past for 3G in a card like Explosive Vegetation. For one extra generic mana, you get to search out two lands of any type (yes, that means non basic lands), and there is the potential upside of getting two 2/2 Zombie tokens into play.
It's not clear to me what direction Hour of Promise decks should take, but one line of play in particular jumps out as being quite strong. Searching up two Shrine of the Forsaken Gods on turn 5, followed by another land on turn six allows one to hard cast Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger for the full 10 generic mana. This is basically the best top-end line of play available now that Aetherworks Marvel has been banned, so it will be interesting to see if there is a ramp shell that can take advantage of Ulamog before Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) rotates out of Standard in the fall.
David Murphy, @DavidSea89 on Twitter, is a co-host of the Cardhoarder podcast, and he's been playing around with a R/G ramp deck that tries to do just that. Check out his list here. David has recently qualified for Pro Tour Hour of Devastation in Kyoto and is testing the new Standard extensively.
Another direction a ramp deck could go is to be U/G. Michael Flores and Pat Chapin discussed this possibility last week on Top Level Podcast, and they looked at Nissa, Steward of Elements from Amonkhet (AKH) as a potential ramp piece currently without a home. Walking Ballista is another card they highlighted that could naturally fit into a ramp shell.
Once HOU hits MTGO on Monday, look for brewers to quickly try out a few different iterations of ramp. We'll know soon enough if it has any legs, but with Ulamog rising from 4 to over 6 tix in the past ten days, the market thinks there is a chance.
Prices for many Modern staples have been hitting new highs as players look past the current Standard format in anticipation of the release of HOU. Karn Liberated and Mox Opal are both hitting new, post-reprint highs, while Horizon Canopy is within a few tix of its all-time high. The Modern market looks strong on MTGO at the moment, which is not unusual for the summer.
This doesn't mean there aren't deal out there. Mishra's Bauble has just bounced off a recent low of 10 tix and now sits at 14 tix. This Coldsnap (CSP) uncommon was over 30 tix a few months ago as Death's Shadow decks looked unstoppable in Modern. That deck is still the top dog in Modern at the moment, so look for this card to get back to over 20 tix by September.
Foil Mythic Rares
Checking on the foil mythic rare strategy for Amonkhet, the average price of a foil mythic rare from this set has been largely flat since AKH's release. Individual prices have fluctuated, but the pool of value has remained quite constant. This means that the opportunity cost of holding these cards over the past few months has been high. For the report portfolio, I bought 10 copies of each at an average price of 10.5 tix per card.
This is great for players since they can rely on their cards maintaining value. For speculators, this is not where you want to be putting tix since having tix tied up in foils means that those tix are not available for pursuing other opportunities.
Going forward, I'll be watching how prices evolve once HOU hits the mix and the flow of AKH cards from Draft drops. If foil sets are leaving the system at a relatively constant rate over time, then a drop in the supply of AKH foils will drive prices up for all foils, but the scarce mythic rares will accrue most of the gains from scarcity. If this hypothesis is true, we should start seeing meaningful increase in the price of AKH foil mythic rares over the next month.
AKH boosters rebounded to 2.8 tix this week after the extra prize promotion ended though they've come back down all the way to 2.2 tix before sitting today at 2.4 tix just prior to the release of HOU. These should fall further next week when HOU officially hits MTGO on Monday. Players should feel free to stock up on AKH boosters, though the best buying time for speculators will not be until September and the release of the fall set.
Checking in on the other Standard Draft format, a draft set of KLD block still sits at 8.3 tix; however, the spread on AER boosters has widened slightly to 0.06 tix. I think the best interpretation of this change is that a bunch of AER boosters came onto the market, depressing the buy price and allowing the spread to widen. When this extra supply gets reduced and the market returns to being supply constrained, then spreads will narrow again to 0.04 tix.
It's interesting to see that the market has been able to digest any extra supply that enters the system, and prices continue to creep up. Look for a pause in price increases next week as HOU hits. It's possible another wave of supply hits the market, but the further we get away from KLD block as the default draft format, the less likely this is to occur in my opinion. 9.0 tix for a KLD block draft set remains the price target, and there's the rest of July through to September to reach this target.
Trade of the Week
For a complete look at my recent trades, please check out the portfolio. This week I put Walking Ballista and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger into the portfolio. These two cards have something in common in that they both see play in non-rotating formats: both show up in Modern in various Tron and Eldrazi strategies, while Ballista also sees play in Legacy and Vintage.
A card that sees play in multiple formats will see a higher price floor as a result. Thus, even though Ulamog is on its way out of Standard, the long-term prospects of this card are good. The banning of Aetherworks Marvel knocked the stuffing out Ulamog's price. With a potential ramp strategy on its way in Standard, the short-term prospects on this card got a lot brighter.
Walking Ballista is basically in the same boat, but its also got another fourteen months in Standard. I'll look to catch any short-term spikes if they materialize, but I'll be patient with both cards due to their play in non Standard formats.