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Deck Box Review ($5 - $10 Dual / Twin / Double Edition)


Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Monster Protectors Double Deck Box
  3. Max Protection Double Deck Box
  4. Ultra Pro Duel Deck Box Combo Pack
  5. Ultra Pro Oversized Deck Box
  6. Ultra Pro Pro Dual Deck Box
  7. Ultimate Guard Twin 160+ and BCW Tandem Deck Case
  8. Meta-Discussion
  9. Awards

Introduction

Dual deck boxes are odd. They're far less common than the typical single deck box, so it seems fair to ask the question, "what is the purpose of these boxes?" Why would someone want to buy two deck boxes in one, instead of two single deck boxes? After testing, exploring, and reviewing these boxes, I'm still not completely sure of the answer. Given that many dual deck boxes hold odd numbers of cards that don't seem to be strongly associated with the number of cards in a Magic deck, it seems that, at least with most of these dual deck boxes, the purpose isn't to hold two decks (and if that is the purpose, these boxes don't do their job very well). 

My best explanation is that these dual deck boxes are slightly misnamed. They don't hold two complete decks, they hold one deck, plus some your sideboard, some random tokens, and dice and whatever other accessories you want to throw in them. In this light, dual deck boxes make much more sense.

Regardless of their purpose, today we have seven different dual deck boxes to test, each costing between $5 and $10. How many cards fit single sleeved? What about double sleeved? How comfortably do the cards fit? Is the box durable? How many art options are there and how durable is the artwork itself? What happens if you drop it, or shake it, or scratch it? Can you easily get the cards into (and out of) the box? 

After testing, we ranked several characteristics of each box on a scale of one to ten and handed out an overall grade. Finally, we wrap up with some meta-comments about the group as a whole, hand out some awards, and make some recommendations. So, basically, today you are going to learn everything you could possibly want to know about dual deck boxes. 

Monster Protectors Double Deck Box

Cost: $9.95.

Fit: Single Sleeved - 80 (each side), 160 (total). Double Sleeved - 65 (each side), 130 (total). 

Special Features: Magnetic lock. 

Styles: Comes in nine different solid colors. 

Aesthetics: 7/10 Simple, solid color design featuring the Monster Protectors logo on the front. For some reason, the Monster logo doesn't bother me as much as some others, probably because it is more interesting than the plain text logo used by other companies. Overall it looks pretty sharp. 

Durability (Box): 5/10. The box itself seems strong and supple (unlike some more brittle feeling boxes) and passed all the tests with ease. I wouldn't have any concerns about the box breaking or failing to protect my cards, assuming the cards stay inside. 

Durability (Art): 7/10. The white lettering will fade and scratch off, but thankfully there isn't all that much of it, so normal wear and tear is far less obvious than on art boxes. The rest of the box seems fairly durable. While it will scratch up a little bit, the wavy, ridge design of the box naturally hides small imperfections unless they happen to catch the light just right. 

Easy of Access: 7/10. In essence, the Monster Protectors Double Deck Box is two open topped deck boxes placed inside one larger box. As a result, you can pull either (or both) boxes out of the larger box, which makes it relatively easy to access your deck. When you have the boxes stuffed full it can be difficult to get the cards out without removing the individual boxes, but this really didn't seem like much of a hassle. 

Drop Test: 2/10. The magnet charged with holding close the box doesn't appear to be very strong. When dropped from table height, the box opens every single time (although in fairness, the cards do not always fall out)

Shake Test: 2/10. Same issue as with the drop test: the magnet is just too weak. In reality, I didn't get to perform much of a shake test; simply holding the box upside down and moving it slightly is enough to make the decks come falling out all over the place. 

Summary: This box is a tale of the good and the bad. The good new is, the box looks nice, has a design which naturally hides wear and tear (so it will still look nice months down the road), and seems fairly durable. The bad news is two-fold. First, the magnet sucks. I wouldn't trust this magnet to hold an expired pizza coupon on my fridge, let alone protect an expensive Magic deck. Because of this, it is just far too easy for cards to come flying out of the box, which has potential to cause significant damage. Second, you can't fit a 75 card, double-sleeved deck in either of the two individual deck boxes, which makes me wonder what the point of spending $10 on a double deck box is. I mean, if I want a box that only holds a single double-sleeved deck, why buy a double? I guess you can put your main deck in one side and your sideboard, dice and tokens in the other, but still. I was expecting this box to hold two decks, and it doesn't. If you are a single sleever, it is probably fine since you can fit 80 cards in each side. But I certainly wouldn't plan on using this box to hold an expensive Legacy deck (or two). I wanted to give this box a higher rating because my first impression of it was solid and I like how it looks, but these two issue are too much to overcome. 

