This entry is part 14 of 17 in the series Accumulated Knowledge

By Sean aka SwordsToPlow

It ain’t easy in this world for a pimp.

Magic the Gathering is known as a TCG(Trading Card Game) or CCG (Collectible Card Game).  For many players like myself the trading and collecting portion of Magic is just as important as playing.  Some players work on building their collections based on value.  They treat collecting and trading like a business.  Other players take the pokemon approach and try to collect all the Magic cards.  Still more players try to collect the unusual and hard to find, to have on display or in a binder.  Those of us obsessed with ‘pimping’ trade and collect to make our decks flashy and unique. 

Like actual pimps, we usually blow right past ‘tastefully done’ and right into ‘you have got to be fucking kidding me’ territory.  Instead of having our decks represent a fine designer suit, our decks more likely represent a neon-green, leopard-print, trench coat with matching bell bottoms, hat, and cane.  We don’t realize how ridiculous we look to other people.   Most people don’t mind, and can even appreciate a cool foil or rare card here and there.  When your whole deck glows like the case in a mall jewelry shop, people get overwhelmed.  See example;

 Some people ask the question ‘which is more pimp [x version] or [y version] of [insert card here]?’  As much as some people may argue otherwise, there is no right answer to this question.  If your entire deck is in German, having a FBB German Sol Ring probably fits better than the judge foil promo. This is true even if the promo is worth much more.  In my opinion, a decks pimp factor is more governed by how strictly you adhere to a theme than chasing the most valuable card.

For people who don’t like pimp decks, they usually don’t understand the mindset of the pimp collector.  Having an all foil deck isn’t about showing off how much money you have invested in your cards.  Pimping a deck is about an individual, artistic, expression through deckbuilding and collecting.  It is true that most pimp cards are usually worth more than the standard version, but that is rarely the reason someone likes the alternate version of the card.  Look at pimped out decks like you would a collection of paintings in a museum rather than a stack of cash. You might be able to appreciate them more in this light.

One of the major separations between people who pimp and people who hate seeing decks that have been pimped is how these groups think about magic.  If you don’t like the trading and collecting aspect of Magic, then it is unlikely that you will ever really empathize with people who pimp their decks.  For many people the process of pimping is even more important than just having a pimp deck.  People who collect to make their deck prettier are more likely to hold on to cards for sentimental value.  I personally hold on to a promo Glory, even though it doesn’t cost much.  It is the only Hebrew card printed and I can not bring myself to put it in a trade binder.

Another reason people generally dislike deck pimps is that they are often the ‘antiques roadshow’ douchebags.  When you spend months building a deck and collecting each card for its individual beauty, you want to share your story.  Stories about how we get cards are likely family vacation slideshows; no one but you cares. They just want you to shut up before they die of boredom.  Please keep this in mind if you pimp out your deck.  Don’t tell anyone about how you got your cards, the rarity of your cards, the value of your cards or any backstory unless they ask you first.  Otherwise you might as well just say, “I am a way better person than you because I own this.  You should tell me how great I am every time you see me and concede every game to my godlike greatness.”  That’s what other people hear when you tell them how you got your foil Japanese Karn Liberated from Saito at worlds, or that your awesome Tooth and Nail came from a trade with SCG Premium Writer Chas Andres.

Not all pimp decks are expensive.  A true collector can find ways to pimp without going along with the mainstream ideals.  A great example of this is GUDoug’s ‘Geriatric’ Zur deck.  He has chosen each and every card in the deck based on both usefulness and having a picture of some ancient guy featured in the art.  By doing this, his deck is a one of a kind.  He gets to create a landscape of people who love early bird specials and are active in politics.  In this way he expresses his love of tapioca and naps, in the coolest possible way.

If you are looking to build a pimped deck and wondering the different ways to pimp, here is a list of various ways I have seen people make decks uniquely theirs;

  •  Foil
  •  Promo
  •  Full Art (Through either promos or alters)
  • Non-English cards
  • No duplicated basic land art
  • Miscut/Misprint
  • Altered Art
  • 3-D Alters (Really hard to shuffle)
  • Penny sleeved and backed all with the same card
  • One artist
  • Movie Themed
  • Art Themed (Old Man Zur)
  • White Bordered
  • First Run Foil
  • Artist Signed
  • Sharpie Altered
  • Guru Style 

If you have other ideas for pimped decks, please share them in the notes.  If you went to read this hoping for deck advice, don’t worry.   I will get back to more content rich articles for the next installment.  My honeymoon and wedding took up a bit of time. If you ever want to share your pimped deck with someone, submit a video to CMDRdecks.  Uriah is a great guy is always happy to get submissions. 


Follow on Twitter @SwordsToPlow

For deck advise email me

Series Navigation<< Accumulated Knowledge 13 – The Beginner’s Guide to Online CollaborationAccumulated Knowledge 15 – Archetype Templates >>