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 March 12, 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.
With the spoilers from Dominaria (DOM) acknowledged by Wizards of the Coast, we know the Innistrad (ISD) check lands are being reprinted. I discussed this possibility in the the MTGO Market Report on February 21, and so the question is what to do next?
Standard players looking to prepare for the addition of DOM into the format will be a source of steady demand for these lands over the coming weeks. Once DOM is actually released, the ISD check lands will become legal in Standard, but at the same time the available supply will be almost entirely existing copies from ISD, since it takes time for new supply to enter the market from Draft and Sealed Deck events. This is the window that will be the best time to be a seller, when players get online and are brewing for Standard, but before drafters flood the market with supply.
If preview leagues are repeated for DOM in the days before the paper prerelease events, then the selling window will be April 18 to April 22. Remember that preview leagues were introduced for the first time with Rivals of Ixalan (RIX) and they closed just prior to paper prerelease events. That generated massive price increases on the Saturday and Sunday for RIX cards on MTGO. If preview leagues are implemented in the same way for DOM, then April 21 and April 22 will be the best time to be a seller of the ISD check lands.
Outside of the actual lands themselves, these reprints will have a big impact on Standard. It's a bit simplistic, but the rule is that Standard will be populated by decks that use the most powerful cards with the best mana base. When a cycle of lands are introduced that are past Standard staples, then its safe to say that the best mana base and what it means for viable decks will be in flux. Difficult to cast cards like Legion Lieutenant and Merfolk Mistbinder will get a second look now, so be ready for the implications of the ISD check lands on the decks that are viable in Standard.
Also on the tribal front, the return of Llanowar Elves to Standard instantly makes green-based lines of play more powerful. Leading with Llanowar Elves into Jadelight Ranger or Rishkar, Peema Renegade on turn two is just scratching the surface. All green cards have to be reevaluated on their power level as if they cost one less mana, but the three casting cost slot is a critical one to pay attention to. One- and two-cost removal will become more valuable as a way to deal with this potent one-drop.
Not to be outdone by the Elf tribe, DOM adds the powerful Goblin Warchief into the Modern card pool and the Goblin tribe is eternally grateful. Although Siege-Gang Commander was already Modern legal, it's too expensive to show up in Goblin tribal decks. With Goblin Warchief in tow, Siege-Gang Commander becomes more viable, and including Goblin Piledriver into the package looks even more appealing.
The trouble with the deck is that it lacks the raw power of a linear deck like Affinity, it doesn't bring any disruption like Humans and it lacks the combo kill aspect of the Onslaught (ONS) era version that used Patriarch's Bidding and loads of utility type goblins like Skirk Prospector. I am skeptical that a Goblin tribal deck could ever be tier one, but Goblin Warchief will be an important part of any uptick in playability of the tribe.
Masters 25 (A25) events have been moved up to today, so it's time to start considering what price point to be an interested buyer on Modern staples. Jace, the Mind Sculptor is about 20 tix off its peak and now sits at 55 tix. A dip to the 40-tix level doesn't seem realistic, but I'd be aggressively buying at that price.
Although not Modern legal, Ash Barrens from A25 is high on my spec list for this set. It's a Pauper staple and was recently priced as high as 10 tix. Although it shows up in Treasure Chests on the curated card list, it's an in-demand card, and Pauper is a growing as paper players have become interested in it. Check out Kyle's article this week for other interesting speculative targets in the common and uncommon slot of A25.
Trade of the Week
For a complete look at my recent trades, please check out the portfolio. Nothing too fancy this week as I have been adding complete sets of RIX and XLN to the portfolio. This is a fine time to be a buyer as interest in the draft format wanes. This doesn't mean the bottom is in, but I feel that it's a safe price level to be speculating at. I'll be slowly building my stock of full sets with an eye to selling them after DOM is release but before they go offline for redemption.
I've also been selling Battle at the Bridge, a penny spec from last year that has recently jumped up in price. In percentage terms, this is one of my best specs of the past year, returning nearly thirty times my buy price. However, I did buy it alongside other flops like Dark Intimations, so it's not all gum drops and puppy dogs. Regardless, the penny spec strategy is a fun one where you only need one hit for it to pay off, and Battle at the Bridge has done just that.
There's lots of potential in XLN and RIX for another round of penny specs, and I think uncommons in RIX have an excellent shot on top of cheap rares in both sets. I've already mentioned the tribal lords from RIX, but Baffling End and Ravenous Chupacabra seem like staples in Standard that will see prices in the 0.1 to 0.5 tix range next winter.
I like to minimize risk in general, but I also like a long shot and the fun that comes from watching it payoff. If you are getting bored of speculating on MTGO, penny specs are a way to inject some fun into your portfolio without breaking the bank.