Trading card games like Magic: The Gathering are jokingly said to be more expensive than a drug habit. On top of building decks and buying rare cards, there are tons of accessories every serious player will invest in at some point. No Magic player goes outside without their bag of dice and a deck box filled with their favorite double-sleeved Commander deck.
Bags Full of Counters and Dice
No matter the trading card game you play, having a small collection of dice will always come in handy. On top of being used to determine the results of random chance card mechanics, dice can be used as counters for life totals, changes in strength, and other temporary effects.
Here are some of our favorite dice and dice bags:
- TecUnite D20s: These dice come in 25 assorted colors. They are all numbered one through twenty in a random pattern (as opposed to spindown d20s that are not truly random). They also come with a small black bag for carrying.
- CiaraQ Assorted Dice: Sometimes you need something different than a d20 for random chance mechanics, so it’s good to keep a variety of dice to always have your options covered. This dice set comes with five pouches, each filled with a d20, a d12, two d10s, a d8, a d6, and a d4.
- CardKingPro Dice Hoarder Bag: This is the king of dice bags. This large drawstring bag is made of thick and durable fabric. It can hold over 150 dice organized into its seven separate compartments. The bag doesn’t come with any dice though, so you’ll have to purchase them separately. Win or lose the match, it doesn’t matter if you know you have the bigger dice bagtrading.
Display Binders and Storage Bags
If you attend a lot of local competitions or big tournaments, then you’re going to need a good way to transport your cards. Display binders are a great way to organize your collection for easy access when trading or deck building. Carrying bags will hold your already completed decks and all your other accessories.
Here are some of our favorite binders and bags:
- Ultra Pro Binder: This is a standard, three-inch collector’s binder from Ultra Pro. Note that it does not come with any card display sheets. Here are some from the same company that will fit in this binder.
- Vault X Binder: This is an all-in-one card display binder. It doesn’t have a hardcover and is made from a flexible material, but you don’t need to worry about purchasing the pages separately. The binder has 20 pages and can hold up to 360 cards.
- Enhance Card Storage Case: This bag can hold over 1,200 cards and can hold deck boxes. The interior has removable walls that can be used to create up to eight separate storage compartments for organization. The exterior of the bag is made with a hard, weather-resistant fabric and has a padded shoulder strap for transportation.
Card Sleeves for Your Cards
After you take out a second mortgage to feed your Magic addiction, you’ll want to make sure you take good care of the cards you spent all your money on. Sleeves are an easy way to prevent unnecessary damage from accidents and stop wear from everyday use. Even just shuffling a deck of cards without sleeves on will eventually start to ruin the edges of the cards and wear them out.
Here are some of our favorite card sleeves:
- Ultra Pro Sleeves: Ultra Pro pretty much sets the standard for everyone when it comes to card accessories, and sleeves are no different. Its site has tons of sleeve designs to choose from.
- Dragon Shield Sleeves: The second most popular brand for card sleeves. The Dragon Shield site is also filled with sleeve designs you can order; however, they almost exclusively depict dragons.
- KMC Perfect Fit: Perfect fit sleeves are designed to fit as snug onto the card as possible. This lets you double sleeve your cards. (Put the Perfect Fits on; then put the cards with the Perfect Fits inside another set of normal sleeves.) This package comes with three sets of 100 perfect fit sleeves.
Deck Boxes and Playmats
After you’re done creating your newest deck, it’s time to pick out a deck box for it. Of course, you can always just stick to rubber bands if you’re old school. However, good deck boxes aren’t expensive and are a great way to organize your most used decks.
Playmats help to organize your gamespace. They can be designed with specific areas marked for your deck, discarded cards, fields, etc, or they can just show one solid design printed over the whole mat.
Here are some of our favorite deck boxes and mats:
- Ultra Pro Deck Boxes: These are the most basic deck boxes and come in sets of five different colors. They are inexpensive but very effective and will fit around 80 sleeved cards.
- Ultra Pro Alcove Flip Boxes: The alcove deck boxes are a lot more expensive than the polyester ones but are incredibly sexy. They have stiffer walls that have a faux leather lining and designs specific to Magic: The Gathering. The lid folds all the way over the box and clicks into place with a magnet.
- Custom Game Mats: This is a cool website that lets you order custom playmats with your own designs. You can also choose from their many premade designs if you don’t have anything specific in mind.
Companion Apps for Your Community
There are plenty of apps designed specifically to make the life of card game players easier. Apps can keep track of your life total, provide virtual dice, let you look up card descriptions, and even build virtual decks.
If you’re trying to get into the hobby, but you don’t have an active scene in your community, or you just aren’t the most social person, there are websites and apps where you can go to play trading card games against people online. This is a great way to practice playing the game against people you would normally never see in real life. This also lets you test out new deck ideas and game mechanics before you make the decision to purchase new cards.
Here are some of our favorite applications for card game players:
- MTG Familiar (Andriod only): This app has a life counter, a card lookup with pricing data of Magic cards, and digital dice. It has almost everything you would need, all in one app.
- Mutility for MTG (iPhone only): This is a very clean life-counter app for Magic: The Gathering. It has an easy to use, modern-looking UI but doesn’t have many extra features.
- Pokemon TCG Card Dex (Andriod, iOS): If you’re getting into the Pokemon TCG, a card lookup app will be your best friend. This app lets you build decklists and see data on all the different versions of every pokemon card.
- Yugipedia (Andriod, iOS): This app is for fans of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG. It’s just your standard card lookup app with a deck builder for testing new ideas.
- Play Online: If you’re interested in trying the online card game experience, there are ways to play all of the big three trading card games online. MGTO (PC Only) lets you play Magic with people around the world, but sadly, there is currently no phone app for it. Yu-gi-oh! Duel Links (Andriod, iOS) is the best app for playing Yu-gi-oh! on the go. The Pokemon TCG Online (Andriod, iOS) app lets you play battle anywhere.
Trading card games don’t necessarily require any extra accessories. You can use rubber bands to hold your decks together and pieces of paper for counters. But there’s just something about pulling your deck out of its alcove box and the way double-sleeved cards glide when shuffled that keeps drawing in new players. If you’re just getting into the hobby, I am truly sorry for the future state of your bank account.