Anyone who knew me early on in my Magic career can tell you one of the things I struggled with the most was shuffling. I don’t think it helped I was learning with EDH decks and double sleeved Legacy decks, but it really was a problem for me. My hands are extremely small, even though I’m a very tall person, and I spent hours and hours practicing how to shuffle without looking like a total idiot.

Now after a few years I can mostly shuffle okay. As a Legacy player who is normally playing with a table covered in expensive cards I’ve learned how important it is to be careful how you shuffle or cut your opponent’s deck and to respect the space that you’re playing at. Unfortunately I’ve observed that this isn’t a universal understanding.

No matter where I go there have always been people who have shuffled my deck overly aggressively. More aggressively than I’d ever consider shuffling even my own cards, nevermind someone else’s. I’m talking about the people who hyperactively jam the cards together so hard they split sleeves or bridge shuffle with a very large amount of anger. To be honest, I have never understood why anyone would feel the need to completely shuffle their opponent’s deck and why just cutting the deck won’t suffice. If you feel your opponent is not truly randomizing their deck you should be calling a judge, even just to ask them to shuffle your opponent’s deck, which is something that they will do. If you do feel your opponent is an honest individual just cutting their deck should be more than enough.

Aaron recently informed me of something that happened to him when he was at Legacy. During one of his matches when his opponent was handed Aaron’s deck to cut, they riffle shuffled the deck instead and his opponent dropped a card or two onto the table, potentially giving away information. They closed their eyes and asked Aaron to pick them up but this isn’t really something that should happen. Then again later the same opponent was shuffling Aaron’s deck again and his shoddy shuffling caused a card to be pulled half way up and then become bent back at almost a 90 degree angle. The bend was fixable but bad enough where in Aaron’s opening hand he knew one of the cards before even viewing a fresh seven cards at the start of that particular game.

These types of sloppy shuffling habits are rude and unacceptable and this was not an isolated incident. I run into this problem all too often. Why not just cut the deck after you watch your opponent giving their own deck a good several riffles after pile shuffling?

How should you handle this? 

Let’s say your opponent is shuffling your deck and you’re worried about your cards. I know it’s really awkward but you should definitely say something. I’m sure you’re not the only person whose deck they’ve shuffled poorly and hopefully if enough people speak up about it they’ll get the picture.

If they’re rude or continue to shuffle the deck poorly, call over a judge or whoever is in charge. You’re handing someone, at a minimum, no matter the format, a few hundred dollars and it might even be upwards of a few thousand dollars. In Vintage and Legacy it can get even higher than that and I’ve noticed so many people don’t appreciate this. You are often holding a major investment of someone else’s in your hands. Would you be able to afford to replace the Russian foils in your opponent’s deck? What about the foreign black-bordered duals that someone has painstakingly spent the last ten years trading for? Or the Klug alter they saved up for that means quite a bit to them? Most likely the answer is no. When handling cards that aren’t yours you should always pretend they are all of the above and treat them with that kind of care and respect, the kind of respect you want someone to treat your own cards with.

Kate hails from Worcester MA and also does a bit of Card Altering. Check her Stuff out on Facebook! She mainly plays legacy and modern though will occasionally find herself playing EDH. She has recently succumbed to MTGO.

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