WeissCANNON B5E / Genesis Thunderblast 16g
Easy to string. WeissCANNON poly mains, multifilament crosses. Next! 51.5 / 55 lbs.
This review comes with an enormous caveat: I fell in love with this racquet with the same mains string, but with natural gut crosses. So it stands to reason that anything different in the crosses that isn't fully poly is going to be a let down. Not so. The thing is, unlike many people believe, natural gut does not just soften the stringbed. It makes the poly seem livelier and seemingly for longer. Using synthetic gut crosses will simply soften. Multi crosses are in the middle. They soften, yes, but they are able to change the feel of a stringbed far more than a syn gut or natural gut. Why? Because there are far more many variations of multifilament than either gut or syn gut. If you use a powerful multi like X-1, you're going to pretty much just be after power. If you use a softer multi like Maxim Touch, you're pretty much going for comfort and feel. Thunderblast is an interesting case. It does not change the feel of the stringbed much from a poly feel when casually hitting. When you need it though, it gives you dwell time similar to natural gut (crosses, not natural gut in itself). It also gives you more spin than natural gut does. As you can see in the images, this is after 2 hours of hitting only. The poly is nowhere near dead, but you can see that the mains are sliding all over the crosses and easily snapping back, ergo, a lot of spin. The setup does need to break in, however. This is absent with natural gut crosses. Once it is broken in, you can get great control off both wings. It's definitely for the control oriented player who will counter-punch if necessary, but will like to dictate the point most of the time. Seeing as I am an all court player, this setup works great for me. Better than natural gut? No. It's equal. It's simply different. As my ability has improved, I can appreciate its qualities, so with that in mind, it gets great marks.
This is a great server's setup. The power is controlled, spin is great, and you can get great feel on slice serves. I mention that purposely because coming from anything with natural gut, you tend to get a very unique feedback when slicing. It's a muted, soft feel. Poly tends to give you the impression that you really have sliced the ear off of the ball just by feel alone. It's very hard to describe, but for anyone who hits slices, you'll know what I mean. This stuff is great for that since the multi is responsive, but not too lively.
This is where you can tell you're still using poly. Touch and feel at the net are not at the level of gut crosses, much less gut mains. While I wouldn't exactly say the feel is bad, you had better finish off your volley quickly because this isn't geared to help you up at the net. At the same time, it won't let you down if you do need to be at the net. So, if you're an all court player who gets drawn in, don't fear. Just don't be eager to rush up there if you're not used to being up there already.
As you can see, the black coating has been transferred from the sweetspot and onto the balls. Yet, the crosses seem to be holding up just fine. No fraying yet after 2 hours. Since I have plenty of experience with B5E, I'm not too worried about the poly here anyway. Regardless, I do like thinner multis anyway, so I plan to get some of the 17g even if it means restringing more often. I bet that will eliminate the 1 hour aka 1 entire set break in period that you don't experience with gut.
This was tested because gut is getting too expensive for me to use personally. I already know what sort of poly I like, and the Depot had sent me this set of Thunderblast many moons ago before it was released. I just never got around to using it since I was using gut at the time. Having heard the hoo-ha about how good this particular hybrid is, I figured, hey, why not? Turns out, the hype wasn't hype. This is just a great setup through and through. It also doesn't cost that much and to make matters even sweeter, it looks pretty badass. All black just looks discreet and sinister for some reason. In addition, when the all black leaves waffle marks on the balls, it just looks like you're out there for business.
Will this be my new setup? Most likely. I don't have many multis that I like in large quantity. The exception is NRG2 18, but unless you're using it in full, I feel that's simply a waste because the durability is so poor. Plus, it's nearly as expensive as a cheap gut per set anyway. I'll update on how this performs until breakage, but I suspect it will be fairly linear. In short: Mikeler Matchup is a great hybrid.