Stealth Mk.1 – Radar Absorbent Plausible Deniability

Here’s one that took a little bit of searching (only now do I realize how appropriate that sounds): the Stealth Mk.1 deck, produced by AKGRAPHX (who no longer sells it, apparently). Clearly intended to mimic the look of stealth planes like the F-117A and B-2, these cards adopt a look that, while not matte-black like the planes, probably wouldn’t appear on enemy radar anyway (which, admittedly, applies to almost every deck of cards in existence, except maybe these dangerous-looking things).

The Stealth deck does feature a very dark grey (only a little closer to black) back, with a razor-sharp angular line arrangement that makes them look like they might sever a thumb if handled incorrectly. They are, however, plastic-coated paper, making them not only safer than radar-absorbent metal, but also just as flexible and air-cushioned as most Bicycle decks. They’re also very quiet; I personally tested my deck in the near-silence of my local public library. This doesn’t really prove anything, as any deck can be played silently (again, unless it’s made of stainless steel), but I felt it worth mentioning. A Stealth deck that isn’t Stealthy? What would the world be coming to?

The Stealth deck doesn’t manage to blend in with Mom’s paisley table cloth. Well, maybe if you squint and sort of turn your head, it does…

The faces of the cards, too, follow the same angular-line approach, right down to the suits, which have been simplified into curveless polygons. It is still plainly obvious which suit is which, especially with the Clubs, and the ranks are “vectorized” as well. The angular lines also come into play with the face cards, now lacking actual faces, but in their place, bearing additional “plating”, crowns, and MIL-SPEC-approved* labeling, spelling out the names of each card in the form of “JACK OF HEARTS.” The Jokers even get in on the action; while not making much effort to be stealthy themselves, they both hitch a ride on a B-2 bomber, with one clutching a fan of cards, and the other scattering said fan to the winds. It looks like a lot of fun, really. Also, for no reason, one card in this pack has the back design on both sides. I suppose it could be used as a cutting card for games like Baccarat.

The Stealth deck is essentially without faults. It’s certainly not extravagant enough to pay more than about ten bucks for, but it’s definitely not as lazy as the cheaper Bicycle decks (like the Steam Punk deck, which I’ll have to profile later which I’ve now had a rant about, because that one doesn’t really live up to its concept), or the souvenir decks I’ve seen in a few places that have a tendency towards paper cuts and getting stuck to each other.

The biggest hurdle that may make or break your decision to own the Stealth deck yourself is that, as stated earlier, AKGRAPHX do not appear to make them anymore. They’re not listed on the AKGRAPHX website (who seem more interested in selling stealth hoodies, coffee cups, and carabiners), so I had to buy one second-hand from an Amazon merchant who was already running out of them. I simply don’t know where to suggest that you look for one. It could be that they’ve gone into stealth mode. (…Almost kept a straight face.)

*not actually MIL-SPEC-approved.


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