Recently around the community, I have heard discussion of “1st tier yoyoers” and “2nd tier yoyoers”, and of course “3rd tier yoyoers”, which made me wonder: Where does the first tier start, and second begin? 2nd and third? Is their more than 3 tiers? If so how many?

Keep in mind, this is usually discussed in the contest realm of speak.

I’m curious to hear your opinions on where you think one tier stops and the other starts?
What classifies a player as being in this regal “top tier” of number 1?
And what makes a 2nd tier player so “not worthy” of the top? Who are the third?

Thought this would be an interesting topic for discussion.



Personally, I see some of this too. If you look at who top yoyoers typically hang around at competitions, you’ll notice they are generally top scoring people. I’d say these are what people consider ‘Top tier’. The same goes for people who are still very good, but maybe not sponsored, or less known. Then you have noobs. Enough said.

so you would say there is no “4th tier?”

4th tier is someone who cant get a responsive yoyo back to their hand.


A 4th tier person is someone who asks you to walk the dog on gravel after you do your longest most impressive combo.

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i ask that…

Lolzeez 4th tier unite!

Lol nah
Even if you ask that you aren’t fourth tier because you make awesome holsters

I’ve never heard anything about tiers. And I don’t think there should be tiers. Have fun, don’t obsess over how you compare with others; though some competition can be good.

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There are tiers when it comes to everything. However, in my world, the tiers have actual quantifiable things to determine where things sit in the bigger scheme of things.

I would say the Tier 1 are those who consistently are placing in the finals. They may also be frequently seeded. Probably nearly all of them are sponsored. Most of them probably have a signature model as well.

Not very many Tier 1 players would non-competitors. Former competitors, definitely. I’d actually put someone like Zammy in this list. I would also put Haru Ray on this list, at least at a National level.

I would say the Tier 2 are those who are still inconsistent, probably hitting the bottom slots on the finals when they make it. Their scores are probably also in the bottom of the Finals if they make it, not far off from where they ended up in the finals. As far as their positions in the prelims, assuming they don’t make it to finals, they are placing in the upper portion of the prelims. Odds are these players are a mixed bag of sponsored, junior/apprentice players, not-major-brand players and individuals really clawing and scratching their way up the competition circuit.

I would think the Tier 3 is a combination of trick ladder competitors and those players who have made names for themselves, as well as players who are often at contests and competing regularly, which would include new 1A players breaking into competition.

I have no idea where I’d be. Tier 50? Tier 150? I don’t really care where I fit in.

I’d be happy to be playing at a bottom-level of Tier 3, but even so, I’m not going to compete. It’s not part of my bigger picture/objectives for this yoyo thing.

thanks you! I probably would only ask that as a joke anyway, lol

I consistently place in finals, at least for states. It’s not like I’m sponsored or have a signature model though. I usually don’t do as well in finals for some reason. However in prelims, I usually end up actually placing in the top 5. Strange…

have you tried… Bribery?.. Lol jk, that’s cheating XD

I would say:

Top tier: Serious contender to win Worlds or Nationals

2nd tier: Players who are unlikely to win a major title but are generally in the finals there and are usually at the top of regional/state/local contests that top tier players aren’t at

3rd tier: People who can put together a decent showing at regional/state/local but are unlikely to make the podium there or make finals at Worlds or Nationals

The tier system was created to differentiate the level of competitiveness players have from one another. The original tier system includes 5 levels, 1 being the most competitive and 5 being the least. Keep in mind that the tiers are always changing since the system was designed only for competitive players; a champion player from a few years ago may not have stayed as competitive in the current year.


Tier 1 - Top performer, expected to win world-level events. Think Hiroyuki Suzuki, Jensen Kimmit, Yuuki Spencer in their prime.

Tier 2 - High-level performer, expected to win National level events. Think Zach Gormely, Harold Owens, Tyler Severence in their prime.

Tier 3 - Mid level competitor that is expected to win a regional event

Tier 4 - Low level competitor that is expected to win a local or State competition.

Tier 5 - All other competitors.

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What FNG outlined makes more sense to me.

Tier 5 representing all the noobs out there, myself included. Let’s go. Or not…we’re just wasting the judges time when they could be spending time not judging noob freestyles. /sarcasm

I think that Nathan, being one of the Best Yoyo Contest judges in the World, laid out a pretty accurate breakdown of ‘Tiers’.

That being said, I think FNG gave a pretty reasonable breakdown by not only spreading out the tiers but stating some names to give depth to who might be in what tier.

My one curiousity concerns FNGs’ descriptions of tier 3 and tier 4? I think he got those two somewhat backwards.

Tier 3 should be mid level player expected to win Regional or State contests and 4th tier should be lower level player expected to win ‘local’ contests, not the other way around.

… I don’t think a tier level 4 player should be expected to win a 'state contest?

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FNG and I started saying random stuff was “Tier 1” “Tier 2”, etc. at MOYO this year. Eventually we started saying it about yoyoers and I guess it caught on. FNG was spot on with his outline. Considering we started this whole thing I would say he knows what he’s talking about. It doesn’t matter WHO started it, but I think it’s interesting how it came about.

The idea, for me anyways, was adapted from competitive fighting games. Characters are divided into tiers based on how suited they are for the metagame. With Tier 1 being the highest. At the time I just thought it was something funny to say. And was really using it as an indirect way to say something was good or bad.

For example, that night I was asking Robbie Graham if he had uploaded contest freestyles yet. He responded with “Tier 5 hotel wifi”. Not only is that hilarious, but true. Because hotel wifi sucks. Get it?

Anyways. The phrase applied to yoyoers in general pretty well. And as a good way to categorize people based on their competitiveness I guess it stuck. It’s a useful system to keep in mind, and can spark a lot of interesting conversation. Ian Johnson and I had a pretty intense conversation talking about whether or not Zach Gormley would be considered Tier 1.

So, Alex, you don’t see that this is slightly incorrect? >

Tier 3 - Mid level competitor that is expected to win a regional event

Tier 4 - Low level competitor that is expected to win a local or State competition.

Contest levels are generally: State… regional… Then local.

Shouldn’t the Tiers read: tier 3 competitor expected to win State or Regional and tier 4 expected to win local?

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Isn’t regional bigger than state?

I’ve never attended what would be considered a “local” contest. I know they have some of them in California. I’m assuming they’re about the same size as a state contest over here in the mid east due to the denser population of yoyoers out there. I don’t really see a problem grouping the two together in one of the lower tiers.

While the system is useful for analying the competition around you. I don’t think it should be taken too seriously. It started out as a joke, after all.