Thursday, October 18, 2012

Series 5.4X Review (Part Two)

by Crazy Ivan

Yesterday, we covered the first six sacks in this series and even though we already dealt with my personal favorite Myachi in the series, I still feel like I saved the best for last.  Today we'll cover the remaining three double packs, each of which has at least one Myachi that will have both collectors and enthusiasts all but drooling with anticipation.

So without further ado, here are the final six Myachis in series 5.4X:


This is one of those two packs where one Myachi clearly outshines the other.  As excited as we all were about seeing the sister sack to the Shadow Box (Series 5.1X), we'd only been looking forward to that for a couple of series.  We've been looking forward to a good Pink Cammo for years.

The Punk Pink Cammo does not disappoint.  It's a solid jammer a la the Agent Orange or Hunter Cammo.  For those that never jammed with these classics, I'll simply say that it breaks in quickly but it keeps breaking in for a long time afterwards as well.  It's one of those Myachis you fall in love with when you think you've got it all the way broken in.

The Shadow Box Gray is no slouch in the series, either.  A solid jammer that looks great in motion, this is a superb understated sack for a hobbyist jammer.  It's got an eye-catching pattern and is an obvious double to any two sack routine using it's much heralded sister sack, but it's also a great solo jammer if you're not putting on a show for a big audience.

As a double pack, this has already been favored by the holiday shoppers as a brother/sister pack; a double pack you buy for a boy and a girl to share.  While I think it's a great fit for that need, I think it's a mistake to consider the Punk Pink Cammo as a "girl's" Myachi.  It's an eye-catcher and looks great in a shred regardless of who's shredding.


This is a different two-pack depending on whose looking at it.  For people who aren't already immersed in Myachi Mania and historical Myachi lore, the Heart-Breaker is the real eye-catcher in this two pack.  But for those of us that have been in the game for a while, this set is all about the return of the leopard.

Leopard print sacks have been a part of the game since its earliest days.  Myachi Man had an affinity for the pattern early on and it shows when you look at the first several series.  Leopards showed up again and again in the old paper-tag days and continued to be staples through the first run China sacks (the Old School Leopard and Leopard Shag), the early Blister-Card days (The Leopard Lime and Punk Pink Leopard) and even in to the 6 Master Series (The Blueberry Leopard).

But then the Leopards seemed to disappear.  The last time we saw a leopard-print Myachi was in the 5B series (Blueberry Leopard re-release) and the last time we saw an original leopard was the same Myachi's first appearance in the 2.2!  That marks a full 20 series between Leopard releases.  What's more is that this marks the first ever corduroy leopard, making it a must own for any serious collector.

And let's not forget that it's also paired up with a black Myachi with a skull & crossbone pattern.  This makes this one of the clear favorites in-stores from what we've seen so far.  The fabric contrast between these two is phenomenal (a short shag versus a vertical corduroy) so for any new jammer who hasn't experimented with enough fabrics to pick a favorite, this is the logical 5.4X pick up.


There was never any question that this would be the top-selling two pack in the series.  It was as much a no-brainer as any call we've ever made.  Either of these two sacks could easily carry a double pack with a more mundane second Myachi, but by pairing them together, we've created what I consider to be the coolest looking two pack of all time.  But this double isn't all about looks.

The Danger Zone has a unique fabric that I can't readily compare to anything else we've done before.  It's similar in look to the 5.4 Checkerboard (and indeed that is considered its sister-sack), but the feel is completely different.  It has a much better grip right off the bat and though it doesn't wideboard quite like the Checkerboard, it really rewards you for breaking it in.

The Artful Dodger is nearly a duplicate of the Jolly Rodger from series 5.4.  The fabric and pattern is identical, though the Artful Dodger is a noticeably darker color.  Like the Jolly Rodger, it's a spectacular denim and the two easily tie for the easiest to break-in denims of all time.  That's not a hard title to take, of course, as denims in the past have been notoriously hard to break in all the way.  Calvins, Deisels, Denim N Dymonds, Zoot Suit, Chili Pepper... all known as great jammers when (and if) you ever get them broken in.

