Air-Cushion? Or something better?

March 23rd, 2011 | Jason Brumbalow | Filed Under General

As of late, there has been much debate about the Ellusionist Playing cards now touting the “Air-Cushion” finish label as forced by the legal team of US Playing Card. Some say that the Air-Cushion finish feels different in performance, or is inferior to it’s predecessor, the UV500 Air-Flow finish. In reality, the differences are so minor to detect, yet the debate rages on….

What do I say? Being the guy who actually works side by side with the US Playing Card’s Research and Development department daily, I say, let’s put this one to bed by trying out our latest round of Ellusionist decks printed at USPC.

Before we go any further, it’s important to know what’s going on with USPC, so if you need to catch up, I suggest reading this post in it’s entirety:

Everything you wanted to know about USPC & Ellusionist, but were afraid to ask.

All schooled up? Groovy. Now onward… as you’ve read, no matter what finish we design for our playing cards, USPC has forced Ellusionist and many other card makers out there to use the “Air-Cushion Finish” label if the decks are displaying what type of finish it has.

Given that, we have worked with USPC extensively over the past 6 months to design what we , behind the scenes, call the “Performance Coating”. This finish was designed for a very special project that I can’t talk about….yet. PC is one of the best finishes we have ever felt on ANY deck of cards, hands down. Yet, we are still bound by USPC to print “Air-Cushion Finish” on the box. Do’h!

So, how do we put this to the test? By your feedback. Some decks are ALREADY out there with the new veneer on them….

If you have purchased the Bicycle Shadow Masters deck or the Arcane Black deck within the past month, you’ll be able to feel the new “Performance Coating” . If you think you loved the UV500, and have bought one of these decks in the past 30 days, I call you to tell us what you think….

The decks currently in stock with the performance Coating:

Bicycle Shadow Masters

Arcane Black deck

Arcane White deck

Vintage 1800 Series Deck (RED)


  1. Jason….FYI it’s “bated” breath….

    all the best.

  2. Will there be anything on the tuck boxes to show that it’s the new finish, even if it doesn’t say so? How can we tell the new PV from the pre-PV decks?

  3. Sean Skyhawk on:

    Maybe all the ellusionist cards would soon be printed with this finish:

    “PV Air Cushion Finish”

    Just sayin’

  4. Jason Brumbalow on:

    Ah… thanks for the correction

    No, there will probably not be any indicator to the PV. (But I’m shaking some cages over there to make this happen)

  5. sabin anderson on:

    so will there be new decks that have the PV finish on them?

  6. There’s only a minute difference between Air-Cushion and UV500 Air-flow? Personally, I like the UV500 FAR more than the Traditional Air-Cushion. It lasts much longer, it feels so much smoother (to me). After buying my first ghost deck, traditional bicycles feel inferior. Any one who just plays cards wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, but for doing slights, the UV500 is 10x better to use.. of course that’s just a personal opinion though.

  7. logan brown on:

    I understand that if youre going to do something you want to do it with the best materials available. However if your performance is affected because of the finish on the cards youre using, then the problem isn’t your cards. Its you. If you practice enough then it won’t matter what type of cards you use.

  8. True, but many performers who have practiced and are ‘top notch’ as they say, and would like to add some ‘shiz-az’ to their performance by purchasing custom cards (at Ellusionist – why would you buy elsewhere?), then paying $6.99 for a fancy ‘looking’ deck doesn’t cut it – they need to not only handle well but to also be durable.

    Better finish = Durable and Butter like finish.

    Plus you are getting some well designed great looking cards!!

  9. Not sure if my deck has the new PV finish or not but, fact is that I recently bought a Shadow Masters and I usualy use a black marker on the edges of my black decks and this last one kept slipery while all others I had to manipulate them alot before they get the “new deck feeling” again. If so then I congratulate you guys on that. I’ve been using my new deck alot for the past 2 weeks and it keeps as a new one.

  10. ive purchased most of the decks available on ellusionist. i have to say that so far, the deck with the most appealing finish ive worked with extensively is the white ghost deck. although, i have lacked in my use of most of the others, i admit this is a somewhat bias testimony.

  11. how about he tally ho viper deck…
    at the past it used the uv 500 air flow and make it better than the linoid vinish…
    and the prices of the viper deck is 2x higher..
    but now it’s sems to used the air cushion…

    the original tally ho is used the linoid vinish…
    isn’t funy…??

  12. So does that mean a deck with a UV500 AIR-FLOW FINISH printed on the box(unopened)will be valuable or going to be a collector’s item years from now? If that’s the case then I have to purchase and use the NEW FINISH decks instead of the several decks that I have.(All with UV500 AIRFLOW FINISH on them. Unopened)

  13. Available again: Warehouse stocked with White Arcanes | Online Magic News – Ellusionist Street Magic Blog on:

    […] also some extra somethin’-somethin’ on these new Arcanes. The same Performance Coating on the black Arcanes and Shadow Masters is now on the white Arcanes. You are going to love how these feel. We think they will make you stop […]

  14. i just bought shadow masters with air cushion finish … unfortunately did not get my hands on the uv500 … but judging from the videos that i watched … uv500 is way better than the current …

  15. I recently bought a regular white ghost deck from a magic suplier in the UK, on the box it says: Air Cushion finish, before I bought that deck, I always had standard rider back cards, but I feel a little difference with the white ghost deck, it’s somewhat smoother… Also, from the same store, I bought the ghost gaff deck, that box claims to be the UV500 Airflow finish. And I must say the difference is huge! It almost seems like every single card floats on the card below it :-)
    But if I have to say wich one is the best for performance, I just can’t answer that. They’re equals to me. I haven; t used those new decks a lot yet, so I can’t say wich one is most durable. Conclusion: Whatever finish they have, the one that turns out to be the most durable will get my preference… not the one that has the best “flow”.

  16. Will the red artifice decks have PC coating??

  17. I ordered my shadow masters a week ago if it says air-coushin finish does that mean i dont have the new preformence coating?
    Please help me out.

  18. Just got my hands on the shadow masters performance finish deck!

    i think it’s amazing, better than air-cushion finish.
    it feels esay and smooth but not slippery like air-cusion. I like it a lot.
    I’m so glad i got it.
    it’s kind of funny but it doesn’t have the barcode… is it something new? or some of them just don’t have them?
    oh and the ellusionist logo is different!