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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Deck the Halls » » Pictorial Review: NDO Part 1 - The New Art Form, and The New Standard (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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* * * A NEW ART FORM: Cardistry * * *

The New Deck Order (NDO)

Most of my readers have probably heard of the New World Order. As argued by various conspiracy theories, it refers to a powerful elite that is secretly working together in the highest levels of governments around the globe, with the aim to create a single authoritarian leadership that will govern the world.

Likely much less of you have ever heard of the New Deck Order, commonly designated to as NDO. No, it's not another conspiracy theory. It was formed in 2013 by Jaspas Deck (real name Justin Ye) and Loretta Sze, with a dedicated web-site that aims to be a hub to help bring together cardistry fans from worldwide. Don't worry, for the benefit of those unfamiliar with cardistry, I'll give you an explanation in just a moment, but in short it's the art of fancy flourishing with a deck of playing cards.


Jaspas Deck is the Creative Director of the New Deck Order, and has been involved with card flourishing since 2003, when he was just 15 years old. This video will give you a short overview of some of the many achievements, qualifications, and skills that he brings to the table. He has an unconventional style that immediately sets him apart from most other cardists, and his impressive credentials include being crowned as the World Kardistry Champion for 2013-14, and the winner of many other cardistry competitions. He has also given lectures on cardistry internationally, and has a following of fans and students.

An important element of cardistry is the ability to showcase it with skills in technology and media, and the fact that Jaspas has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Film Making serves him well to create high quality and inspiring cardistry videos. The New Deck Order's manager Loretta Sze takes care of the more administrative aspects of the business, including running the website, marketing, and customer service.


A New Art Form

So for the uninformed, what exactly is cardistry? It is what happens when you take traditional playing cards to the next level - literally! It's about spinning them, tossing them, cutting them, and otherwise manipulating up, down, sideways, and around, and however else you can to create an aesthetically pleasing display. Cardistry does have a long history, because when card tricks became popular in the 19th century, magicians would often do simple card flourishes as a way of demonstrating their skills, to entertain, or to otherwise enhance a magic performance. But even though many magicians are good at cardistry and card flourishing because using cards is part of their job, cardistry itself is not magic.

The word "cardistry" is a combination of the words "card" and "artistry", and it refers to a skilful activity which you create a beautiful display through the movement of individual playing cards or an entire deck. In other words, it does things with playing cards that you never considered, and perhaps never even thought possible, and turns using a familiar deck of cards into an art form by doing unfamiliar things with it. You could describe it as the next step in the evolution of playing cards - where the game components turn into a new and interesting dexterity game of their own, without the strict rules and boundaries we're used to. And that's how it becomes a performance art, because it lends itself to creativity, and forces you to widen your usual perspective on a deck of cards.

It's been described as like juggling, but with playing cards. Instead of doing ordinary cuts and shuffles, expert cardists do one-handed cuts, complicated shuffles, fans, turnovers, tosses, and catches, in a creative way with a high level of skill that is a beauty to watch. Cardistry moves are typically given their own signature names and titles, the Sybil Cut being the most well-known basic maneuver that many beginners start with.


A Growing Art Form

This new art form has been enjoying unprecedented popularity and enormous growth in recent years. What was once considered to be an activity used as a filler in a magic performance, has now become its own separate and legitimate art form. Creative and skilled performers are performing moves of increased complexity. As evidence of how big this new art form is growing, you will find many performance videos and cardistry tutorials on the internet. There are even international gatherings of top performers, and over the last few years Cardistry Con was organized as an international and annual convention for cardistry enthusiasts. The next event is planned for July 2017 in Los Angeles, with big name attendees from around the world. Social media and sites like youtube and instagram have really helped popularize and advance the art, because cardists can share their new moves and tutorials and videos with other enthusiasts globally.

And yet this is an art form that remains well within the reach of beginners, because all you need to try it is a good deck of cards, and from there you are limited only by your imagination, creativity, and manual dexterity. But you can also buy specialized decks of playing cards that particularly lend themselves well to cardistry, and that's what this review is about. The New Deck Order is one of groups that is at the forefront of cardistry, and actively promotes it by instructional videos, lecture tours, and furthermore, their very own deck designed specifically for cardistry.


An Evolving Art Form

Since cardistry is all about creating a visual impact, creating a deck of playing cards that have carefully designed aesthetic qualities to maximize this appeal when fanning and spreading cards makes obvious sense. It's only a logical progression to create a deck with aesthetics that will visually accent every card flourish, from spins, to cuts, to pivots, to fans, and the New Deck Order has done exactly that. A growing art form needs evolving materials, and that's what the Non-Standard Playing Cards from NDO are all about. With these decks, playing cards have arrived a point they have not been before: 52 identical cards, front and back, designed purely for cardistry, and so further removed from the original purpose of a deck of traditional playing cards than ever before!

