Modern Horizons is a special Magic: The Gathering set designed for the Modern format. The set is unique because it includes 209 brand-new cards playable in the Modern, Legacy, and Commander formats. Modern Horizons released on June 14th, 2019, for around $200.00 per booster box. A booster box contains 36 packs of trading cards with 15 individual cards inside each pack.
This new MTG set has already made a significant impact across constructed formats. Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis warped Modern until its banning on August 26th, 2019. Wrenn and Six have quickly become a premier card in multiple Legacy and Modern decks. Various creatures such as Plague Engineer and Giver of Runes appear in the MTG Goldfish most played Modern creatures list.
Where to Begin Forecasting Modern Horizons
Modern Horizons (MH) is a tricky set to forecast future pricing because there has never been something like it before. The MTG set changed the Modern format landscape and created new deck builds such as Bant Soulherder and Four-Color Whirza. Since MH was released just over three months, historical booster box pricing is stagnant. Also, the set is still in print with no official word on a potential end date currently.
To find a baseline for calculating future pricing, I looked at weighted averages and growth rates from my previous booster box forecasting articles. While MH is not a Standard format set, this data could provide insight into how prices change over two to three years. Data used for this article is downloadable here.
Establishing Current Market Prices for a Non-MSRP Product
MH does not have an advertised MSRP for physical booster boxes and packs. However, MH digital packs on Magic Online (MTGO) were $6.99. Next, I looked at current physical prices for MH 3-pack blisters sold at mass retailers like Target and Gamestop. Their pricing for this product was $21.00 or $7.00 per pack. Since the digital and retail pack prices were at $7.00 each, I used this information to establish an actual MSRP. I set an estimated MSRP per physical pack of MH at $7.00. Multiplying $7.00 by 36 equals $252.00 per booster box.
To figure out the current market price for MH booster boxes, I calculated the average sale price of 84 sold English listings on eBay. The sales ranged from August 13th, 2019, to September 2nd, 2019. I thought it was essential to include booster box sales before and after the Hoogaak banning. I chose 84 sold booster boxes because it was enough to calculate a reasonable average price. The final average price per booster box sold was $179.25. I decided to use this number as my buy-in price per booster box of Modern Horizons. As a comparison, the TCG Player market price per pack and booster box of MH was $5.10 and $183.51, respectively.
Calculating Projected Growth Rates
Once I established an MSRP and buy-in price per booster box, I could understand future growth opportunities. For this analysis, I disregarded the current set EV from MTG Dawnglare. I did this because subtracting the set EV by online selling fees of 12.9%, plus shipping costs, would cause a financial loss on average. My target sell date was December 2021 (30 months after release), close to the average hold period in my previous financial articles on Standard booster boxes. I also wanted to get an estimate for December 2020 (18 months after release). My assumption was that booster boxes of MH would stop being printed by Christmas 2019 (six months after release). I shortened the estimated printing time frame to six months due to the fall product release dates of Throne of Eldraine and Brawl decks. It would not seem realistic for Wizards of the Coast to continuing printing a specialty product long past these two product releases. If I were a business owner, I would want to focus my advertising dollars and attention on newness for the holiday season.
In the analysis, current booster box prices fell between $179.25 and $252.00 (estimated retail). By averaging the booster box prices on eBay, TCG Player, MTGO (36 packs), and Target (12 blisters of 3-packs), I calculated $216.57 or $6.02 a pack. At the current point in September 2nd, 2019, a player could spend $36.00 ($1.00 per pack) above or below the average booster box price, depending on the retail outlet.
I decided to calculate a low, medium, and high estimate instead of one future market price. The reason for this is because the historical data of similar products was lacking. I assumed a customer was willing to pay the estimated retail price of $252.00 per booster box now and after printing ends in the future for the low estimate. This assumption is based on the pricing for MH packs on MTGO and at mass retailers. The average growth rate would need to be 1.35% or $2.43 per month to hit a target price of $252.00 per booster box from $179.25 in 30 months. The average growth rate of 1.35% is close to the calculated average growth for predicting future booster box prices of Standard sets rotating in October 2019.
To calculate a medium estimate, I used a weighted average of the holding period and average monthly growth rate for all standard booster boxes in my previous prediction articles. The MH Data tab of the analysis contains the math used to calculate an average monthly growth rate of 1.65% or $2.95. I multiplied the dollar amount by 30 and added it to $179.25 resulting in an estimated future booster box price of $267.79 or $7.44 a pack. If the target date to sell was December 2020, the estimated future booster box price is $232.37.
I used the same method as the medium estimate to calculate the high estimate, except I only looked at Dominaria, Kaladesh, Aether Revolt, and Eldritch Moon. These were the top growth rates over time among the analyzed Standard set boxes. The weighted average of the best performing sets over time resulted in an average growth rate of 2.99% per month or $5.36. The estimated future box price after 30 months came to $339.96 or $9.44 per pack. After only 18 months, the estimated booster box price is $275.68.
Analyzing Future Booster Box Price Predictions
I averaged the three future pricing predictions for December 2021, which resulted in a booster box price of $286.58 or $7.96 per pack. At $286.58, MH booster boxes would appreciate 59.9% over two years and six months since their release date. After the estimated transaction and shipping fees, this would result in a profit of 32.1%. If MH booster boxes appreciated to $252.00 (estimated MSRP), they would appreciate 40.6% in the same period. The profit after estimated fees and shipping would be 15.3%.
If a booster box got purchased for $180.00, the estimated break-even sale price is $221.35. When looking at the predicted future booster box prices for 18 months, the expected break-even point would be December 2020. In other words, buying at the current average booster box price of $179.25 in September 2019 would require a hold period of 15 months to break even.
Other outside factors can affect future booster box prices, such as print, drafting, and collectability. While this analysis does not cover these outside influences, it tries to incorporate them by using data from previous forecasts and the history of other booster boxes. Another way to forecast MH is by using previous Masters's booster box price changes instead of older Standard set booster boxes. A third way could be combining Masters' booster box historical pricing and Standard set booster box historical pricing. Ultimately, a forecast is a future prediction based on historical data and other available information.
*The information in this article is my knowledge and opinion and is meant for informational purposes only. I am not a registered financial professional or trying to act as one.*
5/22/2020 02:45:01 pm
great write up... curious how you might adjust this now with the pandemic and the current prices of the set. wondering also if they're sitll printing MH?
5/23/2020 09:20:24 am
Thanks for the comment. The beginning of the pandemic pulled prices down. Over the last month, prices have been increasing; especially anything played in EDH. I foresee current prices stabilizing soon since paper play is still at a minimum. However, EDH cards may continue rising due to popularity. I doubt MH is still in print at this point. I am planning to do an article later June or early June seeing how prices have changed a year since the release of the set.
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