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
Midnight Eve – Finals in View
Midnight Eve - January 9th, 2020 - 09:12pm
What a ride this IFL season has been and who better than to look forward to the finals than Captain of Real RhyDin, Hope herself? Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to answer a few questions about the upcoming finals.
Thanks for having me.
So to start things off is this how you foresaw the season going?
To be honest for us? I was hoping maybe we would have gotten the bye going into the Finals. She let out a laugh. No actually, I was imagining a repeat of the last Finals and I’ve got to say King’s Gambit has surprised me.
What do you think King’s Gambit has going for them that other teams didn’t this season? Are they like anything you’ve faced in the past
You know to be honest I really can’t tell you. They are special, they are one of a kind and I don’t think there’s a team like them in the history of IFL. You know having a rookie show up like Olaf is one thing but that’s not what this team has done. There’s three veterans and three rookies but the form they’re all in is uncanny. Badside went on a tear in their time but they were all veterans. No one on this team has ever come close to a finals so for them to be on the cusp of the perfect season is just insane. The rebuttal there would be Xanth but Xanth isn’t even having a solid season which makes the rest of this team insane. The fact that some of them are rookies and the veterans are all peaking at the same time, this is something we’ve never seen and won’t see again.
So this is something you could say you have going for yourselves on Real RhyDin as well. Newcomers Michelle and Gloria aren’t slouches, Gloria is posted at the #2 spot on the leaderboards. How do you see these lineups and what do you take away from them?
So I chose to lean into the wisest of the team in Gloria and Kheldar for the finals. This might strike a few people as an unorthodox approach but the truth is the quietest people on this team are probably the most dangerous. Kheldar’s playoff resume is the best. Ever. Literally in IFL his post-season record is the best anyone has ever had. Gloria while new to the sport has already proven herself to be an invaluable asset. We trust them. More importantly though I think they come up huge this week. The pressure of the finals is something unique. Pressure makes Diamonds and I think the finals will really put this on display. Gloria got the nod, I don’t think anyone beats Kheldar twice in a row. Looking down, it was easy to slot me and Michelle in. I’m sure I’ll have more questions about that later but between the two of us, we’ll hold it down.
As the seasons go on, the stakes apparently seem to escalate. Last year you kept Team Fist from being the second repeat champions in IFL history. This year, King’s Gambit is the final boss and you stand in their way as the final challenger towards their conquest of IFL and the perfect run. What does it mean to the league to have such a historic matchup?
You know the league has been going on for years and has had some amazing stories. Badside, Fist, Top Flight and then you get to us. If we could make this our era it would be amazing. But… I think we’re also in the unique opportunity that this year regardless if we win or lose, the fans and the sport get something special. We would love to win. But if we don’t- there’s no shame in losing to a team that does the perfect run. I’m excited for the finals, make sure you tune in.
Wouldn’t miss it for the world. I think that’s all the time we have tonight, thank you for the interview and best of luck moving forward.
Thanks for having me.
How You Betting? – Playoffs
Conner Reid - December 27th, 2019 - 09:32pm
Alright, mates. Promised you some betting recs and so here they be. Things be a bit more unpredictable in the postseason, but let’s take a look and be seeing what kind of outcomes we might be looking at.
Real Rhydin vs. Team Fist
Iffin you weren’t aware, this here playoffs be a redo of sorts of 2017’s championship round. Now that there battle were a close one, with the teams each winning two fights apiece and coming to a final score of 23-20. With that sort of history going into the fights, Garden fans should be in for a pretty good time.
Let’s break it down, aye?
Hope Naharis vs. Matthew Algiers Simon
Right off the bat, we’re in for a treat. Despite them both having long histories in IFL, these two team captains ain’t never met in an IFL fight. Hope comes into this fight with two regular season wins under her belt in upper level matches. Matt has had a mixed season so far, coming in with a record of 1-2, finding his only win in an Anchor match against newcomer Yeardley Owens. But let’s rewind to 2017… in 2017, Matt saw six regular season and playoff fights… and he only lost one. How did Hope fair in 2017? Six regular season and playoff fights… and only one loss. A near identical record from the two captains, with Matt just edging Hope out on the 2017 leaderboard by .50 PDPB.
