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Insider: MTGO Market Report for May 23rd, 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 May 22, 2018. The TCGplayer market and TCGplayer mid prices are the sum of each set's individual card prices on TCGplayer, either the market price 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.

Redeemable sets are highlighted in green and sets not available for redemption are highlighted in red. Ixalan (XLN) and Rivals of Ixalan (RIX) officially go offline for redemption this week, but RIX is being reprinted and will be available for redemption in about a month. Look for Wizards of the Coast to provide further updates on XLN this week.

Standard

Dominaria (DAR) was the only set not to be in the red this week, with Aether Revolt (AER) and Kaladesh (KLD) taking hits of ten percent or more. With good weather finally here in North America, interest in playing MTGO is naturally going to take a hit, and with the Standard metagame starting to come into focus there's really no need to hold onto underperforming cards.


Prices will perk up again in a couple of weeks when the Pro Tour DAR is held, but it's going to be harder and harder to speculate on Standard for the next few months. Fall rotation is the death knell for the price of cards in Standard as most do not transition into Modern play. For this reason, prices are bound to decline as we get closer to rotation and speculators and players alike should only be keeping small and short-term positions in KLD block and Amonkhet (AKH) block cards. If you are not confident in your abilities, do yourself a favor and stay out of speculating on cards from these sets for the time being.

Speaking of the fall, Wizards of the Coast announced that the set coming in October would be a return Ravnica. Although most synonymous with the shocklands, it's not clear that these will be reprinted for a second time in a regular set. Regardless, their utility in Modern makes them unattractive speculative targets as they are already priced at a level close to what I expect them to be in Standard.

What has been made clear though is the guilds that will feature in the fall set. Selesnya, Boros, Golgari, Izzet, and Dimir are the first five guilds on the menu, which means that the Standard format will no doubt slant in the direction of these colour combinations as new powerful gold cards are printed. Keep this in mind when you are making long-term speculative decisions for Standard.


Right off the top, this favors the mana fixing lands that favor these colours, such as Clifftop Retreat, Sulfur Falls and Temple Garden. There's no rush to acquire these, but look out for the cheapest copies you can find, particularly for the ones priced at 0.5 tix or less.

Although the colours are balanced as they each show up in two of the guilds, there are a few things to keep in mind prior to the fall. With the Azorius guild not be showing up until early 2019,  Teferi, Hero of Dominaria might be taking a back seat in the fall without Irrigated Farmland to fix the deck's mana.


The rotation of Hazoret the Fervent, Chandra, Torch of Defiance and Unlicensed Disintegration means that mono red and B/R vehicle decks are going to have to go back to the drawing board as well. Rekindling Phoenix is a card similar to Teferi that also might struggle in the fall as it's natural home mostly rotates out of Standard.

Modern

A variation on Lantern Control, minus Lantern of Insight, won the Star City Games Modern Classic this past weekend in Louisville. Have a look at the deck. It's hard to say if this is going to be the direction that this style of deck will go, but the market likes it as Whir of Invention has jumped up to 1 tix, its highest price in over a year.


There were three G/R Tron decks in the top eight as well. This is notable to me as the printing of Damping Sphere isn't holding this archetype down. Modern is still an incredibly diverse metagame and even flexible answers like this card will be hard pressed to find a spot in sideboards.

Trade of the Week

For a complete look at my recent trades, please check out the portfolio. When to sell a speculative position is a question that doesn't get as much coverage as it should. It's necessarily a difficult task though as the Magic finance field is a relatively new one and it intertwines with a game and all the attendant aspects of being a hobby. But as time passes and more data becomes available, some key signals have come into focus. Check out the chart below for Rivals of Ixalan (RIX) foil mythic rares and complete foil sets.

In blue is the sum of all list prices for RIX foils, while in red is the sum of the buy prices for the foil mythic rares only. Both prices are plotted on the left-hand side and are tracked over the twelve weeks since the release of the set. On the right-hand side is a percentage, calculated from the foil mythic rare buy price over the price of the full set.

You can see how the foil mythic rare strategy plays out here as the percentage rises from about seventy percent to over eighty percent. On top of that, the price of the full set rose slightly over its release. The flow of value to the mythic rarity on top of the price appreciation in the whole set is the foundation of the strategy. From this chart, the selling window opens in the sixth week although any time up to the twelfth weeks also seems fine.

For DAR, there are only a few weeks of data so far, but I've plotted an identical chart with the available information. DAR has been exceptional in that foil sets have been rising rapidly in price since its release and this has been dragging up the mythic rare buy price along with it. We are still below 75 percent though for the fraction taken up by the mythic rares. If eighty percent is a reasonable level to expect, then there is further upside in the foil mythic rares at this point.

Although I didn't get to buy as many sets of foil mythic rares as I would have liked, DAR has been hard to judge relative to past sets since the prices were so much higher in comparison. I did sell one copy of each foil mythic rare this week to capture some profits, but this analysis is encouraging me to hold off for a few more weeks before selling the rest. Further upside is visible as redemption opens and value flows to the mythic rares.

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