Two-Look OLL Guide

I’ve wanted to make this Two-Look OLL tutorial for a while, and finally found the time. Although the video embedded below is comprehensive (read: long) and should stand alone, this post’s further background and table of algorithms should help with learning/practice.

What is OLL?

The third-step in 3×3 solving under the CFOP/Fridrich Method is OLL (Orient Last Layer). By the OLL stage, with the Cross and F2L complete, the bottom face and first two layers will be solved. The goal of OLL is to orient the up face stickers (generally yellow for white-on-bottom solvers so that all are facing up and none are facing “out.”

There are 57 possible cases/states at the OLL stage, too many for most cubers to learn/remember all solutions. (Two years in, and I know only about 30 of them….) Two-Look OLL is designed to lighten the burden by breaking OLL into two steps. The first step (or “look”) of Two-Look OLL is to orient the four edges, forming a yellow cross or plus-sign (ignoring the edges). The second “look” orients the four corners so that yellow faces up, completing the top face. The center cubie is, of course, fixed and can never be “un-oriented.” As the Speedsolving Wiki summarizes:

[Y]ou do not need to know all 57 OLLs to use 2-look OLL, rather the system is divided up. By first orienting the edges (3 cases), then orienting the corners (7 cases), orientation of all pieces on the last layer is completed.

I think we all can agree that 10 cases is better than 57!?! Here’s a video teaching and contextualizing them:

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“Weird” F2L Improved (##11-12, 23-24)

There are limits to intuitive F2L (so-called). There, I said it. Again. Yes, the concept of pairing edges and corners in the top layer before insertion is elementary, and, in many instances, you can intuit just how to do that — splitting pairs, using empty slots, etc. But the solution to certain cases is far from intuitive. Which is to say that purely intuitive approaches might work, but inefficiently (too many moves, unnecessary cube rotations, etc.).

Cases 23 and 24 are prime examples; their cousins, 11 and 12, are close seconds. Having spent a few days on these four cases (watching videos, looking on the speedsolving wiki, etc.), I found much better solutions than my “intuitive” ones. (With the exception of #23, which I had learned from Andy Klise’s excellent F2L Cheat Sheet.)

The improved cases are demonstrated in the video below and summarized in the chart that follows it. The cube is an F2L Practice Cube, basically a Maru Cx3 with only the bottom two layers stickered. Anyone learning F2L should un-sticker the top layer of a cube to prevent distraction and increase F2L focus.

(music: Budos Band, “Nature’s Wrath”; cube: Maru CX3 w/ stock stickers)

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