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It’s not the wand, they say. It’s the wizard.

Touché. But even the craftiest wizards know when it’s time to upgrade.

"> Pro Picks: The Top Men's Sticks of 2021 | US Lacrosse Magazine

PHOTO COURTESY OF PREMIER LACROSSE LEAGUE

Atlas LC and Team USA defenseman Tucker Durkin praises the Warrior QX-D for its consistency and reliability.

Pro Picks: The Top Men's Sticks of 2021


This article appears in the March edition of US Lacrosse Magazine, available exclusively to US Lacrosse members. Join or renew today! Thank you for your support.

It’s not the wand, they say. It’s the wizard.

Touché. But even the craftiest wizards know when it’s time to upgrade.

We asked our friends at Lax.com and ECD Lacrosse for a list of the top new men’s and women’s lacrosse sticks that youth and high school players should consider if they’re due for a replacement.

For more equipment reviews, check out Lax.com and ECD Lacrosse on YouTube.

WARRIOR EVO QX-D

Price: $99.99 on Lax.com

Built for the close defenseman who likes to have a little more meat on his bones, but still have the ability to strike quick, the Evo QX-D maximizes durability.

KEY FEATURES

— New Therma-Loc resin boosts performance in high heat, maintaining head shape and stiffness.

— Bottom rail designed for mid-to-low pocket placement for superior ball control and quick release.

— Optional LOC-THROAT feature: Insert LOC-THROAT for better head-to-handle attachment; leave out for lightweight performance.

PAIRS WELL WITH

Shaft: Warrior Evo Krypto Pro Handle ( $139.99)
Mesh: String King Type 4S ($24.99)
Pocket: High
Throwstring: 1 Nylon, 2 Straight

WEAPON OF CHOICE
Tucker Durkin, Atlas LC

“The EVO QX-D is the most reliable and consistent head I’ve ever used. As a player that likes to throw hard checks and play physically, I need a head that’s going to be able to withstand contact and remain true to form. The design of the head and its thicker sidewall are built for both durability and consistency.”

BOTTOM LINE

This is one of the most versatile d-heads on the market. It has a more pinched face shape than the other pure defensive heads on this list, making it perfect for long-pole middies as well as short-stick and close defenders that like to bring the ball up the field. — Greg Kenneally, ECD Lacrosse

The Evo QX-D vacuums up ground balls and it is great in transition, but it is much more versatile than people think. The Warrior EVO QX-D is my favorite head for an SSDM as well as a close defender. 
— Brendan St. Brown, Lax.com

MAVERIK KINETIK 2.0

Price: $89.99 on Lax.com

After the Maverik Kinetik dominated the best-seller list for nearly four years, the Kinetik 2.0 is primed to pick up right where its predecessor left off.  It has a tighter face shape, Control Core Tech for increased stiffness, and an evolved scoop for GBs.

KEY FEATURES

— Level 4 bottom rail is perfect for a mid-high pocket.

— Optimal Release Point increases control with added hold and has extreme energy transfer when shooting.

— Ground Control Technology provides a perfectly engineered scoop angle designed to pick up ground balls with ease.

PAIRS WELL WITH

Shaft: Maverik Hyperlite ( $139.99)
Mesh: ECD Lacrosse Hero 3.0 Semi-soft ($24.99)
Pocket: Mid-High
Throwstring: 1 Nylon, 2 Straight

WEAPON OF CHOICE
Zed Williams, Whipsnakes LC

“I love the Kinetik 2.0 because the design of the head. I love the way it looks and how the bottom of the head is wide, allowing the ball to get in and out and allowing me some leeway to catch a ball coming at me 60 mph. As the top of the head gets wider, it’s not super wide, which I like. It fits my game better with the shots I take, shooting around defenders.”

BOTTOM LINE

The Kinetik line has consistently been voted to the top of our best-heads-of-the-year series. The combination of the light weight, stiffness and tight face shape make it a lethal option for shooters. — Greg Kenneally, ECD Lacrosse

This head syncs up perfectly with the unpredictable attackman, the kind where their first goal they finish inside and their second goal they rip one from 15 yards out. I love the Kinetik 2.0 as the best head in 2021 for inside and outside finishers.— Brendan St. Brown, Lax.com

WARRIOR EVO QX-0

Price: $99.99 on Lax.com

After dominating the market for the last few years with the Evo 5, Warrior has introduced the EVO QX-O. Weighing less, the QX is built for the elusive ball carrier who relies on ball control and a quick release.

