Butterfly Sriver vs Yasaka Mark V

Sriver and Yasaka Mark V are legends of table tennis, released by two giants of the sport: Butterfly and Yasaka. Both proved highly popular on release and even today these two rubbers are still used by players all over the world, despite today’s improved rubber technology.

Anyone with moderate equipment knowledge should have at least heard of these two rubbers’ names in passing. They are just so well known. Both are often recommended to up-and-coming players as intermediate-level rubbers. When I ordered my first custom bat, I instead had Tackiness Drive recommended to me — another classic Butterfly rubber, albeit a little slower than Sriver.

But just how well do these rubbers perform today and how do these two rubbers differ from one another? Let’s break down Yasaka Mark V vs Butterfly Sriver.

yasaka mark v vs butterfly sriver CHECK CURRENT PRICE

yasaka mark v vs butterfly sriver

Brief History

The first rubber of the two to release was Sriver in 1967. At the time, it was an innovation, and it quickly became one of the top table tennis rubbers you could buy. Amateurs and professionals alike flocked to purchase it. One player everyone should be familiar with is Timo Boll. He used Sriver for a period in his early days.

Unsurprisingly, this popularity among professionals created champions. Over 90 World and European titles have been won by professionals wielding a Sriver table tennis rubber. Beyond this, Butterfly even confirms that Sriver is their most successful rubber ever which shocked me a little. I’d expected the dominant Tenergy 05 to hold the title — perhaps it’s because Sriver’s main reign was before my time.

Yasaka Mark V first appeared in 1969 as a follow-up from Yasaka Original which was released in 1953. It too quickly became popular with professionals and helped them secure titles such as the 1970 European Championships, and the 1971 World Championships. While Boll is perhaps the biggest name associated with Sriver, Ma Lin was the most famous user of Mark V. Yasaka states that the rubber is the best-selling of the Mark V line. And one would expect great things from all of their rubber releases.

Butterfly Sriver and Yasaka Mark V Characteristics

QualityButterfly SriverYasaka Mark V
Speed88
Spin88.2
Control8.58.7
Tackiness2.42.7
Weight4.44.1
Hardness5.44.6
Gears7.47.8
Throw Angle3.94.4
Consistency9.19.5
Durability7.68.7

While dominant at the top level around the time of their release, the use of these rubbers among professionals has dropped. And the same can be said among amateurs as well. The fact is that rubber technology has improved, and the state of rubber demand has shifted towards faster and spinnier rubbers. As such, Sriver and Mark V are still heavily purchased today but cater better towards the needs of intermediate players rather than those at an advanced level.

Both rubbers fall far behind new releases in terms of spin and speed, instead offering more control. This is why they are both such good choices for players developing their strokes or those that favor a more allround game.

The above figures are taken from revspin.net and demonstrate just how similar these rubbers perform. There is little significant divergence. And in fact, having scoured the web for Sriver vs Mark V reviews far and wide, of those where there is a noticeable difference (such as durability), you will find that there are players arguing against the consensus. So ultimately these rubbers play very similarly.

And big names agree. Alois Rosario, former Indian National Champion, and famous table tennis coach confirms that in his opinion, there is little to separate the rubbers.

Where Does Sriver and Mark V Excel?

Timo Boll used the Sriver. Photo Credit: Dr. Stephan Roscher, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons

Now that we know the rubbers play in a very similar way, it’s time to address where they do well and what type of players they suit. In my opinion, their greatest merit is their versatility. Both rubbers are of medium hardness, so they pair nicely with virtually any blade, be it fast, slow, soft, or hard. In comparison, soft rubbers can feel lackluster when glued to soft blades. And similar issues can present themselves with hard rubber and blade pairings.

In addition, both rubbers are available in a plethora of thicknesses. This gives you even more customization options to choose from. The variety on offer is a lot better than most modern-day rubbers which tend to cluster around the thicker offensive thicknesses. As such, you can use either rubber as part of a defensive, allround, or offensive setup.

Thickness Options

Mark V: 1mm, 1.5mm, 1.8mm, 2mm, Max

Sriver: 1.5mm, 1.7mm, 1.9mm, 2.1mm, Max

This is why both rubbers shine for developing players who are learning the fundamentals of the game and beginning to formulate their playing style. Fundamentally, Sriver and Mark V offer respectable amounts of spin, speed, and control. This makes them great for learning to smash, block, counter-attack, push, and all other essential techniques. Very spinny or fast rubbers make performing these shots far trickier if you lack the skill. So more controllable rubbers such as Sriver and Mark V are better rubber choices for intermediate players. They are far more forgiving which helps you to improve imperfect strokes.

I for one couldn’t loop at all when I first purchased my Tackiness Drive rubbers, and they helped me learn this essential stroke.

What are Sriver and Mark V Lacking?

ma lin mark yasaka v
Ma Lin used the Yasaka Mark V. Photo Credit: Mohan Doha Stadium Plus Qatar, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

As mentioned before, Sriver and Mark V were innovative rubbers of their era, but that was over half a century ago — that’s a long time!