The Artful Dodger is a different animal altogether.  Though it "beards" in the same manner that the traditional denims did, it does so much faster and has a lot more give right away.  It's a thinner denim fabric so in the long run that might cost it some durability, but even a sack half as durable as a Calvin will last you for years.

Both sacks are non-traditional fabrics with designs that are proven winners.  It is already on pace to be the fastest selling double pack of all time and is the obvious first choice for anyone getting into the game for the first time.  Of course, it's also an obvious choice for every veteran as well, so basically, if you're reading this, you should probably go ahead and place an order for one.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Series 5.4X Review (Part One)

by Crazy Ivan

Let me begin with a quick apology.  I said this would be out last week, but as be batten down the hatches in preparation for the holiday season, I found myself pushing it back more and more.  It did give me another week to jam with all the Myachis in question, so my hope is that what I sacrificed in punctuality, I'll make up for in specificity.

Because this series is offered in sets of two, I'll be reviewing them in pairs.  I think it's important for people deciding which ones to pick up, it's best to look at how each set compliments one another rather than reviewing them individually.

And like the 5.4 review, I'll be splitting this one into a two day thing.  Below are the reviews of the first six Myachis offered in the 5.4X:


Most Myachi collectors will look at this pairing of sacks and see two re-releases.  The Bag Pipe Red, one of the best sellers from the previous series sits above what most people would think at a glance is a welcome re-release of the Patchwork Black.

While I can say with certainty that the HodgePodge Plaid is a unique Myachi, the differences between it and the Patchwork Black (series 4.2), the differences are subtle.  It would take a trained eye to distinguish them without taking a quick look at the series number on the tag.

Those differences are all in the look, however, as the HodgePodge is every bit the jammer that the Patchwork Black was (and still is).  Interestingly enough, the real jammability differences come from the direct re-release of the Bag Pipe Red.  While this is the same Myachi that was offered in the 5.3 series, a subtle manufacturing change has made it a far superior jammer.

This pairing offers the best color contrast in the series, so it makes for a spectacular doubles routine.  This is the pairing I would suggest for somebody who was a jammer and looking for two new Myachis to be their dominant jam-sacks.  This would also be a great pick-up for somebody who was once a heavy jammer and is looking to get back in the game.


Two much awaited sister sacks are paired up in this phenomenal double pack.  I've long believed that every good series should have at least one cammo sack (and sales seem to back me up on that).  This will be only the second Blue camouflage and by an unfortunate error by as we went to press, they share a name.  The "Blue Cammo" from series 4.4 was a significantly different sack with a shag fabric and a far darker set of tones.

Setting aside the name duplication, this sack is the latest in a long series of popular cammo cords that include the legendary Hunter Cammo and the Agent Orange.  It's a phenomenal jammer with a quick break in time and the soft blue is easy to pick out in a quick jam in almost any environment.

Coupling a vertical corduroy like the Blue Cammo with a classic horizontal is something that Maverick has been pushing for more and more in the double packs and we wisely went his way this time.  The Green Labyrinth is a great contrast to the Blue Cammo, but not just in terms of fabric orientation.  A dark color contrasting with a light color, a loud pattern contrasting with a muted one and a flowing design contrasting with an angular one.

This pairing probably offers the best balance between the jammer and the collector.  Both sacks are legit shred bags but their connection to such storied classic Myachi families make them must-owns for collectors.


This double pack may be the victim of an incredibly stunning series.  In most two-pack series, this pairing would probably jump right off the shelf.  The combination of the skull & crossbone design with a classic multi-colored horizontal cord would be a winner in 9 series out of 10.  But in this series, this two pack looks almost bland in comparison to it's edgier cousins.

The Blue Horizon has already earned a valued spot in my collection of jammers.  It's become my go-to sack from the 5.4X series and despite a relatively dull look, the horizontal contrast looks great mid-shred.  Sistering with the Black Hole Sun from series 5.4, the Blue Horizon promises to be a long-term favorite among serious jammers.

The Cold Hearted is definitely more of a collector than a jammer.  While the short-shag does break in with relative ease, most jammers shy away from white Myachis because of their propensity to show wear in a negative way.  The pattern diffuses it somewhat (when compared to sacks like the White Belt or the CMC), but it's still far easier to imagine this Myachi earning a spot in a collection than it is to see it earning a spot in a 3 Myachi juggle.

