How can you tell a card’s condition?

Have you ever wondered what the acronyms of NM, LP, MP, HP, DMG meant? Do you and your friends value the same cards differently based on its condition? Does a slight dent, scratch or wear mean differently between you and your friends? Condition of trading cards do matter and affects a card’s price significantly. Most of the time this is based on the fact that if the card was to be sent into PSA for grading, a PSA 10 Charizard would be worth a lot more than a PSA 9.

Following is a list of acronyms breakdown available to help you distinguish between what it means to have a Near Mint (NM) card vs a Moderately Played (MP) card. Please note the following excerpts are gathered from TCGPLAYER website. For more info, please visit their website here

Near Mint

Cards in Near Mint (NM) condition show minimal to no wear from shuffling, play or handling and can have a nearly unmarked surface, crisp corners and unblemished edges outside of a few minimal flaws.

A Near Mint card may have a tiny edge nick or a tiny scratch or two, but overall look nearly unplayed with no major defects or flaws.

Lightly Played

Cards in Lightly Played (LP) condition may have minor border or corner wear or even just slight scuffs or scratches.

There are no major defects such as liquid damage, bends or issues with the structural integrity of the card. Noticeable imperfections are okay, but none should be too severe or at too high a volume.

Moderately Played

Cards in Moderately Played (MP) condition can have border wear, corner wear, scratching or scuffing, creases or whitening or any combination of mild examples of these marks.

A Moderately Played card may have some form of a more major marking, such as creasing that doesnʼt affect card integrity, but not in combination with other issues such as scratches, scuffs or border/edge wear and not impacting a large area of the card.

Heavily Played

Cards in Heavily Played (HP) condition show a severe amount of wear. Cards with less than 30% of the surface being liquid damaged are typically accepted but may be considered Damaged if especially detrimental. HP cards can have one small instance of missing ink (such as if something is stuck to a card, then removed and pulls away part of the card), along with major creasing, whitening and border wear if the card can still be sleeve playable.


Cards in Damaged condition can exhibit a tear, bend or crease that may make the card illegal for tournament play, even in a sleeve. If more than 30% of the card is damaged by liquid, it’s considered Damaged. Cards in Damaged condition may have extreme border wear, extreme corner wear, heavy scratching or scuffing, folds, creases or tears or other damages that impacts the structural integrity of the card.

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