REVIEW: What is the best marked deck?

Discussion in 'Product Questions and Reviews' started by Magic Orthodoxy, May 12, 2020.

  1. REVIEW: What is the best marked deck?

    Every now and then I am asked about the "best" this or the "best" that.

    But in magic there is no such thing as "bad" or "best" - what I've noticed is that we all love different things, use different things and we all have our very strong opinions... LOL

    So how do you find the best marked deck?

    Well, first you need to decide if you want a READER back ... or a CODED MARKING. In other words do you want the deck to just "SAY" 6 of clubs on the back or would you rather have a hidden mark that only you can decipher?

    Ya see? We've already split into two different groups as to what we think is "best."

    Then, do you want a "familiar" back design like USPCC makes? Or do you want something more custom and more mysterious?

    Now we're narrowing in on picking out your "best" marked deck.

    Here is an example of a marked / coded deck:

    Here is a list of 10 marked and reader back decks that I own

    And here are the two marketed decks that "I believe" are the best:

    Of course the best marked deck is always the deck you make yourself, here is a short tutorial on how to save money and make your own

    I hope that helps - and if you have questions about a particular marketed deck I will try to answer your question.
    KarstenJ and ForceProof101 like this.
  2. ForceProof101 likes this.
  3. Although I don't typically use marked decks, I really like the marking on the 1800 series decks. There are at least 4 versions, since each time they re-released the deck, they changed the markings as well. I have 3 of them, but there is one that is marked in the left-center edge that I don't have. (That particular one is a bit more obvious and possible to catch compared to the others)

    The reason I like them? Even though they are reader decks, and they can be read at a fair distance, the "cracked" inking hides it so well you can't detect it even by running a flip book reveal. As far as I know, it's the only deck series using this method for both marking the deck, and obscuring them.

    Ironically this deck was available at a popular game shop here in town. I imagine a lot of their customers now have marked decks and don't even realize it. The person at the counter didn't even know about it when I first saw them there, and couldn't find the markings even when told they were marked. But once I showed her how to read them, she got every one correct.

    It's pretty brilliant, and a great example of form before function.

    PS: I'm a long time subscriber and have bought decks and the occasional magic thingy after seeing them in your reviews. Just sayin' :)
  4. You're absolutely right that many people who own the 1800s deck don't even realize it is marked, or that it was created firstly for card magic.

    I've actually written an article about this very deck that I think you'll enjoy reading: The Perils of Selling a Magic Product to the Mass Market

    It was prompted by some of the negative reviews for the 1800s deck over on Amazon. Some of them are hilarious! As you probably know, this deck also comes with a duplicate Queen of Hearts with a different coloured back. What many customers didn't realize is that this is an extra gaff card, and quite a number of them wrote to complain that the deck was defective! One of my favourite comments is this one: "The first deck of cards (blue) that I ordered contained one red Queen of Hearts, so I ordered a second deck. Same thing with the second deck." Read the full article for more hilarity like this.
    Al e Cat Dabra and KarstenJ like this.
  5. Once a friend really loved one of the decks I have, so I bought him one. A few days later he was commenting on how weird there was an extra "malformed" card that had the same thing (the back) on both sides. He thought it was simply referencing the back design of both the cards and the box, and thought of it as a bit of a novel trophy.

    I showed him, using his own deck, the classic trick the double backer is used for and he was blown away. Funny thing is, even after that he still didn't realize that it was that card that did the trick, even though he was just talking about it.

    I haven't seen him for a long time these days. I wonder if one day he's fiddling around with the cards, rolls the deck over, and then it suddenly hits him...
  6. Good article. I'm surprised you didn't mention there is a strange quirk with the 1800 series: The red deck and the blue deck are *entirely* different in each of the different series. They feel completely different since one is far more matte than the other. They both handle well, but you would easily mistake them as being from completely different manufacturers. And in one of the series, the red has an additional layer of colour so the fading looks even more realistic.

    Also in one of the series, the markings are tinted a sort of creamy white colour. I think that potentially stands out too much, but it still does look cool, and nobody I've shown the deck to has noticed - they all believe its an actual aged deck.

    There are at least 4 different series of the 1800 deck, mainly differentiated by the marking position and style, plus the red one with two shades of red. I have 3 of them and only knew about the fourth because of it being shown on Google Images. I don't think there's even a way of specifying what version of the cards you want, and I've never seen the changes mentioned in any ad copy.
  7. Ellusionist did create a "Series 1" and a "Series 2" of the 1800 decks, and there were some definite changes between them. With the help of the Internet archive, you can view the original product pages of the Series 1 deck and of the Series 2 deck.

    From what I recall, Ellusionist didn't have much info about the differences between them on their actual product pages. But using the secret link provided on the ad card within the deck, you got access to a page with videos explaining the marking system. This page had separate videos you could pick from, depending on which version of the 1800s you had, due the changes between Series 1 and Series 2.

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