While the Vega Pro and Euro reside in the OFF-/OFF range, this blade is definitely OFF and has a lower trajectory on blocks and loops, though not by much. The honoring outer gives it and amount of feeling similar to the Pro and more speed. Just about everything I said about the Pro applies here given the similarities in blade and handle design. While Xiom advertises this as all hinoki plus the composites, I am skeptical and think it is likely only the outer ply that is hinoki and different from the other Vega blades. The hinoki grab on my blade is not as strong as I have felt in other hinoki blades likely in part due to how things the outer ply is. That said, the blade has good feeling and I think it will serve people who want to play an all round game with a faster blade well. I have used it in the straight handle - initially I used it with Baracuda and have recently mostly used it with Next Karis. Because faster blades tend to be more expensive as well as the slightly higher cost of hinoki, this blade is more expensive than the Pro and the Euro. But it is money well spent if you want the extra speed and lower arc. I currently like the control and arc of the Pro for my technique and still use it as my main blade but can use this as well with barely a change in technique.
Very good rubber, in some ways different from the usual tensors. High grip when you make contact and the topsheet feels hard even though the soft is relatively soft (about 43 degrees). Able to handle high levels of spin with control and is not bouncy. Requires active strokes to generate spin and speed (unlike say T05, which is designed to spin for you), but the spin levels are pretty high if you like to play that way. May not suit people who like bouncy rubbers like Tenergy and the like, but if you have short game issues and want something that you can play with in rallies where you generate your own spin and speed, this is it. Definitely not as slow as Chinese rubbers and would be a good replacement for someone who finds Omega V Asia too hard/slow.
IF you switch from Tenergy to this, you might be able to use a faster blade. I switched to this from Tenergy 80, went from a Yasaka Extra to an IF ALC and managed to beat players I had not beaten in leagues and tournaments in a long time.
This is a great blade and its head heaviness may appeal to some people. IT has a larger head so using heavy rubbers may not suit some people. I use it with a relatively light modern rubber (Hexer) so it doesn't bother me.
The blade itself is a fast OFF- and some would say OFF. It supports both flat hitting and looping equally well and is a good blade for someone who wants speed and control and is not willing to use a composite or a 7 ply. I very much prefer it to the Allround S, Offensive S and Primorac OFF-, which are all great blades in their own right.
Whether the rubber being relatively slow is a negative depends on your perception - it is faster with a lower throw than Donic Baracuda, but is definitely a high throw rubber. IT is not as fast as Tenergy 05/80, but the increased control on blocks and in the short game will be sufficient compensation for the right kind of player. The topsheet is extremely strong and supports the strains of brush looping extremely well, so you could almost play with it like a Chinese rubber if that is your preferred looping style, though it is much faster and definitely an Euro rubber if contrasted with anything tacky.
I like it because it supports a loop everything style at the lower levels. I pretty much try to loop even the most ridiculous balls when using this rubber because I trust the grip not to slip under pressure. Definitely should be revisited by more people in the plastic ball era. Now my favorite rubber of all time. The ball moves faster and breaks more than the harder sponged rubbers I usually prefer and I don't lose enough when brush looping to miss the hard sponge.
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5.00My Main Blade, Good Offensive Blade for Plastic Ball
This is one of my two main composite blades, and is the debatably faster one with better feeling for power loops and heavy pushes. I use the blade with Xiom Omega V Asia on both sides. The blades are high quality and come with plastic topsheet coverings that are reusable for the rubber.
This blade has a limba outer ply vs. the Euro which uses Koto. This difference dictates most/all of the differences between the Pro and Euro. I am a limba lover, so I like the Pro a lot. That said, the Euro is the only koto blade that I have ever been able to get along with in all my years of TT so the X-Carbon + Zephyllium must be a pretty good composite all by itself.
