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What Cards Sleeves Should I Use for MTG or Yugioh Cards?

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As the popularity of collectible card games such as Magic the Gathering (MTG) and Yugioh continues to grow, so does the value of their cards. Card sleeves can do the trick, but they come in different sizes and materials. The many options can make buying the right ones confusing.

So, what card sleeves should you use for MTG, Yugioh, and other games? You should use card sleeves that match the needs of your MTG or Yugioh cards. Card game cards come in different sizes and construction and thus need sleeves design specifically for them. 

While you could theoretically use sleeves for games with larger cards, such as MTG sleeves, for all your card games, you cannot guarantee that all cards will fit. Your best bet is to examine your cards and look for sleeves made for your game. 

Which Card Sleeves Should You Use for MTG, Yugioh, and other Card Games?

Deckbuilding games are among the most popular games on the market today. In particular, the collectible card game (CCG) has remained popular for decades with no signs of stopping. Every year, these games release new cards and rules that keep players coming back for more.

The popularity of these games also come with significant increases in the value of their cards. These games are so popular that their cards sometimes sell for thousands or even millions of dollars on auction. If you play these games or even just have a few cards, you want to protect them from damage. 

What Are Card Sleeves?

Card sleeves do the trick and have become necessary accessories for games such as MTG and Yugioh. You can find the sleeves in all shapes and sizes from all sorts of manufactures, but most fall into three basic types.

These three types of card sleeves are:

  • Gloss or Penny sleeves – As the cheapest sleeves available, you can buy packs of 100 for just over a dollar. These sleeves are typically flimsy plastic sleeves with very little protection. They are only worth it if you are on a tight budget. They are translucent on both sides though, letting you see all the art on the cards
  • Matte sleeves – matte sleeves offer a balance between price and protection. They cost more, but will also protect your cards from everyday use. They only have a single translucent side, but you can get them color-coded for your games.  
  • Top-loader or double matte sleeves – the best protection on the market, these high-quality sleeves are rigid enough to handle any abuse while remaining translucent. While expensive, some top-loaders are large enough that you can fit more than one card in a single sleeve.

They all do the same basic function, but only a few of them are worth their price.

However, even among these few good models, you will not find a single type of sleeve that will match and protect all of your cards. Every game has its take on what playing cards should be.

Some games, such as MTG, prefer using “standard” cards, while others, such as Yugioh, tend to use a smaller “bridge” format. Beyond those, you will find a few CCGs which stick to their proprietary card style which fits neither format.

Because of these differences in card format, you want to use a variety of card sleeves, one for each type of collectible card you have in your collection. 

Important Card Sleeve Characteristics

The size of the cards and the type of construction are the most important details you want in your card sleeve. However, there are other things you should consider as well. These extra features offer the tools you need to decide on which sleeves you will use with your cards.

Durability

You want a sleeve that can handle regular gameplay use. The sleeve must withstand being ripped and torn from the constant grabbing and tossing, keeping your most valuable cards protected from damage. 

Size and Thickness

While the size of the sleeve is the most important characteristic for your cards, card thickness affects everything else. Sleeve thickness determines the durability, price, and feel. Glossy sleeves than to stay only around 40 microns thick. The other types can range from 50 to 160 microns.

Most sleeve manufacturers release sleeves of different sizes to accommodate the varying size of collectible game cards. As mentioned before, you need the sleeve made for the size of your cards. That means you must know how big your cards are.

We included the size of several popular CCG cards below. This table should give you a good guess on the size of the sleeve you need. Just note that you should double the number if you plan on double sleeving your cards.

Some sleeves are color-coded that identify their target game, but this is not accurate enough to serve as a quick size identifier.

Popular CCG Card Sizes

GameLength (mm)Width (mm)
Cardfight!! Vanguard8861
Dominion Game9259
Duel Masters Trading Card Game8863
Final Fantasy TCG8863
Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game8863
Magic: The Gathering8863
Pokémon Trading Card Game8863
Star Wars CCG8863
World of Warcraft Trading Card Game8863
Yu-Gi-Oh! CCG8856

Please note that sleeves may vary in size, even in the same pack, especially in the cheaper versions. Therefore, you may want a few extra packs to be sure you get the sizes you need.

The Best Card Sleeves for MTG, Yugioh, and more

If you’re looking for the best of the best in card sleeves, you should check out some of these options.

Dragon Shield Matte

Dragon Shield Matte Black 100 Protective Sleeves
  • 100 Sleeves
  • Matte Black
  • Standard Size

MTG cards serve as the standard in the industry. So, it makes sense that the cards use the standard size format. Thus, any standard-size sleeve will do, but none get the praise of the MTG community as Dragon Shield matte sleeves.

While on the more expensive side of the market, Dragon Shield sleeves never get cloudy or tear.  Other brands such as KMC may offer similar features, Dragon Shield offers sleeves with specially-design MTG art on their backsides, making them worth their price.

Features

  • Thinness – 120 Microns
  • Color Options Available
  • 100/60/50 count packs
  • Fits 63mm X 88mm cards

KMC Hyper Matte

KMC Full Size Hyper Matte Sleeves (80-Pack), Black, Standard Size, Fits MtG, Weiss, Pokemon
  • Great for collectible card game singles
  • Perfect for tournament use
  • Low gloss and less slick then regular sleeves

While not as popular as Dragon Shield, a few players stand by KMC sleeves. KMC also offers sleeves for all card types, along with excellent durability and quality. Often bundled with Perfect Size sleeves, KMC sleeves are decent sleeves at an affordable price. 

Features

  • Thickness – 100 Microns
  • Many Color Options
  • 80 count packs
  • Fits 63mm X 88mm cards

KMC Perfect Size

KMC 100 Pochettes Card Barrier Perfect Size Soft Sleeves, 3 Pack/Total 300 Pochettes [Komainu-Dou Original Package], Clear
  • Card sleeves protect cards from dirt, gunk and moisture.
  • High quality card sleeves from KMC, card sleeve manufacturer in Japan, the sleeves to protect...
  • Great for collectible card games.

Perfect Size sleeves work best as double card sleeves, especially for MTG foil cards. They provide a snug fit that lets you slip them into any other sleeve, such as the Hyper Matte. While more expensive than other inner sleeve brands, they offer the best quality on the market.

Feature

  • Thickness – 45 Microns
  • Many Color Options
  • 100 count packs
  • Fits 64mm X 89mm cards

Ultra Pro Eclipse

Ultra Pro UPR85600 Eclipse Standard Pro Matte Card Sleeves
  • The Eclipse Pro-Matte Deck Protector sleeves completely hides card backs with an added layer...
  • Eclipse sleeves use matte clear material to show the card face while minimizing glare

While they sometimes clump when wet, Eclipse sleeves do a decent job protecting CCG cards. They are extremely durable for their price, offering a good and cheaper alternative to Dragon Shield sleeves.

They are prone to marking though. While not a major issue, the scratches may violate tournament rules.

Eclipse sleeves also have a nice, non-stick texture, which feels great to hold and makes pulling cards from the deck a breeze. You can shuffle your cards without your cards sticking together as well. 

Features

  • Thickness – 110 Microns
  • Many Color Options
  • 100/50 count packs
  • Fits 63mm X 88mm cards

Image Credit: Kristin Andrus

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