UPDATED: Evo Warp – First Truly Impartial Review

4
evo warp head warrior lacrosse

Evo Warp.

Just say the words loudly enough and you’ll strike up a conversation with any lacrosse person who happens to be within ear shot. This random person will undoubtedly have opinions on the product, and for the longest time, no one could really argue with any of those ideas because very few people had really put an Evo Warp head through the ringer.

 

My early opinions, like everyone else’s, were based on nothing but conjecture, rumor, and PR efforts from Warrior. Fair enough, it is what it is! Other reviews have come out since the initial drop, but they are either thin on info, light on actual product use, or created by entities with direct ties to Warrior.

evo warp head warrior lacrosse

Of course, ALL of the above also makes a LOT of sense. Warrior has a new product, and how they release it is up to them. Their partners and friends would obviously get a first look. But that doesn’t mean the people don’t want an unbiased, in-depth review!

Evo Warp – Impartial Gear Review

I got an Evo Warp PROTOTYPE (not from Warrior or a retailer) last week, and I’ve been putting it to the test ever since. We have no direct ties with Warrior, and we don’t sell gear. Since this review went up, Warrior sent me two new Evo Warp heads. One is a “low” and one is a “mid” pocket.

evo warp head warrior lacrosse
low – left, mid – right

The prototype is almost identical to the retail versions. The retail versions are simply a little cleaner aesthetically.

So let’s get to this truly unbiased and impartial product review!

Attaching the Evo Warp – Screw It In

I got the head home, and attached it to a shaft, but before I can talk about the head and pocket, I need to talk about how it connects to a lacrosse shaft, because it’s superb.

Do you remember the plastic butt ends from Gait, where four plastic “fingers” go into the shaft, and are then pressed outwards by a plastic bolt driven through the middle of the butt end? The butt end NEVER came loose, but it was a pain in the butt to get it off the stick.

Well, Warrior has built off of that idea and made it 100% better with this head. The four plastic fingers sit in the shaft receiving end of the head, the shaft goes over the fingers, and under the plastic of the throat. Once the shaft is all the way in, you screw in a screw in the middle of the ball stop, which pulls a piece of plastic up into the fingers (this is happening inside the shaft), which pushes the fingers wide, and secures the head in place.

IMG_6480

 

I put the Evo Warp on a String King metal shaft, which is a little too small for the plastic opening. It is a very loose fit, and usually I would need to tape the shaft to make it fit snugly. However, with the Evo Warp screw and fingers system, there is little to no head rattle at all, even after a couple days of use. When I do tape the shaft, the head is VERY snug.

This is a GREAT way to attach a head to a shaft. I’m a big fan of this revamped technology already, but it’s so much better now with the screw replacing the plastic bolt. The head feels like it’s super-glued onto the shaft.

evo warp head warrior lacrosse

 

LEGIT. I also found it easy to remove the head from the shaft. Awesome!

Evo Warp – My First Cradle

The first thing I did was pick up a ball in my apartment and cradle with the stick. I had the “low” pocket Evo Warp first, and the cradling action felt like most lacrosse sticks. When I cradled really hard the ball rocked back and forth and hit the plastic sidewalls (just like it would in my mesh sticks), and when I used a smaller cradle, the “mesh” swayed back and forth, holding the ball nicely. It felt like a good mesh stick and I could have the ball in a “low-mid” or “high-mid” position in the pocket. Vertical, horizontal, upside down. All good.

Cool. I can cradle. Now I need to play wall ball.

Evo Warp – Wall Ball Session #1

I hit up a hand ball court in my neighborhood and started throwing the ball against the wall. My first throw was pretty standard stuff, as I had no idea what to expect, so I stuck with a straight overhand, medium strength toss.

evo warp head warrior lacrosse

 

The throw went normally for about 90% of the motion.

I could feel the ball sit in the pocket as I brought the stick back behind my head. It was like a mesh channel pocket in that sense. As I brought my body around, and pulled my hands through, I could feel the mesh form around the ball, and then snap it out of the mid pocket area, off of two tighter “shooting strings”.

And then… it clicked off the plastic.

The ball rocked off the wall straight and true, returned to me, and I caught it for the first time. The stick was brand new, never used, and the mesh felt a little weird at first while catching. It was similar to how a brand new piece of Otter Mesh feels when you first string it up. Like Otter Mesh, the Evo Warp did “break in” quickly though, and the weird feeling went away quickly. Or I just got used to it. Either way it was really a non-issue.

