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
How You Betting? Week Two
Conner Reid - November 19th, 2019 - 09:31pm
Alright, lads and lasses, we’re back with some more betting tips for week two of IFL.
Now you might be thinking, ‘Oy! Why should I listen to him? He took a bath last week!’ And you’d be right, mate. Did take a bath. But iffin you’re the sort that predicted Saila would land herself that blistering hook on the Dark Baroness, then we’ll all be expecting you to buy the next round at the Perch, aye?
Let’s get into it.
Real Rhydin vs. King’s Gambit
Real Rhydin put an exclamation point on week 1 by making it a clean sweep of Team Fist. After week 1, they are indeed the team to beat. But we have yet to get a look at King’s Gambit. Let’s go fight by fight.
Kheldar Drasinia vs. Renley Killian
Since his IFL debut in 2017, Renley has risen from Trainee to Heavyweight rank, bringing some heft to the King’s Gambit squad. That ain’t nothing to sneer at. Not to mention, in one of those fights, he beat 2014 Kiowa Belt winner, Darik Warchild. Not an easy feat.
Kheldar matches Renley in rank, but he’s got a lot more history around the rings with a specialty in IFL. He finished the 2017 season with a solid record of 2-1 which sets him up nicely for another strong season with RRD.
Thinking this one is a toss-up. Putting my money on Renley this week, but making no guarantees.
Jewell Ravenlock vs. Li Xiaofan
KGM has a handful of trainees up to bat this week and Li Xiaofan is our first. Looking forward to getting our first peek at Xiaofan. But the current Diamond Jewell Ravenlock has been tearing up the rings and shows no signs of slowing down.
Jewell. But don’t be surprised if we got a dark horse here in Xiaofan.
Michelle Montoya vs. Sophia Song
Song is our second of three trainees from King’s Gambit, but we know a little bit more about Song from word filtering in from around the Outback and the Garden. Word has it that Song never appears for dueling without a support staff of some sorts. Can’t know whether this means Song comes from some other grand fighting league where the lass has a stellar reputation or if she just be riding on a wave of cash, but what we do know is that she picked up two fights last week in the Outback and won the pair of them.
Michelle, on the other hand, has made her way up to Ruby rank under RRD captain Hope’s mentorship, a position the Outback’s last Diamond and teammate Eden Parker once occupied. My expectations are high here.
Think this should be a right fair fight. Sight unseen calling this for Michelle. Think this one will be close, mates, so check the spread before betting.
Eden Parker vs. Olaf von Trunk
Eden picked up her first win in this position last week. We suspect team captain Hope is trying to keep her in a low pressure position for a reason. But last week during my shift at the Red Dragon Inn* this here trunk swallowed a lady whole.
The Trunk. Good luck to ya, Eden.
*One drink free to the first five people who mention this column.
Team Outcome: Calling this one for Real Rhydin. This team has some good momentum and King’s Gambit has some untested talent here. Smart money’s on RRD.
Team Fist vs. Warrior Force
These two teams will both be hungry for their first weekly win of the tournament. Team Fist has a lot to prove after the tough, across-the-board losses from Real Rhydin. Warrior Force had some good looks last week, but the Iron Fist heartbreaker was a real setback that they’re going to have to dust themselves off from. Let’s go fight by fight.
Dean Reighland vs. Dizzy Flores
Yeehaw, Dean the fit cowboy has ridden back into town (that’s the phrase, aye?) on last season’s record of 3-2. Dizzy’s back on a new team after her 1-2 stint on Dirty last year. Dizzy was a highlight for Warrior Force last week, looking pretty strong as she picked up the team’s first individual win. So Dean will have his work cut out for him.
Last time these two faced off, 2014 playoffs, Dizzy picked up the win. Momentum and money is with Dizzy.
Runt vs. Rachael Blackthorne
Both these fighters took an L last week. No doubt the Dark Baroness can be proper fearsome when she’s wanting to be, but thinking Runt will take the edge on this one. Did I mention this fellow is large?
GrakTheSilent vs. Bane
Checked my notes, lads and lasses, and not seeing much about Grak here. But at 7 feet tall and 300 lbs, this ain’t a small fellow. Looking like Runt’s little brother. Bane has a long history here in IFL including a regular season record of 1-1 in 2017. Word has it that he’s been showing up at the Garden to support the team, and maybe get back in the flow.
Bane’s disadvantaged some by fighting a relative unknown. But iffin he can get back in the groove, we might be seeing another 2014-style record where he went 4-1 for Top Flight in the regular season.
Liking these odds. It’s Bane.
