Artisan is a Japanese mousepad company known for producing some of the best gaming mouse pads on the market. Over the years, they’ve developed the reputation of producing some of the best stitching, quality, and performance pads in the market.
They have slowly built up their brand with the production of various mousepads. Artisan’s have exploded in popularity but how do you pick which one suits your needs? Let’s go over some variables.
Differences between Classic and FX
Artisan’s first run of mousepads didn’t have stitched edges. This is now known as their “Classic” mousepad lineup which features both the Zero and Raiden classic versions.
However, there were some issues with fraying over time so Artisan came out with the “FX” lineup to address concerns. The FX series are well known for the incredible stitched edges which lay below the surface on the mousepad itself.
The stitched edge is really the only difference between the Classic and FX, other than the extra mousepad options under the FX lineup including the Hayate Otsu/Kou and Hien. No changes were made to the surface of the pad itself.
Sponge Hardness levels: XSoft, Soft, Mid
Each Artisan can come in 3 types of hardness levels: extra soft, soft, and mid. Depending on the type of hardness, it will change the speed, stopping power, and thickness of the pad.
Extra soft will give you the most stopping power as you can really dig your mouse into the foam. Soft will give you a good mix between speed and control; this is usually the safest option if you are unsure. Mid hardness will give you the most speed but least amount of control with the pad.
Mousepad speed tier list
It can get confusing determining the speeds of these pads. Here’s the Artisan pads from slowest to fastest.
- Hayate Kou
- Hayate Otsu
The Zero is the most popular pad amongst the Artisan lineup. It’s advertised as Artisan’s control pad so better stopping power and more friction between your mouse skates and fabric.
Being the control pad, it is also the slowest. However, the Zero still maintains great smoothness, glide, and complete control over mouse movements.
The Zero shows excellent performance in precise accuracy games like Valorant and CS:GO. The control you get on the Zero makes it easy to stop and snap onto targets.
When looking at comparable pads, the Zero is similar to a Lethal Gaming Gear Saturn, G-SR Zowie, SteelSeries QCK, Xraypad Aqua Control 2 but with better quality and durability.
We can recommend this pad to those who like more control when playing games but still keeps a good medium glide speed.
The Hien is a hybrid pad between speed and control. It offers the best of both worlds for people who enjoy speedier pads but still has some notes of control to it.
One concern/critique of the pad is its surface. The Hien has a rougher surface that can feel uncomfortable when constantly swiping back and fourth on it. We personally didn’t have any issues with this, but if you do have sensitive skin please take this into consideration.
Other pads that resemble the Hien are the Razer Strider, LGG Mercury, and the GameSense Rush.
If you’re looking for some more speed than the Zero with only sacrificing a bit of control, the Hien can be a great option for you.
The Hayate Otsu is quicker than both the Zero and Hien. If the Hien felt too slow or uncomfortable, the Otsu could be the perfect alternative that still gives good glide and a softer surface.
On the Otsu, you will have less stopping power than the Zero but can be combatted with a thicker pad selection like soft or extra soft.
There aren’t many pads that resemble the Otsu but a great alternative is the LGG Venus Pro.
If you don’t like the speed of the Zero or the surface of the Hien, the Otsu can be a solid option that addresses both of these concerns.
The Hayate Kou is another Artisan pad that is quicker than both the Zero and Hien. When compared to the Otsu, it is slightly slower but has a unique feature that people can love or hate.
Although the X-axis is relatively slower than the other Artisan pads, the Y-axis movement is much quicker. You’d think these would be similar but this can benefit people who struggle with aiming up/down quick enough (shoutout to CS:GO and Valorant players).
If you’re someone who likes more control on the X axis and a speed boost in the Y axis, the Hayate Kou might fit your game style.
The Raiden is the quicker than all the mousepads previously mentioned. It offers low friction, smooth glide, and a comfortable surface.
The Raiden in a mid hardness resembles the feeling of a hard pad or even some glass pads. However, you get the best of both worlds as the Raiden definitely provides more control/stopping power and still maintains great speed.
This pad would suit heavy tracking games like Overwatch, Call of Duty, and Apex Legends. For those who aren’t used to quicker pads and play games that require more precise accuracy, this might not be the best choice for you.
The Shindenkai is the fastest pad in the lineup. It has the lowest amount of friction and takes almost no effort to glide your mouse across the pad. This is because the Shindenkai has a glass coating on its surface, creating the feel of a glass pad while being cloth.
Although it has a glass coating, the surface still feels comfortable and isn’t irritating. It takes on a plastic like feeling on the surface which doesn’t feel like glass or cloth pads.
Just like the Raiden, the Shindenkai excels in tracking heavy games and not so much in precise gameplay since its so quick.
If you are looking for the fastest cloth pad you can get currently, we recommend giving the Shindenkai a shot.
Do pros use Artisan?
From the hype Artisan has gained from being a top quality mousepad, there are many pros from diverse backgrounds that use these pads.
Just to name a few pro players:
- Rapha – one of the best Quake players – Hien
- C9 Relyks – ex CS:GO and Valorant pro – Zero
- Danteh – OWL pro – Hien
- Aceu – ex Apex Pro, now Twitch streamer – Hayate Otsu
Although there are some big names who use Artisan pads, not everyone will use them due to their lower availability and lack of sponsored material for pros.
Nonetheless, Artisan features an incredible lineup of pads that fit anyone’s style of play. These are very well-built pads and separate themselves from the competition with their amazing performance. and you don’t have to be a pro to benefit.
Where to buy Artisan Mousepads
You can get Artisan mousepads shipped from Japan at their official website. Shipping takes 2 weeks roughly to North America, not bad! Some local retailers and e-tailers might carry Artisan pads, but they’re often marked up, so it’s usually better to buy direct from the source.