Dawn of Darkness

With nearly a week into the Altador Cup, 6 teams have emerged as early contenders. Although there is still much shifting around that’s possible, let us take a closer look at the ‘dark’ teams first.

1. Kreludor

Playoff Record:
AC 1: 0-1
AC 3: 1-1
AC 4: 0-2
T: 1-4

Kreludor has had a history of being a pretty good team that happens to lose the big match. It’s with great irony then that Kreludor’s constant choking has led this now medium-sized team to improve every year as they once again have evaded those dreadful freeloaders or weak supporters. If they can match the run they had early in the second half of last year’s AC, they could win this year barring their annual playoff crash.

2. Virtupets

Playoff Record:
AC 1: 0-1
AC 3: 1-1
AC 4: 0-2
T: 1-4

The Cinderella story of the year should not be that surprising as they’re remarkable Shootout Showdown performance the year before gained the team an All-Star following. They have so far exceeded my own expectations. (I placed them in 7th thinking they would have a similar perfromance to what Tyrannia had the previous year.) However, they only have 5 of a possible 15 side game wins (with two draws.) Something that could potentially keep them out of the final 4?

3. Darigan Citadel

Playoff Record:
AC 1: 3-1
AC 2: 1-0
AC 3: 1-1
AC 4: 1-1
T: 6-3

They are the likely going to be the first team to win a second championship. Although, it does not appear that this is going to be their year. As loyal as their supporters have been, many dedicated All-Stars deserted the team after having reached the prestigious Rank 20 in AC IV. The only other troubling fact about the team is that they have become as inconsistent as Mystery Island. How else do you explain sub-par performances against Brightvale and Mystery Island but evident victories over Meridell and Haunted Woods?

Next article features: Lost Desert, Meridell, Brightvale and perhaps Maraqua (if they beat Shenkuu!)

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Day Five: Umm, how do I put this?

This is a heads up that my articles are going to be smaller, and will focus more on future matches.

Highlights from yesterday

  • MI vs. DC:  Neither team is solid, and usually sways from wins to losses. It was awfully close to be a DDWD for DC. It shows that the teams are equal in caliber and it came down to one of the sidegames. This brings us to
  • Draws like mad?: It’s been five days, and a consistent factor is the draws. With only four games, a draw really changes it. Is TNT making their draw margin to wide, or are all these teams that close in points?
  • TM is competing!: Today is the dawn of a new Terror Mountain. Previously, they specialised in SOSD, but not near perfect. Beating Virtupets, the team that had a near-perfect streak, has brought TM a little bit higher in our eyes.
  • Silver Lining: In the LD/BV match, we viewed the expected winners against the surprising comeback kids. Lost Desert won of course, but it was BV’s SS/MSN wins that stick out. Even if it isn’t the best, points like those are what separate teams by the end.
  • Shenkuu is too weak: Roo Island may have skills, but pulling out three draws and leave it down to MSN is crazy. Shenkuu was expected to do well- even first place. Some may say it’s the schedule, but losing to HW and KL, along with even a draw to MT is not exactly a team in their prime.

Today’s Match

Maraqua beats Shenkuu

Roo Island beats Darigan Citadel

Kreludor beats Faerieland

Lost Desert beats Tyrannia

Meridell beats Altador

Brightvale beats Terror Mountain

Krawk Island beats Moltara

Mystery Island beats Kiko Lake

Virtupets beats Haunted Woods

Wyett Tuggins says: I’d watch DC vs. RI because of the unpredictable-ness of the two teams. The real match on my Neovision tonight is MQ vs. SK, though. Shenkuu is falling fast, while Maraqua seems to be picking up speed. Both matches will no doubt be interesting. Also, I’m rooting for Meridell this year, peace!

Day 6 Overview: I’m here! I’m here!

Helloooo everyone! I’m back from my weekend away! Sooo..

Recap: It seems Shenkuu still hasn’t gained their predicted power, receiving a marginal win over Roo Island today. Many people blame the fact that Shenkuu always has a rocky start, however, Shenkuu has never fallen this much in the rankings.

Altador triumphed over Faerieland today, winning all games, but receiving a draw in yooyuball, Faerieland’s classic strongest game. However, this year, Altador has proved to be a bigger threat that they were last year.  Not unlike Virtupets.

Virtupets are becoming an extremely fearful team to fear, having beat out Kreludor yesterday in yooyuball. However, today, they lost their old strongest games against Terror Mountain. However, along with Lost Desert, Virtupets remains the only undefeated team in the early stages of the cup.