The blade is definitely not bouncy and the power really kicks in on harder shots. I used it with T05 with the cell ball in 2014 and having switched to OVA ( Omega V Asia), I don't feel anything is lost with the plastic ball.
The blades are constructed with jointless wood per Xiom advertising to make the blades feel as close to one piece as possible with minimal disjoint. They need sanding as the handle is not smooth and will cause blisters if not sanded. That said, there is a sander that comes with the blade that is sufficient and the labor required is not a lot.
I would not feel that I was using anything inferior to a top Butterfly blade. The issue would be whether you like the handle. The ST handles were very good and felt mainstream. While I currently use the flare, I found it initially not to me suiting but later adapted after I changed my grip recently and my grip change suited the FL handle more than the ST, hence my return to this blade. But I hold the handles closer to the neck and people who like to have the handles in their palm have sometimes complained about the handle being too skinny or the base too fat. It's perfect for me, but I point this out so that you make sure you are comfortable with the handle before purchasing. Handles are a highly underestimated part of blade evaluation.
I will continue to evaluate vs. the Euro over time. Highly recommended, more so because its price point is good vs. quality for similar Butterfly blades if you buy from TT-japan. Initially, its price point was really low, but was raised over time to compete with Butterfly but it is still lower and better, IMO.
Fantastic rubber - supports all looping styles - the soft topsheet allows for heavy spin on slow loops and great arc as well. The hard sponge allows for hard drive loops. You can be extremely consistent looping with this rubber no matter your looping style. The linear speed is not super high which makes it good for controlled blocking speeds, but the soft topsheet makes it reactive to spin, which makes passive blocking more difficult and active blocking more rewarding.
Highly recommended. If you find it too heavy in max, 2.0mm.
For a while now, I have never been able to fully understand what the Nexy folk mean by "bang impact". I have always been a heavy topspin brush looper of sorts who even when I loop drive was basically doing a very thick brush with hard sponge.
I got the Nexy OLAM to test as part of an effort on mytabletennis.net to get testers and reviewers for the OLAM/Zealot. What I had heard about the Zealot had already left me not so much of a fan with comparisons to the YEO fairly common place. The Nexy designer described OLAM as a special blade that expels the ball and talked about things like "line factor", "point factor" and "bang impact" etc.. I wondered about the marketing hype but decided that hey, it was worth a shot to see if this blade was really special. Moreover, as someone who likes softer outer plies with dwell time, this could simply be a reaffirmation of my position that blades with hard outer plies help no one.
I got an OLAM (88g ST handle) from Nexy. It looked good and had this annoying red diamond stud on the handle but nothing so bad I couldn't use it. I stuck on MX-S briefly on the rubber and tried it out in a couple of matches. MX-S though tends to play similarly on just about every blade I put it on - the one thing we noticed was that the ball came out the rubber faster when I used MX-S and that blocking was amazingly easy. So the depth of contact made the blade feel fast but the rebound wasn't like rockets or anything like that. I almost felt sometimes that I couldn't hold the rubber on the blade (I had this experience later when serving with MX-P on the blade where the ball seemed to stay on the racket for such a short time I could hardly serve the ball over the net when brushing). This might be a result of the hard beechwood outer ply, an outer ply I have never played with before. Below the beech however, we have the usual spruce, limba and kiri suspects from looping blades, so this blade is a looper's blade where you have to work to get some impact beneath the top play, but the hardness of the top ply creates a lot of linear control.
I was going to write this blade off as another harder blade that I couldn't use but I was impressed by the blocking control. I decided that I couldn't do a review in good faith without playing with the blade for an extended period and that I had a tournament coming up and couldn't do so so I used the blade occasionally until the tournament I prepared for was over. I am now playing with it through out this week to better understand what the blade about - I am using Evolution MX-P rubbers on both sides.
