Saikou: Cloudja is the biggest disappointment so far with a grand total of 45 points. It does not bode well at all for him or his team. Lethal, captain of team The Establishment, is facing a crisis of leadership. He has a squad of rookies that are putting up insignificant numbers compared to other teams. It doesn’t help that Beast, last week’s ray of hope, crashed and burned this week. Freak cracked the top ten but they need two people constantly up the rankings to keep any kind of pace with the other teams.
K-JI: It is obvious you are disappointed with the performance of The Establishment but what are your thoughts on the other teams? To preface your comments let us take a look at the team scoreboard:
The Outsiders 11580
New Epoch 9045
The Establishment 4575
Across the board every team had better weeks than last time. Eurocorp puts up a strong number on the back of three members cracking the top ten this week. As mentioned, the tale of the tape is not looking good for The Establishment with another last place finish.
Saikou: The Outsiders and Eurocorp switch places in what is looking to be a close fight between the two teams. The collective experience from last year’s event is paying dividends for their teams. But second to fourth place is really close. A platinum or two and suddenly it is the New Epoch in second. Most importantly though is a team strategy starting to shine through.
K-JI: What kind of strategy are they implementing? Can you go into detail for the fans at home?
Saikou: It is a one man army strategy vs. a collective strategy, no pun intended. Eurocorp is playing the one man army card to a tee. Take away Tim and they would be left listless as he has the vast majority of their point total. The same can be said for Supra and his Neo-Collective. The Outsiders and New Epoch, on the other hand, are keeping a closer balance between player’s scores. Jmar is leading the pack again but, while Ace and Blazi put up numbers last week, Brenden took over and put up a big number this week.
K-JI: What are the strengths and weaknesses of these strategies? Why would they choose them instead of other proven strategies?
Saikou: A team would implement a one man army approach if they feel they don’t have the games list to keep things balanced. Usually this is used when a team has a trophy whore in it, and wants to burn him out for an early advantage. The obvious weakness is if there is no one to take over the reins then they fall from grace faster than an otaku’s wallet in Osu Kannon. Conversely, a more balanced approach allows teammates to swap in and out from the top spot, and thus not burn out. It won’t be as flashy from an individual standpoint but it is less likely that all members will have a bad round. The competitors with slower trophy hauls, like RPG specialists, will be able to set-up and conserve them for when that push is needed.
K-JI: Being a former national champion and world champion, what advice would you give to the teams and individuals who are trailing badly behind at such an early junction?
Saikou: Be a whore. It comes down to pride vs. winning. Buy that $5 Hannah Montana to get an easy platinum to boost your score. Obviously don’t make yourself go poor for it, but even though it is a marathon there comes a point when the lead is too great to be able to put a dent in it. Two platinums had Fenix in the top ten this round, and Will in the top five last round. Next round it could be one platinum to make it to the top ten.
K-JI: Supra is the captain of his team. He is the leader, but even leaders get disenchanted with their teams. Will Supra give up the position to someone else on the team and just focus on the individual title?
Saikou: It could be a possibility. There is nothing preventing him from giving the captaincy to anyone else. He needs to have a hard thought about what trophy is the most important to him. It takes a lot of work to be the captain, even though we throw the word around like it is just a title to make certain people stand out.
K-JI: What job does a captain have to do? You were the team captain of the Japanese national team back in the 2005 World Championships, which some viewers might not have known.
Saikou: Being the captain means putting the team ahead of personal glory. The captain is expected to coordinate everything from games played, trophy counts, boosting sessions, and also keeping egos in check. Sometimes they are spending so much time making sure everyone else on the team is on the same page that they don’t have time to get trophies themselves.
K-JI: Wouldn’t that suggest putting the weakest member of the team as the captain?
Saikou: Some teams do that, and there is an advantage as you point out. If the weakest member of the team is not expected to get any trophies then why handicap one of the bigger contributors with extra responsibilities. The flipside is, just like in other sports, the captain needs to take command of the team, and the situation, by doing something heroic. Lethal needs to do that this round to get his team back into the competition, as an example.
K-JI: What should we watch out for this round, Saikou? What are your three predictions?
Saikou: Going by their form I am expecting Tim and Supra to keep their intense duel going for a third straight round. I am not expecting record breaking numbers but I am expecting them to one-two the top of the charts again. Lethal finally puts up a big number and showing some heroics is my second thought for round three. He needs to make an impact statement or else they are gone from the team portion at an unbelievably early juncture. I’m going to be bold with my last prediction and say someone from the New Epoch is going to replace Jmar in the top three. They’ve been knocking on the door, and it has to happen at some point. Jmar is showing his worth to his team but his point total has already dipped from the last round, while others have gone up.
K-JI: Thanks again for your in-depth insight and perspective, Saikou. I’d also like to thank our newest edition to the NGN staff, Angelika Velda for getting an exclusive interview with new record holder Tim Nunes. That is all the time we have this week, fans and viewers. Will the epic duel between Tim and Supra continue? Can The Establishment continue being a relevant team? Will there be a breakout star to surprise everyone? Stay tuned for round three coverage of the PSU Marathon Trophy Competition. For Saikou Hakkin, I’m K-JI saying swing for your dreams, live from the Nagoya Dome.
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.