Ellusionist - Gaff Deck Red Bicycle

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Ellusionist - Gaff Deck Red Bicycle

Postby Demitri » Jul 26th, '06, 20:20

Ellusionist - Gaff Deck Red Bicycle

Available From: Ellusionist.com

http://www.ellusionist.com/order/Gaff-R ... e-Deck.php

Price: $29.95

Note: As Ellusionist and Brad Christian have already openly discussed these and other gaff decks they've released in public, I'm assuming I'm allowed to name them all in detail. If there is a problem with this, please let me know and I'll pull the details down.

Here's a rundown of the gaffs, loosely broken up into certain categories. Starting from the beginning, we immediately look to the case.

Card Case - The front of the card box is a mirror image, so everything is backwards. On the bottom of the case, there's a prediction here, which is a kind of homage to the l33t movement (which I can't stand). Instead of a regular bar code - there's 3 07 5P4D3S.

Straight gaff cards:

2 - Double backer cards - one side is a red back/the other is the front artwork for the card case.

2 - 3 1/2 of clubs

1 - 4 of hearts card with a reversed 6 of spades face printed on the back of the four.

1 - Reverse printed 5 of spades

1 - 10 of spades card – pips are red.

1 - 10 of diamonds with the center pips piled on the bottom of the card (somewhat like the finale card to Presto Printo).

1 - 13 of Diamonds

1 - 9 of diamonds with a "torn" blue-backed circle on the back. One of the angels is in blue.

3 - 4 of Spades - Moving pips. These cards are used for the one-by-one traveling pips effect.

2 - 8 of hearts - Zipper printed on the back. One card has a closed zipper the other has the zipper partially open to reveal a 4 of spades.

1 - Aged 6 of spades. The card has been printed to look like an old, yellowed card. Very cool looking.

1 - 8 of diamonds - Red back/Black tiger face (with red pips)

1 - 2 of spades with one index pip partially scratched off to reveal the index pip of an 8 of clubs.

1 - 3 of spades with smeared center pips (wet ink effect).

1 - 4 of spades with a fingerprint on the face.

1 - 4 of clubs with 5 center pips.

1 - 5 of clubs with 4 center pips.

1 - Blurred 5 of spades.

1 - Blurred 7 of spades.

My thoughts:

I was a little disappointed by some of these. Considering Ellusionist likes to tout their effects as different and on the cutting edge, I was a let down to see some very old standards here. I understand that in some case "old standard" means they're good - but I can already get many of these cards in OTHER gaff decks. Why should I spend more to get it here? The 3 1/2, 13 of diamonds/Red 10 of spades have been done before, and with the exception of the 10 of spades (only available in the CAJ deck as far as I know) they can be found rather easily. I think the jumbled 10 of diamonds is also available in the CAJ deck, but I could be wrong.

Some of the other gaffs I just don't like on a level of practicality. The 9 of diamonds with the torn blue portion stands out in my mind. In order to make this effect seem more plausible, you'd need to rip the angel circle out of the middle of a blue card. By the time you finally managed to do that, the spectator would have already walked away. When one can simply have a red-backed card signed and change into blue, this partial change certainly doesn't seem to hold up (in my opinion).

That's not to say this bunch is all bad. There are some genuinely cool cards in here. The zipper card is fun to play with, and I've already used it a few times to good effect. The aged 6 of spades is just a sweet looking card, so how can you not love it. I've been thinking of using it in conjunction with the four of hearts card with the 6 of spades on the back to make a cool effect out of it.

So, for this particular area some of the gaffs are good, but mostly "eh". I wasn't really impressed with some of the cards here. Others might be, so you'd need to play around with them and decide for yourself.

Prediction-style gaff cards:

2 - Nailed Zombie Prediction. 1 card shows a lanky red zombie-like "thing" on it, the other shows the thing impaled by nails with a 6 of hearts nailed to his stomach.

