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Insider: MTGO Market Report for May 2nd, 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 1, 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. This week Shadows Over Innistrad (SOI) and Eldritch Moon (EMN) have been removed from the table as they are no longer available for redemption. 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

In pursuing the foil mythic rare strategy for Dominaria (DAR), the average price paid so far on five sets of foil mythic rares is 200 tix. With fifteen mythic rares in the set that's an average of 13.3 tix per copy. The first two sets I bought were priced at 177 tix while the last (purchased yesterday) was at 221 tix.The current price of one copy of each foil mythic rare from DAR is 226 tix with a buy price of 203 tix.


At these levels, I am no longer interested in being a buyer of entire sets of foil mythic rares. Compared to recent releases like Ixalan (XLN) and Rivals of Ixalan (RIX), DAR is an outlier where the total price of the foil mythic rares has reached a higher level much faster. The mythic rare strategy relies on a steady flow of value from the foil rares, uncommons and commons to push the value of the mythic rares up over time. In the case of DAR, there are no high-value rares, with all rares being priced at 2 tix or less.

Without a pool of value to draw on, the foil mythic strategy relies on higher-than-normal price for the redemption of foil sets as a whole to drive prices higher. If the price of a complete foil set of DAR rises, the price of the foil mythic rares will rise along with it. At 265 tix, a foil set of DAR is already more expensive than XLN or RIX ever were, so DAR is not looking cheap from this angle either.

With so many alarm bells going off, I think it best to warn off speculators at this price level. It's possible that the popularization of this strategy is dissipating the potential profits; in other words, the opportunity is much smaller as more and more speculators take advantage of the strategy. It's also possible that DAR just looks like an outlier but will end up being the new benchmark as we leave the two-set block era. It will only be obvious in hindsight what the truth of the matter is, but at current prices, only players should be considering buying playsets for their collection

Modern

Mox Amber has made a foray into Modern, powering up two White Aggro variants so far. The first utilizes the disruptive package of Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Leonin Arbiter from the more traditional Death and Taxes archetype. With Isamaru, Hound of Konda and Kytheon, Hero of Akros // Gideon, Battle-Forged turning on the Mox, the curve of the whole deck has been shifted lower. Some variants are dropping Aether Vial altogether, while others are supplementing it with Mox Amber. Early results are promising but the best build is not yet visible.


The other deck adds a splash of red which gives access to the one-mana legend Zurgo Bellstriker as well as Lightning Bolt. A smattering of legendary creatures makes this look more like a homebrew that is figuring itself out. At the top end of this deck is a complete playset of Goblin Rabblemaster and Hazoret the Fervent. The deck looks fun, but like the mono-white build, it looks like a work in progress.


Stay tuned for further developments, but Mox Amber is fueling demand for low-casting-cost legendary creatures. Kytheon and Isamaru have both more than doubled in the past six weeks and there are quite a few other legends that could wind up in this deck. Whether or not it establishes itself as a tiered deck remains to be seen.

Standard Boosters

A draft set of two RIX boosters and one XLN booster bumped back up above 5 tix this week and now sits at 5.4 tix. Although the price of a draft set has recovered from its low, the rise masks the shift in value from XLN to RIX. A booster of XLN is down by 0.3 tix while a booster of RIX is up by 0.2 tix. I don't think there is anything to discern from this at the moment as we are still in the period of normalization with the release of DAR, though it will be interesting to keep an eye on


Amonkhet (AKH) boosters went from 1.4 tix when XLN was released to under 1 tix by the middle of January in a slow downward trend interrupted by a few small perturbations along the way. In contrast, Hour of Devastation (HOU) boosters quickly went from around 2.5 tix to a very stable 3.5 tix in the weeks after XLN was released. The early signs are that RIX and XLN have mirrored this trend but more evidence is needed before this can be confirmed.

Trade of the Week

For a complete look at my recent trades, please check out the portfolio. DAR is one of the more impactful Standard sets in recent memory, so it's a perfect opportunity to look elsewhere and to pick up Modern staples at a discount. One of the easiest ways to approach the issue of identifying when a card is on sale is to compare the price of a card between multiple versions. The price of two distinct versions will converge in the long run, but in the short run, the prices can diverge quite a lot. Different art and different rarity can contribute to this. To see what I mean, check out the price of the Modern Masters 2017 (MM3) and Avacyn Restored (AVR) Cavern of Souls in this chart, courtesy of GoatBots.

One can see that the MM3 version has tended to have a slight premium over the original from AVR, but that premium doesn't tend to stretch beyond 5 tix for any length of time. The current premium in the chart above is 7.8 tix but was as large as 9.5 tix this week. I anticipate the premium to narrow and for the prices to converge in the 28 to 32 tix range over the coming weeks.

6 thoughts on “Insider: MTGO Market Report for May 2nd, 2018

  1. I enjoy these articles despite very little MTGO time on my oart. One suggestion is to highlight the sets that aren’t redredeemable in the first table.

  2. Hey Matt,

    Are you expecting Modern to come back into style this summer? Ive been eyeing a few staples. But cant decide between that or some Chandra Torch of Def, which seems a bit risky but is also at a low. What do you think?

    1. I just sold the portfolio’s Chandra, booking a loss of ~7 tix per copy. There’s potential for a rebound, but I think the clock is ticking on any KLD or AKH block cards. If you did buy Chandra, I would be looking at a short term hold, 4 to 6 six weeks max, with an eye on the Pro Tour in early June.

      I do think we’ll see a rebound in Modern over the summer, so selectively speculating on Modern staples is a ok by me. Also, there’s a team constructed pro tour event in August that will feature the return of Legacy. If your specs show up in both format, that’s even more better as the pros test and get up to speed on the format.

      1. Yeah my goal is to get rid of all KLD and AKH by the protour, so im on the same page with you there. Gameplay wise I feel like Chandra may come back in as the control decks start to catch up to the aggro decks. Sometimes that happens, but sometimes it doesnt. Cool thanks, based on talking it out I think ill look toward the modern stuff instead of doubling down on Chandra. Also great thinking with the multi format staples.

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