Mortalis Playing Cards by Area 52

Mortalis Playing Cards are marked cards with a sophisticated (as in Snazzy) black-tie looking design.  The marking system is something that I have never seen before and it is impossible to detect, except for the few people that will buy this limited edition deck.

First, the back design has a thin white border and is covered with identical sized boxed with the capital letter “M” in each box.  The letters are in white and the background is black.  These cards look very refined and stylish and of course they feel great in your hands.  They are printed by the USPCC and faro like they were born to mingle.

The box is mostly black with white writing.  The back of the card box has an image of a large spade (the same image that is on the Ace of Spades) and the words “Mortalis Premium Playing Cards” written under the spade.  The other side of the box says “THE CLOSER YOU LOOK, THE LESS YOU SEE.”  On edge says A52 (for Area52 Magic) and the other says MADE IN THE USA.  The bottom of the box lets you know that the cards were designed by Christofer Lacoste with credit to Pravar Jain and that there are only 2000 decks printed.

The deck comes with 56 playing cards.  The extra card consist of an ad card that has a QR code that leads you to a 7 page instructional booklet on how to read the markings.  You also get an extra King of Hearts  and a double backer.  The Joker is a single care that had a sword running through a black top hat and two rabbit ears hanging over the edge of the hat, leading you to believe that the sword slayed the hare.

The cards are all standard colors except for the court cards which have a pinkish color running through the hair and clothing.  As mentioned above, the Ace of Spades contains a large spade with boxes in the symbol containing the “M” on the backs of every card.

On the center flap the letters “KH” are inscribed, which no doubt stands for the duplicate King of Hearts.  One edge flap has the letters “PJ” and the other “A52”.

The ad copy states:

LIMITED EDITION: Only 2000 printed! Will NOT be reprinted.

Mortalis Playing Cards is a deck of premium playing cards printed and manufactured in the USA by the United States Playing Card company. Fully marked, it hides its secrets in plain sight.

Only 2000 decks were printed, and will never be reprinted or restocked.

The optical marking system was designed in such a way that the closer you look, the less you see. It hides in direct sight to the untrained eye. Spectators, and even magicians, cannot identify it up close.

To the trained eye, it takes less than 2 seconds to identify and read a card just from the backs. It’s designed in such a way that the whole system revolves around the working of a clock. If you can read a clock, you can read Mortalis’s secrets. Perfect for close-up!

Printed by the USPCC on their premium stock, then double crushed to perfection along with an embossed air cushion finish. A traditional cut ensures perfect faro shuffles and table work. Saying that the cards handle like a dream is an accurate description.

The custom Court cards were built from the ground up, featuring borderless courts with popping, matching colors. The facial expressions on some cards have been tweaked to give a unique, personal feel. Every deck comes with a double backer, a duplicate card, and a full tutorial on how to read and use the marking system.

Designed by acclaimed artist, designer of the Mint Playing Cards, Christofer Lacoste in Canada, and realized and produced by Area52Magic and Pravar Jain.

Get one (or 12) today, before they sell out forever.”


I had not problem learning the marking system.  The booklet is well written and the system is easy to learn.  I was even able to read the cards without my reading glasses, which is key.  Even if I was unable to read the markings without my glasses, I still love the design and would be thrilled to have these cards.  My only issue with these cards is that I was unable to read two cards and could not figure out why not.  The two of clubs and the two of hearts messed me up every time.  I am not sure why, but that is just my experience.


This is a beautiful deck of cards with an awesome little secret.  I highly recommend these cards to ANYONE!

Thanks to Murphy’s Magic for sending these cards to me so I can give my honest opinion.  They can be picked up at any Murphy’s Magic dealer.  Don’t wait too long!