Monday, June 24, 2013

It's On Amazon: Ultra-Pro Pro 4-Card Binder

One of my ongoing organizational challenges is - as I'm sure many collectible card game (CCG) players encounter - is managing my collection in a way that allows me to have ready access to the cards that I might need to assemble a deck on short notice.  One limiting factor is that several deck designs may require the same playset of cards (in Magic: The Gathering (MTG), four copies); so long as one deck is built, the other has to remain in a perpetual state of incompleteness, until the missing cards can be swapped from one deck to another.  This is an acceptable complication when two decks are involved, but when the decks multiply this musical chairs exercise can make it easy to forget where a particular set of cards ended up last.

The simplest solution would be to obtain as many playsets as needed; becomes unfeasible, however, when the cards in question cost as much as $50 a copy, as the hottest staples in Standard sometimes do.  I've attempted to use card binders to give a bit more organization to the cards that every deck seems to need, but splitting four-card playsets across nine-card pages makes for uncomfortable and nigh untrackable splits between playsets.

The solution I've come up with is a series of four-cards-per-page binders by Ultra-Pro called "Pro Binders." These are Ultra-Pro's take on the popular Monster Binder series, which use side-loading slots and textured back surfaces to ensure that cards don't slip out of position in transit.  In my opinion, Ultra-Pro improves on Monster's design by allowing more play in each slot, so that sleeved cards of MTG size fit comfortably, and both sides of a page can be utilized without over-stuffing the binder.

If you collect and/or play a CCG that uses an up-to-four-copies deck construction rule like MTG, the four-card Pro Binder might be a practical solution to keeping deck staples readily on hand.  For those CCGs that use different construction rules, or for those that prefer the more traditional nine-card-per-page binder format, Ultra-Pro also makes Pro Binders in a nine-page format.  I use them to store the vestiges of my older CCG collections - Star Trek, Star Wars, Battletech, etc. - and I find them preferable for cards that won't be called to deck duty anytime soon.

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