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Block building patterns

The core of this method is to build blocks. It is what steps 1, 2 and 4 are all about. This can be done intuitively, but with experience you will pick up some patterns you can immediately recognize, which is one of the keys to doing this fast.

Here are some of my favorite patterns. I hope they can be of help. I'll add some more when I think of good ones.

"simple join"

This is trivial in a way, but I don't want to overlook it since it is really the one I use the most. It's the second thing I start looking for on a mixed cube, if there are no already formed pairs. And it is the basis for a lot of my block building - if I have nothing better to do, I start doing or preparing simple joins, and that makes things happen. It simply consists of finding a corner and edge that are one move away from forming a pair.

"double join"

Also very basic and very useful. It doesn't "just happen" as much as a simple join, but it's the most common second goal once you've formed a pair. Since we're building a 2x2x1 block a center needs to be part of it, as well as the corner and 2 edges.

"swing"

Brilliant when you can get it. That's pretty often for S1, and occasionally in S2. If you want to think of it that way, the first move is just a setup move for a double join in the second move. Both the lone edge and the pair can be in other positions, as in example 2.

"double swing"

This is a very good Step 1 start, and it sometimes happens in Step 2 as well. Again, this is a two move setup for a double join, but while it's good to be aware of that, I think you have to recognize it on its own. While it is fairly rare in this pure form, you can quite often get there with one or two setup moves (see below).
Since it's symmetric, you can do it in two ways, as shown. But if the edges are switched, things look very similar, but you have a fairly awkward 6 move solution instead.

Two of many examples of similar positions or setups. There's a lot of positions that are very close, and it's hard to recognize them all.

This is almost only useful as a start of Step 1. If there is no corner/edge pair already formed, there is usually one of these available to form one in 3 moves. There are always ways with fewer moves as well, but these are very easy to spot.

While useful in themselves, they get really interesting if you can "pick up" one of the other edges on the way (example 2 & 3). In those cases, since you're building a 2x2x1 block, the center needs to be in the right place as well. If you allow one setup move (Examples 4 & 5), it's a fairly common start.

This one is not very common, but it is very cool, so it gets it's own entry.

In Step 4, the roundabout becomes the fairly tortured sequence to the left. Sometimes I have no better ideas, and do it just make something happen. But occasionally you'll get the situation on the right, which is in fact two roundabout situations at the same time, and the same sequence solves both. Hehe!!

"broken corner"

One of my favorites in Step 4, but it can of course occur earlier also.

This is just something you learn to recognize. But in the position after the first move, you should be able to "smell" that the next move sets up the corner for two simple joins that adds up to a double join. Once you're good at block building, that is - no hurry!

To the right is the same idea with a half move as second move.

"pillar"

This Step 4 trick is fairly common, and very easy to spot. This is again a setup for a double join.

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