The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Discuss the latest feature articles in Genii.
Bob Farmer
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The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Bob Farmer » January 29th, 2008, 11:54 am

The Zarrow Shuffle issue of Genii is the best issue of any magic magazine I've ever read (I only read English, so there may be another great magic magazine in, say, Urdu -- if so, let me know).

The cover is fabulous and David Ben's article is magnificent. Julie Eng's photos are unbelievable. I finally understand the large differences between the so-called Shank Shuffle and the Zarrow Shuffle.

No one can have any doubt that Marlo was a creative genius, but there is also no doubt he sometimes took credit for material he had nothing to do with.

(As with Herb, Marlo copped one of my tricks and even used practically the same illustrations.
Compare, my "Close Quarters," Apocalypse Vol. 5, #4, April, 1982, pp. 615-616, to Marlo's (and I use that apostrophe "s" while gritting my teeth) "Way-Ahead Coin Assembly," same maagazine, Vol. 7, No. 1, January 1984, pp.871-872.)


Back to Genii: ten percent (10%) of the information contained in this issue could easily have been sold for $25 or more.

Herb, David, Richard, Liz and Julie: we are not worthy.

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Pete Biro
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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Pete Biro » January 29th, 2008, 12:43 pm

Agreed... BTW many moons ago Matt Corin and I stopped off in Chicago and met Marlo. It was there that I showed him the Ascanio Spread. He had never seen it (we had just returned from Europe where Ascanio taught it to me, Matt and Fred Kaps).

Matt showed Marlo an original face-up switch of a card on the table...

Not long after, Marlo published it without permission or CREDIT. :whack:
Stay tooned.

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Jeff Haas » January 29th, 2008, 1:11 pm

I especially like the way the pictures were added to the article on how to do the Zarrow. It's a clever layout choice I've never seen before, the narrow photos stacked up next to the text.

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George Guerra
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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby George Guerra » January 29th, 2008, 2:19 pm

sounds wonderful...hopefully, I will get a copy having just subscribed earlier this month :help:

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Adrian Kuiper » January 30th, 2008, 1:28 pm

This issue is the most impressive that I've seen. The Zarrow article is beautifully written and makes valid points all the way through. The photographs accompanying the article are as good as I've seen.

Why am I even saying this.....what ELSE would I expect?

On another note, I'm equally impressed by the covers and layout of the magazine. The Zarrow Hands, with the "fading" Zarrow underneath are Genius!!!

Congratulations to all involved!!!

Adrian

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Bill Palmer » January 30th, 2008, 5:19 pm

I have to say this: I have met Herb Zarrow on a number of occasions. He is an amazing person and a very nice man. I'm glad this issue came out and not only set the record straight but taught the shuffle the way he actually does it.
Bill Palmer, MIMC

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Cugel
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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Cugel » January 31st, 2008, 11:29 pm

I can't wait to read this issue, but to describe the Zarrow as the most important sleight of the 20th century is a bit of an exaggeration.

Let's face it, if the Zarrow had never been invented, it would have had no impact on the development of magic in the 20th century, since we already had several highly effective ways to table false shuffle a deck of cards.

On the other hand, if the Elmsley Count mysteriously disappeared from the consciousness of all magicians overnight, that event would single-handedly demolish most of the restaurant magic industry and reduce most magic club members to tricks with key cards and mathematical principles.

As I said, I am keen to read the article, but the cover statement comes across as hyperbole to me. Or perhaps a cunning ploy by our editor to kick off some discussion!

:)

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby El Mystico » February 1st, 2008, 1:58 am

on the one hand, it is probably a pointless exercise to get into a discussion of which is more important, the Zarrow or the Elmsley. But, Gangrini does have a point - the Elmsley Count surely has had more of an influence?

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 1st, 2008, 7:28 am

I did not write "The Most Important Sleight of the 20th Century FOR MAGICIANS."
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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Chris Aguilar » February 1st, 2008, 8:05 am

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
I did not write "The Most Important Sleight of the 20th Century FOR MAGICIANS."
Yes, but isn't it "Genii: The Conjuror's Magazine"?

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby JimAlfredson » February 1st, 2008, 8:52 am

Just wanted to add to the notes on the latest issue. The exposition of the Jarrow shuffle is as nifty a description as I've read in a long time; an excellent combination of text and photos. Further, the Marlo commentary was most interesting; a curious guy. Finally, in 'defence' of Richard, I always thought 'Hyperbole' was a good Magic Editor/Publisher's middle name! A dandy issue!

