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 January 3, 2018. 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 Hour of Devastation (HOU), Amonkhet (AKH), Aether Revolt (AER), and Kaladesh (KLD) are no longer available for redemption, their prices will continue to be tracked while they are in Standard.
Rivals of Ixalan (RIX) spoilers are in full swing this week and card images for the full set will be released on Friday. Tribal themes are continuing to be pushed with Merfolk Mistbinder and Legion Lieutenant leading the charge. These new additions to the tribal lord pantheon will be tried extensively in Standard, but the oppressive Energy mechanic is still around and the Modern pro tour event will be the focus for constructed.
Nevertheless, keep an eye out on tribal enablers like Metallic Mimic. This card has been charging higher in recent weeks and does not represent a good opportunity at the moment, but if RIX fizzles in Standard, a round of Standard bans might be just the thing to trigger interest in tribal archetypes again. It's recent low of 2.3 tix is a good buying target, and if prices drift down in early February, it will be worth buying in preparation for potential bans in Standard.
Modern prices have rebounded in the post holiday period as players look to early February for what the pros will bring to the Modern metagame. RIX spoiler season is also triggering interest in the format as brewers wonder if the flashy new cards are good enough for a larger format. The image below is courtesy of Mythic Spoiler.
Journey to Eternity // Atzal, Cave of Eternity can combine with any creature that you can easily get into the graveyard for a quick flip into Journey to Eternity // Atzal, Cave of Eternity. The card to use this with that immediately springs to mind is Sakura-Tribe Elder. On curve, these two cards allow you to ramp to six lands in play on turn four as you can immediately sacrifice the elder for a land, flipping Journey to Eternity and getting another elder for your trouble. With this line of play, you could start the fourth turn with six lands untapped, ready to drop a seventh land in advance of a potentially lethal Scapeshift or throwing down a Primeval Titan.
The reanimation ability on Atzal is a sweet bonus that will help when you want your deck to grind out a victory. A difficult-to-counter, reusable ability on a land that bolsters your board directly is an interesting angle that ramp decks might be able to use to their advantages.
Journey to Eternity // Atzal, Cave of Eternity is going to give a shot in the arm to Modern brewers everywhere. Having this stick on a creature will be a little tricky, but being in black means you'll have access to efficient discard to make sure the coast is clear. I'm sure brewers right now are scouring the Modern card pool for other potential use cases – such as Fulminator Mage and Arcbound Ravager.
Another green card that caught my attention is Enter the Unknown. As a one-casting-cost spell, it's interesting right out of the gate, since it's the new one- and two-casting-cost spells that can make a big splash in Modern. Check out the card below, image courtesy of Mythic Spoiler again.
Compare this to Andrios, Roaming Explorer, a card that currently sees Modern play in Titan Shift and Amulet decks. Enter the Unknown costs only G, a full mana less than Explore's cost of 1G. On mana efficiency alone, that might have been enough for it to replace Explore. Unfortunately, the spell comes with a targeting restriction, meaning you must have a creature in play to cast it. You also give up the cantrip aspect some of the time when the top card of your library is not a land.
One line of play that the MTGO market seems to have already picked up on is the potential of this card with Courser of Kruphix. Courser has jumped to a six-month high in the last week, now close to 4 tix. Having Courser of Kruphix in play means you'll be hitting the cantrip aspect of Enter the Unknown reliably, with the potential to move two lands off the top of your library directly into play.
This past weekend was a Magic Online Championship Sealed Deck event that was open to all players. Forty tix or four-hundred play points was the entry fee for a day of Ixalan (XLN) Sealed Deck with a top-eight booster draft to decide the winner. The top prize included a Pro Tour invite, but the overall prize pool handed out to the top 64 players was over two-thousand XLN boosters. This had a dramatic impact on their secondary market price. Check out the impact, courtesy of Goat Bots, in the one-month price chart for XLN boosters.
Prices have started recovering, but this doesn't make it a good idea to be a buyer of these. There will be another open event this weekend, and it's going to be XLN Sealed Deck again. That means another two-thousand boosters are going to be hitting the market, just prior to the release of Rivals of Ixalan (RIX). So not only is there another big influx of supply coming, but the demand for XLN boosters is going to be cut by two-thirds as drafting switches to a RIX-RIX-XLN booster configuration.
I would anticipate that RIX boosters will be somewhat higher than 4 tix when they hit MTGO on January 15. With 10 tix being the equilibrium price for secondary market boosters, that would peg the price of XLN boosters at 2 tix or less. If you are holding any XLN boosters, be sure to dump these before the weekend at any price above 2 tix.
Hour of Devastation (HOU) and Amonkhet (AKH) boosters have been relatively steady at 3.5 tix and 0.9 tix respectively in recent weeks. I anticipate some price weakness heading into the release of RIX, but a renewed push higher at the end of February and into March is likely. Look for these to peak at a total price of around 9 tix in the weeks leading up to the release of Dominaria in April.
Trade of the Week
For a complete look at my recent trades, please check out the portfolio. This week, Saheeli Rai showed up with her old friend Felidar Guardian in a 5-0 Modern list. The market is responding to this, driving the price of Saheeli up to 3 tix. This archetype seems like it will continue to post the odd good result, but it doesn't look like it will ever dominate the format.
With that in mind, I took the opportunity to continue to sell down my stock of Saheeli Rai that I bought when Felidar Guardian was banned in Standard. I think Saheeli will be a great card to pick up when its cheap, with periodic interest in this type of deck spurring the price higher. When this card rotates out of Standard, I'd be an interested buyer in the 0.25 to 0.75 tix range, but for now I am still reducing my position size.