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Top 12: Playing Cards of 2019


Another record year for playing cards! What an incredible year it has been! Looking back, one thing is certain: we are incredibly fortunate to be part of such an inspired community of artists, designers, cardists, magicians and collectors! We have had a huge selection of decks released and delivered this year. To celebrate, we've compiled 12 of our favorite decks for 2019 right here. We realized that the benchmark is increasing each year with designers and producers putting out stunning decks, trying new innovation and design styles. So, if you think we've missed your favorite deck, let us know in the comment section below. :) You can also download the PDF on our Patron page.

Note that the selection expressed in this top 12 are solely those of the author and the list is in no particular order.

Crayon


Designer Jackson Robinson released the Crayon deck, a nostalgic deck that looks just like your fave childhood crayons! A Super Duper Polka Dotted Gilded Edition Crayons features the limited edition red tuck case but with vibrant color splash paint and stickers scattered throughout the tuck... externally AND internally. No two tucks are the same. Inside, the deck is fully custom and features fractured holographic gilding, which gives this deck a vibrant and fun vibe!


NPCCD 2019


This year’s 2019 National Playing Card Collection (NPCCD) was inspired by the beauty of Morocco. The country is commonly known for its mesmerizing architecture and its labyrinth-esque marketplaces- the two aspects of the culture that designer Alex Chin wanted to imbue into this series when designing it. This year’s theme was to encapsulate this culture into this year’s 2019 NPCCD Palace Edition.


Fontaine Futures


Zach Mueller unveiled the Fontaine Future at Cardistry-Con Portland featuring a new product offering not seen in the playing cards industry. The decks are packed in a sealed anti-static shielding plastic pouch, giving it a futuristic look. Six different decks are on offer for the "blind packs": Glitch (1 of 1000), Polka (1 of 1500), 500 (1 of 500), Window (1 of 2000), Floral (1 of 2500) and Parrot (1 of 2000).


Six Strings


Six Strings is a collaboration between Kardify and Murphy's Magic inspired by the most majestic and fascinating musical instrument- the guitar. This limited edition deck is designed by Ade Suryana. You will love the fully custom design featuring gorgeous reimagined courts, visually appealing pips and suits, bold Ace of Spades, and an intricate card back design. All packaged in a beautifully crafted letter-pressed tuck case by Clove St Press.


Nutcracker


A fully custom deck crafted from the ground up and designed to communicate the joy, wonder, and imagination of Christmas. The artwork is hand-illustrated by Jackson Robinson, from the card backs, Ace of Spades to the whimsical royals and jokers. What makes this deck incredible is the limited card stock with gold foil on both sides printed on top! The white borders are double priced so it would look like hot press foil with zero impressions on the cards from the foiling.


Messymod


Art of Play's minimalist, delightful and weird deck of playing cards conceived by the Los Angeles based creative team, TRÜF born from their love of geometry, pattern, white space, Bauhaus, and Miró and mashed it all into a style called Messy Modernism – “messymod” for short. The deck features a completely custom design in typical Messymod fashion. What we love about this deck is that each card has its own presence and personality, making it an ideal piece of artwork that can stand on its own.


Luminosity


From Blackink Playing Cards, Luminosity Playing Cards are inspired by Norse Mythology depicting the age-old conflict between good and evil. Not only is it functional, but the fully custom deck has unique characters with their own story. The face cards include Silver Metallic ink accents which give it a touch of elegance. The Tuck Case designs are unique and printed on matte grey card stock adorned with elegant copper hot foil stamping and embossed.


Standards


Produced by Art of Play in collaboration with Kevin Cantrell Studio, Standards playing cards are crafted with meticulous attention to detail inspired by nineteenth-century British opulence, an era of elegance unsurpassed. Stredefineedefines luxury at the card table with fully custom artwork from the bold Ace of Spades, intricate card backs, to the gorgeous courts and ornate jokers.


Star Wars


A last-minute addition to the list. Theory11 released the deck in conjunction with the release of JJ Abram's Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. 2 decks are on offer, The Light Side and The Dark Side. The Light side tuck box features a striking blue foil on black tuck while the Dark Side, stunning red foil on black tuck. Both decks will feature iconic design elements from the Star Wars universe. From the window of the Millenium Falcon, Kylo Ren, Luke Skywalker's lightsaber and X-Wings to R2D2, Star Destroyers, and TIE Fighters.


Ascension


There's something special about Steve Minty decks, and his latest deck is no different. Ascension Playing cards are epically designed and illustrated as an homage to his beloved TV series while giving it a spin in his style and interpretation. The deck features fully custom artwork from the gorgeous Aces to the pips, indices, and courts featuring characters from the series. 


Chronos


Lotrek first announced Chronos Playing Cards during the 2019 52 Plus Joker Annual Convention. As the name suggests, the theme of the beautiful deck is time. The deck is fully custom from the pips, jokers to the court cards and Ace of Spades. All this while keeping the traditional elements of playing cards in place. The tuck box is stunning and the card backs are printed with gold foil.


Betrayers


All four decks are gorgeous! Betrayers Lucis, Tenebra and Veritas, in particular, are vibrant, colorful and thought-provoking, which add to the appeal and character of the decks. Giovanni Meroni loves to add small custom details to his artworks, so there is a lot to discover. What makes Betrayers different is flat design style and bold color schemes giving the illusion of 3D. Fans of Giovanni will notice that the artwork of Betrayers is a departure from his usual style.


Honorable mention:  Parlour by The Gentleman Wake, Butterfly by Ondrej Psenicka, Vittoria by Nicolai Aaroe, Silk by Lotrek, Equinox 2019 by Kings Wild,  FLUX by Lotus in Hand, Valley Forge by Kings Wild, Seafarers by J&T Playing Cards, Playing Arts ZERO by Playing Arts, Mono-Xero by Luke Wadey Design, Bitcoin by Patrick Kun and Andrei Jikh, Jerry's Nugget Reprint by Expert Playing Card Co., Coffee by Edo Huang, Tavern on the Green by Theory11, Ladybug by PlayingCardDecks and Tom's Town by Art of Play.

The selection expressed in this top12 is solely those of the author. 

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Top 12: Playing Cards of 2019 Reviewed by Ivan on 12/31/2019 Rating: 5

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