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"Victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay its price." - Sun Tzu
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Mid Season Update
Midnight Eve - December 5th, 2019 - 08:05pm

Eve here with a mid-season update on our favorite IFL teams. I know, I know, I promised weekly updates but sometimes the interns like to go on “strike” and things get a little tense around the office. It’s okay we assured them we’re totally going to pay them for all their backlogged blood, sweat and tears. Whether or not we do is another topic entirely for a separate article that I likely won’t be writing. Since recapping every decision made every week until now is a bit of a daunting task I will instead break down the teams into rankings and explain my rationale for them. Each team will be assigned a letter grade for ideas and execution averaged into one letter. I will be highlighting the points that I think are great and where the teams fell short. So let’s get started with the best performers so far.

King’s Gambit – S+

Has anyone seen Xanth and Batman in the same room? One week apparently makes a lot of difference. King’s Gambit is the highest rated team on my list for already accomplishing what many would believe to be their best accolade: they toppled the previous champions without even fielding their most experienced fighters. Talk about a gambit(settle down, put down those pitchforks I won’t do it again). The audacity for Xanth to field an untested rookie lineup like he did versus Real RhyDin but to have it pay off in spades- that’s incredible. Renley was the only rank above Flyweight to take a fight, while against an opponent with more experience than himself, which makes this near-sweep even more unbelievable. This was a fantastic start to the season for KGM(which really makes me think I’m typing KGB on my Sungsam Script 12) but having a good changeup only really matters when you can butter your bread with a consistent fastball. Week 2 for KGM showed their default pitch with baddies Xanth and Bile taking the Iron Fist and Push matches like any sane person would expect. Once again the team barely missed out on the sweep which is a very refreshing sight for a team trying to reinvent itself with some discarded parts. Xanth has been the mainstay in the league for the past few seasons with Bile and Renley having some season to them but the experience deficit on this team is so large it can’t be understated. I have the benefit of seeing three matches from Week 4 and there is a real trend growing for KGM. Each passing week their confidence is starting to mount; dare I say they are building some momentum? I expect this scalpel to only get sharper as Xanth figures out more about his team and his opponents with each week. We’ve seen their fastball and their changeup and more importantly we’ve seen them execute on both. This is your official dark horse of IFL and they’re off to a great start.

Team Fist – B+

Team Fist Nation started the 2019 season of IFL with some bitter deja vu. In the rematch of the 2017 finals, Team Fist had to swallow a bitter sweep to Real RhyDin. Since then however Team Fist is on the steady climb back into form. The drafts so far from Matt Simon have seen him absent in the Iron Fist match which is astounding to me. In Matt Simon’s IFL career he has only fought in 7 Iron Fist matches but currently holds a 7-0 record in the hot seat. I’m not entirely sure where the Captain Futility moniker arose but when the captain takes the helm good things happen. It’s also worth mentioning one of those was a shutout. This minor point aside Team Fist’s drafts have shown some flexibility so far in the IFL season. We’ve seen some impressive fights coming out of each member to date and they have been cultivating some confidence. In typical Matt fashion he is setting the field for his team to succeed to date of this article being written not a single duelist on Team Fist has a negative W-L ratio. That may not remain true by the time the week is over but it really does need to be pointed out. Matt has the unique challenge of balancing new faces with old and reigniting the spirit to rise to the challenge each season. Personally I want to see Iron Fist duties default to the experienced members of the team over the new faces. Curveballs are great if you can establish a default for expectations first and in such a limited season choosing when and where for these is crucial to nail sooner than later. See KBM for more on that. Overall, Matt has done a satisfactory job so far. No one ever won the gold metal being simply satisfactory though so I’m going to need to see more out of Team Fist before I count them as my favorites.

