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Review: Stiga Legacy Carbon

17 July 2020  | Posted in: Table Tennis Reviews

Stiga Legacy Carbon 

Stiga describes the Legacy Carbon (LC) as an offensive 5+2-ply composite blade that is “created for high-performance players who seek a maximum sweet spot to constantly put pressure on their opponent”. Stiga lists the blade’s speed/control values as 146/46, which would render it faster and/or more controllable than the Stiga Dynasty Carbon Xu Xin edition (142/46) and Stiga Carbonado 145 (144/44), but slower than the Stiga Carbonado 290 (152/40) that I recently reviewed. 

Stiga provides a lot of details about the LC’s ply composition. The thick core veneer is made from Abachi, a wood-type that is frequently found in Stiga blades. The next ply is made from pine, which is a mid- to hard-density wood type. Next, comes the distinguishing material of this blade, i.e., the barely visible 12k Energy Carbon ply which is used at 88 g/m2 and composed of the so-called Spread Tow Carbon Fiber, a weave consisting of 12,000 microscopic carbon threads per bundle. The 12K Energy Carbon is purported to increase stiffness and the sweet spot for maximal energy transfer irrespective of where on the blade the ball is hit. Capping it all off is an ultra-thin ply of pitch-black limba that promises to provide touch and feel. The handle is made of high-grade Italian dyed wood. The black front lens and the classic “Handmade in Sweden by Stiga” tag on the bottom of the handle are made from stainless steel and coated to prevent degradation from sweat.

The SLC arrives in Stiga’s standard black box. Actually, it is hard to see the blade when opening the box since its colors blend perfectly with the box. The blade looks very sleek and modern. Pitch-black with white text on the front. 

The playing surface has standard dimensions at 158 mm x 151 mm (height x width) with a thickness of 5.9 mm. The RST handle has the following dimensions (length x width x thickness): 100.8 mm x 29.6 mm x 22.2 mm. The blade weighs 88 g, thus being heavier than the C145 (85g) or XX (83g), but lighter than C290 (91g). Bouncing a ball on the naked blade produced a resonance frequency of 1421 Hz, thus being seemingly stiffer than the C145 (1335 Hz) or XX (1400 Hz), but softer than the C290 (1571 Hz).

Testing procedure:

     I tested the SLC using gently used sheets of DHS Hurricane 3 (H3, black, 2.15 mm, 40-degree orange sponge, provincial version) and Spinlord Waran 2 (W2, red, 2.0 mm) in my FH and BH, respectively. I compared this set-up alongside equivalent set-ups on Stiga Dynasty Carbon (Xu Xin edition), Stiga Carbonado 145, and Stiga Carbonado 290 blades. As always, I attached the rubbers using the Revolution 3 medium viscosity glue. The test setup weighed 178 g. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I tested the blades at home on a Newgy 2050 robot, playing a variety of multiball-like drills (e.g., FH/BH drives, FH/BH blocking against heavy topspin, FH/BH loop against long backspin, FH/BH flicks against short backspin, FH/BH smashes) and regular/irregular footwork drills, using a mix of mostly DHS D40+ and Nittaku J-Top training balls, with a couple of Joola Flash and Andro Speedballs mixed in as well. While robot practice provides more controlled circumstances than when playing against real opponents, it comes with inherent limitations. For example, it is challenging to accurately assess the amount of spin that is generated on the shots without seeing how an opponent reacts to the shot. Instead, I had to infer the amount of spin by noticing how the ball bounces, so please bear this in mind.

Playing impressions

Initial feeling: 

    Of the different Stiga composite blades that I have recently reviewed, the Legacy Carbon feels the heaviest, even though the set-up actually was 4 grams lighter than the equivalent C290 set-up (178 g vs 182 g). Presumably, this is because the LC’s center of gravity is tilted far towards the head. The handle feels a little dry and rough to the touch, but this was nothing I noticed during play. Like most Stiga blades, the LC has a narrow neck. Personally, I love this feature as it facilitates micro-adjustments in grip during gameplay.


