The Best New Deck Boxes For Magic: The Gathering – Ravnica Alcove, The Tactician, Grimoire and More!

Deck boxes, the most essential of protection for your reverential Magic card collection, is seldom a quintessential selection, as often boxes of potential upon further inspection end up inconsequential and otherwise end in rejection. That’s why this video will compare and contrast the Zoopin Life Counter Deck Box, The Grimoire Pro Tour line of spell book boxes, the complete Tactician from CardBearer and finally the brand-new Ultra Pro Ravnica Guild Alcove boxes. But with so many choices some are better than others – sometimes by a lot. Let’s take a look. The Zoopin Life Counter Deck Box is a side-loading box with magnetic closure and a built-in life counter. Twin slots allow for easy loading and unloading of your deck. These boxes only come in one size, holding 75 single sleeved cards. Which is unfortunate as that means even a Standard deck double sleeved will not fit – to say nothing of Commander, single sleeved or otherwise. The exterior is a faux leather and bossed with both the spider and web, while the interior has a nice soft fiber lining. But the glue holding this together is not the best and after very little use many of the corners and edges were dripping apart in my hands – a bad sign after not even that heavy of a play test time. The life counter top was cute at first but again after just a little use the wheels and spokes would begin to sink into the deck box. Meaning that I sometimes couldn’t get the numbers to turn and I found I had to constantly dig around to grab those wheels slash spokes with my fingers and pull them back into alignment. Magnets are exceptionally weak. Yes, we’ve seen side-loaders like the Ultimate Guard Sidewinder, that can take a shake without coming undone. But even for deck boxes that just can’t hold it together, the Zoopin is at the bottom of the list. Considering the price here is, whoa, $16.99 I can’t, you know what, regardless of price I just can’t. Whether $16.99 or $6.99 this is a very basic box that comes apart at its glued in seams, Has a cheap plastic dial with spokes that slide out of place, a lid that won’t stay closed and can’t even hold a double sleeve to standard deck. I’m gonna have to go with the grade at a flat-out D, for “Do not buy”. The Grimoire Pro Tour line of spell book boxes from Wizard Foundry features wooden construction, a latch closure and a very cool polyurethane wrap that creates the visual aesthetic of a spell book. As you can see the fabric lined interior is firmly divided into two sections. No, that divider does not move or slide out. One section for deck boxes where it can hold either two 100 card deck boxes, like a mana flip, or three basic 75 card boxes. The other section is a rather simple storage slot for dice and counters. Actually this rather simple slot is more ample than simple. It’s a lot of space for dice. Now I’ve reviewed the larger sized Grimoires before and I found them overly large and in their early days silly for not having any form of latch. Nice improvements here, as we have a secure latch and I like the nice compact design, though here, I’m gonna say I think it may be a millimeter or two too compact. There’s still a lot of book bulk for only holding two or maybe three deck boxes. And I’d have gladly traded this side compartment, which is already way too much room for dice and tokens, for just a sliver more space to allow for double the deck box storage. Boy, I would love to be able to put four 100 card deck boxes in here instead of just two. That would go a long way. And while it can hold 400 sleeved cards or 350 double-sleeved cards, I don’t recommend doing that because there’s a lot of extra wiggle room both on the side of the deck box compartment and due to the top lid having space to accommodate deck boxes, so cards will jostle and fall out of place far too easily. Overall this is a case of “far too much form and not enough function”. You’re spending 42 dollars, 42, for a box for your boxes here. It only holds 2 to 3. I like the look, I like the latch, I like the compact design. I don’t like just storing 400 loose cards in here due to safety concerns. And as far as those deck boxes go I wish it held more and, quite frankly, cost less. This does the job and if it speaks to you, go for it. It’s got a good latch, but my overall grade is just a satisfactory C. The CardBearer is an all-in-one solution for storing and transporting your card collection. Its main feature is modularity which can fulfill the ever-changing needs of Magic players. It even offers emblem engraving if you have a favorite emblem you wish to adorn your Tactician. The overall product is composed of three different parts, which all have different functions and each part can be used independently and bought individually. So that’s