Anyone who's collected Magic for a while knows the unfortunate tendency for foils — especially older foils and the heavier promotional foils — to curl up towards the foil side (presumably as the cardstock expands from moisture). Unfortunately, this not only makes it harder to use the foils in decks (they become clearly marked — not a serious problem but still an annoyance for formats like Commander, and a more substantial problem for someone hoping to put e.g. some old foil Rancors into a Standard deck), but it presumably also decreases their value notably.

Unfortunately, just sandwiching the foils in between regular cards doesn't work very well — there isn't generally enough pressure from the regular cards to keep the foils flat; worse, this scheme doesn't really allow for storing a number of foils together (where they'll all curl together). Does anyone have any good suggestions for how to straighten out curled foil cards, or to keep foils from curling in the first place?


Sleeving cards helps keep them flat. Additionally, there are "perfect" or "pro" fit sleeves, which fit cards tightly and can be inserted inside other sleeves. The stiffness of double-sleeving will help a card maintain its shape, as well as protecting expensive cards from rough shuffling or when they are migrating between sleeves.

This, in combination with a deckbox that compresses the cards a little (most of the ultra pro plastic boxes will fit 75 double-sleeved cards, just about) will keep your foils from bending too much. In general, the best advice is to keep them in a deck and keep that deck packed tightly.

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My understanding is that the tendency for foils to curl is due to humidity. The difference in moisture absorption between the foil side and back of the card causes the card to curl.

With the caveat that I've not tried this myself, I suggest adding silica gel or a similar desiccant to your storage box.

As far as storing foils together, you might try flipping each card so the foil sides and back sides touch.

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  • 1
    My experience living in an extremely dry climate has been the opposite, card warping here is far worse than I ever saw before moving! – Affe Jun 28 '13 at 5:24
  • im guessing the closer your climate is to the climate where the cards were originally printed, the less they will warp – Patters Jul 1 '13 at 9:13
  • @Affe Which way do your foils curl? From the front of the card, is it convex or concave? My guess would be that foils warp concave in humid climates (as the paper back absorbs moisture) and convex in dry climates (as the paper back loses moisture). – Peeja Aug 31 '14 at 16:31

As far as the silica gel idea, I believe it does help quite a bit, as I to was wondering why my foil Archon of Triumvirate bent far worse than my foil Hypersonic Dragon(about 4 months older than my newly opened Archon) which i keep in my desk drawer. Upon getting a new laptop earlier in the year, I threw the silica gel that came with the packaging into my desk drawer and my foils stored in the drawer showed a significant difference to newer foils i obtained and did not store within the same drawer. Even today a foil i got less than a week ago reached the same condition of Archon when kept outside of said drawer and my hypersonic is still holding up pretty well unsleeved while in the drawer.

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To straighten out cards I would suggest you dry them in an oven. Test with one or two first. Set the oven to 60°C and leave for 30 mins, you may see them curl the other way! After cooling place directly into a sleeve. The theory behind curling is water absorption into the card itself causing expansion thus drying it should to a degree reverse the process. Using a desiccant over a longer period, weeks, should have the same effect. The water should not interact with the card itself over short periods of time but could over longer periods causing a potential change the in the cards molecular structure, since they are cellulose base they are naturally hydrophilic and water hydrogen bonds to the structure. Note that all plastic sleeves will allow the diffusion of moisture through the faces but clearly an open end will be worse. so double sleeveing is a good idea but you could still see curling

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