In other words, mates. The numbers ain’t telling me nothing.
Now there be several rumors floating around about Hope. Some say the lass be homeless and spending her nights in the Arena. Others say she been absent from the team’s board meetings, and been on the edge of bankruptcy all season. Now iffin any of these be true, they haven’t been affecting the lass’ season so far.
While there are no similar financial troubles swirling about captain Matt, some have been whispering that the loss of MoonBeryl in the Outback to Michelle Montoya has caused a deepening rift in the Simon household between Matt and Koyliak. Could be explaining the uneven season afflicting the Simon duo. Domestic problems ain’t never been a help to no one in the ring.
In the end, this one be a difficult one to predict. Expect a minimal point spread and near even odds. Calling this one for Hope based entirely on her heat this season.
But truth be told, to see these two captains face each other in the Iron Fist bout be a payout all on its own.
Eden Parker vs. Runt
Oy, lads and lasses. This here be an interesting matchup iffin ever there were one. Runt be coming into this fight with a 2-1 record, with his only loss to Jewell Ravenlock in week 1. Eden Parker also be coming into this match with a 2-1 record, with her only loss coming in week 2 to that bloody Trunk.
On the surface, this here be looking like an even match. Mayhaps some would be giving Eden the edge on this fight. The lass has more IFL postseason experience having two close matches and one win in the 2017 season. And while the team be struggling with personal divisions this here column already discussed in previous weeks, Eden has managed to mostly float above it on those pretty wings of hers.
But the last time these two fighters faced each other were in the challenge for PathFinder. And in that fight, Runt dragged Eden around the ring in two very short fights and grabbed the rock in honor of clan Simon. Since the beginning of this here season, rumors were that Eden were still afraid of that there giant. And who could blame her, aye?
This one will be Runt. Expecting Eden to overcome her fear to some effect, so expect this one to be close, but don’t think the lass has the mettle to face a challenge of this size.
Jewell Ravenlock vs. Koyliak VanDuran-Simon
Whew, here be another doozie, lads and lasses. Koyliak coming into this fight with a 1-1 record on the season, while Jewell coming in at 2-1 after she picked up her first loss in week 5 to Warrior Force’s Bane. That said, these two have an IFL record from 2017—Jewell is 3-0 in those fights, including tournament play, with Jewell allowing no more than a total of five points across all three fights. And not too long ago, Jewell snagged her first-ever Diamond. That be some tough history for Koyliak to be staring down.
That said, the newly reinstated Over-Empress were reportedly injured in her challenge against teammate Michelle Montoya. Or perhaps should be saying she were injured after the challenge when she were stabbed in the back. Shame that. Will it be affecting her performance? And will it be affecting her more than Koyliak be affected by the rumored domestic troubles in the Simon household over the loss of MoonBeryl?
Aye. This here blog be calling this fight for Koyliak. After an injury like that, don’t think the Empress will be finding a fourth win against the talented Koyliak.
Gren Blockman vs. Blondie Eastwood
Blondie be coming into this fight with a 1-1 record, same as Gren Blockman’s record in this here season. The two have fought once before back in the 2014 season in which Blondie executed a shutout against the eco-friendly Gren. Blondie has a storied IFL history including a killer 4-1 season in 2017. And as this here bettor pointed out in the last column, Blondie be one of the key reasons that Team Fist be in this fight.
That said, since the last time these two fighters faced each other, Gren become a Diamond in the Outback and currently holds ShadoWeaver in his pocket. And with Michelle having been kicked off the team following the shocking events over in the Arena, mayhaps the out-of-the-ring turmoil of prior weeks have finally settled for the Baron of Dockside.
This here be a tough call. A shutout be a tough thing to overcome—a haunting specter waiting for you in the ring. Can Gren overcome the past?
Aye. Calling this fight for Gren. 2014 be long in the past. Specially when you got a specter of your own in your pocket. Iffin Gren brings the dark rock to the fight, this should go his way.
Team Outcome: Mates, this be a tough one to call. My money will be going on Real Rhydin to pull this one out with all below the line fighters putting up enough points to secure the win iffin Hope takes the IF bout.
