Theories on sorting Magic cards

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Trisha Lynn
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Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby Trisha Lynn » 29 Jul 2013, 11:28

While listening to my husband review his notes for the Minnesota bar exam which starts tomorrow (please send mojo!) I finally dug into the M13 Deckbuilder's Toolkit I bought a long time ago and started sorting cards and opening up the packs that were inside (Innistrad, Dark Ascension, Avacyn Restored, M13 Core). I found that sorting the sorceries, instants, artifacts and lands (I got four Evolving Wilds) was easy, but when it came time to sort the creatures, I got confused.

I know that it's important to sort by mana cost, but within those mana costs, do you keep your creature types together? Or do you keep your creature types together regardless of mana cost and then sort mana cost within creature type?

As of right now, I think I'm sorting by overall mana cost, then color mana cost, then colorless mana cost, then alphabetical by creature type. Thus, my pile of blue creatures looks like this:

Jace's Phantasm * - Illusion
2x Welkin Tern 1* - Bird
Deranged Assistant 1* - Human Wizard
Fog Bank 1* - Wall
Screeching Skaab 1* - Zombie
Stormbound Geist 1** - Spirit
Scroll Thief 2* - Merfolk Rogue
Niblis of the Breath 2* - Spirit
Mist Raven 2** - Bird
Archaeomancer 2** - Human Wizard
Stern Mentor 3* - Human Wizard
Vedalken Entrancer 3* - Vedalken Wizard
Gryff Vanguard 4* - Human Knight
Stormtide Leviathan 5*** (foil) - Leviathan

Does that sound like a good way to sort them?


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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby Lord Hosk » 29 Jul 2013, 12:07

I go Standard/other then each of those two into color, set, alphabetical, I dont worry about type.

If I need a specific type of card I will search it on gatherer and then find the card or cards I need.
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby tamaness » 29 Jul 2013, 12:09

I use an inventory program on my computer (the vault), and then sort my cards by rarity, color, and then alphabetically. If I need to find a specific card, The Vault lets me search based on multiple criteria (Standard legal 4/4 for CMC 3 in red, for example), and then I can find the card (if I have it) fairly easily from there.
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby Fantazme » 29 Jul 2013, 13:19

I normally pick out anything I need for deck building, the rest go organised. Of those I need, usually just colour > name (Alphabetically).
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby Kapol » 29 Jul 2013, 14:00

I personally sort my cards like this:

Block (including the Core set at the end) > Color > Type (creatures are sorted by creature types as well) > CMC > Cards I like the best (though Alphabet seems a better option here).

I sort by block because that let's me know what will be cycling out with what, so I don't put the M13 stuff in with the RTR stuff by mistake. So right now I have 'Innistrad-M13' and 'RTR-M14' divided. Color is pretty important to know the difference of. But I didn't consider rarity to be a big factor... though I might change that. From there, I sort by enchantments, instants, sorceries, and creatures. Then sort the creatures by creature type and enchantments by enchantment type (global or aura). Then I put the cheapest in the front and most expensive in the back. And finally, I put the ones I like closer to the front if there are multiple at the same cost.

I personally like Alric's way though. Being able to just search your computer like that seems helpful.

EDIT: Another note: I personally don't put my rares with the rest of my cards. I keep them in a trade binder. If there are cards I'm confident I'm going to want to use (such as Banisher Priest) or cards that seem to be desired despite only being uncommon (such as Far//Away), I put them in the trade binder. If you have rares in your binder you don't want to trade, I recommend putting them in the back and making a sign that says 'not for trade.' People will still look back there and ask you if they are if you take it somewhere, and likely get pissy if you say no, but then you have the moral high-ground at least. :P
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby Duckay » 29 Jul 2013, 14:45

I sort mine set -> colour -> rarity -> alphabetically.

Like Kapol, though, rares, mythics, and even some sought after commons and uncommons go in a folder instead.
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby phlip » 29 Jul 2013, 16:00

When I started playing, I sorted by Colour -> CMC -> Alpha, on the basis that deckbuilding would usually involve going through my collection and seeing what I have, and putting something together from that.

