Condition Breakdown

Condition grading is a difficult scale to agree on, especially when you introduce the human factors of variance and interpretation. The card grading scale used by CategoryOneGames is determined by the demands and expectations of both customers and members of the gaming industry. 

All cards are graded under natural light with gloves in order to accurately grade each card.  A magnifying glass is used if needed in order to determine condition. 

When evaluating a card, CategoryOneGames considers two criteria:

  • The number of individual markings, defects or points of damage
  • The severity of individual markings, defects or points of damage
One or more severe issues or several minor issues can downgrade a card to a lesser condition. These issues could include edge wear, surface scratches, or dirt and foreign material, as well as some other less common condition issues such as ink/print consistency, centering and clouding. 

Any distinguishing characteristic of a card that is different from the ideal example is taken into consideration along with the quality and integrity of the material of the card itself. 


Near Mint/Mint (NM) = Cards in Near Mint/Mint condition show minimal to no wear from shuffling, play or handling and should have an unmarked surface, crisp corners, and unblemished edges outside of minimal handling. A Near Mint/Mint card may have a tiny edge nick or a tiny scratch or two, but overall look fresh out of a pack with no major defects or flaws. 

The acceptable range of cards within the Near Mint/Mint condition includes both cards with no imperfections and cards with a few minor imperfections or a single more noticeable imperfection. 

Lightly Played (LP) = Cards in Lightly Played condition may have minor border or corner wear, or even just slight scuffs or scratches. There are no major defects. A couple of imperfections are okay, but none should be too severe or too high a volume. Foils in Lightly Played condition may also have slight fading or signs of wear on the front of the card. 

The acceptable range of cards within the Lightly Played condition include both cards with a handful of minor imperfections and those with a few more noticeable imperfections.  

Played/Moderately Played MP/(P) = Cards in Played condition exhibit one or more condition issues visible at a casual glance. Cards in Played condition can have border wear, corner wear, scratching or scuffing, creases or whitening, minor dirt buildup, or any combination of mild examples of these defects. 

Heavily Played (HP) = Cards in Heavily Played condition generally can still be played in a tournament as long as sleeves are used. Cards in this condition exhibit significant playwear. Cards in Heavily Played condition can have signficant edge wear, corner wear, scratching or scuffing, binder ring dents, creases or whitening, minor dirt buildup, extreme foil warping,tournament stamping, small tears or creases, some water damaged, or any combination of milde to extreme examples of these defects. 



Damaged (D) = Cards in Damaged condition can exhibit a tear, bend or crease that may make the card illegal for tournament play, even in a sleeve. Cards in Damaged condition may have extreme border wear, have been written on, stamped, or received major inking, extreme corner wear, heavy scratching or scuffing, bending, curling, folds, creases or tears. 

Ungraded = This is the grade that cards that we haven't graded are placed in. Some of these cards will be in Near Mint condition while others will be in Moderately Played condition. Because of time constraints, Commons and Uncommons are generally not individually graded.

New/Sealed = Just as described. Brand New, never opened, factory sealed.

Like New, off the rack = Items are still in the box. This item has been handled in a retail environment. It may display small signs of handling wear, but should be free of substantial damage.

Uncut Sheet Condition = Uncut sheets have been handled and come rolled in a tube. Uncut sheets generally have small/light scratching on the front and back. These type of marks generally don't show up when framed or hanging in a home/office. This is common with uncut sheets. 

Video Game Grading:

Near Mint = Plastic is undamaged, the label is clean, unmarked, intact; No ink or stickers on media; Copper traces bright and clear.  Game-save battery may be dead in any condition.  (They can use custom for battery refurbs)

Very Fine
= Plastic is undamaged, the label shows signs of handling and storage; faded ink on media; stickers on plastic acceptable; copper traces clear.

Very good
= Plastic has minor wear or less; label may have damage on up to 30% of surface ranging from tearing, pealing, pocks, etc., ink or stickers may be present on plastic; copper traces clear.

= Plastic has major wear, the label is present but may be damaged up to 60% of the surface, ink or stickers may be present, copper traces free of corrosion but may be dirty or worn.

= Cart shell may be broken, the label may not be present, ink or stickers may be present, copper traces may show minor corrosion.  (Anything worse and you just can’t sell it.)

Custom = use for label replacements, reshells, battery replacements, etc.