IFL returns, honoring the traditions originally founded by Chairman Kiowa and his search to find the best of the best.
"Victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay its price." - Sun Tzu
2017 IFL Finals
Ayperi Durrishahwar - January 18th, 2018 - 08:41pm
In this week’s highly anticipated Finals between a rookie squad (with a host of veteran duelers) Real Rhydin (1st seed) and Team Fist (2nd seed), we’re looking at a rematch of Week 5 where Real Rhydin celebrated a 27-16 victory over Team Fist. In that match, RRD won the Iron Fist (Tahlia vs. Darik, 5-3), Crutch (Eden vs. Matt, 5-3) and Anchor bouts (Jewel vs. Koy, 5-1) while TMF took the Push to narrowly avert the sweep (Hope vs. Blondie, 2-5).
In the Finals, we have several repeat matchups which ought to make for interesting and exciting fights! Without further ado, let’s look at the bout-by-bout breakdowns!
Jewell Ravenlock (PO) vs. Koyliak Van-Duran Simon (HV)
2017 Season Record: Jewell: 3-0; 6.00 PDPB / Koy: 3-2; 1.00 PDPB
Rank: Edge to Jewell who enters the match as a PowerHouse. Koy spent most of the season as a MiddleWeight before promoting to HeavyWeight late in the year.
Experience Factor: Koy. Lady Simon has 43 career bouts under her fashionable belt (32 regular, 4 playoff, 7 tournament) but Jewell’s still a veteran with 23 of her own (19 regular, 2 playoff, 2 tournament). Koy’s playoff record is 2-2, with a perfect shutout loss in the 2007 season and Jewell’s (1-1) with both bouts in the 2014 season. While Koy has a slight edge here, it’s not by much.
Intimidation Factor: Draw. Both duelers have middling IFL careers with negative PDPBs to their names (Jewell: 10-9, -0.05 PDPB / Koy: 14-18, -0.72 PDPB). Ten of Jewell’s career bouts have come in the Anchor where she’s 7-3 lifetime. Koy’s fought in the low bout nine times prior, with a 4-5 overall record. While Jewell certainly has season momentum om her side, neither fighter strongly outclasses the other.
Historical Factor: Edge to Jewell. These two have squared off once before in their careers, specifically Week 5 this season where, also in the Anchor bout, Jewell trounced Koy 5-1 in 8 rounds by mixing in timely defense with a flurry of kicks and narrowly missed out on a shutout victory.
Overall: A gut-check might say that Koy has the edge, but the data says Jewell’s favoured in this bout. Koy has won her last two bouts in a row but Jewell’s undefeated on the season and part of a team who hasn’t tasted anything but victory in the past seven weeks.
Final Score Prediction: 5-2 Jewell
Gren Blockman (MI) vs. Darik Warchild (PO)
2017 Season Record: Gren: 2-1; -1.00 PDPB / Darik: 3-2; 1.60 PDPB
Rank: The edge goes to Darik (PowerHouse) over Gren (MiddleWeight).
Experience Factor: Darik Warchild. Darik has 41 career bouts to his name (27 regular, 6 playoff, 8 tournament) while Gren has fewer than half that at 18 (15 regular, 2 playoff, 1 tournament). Darik’s fought in the playoffs six times (3-3) while Gren’s only post-season action came back in 2013 (1-1). Gren’s fought in the Crutch slot three times (1-2), including in Week 1 of this season where he lost 0-5 to Salvaldor Delahada. Darik has 11 Crutch bouts to his name (8-3). Although he’s only fought in this slot twice after the 2014 season, he’s won his last 6 Crutch bouts in a row.
