Background: I’ve owned and played the Yoyorecreation Draupnir and Valkyrie for a couple months now I’m ready to compare them. I’ve yoyoed for years and owned many of YYR’s older line. I yoyo for fun and not in a competition style, so keep that in mind if you are trying to decide if these yoyos are worth it for you or not.
Yoyorecreation caught my eye many years ago with the design of the original Stargazer - a beautiful meld of form and function with a wing shape, low walls, and flat cups, that showed that YYR (then known as 44re:recreation in 2008) took great care with both aesthetics and performance. Yoyorecreation early designs were very minimal and their yoyos were only solid or half/half colors and unbranded. Fastforward to the present, and Yoyorecreation yoyo designs are still pushing the envelope, with (arguably) other yoyo companies continuing to follow YYR’s lead into high performance 7075 aluminum and bi-metals. YYR might not be first, but they set the standard.
However…YYR yoyos are very expensive, with both the Draupnir and Valkyrie setting you back over $200 each. Not only that, but YYR could be said to have lead yoyo design down the path of high performance that has resulted in a focus on an “ideal” yoyo design oriented towards competition and a glut of yoyos that share similar characteristics across companies. In fact, YYR designs are not so special anymore - their flagship yoyos are bimetal and branded and the same shape as most other companies’ flagship yoyos.
In any case, the Draupnir has been a gold standard for yoyo design and well-loved by yoyo players and competitors since it was released in 2013. The Valkyrie was, by YYR’s own account, an update of the Draupnir that was supposed to be more accessible for everyday play and not just competition. Ok, well, maybe, we will see…
Specs (from YYE):
Diameter 57 mm 56 mm
Width 43.4 mm 42.1 mm
Gap 4.4 mm 4.6 mm
Weight 63.5 g 65.6 mm
Draupnir pros: Light in the hand and in play. Very fast. Stable and long spin times.
Draupnir cons: Due to its large size and light weight, it is easy to knock the yoyo off axis with accidental hand contact during play. Cup design is not good for finger spins.
Valkyrie pros: Solid feeling in hand but “floaty” during play. Comfortable size for intricate tricks. Stable and long spin times.
Valkyrie cons: Can be pushed fast but not Draupnir-fast. Harsh edge where the steel rim meets the aluminum body - doesn’t feel so good in hand.
Playing the Draupnir reminded me of the Sleipnir a lot - it immediately makes you feel like a better yoyoer than you are because it spins long and direction changes feel effortless. The Draupnir can go fast fast fast and it is no wonder that this is a top competition choice. To be honest, though, I get bored of this type of yoyo - sure, if I wanted to compete maybe I would choose the Draupnir too, but I feel like it is suited to a certain style of play (think Hiroyuki Suzuki speed combos) and that type of yoyoing isn’t what I want to do for fun. Speed combos blindfolded is what I think of with the Draupnir.
On the other hand, the Valkyrie has more density and I’ve come to like a heavier and smaller yoyo that I can comfortably do chopsticks with and push it at whatever speed I want. In both cases, for the Draupnir or Valkyrie, straight up spin time is not a problem - their spin times in play are comparable. But I give the Valkyrie an edge in stability during play, with its greater weight giving more torque that resists tilt and maintains stronger spin after being accidentally hit during play. If I’m working out some new tricks or just throwing in a relaxed way, I feel more confident and comfortable throwing the Valkyrie. Even though the Valkyrie does not feel as good in hand due to the inner edge on the steel rim (where the rim meets the body), I got used to it. Also, I’ve been working on fingerspins and the Valkyrie works fine - a flat cup so you have to do tilted fingerspins - and the Valkyrie’s cup design lacks the deeper groove of the Draupnir’s so the Valkyrie feels much better and spins for longer during fingerspins.
The real test is if I only have a few minutes to do a couple throws for fun real quick, I choose the Valkryie. For me, it’s just a more enjoyable yoyoing experience.
I bought these yoyos because yoyoing has brought me lots of joy over the years and I’ve really wanted to try YYR’s new designs but I can’t justify the price for everyone. I am not saying that the prices are “wrong” when it comes to the yoyo design experience (Kengo Kido is still ruling… ok, except for that sharp edge on the Valkyrie - ahem), premium materials, and machining tolerances. But I do think that the lust for the Draupnir is out of proportion for what you get here - it is a cool yoyo and high performance and will make you feel like a cool yoyoer when you play it but it will not actually make you a more creative or better yoyoer. Right now there are many other yoyos available on Yoyoexpert that will probably give you as much joy as the Draupnir because they are great yoyos to own, play, learn new tricks, and compete with if you want and they are affordable (the $20 Skyva is killer, for example). If you really want to dip into YYR designs, maybe try the more affordable Rebellion line, you know? Otherwise, if you absolutely must get your hands on one of these yoyos, go for the Draupnir if you want speed and effortlessness or the Valkyrie for fun but still high-performance.