|Topic: Centurions, Shadow Masters and Split Spades|
I've never been into novelty or custom decks. Usually a pack of bikes were more than good enough for any card trick. Tally-ho's were good to just practice with. Those were my two brands of choice for pretty much the entirety of my card manipulating life. I mean, they're just cards. It's the trick that matters. Well, I received T11's Centurions and E's Shadow Masters for Christmas and a pack of Split Spades from a friend who had a couple to spare from his own holiday endeavours so what the hell, might as well give them a whirl and give my own two cents.
They're...outstandingly mediocre. Which isn't bad. They just felt like a pack of Bicycles (though a tad flimsier but that could just be in my head). After practicing with them going on two weeks now, they don't fan nearly as well as they did out of the box and they've begun to buckle. In other words, just like Bicycles. The actual card design is neat, but nothing eye popping. When I looked up that thay were $6 a pack I bulked seeing that a pack of regular Bicycles go for as low as $1.50 if you buy them in a brick.
Rating: 6/10 - Would have been 7/10 (my baseline score for bikes) if the price weren't so steep.
E's Shadow Masters:
Now these were exceptionally made cards. I just loved the all black design and how the art fades towards the centre. I like that it comes with a barcode reveal and a joker reveal. The cards themselves fanned great out of the box and three weeks on now they haven't noticeably diminished in fanning quality. The stock is thicker than normal and they've proven rather durable. These definitely exceeded my expectations because they were actually tangibly better than Bike's and Tally's on a purely material standpoint.
Review: 8/10 - My only problem is the edges of the cards eventually give way and what was once uniformly black is now scattered with the paper colour underneath. Also, at $8, they're easily the most expensive deck of cards (outside of one trick deck) I've ever owned. I'm sorry, but it's nearly impossible to justify paying that much for a deck of cards and I'm only going easy because I didn't pay for it myself.
Split Spades Lions:
The most apt thing to say about these are they are essentially Tally's but with a different back design. I really do find the backs to be great and very appealing (I have the red deck). The stock quality and finish almost seem identical to my Tally's and the durability is nearly identical as well. So really, from what I can tell, they ARE Tally's. The face designs are neat, with the King of spades being Blain himself. It's something a bit different and I appreciate that.
Review: 9/10. The quality is just as good as Tally's (my deck of choice, though I use Bikes to perform due to their familiarity to the public) and the custom back and faces are great. Still, like the Shadow Masters these are ***ed expensive. If I hadn't gotten it for free chances are I never would've been able to talk myself into a pack of $7 custom Tally's.
Hope you guys enjoyed my reviews (and my first ever post here!)
Split Spades Lions, like the original split spades cards, are a somewhat limited edition, therefore the price.
From the three you mention, I like the split spades deck due to design and feel.
But each person is different.