Hi there! My name is Naren Ramesh, and I am a speedcuber whose main event has been Pyraminx for nearly five years! Although I currently average 2.2-2.3 seconds (with an official average of 2.58 seconds), I was once a below-average Pyraminx solver who could not get the hang of solving it quickly due to its slightly awkward shape and the difficulty I had in performing complex methods on it due to this shape. In fact, my first-ever Pyraminx average (in 2015) was 21.77 seconds!
This “tip”- filled blog will be split into two parts. One part will be about tricks for beginner’s method solvers, and the other is for those who use L4E, although most of the tips do overlap. This is also the point in this blog to mention that I solve the Pyraminx V-First and will, as such, be discussing only methods using this style of solving the puzzle.
Using the Beginner’s Method
Firstly, I will be discussing what to do if you want to stick with the beginner’s method. If you follow this method, I assume that you solve the Pyraminx in two steps: solving the bottom layer, then solving the top layer using last-layer algorithms. The first improvement you can make to this method is to improve your efficiency in solving the bottom layer. Generally, I see beginner solvers utilizing a standardized method of linking the three centers of a specific colour and then inserting each edge into the bottom layer using one of the four following inserts:
- R U R’
- R U’ R’
- L’ U L
- L’ U’ L
While this method of solving is fairly easy to remember and can work as a beginner’s tool to get sub-15 or sub-10, I do not believe it is a useful tool to be consistently fast, as it relies heavily on having a high TPS and executing the bottom layer as fast as possible so you can get to the top layer, which is not sustainable in the long term.
There are several ways to improve first-layer efficiency. One such way is to increase the number of inserts you use. This can include sledgehammers (R’ L R L’) and hedge-slammers (L R’ L’ R), and back inserts such as:
- R’ U R
- R’ U’ R
- L U L’
- L U’ L’
Another way is to chain insertions of pieces such that you insert multiple pieces in a layer together. Simple examples of this include inserting two pieces in the same motion (without a regrip) using turns like R U’ R’2 U’ R and a sledgehammer cancel into a back insert, which goes R’ L R U L’. By the way, if you are having trouble visualizing any of this, I highly suggest trying all these algorithms on your very own Pyraminx to see how you could implement and modify them in your own solves.
Speaking of chaining your insertions into the same motion, I also believe that a fault of the beginner method I mentioned earlier is that it relies HEAVILY on regrips, which is a bad habit on the Pyraminx since regrips take especially long on the awkward shape of the Pyraminx. The solution to this is to plan your layer (or most of it) in inspection. This will have the effect of reducing pauses while also meaning that you will use fewer regrips to look for the next piece to insert. However, I can understand if this is very difficult to improve upon initially, so my general tip to improve with inspection planning, in the long run, is to do lots of unlimited inspection solves at home (in large sessions) and then gradually reduce this inspection time to 15 seconds so that you can plan in a more streamlined manner.
Another way to drastically improve your solve times comes to the last layer, and efficiency when it comes to algorithms. My biggest piece of advice in this regard would be to learn your last-layer algorithms from different angles (specifically for the fish case, which is in the group of images below). Here are the last layer algorithms I use for each case:
- R U’ R’ U’ R U’ R’
- R U R’ U R U R’
- L’ U L U L’ U L
- L’ U’ L U’ L’ U’ L
- R’ L R L’ U L’ U’ L
- R U’ R’ U R’ L R L’
- R’ U’ L’ U L R → when the front of the “fish” is on the left
- R U R’ U’ R’ L R L’ → when the front of the “fish” is on the right
- R’ U’ R’ L R L’ U R → when the front of the “fish” is facing you
Finally, for those who want to stick to the beginner’s method, I would advise you to improve the way in which you solve tips. In general, a rule of thumb would be never to solve them all at the end; at most, leave one tip for the end. You should generally solve tips in a way that integrates with the movement of the solve and takes the least extra time. So try out different combinations of tips at different parts of the solve! For me, I found out that doing all tips at the beginning is the best solution, and it is also something that most top solvers currently do since it means that you don’t need to worry about tips for the rest of the solve. It also means that you can worry less about getting a +2 penalty due to an unsolved tip.
Moving on to those who want to switch to L4E, all of these tactics still hold true, with the main addition being that you should learn the most efficient L4E algorithms. And to learn these, I would recommend my L4E tutorial video. The main thing you should do is drill all these algorithms on a daily basis until they are embedded in your muscle memory, which can also be helped by doing solves with these algorithms (although your solve times will worsen initially, they will improve DRASTICALLY in the long term!).
So those are my tips for getting good at Pyraminx. It has been my favorite WCA event for the longest time and is a joy to solve, so I really recommend those who don't give it a chance to follow these tips and (hopefully; with a lot of practice) see improvements to you solve times and enjoyment of the event. Thank you for reading, and make sure to leave your comments if you have any!
Naren Ramesh is the former Pyraminx (Single) National record holder from Bengaluru. Currently, he is in the 2nd position. He started cubing when he was 10 and has been cubing for the past 7 years and loves every aspect of cubing, from speedsolving Pyraminx to having fun with friends at competitions. He has attended 49 competitions and won a total of 62 podiums with 26 Gold medals and 1 National record. He also has a World Ranking of 39 in Pyraminx Single.