Today we’re taking a close look at Diadem’s most recently released paddle – the Warrior V2.
The V2 is a middleweight carbon fiber paddle that combines technologies from the Warrior Edge, Icon V2, and VICE paddles. According to Diadem, this is the most technologically advanced paddle yet to come from their factory.
The Warrior V2 is Diadem’s first edgeless paddle, which will bring it lots of attention, as many players are searching for a good edgeless paddle.
Love or hate Diadem, you have to be impressed by their innovation and risk-taking with their paddles. They don’t do the same thing twice and they’re always looking to learn from their processes and apply them to the next models. As a result, no two Diadem paddles feel alike.
Alright, let’s dive into my review of the paddle.
Diadem Warrior V2 Technical Specifications
$230($207 with this discount link)
- Shape: Elongated
- Type: All-court
- Core thickness: 19mm
- Face: Carbon Fiber w/ Grit Paint Surface
- Average weight: 8.25 oz
- Grip length: 5.3”
- Swing Weight: 116
- Spin RPM: 1588
- Grip size: 4 ⅛”
- Core: 3XL “Aramid” Polypropylene & Nomex honeycomb
- Total length: 16 ⅖
- Width: 7 ⅖
Diadem promotes the Warrior V2 as combining all of the favorite aspects of Diaden paddles to match the needs of every player. Overall, I think the paddle delivers, yet doesn’t necessarily excel in every area. It feels good, has the nice control of a 19mm with improved power, but doesn’t exactly stand out. I’ve hit with many impressive new paddles this year, and while I certainly enjoyed my playtests with the Warrior V2, I was never truly wowed by it
While slightly on the heavier end at 8.25 oz, the V2 is notably lighter than the original Warrior (8.5 oz). I think most players will prefer the lighter-weight V2 over the original paddle. The V2 is mostly balanced but slightly head-heavy, whereas the original Warrior was definitely head heavy.
I do think the edgeless approach combined with a raw carbon face is something that people have been wanting and will like with this paddle. The 19mm thickness with the “Aramid” 3x core layer design (two polymer outer and one Nomex middle layer) certainly delivers. It’s the same as in the original Warrior and feels great in the V2.
To have an edgeless paddle, Diadem needed to do something to seal in the edges in lieu of an edge guard. Diadem says the warrior uses something called a “core molding system” as well as “liquid carbon fiber edge” for support. I think these may be proprietary terms they’re using for thermoforming, though I haven’t done a full tear-down yet to test that. I will add to this write-up when I do.
It’s worth noting that the Warrior V2 doesn’t simply feel like an upgraded/edgeless Warrior with a better surface. It feels like a completely different type of paddle altogether. If it had to be attached to an existing line, I’d think it was connected to the Warrior Edge rather than the original Warrior. Still, it’s definitely a unique paddle that feels like it plays in its own category.
Aesthetically, I enjoy the paddle. The sharp yellow with its unique graphics is unique and definitely stands out. The paint on the edges of the paddle doesn’t look amazing, though, and chips. It’s definitely best with tape added.
Now let’s dive more into specific traits of the paddle.
The Warrior V2 feels more similar to other carbon fiber paddles out there, while the original Warrior felt very unique in the paddle world. In some ways, this has made it less satisfying to play with the V2.
The overall shape, handle length, and grip size are the same as the original Warrior. It feels slightly heavy in hand, but again, less so than the original Warrior. I really like the feel of Diadem’s thin (4 1/8″) “Taper-Tech” handles. I did regrip my paddle right away, though.
When it comes to the feel of hitting the ball, the Warrior V2 feels pretty firm off the paddle face. The original warrior was certainly softer and a bit more plush. Is this an upgrade on the original? It will be for some. I definitely like the firm feel from the V2, but I also have been primarily using thermoformed paddles for the past half year. Most players that haven’t might miss the soft, plush feel of the original Warrior or other similar paddles.
Being edgeless, the feel of the sweet spot and feedback on off-center hits were definitely changed compared to the original Warrior and other non-edgeless paddles. More on that in the control part of the review.
At 19mm thick, the Warrior line is always going to be more of a control paddle than a power paddle. The Warrior paddles do pack some punch for being such a thick paddle. But you’re not going to get the power of, say, a thermoformed paddle.
That said, the Warrior V2 should have plenty of power for most players. The stiffer, more solid feel of the V2 does give it an edge overall over the original Warrior in the power department. It does have slightly less plow-through power than the original Warrior, but that’s to be expected since it is lighter.
I felt that I could serve hard, drive the ball hard, and pretty easily smash powerful overheads when using the Warrior V2. Again, it’s not as effortless feeling as with a thermoformed paddle, but the power is there with the V2 to help you put pressure on your opponents and finish points with a bang.