Bailey Raptis vs. Amaris
Babygirl Amaris has been tearing up the Outback with practicing, including getting some key coaching from Myria Graziano of Wrecking Crew fame. Now that’s some fine pedigree to get in your corner.
Bailey has a history in IFL having gone 3-2 in his first season with Royal Rabble back in 2015. While we haven’t seen him in IFL recently, the man remains a fixture around the Outback.
Now fighting a young ‘un is always going to be a challenge. But if Bailey holds back at all, expect Amaris to pay him for it plenty.
Bailey. But think Amaris may dark horse it, so keep your betting cautious.
Team Outcome: Oy, mates. This one is going to be Team Fist. But don’t get too bullish on the spread.
Alright lads and lasses. That’s how I’m betting.
Bet at your own risk.
Weekly Retrospect 1
Midnight Eve - November 14th, 2019 - 04:46pm
Eve here with some exciting news: IFL is back, long and overdue. This year we’re seeing a shrinking of the league with the exit of some historic teams like Dirty who have been a mainstay for the past few seasons. Hate to see them go but sometimes that’s just how life is. With fewer teams the talent pool becomes more congested- every week means much more, every fight means much more and every point becomes that much more valuable
As the recent trend has gone the bi-anual competition brings with it some excitement that the duels seem to be lacking in other faculties. Team dueling offers us a glimpse into a much less frequently tapped vein of the scene: strategy. I know what you’re going to say, “there’s strategy in dueling without teams”! I’m not here to try to convince you otherwise. All of us enjoy the cat and mouse of a three-duel challenge and the volatility of best of ones in Swords(or at least most of us do). However what IFL and its predecessors of old offer us is a unique glimpse into the minutiae of several moving parts. In the competitive venues of the duels we’re given much to feast on. Palpable stories of underdogs, revenge tales, nailbiters and blowouts alike draw us like moths to the flame. We get to watch as people finesse advantages- some come in with plans that exploit weaknesses and others evolve over tug-of-war back and forth bouts. These are why we challenge(not me personally, I’m not much of a fighter) and spectate(much more my speed) challenges. This is a solo art at its finest and as much as we can speculate why one person beats another ultimately these are either one-sided decisions(I’m going to challenge X) or circumstances of fate(one person wins a Diamond Quest or the AMT). This is how it’s always been and how it will most likely always be but that’s why IFL is so amazing. You have a different vantage point in team dueling than anywhere else.
There is a depth of strategy in IFL that for the sake of simplicity we’ll assume comes from the brass down. Unless someone pulls me aside and specifically tells me otherwise I am going to assume each captain is responsible for their own lineup. Our goal is not to point at results and say one captain is “better” than the other. Our goal is to understand the decisions being made to the best of our abilities. So often we’re left with results-based analysis because it is tangible and concrete and there’s nothing wrong with that. I just think too much of the same thing makes for a boring read, so instead I’m going to speculate to my heart’s content. A big divide lays between the strategy of a coach(flexibility, unpredictability, awareness of your fighters/opponents) and the skills of a fighter(adaptability, planning, knowing your tendencies, your opponents tendencies and ultimately execution). We’re going to try and get into the minds of our coaches as best we can with the limited information that we have. So if you’re onboard let’s get to it.
Matt Simon returns captaining his team for the 8th season, that’s right, 8th season of the Iron Fists League(if you count the Beta, which I don’t care, I do) and remains the only team to have participated in each season. In Week 1 we see Team Fist go up against a familiar face in Real RhyDin. This marks the third time these two teams have gone head to head. Matt chose what might seem like an unorthodox approach on first glance: IF. Koyliak, Push. Runt, Crutch. Matt, Anchor. Blondie. In the previous season both times these teams matched up they shared 3 out of 4 fights. In those cases Real RhyDin proved to get the better of Fist although by smaller margins in the second showing. Would Team Fist have proven to get the better this time around? It’s difficult to say. Regardless of results though I think Matt’s approach makes sense. Throwing the same pitch a third time at bat isn’t advisable; I think this week is a refreshing dose of flexibility that Fist may have been lacking in seasons prior. On paper this looks to be Team Fist’s most daunting week. I’m excited to see what else Matt has in store for us for the rest of the season.
