Artist: Anton James
Producers: The Magic Estate
Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer
Retail Price: $29.95 USD
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Length of DVD: The instructional videos are all online. Secret link included in purchase.
- 26 Original Symbol Cards
- 26 Custom Cards for Additional Effects and Creativity.
The mental magic genre just got its own custom deck of gaff cards with Anton James’s MSP: Mentalist Symbol Pack. This is a deck of 52 custom printed cards deigned to be used for mentalism and other mental magic effects. Instead of the traditional deck of cards you get a base deck of 26 beautifully printed cards with striking images on them, with an additional deck of 26 cards consisting of gaff effects like blurred images, mental forces, double backers, blank cards, etc. The cards are printed on a special kind of thin plastic stock which makes them feel similar to Kem brand playing cards. They’re water proof and thus will last a hell of a long time with proper care. One point to note here is that if you’ve ever handled a set of plastic playing cards you know how flimsy they are. This usually means they handle for crap. MSP has a smooth finish on them so I find that, while they are still very thin, they fan beautifully. These handle far better than any other plastic deck I’ve ever seen. I could perform double, triple lifts, shape shifter (revolver change), Erdnase change, among other sleights with this deck that would be difficult to impossible with other plastic cards. So props to Anton for a quality product on that regard.
Performing with the standard deck of 26 images leaves you open to do a lot of different mentalism style effects from mind reading, cold reading, card divination (ala Tarot deck), drawing reproductions, to multiple selections and predictions/ reveals. At the core of the deck is a simple stack, but don’t trip out! It’s not difficult. Meaning even a novice could pick up the stack and start using it with minimal effort spent to learn it. The instructional videos that accompany the cards are useful for getting your feet wet with working with them, but I think the real power in the deck lays with the individuals own ability to design their own custom presentations using the cards. There’s no right or wrong way to use them!
As nice of a deck of cards as this is I was shocked that a product designed for mentalists use didn’t contain any traditional ESP symbols in it! I expected there to be a Rhine test and was shocked that there was none. Maybe Rhine symbols are too main stream? I don’t know, but I feel this was kind of a major oversight. Also I think the handling won’t appeal to a lot of mentalists because it will feel too much like doing traditional card tricks but instead of using an Ace of Spades, for example, you’re using a picture of a clock. So I expect there to be some purists who will turn their noses up to this deck. Their loss. It’s really a nice deck.
Pocket space is minimal. Though the cards come in a nice tuck box for easy storage I tend to agree with a point made on the video about putting the cards into an envelope for performance purpose. I even took it a step further, I wrapped in a small scrap of dark red velvet and it kind of added an extra level of theatrics to them. The cards reset quickly so this is ideal for strolling. You could use them on stage as well. The website that you get the video links from also has a link to download and print the stock 26 images on 8.5×11 paper. So there is some versatility to this. I’ve gotten some pretty good reactions from working with these cards, and yes you can perform them in the round if wanted.
Overall I really liked MSP. I think it’s a pretty cool utility prop that has strong potential to be used in a variety of ways limited to the imagination of the presenter. Given the price isn’t that expensive and the cards will last a lifetime with proper care this really was a no brainer. If you like doing bizarre or mental magic you’re going to love this deck. If you’re a mentalist you will still find great potential for application.
When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.
Product Quality: 9
The price is good, and the cards are beautifully printed. They will last a long time!
Teaching Quality: 7
I really didn’t like having all the videos broken up into individual download links, but it does make it easier to isolate a specific section for quick review.
Video & Sound Quality: 7
The sound and video, for a streamed video, are both pretty good.
Overall Quality: 8
A solid score! I really liked MSP and I look forward to future editions of this set. Perhaps I’ll get my Rhine symbols after all?
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