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You know the story by now: you've opened a fresh booster pack (or 20) of your favourite TCG and are already envisioning the latest deck with which to crush your friends. But after a few months, your cards no longer look like pristine instruments of tabletop war. Instead, they are blotchy, sticky shadows of their former glory. Thankfully we have card sleeves to save the day, and the Ultra Pro ones are probably the best budget ones available.
The sleeves hold the cards tightly enough so they rarely move around in the sleeve, which will protect the borders of your cards from that dreaded "white creep". More importantly, a few months of playing will make you realise how much gunk and rubbish your cards are being saved from - and with good cards being worth a LOT of money (from the 15 pound mark of good MTG cards to the obscene Yu-Gi-Oh values) it's invaluable.
However, they aren't a perfect product by any means, as the abuse they soak up will come at a cost. After a bit of mistreatment the plastic fronts will detach slightly from the back, rendering the sleeve useless, and if you're planning to take them to tournaments a single mark on the back can render them illegal. Also, unlike the more expensive sleeves you can still bend the cards as much as you'd like, so being heavy handed will still wreck your cards. Finally, the amount held in each pack verges on the cynical - with most trading card games relying on 60-card decks, one pack just isn't enough.
In summary, they do the job and do the job well at any level of play - I would argue they are mandatory purchases if you don't want to waste your card money - but if you're looking for a completely foolproof item , this is not it.
These are brilliant card protectors for the price, they protect the card to a high standard an make them look more professional. I used a set of these card protectors so that I was able to easily distinguish between another set of cards that I had in completely clear protectors. The protectors are easy to put on most cards and are able to be moved if required, they have a snug fit unlike some card protectors and stop dirt from being able to get inside the protector to the card. A good advantage of having them on the card is that it makes shovelling the cards much easier, unless they have slightly stuck to each other which I have experienced a few times.
The design of the card protectors have a clear front an a raven black back, this looks very smart but in my opinion is also rather boring. However for the price of the protectors they are great value for money.
Ultra Pro Deck Protectors:
As some of you will now know, I am a huge fan of the collectable card game, (CCG), Magic the Gathering, (MTG). Basically MTG is a game that requires you to build a 'deck' of 60 cards to play against other people's decks. The cards can be very expensive but they are easily damaged by shuffling and of course the dreaded 'hand grease'. Once again though the great people at Ultra Pro have a product that is perfect for protecting your cards.
Now you may think card sleeves are a simple creature; made of plastic and big enough to fit a card in, job done, but in reality it's not quite that simple. Cheap deck protectors, (they cost about £1.00 for a hundred), are often slightly too big and become oddly baggy with use. This is a problem as it makes it hard to hold the cards and especially hard to shuffle them. Ultra Pro solved this problem by using much sturdier plastic instead of the almost cling-film type plastic used on the cheaper ones, (Ultra Pro does also make the cheaper ones), which about doubles the size of your deck.
The plastic is very sturdy indeed and an added bonus is that the backs of them are opaque so if the back of a card gets damaged you can keep on it using it without being accused of 'marking your cards'. They aren't very reflective either which is a must for tournament play. I'm not particularly good at shuffling and drop the cards etc but these deck protectors actually make it easier for me which is great as opposed to the cheap ones that make the cards slippery.
The seams of the Deck Protectors are very strong, they seem to be bonded with heat and I have never had a seam split on me in over 5 years of use! The cheaper ones seem to fall apart quite readily however. For some reason the Ultra Pro Deck Protectors don't create as much static as the cheaper options which is a good thing too, there's nothing worse than accidentally drawing two cards because they have stuck together with static and having some nerdy rules-lawyer declare a forfeit and you lose the game! (Yes - some MTG players are *that* sad)!
The backs of the Deck Protectors come in a huge range of colours and designs by fantasy artists such as Easley, Caldwell and, (my favourite), Brom. They also match the other products in the Ultra Pro ranges which is good because then you can easily tell who's cards are who's when you are playing. Actual Ultra Pro Deck Protectors will have a little hologram on them to show that are not cheap imitations.
Your best bet in the UK for Ultra Pro stuff is games stores and eBay. You can get packs of 50 for around £2.60 on eBay. The fact that they are sold in packs of 50 is probably their biggest fault; the traditional size for a deck of MTG cards is 60 so you are forced to buy 100 making the cost over five pounds for a deck. It is handy to have a few spares but not 40!
All in all these are the best option, (in my opinion), available and I would definitely recommend them for MTG players and players of other games, (like Pokemon and World of Warcraft).