Standings:
1.
Lost Desert
2. Kreludor
3. Virtupets Space Station
4. Brightvale
5. Meridell
6. Maraqua
7. Darigan Citadel
8. Krawk Island
9. Roo Island
10. Tyrannia
11. Terror Mountain
12. Mystery Island
13. Shenkuu
14. Altador
15. Haunted Woods
16. Kiko Lake
17. Faerieland
18. Moltara

Predictions:
Darigan Citadel over Roo Island
Kreludor over Faerieland
Maraqua over Shenkuu
Meridell over Altador
Lost Desert over Tyrannia
Terror Mountain loses to Brightvale
Krawk Island over Moltara
Mystery Island over Kiko Lake
Haunted Woods defeated by Virtupets

Matches of the day:

Shenkuu versus Maraqua is one of the more difficult to predict matches. Neither teams have been fairing particularly well this cup, but after a couple of days of “easy” matches, Maraqua has climbed up the table. Shenkuu having a medium level schedule, isn’t fairing so well, even losing to lower tiered Kiko Lake on the first day.

Another hard to predict match is Darigan versus Roo Island. Neither team have been exactly predictable, so the outcome has fogged up my crystal ball.

Day 4 Analysis and Day 5 Predictions

Obviously, the biggest shock of the day is Virtupets beating Kreludor in YYB. It’s possible that KD underestimated Virtupets and focused too much on the side games- KD managed to draw in SOSD, and that’s the first time this season that VP hasn’t won SOSD. KD won the other two side games. Regardless, VP is currently undefeated in YYB; apparently they really have picked up a lot of skill in YYB this year.

In another surprising result, Darigan almost swept Meridell, drawing in SS but winning all the other games. After stumbling on the first day against Brightvale, DC has come back strong- can they keep it up?

In another almost-sweep, Lost Desert beat Krawk Island, winning all games except for SOSD, which was a draw. The final almost-sweep of the day happened in the match between Shenkuu and Moltara, where Shenkuu finally got a win in YYB, and also won MSN and SOSD, drawing in SS. This is the third day in a row that MT has gotten a draw in SS, so maybe teams playing MT should take note of that.

The two sweeps of the day went to Mystery Island against Faerieland, and Brightvale against Altador. These results were pretty much as expected.

Maraqua beat Terror Mountain, getting the wins in YYB and MSN. TM won SOSD as expected, and also drew in SS. It’s becoming more clear that, aside from being really good at SOSD, TM is also pretty good at SS.

As many people expected, the YYB match between Haunted Woods and Roo Island was a draw. Roo Island got wins in all the side games. As I said before, it seems both these teams will be hovering around the middle of the rankings.

Finally, Kiko Lake beat Tyrannia in YYB, while Tyrannia won all the side games. This means that TY still has yet to get a YYB win. While TY’s YYB playing is suffering this year as compared to last year, they seem to have gotten better at SOSD. So far, they’ve won SOSD in every match, except for an SOSD loss to VP. TY is becoming more and more deserving of their reputation as the masters of side games. Most small teams specialize in only one side, but TY has a good record in all three so far this year. It all started in ACIII, when TY dominated SS. Then, in ACIV, TY started doing very well at MSN in addition to SS. Maybe this year they’ve added SOSD to the list of games they’re really good at.

Well, it’s time to look at today’s matches.

Darigan vs Mystery Island

DC has a better YYB record than MI, and DC has beaten tougher teams than MI has. Also, MI has yet to manage a win in any of the side games, except for their match against Faerieland where they did take all the sides. However, MI is a team that has a history of coming out with surprise wins, so they shouldn’t be underestimated.

Haunted Woods vs Krawk Island

I’m calling this one a draw because it’s still hard to gauge KI’s power this year. Their losses have been to powerhouses, while their wins have been against low-ranked teams. Can KI beat a middle-of-the-road team like HW? The result of this match should tell us something about where KI really stands this year.

Virtupets vs Terror Mountain

A win or draw in SS by TM is likely, but VP will probably take all the other games. Though TM also specializes in SOSD, they’ve never been as good at SOSD as Virtupets.

Kiko Lake vs Meridell

Despite MD’s loss yesterday, they’ve proven that they’re a pretty good team this year, while KL hasn’t had an impressive season. Even KL’s win against SK on the first day isn’t looking so great when you consider how SK has been playing since then.

Moltara vs Maraqua

A good chance for MQ to pick up some points, but they should be careful not to get lazy with SS if they want the sweep.

Lost Desert vs Brightvale

LD is doing extremely well this season; they’re undefeated in YYB and their side game record is very good, too. Brightvale has something to prove here. Was their sweep on the first day merely a fluke? Since the first day, BV has only managed to beat low-ranked teams. If they can put a dent in LD, they’ll prove that they’re a true contender this year.

