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 Post subject: Smoke & Mirrors v.4//Green (AKA Dan and Dave Signature Deck)
PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 5:29 pm 
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Smoke&Mirrors v.4//Green (AKA Dan & Dave signature series)
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Where to buy: $5.95 / deck http://store.dananddave.com/green-playi ... -dave.html



Information about my reviewing methods: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=156760

Initial Impression:
Get some before they are gone. I thought I should mention that upfront. Theory 11 is already out of stock and Dan&Dave’s website should have them up for one last run this coming Friday at 9:00 AM PST. Obviously I won’t have the time to do a longevity review before that happens so I will probably interject some conjecture into this one.

Overall I like these cards quite a bit. These scored very highly on the fan, spring/snap and dribble yet relatively poorly on the one card glide and the 2+O. These cards are just slippery smooth and somewhat hard to keep control of but I think as soon as they break in those two categories should improve.

The Look:
They wanted to go with a retro look on this one. It is a very minimalist design and the color selection works well with this deck. The back design has a D&D logo on it and that might dissuade a few who don’t want to look like a fanboy. Nevertheless, it is not completely obnoxious advertising as overall the deck has a very subdued look to it. If any one casts an accusatory look your way you can always say the two Ds stand for “Dude I’m Dangerous.”

The artwork on the court cards is similar to standard USPCC except for the color selection. Instead of red, blue, black, and yellow dominating the artwork the v.4 uses a red, black, and green. They look similar in character to how the Bee stingers used a maroon, black, and grey although the detail work is a bit different. Overall a nice look in my opinion. Two Jokers come in each pack. They have disregarded the classic jester image in lieu of a two way image of a mysterious magician in top hat and cane. It’s pretty cool and the idea of a two way joker is new to me. Overall I like the look of these quite a bit. They are perhaps a bit understated for a formal closeup set in a classic parlor but they are perfect for casual performers.

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Card construction:
These definitely have a different feel to them than the standard USPCC stock and finish. It’s hard to describe exactly how they feel different…they just do. For one, when you snap a card it just has a different “sound.” This may have to do with Dan&Dave’s desire to create an “eco-friendly” deck made of recycled paper. My thought is that, to have done such a thing and yet maintained high performance standards, should be applauded.

Handling:
A mixed reaction overall. My sense is that these cards will perform admirably once broken in.

Fanning: 9.5?
A beautifully fanning deck. I hesitated to give it a 9.5 since I’m not known for my fanning prowess but it sure felt, and looked, nicer than a Bicycle 808.

Spring Moves: 8.5
These snapped just a tad less stiffly than the UV500 stock. When you feel this deck it seems as if the Bucks put a lot of thought into finding the right blend between power and fanning smoothness. That seems to always be a difficult balance so I give them kudos for that.

Dribbles: 9
Yet another high mark for this deck. I have tended to notice that stiffer stocks require a lot of controlled hand strength to dribble smoothly but these felt almost as effortless as with cards with much lighter stocks.

Crimp hold and recovery: 9/6
Here is where I started to have a few concerns. The crimp held quite nicely but I could still detect a minor bend in the card after attempting to smooth out the crimp. This may be where the recycled paper becomes a bit of a letdown. We will see if unintentional crimps begin to become a problem. I’ll pass judgment after the longevity review. Having a poor score here seemed to negatively effect the Massa deck but not the Arrco so I hesitate to use this as a predictor of longevity.

Single card glides: 7.5
A surprisingly low score considering the high marks on the fan, spring, and dribble. There is just something about the finish itself that made it problematic. The top card glides pulled a little better than a Bicycle 808 but the bottom card glides were problematic. In particular I found it difficult for my pinky to get a grip on the card for a glide along the bottom longitudinal axis. There are two sleight in particular that this affects. Two moves that have been growing in popularity over the last few years….

2+Card Obfuscations: 7
Various opposing corner displays seemed more difficult to get a solid grip on. I’m not sure why this was. Perhaps the smooth finish made it tougher to get in proper position? Usually I find stiffer stocks are the key to solid spins but not the case here. Hugard and Braue push-off DLs would pull fine but going from there into a corner display was tenuous. Again the ultra smooth finish made it to slick to be secure when holding the cards at one corner. Derek Dingle DLs were fine. Diving Board Doubles were decent though not exceptional. Overall I was a little surprised at the performance here but most of the difficulties were due to the ultra smooth finish. It certainly performed as well as a standard Bike 808 so if you perform high end DLs and spin moves with that deck you should get similar performance with the v.4

XCM cuts: Multi packet cuts will be about the same as with most of the uber smooth USPCC decks and if you are into complex fans you should be quite happy with these.

