K-JI: The whistle blows and that brings a close to round one of the PSU marathon trophy competition. It was an exciting first round with some big scores, a few surprises and lots of intrigue. I’m your master of ceremonies, K-JI along with the man with the plan, Saikou Hakkin. Some impressive numbers from a lot of competitors have made for an exciting first round. What are your initial thoughts, Saikou?
Saikou: Who shot Tim out of a cannon? Going by the gamertag Bosssnake, he certainly showed who is the boss in the early going. I’m not talking about Tony Danza either, K-JI. Sitting atop the standings after one round is not a guarantee of safety, as we have seen lots of people fail to live up to early impressions, but at least he made the right impression to intimidate the field. He did not break the one round record but it was still a valiant effort.
K-JI: Here is the top ten after the first round:
As you can see Tim has put up almost 7000 points in the first round, followed by Supragaz and Jmargraves somewhat closely behind with over 4000 points each.
Saikou: Shades of Jenkem with such a number but while I don’t want to take anything away from him, stamina will be brought into question. Such a number in the first round makes it look like he wants to go for a sprint. If he can put up another solid number like that then his stranglehold on the bracket will becomplete, especially since Lasombra is the closest to him with 1/6th of the points.
K-JI: We mentioned in the pre-game show that Suprgaz would be looking for revenge against Lethal for that defeat in the March Cup. He certainly didn’t disappoint by coming in second place this week and Lethal being a complete no show.
Saikou: I also said he’d need a steel spine as he would be carrying a team of rookies into this event. PSGamer28 is earning his keep by getting into the top ten, which can only take the pressure off Supragaz in the team portion. The early stages are all about momentum and keeping it. Seeing as how there are nice gaps between the top three and the top five, Tim, Supra, and Jmar have all the momentum.
K-JI: Looking over the names and the scores it has been a diverse first round. Every team has at least one person in the top ten, with some having as many as three people. From your experience what do these numbers suggest to you solely from a team’s perspective?
Saikou: It is hard to say. Just like a running marathon the beginning is all about finding a rhythm and getting into a solid position. I think for some of the veterans like Beast and Ace their low numbers are indicative of a wait and see strategy. They are wily enough to stay in the middle and let other people make a move, or fail to make a move. How long they keep coasting will depend on how much is left in the tank for the top three. If one or all of them put up top three numbers again then expect the veterans to kick in the nitro. If that fails to happen then expect them to keep coasting.
K-JI: The team scores from the round are as follows:
The Outsiders: 9495
New Epoch: 6600
The Establishment: 3840
Beast is all alone representing his team. Is this a cause for concern for The Establishment?
Saikou: This is one instance where I am going against the ‘it is too early to say’ motif I’ve been preaching. Even though Lethal is gauging the competition I would have expected the others in the team to post up some kind of number. The fact they are rookies is showing with two of them, I won’t name names, not contributing anything at all. Beast is the team captain and this is an early crucial moment for the moral of his team. He needs to whip them into shape and come out strong in the second round. If this were a single-round elimination tournament then this would have been considered a huge upset. They should be very thankful it is not such a tournament.
K-JI: It should be no surprise that The Outsiders are leading the team portion of the competition with three competitors from last year’s event on the team. Is this where their experience plays a factor in the early game?
Saikou: Definitely, K-JI. While some vets are coasting to test the waters, Brenden, Ace, and Jakintosh already know what the waters feel like. They’ve been on this ride before and can give crucial advice to their teammates. Jmar, Scoggings, and Blazi have not been in this event before. They are not rookies but they are better able to work as a team to determine who will go for the early sprint and who will coast.
K-JI: We’re focusing on the teams, but they are still individuals as well. How will that experience not backfire for the marathon veterans on The Outsiders, considering they are giving away their advantage?
Saikou: It is a matter of priority. Do they want a team title or an individual title? This is what each team ultimately has to decide. For a team of rookies like The Establishment, a team title might be out of their reach because of all the pitfalls that comes with having zero experience. But for a team of veterans like The Outsiders, they all have individual accolades. A team title would help push some of them into Hall of Fame contention.
K-JI: What has been your biggest surprise of the first round, Saikou?
Saikou: It has to be the top ten. Some people like Lethal, Brenden and Lasombra I expected to be somewhere on the list. Instead their vacant spots were filled by Jmar, Will and Mondo. The rookies are usurping control of the throne from the veterans early on. As the rounds go by it will be interesting to see how static this top ten becomes. Will Tim always be first? Will Gaglaush stamp his name as the rookie of the tournament? Can Lethal return to his fearful form? It will be an interesting next couple of rounds to look at the scoreboard.
K-JI: Lastly, give us some predictions of what we can expect to see during round two.
Saikou: First, I would expect to see something by the team captains. They are the ones controlling the reigns, they are the ones motivating the team, and in the end they are also individuals needing to put up their own numbers. Second, the rookies in New Epoch will have to show their determination by continuing their top ten forms. Three of the five made it into this round’s top ten, and it is always a very telling sign of a competitor’s conditioning if they fail to replicate a string of performances. Lastly, I would pay close attention to the top three. If last year’s event is a predictor of things to come then the opening few rounds will have a lot of turnover and turmoil. This is a chance for someone, anyone to lay claim to a spot. It does not have to be first place, but keeping even second or third place every round adds up. If the top five shows a lot of flowing changes round-to-round then an early stranglehold will alleviate pressure in the later rounds once fatigue and burnout becomes a real factor.
K-JI: Thank you for the detailed, in-depth analysis, Saikou. The first round is over and in the books. We’ve seen TimNunes and The Outsiders make an early run as the respective leaders for the singles and team events. Will they keep the momentum in round two? Will Lethal and Ace keep coasting or will they show some of their prowess that made them fearful in the past? Will the rookies keep making an early impact or will their lack of experience cause them to blow a tire so soon? For Saikou Hakkin, I’m K-JI saying swing for your dreams, live from the Nagoya Dome. Be sure to tune-in for what is to be an exciting second round.
Missed a round of the toughest competition in e-sports or want to see the overall scoreboard? Check out the marathon thread and cheer on your favourite comeptitor!
Dane Smith is the Japan editor for PlayStation Universe. When not out on the streets of Nagoya wondering why no one is looking for a Yakuza-style showdown, he can be found cracking open the newest RPG to hit the shelves. You can follow him on Twitter or read some of his past musings.