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 November 6, 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.
Pro Tour Ixalan wrapped up this past weekend, and Energy decks continue to dominate Standard. Check out the top 8 decks here. The energy mechanic is warping decks around a sub set of cards and is causing some to raise the alarm for a potential ban in Standard. If we hadn't been coming out of a year where multiple Standard bans took place, I think this chatter would be non-existent.
Energy is clearly dominant, but it doesn't look oppressive. It's not like a two-card infinite combo, nor is it as soul crushing as playing against Emrakul, the Promised End. The energy mechanic and the cards it shows up on still feels like you are playing Magic, so I think a ban is highly unlikely at this point.
In particular, Standard will not be the Constructed format at the next Pro Tour, so there's even less incentive to tinker with Standard now. It's more prudent to allow time for the release of Rivals of Ixalan and its impact on the meta game to percolate. With an additional set having the potential to boost the tribal synergies and an intervening Modern Pro Tour, there will be no rush to ban any cards in Standard until spring 2018 at the earliest.
Speaking of tribal synergies, Angel of Invention was the big winner this week, rising all the way to 18 tix on MTGO as it got a boost from being featured in a Mono-White Vampires deck. The deck performed well, going 8-2 or better, and players are always eager to try out new aggro decks on MTGO.
With Pro Tour Ixalan behind us, the next premier event will be Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan in February, featuring Modern in the Constructed portion. This is the next big selling window for Modern singles, and its important to realize we are still months away from this event. Prices have recovered nicely, and the breakout of the Human tribe has shown the format is still evolving, despite a plethora of established archetypes. With no strategy currently dominating, Modern is going from strength to strength.
At this point, it would be very tempting to start selling down recently acquired Modern positions in order to capture some of the gains. Cavern of Souls is one of the cards that has gained the most in the last six weeks, more than doubling as it rose from 16 tix to 34 tix. Doubling up on a 10-plus tix card is a big price move in a short amount of time, and profit is profit as they say, but is the timing right?
Increasingly, I think about the implicit choice of selling any position. If I sell now, what will I do with the tix on hand? I'm not interested in taking tix out of my portfolio nor out of the MTGO economy. There are high transaction costs associated with cashing out of MTGO, so it's better to keep your money on MTGO over the long haul. I want to stay invested, ideally with objects that are gaining value.
The trouble is, the big buying opportunities of the fall have dissipated. The success of new speculative positions will depend on how the Standard and Modern meta games develop over the coming months. If I sold Cavern of Souls today, I would like to redeploy the tix right back into something – something exactly like Cavern of Souls! So, the choice of selling now means implicitly that I think I have a better opportunity to use the tix for. But I can't say that such an opportunity exists.
I am happy with my Modern positions, and there is nothing that is screaming out as being cheap at the moment. If I started selling now, I would probably be deploying the profits into worse speculative positions than just holding onto my current specs. Even worse, I have a tendency to talk myself into really marginal specs. Tangle Wire for example is a recent spec that hasn't worked out at all.
It's obviously correct to avoid marginal specs, and right now, I feel like the portfolio is strongly positioned for the months ahead. Not turning over the portfolio just for the sake of doing something is the best choice; I just want to ride out the trends that are in place and then consider selling in January and February. Deploying tix into a bad spec will destroy the value that has accrued in my positions that I have worked on building.
However, there will be a chance to pick up some Modern staples on the cheap this month. Although the precise details on its release on MTGO have not yet been posted, Iconic Masters (IMA) will be released next week in paper. I expect we'll see an announcement shortly for MTGO, and that IMA will follow the path that previous Masters sets have taken. They will be premium priced drafts and boosters for a three-week window.
For staple rares out of this set, look no further than Primeval Titan, Thoughtseize and Bloodghast. On the uncommon front, both Mishra's Bauble and Aether Vial are key Modern staples and carry hefty price tags of 17 and 9 tix respectively. Expect these two to drop substantially, but I think they will be excellent pickups during the peak of drafting.
On the more speculative front, Ancestral Vision has really fallen out of favour in Modern, and this reprint will push its price down even further. It's not a target to load up on, but if you want to round out your collection with a play set, it will be a good chance for picking it up on the cheap.
Trade of the Week
For a complete look at my recent trades, please check out the portfolio. During the Pro Tour, I noticed Nissa, Steward of Elements was showing up as a key sideboard card in energy-based decks. Perusing the recent Standard deck lists from the MTGO leagues showed that Nissa was not so widely adopted as in the Pro meta game. This struck me as a signal that Nissa would be seeing wider adoption when decks take the Pro meta game.
The MTGO market is going through the process of price discovery on this card at the moment, and I think it will end up in the 8- to 10-tix range eventually. Paper prices are starting to catch on, and with the end of redemption nearing for Amonkhet, there could be a short-term feedback loop established for this card where paper prices drive the MTGO price higher.
With all this in mind, I bought a number of Nissa in order to take part in this trend. Either the trend reaching a peak or a shift in the metagame will signal it is time to exit this trade.