But the clicking off the plastic… what about that? Well, every time I threw the ball, it clicked off the plastic, and you know what?

It’s supposed to!

 

That’s right, Warrior designed the Evo Warp to throw off the plastic just a bit, and the stick does just that.

I thought I would hate it, as none of my current sticks click, but, and this is crazy… I don’t hate it. In fact, I think I like it. I know, I’m as surprised as you are. For me, clicking usually means inconsistency, and that is why I don’t like it.

But with the Evo Warp, somehow clicking actually means CON-sistency, and it’s impressive. Throw the ball with good form, and it will click off the top and go where you want it. I don’t know the science here, but I know from personal experience that it works. 1,000 passes says it’s true. If the ball doesn’t click off the plastic (and you have to work at it, or use really bad form to make that happen), the pass becomes much less consistent. It also means you are probably short-arming your passes.

evo warp head warrior lacrosse

I stuck with mostly overhand for session #1, the mesh of the pocket did soften up a little, and at the end of a 30 minute session I was tired, impressed with the product, and excited to get back out and try it again.

I actually went back out again later that day to try it again.

Consistency again stood out as an innate quality of the Evo Warp. The ball truly travels down the middle of the stick, and you can see this by the dirt pattern on the pocket* after using it for 20-30 minutes.

Colors have been saturated so you can see the ball path through the pocket.

*Colors have been saturated in the photo above, so you can see the ball path through the pocket. This mesh picks up dirt like any other mesh.

More Wall Ball – Evo Warp Experience

The second time I played wall ball I did a lot more sidearm, underhand, behind the back, etc, and it all went well. As well as it ever goes anyway, and that’s saying something. I actually found the Evo Warp to be a very forgiving stick. My passes (and my form) weren’t always perfect, but the stick threw really consistently, and considering I had only been using it for a day, I was already confident I could use it in a game. I do not usually feel that way about brand new sticks or pockets.

I have also braved the rain with the Evo Warp, and it functions really well in the rain. I ran it through a puddle before I played wall ball and the mesh was instantly soaked with water. It was like a sponge… but here’s the weird thing… it didn’t impact how the pocket threw or caught. I still can’t figure this one out. The mesh was literally SOAKED, but feel, snap, hold, whip… it was all the exact same. Weird AND impressive stuff.

evo warp head warrior lacrosse

 

The water did change the feel of the mesh a little to the touch of my hand, but I couldn’t notice a difference when I threw the ball. The mesh also didn’t bag out much at all. Maybe 2-5% at most, and this may be part of the general break in process. I have heard (from the father of a kid who uses one) that the pocket expands a little, but not more than 10%. Mine has expanded maybe 5% overall since I got it, and that has only made me like it more. If it doesn’t expand any more, or expands only a little more over time, I will be thrilled.

Shooting With The Evo Warp

The Evo Warp shoots the ball hard. Yes, it still clicks off the plastic, but you can definitely get your hands away from your body and blast a corner with this type of pocket. The shot is true, it pops off the stick almost like it would with some whip, but it does not hook. I tried to make it hook and I couldn’t do it.

I like shooting in general, and I like really like shooting with the Evo Warp.

evo warp head warrior lacrosse

 

Like throwing, you feel a nice snap as the ball leaves the pocket, and you can get good power and accuracy with relative ease. I could easily “paint pipes” with it, and found I could be accurate overhand, sidearm, underhand and even behind the back. The power and accuracy I can generate behind the back is noticeable. Use good form, and this stick shoots great.

It also has good enough hold that you can still throw fakes in tight, and get a shot off. One handed shots, off hand, around the world… the stick delivers in almost all cases. I did say almost all. The ONE place I didn’t love it was for quick sticks. When the ball comes from the center of the pocket, it is the most consistent stick I’ve ever used. When the ball bounces off the top portion, where the mesh holes are smallest, it can lose some of that consistency. A high quick stick can be tough, but most were just fine. When it comes to shooting, that was the only place a mesh stick might be better.

Evo Warp – FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about the Evo Warp. I’ll try my best to answer each fully!

Who Will Use This Stick?

We know that at least one current D1 player is using one. I also know at least one D1 commit out on Long Island is using one. Will MLL players use them this season? ABSOLUTELY. Not everyone mind you, but some will use it for sure.