This season marks the Sophomore season for Warrior Force led by Rachael Blackthorne. In what appears to be a massive shakeup to the roster they say goodbye to insane MVP Tex Wellington but welcome on an ensemble of talent and greenery. Rachael’s approach to Week 1 seems grounded reasonably. IF. Rachael, Push. Dizzy, Crutch. Juliane, Anchor. Vincent. I’m a little unsure why Vincent gets the boot of the week. I’m even more perplexed as to Juliane’s matchup entirely but we’ll get to that later. This feels like the perfect time to stretch your wings as Deathcake has 3/6 fighters at the Trainee rank. I think it’s a statement to put yourself in the Iron Fist as a captain. Nothing instills confidence like a commander willing to lead the cavalry themselves. Likewise, if things go awry, it’s early in the season so a stumble won’t hurt that much. The only tweak I would have adjusted is to let Juliane get acclimated in the Anchor but I don’t think I would have expected to find the current Kiowa Belt in the Crutch either so, all is forgiven.
Much like Warrior Force, Real RhyDin returns for its Sophomore season after an explosion into the league last season. They are attempting the same run Fist tried last year: the Golden Road. To date the only team to win back-to-back championships are the Badside Brawlers and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Real RhyDin wants to add their names to that list. Hope’s lineups have found their mark in the previous season dropping only one week in the regular season by one point. Now a lot is to be said when you have a team that can execute as Real RhyDin has; not all of the credit can go to the coach. Week 1 is a vanilla take from the lineup. IF. Hope, Push. Jewell, Crutch. Gloria, Anchor. Eden. Out of Hope’s regular season matchups, 17/19 have been in the Iron Fist or Push matchup. At this point if you’re fighting Hope’s team there are zero reasons not to see this coming. In a visible inverse, Jewell has spent most of her career in the Crutch and Anchor matches. She has only fought in three Push matches prior and equal amounts Iron Fist. At the time of writing I have the hindsight for the Crutch match but we’re very interested in that yet, the idea is more why is Gloria ahead of Eden. It’s possible Eden is battling an injury of somekind or there was a different expectation at play. Given how stacked this roster is it’s very difficult to see someone truly messing up a lineup.
This season marks Deathcake’s third installment in the IFL histories. As the second-most represented organization they have a somewhat different approach to the offseason. They host the greenest team in the league with three new faces to go with their veteran core of Salvador, Canaan and Rekah. Week 1 serves me two opposing hot takes from Deathcake: they are mad geniuses back to reinvent their perfect run from two seasons ago. Deathcake: we’re smoking anything and everything and you can’t have any. IF. Saila, Push. Rekah, Crutch. Canaan, Anchor. Bettle. I am scratching my head looking over this lineup. It goes without being said that there are no gimmies in IFL. That has always been the case but this season teams are awarded less weeks to experiment so every week you have to come out meaning business. Please don’t take that the wrong way I have the utmost faith that Deathcake is here to play hard. I think what Deathcake are going for can come off as a stroke of genius. Saila is an unknown quantity against the opposite in Rachael. The upset factor is definitely within reach for Deathcake in the Iron Fist match. Rekah has shown herself to have flares of brilliance and has faced off with Dizzy once before in a narrow 4-5 defeat. Canaan in Crutch is definitely a curveball. While his experience over Juliane should prove to be pivotal the intrinsic value of bouts decreases as you go down. I would have preferred to see Canaan in a bout of higher worth but the intent is clear. The strengths of Deathcake seem quite obvious: with one of the few Powerhouse duelists this season and the Kiowabelt they are very topheavy when it comes to Mod advantages. Going in the opposite direction their ability to reduce their opponents advantages with their Trainees can prove to be quite cumbersome when you include the fact that duelists will have very little experience against their lineup. Deathcake can prove to be very problematic for the other teams involved and to be honest it’s way too early to tell where this team will fall. For Week 1 I’m simply undecided. The results will not paint a clearer picture as to the machinimations that go on behind the scenes. I’m very intrigued to see where Deathcake go.
Unfortunately for all of us Team Xanth gets the week off.
All in all Week 1 has shown us a bit of vanilla ice cream with some Carolina Reaper ontop. When next week rolls around we’ll do a quick back-track and see how some of these decisions made out. Thanks for reading,
IFL 2019 Week One Power Rankings
Jack Smith - November 19th, 2019 - 05:02pm
IFL 2019 has begun! We have our first results in from Week One, and both are surprises as far as I’m concerned. I didn’t think Real RhyDin would beat Team Fist that bad, and I didn’t think Deathcake would upset Warrior Force. But that’s what makes IFL so much fun (for the audience at least)! So here we go with your Week One Power Rankings!
