How to most effectively sort your MTG card collection?

Anyone who has ever collected Magic: The Gathering cards knows how quickly it can become overwhelming. You finally have the perfect deck in mind, but then you can’t find the card you need. How frustrating! But don’t worry, after reading this article, sorting your MTG card collection will no longer be a problem.

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Why is it important to sort your MTG card collection?

Before you even start sorting your cards, you should understand why this is so important. Of course, at first glance, it’s simply more fun to hold the cards in your hand and browse through them. But let’s be honest: Isn’t it quite frustrating to constantly search for that one specific card?

Sorting your cards has several advantages. First, you save time. This means you can build a deck faster or find a specific card for a trade. Second, you protect your cards better. Cards just lying around in a box can get damaged or wear out. And third, and this is especially important, you can better assess the value of your collection. Have you ever heard the saying “knowledge is power”? This definitely applies to collecting Magic cards too!

Basic Tips for Organization

If you want to sort your Magic card collection, there are a few fundamental things to consider:

  1. Choose a system: Whether by color, card type, edition, or value – decide how you want to sort your cards.
  2. Use protective sleeves: Even if you don’t plan on selling your cards, you should still put them in protective sleeves. This protects them from dust, dirt, and potential damage.
  3. Use card collection binders: For particularly valuable cards or those you use frequently, binders are ideal. They provide protection and at the same time give a good overview.
  4. Stay consistent: Once sorted doesn’t always mean it remains sorted. New cards are added, while others are traded or sold. Stay on top of it and sort regularly.
eine Auswahl von Magic Karten
You can protect your collection with sleeves

Sorting by Colors and Card Types

At first glance, sorting a Magic card collection can seem overwhelming, especially for beginners. However, one method that has proven its worth over the years and is especially popular among newcomers is sorting by colors and card types. This method offers both structure and flexibility, which is why it’s so valued.

The Magic of the Five Main Colors

The world of Magic: The Gathering is built around five central colors: White, Blue, Black, Red, and Green. Each of these colors represents specific themes, styles of play, and philosophies:

  • White stands for order, law, and structure.
  • Blue embodies knowledge, manipulation, and control.
  • Black draws its power from death, ambition, and selfishness.
  • Red is the realm of emotions, passion, and impulsiveness.
  • Green represents nature, growth, and instinct.

By sorting your cards first by these colors, you already have a solid overview and can more easily group together cards that share similar abilities and strategies.

MTG Karten sortiert nach Farbe
MTG cards sorted by color in a stackable plastic box

Card Types

Once the color sorting is complete, the next level of organization is card types. Here, you can categorize cards into different categories such as creatures, artifacts, lands, spells, and many more.

  • Creatures: These are your main attackers and defenders in the game. They can have a variety of abilities and are often key to victory.
  • Artifacts: These colorless cards can have a variety of effects, from equipping creatures to providing useful abilities.
  • Lands: The primary source of mana, required to play other cards. There are many different types of lands, from basic to those with special abilities.
  • Spells: This includes things like instants and sorceries, which provide immediate or temporary effects.
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Why This System Works

Sorting by colors and card types offers an intuitive approach that makes it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for. For instance, if you’re planning a red deck focused on quick attacks, you’ll know exactly where to look for red creatures and spells. Want to complement your deck with powerful artifacts? You know exactly where to find them.

Moreover, this system promotes a better understanding of the game itself. By organizing your cards by color and type, you’ll soon identify patterns and synergies that help you build stronger decks and develop better strategies.

Overall, sorting by colors and card types is not only an effective method of organizing your collection but also an excellent tool to enhance your skills and understanding of the game.

Sorting by Editions

Since the first release of Magic: The Gathering in 1993, the game has undergone an impressive journey, with numerous editions being released over the years. For die-hard fans, advanced players, and passionate collectors, each of these editions represents not only a new opportunity to expand their decks but also a glimpse into the ever-changing landscape of Magic.

