DHS W968 review

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Oct 2018
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Let me start with a story again, since nothing can kill a good story. (or how was it in GoT?) Christmas was here so my girlfriend wanted to give me a gift. In the past, I was kinda torn to get a W968 provincial but in the end, it never materialized. Now she insisted that she will get me one, and actually now I was probably the most against it due to several reasons. One is that I was pleased with my Joola ZQ S-ALC blade and didn't particularly believe a W968 would be much better.
I had a Fang Bo 2 carbon and still have a Fang Bo 2X, I know how they play so I was a bit worried about my BH, to be honest. The Fang Bo blades are not particularly crisp, especially since the normal FB2 vibrates a lot. I actually liked them quite a bit since I like DHS blade quality, their headshape is better for me than BTY, I actually quite liked the Fang Bo handles, normally I wouldn't since it's thin and flat, but I really liked them. Anyways both blades' backhand side is kinda meh, not crisp, kinda slow, and holds the ball back a lot. I used them with Vega Asia on the BH in the past, which was a good combo with them.
Anyway, my girlfriend got in touch with Gan and asked to buy one W968 provincial and in the end, she bought 4 since I told her I can probably shift the other 3 in Europe this way the shipping cost per blade is better too.


More pics of my blade

When I received the blades at first glance they don't look much different from commercial blades. My normal Fang Bo 2 by look had a nicer-looking top limba ply, while the FB2X a worse. But then I noticed that the handle is very different from other DHS blades, it's much fatter. I like it fatter. On even closer inspection I thought my blade doesn't even have an ayous core. Ayous has very visible holes in it. I guess these are some water channels for the tree. But the core of these W968 has very small holes and the number of holes is much fewer than on other blades with ayous core. The 2nd layer is also ayous, which has on all blades a normal amount of holes. Really these are the only differences I saw by looking.
If you expect the W968 pro to have perfectly sanded/milled/sawed carbon at the edge of the blade you better chase away this dream, they literally look like the cheap DHS blades and you can see some strands hanging out. I don't particularly care about this tho, since it doesn't impact the performance.

Some forum members have asked me to write my opinion of the blade. I appreciate the interest, dare I say someone valuing my opinions/ramblings.
It's really hard to be objective about something that I like, and as much as I try I think I mostly fail miserably. (in my opinion)

Let's start with backhand:
Oh, Zwill is mad? Talking about a W968's backhand from the start when it is said that it's not for BH-oriented players, more like for FH pivoters? If you want BH use Viscaria like every sane person!!1!
LIARS! Well, liars if they used real W968 and not just HL5 or Fang Bo carbon blades. Actually, I can't really remember how HL5 feels like since I only tried one briefly.
But, I will say the backhand was the most impressive thing about this blade as my first impression. On my first try, I glued a blue V15 Extra on BH. Now I quite like the V15 extra for BH, I used it before on my ZQ S-ALC but not the blue. I don't like the blue one, it's hard, deadish, not as grippy as the black, doesn't bite the ball as much, and has much less catapult. It's also significantly heavier. 53g for the blue while 49g for the black cut to the same size.
Anyways I used this since I didn't wanna take of the MX-S from the ZQ SALC.
W968 is fast on BH, and shockingly crisp. I was kinda like a deer staring at the headlights on my first hits and just couldn't understand what is happening. I had expectations due to the Fang Bo blades (and to some extent due to the Innerforce ZLC I used before) and my expectations were dismissed immediately.
W968 has a fair amount of catapult built in the blade and I can only "blame" the very dense core it has. Once the ball hits down to the core the blade is just so nice. It is not particularly hard to hit down on the core either, the blade wants that, and it invites me to do it as much as possible.
This made me change the blue V15 extra to my MX-S since the blue V15 is not a very good rubber. MX-S has a shorter and more curvy trajectory compared to V15 extra. It's more spinny, but it's a bit more difficult to handle, I mean you can't do half-assed hits with it. If you do that the topsheet won't grip the ball well and the ball will fall into the net. MX-S on FH where giving enough momentum is normally not an issue is very like a T05, probably the most T05-like rubber from ESN, however on BH where giving enough momentum is not always trivial can act like a D80, it feels harder. Anyways I got the hang of MX-S tonight (2nd training with it) and it's good, however due to the short trajectory and high arc of the rubber I think it is not very suitable for W968.
W968 has a catapult effect, but also naturally makes the ball arc more than a Viscaria type blade. My ZQ S-ALC shoots the ball more forward it doesn't lift or arc the ball nearly as much as W968, and with that blade the MX-S makes more sense.
I think with W968 T64 type of rubbers on BH are the way to go. Now I know that is not a very popular type of rubber and so not many clones exist.
V15 extra is not a clone but close enough, MX-P is probably a good option, Rakza 9??? I never tried, but that should be a T64 clone as well.
When I started to play with Chinese gear a Chinese coach told me a good setup is HL5 blade, H3N39 OS and Vega Asia. So I have Vega Asia incoming for my BH which is also a T64 clone. Vega Asia is light too, like 46-7g cut if I remember well, that is 3-4g lighter than the previously mentioned rubbers.
This way the blade has a natural ball lifting ability and Vega Asia is easy to handle since the top rubber sheet is softer than T05 clones, and Vega Asia is quite fast too. I suppose no wonder Chinese are using H3 on the backhand which also has a flat trajectory.
Blocking is so stable guys, like I said it's crisp and just stable as hell. Can't wish for more.