neat. If you just like one part of this, you can just buy that one part. Well, let’s start with the top, the Nexus, and work our way down. The Nexus is a lightweight carrying case for ready-to-play decks, dice, extra sleeves, a life pad so on. It comes with a strap, that I will show you later, and can hold three 100 card deck boxes. It can’t quite get up to four 75 Guard deck boxes – and that’s unfortunate. So this is really just going to hold three boxes. But the ample interior will let you toss in a Satin Tower and a Sidewinder or any relative Permutation of storage box. Though, no, it won’t hold three Satin Towers. And if you want you can just use all that extra space for things like a life pad. The inside is made of polyester felt and the outside fabric is water-resistant. Tough exterior, I like it. Between these two layers are HDPE plastic sheets, which adds to an impact resistance. Argh, I’m not a fan of these two exposed bolts here. They aren’t completely flat and it makes me a bit uncomfortable putting loose cards inside or even something nice like a wooden deck box as I wouldn’t want either to catch between the bolt and the felt. I can feel that slight protrusion with my fingertips and I don’t like it. Besides that the Nexus is a nice carrying case with, as I mentioned, an optional shoulder strap that I’ll get to in just a moment And if you have more than this to carry around the magic fest floor, it attaches atop the library. The library is the lower storage unit that acts as an extension to the Nexus when you need more to play with. It’s great for cube drafts, although it can hold small thin deck boxes, but I’m only really talking about those Incredibly basic thin plastic deck boxes. Storage space for your cube is the real function here and it can hold up to 1200 sleeved cards or about a thousand double sleeved cards or, yes, 39 Cuba Magics packs. It can also hold those basic slender deck boxes as I said but don’t expect to put anything like a boulder inside, or even a legion iconic top loader, as these are just too wide a product to fit in this narrow lane. This really was just designed for sleeved cards, and in that area does really well. The inside is lined with a black microfiber fabric making it smoother for cards and greatly reducing the sound that cards make when moving. Rubber seal is added between the top and the bottom which adds to water-resistance I wouldn’t exactly walk around in a thundering rain storm but running between the car and the doors of your local game store when it’s drizzling or just raining regularly And you probably don’t have to worry. Now, three of those basic deck boxes are included with the library I really don’t see the point to that. Given the high price, I’d rather shave off even a dollar than get three of those real basic deck boxes. And the same thing goes for the included play mat with the mat pod, that we’ll get to in a second. What’s nice, is there are these ribs in the side of the bottom part of the library that act as spacers so you don’t accidentally close the lid on your cards. My biggest problems are the awkward closure of the library and the two bolts at the base of the Nexus. I just really wanted the lid on the library to snap-lock into place nice and secure nice and firm, and it was very awkward both getting it on and off. I was really nervous about what might happen to my cube if I dropped this in transport, but to my delight it can be full of cards and decks and dropped without even popping open. Here, I’ll even hold it up way too high and drop it anyway and, wow, stays together securely and damaged my desk! Why didn’t I have a play mat down? Oh my God, my beautiful desk… The Tactician also comes with a mat pod. So the MatQuiver is made of the same components of the Nexus. It’s that nice water-resistant material, I like it a lot. There’s even a plastic lining on the inside, so your play mat slides in and out easily and this will walk on to the strap of your Tactician or you can just lock it onto the strap your backpacker anything it fits around. It’s a nice little mat pod. Now, when you order one of these, whether Individually or as part of the three-piece set, it comes with a play mat. The play mat is very basic, it’s just a Tactician play mat. It’s got the company logo on it. I don’t think anyone’s gonna use it. I really kind of wish they would forgo including the play mat, we all have our own play mats. And even if that shaves another couple of bucks off the price, that’s worth it to me rather than the free play mat, getting it on. Truth be told the exterior of the library does seem prone to fingerprints and the engraved emblem is just so-so. And there’s a magnet at the bottom of the Nexus and on top of the library which helps prevent wobbling when walking with the product. I really like how all three parts of this come together price