Real RhyDin – A-

Real RhyDin returned in compelling form with their Week 1 sweep over Team Fist Nation in a resonating reminder of why they took the 2017 championship their way. Their season has seen an early stumble similar to the previous one and I expect that they will rebound just as predictably. Growing pains are a part of a roster that has had moving parts and from what last season has taught us it’s that Real RhyDin don’t lose to you twice. Given both playoff matches last season were rematches and Team Fist did get closer in the finals, the fact remains that this team learns and adapts. What they do right- they do to you again. What they did wrong they tend to fix. As it stands right now, as of Week 4, Real RhyDin has lost 2 Iron Fist matches. Ever. One of them was in the 2017 finals which they still won and both were scores of 4-5. The challenge for opposing captains is how do you fool Real RhyDin not once but twice in one season? How many rabbits can come out of a hat before you just throw your fastball down the straight? Is the fastball going to be good enough? One of the key factors in Real RhyDins success in the 2017 was their ace-killer in Tahlia Faras who managed to earn both of her wins in the Iron Fist bout as a rookie. That’s guts and that’s execution. Replicating that feat and capturing lightning in a bottle is going to be key moving forward for Real RhyDin. The 2019 season is thinner across the board with more compact teams with more congested talent. They failed their first litmus test with KGM and I’m really excited to see if we see another matchup between these two teams in the playoffs. Only twice in IFL history has the team that won the regular season won the whole shebang. There is an exclusion here when Badside won their second title because they finished in a three-way tie. I believe Real RhyDin can achieve what they did last year and has the potential to win back-to-back championships. But the competition is tight this year and moving forward I want to see some of the curveballs they threw last year. Otherwise I fear this team may become too predictable themselves and leave themselves open for another wrench in the works.

Deathcake – ?

Deathcake has been an enigma since its introduction into IFL. Coming out the gates in 2015 they became the first and only team to ever sweep an entire season in the IFL. While technically Team Fist achieved that in the beta that doesn’t count(sorry not sorry Team Fist Nation). Since the dream run in 2015 Deathcake has retained its three core members in Salvador Dali, Canaan and Rekah. Deathcake captured lightning in a bottle in their freshman season. Their rotating doors literally spun week-to-week leaving opposing teams the impossible task of trying to prepare for what felt like a dice roll. Except, it worked, every single week. While the method to the madness has not changed the results have wavered. The incredible flexibility that has been on display each season has become more of a gimmick than a necessity it feels and the mystique is beginning to wear off. Cane is bearing much of the Iron Fist weight this season with rookie Saila filling in the off week for him and impressively they have managed to secure ⅔. I enjoy seeing Deathcake succeed with their anarchy and giving other teams nightmares at the stroke of midnight. I imagine they twist and turn in the moments preceding crying out: “No this doesn’t make any sense!” only to come up on the short end of the score at the end of the week. However there’s been a missing piece this season: Salvador. In the previous two seasons he amassed a colossal 9-1 record. That is incredible regardless of the metric but with Sal’s limited experience in fists it’s even more impressive. It leaves me a little upset that in such a tight season we have seen so little of him. I’m simply unable to accurately rank Deathcake due to the nature of their week-to-week Rubick’s cube. I think in a longer season I would have a more finite grip on their power ranking but currently I’m stuck in limbo. I guess getting to watch the chaos ensue is one of the greatest parts of this team and their laissez-faire approach. It’ll be a shame if their season gets cut short but it’s always entertaining to watch.

Warrior Force – C

I hate to kick a team when they’re down and I think Warrior Force is suffering from the exceptionally short schedule this week more than most. In previous years this kind of a start could often be salvaged into a 4-3 record or a 3-4 which may have given way to a playoff berth. Anything can happen in the playoffs and a majority of IFL winners weren’t the top team during the regular season. Unfortunately in 2019 the teams aren’t allotted that luxury. Every week matters and every decision you make from the rounds to the lineups has implications. Warrior Force fell victim to the Deathcake Cube in Week 1 and it seems they’ve had a difficult time adjusting to the league since. It’s not an easy task to learn your team in such a short amount of time so I’ve made Warrior Force immune to the hanging D or F ranks. There’s no mystery behind the success that the winning teams have had. Many had been together for at least a season prior to winning. Unity is a driving force in IFL and Warrior Force simply could not retain the lineup they had in 2017 which is a real shame when you look at MVP Tex. Given Warrior Force was also thrown together a little later than the previously established teams it’s not an excuse to say that to be honest maybe they’re performing right where they should be. You have some veteran duelists returning in Dizzy, Bane, Vinny and Rachael. Dizzy, Bane and Vinny have all won IFL championships in their tenures but the key to success is utilizing your tools properly. Getting duelists hot can be a matter of promoting in house scrims. Getting them to show up in regulation does run the risk of peepers peeping but you have to get the fires going somehow. No team in the history of IFL has ever gone without a win but time is of the essence. Warrior Force has this week off and faces stiff opposition in Real RhyDin in the final week. I hope Rachael can plot something magical because it would be history in the making as an alternative.

