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Bee [red] Stingers by Theory11 :: Review

This is the first section to my review for one of the latest decks released by Theory11, Bee [red] Stingers. You can find these at Theory 11 or on Dan and Dave’s site. I write each of my reviews in two sections; the first one when first I get the deck and have worked with it a bit. Then I’ll write the second piece a while after the cards have been completely broken in as well as used in live performances.

Feel: The new edition of Stingers does not disappoint. The stock used for these is wonderful. The Aristocrat has a great snap to it while still being flexible. If you snap your cards a lot like I do you’ll love the noise they make. The stock also makes them extremely durable. I have a deck of Black Stingers that have been without a box for over a year and a half. They are basically my practice deck, I use them constantly; they get dropped, put on the floor, lost, you name it. Yet after all this for over a year they still fan, spread, and handle like new. Most other decks of cards go bad after a few months of normal use. Stingers not only last, but come out feeling great after extensive handling way past what other cards can take. That’s what I call durability. The only issue I’ve had so far is some clumping. To be clear, this is with the out-of-the-box Red Stingers. Clumping could only be a problem because the cards aren’t broken in so I’ll definitely touch on that more in the second piece of this review.

Box

Design: Stingers have a one-of-a-kind back design. Mixing the diamond style back with a fade-out to the borders makes for an eye-catching look. Make it in red and you’ve got yourself one smooth looking deck. Putting the style of the original Stingers together with a darker shade of red was a great, but overdue, idea. Now that we’ve got them though, fun color-changing effects like the Chicago Opener.

Court Cards

Court Cards: The Red Bee Stinger deck’s court cards are devoid of any clashing oranges or bright blues. In their place are shades of black, gray, and red. The color scheme complements the backs nicely, giving the Stingers a stunning overall look.

Spot Cards

Spot Cards: The spot cards have the standard look and layout of Bee and Bicycle decks of playing cards. The only notable difference is the deeper red which matches the rest of the deck. There seemed to be a trend of making smaller pips for a while, but I’m glad the pips on these and the Titaniums are normal sized.

Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades, Jokers, and Box: I’ll take the same approach as I did in my Bicycle Titanium Edition review and talk about all three of these at once. The Ace of Spades and Jokers are standard Bee cards with no alterations. The box is also the same as most bee decks, the difference being that the Stinger design is on the back. As you can see in the pictures it’s the same box as the original Stingers, just in red. One little thing I noticed was that the box has small silver metallic accents on almost every side. These little finishing touches and details are one of the many details that separates Theory11 from the competition.

So here are the ratings:
Feel- 9/10
Design- 9/10
Overall- 9/10

The Bee [red] Stingers are the combination of an already awesome deck of cards and good customer service. Theory11 listened to what we had to say about the black Stingers. They took this information and made all the changes possible, from stock to finish. The end result is a deck that’s not only visually appealing but handles like a dream. The Red Stingers are perfect for the card collector, the magician, or anyone who appreciates high-quality playing cards.

After a few months I’ll be writing the second piece to this review. It’ll cover feel after the deck has been completely broken in, and I’ll also talk about performance pros and cons.

Posted: April 11th, 2011
at 5:37pm by Robin Carey


Categories: Cards,Reviews

Comments: 4 comments



 

4 Responses to 'Bee [red] Stingers by Theory11 :: Review'

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  1. These look really awesome!

    Jevon

    17 Apr 11 at 11:52 pm


     

  2. Jevon,
    They’re great cards, they handle just as good as they look. Make sure you pick some up while you can!

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    18 Apr 11 at 6:45 am


     

  3. I’m buying some tomorrow, I was unconvinced until I read this review. Thanks!

    Jevon

    21 Apr 11 at 3:22 pm


     

  4. Glad I could help! You won’t be disappointed.

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    21 Apr 11 at 3:34 pm


     


 

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Bicycle Titanium Edition by Theory11 :: Review

This is the first section to my review for the latest deck released by Theory11, Bicycle Titanium. I write each of my reviews in two sections; the first one when first I get the deck and have worked with it a bit. Then I’ll write the second piece months later after the cards have been completely broken in as well as used in live performances.

Feel: Imagine Bicycles, but on steroids. They have the Air-Cushion finish but it definitely feels like improvements have been made. The cards fan and spread wonderfully out of the box, as expected by a custom deck. The impressive thing is that they still have this nice smooth, even feel to them even after an hour or two of use. Aerials are decent considering that the deck is still fairly new and slippery. The Titaniums are about the same thickness as a regular deck of Bicycles.