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Gordolini » February 1st, 2008, 8:58 am

Chris -

But I thought Card Cheats are Conjurors.

Conjurer (also Conjuror) - a person who practices legerdemain; juggler.

Legerdemain - 1. sleight of hand 2. trickery or deception

Therefore Card Cheats who practice sleight of hand and trickery or deception are Conjurors..

Just having some fun with bad logic and Dictionary.com

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Tom Frame » February 1st, 2008, 9:01 am

I did not write "The Most Important Sleight of the 20th Century FOR MAGICIANS."
I believe that Richard is referring to the fact that the use of the Zarrow Shuffle is not confined to only magicians. It has also been adopted and embraced by crooked gamblers, thus significantly increasing the number of people who use it.

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Chris Aguilar » February 1st, 2008, 9:06 am

Originally posted by Tom Frame:
It has also been adopted and embraced by crooked gamblers, thus significantly increasing the number of people who use it.
I'd wager that total number is likely smaller than those who use other sleights like the Elmsley Count. Is there any dispute that we're talking about a sleight created for primarily magical purposes in a magazine devoted to magic? How significant is the number of cheats who specifically rely on the Zarrow versus other false shuffles (not to mention deck switches and the like that can achieve similar goals) versus the number of people who do magic as a hobby or profession?

I think the Zarrow Shuffle is just great and the article on it a superb one. But "Most important sleight of the 20th century"? Nah.

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Tom Frame » February 1st, 2008, 9:37 am

I'd wager that total number is likely smaller than those who use other sleights like the Elmsley Count.
Chris,

Please, oh please, give me one scenario in which a crooked gambler would use the Elmsley Count, "under fire" during a cash game. I await your enlightenment.

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » February 1st, 2008, 9:46 am

Originally posted by Tom Frame:
I'd wager that total number is likely smaller than those who use other sleights like the Elmsley Count.
Chris,

Please, oh please, give me one scenario in which a crooked gambler would use the Elmsley Count, "under fire" during a cash game. I await your enlightenment.
I don't think that's what Chris was saying at all. Rather, that the total number of magicians who use the Elmsley Count is greater than the total number of magicians and gamblers using the Zarrow combined.

-Jim

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Pete McCabe » February 1st, 2008, 9:47 am

I think you could do an entire show of card magic with nothing more than a stacked deck and a Zarrow shuffle. I'm not sure you could do the same with just an Elmsley count. This is not the only way to measure the importance of a sleight, or how much it has affected card magic, of course.

I remember reading somewhere that a magician could do a great show with perfect sleight-of-hand, etc., and you could follow with nothing more than a stacked deck, and the audience would think you were the better magician.

If anyone can remember this I'd love to know where I first read it.

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Chris Aguilar » February 1st, 2008, 9:49 am

Originally posted by Tom Frame:
I'd wager that total number is likely smaller than those who use other sleights like the Elmsley Count.
Chris,

Please, oh please, give me one scenario in which a crooked gambler would use the Elmsley Count, "under fire" during a cash game. I await your enlightenment.
Tom,

I have never claimed that gambler's use the Elmsley count. That's an argument spun solely of straw.

To clarify, I said that the total number of people (and that would be primarily magicians in my view)that use the Elmsley count probably exceeds the total number of people who use the Zarrow Shuffle on a regular basis. Especially with the widespread teaching the Elmsley (Ghost)Count via books and videos easily found in chain bookstores, on youtube, etc. Aren't we talking about a sleight (Zarrow Shuffle) created for primarily magical purposes in a magazine devoted primarily to magic? :)

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Chris Aguilar » February 1st, 2008, 9:51 am

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
I think you could do an entire show of card magic with nothing more than a stacked deck and a Zarrow shuffle.
Why couldn't one make that same claim using a stacked deck and any other effective false tabled shuffle?

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » February 1st, 2008, 9:53 am

About the "what's more widely used" argument: if we're basing "importance" purely on numbers, then the debut albums of both the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears are more important than "Sgt. Pepper".

-Jim

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » February 1st, 2008, 9:58 am

Originally posted by Chris Aguilar:
Aren't we talking about a sleight (Zarrow Shuffle) created for primarily magical purposes in a magazine devoted primarily to magic? :)
Do Herb Zarrow's intentions for the shuffle matter when measuring the impact? Why should we ignore a segment of the population simply because that's not what he intended?

