Whenever I rate my top 5 yoyos, I feel a pressure to put some of the hard to find, sought after yoyos that I enjoy playing, but whose collectibility plays some role in nudging into my top 5. I have tried to strip that element from my decision making process and select a top 5 that is based purely on the throws I enjoy the most.
If you also suffer from this, I urge you to list your alternative top 5.
This is interesting. I was just thinking about this myself recently. Over the pandemic, I found myself indulging in some retail therapy - which often gravitated toward yo-yos. My favorite brands kinda stopped putting stuff out there… (Looking at you SF!) So I found new brands that I’m not as familiar with. Comparing and contrasting these newer throws with my traditionally favorite throws has been a fun journey over the last few years.
With that being said, here’s my Alt list. No particular order, probably just what’s either in my hand, or on my mind…
Augment Design (Thesis) Calyx - I know, it’s an extremely recent drop. It also hasn’t left my side since I got it. Quite literally… my wallet, phone, meds, and calyx. It’s reminiscent (to me) of the Movement, but only by initial design. The lines aren’t nearly as sophisticated or contoured, and what it’s missing in the soft, pliable, finesse-like play-feel that the Movement brings - it makes up for in an industrial, powerful play feel, in a similar profile. The cups are completely different, and visually explain the difference in play feel. Thesis has recently mentioned an add’l release of these pre-nationals.
Dressel Designs Assassin - I’m a huge fan of how something as simple as the bearing can completely change how a yo-yo plays. In my imagination, as I don’t know how it actually went down, I’d like to think that DD took it even further and was like, how can I maximize the output of this bearing with an alternative metal? thus the Assassin was born. It takes a bit of a transition to acclimate to the size, weight, and play of the Assassin. But! I’ll be darned if it’s not one of the most satisfying throws I own. The comfort in the hand is unmatched (and I’ve got HUGE hands), the sound of it on the string is quite satisfying, and it’s a zippy little beast that can absolutely handle itself unapologetically.
Blofeld Design Wanker - Yes, this yo-yo is on my normal top 5 list… lol It’s one of the few yo-yos over the decades I’ve been throwing that pulled me back in; gave me that warm and fuzzy feeling. I hope that everyone gets to experience this feeling with something in their lives. Mine just happens to come from a cold titanium spinny object. Not much to say about it. Floaty, flowy, comfy, and fun.
Jake Bullock’s Slim Dunk - I went through a phase where I played only 0A. Of the 0A powerhouses: OD Deep State / Deeper State, CoreCo Alleycat, DocPop Weekender, G2 Respawn, YYF Confusion, and to some degree the Rain City Gamer (too heavy IMO to be a true 0A throw)… I somehow came to love the incredibly frustrating play that a slim bearing gives the Slim Dunk as a modern responsive. Its smaller diameter makes it quite difficult to do many 0A tricks… BUT when landed, it’s even more satisfying!
Jordan Bliesner’s Fallen Angel - This little yo-yo… I’ll put it down and forget about it for a bit… then one of my kids will bring it to me as it’s quite different in appearance from the rest of my collection. I have the bright pink one with blue rings. I’m not typically one for flashy bright yo-yos. lol Dark, often neutral colors, or soft pastels, tend to be my preference. But I really wanted one of these, and I abhor the whole “drop” system that has proliferated our community of creators. But alas, it’s 100% the norm now, and when I messaged Jordan for “whatever is next” so that I would actually get one and not have to race to beat everyone to one, I paid well in advance without expectation of when I would be receiving it, almost like a pre-order, but more like a just me pre-order. It was nice that he was accommodating. But I digress… This throw is challenging and unforgiving, and much like the Slim Dunk in how satisfying it is to land tricks when played with confidence, the Fallen Angel is quite angelic in how it performs. Tricks look and feel more aesthetically pleasing, and feel more “right” when performed with this yo-yo. I can’t really explain it any other way, but attribute this feeling to the D Bearing… I highly recommend trying it.
YoyoFriends Hummingbird - I was incredibly late to the party on this one. I saw it listed on the BST and thought, I’ve never tried one… so upon initial play I thought, this is an unapologetically, 100% performance-driven design. It just means business. We’re not going laid back, we’re going hard. This isn’t a rehearsal, this is go-time. Incredibly stable, very long spinning, fast, and frighteningly forgiving, if I were to get back into the competitive game, it’d be hard not pick the hummingbird as my weapon of choice. If I want to effortlessly “show off” I put whatever is in my pocket (Calyx…lol) aside, and pick up the hummingbird.
Thanks for putting this idea out there! I really enjoyed this little write up.
Static Co x One Drop Sudo - For me, this is the perfect all-rounded organic. Pocket sized, side effects enabled, perfect weight.
RSO x Anti-Yo x DocPop (and everyone else involved) The End (Part ii) - The perfect modern Anti-Yo tribute. It hits a similar size/shape sweet spot for me as the Sudo, with a big more of the high-wall old school feel.
Turning Point St. Elmo - I own quite a few Turning Point throws now, but always find myself turning back to the St. Elmo. It’s a really great-playing performance mono, with the quintessential TP-style cuts and hefty rims.
YYR Gopa - Weird unorthodox throw from YYR, but it “feels” super slim while playing, with really weird curves and
One Drop Panorama/Diorama - Fun, slim, challenging, high-walled, this is my most played throw these days. It forces you to have great technique and encourages minimalistic play, perfect for chill repeaters a la Tsukasa’s #thingsthatrepeat series.
Honorable mentions: B7 Grail, Dale, SF Movement, SF Cadence
Totally know what you mean. The below is less of an “all time top 5” and more of a “top 5 I’ve been playing recently” since if I had to put together an all time one it would undoubtedly include some different yo-yos. Anyways:
I actually play the Exia more than my Hinemosu but I’ve been keeping it by my laptop in the basement and didn’t feel like going down to get it for the pic I figured it gave me a chance to highlight another plastic, there’s just something about their densities compared to metals/bimetals that I really enjoy.
If I had to rank them:
(The Throwers Lounge - Motion YoYo - FTY Team Member )
Alternate top 5 for me
C3 hydrogen crash
YYR - MS_2/1
Turning point St Elmo
I recently started playing my slim dunk for 0a and I’m having a hard time figuring out why you think it’s frustrating. I find it stalls and flips just fine. It’s width even makes back of the hand balances not even a challenge
@yomeister Thank you for the comprehensive reply Ben! I started giving descriptions for the yoyos I chose, but all my entries used the same three adjectives amazing, incredible and fun. I need to delve deeper into the lexicon of yoyo terminology and enrich my vocabulary. You have done an outstanding job of differentiating and describing your choices like a true yoyo connoisseur.
@maximusjesse thanks for your input and your descriptions are also very detailed and useful. Availability is a factor that makes a yoyo less likely to appear on my regular top 5 list.
@SR1 Thanks for adding other factors that could be relevant for making an alternative top 5 list that I had not included, like sentimentality which must be a big influence among throwers who have been around since the early 2000s. As well as high performance. That’s an interesting one!
@yoyojoe Awesome list and interesting comments. I always take note of what you like and don’t like. To see you and @Nocompromise rate the YYR Autoscopy so highly is a compelling reason to get one.
@Isaac Your list is staggering, quite honestly. To see three plastic yoyos in your lineup in there is very interesting.