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In my collection is a Magic card printed in a language other than English. How can I determine which card this is?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

First of all, if you are able to type in the name, just search for the name using magiccards.info. It accepts non-English names (in part and in whole). Typing the name without accents works.

If you can scan or photograph the card, another easy way of identifying the card is to submit it to Google Image Search (click the camera). This will find pages about that card, and these will surely tell you its name. (In fact, you might very well get the card's Gatherer page.)

Otherwise, determining to which set it belongs would greatly narrow down the search space. For at least 15 years, Wizards has been placing a set icon on the card. Wizard maintains a list of the icons for the proper sets, but this doesn't include the special sets (e.g. duel decks). A quick search reveals that TCGPlayer maintains a comprehensive list. If you have a card that predates the set icon, this earlier post will allow you to determine the set to which it belongs.

Armed with the set, obtain the card number from the small print at the bottom of the card. Locate the set (in the appropriate language) on this page and locate the card by its number.

Tips:

  • If the number is illegible, you can still easy locate the card by looking at all the cards in the set with the correct casting cost.

  • This approach may fail for promo cards. If this is what you have, the copyright date can help you narrow down the search.

If all else fail, please provide a scan of the image.

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To allow people with scans of the card art to be more self sufficient, you should include a suggestion about doing an image search on Google. In fact, if I already had an image in-hand and knew nothing else about the card, it'd be the first thing I do since it's most likely the quickest way to find what card it is. –  Ellesedil Sep 4 at 15:13
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Only Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, Revised, 4th edition, and 5th edition are missing set symbols. Legends (released after Revised) was the first set released in a foreign language, so a foreign-language card without a set symbol must necessarily be from 4th or 5th. –  Brian S Sep 4 at 15:57
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@BrianS: Starter 2000 cards also lack a set symbol, both English and non-English. –  jwodder Sep 4 at 16:29
    
@jwodder, I stand corrected. :) –  Brian S Sep 4 at 16:36

I usually do a gatherer search. You can do an advanced search and refine by the following:

  • Artist
  • Set (if you recognize the symbol)
  • Converted Mana Cost (CMC)
  • Color
  • Power/Toughness if it has them
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And on top of this, pick the Visual Spoiler display mode, and I'm sure you can identify it really quickly even with just artist, CMC, and color. (If not, you could probably get card type easily - even if you can't read/type/translate it, you can just look for known cards in the same language.) –  Jefromi Sep 4 at 22:03

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