Intimidation Factor: Darik Warchild. A former Kiowa Belt winner and with multiple championship trophies, Darik is 19-8 in his regular season career with a 2.19 PDPB. Ha has multiple 4-bout win streaks and two career-long 8-bout win streaks sandwiched between a PowerHouse Party loss in the 2015 season to his current team captain. Gren’s lone playoff bout ended with a Crutch loss to Tarl Cabot of Team Fist in 2013. Too, every one of Gren’s career wins have been 1-point victories (five 5-4, one 6-5) except for his 5-3 Anchor win over Juliane Smith in Week 4 of the 2013 season. As a final note, Gren has never won two bouts in a row in his entire career and at one point, had a 5-bout losing streak (Week Three 2014-Week Six 2015). Gren’s last bout? A 5-4 Push win over Dizzy Flores in Week 7.
Historical Factor: N/A. These two have never fought before. Both were on Team Fist during the 2014 and 2015 seasons and both had stints with the Badside Brawlers, though with no overlap.
Overall: Darik Warchild. Darik has more experience and a far superior overall career. To win this one, Gren needs to overcome history by netting his first ever win-streak while hoping that Darik, who’s not in the same fighting form he was when winning the Kiowa Belt, doesn’t have enough left in the tank after dueling in 7 of 8 possible weeks this season.
Final Score Prediction: 5-3 Darik
Hope (PO) vs. Blondie Eastwood (HV)
2017 Season Record: Hope: 3-1; 2.50 PDPB / Blondie: 4-1 3.00 PDPB
Rank: Hope, with a one-rank edge over Blondie.
Experience Factor: Draw. Blondie’s fought in the playoffs seven times (4-3) with a total of 26 career bouts (18 regular, 7 playoff, 1 tournament). Hope, who entered the league the same year as Blondie (2013), has fought in the post-season five times (1-4) with 29 career bouts (13 regular, 5 playoff, 6 tournament). Historical note: Blondie fought in the Push bout in the 2015 Finals as part of Dirty: Black against his former and now current squad, Team Fist, where he lost 3-5 to Darik Warchild.
Intimidation Factor: Very slight edge to Hope. Blondie was one of the favorites for MVP this season before he and his 4-0 record ran into Kenny Chae in Week 7 and suffered a shutout loss in the Iron Fist bout. Still, he has a 12-6 regular season record and a 2.06 PDPB while Hope is 14-4 in the regular season with a 3.33 PDPB. Hope’s had a 7-bout win streak (5-bouts outside of the PowerHouse Party tournament) while Blondie’s never won more than 4 in a row.
Historical Factor: Blondie. These two have only met once before, in Week 5 of this season, where Blonde defeated Hope 5-2 in the Push bout.
Overall: Draw. These two fighters entered the league in the same year and have had very similar successful careers, despite changing teams multiple times. Though Blondie defeated Hope earlier in the season, this pairing has the potential to be the match-decider. Make sure not to miss it!
Final Score Prediction: As with last year’s Push bout, I’m forced to hedge my bets. My gut tells me Hope takes this with a 5-3 score but I won’t be shocked if Blondie flips the script. If he does, it’ll be by a narrower margin, 5-4.
Eden Parker (MI) vs. Matthew Algiers Simon (PO)
2017 Season Record: Eden: 3-2; 1.00 PDPB / Matt: 3-1; 3.00 PDPB
Rank: Matt Simon (PowerHouse) over Eden (MiddleWeight).
Experience Factor: Matt Simon. Matt’s tied with his wife, Koyliak VanDuran-Simon, for most duels in league history at 43 (28 regular, 7 playoff, 8 tournament). This is Eden’s rookie season but she’s already fought 6 times (5 regular, 1 playoff).
Intimidation Factor: Matt Simon. Eden lost twice this season, mostly fighting in the Crutch but she did win her only Iron Fist bout 5-4 over Terry King in Week 7. (As a historical note, Terry King fought Matt Simon last year’s finals, in this very bout). She’s also sporting a career-high 2-bout win streak. Matt Simon’s regular season record is an unimpressive 12-16, -0.29 PDPB. In his career, especially in the heyday of his “Captain Futility” moniker, he’s lost 6 bouts in a row to go along with another 4-bout loss streak. His career-long win-streak is 5 bouts (8 if you include the 2015 PowerHouse Party where he lost in the finals to Jin Chae). However, Matt’s 5-2 in the playoffs, last losing to Kalamere, 4-5 in the 2013 season. Although he’s only fought in the Iron Fist bout six prior times in his career, he’s undefeated in the bout (6-0 overall, 3 wins in regular season, 3 wins in playoffs, including a 5-0 perfect shutout vs. Maria Graziano in the 2007 Quarterfinals). In addition, he broke the hearts of two lady-duelers this season and likely ruined the MVP chances for one of them – Claire Gallows and Jin Chae – both of whom were riding 4-bout win streaks before losing to the TMF captain (Claire, 4-5 loss Week 6 in the Push and JC, 4-5 loss in last week’s playoff match).