Sorry this came a little later than I would have liked but sometimes we have to settle with what we get. King’s Gambit is looking like a bull at a rodeo, Real RhyDin wants to make the repeat a dream, Team Fist is never out until they’re out, Deathcake is a Gravitron™ and Warrior Force has their back to the ropes. The shrinking of the league with the removal of some legacy teams has made the parity all the more important. Predictions are going to be volatile and I’m going on the record as saying I have no idea who wins this year. Stay tuned, I will be writing each week from here on out to provide you with some kind of glimpse into the remaining teams.

  • Eve

IFL 2019 Week Three Power Rankings
Jack Smith - December 4th, 2019 - 07:55am

Two similar results this week, as both the losing teams win the Iron Fist, but the undercard gives their teams the overall victory. King’s Gambit and Team Fist got stronger while Deathcake and Warrior Force took a step back. Is Team Fist for real? Can King’s Gambit be stopped? We shall see as we take a look at Week Three’s Power Rankings!

(The number that precedes the team name is their previous ranking)

1) (1) KING’S GAMBIT (2-0) Evil Incorporated gain their second victory of the season with their 3 duels to 1 win over Warrior Force. Bile started his season off with a big win over Dizzy, while Renley & Olaf’s records go to 2-0. Should they be worried Xanth lost in the Iron Fist? Shhh, let’s not burst their bubble, especially with a huge match coming up for them next week against Team Fist.

2) (3) TEAM FIST (2-1) Winning 3 duels again this week gives Team Fist the nod over Deathcake. Blondie edges out Sal, while Simon & Simon take the other victories. It’s great they’ve won the last two weeks, but they’ll have more of a challenge when King’s Gambit comes to town next.

3) (2) DEATHCAKE (1-1) They suffer their first loss of the season against a strong Team Fist. Canaan had an impressive Iron Fist victory over Dean. So which team is for real, Week One Deathcake or Week Three Deathcake? They’re going to need to do well against Real RhyDin this week if they want to go to the playoffs this year.

4) (4) REAL RHYDIN (1-1) Bye week for Real RhyDin. They had a press conference to remind everyone of this and how awesome they are.

5) (5) WARRIOR FORCE (0-3) Three losses in a row for Warrior Force, as they fall to King’s Gambit. Rachael had a stunning victory over Xanth in the Iron Fist, but nothing much else to speak of. Rachael needs to give Tex a ring, like yesterday. Bye Week for them next, so they can catch their breath.

TEAMS ON THE RISE: Team Fist (2 from 3)

OVERALL: King’s Gambit and Team Fist’s wins put them one step closer to the playoffs, but Real RhyDin is back this week and ready for action. Can either they or Deathcake turn things around? Or is it looking like a KGM/TMF Finals this year? You’ll have to show up and root for your favorite teams! IFL action at the Garden, don’t miss it!

Later.

How You Betting? – Week Four
Conner Reid - December 4th, 2019 - 07:58am

Maybe the question is: how’s your pocketbook?  Mine’s alright, but a couple close calls hit me right in the wallet.  Woof.  

Let’s see iffin we can fix it.

King’s Gambit vs. Team Fist

At this point in the tourney, this here is the team battle to watch.  Both these teams sitting with two week-wins. Team Fist looking to secure a no-sweat playoff spot before their bye week, and King’s Gambit looking to keep up their zero-loss record.

Fight by fight, let’s give it a look.

Bile vs. GrakTheSilent

Now this here fight has already gone down as of press time so no betting recs on this one.  Bile looked pretty damn strong against Dizzy Flores last week, so it were no surprise to see Bile picking up the win last night.  But oy, were you watching? Bile out there in the Garden landing the rarefied legblock and following it up with a hook that caught GrakTheSilent in the middle of a gutsy spinkick.  

Did anyone have a sidebet on a HK/SP round?  Cause you’re buying the drinks.

While new fighter GrakTheSilent got held to just two points last night, the fighter picked up some solid experience in the IF match and still looked strong following his first tourney win against Bane last week.

Were a good fight, worthy of the Garden, and set KGM off to a good start.