This blade may have helped me see where I got the benefit of hard outer plies wrong. In a sense, one can argue that soft outer plies and some wood combinations promote brush impact and harder outer plies and some wood combinations promote bang impact. It's not that you can't do both brush and bang with any combination, but it seemed that the OLAM rewarded deep impact. Because the blade was so linear, I kept trying to increase the contact depth of my stroke and it seemed that the linearity of the blade made seeking a deeper contact depth rewarding. Brush topspin strokes work, but making harder contact works even better on topspin balls and with great control too. The MX-P felt like a good match because its high grip/dwell counteracted the feeling of slippage that I felt on the OLAM in general. And MX-P rewards contact depth as its sponge is relatively hard so I didn't feel that there was a serious risk of bottoming out the MX-P sponge on power strokes.
The OLAM itself is either a massive innovation or a hint to me that I have gotten the benefits of hard outer plies wrong. It might be the latter, but I highly recommend this blade to anyone who is currently a fan of brushy strokes and wants to improve the contact depth on their shots. Use it with extremely modern rubbers with high grip like Tenergy or Evolution or the slippage may drive you crazy if your contact depth is not high enough - the topsheet will almost entirely determine short game control and slippage. You will feel as if you have laser accuracy on many of your shots because of how the blade performs on bang impact. I will post some practice and match video from this weekend to close out the review later. Will also add any comments then.
So I felt that anyone who likes the XSF ball will like the G40+. The sound is distinct but my guess is that over time we will all get used to it. My hitting partner felt it was spinnier than the XSF ball and I seemed more consistent with it (this is also true for me with the Nittaku Premium). The ball feels and sounds hard but some people say it plays light.
I didn't feel I need to play any differently and I wish this ball was used at the Butterfly NA Teams. IT's just a much better looking and play product. Consistently round, a nice box and packaging for the 12 I got. I didn't play a lot with it though I used it in some hitting drills with an another older amateur. I did a bounce test next to the newer batch of XSF and the heights were pretty similar.
If your hearing is decent, you can tell when we first switch to the ball in the video below (about 2:30 to 2:40 in) and you can hear the higher pitched plastic sound. All in all, I like it. If we got rid of the Chinese seamed, we have 3 good options with relatively similar playing characteristics in the market. Will have to wait on durability though.
This is one of the best looping rubbers out there with a very high grip topsheet. It is a good Tenergy 05 precursor and up to even the USATT 2400 level can replace Tenergy if the focus of the looper is on doing specific things. While it is a relatively slow rubber, it is still an offensive rubber. The benefit of relatively slow rubbers like Baracuda is that the lack of catapult makes the linearity of the response to a power stroke easier to predict. This is very helpful when drive looping the ball.
The rubber is spin sensitive enough that one still has to learn to play actively with it, but it is similar enough to Tenergy 05 in that department, though Tenergy requires a better touch because of the power of the spring sponge.
The catapult makes it harder to hit winners from behind the table and to engage in topspin rallies away from the table. However, for someone who plays closer to the table and tries to win more of his points with short game control, Baracuda is a better choice than many rubbers if the player is not practicing often enough to radically improve their touch and timing. Depending on how you play and what you do, I would recommend it to anyone with a looping stroke or who wants to loop between 1200 and 2400 USATT on either forehand or backhand. That said, it requires effort only to generate pace - the spin is easy to generate and blocking is controlled once the racket angle is set.
It also works well with some boosting though the speed isn't radically improved.
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5.00Quality ALC Blade for under $80 ($95 shipped to US)
I got my first Double Day Valiant ALC Loop King Pro St from a friend who wanted to distribute the blade in the US and wanted me to review it. He said that DoubleDay was once a Butterfly OEM but is no longer one. I usually dislike ALC blades and was hesitant to try this one. On the other hand, I have always felt ALC blades go well with Tenergy 05 and was willing to give this a shot given the unique outer ply for an ALC blade.
My first impressions were that I liked the blade but found it too head heavy. At this time, I hadn't made using grip tape with my blades a religion as it is now. My favorite sequence with the blade is on this video between 3:59 and 4:20. That sequence will probably make me use the blade with Tenergy 05 again at some point.
