I like good quality sleeves. I think the same can be said about most players, and like them, I hate shuffling up in sleeves that will fall apart after a few uses. As much as I’d love to have some sleeves with a catch phrase or Game of Thrones logos (which I would really like to have), I can’t convince myself to throw away money on things like that. I hate sleeving, and the less I have to do is better. From my experiences, Dragon Shields have been the best sleeves for a while. They have usually over 100 cards, they are a solid color, and I’ve yet to have one break on me. But about a year ago, a friend recommended KMC Pro Matte sleeves. While almost the same price as Dragon Shields, they only contained 80 cards. They had Japanese writing on them, and were made there, so I figured they must be better (hey, my car is made there and it does great so my logic made sense in my head). The best part about them though was the matte finish on the sleeves. They weren’t shiny like other sleeves on the back which gave a better texture on the back. After a year of using them, I have to say they are my favorite still. That being said, I still haven’t ripped my Dragon Shields and they are a great quality too so to each their own.
KMC recently introduced their new Hyper Mat sleeves to stores. I’ve heard about the sleeves for a couple months and figured I had to try them out. As quoted from the KMC Sleeve website:
Hyper Mat series are produced from the highest quality. By reducing the gloss and texture
of the material, additional strength has been added making it the most superior product.
We have found these new Hyper Mat sleeves to be far less slick than anything on the
market. Easier to shuffle and easier to keep stacked!
The cards are 1 mm shorter than the Pro Matte, sitting at 91 mm in height. It may not seem to be a big difference but once you sleeve up, you’ll notice. The back is also textured, which is nice to help with shuffling and reducing visible scratches on the sleeves. Below you can see a shot of how they compare in size to the Pro Mattes.
As you can see, you’d have to look really close to tell the difference, but it’s there. The shorter sleeves are even more noticeable when looked at from the top of the deck:
Here you can see that it almost looks like the cards in the Hyper Mat sleeves are about to pop out of them, as opposed to the Pro Mattes. None of the cards ever did creep out but it was something of slight concern. They probably wouldn’t be ideal with double sleeves, but I didn’t test it out.
I played the new sleeves in a 5 round event and they held up pretty well. I really enjoyed the texture feeling and didn’t think the extra mm in sleeve made much of a difference. I guess in the grand scheme of things, you are saving 75 mm of plastic. The sleeves didn’t feel any stronger than the Pro Mattes, but I noticed they did shuffle better and had less puffiness that new sleeves tend to have when sleeved. They also slid around less when playing.
My only complaint is they did get minor scratches on a few cards during play. I would assume this is usually the case with most sleeves but I don’t remember the Pro Mattes getting minor scratches after first use. This may have been a fluke and it really won’t prevent me from getting more Hyper Mats in the future. You can see in the below shot, that the scratch is minor but still present.
Overall I would recommend these sleeves, even after just one tournament use. They are in the same price range as the Pro Mattes, $9, and have a better feel. The currently come in only two colors, Black and Clear (which looks like white) and should be available at your local game store. I’ll keep playing them and add any updates as time goes on. Enjoy!