Sophia Song vs. Runt

Oy, does anyone know what in the ever-living is going on between Sophia and Xiaofan on KGM?  There were a whole handful of orcs and goblins near brawling in the Garden last week over these two fighters. Rumor is they were lovers once and had a pretty public split.  Anybody seen that go down? Do we be needing to join teams here? Well for the time being this here column is Team Sophia.  Do with that what you will.

Runt comes into this fight with a 1-1 record after losing to the Empress Jewell in week 1 before coming back to grab a win off of Rachael Blackthorne in a close match.  Now Runt be one of them that shows lots of loyalty to them he favors. The Simon clan appears to be benefitting from that at the moment, and Captain Matt will certainly be hoping for a win from the giant this week.  

But no team has yet to find a weak-link in KGM’s armor, and don’t think that weakness willl be Sophia.  Said Team Sophia, aye? Sophia takes this.

Olaf von Trunk vs. Bailey Raptis

This here column has made several unfortunate calls over the first three weeks (still smarting from the week 1 call against Saila DeFortes iffin we’re being honest).  But not once have we been wrong about the sneaky powerhouse that is Olaf von Trunk. The Trunk be vicious. Vicious.

Really questioned Bailey’s decision to have a proxy-fighter on his behalf in his first tourney match against young ‘un Amaris in week 2.  This here is unarmed combat, mates. That block of statuary that’s fighting in Bailey’s stead were not the one that signed the entry forms were it?  #wheresbailey

Not sure who we’ll be seeing in this fight, but either way, half my earnings so far has been betting on the outside chances of the Trunk.  Not changing now. It’s the Trunk.

Renley Killian vs. Matthew Algiers Simon

Killian be 2-0 on the tourney so far, but his key win was pulling off a nailbiter against Kheldar Drasinia in week 2 that sealed the deal for KGM against RRD.  After blowing a big lead by allowing Drasinia to score three unanswered points and putting the fight in sudden death, Renley kept his head and grabbed the win from them jaws of defeat in a week-deciding IF bout.  That shows the kind of nerve that fighters be needing to succeed in this tourney.  

Simon had a nice bounce back last week after getting held to a single point in week one by newcomer Gloria Blaze.  He picked up his first win of the tourney against another newcomer, Yeardley Owens. This is a low stakes match for both fighters, but Simon will need every possible point to overcome the already-decided win in the IF match taken by Bile.

Simon.  Going to show a little faith in the team Captain this week and see iffin he can rise to the occasion and lead his team to victory from the back of the pack.

Team Outcome: While I think Simon just might pick up his individual match, not seeing very many paths to victory for TMF at this point.  KGM is going to clinch playoffs this week. King’s Gambit.

Real Rhydin vs. Deathcake

Oy, mates.  This here going to be a tough fight.  Both these teams sitting at 1-1 and looking to get a leg up before week 5.  So far these teams been looking equally strong, but think RRD’s got a deeper bench that they’re going to be pulling from this week to try to secure the win.  

Let’s run the fights.

Gloria Blaze vs. Bettle the Goblin

Gloria introduced herself to IFL fans in week 1 by delivering a 5-1 beat down to league vet Matt Simon.  She going to be looking to recapture that magic in this here IF fight.

Bettle is 1-1 so far in the tourney coming out of a loss in a predicted difficult match against Koyliak on TMF last week.  She’ll be looking to return to the form she had against Vincent Smith in week 1 where she demonstrated the strength of a good defense. 

Both of these fighters remain a sight untested on the IFL stage and this be the first time we’re seeing them in the high pressure of the IF fight.  

Bit of a toss-up.  Based on what we seen so far, calling this for Gloria, but think this will be a fair fight.

Hope Naharis vs. Canaan Devillier

As of press-time this here fight already happened so let’s just say that this here battle did not disappoint.  

Week after week, Canaan been showing us why he’s holding the Kiowa belt.  Coming into the match with a 2-0 record, he held opponents to a collective 4 point total, and landed one of two successful spinkicks in the tournament so far.  Fire, lads and lasses. Fire.  

Hope meanwhile came in with an IFL-career record of only 4 losses out of 19 total regular-season fights, including only 1 loss over the last 10 regular-season fights.  Oy. That there is something, aye?

This match stayed close throughout with Canaan taking up an early lead, Hope then pulling it back, only for Cane to bring it to sudden death in round 7.  Hope notched the win in a tight-as-fuck fight that lands her at the number 2 spot on the leaderboard, and gives us no help in deciding which team might win the week.  But RRD be on the right track early.

