L97: 2013 Season in Review
In 2013, League 97 and its small crew embarked on a mission: revive competitive 2-Player battling in the new Battledome. As 2013 comes to a close, the Battledome is still riddled with glitches and balance issues, but the arrival of League 97 provides hope for the future. From humble beginnings, League 97 became the premier competitive battling format in an otherwise dormant Battledome. This page reflects on and commemorates the tournaments, performances, and highlights of League 97's inaugural season.
The inaugural season saw five official tournaments. Over the course of these five tournaments, 71 different battlers took part in at least one battle, and a total of 1,863 battles were fought. The first two events were run exclusively on the BD Chat and petpages, but starting with the Summer Scorcher, iDB became the proud home of League 97. Below are recaps of the five tournaments.
Inaugural L97 Tourney
The inaugural event had a rather small turnout, as no one was quite sure what to expect. The first L97 tournament would be the first true attempt at having a 2-Player tournament in the new Battledome. After many months of new Battledome unrest, 18 participants decided to give a tournament in the new Battledome a shot.
Although the league was new and had not yet achieved the popularity to sway weapon prices, many Hidden Tower weapons were still sold at elevated prices leading up to the event. In anticipation of Fyora Day and possible retirements, many old Hidden Tower L97 favorites such as Rancid Battle Dung and Portable Kiln were in short supply on the player market. Players hoping to cash in on quick investments were rather disappointed when Fyora Day came and passed a few weeks later with no retirements.
The first tournament tested the waters for the wide array of weapons available for use in the league, but the weapon choices used in the first event were just the tip of the iceberg. Ring of the Sway and Spyder Stone Necklace played pivotal roles in many players' sets, and dual Rancid Battle Dung had not yet become a mainstay in many players' sets. Weapons like Barbat Throwing Star and Solar Burrito had not yet gained merit. Intelligence-based weapons like Jittery Jipple Pear Potion were not yet on the radar for many competitors, meaning little attention was given to the Intelligence stat. Ability choices were unusual as players were still figuring out the reliability of the glitchy new Battledome abilities.
The tournament procedure used in the inaugural event would pave the way for future L97 events. Participants would be split into pools, and top performers in the pool play phase would advance to a single elimination playoff. In the inaugural event, the participants were split into two pools, and the top three participants in each pool advanced to the playoffs. The top participant in each pool earned a first-round bye.
League 97's creator, Neoskulltula, did not fare as well as he would have hoped in his league's first event, but several other players made strong first impressions. L97 tournament regulars Mopardude, Penguinqwert, Pisha1, and Njt9497 all posted impressive debuts and made the playoffs. In addition to the five players mentioned, Dfgh5067 and Soopaa_beast would also go on to participate in all five League 97 tournaments of 2013.
As pool play came to a close, the first L97 tournament playoff was set to commence. Penguinqwert and Pisha1 captured first-round byes, leaving McDooby and Njt9497 to face off and Mopardude to duke it out with thee Duke_sloth.
McDooby defeated Njt9497, but he then fell to Pisha1 in the next round. Although both falling short of the finals, McDooby and Njt9497 would continue to enjoy success in subsequent events. Mopardude defeated Duke_sloth, and then proceeded to defeat Penguinqwert, setting up a finals match-up with Pisha1. Pisha1 would emerge victorious in the inaugural event. Although both Pisha1 and Mopardude continued to enjoy success in subsequent events, neither would reach the final four again in 2013.
The inaugural L97 was small, but it accomplished what it set out to achieve: encourage users to brave the new Battledome for some fun and competitive 2-Player battles. Now that L97 was a reality, more and more users took notice of the league and began training pets and preparing sets for future events.
The Siege of Castle Lupenstein
The second event marked modest growth for the league, with 26 players coming out to participate and even more watching. Like the first event, the Siege of Castle Lupenstein would have a pool phase followed by a single elimination playoff. Unlike the first event, participants would battle the opposing pool, allowing for all-new match-ups in the quarterfinals and semifinals. The top four in each pool would advance to the playoffs this time around.
Frequent top performers Cashe322, Okay__, and Nalare would make their L97 debuts, and one-hit wonders 2ouche, Wapakski_06 and Hark_1 would also post impressive debuts. While Cashe322 would start off slow, the other five names mentioned would make the playoffs. They would be joined by Pisha1, Penguinqwert, Njt9497.