But expecting this playoffs to be another close matchup between two tough teams. Little wobbling on either side and Team Fist could be finding their way to the championship.
No matter what, expecting this to be a show.
But that’s how I’m betting.
How You Betting? – Finals
Conner Reid - January 8th, 2020 - 11:04am
Hello lads and lasses. Friends and enemies. Heroes and villains. Here we be. The last column of the season.
But not the only column that matters, aye? Iffin you be like me, you might be looking at another column altogether: total scratch take. Did you follow me recs? Iffin you did, you should be in the money on the whole.
Out of 46 possible regular season calls (some matchups were already called as of press time), this here column picked correct 28 times. That be a 61% accuracy rate, mates. Iffin you ain’t in the money, don’t be blaming me.
Having broken down me numbers, a bit of interest jumped out that were worth sharing before making me last calls of the season.
One fighter were apparently the easiest for me to accurately call: Olaf von Trunk. Of his total three fights, this here blog correctly predicted his wins in all three fights. Buy you a beer, mate? Do you even drink beer, mate?
On the other hand, there were a couple fighters who were frustratingly difficult to predict: Sophia Song and Rachael Blackthorne. Of Sophia’s three total fights, this here blog predicted all of them wrong, including the two times the lass took the win, and the one time we were expecting a win and found a loss instead. Oof. Paid for underestimating the lass it seems.
Of Rachael’s four regulation fights, this here column picked wrong three times, including expecting a win twice that wound up a loss, and then expecting a loss where it were a win instead. Lass, you be costing me money.
And while most of the teams proved not too difficult to predict, with three out of four accurate predictions for TMF, RRD, and WRF, one team stood out for costing me most: Deathcake. Of the four weeks, this here blog only had them correct in one of ‘em. Twice this here blog thought they would win when they lost instead and once they won instead. Who’s taking me out for a pint, mates?
Alright, enough about my wallet, aye?
The Championships: Real Rhydin vs. King’s Gambit
Getting to the matter at hand, we turn our attention to who might be winning the whole burrito, as the saying goes. Real Rhydin be looking to become the first back-to-back champs since the Badside Brawlers doubled-down in 2013. Meanwhile, King’s Gambit be looking to be the first team to complete a perfect season including a championship. Which way we thinking the cookie will crumble?
Let’s get into it.
Gloria Blaze vs. Sophia Song
As this here column just admitted, we underestimated Sophia in two of her fights and really paid for it. The lass be coming into the week with a 2-1 record including wins in the Push and Crutch matches against Canaan Devillier and Michelle Montoya respectively. Interesting choice for captain Xanth to put her into the Iron Fist bout in the championship in her first ever season. Especially considering both Renley Killian and Olaf von Trunk be having better records on the whole, including Renley’s in the Iron Fist against Real Rhydin in week two. Maybe Xanth be knowing something special?
On the flip side, Gloria be looking like a strong choice from Real Rhydin. Sitting up at the top of the leaderboard, the lass comes into the fight with a 2-0 record including a 5-1 Crutch win against Matt Simon and a 5-3 Iron Fist win against Bettle the Goblin. Not too different from Sophia’s two wins, but at least one be a higher pressure bout.
Neither of these lasses have much history in this here league. But iffin we page back some weeks in the Outback… see a fight recorded between the pair with a score of 8-7 in 14 rounds in Sophia’s favor. 8-7…? Can’t be right, can it? And one before that with a score of 5-5 in 15 rounds…? Christ.
Tell the truth, you might be wanting to flip a coin on this here match. Scry a mirror, read a tea leaf, consult your local seer. Whatever.
But in the interest of making a commitment, this here writer will be putting the scratch on Gloria. Gut feeling, based on recent Outback momentum. And, oy, we be figuring that any which way we go on Sophia’s outcomes we’ll still be in the wrong, aye? Keep your eyes on the spread and don’t be getting too bullish on the points. Expect this one to go the distance.
Kheldar Drasinia vs. Renley Killian
Och, mates. This be my favorite sort of IFL post-season fight. It be a rematch.
