Like most over obsessive Magic players, I’ve spent years buying and trying all the major brands of card sleeves and their veritable cornucopia of choices. Presented here is a detailed compare and contrast between four of the major brands likely to be found at your card shop. Dragon Shield, KMC Super Series, Ultra Pro and MAX Protection Tournament Sleeves. While there are many other brands available, these four seem to be the most likely to appear at your local card shop. After sleeving sample cards in brand new sleeves, I’ll discuss what I found to be the pros and cons about each brand. How they compare to each other and which sleeve is likely best for you given your needs. Given the high cost in value of Magic: the Gathering and other trading card games, card sleeves have become a must. For all but the most apathetic and financialy reckless of people. The process of determining which card sleeves are right for you And your needs is made more complex by the wide variety of card sleeves available on the market today Let’s begin with Dragon Shield sleeves. Dragon Shields have a lot to offer and their biggest draw back is their price. Do you get what you pay for? Let’s look at some of the Dragon Shield pros. Dragon Shields sleeves are manufactured in Denmark and quite frankly the high European standard for quality shows. Dragon Shield sleeves are thee toughest, most durable and longest lasting sleeves on the market hands down. Dragon Shield sleeves don’t split period. Dragon Shield sleeves also have the tightest seal, keeping dust and air out of your card for the best possible protection. The tightest seal means the best protection for foils. And foils stored in Dragon Shields are the least likely to curl. If you’ll indulge me I’d like to emphasize how tough and durable Dragon Shield Sleeves are. I’m pulling pretty hard here and the sleeve just won’t split, there’s no other sleeve on the market that I can do this with. Dragon Shields are the toughest most durable out there. They don’t split. Period. So if Dragon Shields are so great, what’s the draw back? Well there are some cons, the biggest one being price. Which on average is about $10 per box of a hundred. Dragon Shield exteriors also have a bad tendency to get dirty and sticky when not played on a playmat. If your’e someone who doesn’t always use play mats or who often pulls out their magic cards at restaurants, bars or kitchen tables, then your Dragon Shields will likely get dirty and sticky fast. They require the most care when it comes to what surfaces you play them on. Finally, in the past Dragon Shield sleeves would sometimes come with miscut sleeves in the box. However, Dragon Shield seems to have gotten their act together and this problem appears to either be fixed or at least greatly minimized. Now lets talk about KMC Super Series. Again we’ll start with the pros. KMC sleeves are manufactured in Japan and quite frankly the highly regulated Japanese standard for quality shows. Second, only to Dragon Shield, KMC Sleeves are durable and long lasting. Well not entirely unheard of, splitting is highly unlikely. KMC Super Sleeves have a sleek glossy exterior which makes them perfect for riffle shuffling. Finally using KMC Perfect Fits with KMC Supers is the easiest and most effective way to double sleeve. So what are the cons? Well KMC like Dragon Shields are pretty premium stuff. So there’s not a lot wrong with them. Price is certainly an issue and well, not quite as expensive as Dragon Shield sleeves, KMC Sleeves are a close second. KMC currently offers sleeves in Super, metallic and matte. I’ve found the Supers to be the best of the three and would recommend avoiding the matte and metallic versions. The mattes style can become marked and sticky and while the metallic style looks nice, cards sleeved in KMC metallic seem to have a propensity to stick to each other, making shuffling or even just drawing a card difficult. Alright you’ve seen the best, now let’s look at Ultra Pro. Ultra Pro, The McDonalds of card sleeves. Why do I call Ultra Pro the McDonalds of card sleeve? Because like McDonalds, Ultra Pro is available everywhere ridiculously cheap. And the quality is as crappy as it can be. The list of pros for Ultra Pro is simple. Ultra Pro sleeves are the cheapest sleeves available. Beyond that well ugh…. I suppose they are better than penny sleeves. Let’s move on to the cons shall we? Ultra Pro sleeves split. They split after months. They split after weeks. They split after days. This is no exaggeration, I honestly believe that Ultra Pro has designed its sleeves to split and otherwise deteriorate solely for the purpose of forcing you to keep buying them. I’ve known brand new out of the box Ultra Pros to split. Ultra Pro offers little to no protection. Foils might as well be sitting unsleeved and exposed to air These are the flimsiest, cheapest sleeves out there its no wonder Ultra Pros are made in China. The quality is exactly what you would expect/ Ultra Pros the cheapest sleeves that Chinese child labor can provide. If you need sleeves for draft or Pre-release or some other limited event then Ultra Pros are probably the way to go. But as far as constructed decks go, your cards are just worth too much to risk putting them in Ultra Pros. Finally we come to MAX Protection sleeves. If you like illustrated sleeves with art on the back, then you probably use MAX Protection. They offer a large variety of sleeves in varying purported quality’s. The kind I’m looking at here is the tournament sleeves. And I’m going to have to jump right to the cons because there’s not really any pros about them. MAX Protection have all the cost of Dragon Shields and all the quality of Ultra Pros. Their Tournament sleeves hold together a little bit better than Ultra Pros, but they scratch, and they peel, and get dirty faster than anything. Just like Ultra Pros, MAX Protection sleeves are made in China. And you know what ladies and gentlemen? That’s really starting to be a indicator as to quality. The sleeves featured here are the matte, but let me show you what happened to a stack of MAX Protection metallic sleeves right out of the box. These are brand new tournament sleeves. All I did to get this result was sleeve a deck with brand new MAX Protection sleeves. And then riffle shuffle them for about ten minutes. Look at how the edges are all ready peeling away. The backs to are scratched up and marked. This is an instant red flag for the entire brand and I would not recommend anyone buy MAX Protection unless you are just looking for some fun artwork for the backs of your sleeves So there you have it. Final grading… Dragon Shield A-
Probably the best sleeves on the market. Dragon Shields only drawbacks are price and the fact they can dirty very easily when not played on a mat. KMC Supers A- as well.
Neck and neck with Dragon Shield in terms of quality and cost KMC Supers are the best choice for anyone interested in double sleeveing Avoid the matte and metallic styles. Ultra Pro C.
Pass… just barely Cheapest sleeves on the market there’s nothings else to them than that. They split easily and always. MAX Protection FAIL.
Made in China but with same high cost as
Dragon Shield and KMC. These sleeves are offensively poor in quality and consistency. I see no situation to ever purchase these Thanks for watching and I hope this video was of some help to you.