Dragon Shield Matte & Dual Matte Sleeves Review

Dragon Shield Dual Matte & Matte Sleeves Review

Written by Andrew

5 minute read

Dragon Shield has long been considered a talon-ted sleeve manufacturer, with their Matte sleeves, in particular, being a roaring success. Does the introduction of the Dual Mattes solidify Dragon Shield sleeves at the top of the mountain, or have other manufacturers snuck up on a slumbering beast? Let’s not drag-on and get into the review… 

What are Dragon Shield Dual/Matte sleeves?

Dragon Shield Matte sleeves are Dragon Shield’s most popular card sleeve, featuring a high clarity front and a matte textured back. The name can be misleading as we would assume most matte sleeves to have a matte or frosted front to reduce glare. In this case, the matte only refers to the textured back of the sleeve. Both the front and back of the Dragon Shield Matte sleeves measure 130 microns in thickness - the thickest on the market.

More recently, Dragon Shield have also released a Dual Matte product, designed to offer the same high end protection as the Mattes but featuring a fully opaque, black interior to address any opacity concerns the original Matte sleeves may have had. The Dual Mattes are slightly thinner at 120 microns each side, but are still one of the thickest sleeves out there.

Both Dragon Shield sleeves come in a standard trading card size (63x88mm) for Pokemon cards and Magic cards, as well as in a Japanese card game size (59x86mm) for games like Yugioh.

How well do the sleeves shuffle?

While shuffle-feel can be very subjective, we would describe the shuffle-feel of the Mattes as smooth with minimal friction, and the Dual Mattes as buttery smooth with a touch more friction. Both sleeves provide a satisfying shuffle but the sharp corners of the original Matte sleeves can be a quite literal pain point! The corners also feel strong and rigid but slightly less sharp on the newer Dual Mattes. Because of this, we rate the Mattes a solid 8/10 and the Dual Mattes an improved 9/10 for shuffle-feel.

How strong are the seams?

To test the strength of the sleeve seams, we carry out our usual stretch test where we attempt to pull the front and back of the sleeve apart to see how much resistance is given. Neither the Matte or the Dual Matte sleeves impressed in this test, with the Mattes offering an OK amount of resistance, and the Dual Mattes offering almost no resistance at all. Under enough pressure, both seams split cleanly, without warping the sleeve before doing so. This is normally a sign that the seal is weak.

When compared to all other outer sleeves we have tested, we would score the Mattes an average 5/10 and the Dual Mattes a feeble 2/10 for seam strength.

How durable are these Dragon Shield sleeves?

So, what does the poor performance in the stretch test mean for durability? To find out, we sleeved up 50 cards in the Matte and 50 cards in the Dual Mattes, then gave each stack 1000 rough shuffles. In this shuffle test we are really impacting the seams against one another to simulate heavy usage in a short amount of time.

The Matte sleeves withstood the first 200 shuffles well and no sleeves fully split until after the 500th shuffle. By 1000 shuffles, the edges are clearly damaged and frayed but no further splitting occurred. We consider this an above average showing compared to other outer sleeves.

As for the Dual Mattes, they fared far worse, with splits happening around the 300 mark and the sleeves continued to decline from there. By the end, the sleeves were very damaged and a total of 9 clean splits were recorded.

The Matte & Dual Matte sleeves after 1000 rough shuffles

The Matte sleeves (left) performed much better than the Dual Matte sleeves (right) in our 1000 shuffles.

Despite the disappointing performance, the corners of both Dragon Shield sleeves are worth a mention. The rigid and uncomfortable corners may be an annoyance when shuffling, but they prove their worth in how able they are to remain pristine, even after the seams give way. Bent corners will not be a durability issue.

Our next durability test is a simple scratch test to see how easy it is to mark the sleeve backs. The ability to ward off scuffs and marks is paramount to the overall lifespan of an outer sleeve, especially for those looking to play under tournament rules.

Results of the scratch test, side by side

The Matte sleeves (left) are very resistant to marks, with the Dual Mattes (right) less so.