By this point, the L97 had begun to advance and evolve. Participants started to familiarize themselves with the many weapons of the format. The faerie ability Icicle began to fall out of favor as Sear gained popularity. Dual Portable Kilns were much less likely to escape unpunished. Cursed Elixir also entered the minds of some battlers as a potential option.
Pisha1, the champion of the previous event, would fall to Okay__. Penguinqwert would defeat Hark_1, and then move past Okay__ to reach the finals with a 4-0-0 record. Wapakski_06 would defeat Nalare, and 2ouche would take down Njt9497. 2ouche would then move on to the finals to face Penguinqwert.
Penguinqwert took the first battle of the match-up, but was not able to keep the lead. 2ouche would force a draw in the second battle, and win the third. In climactic fashion, the finals of the second tournament would go to overtime. 2ouche would complete the comeback victory by winning the first battle of overtime. Although victorious, 2ouche would later be iced prior to the start of the next event for unknown reasons. In addition to his championship, 2ouche is most well-known in L97 for winning without a Thyoras Tear. He is often cited as proof that Thyoras Tear is not a necessity for L97 play.
After the second event, there was very little downtime; the Summer Scorcher was right around the corner. The Summer Scorcher was the first event to be hosted by the in-Depth Battlepedia. Unlike the previous two events, the Summer Scorcher did not use the pool play & playoff procedure. Instead, the Summer Scorcher was a modified double-elimination tournament. The main bracket would be best-of-three series, but players that fell into the losers' bracket would face off in sudden-death battles.
The Summer Scorcher was designed to be the most unforgiving tournament on the circuit, and so it was fitting that it brought out a tough group of L97 battlers. Many participants who were already on their way to becoming marquee players of the league came out to participate, and others such as Cashe322 and Nalare put themselves on the map.
The metagame continued to evolve during the Summer Scorcher, with Light icons receiving increased attention. A number of players morphed their pets into Zafaras to utilize Kaylas Hat, and heavy Light-blocking Dual Duties like Dusty Magic Broom and Stocking Full of Coal became favorites over Spyder Stone Necklace in many instances. Also during the Summer Scorcher, the power of the Superior Reflection Shield was revealed. At some unknown point in the past few years, the Superior Reflection Shield had been upgraded to reflect all Light icons. Previously an afterthought that only collected dust in galleries, an L97 participant brought this shield into battle, and was shocked at the better-than-expected results. The result was no fluke, and with the announcement of the discovery, the Superior Reflection Shield became an exceedingly rare but high-profile weapon in the league.
Despite the losers' bracket being sudden death battles, there were several epic series in the bracket where competitors refused to lose. Mopardude and Dafinsrock drew three times before Mopardude slid past. McDooby and Nalare drew twice before McDooby advanced onward. The main bracket had its own share of epics, with Cashe322 and McDooby drawing four times before Cashe322 captured a win in the second overtime battle of the main bracket semifinals. Penguinqwert also narrowly defeated Okay__ 2-1-1 in the main bracket semifinals, setting up yet another 2-1-1 victory over Cashe322 in the main bracket finals. In both series, Penguinqwert had to battle back after losing the first battle and drawing the second.
Okay__ would work his way through the losers' bracket to make his way to the finals for a rematch with Penguinqwert. Penguinqwert would emerge victorious in the finals, having eliminated Okay__ from a tourney for the second time in a row. Cashe322 finished in third place, and McDooby finished fourth. All members of the Summer Scorcher final four except Cashe322 had finished in the top four before, but Cashe322 would go on to finish in the top four of the Championship event. The Summer Scorcher was the only event where all four members of the final four recorded another top four finish in 2013. Nalare and Mopardude finished in 5th/6th place, and Pisha1 and Neoskulltula would finish in 7th/8th place, the best finish to date for Neoskulltula, the league's creator. The Summer Scorcher still stands as one of the most stacked fields of any League 97 event.
As the summer came to a close, L97's popularity had reached new heights. Excitement for the next event ran high, as many players sought to make their L97 debuts. Garoo Unchained would begin the pool phase with a record 59 players facing off in pursuit of one of twelve playoff spots.
L97 heavyweights Xskimdlove and Brightsolitude both made impressive debuts, racking up triple-digit points in pool play. Egaeus, Drazu, Tamora_dawn, and Dafinsrock also performed admirably in their L97 debuts, but it would be Toon_link_dancing that would turn the most heads during pool play. In his L97 debut, Toon_link_dancing accumulated a record 184 points in pool play as well as a record 58 wins.