Kheldar Drasinia v. Saila DeFortes

Already wrote in this here column about Kheldar’s heartbreaker loss to Renley Killian that gave KGM the deciding win in week 2.  Kheldar will be looking to pull himself up the leaderboard with his first win of the tournament against newcomer Saila.

Saila meanwhile pulled off a surprise win against the Dark Baroness in the first week in the IF bout that demonstrated that she and her team Deathcake were in this tournament for real.  That fight saw Saila landing an uppercut and a hook before settling sudden death with a conversion-trap jab. Say again, could anyone have predicted? 

This should be Kheldar.  But for fuck’s sake.  Maybe don’t bet on it?

Gren Blockman vs. Salvador Delahada

This will be Gren’s first fight of the season for RRD, a demonstration of RRD’s deep bench.  Salvador, meanwhile, is coming off a heartbreaker loss against Blondie Eastwood that had the fighters staring down three sudden death rounds, and at least one predictor (*cough*) thought for sure were going Salvador’s way.  

Now, Gren here is a former Diamond, two-time defender of ShadoWeaver which he currently holds, and has a record that any Outback regular would envy.  But here’s the thing, mates. Last time Gren and Salvador faced off on the IFL stage, Salvador picked up a 7-round shutout.  

Salvador still got what to prove this season.  Gren needs to show his worth coming off the bench.  And both teams will be looking for whatever points they can be getting this week.

Woof.  Salvador.  A shutout like that can be hard to shake.  

Team Outcome: Think this week will come down to the IF match.  This will be Real Rhydin.  But only a fool is counting out DCK.

Things been heating up around here as the final regular season matches are getting logged.  Hope you’re all soaking in the IFL action around the rings. And making some good scratch.

And, oy!  None of you have taken me up on my offer for a free drink for inside info.  What’re you fearing? The only one with their name on this column be me. You ain’t got nothing to fear for giving a little gossip to good old Reid here.  Friday. Red Dragon Inn. Good info gets drinks.

But that’s how I’m betting.

Bet at your own risk.

Reid.

IFL 2019 Week Two Power Rankings
Jack Smith - November 26th, 2019 - 04:42pm

A dominating performance by Team Fist and a shocking upset by King’s Gambit punctuate this week’s action! Was that just a bump in Real RhyDin’s road to another Championship? Is Xanth really an evil genius or was that just luck? It’s IFL Week Two, and I’ve got your Power Rankings all ready to go!

(The number that precedes the team name is their previous ranking)

1) (5) KING’S GAMBIT (1-0) Whoa, check out the big win against Real RhyDin. Sophia and Olaf get their first ever IFL wins, and Renley has a clutch performance in the Iron Fist against Kheldar. Is this a sign of things to come? We’ll see if this team is for real when they face their next opponent, Warrior Force.

2) (2) DEATHCAKE (1-0) Bye week for Deathcake. Rekah did something crazy. Heck, they all probably did.

3) (3) TEAM FIST (1-1) Team Fist rebounds to take a close fought victory over Warrior Force. All their wins were by a single point. Dean was impressive in the Iron Fist against Dizzy, and Grak, Runt, and Bailey all had their first win of the season. They still have a good shot at the playoffs, and they’ll face Deathcake this coming week.

4) (1) REAL RHYDIN (1-1) Well, that was surprising. After beating Team Fist, they suddenly lose 3 of 4 against upstart King’s Gambit. Jewell gained a victory in the Push against Xiaofan, but that was their only win. I know they beat Team Fist, but I didn’t want to drop Team Fist down after they won for the week, so here RRD is. Bye week coming up.

5) (4) WARRIOR FORCE (0-2) Another loss for Rachael’s team, as they are routed by Team Fist. They were close matches though. But still, that’s only one duel win out of eight to start the year off. King’s Gambit is up next, and we’ll find out which one of these teams wants a shot at the playoffs bad enough.

TEAMS ON THE RISE: King’s Gambit (1 from 5)

OVERALL: King’s Gambit showed they’re here to make some noise. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Real RhyDin and Team Fist are still loaded with talent, and Deathcake and Warrior Force are still breathing down everyone’s neck! What’s going to happen in Week Three? Will Real RhyDin get their act together, or will Team Fist pass them by? You’ll have to go to the Garden and catch all the action! See you in a week for the next Rankings!

Later.



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