Description[edit | edit source]
Tournament-legal cards are 2.5 x 3.5 inches (6.35 x 8.89 cm) and weigh 0.064 ounces (1.814 grams). Non-foil cards are approximately 0.012 inches (0.305 mm) thick. Magic cards, like regular playing cards, are made from two layers of cardboard joined together by an opaque blue adhesive, so that they're opaque even seen in direct sunlight. The card stock allows the cards to be handled and shuffled without loosing their "bounce", or bendibility. The corners of the card are cut with a radius of 1/8 inch (3 mm). Foil cards have an extra foil layer on the card that highlights certain parts of the artwork over others.
Rules inserts and tokens are made of different cardstock than the rest of the cards. They don't have the opaque layer in the middle.
Rules[edit | edit source]
A card is only referred to as a "card" by game rules or effects when in a player's hand, library, or graveyard, or in exile. Tokens are never considered cards, even if cards are used to represent them. When a card has been cast and is on the stack waiting to resolve, the game refers to it as a "spell." When a card is on the battlefield, the game refers to it as a "permanent," or simply by its type or subtype.
Parts of a card[edit | edit source]
Marked cards[edit | edit source]
A marked card is a card in a deck that can be identified by some means other than looking at its face. Protective sleeves can also be considered marked in a similar manner. Marked cards are illegal in all tournament play because there may be the chance that the player is cheating by knowing all the marks and may predict his/her draws.
Some examples of features that make a card "marked" include excessive wear, patterned wear, pen markings, card curvature or card-back color saturation. Card curvature can matter when using foiled premium cards, as early foil cards would warp differently than normal cards. Card-back color saturation can matter when using cards from different sets, especially when combining older and newer cards. Older cards tend to have a more varied and lower saturation to the card back while newer cards have a more homogeneous and higher saturation to them.
Altered cards[edit | edit source]
Some players and collectors have their cards signed by artists, written on by celebrities, drawn on, or otherwise "embellished". In tournaments it is always the head judge's call as to whether a card is "disruptively" altered. Cards with just signature on them are almost universally acceptable; the fuzziness starts when the whole text box is covered or if the art is obscured too much. Even if the card name is readable, altered cards can be ruled illegal if they seem deceptive to your opponent from a distance.
Nontraditional cards[edit | edit source]
Counterfeits[edit | edit source]
If a non-foil Magic card is bent corner-to-corner (or top-to-bottom), it will not crease, and will bounce back to its original state instead.  This is one way in which people test for counterfeit cards, although it should be carried out with caution, as even a genuine card may fail after repeated bending.
Illegal counterfeit boxes of Magic as well as counterfeit single cards have been produced and distributed. Most counterfeits are easily distinguishable as fakes by a different color, gloss coating or texture. Wizards of the Coast takes legal action, when appropiate. 
In November 1995, the Windsor, Ontario Police in Canada were informed that two men were running a counterfeiting operation in the area. The police seized 40,000 counterfeit Magic cards, as well as film plates for the reproduction of more. Eighteen rare cards (including moxes and dual lands) were printed 2,200 times each. The men were charged with eighteen counts under the Canadian Copyright Act.  In 2002, white-bordered versions of regular black-borderered cards were sold as exclusives. It turned out it was possible to "erase" the border off of a card using transparent tape and a good eraser. 
Proxies[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Kelly Digges. (April 24, 2007.) “Ask Wizards - April, 2007”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Ted Knutson. (October 21, 2006.) “Anatomy of a Magic Card”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Ken Nagle. (June 15, 2009.) “Convertible Design”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Aaron Forsythe. (April 16, 2002.) “Customizing Your Collection”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Warning: Magic Counterfeiting on the Rise, The Duelist #8, December 1995
- Mike Elliott. (April 26, 2004.) “Buyer Beware”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Elaine Chase. (July 22, 2014.) “Protecting You from Counterfeits”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- The Duelist 15 (February 1997), p. 17
- Magic Arcana. (November 29, 2002.) “White borders?!”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Elaine Chase. (January 14, 2016.) “On Proxies, Policy, and Communication”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.