It’s always an adventure when a new disc golf brand emerges on the scene. Usually the introduction of the new brand comes with one or two disc molds. However, Viking Discs out of Finland emerged with a slew of eight PDGA approved discs all at once, with three distinct plastic types. That’s quite an introduction!
Viking Discs Plastics
Let’s start by taking a look at the three main plastic types from Viking Discs.
GROUND – This is the base plastic and most affordable of the three. With the exception of the putters, it is definitely worth the couple extra bucks to upgrade to the more durable plastics. Though Ground plastic feels similar to other baseline plastics, like Innova DX or Discraft Pro-D, this blend cannot take a beating at all. I found that drivers and mid-range discs in Ground plastic couldn’t hold their shape after a tree hit or two. In some cases, a few rough collisions with the ground was enough to make the drive look beat-up.
However, in the case of a putter, like the Rune, the Ground plastic feels grippy and soft, and the disc should hold up well enough. I would really only recommend the putters in Ground plastic, unless you’ve got young players without a lot of power who need starter discs. For experienced players, I would not recommend Ground plastic for any of the discs that you plan to throw with enough power to exceed 100 feet.
STORM – Storm plastic is the translucent, durable plastic blend from Viking Discs. It is similar to plastics like Elite Z from Discraft, or Champion from Innova. If you purchase your Viking Discs drivers in Storm plastic, then they will definitely withstand more of a beating than Ground plastic. Some of the Storm plastic discs come with a little shimmer or sparkle, plus it comes in nice, bright colors which are easy to find on the course.
ARMOR – Armor is the top-of-the-line, premium plastic from Viking Discs. It is similar in feel and grip to other premium, opaque plastics like Innova’s Star, or Latitude 64’s Gold Line plastic. It has nice a nice grip, with a feel that is semi-soft to the touch, while the plastic itself is able to stand up to beatings delivered by course hazards.
Easy-Throw Discs from Viking Discs
When looking at the different introductory molds from Viking Discs, they can be divided into three groups: Beginner Friendly, Neutral, and Experienced. There are, of course, some molds that could crossover, being used by new or advanced players, assuming the advanced player understands the disc’s limitations. But generally speaking, these discs go from one extreme to another in terms of skill levels required to throw them.
Let’s look first at the models that are very easy for beginners or slower arms, and probably not too useful otherwise:
BERSERKER – Though this disc is rated by Viking Discs as a “speed 10” disc, it certainly is so understable that it would be a great disc for a new player who wants distance, but without much throwing power. Anybody with power will flip this disc right into the ground. It cannot handle high speeds without flipping over, unless you can back-off on the speed of your release and add some hyzer.
Of course, it could be used as an understable roller, or as an anhyzer disc for those who want a utility disc with very little fade. Though the rating printed on the disc is 10 / 5 / -3 / 2, I’d probably give it more like a 9 / 5 / -4 / 1. You could consider it an equivalent to a very beat-in, understable Innova Valkyrie or perhaps a Sidewinder. It would be great for players who lack arm speed, but who want an easy-throw disc to go further for them, but it won’t be a disc for everybody.
COSMOS – The Cosmos is basically a Viking Discs equivalent of the classic Innova Leopard. It is a super-easy, very beginner friendly disc. It can be thrown at low speed with accuracy. Any attempt to crank a Cosmos with even moderate power will result in the disc flipping over to the understable side, because it is not designed for high speed or power throws. It is a finesse disc and should fly straight for young players or for those who can dial back their release to the appropriate speed. As mentioned above, in the section describing plastics, I would not recommend this driver, or any of the Viking Discs drivers in Ground plastic, unless you’re looking for a disc for a young child. Just spend the few extra dollars to get one that will hold up to any impact and retain its shape, like Storm or Armor plastic.
AXE – The Axe by Viking Discs is designed as an easy-throw, straight mid-range that borders on the slow, gliding flight of a putter. It would be a great starter mid-range, not requiring much power at all. It would probably fall in line with other easy-throw mid-ranges like a Discraft Buzzz SS, or an Innova Shark or Stingray. Together with a Rune and a Cosmos, you’d have a super easy-to-throw starter pack for a young player or novice player who is still trying to discover their throwing form.
The “Axe” model name might make this disc sound like a powerful one, but it is not a disc for power throwers. It could work for experienced players who like to throw with a lot of finesse, but it may not behave with any attempt to throw it for more than 100 – 150 feet.
