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 July 3, 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. Redeemable sets are highlighted in green and sets not available for redemption are highlighted in red.
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.
Prices are starting to stabilize on the rotating sets; there's only so far they can fall since they are still useful in Standard. Kaladesh (KLD) and Aether Revolt (AER) even rebounded a little this week. Look for further strength as Core Set 2019 (M19) releases this week and shakes up the Standard metagame.
On the other hand, the sets that are sticking around in Standard were all in the red this week, although Market prices posted gains. In the short term, Ixalan (XLN) and Rivals of Ixalan (RIX) both have upside, in particular since they are both being reprinted for redemption and will be available in the store at some point over the next month.
Dominaria (DAR) is just at the end of its drafting window. This is the perfect time for players to be rounding out their sets and for speculators to start accumulating full sets. DAR will be available for redemption into September so there will always be a price floor supporting the full set. Pursuing full set speculations relies on prices adjusting to a reduced amount of fresh supply as drafting switches to the next set. Look for gains in the five to fifteen percent range and don't hold on too long.
The big news this week were the bans of Gitaxian Probe and Deathrite Shaman announced in Legacy. For some excellent analysis, look to Adrian Tan's article this week. In particular, Wasteland has really suffered under the combination of the dominant one drop and steady reprints in Treasure Chests. Have a look at the chart below of the various versions of Wasteland, courtesy of Goatbots.
You can see that the original printing from Tempest (TMP) commands a premium over the other versions, but every version has risen in price over the last week. I think this is a good signal that further gains are anticipated in the short term as Legacy players adjust to the new format. Players who have been considering adding Wastelands into their collection should feel safe in doing so and speculators can also consider buying in. Watch out for taking a large position though as prices can adjust very quickly in a thinner market like Legacy and buy sell spreads are often larger.
Players and bots sold their extra DAR boosters this week, dropping their price from 3 tix all the way down to 2.2 tix before rebounding to 2.5 tix as of today. You can see the action in the chart below, courtesy of Goatbots.
This type of action is not unusual and it's not time to be a buyer yet. The bump in price is temporary as drafters get in a few last trips through the queues with cheap boosters. Once Core Set 2019 hits this week, demand for DAR boosters will disappear and the price will continue to fall. Have a look at how the price of RIX boosters evolved just prior to the release of DAR in April.
Here I've labeled three points, A, B and C. We are at point B currently with DAR boosters and we don't want to be buyers until they get closer to point C. It's difficult to judge exactly when we hit the bottom or point C, but DAR boosters will end up in the 1.5 to 1.8 tix range some time over the next ten days. That will be the time to be a buyer. For players, they can get their fill of cheap draft sets to use over the summer, and speculators can take advantage of a temporary dip in prices with an to reselling in August at a profit.
When speculating on boosters, I like to think in terms of how much a draft set costs to judge when it's time to buy and sell. For XLN block draft sets, that meant two RIX boosters and one XLN booster. I was a heavy buyer when draft sets were 5 to 6 tix, although prices got below 5 tix as well. In the first half of June these got to about 6 tix before coming down to under 5 tix by the end of June. Overall, the trade was marginal, but the reason for this was buying too soon, generating an average buy price that was too high. This is why for DAR draft sets, I will be looking to buy under 6 tix and once M19 is released on the weekend, with a prime selling window in late August into early September.
Trade of the Week
For a complete look at my recent trades, please check out the portfolio. This week I took a bet on the unbanning of Stoneforge Mystic in Modern. There was a substantial amount of price action in both digital and paper as Stoneforge Mystic hit all-time highs in advance of the banned and restricted announcement.
I interpreted this, incorrectly, as a signal that insider information was circulating. What I should have done was to poke holes in the idea before pursuing any speculations. Although Batterskull had been moving up, it would have been easy to look at the non-movement in other pieces of equipment. Sword of Fire and Ice had no corresponding movement and if there had been some insider information, this would have moved up in price as well.
Nevertheless, what I did was to purchase Batterskull and various other pieces of equipment. Long term, I think the chances of a Stoneforge Mystic unban in Modern are almost certain. With that in mind, though, holding a long-term position on MTGO is not tenable for most cards. There's just too much opportunity in other strategies, so I'll be looking to sell off the Batterskull and deploy the tix into full sets of DAR and M19 foil mythic rares. The various swords I've got on the books have high spreads, so the case for holding these for a longer term is a little better. I will sell some of these, but hold onto the rest and wait for the inevitable unbanning of Stoneforge Mystic in Modern.