Overall Rating: 4/10. 

Cost Aesthetics Box Durability Art Durability Ease of Access Drop Test Shake Test Overall Rating
$9.95 7 7 5 5 2 2 4

Monster Protector Double Deck Box on Amazon.com

Max Protection Double Deck Box

Cost: $9.49

Fit: Single Sleeved - 80 (each side), 160 (total). Double Sleeved - 65 (each side), 130 (total). 

Special Features: Three card dividers, two removable inner deck boxes, magnetic top. 

Styles: Two art designs (ninja and ambush).

Aesthetics: 7/10. Featuring a glossy black finish and a minimalistic design (ninja on the front and back, grey Max Protection logo on both sides), the box actually looks pretty sharp. The topless inner boxes are a matching glossy black with the Max Protection logo, and you get a goofy "hello my name is" magnetic strip on the inner top. 

Durability (Box): 5/10. The box itself seems strong and supple (unlike some more brittle feeling boxes) and passed all the tests with ease. I wouldn't have any concerns about the box breaking or failing to protect my cards, assuming the cards stay inside. 

Durability (Art): 9/10. The material used to make the box seems fairly scratch resistant, and even if you do get some little dings, the are mostly hidden by the black finish. However, finger prints can be an issue. It doesn't take much handling for the box to start looking dirty under direct light. 

Easy of Access: 7/10. In essence, the Max Protection Double Deck Box is two open topped deck boxes place inside one larger box. As a result, you can pull either (or both) boxes out of the larger box, which makes it relatively easy to access your deck. When you have the boxes stuffed full, it can be difficult to get the cards out without removing the individual boxes, but this really didn't seem like much of a hassle. 

Drop Test: 2/10. I'm starting to really dislike the magnetic top on double deck boxes. The weight of 140 cards is just too much for the poor magnet to handle, so it doesn't take much for your cards to go flying everywhere. 

Shake Test: 2/10. Same issue as with the drop test; the magnet is just too weak. In reality, I didn't get to perform much of a shake test: simply holding the box upside down and moving it slightly is enough to make the decks come falling out all over the place.

Summary: This box is almost exactly the same as the Monster Protectors Double Deck Box, the only difference is the glossy finish and a ninja replacing the Monster logo on the front. As such, it scores very similarly. However, just like the Monster Box, it's hard to give the Max Protect Double Deck Box a high overall score because the magnet doesn't do a good job of holding in the cards and (in what is becoming the theme of this article), you can't fit a full, double-sleeved deck in either side. 

Overall Rating: 4/10.

Cost Aesthetics Box Durability Art Durability Ease of Access Drop Test Shake Test Overall Rating
$9.99 7 5 9 7 2 2 4

Max Protection Double Deck Box on Amazon.com

Ultra Pro Duel Deck Box Combo Pack

Cost: $10.99

Fit: Single Sleeved - 82 (each side), 164 (total). Double Sleeved - 70 (each side), 140 (total). 

Special Features: Two complete deck boxes, matching card dividers.

Styles: Released twice a year alongside and featuring art from the Duel Deck series. 

Aesthetics: 7/10. As with other Ultra Pro products, the main allure here is getting official Magic: the Gathering art. You also get write-in strips, not only on the large, outer box, but on both individual boxes as well. 

Durability (Box): 5/10. In essence, this product is two low-end Ultra Pro Deck boxes inside another, larger Ultra Pro box made of the same material. If you always carry the smaller boxes inside the large box, you get an extra layer of protection. But the durability of the boxes themselves is similar to other low-end Ultra Pro offerings: good enough to protect your cards from normal wear and tear, but not much more. 

Durability (Art): 3/10. Unfortunately, the Duel Deck Box Combo Pack is not immune to the problem all inexpensive art boxes face. Namely, it doesn't take all that much for the artwork to scratch, fade or otherwise wear off, leaving the boxes looking old and run down. 

