I read about the new mechanic in Innistrad, the upcoming MTG edition, called double-faced cards. These cards have two faces, and no standard Magic back. They have actual creatures on both sides. In the linked article they describe two options for handling those cards:

To put a double-faced card into your deck, you have two options: You can put your entire deck in opaque card sleeves, as many players already do, or you can use the checklist card provided in many Innistrad packs. If you're using checklist cards to represent any of the double-faced cards in your deck, you must use checklist cards to represent all of them.

I am not happy with either of these options. As a card collector I want my cards nice and clean and I will definitely not remove them from their sleeve during actual play, which is required for the first option. Those cards would take damage really fast. So this option does not work for me.

The alternative is using those checklist cards, but as far as I understand it, this requires me to keep the real cards on a separate pile. Every time I play a checklist card, I will search this pile and put the right card into play. Shouldn't be a problem if you are playing for fun at home or with people who know your deck well. But in a tournament situation, this will leak important information to my opponent. How many double-faced cards am I playing? How many of those are left? It is also very likely that my oppponent my get a glimpse at some of them while I search for a card in the pile, because double-faced cards are hard to hide.

I am considering additional cards to act as decoys. Lets say I only have 4 checklist cards in my deck but I bring 20 different double-faced cards for the exchange-pile. Would this be allowed in a tournament? Or are there better ways to handle that?

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    Level III judge Riki Hayashi responds via Twitter: "Short answer would be 'don't do that.' For more info, wait for the Innistrad FAQ." (twitter.com/#!/Riskypedia) Once the FAQ is complete, I'll put the information as an answer. – Jadasc Sep 9 '11 at 14:39
  • I don't really think this question can be answered fairly and accurately until the Innistrad FAQ is released, or until WotC further clarify the changes to the Tournament Rules regarding double-faced cards otherwise. – adamjford Sep 9 '11 at 15:22
  • @Jadasc, good call asking an actual senior judge. Interesting to see that even they regard it as a potential problem and have no simple answer. This new mechanic is really putting the cat among the pigeons! – thesunneversets Sep 9 '11 at 16:48
  • In draft it's considered common courtesy to move any double-sided cards forward in the pack so they're not visible while being passed around. Also, as long as your first pick ins't a double sider then you can jsut stick it under some other cards. – DForck42 Nov 4 '11 at 19:08

Yes, there's been a lot of anger about double-faced cards online. Obviously they're going to "kind of, sort of" work, but only in a really clunky and annoying way. No one want to have to be constantly subjecting their cards to wear and tear by sleeving and resleeving them - and players with bad memories are going to keep forgetting what's written on the second face too!

To answer your question, I cannot imagine there could be any possible objection to you keeping the number and nature of your DFCs secret. I personally would probably want to invest in a deck box and keep the double-faced cards in there with your trades or casual decks. Having any sort of visible "exchange-pile" (beyond your 15-card sideboard) when you sit down gives your opponent too much information: really, you don't want him knowing if you're playing double-faced cards at all, until you play one.

And if you think playing in Constructed tournaments is going to be annoying, just wait until you consider the implications for Draft. Curse you, Wizards! You've gone too far this time! :D

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    I refuse to make any judgements until I play with them. :) – adamjford Sep 9 '11 at 16:34
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    @adam, I don't want to sound too down on them, from what I've seen I think they're superb cards and dripping with flavour; they wouldn't have worked half as well as flip cards. On the other hand I don't think anyone can deny that there will be some amount of irritation at having to wrestle them in and out of sleeves, or play with those ugly checklist cards... with luck it won't be too horrible. – thesunneversets Sep 9 '11 at 16:42
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    Fortunately, I mostly play online these days, where the problem of how to handle these cards will be moot :). – JSBձոգչ Sep 9 '11 at 16:45
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    From personal experience, it's relatively painless. While it does mean you can see when somebody grabs something when drafting, in play the whole "go grab the double-sided version of this placeholder" isn't too bad. – Ian Pugsley Oct 4 '11 at 16:49
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    @Ian - I haven't played with them yet, but I've been reading articles about them from pro drafters; the main thing that struck me was that, to them, double-facedness has actually proven to be an advantage, as it makes signalling easier! – thesunneversets Oct 5 '11 at 9:18

I am considering additional cards to act as decoys. Lets say I only have 4 checklist cards in my deck but I bring 20 different double-faced cards for the exchange-pile. Would this be allowed in a tournament? Or are there better ways to handle that?

I'm pretty sure you can bring as many token cards or those other promotional generic ad cards as you like. Rather than bring extra double-faced cards, I would just put a bunch of token cards on top of your pile of double-faced cards. Perhaps you'll have to show the cards to a judge before play, but I can't see how there would be a problem with that.


