Discussions revolving around sleeving cards are akin to discussing politics or religion in an open forum. I won’t advocate one way or another, as it is a personal choice, but for the sleeving crowd, it’s important that you understand the limitations of our various storage solutions when your cards are sleeved.
Bottom Line: If you sleeve using Ultra Pro Deck Protectors/Standard/Pro Fit, Mayday Premium, or KMC you can stop reading now. Your cards will store fine in any of our inserts and storage chests.
Dragon Shields are great for protection, but they are very wide and tall. In fact, they don’t fit well into any of the inserts we offer other than inserts that use the EXT dividers. This limits their use to the external chests and the ASB-001/ASB-004 insert, although they will just squeeze into the PATH-001 insert for Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and the ASB-002/ASB-003 inserts. There is basically no spare space width-wise if used in the PATH-001 and the ASB-002/ASB-003 inserts. It doesn’t cause the sleeves to bend any, but there is no spare space. These other sleeves mentioned will fit into all of our inserts though.
FFG Standard Card Sleeves are about 1.5mm to tall to fit into the LGC-001 insert. If you attempt to use them, the very top of the sleeve will bend when placed in the card lane of the insert. 🙁
It’s important that you understand the LGC-001, DOM-001, Summoner Wars Insert, and TRAIN-001 are all constrained to the absolute minimum amount of card space due to the size of the boxes. All other inserts have wider card lanes. Another important thing to consider is that sleeve size actually varies within the brand lines depending on a number of uncontrollable manufacturer variables. While sleeving thousands of LOTR cards, I have noted some packages of Ultra Pro deck Protectors that had slightly wider sleeves. Expect some variation within a line of sleeves. At least within Ultra Pro, I have noticed very little, but your mileage may vary. In general though, the previously mentioned brands should serve you well across all of our inserts and chests.
FFG Standard and Euro sleeves (the largest sleeves we have found) fit fine into all of the ASB inserts and the EXT chests.
How Many Cards Can You Store?
Let’s take a quick look at sleeve thickness and its affect on an insert’s storage capacity.
KMC Perfect Size: .091mm thick
Mayday Premium: .18mm thick
Ultra Pro Deck Protectors: .22mm thick
Dragon Shield: .24mm thick
FFG Standard: .21mm thick
The thickness of your sleeve will affect how many cards you can store in one of our inserts. While cards vary in thickness, let’s consider an Android Netrunner card. My digital caliper measures the thickness of the card at .28mm. If you sleeve the card with an Ultra Pro, its thickness almost doubles to .52mm on the side seam. The same card in a Mayday Premium measures .48mm. Note that the sealed edges of a sleeve can actually make the card + sleeve slightly thicker due to the heat sealed edge creating a slight lip.
Now consider a 300mm card lane. If you sleeve using Mayday Premium, you can store ~625 cards. If you sleeve using Ultra Pro Deck Protectors, you can store ~588 cards. If you don’t sleeve, you can store ~1071 cards. You can clearly see how the sleeve you choose will impact your storage capacity. Also, keep in mind that card thickness varies. Dominion cards, for example, are .3mm thick, which means you will store less Dominion cards. On the other hand, Agricola cards in America measure .25mm! Finally, every acrylic divider you place in a card lane costs 2.286mm of space, which is the equivalent of 7-8 unsleeved cards.
How can you determine how many cards you can store in your insert? First, determine how much card storage space your insert has. In this case, I will assume you are using a LGC-001 insert (847.5mm).
# of cards you can store in an insert = (847.5 – (2.286 * number of acrylic dividers used)) / total card thickness
Next, determine your card thickness. If you don’t have a digital caliper, .3mm is a pretty safe estimate for the average card, unsleeved. Next, add the thickness of your chosen sleeve. This value is your total card thickness. For our example, I will assume a Netrunner card (.28mm) and an Mayday Premium sleeve (.18mm), but I will add .02mm as a safety margin. So, with card thickness solved:
# of cards you can store in an insert = (847.5 – (2.286 * number of acrylic dividers used)) / .48
Next, multiply the number of dividers you estimate you will need (15 in this example) by 2.286 and subtract this value from your total available card lanes space.
# of cards you can store in an insert = (847.5 – (2.286 * 15)) / .48 and solve for the number of cards you can store in your insert:
# of cards you can store in an insert = (847.5 – (34.29)) / .48
# of cards you can store in an insert = (813.21) / .48
# of cards you can store in an insert = 1694.1875
or 1694 cards sleeved with Mayday premium sleeves and using 15 acrylic dividers. That’s it. Using this simple formula you can determine the number of inserts or chests you will need to store any collection.