As such, they can’t compete with modern rubbers in terms of speed or spin which is an issue for many players. Most people demand more spin and speed than Sriver and Mark V can offer which leads to them looking elsewhere. As such, the player base that enjoys these two great rubbers is far smaller than it used to be. If you adhere to the modern style wanting to overwhelm your opponents with tricky serves, spinny loops, and powerful smashes, neither Mark V nor Sriver is the way to go. The only advanced players who will enjoy how they perform are those who play an allround game.

Another issue is that while both rubbers are fairly cheap, so are many other newer rubbers. So I would argue that there are many ‘better’ rubbers for most players at their price point.

Recommended Table Tennis Blades 

Offensive choice: Butterfly Viscaria

Like how Sriver and Mark V hold legendary status in the table tennis community, so does the Butterfly Viscaria. It was the first ALC blade that was released by Butterfly in 1983. Despite its age, it remains very popular today. It gives the user a lot of speed alongside high levels of control. A great blade for attackers.

Allround choice: Butterfly Timo Boll Allround

The Timo Boll Allround is a great choice for allround players who prefer a slower blade than those in the offensive category. With a 5-ply all-wood composition, you get great feeling which helps keep your form true. The Timo Boll Allround is also very cheap which is a big plus.

Defensive choice: Butterfly Innershield Layer ZLF

The Innershield ZLF is the first Butterfly blade to adopt their popular ZL fiber. This fiber is light and flexible and offers a large sweet spot. As such, dwell time is high which is great for a chopping game. What’s more, it still possesses adequate power for strong loops to upset the rhythm of your opponents.

Alternative Rubber Options

Butterfly Sriver EL

yasaka mark v vs butterfly sriver

Following the release of Sriver FX — a rubber that uses the same top sheet as the original but with a much softer sponge, Butterfly released a bridge between the two. Sriver EL, again, uses the original top sheet but a medium-soft elastic sponge. The result is a Sriver rubber that offers a mix of power and spin.

Mark V HPS

yasaka mark v vs butterfly sriver

In my opinion, Mark V HPS is far more suited to modern-day table tennis than the original. This is because it uses Hybrid Power Sponge technology whereas the original does not. This makes Mark V HPS faster and spinnier — exactly what most players are looking for. With a medium-hard sponge, it’s versatile, you shouldn’t have much issue switching between impactful and more brushing strokes with high spin. The only drawback is the cost, it’s more expensive than the original Mark V, it is, however, in line with many of its competitors.

What Others Are Saying

I went around forums and collected a few reviews about Sriver and Mark V:

Boss1703

“Maybe Sriver is more forgiving than Mark V so Mark V+Sriver+Yeo could be your classic set-up.”

Riker71

“Sounds like a good choice of equipment. Sriver L is heavier than Mark V, but EL and FX are slightly lighter. Sriver L is a firm sponge, EL Medium-firm, and both harder than Mark V, a medium-firm. Mark V has a bit more dwell time for loops and a higher throw angle than Sriver L and EL.

I can’t say much for FX as I only used it once ages ago, but the top sheet is the same as L and EL, just a slower and softer sponge. Mark V is excellent for pushing, control around the same as EL. I would give the edge to Mark V for allround attack and as a do it rubber.”

Zheyi

“My exp is Sriver being more durable and consistent compared to Mark V.. Mark V has softer top sheet making it easier to control but turn dead faster..”

FAQs

Is Mark V Still a Good Rubber?

Mark V is still a great table tennis rubber, it just occupies a different niche from when it was first released. At the time, it was a top offensive rubber, but today, it is more of an allround choice. It also shines as a rubber for intermediate players who are refining their strokes. Its forgiving nature helps players focus on technique while maintaining consistency.

Is Butterfly Sriver Good?

Butterfly Sriver is a great rubber for the right player. Like Mark V, Sriver suits players who use an allround game. It offers good amounts of spin, speed, and control. It’s also recommended for developing players as it is far more manageable to use than more offensive rubbers.

So Which One Should I Buy?

Despite the fact that these rubbers play in such a similar way, it is only natural that you want a recommendation between the two. So I’ll do my best to break down Yasaka Mark V vs Butterfly Sriver.

While both compliment an allround game, Mark V ever so slightly has the edge in the attacking department. To most, it’s a little faster and a little spinnier. This makes it easier to loop and smash — but not by much.

By comparison, Sriver is a little harder and has a slightly lower throw angle, making it easier to play direct. This means Sriver might be the better choice for counter drivers who stick close to the table.

Whichever rubber you are leaning toward, be it Sriver or Mark V, just remember that both are legendary rubbers that have remained fairly popular almost half a century after their release.

They are by no means the best rubbers today. But they are both great choices if you are at an intermediate level or sport an allround game. If instead you are at an advanced level and want to explore more of your rubber options, check out our top 10 table tennis rubbers post.

Ping Pong Ruler also has a great video comparing 5 budget pre-made JOOLA paddles you might find useful.

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Warren Davies

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