Back in week two, these two faced in the Iron Fist match and Renley came away with the 5-4 win in one of the most important fights of this here season. The match were a close one. Coming into the fight, the teams were neck-and-neck with scores of 16-18. Renley held the lead for much of the 9-round fight. But in round 8, Kheldar completed a steady comeback from a two-point deficit, having held Renley at matchpoint for several rounds, and landed a tricksy trap to bring the fight to sudden death. But in the final round, Kheldar were caught in a defensive posture by a low charging Renley. Renley took the win, securing the victory for King’s Gambit. The week wound up being Real Rhydin’s only loss in the regular season. This here be the sort of fight that IFL be made for.
Now these two about to face each other once more. A lot to consider in weighing these odds. This here be Renley’s second postseason appearance after losing in another close Anchor fight in 2017 to Eden Parker back when he were with Great of Strength. Kheldar has six playoff appearances of which he won… five fights. That’s a 5-1 record in the postseason for Kheldar dating back to 2006. But the pair of them have only ever faced one another that one time this season.
This be another hard-to-call fight. But will be putting my money on Kheldar. While Renley have the strength and experience to take home the win, thinking this will be Kheldar, fixing his mistakes from his last fight and coming in strong.
Hope Naharis vs. Olaf von Trunk
Until 2017, Hope was 0-4 in the IFL post-season. She’d struck out on Asian Invasion, and twice on Team Dirty. Then in 2017 she joins Real Rhydin and wins three straight playoff matches. It be no surprise to see her in the lineup here for her team.
By contrast, Olaf von Trunk never seen a postseason game. But that bloody Trunk come into the match with a 3-0 record, a reliable workhorse for King’s Gambit, a key part of the machine that put up the first lossless season since Deathcake’s in 2015, and certainly good enough to be in consideration for Rookie of the Year.
Will be a true test of Hope’s strength as a fighter to enter the ring against such an unconventional opponent. Coming off a brutal fight in defense of IceDancer against Koyliak VanDuran-Simon just this week where Hope were in visible pain, it be unclear and unlikely that Hope will come into the fight in top condition. The Trunk will surely be testing Hope’s endurance and her ability to adapt.
Looking at the fight from the Trunk’s perspective—is there actually a perspective here!?—imagine the Trunk must be devising ways to test the patience of the RRD team captain in the same way that so many fighters been bedeviled this season. It be not beyond imaginings that the Trunk will continue to roll through the finals.
Calling this one for the Trunk. Would be a bloody fool to bet against me best moneymaker so far. This here bettor is all in.
Michelle Montoya vs. Li Xiaofan
Oh lord. Batten the hatches. Secure your belongings. Make sure you be having cash for a ride home.
Correct me iffin we be wrong, mates, but were not Michelle thrown off of this here Real Rhydin team several weeks ago when she were kicking up a fuss in the Arena over the Overlord challenge? She were, aye? Well here she be all the same.
Apparently captain Hope spent the pre-championship week reading the IFL rule books and be discovering that there ain’t actually no way to be removing a name from a team roster in mid-season. So she be throwing King’s Gambit a wrench by putting the lass into the lineup with no by-your-leave or word otherwise.
Will it hurt the team or help them? Michelle be coming into the fight with a 1-1 record and no postseason experience. She still be holding onto Moonberyl over in the Outback, but it be unclear whether the yellow rock will help the lass in this here tournament. Them stones be fickle. Just ask the bloody Simons.
It be fitting somehow that King’s Gambit captain Xanth would bookend his lineup with the star-crossed lovers of Sophia and Xiaofan. Xiaofan be coming into the fight with a 1-1 lineup as well and with equally no experience in IFL postseason.
But between the pair of them, be expecting this fight to be more than a little explosive. Michelle be rumored responsible for at least one death of late in this here city. That’s what I said, mates, actual death. And Xioafan be no different. Were naught a month ago that this here column noted the rumors swirling around a poisoned woman found outside the Outback that were among Xiaofan’s entourage the previous week. She may be a killer too, mates. An actual killer.
Iffin you plan on watching this here match from the front rows, suggest you come warded up and wearing a poncho. This here fight could be bloody.
Calling this one for Xiaofan. Normally would give the edge to the opal holder, but really making this decision based on who be less likely to kill me iffin we get this one wrong.