Bicycle Titaniums

Design: The design is one that people have come to know and love for over 125 years. Using the Rider Back design is a good idea too because spectators will be familiar with the deck, they’ve seen it a million times. The metallic is the best part though. Theory 11 did it just right; the metallic is noticeable enough to give the cards an elegant, distinct look but not so overboard that they’re distracting. It’s extremely hard to capture the metallic backs on camera as it’s a lighting thing but take my word for it, they look phenomenal. The red deck is closer to maroon while the blue deck looks silver in the right light.

Deck Boxes

Court Cards: Theory11 has always had the sense to get rid of the hideous orange that Bicycle throws in the court cards. The Titanium decks have shades of metallic gold and a bluish silver instead. Just like the backs, the metallic ink on the Court Cards is just right. When they catch the light it looks incredible. This design complements magic in a special way; the metallic is elegant and fleeting. It’s a hard thing to try and articulate but once you have them in your hands it’s obvious.

Court Cards

Spot Cards: The black spot cards are the standard Bicycle Rider back cards. The red ones, however, have the metallic ink. The maroon and reflective look contrasts with the black cards to give the deck a dynamic look. I’m glad they went with the metallic on the faces, it’s really what makes this deck look different. Titaniums will be awesome for any kind of red black separation effects.

Spot Cards

Ace of Spades, Jokers, and Box: I’m going to lump all three of these sections together because there’s not a whole lot new. The Ace of Spades and Jokers are exactly the same as any standard deck of Bicycles. One thing worth mentioning is that there’s no guarantee joker so they’re identical. I always hated that guarantee text when I was trying to use them as duplicates. The box is also the same as it’s common counterpart. The only difference being the shade of red and the metallic accents.

So here are the ratings:
Feel- 9/10
Design- 9/10
Overall- 9/10

When Theory11 announced these playing cards I was a little skeptical, as I’m sure many of you were. There are so many things that could go wrong when using a metallic deck… especially printing it on the faces. I’m happy to say that Theory11 went above and beyond what I expected and completely disproved everything I was unsure about. The Bicycle Titanium deck is the first of it’s kind and I certainly hope it’s not the last. These cards feel superb and look elegant. I’m excited to see how spectators will perceive the aesthetic twist on such a classic back design. If you haven’t ordered any of these yet, what are you waiting for?

After a few months I’ll be writing the second piece to this review. It’ll cover feel after the deck has been completely broken in, and I’ll also talk about performance pros and cons.

Posted: April 9th, 2011
at 7:33pm by Robin Carey


Categories: Cards,Reviews

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They’re Here!

The Bicycle Titaniums and Bee [red] Stingers have arrived! The first thing I thought was ‘Wow’. These look incredible. When I first read that the Titaniums were going to be printed with metallic ink I was a little worried. As I talked about in one of my previous posts, the metallic has to be just right. If not the cards would end up to bright or not noticeably different. Theory11 did an outstanding job, yet again, and got it just right. I’ll talk more about the Titanium Bicycles in my review. The Stingers look even better in red than in black. There are also some metallic accents on the Stinger box, a nice little addition.

Remember to vote for which review you’d like to see first.

New Cards!

Posted: April 8th, 2011
at 8:11pm by Robin Carey


Categories: Cards,Interesting Tidbits

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Genesis v2 by Andrei Jikh and Theory11 :: Review

This is my review for the second volume of Genesis by Andrei Jikh, which can be found at Theory11. I broke down each move and wrote any thoughts I had about it. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask! Genesis v2 is a great volume and upgrades a lot of the ideas laid out in the first disc.

I also have to say YOU NEED GENESIS V1 BEFORE THIS. Nearly every single flourish or move on this project is built from a move on the first volume. Not just basic cardistry or flourishes, but Andrei’s original work that can only be found on Genesis. So if you really like the way these sound/look, I recommend you pick up v1 then revisit this disc.

Genesis by Andrei Jikh

The teaching in this volume is superb, just as the first one. Each move begins with a cool performance trailer. Next, Andrei verbalizes the move and talks about any pertinent information or history. Then he does a quick walk-through of how it works, followed by a longer and more in-depth one. After that there’s a slow motion follow along phase, all topped off with a conclusion section. In the conclusion Andrei gives you any hints, tips, or ideas to help get the flourish down. This last section was extremely helpful when learning some of these, so don’t just skip over it. I don’t need to talk about the video or sound quality, it’s Theory 11. Same top-notch recording we’ve come to know and love.

Altar Display: This is an example of Andrei’s unique thinking. Half the deck is balanced perpendicular to the other half which is being held in between the bottom area of your palms. This volume only shows the basic display but you can tell there are quite a few application possibilities with this little gem. The hard part of the move is just getting to top packet to balance. Luckily, this becomes easy after an hour or so of practice.

