Butterfly Viscaria Blade
Type: Carbon OFF
Composition: 7 ply (Koto, ALC, Limba, Kiri, Limba, ALC, Koto)
Rubbers used with blade: Tenergy 05
What’s going on guys, a month ago I attended the England vs Greece European Qualifying match and caught up with world top 50 player Liam Pitchford. Before the match I got some time with Liam to review the Butterfly Viscaria blade which Liam uses as his blade of choice. The Viscaria has been a very popular blade for a long time, and was made even more famous after London 2012 Olympic Champion Zhang Jike started using it.
The blade sits well in the hand and comes in the standard Butterfly packaging.
The Viscaria is one of first blades that made use of Aralyte Carbon or ALC for short, and has a composition of Koto, ALC, Limba, Kiri, Limba, ALC, Koto.
As such the composition and thickness is exactly the same as the timo boll ALC, with the only difference between the two being the handle and wings of the blade as seen in the photo below:
The wings and the handle on the viscaria are thicker than the Boll ALC. This influences the vibration and sound of the blade which adds a touch more feedback and slightly softer feel than the Boll ALC does.
If we compare the Viscaria construction to the new Tiago Apolonia ZLC, the viscaria uses koto, a harder wood, as the outer layer. This produces a harder impact and makes the blade more stiff than the Apolonia which uses a Limba layer as the outer wood, which is softer creating a softer impact and gives the blade more flex.
The Viscaria blade weighs 90 grams and has a thickness of 5.8mm.
Myself and Liam both use the Viscaria in the review using Butterfly Tenergy 05 Rubbers on both sides of the blade.
My first impressions with the Viscaria blade was that it felt extremely well balanced and that the feeling was exceptional. The Viscaria is a topspin machine and I could feel the crisp large sweet spot right away. As with all the reviews I do with pro’s, it took a little time getting used to the sheer spin and speed that Liam could develop, however with the Viscaria It was less of a learning curve due to the great control and touch this blade gives you.
Liam combines the forehand and backhand topspin with supreme quality. The viscaria’s medium hardness gave me good control whilst also being very responsive and direct when blocking back the shots.
Liam talks about why he moved to the Viscaria. The reason behind his move to the Viscaria blade was due to the new plastic ball having less spin and speed. He felt the Viscaria gave more spin and zip to his play.
When asking Liam what he liked about the Viscaria he noted that it was excellent in the backhand flick department, you can see in the review Liam was able to impart a lot of spin and speed onto the ball whilst maintaining a high level of safety.
Spin - Forehand and backhand open ups
Once liam got in with spin I had absolutely no chance winning the point. The blades dwell really grabs the ball well, producing vast amounts of spin. The advantage with the viscaria is its balance between spinning the ball and playing strong on the 5th and 7th ball attacks.
I gave my best to put as much spin on the ball as possible however the sheer speed of Liam’s counter topspin is insane, once he made the right contact and timing it was almost impossible for me to return. The ball zips off the Viscaria at a tremendous rate but gives just enough dwell time to make counter topspins consistent.
When touching the ball short the viscaria gives you a lot of feedback but not so much that it is overly responsive and uncontrollable and has a nice balance between the two.
Service and return
Service and return is perhaps the most challenging element of the game and the blade performed well in this area. You don't particularly get a lot of dwell time when serving but the blades feeling makes up for this. Here are some examples of serves where we were able to produce a lot of rotation on the ball forcing service return errors from each other.
Top to top
The Arylate carbon in the Viscaria means you can get high end speed but with enough Flex to produce a medium high throw angle increasing the margin for error. Speed wise it is feels just a touch slower than a Timo Boll ALC but slightly faster than the, recently reviewed, Tiago Apolonia ZLC.
We would like to thank Liam Pitchford for his time in helping us review this blade, a fantastic player and a pleasure to play against. The Butterfly Viscaria blade is one of the most popular blades of all time for a reason and after reviewing it, it became clear. The use of Arylate Carbon fibers has been a huge success for Butterfly since it was first used with the Viscarias release in 1993. It is extremely well balanced and provides great feeling and responsiveness. The Viscaria boasts a large sweetspot so almost wherever the ball makes contact with the blade you get a consistent response with good speed.
The dwell time gives you a greater margin for error which helps on producing spin than a more direct blade like the Butterfly T5000 model for example. Due to its high responsiveness and speed, we would recommend the Viscaria to experienced players that want a great, fast offensive, carbon blade.
The blades strengths lie particularly when playing fast aggressive shots and from mid distance to the table where you get to make use of its speed and trajectory.
Players that might not suit this blade are players that prefer a soft touch and less responsiveness. Or for those who prefer an all round or moderately offensive blade which the Viscaria definitely isn't.
After almost 24 years of its initial release the Viscaria is still a popular choice amongst pro players, which is miraculous considering the tech now involved in modern sports equipment. Especially in table tennis where there are now dozens of different materials and compositions used in the blade market.
The Viscaria really is, an all time classic.