Easy of Access: 6/10. We need to handle this one in two parts. First, it is fairly easy to get the cards themselves in and out of the individual deck boxes, both of which are the typical Ultra Pro hinged design with a cut away at the back for easy finger access. Unfortunately, it isn't all that easy to get the deck boxes in and out of the larger, outer deck box. Unlike the Monster Double Deck Box, which goes with a topless design for the inner boxes, with the Duel Deck Box Combo Pack you get two full deck boxes. The problem is, when trying to get the boxes into the larger box, the lid rims often catches on the edge of the box, so it sometimes takes a bit of effort to complete the process. 

Drop Test: 8/10. The inner boxes perform just like other low-end Ultra Pro deck boxes. If dropped, the top will become loose, but doesn't typically open far enough for any cards to fall out. If you are going with the boxs-inside-the-box plan, it will be close to impossible for any cards to hit the floor. The larger box does a fairly good job of staying tightly closed when dropped, and even if it opens, the inner boxes provide a second layer of protection. 

Shake Test: 3/10. Much like the drop test, the outer box does a good job of staying closed when shaken upside down, however the individual boxes fly open quite easily. 

Summary: First off, what is it with these "dual deck boxes" not fitting a 75 card double-sleeved deck in each half? What is the purpose of letting people fit 70 or 72 cards, but not 75, the most important number for playing tournament Magic? If you are buying this combo pack, it is likely because you want a deck box featuring the art of the latest Duel Deck. While it is cool that you get three complete deck boxes (two normal sized boxes and the oversized outer box, which you could use to hold oversized Commander cards or Vanguards), I'm questioning the value. Although this is the only way to get deck boxes featuring Duel Deck art, you can buy a regular Ultra Pro art box for around $2.50, so you end up paying $5.50 for the oversized outer box. If you can make use of the oversized box (for holding cards, dice or whatever) and you really love that Duel Deck art, this might be the box for you, otherwise there are better options available. 

Overall Rating: 3/10.

Cost Aesthetics Box Durability Art Durability Ease of Access Drop Test Shake Test Overall Rating
$10.99 7 5 3 6 8 3 3

Ultra Pro Duel Deck Box Combo Pack

Ultra Pro Oversized Deck Box

Cost: $4.99

Fit: Single Sleeved - 40 (each side), 80 (total). Double Sleeved - 35 (each side), 70 (total). Plus oversized cards/dice/supplies in the back compartment.

Special Features: None.

Styles: One color (solid black).

Aesthetics: 5/10. Looks like the other inexpensive Ultra Pro offerings: name plastered all over the top and sides, one write-in strip on the top. While I like solid color boxes and the flat black looks fairly nice, having no other color options available is disappointing. 

Durability (Box): 5/10. Basically a larger version of the basic Ultra Pro Deck Box, I would expect the performance to be about the same: good enough for everyday use, but nothing special or spectacular. 

Durability (Art): 7/10. Will show some scratches and the lettering will fade, but should age well. 

Easy of Access: 6/10. Typically not a big problem, but on occasion you'll end up grabbing the plastic divider instead of your cards, especially when the oversized back part of the box isn't full of cards. 

Drop Test: 2/10. For some reason, the oversize Ultra Pro boxes are less likely to pop open when dropped than the smaller versions. However, the design of the box causes another problem. In essence, this is one large box, with a flimsy, removable divider splitting it up into two front sections designed to hold 35 or 40 (depending on sleeving) normal sized cards, and an extra long back section designed to hold oversized cards (but could be used to hold other supplies as well). The problem with this design is that the divider isn't strong enough to keep the standard sized card in their place, and the ones to the front tend to move back and forth, basically mixing the decks together. This could be especially problematic if you end up playing an illegal deck at a tournament because your deck box moved it around while in your back pack. 

Shake Test: 2/10. The box will open when shaken hard enough, but again, the bigger problem is mixing. 

Summary: I simply don't understand this deck box. First off, why create a divider that only allows 35 double-sleeved cards in each side? Not only can this not hold a constructed deck, but it can't hold a limited deck either. Second, while holding oversized cards is cool, the only format where people might play these cards is in Commander, where you need a 100 card deck, which you can't fit in this deck no matter how hard you try. I keep feeling like I'm missing something, because the numbers just feel so odd, like there must be some 35 card, Vanguard format out there that I've never heard of. 

Basically, if you can make use of a deck box that is designed to hold 35 (or 40, single sleeved) card in one side, 35 (or 40) card in the other side and a bunch of oversized cards in the back, this box is probably perfect. I just can't imagine there are many players that want a box with this capacity. 

Overall Rating: 3/10.