As a pair, this is a great split for someone on the fence between being a jammer and a collector.  Rather than a double pack like the Green Labyrinth and the Blue Cammo where both sacks are hybrids of jamming and collectability, this two pack offers a clear choice of one of each.


Check back with us tomorrow for the breakdown on the remaining 6 sacks from series 5.4X!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Games Myachi Masters Play

by Crazy Ivan

The other day, Lucky and I were playing a little Myachi in the living room at the House of Skills and, as often happens in such situations, a new Myachi game emerged.  We started off just tossing back and forth and, because Lucky is still recovering from a broken leg, we had to do it seated.  Before long we started playing a variation of a game Butter and I used to play.  It's a simple back and forth game where I'm trying to land a Myachi on your seat and you're trying to land it on mine.  A lot of fakes, high tosses and crazy spins.

Of course, when Myachi Masters play, games evolve pretty quickly and before long we were playing an entirely different game.  We were having so much fun with it that I immediately thought "I should write about this on the blog".  After all, that's what I usually do when a new game emerges.

But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if the game was really worth sharing.  It's a game that Lucky and I had a bunch of fun with and Monk, Kid and I had a bunch of fun with it later in the evening, but it occurs to me that this game really might only be fun for a Myachi Master.

I debated with myself for a bit on whether the game was blog-worthy, and obviously I eventually decided that it was.  It's a pretty simple game that requires two or more people and at least three Myachis.  I should note that in our limited experience, the more Myachis you use, the better... though I have to assume that at a certain point you pass the optimum number.

Here's how the game works:

Each player stands in a circle (or across from one another in a two player game).  One player starts with all 3 (or 4 or 5 or 6) Myachis.  You select one of the Myachis to be the "Target Sack".  It should be one that is brightly colored or at least one that looks a lot different than the others.  You'll see why in the next paragraph.

The first player now throws all the Myachis to the next player.  They can all be thrown at once or they can be thrown one at a time or they can be thrown in groups of two.  The thrower can throw however they want.  Now here's the twist: The player they're being thrown to doesn't have to catch all the Myachis.  They only have to catch the target sack.  In fact, they're only allowed to catch the Target Sack.  If you catch any Myachi other than the Target Sack, your opponent gets a point.  If you fail to catch the Target sack, the opponent gets a point.

Now this player gathers up the Myachis and tosses them back (or to the next player in the circle) and the game keeps going until one player has 7 points.

You can probably see how this gets challenging right away.  If the Myachis are thrown in a cluster, it's often very difficult to catch one without accidentally catching another.  We were allowing for a single strike before the catch to break up tightly clustered throws, but even then it can be really tough to pick out just the one we were supposed to catch.

But I had to wonder if this would be anywhere near as fun to the average Myachi player.  It's not that the game is too difficult, but rather, it might be too easy.  As a Myachi Master, you catch Myachis for at least 40 hours a week, but more often 50, 60 or more.  It gets to the point where anything someone tosses to you winds up on the back of your hand.  So for a Myachi Master, you have to really work not to catch all the Myachis that are coming your way.  You have to consciously tell yourself that they all have to land on the ground.  Even if you could make a really cool foot save that would allow you to catch all 3 (of 4 or 5 or 6).  When Lucky and I played, I won because he eventually just accidentally caught one that was near his left hand (he was catching the Target Sack with his right).  It's an instinct and it's tough to suppress.

So my hope is that a few Myachi Maniacs will read this, try the game out and report back to me.  If you decide to help me in this experiment, please leave your results in the comment section below.  Also, we're trying to think of a name for this one, so if you have any thoughts there, you can leave them in the comments section as well.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Series 5.4 Review, Part Two

by Crazy Ivan

Yesterday, I broke down the first six sacks in the 5.4 series.  We saw some old favorites, some new takes on some old designs and some classic fabrics popping back up after long hiatuses.  Today we're going to take all those themes to a higher level as we break down the remaining Myachis in the series.  And, no offense to the Aztec Red, the Checkerboard, the Shadow Box Red, the Blackhole Sun, the Python Blue and the Bagpipe Blue, I think I saved the best for last.


