Teferi’s Puzzle Box | Illustration by Donato Giancola
Deck boxes have evolved from protecting your beloved Magic cards to statement pieces, and in some ways a reflection of our tastes and personalities. Wooden deck boxes, for example, signal care for artistry and style on top of keeping your cards safe.
Like any accessory, wooden deck boxes for Magic can vary in quality and design so that they can be accessible across a spectrum of budget ranges. Some things to look out for with wooden deck boxes are color and finish (you wouldn’t want it to scratch up your cards or give you splinters!), hinges, latches, and overall fit and construction. Are the seams flush? Do the hinges seem thin and flimsy?
Even if you’re on a budget, you should be discerning about the quality of your wooden deck box. Luckily, we’ve done much of the research for you, so let’s dive in!
Best Overall Wooden Deck Box
I saw dozens of beautiful and intricate deck boxes that would undoubtedly give your cards the protection they need while researching the best wooden deck boxes for Magic. I’ve also came across wooden boxes that look like they were crafted in a high school woodshop class. I decided on something in between: beautiful, affordable, and functional.
The Wyrmwood deck box is sleek and handsome, with a leather strap that comes across the top and latches the lid down. Elm is known for its toughness, hardness, and its light weight–all excellent qualities for an MTG wooden deck box. The Wyrmwood boxes come highly recommended by experienced Magic players, regardless of the box design changes over the years. That was enough for me to gauge the company’s commitment to quality.
These boxes range from $50 to $180 depending on the type of wood you choose. While that sounds expensive compared to plastic or polypropylene deck boxes, many readers here own cards and decks that are easily triple the value of the Wyrmwood wooden deck box!
What should you look for when buying a wooden deck box for your Magic cards? I already mentioned that fit and finish should be immaculate, even for the budget products. Paying less doesn’t have to mean lesser quality.
Another thing to consider is the type of wood being used for the deck box. You generally want to stick with oak, ash, cherry, maple, and other hardwoods. Buying cheap balsa wood boxes is probably a bad idea.
Make sure you’re getting a wooden deck box that’s sanded, stained, and finished so that your cards won’t get scratched or torn. You’d also hate it if you risked getting splinters each time you reached for your box.
Another thing to consider is the fit of the lid or box top with its body. Wood expands and contracts with changes in temperature and humidity, which is why your choice of wood matters along with how it’s finished. Your valuable cards can be susceptible to humidity or fluids if a lid or box top doesn’t create a firm or tight seal when it’s closed. And isn’t the point of having a case to protect your cards in the first place?
Lastly, consider the construction of the deck box. Are pieces glued together sturdy enough to endure years of being pulled and pushed into bags? If you live in a place with big weather changes, is the box treated and finished to avoid major warping and expansion? Are hinges glued, screwed, or nailed in such a way that there’s no play between the hinge plates and the wood itself?
Again, even on the budget end, the standard should be a good fit, finish, and sized appropriately for the way you sleeve your cards (single or double).
The Fabergé of Wooden Deck Boxes
If having a wooden deck box for your Magic cards is more about having a statement piece than it is for card protection, and money is no object, then these are the products for you.
While there are very ornate and intricate deck boxes that look more like Victorian furniture than they do card protectors, I wouldn’t recommend the majority of them due to poor construction. Unless, of course, you need them to match the doilies and Persian rugs in your 1850s-style home.
Wyrmwood Deck Box
The ebony Wyrmwood deck box has dark and beautiful wood grain with its logo emblazoned on the leather strap that comes across the top. Sure, it’s almost $200, but the sheer gravitas when you set this box down on the table might be enough to make your opponents scoop.
Aaron Cain’s Big Leaf Deck Box
The Aaron Cain big leaf figured maple/wenge deck box (excuse me, deck vault) is also very beautiful and even features a window cutout to see your commander’s face. The box is sized to fit 100 double-sleeved cards. What better way to flex your non-proxied cEDH deck at the game store?
Best Budget Wooden Deck Box
You aren’t looking for a wooden deck box because you’re on a strict budget. No, you’re going with a wooden box because you’re all class and style and your friends describe you as smelling of rich leather.
For my budget pick I recommend the customizable Commander deck boxes from Etsy. The box is simple and sturdy and closes in an unconventional way: a leather strap with the wooden top glued to it flips over the top.
Custom Wooden Deck Boxes
Every retailer I mentioned here makes custom boxes for you. If you’re loyal to a particular guild or mono-color, you can have their symbols cut, engraved, or put onto a leather wrap from Elderwood Academy.
When looking for a custom wooden deck box maker, some things to consider are their history with making deck boxes, customer reviews, and the other products they might make. Many deck box makers are woodworkers who don’t specialize in Magic products but know their way around a band saw and lathe. Meanwhile, other companies specialize in Magic products but might outsource their custom deck boxes to another company.
How Do You Make a Wooden Deck Box?
If you’re feeling crafty and have some DIY skills, you could always make your own wooden deck box for Magic decks or other accessories.
First you’ll need to consider the dimensions for the deck box depending on the type of deck you’re carrying, and how you normally sleeve your cards. A single-sleeved Constructed deck with 15-card sideboard is going to be very thin compared to a double-sleeved Commander deck with token cards.
A good idea would be to measure the height and width of your sleeved cards and create a very small buffer around them. You don’t want to squish and bend the edges of your sleeves, but you also don’t want them to rattle around inside the box. A 4mm buffer around the sides would give you 2mm on each side with room for any expansion.
Next, stack your deck and tokens and anything else you plan to put in the deck box and measure its total height. I probably wouldn’t give much of a buffer at all for this measurement. There’s always air between the cards and sleeves when they’re stacked. This will naturally compress when you stack them into your case, so the uncompressed measurement is what you’ll want when constructing the box.
Check out this video of someone making a deck box where the final product turned out quite nicely:
Here’s another where someone built an abacus-style life counter on the exterior of the box! It’s a little rough around the edges, but I know you’re very detail-oriented and will clean things up.
The beauty of making your own box is that you choose the style, materials, and dimensions of the box. It should also mean something to you when it’s finished. You’ve constructed your own Magic decks, and now you’ll have a personally constructed wooden deck box to house them!
Kayla’s Music Box (The Brothers’ War Commander Decks) | Illustration by Aaron Miller
You can’t go wrong if you choose to buy any of these recommendations. Otherwise be sure to be thorough with your due diligence before commissioning a custom box!
Magic players have found dozens of ways to incorporate a little style into their gaming identities. Whether it’s through MTG-inspired clothing, card sleeves, playmats, or deck boxes, you have so many options for personalization.
Wooden deck boxes are just one facet of that artistic expression, and a flexible one at that. Wood comes in so many colors, grain patterns, finishes, and can be cut into so many different shapes and sizes. All these options can be a little overwhelming!
Hopefully you’ve come away learning that every type of wooden deck box you can imagine can be purchased from somewhere, or at least be made with your own two hands. Do you have any experience making your own deck boxes? Do you have any suggestions for wooden deck boxes that aren’t mentioned here? Let me know in the comments below or over in the Draftsim Discord.
If you’ve already made a wooden deck box of your own, please share it with us and tag us in your posts!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: