If you’re wondering how to handle your Magic collection, you’re at the right place!
Whether you’re a tournament player or a casual player, this article can help prioritize and organize your Magic cards. I will also share some tips on how to save and make some money in the process.
Without any further ado, let’s learn how to organize your Magic collection in no time.
How To Organize A Magic Collection?
First and foremost, make the organization of your gathering cards a task. That’s the first and most important step of the process. Pick a day or weekend and go through your entire collection.
I suggest that you tackle everything in one go! Thus, bring it all out including your trade binder, current decks, loose lands, cards, and even some sealed products you have in your possession as well.
If you organize your whole gathering collection in one sitting, you won’t be doing double duty when going through cards. Follow the next steps and you will organize your cards in record time.
Gather all the necessary materials
The necessary materials include cardboard storage deck boxes and some stack technologies. The boxes don’t cost a lot, but they’re very durable and you can easily store them under your bed or sofa.
That way, you will keep your hobby away from prying eyes. Also, obtain a 4-5-row variety. Each one holds about 1,000 cards, enough for a complete playset of a modern large block with extra room.
If you arrange your cards in a logical sequence, you can easily flip through a line to exactly the right card. However, if your local card shop doesn’t have long and multi-row storage boxes, you can purchase them in bulk online. You can give a few boxes to your friends so they can also organize their cards in their own box!
Consolidate your cards into a confined place
If your collection is very large and messy, the first step is to place your cards into a confined spot such as a corner of a room. This is super important because it will help you determine the size of your collection and how much time you will need to put into the whole project.
It will also help you keep track of your progress. Additionally, putting your gathering cards into one place will save you the annoying task of going back to sort and file extra cards into a storage box row that you believed you were done with. Therefore, it’s convenient and time-saving.
I would also suggest that you take out the trash right away. Look for things you don’t use or hate getting whenever you open a pack, including tokens and basic lands. Set them aside and keep going. In the end, you can toss them together with other cards you find along the way.
Sort your Magic cards by set
The goal of the very first round of organizing is to divide one block from another. If you have a large and messy or randomized collection, this can be a time-consuming task, however, you can break it down into a few chunks such as the following.
- Clear a flat surface like a tabletop where you can leave piles of cards untouched for days, weeks, or even months, depending on your motivation, speed, and time.
- Remind yourself of the expansion set symbols so you can sort better.
- Grab a fistful of Magic cards. Then, turn your Magic cards upside down if you’re right-handed so that the expansion symbol is on the left side of your card. That way, you can easily recognize the symbol while quickly flipping through your cards. Finally, deal out your cards into heaps, one for each set/symbol.
- Keep dealing out your cards in this way until you have nothing left. It sounds intimidating. However, it’s also the hardest part of the process. Therefore, the sooner you’re done with it, the better. Take breaks to prevent boredom and quitting. Have some water, take a deep breath, and keep going!
- Don’t keep going further until you’ve completely organized all your cards into set-specific piles. Once again, check your trunk, closet, under your couch, and anywhere else random Magic cards may hide. Organizing them all together now will save you time in the future.
Sort your Magic cards by color
Choose a pile including all your cards of a specific expansion set. At this point, you probably have a few unsorted piles. I want to mention that you shouldn’t sort Scars of Mirrodin cards until you’re done getting new cards (that’s the end of the block season).
I suggest that you sort your cards by color because it’s very convenient and logical to follow WUBRG, the Magic color wheel, then gold cards, lands, and artifacts.
Sort your Magic cards by name
First and foremost, clear your workspace. Then, start with the stack of unorganized white cards and lay individual cards in alphabetical order, leaving the area in between as you move on. You will likely need to create multiple rows.
If you haven’t separated your rares away from commons and uncommons just yet, this is the right time to determine what to do with them. If you would like your rares organized in a binder, place them aside as you come across these cards.
However, if you’re not concerned about presenting your rares in binders, you can sort them out like other cards. Sort and store them up together with their uncommon and common fellows.
Finally, I would suggest that you put similar cards into a pile of fewer than 4 cards. When you’ve applied the fourth one, label the completed playset by flipping the top card and if you locate more cards of that type, put them into a discard stack.
Extra organizational tips
If you have a lot of cards, you will also have a playset of each card in a color, marked as complete, after some time. It’s a slow process that speeds up along the way as the number of “missing” cards decreases.
However, if you have fewer cards, you can run out of cards to sort without finishing each playset. In this case, determine which ones you’re missing and try to get them later (note that this isn’t a chore).
