A collection of magic cards can become quite valuable over the years. However, cards have to be in good condition to be worth anything. Even a small amount of damage can ruin a valuable card.
If you want your collection to stay valuable, you need card sleeves. Merely being gentle with your cards is not enough. Even if you handle them gently, wear and tear will still affect them.
|Ultimate Guard Katana Sleeves||66*91 mm||Contains 100 sleeves|
|Dragon Shield Matte||63*88 mm||Contains 100 sleeves|
|Ultra Pro Eclipse||62*89 mm||Contains 100 sleeves|
|MTG Unstable John Avon Mountain Ultra Pro||63.5*88.9mm||Contains 100 sleeves|
|Playmat Custom Card Sleeves||66*91.4mm||60, 100, or 120 cards per order|
Some sleeves are significantly better than others and will keep your cards in good condition for much longer. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that any sleeves are good enough. Bad sleeves or sleeves that are too small can damage your cards.
While some of the sleeves on this list are better than others, any of them are reasonably good and will protect your cards from damage. You might need different sleeves for games other than magic. For example, while pokemon cards are the same size as magic cards, many other games have smaller cards and need different sleeves.
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What Makes A Card Sleeve Worth Buying?
A sleeve needs to be the right size and needs to be safe for your cards. A cheap sleeve might contain acids or other substances that can do damage. All quality sleeves are made out of materials that will not damage the cards in any way.
After that, durability is important – some cheap sleeves are flimsy. There are many other things to consider. For example, some sleeves interfere with smoothly shuffling the cards.
Some sleeves are less transparent than others. You want to be able to see your cards, not have the images blurred out by your sleeves. Some sleeves also reduce glare better than others.
Not All Sleeves Are Allowed In Tournaments
While the front of a sleeve should be see-thorough, the back should not. If the back is see-through as well, you might not be able to use your cards in a tournament.
They will suspect marked cards and cheating if you can see the backs of your cards. Only use sleeves that have an opaque back.
Cheaters sometimes mark their cards so they know where they are in the deck. Tournaments will not tolerate cards that look like they may be marked. Tournaments may not accept damaged cards as cheaters might try to pass marked cards off as unintentionally damaged.
Here are the Best Sleeves in 2021
1. Ultimate Guard Katana Sleeves
Size: 66*91 mm | Material: Acid-free material with no PVC | Quantity: Contains 100 sleeves
The Ultimate Guard Katana sleeves are about the best you can get for easy, smooth shuffling. The matte finish makes the cards shuffle very well, perhaps better than with any other sleeves on the market.
The Katana sleeves also do not contain any PVC or acid, so they won’t damage your cards over time. Unlike poor-quality sleeves, you can leave your cards in the Ultimate Guard Katana sleeves for years without damaging them.
The Katana sleeves are also very long-lasting and durable. If you want sleeves for cards you play with often, the Katana sleeves will last for many games before any of them rip.
The cards also have a clear, transparent front and an opaque turquoise back. Since they are so durable, they continue to shuffle smoothly after have played with them many times, and they keep their appearance as well.
One drawback of the katana cards is that they are a bit too small. A standard magic card is 63.5*88.9 mm; these sleeves are a bit bigger.
You might find that your magic cards fit into these sleeves perfectly fine anyway, but you might want to get larger sleeves to be on the safe side. These cards are not good if you want to double-sleeve your cards.
Sometimes, you can damage or gradually wear out the corners if you use slightly small sleeves. Different people get different results. For many people, a slightly smaller than normal size is a perfect fit.
2. Dragon Shield Matte
Size: 63*88 mm | Material: PVC free material | Finish: Matte finish
Dragon shield sleeves have a reputation for being the best on the market. You will pretty much never split one of these sleeves during play because they are so durable. The back is completely opaque, so you won’t have any trouble using them in tournaments.
The sleeves are durable and shuffle well, so they are great for people who play magic often. The sleeves are also large enough that you can double sleeve your cards if you want extra protection. They are an excellent size for magic cards.
One disadvantage of the dragon shield cards is that they are not quite as transparent as they should be. If you both double-sleeve your cards and put them in a binder, it can blur out the text and images.
If you want to play with your cards often, the Dragon Shield Matte sleeves might be the best you can get. However, they might not be the best if you want to display your cards in a binder. Use other sleeves that offer top-end transparency.
3. Ultra Pro Eclipse
Size: 62*89 mm | Material: Polypropylene material | Finish: Glossy finish | Quantity: Contains 100 sleeves
The Ultra Pro Eclipse sleeves stand out for being both thin and durable. The thicker your sleeves are, the harder it is to fit a lot of cards in one box. It is also harder to double-sleeve your cards if you use thicker sleeves.
