5 Reasons to Get a Borderless RWS Deck

Deck used:  Smith-Waite Tarot Borderless Edition  (Pamela Colman Smith, US Games)

Deck used: Smith-Waite Tarot Borderless Edition (Pamela Colman Smith, US Games)

If you're going to get serious about learning the tarot, you can't go wrong with a Rider-Waite Smith deck. The thing is, if you're nitpicky about things (like I am), it can be a little confusing to find exactly the right RWS for you because there are a ton of them in the market. There are the plaid backed super glossy high octane neon ones. There's the Original Rider Waite Smith (my first RWS deck, incidentally) with more muted yellows but muddier lines. There's the Smith-Waite Centennial edition with minimalist backs, thicker card stock and sepia tones. This isn't even naming any of the vintage editions.

One of the more recent additions to the RWS crew is US Games' Borderless Smith-Waite Centennial edition (isn't that a mouthful?), which, like the Samsung phones that knock off the edges, completely wipes away the white borders around the cards, opening up each image to be seen through a completely new lens.

I got this for myself for Christmas last year and for those with an extra $22 in their budget, here are five reasons to get yourself one.


1. It's a way to get reacquainted by Pamela Colman-Smith's art. I was one of the people who poo-poo'd on the RWS in the beginning because the art was "meh." After learning the cards and studying them intimately, I have a newfound appreciation for her talent and genius. This deck comes with some extra art cards that introduce you to Pixie's other work. It's interesting to see her delve into another medium.


2. Everything looks larger than life. Amazing how taking off borders makes such a huge difference when it comes to the tarot. Don't these aces look so much bigger?


3. It's a way to reacquaint yourself with your favorites. I love The Hermit and its different iterations of blue / blue green / gray. This edition makes me love it even more—with a sky that's even more vast than usual, The Hermit's impact is amped up. Also, have you ever wondered what went beyond those cut-off columns of the High Priestess? Now you know.

Just as an aside, my research led me to Lisa of Mindful Tarot, who explained that the enlargement of these cards isn't actually because Pixie painted bigger drawings—it's more speculation. Which I don't mind at all.


4. Tiny details become clearer. I'm not a meticulous card examiner so I don't normally look at the details of a card as though I were looking at them through a microscope. So when people point out just how intricate the foreground and / or background of these cards are, I'm ultimately surprised. I tend to look at cards as a whole rather than break them up into little parts. When I do make an effort to check the tiny details, though, I'm often confused because everything's muddy and unclear. Not in this edition—as in the garden surrounding by the grape-wearing King of Pentacles or the sand and stone the Queen of Cups has her feet on.


5. The green backs are lovely. Green is my favorite color and this one is a lovely shade. Card backs matter! :)

Are you an RWS fan or are you looking for the perfect RWS for you? Comment below and let's chat.