As shown above, the marks left on the Matte sleeve are extremely subtle and hard to see at all. Unfortunately, the texture of the Dual Matte sleeve makes it much easier to leave a permanent, visible mark. 

Overall, we give the Dragon Shield Matte sleeves a very strong 9/10 for durability, and the Dual Matte sleeves a more fragile 5/10.

Do they double-sleeve well?

When it comes to testing the double-sleeving capabilities of sleeves, we like to put them to the test by pairing them with various inner sleeves from different brands. For our evaluation of the Matte and Dual Matte sleeves, we conducted 700 sleeving attempts using 7 different inner sleeves to see how many times we would encounter bad fits. A bad fit refers to a situation where the card slips out of the inner sleeve while being pushed into the outer sleeve, often requiring frustrating or time consuming adjustments to fix.


This is where the Dragon Shield sleeves really come into their own. The Matte sleeves finished with just 22/700 bad fits and the Dual Mattes take it a step further with an exceptionally low 3/700 bad fits. We score this a 9/10 and perfect 10/10 respectively. To see a full breakdown of the double-sleeving results, visit our Ultimate Double Sleeving Guide.

How clear are the Dragon Shield sleeves?

As mentioned above, don’t let the ‘Matte’ name fool you, Dragon Shield Matte sleeves have high clarity fronts! The matte, rather confusingly, only refers to the matte textured sleeve backs rather than the sleeve fronts. As we can see, our simple clarity test proves this to be true and there is no dulling of the foil at all. 10/10 for clarity.

Testing the clarity of the Matte and Dual Matte sleeves

The Dragon Shield Matte/Dual Matte sleeves do not have matte fronts! Both have very high clarity.

Are the backs opaque?

One of the main issues with the original Matte sleeves is that the lighter colours are too translucent for competitive players, requiring a smoke-backed inner sleeve to fix the issue. No doubt, this is one of the driving factors behind the creation of the Dual Mattes in the first place. The Dual Mattes feature a blacked-out interior, making sure nothing gets through and ensuring complete opacity.

We rate the Mattes 6/10 for opacity, with lighter colours being worse and the darker colours being better, while we rate the Dual Mattes 10/10 for opacity - no matter the colour.

How much do the Dragon Shield sleeves cost?

The RRP of the Matte sleeves is £7.99 for Japanese size and £11.99 for Standard size. The RRP of the Dual Matte sleeves is £8.49 for Japanese size and £13.49 for Standard size. Both variants can usually be found a little cheaper depending on the retailer.

We currently sell the standard Mattes for £7.75 and the standard size Dual Mattes for £8.95. Unfortunately, we do not currently stock the Japanese size sleeves, but watch this space!

Some of the different colours of Dragon Shield sleeves

Dragon Shield sleeves come in a fantastical range of colours - too many to count!


Overall, the Dragon Shield Matte sleeves remain one of the best on the market. The introduction of the Dual Mattes is a welcome addition, solving any hang ups regarding opacity but, unfortunately, also taking a step back in terms of durability. 


  Matte Dual Matte




Seam Strength















Price (Standard Size)





Dragon Shield sleeves also come in a deep and rich range of colours, as well as providing a handy reusable box for storage. This may seem like a minor benefit, but if you are a player with copious amounts of bulk cards in need of a home, you will know how useful something so simple can be. 


In recent years, Dragon Shield is facing stiff competition from new products such as the Gamegenic Prime sleeves, as well as Ultimate Guard’s Cortex sleeves, both coming in at a lower price point. Whether the discount makes the difference will again depend on your own needs, and you can find our detailed reviews of those products here, as well as a handy comparison tool here. Personally, we would hesitate to choose any sleeve over the Dragon Shields, as the perfect blend of affordability, quality, and ease of double-sleeving.

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Double Sleeved was founded in 2019 by Andrew and Jon, two lifetime card game enthusiasts with the goal of providing amazing prices, service, and creating helpful content for the community. Today, we are one of the best rated TCG stores on Trustpilot with 98% of customers giving us a perfect 5 stars!

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