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stick9

Warrior Alpha QX stick

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Big thanks to JR and Modsquadhockey as well as the folks over at Warrior for allowing me to take part in their VIP program.

For those unfamiliar with the VIP program. Here's the short version. The Warrior VIP program is a marketing campaign which distributes product to select users before the actual release. Users are asked to take part in blog updates to offer feedback. User are also encouraged to take to social media to promote the product. 

Product: Warrior Alpha QX1

Pattern/Curve: W28

Flex: 75

Grip: Yes

Personal Details: 
Male, 5’ 9”, 165 lbs
Forward and Defense
C level mens league & pick up (playing twice a week)

Recent Sticks:

Bauer Supreme S190, Bauer Nexus 1N (2016), Warrior Dynasty HD1, CCM Tacks, Bauer MX3 pro-stock, Bauer X:60 pro-stock, Reebok RibCor, Easton Mako (first generation)

Initial impressions…

Look & Feel

This time around, less is more for Warrior. Very basic design with simple logo’s and markings. There is still a bit a flash with the silver and yellow accents. Remove the name and it could easily be mistaken for a CCM or Bauer. I was a bit surprised by how mainstream it looked. But a nice overall design none the less.

The Alpha’s ERGO geometry is dog-bone shaped (i.e. rounded corners with concave walls). The rounded corners feel more natural than other sticks while the concave walls give you a more secure feeling. When I reviewed the HD1, I loved the rounded corners but I found the convex shaft walls didn’t lock my hand into a proper position. So the new shaft geometry was a welcome change. The PROTEXT grip combines textured edges with a tacky soft grip coating. I really like what Warrior did here. The shaft shape and grip is one of my favorite aspects of the stick. It’s everything I like about the Nexus and Supreme combined. 

Weight & Balance

The Alpha QX is a True 1 piece stick. Warrior has updated their process making the stick is lighter through the bottom half. Warrior is using a new aerospace grade carbon fiber they call Minimus 1000. This is exclusive to the top of the QX line. They claim it makes the stick lighter, stronger and even more responsive. It is extremely light, listed at 410g, though I have seen screen shots coming in closer to the 420g mark. The QX I received did come off as a bit blade heavy, so not sure I am buying that whole lighter through the bottom half stuff. When cut to the same length the balance was not as good as the 1N, but better than both my Supremes and Tacks.

Pattern & Lie

Being a P28 user I went with the W28 pattern. The curve itself is close to Bauer’s P28, but not exact. I’d say it’s a bit less open than the Bauer. One thing that’s kind of odd here. Most sites, even the Warrior site list the W28 pattern as a Yakupov but the stick itself labeled Gallagher. I am going to assume this change is in the works.

In regards to the lie. The Yakupov version has a lie of 4 where the Gallagher version is more like a 5. It’s pretty much identical to my P28 from Bauer as you can see in the photo below. Definitely something to keep in mind if you're accustomed to the Yakupov version.

Very excited to get out on the ice and give it a go.

Some pics

Warrior Alpha QX stick (full view) 

002.jpg

Bottom logo

003.jpg

Graphics & W28 pattern.

004.jpg

Closeup of the Protex grip

IMG_2292.JPG

Shaft geometry comparison, from left to right, Alpha QX, Nexus 1N, Supreme S190

IMG_2299.JPG

Curve comparison, from left to right, 1N P28, S190 P28 & QX W28

IMG_2288.JPG

Lie comparison, S190 in the front, QX in the back...pretty dang close I'd say.

IMG_2291.JPG

Edited by stick9
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I was a little late starting my review so I am going to cram a few updates into one.

Prior to receiving the QX from Warrior I had been using Nexus sticks. I went from an 8000LE to the 1N. I did purchase a Supreme S190 earlier this year, which was the stick I was using when I started this review. Other sticks are listed in my previous post. Just a reference point for those reading this.

Opinions after a few sessions with the stick. 

If I am honest, my first time out with the Alpha QX, I wasn’t impressed. There were some things I liked, most notably the grip and puck feel (very good). Initially, it felt a bit too whippy and the blade seemed a bit pingy (pucks were bouncing of the blade). I have this habit of grabbing the toe of the blade and pushing against the curve between face-offs. No clue why I do this, I don’t take face-offs. Anyway, every time I did this, I could feel the blade give a little. I ended the night feeling a bit underwhelmed.

I was playing with my usual team the following night. I was iffy on whether I was going to use it or not. I gave it a go in warm-ups and I started coming around a bit. I figured, what the hell, I’ll use and see what happens. As the game wore on I started to appreciate it more and more, especially the puck feel. It was nice to be able to pick up a puck in the corner and feel the puck on the blade rather than looking to make sure it’s there. It took some good hacks, not so much as a mark. 

At this point I liked the QX, but I don’t really love it.

Fast Forward a month or so…

I’ve gone from underwhelmed, to impressed. 

The kick point was something that took getting used to. It’s not a true mid like say a Tacks or a Nexus, but’s not a low kick either. I like to use the analogy of taking a Supreme and flipping it over, not literally of course.

I find the QX’s flex profile more forgiving than the low-kick sticks I have used in the past, yet not quite as much as a true mid-kick like the Nexus or Warrior’s HD1. If pressed, I’d say it plays closer to a Nexus than it does a Vapor or RibCor. Don’t quote me on that. It’s been a few years since I’ve used a low kick stick. I’d be curious to hear what some low-kick players think of the QX.

