Hi All! Since there is little information on this rubber, I will share my initial impressions with you, based on some hours of playtime. These new ultramax series rubbers are the next generaion of rubbers that are truly ment for poly balls. Long time have I seen those flight curves of the balls, reminds me of the old days of celluloid balls. This Bluestorm Z2 is the next big step, which has a 47,5 degree sponge (similar to M series) a non tacky surface. The advantage of this rubber, that it feels softer, than the M1, yet faster. I'm using M1 on my FH for more than a year now, Z2 requires a more forward oriented movement, than M1. Compared to M1, Z2 has a spongy softer feel, faster (half tempo), more contact time, better drop, tad more aggressive, better loop and counterloop. Because of the softer feel I am considering to use it on my backhand too, where I am in debate with M1 or M2. So anyone who loves M1 and M2 and want to play a bit more aggressive, with nearly the same feeling give this rubber a shot. For the JP lovers there is Z1.
UPDATE! Hi All! I have been testing this rubber on both sides for a time now I loved it on FH and BH too, before that I was using Bluefire M1. This rubber is definately faster, than M1, has a bit lower throw in some cases and feels more spongy due to the 2.33 mm thick sponge. I decided to buy another sheet so I use it on FH and BH too. Comparing to the M1 in different strokes: Looping is more dynamic, easily varied and more aggressive, due to the spongy feel riskier highly rewarding shots can be played close and far from the table. Really like FH and BH flicks. Counterlooping is the most notable feature of this rubber as it is very solid and fast. Dropshots are bit tricky, don't do passive blocks always direct the ball with small movements. Counterhits are good as any, the rubber feels a bit spongy, the throw is lower, but stable, the balls don't touch the net. The main DIFFERENCE is this spongy characteristic! Fine touch and passive strokes are harder to get used to, because the balls will fly further than intended. With this rubber you have to be more dedicated to the shot/touch to engage the sponge of the rubber to get the control over your shots. If you just hold your racket passively when handling the ball, you won't get any good results. But when you hit the ball correctly you can feel it sinking in the sponge and can immediately feel the control of your ball. Due to the spongy feeling you may feel like you are playing with the old 40 mm celluloid ball, but with a new 40+ poly. So to describe this rubber I may say that this is an M1 mixed with an Acuda Blue, a Rosena in beast mode, a T05 with more dwelltime and speed. Can recommend it to an allroud looping attacker, not for chopping but pushes are loaded with backspin. Excellent for different looping styles. Speedwise I was playing with a Waldner WC '89 OFF blade with M1, had to put that blade down bacause was not able to hit the ball on the table. Had to go to an OFF- blade to get the same speed. So take note, that this rubber is really one tempo faster!
After few weeks my fine touch shots are quite punctual. I still have some control issues with the rubber on my backhand, some flat hits have to be adjusted. Since last time I adjusted my technique, every ball contact has to be made firm, and the ball needs to dig into the sponge and all shots will be consistent. During fast exchange plays, this will be easy to do, but when opening up the rally or doing some shots in the slow game you have to remember to apply a bit pressure on the ball. So in modern high quality games the rubber is a gem, fast dropshots and fast counterloops and drives. Due to the thicker sponge the rubber mitigates a fair amount of rotation. This was surprizing for me, and had to get used to, even cockier shots land on the other side of the table. Over the table short game is overall good, the spin is vicious even from small movements. The serving is good due to the sponge, there is a lot of time for contact.
Overall this rubber is said to be slower than M1 in the official catalogue, which I do not believe. M1 feels more crispier, harsh, but does not have more tempo. Z2 is a half tempo faster, than M1. Feeling of the rubber is not hard at all, it feels like something between M1 and M2. The ball contact requires good timing and since the ball stays on the racket for a long time, it needs correct technique/brushing/hit. After adjusting to this, I can say, that my balls are loaded with spin, but I am not trying to loop a high spin high arc ball, just normal aggressive loops that are 2-10 cm above the net. My backhand flicks are often misread, because I don't do the full motion, but the ball is loaded with spin. Serves had to be adjusted to the spongy behaviour, but they are fine now just like in case of M1. The grip of the surface rubber is really good, I don't believe they changed it, acts and looks like the M series upper rubber, even ages the same way. Dropshots are flat and I feel the confidence to conterloop or smash kill some high arc loops just off the bounce.
In the first plays I noticed how consistent this rubber can loop, but my other shots were very long or too low. After getting used to the spongy character, i can summarize, that you have to drag the ball with your strokes, bare that in mind and you will get used to this rubber in no time. This rubber is suited for modern allround-offensive looping game with moderate control and touch. Also Z2 rewards more than M1, because with M1 I had to lift the poly ball more, my movements were more vertical, With Z2 they are more horizontal. This way it is easier to estimate the flight curve of the ball.
T05 - Z2 has the same arc when playing over the table, spin is the same, has way more dwelltime, more spongy feel
MX-P - Z2 feels softer, more consistent/better feedback, tad slower, arc is the same when looping further away
M1 - Z2 is tad faster, more spongy feel just like M2, more agressive,
T80 - quite similar, but a bit more spongy, more dwell, better in flat shots
Hope I could help describing this rubber, I use it in ultramax (2,33 mm) both sides.
After testing this rubber thoroughly I can point out some simple yet very definitive statements:
- This rubber is a kind of mix between M (feeling) and Acuda Blue (arc) series
- Loops are flatter than the M series, but stable, this rubber is more forgiving in loops ,than M1
- On power loops the Z2 is a less powerful rubber, than M1
- Collision test was done, topsheet is quite resistant, sponge tears a bit
- The additional boostering of the sponge is not necessary, maybe it helps a bit on flat hits
- Very well suited for modern all out attacking game based on looping and countering
- I became 2-4 points better against higher level players (in 2 months), because of better dropshots and stable loops
- Works well on stiff, nearly-stiff and speed-elastic blades, on spin-elastic blades I have not tested
- After 80 hours of play, the rubber looks used, but I have not noticed any negative effects (except the looks)
- I would recommend an ALC blade or something similar in character
- Bat/hitting angle should be similar to T05, Barracuda
- My final statement: I will stick with it and leave the M1 behind....
I used this on my Butterfly Moonbeam FL(5Ply+2Arylate) blade's forehand side. Although it is harder on paper compared to Tenergies, it doesn't feel that way. 2.3mm is quite thick. Sometimes you don't engage with wood when hitting ball.
Don't expect phenomenal arc of T05 but Arc is good enough to topspin close and under table like T05. Even after you hit, you see the arc which feels quite satisfying. When you topspin with forward moving, you will get T64 effect.
What I don't get is that why on topspin to topspin game, ball sometimes tends to go to net. I am closed to table player (max 2 meters away), so this didn't bother me much.
Flicks are easier after T64 on Timo Boll ALC blade. I don't think same for push or backspin on the table. Maybe if I get used to, I may overcome that.
According to my dealer Tenergy/Bluestorm price ratio is 1.75 now.
I loved this rubber. It feels me like I have super power. I guess I will stick with it
Edit: I am using this rubber on backhand now. It is not like having super powers now But it is quite good on punches, lifting the ball, wide backhand top-side spin, flicks. Maybe tenergy better at those areas too, except fast hitting.