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Mortalis Playing Cards

Despite only being a teenager, Pravar Jain is a professional magician and cardist from India, who has accomplished more than most of us. He formed his own company Area52, and it's under this label that he produced the Mortalis deck, which was released in very limited numbers in October 2018.


The design of the playing cards is by Canadian Christofer Lacoste, who was also behind the art of the popular Mint Playing Cards..

This deck is a marked deck, and features an optical marking system that Pravar himself created, and is based on how you read a clock. Unlike reader back marking systems, the optical system is a lot harder to detect and figure out. As the back of the tuck box proclaims: "The closer you look, the less you see." It is fairly well hidden, although a riffle test will show that something unusual is going on. Pravar states that it can be read quickly in under 3 seconds, although I think it will take a bit a bit of practice to be able to read it that quickly. The deck comes with a link to a seven page PDF that explains how the marking system works.


This deck has a very practical look, with standard indices and pips on the faces for the most part. One exception is the changed look of the court cards, which have been re-coloured by replacing the usual garish yellows and reds with more muted colours including a soft beige, which creates a more professional look. The Ace of Spades features a giant pip that reprises the design from the card backs, and looks similar to the look on the front of the tuck box.

One surprise is the absence of Jokers. Pravar has never felt the use for Jokers, and decided to opt for two gaff cards instead. Given the love for magicians that is shown in the card backs, this won't come entirely as a surprise. The gaff cards are a double-backer, and a duplicate King of Hearts. There are also two ad cards, one of which has information about where to find the PDF explaining the marked deck, while the other has an illustration that depicts how old style stage magic is being taken over by parlour and close-up magic (hence the caption "Magic is dead").

As for the quality of the cards themselves, they are printed on USPCC's premium Bee crushed stock, with a traditional cut and embossed air cushion finish. Only 2000 of these decks were made, so it's a limited supply that will make them hard in coming years.


So where can you get decks like the one featured here? Any reputable online retailer that sells custom playing cards should have these available. If they don't, send them to Murphy's Magic, a magic wholesaler with an enormous range of custom playing cards that they sell in bulk quantities to dealers and retailers around the world. To learn more, check out the Murphy's Magic product page for this deck here: Mortalis Playing Cards

BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame - click here to see all my pictorial reviews: => Magic Reviews <==> Playing Card Reviews <==> Board Game Reviews <==
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