2 - Skeleton Grave cards - 1 card shows a skeleton in a coffin. The other shows the Skeleton holding a 2 of clubs.

2 - Raven cards - 1 card shows a raven, the other shows a 5 of spades prediction in the eye of the raven.

2 - Joker prediction cards - 1 card shows a joker holding a card, with the back showing. The other card shows the joker holding a face up 6 of hearts.

2 - Skeletal Horse Jokers - Both cards show what I believe was the original Joker design for the ghost deck. The second card displays a ghostly Ace of clubs prediction.

1 - 4 of spades with an 8 of hearts prediction woven into the detail work of the back of the card.

1 - 4 of clubs with a spray painted style prediction of the King of clubs on the back.

My Thoughts:

Personally, I think there are too many of these in the deck. 12 cards used for prediction-style effect - 10 of which are more or less duplicates. What makes it even more annoying, is that 2 of the sets predict the same card (6 of hearts)! If you're going to go this route, the least you could do is make all of the predictions different. Beyond that, 5 of them are, at their foundation, the same effect. They all utilize the same principle to deliver the prediction. The Skeletal Jokers have an added advantage of being easily hidden in plain sight (most people won't notice the Ace until prodded to look for it), but that is only a minor advantage. Honestly, I think some of these should have been taken out. They will obviously be cool to specific people, but for a gaff deck being sold to the general magic public - one or two of these sets would have been enough.

The 4 of clubs card I like even less. I look at it like it was a last minute creation. Sure, you can do it with a magical spray paint kind of effect, but the look of the card is unappealing.

The Skeletal jokers are a cool addition, and it's nice that they brought it back. Looking at these now, I can't figure out why they scrapped these for the scarecrow (can anyone tell me why its back is to us?) in the Ghost deck. The artwork is very cool – and they are a nice supplement to the standard joker. The prediction is hidden well enough that you can hide it in your deck until you're ready. Although - it might be picked up by spectators as the card itself is unusual and invites more close examination.

I like the 4 of spades because this can easily sit in the deck for the length of any routine and never be found. This is where the lack of creativity in the other 4 shines through for me. They went to such incredible detail to hide the prediction in the back of the spades gaff that the clubs gaff just seems like a waste of a card.

I have no doubt that this group will have many fans. With the exception of the 4 of clubs gaff, they are very well crafted, and the artwork is cool.

Court Card gaffs:

1 - Blank faced card (placed here for its use with the ghost queens)

3 - Ghost Queens cards. 3 Queen of spades cards one lighter than the other, showing a gradual "photograph" of the card. I'd call it a Polaroid effect, I guess.

4 - Ghost Kings - Traditional Bicycle versions of the Ghost Kings from the Ghost Gaff deck.

1 - King of Diamonds with a bullet hole on the face.

1 - King of Diamonds with one of the index pips moved halfway down the card - another traveling pips idea.

3 - Cracked Aces - The Aces of Clubs, Hearts and Diamonds with cracked center pips.

1 - Ace of Hearts - Regular face that has the Center Ace of spades design printed on the back (used with the Ace of spades with no central pip, mentioned below).

1 - Ace of Spades with missing center pip.

1 - Ace of Spades with warped/twisted center pip.

1 - Ace of Spades - Tally Ho Ace of Spades with a red bicycle back.

1 - Ace of Spades - Nunquam Dormio Ace. It looks like a rework of the Ghost deck ace of spades, without the gray areas in it. It has the same outstretched hand at the tip of the center pip, but beyond that, the card is a normal ace. Also has an eye in the center (going with the Latin phrase, obviously).

1 - Ace of Spades - There is an image of a skull seen in the center pip.

1 - Ace of Spades - This is the design that will be used for the Ace of Spades in the upcoming Master Edition Bicycle deck.

My Thoughts:

Although I liked almost all of this set, I am again slightly let down by the deck as a whole. SEVEN Ace of Spades cards!!! SEVEN!!! I know we all love the Ace of Spades, but did we really need all of these?