Once I started drafting enough that I essentially have more cards than I will ever need for any purpose ever, deckbuilding involves more just looking at Gatherer to see what cards exist, rather than looking at what cards I actually have... so sorting my collection mostly serves to just make it easier to find specific cards. Currently it's sorted Set -> Colour... in theory it would be Set -> Colour -> Alpha, but I'm too lazy to do that, and it doesn't take too long to look through, say, all my DKA blue cards looking for Thought Scours.
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby headband » 31 Jul 2013, 21:41

I go Color -> Rarity -> Mana Cost -> Alphabetical. It helps that I have one of those boxes that they sold around the holidays. Makes it easy to keep track of them. Though, at the rate I'm gaining cards, might be a good idea to invest in another one next Christmas season.
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby Yaxley » 01 Aug 2013, 09:23

Color. I'd like to go color and then alphabetical, but I think I have either too many cards or not enough time to actually do that. I need Paul's card sorting robot.
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby tamaness » 02 Aug 2013, 12:38

To be fair to "not enough time," I haven't finished alphabetizing. I've got my W, U, and B commons all sorted in alpha, but I still need to do G, R, Artifacts, multicolor, and nonbasic land, as well as all of my uncommons. I spent some time combing LGSes for Fat Pack boxes before I moved out of Phoenix specifically for this, though.

Rares all go in the trade binder if they're not being used, because who knows, someone may decide to make me a great offer for something I hadn't thought of trading. I've got rares kinda-but-not-really sorted by color.
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby Geoff_B » 02 Aug 2013, 12:49

For those of you who sort by colour, how do you cope with multicoloured creatures like in RTR? When I've had other creatures like that the colours have been next to each other on the wheel so I've just put them in with the left-most colour (eg. W for WU, R for RB etc), but in RTR you get stuff like BW or GW. Any ideas?
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby Lord Hosk » 02 Aug 2013, 14:52

I have all the gold cards stacked up as a 7th color.
White
Blue
Red
Black
Green
Brown/Silver
Gold

This silver and gold piles are roughly equal at about a third the size of my other colors.
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby Duckay » 02 Aug 2013, 15:42

I sort gold and hybrid separately (and then by rarity and alphabetically). Sometimes I think about breaking it down further into the different colour combinations, but I don't think that's necessary.
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby Drecon » 02 Aug 2013, 21:03

I sort mine:
Set -> Collector's number

That's it. I actually own a number of binders for sets I have been collecting and I like to have everything in order.
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby Dusk_Shine » 04 Aug 2013, 09:50

Personally, I first sort by color, then by set, but I try my best to keep multiple copies of the same card together. My artifacts and multicolors have their own separate piles as well. And before anyone asks, I sort my multis in WUBRG order: WU, WB, UB, UR, BR, BG, RG, RW, GW, GU. Triple color cards get sorted in by their first two colors, but at the end of that particular pile.
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby Trisha Lynn » 17 Aug 2013, 19:37

Okay, so after talking to the manager at the store where I buy my cards, here's what I finally came up with:

* When sorting by color, I go by chromatic order for mono-colors only: White (W), Red (R), Green (G), Blue (U), Black (B)
* When sorting by set, I go in reverse order going by this page listing: M14, Return to Ravnica block, M13, etc.
* Basic Lands go in a separate box, sorted by color
* Non-Basic Lands are in the rear of the long-box, sorted by set.
* Next come the Artifacts, by set, then mana cost.
* Next, the mono-color Instants, sorted by color, then set, then CMC.
* Next, the multi-color Instants, sorted by set, then CMC.
* Next, all the Enchantments: multis first (set, then CMC), then the monos (color, set, CMC).
* Next, all the Sorceries: mono-color dual spells, multi-color dual spells, then monos (color, set, CMC)
* Next, mono-color Creatures (color, set, CMC)
* Next, multi-color Creatures (color, set, CMC), with the flip-Creatures in the very front.

The entire box looks like this: http://lps.geekingoutabout.com/wp-conte ... orting.jpg

And you'll notice that I have divider tabs stuck into the rear of the box with hand-printed lettering. I was able to do this by finally finding a use for the promo/ad cards.

HOW TO MAKE DIVIDER TABS FOR A LONG-BOX OF MAGIC CARDS

1. Cut a promo-ad card into strips about a centimeter wide. Tape the cut strip to one side of a promo ad card with it sticking up above the top of the card by a centimeter.

2. Next, take a blank address label and cut it to be a little shorter than the width of the card. Do not remove the backing yet.

3. On the bottom of the address label, put the name of the category you're making the divider for. Turn the label 180 degrees and repeat on the new bottom.