Neutral Discs from Viking Discs
These are the discs that I feel would work well for some beginners, but also for intermediate or experienced players who simply want the disc’s particular flight characteristics to be a part of their bag.
RAGNAROK – Of all the Viking Discs drivers, the Ragnarok was my personal favorite. It is a distance driver that can actually withstand some moderate throwing power and stay in flight with a lot of glide and manageable control. I found it similar to other “speed 11” discs which pull a little to the understable side, yet have a dependable fade, like the recently released Streamline Trace, or the Discmania CD3. I really liked throwing the Ragnarok in durable Storm plastic, which has more stability than the cheaper Ground blend. The rim felt great to me and I was able to control my release without any slippage.
Though you can get some respectable distance with the Ragnarok, it is also the kind of disc that could be used by novice players to build up their long-distance throwing technique because it generally won’t fade too early. I can imagine that most players could use a disc like this in their bag, though experienced, power throwers might prefer a more overstable disc for maximum distance.
NORDIC WARRIOR – The Nordic Warrior is a mid-range that is a step up in performance from the Axe, with a more stable flight and the ability to travel longer distances. When thrown with too much power, it will behave with understable characteristics, but when thrown at moderate speeds as a precision approach disc, the Nordic Warrior can be very easily controlled. It can be a workable shot-shaping disc for shorter distances under 200 feet.
When selecting a mid-range from the two initial offerings from Viking Discs, I’d only get the Axe for beginners or players with low arm speed, but for everybody else, I’d feel comfortable recommending the Nordic Warrior in a quality plastic like Storm or Armor.
RUNE – I really like the Rune putter as very good, straight-shooting, easily controlled disc that works great for players at all levels. I really like the feel of the rim, which is rounded, with a small bead on the inside of the rim. There are no sharp edges, so I like the feel of the disc in my hand while lining up for putts. I would compare the shape of the Rune to the RPM Discs Ruru which is very similar with the rounded outside edge. The shape could also be compared to a Latitude 64 Dagger, though the Rune has a lower profile and is not as overstable.
I’d feel comfortable handing a Rune to a new player as a primary putter and feel like the disc characteristics wouldn’t get in the way as they learn to polish their putting technique. Viking Discs has a really good product with the Rune, and I feel it is a putter that could really stand out for players with mixed skill levels. The Rune is one of the Viking Discs that I actually liked best in Ground plastic.
Viking Discs for Skilled Players
There are only a couple of the new discs that I feel would fit well into the bags of skilled players. They could also work for other players, assuming those players know and desire those particular flight characteristics.
THUNDER GOD THOR – This distance driver is the only driver from Viking Discs that is geared more toward power throwers. I was able to give the Thunder God Thor all I had and still watch it fade dependably at the end of flight. At the time of this article, this disc is only available in Storm plastic, which suits it. If it were in Ground plastic, it would probably crumble upon the first tree hit, or even after a steep collision with the ground.
When it comes to overstable, wide-rimmed drivers, the Discraft Nuke always comes to mind. I would place the Thunder God Thor flight path somewhere between a Nuke and a Nuke SS. It is overstable, but not overly so. You have to throw this disc with speed to get a respectable distance, but it will still fade. It also works great for high hyzer throws or for moving over and around obstacles. I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners at all, since it is one of those discs that would probably discourage them, if they haven’t worked up to it.
KNIFE – Of the two initial putters released by Viking Discs, the Knife is the more overstable of the two. Though it could work fine for other players (not necessarily an advanced disc), I felt it fit as a nice companion to the Thor Thunder God as a disc that would work great for experienced players. It has a fairly flat top and a shape that reminds me of popular driving putters or headwind putters. It can be flicked (forehanded) for precision shots or used for predictable fades to the basket. It wouldn’t work so well for loftier putting styles, but for power putters, it should do the trick.
Since I found myself throwing the Knife with more power, I prefer it in a more durable plastic like Storm, rather than in soft, Ground plastic. In fact, I liked throwing the Knife more than I did the Axe mid-range for approach shots.
That is a quick introduction to Viking Discs, along with some personal opinion and experience.
I welcome YOUR feedback and opinions on this new disc brand, so feel free to share any of your experiences with these discs in the “comments.” Also, feel free to share which disc you think sounds like one you’d like to try, based on your style and skill level.