Altador vs Faerieland

This one is tough to call. Altador swept last-place team Moltara, but has lost all their other YYB games. Faerieland drew in YYB against Tyrannia, and has lost all their other YYB games. Both teams have come out with some surprise wins and draws in the side games. Faerieland should at least take SS here. I expect Altador to take the other sides. I’m predicting a YYB win for Faerieland simply because I think that drawing in YYB with TY is probably more impressive than beating MT at YYB.

Shenkuu vs Roo Island

Roo Island drew in YYB with both MI and HW. Their only YYB loss has been to KD, and they beat TM in YYB. Shenkuu’s only YYB win has been against MT, and they lost YYB to Kiko Lake. Of course, like RI, SK also drew HW in YYB, so this one is kind of tough to call. A draw in YYB is very possible, but I think RI has a chance of coming out on top. RI has a better side game record than SK, so I think RI will do well in the side games here.

Tyrannia vs Kreludor

KD is the obvious winner in YYB here, but TY has a good shot at taking some side games. KD is still undefeated in MSN and SS- can TY break that streak? TY is also undefeated in MSN and SS. Of all the teams, TY probably has the best chance at defeating KD in these two sides.

Day 3 Review, Day 4 Preview – Mostly Day 4 Preview…

Sorry, I don’t have a lot of time today, so I’ll just make predictions, and talk about the matchups today.

(For yesterday, surprises (for me) were VP destroying MI, FL getting a draw in YYB with TY, and MD killing BV (though that probably shouldn’t have been a huge surprise)

Today’s matches:

LD vs KI – I think KI will pick up a draw/win somewhere.

MD vs DC – MD might sweep. I could see DC winning/drawing SS or perhaps drawing in YYB.

TM vs MQ – At least MQ picked up the sweep of AL. I think TM will win SOSD, draw SS, and MQ will win the rest.

MI vs FL – MI will win everything other than SS. They’ll probably lose, not draw, in that one. Although it would be interesting to see the result if all of FL focused on YYB instead of SS for a day or two.

HW vs RI – Maybe a draw in YYB and one side game, but I think RI will win.

VP vs KD – Before I looked at today’s schedule (after I saw results for everyone), I really wanted to see this match-up. It should have some interesting results, but if KD sweeps I think we might as well give them the Cup. Not really, but VP’s undefeated and looking like another small, strong team in YYB and SOSD. I’m picking KD for now, but it could go either way.

KL vs TY – KL will win/draw YYB and lose the side games. I’m tentatively giving KL the win based on YYB, but it could be a draw/loss.

MT vs SK – At this point, Shenkuu probably wants to sit out this half and make their typical comeback in the second round. Luckily, I think they have a chance to sweep here, or come close.

BV vs AL – BV sweep.

Sorry for the relatively short post, but I’ve got a match against LD and a lot of work to do today.

Good luck everyone.

In the comments (even though no one seems to listen to this) I’d like to see your stats, or at least your rank, and perhaps your ideas about TNT’s results/scoring system.

(I’m Rank 7, 445 YYB wins, 400 SOSD games, and a few SS/MSN games to get the achievements eventually)

Day 3 Analysis and Day 4 Predictions

I’m going to say that the biggest surprise of the day is that Faerieland actually managed to get a draw in SS against Tyrannia…they also got a draw YYB, while TY took wins in the other two side games. Maybe TY underestimated FL’s SS skills. After today, I don’t think anyone will be underestimating FL’s new-found prowess in SS. And what’s happened to TY’s YYB skills? It’s never been their best game, but they’ve always been decent at it- it used to be that they could at least count on YYB wins when playing the lower-ranked teams. But this year, TY hasn’t won a single YYB game. Could it be that TY underestimated FL in the area of YYB as well? Or has TY simply gotten worse at YYB while focusing on the other side games?

Another big surprise is Virtupets almost sweeping Mystery Island, with only a draw in MSN keeping them from the full sweep. It seems that VP really has taken everyone’s advice and started focusing more on YYB this year. It’s looking like bad news for MI, though- they obviously are not doing very well this year.

Darigan beat Haunted Woods, winning YYB and SS and getting draws in the other two sides. Maybe this will bring back a little confidence in DC’s abilities this year.

Krawk Island managed to come out on top of Kiko Lake, winning all their matches, save for a loss SS. It looks like SS is KI’s weak spot this year. And KL seems be floundering after their good performance on the first day.

In another surprise, Meridell was the first team to take down Brightvale, getting wins in YYB, MSN and SOSD, but losing SS. Everyone thought that Maraqua would be the rising star this year, but it’s looking like that honor might go to MD, a team that seems to be repeating the upwards movement in the standings that they accomplished back in ACIII.

Maraqua did manage to sweep Altador, though, and AL hasn’t been easy to sweep this year. This is obviously good news for MQ- they desperately needed to get some wins.

