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 27, 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.
Dominaria (DOM) previews are entering their first full week and with the fervor for Masters 25 (A25) drafts dying down, interest in Standard is picking up along with Standard prices. Sets of Ixalan (XLN) are very cheap right now, even after jumping five percent this week. XLN has been temporarily unavailable for redemption for over six weeks and this has a particular result for interested speculators.
First of all, redemption generates a pool of value for the associated digital cards. Being able to translate a digital set into a paper set means the value of these two things is tied together, but only from the direction of digital to paper. Through redemption the price of a paper set supports the price of the equivalent digital set. When the tie provided by redemption is severed, the values can start to drift. By the middle of January, XLN was not available for redemption but Chris Kiritz of Wizards of the Coast stated that redemption sets would be reordered and that they would be expected to be back in stock before the off sale date of May 23. The announcement came this week that they will be back in stock on Wednesday.
We can see the impact of redemption on XLN prices in the data. The sum of TCGplayer mid prices for XLN bottomed at $196 on January 3 and have risen to $234 as of March 27, a rise of nineteen percent. Over that same time frame, a digital set of XLN has gone from 62 tix to 61 tix. What this means is that the redemption value of XLN has been building as the differential between a paper set and a digital set has been widening. Once redemption for XLN reopens, there will be an effort by redeemers to capture that value, and this will put downward pressure on paper prices and upward pressure on digital prices. The two prices will seek equilibrium as digital sets get converted to paper sets.
This is usually a great time in the drafting cycle to be acquiring full sets of the aging draft format. Once drafting of DOM starts in April, the incoming supply of XLN and RIX cards will be greatly reduced and digital prices will start rising as a result. Having the extra benefit of anticipated demand from redeemers is just another reason to be a buyer of sets of XLN.
The Humans archetype is seeing strong uptake in the Modern metagame and the results are showing up in the market. Both printings of Cavern of Souls are approaching a one-year high. Ancient Ziggurat is back over 2 tix and close to an all-time high, while Ignoble Hierarch is over 30 tix for the first time in years. This is a great time to be a seller of cards featured in this deck.
It's when there are players taking up the deck for the first time and buying the components that we see card prices increase like this. Just having a spot in the metagame is no longer enough to push prices higher. According to the MTGGoldfish website and their metagame data, Jund is still the top deck in Modern, but its components have been falling in price as the wave of players adopting this deck crested weeks ago. In the age of Treasure Chests, price spikes are never permanent as the overall supply keeps creeping high. Don't miss out on selling into price strength like this.
Speaking of MTGGoldfish, noted brewer Saffron Olive ran two copies of Domri Rade in his Budget Magic deck this week. You can check out the deck and article here. Domri Rade looks to be Modern playable these days, but it's still very fringe. If you are holding copies since the unbanning of Bloodbraid Elf, I think it's a great time to take a little off the table and sell.
The next four weeks is the last chance for drafting AKH block, which means the selling window on AKH and HOU boosters is closing fast. After DOM is released, AKH block will be replaced in the draft queues by XLN block and the price of AKH and HOU boosters will not be tied to the tix-only draft entry fee but to the expected value of the booster contents. Needless to say, the current price of boosters dwarfs the expected value of the boosters, so prices will decline substantially once we get into May.
In recent weeks, AKH is down a little as players sold their boosters to draft A25, but it should recover to 1.3 tix or higher in the neat term. HOU did not see a similar decline in price and is holding close to its recent price of 3.4 tix. AKH and HOU boosters should be sold over the coming weeks prior to the release of DOM and AKH block leaving the draft queue.
With that in mind, this is a perfect time to remind players and speculators a like that XLN and RIX boosters are about to go on sale. Once DOM hits, players will start to sell their boosters in order to draft the new set. Typically this pushes the price of a draft set down from the 8 tix to 9 tix range into the 6 tix to 7 tix range. Needless to say, that will be an excellent time to be a buyer. It's no quick flip as it takes time for the market to chew through the supply of boosters, but it's a predictable trade that consistently yields ten to twenty five percent in profit. Stick to buying draft sets and don't prioritize one booster over the other, but be sure to wait for prices to dip to 7 tix or less.
Trade of the Week
For a complete look at my recent trades, please check out the portfolio. With Grixis Death's Shadow decks taking a back seat to Jund, we've seen an erosion in the price of Kolaghan's Command. After peaking close to 40 tix in February it's dropped below 20 tix this week. That's the kind of substantial price drop which screams "oversold" to me so I waded in and bought a few cheap play sets.
This card is a Modern staple, and it won't take much for it to return into the 25 to 30 tix range, which is my target sell price out of the gate. There are some Grand Prix events featuring Legacy on the way and that should also fuel some extra demand for this card. I won't hold this one indefinitely, but it seemed like it had fallen too far too fast this week.