Team Outcome: Iffin this were easy to call, wouldn’t be a good final, aye? Calling this one for King’s Gambit. Thinking the team’s momentum will continue to carry them through finals and into the history books as the first perfect season team, owing much to Xanth’s leadership and support from some of the best rookies in the league.
Now, some of you might be thinking, ‘Oy, Reid. Iffin things go as you’re betting on the fights, should not the team outcome be a Real Rhydin victory?’ Aye, mates. This be what we in the business call hedging your bloody fucking bets. You can come at me when you’re betting at 61%, you ungrateful numpties.
So that’s how I’m betting.
See you at the fights.
IFL – End Season Review
Midnight Eve - December 27th, 2019 - 06:44am
Eve here ready to wrap up our thoughts on the 2019 IFL season. We’re going to take a look at Weeks 4 and 5 in retrospect and evaluate the decisions that brought us here. Since we only have a few remaining opportunities to write I’d like to tip my proverbial hat to the other pen masters who have helped give something to read throughout the season. IFL wouldn’t be the same without the consistency of a frequent bettor’s guide by Conner, Jack Smith’s Power Rankings and the occasional historical bit and maybe a little tabloid flare. Salute to you journalists keep the commentary alive. Let’s get to it.
The Spooky Squad can do no wrong. Throughout the season KGB(I know it’s not their official abbreviation but I’m coining it here) has held their opposing teams to an average of 16.5 points. So maybe that doesn’t impress you, even though it should, some haters will say it’s a short season or it’s a thinner competitive pool. KGB is the second team since Badside 2013 to host three fighters with PDPBs of 5 or more. That’s company anyone would want to keep. From the word go Xanth’s team has come out looking unstoppable. He may not be having his most impressive season from a dueling perspective but his willingness to take the backseat in certain weeks has given rise to a dominant season. Everyone can beat anyone on the right day but knowing when it’s not your day is arguably more crucial than just throwing caution to the wind. This restraint is potentially what separates miracle runs and the opposite. I am legitimately excited to see how this team prepares for the finals given they have the week to spectate the two remaining teams battling it out for the right to step up against the undefeated King’s Gambit.
Nation where you at? We live in the dankest timeline this year where we have symmetrical standings to oooh and ah’ at. Team Fist find themselves right in the middle with a modest 2-2 score. This is enough to secure them another trip to the postseason. Team Fist’s season can be described easily enough as “okay”. They had moments of scheduling brilliance where Matt’s tipsy turvy looks caught teams off guard but his hesitancy to line up orthodox has maybe cost them in a week that they could have stolen back. It’s good to see this confidence restored with Captain Matt taking the helm in the playoffs. Their bout record is a solid 8-8 with most of their fighters going 1-1, Matt taking one extra L is offset with Runt’s rookie season leading the charge at 2-1. Team Fist is going to have to slay their demons in Real RhyDin who have plagued them since their inaugural season two years ago. Team Fist have been unable to overcome the tide having lost the three head-to-head matchups between them however there is hope. This week will prove to be a real barn burner with some repeat affairs, Koy and Jewell are well acquainted at this point and some fresh takes on the matchup particularly in the Iron Fist match. Any week is winnable as long as you’re fighting, I’ll leave the bets to Conner on this one.
The dream is still alive for Real RhyDin hopefuls that the repeat story can still play out. “A king has his reign and then he dies.” This hopeful team, get it, do you get it, is entering the postseason with their heads up high. They suffered only one loss on the season to the KGB which I think we can all agree is acceptable given the run they’ve had. It’s also worth noting that while they end 3-1, they have the same amount of points earned as KGB even with one less loss. That means that on average they win high value bouts and I like that. With that caveat in mind, I’m sure they would have still liked to go undefeated but the top two teams are very close to evenly matched given what we’ve seen so far. Real RhyDin entered the final week of regulation with a unique opportunity. Nothing was guaranteed going into it but the likelihood that they would miss the playoffs was incredibly small. Given such their lineup decisions were quite interesting. They opted to let two of their three undefeated fighters sit in lieu of allowing Eden to grab herself a second win propelling her to Powerhouse and giving Jewell the nod at potentially earning herself an MVP candidacy. Unfortunately that latter option fell a little short which makes one wonder if sitting Kheldar was the correct approach given this team could storm into the postseason with an oppressive lineup of four Powerhouse fighters. I think it’s unlikely this season comes down to one point but if it does, this may come back to bite Real RhyDin. Sitting Gloria and Hope makes perfect sense given in the next IFL season they will both return as Powerhouses. The risk for them losing that just to maybe egg on their case for MVP is too great to warrant such a superfluous idea. Real RhyDin faceoff against the familiar Team Fist in the playoffs to keep their dreams of the repeat alive.
