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Standard Gaming Sleeves: Ultimate Guard’s Katana Review


Standard Gaming Sleeves: Ultimate Guard's Katana Review

For card gamers, sleeves may secretly be one of the most expensive parts of consistent play, especially if you’re someone who enjoys shuffling up a newly sleeved deck. There’s something about that first tournament or first commander night with your new sleeves. They’re super shiny, extremely slippery, and so, so smooth and nice.

Why do we keep needing to go back and purchase more sleeves? There are many reasons, but here are a few of the most important reasons:

  • The corners start to bend and wear out.
  • The backs of the sleeves start to hold dust and dirt, many times due to the dirt from your hands and the playing surface that you use.
  • Sleeves will begin to “split” at the seams where they have been plastic welded.
  • Many times, if a sideboard is being used, your main deck cards see lots of wear, where your sideboard cards still feel new. This is cause for concern due to “marked cards” (being able to identify the card in your deck just by looking at the back of the sleeve for inconsistencies).
  • For sleeves with images, the images will begin to pull away from the sleeve, causing many sleeves to be unusable after that.

Keeping these reasons in mind, I set out to use my fresh batch of Katana sleeves at my next event. It was an MCQ (Mythic Championship Qualifier) in Eugene, Oregon. The night before the event I went down and bought a batch of fresh Perfect Fit sleeves (Ultra Pro) mostly because I had a few foils in my deck and it’s always a great idea to double sleeve your deck in competitive REL events – especially when you have random foils throughout (to prevent a potential marked cards warning or disqualification).

I sleeved my 75-card black/green adventure deck up in the perfect fits, then proceeded to start inserting the perfect fitted cards into my Katana sleeves. First thing I noticed – It was VERY difficult to double sleeve with these Katana sleeves. They are very tight on your cards even without the inner perfect fit sleeve. With a perfect fit, it took me a couple tries to make sure that the inner sleeve didn’t get pushed out of the Katana sleeve causing a little plastic bubble at the top of the sleeves. Overall, it took me probably double the time to fully double sleeve my 75-card deck than normal. I would strongly suggest using sideloading perfect fit sleeves when using Katana sleeves as your outer sleeve.

I played five rounds the next day and the sleeves held up very well. No bends on the corners, still very smooth with little to no dirt buildup (partially because I used a clean playmat! I know a place you can buy the best playmats ever! 😉)

After the tournament, I unsleeved my deck and realized that I could probably use these in another competitive REL event. Not much, if any issues with wear and tear.

The next weekend, I single sleeved my zero-foil standard deck (UR Flash) in the same Katana sleeves and played 15 main event MagicFest bo3 rounds with the deck and the same sleeves. In previous large tournaments, I have occasionally had to change my sleeves overnight because they were unusable from a competitive players perspective after nine rounds on a Saturday. This time I did not have to do that. Not having to worry about resleeving my deck for a day two is a HUGE plus.


To review:

  • 20 rounds of competitive REL play – Sleeves STILL looked and felt great. Could use them in another event.
  • Easy shuffling – they feel like the original Dragon Shield sleeves (smooth back) but with no sizing inconsistencies and less issues with dirt and dust buildup on the backs of the sleeves.
  • Since they aren’t matte sleeves, if you have them double sleeved, they have a propensity to slide and slip the first few rounds of play.
  • Extremely difficult double sleeving with top-down perfect fit sleeves. Would advise to either single sleeve with these or use side loading perfect fit sleeves when double sleeving.
  • Durability equals that of Dragon Shield: Matte sleeves, or better. Some of the best durability I have seen in a sleeve. Highly recommended for long tournaments, for a cube, or for your commander decks.
  • Zero sleeve splits and little to no corner wear after 20 rounds – both huge pluses!


I give these sleeves a solid 9/10. Would inch closer to 10/10 if they were matte backed and were easier to double-sleeve with top down perfect fits.

Highly recommended!

Look for more reviews from the Inked Gaming Team soon!


See you on the battlefield,


Inked Gaming