Last year, while I was still playing in the Spanish league, I wanted to find an affordable and somewhat softer rubber for my new Dr. Neubauer Barricade Def blade. So, while browsing an online store, I stumbled upon the Yinhe Mercury 2 rubber, which was only 5 euros, including shipping. Without much thought, I placed an order due to the low price.
Honestly, I didn’t expect much from this rubber initially. I thought I was already familiar with Chinese tacky rubber, and considering the low cost, I didn’t anticipate a significant difference. However, after giving it a try, I was pleasantly surprised by how well it performed, exceeding my initial expectations. This prompted me to write a review article to share my positive experience with this remarkable rubber.
Overview and Appearance of Yinhe Mercury 2
I had to wait for about two weeks to get my hands on the Yinhe Mercury rubber, which was shipped from China. The packaging had that signature Yinhe style, with a light blue bag. I’ve noticed that Yinhe seems to prefer this color for their rubber and blade packaging. The outer packaging simply had “Mercury II” written on it, with a straightforward design.
When I opened it up, I found that I had ordered a black rubber because I like using red long pips for my backhand. The Yinhe Mercury II rubber came wrapped in a thin layer of plastic film. Interestingly, many European players find this quite unusual, but it’s a common practice in China to keep the rubber surface sticky by covering it with such a thin film.
With the film still on, I checked its weight, and it was around 53 grams. This rubber sheet isn’t particularly heavy, but its surface is incredibly tacky, even more so than the well-known DHS Hurricane 3 rubber. This stickiness is impressive, especially for a brand-new rubber, as it allows you to grip the ball effectively. Some European players I know found it intriguing, although it might not suit their playing style as it doesn’t provide the speed they often look for.
However, this rubber has a “cream sponge,” which sets it apart from traditional Chinese rubbers like the DHS Hurricane 3. The rubber’s surface isn’t very firm; it’s quite soft when you press it with your hand. According to Revspin, this rubber falls into the medium hardness category, but I find it to be even softer, making it a good choice for players who like to chop or add a lot of spin to their shots. The rubber can deform well, allowing it to grip the ball and generate strong spins.
After applying the glue, I began the formal test. As usual, I started with the basic forehand and backhand drives. The rubber is quite elastic but gives a sense of stability. The feedback is clear, and the ball generally doesn’t overshoot.
However, it’s worth noting that the rubber is initially quite tacky, so players not accustomed to Chinese tacky rubber may need some time to adapt. The ball speed is moderate, not exceptionally fast or slow. The standout feature of this rubber is its stability.
Some people claim that black rubber tends to be slightly faster than red rubber, but after testing, I didn’t notice much of a difference.
After warming up, I took a few steps back and tested the feeling for looping. Honestly, before the evaluation, I didn’t have high expectations for this extremely cheap rubber because the price was remarkably low.
However, once I started playing with it, I was pleasantly surprised by its outstanding performance. This rubber is nearly perfect for close-to-the-table looping. It provides a great sense of ball control, a high success rate when looping close to the table, and a fast rebound after the ball hits the table.
The rubber offers players a clear linear feeling, where more power results in increased ball speed, and moderate power results in a controlled pace. Of course, this rubber requires boosting because it’s only after boosting that you can fully unleash the potential of the sponge.
However, at mid to long distances from the table, the limitations of the Yinhe Mercury II become evident. The rubber itself isn’t very firm, providing less support to the player. When looping from mid to long range, you’ll feel the need for more pronounced strokes and hit the ball with greater force; otherwise, the ball is more likely to hit the net.
The ball speed naturally drops a bit, but the good thing is that the strong spin can compensate for the loss of speed, causing some confusion for opponents.
The Yinhe Mercury II’s most impressive quality is its ability to generate a lot of spin. This rubber is really good at making the ball spin. But there’s one thing to keep in mind: the Mercury 2 has a medium throw angle, which means it doesn’t send the ball very high over the net, unlike the DHS Hurricane 3. So sometimes, even though it spins a lot, the ball can hit the net. When you’re doing looping shots, you might need to adjust the way you angle your racket and add a bit more upward movement.
When you’re doing loop shots, it’s easy to create heavy topspin shots, making it tough for your opponents to defend against. When you’re serving or doing chops with a lot of spin, it’s also simple to generate a strong backspin. Because this rubber is quite soft, when you apply a booster and then hit the ball, it can grip the ball well, and release energy from the sponge, resulting in a really spinny shot.
Because of these qualities, the balls you send over with a spin can stay low, almost be in the same height as the net. With these low and spinning shots, along with your technique and some added speed, it can be very hard for your opponents to handle.
During the testing phase, it’s important to assess how the rubber handles forehand and backhand shots, as well as its performance with short balls. The Yinhe Mercury II’s excellent control surprised me. Considering its affordability, it can match the control of the Yasaka Mark V, a rubber known for its association with Ma Lin, who likes to handle short balls during rallies before launching offensive moves, keeping his opponents on their toes.
With the Yinhe Mercury II, I found that it keeps the ball under control and doesn’t make it become tall easily, especially when you have good control over your shots. Short pushes, in particular, stay low and manageable. In real matches, when I receive serves, I prefer to return them with a short shot, making it tough for my opponent to take control. Then, I can follow up with a shot, using my backhand long pips, to keep my opponent guessing. Throughout this process, the Mercury II consistently gives me a nice sense of reliability and stability.
As a defensive player, I chose the Yinhe Mercury II mainly because it’s great for chopping and defensive play. When it comes to blocking, the rubber’s surface hardness is just proper, making it easy to control. Whether I’m in a passive defensive mode or actively blocking, a slight adjustment in my racket angle and a bit of relaxation at the moment of contact allow me to handle incoming shots with ease. It also works well for a more active defensive game – when I put in a bit more power, the ball gets returned quickly.
But what I really like about the Mercury II is how it feels when I’m chopping the ball. In table tennis, it’s well-known that using inverted rubber for chopping is much harder compared to using rubbers with pimples (like long pips or short pips). So, rubber selection is crucial.
A softer rubber, like the Mercury II, can efficiently absorb the energy from incoming shots and generate strong spin when the ball hits it. On the other hand, slightly harder rubbers tend to make the ball bounce off the racket uncontrollably.
Additionally, because the Mercury II is excellent at generating spin, the balls I chop tend to have a lot of spin, which can catch opponents off guard and often lead to their shots hitting the net if they’re not careful.
The Yinhe Mercury II, a table tennis rubber that only costs 5 euros, is considered as the most cost-effective rubber on the market. It combines traditional Chinese rubber with German cream sponge technology, making it versatile for both offensive and defensive playstyles.
If you prefer a controlled and defensive approach, this rubber is a great find. In reality, its performance is not far off from those more expensive rubbers that typically cost 30 to 40 euros, unless you’re specifically looking for the highest speed.
So, I strongly recommend that table tennis players or enthusiasts give it a shot – it’s priced as low as a cup of coffee, and you won’t be disappointed!