MTG Gift Guide: Commander Deck Sleeves Review

Nick Wolf • November 22, 2023

Gone are the days of binding together a deck of Magic cards with a rubber band and calling it good. Cards are expensive, and it behooves every Magic player to protect their investment. That starts with sleeves. The vast majority of players utilize sleeves for their cards, but often it isn't so simple as to grab the first pack of sleeves you see online or at a Local Game Store (LGS). Sleeves come in more colors, brands, finishes, and quantities than even players themselves might realize, so it's even more difficult for those first getting into the game, or people looking to make a purchase for the Magic player in their life. 

We here at Commander's Herald promise it's not as overwhelming as you may think at first. Which MTG sleeves are the best quality? Which offer the best bang for your buck? Which one will make the best holiday gift? Look no further than below:

Table of Contents:

Best Quality


While on the higher end of the spectrum in terms of cost, Dragon Shield Matte Dual sleeves offer the best protection for Magic: The Gathering cards, as well as other card games featuring cards of a "standard" size measuring 2.5" by 3.5", including Lorcana, Flesh and Blood, and The Pokémon TCG. There are even "Japanese" size options for the Yu-gi-oh! player in your life.

Each box is adorned with Dragonshield's unique artwork and comes with 100 fully opaque sleeves featuring a textured matte back that comes in over a dozen colors. Players around the world routinely rate the company's matte dual sleeves as the best around, and for good reason, as they withstand hundreds of shuffles with hardly a scratch. 

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Best Bargain

UPI82691 Ultra Pro Deck Protector Pack: Black Solid 100ct - Picture 1 of 1

If you're in the market for something to protect your cards that won't cost more than the cards they're protecting, Ultra Pro offers a 100-count pack of sleeves for a low price. While the durability isn't on par with the more expensive options both from Ultra Pro and other companies, the standard 100-count gloss sleeves will get the job done. 

Coming in several colors (including clear), the Ultra Pro 100-count gloss sleeves are perfect for players who are looking to protect cards that won't see repeated use. If you're looking to protect cards in a trade binder, for example, these Ultra Pro sleeves are more than capable. The budget-friendly cost (often half as much as "premium" sleeve options) also make them a go-to option for players in need of quantity over quality. 

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Best Value

What if you're looking for something in the middle? You want a little more durability without spending too much, so is there a sweet spot in the middle?

Again, we'll turn to Ultra Pro. Like their budget brethren, Ultra Pro's Eclipse Pro-Matte and Pro-Gloss sleeves aren't topping any lists in terms of cost, but that doesn't mean they aren't reliable. They might not be as durable as Dragonshield sleeves, but they aren't far behind.

The 100-count packs of standard-sized sleeves feature more than a dozen colors to choose from in matte finish, as well as five glossy colors should that be your preference. Both finishes also offer a matte clear front to minimize glare, a feature important for those who play Magic via webcam. Players appreciate the feel of Ultra Pro Eclipse sleeves when shuffling, and their form-fitting nature prevents too much wear-and-tear.

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Best Combo Pack

Prime Double Sleeving Pack 100 - Black TCG Gamegenic - JAF Comics

For many players, just one sleeve per card isn't enough. 

While the sleeves already mentioned above are great solo, many players opt for the added protection of an inner sleeve to hedge against any misfortune that might befall the gaming table. 

(For a bonus Best Quality inner sleeve, click here.)

Thankfully, players don't need to mix and match to find the best combination of inner and outer sleeves that feel right. Gamegenic offers a Prime Double Sleeving 100-Count Pack that contains both types guaranteed to fit snugly on standard-sized cards. Each pack includes 100 Prime Sleeves and 100 Inner Sleeves produced by the company that are promised to be durable enough for players looking to avoid the typical bent corners, scratches and other damages from repeated shuffling.

Just make sure you're grabbing the 100-count pack; Gamegenic also offers an 80-count pack, which Commander players especially might want to avoid.

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Best Off-Brand Option

Most enfranchised Magic players are familiar with the names of the top accessory companies like Ultra Pro, Dragonshield, Ultimate Guard, or KMC, but you'd be hard-pressed to find one who champions the name "TiopLior." 

But if durability and affordability are the only thing that matter at the end of the day, then the Amazon seller's matte card sleeves will scratch that itch. Offered in 10 different colors in three-packs of 100 sleeves each, you'll be able to protect a greater number of cards at a reasonable price than some of the name-brand companies mentioned above. You may be sacrificing customer service and ubiquity offered by the name-brand competitors, but in terms of sheer value, it's hard to beat these sleeves. 

In other words, as some reviews confirm, these sleeves are "exactly what you're paying for." Or in other words, good, but not great. But for that price, they certainly have a niche.

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Protect Your Deck

Ask ten Magic players what their favorite card sleeves are, and you're likely to get ten different answers. While the quality and price vary between brands, much of the decision also comes down to personal preference. So what's your favorite? Have a brand, finish, or type you swear by? Help out your card-slinging friends with your own recommendations below.