Game Changer YoYos

Yesterday I was searching through boxes, drawers, and everywhere else for a certain throw I haven’t seen for a while.
Some of the old dusty boxes were a little bit like time capsules. I started remembering how much I had wanted certain models, and thinking how much the selection, quality and even my interests in throwing has changed over the years.
I have been lured into getting the latest and greatest new throw a bunch of times over the years, but the thing that looking through all my old yoyos got me pondering was, which ones really did deliver?
Lately a few of the newer YYF models are really helping me in general, models like the Edge come to mind. Over my long term learning though, there are a few real stand outs that got me past the plateaus everyone experiences. Here are mine, what were yours?

TK No Jive, probably the most helpful at my greatest time of need.
Custom Elite, smoothing out complicated old school string tricks, STM, frog in a bag, etc.
One Drop M1, carried it everywhere, really got my unresponsive game kick started.
YYF Horizon… one word, corkscrew!

-Duncan butterfly (first decent fixed axel) Massive upgrade from my dollar store yoyos.
-Duncan dragon fly (first ball bearing)
-Duncan metal drifter (first full metal)
-Yoyojam new breed (first true unresponsive)
Past these, none really stick out as game changers. I have stuff that I really enjoy but when it comes down to it, they really didn’t get me past major plateaus. They may have inspired me on a couple tricks though.

Duncan pulse - first yoyo that worked well

Duncan throw monkey - first string trick yoyo

Myy v1 - first unresponsive

Yyf shutter - first good metal unresponsive

Yomega brain - got me into yoyos as a kid.
Duncan drifter - first metal yoyo, and also the yoyo I learned basic string tricks on line trapeze and drop in the bucket.
Magic yoyo N12 - Yoyo that got me into unresponsive play.
YYF Shutter - The standard by which I compare all other yoyos. By far the yoyo I’ve played with the most and still my go-to after over a year of ownership.

For me this was my progression:

Started with a BC Smothers Brothers Hummingbird. Then my Turbo Bumble Bee was my first real game changer. It had a ball bearing in it!!! Would sleep for what seemed days, could get through any and all tricks from any of the books.

The next game changer wasn’t until 2014 when I got an AntiYo YWET. It was the yoyo I always wanted. The shape, feel, everything. That lead me to my love of AntiYo.

Also around that time I discovered TMBR yoyos. These awesome fixed axles that seemed to blur the lines of a fixed axle and bearing yoyo, by what you could do with them. TMBR also got me back into my first yoyo love, fixed axles :slight_smile:

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My Duncan speed Beatle. Lead me to more complicated tricks with its bearing.

My yomega maverick, such an upgrade from my old yoyo, this was the yoyo that helped me decide I was committed to this hobby.

Horizon. The play was next level compared to anything else I had used, and I learned, and learned to love, fingerspins very quickly.

Not sure if this would be considered a ‘game changer’ but I think one of the most amazing advances in yoyo construction was the day One Drop unveiled the Side Effects system.

It is much deeper than it looks. Some people told me it’s just a way to adjust ‘core weight’. Yes and no…

By altering the core weight; you are also altering the overall balance of the yoyo. The dynamic of mid and rim weight is readjusted as the core weight is changed.

So it is much more than it would seem.

And it pretty much eliminates stripping a yoyo… And if you are criminally insane enough to literally strip a side effects One Drop; you only need to invest in another economical set of side effects.

The system is not only very efficient and functional but gorilla proof.

And it’s a bonus that One Drop does such precision machine work.



100% agree!

Perfectly said Doc. I was going to list the One Drop 54 specifically because it was the first to ship with Side Effects.

Raider was my first “game changer” because it instantaneously tripled my sleeper time and opened up an echelon of tricks to which I assumed I had no right.
I’d say the Renegade and later Mini-Motu and Bare Bones were subsequent game changers for me, as they continued to make that progression more and more efficient.

No Jive for me was more than a game changer. It was a game ENDER - it was coming home. Those other yo-yo’s were awesome, and they helped reveal what I could do. No Jive was the first one I threw which made it clear what I SHOULD do.

