Alright. So like most questions I ask on the internet I was able to actually solve this myself by playing around once I already showed myself to be ignorant to the world.
Here's how you do it--
1. When you set up your document set your margins so that you can maximize how many cards you can print per page. In this case it meant using 0.25 inch left and right margins, and 0.5 inch for top and bottom. We're using margins as bleed space as well as a spacing technique, essentially. This allowed me to do a 4x5 grid per page.
2. Since I wanted a 2x2in card I selected the Rectangle Frame tool and pulled it into the upper leftmost corner of the space within the margin. Change the background color as appropriate within the frame. DO NOT USE A RECTANGLE OR THE LINE TOOL. Doing this will replicate the line and rectangle as well as the linked data from the merge. This will make your sheets worse than worthless. If you need to have guidelines for cutting the cards add a stroke to the frame and make sure to Align the stroke to the inside of the card. DO NOT MAKE MORE THAN ONE FRAME RECTANGLE.
3. Select the frame with the selection tool, and go to the datamerge window. Select your CSV using "Select data source" and format the single frame as appropriate.
4. Click the "Create Merged Document" Button and choose the following selections:
Records to Merge-> Merge all records
Records per Document Page-> Multiple Records
Check the "Preview Multiple Records Layout" to be sure you did everything right, and if the layout doesn't work for you go back through the steps until you find your error. Once it looks right go back to create merged document with all the previously mentioned settings, preview, and if it looks fine click "OK"
Congratulations. You've just created a full set of playing cards on 8.5x11 sheets of paper without going insane doing it manually.
Are your cards two-sided? If they are it's far more complicated because the arrangement of the cards must be mirrored on the back of each sheet in order to have the correct fronts and backs together.
Also, there has been a bug in Data Merge for the last few versions that is not fixed, as far as I know, that is triggered by using the Preview with multiple records per page merges. Check your merged file closely for errors.
If the merge is incorrect, your template is no longer usable and you must create a new template before doing the merge without pressing the preview. You can copy and Paste in Place the merge field placeholders from the old template.
I'm using CS5, it's good enough and most print shops I have relationships with still aren't taking cs6 based files-- and these are prototypes so back images aren't necessary. When working with a professional print service it'll be a lot easier. I just keep template saved separately and did what I said up above