Warrior’s W28 pattern is as I originally suspected, very close to Bauer’s P28 but not exact. It plays about the same, but there is a subtle difference. Maybe a tiny bit less picky about having the puck on the toe for wrist shots. From the pictures in my initial post you can see that the lie isn’t all that much different than a 5 lie P28 from Bauer. This lead me to believe Warrior not only changed the pattern name, but also the lie. That is not the case. When talking with the Warrior rep at SummerJam 9, he said it was only a name change, (Yakupov to Gallagher), the lie and pattern remained the same. So, Warriors 4 is close if not exact to Bauer’s 5?? Really wish we could get some standardization here.

I routinely check the stick for any possible issues. There is one spot that caught my attention, a small cut in the material near the heel on the inside face. I remember someone stepping on my stick that night, so I assume it was from the skate blade. I was told that the QX blade has four beams that run the length of the blade with foam between them. The cut looks to have fallen between beams, but I can’t be sure. I didn’t notice any degradation or weakness so I just left it. Other than that, the stick looks to be in great shape, minus your normal stick and puck marks.

As we sit right now, some six weeks into it…call me a fan. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. Still lots to be learned about the QX.
 

IMG_2347.JPG

Edited by stick9
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A few updates…

I addressed the cut mark in the blade shown in the previous post by filling it with Gorilla glue. I scrapped off the excess and left to dry. The glue and the cut remain as they were. I take it this wasn’t a structural issue which is why I haven’t noticed any adverse effects or a continuation of the damage.

In terms of durability, the Alpha has been tested and then some. It’s taken some heavy abuse over the past few weeks. The heaviest being just the other night. I took a nasty two hander just above the W logo you see in the pic above. I fully expected to look down and see the stick in two pieces. When I got back to the bench and examined the stick more closely, there was barely a mark. I played out the rest of the night with it, never felt as though it had been compromised. Other than the cut mark the blade has held up extremely well. No chipping or separating at the toe.  

 

Replacing the tape allowed me to do a better side by side comparison of the pattern. I removed the tape from the Alpha’s W28 pattern as well as my Supreme S190 and positioned them in a way where the shafts were parallel with each other and the heels aligned. From the pic, we see the Warrior W28 is less open than the P28 and it’s more of a toe curve, whereas the P28 looks a bit more like a mid/toe.

curve 2.jpg

 

For the sake of comparison, I spent some time with my 1N and my S190. In terms of playability, each stick stands on its own. The Alpha’s puck feel is much better than either of the Bauer’s, but the 1N is a much smoother playing stick. The Supreme is just a tank, my weapon of choice if I am going to spend the night hacking away at pucks in the corner. The take away here is that the Alpha can hang with the 1N and is noticeable better than a stick that was top of line stick a few years ago, (S190, previously the MX3). I didn’t really notice that until I went back to those sticks.

Edited by stick9

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Thinks it’s time to cap this one off. I’ve been using the Alpha QX exclusively since late July. I have switched to various other sticks to help me gauge where the QX sits among it’s competitors, but the QX has been my main stick since it arrived, and it still is. I've gone into some pretty good detail over the course of this review so I'll keep this one short and to the point.

Final ratings:

Blade:
A bit softer than what I was used, but puck feel was far superior than anything I have ever used. The skate cut on the inside face had no effect on the sticks performance nor did it affect the overall durability of the blade. It’s help up extremely well.

9/10 (would have gone 10/10 if not for the cut)

Shaft & Flex:
The Alpha’s ERGO shaft geometry along with the PROTEXT grip (textured edges with a tacky soft grip coating) make for a nice and natural feel in your hands. In my opinion, this is the perfect combination. 
The shaft loads up very easy. Shots come off quick and with a decent amount pop. Things have softened up a bit over the past few weeks but it still plays well. I think it performs equally well in in all three aspects (wrist-shots, slap-shots & passing).

10/10

Weight & Balance:
I found the overall weight and balance to be good, but not great. My stick did come off a bit blade heavy and wasn’t balanced as good as my 1N’s. It is however better than others sticks I have used. Again, good but not great.

8.5/10

Durability:
The QX has been an absolute tank. It has to be one of the most durable sticks I have ever used. That wasn’t the case with the HD1 I tested, a welcomed improvement for sure. The stick has taken a beating and it’s still going strong. Yeah, it’s softened up a little but that’s expected.

9/10 (would have gone 10/10 if not for the cut)



Intangibles:
Puck feel along with the shaft shape & grip. These are the things that get lost in the mix or pattern, lie and flex rating, but can be key to how the stick performs, or how well you like it. These are also the type of things you can’t test at the store, you really need to experience them in game. Props to Warrior to not overlooking the finer points. I want to give a nod to overall look of the stick, i.e. the graphics. I really like their more mainstream approach here.

Conclusion:
Warrior came up with a winner here. It’s all there, shooting, passing, puck feel & durability. Such a great stick. So, glad I got to try one out. I planned on getting a second one, but opted for the limited Alpha AKSE instead, which packs many of the same features as the QX. Thanks again to JR, ModSquadHockey & the folks at Warrior Hockey

Overall score – 9.125/10
 

Edited by stick9

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