Altar

Atom: Atom is the first kind of flourish I’ve seen like this. A lengthwise triangle is made (from Genesis v1) and a single card is rotated around it, like a particle orbits a nucleus in an atom, thus the name. If you can make the lengthwise triangle then this move is a piece of cake. As with a lot of one card work in flourishes it looks difficult and complex but is just the opposite.

Backhand Bullet Shot: I feel like a broken record talking about the originality of these moves but each one is a legitimate new concept from what’s been released thus far. Andrei himself says that he’s never seen any other move that launched a card from a packet, on the back of the hand. I was glad to see more bullet work as it’s such a good looking flourish. This move is not as pretty and flashy as the original bullet but that’s not the point. It’s an effective, versatile way to shoot a card off the back of your hand. The mechanics are a lot like the Thumb Propulsion.

Backhand Bullet Shot

Card in Fan (Recovery): We first saw this move as one of the little preview clips Theory 11 posted before Genesis was released. This move is a stylish way to recover from dropping a card. Hell, after you get it down you might drop one a purpose so you can show this to laypeople. The mechanics aren’t hard, but timing them in sync is. Once you can get everything flowing you can increase the distance the card is shot making the move more and more impressive.

Classic: Take the Widthwise Triangle and put it together with the One-Handed Shuffle, and out comes Classic. As Andrei said, he took a common problem people have when first learning a shuffle and turned it into a viable flourish. Inspiration can come from anywhere, even mistakes. When Classic is done instantly it has a nice “pop” to it once the triangle appears. If you’ve got the One-Handed Shuffle down you can already do this move.

Classic

Interlock Deck Split: Yet again, Andrei created his own way to do a common move. The Interlock concept is based on doing something with your fingers laced together, making everything extremely difficult. However, it looks bad-ass. This first video teaches it just as a way to separate the deck in half. The next move does a little more with it, but you can tell Andrei has a whole host of ideas up his sleeve with this one. I feel that Interlock has been the hardest concept to get down on this DVD because it’s a completely new and foreign concept; my hands aren’t used to moving and working that way yet. It looks extremely impressive though and I think it’ll be worth learning for what he has in store with it later.

Interlock Delta Formation: This is just a tease of what the Interlock Concept can look like. The Delta Formation is making a triangle on the back of your hands. It’s basically adding an extra step to the Deck Split. But with just that one extra move it looks even more impossible. It just kills laymen; they don’t believe someone could make a shape on the back of the fingers.

Interlock Delta

Jeff McBride: I always enjoy Guest Submissions on DVDs and this one does not disappoint. Jeff McBride was, for the most part, the creator of once-card twirls and flourishes. He teaches the basic one he uses. If you learned the one card flourish the Virts put out when you subscribed to their mailing list, it’s the same exact mechanics. He teaches a few other ones, as well as cool combinations. These are a great way to enhance your flourishes with a small amount of effort.

ONE Delta: This flourish builds on the ONE concept from the first disc of Genesis. It’s also a cool-looking way to close a Widthwise Triangle. It’s somewhat difficult to keep all three packets balanced and aligned but this goes away with time. ONE Delta shows how versatile Andrei’s concept really is and where you can take it.

ONE Delta

Pseudo Card in Fan: If you love the Card in Fans but can’t seem to get the hang of them, this flourish is perfect for you! Pseudo CIF is quick, visual, and flashy. When you perform it, it appears to have the same mechanics as the original CIF flourishes but in reality is a lot simpler. You also need to have the Bullet Shot from Genesis v1 down to perform Pseudo Card in Fan.

Rain Dance: Rain Dance looks like the child of the Continuous Bullet and the Jones Change rotations. That’s basically what the move is at its core. Doing these two kinds of flourish together and at the right speed creates an infinite sort of look. Timing and rhythm are key here. Definitely a pretty flourish and, if you have already learned bullet, not too difficult.

Rain Dance

Revolving Angel: I really like the idea behind this flourish. Rather than just getting the motions down to make it look good, you need to have style. If you were to perform Revolving Angel without any kind of flair or other movements in it you would look ridiculous, as Andrei points out in the video. So it’s much more about the performer and how that specific person does it rather than copying the same moves as everyone else. I’d love to see more work like this.

Shapeshift Sequence: Easily my favorite flourish on the whole DVD. I first saw this sequence a while back on a YouTube Video Andrei posted and I’ve wanted to learn it ever since. Doing a twirl and making a triangle, then a square, and a second triangle all in a couple seconds is nothing short of incredible. The grips and moves are less than conventional but once your fingers have gotten used to them speed comes quickly. I’ve been practicing it for about two or three days now and go through without any hiccups (usually) and at a decent speed. I hope Genesis v3 offers more with this shape-shifting idea.