Card Splitting and Gaff construction/availability: Each deck comes with one double backer. You will be able to use a standard Bicycle double facer on all cards but the court cards and the Ace of Spades. If you need to make specialty gaffs these cards are one of the easier cards to split. I have even managed to split perfectly(meaning two usable sides) a few times. If you make homemade gaffs grab an extra deck and tear it up!

Who should not buy?: People who don’t want to pay $6.00 for a deck. Anyone who prefers decks with a stiff flexing stock will likely be disappointed with this deck.

Who should buy these?:I think anyone who wants to try out just how good a deck printed on recycled paper can get you should pick these up. In addition, people practicing Anaconda dribbles won't find a better deck than the v.4. People who just like decks with a smooth feel will appreciate these as well.

Final Thoughts:
I hate to conjecture to much but I feel I must considering the limited availability of these decks. Most of the issues I had with this deck came down to the super smooth finish. While it feels great in your hands it can make certain sleights and moves a little problematic. My guess is that it should break in and these moves will get easier after a few hours of practice. I had thought the same thing with the Tally-hos but I continued to have difficulty with that deck. I wound up classing the Tally-ho as a kind of “specialty” deck. With that said remember that the Tally-ho just doesn’t have the same stock stiffness as these. My guess is that that stiff stock should kick in and glide moves, doubles, and spin moves will get easier. I will eventually give you a definite answer on that but by the time you get the word it will be too late. In the mean time my recommendation is to give these boys a chance. I sense a lot of potential in these cards!

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Latest news flash on these---

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:
To clear up a few things...

The new Smoke & Mirrors, v.4 were printed in two separate runs. The back design of the first run is slightly different then the second run. The first run also contains "deck seals" where the second run does not.

In terms of the finish, the cards look and feel exactly the same.

Cheers,
dan


Last edited by eostresh on Mon May 10, 2010 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Smoke & Mirrors v.4//Green (AKA Dan and Dave Signature Deck)
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 7:46 pm 
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Smoke & Mirrors v.4 1 week update:

Well let me start by saying that this one week update almost didn’t happen. Some of the control issues I had experienced in the OOB review continued for about 1/2 a week before things finally calmed down and the deck broke in. Even at this point the S&M v.4s are not my style of deck but I am happy I stuck with it as there is a lot to appreciate in this deck. Now just so we are clear on what seemed to be the problem let me explain just how slick they were OOB. You could hold the deck pinched between the thumb and fingers and with a squeeze the deck would literally spit out between the top and bottom card. I like a smooth deck as much as the next guy but that over did it a bit much. I use several sleights in which the deck is gripped with as little as two fingers, thus freeing up my other fingers to perform some secret moves. Obviously techniques like that are quite difficult to control when the deck is that slick. I am happy to report that the v.4s have mellowed out and are now beginning to perform much better.

Fanning: 9
They are still fantastically smooth fanning deck though not quite what they were OOB. This is probably a good thing in a way as I attribute most of the difficulties I was having with the super smooth finish.

Spring: 6
Okay my OOB review of these was just that. Out of the Box. I put most decks through a blindfold check of overall stiffness the moment they get OOB. So at that time the deck did feel distinctly stiffer than a bike 808. A short time later(after about a day of use) these softened up quite a bit. So the first update is to give people who appreciate a stiffer stock the heads up that these cards soften up quite quickly. I attribute some of this quick change in the character of the stock to the fact that this is a deck printed on recycled paper. I have yet to handle a deck that softened up as quickly and as drastically.

Dribble: 9.5
As soon as the deck softened up they were in a class by themselves when it comes to dribbling. Indeed had I done a mid week review I may have given them a 10 in this category. These cards just feel great when dribbling. My previous favorite dribbler was the Tally-ho but the v.4s will smoke a Tally-ho in an Anaconda flourish. If that is a flourish you are interested in learning the v.4s are my current recommendation for a practice deck.

Crimp Hold/Recovery: 7/6
This is where I think the recycled paper seems to hurt this deck the most. This deck seems to hold a crimp as well as a Bike 808 but its recovery is fairly poor. The deck has definitely developed quite a few unintentional crimps meaning that intentional crimps will have to be strong in order to find quickly. Overall a deck with poor crimp recovery generally seems to age quicker than others and depending on just how long they last will determine just how “eco friendly” they wind up being.

Single Card Glide: 7
Top card glides are performing a bit better than an 808 and the bottom card glides are performing a bit worse than an 808. Overall I split the difference and gave it a 7.


2+Obfuscations: 6.5
The Hugard and Braue push-off, the Derek Dingle DL, and center doubles all performed about on par with an 808 but the soft flexing stock seemed to make Diving Board DL a bit less “springy” and more “floppy”, and opposite corner spins(floops, shapeshifters ect.) a bit more tenuous to control. The ultra smooth finish also make single corner displays more difficult. All in all, once you get used to the deck you will get about the same performance in 2+Os than you would with a Bike 808.