4. Peel the sticker off of the backing and place it on one side of the part that's sticking up. Fold over the top and press together, forming a seal. Use additional tape to secure the entire sticker to the card.

I'm so mad that I didn't think of this last night when I played in the FNM Booster Draft after the tournament, when there were 18 packs of promo ad cards on the table and I could have had them all.


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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby tamaness » 17 Sep 2013, 13:16

Alright, now that I've got my commons alphabetized, I'm a bit more confident in my sorting method (rarity>color>alpha). If a card has multiple rarities, I organize it by its most recent core set or expansion rarity I.E. not FTV or other special sets, as the rarity is pretty highly variable in sets like that. This usually comes into play with stuff from before Exodus, so I have to look up rarity anyway.

I may make a box strictly for standard-legal cards, and then sort that box by expansion>rarity>color>alpha, but most of my collection is Standard-legal right now anyway.

I also sort my basic land by type, then art, as I like to have matched land art when I build decks.

I need to go through and update my inventory. I may just redo the whole inventory since it's been quite some time since I've updated it.
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby unknowngamer » 17 Sep 2013, 21:59

I sort by colour > type > CMC > rarity > set.

I don't play too many different formats (most of the people I play with don't even recognize formats), so that's why set always falls last for me. I also sort by rarity mostly because the lions share of my collection came from two "treasure boxes" which had a random selection of 800 commons & uncommons, 25 rares, and 25 foils, so I've got a lot of junk. Though I did have a few death's shadow when the price jumped which was nice. The modular way I sort also helps when I have move a large number of cards around, like recently when I ended up with too many creatures to put all of one colour per box.

As to gold and hybrid cards, I don't have terribly many in my collection, so I sort the same colour groups together without separating types. This does mean I have a separate section for each guild and shard, but it works.

Another oddment to my sorting is artifact subtypes. I ended up with a TON of myr and replica artifact creatures, so to keep them from clogging up my artifact creature section I keep them separate. I also did the same for cluestones. These are the only cards I bother to look at subtype for sorting.

I really should get around to sorting my basic land beyond type, but I really can't be bothered. Plus, since I mostly play kitchen table magic, I'm planning on printing up some of my own basics.
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby korvys » 17 Sep 2013, 22:28

I just sort by Set > Colour > Name, which is the same as collector number. Seeing as I tend to build decks online, or using apps, I usually have a card in mind by the time I'm looking through the physical cards, so it lets me go straight to it.
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby Mara Kalat » 18 Sep 2013, 00:57

Drecon wrote:I sort mine:
Set -> Collector's number

That's it. I actually own a number of binders for sets I have been collecting and I like to have everything in order.


Yeah, this is my method as well. Or was, when I still played physically.
I always saw the Collector's number as the 'intended sorting' of a set, so I used that.

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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby Avistew » 18 Sep 2013, 01:32

I do set>colour>rarity>mana cost>alphabetically, with rares and mythics in binders.
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby cuddlyblade » 18 Sep 2013, 07:29

I don't sort mine to be honest. There all sitting in random piles on my table in my room.
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby zombub » 30 Sep 2013, 13:14

I sort mine the obvious way, by set > rarity > color (WBUGR > colorless > lands) > type (creatures > sorceries > instants > enchantments) > CMC > alphabetical

Doesn't everyone?
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby Phosphatide » 30 Sep 2013, 20:52

If we're assuming that all these cards will be stacked on top of each other like in a big pile or in a horizontal box, I go set > color (white > blue > black > red > green > multi (haven't figured out a way to sort the specific combinations) > artifacts) > converted mana cost > difficulty in casting (for example, 2G would come before 1GG) > card type (creature > instant > sorcery > enchantment > enchantment aura > artifact) > rarity. Lands go in their own pile.

Collector's number sounds great but I like to browse my inventory for things to use in decks so having them laid out by mana cost helps out a lot.
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Re: Theories on sorting Magic cards

Postby AdmiralMemo » 01 Oct 2013, 00:36

Phosphatide wrote:multi (haven't figured out a way to sort the specific combinations)
I use WUBRG for that, too, and sort by 2-mana, then 3-mana, etc.

So, WU, WB, WR, WG, UB, UR, UG, BR, BG, RG, WUB, WUR, WUG, WBR, WBG, WRG, UBR, UBG, URG, BRG, WUBR, WUBG, WURG, WBRG, UBRG, WUBRG.
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