Because of the price point, this stick will be mostly geared towards high end, elite players. Before I tried it I had my doubts that really good players would want to use it, but now that I’ve experienced the Evo Warp for myself, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see TOP level pros and college guys flock to this head in the future. It does everything a good lacrosse player needs it to do, and it’s consistent. Some pros will love this thing.

I also think some beginners with money, or kids who are total gear heads will pick one up. It’s hard to lay out $250 for a head, but some people will do it, and I honestly think that most of those kids will be pretty happy with the head. It won’t necessarily make them a better lacrosse player, but unlike 80% of the sticks out there, it definitely won’t make them WORSE. I can see anyone from the age of 12 or 13 to 72 using an Evo Warp.

I would not recommend it for anyone younger than 11 or 12 right now as the pocket is a little too deep for most truly young kids to use. If Warrior came out with a beginners model, with a slightly less deep pocket, I would recommend it for anyone.

Is Catching With An Evo Warp Weird?

A number of people have noted that catching seems a little different with the Evo Warp, and that is somewhat true. The mesh stringing and material is different, so it’s obviously not going to be the exact same, but as long as you give with the ball, and use solid form, you won’t have any issues with it. The only time I had issues catching with the Evo Warp was when I snapped at the ball and didn’t catch it with the middle part of the pocket. More than anything, that’s bad form on my part, but I could see the Evo Warp being less “forgiving” than a mesh bag when it comes to snapping at passes. That being said it throws better than a bag, and for the most part catching is easy.

“Mid” Vs “Low” Pockets?

The mid pocket puts the ball squarely in the middle of the stick, and that is the ball’s happy place. It’s great for a horizontal cradle, and provides good hold and dangle without the whip problems that tight shooters generate.

The low pocket allows the ball to move around a little more, and it’s great for a vertical or horizontal cradle. The “happy place” is really anywhere in the bottom half of the head, and as someone who uses an “all over” mesh pocket, I prefer this set up.

Those who prefer a heavily channeled mesh pocket will likely prefer the Evo Warp “mid”, while those who like a less structured pocket will likely prefer the “low”. Personally, I like the low pocket, but I would recommend trying both for yourself if possible!

Field OR Box OR Both?

The mid pocket Evo Warp is a great field stick for sure. Time and room, shooting on the run, hard passes… it’s all good. For the indoor guys, who make shorter passes, and need to be quicker, I think most will stick with mesh for now. But if Warrior makes a high hold, no whip, snappy pocket, all that could change. For now, the Evo Warp is more of a field stick than a box stick.

How Is The Mesh Two Colors AND Legal?

You can not have two different colors of mesh in your stick, and while the Evo Warp seems like it does, the rule makers seem to interpret the white portion as the “mesh” and the gold portion as the “sidewall”.

evo warp head warrior lacrosse

 

I can buy that, but I don’t see why the entire thing isn’t white. That seems like a clearly legal solution. So far though, this is a non-issue as the head has been used in NCAA and NFHS games without issue.

Does The Pocket Stretch?

As I said above, the pocket will break in and stretch a little bit. Some of the knots in the mesh stringing expand, and the pocket gets a little deeper and softer. The pocket may expand a little, but it will not become illegal as far as I can tell.

I Can’t Really See The Ball Through The Mesh…

Me either, and I am curious to see how easy it will be for refs to ensure these sticks are not too deep. I have a hard time seeing the top of the ball through the gold mesh personally. I KNOW the pocket is legal, but don’t refs have to be able to see that it is legal? Again, a white string might help here? Or maybe it would make it harder? Maybe this is why that string is gold? Clearly it’s not an issue for the rules people, but I am curious to hear from refs how they check these sticks for illegal pockets, even if it’s not possible.

The Plastic Portion – Evo Warp

The plastic portion of the head is stiff and think. It’s a tough head, and it is very much like the last generation of Evo heads. I played with it in 70 degree weather, 30 degree weather, dry conditions, and rainy conditions. The plastic of the head held up great. No problems there. It holds the mesh in place, and shows no signs of weakness so far.

evo warp head warrior lacrosse

 

Durability – You’ll Have To Wait!

I have no idea how durable the head is. I’ve used it now for about 3-4 hours and it shows no signs of tearing, ripping, or problems. Will this hold true after 30-40 hours? What about 300-400 hours? After I’ve used it more, and others have used it, I will let you know how durable it is. Right now, it’s impossible to say anything accurate.

