Magic the Gathering is a complex game so it should come as no surprise that people often ask what is the best way to organize magic the gathering cards? Well, I have some good news and bad news for you. Let’s dive in!

Bad News

I’m a big fan of ripping the Band-Aid off nice and quick.  So, let’s jump straight into the bad news first.

There isn’t the best way to organize magic the gathering cards. As complex as the game is, so are the different styles and theories of organizing your collection.

There are two goals for organizing MTG cards.  The first is to keep your cards pristine.  The second objective is to be able to easily locate and sort through your collection.

There are a variety of factors that could change how you organize your cards, too!  Everything from the format,  or formats, you play, your personality type, and other tools you use to organize your cards, all have a big impact on how you should organize your MTG collection.

Good News

With that said, there is some good news.  The crew at Cycle and Dredge all organize their collections differently.  We all have different needs, with different mindsets, and started playing Magic differently. Likewise, we pay close attention to what other figureheads in the Magic community say about organizing Magic cards. So, we can still offer some great advice to get your library organized!

The Professor

Let’s start with what the Professor says.  This is going to be a quick and dirty explanation of his recommendation, so I would suggest going and checking out Brian’s YouTube channel.

The professor makes it easy.  Organize Mythics and Rares into binders. Uncommons and Commons go in to boxes.  Organize by color and/or set (depending on what format you play). We encourage you to go find his videos on YouTube for a more detailed explanation.

Roman, Nick and Jon

Roman and Nick play pretty much only EDH.  Roman stores his cards by color, and sometimes CMC, in boxes.  His organization methods are very chaotic.  It’s not uncommon to find piles of Roman’s cards everywhere.  This is what works best for him, though. Roman has a more chaotic mentality and is always working on new things

Nick, on the other hand, stores Mythics and Rares in a binder by color.  Other cards go in boxes.  Nick leans a little closer to how The Professor recommends organizing cards. Nick has a much more structured personality.

I, on the other hand, am the most anal when it comes to the best way to organize Magic the Gathering cards. It’s insane and I recommend no one organizes their Magic cards this way. I’ll explain my method more in a moment, but I started playing Magic with Modern. So, my thought process works a little differently than Roman’s and Nicks.

Here’s how I organize my cards:

  • All legendary creatures go in a single binder.  This is for Commander purposes. This way all of my Commanders are in one place.
  • All lands go in a box, including expensive lands.  That box is organized by color, dual color, and colorless lands.  It is easier for me to build a mana base for my decks as the last step. Organizing lands this way is easier for me to build a mana base with.
  • Tokens go in a box organized alphabetically and power/toughness.
  • If I have enough cards to fill a binder with a set, each set goes in its binder.
  • Any cards that don’t go in a set binder goes into a different, large catch-all binder.
  • That catch-all binder only has uncommons, rares, and mythics. I’m working on another binder for commons.
  • Each set binder has uncommons, rares, and mythics in the front, organized by color and CMC (mostly) and commons in the back.
  • I don’t keep more than a playset of each card for each set.  Overflow cards go in a box.

This method works great for me, but it is a royal pain.  I spend as much time organizing cards as I do building decks, but I won’t be changing my methodology anytime soon.

On a side note, this is why I built Cycle and Dredge.  I wanted a way to sort through my collection and build decks more efficiently.  I can tell you exactly where a card is located in my collection, but I have so many cards that it is a nightmare just to dig through binders and get inspiration for deck building.

Tips for organizing your collection

As you can see, there isn’t the best way to organize Magic the Gathering cards. Nonetheless, we do have a few tips that can help you.

Binders or boxes?

Boxes are a great way to organize cards fast.  If you use a box, try and organize by color and CMC.  That way if you want to search for a specific card, it’s easier to find.

Binders are much better at keeping cards protected.  I wouldn’t recommend putting more than four cards in a binder slot, though.  That can cause issues down the line.  Binders can also take more time to organize, too. I recommend organizing binders by color and CMC.

Sets vs. One big ol’ collection

Whether you organize your Magic cards by set or as one big collection, it depends on what format you play the most. Someone that plays Legacy or EDH doesn’t need to worry about the set nearly as much as someone that plays something like Standard.

If you primarily play eternal formats (like EDH or Legacy), sort binders and boxes by color. If you play something like Standard, sort by set.

On a side note, apps like Cycle and Dredge will tell you the legality of a specific card. So, use those tools that you have at your disposal.

If you have questions about what kind of boxes, binders, or binder sleeves to buy, check out the Professors YouTube channel.  If you happen to live in the lower Susquehanna Valley, check out FarboCo in Lancaster for Magic supplies. And, if nothing else, create an account with Cycle and Dredge to organize your MTG card collection for free!

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