With the official SPL draft having just finished, people are already clamoring to find out the truth behind Limitless's strategy, Lonelyness's "Moneyball" approach, and if the Tigers forgot the draft was Thursday. So I figured it would be appropriate to rummage through the list (found here) and find out which teams look like strong contenders this SPL.
The Sharks came into the auction with a fairly solid retainer list, headlined by veteran Heist. But the Sharks really came alive during the draft, where they took down plenty of big name players and some great cheap steals. Lady Bug was only 11000 this time around which makes him an excellent pick-up considering just how good he can be. However, could it all be a ploy by MoP to just bench him as revenge for Team Asia? The Sharks also snagged veteran player august and unknown player Warhammer. Don't be surprised to see either of these players with undefeated records at mid-season break. Finally, the Sharks concluded with the last pick of the draft, a pick that originally went to Living Things. Hours later, the Sharks asked Fabbles to change the pick to user ShakeItUp. Despite it being put up to a vote by the other managers, the Sharks were allowed to keep ShakeItUp. Perhaps the other managers felt this was punishment enough.
The defending champions had the best retainers of SPL this season it appears, but it certainly took a big bite out of their wallet. It seemed at first that they were conserving their money as they didn't attempt to make a grab at veteran Earthworm, but then they remembered they were the Ruiners as they subsequently took CrashinBoomBang for 17.5k. Some might hope he's playing both ADV OU and NU for them with that price tag. The Ruiners also picked up a great VGCer in Dimsun and were able to get plenty of cheap value picks later on. I think it's safe to say the Ruiners are still contenders in this SPL.
While having some great retainers, ADV OU legend ]V[ajinTupacZ was not one of them. The Scooters were shaken (and most likely crying), but they pulled themselves together to get some pretty solid players. Ojama is certainly no slouch and will likely be able to fit into whatever metagame they need him to play, while returning Scooter Hugendugen will definitely be a top contender in BW Ubers. The Scooters might end up living and dying on their retainers this season, but I think it's a pretty solid core of players to place your bets on.
People were questioning Limitless from the start as he spent 28,500 credits just to buy the retaining rights of 5 players. I am still convinced Limitless was told that he had 280,000 in credits to spend. But whatever the case, Limitless went into the draft very confident that his team would come out alright. I think everyone watching was certain Limitless would play a very safe gameplan, focused on just getting great value picks late. What we did not expect was the Wolfpack bullying Frogs manager Lonelyness out of NUer FLCL for 19k. Unfortunately, the bullying ended here as the Wolfpock began picking test subjects for DracoMalfoy to abuse. One of the highlights of the night came as the Wolfpack traded away Pedrock and toshimelonhead for Noodlez, who had been in distress over being drafted by the Frogs. Knowing that a first class ticket to Hell compared to riding coach was still a ride to Hell, Noodlez swam away in the ocean and hasn't been heard from since.
There was a point during the draft where two teams were already below 20,000 credits and a third was on the way. These three teams could have pooled their money together and still have been outbidded by the Tigers. There was a lot of confusion towards the Tigers' plans, enough that I'm fairly certain the bathroom break taken halfway through was to make sure they were still awake. Things had started out hopeful for the Tigers, with them having retained NU stud Zebraiken for only 13000, but things went downhill from there. However, there are some bright spots for the Tigers. Huy has proven to be a solid player in the past and could pull out a real performance this season, as could Giga Punch. Donkey is also a great Ubers player who could also have a break-out season in his first SPL.
Lonelyness was telling everyone who was in earshot that the Frogs were going to shock the world this season. Things looked okay at first when the Frogs got the retaining rights to reachzero and yan[sogeking], both of whom could really break out as stars this year in BW UU and BW OU, respectively. It looked even better when the Frogs traded away the rights of two players for 10,000 credits to the Wolfpack. However, things quickly turned sour for the Frogs as an upbidding error ended up in them drafting evan, a man who has made his personal distaste for Lonelyness no secret. Things got weirder as Lonelyness began conserving his money and getting outbidded by anyone who was just filling out sub positions. Finally, things reached the brink of insanity (and hilarity) when Lonelyness, desperate for a new strategy, added evan to bid with him. Evan then nominated Cathadora, prompting Lonelyness to remove his bidding abilities just as quickly as they had come. All in all, the Frogs could be worse and do have some players who could break out such as davidness and Dekzeh, but with their current roster, winning seven games in a week seems like a daunting task for the SPL's newest team.
The Bigs started off by trading away DracoMalfoy and friends to the Wolfpack for 15,500 credits, but, as I'm sure many other teams can attest to, the Bigs weren't prepared for the price inflation of some players and made some bidding errors that could hurt. It's hard to stay unbiased about the team you're managing, so I'll let the readers decide on this team.
The Raiders drafted the most players of this SPL, a whopping 21. The question we're all asking is, "How many of these are locopoke alts?" All in all, the Raiders got some pretty solid talent to surround veteran M Dragon, and could look to make a fairly decent playoff push. The real question will be the activity of some players. ToF is an obvious star of the game, but his activity could leave him on the bench this season, simply there to supply teams. I don't think anyone even knew Nails still played Pokemon over Fifa, so he will be a question mark going forward as well.
The Classiest were able to start the season by retaining Cybertron for only 11,000 credits and then made the most expensive move of the entire draft by taking MVP Earthworm for 28,500 credits, which I'm pretty sure is more than the Wolfpack had going in. Not only that, the Classiest also made moves and got BW OU star Lavos Spawn and returning great, Golden Sun. Sadly, knowing Stone_Cold22's luck in team tournaments, I fully expect Earthworm to be hit by a bus on his way out the door. Still though, if Earthworm can remain healthy, he is the Peyton Manning of SPL. His presence on the Classiest already makes them seem like a playoff contender.
The Cryonicles got a real stud in VGCer R Inanimate for only 10k and continued their power game throughout the draft. I can't even recall a name I didn't see the Cryonicles at least make a bid for, and I think their team came out looking somewhat strong because of it. The real question going forward is can their players live up to expectations. reyscarface and blarajan both could have serious potential to make a run throughout this season, and it seems that they've both stopped complaining which could make them great teammates to have for testing. Krack and RT. also provide solid players for whichever OU Krack decides to play and UU, respectively.
What I love about this SPL is how close many of these teams seem to be talent-wise. I think this year will be very competitive all around, with some great players on every team. I think I speak for everyone when I say: Let's go!
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