There are many activities where using protection is recommended, and playing Trading Card Games is no exception. When you shuffle your deck, unprotected cards will get damaged. Damage from one shuffling is minuscule and unnoticeable, but after a few hundred games, there will be some noticeable damage on the cards. Shuffling is the most benign source of damage, but when a glass of water turns over during a game of Magic the Gathering, it can instantly ruin all unprotected cards. That is why you need protection for your cards.
Dragon Shield matte, Katana, and beyond - best sleeves in 2023
Card sleeves exist to protect cards you are playing with from being damaged. It doesn’t matter if you are playing Magic the Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokémon, a Living Card Game, or a board game; there is no reason to risk damaging your cards. If you ever purchased card sleeves from different manufacturers, you know there is a difference in quality. If not, you will learn that in this article.
Dragon Shield is the most popular brand of MTG sleeves. They come in packages of 100 sleeves, which make them ideal for EDH players. Most packs come with 2-4 extra sleeves, so you will have some in reserve if you lose or destroy one of them. Dragon Shield Matte sleeves are thick, offer great protection for your cards, and have the best color selection out of all card sleeve brands. The only problem with Dragon Shield sleeves is that they are slippery when you just get them out of the box. Be careful when shuffling during the first few games, or you will be collecting your cards from the ground.
Ultimate Guard Katana sleeves are another great option; they are less durable than Dragon Shield protectors but offer smoother shuffling. The quality is top-notch, but they are a bit smaller than Dragon Shield’s sleeves. Although this annoys some players, the smaller size of sleeves is great for double-sleeving your cards. When double sleeving your cards, it is best to combine Dragon Shield and Katana sleeves. Dragon Shield sleeves are a bit larger than Katana, so you will want to use Dragon Shield as the outer sleeve and Katana as the inner one.
KMC sleeves are among the best sleeves for shuffling. They offer great protection, but their smoothness makes them stand out among the other sleeves. My favorite protectors are Dragon Shield, but some people dislike shuffling with Dragon Shield protectors and opt for KMC protectors instead.
If you are looking for cheap sleeves that you intend to use only when trading cards, transparent Gamegenic protectors are the best buy. They offer enough protection for cards not to be damaged in transport. Aesthetics and shuffling aren’t important factors for those sleeves, as you won’t be using these sleeves for playing.
Ultra Pro sleeves aren’t bad sleeves, but they are worse than Dragon Shield, Katana, and KMC sleeves for shuffling and durability. They are the budget option, so you should consider them if you want to spend less money on your card sleeves. They are the best value card sleeves for board games where you don’t use cards often
Sidewinders, Boulders, and UP character boxes - best buy deck boxes in 2023
When you go somewhere to play your favorite TCG, you have to bring your deck with you. If you put a few decks without protection in your backpack, you put your cards at risk. Even if your cards are sleeved, there is a chance they will get damaged due to a ripped sleeve. That is why deck boxes exist. Deck boxes protect your cards during transport.
There are many different types and brands of deck boxes you can choose from. The most basic box on the market is the standard Ultra Pro Box. Those boxes are the cheapest way to protect your deck. They are suitable for Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and 60-card Magic the Gathering formats like Modern. The box has space only for 80 sleeved cards, so if you are an EDH player who wants a cheap deck box, check out this Ultimate Guard Deck Case. For those who want a cheap box with artwork on the box, there is a selection of Ultra Pro Boxes with MTG Characters printed on them.
If you are willing to spend a little bit more money for a deck box made from finer materials and looks better, Ultimate Guard Return To Earth Boulder Deck Case is a box for you. This deck box has space for 120 sleeved cards and has a fully detachable lid that is easy to open but has a strong closure.
Another option for those looking for an aesthetically and functionally better box is Ultimate Guard Sidewinder. The deck box is designed to hold a single EDH deck. It has space for 120 single-sleeved or 100 double-sleeved cards. Two indentations on opposite sides are a great design decision as they let you take your deck out easily.
