Like a couple of you guys know I've been playing the DTecs for about two years now. The first year I've played the 1.2 version, but last year I've played the 1.6 one. I wanted to have a thicker sponge to create more of my own spin and to have something a little quicker (yes, you read it right: I wanted something quicker). So I decided to take the 1.6 DTecs. I first mounted a black Dtecs on my Joo blade with a Rakza 7 2.0 forehand. I found the Dtecs to be a little too soft for my liking. After some Ejing I've found out that the black Tenergy64 1.9 was a little softer than the red one, so I thought: maybe the red Dtecs is a little harder than the black one? I've mounted a black Tenergy64 1.9 on my Joo blade, together with a red Dtecs 1.6. Yes, I found my combo.
I'm a chopper, sometimes modern (against more passive opponents), sometimes between modern and classical against offensive players and sometimes classical when I'm being beaten up by a higher-rated and better player. I estimate my ranking in USATT between 2000 and 2100.
Ok, over to the review. I first will talk about the close to table game, then the away from the table game.
Close to the table
First of all, when bought new, the DTecs is more controllable than after a couple of weeks use in this department. I've found that the sponge is softer and more absorbing when used new. Second, defensive strokes are a much harder to do than offensive ones in this department.
* I always make a distinction between four kinds of blocks: a passive block (i.e. no arm or wrist movement, but a correct angle), an active block (i.e. arm and wrist movement, striking the ball upwards so you cancel the spin on the ball), an inverted block (i.e. arm and wrist movement, striking the ball more forward so you cancel the spin) and a chop block (i.e. a wrist movement, striking the ball downwards so you add to the incoming spin). All of these blocks are off course against incoming topspin and are done when the ball is rising.
A passive block, an inverted block and a chop block are the hardest ones to do and they were impossible for me to do against really strong topspins. An active block is easier to do, although against a strong topspin it is still a move that's hard to execute.
The reward, however, is strong when the ball lands on the table. A passive block cancels the spin and the ball slows down considerably. An active and inverted block also cancels the spin, but you add a considerable amount of speed. A chop block, finally, adds a lot of backspin, even when you have a low topspin ball. However, there's a limit on the amount of backspin generated. This amount is still good enough to force a good attacker to slow loop or push the next one.
The ball trajectory is really flat for all three types of block. When you block the ball later (i.e. when the ball is almost at his highest point), the control is easier, but the balls are not as dangerous anymore. I found this department the weakest, but it is also the weakest department in my stroke repertoire.
* I divide the attacking strokes of a pip in three parts: a loop (i.e. an inverted loopdrive: you go more forward than upwards), a hit (i.e. you hit through the spin against a ball that is higher than the net, albeit not much higher) and a smash (i.e. you hit through the spin, but the ball is higher than with a hit). These strokes have a great control, are fast and dangerous.
I only loop against light topspin, no spin and all kinds of backspin. The control is high and you can add topspin to the ball, depending on how long the pips hold the ball. The ball trajectory is flat.
When the ball that I loop are closer to the net, I also love to hit them. Although the spin on the ball is mostly cancelled, there is a tendency to leave reversal on the ball when the incoming ball contains heavy backspin and/or sidespin. Very awkward. Add to this that the balls are superfast and the trajectory is superflat and you have a dangerous stroke.
When the ball that I loop are closer to the net and are quite high and don't contain heavy backspin, I smash them. You really need to close your blade here. The balls are fast, the ball trajectory is flat and there's no spin or a little topspin on the ball.
I found this department really excellent and very disturbing for the opponent, especially when they like to use heavy spin or when they are a defender. Especially the latter sort is a sitting duck when you start attacking with the DTecs. They have to deal with so much variation and you place the ball where you want it with a high amount of control, they eventually make a mistake or deliver a high ball.
* Finally, pushing: a safe and a deep one. Great control when you're in good position. Both are quite dangerous also. When I push safe, I go under the ball and manipulate the spin on it. The Dtecs allows me to do this manipulation, although not much. The balls are still quite quick. When I push deep, then I mean I push them deep and fast. I only touch the back of the ball with the tips of the pips, so there's still a lot of reversal on the ball. Very nasty. I use the first one when I come back inside the table after a push from the opponent. I use the second one when I want to set up an attack for myself.
Away from the table
The DTecs shines here, although in a different way than e.g. the P1-R. With the P1-R you can actively manipulate the ball more, with the DTecs you reach the maximum of backspin a lot sooner and with less effort. I estimate the amount of maximum backspin the same for both the DTecs and the P1-R. You can also cancel all the incoming spin with both rubbers. So their range is the same. The Dtecs is certainly a lot quicker. The P1-R has more control, partly because it is slower and holds the ball longer.
You can do three things with incoming spin: cancel it, reverse it or add to it. Let me start with the latter one: you can add backspin to an incoming ball by making a full chopping stroke or making a shorter chop blocking stroke, but then next to your body, not in front of it. Both have great control, when you're in a good position. You can add a lot of spin with both strokes and even on a moderate topspin the ball can be striken back with heavy backspin (reason mentioned above).
Reversing spin is hard to do, but with a good touch, a short contact point and especially taken low to the ground, it is possible. A thinner sponge helps here. I couldn't do this stroke with e.g. a P1-R 1.5. I can, however, do it with a P1-R 1.0 and my DTecs 1.6. A Dtecs 1.2 really shines here. They think there's no spin on the ball, but bam: the ball goes into the net.
Cancelling the spin can be done in two ways: making contact with the ball so that the ball penetrates into the sponge or not finishing your full chop stroke. Both tend to go high and slow, but with a good angle and a good foreward movement they tend to go really low and fast. The better the angle, the better the control.
Oh yes, you can also lob with it, but I've only done this in practice. The returned ball is, off course, as empty as a bottle of whisky taken from an alcohol abuser.
I found that the DTecs really rewards shorter strokes (one exception: the full chopping stroke), while the P1-R rewards longer strokes with a maximum reward for the full chopping stroke. This can be explained by the dwell time of both rubbers. I also explains why I have a love-hate relationship with the P1-R. I love it in the first two-three weeks when the dwell time is shorter, the pips are harder and the balls are harder to read for my opponent. Afterwards I hate it.
Conclusion: a really good defensive rubber, although a totally different beast than the P1-R. It excels in the attacking, pushing and defending department like a good defender's pip should do. If you love shorter defensive strokes and/or a speedy defense, this might be something for you.
Personal information: After some flirting with the P1-R (again!), I'm converting back to the 1.2 version again (and BTW also my FH will be a Tenergy64 1.7 again), because (1) I'm not Joo Se Hyuk and (2) I'm not able to be always in totally perfect position when having to do a stroke. The latter problem is especially visible when playing against high speed opponents. With the thinner version I won against these opponents, although not with a great margin; now they win against me, with me only being able to get one set or so. So I believe the 1.2 will give me more security and control again. The only thing I'll be sacrificing will be a bit of manipulation in the spin and some speed. However, by playing with the thicker versions, my technique will be better in comparison with when I left the thinner version.
There's always stuff to improve!
Butterfly Joo Se Hyuk
Butterfly Tenergy 80 1.7mm
Tibhar Grass D.Tecs 1.2mm