For me the progression was:

YYF Velocity. I could play unresponsive while still trying to learn unresponsive play.

YYF Shutter. My first all metal unresponsive yoyo. It made an immediate difference in my play. I still remember throwing it for the first time and thinking “Holy Cow! What a difference between this and my plastic yoyos”

The YYF Too H.O.T./Dogma Mystery box from a couple years ago. Those 2 yoyos were both so great and yet were so different from each other that it really taught me how much difference yoyo design can make. They are still my 2 favorite yoyos.

Magic Yoyo Stealth. My first bi-metal. To have the combination of super stability and super lightness was a game changer for me. I started hitting tricks I couldn’t do before. Or, it may just be that I was at a point in my throwing where tricks started to gel.

Yoyos that changed the way I related to the sport (in chronological order):
Journey (First Bearing)
Too Hot (First Unresponsive)
No Jive (The Difficulty of Simplicity)
Top Deck (I had to rethink how I relate to a throw’s balance)
Knight and Gale Proto (I almost gave up on Bi-Metals, but this thing is fantastic)

I think one of the most notable ‘game changer’ yoyos was the Playmaxx BumbleBee GT.

It stood out like a marshmallow in a basket of blueberries🙀

It had: great looks, excellent shape, amazingly cool packaging, versatile response system. You could adjust the gap(to a degree).

The performance, the price and the packaging were all outstanding at the time it was released.

It was basically a very ‘Custom’ yoyo; released as a stock form yoyo.

It was a Hot Rod yoyo…

I think the release of the Bumble Bee GT reenergized others in recognizing the future performance potential of yoyos on the horizon.

The distinctive colorway was impossible to not see. And at the time; if you were just about anywhere people were throwing yoyos; you would see Bee GT’s.

To this day; the packaging has stood the test of time. If you ever see a Bumble Bee GT, New in the package; you feel how cutting edge the product was from its’ inception.



Remembering saving up the summer that I first saw the Bumble Bee, 1995 maybe? Loved finally getting one! Then later getting a couple GT’s as well. And that string!

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Yoyos that changed my game:
Spin Dynamics Flow. My first metal yoyo.
2015 eH. My first wood fixed axle, started me down the slippery slope of fixed axle.

I’d say:

ProYo: first yoyo to have moderate sleep times and good response. Unlike the butterfly or imperial.

Throw Monkey: learned string tricks for the first time. Also discovered stacking old friction stickers lets you create your own response type.

Wooly Marmot: first real unresponsive and first metal. Forced me to learn how to use spin time and didn’t let me get away with being sloppy.

Skyva, great price for great yoyo if I’m correct the first yoyo to have a fingerspin dimple

For me, it all started when I got. Yomega Fireball, in fourth grade. I was the King of yoyos at school. I never got into the crazy looping, but from there, on out, I always had a yoyo.

The next one was an Alchemy Silk, that I got, probably, around 2008? I was bored one night, after finding a fireball in a drawer somewhere, then I went on YouTube to look up yoyo videos, and I found a bunch of Yuuki and JD videos. I immediately thought, “WOW, this stuff is insane!” Tried it with the fireball, realized I needed something else, and the Silk was the first thing to catch my eye. I still have it, to this day.

I think the next thing to really shake things up for me, was the Alley Cat. I had fallen in and out of the hobby and collecting for a while. I really got back into it about a year ago. While things had improved, it was all still a lot of the same. Not knocking the stuff being made, it’s WAY better in quality than a lot of stuff that was being put out, about ten years ago, but it’s mainly different shapes, different materials. The Alleycat is the first thing that I’ve seen that tried something different. It took all of the modern amenities we have in unresponsive throws, but applied it to a pocket friendly, fun to play with, responsive yoyo. It seemed like things were going in a direction of fine tuning the next competitive monster, then Core co. put this out and really shook things up.

To be the man, you gotta beat the man-Ric Flair

YYJ Theory beat it by at least 3 or 4 years and I’m not even sure if that was the first