The future of the Rubik’s Cube

Cubing has evolved greatly over decades, but has it reached its peak?

Tymon Kolasinski’s official world record average for solving a 3×3  Rubik’s cube was tied (4.86 seconds) by Max Park a while ago, and a new record is surely coming soon. Because of this, I feel that it’s a good time to reflect on the recent past of cubing and the upcoming future (ok mainly 3×3 but still).




For those of you that aren’t familiar with any of this, let me elaborate. Both Max Park and Tymon Kolasinski are famous cubers known worldwide and are widely considered to be the first and second best in the world. Whoever is the best is more of an opinion than a truth (Tymon. It’s Tymon. I don’t know why, but who said opinions need reason?). They both have exceptionally fast solve times and have participated in many World Cube Association competitions. Speaking of the WCA…




The WCA is an international organization for Rubik’s cube competitions worldwide and is the main, and nearly only, one of these organizations. Their competitions include events for many kinds of cubes and other cube-related puzzles (and then there’s Clock…). However, no matter the puzzle, the conditions, actions and regulations are similar




  • For a 3×3 and most other puzzles, the competitor (let’s call him Bob) is given 15 seconds to inspect the cube and plan out their first few moves. If his inspection is from 15-17 seconds, two seconds are added to Bob’s time as a penalty. Over 17 and the solve is a DNF (Did Not Finish).
  • Then, he solves the cube while being timed with a StackMat timer
  • Before any solve, the puzzle is scrambled by a designated scrambler (this is a real person). They use computer-generated algorithms to scramble the puzzle.
  • The 3×3 has a rule that any solve must take at least four moves to count.
  • When the cube is solved, Bob stops the StackMat timer. He cannot touch the cube after, or he will have two seconds added to his time. Turning it after stopping the timer is a DNF.
  • If the cube is one turn away from being solved once the timer has been stopped, two seconds are added to Bob’s time. Any more than two turns and it is classified as a DNF. 
  • There are other, more complicated things that can lead to a DNF as well (from personal experience, I can tell you that getting a DNF is not fun). 
  • There are also many other ways to get an added two seconds (Eight ways total, making the highest possible amount of added time 16 seconds).




There are many different kinds of Rubik’s cubes and other puzzles. However, only a few of them are part of official WCA competition events. Other than the 3×3 cube, there are:

  • 2×2, 4×4, & 5×5
  • 6×6 & 7×7
  • 3×3 OH(One-Handed)
  • Clock
  • Megaminx & Pyraminx
  • Skewb & Square-1
  • 3×3, 4×4, & 5×5 Blindfolded
  • 3×3 Fewest Moves
  • 3×3 Multi-Blind

Now for the ‘fun’ part…


The ‘Fun’ Part

From Past to Present

Cubing has come a long way since Minh Thai’s 22.95 second (3×3) Rubik’s Cube world record in 1982. Now, the record is just 3.47 seconds, set by Yusheng Du, and people average under 5 seconds currently. This massive change is due to three reasons: changes in the cube, changes in the method and changes in the cuber.


Changes in the Cube


Back then, the technology and materials available to use to make cubes were extremely limited, and the knowledge on how to improve them wasn’t around or really even considered at all. Nowadays, we have hundreds of options between tens of mainstream brands for all kinds of cubes (namely the icon of cubing, the 3×3).


Changes in the Cube

Just Don’t Get a Rubik’s Brand 

Many beginners don’t know this, but the cubes made by the actual company called Rubik’s are painfully slow and not worth getting if you’re planning on genuinely cubing. I myself believe that the company makes these cubes bad because it’s cheaper to make and beginners can’t tell the difference between actual speedcubes, other than the difference in cost that is. Therefore, they’ll end up buying a Rubik’s brand cube and regretting it far in the future when it’s way too late. 


Changes in the Cube

What to Buy

If you’re looking to buy a good new starting cube (you probably already have one if you’re reading this article but still) and have a tight budget, get something like the RS3M or Meilong 3x3s. If you’re looking for a cube that’s a bit better and more expensive, try the Tornado V2M. At just a bit higher and questionably better, we have the Gan 356 and Tornado V3M (and the Gan 356 M costs a bit more). MUCH higher (basically the ‘why would these even be your starting cubes unless you’re rich’ level) are cubes like the Gan 11. Even higher we have things like the Gan 11 M Pro and Gan 12, and then the extremely expensive Gan 12 M Pro, Gan 13 and Gan 13 M Pro. I can’t doubt the quality of the Gan cubes, but the pricing… it’s up there, to say the least. However, these are just some of the mainstream 3×3 cubes from some of the mainstream 3×3 brands. There are other lesser known possibly hidden jewels out there, and other amazing brands and cubes for other kinds of puzzles, like the 2×2, 4×4, or Pyraminx. 