Historical Factor: Eden. These two fought in Week 5 where Eden beat Matt 5-3 in the Crutch, and did so in 5 rounds.
Overall: Matt Simon. Matt surprised me last year when he came away with the Iron Fist victory over Terry King in the Finals and led his team to an IFL championship. That being said, I don’t think he has it in him two years running. Though he ought to win this bout on paper, as they say, today’s paper lines tomorrow’s rubbish baskets.
Final Score Prediction: I’m calling the upset here. Eden beat Matt once before and she’ll do it again by the same score (5-3) or better.
Captain’s Lineup Decisions
Hope, and the entire Real Rhydin team, had to be salivating when the lineup was released. Three of the four pairings are repeats of Week 5’s matchup, where Real Rhydin defeated Team Fist 3-1. Hope had more flexibility in her lineup (7 fighters on her roster compared to just 5 on TMF). Though the chances of her fielding Kate Turner (2017: 0-3, -5.33 PDPB; Lifetime: 1-6, -3.86 PDPB) were slim to none, the two others on the bench this week could easily have fought. It would have been highly interesting to see Kheldar Drasinia (2-1, 3.00 PDPB), who won a championship with Team Fist last season, square off against his former team. Tahlia Faris (2-1, 3.33 PDPB) – who’s fought in the Iron Fist bout 3 times in this, her rookie season and come away with 3 wins including in last week’s playoff match – would also have been a solid choice. If Real Rhydin somehow loses the Finals, it might come down to these two being on the bench while Gren Blockman took an active roster spot.
On the other side, Matt Simon likely wasn’t too pleased with how the lineup sorted out. He may have been hoping (no pun intended) that Hope didn’t expect him in the Iron Fist two weeks in a row. Matt’s use of Darik and Blondie was a no-brainer, though one of them should have been in the Iron Fist. The last spot was a tossup between Koy and Dean. Both had 3-2 records and only a .80 PDPB difference. Koy got the nod this week, perhaps because Dean fought last week. If Koy can’t improve her earlier-season performance against Jewell and if Matt does best Eden, the Anchor bout could be where Team Fist loses the overall match.
These teams are pretty evenly matched coming into the Finals, but Real Rhydin has a ton of momentum and in fact, their only loss on the season was a single-point 22-23 match loss to Deathcake back in Week 1. A solid mix of rookies and veterans has Real Rhydin fans believing in a first-season championship while Team Fist Nation hopes and prays that the dueling gods favour them, however unlikely, one more time. No matter what happens, we have 4 prime-time bouts remaining in the season (starting tonight!) and I’m excited to see how they play out! See you in the Garden!
Predicted Match Score: 29-16 RRD
Breaking It Down: 2017 MVP & Rookie Of The Year Nominees
Harris D'Artainian - December 26th, 2017 - 07:37pm
A smaller field of brawlers this season means a more condensed pack of competitors for Most Valuable Player & Rookie Of The Year, to be voted on by the captains, assistant captains & myself! As always those eligible for MVP are the fighters who finish in the top 15% of the league, therefore earning the Powerhouse ranking for next season. I’ll also be awarding Captain Of The Year and Playoff MVP once the dust settles, all of which will be announced and awarded at the Powerhouse Party Tournament on January 25th! All caught up? Great! Time to break it down!
