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August 23, 2020 1 Comment

If you’re familiar with the 4 number flight rating system odds are you’ve seen a disc with */*/-1/3 as the rating or thrown one. What I mean is, ignore the speed and glide numbers for a second, the last 2 numbers, turn and fade are -1 and 3. For those who don’t know here’s a link to Innova explaining the numbers. Now the rating isn’t scientific, it’s done by people who design discs and throw for a living. Many people have differing opinions on numbers; that’s another whole blog in itself. For example, I don’t believe the TL3 is a -1/1 I think it’s closer to 0/1 as mine don’t seem to turn unless I crank on them. But there is something interesting about these numbers and it’s the subject of my blog today. How is it that we got so many drivers that are -1/3 for turn and fade?

From Innova the 7 speed Eagle has these as the turn/fade, 10 speed Orc, 11 speed Wraith, 12 speed Destroyer, 13 speed Boss, 14 speed Firestorm, and the 14 speed Colossus! From Discraft the 12 speed Zeus, and the 13 speed Nuke. From Discmania the 12 speed DD3. That’s 10 drivers from 3 companies that have all found a -1/3 to be something that players want.

All of these discs are incredibly popular with both forehand and backhand players. And they’re all different enough to warrant their own mold. I mean you wouldn’t say that any of these discs are truly the same, would you? I’ve thrown all of them except the DD3 and they’ve felt different to me in flight pattern and amount of power required to get them going.

Now I’m a huge Wraith fan, I own at least 6 of them and bag 2-3 at a time. What makes it that different from a Destroyer, or a Boss? The only difference is the Wraith is an 11, the Destroyer 12, and the Boss is a 13 speed disc. They have the same glide, turn, and fade.

Speed isn’t just a 1994 classic movie featuring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. It’s an important feature in distinguishing these discs. I think the single biggest jump in power required is demonstrated by the Destroyer and Wraith. If you throw the Wraith well, you have to throw the Destroyer with just a little bit more power or it will hyzer out and you never get the full flex you need. The Destroyer for me is just a little more stable, and I only take it out when I have more wind or need to get further to the side. It’s really all about player preferences and how fast a disc you want to throw though.

The Firestorm and Colossus share the same speed, but a different glide. The Firestorm has a lower glide 4, than the Colossus 5. They’re both quite different discs though, as the Colossus tends to be more flippy at high speed than the firestorm.

I want to take a moment to look at the last 8 World Championships for MPO. The winners are
2019- Paul Mcbeth
2018- Gregg Barsby
2017- Ricky Wysocki
2016- Ricky Wysocki
2015- Paul Mcbeth
2014- Paul Mcbeth
2013- Paul Mcbeth
2012- Paul Mcbeth

Paul was famous for throwing his Destroyer with Innova and when he went to Discraft they developed the Zeus, a high speed driver with -1/3. Gregg Barsby is known for his play with the Eagle, also a -1/3. Ricky has moved to Innova where one of his signature discs is the Destroyer. He bagged some -1/3 discs like the Ballista when he was with Latitude 64. So don’t just trust me blindly here, look at how this combo has been playing out for the last decade in the Pro scene. Obviously these 3 guys are elite at every aspect of the game, but one thing they all seem to agree on is the -1/3 turn/fade combo.

What does all of this mean? What am I getting at with all this turn and fade nonsense?
It’s about reliability, and distance. This combination is great because it can do both. A more overstable disc such as the Innova Ape or Discmania PD2 will never get the same distance as these discs but they’ll always fade and be under control. You’ll never guess where these discs are going to end up, they’re controlled drivers.

And you might be able to throw an Innova Katana further with its incredible glide and the huge turn and fade but you won’t always know where it’s going to end up. It’s going to be forward, but it might be left or right of the target.

A Destroyer or a Zeus is going to still flex and get good distance, but then they’re going to fade out at the end of the flight. Knowing your disc will fade is going to give you an advantage out on the course.

I think that these companies have found the right amount of control and distance for not just Pro players, but for all players. While it’s possible to achieve greater distance with understable discs, you won’t always have the control. And when I’m looking for a controlled shot an overstable disc is the one I turn to. This is the key to a controlled distance shot, a -1/3 combination for the turn and fade of your disc.

Once you’ve made the decision to look at bagging a -1/3 disc you’ve got to decide on the speed. That’s really the next big thing that comes into account. An Eagle is a 7 speed driver that can be thrown short or long. Something like the Firestorm is going to be a long distance only disc. You won’t find much use for it unless you’re throwing it in a wide open field where it has room to soar. What’s really great about these discs is that you’ll always know what to expect when you’re throwing them. You’ll recognize the flight path almost instantly out of your hand. It will be familiar, and that allows you to learn from it. These discs tend to be 10 and above speed, they’ll handle the high speeds well, so don’t be afraid to try them forehand or backhand. You’ll notice if you look at the flight path of one of these discs they’ll all look similar with a slight S curve to them.

If you’re looking for a familiar flight path that gives you both distance and control I recommend trying out a disc that’s -1/3 turn/fade. Being able to bring both distance and control to a shot is how you’re going to shave strokes off your game. You may lose 20 feet on your drive, but it’s worth it to end up in the fairway almost every time.

So let me know if you’re bagging one of these discs, and why you like it in the comments. If you think there’s another turn/fade combo that it seems everyone is throwing, let me know. I’m always looking to improve my game as well.

May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397


1 Response

Jim C
Jim C

September 12, 2020

I think -1,3 is a good starting point, but that’s for established players who can actually throw a 10speed + disc and get it to behave properly. If you’re Paul or Rickey or Eagle and can throw 500ft, makes sense. I play with a lot of beginners where 300ft is a max drive. For use, not sure the -1,3 is the right starting point. For me an Eagle drops out of the sky where a Roadrunner or Sidewinder gives me much more air time and due to my slower arm speed they don’t flip for me unless I throw flat into a headwind and even then I’m not fast enough to make them roll. I’m in the camp where I can throw a putter 200’, mid 225 and fairway driver 250 to 275. A Monarch is my overstable and everything faster gives me nothing.

My point is that it is important to match speed to get the control the -1,3 can give. For me, every disc you mentions flies exactly the same for me. The same as a Mamba, I can’t reach that speed so even though others find it very flippy, it flies like a Firebird.

I just wanted to point that out. Thank you.

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