For someone still learning, a Gan iCarry or i3 cube can be AMAZING (though I don’t have one myself), along with the app you should download with it. I won’t explain it so anyone that buys this cube can discover this wonder for themselves.


Changes in the Cube


During the time period we’re (or maybe it’s just me. I think it’s just me) calling ‘the past,’ almost, if not every cube in existence was the quality of today’s Rubik’s brands fresh out of the box (a cube that has never been turned isn’t really a good thing, even though it sounds like it) at BEST. Whereas now we have cubes with magnets in them (every slightly expensive 3×3), cubes that connect to apps (think iCarry) and cubes with more settings than a multicolored puzzle with squares needs (the Gan 13. It has 216 SETTINGS. 216!! Half of them are nearly identical though. Honestly, I think it’s for bragging rights). It doesn’t matter how much skill people of the past might’ve had because they would never be able to match the speeds we have today, simply because of the changes in the cube (once again, specifically 3×3).


Changes in the Method

Not Much to Talk About Here

There’s not much to talk about here, because it’s a given that over time methods and viewpoints on solving are going to change. It was bound to happen.

The following methods are step-by-step ways to solve the entire 3×3 Rubik’s cube. The main ones (that I’m aware of) are the Beginners’ method, ZZ method, 2-Look CFOP (Cross, F2L- First 2 Layers, OLL- Orientation of the Last Layer, PLL- Permutation of the Last Layer) method, Advanced CFOP method, Roux method and then Hybrid methods. Okay, I may have made up the name of Hybrid methods, but they are real things. Kind of. When a cuber takes one method and adds parts of another method into it, I consider it a new method (a hybrid). Also, there can be somewhat optional additions to some of these methods, like adding on pseudo-slotting to F2L (I don’t understand that either, but it’s an ‘optional’ part of the CFOP methods).


Changes in the Cuber

Skills And Not Much Else

I believe that a cuber needs four (main) skills to be great at what they do: recognition/location skills, reaction skills, knowledge and intuitive skills.



What I Mean…

Recognition skill is the ability to realize what pieces are needed for the current AND next step. Location skill is finding those pieces quickly. Also, the 15 seconds of inspection being used well falls into this category of skill.

Reaction skill is the ability to insert those pieces instantaneously with flowing yet quick movements.

Knowledge is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s just knowing the methods and steps you’re going to use to begin with and having general cubing knowledge.

Intuitive skills are for things like the cross and F2L in the CFOP methods because these aren’t always the same. The recognition and reaction skills being constant is the general purpose of this skill.


The Future

Years to Come

This doesn’t include things like new cube brands to come, because we all know that the Gan 14 is going to come out eventually, then the 15, and so on, and the Pro versions as well. We know that MoYu will eventually make another strangely named 3×3 (RS3M Super SUPER?). Those are just bound to happen. 


What I consider ‘the future of cubing’ is the records to be set and the people that may rise to fame from their skill. There isn’t much to say for this either, but I believe that Max Park will soon beat the record 3×3 average by a small amount (0.01-0.02 seconds, which in cubing terms is actually quite a bit). He’ll beat his own records, and then Tymon will come in with a 0.05-second improvement (massive in cubing record terms). A few other nearly as skilled cubers may come in with some world-record averages along the way as well.

I don’t think that already seemingly instantaneous records like the 0.49-second 2×2 record, 0.91 Pyraminx or 0.81 Skewb records are ever going to be beaten, and if they are it’ll be a while.

The 3×3 world record is going to be beaten, and so will records for events like 4×4 to 7×7 and Megaminx. Over time, of course. For puzzles like Square-1 and Clock, I’m not sure, as I don’t know basically anything about these. 



THAT’S the future of cubing, at least in my eyes. What do you think? What do you WANT to happen? (I for one want Clock purged from the WCA because just why is it part of the World CUBE Association). Think about it for a bit. Whatever your predictions and hopes are, we’ll have to see what’s to come to find out the truth. But if the past and present are any indications, the future of cubing is going to have a lot in store for us.