M Slice F2L (##15-16)

It was exactly three years ago this weekend that I solved a Rubik’s Cube for the first time. Escaping the craziness that can come with too much family over Thanksgiving weekend, I spent an hour in front of YouTube, scribbled some notes, turned on my webcam, and recorded this six-minute solve. I thought I was awesome.

Fast forward three years, and I’m not longer impressed by being able to solve cubes, even big ones. Speed is impressive (certainly the sub-10 folks blow my mind), but that’s never going to be me. Three years in, I’m still hovering at 30 seconds for a 3×3, and I’m actually ok with that. What impresses and intrigues me even further is deepening my knowledge; I’m always interested in learning new techniques and approaches (in my very limited spare time).

For a little while, now, I’ve been focussed on using the M slice to make easier and reduce rotations in certain “tough” F2L cases. These two — #15 and #16 — boiled to the top:

F2l #15

M U (Rw F’ Rw’) U’ M’

setup: M U (L F L’) U’ M’

equivalent: M U (L F’ L’) U’ M’
conventional: y’ (R’ U R U’) d’ (R U R’)

#16

M U’ (R’ F R) U M’

setup: M U’ (R’ F’ R) U M’


conventional: y’ (R U’ R’ U) d (R’ U’ R)

I’ve identified 8 other cases that are interesting contenders for M slice F2L. But some would be just as clunky as the conventional approaches. As Cyoubx very clearly articulates in this video, M slice (as part of forced rotationless) F2L taken to its extreme starts to approximate Roux — and bad Roux at that. I’m interested in exploring Roux more. But, for now, I think there are certain key F2L cases that can be converted to M and used in Fridrich/CFOP without veering into bad-Roux-land. While I continue to explore the others, I think these two work quite well.

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Double M’ Flicks

I’ve been working on double (ring-to-middle finger) M’ flicks for H Perm, rather than the paired single (ring finger) flicks that I’m used to. This wasn’t so much about speed as smoothness; at about 2.2 seconds, H is already one of my fastest PLLs. But I did pick up speed. With just a few minutes of practice, I got H Perm down to about 1.75 seconds. Here’s a quick video (my first edited in Final Cut Pro X), showing both approaches.

(music: “Cissy Strut” by The Meters)

Transferring this to Z Perm is going to take some work. It’s easy in H Perm to just go double-double-double-double. Much harder in Z Perm to go double-double-single-double-single. Working on it, though. More helpful, still, would be double U flicks. I’ve been having a hard time with those (these stumpy fingers of mine!). Maybe I’ll get the smaller 55mm Zhanchi to try to work on mechanics.

As for the Camcuber Zhanchi popping montage at the end: That might have been a little too (indirectly) critical of a cube that I’ve come to like even more since reviewing it last week. More than anything, I was just surprised to have so many pops on it — especially since I almost never pop a Zhanchi. I suppose I was pretty rough on it when I was learning the double-flicks….