Getting to know the Valk 3
Released in the summer of 2016, the Valk 3 is easily one of the most iconic and everlasting cubes. It stands out in almost every way, with its magnetic version at a digestible price tag of $24.99, its happy endorsement by longtime pro Mats Valk, and its simplicity in a field crammed with an obsession to customize and adjust.
The Valk 3 is, simply put, a solid cube. What it lacks in features it makes up for in performance, ease of use, and results -- an abundance of results. Over the years, the community has seen cubers wield the Valk 3 to extraordinary heights. Soon after the release of the Cubicle Labs Valk 3 M in late 2016, Mats Valk shocked the world with a 4.74 world record 3x3 single, the first record in this category with a magnetic cube. A year later, Patrick Ponce scored his very own world record with a 4.69 3x3 single.
Most speedcubes last only a year or two before they are replaced by a superseding model. In the Valk 3’s case, its manufacturer QiYi MoFangGe released the Valk 3 Power in the fall of 2017 and the Valk 3 Elite in the winter of 2019. Despite the makers calling these cubes updates, cubers continued to use and love their original Valk 3’s.
The Valk 3 today
The Valk 3 is still a staple in many pro speedcubers’ arsenal of mainworthy cubes. Its measurements, 55.5mm across and 85g, are still considered good according to today’s standards. The cube has great speed and stability, an excellent handfeel, and is highly compatible with a huge variety of lubes.
Just last year, the community saw the rising of two great stars, Sean Patrick Villanueva (Philippines) and Tymon Kolasinski (Poland). Using the Roux method, Sean improved the Asian record average of his countryman Leo Borromeo with an impressive result of 5.98 seconds. Tymon’s 6.12 Polish national record also captured the admiration of cubing fans across the world. As it currently stands, the Valk 3 occupies two out of the five positions in the global 3x3 average rankings.
More recently, Tymon has gone head-to-head against some of the world’s best speedcubers in big online competitions Cubing at Home and Monkey League. Armed with a Valk 3 (most of the time) and nerves of steel, Tymon has gone on to win the first season of Monkey League and multiple Cubing at Home titles.
Tymon commented in a previous interview: “I think it’s the smooth turn of [the Valk 3]. There are no significant bumps while turning just one side (without corner cutting). It also has a nice flow to it when doing many turns continuously.”
The future of the Valk 3
With so many world-class achievements across the span of four long years, the Valk 3 easily remains a top-level, viable speedcube today. Its reliability and modest pricing are still loved and respected by cubers of all skill levels.
While only QiYi (and perhaps Mats himself) really knows what may come after the Valk 3 Elite, there is one thing for sure: cubers have never really stopped being drawn to the simplicity and elegance of the original Valk 3. It was a true great plug-and-play product -- sophisticated in useful ways but not overcomplicated. One direction to pursue could be to return to the cube’s roots -- to appeal to the core reasons cubers loved the Valk 3 so much.
After all, despite the many opportunities competing designers had to design and innovate over it, the Valk 3 still stands as one of the most successful speedcubes in recent times.