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Chimera Grading Guide
At Chimera Gaming we are always striving towards the highest of accuracy when grading and conditioning cards we buy/sell. Below you will find a guide for what to expect when buying or selling at the different conditions we display on our website: NM (Near Mint), SP (Slightly Played), MP (Moderately Played), HP (Heavily Played), DMG (Damaged). All of our staff are trained under the guidelines expressed in this guide.
The overall condition of both sides of the card are considered when grading. Foil cards can be more susceptible to some types of wear such as scratching/clouding, and therefore the foiled portion of the card is looked at with extra care when grading. Scanned cards you see in our inventory or on our website may not explicitly note a condition, and you can reference the image associated with the scan to get information on the wear of the card.
Near Mint (NM)
Cards in this condition are often indistinguishable from other copies of the same card. A near mint card will show little to no wear and is always tournament legal in a sleeve.
Cards that show more than one of the issues listed below are likely to be downgraded to Slightly Played.
Examples of issues that can occur on near mint cards:
- Slight border wear – Three or fewer small nicks viewable upon close inspection. Concentrated or more prominent border wear will likely move the card into Slightly Played
- Slight corner wear- nicks on no more than two corners of the card that do not exceed past 10% of the outer black border.
- Slight scratching – Surface scratches that do not affect the colouring of the card. These scratches should be isolated to one instance, or two to three very minor instances
- Slight clouding – These are areas on the card that appear ‘clouded’ due to micro-scratching on the surface generally caused by dust or dirt. Instances of this should be small and isolated to one or two spots
- Minor misprints – Mild discolouring, mild misalignment, minor miscutting, and other similar minor issues caused by the printing process will not affect the grade of the card
Slightly Played (SP)
Cards in this condition are likely to have multiple of the issues in the Near Mint grading section or have other issues like those listed below. These cards often have multiple instances of minor wear and are always tournament legal in a sleeve.
If several of the issues listed below appear on the card, it will likely be downgraded to Moderately Played.
- Minor Border Wear – Nicks along the edges that do not exceed past 10% of the outer black border of the card. Consistent wear or more major markings will move the card to Moderately Played.
- Minor Corner Wear – Wear on the corners of the card that does not exceed past 10% of the outer black border.
- Minor Scratching – Small scratches that show no discolouration or whiting on the card surface.
- Minor Clouding – Small areas of clouding on the surface of the card. This issue should not surpass one side of the card if it is along the border.
- Minor Printing Flaws – Printing lines that do not indent the card, minor border damage from the printing process, and other minor printing process related flaws will make a card Slightly Played. Printing lines where an indent can be felt will be lowered to Moderately Played
Moderately Played (MP)
Cards in this condition show visible moderate wear. Cards will often be distinguishable from one another and can often have multiple issues. Cards in this condition are tournament legal in a sleeve.
If a Moderately Played card has several of the issues listed below, it will move to Heavily Played.
- Moderate Border Wear – Minor markings in addition to Major markings that can exceed past 10% of the outer border but no more than 30%. Borders can have whitening as long as it is minor. If a card has more than 3 major border wear markings it will be moved to Heavily Played
- Moderate Corner Wear – Slight bending or compression on up to three corners, or multiple instances of minor corner wear.
- Moderate Clouding – Micro-scratches that make the card look dull or ‘cloudy’ that appear in multiple instances on the surface. Can cause minor whiting.
- Moderate Scratching – Scratches on the surface of the card that can show minor whiting or shallow indentation. Heavy scratches that cause significant damage to the surface will be graded Heavily Played or Damaged
- Binder Indentation – Dents caused by a binder or related that do not show on both sides of the card. More extreme denting will result in Heavily Played or Damaged.
- Minor Water Damage – Any small amount of water damage on the front or back. Frequently seen along the border of the card.
- Stamped – A stamp from a Grand Prix or Pro Tour/similar event
- Signed cards – Cards that are signed are generally dealt with on a case by case basis and are often custom items on our website. By default if we take in a signed card that isn’t dealt with separately, it is graded at Moderately Played
- Moderate Misprint/Printing Defect – Any misprint or defect that is largely visible on the card. If the defect is causing significant damage to the card it will be graded at Heavily Played or Damaged
- Minor Shuffle Creasing – Shuffle creasing that does not go past the outer black border of the card and does not exceed 20% of the width of the card. More extreme shuffle creasing will be graded at Heavily Played
Heavily Played (HP)
Cards in this condition have significant wear which often extends across the surface. There can be a multitude of issues with each card in this condition. These cards are tournament legal when sleeved or double sleeved. Given the wide variety of defects a card in Heavily Played quality can have, customers generally inquire before making a final purchase.
- Major Corner/Border Wear – Wear that extends to most of the border and can have significant whitening. Bends and compressions on the corner that can also show significant whitening
- Inking – Anything above a small dot of ink will be immediately Heavily Played
- Moderate to Heavy Water Damage – Water Damage that extends past the outer border and/or can be seen on multiple sides of the card.
- Major Shuffle Creasing – Clearly visible shuffle creasing that extends past the outer border and goes more than 20% across the width of the card.
- Dirt – Any amount of dirt more than a very small isolated amount will grade at Heavily Played
- Creasing & Indentation – Any bend in the card where the card remains flat
- Layer Separation – Any card that has visible layer separation on either side of the card
We only sell cards in this condition that are fully intact and can be played in a casual setting. These cards are never tournament legal and can have a large array of major issues. Customers purchasing Damaged cards generally inquire before making a purchase to see the type of wear the card has experienced.
Cards can have extreme instances of wear seen in the Heavily Played Category and may also have some of the issues below.
- Writing – Any writing on the card that isn’t an artist’s signature
- Extreme Creasing & Indentation – Any crease that leaves the card raised or flayed. Indents that show through both sides of the cards and leave the card raised
- Tears & Holes – Any tear or hole in the card
- Odors – Any odor coming off the card such as smoke or house pets are Damaged
- Other Damage – There are a variety of methods where a card can become damaged including extreme instances of any issues listed in Moderately or Heavily Played. Heavy water damage, punctures, folds, etc. will give a card a Damaged grade