Cost Aesthetics Box Durability Art Durability Ease of Access Drop Test Shake Test Overall Rating
$4.99 5 5 7 6 2 2 3

Ultra Pro Oversized Deck Box on Amazon.com

Ultra Pro Pro-Dual Deck Box

Cost: $4.99

Fit: Single Sleeved - 90 (each side), 180 (total). Double Sleeved - 75 (each side), 150 (total). 

Special Features: Comes with two matching card dividers and a velcro top. 

Styles: Comes in eight solid colors. 

Aesthetics: 7/10. Standard Ultra Pro solid color look. Has Ultra Pro branding on front and both sides, and dual write-on strips on the front. 

Durability (Box): 5/10. Made from the same material as other inexpensive Ultra Pro deck boxes, the flip-open-flat design minimizes the "hinge" problem, which gives the Pro-Dual a slight edge in durability. Otherwise it is solid but unspectacular.

Durability (Art): 7/10. The white lettering will fade and scratch off, but the rest of the solid color box seems pretty durable. Doesn't show fingerprints like some glossier designs, and while it does show scratches, they typically are not too visible unless under direct light. 

Easy of Access: 9/10. The Pro-Dual design is different from the designs we have reviewed so far. Instead of accessing the two deck boxes from the top, you set the box on the table and flip it open, revealing two deck boxes (one horizontal, one vertical). Both feature the trademark Ultra Pro cut away, so no matter how full you stuff it you can get a solid grip on your cards. Plus, the flip design means you don't have to deal with the messy and restrictive hinge system which can make accessing other boxes a pain. Overall, one of the easiest designs to access. 

Drop Test: 4/10. While magnetic tops have consistently proven to be problematic, velcro tops almost guarantees a good grade on the drop test. The top did open once. In fact, I was feeling so confident in this design that I tried dropping it a bit higher, the equivalent of holding it under my arm while walking. This was apparently a bad idea, because on the very first drop it landed on a corner, shattered the plastic and breaking several of the rivets holding everything together. Still, it isn't fair to mark off too many points for this, since I expect it is more a case of bad luck than the norm. 

Shake Test: 9/10. Velcro tops equal your cards not falling out when you pick up the box upside down, even if you shake it. .

Summary: Most importantly, hats off to Ultra Pro for making a dual deck box that actually holds two double-sleeved decks. You would think that this would be the standard, but apparently it is not. This is the first deck box to achieve this modest goal. Even apart from its storage capacity, this box is really solid. Yes, it had a hiccup with the high-drop test, but otherwise the combination of a scratch resistant finish, a velcro top, easy to access design, eight color options and a reasonable price makes it easy to recommend the Ultra Pro Pro-Dual Deck Box if you are looking to store two decks in the same box. 

Overall Rating: 8.5/10.

Cost Aesthetics Box Durability Art Durability Ease of Access Drop Test Shake Test Overall Rating
$4.99 7 4 7 9 4 9 8.5

Ultra Pro Pro-Dual Deck Box on Amazon.com

Ultimate Guard Twin 160+ and BCW Tandem Deck Case

Cost: $5.20 - $5.50

Fit: Single Sleeved - 100 (each side), 200 (total). Double Sleeved - 80 (each side), 160 (total). 

Special Features: Comes with two matching card dividers.

Styles: Come in several different solid color options.

Aesthetics: 7/10. I decided to write about these two boxes together because they are almost exactly the same (and also very similar to the Ultra Pro-Dual Pro, which got its own heading thanks to the velcro top). As far as looks, both boxes are solid color designs. I think BCW's offering looks slightly better thanks to their dragon head logo, but it's really a matter of personal preference. Nothing flashy, but solid. 

Durability (Box): 5/10. One thing I've noticed about all three of these boxes is that, after getting dropped a few times, the rivets that hold the box together start to break. While I don't think this would happen if the boxes were not dropped, protecting for "worst case" scenarios is one of the main reasons to buy a deck box. If you can trust it will hold up to a fall, what's the point? This said, an occasional drop shouldn't be all that problematic, unless it happens to land in just the wrong way (on the corner) in which case a single drop can be fatal, as we saw with the Ultra Pro Pro-Dual.   

Durability (Art): 7/10. Lettering will scratch away, otherwise the boxes shoulnd't show too much wear and tear, even after significant use. 

