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 June 11, 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.
Amonkhet (AKH) dropped by over 10 tix this week, corresponding to a nearly 30-percent decline, while Hour of Devastation (HOU) saw a close to 20-percent retrenchment. All the sets rotating out of Standard in the fall showed some weakness, while the three sets sticking around did relatively well. The reprinted redemption sets for Ixalan (XLN) and Rivals of Ixalan (RIX) have not yet hit the store.
Dominaria (DAR) is still being opened in Draft and will continue to decline until the release of Core Set 2019 (M19) in early July. It's a fine time to be a buyer of select cards from DAR, but it's still a little early to be thinking about full sets. Check out the trade of the week below for a long-term DAR spec.
On the results front, some diversity crept into the top eight of the Star City Games Standard Classic in Roanoke this past weekend. This wasn't the recent red-dominated Pro Tour top eight. Blue and black made a strong push, putting six U/B Control or Esper variants into the top sixteen. Actionable advice based on these results seems short-sighted, though I am interested to see an evolution of the format.
Perusing the latest metagame results from MTGGoldfish, I noticed that Jeskai Control has quietly slipped into second place. What's making the difference for the deck is Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, giving the deck a flexible way to generate an advantage, but more importantly, the untapping of two lands gives a way to protect Teferi that plays into the deck strength, instant-speed removal and counterspells.
The cycling up and down has been happening on a regular basis, so it will be time to start watching this card when it cycles down to 1 tix or less. I think a price in the 0.5 to 0.7 tix range will be a great time to be a heavy buyer of this card. The big advantage of speculating on this card in particular is that it's not currently on the curated card list from Treasure Chests. The next time the curated list is updated, keep an eye out to make sure this one dodges the list, and then speculators should move in heavily on the right price.
Two RIX boosters and one XLN booster hit 6 tix this week as players recognize the value in a cheap draft and as the appeal of triple DAR draft starts to wane. I've been selling XLN block draft sets from the portfolio as the window to draft these two sets only extends until the release of Core Set 2019 (M19) in early July. At that time M19 will become the current draft format with triple DAR draft the secondary option and XLN block draft getting pushed out of the queues completely. When they leave the queues, the price of XLN and RIX boosters will drop, so be sure to sell down any excess boosters you have over the coming weeks.
That being said, they won't be dropping to zero as they will still be valued based off of their contents. If you do end up with some excess XLN and RIX boosters, and their prices have dipped to 1 tix or so, don't be in a rush to sell. Amonkhet (AKH) dipped as low as 0.7 tix after DAR was released, and it has since recovered to over 1 tix. Hour of Devastation (HOU) was dropping from a much higher price, but it's maintained a price of 1.4 tix or so over the last six weeks.
AKH gives a good guide for what XLN could do in the coming weeks, so if XLN boosters drop below 1 tix, it will time to consider being a buyer. On the other hand, using HOU as a guide for RIX boosters suggests they are a strong sell above 2 tix and are unlikely to drop into a buying range in the near term.
Trade of the Week
For a complete look at my recent trades, please check out the portfolio. This week I employ a classic strategy of buying a complete cycle of cards. The idea behind this strategy is to hedge your bets around a playable cycle of cards, with the hope that shifts in Standard will bring different parts of the cycle to the forefront of the metagame at different times.
The cycle in question already has two components of it played in Standard already with Goblin Chainwhirler and Steel Leaf Champion. The rest of the cycle is comprised of Dread Shade, Tempest Djinn, and Benalish Marshall. All told, I paid a little under 8 tix for a playset of each.
For this spec to pay off, I'm going to want to be able to sell two playsets to cover the initial cost of 8 tix. If nothing changes in Standard, then Steel Leaf Champion and Goblin Chainwhirler will see a natural appreciation in price after DAR draft ends. They also see a spike in demand in the fall and into the winter as players come back to MTGO. It's not hard to envision being able to recoup the initial investment with these two cards alone, as long as I'm looking to the long term.
The strategy is not without its risks though. Chainwhirler could be banned; we've already seen a red three-drop banned in Standard this year, so it's not hard to extend that reasoning to this one. There could also be a big push into gold cards and multicolour decks. Both of these events would hurt the outlook for this spec, although in different ways. Having Chainwhirler banned in Standard would immediately drop the value of the card, but it might open up room in the metagame for other parts of the cycle to shine. A shift to multicolour decks in Standard would be a much tougher turn of events and would require a close reckoning of the future potential of this position.