Note: Strength of Schedule points are determined by the following algorithm: (MVP Candidate’s Opponents’ Combined, Rounded Winning Percentage against other fighters) + (2* Number of MVP Candidate’s Iron Fist/Push Matches) + (Number of MVP Candidate’s Crutch/Anchor Matches)
Regular Season MVP Watch
This season there are a half dozen candidates for MVP, and 2017 marks the first year that any of those eligible are from teams not bound for the playoffs. As always they’re listed in order of PDPB from top to bottom, with additional insights and opinions on their performance. Records and strength of schedule only take into consideration the regular season.
Tex Wellington (5-0, 6.60 PDPB, 1 Iron Fist win, 1 Push win, 2 Crutch wins, 1 Anchor win)
Not only was Tex the only duelist on Warrior Force to end the season with a positive record he was responsible for half of their 10 total bout wins. He was also versatile enough to win a match in of each type. His highlight performance was in week 3 against Vincent Smith where he scored a rare, perfect five round shutout.
Pros: Tex finished with the highest PDPB this season, was one of only three undefeated fighters, and has a perfect shutout to his name, which only one of his MVP competitors can claim. He’s also tied for the most overall wins this year and joins previous Rookie of the Year winner Skid as one of the only duelists to double rank, having started at Trainee and eventually earned Middleweight.
Cons: In an unusual first, Tex is one of three candidates not on teams going to the playoffs. While his record is unmatched, at the end of the day his contributions merely kept his team from finishing in 6th place rather than last place, meaning his victories are inherently less valuable than those MVP contenders that did play a crucial role in their team getting a playoff berth.
Jewell Ravenlock (3-0, 6.00 PDPB, 1 Push Win, 1 Crutch Win, 1 Anchor Win)
Jewell was the best fighter on the league’s best team, managing to finish a mere .60 PDPB behind Tex to garner the #2 spot on the leaderboard thanks to a flawless season.
Pros: She played pivotal part in Real RhyDin’s week 6 win over Great of Strength that ended 22-22 and every week that she was in her team notched a victory. In addition she’s one of only three undefeated fighters this year.
Cons: She only fought the league minimum three duels, while every other MVP candidate participated in anywhere from 4 to 6 bouts. She’s also the sole fighter on this list without an Iron Fist victory and one of only two MVP hopefuls without a shutout this year.
Jin Chae (4-0, 5.75 PDPB, 1 Iron Fist Win, 2 Push Wins, 1 Crutch Win)
Last year’s Kiowa Belt winner didn’t disappoint and along with KC was one half of Chae Dynasty’s potent one-two punch, helping to propel the first year team into a third place finish and playoff spot.
Pros: JC is the last MVP contender on this list with a perfect record, affording her a higher PDPB than her Chae Dynasty counterpart, KC, and putting her at the top of her team.
Cons: Her strength of schedule is abysmal, having won more matches individually than her opponents won collectively. Alongside Jewell she’s the only other candidate without a shutout this year.
Claire Gallows (4-1, 5.40 PDPB, 1 Iron Fist Win, 2 Push Wins, 1 Crutch Win, 1 Iron Fist Loss)
Pros: She notched the only Iron Fist win for her team the entire season and was the only fighter on Dirty to end the season with a positive record. She also scored a week one shutout against Morgan Chae.
Cons: Unfortunately for Claire her team finished at the bottom of the standings, leaving this year’s voters in an awkward position as her performance seemingly had no positive influence on her team. With her they finished last, without her they still would have finished last.
KC (5-1, 5.17 PDPB, 3 Iron Fist Wins, 1 Push Win, 1 Crutch Win, 1 Iron Fist Loss)
For the second season in a row another rookie captain on a rookie team finds themselves not only in the Rookie of the Year hunt but eligible for MVP consideration as well. KC leads Chae Dynasty into the postseason along with JC who combined for a 9-1 record this year, proving to be an exceptional tandem.
Pros: KC boasts a strong strength of schedule as well as the most Iron Fist wins this season and stands tied with Sal and Tex for most overall wins. KC’s perfect shutout was the only shutout this year in an Iron Fist bout, defeating Blondie Eastwood (then 4-0 with a 7.00 PDPB) soundly enough to eliminate him from MVP consideration entirely.