Terror Mountain beat Moltara, with only a draw in SS keeping them from the sweep. It’s a bit surprising that SS is the game that TM got a draw on, as TM has been doing better than usual at SS this year. As for MT, many people are starting to predict a last-place finish for the team.

Unsurprisingly, the unstoppable Kreludor swept Roo Island. In the final sweep of the day, Lost Desert swept Shenkuu. It’s possible that SK is just off to their usual slow start, but I’m thinking more and more that my pre-season prediction of SK falling this year was correct.

On to the predictions for day 4:

Meridell vs Darigan

Ah, you have no idea how much it pains me to call the win for MD here. I’ve been a loyal player on Darigan for 5 years straight now, and I also supported Darigan from the start of the original Meridell vs Darigan war, so I sort of consider Meridell to be our arch rivals. But the fact is, MD has been performing exceptionally well this year. MD took down BV, while DC got swept by BV. I truly hope I’m wrong with this prediction- I’ll definitely be playing my best today.

Terror Mountain vs Maraqua

TM is doing better than expected this year, but they still don’t have a good record in YYB. MQ hasn’t been doing as well as expected, but their losses have been to some of the tougher teams. I think MQ can take the YYB win here, but TM will probably pick up some side games.

Krawk Island vs Lost Desert

What can I say? LD has been doing quite well this year. KI actually hasn’t been doing too badly themselves, but they have yet to prove themselves against a really good team.

Mystery Island vs Faerieland

A win in SS by FL is likely, but I don’t think that MI has fallen so far that they’ll be unable to get the YYB win. After their poor performance thus far in the Cup, this is MI’s chance to pick up some points.

Haunted Woods vs Roo Island

I’m calling this one a draw. Both of these teams seem to be hovering around the middle of the pack, and it’s difficult to say who will be the winner. I’m definitely not expecting a sweep either way.

Kreludor vs Virtupets

KD  is the obvious winner of this match, but if anyone can break KD’s streak of sweeps, it will be VP with a win or draw in SOSD.

Kiko Lake vs Tyrannia

After their surprise YYB win on the first day, KL hasn’t been doing too well. On the other hand, TY has yet to win a YYB match, even against FL. So I think that KL can take the YYB win, but TY will probably take the side games.

Moltara vs Shenkuu

MT is currently in last place, so this is SK’s chance to pick up some wins. SK may not be doing well this year, but I think they can manage to beat the last place team. I won’t be surprised if they fail to sweep, though. Strangely, the only team that has managed to sweep MT is actually Altador.

Brightvale vs Altador

This one is a bit obvious. Despite BV’s loss yesterday, they’re obviously a powerful team, while AL hasn’t gotten a good result since the first day, when they played last-place team Moltara.

Small team WARFARE

People seem to be unnerved by the seemingly recent domination by small teams in this year’s Altador Cup. As I had expected, TNT’s magical formula has not been changed. This was confirmed in the most recent editorial. However, there is a more explicable reason as to why small teams have started dominating. I also ask everyone to look back on previous AC’s to examine other ‘small teams’ that actually performed remarkably well.

Consider the following:

Roo Island’s shocking upsets in AC 1

Lost Desert and Mystery Island’s respective 5th and 6th place finishes in AC 2. (They were small teams back then.)

Meridell and Kreludor’s respective 5th and 6th place finishes in AC 3. This was also the year where Tyrannia dominated in Slushie Slinger.

Kreludor’s 4th place finish and Virtupet’s dominance in Shootout Showdown in AC IV.

Many of the underachievers in the Altador Cup have learned by the examples set by Tyrannia and Virtupets that a little effort goes a long way. They also learned to start small – to try to dominate a paticular side game if the team is playing rather poorly. Those teams that mastered one side, could then start applying it to another game. (Look at Tyrannia’s monster performance in MSN in AC 4 and Virtupet’s improvement in yooyuball in AC 5.) This strategy now seems to be employed by almost all of the underperformers like Terror Mountain and now even Faerieland! However this recent trend of small teams performing remarkably can ALSO be attributed to something even more sinister. YES, SINISTER.

Many previous All-Star members have DITCHED their previously ranked top team (like DC, RI and KI) and have joined forces with smaller teams. Both Brightvale and Virtupets received a ton of support. It appears, that Brightvale managed to get many of their original members from AC 1 back (where they finished in 8th) and they also managed to gain All-Stars from either previous AC champions. Meanwhile, team Virtupets has also gained some support. (From where? I have no idea yet.)

Nevertheless, it appears that a new era has come to fruition in the Altador Cup. One where small teams have learned not only how to take some major points off the contenders but use that improvement to become a contender themselves (rather than hoping to become a large team one day)!