Ekaterina is back with another review video, this time focusing on the Clone effect by J.C. Rodarte. This is a particularly interesting review, given the buzz around Rodarte’s work and Ellusionist’s Adam Wilbur getting a win with it on Penn & Teller Fool Us. How does it really work out in the wild?

Ekaterina acknowledges that Clone is hugely innovative and has some benefits. But she does go into some detail about the practical usage and discrepancies that may come up in putting Clone into use. She especially raises concerns about how well Clone integrates with a classic close-up magic set. For instance, she notes that it takes about 5 minutes to get a full impression of the signature, which is a big chunk of time to fill depending on the type of act you may run. She also predicted issues with making it a regular part of a performance, because the impression device needs to be covered in plastic to dry for four weeks before using it again.

At the end of the day, Ekaterina dubs the device not one she would recommend. That said, she has a helpful takeaway about how fellow magicians may want to think about Clone and other ground-breaking tech.

“It doesn’t matter that you’re adding a new trick each time,” she said. “What matters is the core, what you master in magic, not all the new stuff that’s coming up.”

She’s not the only one who feels that way. Magic website The Jerx recently offered a similar perspective on new effects dubbed “The Green Grass Test” aimed at determining when a recently released gimmick or tool will actually improve your arsenal. Wise words in both cases. 

The concept behind Clone sounds freakily supernatural: the gadget promises to create an exact duplication of a signature. It was good enough to make FISM judges disqualify J.C. Rodarte because he appeared to be cheating and it recently scored a win for Adam Wilber on Penn & Teller: Fool Us. It’s now available for sale, but lots of magicians still have questions about what the heck is going on with Clone.

If you are one of those quizzical folks, then check out this Q&A by Christophe Jelinski of Magic Mind with Clone’s creator. It’s a 25-minute video that covers the development of the tool into a commercial product, its distinctions from Rodarte’s limited-run Miracle Maker, and where he got the idea for the whole thing.

Now that you know more about Clone and Rodarte, here he is giving another demonstration of how it can be used in a wild riff on Three-card Monte.

J.C. Rodarte was disqualified from the FISM competition two decades ago because the judges thought he was using a stooge. Now, he’s gone public with exactly how he pulled off a trick so good it seemed like he was cheating, and the tool is impressive enough to net a win on Penn & Teller: Fool Us.

It’s a tool of Rodarte’s own creation that he’s now planning to sell as Clone. If the promo video (and the many shocked viewers) are to be believed, Clone can perfectly duplicate any signature onto a wide range of objects, from dollar bills to playing cards. 

Rodarte’s not the only one to boggle even the pros with his invention. Here’s Adam Wilber using it in his winning trick on the season 4 finale of Fool Us:

For any of you season 5 hopefuls, be warned: the skeptical duo are probably onto the Clone approach now.

Clone is available for pre-order from Ellusionist with a price tag of $147. Shipments are expected to start around December 6.