In their defense - some of the gaffs for the beloved ace are quite cool. The missing pip card, used alongside the Ace of Hearts with the Spade pip on the back is a cool combination for a spooky type effect.

The queens cards are cool, and just playing around with these have made me rethink my ideas on a packet effect along similar lines. This is a cool effect that is a nice addition to the deck.

The Ghost Kings - while I think they're really cool in concept, I was somewhat disappointed by their execution. Don't get me wrong, the cards are swanky! However, the black kings and red kings have the same faces. Since they went through the trouble of making new, cool faces, why not make 4 different faces?? That's just a personal grudge. Still, these are very cool cards.

The King of diamonds with a bullet hole is "ok" - but it doesn't really look that great. Can be useful, but I think mine will stay in the box. The magic invisible bullet thing can be cool, but given the level of detail in other cards, this one was a bit lacking.

The traveling index pip king is alright, but when you have the 4 of spades set in the same deck, this loses A LOT of steam.

Again, the lack of variation bothers me here. Why are they both the king of Diamonds? Why not use a king of hearts? Again - if you're trying to advertise cutting edge and variety - you should use all different cards.

Cracked Aces - interesting, but again - not at all new. These particular gaffs are available elsewhere.

The twisted Ace of spades came off as another last minute type gaff. In some instances, it just feels like they ran out of ideas and tossed things like this in to fill out the deck. It can be used in a wet ink routine, but I find nothing spectacular about the card.

Tally Ho Ace is just cool to see.

The Nunquam Dormio ace just seems a little useless to me. It's not really a gaff or anything at all. It's just a normal card with a different looking center pip. The same can be said for the skull ace, but that gets a bonus point because it uses a skull, and skulls are cool. However, neither card is really mind blowing - but I guess people will have fun with the skull.

The Master Edition Ace is just sexy. I’m assuming this was put in as a preview to the upcoming Master Edition Deck. Granted - none of the other cards in the deck will have nearly as much detail, but this beauty alone would make it worth picking up one or two of the Master decks.

Final Thoughts:

So there you have it. The Red Gaff Deck. There are some sweet ideas in here, and those ideas will no doubt lead to great magic and even more ideas down the road. It's a great addition to E's line of gaff decks, but I think they need to rethink a few areas as they move on. The most important thing, I think, is to realize that certain gaffs are available elsewhere. With that fact in mind, they should drop the "standards" and come up with something new and unusual. They're off to a great start already. With a little more work and variation - these gaff decks will be almost perfect.

Overall: 7 out of 10

Some really great cards, but it loses some points due to lack of variety and the inclusion of standard gaffs that can be found anywhere. At the price you're paying per deck, this was something that should not have happened.

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Postby dat8962 » Jul 26th, '06, 20:44

Demitri - what a truly excellent review.

When reading the first set of descriptions (straight gaffs) many of the cards sounded familiar to me as an owner of the CAJ deck.

I then have to wonder if the predication and court gaffs are then worth the cost of the deck?

I think that I'll wait for six months or so to see if the price drops and by how much. If you look at Tigers as an example, they;re now some 50% cheaper than they were when they were released. Ghosts are about 25%.

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Postby katrielalex » Jul 26th, '06, 21:39

Wow, what a review. Thanks for the effort!

I was swaying on the edge of ordering one of these but as I already have quite a few of the cards I think I will now follow dat's lead and wait for a while to see if they get cheaper. $30 is a lot to charge for a deck of fake cards!


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Postby mark_c1975 » Jul 26th, '06, 22:30

Great review Demitri... I was hoping you'd give a straight-up review and you did. I've read lots of rave reviews of the deck, but not many that point out the cons.

I think I'll wait till they get a little cheaper too. I emailed cards4magic.co.uk about them, and Jamie said they're not getting them till mid-August at least. They usually do good deals, so it might be worth hanging on to do a price-comparison with different sites.

