Suitable for royalty, Monarchs are an exquisite new deck of playing cards produced by Theory11 and printed by the US Playing Card Company. Influenced by royal crests and heraldic symbols, the back design depicts serpents twisting around the evolution of sword and tree. Guiding the edges are the words, "de duobus malis, minus est semper eligenoum."
Imported heavyweight paper with gold foil embossing encompass the box design for a luxurious effect and timeless aesthetic. The cards themselves are printed on the same high-end press with a premium stock and finish as our own cards, which we believe to be of the highest quality.
I've used a lot of different decks and so far and this one is the best! It handles great out of the box, broken in and even after a few months permanent usage. Same as by other decks the fanning will be clumpy after lots uf use (specially during summer time), but when you put it back in the box for a clouple hours, it fans well again. The deck is great for magic, i like how it feels for that. And its also my favorite deck for cardistry/flourishes, not to slippery, not to clumpy, just perfect! The stock is not to soft and not to hard, just perfect! Have i said this already? :-)
I don`t think i have to talk about the design... the pictures speak for themselves
In regard to thickness, the Monarch deck is about two cards thinner than a deck of Bee Stingers, but there’s no noticeable difference when handling them. The deck is also pretty resilient. It handles springs, waterfalls, under-pressure, etc. well and pops back to its normal shape with ease. Lastly with faros, the deck faros face down great but when you turn it face up it’s much more difficult to get them to weave properly. This is because of the way the deck is cut.
Design: This is the only area of the Monarchs I’m unsure about. The back design is definitely unique, detailed, and eye-catching. That being said I don’t know if it suits me personally, but whether you like it or not is your own decision to make. There is a sword coming down from each end into the middle with snakes wrapping around in circles down the cards, and tree branched coming out on either side. The amount of effort the T11 team put into designing this deck is obvious. On the back near the center are ribbons that sport the word for “king” in Latin. The sides of the card say (roughly) “Out of two evils, the lesser is always chosen.” The gold ink on top of the dark blue back looks extremely elegant, but the release will be a different color.
Court Cards: I love these. Like most decks Theory 11 sells there are no oranges or yellows; those have been replaced by deeper colors. Red, dark blue, white, and gold all adorn the faces of the Court Cards. These cards were the first to catch my eye when I opened the deck, and have now become my favorite face cards I’ve seen. There’s just enough color to make them pop, but not too much to seem gaudy or obnoxious.
Spot Cards: The Spot Cards also look just as we would expect from Theory 11. There are darker reds on all of the red cards. These are actually a few shades darker than Smoke and Mirrors v5 and the Red Stingers. Also, the pips are a bit smaller. Not thinner and squished looking like we saw on custom decks for a while, but just a bit shrunken from regular sized pips.
Ace of Spades: The Ace is drawn in black and gold with a crown sitting in the middle. It’s a very ornate and beautiful Ace of Spades, but not overdone or distracting. The design of the crown is fantastic; honestly I would liked to have seen this design or more of this theme on the back. The usual “United States Playing Card Company” text is in gold and a bit more visually pleasing.
Jokers: The Jokers are an updated, cleaner version of Bicycle’s original Best Bower joker. These look great and are immediately recognizable to any magician or playing card enthusiast. They’re printed all in gold ink in the pre-release deck so it’ll be interesting to see the difference in the normal pack.
Box: Wow. Nearly every square centimeter on the tuck box is embossed with very reflective, gold metallic ink. The design of the box itself is wonderful too. The flap has “Cerca Trova” written on it which, as you all should know, means “seek and you shall find” in Italian. Also, across a ribbon covering three arrows, there’s the word “Excelsior” which can be translate as “higher”, “Upward”, or “farther”. I’m assuming this is in reference to the quality of the deck. The last point I want to touch on about the box is the paper it’s made with. The box is very sturdy and feels quite a bit thicker than other tuck boxes. You’ll notice it as soon as you hold the box; it just feels more solid. Jonathan Bayme has also said that it was made with imported, thicker paper.
I’m giving the Monarchs deck a 9 out of 10 because the feel is simply incredible and they hold up great under extensive use. In my opinion, how a deck handles (Out of the box and hours, days, or weeks later) is the most important part of a high-quality deck, and the Monarchs surpass any expectations I had in that area. Like I said before, I’m not gun-ho about the back design but it still looks unique and interesting. If you’re wondering whether or not you should pick up a pack of Monarchs, stop wondering and go for it. The feel of the cards, the luxury of the box, and just all the work put into this deck have created one of the highest quality packs of playing cards yet.
The back of the cards are navy blue with white sketch lines of arts. The back is very elegant and nice when fanned. The cards are standard face with gold metallic court cards and custom Ace of spades. There are 2 identical jokers, which is also nice, an ad card, and a double backer.
The handle of Monarch is something I've never feel before. Normally, decks would absorb things from my hands, but I feel like this deck has some kind of resistance to protect itself from wear and tear. However, I'm not sure about this deck's real property. It's what I do feel. It has smooth edges, and very slippery right out of the box. When I work with it for a while, I feel that this deck very suits my hands. This is my best favorites decks from Theory11 by far.
As for the cards, they handle like how most Theory11 decks do. They fan perfectly right out of the box and spread like butter. The stock on these cards feel very thick, similar to David Blaine's Split Spades playing cards. Personally, the Split Spades series was the best handling I've ever had on a deck of cards so I should expect these to be the same in the long run.
The AoS is also very simple but it works out very nicely because of the theme they're trying to get at. I like how these cards portray royalty and simplicity at the same time. The only thing that I would have to disagree with these cards are the court cards. I wished that they would've created custom court cards or even reuse the Sentinels court cards, but with some changes because of the different theme. The gold accents on the cards are nice, similar to the Aristocrat bank notes, but personally I would've like a change them.
Overall, this deck is not only very good performance wise, but also eye candy to both you and your spectators. I would definitely recommend you picking up a couple of these!
But you don't buy a deck for it's packaging: You buy a deck for the -cards-. And these cards are beautiful. The Ace of Spades and it's Jokers are very much in minimally intricate harmony with the design for the box and back. Although if there is a complaint to be found, it is in that so much work was put into making what could have been the absolute best deck to have ever been produced and stopping just short of including completely new designs for the court cards to better suit the rest of the deck's aesthetics. This one slight oversight that, if not overlooked, could have made this deck the new sentinels. But in the face of everything else that this deck has perfectly and flawlessly nailed right, it is an easily ignored matter. The feel of the cards is absolutely beautiful and what you would expect not only from 909 finish, but Q1 cardstock. They are very much fit for royalty, and very much worth your money. Not only this, but I imagine they will be quite, quite durable, maintaining their luster long after you've retired them from casual use. Buy them.
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