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=156760Initial 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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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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.4XCM 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---
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.