We started with a rerelease yesterday, so I figured we'd do the same today.  The most popular sack from the 4.5 series makes a triumphant return in the 5.4, reminding us all that nothing beats a brightly colored corduroy.  Now complimenting the Labyrinth Green in the 5.4x series (see review coming next week), the understated pattern on this classic manages to hold its own even alongside the cornucopia of visual awesomeness that is the 5.4 series.

For those of you who never jammed with a broken in Labyrinth Blue, I feel confident in saying that I can't oversell it.  In terms of jammability I would likely rank it as my all time favorite horizontal corduroy.  But don't just take my word for it.  The original release of this sack was recent enough that there are plenty of Manias that would be happy to back me up on that.


When the time comes to select the new series, Myachi Man sends up hundreds of fabric samples and everybody at the House of Skills looks over them, each of us selecting our favorites.  In every batch, there are always a few patterns that we all agree on and a few that we debate.  I'm sure it will come as no surprise that there was no debate when it came to the Jolly Roger.

You can already see that it's awesome so I don't have to tell you that.  It's probably the coolest looking sack since the Hard Core Cammo.  But what you can't see on the picture is what an incredible jammer it is as well.  The fabric has no real parallel in the Myachi world, so the best I can do to describe it is to say that it's somewhere between a Boneyard Red and a Calvin.  It's a denim, but a thin denim that breaks in like a late stage denim way quicker.

Like all denims (including the vaunted Calvin), it starts out a bit slick so it's probably not the best Myachi for a beginner.  It's definitely more of a veteran Myachi, though I'm sure every collector will be rushing to add this one, regardless of their level of skill.


People often ask me why there aren't more orange Myachis.  Sure, there's the Highlander Orange and the Juice and a few others (mostly promos and special event sacks), but most series come and go without any orange at all.  Is it that Myachi Man doesn't like the color?  Is it that Myachi Masters have a problem with colors that nothing rhymes with?

The sad truth is that we all dig orange as much as the next guy (or gal), but historically, orange Myachis don't sell very well.  They tend to be the last ones lingering on the shelf after all the other Myachis sell out.  The Wavy Gravy Orange, the Juice, the Candy Corn and even the Electric Orange Shag were the slowest sellers in their respective series.

That being said, we're confident in the Braveheart Orange for two reasons.  First is that plaids are always winners (even the Highlander Orange and the Tartan Orange were strong sellers) and second is that the unique type of corduroy employed for this sack is going to intrigue jammers.  It jams more like a shag when it's new and more like a suede when it's broken in so it's certainly not the same old corduroy experience.  It certainly takes a bit more effort to break in than more traditional corduroys, but it's also far more jam-worthy before it's all the way broken in, so it makes for a pretty even trade off.


When we set out to make a great series, there are three pattern types we're always looking for; a good plaid, a good skull & crossbones variation and a good cammo.  Considering that, I'd say we did a pretty solid job in series 5.4.

The Jungle Cammo is reminiscent (in both design and jammability) of the Agent Orange and the Hunter Cammo.  It's a classic corduroy, which means that it breaks in easily and is jam-worthy right away.  It's a bit more brightly colored than most green cammos (and actually a bit more brightly colored than it looks in the picture above) so it's actually a pretty good outdoor jammer, which is usually a huge drawback for camouflage patterns.

I must admit that of all the sacks in the 5.4 series, this is the one I've spent the least time with and thus I'm not 100% qualified to review it's jammability once broken in.  I can say that it jams like you'd expect a solid vertical corduroy to jam and I'm quite sure that it's a good sack for both beginners and veterans, but I'm still not prepared to say that it breaks in to the legendary level that it's sister sacks (the aforementioned Hunter Cammo and Agent Orange) achieved.  I do have my fingers crossed, though...


Finally, we get to my personal favorite in the series.  Of course, anybody who knows my taste in Myachis will not be at all surprised that my favorite sack in the series is the denim one.  I've long admitted that I can't really be trusted when it comes to reviewing denim sacks since I think all of them are incredible (with the possible exception of the Chili Pepper, which was way too hard to break in).  So keep all that in mind as you read the next two paragraphs where I slobber on endlessly about my unabashed love for this Myachi.