Additional thoughts: I personally like springier stiffer decks and while the v.4 doesn’t fit my personal style I am really beginning to enjoy it. It is nice to grab a deck that feels and performs smooth and silky every once in a while. You may sacrifice some control issues on high end slights, in particular I have been having a few issues with clip-shifts and one handed pop-outs, but once it breaks in it is not so bad that you can’t adjust your handling to suit this deck. If smooth and silky is what you look for in a deck I expect this deck will become a favorite for you. In many ways this deck seems to have achieved (handling wise) what the Massa deck did except that the Massa went to pieces in less than a week and the v.4s still seem to have plenty of life left in them. Overall, for those who like smooth fanning and dribbling decks the v.4s will be a welcome addition to your card inventory.

I have amended my "who should buy (not buy)" recommendations in the OOB review to reflect new information I have after the 1st weeks review.


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 Post subject: Re: Smoke & Mirrors v.4//Green (AKA Dan and Dave Signature Deck)
PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 4:37 am 
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Here is some video I shot for the v.4 review.

http://www.vimeo.com/11777763

**warning** includes foul language that may not be appreciated by some.


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 Post subject: Re: Smoke & Mirrors v.4//Green (AKA Dan and Dave Signature Deck)
PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 9:50 pm 
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Smoke&Mirrors v.4(2 Week Update)
Well I am about to break my own rule yet again. (as I did with the Anglo) I usually terminate a review once one or more of the categories drops to a five or below. The v.4s have softened up a tad, bringing them dangerously close to a 5, and the crimp hold and recovery is down to about a 5. I definitely have cause to terminate the review but there is just something about this deck? I like playing with it even given it’s short comings so I plan on continuing the review.

Fanning: 8.5
Some continued drop in performance but it doesn’t fan that much worse than an OOB Bike 808. I do have a note of caution. I have been hearing complaints on various forums about the v.4 getting a blocky fan after a short time. That has certainly not been the case for me. This has been one of the better fanning decks I have used. There are a few possible answers. One is simply the standards of the user. I’ll try to post a picture of a basic thumb fan with these so you can judge my standards. The other is that the finish reacts differently depending on the humidity of where you live, what type of soaps and hand crèmes you use, and how naturally moist your skin is. All finishes are somewhat susceptible to these factors but to what extent varies from finish to finish. The last possibility is that there were some issues with the quality controls used during manufacture thus the handling varies from deck to deck. If the answer to the discrepancies between my impression and the impression of others is due to quality control issues then I firmly believe that that can and should be held against a deck. When you spend $6.00 for a deck I think the customer has a right to expect consistency and a manufacturer has an obligation to provide it.


Spring: 5.5
They are just a tad bit softer than last week. After two weeks I’m beginning to get used to this although I have to really be aware of my “tension” when performing various bluff passes, cover passes, and spins.


Dribble: 8.5
Now it is just a tad worse than an OOB 808. It can still perform an Anaconda but it is no where as smooth and effortless as it was at the end of the 2nd week. Dribble shifts are also a little choppier.

Crimp Hold and Recovery: 6 Hold/ 5 Recovery
This is where I could really justify ending this review. You will need a strong crimp to both hold and be distinguishable from other naturally occurring crimps. This seems to be the biggest weakness of the deck. Nevertheless, it handles well enough in other categories that I’ll overlook this failing for now. How long I’ll be willing to put up with this is yet to be determined.

Single card glides: 7
There was a sleight improvement in the bottom card glides and a sleight reduction in the top card glides. I kept it at a seven but the overall character of the glides has changed a bit since last week. I use more bottom card glides in my repertoire so I am personally much happier with the performance in this category.


2+Obfuscations: 7
I bumped this one back up to a 7. As the finish develops a slightly tackier nature Diving Board DL and single corner displays are becoming a little more secure. It is still easy to put to much pressure(over bend the cards) in an opposing corner spin type move. All other 2+0 moves perform about on par with an 808.

Additional thoughts:
After the rough honeymoon I had with this deck I was doubtful I would ever get into this deck but I have just had a week of quite enjoyable performances and practices with it. Indeed I would go so far as saying this has replaced the Aladdins as my current favorite among the softer flexing stocks. Ultimately how soft or stiff a deck needs to be is really a matter of personal preference so don’t let the rating on that category scare you away if you like softer decks. My biggest beef with these so far is the overall “beat up” look of the edges and having to constantly re-crimp my breather crimp in order to find it reliably. I really doubt anyone will ultimately be disappointed with this deck…unless of course the fan gets blocky in a week do to some quality control issues!