Okay, forehand:
Yeah, it's good. Do I need more explanation? I only tried it with a Young Shine Dingtian rubber at 40deg. (Falco boosted) Basically, this rubber is very similar to a H3 blue sponge. Not as tacky, not as spinny, but faster and possibly has a higher lift than H3.
As I mentioned before the blades loves it when the ball is hit down or through the core. On FH this is super apparent. It makes a fantastic cracking sound, and I think the Dingtian rubber also helps in this a lot. It's very catapulty in this setup.
On strong hits, the core strength is clear it's apparent how the blade is lifting the ball naturally. Of course, I am mostly comparing this lifting capability to the ZQ S-ALC blade.
There might be other blades that do this better than the W968, I just don't know which ones.
But W968 is pretty fast too I don't notice a speed downgrade compared to the ZQ S-ALC, and that is basically a Super Viscaria type of blade which should be faster on paper. 1360hz vs 1510hz what I measured for the two blades, so W968 should be noticeably slower, I notice the opposite so I am baffled.
I honestly can't say much more about the FH, it's just great and everyone has mentioned that before me many times.
I can't stress enough how strong the core feels and the ball lifting capability, this is not something I noticed in other blades.
Blocking is just as nice and stable as on BH.
If one doesn't want to use Chinese rubbers on FH, I think good options are stuff like Bluegrip C2, Tibhar K3, V>20, Omega Chinas, D09c...
And probably Tibhar K2 would be veeeeery suitable since that rubber is such a good boosted Chinese rubber copy and the dense sponge probably helps to hit down the core.

Over the table play:
Funnily this is where I had some trouble. It has this catapult effect on small touches too. I need to get used to it. This is very uncharacteristic of an inner construction blade, but here it is.

Another few things worth mentioning:
Dingtian + W968 + V15extra blue = 197g, that is a chunky boy. I know there are some mad lads here who play with 200g+ blades, and I don't wanna be called a wimp but 197g is a bit much for me normally. Funnily enough, it didn't feel heavy. I "blame" the good handle for not feeling heavy.
Dingtian + W968 + MX-S = 194g, still not light so I think I will very welcome the Vega Asia and I hope I will be kissing the 190g psychological barrier.

A guy bought one of my blades and he tried it yesterday and he called me today that he's very much considering getting another one just as a spare since he likes it so much. He has a shit ton of BTY blades and used an OSP before but he says nothing is like this.

I was one who didn't understand why WCQ, LJK switched to W968 since both have pretty excellent backhands, I kinda get it now. It matches with low arc, tacky, hard rubbers, and it is more stable than VIS. I think it's easier to use than VIS with high arc rubbers and because low arc rubbers tend to have a long trajectory it helps to push your opponent off the table and engage in rally. I mean this is Ma Long's game pretty much.
 
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