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Top 12 Playing Cards of 2020


What an uncertain year it has been! However, one thing is certain: we are incredibly fortunate to be part of such an inspired community of artists, designers, cardists, magicians, and collectors! Even with the pandemic, we have had a huge selection of decks released and delivered this year. 


We've compiled our favorite decks for 2020 right here. This will be the third of four articles counting down to our Deck of the Year reveal next week.


Top 5 Cardistry Decks

Top 5 Collector Playing Cards

Top 12 Playing Cards of 2020

Deck of the Year 2020


If you think we've missed your favorite deck, let us know in the comment section below. Note that the selection expressed in this top 5 are solely those of the author and the list is in no particular order.


United



From Cartamundi, the United decks were made to celebrate the acquisition of USPCC earlier this year. These decks are never to be sold and were only given away to the lucky attendees of Cartamundi and USPCC's House of Cardistry event in NYC.



Modern Idols



Modern Idols is a brand new series of playing cards by Thirdway Industries, based on the beliefs of the modern age. Designed by the Italian designer Giovanni Meroni the decks are inspired by the TV Series about American Gods - The story is about the new Idols that replaced the Old Gods. Inside, the artwork is fully custom with unique court cards, different color schemes for each suits, and eye-catching neon ink card backs.



Legal Tender 


From Kings Wild, Legal Tender is a beautifully crafted deck and strikes a balance between classic banknote engraving and the modern sleekness of high tech banknote manufacturing. Inside, the court cards feature many iconic American figures that are featured on current American currency: Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln. Legal Tender is the culmination of some of Jackson Robinson's most breathtaking artwork combined with the industry-leading advancements in printing technology and production.



Card College


Ark Playing Cards' Card College Limited Edition is a stunning deck based on Robert Giobbi's Card College. This exclusive playing card set design reflects the classic, elegance, and legacy of Robert's work. The tuck box comes with an elegant pop-up surprise that sets this deck apart. Inside, the face cards are standard with the exception of the custom Ace and Jokers. Metallic ink is used on the face and the card backs to give it a touch of luxury and elegance.


Crypt

Image by Richard Arturo (Instagram: @richardarturo47)

CRYPT Playing Cards by Lotrek of Oath playing Cards is the third installment of Oath's mystery decks. Bought sight unseen, no pictures of this deck have been released to keep all its secrets hidden like - a crypt. 



Meadowlark


By Meadowlark Pharmacy, the Meadowlark playing cards feature fully custom artwork by Russell Gray. The overall design of the deck has a retro yet modern feel throughout. From the mirrored card backs to the court cards, Ace of Spade, and cute Jokers. The deck is packaged in an eye-catching tuck box, copper foil, embossed, and capped with a beautiful seal. Everything ties together very well!


Star Wars 


Star Wars Playing Card is an officially licensed deck produced by Theory11 in collaboration with LucasFilm and designed by Mattson Creative Inside the deck is fully custom with special court cards and card backs with details that will sure to delight fans. The deck is packaged shiny foil and embossed tuck box feature either Rebel Alliance imagery. A must-have for any Star Wars fan! 



Robin Hood



Meticulously designed by Jackson Robinson, the unique artistic style achieved with the Robin Hood playing cards took heavy inspiration from the Bayeux Tapestry - a French tapestry from around 1066. Every stitch is hand-drawn to create this incredible display. The beautifully crafted court cards feature characters from the legend. The deck is kept in a striking tuck case designed to resemble an ancient book, including life-like features to resemble canvas and leather design-work, a book spine, frayed paper edges, and finished with realistic wear-n-tear details. 


52 Plus Joker 2020 Club Deck

The 52 Plus Joker club 2020 deck is designed UUSI. The deck is fully custom features original hand-drawn artwork by Peter using just 2 colors, black and red. The deck comes with a bold Ace of Spades, custom jokers, old-style suit symbols, and traditional courts inspired from full figure courts popular before the 1900s. The deck does have a vintage look and feel but with a modern simplistic touch.


Trident


Trident Playing Cards by Kevin Yu is an incredible looking deck featuring an eye-catching tuck concept designed with magnetic opening and closing system. When the box is spread out, one will notice that each piece is lined by a stunning Foil line, which traces the weapon-shaped cutouts. The card backs feature a mesmerizing silver and copper metallic ink with highly saturated colored lines that outline the image of the Poseidon’s trident. The courts are represented by legendary heroes from a different historical period, from Athena, to Alexander the Great and Hector from Homer’s epos Iliad.



Fontaine x Babylon




The Babylon Fontaines generated quite a buzz within the community when Zach dropped the SPOTLIGHT video on youtube. The deck features a minimal white tuck box design and a white card back featuring the iconic 'f' in black and thin black borders. When using a UV torchlight, the deck is 'activated' with the Babylon brand logo revealed on the white spaces of the tuck AND card backs! Genius! 



Beowulf


A last-minute addition to the list. Beowulf playing cards inspired by the longest epic poem with the characters represented on the face cards in unique carving-styled artwork by Jackson Robinson. The deck is kept in a tuck case designed to resemble an ancient book, including life-like features to resemble canvas and leather design-work, and finished with realistic wear-n-tear details. 


Honorable mention:  Royal Verge by Dealt Playing Cards, Kodiak by Black Ink Playing Cards, Postage Paid by Kings Wild Project, Black17 by Stockholm17,  Aurum Deus by Encarded, Charmers by Kellar O'Neil, Stratosphere by Legends Playing Card Co, Tough Luck by Native Tongue Studio and Doc's Playing Card Co., Mono Hexa by Luke Wadey Design, Rose Gold Gatorbacks by David Blaine and Fontaine x DabsmyLA.

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

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Top 12 Playing Cards of 2020 Reviewed by Ivan on 12/23/2020 Rating: 5

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