I will be putting the retail version of the head through the durability testing, and I have already played with the “mid” and “low” heads. Both are holding up just fine so far.

Would You BUY One?

I did not buy this one. It was given to me, because the guy who gave it to me is super nice. Would I actually go out and buy one of the Evo Warp heads though? Honestly, I just might.

Yes, $25o is a lot of money, but if I never have to “fix” my stick, or replace a broken sidewall, or change up my set up because the weather is changing, I just might pay top level dollar. Consistency is the name of the game for the Evo Warp, and if you buy an Evo ($95) and Otter Mesh ($30), and String King string kit ($10), and then pay to have your pocket custom strung ($20+ from most good stringers), you are now paying $155 dollars for a head with mesh in it.

Is the new pocket from Warrior worth $95 more than that? I can string a mean stick (yes, I’m bragging), so for me it might not be worth it… but if I didn’t string a perfect stick? I would likely consider this option in a heartbeat.

Before I tried it, I thought $250 was way over the line, but now I’m starting to see how it’s not an unrealistic price… at least for now.

Warping Forward In Time

Right now you can get a mid pocket, or a low pocket, Evo Warp head. Moving forward, the choices for pocket could, and should, increase drastically. There is no limit to what Warrior can create, so when you consider these pockets are their first to release, the path looks to be a solid one. From a recent video showing Drew Snider using one, it looks like a “high” pocket is already in development.

The clicking may stay, and it may not. I’d be curious to try one that didn’t click, but if they all do, I’m very ok with it. It works! That’s really all I care about. Function over everything. Will people try to put shooting strings (crosslace maybe?) into an Evo Warp? Of course they will! Will it work? I don’t know, maybe I’ll try it.

If Warrior can lower the price point of a pocket like this, I can see it helping the game in a big way, and becoming very popular over the next few seasons. This head is ready to go, right out of the box. It breaks in a little, but can be used at a high level almost immediately. The pocket is infinitely better than ANY factory strung pocket I have tried. If this stick were $100, I’d recommend it to every beginner in the country.

Will the price drop? Of course it will! But who knows when that will happen!

Anytime a new technology comes out, the price is going to be high. This is called reality. As the product becomes more popular, economies of scale through sales and production come into play, research costs are recouped, and then production costs begin to dictate sales prices to a larger extent. The Warp may never become a “cheap” product, but if the price can be lowered, it could be a tempting option for a lot of players from the best of the best to brand new beginners.

Durability is and breakage are my ONLY two concerns right now. If the mesh tears, will Warrior replace the whole head? If the heads breaks, what happens then? $250 is a serious investment, and right now Warrior has a 60 day warranty in place. If the heads don’t break and the mesh doesn’t tear, a warranty is meaningless, but if in 4 months the mesh tears, you’re going to have some unhappy campers.

The mesh is made of Kevlar, and the plastic Warrior uses is tough, so hopefully this is a non-issue. As with ANY new product, only time will tell.

Overall I really like the Evo Warp head. Price aside, it truly is different, and innovative. Its big bragging point is consistency, and on that level it is truly amazing. It plays well, feels like a lacrosse stick, and performs time after time.

I’ll be back with another review to talk about durability and long-term use once I have beaten this head up a little more.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Great Review Connor! Unfortunately for me its hard for people to understand that I can have an unbiased opinion about this product because of who I work for but I do have the choice to be able choose whatever product I would like to use and this is something I would choose on my own. Good to hear from somebody as well respected as you are to have a similar opinion on the product.

    Cheers

    • No offense intended! I think people just assume retailers have to be at least a little biased because they sell a company’s product whereas we don’t sell their stuff. I also think people assume bias when a company advertises with their site. And Warrior doesn’t do anything with us. You do a great job reviewing product, keep it up! Also glad I’m not alone in thinking the Evo Warp is a solid product!

  2. Really good, detailed review, Connor. I’d be interested in hearing your comparison of the Phantom pocket and the Warp. Phantom can be attached to any head and has a price point of $30. Seems like it could be the answer to the beginner stick problem if the performance is similar to the Warp. Conceptually, there is a lot of similarity between the two, but they’ve clearly approached the issue differently. I haven’t put my hands on either (and likely won’t get a Warp for $250).