-Jim

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Chris Aguilar » February 1st, 2008, 10:01 am

Jim,

I have no idea how Richard defines "importance", but I'd wager that loss of the Zarrow would affect the magic world a lot less than loss of the Elmsley (ghost) count. Much like the loss of a new Brittney Spears album wouldn't cause much of a ripple as opposed to the loss of an album that didn't stink. ;)

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Chris Aguilar » February 1st, 2008, 10:10 am

Originally posted by Jim Maloney:
Do Herb Zarrow's intentions for the shuffle matter when measuring the impact? Why should we ignore a segment of the population simply because that's not what he intended?

-Jim
If someone uses a hammer to play the guitar (and manages to do a good job of it), does that mean I've got to give that rather niche use equal play with what the hammer is actually designed for?

And no, I never said "ignore the gamblers", but rather that I think the move is created for and probably has more relevance to the magic world (ergo, we're seeing a nice article about a move created for and used for magical purposes, in a magical based magazine)

And I'm not convinced (based on what a few well posted gambling expert type friends tell me) that the Zarrow shuffle is as important to that world as I think some would like it to be. It's not like a gambler doesn't have other effective tools at his disposal (other false shuffles, deck switches, etc.).

I think the Zarrow Shuffle is brilliant and certainly "important". But seeing it as "Most important Sleight of the 20th century" would require a lot more convincing argument than I'm seeing here.

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 1st, 2008, 10:25 am

Chris, you gotta recognize a joke when you see it. Everybody knows the most important sleight of the 20th century is Mickey Silver's SUV. A quick check of post counts on the magic cafe should verify this if you have any doubts. :rolleyes:
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Doug Brewer » February 1st, 2008, 11:27 am

I'd say it's the most important sleight for Erdnase-wonks, whose existence I was not quite aware of until I went to LVMI last year.

Quite an interesting bunch.

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 1st, 2008, 11:55 am

Chris, cold decking has become more prevalent, and the preferred method of cheating, since the Zarrow Shuffle entered the gambling world. It's much easier to do than a hand muck, second or bottom deal, etc.
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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Ian Kendall » February 1st, 2008, 12:10 pm

Pete - I think that may have been Pat Page. If not, it's certainly something he might have said.

Take care, Ian

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Chris Aguilar » February 1st, 2008, 12:18 pm

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
Chris, cold decking has become more prevalent, and the preferred method of cheating, since the Zarrow Shuffle entered the gambling world. It's much easier to do than a hand muck, second or bottom deal, etc.
Perhaps I'm missing your point, but if false shuffles and sequences (strip out, push through, up the ladder, blah blah) exist that are just as effective (in terms of final effect and not just ease of execution), what makes the Zarrow somehow better here? Granted, it's a spectacular move (and kudos on getting D. Ben to write that great article about it), but I'm still not seeing "most important sleight of the 20th century" here at all...

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 1st, 2008, 12:37 pm

Ah, but Push-Throughs, Strip-outs, and other false shuffles are not only much more difficult to do than a Zarrow Shuffle, NONE of them look, or convince, like a genuine shuffle. The only person I've ever seen do a Push-Through that looked like real shuffle was Charlie Miller, and was using an extremely little-known technique.
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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Chris Aguilar » February 1st, 2008, 12:47 pm

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
Ah, but Push-Throughs, Strip-outs, and other false shuffles are not only much more difficult to do than a Zarrow Shuffle, NONE of them look, or convince, like a genuine shuffle.
I don't agree at all. I think a properly done Zarrow shuffle (for me at least) is probably nearly (if not as) difficult to learn and execute as a push through or strip out. Of course, different people find different moves difficult, so it's hard to generalize. And I've seen plenty of sequences with those (and not always just from the Forte's of this world) that seem just as convincing to me (in final effect) as any Zarrow sequence I've seen.

If one's audience is primarily other magicians, I see your point, but I can't imagine laymen aren't equally baffled by a nice push through/strip out/up the ladder/etc. sequence. Heck, I fully understand and do some of these sequences (albeit in my own "chops impaired" clumsy manner) and my eye is still fooled when I see these sequences used in the hands of the skilled. (and I don't think one has to be Charlie Miller level to be effective here)

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Pete McCabe » February 1st, 2008, 1:02 pm

Originally posted by Tom Frame:
Please, oh please, give me one scenario in which a crooked gambler would use the Elmsley Count, "under fire" during a cash game. I await your enlightenment.
Tom,

Long time no see.

I think one of the Paul Harris books mentions the idea that as a bluff, you could have, say, two queens in your hand, and then lean forward and "accidentally" flash your hand to a player on your side, while doing an Elmsley count which appears to show three queens. Thus causing that player to fold.

