Does this sound familiar? Magic: the Gathering players spent all their money on cards and left nothing to protect them. And since any spare cash is going into the sleeves fund, it’s down to all manner of random paper or plastic boxes to bring your decks to your game nights.
That’s where we were at – salvaging discarded mooncake boxes, with free cardboard boxes (found in preconstructed decks) swapped in to house our Commander decks. It drew a few laughs from friends, but otherwise far from setting the stage as a dedicated Magic player.
An upgrade was in order, and we decided to pick up 3 of GameGenic’s premium level deck carrying cases to see if they could stand up to the task. These deck boxes are designed with Commander decks in mind, with XL variants able to store even 100 thick, double-sleeved cards.
Here are the standout features of all 3 Deck Boxes:
- Their special Nexofyber textured surface truly stands out from other deck box offerings. It’s a light, velvety feel, and even though it can trap dust more easily, don’t be surprised if you’re running your fingers over and over a GameGenic box during a game.
- Really strong magnets will support the tilted, standing positions that GameGenic decks are known for.
- Reversible deck covers/doors means it doesn’t matter if you’re left or right handed, and you can connect them behind or under.
Let’s dive deeper into the 3 deck options and find out what works best:
Right after taking it out from the packaging, it’s clear that the Lair is quite different from other large carrying cases. Unlike other boxes that prioritise storing cards, the Lair puts equal emphasis on accessories. It houses 4 drawers (2 on each side) instead of the usual 1 or 2 seen in other carrying cases.
These drawers can be used for anything from dice to token/Sideboard cards used in Commander and other Magic constructed formats. The compartments do make things more organised and are a nice touch.
Right above the drawers is an open tray big enough to fit pens, notepads, and even more dice if you wish. To us, this open top serves as a better platform for quick access to dice rather than using the Lair’s foldable box cover.
The foldable box cover boasts some of the smartest design, allowing it to double up as a pretty big dice try. Although dice is used in Magic, there’s very rarely a need to have 50 dice ready to go. The Lair’s cover is thus a little overkill in this department, and we found that using it as a makeshift playmat makes more sense.
Another sweet design implementation is the hard plastic divider in the cards compartment. There are 2 configurations, either creating 2 even rows that can fit sleeved cards, or an enlarged slot that can fit at most 2 premium deck boxes. From experience, we recommend just sticking with the even configuration so as to maximise the number of cards it can carry.
The Lair 600+ is big – it’s a squarish shoe box that can get really heavy when completely filled with boxes, cards, and accessories. Carrying The Lair for a long distance on your back won’t be a fun ride, but you’ll be more assured that everything you need is in that box.
Best For: Really dedicated Commander players who must bring several decks out of their collection of 20.
Carrying the biggest and heaviest box around isn’t always going to be ideal. When time is short and you know you don’t have the time to run through the 5 decks you made in the past week, then the Stronghold is a nice alternative.
The Stronghold stores 2 100-card decks, and the XL version is slightly enlarged to easily house double-sleeved decks. Single-sleeved decks will have about 3cm of leftover room, which means cards can shake if you’re on the move.
Because the deck doors and tray cover flaps are fully magnetic, you can swap them out for different colours if you have multiple Strongholds, though that shouldn’t be a primary reason for picking the Stronghold.
With the Stronghold, you cut down on weight and carrying space, which isn’t such a bad thing since you don’t need that many dice to play a game of Commander. We managed to fit about 20 dice into the middle tray – more than enough.
To some, the 2-deck limit may feel stifling for those who have 20-30 in their arsenal to choose from. For many, choosing 2 to play won’t be that difficult, and with each game lasting between 1-2 hours, 2 decks may be all you need to have a fun time.
Best For: The casual player who doesn’t have a lot of time to play multiple decks.
If you’re on your feet, biking, or just taking the bus and can’t spare anymore backpack space for cards, the GameGenic Tower is probably your best deck companion.
Their solo-deck travelling solution has all the same features as the Stronghold, including the dice tray and removable doors for each section, just that there is 1 less deck compartment.
It fits into most small backpacks and even sling bags, however you might want to get the non-XL version if space is really an issue. For beginners who probably don’t double-sleeve their cards and have just built their 1st deck, the Tower 100+ would be a better purchase.
However if you’ve already got a few decks on the shelf and more on the way, the Watchtower might be too little for your medium-term needs. The included dice tray does take away the need to carry a separate dice bag, but you might find having just 1 deck available to play a little too limiting.
Best For: Light travellers and beginners who have just built their first deck.
Beyond weight, space, and functionality, the other key consideration you shouldn’t overlook is their normal and XL variants. If you’re someone who doesn’t need to double-sleeve your cards, make sure you get the regular boxes because the XLs will be bulkier and cause more hassle to you.
But if you’re an intense, competitive Magic: The Gathering player who has thousands of dollars worth of cards all double-sleeved, then having the XL option available makes these GameGenic boxes a worthwhile consideration.