The Nutt Draw: Monthly Demand Matrix Update

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It’s time again for a look at the Demand Matrix. What is the Demand Matrix? Is it what you call the line of fanboys waiting for the IMAX showing of the movie The Matrix in 3D? No not really, I don’t have that kind of special effects budget (and would probably be right there in that same line waiting).

The Demand Matrix is a list of cards and a scattering of numbers arranged in an attempt to show us what the most popular cards are in a given Magic playing format. By taking the total quantity of the sales of each card, multiplying it by the average price of that card and then dividing that figure by the card with the largest total figure we get a new figure that gives us the relative demand of every card in a given subset. When these values are sorted we are left with a list of cards whose popularity has essentially been voted on by all our collective dollars spent. The value that is assigned to each of these cards is called the Demand Index.

1st Highest Priced

My current source of data is eBay sales as collected from a 3rd party. I hope to learn enough Python to pull my own data because there are more tweaks I’d like to perform on it then I really can right now. The resulting values tell us how popular a given card is with only a nod given to its asking price. Part of the reason this was originally calculated was to see if the price of certain high priced cards was mathematically justified. There are several interesting by-product results this data shows us. Two weeks ago we applied each card’s Demand Index value to a collection of buy-lists to give us an indication of which cards are most sought by stores, but were also in least demand for purchase on the secondary market.  Thus, we found certain cards that we might not have wanted, but hadn’t thought to sell.

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2nd Highest Priced

As you can see there hasn’t been a lot of movement on the top end of the spectrum. Baneslayer Angel seems to be making a small come back and Jace, the Mind Sculptor is again ahead of Primeval Titan. Perhaps the titan’s uses are too limited for him to retain the top spot? Obstinate Baloth has jumped quite a few spots and though its greatness is fairly meta dependent, it remains a card to be watched. Garruk Wildspeakers stock is also on the rise, which makes sense with so many other great green cards coming up. Knight of the Reliquary is on its way down as we move toward rotation which seems fairly intuitive. Abyssal Persecutor has taken a really large dive in popularity. Maybe there was just a spike in its use recently? I’d also like to make a quick note that I’m now referencing relevant Buy List prices for the top 30 in the Demand Matrix.

This week we’re going to also look at which cards have had the largest changes in their demand (Demand Index) from the monthly totals to the weekly totals.

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3rd Highest Priced

Here we can see the cards that have shown the most movement in their relative demand over the last week as compared to their relative demand over the last month. This gives us an indication of how the popularity of the cards might be waxing and waning. A few of the higher profile cards from M11 seem to be on the decline. This makes a lot of logical sense since the M11 pack EV is still comparatively high and we should be starting to bury the cards which were overpriced and/or too specific in use and making a little more room for the stars of the show. Time Reversal, Nantuko Shade, and Steel Overseer are all taking a hit in the volume being acquired and their values should follow the same pattern soon. The largest gain in popularity seems to be Baneslayer Angel, and you might remember that I had previously speculated that it would come back up because the pricing is more affordable now than it has been for a year and people are going to want to complete their play sets. Respect also seems to be rising a bit for Frost Titan which I think is good. He’s a more subtle titan in some ways, but still very good in the right setting and deserves better than the $3 price I’ve seen him traded at.

4th Highest Priced

Looking over some of the buy prices I’ve incorporated and comparing them with their demand movement and eBay sale prices it seems that now might be a good time to offload those Noble Hierarch cards you might have laying around. If your interest is primarily in Standard, keep in mind that they rotate soon, and you should be able to get a decent value.

Based on some feedback I received I have also added a small calculation to the Pack EV sheet. In the last line you will now see how much you’d have to pay for a box of each set in order to make a 50% profit from cracking packs and selling them. This of course doesn’t account for any possible overhead you might have in eBay fees and such, but it’s a guideline for those interested.

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5th Highest Priced

As always, please let me know what other kinds of comparisons you’d like to see and if I am able, I’ll crunch up the numbers.

