This guideline is meant for both buyers and sellers. Buyers can refer to these guidelines to establish their expectations of what a card they order will look like. Sellers are encouraged to make themselves familiar with this guide in order to correctly determine the condition of any cards they offer for sale.
Getting cards in the correct condition is one of the most important aspects of making a buyer happy with a purchase. To ensure this, Mage and our franchise partners check each card that is bought on Mage Market, and determine if the card matches the condition that was ordered.
The example cards that are depicted with each condition are supposed to illustrate the lower end of the condition they go along with. That means if your card looks worse than one of these pictures but better than the picture for the next lower tier of condition, you should grade it as the lower tier of condition. Additionally, if either the front or back face of the card is in worse condition than the other, you should give the card the worse grading of the two.
😍 Near Mint
North America: Near Mint
A near mint card is in perfect or almost perfect condition and is supposed to appear as though it was stored and used with absolute care and protection throughout its entire lifetime. It is not bent or curled and has no scratches or dirt on the surface. Any white spots on the edges of the card should be minimal, if present at all. Wear on the edges should not be immediately obvious to untrained observers when looking at the card in a sleeve.
It is possible that a card is in worse than near mint condition immediately out of a sealed booster pack.
North America: Lightly Played
An excellent card may have minor imperfections that are obvious at first glance. A few small white spots at the edges or border are common for excellent cards. So are minor marks or scratches on the surface that are not immediately obvious in normal lighting. If it is a premium foil card, it might be slightly curved or bent, or its surface might have hints of clouding.
North America: Moderately Played
A card in “good” condition usually has significant wear, commonly several white spots on edges and border, noticeable scratches or dirt on the surface. It may be somewhat bent or curved and if it is premium foil, a “good” card likely has a clouded surface.
Any of these signs of wear must come from normal use, for example through unsleeved play or careless storage.
North America: Heavily Played
A played card usually has major white markings along large parts of the border and edges, scratches or dirt on the surface that are very obvious even in normal lighting or in sleeves. If it is a premium foil card, the surface will likely be very cloudy and the card might be significantly bent.
Just like a “good” card, a “played” card must have been worn out from play and/or storage. Any other types of damage or worse type of condition are considered “damaged”.
North America: Damaged
Cards that are “damaged” usually can’t be played in sanctioned tournaments due to their condition. Heavy bends, water damage, cards with sharpied borders, random scribbles on them or cards with rips in them are considered damaged.