Cons: The loss to Tahlia Faras in week two is the sole blemish on a near flawless season, which is why KC ends up tying Sal for 5th place on the leaderboard. In any season with undefeated fighters a loss looms even larger.
Salvador Delahada (5-1, 5.17 PDPB, 2 Iron Fist Wins, 1 Push Win, 2 Crutch Wins, 1 Push Loss)
While Deathcake may have fallen short this year, Sal continued his winning ways, repeating his performance from last season to end up in consideration for MVP for the second straight year in a row, the only fighter on this list with that honor.
Pros: His strength of schedule was the toughest, narrowly superior to KC’s. Much like KC as well Sal fought every week of the season and is tied for most wins at five, including a shutout over Gren Blockman to open the season back in week one.
Cons: Similar to both Tex and Claire, Sal’s efforts did not help his team garner a berth in the postseason, which unfortunately lessens the impact of his victories when compared to the three combatants up for MVP that are playoff bound.
Rookie Of The Year Watch
Slim pickings as far as top tier rookies this year, leaving the voters with just two obvious choices when it’s all said and done!
KC (5-1, 5.17 PDPB, 3 Iron Fist Wins, 1 Push Win, 1 Crutch Win, 1 Iron Fist Loss)
Second verse, same as the first. Much like King last year, KC is a first year captain leading a new team and doing so from the front, outperforming everyone on his squad save his Kiowa Belt holding sibling, JC.
Pros: KC has the highest PDPB out of the few rookies in the league this year which has also given him an opportunity to take home MVP as well. With the most Iron Fist wins and being tied for most wins overall there isn’t much standing in KC’s way from taking home ROTY…
Cons: …except for one loss. To the only other duelist in contention for this award, Tahlia Faras.
Tahlia Faras (2-1, 3.33 PDPB, 2 Iron Fist Wins, 1 Anchor Loss)
Pros: A better strength of schedule. Though in reality Tahlia’s strongest asset in this race for ROTY is the fact that she’s the one responsible for KC’s only loss this season.
Cons: Tahlia only fought half as many matches this year as KC did and has 3 less wins, a considerable disparity.
IFL 2017 Finals Previews
Jack Smith - January 15th, 2018 - 05:46pm
Greetings all you duel enthusiasts! We’ve reached the finals of this year’s season of IFL, so your ol’ pal Jack Smith is back to write some carefully crafted previews for your viewing pleasure. Actually, I wrote them on a paper towel in the Men’s Room of the Outback, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers here. Anyhoo, the top two seeds made it to the end, Real RhyDin and Team Fist, so we’re gonna take a look at the last duels of the 2017 season!
Iron Fist: Eden Parker (MI) vs. Matthew Algiers Simon (PO)
Eden showed a lot of pluck and tenacity in her first year of IFL, winning more duels than she lost, including a playoff win against Renley. Matt, however, is following up on his 2015 season with another strong year. Beating the almost unbeatable Jin Chae last week is impressive as well. I’ll have to give Matt the edge in this one.
Push: Hope Naharis (PO) vs. Blondie Eastwood (HV)
Hope had another big year, even though she suffered her first regular season loss since 2014. And that person she lost to is fighting her here in the Push, Blondie Eastwood. Blondie came close to an MVP season before Kenny Chae ended those dreams. But Blondie rebounded nicely with a playoff win against Duci. I’d go with Blondie here.
Crutch: Gren Blockman (MI) vs. Darik Warchild (PO)
The good news for Gren is he had the first winning season of his IFL career since he was with the Badside Brawlers back in 2013. The bad news is he’ll have to face former Kiowa Belt winner Darik Warchild, whose regular season record is now up to 19-8. Considering Gren is the only dueler in the finals with a negative PDPB, I’m guessing Darik will win.
