Ducky Keyboards: Buying Guide

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Ducky keyboards have earned a reputation for a wide range of boards, an unwavering reputation for quality, and popularity among the gaming community. We’ve rolled a few Ducky keyboards around the WePC offices and have always been impressed with the unique designs and variations in key switch type and layout.

Starting in 1998, the Taiwanese keyboard started out as a humble distributor of gaming peripherals. limited edition colours, often inspired by the Chinese zodiac calendar. Ducky branched out in 2015, with the launch of its very first mouse, the Ducky Secret. Despite a few later mouse releases, Ducky remains a household name, especially when it comes to the best gaming keyboards and it looks like that considerable prestige will only grow.

You might have realized by this point that we’re just a little obsessed with Ducky keyboards, so read on to learn more about their boards and what makes them so special.

Chinese Zodiac Duck Editions

Ducky’s most infamous keyboards are the extremely limited, meticulously crafted and highly sought after Zodiac editions. They team up with painters, tattoo artists and even metalworkers to create unique editions of their most popular keyboards. Unsurprisingly, they always sell out quickly and can fetch an incredibly high price on the collectors’ market. We have seen prices of up to $800 for these legendary boards. We cover limited editions extensively each year, so keep an eye on the weather forecast for WePC news, grabbing the next edition is a worthwhile investment.

They have released Zodiac limited editions since 2009, and each edition has been limited to a number of units reflecting the year in question. In recent years they have begun to bring together some very special collaborators to ensure that each edition is as much a unique piece of keyboard history as the last.

2009 Edition Year of the Ox

duck year of the ox

The Year of the Ox Edition Kept the thematic design fairly minimal, with a standard ANSI qwerty layout, with the Mandarin equivalent of each letter on the corresponding key, it also features the Year of the Ox symbol to the left of the arrow keys. The most striking aspect of the Year of the Ox board is the vivid scarlet baseplate that stands out around the keys.

2010 Year of the Tiger Edition

duck year of the tiger

2010 saw the next Zodiac edition of Ducky, the design remained very similar to the Ox edition, but improved with the addition of sky blue accent caps on the WASD. Additionally, the legends on the keys were grayed out, giving a stealthy, minimalist look that we really liked. However, it must be said that some were disappointed with only marginal changes from the previous year’s entry.

Edition Year of the Rabbit 2011

duck year of the rabbit

The Year of the Rabbit saw an inverted color scheme from previous years, with the picture becoming almost tooth-white. Like the previous year, the legends were almost identical in color, creating a blizzard white.

2012 Edition Year of the Dragon

duck year of the dragon

The Year of the Dragon marked Ducky’s first departure from the full-size layout, opting for a TKL instead. Also, the F, G, H, J keys have been replaced in order to spell “2012”. Other than that, the map had a fairly uninspired overall design.

Edition Year of the Snake 2013

duck year of the snake

Returning to full size, the Year of the Snake also became known for its contrasting two-tone black and silver color scheme. Plus, it features a spacebar complete with a snake decal, making for a striking and aggressive design.

Edition Year of the Horse 2014

duck year of the horse

The Year of the Horse marked the smallest limited edition to date, featuring a huge bezel frame, side-mounted mini USB, and minimal design. Only the large frame and the image of the little horse on the space bar set this board apart from any other 60% Ducky keyboard.

2015 Edition Year of the Goat

duck year of the goat

The Year of the Goat has reverted to white for the first time since the Year of the Rabbit. Given the year, it’s no surprise that this card was the first in the Zodiac lineup to feature full RGB lighting, making it by far the most recognizable so far.

2016 year of the Monkey edition

duck year of the monkey 1

This year’s board has returned to full size, this time with a bright orange outline and some aggressive pops of symbology around the arrow keys. It continued the theme of featuring the animal in question on the space bar, this time with a drawing of a diving monkey.

Year of the Rooster Edition 2017

duck year of the rooster

With an identical layout to the Monkey board, this year’s entry retained the same functionality. However, Ducky opted for a two-tone scheme for the bezel, copper and black. A bright red decorative plate sits above the number pad, adding an extra touch to this design.

Year of the Dog 2018 Edition

duck year of the dog

This year’s offering was by far the most artistic board yet. The board was designed in collaboration with Michael Chain, a 20+ year veteran of tattoo design. This is reflected in the painting with striking shadows and lines incorporated throughout. Additionally, the English language captions are inscribed with a medieval gothic font, making this a very unique painting overall. We had to get our hands on this one here at WePC, for a more detailed look our full Ducky ‘Year Of The Dog’ mechanical keyboard review is well worth reading.

2019 Year of the Pig Edition

duck year of the rat

Ducky introduced this forum as having an “indigenous theme”. however, we find it very reminiscent of My Chemical Romance. With a 65% form factor and input from legendary metallurgist, Kulele Ruladen. This board also includes a small cast metal plate that clips snugly near the arrow cluster, making it a very special board overall.

Year of the Rat 2020 Edition

year of the rat

2020 saw the most original design yet. With input from famed Taiwanese graffiti artist Bounce, he brought an overall more cartoonish look, with an overall green and gray color scheme. Asked about his unique aesthetic, he said, “Although my thoughts change with the environment and my fictional characters continue to evolve, my original passion for graffiti hasn’t changed at all. In the future, I will not limit myself and try different styles and media.

Unfortunately for you, dear reader, all of the above are only available from second-hand collectors, as they sell out very quickly. We recommend that you register at duck website to be kept informed for next year’s council.

duck one2

Ducky’s most popular keyboard is the One2, a board with many variants and considerable fame. The One2 range covers all major layouts, sizes and is available with your choice of Cherry MX switches. We particularly like the recently released One2 Mini Blackout. Featuring a sleek all-black frame and impressively vivid RGB lighting.

The One2 mini was actually responsible for starting the 60% craze. In the years since, the 60% form factor has become one of the most popular sizes for its efficiency and aesthetic appeal. The One2 Mini is also more accessible than the One2 Mecha, so it’s a great option if you don’t want to break the bank.

shiny duck

The Ducky Shine range forms Ducky’s flagship series, with the most impressive lighting to date, it’s also the most customizable due to the full size layout and standard key size. The Shine 6 even includes a detachable mouse rubber band and sdie-mounted RGB lighting. There’s even a Christmas-themed one with a white, red, and green color scheme for those of you who want your setup to be as garish as possible.

Duck x Varmilo Miya Pro Sakura

Ducky has been known to collaborate with other peripheral companies from time to time and one of the most successful to date has been their board designed with Varmilo. With a quintessentially Japanese vibe and a gorgeous cherry blossom spacebar, this is by far our favorite of the bunch, so we had to get our hands on one. Read our full Ducky Varmilo Miya Pro Sakura Keyboard review for more info.

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Ducky One 2 Mini RGB

Switches

Cherry/Kailh/Gateron

Duck keyboards: last word

In our experience, Ducky keyboards deserve their praise, and despite the difficulty of acquiring one, it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for, especially for those treasured Zodiac boards.

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