Speedsolvers, your new time to beat is 4.74 seconds.
Rubik’s cube records are like Mario speedruns. We know they’re going to happen, but because clutching the title involves shaving off fractions of a second they’re still so impressive.
But the new record-holder, Mats Valk, had a secret weapon.
Many speedsolvers attempt record with custom cubes. The standard, store-bought Rubik’s is just too slow and clunky to be competitive. Valk went one step further and used his own—the Valk 3M.
The Valk 3 is a standard spring-based cube custom built to Valk’s specifications, while the Valk M is riff on the same cube but with four dozen tiny magnets embedded in it for smoother feedback. There’s no information on any Valk 3M that we can find—and the video’s description links to the Valk M. More than likely it could be a typo, though the 3M could also be some prototype only available to Valk himself. We’ve emailed him for clarification on the matter.
In any case, this special cube—and years of practice—gave the young Valk the 0.26 second edge he needed to beat out previous champ Lucas Etter. Can you follow a single move he’s making? I certainly can’t.
Update 11/7/16 10:35am EST: Valk also set a record for fastest time anyone has ever responded to an email inquiry. He clarified that the 3M and the M are indeed the very same cube.
The secret ingredient was magnets all along.