Shapeshift Sequence

Stardust: Like a lot of other moves on here, Stardust is a combination of two other flourishes. It’s composed of a card spin through the fingers and Bullet. When you put these two together it flows great and looks like the card is moving of its own accord. If you’ve mastered the two pieces of this one then it should come naturally. I can already see other flourishes where Stardust could fit right in.

Trinity: Back in Genesis v1 Andrei stressed that the alignment of the packets when forming a triangle would be important later on. This is one of those times when it’s important. Trinity is a triangle production. You make one Widthwise Triangle and then strip another one out of it, creating two instantly. It’s extremely visual. Another knacky move but that’s just because it’s a different type of move.

Trinity

Twitter 2.0: This is Twitter from the first volume along with a card shot and some Bullet action. It’s a unique move in the sense that you’re shooting two cards off the deck at the same time. Andrei said that it was discovered by accident; even his accidents are creative. This is definitely a cool move and, yet again, requires prerequisite knowledge from the first disc of Genesis.

Winged Castle: The Winged concept was taught on the first volume and utilized a little bit. This flourish show more of the possibilites Winged can accomplish. To laymen this looks 100% impossible. It seems like your balancing 4 packets of cards on just the edge of your thumb, while also holding a one handed fan. It’s an impressive display as well. Again I think Andrei is going to build on this concept even more in the third installment.

Winged Castle

That’s all of ‘em. After watching this whole thing I’ve become impressed with Andrei’s originality. I wouldn’t even just call it style since he comes up with totally new types of moves that haven’t been seen before. Instead of putting his own twist on existing ideas Andrei just creates his own concepts. The only thing I didn’t like about this disc was the fact that it’s the middle one. The moves in here aren’t quite as cool as the ones released in the first volume, and I’m sure the third one will be even better. Don’t get me wrong, these flourishes are fresh but you can tell this is the in between step. These are setting the stage for what’s to come, and I can see some exciting things over the horizon for Andrei and Genesis. Until then make sure you’re ready by practicing Genesis v2.

Images from T11 & Genesis v2 DVD

Posted: April 7th, 2011
at 12:08pm by Robin Carey


Categories: DVDs,Flourishing,Genesis,Reviews

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Thanks, News, and Other New Things

I want to start this post off by saying Thank you. Yes you, reading this right now. I’ve had an overwhelming response to the reviews in the past couple days. It’s awesome to know that the stuff I put up actually helps you guys out. That’s the whole reason I write these reviews. And if you guys ever have any suggestions, comments, or ideas feel free to say them! We’ve got a few exciting things in store for the site so stay tuned. (Maybe some contests with cool prizes?) Again, thank you guys.

There’s been a couple brand new releases this weekend and Dan and Dave as well as Theory11. The one I’m most excited about are the new Red Bee Stingers! They look incredible and I’m curious to see if the changes Theory 11 made in the stock and finish are noticeable. The first stingers were smooth and durable so if these shouldn’t disappoint. You guys can expect a review for them as soon as I get my hands on a pack.

Bee [red] Stingers

T11 also put out another interesting deck of playing cards, Bicycle Titanium Edition. I have some reservations about these. Don’t get me wrong, they look cool from the pictures and I’m excited to see them in person. I just wonder if the metallic is going to be too subtle and go by unnoticed, just right, or too pronounced and distracting. Knowing Theory11 and the playing cards they produce I’ll bet it’s a good balance. Titanium bicycles seem like a unique looking deck, but still have the sense of familiarity for spectators. Again, check for a review soon.

Bicycle Titanium

Dan & Dave also had some cool new stuff up for grabs on Friday. Papercuts by Chris Hestnes Was their big project. I won’t talk to much about it here, as I did an extensive review of it a few days ago. Check that out if you have any questions about the DVD.

Their other release was some Magic-Con Swag. This including Magic-Con playing cards and the Magic Con programs. If you’re interested in the playing cards they are, sadly, sold out. The programs are still available tough. Very nice booklets with information and some effects/ideas from each presenter. I talked more about them in my Magic-Con Day One post. If you didn’t get to make it there this year, this is your only chance to get one of these.

MC2 Goodies

Well, that’s all I’ve got to say for now. The swamp of new releases should keep us all busy for a while. If new playing cards aren’t enough for you then you could always check out new effects like Twitch or Eclipse. If you guys have any specific products you want reviewed or just want to talk about these, leave a comment. We love to hear what you all have to say!

Images from Theory11 and D&D

Posted: April 3rd, 2011
at 4:07pm by Robin Carey


Categories: Cards,General Artifice,Interesting Tidbits

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