Card Condition Guide

We strive to provide accurate single card grading to make sure you are satisfied with your purchase. We understand that grading can be subjective on a personal level, so here is a guide to help you understand our criteria.

Please note that we do not guarantee any Gem Mint cards due to the sheer volume of cards handled daily.

Should you not be satisfied with the condition of cards you have received from us, please let us know right away and we will make sure you are taken care of to the best of our ability.

Near Mint (NM)

Near Mint cards show negligible wear such as:

  • Scratches are not perceivable without tilting under a direct light source.
  • May have surface scuffs/fogging that does not show through a sleeve.
  • Borders may show superficial wear or whitening.
  • Corners may show superficial nicks, but no more than two corners.

The acceptable range of cards within the Near Mint condition include both cards with no imperfections and cards with a few minor imperfections.

Lightly Played (LP)

Lightly Played cards may be afflicted with a wide range of wear and tear. These cards are tournament legal in sleeves and can be categorized as follows:

  • Deeper scratches of up to 25% of the surface layer
  • May have surface scuffs/fogging that shows through a sleeve.
  • Borders may show wear or whitening of up to 25% of a card’s length, but not past the black border.
  • Corners may show nicks or wear on up to all corners and can start to affect the white layer.
  • Edge whitening may affect the black border and part of the white border.
  • Factory printing defects that do not affect readability.
  • Factory defects where scratches, or lines appear on the surface. Can be across the whole surface.
  • Factory miscuts on corners or edges, such as scraped ink on foils or blunt cutter.

If a card shows multiple categories of wear, it will be considered Moderately Played (MP).


The below conditions are listed for reference only, we do not carry cards graded below LP except under special circumstances.

Moderately Played (MP)

Only select older cards or special printings will be listed in this condition. These cards’ tournament legality are at the judge’s discretion and cannot be guaranteed. These cards may show the following :

  • Deep scratches that can affect up to 50% of the card’s surface.
  • Surface scuffs and nicks may show whitening.
  • Fogging and dirt buildup can affect the reflective surface of the card.
  • Can have indentations or impacts on the card but cannot be felt through a sleeve
  • Edge whitening and repeated indents may affect most of the black border and starts to show the blue layer.
  • Writing or coloration such as a tournament stamp or a signature will be considered inked. Superficial alterations fit in this category.
  • Surface or edge puffing due to extended humidity exposure that cannot be perceived in a sleeve
  • Factory inking defects that affect legal readability, such as concealing mandatory text.
  • Factory defects that leave residue, such as glue or greasing marks.
  • Factory defects that show embedded particles in the layers causing bumps or indents.

*If a card shows multiple categories of wear, it may be subject to further downgrading

Heavily Played (HP)

These are no longer tournament playable. These cards may show the following :

  • Severe scratches and scuffing.
  • Fogging or dirt that covers the majority of the surface.
  • May have surface impacts or indentations that can be felt through a sleeve.
  • May have cardboard degradation such as shuffle ripples, puffing or severe corner integrity that allows for shuffle tracking.


Cards in this condition will be refused for purchase and may show the following :

  • Factory production indentation such as mechanical crimping and seal/date imprints that are perceptible through a sleeve.
  • Advanced cardboard degradation such as, but not limited to, creases, punctures and tears.
  • Strong Odors, such as smoke or mold. These will be refused and may have cards in the same container be refused as well to prevent cross-contamination. Cards yellowed by cigarette smoke may be refused as well.


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