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Innova is one of the elite manufacturers of disc golf discs, widely known amongst newbies and champion pro players alike.
Two of their most popular discs, the Katana and the Destroyer, will be the focus of this article.
At a glance, these discs seem like similar high-speed, long-distance drivers. Upon closer inspection, however, you’ll come to see that these discs cannot be more different!
We’ll be looking at the highlights of both discs, as well as when to use each of them, to help you decide when the Katana vs. Destroyer is right for you!
Katana vs; Destroyer: A closer look
Both the Innova Katana and the Innova Destroyer are distance drivers. This means that these discs are best used for wide open shots where the goal is simply to advance you closer to your target.
These discs are not designed for pinpointed accuracy, and should therefore be avoided during highly strategic shots, like tunnel shots.
Let’s take a look at each disc’s flight ratings. Flight ratings help us interpret a disc’s behavior without ever flying it.
These numbers dictate the speed, glide, turn, and fade of the disc.
Every golf disc has flight ratings, but these ratings can only be compared within the same brand, since there is no universal regulation within the disc golf industry.
Since the Katana and the Destroyer are both from Innova, we’ll be able to compare their flight ratings with ease!
The Katana’s flight ratings: Speed 13, Glide 5, Turn -3, Fade 3.
This is a high-speed understable distance driver for advanced and pro-level players.
This disc is capable of flying upwards of 450 feet when thrown with professional-level technique and power.
Its understability makes it a perfect choice in the presence of tailwinds and will provide major turn and fade at the end.
The Destroyer’s flight ratings: Speed 12, Glide 5, Turn -1, Fade 3. It’s a high-speed disc like the Katana, with the same level of Glide and Fade, but the Destroyer is a stable disc.
This disc can fly between 400-450 feet when thrown with advanced technique. It’s a great choice for a stable driver for advanced players with a lot of power, or a sidearm distance driver for intermediate-level players.
Both discs are available in all of Innova’s plastic lines, and at varying weights depending on your personal preference.
Similarities & Differences
The most obvious similarity between the two discs is that they are both distance drivers.
They are both high-speed discs which are best used by intermediate and advanced players, and should be avoided by beginners.
The reason beginners should avoid these discs is because they require a lot of power, technique, and speed to operate properly.
If you do not have the power capability to throw the discs the way they need to be thrown, they will not travel far at all and will result in a disappointing shot.
If you are a beginner, we have several recommendations on this site for beginner-level distance drivers.
Both discs have high glide, which means they both have the highest capacity for achieving and maintaining loft during flight.
This will also help drive distance and cover more ground.
Finally, they both have medium fade. A low fade disc will barely finish left at the slowest portion of its flight, while a high fade disc will cut sharply to the left at the end of its flight (on a right-hand backhand throw).
The Katana and the Destroyer will still cut left at the end, but it will be nice and gradual.
It’s more important to discuss and highlight the differences between these two discs, and that’s the fact that the Katana is an understable disc and the Destroyer is a stable disc.
This may seem like a subtle difference when they have such similar flight ratings otherwise, but the disparity in stability makes these discs extremely different.
As an understable disc, the Katana is best used in situations where an understable disc is the best strategic choice.
The Katana works well for:
- Anhyzer shots. Anhyzer describes the angle at which the disc is released. For a right-hand backhand player, anhyzer is when the nose of the disc (the point of the disc furthest away from your body) is pointed upward. This helps the disc fly with its natural clockwise turn.
- S Shots. S Shots are when the understable disc is thrown to the left side of the course/fairway. Because the disc is understable, it turns over and swerves back to the right side of the fairway. Discs with moderate-to-high fade will finish left once the speed slows at the end of the flight.
- Hyzer flip shots. Hyzer flips happen when an understable disc is thrown with a hyzer angle (this is where the nose of the disc is pointed down and away from you on a right-hand backhand shot). Hyzer flips work similarly to S Shots, but on a straighter line rather than swerving back and forth.
Situations in which you’d want to use the Katana include:
- Wide-open fairway shots
- Long distance shots
- High-speed shots that do not require sharp accuracy
- Presence of tailwind
Avoid using the Katana if you only need to cover moderate distance.
The Katana should also be avoided in situations that require a roller shot, a tunnel shot, or in the presence of a headwind.
Headwinds are when the wind is blowing against you from the front, while tailwinds are when the wind is blowing against you from behind.
Tailwinds make your discs perform more stable than they originally are, which is why understable discs help balance out those effects.
Headwinds make your discs perform more understable than they originally are, which is why an understable disc like the Katana should be altogether avoided.
For a review of the Katana and its characteristics, check out this quick video below.
As a stable distance driver, the Destroyer is best used for–you guessed it–shots where stable discs work best.
The Destroyer is a great choice for:
- Flat angle shots. While the Katana can be used on hyzer and anhyzer angles, the Destroyer works best when thrown at a flat angle.
- Sidearm shots. Sidearm, also known as forehand, is opposed to backhand shots. The Destroyer is a favorite of professional disc golf player Jeremy Koling, who is known for his sidearm throws. Some players can get distances of over 450 feet with the Destroyer by throwing it sidearm.
- Any wind presence. A great feature of the Destroyer is that, because of its stability, it will perform well in both headwinds and tailwinds.
Avoid using the Destroyer if you are a beginner or beginner-intermediate player without a lot of power behind your throws.
These high-speed distance drivers, as we’ve already said, require a lot of power in order to make them fly the way they need to.
Even on sidearm throws, which can be easier for newer players to throw with power, the Destroyer still requires advanced-level technique.
Avoid using the Destroyer when you need a very understable or very overstable disc.
The Destroyer is the happy medium between the two, which means it won’t perform well when you need something more specific.
For a video demonstration on the Destroyer and its qualities, take a few minutes to view the clip below.
A note on plastics: Innova’s varying plastic lines dictate effects on the discs themselves.
Plastics like the DX line, which is one of Innova’s more cheaply-made materials, can make discs like the Destroyer more flippy than it ought to be as a stable disc.
These plastics also mean that the flight characteristics of the discs will change sooner through wear and tear.
More high-quality, harder, and tougher plastics like Innova’s Champion line are not only more durable, but will also help hold the flight characteristics for a longer period of time.
Which is right for you?
At a glance, these appear to be similar discs. They both have almost identical speed, glide, and fade ratings.
The turn rating seems like a subtle difference, but as we’ve seen after this article, it’s not subtle at all!
What we’ve learned:
- Both discs are best for advanced-level players
- Both discs have the capacity for maximum distances
- Both discs are excellent tools to have in your arsenal
- The Katana is best used for anhyzer, hyzer flips, and S shots
- The Katana is best in the presence of tailwinds
- The Destroyer is best used for sidearm/forehand shots
- The Destroyer will perform well regardless of the type of wind present
- Neither disc should be used for highly strategic, specific shots
- Both discs can be used for wide-open shots
There’s no comparing the two discs once we understand just how different they are.
If you’re a beginner and you’re seriously dedicated to growing and improving your disc golf skills, you’ll likely want to learn to throw both discs well at some point.
Either way, we’ve seen that these discs are extremely different tools for extremely different situations, and are not interchangeable.
Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com @ dmitrimaruta