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Author Topic: What sleeves do you use?  (Read 1522 times)

WWolfe

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What sleeves do you use?
« on: September 21, 2021, 09:12:22 am »
Do you swear by Ultra Pro? Are you a Dragon Shield fan? Do you have something else you prefer? Why?

I use to always use Ultra Pro but one day the shop was out of them so I bought Dragon Shields so I could sleeve up a deck and play. For new sleeves, I really liked the way they shuffled and felt. The biggest difference to me, you didn't have that "slippery" feel that you do often with new sleeves to where your deck topples over if it's bumped.

What do you use?
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Potato Chop

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Re: What sleeves do you use?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2021, 09:48:37 am »
First, a quick disclaimer: I own multiple boxes of Dragon Shield sleeves purchased at different times, so I can quite reasonably attest to their quality. However, I only own one pack of Ultra Pro, so my initial judgement may be from an odd pack and far from the norm.

With that out of the way, here's my opinion: Dragon Shield all the way. A relative bought me a pack of Ultra Pro sleeves once (I had only ever used Dragon Shield until then) and that gave me a great opportunity for side-by-side comparison. I even did that test where you grab the open edges and pull as hard as you can, trying to break them. Here's my comparison:

SHUFFLING:
While Dragon Shield was smooth and delightful, the Ultra Pro sleeves seemed to stick the cards together in chunks while shuffling. There seems to be some kind of static charge generated by the texture of the Ultra Pro polymer that holds the sleeves together so that they don't "whoosh" off of each other in a clean sliding fashion. I think that the texturing on the back of the Dragon Shield sleeves gets around this (I use basic sleeves, not the art series which has no texturing).

Another note: It is very hard to "mash shuffle" with the pack of Ultra Pro sleeves I got, due to the same sticking sensation and the thinner edges of the sleeves that refuse to seperate from each other easily. This is probably not the norm.

HAND FEEL:
Both feel pretty nice in the hand. I can't deduct any points from Ultra Pro here, because there is no problem with how they feel in hand. However, the Dragon Shield are just exceptional. The texturing on the back makes it easy to hold them while stopping them from slipping away from the others.

LOOK:
Something you might not see in the pictures or the advertisements is that the Ultra Pro sleeves tend to have a slight matte finish on the front while the Dragon Shield has a clear, glossy one. Just different plastics, I guess. I would say that Dragon Shield was superior here, since the cards (especially foils) definitely look better. However, the problem with the gloss sheen is that bright lighting can cause glare. The Ultra Pro sleeves sacrifice a little bit of foil shiney-ness for a little bit of practicality, and that's fine.

SCRATCH RESISTANCE:
The aforementioned finishes on the fronts of the sleeves are the main factor in play here. In short, the Ultra Pro sleeves are scratched more easily and show scratches more prominently. The Dragon Shield sleeves, while still scratchable, hide the scratches unless angled under bright lighting at specific angles. Dragon Shield wins here.

STRENGTH:
Even though we don't grab our sleeves and attempt to rip them apart, I thought it would be fun to test anyway - especially since you always get a couple extra sleeves in a pack. So I did! I pulled as hard as I could on Dragon Shield and either I'm weak or the sleeve is unnecessarily strong, because it did not break. However, the sleeve was rendered unusable due to stretching. The Ultra Pro snapped at about 75% pulling force. Still far above what is practically needed, but once again, Dragon Shield wins this category.

WEAR & TEAR:
None of my Ultra Pro sleeves have broken due to normal play. This is probably mainly because they are very hard to abuse (see the note under shuffling). I have broken 3 Dragon Shield sleeves while "Mash Shuffling", all in the same deck, so it might have just been that one box. I can't say for sure that Ultra Pro wins here, since only sleeves from one specific pack broke, after a year of punishment. But then again, this isn't exactly an accurate comparison, since Ultra Pro only has a sample size of 1. So it's hard to say!

Anyway, that's my comparison. I always buy Dragon Shield now. Ultra Pro is certainly not bad, but I feel that Dragon Shield has proven itself superior. Others might have different opinions :D
« Last Edit: September 21, 2021, 12:43:51 pm by Potato Chop »

The Golgari Guy

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Re: What sleeves do you use?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2021, 11:37:09 am »
I used to use Dragon Shield, and they are great. Probably the most durable and resistant sleeves on the market.

Only problem: they are damn thick. Like, very thick. In some deck boxes they barely fit, and shuffling a commander deck is not so simple if you have average size hands.

So I started using Katana, and to be honest... They are great. Great shuffle feel, durability and most importantly they are thinner than Dragon shield so that it's easier to shuffle a commander deck sleeved with them.
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credion

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Re: What sleeves do you use?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2021, 11:51:59 am »
I have mainly used Ultra Pros Glossy Eclipse for outer and KMC Perfect Hard for inner sleeves.
I just happened to order Ultra Pros Whites, because i heard the inner side is colored black. There isnt any other note worthy differences between these sleeves and Dragon Shield Mattes what i have notices in use. KMC Perfect Hard i just chose because they make the outer sleeve more ”tighter” so the edges of the outer sleeve are more tensioned, harder and i think it makes sleeves more resilient for edge folding etc. Also KMC’s Hard are more thicker so it makes more room between cards and it makes cards to slide between each other easier and shuffle feeling little nicer. Althought, i would change my outer sleeves if i would find sleeves which wouldnt glare light so much like Dragon Shield or Ultra Pros.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2021, 11:57:46 am by credion »

BoBWiz

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Re: What sleeves do you use?
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2021, 12:46:53 pm »
To be honest, I mostly just buy the cheapest ones. So I got a pretty colorful mix of sleeves I'm using.

