A Hierarchy of Pimp (Part 2)
Pimping ain’t easy. – an urban proverb
I have a very pimped cube. There are a variety of contributing factors for this:
- Common cards are very easy to acquire and are almost always relatively inexpensive
- Foil “premium” versions appear more often in booster packs and often carry little value for most players
- Player Rewards, Gateway kits, FNM, and other promotional cards are often drawn from common (and uncommon) rarity
- “Pauper” is often considered unexciting (The horror!) and providing an obviously well-polished feel helps overcome aversion to trying it out
Since Urza’s Legacy there have been foil versions of every card printed in sets in Magic. These “premium versions” of cards have become more common, in terms of occurring and the card they replace within a booster pack, over time and more popular for Eternal format deck builders. “Pimping out” a deck one surefire way to express your love and appreciation (and wallet size) for a specific deck. However it’s not all sunshine and iridescent refraction.
There are two major issues with foil cards and there isn’t any beating around the bush:
- They tend to warp and curve very rapidly, causing them to be considered, and usable as, marked cards.
- They do not wear gently and any rough use, such as in an unsleeved Sealed deck, will show as played significantly more than nonfoil cards.
These two issues are why many of the modern players are shifting away from using them. No one wants to be disqualified for having “random numbers of foils for random cards” and those directly interested in playing foils much often shell a significant premium for near mint copies of even the most mundane of cards. Frankly, it sucks.
While card condition is a difficult variable to manage, curvature and the “marked-ness” of foil cards can be mitigated somewhat. There are three main approaches and stacking them all with help significantly:
- Sleeve foils as soon as acquired and keep them away from any moisture; use dehumidification in the area where your cards are stored.
- Sleeve foils in binder pages and leave pressed between two large, heavy, flat objects (like textbooks).
- Double-sleeve your cube (namely using KMC Perfect Fit sleeves in conjunction with regular KMC sleeves) to increase the sleeve rigidity.
I follow these tenets because I have chosen to foil out as much of my cube as possible.
The Shiny Side
Foil cards may not be exciting to the average Magic-playing Joe. But start piling them up and it gets interesting. Carefully select specific versions to showcase and it becomes compelling. Have the vast majority of cards in a cube be foil and you’ve got something that will cause almost any player to pause.
I choose to foil my cube because it adds a layer of personal touch. Acquiring a foil version of some cards is trivial. Acquiring foil versions of nearly every card requires significant effort. And finding the specialty foils of certain cards, like the Judge promotional Lightning Bolt, is akin to selecting only the finest wines to accompany a meal: the difference in impression and taste is obvious.
Foils are a subtle way to impress upon those enjoying your cube that you’re truly dedicated to polishing it. Any version of a cube can play well, including a fully proxied version though I am loathe to say it. Building a strong cube is not dependent upon pimping it. Having players experience the feeling of using a polished, final product does require such “trivial” matters.
Foils, without any words, demonstrate the efforts made over time. I’m proud that my cube is virtually all foil (86% at current) and I know many players who have no interest in drafting it have shared their appreciation for my efforts in making it look great. Tedious and pricier, yes, but something that keeps me busy trading and always looking out for interesting foils I haven’t seen before.
Every day I’m trying to find ways to incrementally improve the feel and play of my cube. What have you done for your cube today?