I saw a good approach for this that I adopted early on. Sure I'm late to the party, but we have to deal with these cards for another year anyway, and if the Golgari have anything to say about it, we'll be using a lot of stuff from the Innistrad block.

The biggest issue with double faced cards is clearly protecting your investment by limiting resleeving. To get around this, I put mine in the 100-for-a-dollar clear plastic sleeves with no backing on them. My checklist card goes in my deck like a normal card (with a typical color-backed sleeve) while my clear plastic sleeve comes with my with my tokens. The tokens are also sleeved with the cheap sleeves, because they are just as useful upside down (for random things that you simply need) as they are token side up. This gives them a clever disguise, and hey if something catastrophic happened (some idiot spills a pop on the table) my both my tokens and cards I actually care about (looking at you, Bloodline Keeper) are protected.

Is it perfect? No, but it satisifies my worries: opponent can't see inside my deck until it hits him, protect my cards, make it easy to work with.


The approach that I'm going to use initially is to protect the cards in sleeves, to set them in a side pile and to use the checklists in the deck.

Rather than mark my checklists, I'm going to put small stickers on the plastic slip (yes 2 covers for the cards).

For disguising my quantity of double faced cards, I am going to pad my pile with unmarked checklists.

It's probably not a perfect solution, but should avoid any issues of being accused of improperly substituting cards into the game.

  • Will it be sufficiently unambiguous which double-faced-card is represented by your checklist card, if you haven't physically marked it? (I'm visualising from your answer something stuck to the sleeve rather than the card, which might be too easy to manipulate for dishonest purposes?) – thesunneversets Sep 15 '11 at 13:57
  • Remember, I'm talking about an inner and outer sleeve. The sticker is on the inner one. In order to manipulate this, you'd have to move the sticker or swap the inner sleeve. These inner sleeves just barely fit the cards, so sliding shouldn't be an issue, alternately you can write on the sticker exactly which double sided is being represented. – Stephen Sep 15 '11 at 14:04
  • My motivation on not marking the checklist is twofold... Firstly I don't have to amass a ridiculous amount of checklists to cover my double sided cards, I could just use multiple inner sleeves in case I somehow had more doubled cards than checklists (unlikely) but also as an ex-card dealer, checklists collect an odd value attachment simply because so many people mark them up. – Stephen Sep 15 '11 at 14:06
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    For casual play it sounds like an ideal solution, for tournaments I'm a bit worried a judge might take a dim view unless it was (a) absolutely unambiguous which card on the checklist was checked and (b) absolutely impossible to move the sticker to represent a new card, by any amount of sleight of hand. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a good idea, I just feel like it might not get DCI-approved. Welcome to the murky world of double-faced cards in tournament situations :-/ – thesunneversets Sep 15 '11 at 14:17
  • Yes, it's going to be half a nightmare but hopefully the weaknesses become apparent quickly and we get some DCI approved guidance. – Stephen Sep 15 '11 at 14:27

lol.well..what you could do is buy double cards for cards in deck and sheath the cards one on each side...keep the flip side in a different sheathed pile..it would work well..but ummm....that could get expensive...seems best bet though..probably what i will do.

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    I've seen that suggestion before and in practical terms it's not a bad one, but... how reluctant am I to give Wizards twice as much money as they're already gouging me for? If I play a tournament deck with 4 double-faced mythic rares it would cost me the GNP of a small African country to get 8 copies! ;) – thesunneversets Sep 15 '11 at 10:34

EDIT: SEE COMMENTS! This is a BAD idea - the double-sleeved cards are identifiable!


On the specific topic of wear-and-tear to the cards, I double sleeve all my double-faced cards, even though I don't double sleeve the rest of the deck.

Doesn't help with the other issues, but at least means I'm not constanly touching and nicking the edges.

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    I don't think this is good advice. The thickness of double sleeved cards and the way the sleeve can move around the card is noticeably different, and having both in your deck would count as having marked cards in a tournament. I just tested this by shuffling together single- and double-sleeved cards in identical outer sleeves with similar wear patterns, and I was able to distinguish between them looking only at the back with almost 90% accuracy. – murgatroid99 Nov 30 '16 at 19:30
  • Jeez! you can? wow you guys must spend a lot of time looking at cards :) Fair enough. – Brondahl Dec 1 '16 at 1:04
  • What I meant is that I could distinguish them by touch, without looking at anything but the back. – murgatroid99 Dec 1 '16 at 1:06
  • ... I'm not sure if that's more-, or less-impressive =:0 – Brondahl Dec 1 '16 at 1:08
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    Re delete votes. I'd probably say it's worth NOT deleting this, so that others who have my idea have the flaw pointed out. – Brondahl Jan 26 '17 at 10:07

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