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Unlocked: MTGO Market Report for August 8th, 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 August 6, 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.

Standard

There's no sign yet of the reprinted Ixalan (XLN) and Rivals of Ixalan (RIX) redemption sets in the store yet. The only available set for redemption in the store remains Dominaria (DAR), both regular and foil versions. Redeemers are no doubt salivating over the juicy paper/digital spread for Core Set 2019 (M19) but it looks like it won't be this week that redemption goes live for that set.

Elsewhere, we are getting close to setting an ignominious mark for a Standard set with Hour of Devastation (HOU) almost hitting single digits. Never before has a Standard-legal set sunk to such a low price. The premier card of the set remains The Scarab God, but the decline from its peak price of close to 50 tix is astounding. The current price of 1.3 tix for that card represents a 97-percent decline.


Amonkhet (AKH) isn't faring much better and is close behind at 13 tix. Ordinarily, any kind of record price low would get my contrarian instincts flowing. I would start to scour these two sets for Standard bounce-back candidates and cheap Modern staples, but we are in a new era of speculation as a result of Treasure Chests, so setting a new record low price for a Standard set is not a reliable signal for value.

If I were familiar with the Standard metagame and how it might shift in the coming weeks, then I would be more willing to explore buying single cards for value. But I have no special knowledge at the moment and fall rotation is less than two months away at this point. Although it looks like that event is already fully priced into these two sets, it's not the right time to be a buyer from a top-down perspective. When we get near the end of September and into early October, cards like Hollow One, Hour of Promise, Hazoret the Fervent and Gideon of the Trials will be worth considering from AKH block.


The price of Aether Revolt (AER) and Kaladesh (KLD) are holding up much better in comparison, which attests to the power level of these two sets. When it comes time to be a buyer of rotating Standard cards in October, I would focus my attention on these two sets first. In particular, a card like Walking Ballista which shows up in multiple archetypes will be a strong speculative target. The KLD fast lands are also high on the list of targets.

Modern

The 25th anniversary of Magic's Pro Tour took place last weekend, which gave us a look at what the pros had been up to in Modern. Although the top finishing decks were Humans, Ironworks Combo and Hollow One, the team nature of the event means that these were not necessarily the best Modern decks.


The new kid on the block is B/R Vengevine, a novel combination of graveyard-focused cards with surprising inclusions like Walking Ballista and Hangarback Walker. Ordinarily, you would expect to see these artifacts in a Tron deck where they can take advantage of the vast amounts of mana generated by Urza's Tower and company, but it's being able to cast these creatures for zero mana that makes them attractive. Doing so helps to trigger Vengevine and Bridge from Below.

Stitcher's Supplier is another rather innocuous card from M19 that is helping to pull this deck together. Getting three cards into the graveyard right off the top for one mana might be enough, but you get a second round of cards into the graveyard when it dies. To top it all off, it's a relevant Zombie creature type, which allows the return of Gravecrawler from the graveyard.


This deck is still in development, so it's not yet clear what the optimal build is and what it's potential is. This is the first legitimate use of Bridge from Below since Golgari Grave-Troll was banned a second time. This is probably contributing to the deck's early success as Modern players will be unfamiliar with playing against this enchantment.

I don't think the speculative potential on this deck and its components is exhausted, so it will be worth watching if it can sustain some success going forward. Regardless of what happens with this particular archetype, graveyard sideboard pieces remain a hot commodity. In particular, cards like Leyline of the Void and Surgical Extraction can go in any sideboard as graveyard hate, which makes them particularly good speculative targets. I'll be targeting these two cards in October when interest in Modern wanes.

Standard Boosters

DAR draft sets continue to power higher and now sit at 8.1 tix. For comparison, a draft set of M19 costs 9.7 tix so there is still a substantial discount to enter the DAR draft queues versus the M19 leagues. Helping to push the price of DAR boosters higher is the value of the contents. With cards like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria at 39 tix and Karn, Scion of Urza also over 30 tix. DAR is the most expensive set in Standard by a substantial amount and this is helping to push the price of DAR boosters up.

The move up in the last month has been impressive. The price of a DAR booster got below 2 tix in early July and it is up nearly 1 tix since that time. Have a look at how DAR boosters have fared with the chart below, courtesy of Goatbots. If this is the new price pattern that speculators can expect from boosters going forward, then it will be a lucrative strategy indeed.

For the rest of the month, the interest in DAR draft will remain high. It's regarded as one of the finest sets for Draft in recent memory, so it's a very compelling alternative to the core set for many players. Once we get into September, though, Cube draft will restart along with previews from Guilds of Ravnica (GRN). This will reduce the interest in tired draft formats and prices of DAR and M19 boosters will both head lower as a result. This means that the next month is the prime window for selling DAR boosters while the next big buying opportunity for boosters won't arrive until the end of September when GRN is released, pushing M19 into the draft queues and removing DAR draft. Have some tix ready to buy M19 boosters at that time to capture some solid gains from a cyclical and predictable trade.

Trade of the Week

For a complete look at my recent trades, please check out the portfolio. This week I took advantage of the surging price of a set of DAR to sell my sets that I bought last month. Net profit per set ended up being 22 tix which means a thirty percent return in a month.


This is a great return and as a result, I'll be looking to expand my full set purchases when it comes time to be a buyer of M19 in September. The move away from two set blocks means that less supply of a given set will be released by the time it leaves the draft leagues. Less supply means the potential for explosive price increases is higher and the potential for M19 will also be high due to Standard rotation.

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