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Q. Kumber » February 1st, 2008, 1:18 pm

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:


I remember reading somewhere that a magician could do a great show with perfect sleight-of-hand, etc., and you could follow with nothing more than a stacked deck, and the audience would think you were the better magician.

If anyone can remember this I'd love to know where I first read it.
I'm pretty sure it's from the Bert Allerton book which I don't have to hand.

I have finished reading the Zarrow articles and they are thoroughly fascinating. Regardless of where the shuffle itself rates in the wonderfulness of sleights, it was groundbreaking and the whole thing reads like a gripping drama, more about human nature than about moves and sleights.

Congratulations to all concerned.

Incidentally Pete, I have finished Scripting Magic and I think it is one of the finest books ever written on the presentation of magic.

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Joe M. Turner » February 1st, 2008, 1:30 pm

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
I remember reading somewhere that a magician could do a great show with perfect sleight-of-hand, etc., and you could follow with nothing more than a stacked deck, and the audience would think you were the better magician.

If anyone can remember this I'd love to know where I first read it.
Bert Allerton's The Close-Up Magician, 1958, p.36

"Dr. Zola, the possessor of one of the keener minds in magic, once said to Bert, 'You can take a stacked deck and follow any great artist with cards, and your spectators will think you are the better magician.'"

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Cugel » February 1st, 2008, 1:38 pm

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
I think you could do an entire show of card magic with nothing more than a stacked deck and a Zarrow shuffle. I'm not sure you could do the same with just an Elmsley count. This is not the only way to measure the importance of a sleight, or how much it has affected card magic, of course.
Yes you could do an entire show with a stack and a Zarrow, but most magicians don't, and that's the point. Magic and cheating would have been none the worse if Zarrow hadn't devised his shuffle, since there are equally good alternatives.

Also, the creation of the Zarrow didn't produce a burst of creativity from other magicians in the way that the Elmsley has. To my mind the Elmsley and the double lift and turnover. (Yes I know there are earlier citations for the DL but they are really examples of holding two cards as one away from the deck, not the DL and turnover that Vernon and Green fooled magicians with).

Just a note to add that I think the Zarrow shuffle is a genius idea and it's something I use daily, so this is not a slam on Zarrow.

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Cugel » February 1st, 2008, 1:42 pm

Originally posted by Jim Maloney:
About the "what's more widely used" argument: if we're basing "importance" purely on numbers, then the debut albums of both the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears are more important than "Sgt. Pepper".

-Jim
Your analogy doesn't fit. The issue is which sleight has had the greatest influence and changed the nature of card magic? And which sleight would negatively impact magicians if it was to be removed from their arsenal of techniques overnight?

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Bob Farmer » February 2nd, 2008, 3:27 pm

I stack my packet tricks into a deck and then use a Zarrow to keep them in order.

I forgot to mention another reason why this has to be one of the best issues of any magic magazine ever: Guy Hollingworth's article on design.

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Steve Cohen » February 2nd, 2008, 7:40 pm

I'd like to add that I also greatly enjoyed Guy Hollingworth's article on design, in the February issue.

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Jason England » February 2nd, 2008, 10:34 pm

Although I loved the article, I think the Elmsley count is the more important.

There are few situations where one MUST have a Zarrow. As others have stated, regardless of difficulty there are other equally deceptive options.

The Elmsley count on the other hand, is used in situations that don't often lend themselves to other techniques.

For instance, imagine trying to duplicate the exact outward appearance of Twisting the Aces without the Elmsley count. It's pretty tough to do.

The outward appearance of a good Zarrow is just a riffle shuffle (or two). Any equally deceptive full-deck false will do as far as the spectators are concerned.

Lastly, the Elmsley count spawned variations that do different things than the original. The Zarrow, while a wonderful gift, primarily spawned variations that do the same thing as the original.

They're both great, but if one or the other vanished tomorrow, the Elmsley count takes more good card tricks with it than the Zarrow does. (Admittedly, it takes a lot of crap tricks with it too, but that's another thread.)

Having said all this, I think the double-lift is the most important sleight of the 20th century. Gangrini is right there.

Jason

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Doug Brewer » February 2nd, 2008, 11:53 pm

Wasn't the double lift around before 1901?

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Re: The Best Magic Magazine Of All Time

Postby Cugel » February 3rd, 2008, 12:24 am

That's two cards held together as one away from the deck.

It's the double lift and turnover at the deck that we're talking about.


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