Chris McNutt

Chris McNutt

Born in Seattle, Washington, Chris McNutt has been playing and collecting Magic: The Gathering since Unlimited Edition. As an active player, tournament organizer and judge he regularly scrubs out of Pro Tour Qualifiers but inexplicably cleans up at the local draft tables. When not net decking Chris is either busy working as an Information Technology Sales Rep or spending time with his family. Other non-magical pastimes include playing guitar and an unhealthy number of video games. Cursed with an undying love of generating spreadsheets purely for “fun”, he’ll be crunching the numbers each week in order to serve up delicious data burritos to the salivating, hungry readers of Quiet Speculation.

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19 thoughts on “The Nutt Draw: Monthly Demand Matrix Update

  1. Every time I get to read one of these Demand Matrix articles from you it really sets the tone for how my trading will be done in the next week. Were starting to see some patterns develop, which will be really useful. I'd like to see a graph spanning from when you started the DI to current, and see how the top 20 or so cards from then till now have done, where spikes and lows were, and whats held steady (Jace TMS obv.) Seeing graphs of data for the last 4 days is awesome and it provides some insight in whats happened in the past few days, but a longer term visual would also be useful, and help to provide some possible speculation on where certain cards are going for the long haul. Obviously we cant say for certain, but we can make an educated guess.

    1. I'm still building out some of the spread sheets I use, but I should be able to add in a longer time frame to what I've started recording. I display 4 days right now because that's about the largest figure I can depend on in 200 eBay auctions (max quantity on 1 full page). I haven't been saving that data to date, but I could both pull that data from 2+ pages and/or record the results.

  2. The Pack EV chart is fantastic! What a clear, concise way of representing whether to go pack vs. singles vs. whole sets to maximize your profit. Thank you, please keep this one in your regular stable of charts. I'd love to see a historical Pack EV over time as sets rotate/packs become more scarce.

    I also wonder if there is a way to correlate value of a card vs. it's appearances in MtG sanctioned Top 8 decks (or SCG/TCGPlayer cash tournaments). E.g., if Vengevine appears in 30% of Top 8s in a given month, does the price increase? What if that jumps to 60%? How does this impact Pack EV of ROE.

    1. Thank you for you kind words. I've recently started recording some of the ev data so that I can compare the historical values. I also have a way to look back about a year, but it's very labor intensive so I've been trying to think of a way to automate it. In the end I'm probably just going to have to allocate more time to learning a programming language so I can write the code myself.

      I've wondered about the same correlations. If I keep the data sources to and certain types of events reported by starcity then this should be possible. I'm not sure how useful the data would be outside of anecdotal reference, but we might find it relevant after it's being collected. I'll give this some more thought.

  3. Agreed on the EV spreadsheet. Maybe even explain it to some of us so we can believe in it more.

    Also, tell us where we can buy bulk boxes at $50?! lol? no? ok.

  4. Qhuote Jujuju – "Also, tell us where we can buy bulk boxes at $50?! lol? no? ok."

    If I'm reading this chart correctly, that's how much you need to find the box at to be able to make that projected 50% profit from selling the singles. M11 is the closest to usual prices we can find boxes at, 74.58 to make a 50% profit isn't all that hard to imagine. Usually its going to be closer to 85.00 though, and at that price you should still make close to 40% profit, depending on what you open of course.

  5. Loving the addition of the last line. As I am just getting started in being a bit more serious in watching my cash flow in this game that last line is great for figuring out when to jump on a box/case deal.

  6. The delta Demand Index chart is pretty typical for rotation. The established decks are out there and won't be changing till scars. Rotating stock is going down and people are performing "flight to quality" IE into cards that aren't going to spike or dive very much. M10/11 duals, Core Planeswalkers, BOP et.

    Lotus Cobra has been a wierd card to predict ever since it was released. I really think it's a skill tester of card, because it can be so explosive, but so dead. If the pro's are using it the card is $20, but if they aren't it's $10.

  7. I would like to see an analysis of changes in card prices compared to the copies used in tournament play.

    I don't know if this would be possible, but it sure would be nice if you tried.


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