Deathcake proved to be a much more measured reflection of their previous selves. There’s a world where this team has their score reversed and ends it 3-1. It’s not too far of a stretch to see it really. I think the real shining star of this year’s Deathcake is none other than Saila. Stepping into the ring with no experience in a high pressure setting like the Iron Fists League is no easy task. Saila was one point short of going 3-0 in her rookie season and vying for an MVP shot. That’s real, you can take that to the bank. She should be a real consideration for Rookie of the Year in my opinion with those results. She was outgunned in every fight and won her first Ironfist match securing the only victory Deathcake would see throughout the season. This is supposed to be a team write up, my bad, I just couldn’t help but gush a little; also have you seen her hair?! Deathcake end their season missing the playoffs but they made a great argument for why more teams need to incorporate new blood into their lineups. Saila led the pack but honorable mentions go out to Bettle and Yeardley as well. If I’m a DCK fan I can’t say I’d be upset with the results. Sure, they didn’t pick up a ton of wins and maybe the season came to a shorter end than preferred but given half this roster had never fought before? They gave it a real shot. Cane dueled in 4 out of 4 potential weeks making him an absolute unit of a workhorse. This team was 1 point short of finishing 2-2 and that’s pretty impressive given the steep nature of the top of the pack. They ended their season against Real RhyDin and King’s Gambit which is a tough ask for any team to even split those weeks. Am I shocked where they ended up? No and I don’t think it’s been a disrespectful showing to the League. We salute you DCK on your voyage. I hope to see them fight again with these faces.
Mama mia. I’m going to go on record as saying this season was not as rough as the standings may indicate. Rough waters? Definitely but I think it is truly unlucky that they sport the goose egg in the wins column. This team was two points in nearly any matchup in a given week from coming out on top. Such slim margins really defined this season. You know this team had enough firepower to scrape a win together at some point, I have to imagine, so I’m left wondering what really went awry. Step one of winning IFL is finding wins. Step two is stringing them together. Step three is finding a way to keep morale high enough to make it to the finish line. That’s really it. Warrior Force could never really figure out Step one from the looks of it. It’s not from a lack of trying or talent; cohesion and utilization seem to be the specters looming overhead. From the outside looking in, I have very limited information so what I say can be taken with a grain of salt. I just can’t see any other way for their season to take this pear shape. Take Juliane for example: while not heralding the sport by any means she has found real success in IFL in the past toppling fighters worth their weight in gold, like Darik Warchild. Amaris is a young rising talent in the duels and has shown great promise but IFL gives us great hindsight and little time to breathe while it’s unfolding. Defeat is the greatest teacher of them all. I’m not out to kick anyone while they’re down but I can’t help but think this would prove to be an outlier should this team duel five seasons overall.
IFL 2019 has shown to be a cruel mistress. Teams have felt the tightrope of a shortened season and as we see now every point only mattered more. For some it meant the potential of the golden road, a perfect season and championship. For others it means watching from the sidelines as the storylines tie themselves up. Some teams opted to bring packed rosters, the minority of the five competing, Team Fist and Real RhyDin had the unique challenge of rotating fighters to ensure all of them struck the 2 duel requirement. Boon? Detriment? There are arguments for both. As we wind up for the playoffs start asking yourselves some perennial questions. Who do you have your eye on for MVP? How about ROTY? Coach? Take a deep breath because the playoffs should be coming soon and I personally have no idea how it’s going to go. I have some matchups I want to see but we’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out. Thanks for reading if you made it this far, everyone fighting, writing and reading is why we’re able to enjoy the brutality of this league. You rock.