When you reach the final layer when solving the Rubik’s cube through the CFOP or Fridrich Method, all the pieces are in the right spot. The CFOP or Cross, First 2 Layers (F2L), Orientation of the Last Layer (OLL), Permutation of the Last Layer (PLL) is the most popular speedsolving method.
Unlike the easier methods you can find in a beginner’s guide, CFOP focuses on helping cubers solve the Rubik’s cube in the fastest and most efficient way possible. Jessica Fridrich developed the technique, and it divides the puzzle into layers.
You must solve the cube layer by layer using algorithms in each step and not mess up the pieces already in place. It requires memorizing many algorithms, but you can execute the operations intuitively after lots of practice. Most speedcubers use the CFOP, including all 3×3 world record holders in the last decade.
Some important algorithms as you orient the last layer edge pieces and corners, so they all have yellow facing up, include F R U R’ U’ F and R U R’ U R U2 R’. Let’s explore how to solve the last layer of the Rubik’s cube, which includes correctly orienting and permuting the last layer’s edges and corners.
The Basic That Are Needed
It is imperative to comprehend the cube’s structure, which consists of three layers: the top, middle, and bottom, each comprising nine smaller squares.
This foundational understanding establishes the basis for all subsequent solving approaches, empowering enthusiasts to navigate the cube with confidence.
The subsequent vital phase involves acquainting oneself with the six essential moves of the cube, encompassing clockwise and counterclockwise rotations of each face.
Proficiency in executing these maneuvers is pivotal for manipulating the cube’s components and establishing the framework for more intricate problem-solving strategies.
A common initial step for aspiring solvers is adopting the intuitive F2L (First Two Layers) method.
This systematic approach involves resolving the initial two layers separately before progressing to the final layer.
It not only forms a robust groundwork for more advanced problem-solving techniques but also cultivates a comprehensive understanding of the cube’s dynamics.
As one delves into how to solve a Rubik’s cube step by step, mastering the front face and addressing the last layer’s corners become integral components of a solver’s skill set.
Let’s explore how to solve the last layer of the Rubik’s cube, which includes correctly orienting and permuting the last layer’s edges and corners.
The Yellow Cross
Before you try out this method, it’s advisable that you first learn the Rubik’s cube’s basic notations and how to solve the Rubik’s cube using the beginner method.
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Step 1, before you get to the yellow cross, you must first create a white cross and solve the first two layers of the Rubik’s cube. It doesn’t matter which face you start with, but you have to ensure you stick with the face you choose.
Most cubers start with the white face and form a cross at the bottom layer, with the white edge pieces matching the lateral centerpieces.
To form the cross, you must solve the four white edge pieces, and the other color on the white edge should match the centerpiece it’s adjacent to.
It’s similar to the first step of the beginner’s method, but this time you solve the cross at the bottom instead of the top layer. Simply hold the cube in your hands with the white center facing down.
You can still peek at the bottom during solving, but you won’t need to see the white cross with practice. You’ll know what’s going on at the bottom based on your moves, the puzzle’s color scheme, and what you see on the top.
Leaning to solve the white cross at the bottom allows you to look ahead to the next step and increases your solving time. It’s solely based on intuitive moves, and no algorithms are required.
Solving the first 2 layers (F2L) is where most improvement occurs, thanks to looking ahead and good cubing techniques like no rotations.
In this step, you need to solve eight pieces, including four of the first layer corner pieces and the four middle-layer edge pieces. You must solve the first and second layers simultaneously rather than individually.
The whole last layer, which includes the third layer and final layer, is solved in two steps. Once you complete the F2L, you must orient the last layer edges to have the yellow face facing upwards and create a yellow cross on the final layer.
For this step, the corners don’t matter. You’ll either have the yellow dot at the center, a yellow hook, or L or a yellow line.
Instead of memorizing complicated algorithms or moves, you can use the following single set of moves to progress from any of these stages to the next stage and the yellow cross. Pay no mind to the bottom or top corners at this step.
Regardless of the scenario, you can use: Front Clockwise, Right Side Up, Top To The Left, Right Side Down, Top To The Right, and Front Counterclockwise.
The moves will take you to the yellow L at the bottom right corner when you start with the yellow dot. The next step is getting from the yellow L to the yellow line. Put the L in the left top corner and repeat the above moves. You’ll get a vertical yellow line. Rotate the top layer once to make it horizontal.
Now repeat the same set of moves, and you’ll have the yellow cross.
The Yellow Edges
Once you have the yellow cross, you’ll need to check if the edges match the colors on the sides. Check if the other color of the yellow edge pieces at the top layer matches up with the centerpiece right below it. You may get lucky and find that all four already do.
