I’ve seen lots of marked decks over the years. Some of which I even use. So is it worth looking at yet another marked deck release? When Luke Jermay’s name is on the release it definitely is.
The Marksman Deck is not just marked for value, but it also has a whole series of other markings which give you an enormous amount of information (it is a descendent of the venerable Deland deck – but with other features too) which is of use in a series of very powerful effects. It also has a very subtle one way feature.
And as if this was not enough, the deck is also stacked in Mnemonica order – which opens up a whole world of other options if you’re familiar with that system (and if you’re not then Juan Tamariz’s Mnemonica and Mnemonica Miracles are both highly recommended).
Jermay is very persuasive in his own promotion of the deck, but in this case I really think the hype has some substance since with a modicum of presentational skill this deck really does open up an almost limitless world of possibilities.
The Marksman Deck itself is high quality – printed beautifully by the USPCC on mandolin backed stock. It comes nicely packaged in a small cardboard box which also contains a link to the online teaching. And there is LOTS of this.
The teaching is split into two parts. There is nearly 1 ½ hours of teaching – well-filmed in a ‘studio’ setting – in which Jermay introduces the various markings, discusses some of the possibilities and teaches some effects. Then there is a second, nearly ¾ hours ‘performance documentary’ and accompanying 34 page pdf – about which more later.
The main teaching material
The first 20 minutes provides an overview of the deck and the range of information that the various marks contain. Even here Luke chucks out loads of ideas for other possibilities with the deck. This is followed by a further summary/overview for a more succinct 5 minutes which recaps on meanings of the marks.
The next 8 minutes or so discuss techniques for reading the marks in a variety of contexts. There is some great thinking about different techniques and covers for reading the marks – like everything that Jermay puts out you can see this is material he has used in the real world and there is much to learn here. This section runs into an explanation of the first effect taught (which is then actually performed in the next section).
The next 50 minutes or so contains performances and explanations of 5 effects to wet your appetite.
Intuition – reveal a load of really weird information about a chunk of cards cut off by the spectator. This is an unusual effect – which (as the live performance on the ‘performance documentary shows) has a strong impact on the audience if performed well. But perhaps the best thing here is the detailed performance tips you will pick up from both the explanation and performance.
Easy to read – a routine based on the premise that you are simply reading a spectator’s thoughts. Teaches you some great ways of using the deck.
Dowsing – finding the ‘twin’ of a freely chosen card by ‘dowsing’ over the rest of the deck which has been split into several piles. Think about this – they haven’t even told you what their card is and yet somehow you’ve impossibly located its mate. Some nice presentational variations are suggested too.
Card Calling – is a remote viewing/telepathy routine where you can divine a series of cards cut to by the spectator.
Card Memory – very fair looking demonstration where you appear to locate a card in three different ways from a shuffled deck which you have apparently memorised. This is a very strong routine with some lovely subtleties (which would also have application in other routines).
The main teaching video ends with some final thoughts and references for material to read if you want to explore marked deck work in more detail. He mentions an older work by Kirk Charles which has now been revised and released as Hidden in Plain Sight and also Boris Wild’s epic, Transparency. I understand that Jermay is currently working on a book which will describe some of his routines with the Marksman Deck in more detail – and that will definitely also be worth a look.
This is an almost 45 minute video which intersperses a live close up performance by Jermay with the deck, and sections where he discusses the development of the deck and some ‘reactions’ from the audience. Jermay is such a consummate performer that this is simply a joy to watch and will give you a real feel for the potential of the deck. The accompanying pdf takes you through the methods used and some thoughts on the rationale for the various choices made. It contains plenty of detail to understand what is going on and why – though you will have to join a few dots yourself. This is an excellent addition to the release.
Scratching around for negatives
I am generally so impressed by the thought that has gone into this release that there is very little negative to say about it. If I was being really picky, then many routines will benefit from a decent false shuffle. Although Jermay points you to a few suggested resources there is barely any specific teaching on this on the video material. Also during one of the explanations the sound goes a bit echoey! I told you I was scratching around!
The Marksman Deck is a superb addition to the world of marked decks. It opens up an enormous amount of extremely powerful magic which is essentially self-working– only requiring some presentational skill to really sell them. Highly recommended for performers of any ability. At £32.99 it is not the cheapest marked deck around – but for me the quality and depth of the teaching make it well worth the price.
Pick up your Marksman Deck from MagicShop.co.uk for £32.99 (at the time of writing).
Review copy kindly provided by Murphys Magic to whom dealer enquiries should be directed.
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