The svengali principle is an ingenious concept in card magic. The svengali deck quickly became a classic in gimmicked card decks.

Unfortunately, it is readily available in the open market, including in beginner’s magic sets.


Destination is the application of the svengali principle to postcards.

You receive a total of 15 custom printed postcards of different countries and cities from around the world, and 15 postcards of the force country, which in this case, is France. They come inside a nicely printed postcard collection box. You are also provided with a link to a video performance and explanation by Phillip Ryan.

In the performance video, Phillip Ryan shows a stack of postcards that he acquired from different countries and cities around the world. He has a spectator cut the stack at random and look at the postcard she cut to. He then divines the country of the chosen postcard. Finally, a prediction that was on the table throughout the performance proves to be the selected country.

The force postcard is cut in both directions, ie lengthwise as well as widthwise. You can therefore display the postcards in either one of the 2 directions. Philiip shows you how to handle the postcards, including actually riffle-shuffling the postcards supposedly to mix them up.

There are so many other things you can accomplish with a svengali deck than just a prediction of the chosen card. However, Phillip Ryan does not mention any of them in the video. You can easily check them out in the internet for the different applications of a svengali deck.

Here is a 4-phase routine you can use with the svengali postcards. Show the stack of postcards to be all different. Have a spectator cut the stack at random to determine a chosen postcard – read the mind of the spectator and divine her chosen country, France, in this case. Take the stack behind your back and “lose” the France postcard into the stack. Bring out the stack and deal the postcards, one at a time, onto the table, and have a spectator stop you at any point. The postcard stopped at proves to be the selected postcard. Again lose the postcard into the stack behind your back. Have a spectator call out any number between, say, 4 to 26. The postcard at that number proves to be the chosen one. The postcard is lost once again into the stack. This time you riffle the ends of the postcard and the spectator puts her finger into the stack to stop your riffle shuffle. The card beneath her finger turns out to be the selected card. The chosen postcard lost in the stack is found 3 times, with 3 different spectators!

Performing an effect using these postcards helps to disguise the svengali principle being used. Phillip Ryan and Vortex Magic also produce an invisible deck using these postcards. The product is called “Intuitive Destination”. “Destination” can be used together with “Intuitive Destination”.

Destination postcards can be used both in close-up and stage performances. Mentalists who want to force a country should invest in a set of these postcards. (rated 4/5 stars).