I really had mixed emotions about this one and had a hard time ending up on a rating. I started much lower, then went much higher and then settled on the 6.5 out of 10 for reasons explained herein.
First, this is a great trick. It is truly amazing and the gaffed deck is well thought-out and the routines are organized in a smart way. You will totally kill your audience. But, and there is a big BUT…I do not care for some of the ad copy and claims made in the promotional video. It is not true that the spectator can reveal the card. That is a big fat lie and I am shocked that they would include that claim in the promotional video. I am also bothered by the fact that the promotional video claims that the spectator can stop at any card. That is FALSE. It is mostly true, but not 100% true. I hate it when magicians play fast and loose with the description of their tricks in a way that makes it seem WAY better than it is.
In the main presentation, Isolated uses an ultra-gimmicked deck that can never be handed out for even a peek. The spectator picks a card which is then lost by shuffling the deck. The cards are then dealt down, one at a time and when the spectator says “STOP” you stop. The card that they stop on is the card that they originally selected. The performer is in control of the cards when the original card is chosen (it is not in the spectator’s hands). Note that this trick does not use or rely upon a control of a single card and the choice is mostly a free choice, but there are some circumstances that you will need to JAZZ a bit to get to a useable card. While the spectator can shuffle the deck (ONCE), they cannot turn the cards over. The performer, and not the spectator, needs to turn the card over when the spectator says “STOP” or the trick will fail and you will be exposed.
From the spectator’s point of view, they will be convinced that the deck contains 52 different cards when the performer (and performer only) spreads the deck on the table. This deck is not a new deck to magic.
Included with this $39.95 gaffed deck comes 3 downloads. The first is a 3 minute explanation on how to set up the deck. This trick cannot quickly be repeated because the cards need to be set up in a certain way. It is not hard to set up the deck, but I would say that it would take at least 1-2 minutes to set the deck after performing the trick.
The second file is a 51 minute download that explains the deck, the set-up and the various routines and tricks. It is taught mainly by Avi Yap with help from Ryan Goh, who is introduced as the creator of Anarchy. The two teach in great detail how to use the deck and they speak in excellent English. I thought their instruction was very good, but I was slightly perturbed by their corny and not funny attempts at humor when they tried to use the pun that they “can” do the trick because it is an A”CAAN” routine.
Although Yap claims that Isolated is a Masterclass, I do not agree. It is not even close to being an ACAAN Masterclass. It really is just a very well explained trick with a gaffed deck. This hyperbole compounded with the misrepresentations and the fact that the trick is not a 100% sure fire hit led me to ultimately give this trick a 6.5 out of 10.
Truth be told, I performed this trick many times and the results were outstanding, but on one occasion, I had to do quite a bit of tap dancing to make the trick work. I knew the trick could potentially need some JAZZING if it did not hit, but when it did happen I was really unhappy. I was able to sidestep disaster, but with a more sophisticated audience I would have had a harder time.
The third video is about a 24 minute video taught with English subtitles by Calvin Liew and Zach NG. It is another version of the “lottery” routine.
The main issue with this trick is that it cannot be used a second time. It cannot be repeated and only one routine can be performed – although there are many good ones. Every time you perform this trick, the spectator will pick the 3 of Clubs. This is not good for strolling, because you need a table and the results are the same every time. The performer also needs to make sure that they know the orientation of the cards at all times.
The ad copy states:
“In 1950s, David Berglas created the “Holy Grail” of card magic, known as “The Berglas Effect“.
The Berglas Effect:
The performer shows a shuffled pack of cards, then a spectator is asked to think of ANY card in the deck. Next, the spectator is asked to name a random number between 1 and 52. Amazingly, the randomly thought of card is found at the exact number the spectator had thought of. In later years, this effect was known as “ACAAN” and is still regarded as one of the most impossible card effects in magic.
Skymember Presents is proud to introduce you to Isolated, the very first instalment to our PRO SERIES.
This ultimate version of ACAAN was created by Mr. Xuan. He will be going over every detail on not only how to perform this super-clean effect but also goes into the psychology, patter, and routine structure.
With Isolated, you can perform multiple imperceptible mind-blowing routines that under insane fair conditions.
Have you ever wondered why; when some magicians perform an effect, they seem so professional? Or maybe they always get standing ovations? Or maybe they just have “that special thing”? Have you ever wondered how can YOU overcome these uncertainties? Well, now you can. Therefore we have decided to release our PRO SERIES!
Many things are to be taken into account when designing a professional routine. It’s not just about the moves and techniques… there’s psychology, patter, routine structure and so much more. We’ll shed light onto all the minute details from start to finish. Isolated is not just a trick, it’s a masterclass, come on inside for we have so much to share… in isolated.
- 3 powerful routines.
- Designed for TV and stages.
- Perform like a Master in no time.
- An hour Masterclass. Taught expertly by Avi Yap, Ryan Goh and Zach Ng.”
I should not forget to mention that there is a “Thanos” card that is included. Basically the Thanos card is a reference to the Marvel Super villain who is able to disintegrate people with the snap of his finger. The Thanos card is the selected card, but with the pips pixelating and looking like they are disintegrating. This is likely not for everyone and with the passage of time, I believe less and less people will want to use this as the Infinity War and Endgame movies fade in our memories.
This is not a hard trick to perform, but there is a bit of audience management and strong control of the cards to make the magic happen.
The promotional video shows a casino card shoe in use. I like that idea, but the trick does not come with the shoe.
So, the bottom line is that I am not going to use this trick, but I like it. I know it is contradictory and I just feel that it comes up a bit short for me. That does not mean that our brethren (and sisters too) won’t absolutely dig this trick, it’s just not for me.
I appreciate Murphy’s Magic providing me with this deck so I can tell you what my honest opinion is on this before you go to your shopping cart.