Easy of Access: 7/10. Designed with the same "flip open, sit flat" design as the Ultra Pro Pro-Dual, there is one issue with the BCW and Ultimate Guard versions that make it harder to access cards. Instead of a velcro top, these boxes rely on an extra long wrap around top to hold the box shut. This leads to some overhang when the box is opened, which makes it a bit more difficult to get the cards out. 

Drop Test: 5/10. Repeated dropping will eventually break the rivets holding the box together, but the wrap around top does a good job of keeping the box from coming opened. 

Shake Test: 9/10. As far as being picked up upside down and shaken around, the wrap around top design seems to hold up equally well compared to a velcro top. It doesn't even move, let alone lose cards. 

Summary: Like the Ultra Pro Pro-Dual, both of these boxes get major props for fitting two full double sleeved decks. In fact, both of these boxes hold slightly more cards than the Ultra Pro build, which is nice if you have some tokens or extras, or if you are an EDH player, because either will hold 100 single sleeved cards. However, both of these boxes come in behind the Ultra Pro build because the wrap-around top makes it harder to access the cards. Otherwise, there really isn't too much different between the boxes. 

Overall Rating: 7.5/10.

Cost Aesthetics Box Durability Art Durability Ease of Access Drop Test Shake Test Overall Rating
$5.00-$5.50 7 5 7 7 5 9 7.5

Ultimate Guard Twin 160+ on Amazon.com
BCW Tandem Deck Case on Amazon.com

Meta-Discussion

  • I have no idea why anyone would make (or buy) a double deck box that does not hold two full, doubled sleeved deck. Seriously, what's the point, especially if you are paying $10. You could buy a nicer mid-tier deckbox for the same price. 
  • Double deck boxes seem to have a natural disadvantage because they hold twice as many cards. This amps up the weight they are carrying and makes it more likely they will break when dropped. 
  • Magnetic tops are horrible on double deck boxes. The magnets are just not strong enough to hold the cards in under even the slightest stress. 
  • In many cases, these deck boxes are similar in material and finish to the low-end ($2-$3) deck boxes. The main difference is they're bigger. 
  • In all honesty, since the price is comparable (or something even more), I'm really unsure why a typical player would buy a double deck box over two single deck boxes. There just doesn't seem like there is that much to gain, especially when you consider that — in almost every case — two single deck boxes will hold more cards and be less likely to break than a double deck box. 

Awards

Best in Class: Ultra Pro Pro-Dual Deck Box. Fits two double-sleeved cards? Check. Solid color design that is resistant to scratches? Check. The only dual deck box with a velcro top? Check. Competitive price? Check. While I still think buying two single deck boxes is generally better than one dual, if you really want a dual, the Ultra Pro Pro-Dual Deck Box is the clear winner, despite its trouble in the drop test. 

Best for Commander: Ultimate Guard Twin 160+ and BCW Dual Deck Case. These two are the only dual deck boxes that can fit two 100 card Commander/EDH decks (single sleeved). Better yet, both can be had for just a little over $5. So if you are looking to carry around multiple commander decks at once, either of these is a fine option. However, because they won't fit two double sleeved decks, these are probably better for low-end and mid-tier commander decks. If you are walking around with a $5,000 pimped out EDH deck, do yourself a favor and splurge for a box that costs more than $5. But for the average EDH player, these boxes are solid. 

Best Looking: Monster Dual Deck Box and Max Protection Double Deck Box. While this really comes down to personal preference, the Max Protection box offers a sleek design and doesn't clutter up the box with branding. For a solid colored box, Monster takes the cake, having a nice, scratch hiding textured finish, the minimalist Monster logo, and nine different color options.

Don't Buy Me: Ultra Pro Oversized Deck Box. The design of this box makes my brain hurt. It holds such a random (and small) number of cards in each compartment that I can't see it being much use to a typical player. If you want a box for oversized cards, buy the Ultra Pro Duel Deck series and use the outer box for the oversized cards and the two inner boxes for your standard sized cards. 

Best Value: Ultra Pro Pro-Dual Deck Box. Not only is the "best in class" of the dual deck box category, it is also the least expensive at $4.99. Win, win. 

Tiers

Tier One: Ultra Pro Pro-Dual Deck BoxUltimate Guard Twin 160+ and BCW Dual Deck Case.
Tier Two: Ultra Pro Dual Deck Box Combo Pack.
Tier Three: Monster Protectors Double Deck Box, Ultra Pro Oversized Deck Box, Max Protection Double Deck Box


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