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Insider: MTGO Market Report for August 16th, 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 August 14, 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.

 

Standard

Fall rotation is looming and there were substantial price drops across the four rotating sets. Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) dropped 24 percent this week, falling below 30 tix to reach an all-time low. With a Standard-only card like Prairie Stream currently at close to 4 tix, BFZ has not yet bottomed out. That land is going to be priced at less than 1 tix after fall rotation, so stay away from BFZ for the moment – it could be the first redeemable large set to dip below 20 tix.


The other large set rotating out is Shadows over Innistrad (SOI) and it also saw big drop this week on the order of 12 percent. Although not an overpowered set, there's a few Modern-playable cards in it, like Nahiri, the Harbinger, Prized Amalgam and Traverse the Ulvenwald. The fact that SOI was a set without Masterpieces also pushes the value of the set up compared to non-Masterpieces from other sets. This set is much closer to being value-priced than BFZ, so I will be watching it closely over the coming weeks for signs of a bottom.


As for Eldritch Moon (EMN) and Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW), both of these sets are quite expensive relative to their paper counterparts, so it's harder to determine if there's going to be any value in these sets to redeemers. At the moment, we'll need to see large price declines before there's a hint of value in them from a redemption angle. Give these sets until at least October before considering a purchase.

For the sets that are sticking around in the fall, the two newest sets in Amonkhet (AKH) and Hour of Devastation (HOU) are still being drafted. This means they are relatively abundant and cheap as a result. If you look at the graph below, I've charted how the price of the last four large sets have evolved after their release. It looks like AKH is following closer to the path laid out by KLD and SOI, finding a price bottom after it's no longer being drafted in triplicate. There's probably going to be one further period of price weakness, so if you've been waiting to buy AKH cards or complete sets, get your tix ready.

In the next graph, the last four small sets have been charted in an identical fashion. It looks like HOU has put in a price bottom last week at a little over 40 tix.  Based off of when OGW, EMN and Aether Revolt (AER) bottomed in price, there is still a couple of weeks before HOU truly bottoms out. However, with the shortened redemption window, HOU is going to be more similar to AER than the other two sets: a long shallow bottom could be the result, with an upsurge near the end of the redemption window. I'll be looking to stock up on HOU sets over the next four weeks.

Modern

Be sure to check out Adrian Tan's article this week as he highlights some speculative opportunities with Magic real estate. He also detailed a new iteration of the Infect strategy that recently went 5-0 in a league.  Besides adding black for Plague Stinger and some sideboard cards, this version of Infect has moved away from the all-in-green hexproof-and-pump-spells plan in favor of more versatile blue instants in Spell Pierce and the novel Disrupting Shoal.


It's early days for this deck, but if it can carve out a spot in the Modern metagame, look for Infect staples like Inkmoth Nexus and Noble Hierarch to see price gains over the coming weeks.

In general, though, the next four weeks is going to be the best near-term selling window for all Modern staples. We are entering a lame duck Standard period once Ixalan (XLN) previews fire up in September. Interest in Modern and Legacy will benefit as a result. But don't be caught holding a bunch of Modern staples in October as these will inevitably go on sale with the release of XLN and the reignited interest in Standard.

Standard Boosters

This week, a draft set of KLD block has touched 8.9 tix, which is near the price target originally set out for these back in spring. With three to four weeks of prime drafting time left, a price peak over 9 tix seems likely. Those who are holding KLD and AER boosters should strongly consider selling down their stock sooner rather than later. Once the next round of Cube is available, demand will drop, and then their will be a terminal drop in price once XLN is released and KLD block is no longer draftable.

The price progression on KLD and AER boosters is a great indicator of what is possible with speculating on HOU and AKH boosters. Look for a draft set to fall to 7 tix or below at the end of September, and consider that a good buying opportunity for HOU and AKH boosters.

Trade of the Week

For a complete look at my recent trades, please check out the portfolio. This week I continue to sell down my stock of AER and KLD boosters. The selling has been a slow process, but ultimately rewarding. Once the final sale is made, KLD boosters will have yielded a profit of 0.4 to 0.5 tix per booster, and AER a profit of 0.5 to 0.6 tix per booster. On a draft set purchased at 6.8 tix , the sell price over the past three weeks has ranged between 8.3 and 8.6 tix, a net gain of 1.5 to 1.8 tix, or 22 to 26 percent.

This is not a quick-strike speculative strategy. It requires patience and a little timing, but the blueprint for the next version of this trade has been laid out here. For players, socking away a few draft sets of AKH block at the end of September will mean cheaper drafts during the fall and winter. Speculators should set aside a few tix to take advantage of this pending opportunity as well.

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