This might be the best denim Myachi of all time.  Obviously it's pretty early to say that and since I've had almost a decade to fall in love with the Calvin, it's going to take more than a couple weeks of jamming with one of these suckers to make that assessment.  But as for "fresh from the package" jamming, I don't think any denim was ever so friendly.  It's a thick, durable denim like a Calvin or a Diesel, but it gives much easier right away and is far less frustrating to break in than most denims.

Of course, the big question is whether it breaks in like a Calvin.  After all, being the easiest denim to jam with new is like being the tallest person in an empty room.  Not much competition.  I can say that it breaks in quickly compared to many denims, and I can say that it is my go-to jammer from series 5.4, but it might take years before a realistic comparison can be made between this one and the consensus best jammer of all time.  Still, the fact that I'm even suggesting that such a comparison might one day be made is a pretty good indicator of how awesome a Myachi this thing really is.


And now to the one that everybody is talking about.  It's like the Iridescent rainbow meets the Cotton Candy.  It's vivid, kaleidoscopic design is so eye-catching that many people look at pictures of the whole series and see nothing but the Starburst.  The mottled design looks like the kind of Myachi that would give Mario superpowers and it gets even cooler once you start jamming with it.

There's not much to say about this Myachi except that (a) it is a classic shag with a feel similar to a Blueberry Leopard or a Cotton Candy and (b) just look at it.


That concludes my review of the 5.4 series, but, of course, that means that my job is only halfway done.  There was another double pack release that went with this one, so be on the look out for my review of the Myachis in series 5.4x (which will also be a two-parter) coming next week.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Series 5.4 Review, Part One

by Crazy Ivan

With a cool mix of old and new, a welcomed return to several classic fabrics and a few new takes on the most beloved designs, the 5.4 series offers a unique array of Myachis that should excite the collectors, the jammers and the newbs.  Within days of its release it was already being heralded as the most buzz-worthy series in the past 2 years.  The series is marked by bright colors, variegated fabrics and bold, striking patterns.  It seems almost like a throwback that would have nestled comfortably between series 2.1 and the 2.2; a series that mixes all the fabric variety of series 3.2x with the bold patterns of the 4.1.

The series was a response to much of the criticism of the 5.3/5.3x release.  While those sacks were beloved for their jammability and the originality of their patterns, they were seen as "predictable" compared to the sacks from the last couple of series.  They were 100% corduroy which made them great jammers, but got kind of dull for collectors and even people who want a bit of variety in their shred.

So without further ado, I present you our answer to the call for more variety; a series that reaches both forward and backward in time to show you what was, what is and what will be...


 We'll begin with a long-beloved classic.  The Aztec Red is one of two re-releases in the series, a move that shocked many collectors who got into the game over the last two years.  We haven't done many re-releases in that time period and we haven't done any for a sack as iconic as the Aztec Red.

The popularity of this Myachi has spawned a whole family of similar designs.  The Aztec Blue, the Aztec Black and the Aztec Orange all owe their inclusion in previous series to the overwhelming popularity of this simple sack.  This actually marks the 3rd rerelease of the Aztec Red, tying it for the third most rereleased sack of all time (tied with the Red Line, behind the Slater and, of course, the Black Butter).  However, this time we've returned the orientation the classic horizontal pattern (all the previous rereleases were vertical), a move that anyone who ever broke in an original 4.0 Aztec Red is excited to see.

Long considered a quintessential corduroy in the same class as the Beards and Lines, the Aztec Red is a must have for anybody who follows the evolution of the series.  And for those that have been in the game since the original release, I assure you, it has aged well.


Here we see a strange hybrid of the old and the new.  Everyone who was in the game when the 3.2 series came out fondly remembers the Finish Line, the Starting Line and the Red Line.  They were some of the earliest corduroy sacks and their pattern was popular across the board.  They were remembered as spectacular wide-boarders and staple jammers.

Well, here we see the same pattern in a new color arrangement with a whole new fabric.  Instead of the classic corduroy, the Checkerboard offers a short shag reminiscent of the Tainted Love.  What's more, the fabric actually has a different feel between the black and red squares, making for an awesome contrast in grip during a shred.