However, when you first get your yellow cross, only two of them usually match up. If only one matches, rotate the top. Repeat until you get two yellow edges that match the color of the centerpieces below them.
Once you find the correct position, check the positions of the two edges that match. Are they next to each other (adjacent) or across from each other (opposite)? To progress the edges from opposite sides to adjacent, turn your cube, so those matching edges are in the front and the back.
Now do these moves: Right Side Up, Top To The Left, Right Side Down, Top To The Left, Right Side Up, Top Two Turns, and Right Side Down. To help you remember, think of the moves as up, over, down, over, up, over-over, down.
You should now have two yellow edge pieces that match the corresponding centers and are next to each other. After doing this, turn your cube to have those sides to the back and the right.
Now repeat the above moves and rotate the top one more time to the left. All four edge pieces should now match.
The Yellow Corners
The yellow corners are the last pieces you will put in place to solve the Rubik’s cube. First, you’ll need to put all the yellow corners in the right place even if they’re not turned the right way.
To get the corner pieces to the right place regardless of how the top layer is rotated, make these moves: Top To The Left, Right Side Up, Top To The Right, Left Side Up, Top To The Left, Right Side Down, Top To The Right and Left Side Down. If not all the corner pieces are in the right place, repeat the moves.
Finishing The Cube
At this point, you should have all four corners in the right place, even if they’re not facing the right way. If they’re in the right places, you’re ready for the final step.
Before you begin the last step, ensure you have the yellow cross with edge pieces matching the centerpieces below them and the corner pieces in the right place but not necessarily turned correctly.
The goal is to get all the yellow corners to face the correct way to solve the Rubik’s cube.
Put one of the yellow corners that need to be corrected into the front right of the yellow face.
Hold your cube such that only the right side and the bottom can move and make these moves twice: Right Side Down, Bottom To The Left, Right Side Up, and Bottom To The Right.
Check that corner to see if it’s corrected and if not, repeat the moves two more times. Once you’ve done the complete set of four moves or however you need, rotate the top layer to another piece that needs to be corrected to the same spot.
Keep the same side of the cube facing you and only rotate the top layer to get to the next piece to work on. After correcting all corners, the last step is to rotate the top, and you’ll have solved the Rubik’s cube!
You can use the above steps to orient all the last layer pieces and permute them. Orienting means making them all face the right way with the yellow piece on top while permuting means putting them all in the right places.
This method shows you how to solve the last layer of the 3×3 Rubik’s cube and is easier than the full CFOP, which features too many algorithms for every situation you encounter!
It covers all last layer situations and ensures you can solve them by learning only four moves. It also helps you focus on how it is done rather than the algorithms.
The list of the complete CFOP algorithms is quite long, but you don’t have to learn all of them at once.
Once you’ve mastered the above moves, you can start learning the rest of the last layer algorithms while being able to fall back on the ones you know. The best part is that these moves are algorithms in the CFOP method, so you’re not wasting time.
To improve your solving speed and get into speedcubing, practice finger tricks and the art of turning the cube as if you can barely see the movements.
Tips On How To Solve the Last Layer Of The Rubik’s Cube
Lots of Practice
Mastering the solution for the final layer might seem daunting, and even the novice approach to the following algorithm can pose a challenge, but it’s entirely achievable.
Through consistent practice, it will gradually become second nature, and your speed will grow with each step of progress.
Bear in mind that success requires effort, and you should practice diligently, regardless of your preferred method.
Stay resilient during moments when progress seems elusive. Each iteration brings you closer to memorizing the white corners and mastering the whole cube.
Use Cube Solvers When Necessary
Never shy away from letting someone else show you how it’s done. A Rubik’s cube solver can be the answer when you feel like you’re impossibly stuck and are almost giving up.
They can show you the steps you need to take to get yourself out of a pickle, and when you run into a similar situation the next time, you’ll know what to do!
Every Rubik’s cube speed solver starts simple, so before you dive into speedcubing, start by mastering the beginner’s method.
A solid foundation will help you understand how the Rubik’s cube works and how you can move your fingers more efficiently.
Slow and steady wins the race, so ensure you continuously perform the moves and algorithms before you start doing them quickly.
It’s better to perform algorithms slowly but in a continuous stream than to do them quickly and stop to find the next one.
It will make it easier to understand and execute the advanced techniques and tricks that make speedcubing possible.
It’s a practice called lookahead, and it’s vital if you want to achieve excellent solve times of under 20 seconds.