I am losing track of the number of versions of Triumph that I have seen in recent years – Pieces is the latest take on this theme from Christian Engblom. It is the classic effect – a card is chosen and signed, then lost in a deck which is mixed face up and face down. In an instant the cards are all righted, with the exception of the signed card.
christian engblom pieces review
Pieces uses some gimmicked cards to enable an extra clean take on this effect (although a variation using a borrowed deck is also taught). And it really does look VERY clean.

You receive some specially gimmicked cards and a link to an online teaching video (47 mins long). (You might be forgiven for expecting a DVD – it is that kind of packaging – but there is no DVD!)

Apparently the routine started off as a challenge from Juan Tamariz – and in some ways I think that shows in the method. It is designed to achieve a particular outcome (a very clean display before an instantaneous ‘solve’) – but the solution creates its own ‘problems’. The gimmicks will take quite a bit of handling practise to get really convincing – at which point you might just as well have learnt the original pure sleight of hand version. Nonetheless, I enjoyed hearing about the evolution and development of the effect – Engblom is certainly a creative guy.

A variation is taught with a borrowed deck – but since at heart it is the same method, you actually just create extra steps as you have to get the gimmicks in and out of position. I’m not sure that the benefit of using an extra deck is worth the extra effort. Certainly the original method looks so fair and clean (and ends examinable) so there’s not going to be much heat on the deck.

The other small disadvantage of this method is that it really needs to be performed seated. Whilst you probably could find a different way to ‘clean up’ from the one taught, I’m not sure how easy that would be. To be fair, most Triumph effects do work better in a seated setting.

The teaching is clear with good, if slightly steady, explanation. It’s all shot from a single camera angle but this isn’t really a limitation.  A few extra ideas are suggested using the same gimmicks. For example they can be used to make a peek deck or to perform a chaos to order type effect where a mixed deck returns to new deck order. I don’t think any of the extra ideas were that practical/useful in the real world – so you’re really primarily buying this for the triumph effect.

So we’re a bit on the fence with this one. Pieces is a nice addition to the genre, but I don’t think it will be finding its way into my set. If you want to put a little work in to fool people badly then this is certainly a clever idea. And if you’re just an avid collector of Triumph variations, then what are you waiting for?!

Pieces is available direct from Merchant of Magic for £27.99 (at the time of writing).

Review copy kindly provided by Murphys Magic to whom dealer enquiries should be directed.

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