But the most exciting aspect of this Myachi is that it had already proven to be a notorious wide-boarder; perhaps even more than the original Lines.  I've seen one stretched out to the point that it was almost a square, though that may have been an anomaly, as I haven't been able to widen one out quite that much on my own.

Suffice to say it's a unique jamming experience, but in a very good way.  Anyone who is a bit standoffish about committing to a shag might consider the Checkerboard as a good introduction to the fabric.  The short shag makes it really easy to get used to and the contrasting feels of the fabric give it a very microsuede-like grip.


Sitting next to the vibrant colors and striking designs of the series, one could be forgiven for dismissing the Shadow Box Red as 'boring'.  Admittedly, it is an understated sack that lacks the flashiness of the Python Blue, the Starburst and the the Braveheart Orange.  But in a series so marked by bright colors, Myachi Man was careful to include something for everyone.  We know from experience that many gamers prefer a darker, less showy Myachi that allows the jammer to be the star of the shred.

The Shadow Box Red is a phenomenal jammer that breaks in quickly.  It is a typical corduroy that would have been at home in any of the last three series, so in a series that reaches so far into Myachi antiquity, this one is a bit of a stalwart, reminding us of the continuing evolution of our game.


Building upon the popularity of sacks line the Dreamcoat, the Night Rider and the Drag Strip, this horizontal corduroy is at once both over and understated.  It is as brightly colored as any sack in the series (with the possible exception of the Starburst), but it doesn't have the gripping designs that so many of the 5.4s contain.  Instead, it is a simple randomly colored pinstripe design.

These designs have long been popular with serious jammers, as the pattern really comes to life once the Myachi starts spinning and flipping its way through a standard popcorn shred.  This should make it significantly more popular with jammers than collectors, as the beauty of this Myachi can't really be seen if it is sitting on a shelf amid a large collection.  To see the Blackhole Sun is to see it in action.

Oh, and if you're curious about the name, you're clearly not getting enough 90s screech-metal in your diet.


Perhaps the boldest design in the series, the Python Blue is a also one of only 2 true shags in the series.  This was one of the fabrics we all looked to immediately when it came time to pick the new series.  The combination of pattern and color is irresistible and the temptation of resurrecting the Shag was too great.  The Python Blue was, in many ways, the sack that inspired the whole series.

Like all classic shags, this one will take some effort to break in.  This fabric doesn't offer the instant gratification that corduroy, soft suede and microsuede do.  Many people find shags a bit frustrating over the first couple of days of jamming.  But anyone who ever had the chance to shred with a well broken in Black Bear Shag or a Cotton Candy will assure you that it is well worth taking the time to break one in right.

I've had a chance to break a Python Blue in almost all the way and already I love it as both a solo jammer and as a complimentary sack in a two Myachi shred.  The eyes of your audience can't help but follow along with this Myachi so it is downright hypnotic when used correctly.


Alright, so let me get the obvious part out of the way first.  This sack is almost indistinguishable from the Bagpipe Green in series 5.2.  The pattern is actually almost identical, though it is a slightly smaller version of the same pattern.  Without the series numbers on the back of the tag, it would be quite difficult for the average Myachi Maniac to tell the two apart.  With the two sacks having such similar names, it seems almost like an intentional invitation to confusion.  And for that, I apologize.

But sweeping all the to one side, we're still left with a great jammer in an epic pattern.  Since the first plaid Myachis were introduced in the 3.0/3.1 co-release, they have remained among the most popular patterns in the game.  Nearly every series since then has included at least one (and usually two) new varieties on the plaid patterns.  The very fact that we've used Highlanders, Bravehearts, Bagpipes and Lumberjacks should be all the evidence you need that it's been a pretty popular pattern.

The Bagpipe Blue is definitely doing its part to keep plaids in the good graces of Myachi Maniacs the world over.  It is a vertical corduroy, and most of the ones I've jammed with seem to stay tight (small) even once they're broken in (soft).  That makes it a great Myachi for the younger jammers that are getting serious about their game.  It's also a good number two in a doubles shred with virtually any brightly colored sack.


There are still 6 more sacks in the series, but I didn't want to overload anybody just yet.  Be sure to check back in tomorrow for the second part in the review where we'll get to the ones you've all been waiting for (the Jolly Roger and the Starburst).