Anchor: Jewell Ravenlock (PO) vs. Koyliak VanDuran-Simon (HV)
Finally, we end with the Anchor. Jewell is an MVP candidate, compiling a perfect 3-0 regular season record, including a win against her opponent, Koyliak. Koy had a decent year, going 3-2, and speaking of Gren’s record, this was her first winning season since 2007. All things considered, I’d pick Jewell to come out on top here.
OVERALL: Picking three of four duels for Team Fist, it looks like they have the clear advantage in this matchup. I had mentioned in my Rankings that everyone on Team Fist has a winning record as well. Still, Real RhyDin did wind up with the best regular season record, and they swept Great of Strength in the playoffs. So which one of these powerhouses will take home the Championship? You’ll have to keep your eyes glued to the rings to find out! Thanks to everyone for a great IFL season and here’s looking forward to IFL 2018!
IFL 2017 Week Seven Power Rankings
Jack Smith - December 19th, 2017 - 10:23am
We’ve made it to the end of the regular season! Real RhyDin takes the top spot having won five weeks in a row. Team Fist beats rival Chae Dynasty to take the second seed. So now the playoff matches are set. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at what else happened in Week Seven. Here are your final rankings for IFL 2017!
(The number that precedes the team name is their previous ranking)
1) (2) REAL RHYDIN (5-1) With an emphatic victory over Team Dirty, Real RhyDin claim the distinction of having the best record of 2017. Eden gets the first Iron Fist win of her career, while Hope and Gren backed her up with victories of their own. Real will start the playoffs against Great of Strength, and should be seen as the favorite to move on to the Finals.
2) (3) TEAM FIST (4-2) An impressive effort by Team Fist this week, as they overcome a perfect shutout in the Iron Fist to take the victory over Chae Dynasty. Dean, Matt, and Koy all take wins, sending Team Fist into the playoffs on a high note. I had said last week that no one on this team had a losing record, and now every member has won more duels than they’ve lost. I see them facing Real in the Finals.
3) (1) CHAE DYNASTY (4-2) The Chaes slip down to third seed after Team Fist rally to beat them 3 duels to 1. Kenny should be the favorite to win Rookie of the year after a perfect shutout against Blondie in the Iron Fist. The Dynasty did a good job this year regardless, and making the playoffs in their first year is excellent as well. They will get a chance for revenge as they face Team Fist in the first playoff round.
4) (4) GREAT OF STRENGTH (3-3) The ‘bad guys’ lose their second straight, falling to Warrior Force. Their final two losses were by a combined single point, probably cosmic payback for their close wins at the beginning of the season. Xanth and Renley were able to finish the year with victories. It was great for them to squeeze into the playoffs, but they’re going to have a tough time against first place Real RhyDin.
5) (5) DEATHCAKE (2-4) Bye week for Deathcake. I’m sure they wouldn’t say this season was a piece of cake. It was no cakewalk by any means. I mean, you can’t have your cake and eat it too, you know.
6) (7) WARRIOR FORCE (2-4) The Force’s season ends on an upswing, as they drop Great of Strength to win their last two weeks. Tex has got to be the frontrunner for MVP, after an Iron Fist victory over Anubis boosts his record to 5-0. Shale picked up a win also. Does their performance bode well for their future? Could they be the next Rock Hards?
7) (6) TEAM DIRTY (1-5) Team Dirty fall to the bottom of our rankings after losing 3 out of 4 duels to Real RhyDin. The only bright spot this week was Bane, who gained an Anchor match victory over Tahlia. What can you say about Team Dirty? Sometimes you just have a bad year. With the talent on this team, however, I don’t expect them to stay down for long.
TEAMS ON THE RISE: Real RhyDin (1 from 2), Team Fist (2 from 3), Warrior Force (6 from 7)
OVERALL: It was great to see IFL back this year. We’ve had lots of awesome matches and great competition. Seeing our favorite duelers battling each other in the rings and cheering each other on was great to see. But it’s not over yet! The playoffs are coming up in January! Will Real RhyDin and Team Fist power their way into the Finals? Or will Chae Dynasty or Great of Strength pull the upset? Come back in January to see how it all ends!