Card Condition Guide

Whether you are a player or collector, we know that condition is important when you purchase cards and is a major determining factor when deciding to buy a particular single. Card N All Gaming is dedicated to accurate, transparent, and trustworthy card conditioning for all our cards. We are harsh and scrutinizing about every card we sell, so we want to fill in our buyers on our practices and considerations when we determine a card's condition.

First, a couple of principles and thoughts our card conditioners follow when they grade a card going out for sale:

  • Age and collectability play a factor when grading condition. We determine a baseline for each condition step (see these below) and then take other factors into consideration that may move that card to a lesser condition category.
  • Collectors have different interpretations of grade steps than players. PSA definitely has more stringent guidelines than TCGPlayer when grading cards. A rare collectible Pokemon card should be judged harsher than a Magic commander staple. And we do.
  • We ask ourselves "what condition would we grade this so that a buyer would be pleasantly surprised at how good it was if they were to receive this sight unseen?"
  • All bulk cards we sell should be playable and free from major wear. They should be clean, have no harsh damage, and be sleeve playable. With this mindset, for the sake of simplicity we list all of our bulk cards as "near mint" to speed up processing time.

Card Condition Guide

We use pretty popular terms to define card condition that you probably see on other major card selling websites, but what do they mean in a practical sense? These definitions should help you understand what we are looking for and how a form of damage can affect the condition we give a card.

Near Mint

This is our highest level of grading. If "mint" would be a perfect card, near mint would mean that a card might have some instances of imperfections. These could include a few slight scratches on a holographic surface, a few spots of edge "whitening" or "chipping" which happens when the edge of a card hits or rubs against something, or a instance of impression or light scratching on the surface of the card. A card that is near mint should show no sign of play wear and look as if it was cared for by someone experienced with card collecting.

Collectors! Please know that card centering and curvature of holo cards is NOT a factor when determining a card to be Near Mint - this is an industry universal practice. An off center and curved foil is not disqualified if it otherwise fits within the criteria. However, we understand that many collectors would not be happy if a Near Mint card was received in this condition, so we make every attempt to make judgement calls and knock these down to Moderately Played if we feel appropriate. Please remember that PSA grades Near Mint cards as low as a 7, so know that when buying a Near Mint card to grade that there's a chance it could receive that a score as low as that. If you have concerns, please reach out and ask for a photo of the actual card.

Lightly Played

An Lightly Played card is a card that was received or bought from a customer that will look like it may have been used in a deck or in a binder for some time. When we get trade ins of standard playable cards, they are typically in this condition. There are even occasions where cards are pulled from packs and have enough holo scratches, edgewear, and whitening or chipping that we might declare it so even if pack fresh. That said, an LP card should never have bends, creases, or folds in the card or any structural damage. Edges should be defined and not jagged with maybe a knick or two of visible whitening or chipping. The surface should be free from clouding or haze but may have light scratches that do not penetrate the surface of the card.

Still a visually appealing card, but if scrutinized closely it has visible signs of minor damage.

Moderately Played

A MP card is one that has been shown some "love" and was possibly in a well played deck or long term collection. A vast majority of cards we buy from older collections are in this condition. The biggest cause for this grade is more consistent edge wear and whitening and visible surface wear either from use or from binder pages rubbing against the card as it is flipped. Many early collectors didn't use sleeves in those cheap plastic binder pages, so holo scratches, chipping along the top where the card would be exposed or where fingers would grab the card and surface cloudiness is fairly common and expected. This condition grade is pretty broad, but the card should still be in good shape structurally and not have any creases, edges should be defined, and the surface should not have scratches or cuts into the cardstock.

Not necessarily a card in bad condition, but would pass as little more than a "binder copy" of a card.

Heavy Played

Cards with Heavy Play can have any number of issues or damage that is visible pretty quickly when looking at the card. This could include major instances of edge wear, severe scratches to the holo or surface of the card, and hazy or cloudiness to the surface. Bends, creases or marks on the card can be present so long as it doesn't compromise the structural integrity of the card. The card must still be legible and sturdy enough to be played in a sleeve. 

These conditioned cards would be suitable as place holders or as a stand-in for an otherwise expensive piece of a collection.


Damaged cards have obvious issues and incidents of damage that are severe to the card. Tears or rips, not just creases but actual folds in the card, edge or corner peeling or separation, stains or marks covering a portion of the card - pretty much anything is on the table so long as the card is still in one piece.

If you really wanted a card that would otherwise be unobtainable, this would at least be the cheapest option other than printing a proxy of it on your printer.


Hopefully this guide tells you a little bit more about how we look at and scrutinize cards here at Card N All Gaming. As always, if you want a better definition or insight on a particular card, please do reach out and we'd be happy to tell you exactly why a card got a certain grade.

As always, we appreciate your business and for considering to buy singles from us. Whether for play or for your collection, we hope to sell you cards real soon.