MTG rare cards can be specially protected and, for example, stored in specific binder sleeves

Why Editions Are Important

Each edition of Magic: The Gathering not only brings new cards into the game but often introduces new mechanics, gameplay themes, and lore. This diversity means that certain editions are especially sought-after by collectors, whether because of their gameplay mechanics, their rarity, or simply for nostalgic reasons.

The Evolution of Editions

From the classic Alpha and Beta editions to modern sets like “Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths” or “Zendikar Rising“, each edition showcases a facet of Magic’s rich history. While some editions draw inspiration from past civilizations and mythical tales, others explore alien worlds or focus on intense player-versus-player duels.

The Practicality of Sorting by Editions

Sorting your cards by editions can not only help you complete your collection and identify duplicates but also better understand the developments and trends in the game.

  • Completeness of Collection: Ever tried to figure out if you’re missing a specific card from a particular edition? Sorting your cards by edition greatly simplifies this process.
  • Duplicates and Trade Opportunities: When sorting by edition, it’s easy to spot which cards you have multiples of. This can be especially handy if you’re looking to trade or sell cards.
  • Historical Context: For collectors not just invested in the current gameplay but also in Magic’s history, sorting by edition can allow for a deeper dive into the game’s evolution.

A Continuously Expanding Universe

With every new edition that Wizards of the Coast releases, the universe of MTG expands. For players, this means new strategies, combinations, and narratives. For collectors, it means there’s always something new to discover and add. Sorting by editions is therefore not just a matter of organization, but also a tribute to the rich history and legacy of Magic: The Gathering.

Deck Boxen schützen
Deck boxes protect your ready-to-play deck

Sorting by Value

It’s not just the rarity of a card that determines its value. Condition also plays a critical role. If you’re planning to sell or trade some of your cards, you should carefully check the condition of each card. Some tools and websites, such as CardMarket, can help you determine the current market value of a card.

  1. Mint: These cards are in perfect condition. No scratches, stains, or worn corners.
  2. Near Mint: These cards have minimal wear and tear, often only visible upon close inspection.
  3. Lightly Played: Some signs of wear, but overall in good condition.
  4. Heavily Played: These cards show significant wear but are still playable.
  5. Damaged: Major damages or discoloration. Such cards are often considered “not tournament legal.”

Remember that collectors are often only interested in cards in “Mint” or “Near Mint” condition. Protect your most valuable cards by storing them in protective sleeves and in a sturdy binder.

eine Foil Magic Karte
Foil cards usually have a higher collector’s value

Optimal protection for your MTG card collection

If you plan on keeping your collection for an extended period or selling it in the future, protecting your cards is of utmost importance. Some tips to keep your cards in top condition:

  • Use card sleeves: These simple plastic sleeves protect your cards from dust, dirt, and minor water damage.
  • Avoid direct sunlight: UV rays can fade your cards and diminish their value.
  • Store them in a cool, dry place: Moisture is the enemy of any card collection. A dry and cool location helps reduce the risk of water damage.
  • Use specialized storage boxes: For large collections, cardboard or plastic boxes are ideal. These boxes often come in various sizes and can hold thousands of cards.
Magic The Gathering Sammlung in speziellen Sammelkartons
Store collectible cards in specialized storage boxes

Digital tools for organization

In the digital age, there are numerous tools and apps that can help you sort your Magic card collection. With them, you can scan your collection, check the value of your cards in real-time, share your collection with friends, and much more. Some of the most popular tools are:

  • Deckbox: A comprehensive platform where you can manage your collection, trade cards, and plan decks.
  • MTG Manager: An app that allows you to scan cards, check their value, and manage your collection. Especially useful for large collections.

Game vs. Collection

Finally, a little food for thought. Not everyone who plays Magic: The Gathering is a collector, and vice versa. If you mainly use your cards for playing, it might make more sense to sort them by decks or game strategies. Collectors, on the other hand, might place more emphasis on editions, rarity, and condition.

No matter which group you belong to, the most important thing is to have fun and value your cards. With the right organization and care, your MTG card collection will bring you joy for a long time.

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