Several experienced players would dominate the pool phase as well, with Cashe322, Pisha1, Nalare, and Okay__ all shredding their opponents en route to triple-digit point totals. League creator Neoskulltula would also reach the century mark, posting a winning pool play record and making the playoffs for the first time. Penguinqwert would slide into the playoffs with a tournament-low 72 points, largely due to only playing a 10 matches during the pool phase. Having won all ten matches, Penguinqwert would continue on to a 17 match winning streak dating back to the beginning of the Summer Scorcher. The win streak stands as the longest such streak against opponents with winning records in 2013.
Also of interesting note was the disparity between the two pools, the Garoo Crew and the Tyrannians. Participants fought the opposing pool in the event, which revealed unevenness between the randomized pool drawings. The Garoo Crew pool went 416-249-91 against the Tyrannian pool, a .610 win percentage. While all six playoff bound participants in the Garoo Crew reach triple-digit points, only three participants reached the mark in the Tyrannian pool. The dominance of the Garoo Crew meant that competitors in the pool with playoff aspirations had to not only score points in bunches, but also had to track down as many opponents as possible. The average Garoo Crew playoff-bound participant fought 20 matches in pool play, while the average Tyrannian playoff-bound participant only fought 15 matches. Garoo Crew competitors Mopardude, Kauto, Egaeus, and Schezan all missed out on the playoffs despite strong records, partially due to not tracking down enough opponents. Further highlighting the disparity between the pools was the strength of schedule in pool play of the playoff-bound competitors, provided courtesy of Toon_link_dancing.
|Pool||Player||Strength of Schedule||Record|
The playoffs of Garoo Unchained featured a diverse crowd. Of the 12 competitors, five were making their L97 debut while three more were making their playoff debut, leaving only four participants making a return to the playoffs: Pisha1, Penguinqwert, Okay__, and Nalare. Heading into the playoffs, the four returning competitors had six final fours, four finals appearances, and the championships between them. Although Cashe322 had placed third in the Summer Scorcher, he had never made the playoffs in a pool-style event before. However, it was mostly newcomers making up the first-round byes. Of the four first-round byes, three were claimed by Toon_link_dancing, Brightsolitude, and Xskimdlove, leaving Nalare as the only high seed with past playoff experience. With the seeding having been determined by pool play points, the ordering in the Garoo Crew half of the bracket was razor thin. Although Toon_link_dancing had run away with the one-seed, the remaining five seeds were separated by 14 points.
In the first round of the playoffs, Okay__ and Penguinqwert squared off once more in a rematch of the Summer Scorcher finals. This match-up would mark the third tournament in a row where the two would face off in an elimination scenario, and Penguinqwert again emerged victorious. Tamora_dawn and Dafinsrock also faced off in the Tyrannian half of the bracket in a match-up of playoff newcomers. Dafinsrock was victorious and advanced to the quarterfinals. In the Garoo Crew half of the bracket, decorated L97 competitors Pisha1 and Cashe322 clashed, with Pisha1 cruising to a 2-0 victory. Drazu and Neoskulltula also faced off; Neoskulltula's first playoff appearance ended quickly, falling 2-0 to rising star Drazu.
In the second round, the well-rested top seeds would all defeat their opponents. Brightsolitude routed Dafinsrock 2-0 and Xskimdlove defeated Pisha1 2-0-1, but Penguinqwert and Drazu would not fall to Nalare and Toon_link_dancing quite as easily, both falling in the first overtime after going 1-1-1 in regulation.
These victories meant the Garoo Unchained final four featured three competitors making their L97 debut, and all four competitors made the final four for the first time. Xskimdlove defeated Toon_link_dancing to win the Garoo Crew half of the bracket, and Nalare fell to Brightsolitude, setting up a championship match between league newcomers. Xskimdlove defeated Brightsolitude 2-0-1, winning her debut tournament.
The fifth and final tournament of the season, the 2013 Championship Tourney, was worth the biggest bragging rights. Despite being the marquee event of the season, the tournament was designed to appeal to beginners and pros alike. Unlike previous events which followed a basic pool play structure followed by playoffs or a double elimination format, the championship event had a unique structure. Although the main event was a simple 18-player single elimination playoff, the road to the main event was quite interesting.
The 18-player field for the main event consisted of both automatic qualifiers and qualifiers. Players that had finished in the top four of one of the previous four events were automatically invited to the main event. Due to multi-time winners, there were twelve players to receive such bids, and eight of them elected to participate in the championship tourney. The remaining ten spots would be decided through the tournament qualifier.