KEY FEATURES

— New Therma-Loc resin boosts performance in high heat, maintaining head shape and stiffness.

— Bottom rail designed for mid-to-low pocket placement for superior ball control and quick release.

— Optional LOC-THROAT feature: Insert LOC-THROAT for better head-to-handle attachment; leave out for lightweight performance.

PAIRS WELL WITH

Shaft: Warrior Evo QX Carbon ( $139.99)
Mesh: String King Type 4x ($24.99)
Pocket: Mid-Low
Throwstring: 1 Nylon, 2 Straight

 

 

WEAPON OF CHOICE
Grant Ament, Archers LC

“The Evo QX provides the shape and stiffness I need while still being very light. This combination allows me to get the ball out of my stick quickly to shoot or pass.”

BOTTOM LINE

The return of a classic. I still remember getting my first OG Evolution in middle school. The EVO QX-O keeps the original alive with some 2021 updates to styling and the plastic. — Greg Kenneally, ECD Lacrosse

This is the weapon of choice for Grant Ament, so you know you will extend plays and squeeze the ball into tight windows with the EVO QX-O just like the star from the Archers can. — Brendan St. Brown, Lax.com


It’s not the wand, they say. It’s the wizard. Touché. But even the craftiest wizards know when it’s time to upgrade.


MAVERIK TANK 2

Price: $89.99 on Lax.com

The second edition of one of the best-selling defensive heads of the last decade, the Tank 2 is the stiffest head ever made by Maverik.

KEY FEATURES

— Level 5 bottom rail made for a high pocket.

— Scoop angle designed to pick up ground balls with ease.

— X-Rail Technology distributes the stress to the opposite rail, creating a lightweight and stiff design.

PAIRS WELL WITH

Shaft: Maverik Caliber ($174.99)
Mesh: ECD Lacrosse Hero 3.0 Semi-Soft ($24.99)
Pocket: High
Throwstring: 1 Nylon, 2 Straight

 

 

WEAPON OF CHOICE
Jesse Bernhardt, Chrome LC

“The Tank 2 is the ultimate defensive head. The thickness of it allows for it to retain its shape in all situations. The face is wide enough to allow you to get the ball off the turf and steal passes out of the air. It really enhances all of the aspects of what I value as a defensemen.”

BOTTOM LINE

Six sidewall struts for strength and stiffness and a wide face shape for getting the ball up off the turf.  — Greg Kenneally, ECD Lacrosse

Great for disrupting passing lanes and a ground-ball machine. The Tank 2 is a solid investment for close defensemen. — Brendan St. Brown, Lax.com

STX X20

Price: $89.99 on Lax.com

An update on one of the most popular defensive heads of all time (the X10) and the latest in STX’s famous Excalibur lineage.

KEY FEATURES

— Classic face shape with minimal pinch, most surface area to knock down passes

— String plate with deep cutout grooves, offering extra grip for lifts and slap checks.

— 5.2 ounces — the lightest d-head you’ll find, with good stiffness for its weight.

PAIRS WELL WITH

Shaft: STX SC-TI X ( $159.99)
Mesh: ECD Lacrosse Hero 3.0 Storm Striker Mesh ($24.99)
Pocket: High
Throwstring: Standard 2 Straight

WEAPON OF CHOICE
Jack Rowlett, Chaos LC

“With the way the game is changing, defensemen need to be able to not only play strong on-ball defense, but also pick the ball up and run in transition with the same skills as any offensive player. The X20 allows defenders to play a complete style of game.”

BOTTOM LINE

The Strike Plate makes this head great for throwing slap checks and adds grip to get underneath for lifts. — Brendan St. Brown, Lax.com

There is a reason the original was still on D-I fields many years after its release. This is a solid update to one of the longest-running head lines in the game. Built for the pure close defender, it is ready to bring some pain.
 — Greg Kenneally, ECD Lacrosse








STX SURGEON 900

Price: $89.99 on Lax.com

The STX Surgeon 900 is built for the elite level attackman, perfect for those who can finish from both inside and outside. While maintaining a super light weight, the Surgeon 900 also is incredibly stiff to ensure it can last for a full season of play. 

KEY FEATURES

— Super lightweight design (125 grams, 4.4 ounces) for speed and control. STX's lightest attack head ever.

