Here it is! My take on the ever popular Dark Magic.
Specs(taken from the YoYoNation site with a few edits)
[tr][td]Bearing Size (Inside x Outside x Width)[/td][td].250 x .500 x .187 in (Size C)[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Stock Response System[/td][td]YYJ Hybrid (O-ring and Starburst)[/td][/tr]
A little Intro:
The Dark Magic is the signature series of Andre Boulay, owner of this site. It’s become one of the most popular intermediate yo-yo’s out there. Why? Because it’s a great player with a nice feel and packs a big bang for your buck. It can take you from your first throws all the way to the most mind-bogglingly complex tricks out there.
The yo-yo that started me on my journey was a Speed Beetle. Naturally, when I recieved my YoYoExpert package in my mail I was extremely excited. The little cardboard box that held my brand new yo-yo shocked me. Why would a yo-yo as prestigious and downright awesome as a Dark Magic(at least it was to me at the time) come in a flimsy cardboard and plastic foil box? I quickly got over it and gave the yo-yo a throw. Smooth as butter. Not one sign of the dreaded YYJ vibe that plagues many metal rimmed YYJ’s. I don’t know if I am lucky or if those nightmares were just made up by people wanting to scare newbies like me. Eh, whatever.
Shape, Appearance, etc.
The Dark Magic has a rounded V-shape. The middle finger rests comfortably in the catch zone of the yo-yo while the index and ring fingers grip the flat area of the metal rims. This makes the Dark Magic comfortable to hold and on a catch.
The metal rims protrude out a bit from the caps, allowing for some(difficult) inner ring grinds. But if you really want to do some IRG’s, you’re best off removing the caps. The Dark Magic features an inner inner ring that allow easier IRG’s.
The caps are made of clear plastic with the Dark Magic logo printed using some sort of ink on one side. I reckon they could be removed using the same method for removing the text on a FHZ cap. Without the caps, the Dark Magic looks a lot like a generic yo-yo.
Inner workings and Performance
The Dark Magic that is currently in production comes with an unresponsive YYJ SPEED bearing, so a bind return is required to bring it back to your hand. This could pose some problems to beginners who are inexperienced with string tricks. The hybrid response, however, is aggressive and makes binding, even in low RPM’s, easy. Be warned that the starburst makes a screeching noise when rubbing against the string.
The Dark Magic tips the scale at 70 grams, making it quite a workout for beginners. For more experienced players, it simply means that the yo-yo plays almost slower on the string. But the weight distribution on the Dark Magic is different compared to most yo-yo’s in the $40 price range. Instead of having the metal rims take the weight all the way to the edge, the weight is concentrated more to the center. This provides a more stable spin but at the cost of a small amount of spin time. The distribution of weight also makes the Dark Magic more likely to tilt when the string is rubbing against a side.
The gap on the Dark Magic is, like most YoYoJam metal rimmed yo-yo’s, adjustable. The tightest gap setting is very responsive and, when paired with an unresponsive bearing, snaggy. The widest gap setting is much less responsive and smoother on the string. I prefer to play mine on the tightest gap setting along with a worn down O-ring and slightly lubed bearing.
Grinds on the Dark Magic are great. The metal rims allow two different IRG’s(the outer one for fast, harder to control grinds and the inner one for easier, but slower grinds). Regular arm grinds are amazing because of the metal rims. Finger grinds, not so much. Unless you have gigantic fingers, the plastic causes too much friction to produce decent grinds.
The Hybrid response requires basically zero maintenance; both the starburst and the rubber o-ring can last the entire lifetime of the yo-yo.
I’ve found the adjustable gap to give away over time(mine doesn’t adjust at all anymore forcing me to play on the tightest gap setting). You might want to invest in a pair of shims if you don’t want to eventually play with a tight gap.
The ball bearing is snug in the bearing seat, meaning there’s no chance of it being lost and it eliminates the need for separate spacers.
The only part of the Dark Magic that needs maintenance is the bearing. Here’s a good place to look: http://yoyoexpert.com/forums/index.php/topic,871.0.html
A few comparison pics:
Left to right: Dark Magic, Legacy, FreeHand 2, Speed Maker
To wrap things up…
I was impressed when I got my Dark Magic. This yo-yo has everything you need to get to the top. An adjustable gap lets you customize your response. The hybrid response is perfect for learning the ropes of string tricks while never needing to be replaced. Overall, a great yo-yo for beginners and those looking to transition from a plastic to a yo-yo capable of more advanced tricks.
A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. – Colin Powell