There are a lot of milestones in the speedcubing community that cubers of different levels are constantly striving to achieve. One such milestone which I would say all the cubers in the world would have tried to achieve, or at least dreamt of achieving is becoming sub-10 seconds on 3x3. You could say becoming sub 1 minute on 5x5 is equivalent to becoming sub 10 on 3x3.
When it comes to big cubes some things just don't seem to be that clear, as you will have to focus on very minute details like how you would solve some specific cases of the last four centres during your solve, which compared to the entire big cube seems to be a really small factor, but it does alter your time considerably.
Redux Method Steps
For becoming sub 1 on 5x5 I wouldn’t say it is necessary to be sub 10 on 3x3 or sub 30 on 4x4 but it definitely is better to be fast enough in those areas as well. Coming to the event, the only two methods I would say are optimal for becoming fast on 5x5 are reduction and yau.
Yau Method Steps
In reduction, as the name suggests you reduce the cube into a 3x3 and then solve the cube as a 3x3 with a special case known as parity which may or may not show up…while in yau you do reduce the cube to a 3x3 but not as directly as in reduction, you first solve two opposite centres, out of which one will be the centre on which you will be making your initial cross of 3x3 stage, and after those two centres are done, you solve three of the cross edges and place them in the correct order with respect to the centre…then you solve the remaining centres with the help of the remaining slot of the last cross edge, and once the centres are done, you solve the last cross edge and then solve the remaining edge pieces using slice moves. The advantage of those steps in such a sequence in yau is that you can have better look ahead during edge pairing which is something which I feel the reduction method lacks. Either way, both are great methods.
Obviously, for becoming fast, you will have to be efficient, and for that, you will have to know the best ways to solve a number of cases. When it comes to 5x5, telling that you have learned how to do reduction or yau doesn’t really mean you have learnt much about being efficient. There are a number of things that you will have to learn over time by watching Youtube videos from channels like Ciaran Beahan, and J perm.
I would also recommend learning the set of L2E algorithms from the CubeSkills video on YouTube.
Here, the efficiency is not just the use of big specific algorithms for each specific case of centres or edge pairing but it is the combination of a number of tricks and techniques for solving some pieces while maintaining your look ahead, as well as trying to force a better case for the other pieces that you would have had seen during the solve. For example: if I can do an Rw’ and solve the white centre at the bottom, but I recognize that if I do a B before the Rw’, I could solve a yellow block on the top, then I would do it if it does not affect my white centerpieces, and then I could quickly start looking for solving the yellow centerpieces.
So basically you will have to be efficient as well as force better cases with the help of look ahead just as in a 3x3 except in 5x5 there are a lot more pieces and a lot more unique cases to solve.
As we know, without practice you can not improve even if you watch a lot of videos about 5x5 and memories a lot of algorithms.
To get straight to the topic I would say start off by doing some turns on a 6x6 or a 5x5 for warm-up. During your solves, there are some places where it is better to alter your turning speed and focus on look ahead. I would say you should know how to plan at least one centre during the inspection, and this is something you will learn over time after just fidgeting with the cube and learning how its pieces move extremely well.
Here is how I would suggest one do a solve using yau-
- Start off your first 2 centres with a medium-fast speed and try to remain fluid with your turning. While you are solving the second centre start looking for edge pieces for your cross.
- When you start the cross, slow down your turning, and completely focus on look ahead. While you are doing your third cross piece, and you know the moves which can solve the third cross piece, use muscle memory to solve it and plan which centre you will be doing first and look for efficient solutions for it.
- During the last 4 centres, you can again come to mid-fast turning and try to be fast during the last 2 centres and also look for the last cross pieces so you can immediately move into solving it
- When the cross is done and you start off the edge pairing, it is time to speed up, as the look-ahead will be easier because you do not have to look for pieces in the D layer.
- For the last 2 edge pieces, solve the pairs by using slice flip slice if they won’t result in parity, or else use the set of L2E algorithms which help in avoiding parity.
- Once the 5x5 is reduced to a 3x3 with the cross done, you know what to do! Here you solve the cube as a 3x3 and try to finish your solve as quickly as possible.
It's better if the alteration in the turning speed in different areas becomes a part of your muscle memory.
At last, you need to practise using a good 5x5. In my opinion, the YJ MGC 5x5 Magnetic is one of the best in the market and should be good enough for anyone to get good solves. There are other 5x5s like the MoYu AoChuang WR M 5x5 Magnetic as well which are admired by some top-level 5x5 solvers.
Keeping these points in your mind, you can start your improvement process in 5x5 from now on and hopefully watch your hard work pay off.
Hasnain Reza Bilal
Hasnain Reza Bilal is a speedcuber from Hyderabad. He started Speedcubing during 2019 when he was around 12-13 years of age. Apart from speedcubing he likes reading, and photography. His main events are 3x3 and 5x5. He has been to one competition pre COVID and 2 competitions post COVID and has won 2 gold medals, 1 silver medal and 2 bronze medals in the post COVID competitions.