However, thinner sleeves are usually less durable. The Ultra Pro Eclipse sleeves are both thinner and stronger than many other sleeves. You can get the Ultra Pro Eclipse cards in many different colors.
Sometimes, there can be a lot of glare on cards, depending on the lighting in the room. Lighting in rooms where you play tournaments can produce glare and make it hard to read your cards. The Ultra Pro Eclipse cards are designed to minimize glare.
The back of these cards is solid colored and not see-through at all. The front of these cards, on the other hand, is very easy to see through. You can safely use these sleeves in tournaments without being suspected of marking your cards.
One disadvantage of the Ultra Pro Eclipse cards is that the outside can pick up dirt and moisture over time. These sleeves do a very good job of protecting your cards, but the outside of the cards can pick up moisture and get cloudy.
4. MTG Unstable John Avon Mountain Ultra Pro
Size: 2.5″*3.5″ (63.5*88.9mm) | Material: Polypropylene film material | Finish: Matte finish | Quantity: 100 sleeves per pack
Not everyone wants to go with sleeves that have a solid colored background. Some people want sleeves that have art on the backs of their cards. Can you get illustrated sleeves that still protect your cards properly and don’t compromise on quality?
The MTG Printed Art sleeves are a durable brand of illustrated sleeves with no major flaws. The art is MTG-themed, unlike many other brands of art sleeves. The art is excellent and completely opaque for tournament play.
The sleeves are reasonably durable, shuffle reasonably well, and are an excellent fit. The sleeves are large enough that you can double sleeve your cards, but the fit is not too loose.
The material has a matte finish and not a glossy finish that creates too much glare. The sleeves’ 2.5″ by 3.5″ size is great for magic cards. There are no real flaws, although you can get slightly better and cheaper cards if you don’t want illustrations.
5. Playmat Custom Card Sleeves
Size: 2.6″*3.6″ (66*91.4mm) | Finish: Matte finish | Quantity: 60, 100, or 120 cards per order
If you want to have sleeves printed with any art of your choice on the backs of them, there is a company willing to do that. Pick your favorite image, and the playmat company will print sleeves with that image on the back.
The ordering process is quick and easy – it is not a hassle to get custom card sleeves delivered to your location. Simply upload the image you want, and the company will print cards for you.
The playmat custom card sleeves are of great quality as well. You can order these cards in two sizes, the larger of which is reasonably good for magic cards but is a bit too large. If you want sleeves for yu-gi-oh, go with the smaller Japanese size instead.
The sleeves are a bit thick, though they are durable. Even after you shuffle your cards many times, they still shuffle well.
The art looks like you would expect it to look, with the colors just right. If you really like the concept, you won’t be disappointed by these sleeves.
Other Ways to Protect Your Cards
The more expensive your collection is, the more you need to protect it. Sometimes, sleeves are not enough on their own. You might try binders, tins, and lockable cases.
Binders are a great way of keeping your cards in mint condition. A binder is like a photo album and can store several hundred cards. Binders are not a good idea if you play with those cards often, but they are good if you want to store and display a valuable collection.
You can easily find what card you are looking for in a binder, especially if you organize the cards systematically. You might organize your cards in alphabetical order or in some other way that helps you keep track of them.
For best protection, you could put your cards in sleeves before you put them in a binder. If you only use a binder, the cards can stick to the plastic if you leave them there for too long. If your cards are in sleeves, a binder provides extra protection without this problem.
You can also use binders to display your cards, but you might go with frames instead if you have any very rare cards. If you have anything particularly valuable and impressive, a display frame might be worth it.
Lockable padded cases
You can also protect your cards with a lockable case that keeps air and moisture out to keep your cards new looking for as long as possible. Some of these cases are expensive ($50, $100, or more), but they can keep your most valuable cards in good condition pretty well forever. These cases are waterproof and do a great job of protecting your cards from the environment.
More basic options
If you don’t want to bother with special protection for your cheap cards, tins might be good enough. Cards can move around inside tins and get nicked too easily, so they are not the best choice. Many people prefer boxes to tins, even for cheaper cards.
Trainer boxes are better than tins because the cards don’t have much room to move around. If you don’t have enough room in your binders for all of your cards, you might put the cheaper ones in boxes instead.
Boxes that are not designed for pokemon cards can have the same problem as tins – the cards can slide around and get damaged.
Some people leave their cards in their deck boxes all the time. This is convenient if you play with your cards often, but it is not the best idea if you want to keep a lot of valuable cards in good condition for as long as possible. If you take your collection’s value seriously, use both high-quality sleeves and binders to protect your cards.