(The number that precedes the team name is their previous ranking)
1) (1) REAL RHYDIN (1-0) That’s what you call a “statement” match, as Real RhyDin overpowers the team thought to be their toughest competition, Team Fist, winning all four duels. Hope gets the Iron Fist victory, Jewell keeps her regular season win streak going beating Runt, and Gloria gets her first ever win in impressive fashion besting Matt. And Eden wins too! The RR Steamroller will continue next week against King’s Gambit.
2) (4) DEATHCAKE (1-0) Deathcake opens the season with an upset of Warrior Force. A remarkable win by Saila in the Iron Fist over veteran Rachael was paired with another big win by rookie Bettle against Vincent. Kiowa Belt Canaan got a victory as well. Deathcake gets a breather next week as it is their Bye.
3) (2) TEAM FIST (0-1) That probably wasn’t what Matt had in mind to begin this season, as Team Fist loses all four duels. It was a moral victory for Runt to hang in there against Powerhouse Jewell and score 3. In their defense, it was Real RhyDin. They’ll have a better chance at victory next week as they matchup against Warrior Force.
4) (3) WARRIOR FORCE (0-1) This year starts off rocky as they lose 3 of 4 duels to Deathcake. The good news is Dizzy gets her 21st all-time regular season victory over Rekah. Dizzy could play the role of Tex this year for Warrior Force. We’ll see if they can regroup and come back stronger when they square off against Team Fist.
5) (5) KING’S GAMBIT (0-0) Bye week for King’s Gambit. I’ll leave them here until they actually fight some matches. I’m sure Xanth is rubbing his hands together with evil glee while cackling darkly as I write that.
TEAMS ON THE RISE: Deathcake (2 from 4)
OVERALL: Team Sports fans rejoice because IFL 2019 is here! Is Real RhyDin going to dominate the season? Or will one of the other teams make things interesting? We’ve still got four weeks to go, and I’ve got four more Power Rankings to deliver! Have fun watching the Week Two matches!
IFL 2019 Preseason Power Rankings
Jack Smith - November 12th, 2019 - 09:11pm
Holy Olaf von Trunk, IFL is back! We’re down to five teams this year, but who am I to argue? It’s either this or putting mothballs in my closet . . . again. Anyhoo, never mind about my social life, we’ve got lots of action and dueling to scrutinize, so here’s your old pal Jack Smith and his Power Rankings for the IFL 2019 season!
1) REAL RHYDIN (0-0) Real RhyDin is back and they’ve been busy. The last four Diamonds have all been members of this team, including the current one, Jewell, and Hope & Gren both have Opals. Tahlia & Kate are gone, but they’ve added Sapphire Gloria & Ruby Michelle. They could actually be better then they were in 2017. Real RhyDin is my pick for Champion this year.
2) TEAM FIST (0-0) Four out of five duelers of Team Fist 2017 come back for a second chance at Real RhyDin’s title. Darik is gone, but Matt brings in Opal holder Runt, along with Grak & Bailey. The former ArchMage on Team Fist? Crazier things have happened. Anyway, the expanded roster should give Matt some flexibility going into this season. Can they make it back to the Finals?
3) WARRIOR FORCE (aka DIRTY FORCE) (0-0) Rachael returns, but has to rebuild her team, mostly around three members of the former Team Dirty. Bane, Dizzy, and Vincent will give Rachael some added power to compete for a playoff spot this year. Her prodigy, Amaris will be Assistant Captain, and Juliane Smith returns after last serving on Royal Pain in 2015. They should get the third playoff spot.
4) DEATHCAKE (0-0) Sal & Canaan are back for another shot at IFL glory. Canaan is the current Kiowa Belt holder, and this will be Rekah’s third season with the team. They add new fighters in Bettle, Yeardley, and Saila. If Sal can squeeze some production from his rookie duelists, they could surprise this year. Else, he’ll have to rely on himself, Canaan & Rekah to carry the load.
5) KING’S GAMBIT (The Team Formerly Known as Great of Strength who were Formerly Known as Chemical Burn and who have come full circle as Team Xanth) (0-0) Whew, the “Bad Guy” team flips things around on me again! This time Xanth is the Captain, and he brings Bile & Renley with him from last season. Li, Sophia, and Olaf are unknowns, but hey, look what happened when King’s Gambit competed in the last season of TDL (if you can remember back that far). Xanth will need an MVP season like 2015 if he wants to make the playoffs this year.
OVERALL: After two long years, IFL is back! It looks like another Real RhyDin vs. Team Fist finals, but a revamped Warrior Force could make some noise. Can Deathcake & King’s Gambit string together enough victories to make things interesting? You’ll have to watch for yourself! Come out to the Garden and root for your favorite teams and duelers! It’s IFL 2019, enjoy it while it lasts!