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Heretic Lux&Noctis (2014)

Heretic Lux&Noctis (2014)

Heretic Playing Cards, as it exists now, debuted in 2014. However, the lesser-known truth is that a preliminary version was already taking shape between 2012 and 2013.

The deck was first named “Der Alchimist.” The second half of 2012 was consumed by my relentless pursuit of alchemical secrets, sacred geometry, and other esoteric realms. This journey was nothing short of riveting, culminating in my desire to craft a unique custom deck of cards, inspired by existing decks primarily from Theory11, Ellusionist, and their contemporaries.

It’s worth noting that the spark of inspiration ignited from Sentinels, a creation by Hatch SF for Theory11 in 2010, printed by The United States Playing Card Co. This very spark propelled me into a captivating and enigmatic journey, paving the way for my own meticulously designed deck.

While vector art has its merits, I’m not a staunch enthusiast because of the clinical perfection it embodies. I feel it misses an organic touch that I value deeply. As a result, my design approach blends hand-drawn illustrations with selective vector elements, especially useful for achieving longer, graceful curves.

The court card figures of Der Alchimist and Heretic share a foundation, where some facets are meticulously precise (thanks to vector graphics), while others bear the authentic touch of hand-rendered artwork.

Der Alchimist’s essence was to defy convention, steering me to transform the Jacks into female counterparts, or rather “Jills.” Why adhere strictly to convention?

The decision to name it “Heretic” was rooted in its unorthodox nature. For instance, the jacks were depicted as female figures, and the deck consisted of 57 cards, a deviation from the standard 54 or 56. Various enhancements were introduced before launching Heretic on Kickstarter. Notably, improvements were made to the number cards and the tuckbox design. Additionally, a second variant was introduced, featuring a blue back for a black tuckbox with gold foil application and no print. These two variants are known as Heretic Lux (“light” in Latin) and Heretic Noctis (“of the night” in Latin).

The crowdfunding campaign was strategically planned to commence after the complete fulfillment of Requiem and the reception of rewards by all backers. Heretic Playing Cards made its debut on Kickstarter on May 25, 2014, and ended after 30 days. The campaign evolved throughout its duration, offering various items such as Heretic Lux, Heretic Noctis, Prototypes of the Lux variant, Brick XI, Heretic Lux or Noctis Gran Riserva, Backer Certificate with signed card, Requiem decks (leftover from the previous campaign), and Stickers.

Expert Playing Card Co. (NY, USA) produced the decks and the packaging, with manufacturing taking place in Taiwan. Heretic underwent numerous refinements, adjustments, and changes over time. The antique aesthetic was achieved by employing parchment-textured backgrounds for all cards, combined with illustrations extracted from a Latin alchemy book dating back to 1619. While the meanings of these diagrams often remained a mystery, they were primarily employed for decorative purposes, enhancing the alchemical theme.

The Brick XI diverged from the norm, considering that within the realm of playing cards, a brick typically consists of 12 decks arranged in 3 stacks of 4. Heretic’s brick embraced a distinct approach, housing 10 decks (5 of each kind) alongside a commemorative acrylic deck-sized element featuring laser-engraved graphics. This ensemble of 11 pieces led to the name “Brick XI”. It was an unconventional configuration for an unconventional “brick”.

In the Brick XI, 10 decks were meticulously stacked, allowing the numbered seal to be visible through the frontal opening. Moreover, a circular aperture on the top flap provided a view of the commemorative deck-sized element made of clear acrylic.

For the Heretic Kickstarter campaign, I planned a special limited edition once again named “Gran Riserva.” The distribution of these decks was intricate, involving four different tiers based on backer levels. This complexity arose from the need to keep track of over 1400 backers and ensure accurate allocation. The table below provides insight into the distribution of 72 Gran Riserva decks, whether through distribution or sale.

Heretic Lux and Noctis feature elongated numbered seals that wrap around three sides of the tuckbox. A total of 4400 Heretic Lux and 4100 Heretic Noctis decks were produced, along with 72 unnumbered decks for the Gran Riserva group.

The whole project concluded after fulfillment with a unique quest exclusively designed for backers. They engaged in an alchemy-themed puzzle hunt on the Stockholm17 website, combining elements of treasure hunting and puzzle solving. Out of the participants, 45 successfully completed the quest, and a final raffle determined three winners. The top prize was an Heretic Noctis Prototype 00 (#2/5), while the 2nd and 3rd prizes consisted of Requiem decks with signatures from Stockholm17 Private Reserve.

 Funded with Kickstarter in 2014
A total of 8500 decks manufactured by Expert Playing Cards



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