So I gave up on the blade for a while because of the head heaviness and thin handle and went back to my slower but easy to control Yasaka Extras (I also tried my Samsonov Force Pros as I was still trying to decide between Tenergy 05 and MX-S). Tenergy 05 lost to MX-S when I realized that my countering approach close to the table was easier with MX-S and that I could figure out the MX-S trajectories over time. I returned to the Loop King after I realized that I needed more pace away from the table and the Yasaka Extra was too slow when I backed up. I knew I would have control issues but decided to spend the rest of the year working them out. Grip tape added 3-4g to the handle and helped with the head heaviness and thin handle.
I've used the Loop King with MX-S for a month now and enjoy it - have had good results playing with it. The blade may not be a state of the art ALC blade depending on your tastes - it seems to be a 3 +2 ply if you consider the ALC weave a single ply. Most Butterfly ALC blades are 5+2ply. I think that makes the Loop King a bit flexier and woody feeling than the Butterfly ALCs. Right up my alley.
Where the loop king really shines is when I loop drive - it has that ALC grab that reduces vibrations and gives a dwelly feeling when you loop hard. For me, since I prefer the feeling of Anegre to Koto (with Limba, it is more of a toss up), I prefer the feeling of the Loop King to the Timo Boll ALC in the short game. I compared my blade with T05 to that of a friend using a TBS with T05 and we agreed that the TBS was slightly faster, but that the Loop King was better for looping. I wouldn't have it any other way as for me, when I need the ALC kick is when I am at mid distance, and this is what the Loop King gives me. I no longer feel as lost when I step back from the table and anyone who sees the above video at the 4:17 second or so mark will see why.
Here is a recent video where I use the Loop King with MX-S. I get much better as the video goes on and should probably edit it to make the blade look invincible.
If you place an order outside of Taiwan, they will not charge you immediately but will send you a quote which you have to accept within 5 days. They will likely label the blade as a gift if it helps with your import situation and will send it by registered mail (these are not critical things in the US). I bought a backup recently. The packaging of the blade is exquisite for those that care about such things (I will upload a picture if requested) and the weight is listed on the beautiful box among other things. I requested a weight of 89g like my first and they sent me one at 88g. Sandpaper that I personally do not need came with the blade as well.
At the price (well under $100 all in), this is as good as it gets. Double Day also has an ALC Koto 3+2 ply blade it calls the Winner. Not my cup of tea, but it is cheaper than the Loop King and might be someone else's. I'm gonna keep trying to be the Loop King.
This is truly an excellent rubber. I use it in the softest sponge available though I have tried the harder sponges and believe those will appeal to people looking for something more on the hard sponged Chinese end of the spectrum. It's an interesting mix of a soft tacky/sticky Chinese topspheet on an Eurojap type tensor sponge with modest catapult. The idea is to create great control and brush spin on slower loops and serves, though not as linear as harder sponged non-catapult Chinese rubbers. The payoff is that on harder shots away from the table, you don't have to swing as hard to get good pace and spin. This is most apparent in the 38 and 39 deg sponges, especially the 38 deg.
It also comes tuned but plays decently when the tuning wears off. There are also protective sheets if you like them. The rubber has a tuning layer, so you only need glue for your blade and not for the rubber itself. Yinhe seems to be giving the latest batches Provincial level Quality Assurance.
No rubber quite plays like this - maybe Tibhar Evolution MX-S, though that is more tilted towards the Euro side of things and I would consider this rubber even more towards the Chinese short game and quick attack style.
I have used it on a variety of blades, including composites and all wood blades. What blade you decide to use it on depends on your style - I like it on all wood blades, but it played decently on Xiom Vega blades (the whole series) as well.
