Each Vices box offers an experience — from sipping a fine wine to pairing a chutney with a new cheese you’ve never tried before. In the past, we’ve given you candles and Bluetooth audio; massage oil and Japanese skin regimes.
However, we feel we’ve never hit on a cool learning experience quite like our partnership this month with Ellusionist.
Founded in 2001, the company not only designs playing cards used by the best magicians around the globe, they offer a forum to learn the tricks yourself and to explore the realms of modern magic and ancient illusions.
“Back in 2001 magic didn’t exist online,” says Geraint Clarke, VP of Ellusionist.com.
“It was secluded and hidden within brick-and-mortar stores across the world, where budding-magicians would need to order from a catalogue and wait days or weeks to receive their props or playing cards. Ellusionist was the first producer (outside of Casinos) of custom playing cards and the first producer to take magic tuition online. Ellusionist made magic, for the first time, accessible to all.”
Outside of their incredible graphic designer, every member of the Ellusionist team is either a magician or magic enthusiast. The mission is to offer world-class tricks that will impress all types of audiences, from the kids in your kitchen to the most serious of dinner guests. We’ve gifted you the cornerstone to slight-of-hand this month in their Black Tiger Legacy Edition pack.
The bold black and white design is inverted to the expected design of a regular pack of Bicycle cards. Where you’d normally find white space, there is the deepest black. And, where you’d look for a drawn line, there is only stark white. Custom Jokers and Spades, as well as splashes of red and green, exist on the card faces, perfect for pairing visually with your Penfolds wine.
These cards are coated with a special finish that feels beautiful if you are playing poker, but works particularly well for performing tricks.
“The cards you’re holding are probably worlds apart from anything you’ve ever held before,” explains Clarke. “The Black Tiger was the first custom deck ever printed (outside of Casino designs) back in the early 2000s. To celebrate and commemorate that trendsetter, we created an updated ‘Legacy’ version of this iconic deck. Updated and refined artwork. That new legacy deck is a collision of nostalgia, pure coolness and cutting-edge print technology.”
After you’ve had a glass of wine to get in the mood, head to the Ellusionist.com, look for their New to Magic tab in the right top corner and get ready to begin your own explorations. When you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll also receive a free beginner trick.
“Without doubt, our top-selling and best-reviewed products are our Ellusionist Magic Kits; ‘How to be a Magician’ and ‘How to Read Minds’,” offers Clarke. “Both are accessible to anyone of any skill level and teach the level of effects you’ll see magicians performing on TV and Netflix. You don’t need any experience, and magic you’ll be able to do is part of every professional’s go-to set. A far cry from the cheap junk you’ll find at the toy store or in the discount aisle of Walmart. These kits are truly mind-blowing.”
Ellusionist doesn’t merely sell you something — whether it’s a full kit or a lone deck — without a company promise. They offer support online as you begin, perfect and finalize every trick. The free Discord Server on their site also functions as a modern forum, where anyone is welcome and magicians or wannabe Svengalis can share advice, pitfalls and ideas 24/7.
We couldn’t help but pester Clarke for the most impressive trick to master. It’s the ‘Gambling Demonstration,’ and it’s not going to come easy.
“This usually isn’t a trick at all and uses pure skill with a normal deck of cards. This part of the artform often takes years just to develop the correct feel of a deck and ways to manipulate it, sight unseen,” he says. He certainly has our curiosity piqued.