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Insider: MTGO Market Report for March 28th, 2018

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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 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.

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.

Modern

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 Noble 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.

Standard Boosters

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.

7 thoughts on “Insider: MTGO Market Report for March 28th, 2018

  1. Hey Matt,

    I wanted to get your take on where we are seasonally. Do you expect modern to stay strong through out the spring and summer, or has modern already peaked and heading back down? Are you expecting big movement on standard with Dominaria? The last few spring sets that I can remember didn’t seem to have big impacts on standard, and didn’t seem like there was a ton of opportunity. What do you think?

    1. This is a good question! For Standard, I think the outlook is strong. The opposing colour check lands are a significant that will have broad repercussions in Standard. Interest should be high as players and brewers completely reevaluate the format.

      Having said that, I don’t have large Standard positions outside of XLN and RIX sets. I will look to catch developing trends and be a buyer at that time.

      I think we’ve seen the broad peak in Modern, but we’re seeing some cards hit much higher prices, like Horizon Canopy. This type of pattern should continue to play out, but we could get a short term dip with the release of Dominaria and interest pulling back to Standard. Typically August and September is a good time to be a seller of Modern as players really abandon Standard at that time.

      Like with Standard, I don’t have large Modern positions anymore, having done the bulk of my selling over the past two months. I mostly have play sets at the moment, with a few buy low candidates such as K Command.

      At this point, I don’t expect big blowout buying or selling opportunities. It’s more about riding individual trends.

      For me, the next good opportunities from a macro perspective are full sets of XLN and RIX (still), XLN block draft sets (not yet) and DOM foil mythic rares (as soon as the set hits). That will cover the next two months approximately, and then the whole cycle can repeat with full DOM sets, DOM boosters and Core set foil mythic rares.

      Lastly, I want to be very clear that speculating on Standard singles should be avoided by June (bulk is still ok). The start of summer is an awful time for Standard prices as KLD, AER, AKH and HOU will all start prices declines with rotation not far off. The spring and summer should be all about preserving your capital and not making too many trades. I like the trades I’ve mentioned above because they are dependable with a good track record. If I can maintain or slightly grow my tix over the summer, then I’ll be happy. The fall remains the best time to be a buyer but that means you have to be moving into tix in August and September.

      Hope this helps!

  2. I just realized I made a miscalculation…I thought that KLD HOU had more time in standard. The current rotation schedule has me all messed up. Better to find out now, than in 6 months. Ive got a large position of Chandras and Hazorets so I may have to do so some course correction on those. I was really excited to see what the format was going to look like with just KLD AER rotating out. It just feels like AKH HOU never really had a chance with the power level of energy. Its crazy though, KLD feels like it has so much more time in standard than AKH block with HOU only getting about a year. They really need to switch back to the dual rotation model.

    Anyway good stuff on the seasons. I might jump on a few Kolaghans command also. I did well with those early in the year and being in 2 top decks seems like a winner to me.

    1. I agree, AKH and HOU especially don’t get a lot of time in Standard, just by being released in the summer. It’s a little weird but oh well.

      And as for the season, something struck me as I was rereading my comment. If you want to be in tix by August and September, that means you are going to have to be selling then or sooner. And if Standard is in a cyclical downturn over the summer, then you don’t want to be a seller of Standard at that time. It’s this kind of logical progression which means that I don’t want to be touching Standard singles by July. Modern is a little different because it is on typically on a cyclical upswing in August, so moving into Modern singles, at least selectively, is fine heading into the summer.

  3. Hi Matt, speaking of the Foil Mythic Strategy, I’ve noticed a steady downturn in the average price of foil mythics for RIX over the last week and a half or so. I thought it might have something to do with Masters 25 coming online, but the timing doesn’t seem to lineup quite right. Maybe there’s something I’m missing. Any thoughts on the recent decline in price for foil RIX mythics?

    Thanks,

    Aaron

    1. I’ve sold two sets (ie one copy of each) of foil mythic rares in the past couple of weeks to lock in some profits. Maybe there are other people doing the same?

      I think we’ll see another uptick in prices, particularly at the end of April when redeemers try to get as much value out of their digital cards as possible.

      I’ve also just checked the price of a foil set, and it looks like its down 20 tix in the past month. If the price of a set rises again, most of that value will flow to mythic rares.

      To wrap up, if you are holding foil mythic rares for speculative purposes, selling now is fine but there will probably be higher prices sometime in the next six weeks. I still have a few sets to sell and I am not rushing to do so.

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