Thinking about I guess I got no Dragon Shield.

I'm pretty fine with the mono-colered Ultra pro up to the point the opening starts to get wavy. You can still use them, but it looks bad and I guess it's not competitive playable. I don't like the ultra pro sleeves with some art on it. They getting damaged very fast and are expensive.

I'm fine with mono-colored ultimate guard sleeves.

Got some chinese ones, they are good as well.

My favorite are Legion Sleeves. They got sometimes some strange artwork, are functional, robust and cheap.

I got some "Art-Collection" Sleeves I don't know the manufacturer. They used to be older. My LGS got them for 2,50€/50. It is always in sale. (I asked why it is that cheap and they told me the boss someday bought a pretty big stock of it.) These are my best. I use them again and again. Bought hundreds of them.

best

MustaKotka

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Re: What sleeves do you use?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2021, 01:56:35 pm »
I'm a Dragon Shield fan. Have got Ultra Pro Eclipse (didn't like them that much) and I have some older Ultra Pros (which were good considering they've now lasted for about 20 years) but I always find myself looking at the nice Art Editions of Dragon Shields. Have not tried Katanas yet, I probably should! Then again I quite like it when the card is thick and stays in shape.
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Varatius

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Re: What sleeves do you use?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2021, 03:40:56 pm »
I double sleeve using dragon shield sealable sleeves as my inner sleeves and ultimate guard katanas for my outer sleeves.

This creates the best combination of waterproofing I found aswell as pulls the curls out of my foils over time.

Drydoc

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Re: What sleeves do you use?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2021, 04:58:16 pm »
I've utilized standard ultra-pros and they are very nice for a short period of time and then after that are prone to losing their smooth factor and are not nearly as durable as Dragon shields. I have gotten glossy and matte dragon shields. I like both and am convinced this is the best bang for your buck. They might lose sheen and overall smoothness over time, but they are in great condition for months and usable condition for years upon years. Seriously, I know it's lame to take the side of 1 product, but Dragon Shields are unmatched in quality. I have not tried the Eclipse Sleeves from UltraPro though so I do have a blind spot there.

ApothecaryGeist

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Re: What sleeves do you use?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2021, 05:03:00 pm »
Dragon Shield all the way. 


They last a lot (A LOT) longer than Ultra Pro. 


Also, a 100-count pack of Ultra Pro contains exactly 100 sleeves.  If you put your commander in a different sleeve, then you only have one extra.  Ultra Pros always peel and shred on me.  So I always need extras.  Whereas a 100-count pack of DragonShield contains at least 4 extra.  I've had as many as 7, but not in any box I've bought recently.  Ironically though, I've only needed a spare DragonShield a couple tmes.  And that's with a deck that I had played, and therefore shuffled, A LOT over the course of a year or so.

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Toxicmog

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Re: What sleeves do you use?
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2021, 06:23:18 pm »
Dragon shield.

I used to use the cheapest sleeves I could get, but they shuffled badly, and the sleeves let in a lot of dirt and grime.
For £2.50 more I could get dragon shield, and they were heads and tails better. So never went back.

When I played standard I used ultra pro standard sleeves, which were not bad, but dragon shield is 100% my new favourite.

I do agree with another poster on here, finding a deck box can be a pia, I’m currently using game genic deck boxes which fit dragon shield sleeves perfectly

mcamokk

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Re: What sleeves do you use?
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2021, 01:58:04 pm »
My favourite Sleeves are: Dragon Shield Matte and KMC Perfect Fit. The perfect Team for my cards.

Elan Morin Tedronai

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Re: What sleeves do you use?
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2021, 06:21:04 am »
Dragon Shield as well all the way as ApothecaryGeist. Only my "7★ Auras Guild Ultra Pro Box Ltd." that speaks for itself is in Ultra Pro. Why? Because, they're "disregardful box" that I play only at home. They're 7 decks and not in my "official" Tribes, but combinations of several ones, so I consider them inferior to my Dragon Shield decks. I also have to agree with Apothecary: there're at least 3 to 5 extras in 100-sleeves-box and with 2 boxes, you can cover 3 decks, with 3 boxes you can go to 6 decks, which is perfectly fine for me. So, Dragon Shield, to the end.
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apples2212

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Re: What sleeves do you use?
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2021, 05:20:39 am »
I like dragon shield matte usually the art ones if they have them.

Mynus

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Re: What sleeves do you use?
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2021, 07:59:44 pm »
Just to pile on - I use/prefer Dragon Shield Matte. They shuffle well without being too slick, I like the feel of the matte texture, they seem to hold up fairly well, and I love the color variety.

Elan Morin Tedronai

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Re: What sleeves do you use?
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2021, 05:12:30 pm »
Is there actually an alternative to Ultra Pro in price, quantity and quality? I said I am Dragon Shield all the way, but Ultra Pro Aura Guild Box can be easily changed with other cheap alternative. Hence the name really. Mayday?