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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Deck the Halls » » Review: Black Widow deck, Versa deck (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

EndersGame
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Reviewer EndersGame
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With new decks constantly appearing, it can be hard to keep up with the latest and greatest. So to showcase some of the hot new offerings that are hitting the market, here are some brand new custom decks that I've been enjoying recently.

FOR THE TRADITIONALIST IN YOU

Black Widow deck

Sometimes you don't want too much freedom, and not every situation is one in which you can cast off all restraint. And yet you want some room for style. That's where the Black Widow deck comes in. It has a more traditional look, and yet has a real bite.

The tuck box already makes a statement of style, with a gorgeous and sleek jet black look, touched off with an attractive red foil that draws our immediate attention to a spider web. A custom red seal depicting a fly finishes the macabre and yet stylish presentation on the outside. On the inside, interior printing inside the tuck box reveals a tiled pattern with more trapped flies, two of which also appear on the inner flaps. Given that the deck is a tribute to the black widow spider, this tuck box does a good job of ensnaring us in a web right from our very first look.

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Yet there is a very traditional look, which is exactly what the traditionalist in you wants, remember? The court cards have been given their own style, and there are touches of the theme throughout them, chiefly noticeable with the tiny red webs adorning the characters themselves. At the same time these cards have a look about them that remains quite ordinary and standard - which is what most people will want for card games or magic. A simplified red and black colour scheme has been adopted, where the red is more scarlet than maroon, and this also adds an element of freshness, while remaining within the constraints of traditional style.

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The red web will return on the card backs, which feature a black background, against which are some vibrant and stark red details. Chief of these is a spider web, and only upon closer examination will you realize that the two hour-glass patterns marks the presence of two very large black widow spiders that occupy the majority of the card space. If you look further, you'll see some insects trapped in the artwork as well.

We've come to expect extra customization with the Ace of Spades and Jokers, and this deck is no exception. The Ace of Spades is perhaps the most stylish card in the deck, while the Jokers have a red hourglass inside a spider web.

Black cards are known for showing signs of wear more quickly, but the choice by creator Justin Froyd to have this printed in a very durable finish by EPCC ensures that these cards should hold up longer than an equivalent USPCC produced deck. While not a huge fan of spiders generally, I've really come to like this deck a lot given all the details and touches that have been included.

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Versa deck

The Versa deck also keeps us within the boundaries of the traditional - at least as far as the court cards are concerned, more or less. The tuck box on the other hand immediately confronts us with the CMYK colour palette that is the driving force behind this deck. With this deck in our hands, we are quickly going to get used to seeing a whole lot more of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black.

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This deck's companion is the Vice deck, and both come to us from Occupied Cards and Takyon Cards (OxT for short). While the Vice deck was more of an 80s inspired design, with retro swirls and a more cruisy look, what the Versa deck shares with it is a love for vibrant colours.

The Versa deck however has a more modern look, although its inspiration lies with VHS tapes, Polaroid, and CMKY test strips. The card backs have a deliberate one-way design intended to accentuate packet cuts in the hands of a cardist. The graphic design here looks as if it could come straight from a set of printer samples, with very sharply focused lines and colours.

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Designed with the modern cardist in mind, the Vice and Versa decks don't want to depart too much from tradition, however, and that's why the standard designs of the court cards have been retained. Of course these have been given a fresh coat of paint in line with the CMYK theme.

The Ace of Spades is a giant pip, from which three splashes of vibrant colour emerge as lines right to the border on one side. The Jokers and ad cards bring to mind CMYK test strips, and remind us to "enjoy and relax". And isn't that exactly what cardistry is all about? USPCC printing ensures that we won't be disappointed once we blend both tradition and innovation, whether it is with card flourishing or any other use we might put these cards to.

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Recommendation

So where can you get the beautiful decks and accessories featured here? Any reputable online retailer that sells custom playing cards should have these available (e.g. Rare Playing Cards). If your favourite retailer don't stock these particular decks, send them to Murphy's Magic, which is a magic wholesaler. They have an enormous range of products that they sell in bulk quantities to dealers and retailers around the world. Given their extensive contacts in the industry, all of these decks should be available from any retailer that sources their decks from Murphy's Magic.

I've seen a lot of decks of custom playing cards, but I never cease to be surprised by the level of innovation and creativity that is on display, as designers and creators continue to experiment with new ideas and concepts. Today's market is witnessing an unprecedented amount of quality playing cards that handle beautifully and also look great. The decks featured here are all fine examples of the type of quality and style that is available to consumers today. Artistic and original decks like these are great for card gamers, cardists, magicians, collectors, or for anyone looking to customize their playing card experience with some refreshing and custom elements.

Direct links:
- For the alter-ego of you: B-Roll deck, Six Strings deck
- For the traditionalist in you: Black Widow deck, Versa deck
- For the cardist in you: Proj. Subtle deck
- For the magician in you: DMC Elites deck (Forest Green), Polyantha deck
- For the exhibitionist in you: Carat XDS card display & deck stand, Carat XCB brick box

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BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame - click here to see all my pictorial reviews: => Magic Reviews <==> Playing Card Reviews <==> Board Game Reviews <==
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Deck the Halls » » Review: Black Widow deck, Versa deck (0 Likes)
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