In the category of top-quality deck boxes, we have Ultimate Guard Flip`n`Tray 100+ Deck Case with magnetic closer and trays for cards and dice. This beautiful box is made from Xenoskin, which can hold up to 120 single-sleeved cards. It is a great box for anyone who keeps losing dice and tokens in their backpack. Ultimate Guard Twin Flip`n`Tray 266+ Deck Case is the upgrade to the previous deck box. It is made from the same material but has space for two decks and a tray for dice and accessories.
Binders, storage boxes, and other card storage solutions in 2023
Large TCG collections can be hard to organize and take up a lot of space. There is also a risk of cards being damaged by humidity when you store them. That is why storage solutions like binders and card boxes exist.
Binders – A perfect way to present your TCG collection
Binders are a great product line for efficiently previewing your most valuable cards. They are also great for presenting cards you are trading or selling. Magic the Gathering fans will enjoy Ultimate Guard Portfolio 480. It has the design of a 4-column row, which makes it great for storing and presenting MTG playsets of four. It has 20 pages with space for up to 480 double-sleeved cards. Mythic Edition 12 Pocket Zippered PRO-Binder is a better option because it has a zipper, so it offers more protection but comes at a steeper price.
Compact Ultimate Guard Zipfolio 160 is devised for traders who want to carry smaller collections around. It is made from Xenoskin and has a zipper closure. Twenty integrated 8-pocket-pages can hold 160 cards. Pokémon collectors who like to have small trading collections with them will enjoy Ultra Pro Pokemon TCG 4-Pocket Portfolio Charmander. This cute portfolio has only 12 pages with 4 pockets each, making it very practical.
For larger Pokémon collections, there is Ultra Pro - Elite Series: Pikachu 9-Pocket Zippered PRO-Binder with a zipper enclosure and Pikachu on the cover. If you are a Yu-Gi-Oh! collector and want Yu-Gi-Oh! artwork on your binder, check out this one. It has space for 180 of your favorite Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards.
Storage Boxes – Keep your TCG collection protected and organized
Shoe boxes are a popular but impractical storage solution for your cards. When stored in shoe boxes, cards don’t fit the storage and tend to get disorganized and even damaged. Using Ultimate Guard Arkhive 400+ for smaller collections and Ultimate Guard Arkhive 800+ for larger collections is a fantastic alternative for shoe boxes. Specialized storage boxes offer more protection and have dimensions that match the size of TCG cards. These two boxes are an excellent solution for both storage and MTG cubes.
Digimon Card Game enthusiasts should check out Tamer's Evolution Box 2. It is a box that comes with eight alternative art cards, a Digimon Card Game playmat, a 2-player memory gauge, a pack of Digimon card sleeves, and a deck box. Once you take all that content out, it is perfect for the storage and organization of your Digimon cards.
Frequently asked questions
How to keep my TCG collection safe from damage?
There are various solutions for TCG protection. Card sleeves are designed to protect the cards you are playing with from damage caused by shuffling. TCG binders and TCG storage boxes are the ideal way to protect valuable cards that you don’t use for playing.
Why should I double-sleeve my TCG cards?
Card sleeves protect cards from various forms of damage. However, if your card is single-sleeved, liquid from spillages can still seep inside the sleeve and damage your card. By using two sleeves, you protect your cards even from spillages.
Can I use a Yu-Gi-Oh! binder for my MTG collection?
No, Magic the Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh! cards have different dimensions. Yu-Gi-Oh! uses Japanese card dimensions (59x86mm). On the other hand, the size of MTG cards is 63.5x88.9 mm. Because MTG cards are larger, you can use your MTG binder for Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, but you can’t do it the other way around.
Why are old shoe boxes not a good replacement for specialized TCG storage boxes?
Specialized storage boxes have dimensions that match those of TCG cards. The matching dimensions of boxes and cards leave no free space for cards to scatter around the box. This makes TCG storage boxes a better solution to keep TCG collections organized.
Author - Ante Radoš