* * * A NEW STANDARD: Non-Standard Playing Cards * * *

But first let's travel back in time to 2013, when the New Deck Order was first formed. That's when they created their popular youtube channel, School of Cardistry, which provides free instructional videos on cardistry. In 2014, the New Deck Order team took things to the next level, by producing their own deck designed completely for card flourishing.

Now they aren't the first to produce a deck designed exclusively for cardistry, with the Virtuoso deck having proven to be a big hit in 2012, and a new edition of it appearing each year. But what is unique about the School of Cardistry's deck is that they went a step further. They took their starting point in the fact that a traditional deck of playing cards has one big limitation that until now had not been overcome, namely that the need for 52 different faces proved to be an obstacle for aesthetics, no matter how they were designed. So why not abandon the idea of having 52 different cards, and instead completely do away with the idea of a traditional deck, and make the cards ideal for cardistry - front and back?! Genius! Hence was born the new standard for cardistry: non-standard playing cards. The evolution of the playing card deck was now truly at an unparalleled point in its history, moving yet another step further away from its originally designed purpose as a gaming tool, and now becoming the tool of choice for an entirely new game.


School of Cardistry Deck V1

And so the first edition of the novel School of Cardistry Deck came about. The box cover says it all: "fifty-two non-standard playing cards". This is what the New Deck Order considers to be cardistry's new standard: non-standard!


The look of this original deck was a deliberate blend between the classic/timeless and the contemporary, and the hand-drawn designs were created with the help of Singaporean designer Marcus Lim. NDO explains the concept as follows: "The back design is inspired by traditional playing card backs, featuring Cardistry moves on top of intricate details." The card backs feature hand-drawn images with obvious nods to cardistry.


But the revolutionary aspect of this deck is with the card faces: they are all identical!


As NDO says: "The face design takes on a modern look, inspired by court cards. It was made to accentuate spinning flourishes, flowing movements, as well as large, multi-card displays." The abstract design on the card faces means that displays have a very unified and different look, and that not only the back of the cards, but also the faces can be used for neat presentation. Even fans, spreads, and twirls can capitalize on the face designs.


This unique design also helps cardistry enter a new phase of development and evolution. In the words of The New Deck Order: "At the rate Cardistry is growing as an art, it’s about time we had something to call our own. A deck of cards made only for card flourishing." With a deck like this, there's no chance you'll be confused for a magician or a poker player, and the identical cards will immediately become a point of interest, and help set you apart as someone dedicated to this new art form.


As for the quality of the cards, they are what the NDO describes as their "legacy finish" with "double varnishing"; they are somewhat guarded about the details, but I've not seen any negative reports about the handling or quality of this deck.


To see this deck in action, do check out this launch trailer video, which features some stunning cardistry and videography!


This is definitely a deck made entirely and only for card flourishing - even more so than the Virtuoso deck ever was!


* * * CONCLUSIONS * * *

Where do you get them?

If you're interested in picking up some of these playing cards for yourself, the first place you should look is the official New Deck Order online store, which is where you can get some of the NDO decks, premium videos, and some other cardistry related merchandise.



Due to its intended design, it is true that the School of Cardistry deck from the New Deck Order will always be a deck with a select appeal to a very specific audience: cardistry fans. As a deck designed for their needs, this more than adequately serves its purpose, and has to be considered as one of the top of the line products on today's market, both in terms of card quality and visual aesthetics. Cardistry enthusiasts will find it difficult to resist the temptation to find out what impact the designs on both sides of this deck will have on their repertoire, and to experiment with new moves that this deck offers, particularly with the uniform faces.

But the New Deck Order is also an excellent starting point for someone who is wondering what cardistry is all about, and wants to give it a spin. It's much more fun trying to learn basic skills like fans and spreads when the visual effect is amplified by the visual beauty of a lovely deck like the School of Cardistry V3 deck. And furthermore, the free video tutorials available from the New Deck Order will give you all you need to try your hand at this new art form, and you'll be amazed how easily you can impress your family and friends with basic moves that are not difficult to learn, when a remarkable deck like this is in your hands. As such, fortunately the School of Cardistry V3 deck is not outside the reach of the rest of us, and is a very accessible and ideal deck for anyone who is interested in basic cardistry, and wants to learn some elementary moves.

If you are at all into cardistry, or even just enjoy doing a basic spread or fan, then this deck will instantly turn moves like that into visual art. I recommend giving it a whirl - literally!


What to learn more? Check out:

The New Deck Order: http://thenewdeckorder.com
The School of Cardistry: https://www.youtube.com/user/SchoolOfCardistry

Direct links for the items featured in this review:
- School of Cardistry V1 Deck
- School of Cardistry V2 Deck (sold out)
- School of Cardistry V3 Deck
- Premium Video Tutorials
- Cardistry of South East Asia DVD

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