The custom playing cards market has boomed over the past year, investment in crowd-funded decks have surged and new designs and concepts are pushing the boundaries of the simple constraints of one tuck x four suits x thirteen cards. Marked decks are used in card and mentalism effects and allow for the magician to focus their attention purely on connecting with the people they are performing for. Here are our top 12 picks.

Note that the selection expressed in this top 12 are solely those of the author.





From Ellusionist, the Kings Playing Cards is the ultimate representation of Daniel Madison and Peter McKinnon joint creative forces. Readily stacked in Mnemonica and fully marked. Also included. a double-backer and two unique and personalized jokers, and on top of that, an Angle Z Gaff card.


MINT Limited Edition



Designed for the workers by 52Kards, the stunning Mint Limited Edition playing cards feature elegant borderless back with beautiful tri-color design, gold line accents, and masks an incredibly intuitive marking system for the clever magician to take advantage of. Printed by the United States Playing Card Company and coated with the legendary Air Cushion Finish.

Brooklyn Red Edition



The Brooklyn 101 Back Playing Cards are brought to you by the Brookyln Playing Card Co. The company's vision was to create a functional deck of cards for the working magician, performing direct and impossible magic. The result is a timeless blend of tradition and innovation. The deck features a custom vintage design, reimagined Jokers, custom Ace of Spades bearing the silhouette of the Brooklyn bridge. Printed by the Expert Playing Card Company on their improved Classic Finish stock,


Mirage Dawn Edition



Patrick Kun's Mirage Dawn Edition features a crimson/gold colorway, which compliments the original Mirage Dusk edition perfectly. The court cards are fully custom. The eye-catching tuck case was printed with stunning gold foil on a brand new premium pearlescent paper and gold champagne ink covers the interior of the box, and closed-off with a matching gold perforated seal. Also, the deck includes a subtle marking system. Printed by Legends Playing Card Co. and comes in Juan Tamariz’s Mnemonica stack.

The Code


Smart and intuitive. Theory11's the Code is more than a method. From the mind of Andy Nyman, instantly divine the name and location of a selected card - with no forces, no sleights, no memorization, and without even looking at the chosen card. Easy to read, multiple applications and most important of all, Bicycle Mandolin back that looks almost identical to standard Bicycles. Official Winner of The Thurston Spirit of Magic Award 2014.


Keepers Red Edition


Conceived by Adam Wilber and illustrated by Oban Jones, the Red Edition Keepers are a follow-up to the original Blue Keepers released by Ellusionist early in 2016. Designed for the worker in mind, the new deep red colorway has been specifically chosen to invite trust, and go unnoticed by the audiences. As such, the deck features recognizable pips and faces of a standard deck.





The DMC ELITES: ROUGE is simply the best deck DMC has ever produced. The immediate feature of the deck, and the thing that makes it most exciting to every magician who handles one is also the most cunningly hidden: the unique world-class optical marking system. The markings can be read from up to six feet away - and yet under intense scrutiny remain invisible until the secret marking is revealed. Printed by Cartamundi.




Conceptualised by Ondrej Psenicka and designed by Swedish graphic designer and magician Stefan Eriksson, this groundbreaking deck features a unique marking system hidden in its beautiful back design. It has standard faces as it is intended mainly for magicians who prefer standard faces as they are familiar and easily recognizable by the audience. The cards are printed in Belgium by Cartamundi on their brand new card stock.


Aquila Standard Edition


A collaboration between Three of Clubs and Kardify Projects, Aquila Standard Edition Playing Cards are meticulously designed by Indonesian graphic artist, Ade Suryana. This exotic deck features fully custom back design, eye-catching Ace of Spades, diptych Jokers and stunning courts. The Standard Edition comes with unique Marking System, the tuck is embossed and adorned with a touch of gold foil. Printed by Legends Playing Card Company.




Meticulously developed by acclaimed mentalist Luke Jermay, the Marksman Deck has been designed with the professional performer in mind. It’s not just a marked deck: with one glance at the back, you’ll know the card’s identity, the one after it, how far away the mate is, and FIVE other hidden features. It features an array of information expertly hidden in its Mandolin Back design.


Ultimate Marked Deck



Yes, the Ultimate is the marked deck you have been dreaming of! Manufactured in the recognizable "Rider Back 808-R" Bicycle Cards by the United States Playing Cards Company. That means you don't have to mark the standard Bicycle decks yourself and you can hand out the deck without fear of detection. Available in red and blue.




Designed by Hong Kong magician NKW with the working magicians in mind, the deck features a classic, timeless floral back design. Cadenza comes with 3 different marking systems, each with its own features and functions. Available in two colors: blue and red, giving it a vintage feel to the deck. Printed by Legends Playing Card Co. on diamond finish, the deck comes in Mnemonica order out of the box.

Honorable mention: GT Speedreader, Madison Dealers by Ellusionist, Phoenix Deck, NOC v3 by House of Playing Cards, and While Lions by David Blaine.


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