on the library is $49.99 and the Nexus is $59.99, if bought individually. If you’d like the MatQuiver, it’s $34.99 but you can get all three components together for $134.99 And if you want to forego the MatQuiver then it’s just 99 dollars. But overall this is a very good combination of interlocking components and my grade it’s gonna be a B/B+ I really like this product a lot, but I can’t give it a higher grade. I feel if the library had a more exact and comfortable ease of snapping and locking into place, I’d be happier And yeah I wish those bolts weren’t at the base of the Nexus. Ultra Pro has redesigned their Alcove deck boxes with, among other things, stronger magnets. Hmmm… And marked the occasion with a special release of the Magic: The Gathering Ravnica Guild symbol alcove boxes. Made with a matte leatherette finish, the Alcove flip box can hold up to 100 double sleeved cards with its lid secured by those supposedly strong magnets. All 10 guilds are represented with guild emblems stitched unto the front and a lovely interior lining in corresponding guild colors and featuring further emblem design. The Alcove has slots for easy loading and unloading of your deck, no more dump and drop which is great. Exterior is one of each guilds two colors while the interior is the opposite color and emblazoned with the guild symbol Look at that, that’s so lovely. It’s a subtle little touch but I feel it goes a long way. Fantastic materials overall here. The colors are particularly vibrant and thankfully guild-appropriate, which means that Orzhov is black and not a bluish purple, etc. Quality stitching glue work and overall assembly. These were made really well. And yeah, I gotta admit that 10 different gilding color combinations is a neat option for organizing my collection of commander and other decks. As long-term viewers of the channel now and not the biggest fan of flip mana boxes That’s usually because they pop open with a single shake as we’ve seen in many, many videos, however all magnetic containers are going to given enough force, enough weight, enough shaking eventually pop open. The question is, is that when you drop it – Oh, no! – out of, oh geez… Well, it’s still closed. You’re gonna have to believe me on this one. I know I’ll move the camera. Well, okay, but why do we shake deck boxes? It’s because we want to see if they are going to be likely to pop open when they Fall down froth of the table onto the floor, that sort of thing. So we’ll give it a shake and if it’s just gonna pop open easily, no, you’re not actually going into your LGS and shaking your deck box. Please don’t do that. But it’s meant to be it’s just a little bit, a little bit of a stress test to see. Listen, if turning it upside down and giving it a shake means that it’s going to pop open and immediately think of the Zoopin or countless other deck boxes that I’ve reviewed on this channel Well, then it means it’s more likely when it falls to pop open. I’m not saying that it’s impossible for these to pop open when they fall down. It might happen. I hope it doesn’t happen to you. But alright, let’s get it to pop open here for real I am saying, with these sort of tests, that this is indicative of it being less likely to pop open and spill your Commander or Legacy or Modern or Standard or Pauper deck all over the floor of your local game store. Come on We try the Orzhov one. I got one to pop open in testing once, I swear it. There we go! Oh, Teysa… So it will happen, but I hope that, that demonstrates that it is, at the very least, less likely to happen by a significant enough amount. Prices, $18.99 each, and I have to say these are perfect. Usually I’m not a big fan of magnetic top loaders at all, but with magnets like these I no longer have something to complain about. Oh my god, nothing to complain about. What will I do? Details like the guild symbols emblazoned on the interior, combined with the guild patches on the front and vibrant colors for the excellent marriage of form and function. It’s a solid, enthusiastic A from me. I hope very much this video has been of some help to you. You can help me out just by browsing through my back catalogue of reviews – whether it’s play mats, deck boxes, card sleeves or other Magic: The Gathering accessories like binders and portfolios. If it exists, chances are, I’ve reviewed it. So take a minute to peruse those reviews and then let me know what you think. And remember, you can’t play Magic at Walmart or Target. So whether you are buying deck boxes or card sleeves or just a pack of cards, remember when it is possible, when it is reasonable stop down at your local game store to pick up that product instead Oh, not this one. One of these. And this program was made possible Thanks to a sponsorship from Card Kingdom as well as the Patreon support of viewers such as you. So, thank you!