This is a relatively "new" blade by Yasaka (more on "new" later) - I got it by an error of sorts. I wanted a Yasaka Extra and tried to order a pair of blades with the same weight from Megaspin. They told me they had a pair of Yasaka Extras and then sent me this. I was like "oh, well, at least I am getting it for $2 less per blade than it would have cost...". My guess is that it is the Yasaka Extra with a different handle. The handle on this is very flat and squarish in straight and it fits well with my intuitions on how the stroke angle works. I am a Straight handle guy though I can play with flares.
Since Yasaka calls it one of their best selling blades of all time, I suspect it is similar to a Gatien Extra or regular Extra but just has a slight design change. So it is not fully new. I found out that it was a redesigned Yasaka Extra after my first draft of this review.
It's a fairly thin blade and definitely all round in design- definitely in that ALL+/OFF- range but easily at the upper end - I would put it at a very controllable OFF-. Here is the Yasaka Web page. Mine for the record both weigh 88g.
I've played with a lot of blades the past couple of months because I wanted to settle on something that went very well with MX-S for my close to the table game. The search is over and this is the winner. In fact, this blade was the winner in June, but I decided to try a couple of well regarded Tibhar blades after seeing some players whom I respected using those blades because I was still trying to decide between T05 and MX-S - I settled on MX-S but for some reason didn't go back to the Extra. And entirely by accident, one of those Tibhar blades gave me a calloused thumb with my grip so I was so irritated in the moment while losing that match that I picked up my Yasaka Sweden Extra - it had some Victas rubbers and I lost the match even though my opponent permitted the switch. After, I stripped the MX-S rubbers from the Tibhar blade and just stuck them to the Sweden Extra... and proceeded to destroy my opponents mercilessly after that, blanking out my previous opponent in two subsequent rematches. And then I was entirely puzzled and tried to figure out why I left the blade in the first place... and realized that it wasn't anything to do with dissatisfaction and I had played many great matches with it, both with T05 and with MX-S!
With T05, I would consider the blade a bit slower than I would ideally like, though still quite usable for all out offense. But since I have put T05 to bed for now, I won't be researching that question anytime soon.
MX-S plays relatively better IMO on slower, thinner blades and becomes a high level loop drive machine from close to mid distance. The benefit of the Yasaka Sweden Extra is that it has a slightly harder outer play than the usual Limba (I suspect Anegre since it is similar to another blade I have like that). This makes it play slightly faster with hard contact when looping.
Because of the thin upper and the flat handle, which is very unlikely to be hollow, it feels more balanced towards the handle than equally heavy blades, like an ALL+ blade should, but again, with the speed of an OFF- blade.
So for people looking for ALL+/OFF- blades and who might be looking for a different kind of handle, I can recommend this blade highly. I am probably the only person I know who uses it right now, but I think there should be more, especially if you are looking for an OFF- blade with high control or a faster than usual ALL+ blade.
It may not be powerful enough for some off the table styles. But for an off the bounce style, it works great.
For off-the-bounce close to the table/mid distance offensive loopers and blockers. Reviewer is an allround offensive USATT 1950-2050 player.
A 7 ply limba ayous special with good control. The handle is very comfortable - rumor has it that the handle design copies that of a blade that Samsonov really liked. The blade is not as fast as some thicker 7 ply blades, but it is definitely an offensive blade. The straight (ST) handle feels a bit thin which makes it head heavy with thicker, harder sponged rubbers and is not as nice as the flare handle, though I hear the ST handle is being improved in the Black Edition. I do use the ST handle with some grip tape because aspects of the handle suit my serve and backhand.
The blade is as described - heavier weights play slightly faster, but this is still a relatively slow blade for the relatively close to the table player or the control looper with a spin over speed focus away from the table. The straight handle is quite large for people who like that. The pair I had played consistently at 87g. I would recommend this blade to players starting out, as well as to advanced players who want something that is easier to control with close to the table play or with non-inverted rubbers.