Bicycle Guardians Theory 11

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Bicycle Guardians Theory 11

Postby Jjtee » Sep 11th, '07, 12:41

Good morrow to thee fine talkmagicians.

So I was surprised to find that my Guardian Deck from theory 11 arrived today. Not bad shipping at 3.93 USD to the UK it arrived in 7 days. Onto the review...

Available here:

The Effect
It's a deck of cards so of course the effects are endless!

4.95 USD and 3.93 USD shipping to the UK standard airmail. So a total of around £4.50.

(1=easy to do, 2=No sleights, but not so easy, 3=Some sleights used,
4=Advanced sleights used, 5=Suitable for experienced magicians only)

Not really applicable here, but variable being cards.


"What they say"
"It has arrived. A deck whose design itself stems from the foundation of Bicycle's classic Rider Back design, only rejuvenated in a more redefined, intricate, industrial, modern design. This is what the classic Bicycle Angels look like. On steroids. Never before has a deck of this quality and level of intricacy been produced. Never before has this much attention to detail been manifested through a pack of playing cards.
You first got a glimpse of them in Wayne Houchin's theory11 Artist Teaser video. Now, they're in your hands. Produced by theory11 and manufactured by the US Playing Card Co., the Guardian deck takes elements of ancient scriptural art and combines them with a modern, industrial design. This is shown in the heavenly chariot scene printed on the front of the box, and the powerful image of a Guardian angel printed on the backs of the cards. See the pictures to the left.

The Guardians piercing eyes stare down into the eyes of the fallen. His spear points as if to say, "Don't even think about getting up." From the intricate detail of the protective angels to the sleek color selection, this deck will draw additional awe to any effect, routine, and flourish. Every inch has been painstakingly worked on in both design and production to ensure the deck is truly flawless. We're perfectionists.

Printed on Bicycle's signature Air Cushion Finish, the deck allows you to perform and flourish with ease, and look frickin' awesome doing it. We know you'll dig them, because we use them on a regular basis."

What I say

Right lets not digress any further. Having turned to the dark side and dabbled in the realm that is theory11 I have to say that these are once again another custom deck trying to appeal to those new hip magi. The dark colours and contrasts shout "look at me I am a magician". While E (a very similar brotherly company) release lots of custom decks, the reality remains that they are all recolours.

Aesthetically the Guardian Deck is very pretty. The ace of spades is a flourish of angel wings, to go along with the themes of redemption and heavenly bodies. Very nice to look at, but of course gaffy looking as are all custom decks. In truth as long as you act and handle as if they are normal cards, then there shouldn't be a problem. The rest of the faces are standard bicycle issue with a few differences. The court card faces are mellowed out. The colours are subtler and less sharp. An almost "bleeded" colour look to them which is quite stylish. The average punter won't see the difference-but to us we will.

The box itself screams attention, as shown by the pictures-and is a nice change from the standard deck design. Annoying sticker remains.

Onto the backs. The backs are lovely. Rather than a recoloured bicycle back, with your classic rider cherubims enjoying a little peddle we have haughty and magnificent angels on a totally redesigned back artwork. Very visual and very high impact. Understatement is certinaly not their forte. The major difference on the backs bar the artwork is the white border. It's huge. I'm thinking this is for hiding DLs and the like, but it does look a tad odd being used to classic rider back proportions. Either way if it enables magicians to do their job better then it can't be a bad thing.

Handling. These handle like any other pack of cards. The truth is handling varies from person to person, temperature, humidity...sunlight. You name it something will affect how cards behave. Personally I find very little difference in the feel of cards bar their thickness (such as Black tigers). Suffice to say Guardians are of normal thickness, perhaps even a tad thinner. Apparently their have been some issues with clumping, though whether or not this is a batch thing, or idiotic reasoning is beyond me...I haven't noticed anything. Further reports are not wearing out...again this is largely subjective and so it'll be up to you. I'll break them in some more to see how they fair. Fanning wise up till now there's been no problem.

The pack is standard, with only one ad card for theory 11 (both sides) and one double backed card-which is nice. Saves me making one.


These are yet another custom deck. New looks and new styles doesn't stop the fact that these are merely cards at a higher price. If they stock them in England then I'm sure it'll go down a tad but not much. As with all custom decks its up to you whether you're into aesthetics etc, and these are undoubtedly very pretty. It's nice to see something that isn't merely a recolour though. At the end of the day they're a nice flourishing deck (handling needs to be confirmed by someone in the know of these things, which I admit I am not being a total newbie to magic), and when you bring them out people know you mean magic. Good or bad? Totally up to you and whether you want to pay that much. I'd give em


Merely because I am shallow and looks are everything!

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Postby Demitri » Sep 11th, '07, 16:18

Nice review. I picked up a few decks, too. I won't be using them for performances, but I wanted them for my collection of cards.

The white border is only slightly larger than a traditional bike design - and it's a more even register than bikes, as a result.

I don't think they handle quite as well, right out of the box. The one pack that I opened has a clumping problem, but it will work itself out. With a little bit of breaking in, they handle very well.

As far as looking gaffy and screaming "look at me, I'm a magician" - I disagree. If walking up to a total stranger, with a pack of cards, asking if they'd like to see a trick doesn't raise the "magician" alarms - I don't think the deck is going to make much of a difference. If you're interested in a different looking deck that doesn't suffer from the problems of the Viper/Tiger decks (that problem being the "frayed" edges once you handle them for more than 45 seconds - making them horrific looking), then these are a good choice for you.

I give it a 7/10

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Postby Farlsborough » Oct 20th, '07, 11:58

I'm so annoyed with myself. After deciding that I'd grow up and not give in to any "premium deck" type marketing hype, I've just gone and ordered 2 decks.

It's not my fault... I was well prepared to fend off the temptation for any more regular bikes/tallys with a different colour scheme, and they have to bring out a new back design that looks so... well... cool... :oops:


Postby I.D » Oct 20th, '07, 13:28

almost succombed to 3 decks just then.. fended myself away at the last moment. Nothing recived since 11 Sept.. this cold turkey thing is going well.

These deck do look nice and look artistic as opposed to hyped up like E's stuff. when these are available in the Uk Ill pick some up !! Youtube Project started.. early days

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Studying: loving band redemption
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Postby trashmanf » Oct 24th, '07, 21:23

those of you whom have decided to wait made the right decision. the first edition sold out pretty quick and they were all clumpy. My main focus is on flourishing , and these cards just suck compared to other custom decks for fanning.

Moving on, apparantly the second edition has fixed this problem and I've got some in the mail to me right now. I liked the stock and the cut of the last guardians but their finish was very very sub=par compared to your black tigers or ghost decks or even stock 808 bicycle cards.

The new edition sounds like a winner though and I'd recommend picking some up to add some pizazz to your magic or flourishing.

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