Card Grading Guide

All cards are listed on our website with an associated grading: near mint, light play, played, heavily played or damaged. While we try to be as accurate as we can with these gradings, there is always a level of subjectiveness in the process, so this guide should be used with some flexibility. If we spot an error whilst packing your order, we will usually either replace or refund as appropriate. We will usually contact you first if there are significant discrepancies on higher end cards, however if cards are required to fit within a specific grading level for collection purposes, we recommend noting this on your order at checkout. We do not currently sell any cards as mint, although near mint cards may fit into this category.


If you have concerns about the condition of the cards you have received, please contact us and we’ll do our best to help.


All sealed products (boosters, boxes etc) are new and factory sealed unless otherwise stated. Occasionally knocks and tears can occur during postage, so again, please let us know when ordering if an item is required in a certain condition for a collection.


If you are grading cards to trade or sell to us, please be realistic – most cards stored or played for any significant amount of time are likely to fit into the played or lightly played conditions. If cards have been played without sleeves they are most likely heavily played or damaged. If you are not sure you are grading correctly and would like support with the guide below then please contact us and we’ll try our best to help. Cards signed by the illustrator are graded and sold as unsigned cards. Alters technically classify as damaged due to the inking process, however we can offer a bespoke quote for high quality alters of high demand/ value cards, so please list these separately in the notes when submitting your buylist, or contact us with specifics.


Manaleak Grading Guide:


Near Mint – The card is generally in very good condition, either pack fresh or close to. Near mint cards may include printing or cutting defects, micro-scratches and very light edgewear, but issues are generally not noticeable to the eye, either in or out of sleeves.


Lightly Played – The card has some imperfections, but generally looks clean in a sleeve and has no major play defects on the front. Defects can include light edgewear (whiting of black borders or slight dirtying of white borders), or significant natural bending of foil cards. The back of the card may show minor scuffs, very light inking or scratches; the front may have some micro scratches not readily noticeable in sleeves. Some older cards – particularly foils – may have light fogging (a lost bloom to the surface).


Played – The card shows more noticeable wear than lightly played, including significant edgewear, scuffs, fading, scratches or light inking of the front and/ or back. Card condition is reasonable and should still be suitable for tournament play (i.e. card text is still readily identifiable and physical defects such as scratches should not be felt through a sleeve), although foil cards may show more significant bending. This is our broadest category, so cards may vary significantly in condition.


Heavily Played – The card shows evidence of heavy play or poor storage: obvious shuffle wear, very heavy whiting, scuffs, minor inking that does not interfere with card identification or readability, or, slight bending or minor tears not noticeable when sleeved. Heavily played cards are generally playable in sleeves but may not be suitable for higher end competitive events.


Damaged – Significant inking, tears or bends noticeable even through sleeving. Scuffs or inking may have rendered play-relevant text unreadable.


As mentioned above, these descriptions are a guide; grading decisions are subjective and made at point of listing. Some variation may occur within and between grading boundaries, particularly where card condition borders a number of descriptions. As always, if you have any concerns or queries, please contact us and we’ll do our best to help.