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Insider: MTGO Market Report for April 25th, 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 April 24, 2018. The TCGplayer low and TCGplayer mid prices are the sum of each set's individual card prices on TCGplayer, either the low or 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

There was a hiccup with Dominaria (DOM) foils this weekend, as a subset of legendary creatures were not being generated in boosters, including of mythic rarity. By Monday, that was corrected, so I anticipate being able to buy sets of foil mythic rares later this week when there is a readier supply available for purchase.


Standard prices are up across the board as brewers and players alike dive into DOM Standard as well as the new Brawl format. Heart of Kiran got up over 9 tix this weekend which helped Aether Revolt (AER) see a whopping 19-percent increase.  As a result, the small set from Kaladesh (KLD) block is priced higher than the large set for the first time ever. I think Heart of Kiran will find a price peak over 10 tix within the next six weeks. The portfolio has a few playsets of this card in it, and I will be holding until the new Standard format develops further.


One of the new decks featuring this vehicle is an aggressive Mono Green build which, to no one's surprise, is using Lanowar Elves to help power out cards like Steel Leaf Champion on turn two. Ghalta, Primal Hunger rounds out the top end and Blossoming Defense helps keep the huge monsters on the battlefield. Seeing a deck like this have success out of the gates is normal. Eventually, a balance will be struck in the format as the right tools for control to deal with aggression become evident.

Modern

Modern prices have taken a dip this week with the emphasis on Standard coinciding with the release of DOM. In particular, Eldritch Moon (EMN) and Shadows over Innistrad (SOI) are no longer available for redemption, so some price weakness in the components of the set is expected. Collective Brutality is the poster child for this weakness as it is off 15 tix in the last week.


Not to be outdone, other parts of the B/R Hollow One archetype have fallen off with Blackcleave Cliffs back into single digits and Goblin Lore more than fifty percent off of its peak of 8 tix.

Noted Merfolk enthusiast Nikachu has posted a 5-0 list in the Modern leagues that includes the new Merfolk Trickster. He is a big fan of the card as evidenced by the following tweet.

It's certainly a flexible and situationally powerful addition to the Merfolk tribe, but I don't expect a surge in demand for components of the deck as a result. Like a lot of Modern decks, familiarity with the format and how particular matchups play out goes a long way to determining success or failure. As speculators, we are more interested in large swings in the format generated by shifts in the tier-one decks and Merfolk typically only approaches tier-ocombo-heavy heavy formats. The current balance in the Modern format relegates speculative opportunities from Merfolk to the bench for the time being.

Standard Boosters

A draft set of two RIX boosters and one XLN booster has dipped below 5 tix this week, which is excellent value for players and speculators alike. A price of 5 tix means that drafting XLN block using secondary market boosters has a 5 tix discount relative to the tix-only entry fee. That is substantial and will not last. As players get their fill of triple DOM draftm there will be a few that favor a format with pirates and dinosaurs. The low price will help encourage this as players look to stretch their tix.


DOM boosters stayed above 3.3 tix on release weekend, so demand for these has been strong, even without drafting being available initially. There was no good opportunity to speculate on these. The next big opportunity to be a buyer of DOM boosters will be when the core set is released in the summer and DOM is no longer the newest draft format.

Trade of the Week

For a complete look at my recent trades, please check out the portfolio. Over the weekend I was a heavy buyer of XLN block draft sets as the price sought a bottom. After crashing through 6 tix on Saturday the price has continued lower, going lower than the 5 tix level by Sunday where it remains today.


Being a buyer while the price is falling is challenging. It's always nice to perfectly time the bottom and in this case, it's clear that I did not do that after I bought a substantial amount of draft sets for around 6 tix. This price has been a profitable entry point in the past on trades like this, but clearly, something else is going on this time with abundant supply available at the 5 tix level.

One explanation is that the bots that normally trade boosters have abandoned the trade as prices have collapsed. If I go to MTGOLibrary and search for RIX boosters, the lowest sell price is 3 tix, more than double the current sell price at GoatBots. Buy prices are much more realistic, but the lack of available supply on the MTGOLibrary website suggests something strange has happened.

If there are not a lot of market participants and GoatBots is the only game in town for buying and selling boosters, then price swings can be large and persistent. Once the market settles down and bots start to buy and sell boosters again, prices will normalize.


Another key point to consider in this trade is that the end of the two-set block era means that the drafting window for any given block will be much shorter. DOM will be drafted for a few months prior to the release of the core set in July, which means XLN block will only have a few months in the draft queues. In the past, it would have been available for draft right up until the fall set release, but it's not clear if that will be the case this time around.

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