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Reader Comments

  1. June-pay Eeyorey

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> This is not a pro but a prerequisite

  2. Chad Montgomery

    Ultra pro products have never been on the top of my buy list. (Not that it stopped me from buying sleeves or boxes from a Walmart for some of my standard decks.) I'm really glad to see some quality products that I would have never guessed existed.

  3. Tryo707

    Instructions unclear. Shook child at WalMart, no coins fell out. A strange red liquid did though. I didn't want it so I left if for another person, because I'm generous. That's what heroes do.

  4. slubadub112

    Found something interesting for a small easy way to transport 4 decks a mat and some dice waterproof. Harbor freight apache waterproof case. Foam modular cutouts and works great for boulders also only $13.

  5. Jon Rodgers

    @Tolarian Community College I will say that, regarding the Grimoire box, I did buy their Adjustable Grimoire Deck Box Organizer which is a wooden insert with multiple adjustment options. With that organizer, my box comfortably fits my Cube which is 360 cards prepacked in the reusable card packs plus plenty of tokens, nice, and a land station.

  6. ShadowMare Z

    I got the fancy Ultimate Guard Deck Box Holder to hold my $20 Ultimate Guard boxes, it was $80, It has a nice smooth interior and a solid strong leather material for the outside, red on the inside, black on the outside, the Only issue I have with it is that it was designed only to hold those cheap $10 plastic deck boxes, if I try using the Nicer deck boxes that are slightly bigger and have a magnet then the top doesn't close all the way, it has enough room for like 10 decks, plus a small section for dice or loose cards. I still use it to hold my nicer deck boxes but it doesn't fully close all the way because the nicer deck boxes are a bit taller and the lid has a flat top with no extra space like that Spellbook had.

  7. Sean Downey

    Jeez, at least have a tissue box ready when you're doing stuff like that. Though, considering the issues you had getting it off, looks like you might have needed some lotion.

  8. Robert Cotrell

    Prof, I think you went a bit too far with your opener. I had to double take, and even then, it still didn't make much sense. You "-tioned" yourself into the realm of nonsense or at least opacity!

    As ever, a great video!

  9. RiverChaos

    You got me thinking of the deck boxes I found on Etsy a while back, and I found this gem when I searched again:

  10. SPL

    Can you please do a review on the Vault X binders? Ive seen them at my LGS and at Amazon but nobody seems to buy them, they look nice and really resemble the ultimate guard binders

  11. Mitchell Mitchell II

    The best part about the new Alcoves is that they will ACTUALLY fit 100+ double sleeved cards. Some sleeves tend to be a bit thicker (looking at Dragon Shields) and sometimes wont fit in boxes that advertise that. With these I've personally tested it and there was even room for an amount of tokens. Really exceptional.

  12. beanslinger6

    Your suggestion of the Amazon camera bag a few years ago led me to the best source for deck bags/carriers…camera bags/lens cases from Goodwill! Thank you!

  13. XCodes

    I believe 100-card Boulders are actually slightly narrower face-to-back than they are side-to-side. I use fatpack boxes to hold together kits of my commander decks (in Boulders) with relevant dice, tokens, counters, etc. and they actually fit perfectly if I put them sideways into the fatpack box and are ever so slightly too large if I put them in the way you'd naturally want to put them in.

  14. Sam

    why is the ultre pro selesnya box black and white?

    EDIT: nvm at 16:40 you can tell its just a VERY murky green/teal (standing next to the dimir box it is obvious they are different, albeit similar, colors). too bad I like the boulders more 😛

  15. Carum Sarene

    Sure, you can't play Magic at Walmart or Target, but at least you can get the product there without some inflation or privatization of product.

    I know not all LGS Owners do this, but it is a growing issue that's leading to a downfall of stores. Why would I pay $70 for a deck that I can get across the street for $30? My local LGS is out of county, and while it is a decent place to get cheap rares and tokens, I do have to deal with not getting cards from a set that doesn't match his hype. I wasn't allowed to get War of the Spark because Core Set 2020 was "The Next Big Thing"yet just 15 minutes of driving to Target and they've still got plenty of WAR packs. You can't fault me for wanting a set they refuse to provide.

    The only saving grace is for LGS Meetups. But tournaments exist, and conventions, and some people live too far away. Like I said, I have to go out of county. The closest LGS doesn't do events so I have to go out of county up to the Oxford Valley Mall from Feasterville just to play. I barely make enough to afford cards, let alone gas.

    Anyway, that's why LGS's are failing. I don't want them to fail, but there's too much inconvenience to support them the way I think they deserve. It's a losing battle, one I've seen before and I'm seeing again.

  16. Darkwehl Chocoboreo

    Hi Professor. Although I don't play MtG or Pokemon, I appreciate your channel as well as how thorough and honest your reviews are. I have a special request. With every release of Wizard's new project, the Transformers TCG, its players are itching to find the best protection for their oversized character cards. Since the Transformers TCG is relatively new, there isn't much when it comes to deck boxes specifically for oversized cards. I was wondering if you could test already existing products such as Dex Protection or even Monster Protectors. Both have boxes with removable trays that make it seem as if it'd be suitable for oversized cards, but it's always best to check with you first before putting money towards it.
    If you see this, I hope you can take this into consideration. I also apologize for leaving such a long comment as I could not find another way to contact you. Thanks!

  17. Ivan Sihombing

    Is the Alcove Ravnica Deck Box from the same batches of Ultra Pro Ultra Ball Alcove Deck Box? The Ultra Ball one in my LGS looks good, but I'm concerned with their magnet power like the old Ultra Pro Pokemon Deck box

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