I'm not really sure if this blade belongs on this list, as it has one defensive and one offensive side. But it's enormous, so I think it can be interesting for any player who's interested in the defensive play style. With the right rubbers, and also the right glue, the difference between the two sides can be noticed very clearly. Just for fun, I put a Yasaka Phantom 008 on the slow side with standard VOC free glue, and a Stiga Airoc M on the fast side with the most elastic TT Revolution glue. Usually, two different sides take eachother out a lot, but at least this combination made it feel like two completely different blades in one.
The blade is both large to the surface and very thick. It's actually about twice as thick as most blades. Hallmark hasn't compensated for this by making the handle thinner. Instead they've let it feel as huge as the rest of the blade is. It could very possibly be uncomfortable for any player with small hands.
The LQ-2 was actually a very random purchase. I honestly had very low expectations as the brand was unknown to me and I got it cheap. But when I received it, I was surprised by the respectable quality feel it had. As a Stiga nerd, I immediately felt familiar with this blade as it gives the impression of basically any old allround Stiga blade. The shape is absolutely perfect and the cork handle is very comfortable. Personally I don't mind that the cork isn't 100% solid. Some say that the cork handle kills a bit of power, and that the "real" wood handle on the big brother model LQ-1 can add to a slightly steadier feel.
Yinhe/Galaxy 980 Defensive
The cheapest blade in the list, available on Ebay for pocket money. It's definitely the one blade in my collection with the lowest quality feel, and the plies even look cheap. But if you look past that, it has the same head shape as the LQ-2, and one of the most comfortably shaped handles I know. The blade feels very light and hollow, but still allows for fast hits. A very different, but not necessarily bad, blade.
Butterfly Joo Saehyuk
There are two versions of this blade. The old version has "Joo Se Hyuk" printed on both the surface and on the lens. On the new version it says "Joo Saehyuk" instead.
The old version is exactly what you expect a defensive blade to be. It's heavy, the hit is almost depressingly heavy, everything about it is just heavy. I understand why some people love this blade, and I understand why some hate it.
The new version is just as heavy (mine is over 100 g) but not very alike the old version at all. I'd say that it's an offensive blade that is classified as defensive only because of its large size and weight. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, because the blade feels awesome and with an OX long pimple rubber you can use the power of the wood and have a lot of fun. No matter what your play style is, you can sum this blade up with one word and that is "quality".
Butterfly Grubba Pro ALL-
I have the most recent version of the Grubba ALL-. This was the first slow modern blade that I bought, and without really knowing anything about it. The first impression was alright (even though the design is pretty boring), but I found it difficult to use. It has a medium hollow feel, and hits very slowly. So there's no time for quick hits. I found myself backing up further and further away from the table just to be able to start my swing unreasonably earlier than usually. I wasn't able to learn much about this blade, as the handle was so smooth that it slipped out of my hand and crashed against the floor. But I kept thinking "Why was this made? Who can enjoy this?"
Yasaka Allround Oversize
I know, an "Allround" blade in a list of defensive blades, - what a disgrace! But let's not get too hung up on that. Honestly, who ever believed that allround players would use these things...?
Yasaka's Oversize blade seems to have only been available in Sweden. I've wanted it for a very long time, but somehow I never felt like paying up for it. Eventually I bought it cheap on a web sale. And waiting was the right choice. I think it can be decent with many different rubbers and also different types of rubbers, I think I can have fun with this blade, but still I wonder "Why?". Yasaka has made many appealing blades, and this just isn't one of them. Making an oversized "fun blade" just seems...pointless. The wood is alright, but was already slightly crooked when I received it. The handle is alright, but not properly shaped. The small plastic lens at the bottom of the handle had come off because it was glued badly. I can recommend this blade to anyone that likes blades that feel simple and doesn't have any hurry while playing. But anyone who wants a "wow" sensation should look elsewhere.
Joola Toni Hold White Spot
Exists in different versions. I have two of the modern version. I like it because it reminds me a little about the old Stiga Defensive Wood from the 80s. But it's larger, has a softer core, and a harder top ply. Which makes it a pretty strange blade! Bouncing a ball directly against the wood feels...wrong, but with rubbers on it turns into a very pleasant and flexible blade that follows your movements and performs well both during slow shots and attacks.
The biggest disadvantage is that the core is so soft that it tends to get many thin cracks near the neck just with age.
Victas Koji Matsushita
A widely recommended model among defensive players, often compared to the Butterfly Joo Saehyuk, - and often the preferred choice.
At a first sight, it's a very pretty blade with lots of things going on at the surface and a nice-looking lens on each side of the handle. And it has spruce plies, which usually gives a nice feel and adds some control without killing the speed, which I usually like a lot. But there's something about the Koji that I don't agree with. It feels like an allround blade that's been assembled with normal white, soft, spongy wood glue. Obviously, it's a popular blade for chopping, but to me it feels more suitable for careful positioning of the ball with soft rubbers.
The handle looks a lot like the one on the Toni Hold White Spot, but wider and pointier at the sides, which makes this 75€ blade feel a lot cheaper than it is. With its price in mind, I'm not impressed.
Stiga Allround Oversize
Yes, another "Allround" blade on the list!
Stiga were the first ones using the phrase "oversize" when they released four different new blades after some uneventful years. At the time these blades seemed pretty pointless. But now, they...well they still seem pretty pointless, as it's one of the smallest blades on this list. At least the Allround Oversize is what it claims to be; an allround blade that's oversized. I'm just not sure who needs that, other than beginners/slightly advanced players that don't need more speed. (And who decided about the design?!)
However: It's Stiga, it's solid, and therefore it's OK.
Stiga Defensive Wood NCT
For a while, Stiga made some bad choices and released a few blades that gave the brand a bad reputation outside of Sweden. But it's important to note that far from all modern Stiga blades are of low quality. Some are actually impressive, and some are just in line with whatever Stiga has always done. Defensive Wood NCT belongs to the latter category. This model isn't huge (same size as Stiga Allround Oversize), it isn't heavy, it isn't powerful. But it feels exactly like I wanted a modern defensive Stiga blade to feel like; old-skool. (The handle really is old-skool, as the same design was used for pre-assembled beginners paddles in the early 90s.)
The Defensive Wood NCT is very light, but solid. It's slow, but you feel that it wants to get the job done by having a low dwell time and by being very consistent. I can imagine it being difficult to find a pair of rubbers that suits both you and the blade, but I don't think anyone with experience of Stiga will be disappointed in the blade.