       The LC feels massive, almost like the Stiga Nostalgic VII, which has Wenge outer plies. The blade produces a deep distinctive vibration yet offers a clear and crisp carbon feel on FH/BH drives, irrespective of where on the blade the ball hits. The blade’s bulkiness is deceptive inasmuch the blade feels slower than it is. Make no mistake: this is an OFF-level blade, slower than the C290, but faster than the C145 or XX. The trajectories of the drives are long, rather flat, but with sufficient clearance over the net. Given its head-heavy feeling, I was worried that FH-BH transitions might become compromised. To my delight, this turned out not to be the case. While less nimble than, for example, the XX, I did not observe any noticeable decrease inconsistency during random FH/BH drive drills. 


     FH loops against backspin result in a long and relatively flat trajectory, albeit not as long, flat, and fast as with the C290. The LC is stiff, feels blockier, and produces a lower-pitched sound than the C290. Both blades are crisp, but the contact point sits deeper within the LC than with the C290, for which the contact point sits right at the surface. In that respect, the LC is closer to the XX, although far more massive. While the throw angle is medium-low, I still enjoyed excellent consistency when FH looping with the LC. However, the amount of spin seems lower than with the XX and C145, which also are more flexible than the LC. BH hits through backspin with the W2 short pips are one of several highlights with the LC. The blade offers a great mix of high but controllable speed, crisp carbon feeling, and deep vibrations that worked very well for me on these shots. Essentially, I was able to ignore the incoming spin, let the blade absorb the incoming energy, do its job, and simply hit through the ball. The resulting BH hits were among the flattest, deepest, and most dangerous that I have been able to produce with any blade. The XX provides a related feeling but is clearly slower and less blocky.  

Blocking and counter-topspin: 

     Blocking with the LC is another highlight, especially on the FH side where the blade offers a very crisp, almost speed-glue like feeling. The deep vibrations and the blade’s bulky nature bestow a feeling of invincibility, i.e., being able to take on any incoming loop and re-directing the energy at will, to produce very fast, flat, and dangerous returns. The LC worked particularly well when FH-blocking and counter-driving the fastest topspin shots that he Newgy 2050 robot can produce. The LC would be my weapon of choice if I was to play very high-level players with professional quality loops. BH blocking with the LC is almost as delightful, although the feeling is slightly softer and less absorbing than on the FH side. Similar to my observation on BH hits, I was able to use a more active, flat stroke, which would put opponents under significant pressure.     


      You can produce rather fast and penetrating smashes with the LC, but its heavier nature did tire me out more easily. Don’t expect any “help” from the blade as it is very stiff with minimal flexibility. You need to generate all of the power that goes into the shots. By comparison, the C290 has an extra gear since it is inherently very fast but also has a slightly bouncier nature, leading to even higher top-end speeds.   


      The crisp and stiff nature of the LC, coupled with its head-heaviness and the deep vibrations that are produced upon ball impact, work great for FH and BH flicks against backspin. I enjoyed top-notch control on these shots, which were - you guessed it - quite fast and deep, and thus, dangerous. 

Pushing and touch shots:

      The LC works fantastically well on touch shots and short FH/BH pushes against backspin due to its bulky nature (absorbing energy), moderate speed (carbon ply is not activated), and clear contact point. The LC offers a Wenge-like feeling on long FH/BH pushes, i.e., long and direct shots. Compared to the C290, long pushes with the LC are slightly slower, but also slightly spinnier. It earns top-marks in this category. 


     The LC’s weakest suit is probably its application to serves. Its head-heavy and stiff nature meant that I wasn’t able to utilize my wrist as usual, and also didn’t have as much feeling on short backspin pendulum serves. As a consequence, the serves tended to float long and being less spinny that with the C145, XX, or even C290. For similar reasons - and much to my surprise - I wasn’t able to produce as fast and spinny topspin/sidespin serves as with the reference blades. The head-heavy nature of the blade, however, worked well for Tomahawk and shovel serves. 


      The Stiga Legacy Carbon is a well-made blade that will suit players with game styles that emphasize blocking, flicking, and power-driving while offering excellent touch in the short game. While it is not a pure looping blade due to its lack of flexibility, you can still easily make powerful loops. The blade works well with short pips, constituting an alternative to 7-ply all-wood blades like the Stiga Clipper. Given its heft and playing characteristics, the LC is best suited for advanced adult players who have the appropriate strength to swing through the ball with this blade.

About the Reviewer

     Patrick Hrdlicka is a table tennis enthusiast with a Ph.D. in chemistry who combines his analytical and experimental skills with his love of table tennis in order to test and review a wide range of table tennis equipment.