The Warrior V2 is surprisingly stiff and poppy but also has good range with how it shows up. When you hit really soft touch balls the paddle doesn’t feel overly poppy, which is what you want for your control game. But as things speed up, the true pop potential shines with the V2 and you can send hard balls over the net very fast.
If you’re accustomed to the original Warrior or other soft-leaning paddles, then it will likely take a short period of time to adjust to the pop of the Warrior V2. But after you dial in with it for a bit, you should really enjoy the crisp pop that the V2 provides.
The original Warrior paddle wasn’t exactly a spin monster, and many have been hoping that the Warrior V2 would address this. The V2 definitely does provide an improvement with spin over the original Warrior. I attribute this to the new carbon fiber face, which provides an upgrade over the painted-on grit of the original Warrior.
The spin improvements with the V2 end up being pretty marginal, though. The V2 just doesn’t deliver spin that competes with the top-spinning paddles on the market. I found that my spin-imparting shots didn’t grab or drop as they do with a lot of my favorite paddles.
With that said, the spin of the Warrior V2 is still going to deliver for the vast majority of players. You can still easily win points with your spin game and carve the ball up left and right with the V2 if that’s your style of play. It just won’t deliver spin in the A/S tier like some other paddles will.
The control game with the Warrior V2 is good, but for most people, it might not be as good as with the original Warrior.
The soft spot is large, which is to be expected for a 19mm paddle. But the edgeless design does result in off-center hits not being as forgiving as the original Warrior with an edge guard. I believe that the liquid carbon fiber edge support that Diadem has added does make off-target hits better than if it didn’t have it, but I’d like to see edge foam injected into the side to help more with this.
So expect your hits to be a bit more dead around the edges than the original Warrior. This manifests as resistance and reverberatory feedback up your arm. Some players might actually like the extra clunk you get on off-center hits with the V2, as it gives them feedback to better dial in their game.
When it comes to the general feel off of the paddle face, wouldn’t say that the Warrior V2 is stiff or hard, but it is firm and poppy. It’s definitely not as soft or plush as the original Warrior. Personally, I like this quality, but it does make it slightly harder to control the ball when compared to a very soft and plush paddle.
This is an area that the V2 definitely excels over the original Warrior. The paddle is lighter and feels quicker in hand.
At a top-heavy 8.5 ounces, the original Warrior could be argued as being heavy and slow. The swifter 8.25 ounce V2 has a swing weight of 116, which is quick enough to help your hands feel fast at the net and not overly slowed down at any point. In contrast, the original Warrior’s swing weight is around 127.
If you’re coming from that paddle, the V2 will feel much easier to maneuver.
Diadem paddles are generally resilient and don’t face many build quality issues. You can expect that the Warrior V2 will hold up structurally quite well.
The carbon fiber paddle face on the V2 should, in theory, hold up grit-wise better than the painted-on grit of the original Warrior. I’ll update this post as I get more wear on my V2.
The one area that I see issues durability-wise with the V2 is more cosmetic. The paint around the edges of the edge-less paddle didn’t look good on my paddle right out of the box. The paint is uneven and chipped in places. It looks like it would scuff up and chip more very quickly. I immediately put edge tape around the sides of my paddle to cover it up and protect it.
Again, this is a cosmetic issue mostly. But I do wish that they had a cleaner and more eloquent solution to cover and protect the edges of the V2.
There’s a lot of stiff competition in the paddle space this year. Some new companies are offering paddles that are top-tier in power, spin, and control at truly great prices.
For this reason, I was hoping that Diadem would release the Warrior V2 paddle for under $200. At $230, I believe that they’re making this paddle a much harder sell for anyone but die-hard Diadem fans.
The paddle is unique and offers an edgeless design that people have been craving. There’s also a lot of love for the Warrior line. But, in my opinion, the Warrior V2 doesn’t win any awards for power, spin, or control. There are better paddles out there for these metrics, and they are all cheaper than $230.
With that said, I do think this is a great paddle and will be worth the cost for many. Especially after knocking the price down to $207. I’d personally expect more out of a $200+ paddle being released in 2023.
Should you buy the Diadem Warrior V2?
If you’re a Diadem fan and the idea of a Warrior V2 that’s lighter and edgeless has been exciting for you, then I think you’ll be happy with this paddle and should pick one up at the discounted price of $207.
Just don’t expect it to feel too much like your original Warrior. It’s best to think of this paddle as a whole new edgeless 19mm paddle line for Diadem that brings a bit more spin and power to the table compared to the original Warrior.
If you’re not devoted to buying a Diadem paddle and are shopping around for the best paddle at the best price, I recommend checking out some other great paddles that have hit the market recently and won’t set you back $200.
You might also want to check out my post on the best paddles for intermediate players.
Stay in the loop
Get pickleball news, educational guides, and gear advice sent to your email in a once a week round-up post.