The qualifier was split into two pools, and the qualifier took place over two weeks in late November/early December. Competitors in search of a spot in the main event competed the first week in order to survive into the second week. The competitors in the top half of each pool advanced into a combined week two pool, while the competitors in the bottom half of each pool were invited to a consolation pool in week two. The top ten competitors in the week two top-half pool were invited to the main event.
The automatic qualifiers did not abstain from battling, however. Although their trips to the main event were already secured, they took part in a scrimmage that would be used in part for the seeding of the main bracket. A tournament committee of six was to rank the field of 18 following the qualifier, and so the automatic qualifiers were also to showcase their talents in search of a top seed. As would be expected, the AQ scrimmage boasted L97's most deadly battlers, all fighting for league supremacy.
Penguinqwert would struggle in the AQ scrimmage, stumbling to a 4-7-4 record and likely hurting his seeding in the progress. Pisha1 and Cashe322 would also struggle in the scrimmage, also hindering their resumes. Toon_link_dancing and Brightsolitude put together modest records, finishing in the middle of the pack in the AQ scrimmage and leaving their projected seeding largely unchanged. Mopardude, Xskimdlove, and Okay__ were able to improve their resumes, posting winning records in the scrimmage. Although only able to track down four of the other AQs, Okay__ posted an impressive 10-0-2 record over the four, bolstering his already impressive resume.
The qualifier had its own share of drama, with 31 competitors setting out for only 10 main event slots. In pool A, Neoskulltula posted a pool high of 55 points, his first time leading a pool in points. In pool B, Drazu posted an amazing 31-1-1 record, leading the pool with 94 points. Labmom953 and Tamora_dawn also dominated the competition, recording 63 and 57 points respectively.
The stakes were increased in the second week of the qualifier, with playoff spots on the line. Participants in the consolation pool had less to compete for, but still sought recognition. L97 newcomer Spencerduwell won the consolation pool by posting a 9-2-4 record. A pool A competitor in week one, he missed the top-half pool by a mere three points. In the top-half pool, Drazu continued his dominant performance, recording a 30-0-6 record and leading the pool with 96 points. Although he did not have to face any automatic qualifiers, the tournament committee would take note of his performance come seeding time. His 23 consecutive match victories in the qualifier combined with two playoff match victories in the main event set a new L97 record 25 match winning streak. Although no battler could come close to equaling Drazu's remarkable performance, Aerenity, Ruuff, Tamora_dawn, Labmom953, Schezan, Kauto, Wdsimmonds316, Soopaa_beast, and Neoskulltula all captured playoff berths in the qualifier.
With the announcement of the 18 participants, it was time to order the field. The tournament committee members were instructed to keep all performances in mind when ranking the field, including past events, but how they valued various performances was entirely their discretion. Committee members were allowed to rank qualifiers above automatic qualifiers. The high and low rank of each competitor was discarded, and the four middle ranks were averaged. The average of all six rankings were only averaged to break ties in seeding. Since the field consisted of 18 participants, the bottom four seeds would have to play an extra round to reach the field of 16. Once the six committee members submitted their personal rankings, an intriguing field was revealed.
Okay__ captured the top seed of the event thanks to his dominating performance in the AQ scrimmage. However, the decision was not unanimous with Penguinqwert, Xskimdlove, and Okay__ all receiving two first place votes. The four committee members not to rank Okay__ first all gave him second seed votes. Xskimdlove earned the second seed with an almost as impressive scrimmage showing combined with her championship in the previous tourney. Penguinqwert earned the third seed largely thanks to a long record of past strong finishes; it was evident the AQ scrimmage hurt his resume as he received several sixth and seventh seed votes.
Brightsolitude was placed as the fourth seed while Toon_link_dancing was placed as the fifth seed. Toon_link_dancing received some of the most consistent votes, receiving a fourth, fifth, or sixth seed vote from each member of the committee.
One of the biggest questions prior to the announcement of the seeding was where Drazu would be placed. His performance in the qualifier was one of the greatest displays of dominance the league had ever seen, but he had not faced any of the automatic qualifiers. As a result, his votes were widely varied, ranging from third to ninth, but when averaged out he achieved the sixth seed. Drazu was the only qualifier to be ranked ahead of some of the automatic qualifiers in the field.
