Magic the Gathering: Card Condition Grading Guide
Condition grading is a difficult scale to agree on, especially when you introduce the human factors of variance and interpretation. The card grading scale used by TCGplayer.com is determined by the demands and expectations of both customers and members of the gaming industry.
When evaluating a card, TCGplayer considers two criteria:
- The number of individual markings, defects or points of damage
- The severity of individual markings, defects or points of damage
One or more severe issues or several minor issues can downgrade a card to a lesser condition. These issues could include edge wear, surface scratches, or dirt and foreign material, as well as some other less common condition issues such as ink/print consisteny, centering, and clouding.
Any distinguishing characteristic about a card that is different from the ideal example is taken into consideration along with the quality and integrity of the material of the card itself.
Taking into account all of these characteristics helps us ensure that customers receive exactly what they expect when they order from TCGplayer.
Cards in Near Mint condition show minimal to no wear from shuffling, play, or handling and should have a nearly unmarked surface, crisp corners, and unblemished edges outside of a few minimal flaws. A Near Mint card may have a tiny edge nick or a tiny scratch or two, but overall look fresh out of the pack with no major defects or flaws.
The acceptable range of cards within the Near Mint condition include both cards with no imperfections and cards with a few minor imperfections or a single more noticeable imperfection.
Cards in Lightly Played condition may have minor border or corner wear, or even just slight scuffs or scratches. There are no major defects. A couple of imperfections are okay, but none should be too severe or at too high a volume. Foils in Lightly Played condition may also have slight fading or signs of wear on the front of the card.
The acceptable range of cards within the Lightly Played condition include both cards with a handful of minor imperfections and those with a few more noticeable imperfections.
Cards in Moderately Played condition exhibit one or more condition issues visible at a casual glance. Cards in Moderately Played condition can have border wear, corner wear, scratching or scuffing, creases or whitening, minor dirt buildup, or any combination of mild examples of these defects.
Cards in Heavily Played condition show a severe amount of wear. Heavily Played condition can include cards that have major creasing, major whitening, major border wear, or any combination of those flaws.
Cards in Damaged condition can exhibit a tear, bend, or crease that may make the card illegal for tournament play, even in a sleeve. Cards in Damaged condition may have extreme border wear, extreme corner wear, heavy scratching or scuffing, folds, creases or tears, or other damages that impacts the structural integrity of the card. (Note: No one likes to receive a card that is covered in a foreign substance such as food, liquid, dirt, or other material. Cards like these are not accepted through TCGplayer.)
A note on inked, stamped, signed or painted cards:
For TCGplayer, cards with any form of the above are considered an altered card which are not currently supported on TCGplayer.com. Rather than have our Buyers worry about whether or not they are going to get an inked, stamped, signed or painted card, they should not be listed in the marketplace under our standardized conditions.