— Tight face shape for ball retention and accuracy, as well as Channel Lock and Interlock technology to give optimum options for a variety of pockets.

— Improved Speed Scoop for quicker ground balls and minimal throat to get your hand closer to the ball.

PAIRS WELL WITH

Shaft: STX SCTI X ( $139.99)
Mesh: STX Memory Mesh Super Soft ($19.99)
Pocket: Mid-Low
Throwstring: 1 Nylon, 2 Straight

WEAPON OF CHOICE
Justin Guterding, Chrome LC

“The Surgeon 900 is the perfect head for me because it allows me to always have a feel for where the ball is in my stick and maintain control, while also being extremely consistent with my passing and shooting. Best head in the market for any player whose game involves a little bit of everything.”

BOTTOM LINE

The Surgeon 900 is the lightest head on the market. Perfect for the inside finisher or the guy feeding from X. — Brendan St. Brown, Lax.com

If you’re the quick, shifty guy on the team who is always looking to get his hands free for a feed or shot, this is for you. It's one of, if not the lightest head out there and has an ideal face shape for carrying the ball. — Greg Kenneally, ECD Lacrosse

MAVERIK TACTIK 2.0

Price: $89.99 on Lax.com

The ideal head for the do-it-all midfielder, the Maverik Tactik 2.0 has been the best-selling head on Lax.com since its release. 

KEY FEATURES

— Control Core Technology for superior ball control.

— New scoop and throat to decrease weight, increase stiffness and enhance ball control. 

— 20 stringing holes.

PAIRS WELL WITH

Shaft: Maverik A1 Shaft ( $94.99)
Mesh: String King Type 4S ($24.99)
Pocket: Mid-Low
Throwstring: One Nylon, 2 Straight

WEAPON OF CHOICE
Nick Mariano, Chesapeake Bayhawks

“The Tactik 2 is one of the best heads I’ve ever used. The Xrail technology is perfect for all weather types and has allowed me to be extremely confident in my stick.”

BOTTOM LINE

A middie’s best friend. If you make plays on both sides of the field, the Tactik 2.0 fits in perfectly with your playing style. — Brendan St. Brown, Lax.com

Maverik does a great job of having a head for every type of player. The Tactik 2 is easily the most versatile. It's great for offense but can easily run both ends of the field. — Greg Kenneally, ECD Lacrosse




PHOTO COURTESY OF PREMIER LACROSSE LEAGUE

Redwoods LC midfielder Myles Jones seen playing with the ECD Mirage 2.0 head during the 2020 PLL Championship Series.


ECD MIRAGE 2.0

Price: $89.99 at ECD Lacrosse

All you need to know is on the front of the packaging: “Shooters Dream.” ECD Lacrosse designed the Mirage 2.0 with an aggressive pinch and flare, high-pocket bottom rail and a high stiffness-to-weight ratio. Over the summer, it was in the hands of big-time shooters like Myles Jones and Bryan Costabile. 

KEY FEATURES

— Aggressive offset offers more power and accuracy when shooting.

— Unmatched control: Hate losing the ball? We do too. The tighter face shape helps.

— UV protection: Not quite SPF 50, but close to it.

PAIRS WELL WITH

Shaft: ECD Carbon Pro Power ( $139.99)
Mesh: ECD Lacrosse Hero 3.0 Semi-hard ($24.99)
Pocket: Mid Pocket
Throwstring: One Nylon, 2 Straight

WEAPON OF CHOICE
Bryan Costabile, Atlas LC

“Perfect for my game. It’s durable so I can throw checks on defense, but it’s built to give solid hold and release on the offensive end. Playing both sides of the ball, it allows me to play my best on either end of the field with no limitations.”

BOTTOM LINE

When I think of the ECD Mirage 2.0, I think of two things: versatility plus time and room. If you are your team’s big shooter, the ECD Mirage 2.0 is for you. — Brendan St. Brown, Lax.com

Best on a Budget

A high school player on budget should consider the Nike Vapor 2.0 (unstrung $69.99) or the ECD Rebel Offense plus CF5 Shaft (complete stick strung $149.99).

Best for Beginners

The new STX Stallion 300 complete stick for $69.99 comes with a 7000 series alloy handle and STX's new Pocket Sync Tech. The ECD Bravo1 complete stick is $99.99 and features a great beginner head made and strung in the USA. All purchases help get sticks to vets and active duty military.