Although Mopardude performed well in the scrimmage, he ended up as the seventh seed, partially thanks to his frequent absences in L97 tournament play. Pisha1 earned the eighth seed; she was the most consistently ranked member of the field, receiving four eighth seed votes as well as a seventh seed vote and a ninth seed vote. Cashe322 captured the ninth seed, although he was the lowest-seeded automatic qualifier.
Aerenity and Ruuff were seeded tenth and eleventh respectively, the highest-seeded qualifiers not named Drazu, and Tamora_dawn and Labmom953 were seeded twelfth and thirteenth respectively. As the fourteenth seed, Schezan narrowly missed having to play an extra battle to reach the field of sixteen. Schezan was one of the most erratically ranked members of the field, receiving not a single duplicate vote and with votes ranging from ninth to seventeenth.
Kauto, Neoskulltula, Wdsimmond316, and Soopaa_beast were seeded 15th thru 18th respectively, and were subsequently presented with the challenge of an extra match-up to reach the field of 16. Of the ten qualifiers, only Neoskulltula, Tamora_dawn, and Drazu had past playoff experience, all of which had come in the previous event, Garoo Unchained. Having participated in every event of 2013, Soopaa_beast at last reached the playoffs, albeit the 18th seed.
In the battles of the first four, Neoskulltula upended Wdsimmonds316 and Soopaa_beast pulled off a small upset by defeating 15th seed Kauto 1-0-2. However, the top two seeds Okay__ and Xskimdlove would both crush the victors 2-0.
In the field of 16, upsets were few and far between. Drazu defeated Ruuff in the lone match-up of qualifiers, and Penguinqwert ended Schezan's season. Mopardude made his way past Aerenity, and Toon_link_dancing eliminated Tamora_dawn. Perhaps the most intriguing match-up was the battle between eighth and ninth seeds Pisha1 and Cashe322. In this battle between automatic qualifiers, Cashe322 narrowly edged Pisha1 by a score of 1-0-2.
The most shocking match-up of the field of 16 was between Brightsolitude and Labmom953. Fourth-seeded Brightsolitude was heavily favored over Labmom953, who had only modestly trekked through the qualifier. Labmom953 jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead and followed the win up with a draw followed by another win to capture the set, becoming one of only two qualifiers to make the quarterfinals.
Upsets were much more common in the quarterfinals, with only second-seeded Xskimdlove avoiding an upset. Having tied in the scrimmage, Xskimdlove got the best of Mopardude the second time around in the tourney. Penguinqwert was not as fortunate, falling to Drazu in overtime, extending Drazu's match winning streak to a record of 25. Proving that the previous round was no fluke, Labmom953 upset yet another AQ in Toon_link_dancing as she reached the final four as a thirteen seed. Most shocking of all, top-seeded Okay__ fell to Cashe322. Okay__ and Cashe322 had squared off late in a tournament before, with Okay__ then defeating Cashe322 to reach to Summer Scorcher finals. This time Cashe322 would be the one continuing his tournament run, making the final four for the second time.
In the semifinals, Xskimdlove would finally put Drazu's incredible run to an end by the score of 2-0-1. In an unexpected match-up of the ninth seed versus the thirteenth seed to reach the finals, Cashe322 would finally put Labmom953's magical run to an end by the score of 2-1-1. These matches set up a finals between Xskimdlove and Cashe322; the winner would jump up to the number-one ranked player in the league's World Rankings. Xskimdlove was attempting to win her second tournament in a row, while Cashe322 was attempting to win a title in his first trip to the finals. In a close and heated competition, Xskimdlove would narrowly defeat Cashe322 by the score of 1-0-2, becoming the champion of the 2013 season.
The World Rankings were launched following the third L97 tournament, the Summer Scorcher. Only ten participants were ranked in the first Rankings, but this number was expanded to twelve following Garoo Unchained and to sixteen following the Championship Tourney. The table below shows the Rankings after each event in 2013. (Remember the Rankings were not unveiled until after the third L97 tournament.)
|Post-Scorcher||Post-Garoo||Final Rankings '13|
The Career Leaderboards were made live following the second L97 event, The Siege of Castle Lupenstein. Total statistics for all five League 97 events of 2013 can be found below. Pool Play refers to battles against a list of opponents, Bracket Play refers to battles against a randomly matched opponent with no initial qualifications, and Playoffs refers to battles against a nonrandom opponent based with prior qualifications. Pool Play, Bracket Play, and Playoff battles are mutually exclusive.
Min. 30 Battles
Min. 5 Battles
Min. 5 Battles
Min. 40 Battles
This article was written by: Penguinqwert