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 Post subject: Re: Smoke & Mirrors v.4//Green (AKA Dan and Dave Signature Deck)
PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 5:10 pm 
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hey i received a pack of these from a very generous friend. i love them!! and i dont use crimps so thats not a problem for me.

if they were still available, i'd buy more when the time came. buuut their not. so which deck would you recommend in similarity to these cards? i was thinking Aladdins or stingers. what are your thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: Smoke & Mirrors v.4//Green (AKA Dan and Dave Signature Deck)
PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 2:38 am 
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worldwideme wrote:
hey i received a pack of these from a very generous friend. i love them!! and i dont use crimps so thats not a problem for me.

if they were still available, i'd buy more when the time came. buuut their not. so which deck would you recommend in similarity to these cards? i was thinking Aladdins or stingers. what are your thoughts?


I hear ya'. These have really grown on me. I didn't expect to be that impressed with them and after those first few days, when I was having difficulty controlling them, I thought they were headed for the trash. Then they suddenly "broke in" and I have really become smitten. On to your question...

Well, all I have done with the Stingers is the Out of the Box review so I am not sure how those will age but those are the closest off the top of my head. The Aladdins don't have the same "feel" because of the smooth finish. There are a lot of performance similarities between the two but they will definitly feel distinctly different. I really like the Aladdins...except for the back design. Don't know why....just didn't like it. Anyways my v.4s are almost dead so I should be getting to the stingers pretty soon. Perhaps I'll have more info then.


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 Post subject: Re: Smoke & Mirrors v.4//Green (AKA Dan and Dave Signature Deck)
PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 3:00 pm 
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eostresh wrote:
worldwideme wrote:
hey i received a pack of these from a very generous friend. i love them!! and i dont use crimps so thats not a problem for me.

if they were still available, i'd buy more when the time came. buuut their not. so which deck would you recommend in similarity to these cards? i was thinking Aladdins or stingers. what are your thoughts?


I hear ya'. These have really grown on me. I didn't expect to be that impressed with them and after those first few days, when I was having difficulty controlling them, I thought they were headed for the trash. Then they suddenly "broke in" and I have really become smitten. On to your question...

Well, all I have done with the Stingers is the Out of the Box review so I am not sure how those will age but those are the closest off the top of my head. The Aladdins don't have the same "feel" because of the smooth finish. There are a lot of performance similarities between the two but they will definitly feel distinctly different. I really like the Aladdins...except for the back design. Don't know why....just didn't like it. Anyways my v.4s are almost dead so I should be getting to the stingers pretty soon. Perhaps I'll have more info then.



awesome thanks!! i agree when i first got them out i was so excited, i thought they were going to be blow my mind beautiful. it was a bit of a bummer, but they've broken in nicely.


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 Post subject: Re: Smoke & Mirrors v.4//Green (AKA Dan and Dave Signature Deck)
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 2:57 am 
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Smoke&Mirrors v.4(final update)
Bummer they died about mid way through the 3rd week. I was thinking for a while that they might make it to the end of three weeks but then we got a spate of humid weather and that did them in. Important note for those in humid climates…these react more to humidity than most other cards I have handled. Most dimple finished decks allow more humidity to seep into cards than smooth finish cards and that combined with the recycles stock(I’m assuming) just kind of killed these off.

Fanning: 8
They continued to deteriorate at a steady rate and while the fan became less even I personally never experienced a “blocky fan.” This certainly wasn’t the reason for ending the review. While not as long lasting a fan as other cards it started off pretty strong and deteriorated at a slow steady rate.


Spring: 4.5
This was one of the big reasons for the KIA. They just got really “Floppy.” There was just no “snap back” when bending the cards.


Dribble: 8
The dribble fell off a little bit but it was still doing okay.

Crimp Hold and Recovery: 5 Hold/ 5 Recovery
Reason number two for the KIA. Any medium sized crimp or below would get lost in a crowd of other dings and bangs after one riffle shuffle…two tops.

Single card glides: 8
This was a tragedy. The finish had just hit an optimum range when other factors ended the review. There were only minor difficulties with top card glides off the thumb and a standard bottom card glide. Every other direction was a peach of a glide.

2+Obfuscations: 7.5
Another minor tragedy. This deck was really starting to come around in 2+Os, especially for the Diving board DL.

Additional thoughts:
Overall I rate this deck as the yin to the Anglo Rugs yang. (Or the yang to the Yin? Never really knew the difference.) The v.4 would likely appeal to those who like smooth spreads, silky fans, and long dribbles. It may take a bit of time to “Break In” but when it does you will get similar performance to the Bike 808 for most magic and sleight applications. I have always preferred stiffer stocks that felt secure and snappy on difficult card moves but this one really brought me around. I wouldn’t want to be learning the “hard stuff” with this deck but once you are proficient with your moves this deck will perform just fine. I really can’t say enough about this deck. It’s hasn’t replaced my favorites yet but I like it every bit as much as I liked the Anglos…just for different reasons. I don’t know if Dan and Dave listen to customers when deciding stocks and finishes for their Smoke and Mirrors but if they do then…Don’t change a thing!


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