In some cases, you can have completed playsets of everything and still have a pile of unorganized white cards and discard pile. You don’t need these cards, so you can either toss them, give them to your loved ones, utilize them as proxies, or sell them in a larger volume to card shops. It’s completely your choice!
It goes without mentioning that you may want to preserve or sell valuable cards such as Path to Exile or Lighting Bolt or frequently utilized cards. Go through the remaining unorganized cards for these utility or valuable cards. Once you find them, set them aside and decide if you’re going to hold on to them or sell.
Organize your sorted white playsets in alphabetical order into a pile (A-Z). Of course, A should be the top and Z should be the bottom. Then, set this pile aside and take a small break. Drink water. Then, proceed.
When you’re set and done, repeat the same process with your blue cards. Then, your black ones. Then, your red ones. Continue the same thing with green, gold if any, lands, and artifacts. You will obtain a set of piles of color-sorted and alphabetical playsets for each color. And you will feel happy and confident.
File your Magic cards into boxes
The final step is also the easiest one. Just place your piles into a box row in the following order: WUBRG, gold, artifact, land.
You may also have realized that the order of cards matches the order of the series number in minuscule print at the base of your cards.
Some players sort playsets together in affordable clear penny sleeves which allegedly makes it simpler to pull whole playsets in one motion.
I personally don’t like this organizational method. I’ve tried it before and found the penny sleeves super annoying. However, that’s just me!
In my opinion, it’s more time-consuming than useful. You can try it and tell me if it’s beneficial for you in the comment section down below.
It’s not as satisfying as deck building but once you’ve organized your cards in a box, you will feel better. Label the start of each expansion with identifying cards. You can easily make these by taking a space card and putting some masking tape on the top.
I have a small note about the Alara block. The gold cards in Shards of Alara and Conflux can be organized in alphabetical order after the WUBRG order. However, this isn’t possible in Alara Reborn which consists of hybrid and gold colors. You can sort these cards in a manner that works for you.
Repeat the process
It’s time to start all from the beginning for the following set of cards. If you start with a large expansion set, the following two smaller ones will go faster.
Once you have completed a playset of the following expansion set according to the way above, put it in the box behind the first set. Repeat the process once again and you’ve organized the whole block. Now, take a long break and tap yourself on the shoulder.
If you’ve applied the organizational tips above, you should feel pretty good about yourself and your card collection. Now that you know where everything is exactly, you won’t have a hard time finding the cards that you need.
The deck building process isn’t complicated! It’s just a matter of breaking a list down by color and block, then getting to the right place in your box lines and pulling the cards. However, you can never be completely satisfied with your current achievements and success.
The Card Chaos hides, ready to ruin those who don’t follow the path of righteousness. In the older times of Magic, they offered sacrifices to Yawgmoth to keep away the mighty evils of Card Chaos. However, in modern times, magicians respect the God of Order, Apycbwhydut.
So, your only hope for salvation is to pray to the Golden Rule of the God of Order and to always put your Magic cards back when you’re done with them.
It’s a chore to put back your cards. And it’s not as exciting as deck building but after spending hours of your time and so much effort into organizing your cards, the effort of keeping that order is nothing compared with the future benefits.
If you’re obsessive, you may put your cards away right after utilizing a deck. However, it’s inconvenient to go back and forth from extensive boxes with every card you’ve just tried out in your sideboard all the time. In this case, you can make a spare deck box.
However, don’t leave this one unorganized for too long. Otherwise, your unorganized cards in the spare deck box will turn into a messy pile.
Gathering cards isn’t a one-time, overnight thing. However, you can face a mess overnight if you don’t organize your cards in time because Magic: The Gathering releases new cards regularly.
What I like to do is plan my storage strategy beforehand, so I don’t have too many cards to handle at once. You can use card binders, card sleeves, card boxes, and deck boxes to help protect your cards from damage, dirt, and dust.
A trade binder is a popular way of organizing. However, you can organize your gathering cards as you wish and use whatever you have at hand.
If you follow the steps above, you will organize your cards in no time. Just remember to take breaks and don’t stress out too much! The only hard part of the process is establishing the order to store your cards in. Once you’ve done that, the rest is relatively easy.
Hopefully, this article can help you learn more about organizing cards. If you have any tips, tricks, questions, and suggestions, drop a comment below!
Also, share this article with your best friends so they learn how to keep their cards in order if they decide to organize them one day.