Hopefully NUMS will be able to tempt me to part with my £'s, but I'll wait to see how much they will cost from there too.

I WILL get a deck, just not at $29.95 when I too already have quite a few of the gaffs you've listed.


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Postby Rich Lehmann » Jul 26th, '06, 23:28

So are there no double face or double backed red-red or red-blue? How about mis-indexed cards for tricks like princess or penguin monte?

Also no one mentioned that they changed the coffin card so the 2 of clubs is only on the little card in the coffin not in the corners, like on the ghost card. (Which I think is a welcomed change)

*I may have also posted this as a new topic, sorry if I did, I'm an ass.*

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Postby Demitri » Jul 27th, '06, 03:31

No - there are, thankfully, no double facers or mis-indexed cards. Double backers are incredibly common (you can buy full decks of them), so thankfully Ellusionist kept in line with those.

I was, however, surprised there were no double backers in any of the possible combinations. I do believe the Ghost and Tiger gaff decks offered them, but they're not here. Granted, red/red, red/blue are readily available, but red/ghost might have been nice.

As for the coffin - I couldn't comment on it, as I don't own the Ghost Gaff deck.

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Postby BizKiTRoAcH » Jul 27th, '06, 11:53

Great in-depth review. Cheers :D

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Postby FlipBack » Jul 27th, '06, 18:41

I had high hopes for this deck, but as soon as I saw all the cards in the E preview I was insanely dissapointed. It appears to be nothing but a copy of the Ghost deck which was a copy of the Tiger deck. They are reusing a ton of gaffs from each deck. Plus I love all the comments thrown in by them that if you had an M5 or whatever else they sell then you could do such and such a trick. Of course as usual with E there is such insane hype it defies beleif. Guys are talking about once they open the pack and saw the cards they started openly crying at the greatness that lay before them. So I say thanks to Demitri for providing a balance to the rhetoric of E.

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Postby giulio1971 » Jul 28th, '06, 09:56

First, thanxs for the excellent rewiew, second, i will buy because i love the gaff decks and i have some ideas about the old aged card :-)))

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Postby AJ82 » Jul 28th, '06, 10:00

Excellent review, very usefull. I am in two minds if I should buy or not. I have a CAJ deck and a few other gaff cards so not sure if I would get the use out of it but still, super review

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Postby dat8962 » Jul 28th, '06, 10:11


I too have the CAJ and very rarely use any of them and when I do, it's usually the same half dozen or so cards. On this basis, would I really use this deck? I suspect NOT.

It's a nice to have but little more and I could think of plenty other things to sepnd the £20 on.

Last edited by dat8962 on Jul 29th, '06, 00:22, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby AJ82 » Jul 28th, '06, 10:33

Dat, thanks for the info. That is what I was thinking, nice to have but would I use it? and would it be worth spending the money on? I think I have come to the same conclusion as you. No, but maybe one day in the future

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Postby cajmagic » Jul 29th, '06, 20:46

WOW - Great Review - I have learned a lot (as a card maker) - thanks

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Postby Demitri » Jul 31st, '06, 07:33

Pleasure to see you here, CAJmagic. I must say - I truly do love my Zero cards. Those are easily one of my favorite gaff sets of all time.

Glad you enjoyed the review. Any new gaff ideas swirling around that head of yours???

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Postby azraelws6 » Sep 3rd, '06, 07:05

I'm really dissappointed with the reverse card box and the 2 cards with the box logo... first off - why2???? and second the preview shows the "3 of spades" written in place of the bicycle logo - which is not the case (pun intended!!!).

Dimitri - I should have read you review more carefully because you had mentionned right at the beginning!! Well, for someone who previously owned zero gaffed cards it is still a good buy, but there are only a handful that I would actually ever use - namely the 4 of spades moving pips - but then again - the ghost ones (diamonds) for some readon are SO much nicer!!

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