Star vs. Altina - I actually agree with Colteor's earlier post in this thread about how this series could be a lot closer than people have given it credit for so far. Star has been the best overall tournament player of the year, but he did just lose to Altina for the Callous Invitational in his best tier. I'm told Altina also won the GSC Cup this year and both of his GSC games for the tiebreaker series have looked convincing to boot. Frankly, he's looked like a well-rounded old gen player that's a potential threat in all 5 tiers.
However, the problem with predicting against Star for me is that Star is genuinely great at all 5 tiers, including GSC and RBY. I think I'd favor Star against anyone that doesn't have significantly more playoff success than he has moving forward, which means I'd only take one of McMeghan, SoulWind or ABR over him, if even them. Star has qualified for every individual playoff, but he's never strung together a deep run before. He's looked better than he's ever looked now, so this very well could be the one. Let's see how the first test goes for him, because Altina knows he can beat Star. Looking forward to this.
McMeghan vs. watashi - I know that you might be thinking that McMeghan comfortably qualified again, won ADV Cup again and is generally dominant and even victorious in Classic, but think about what has transpired in recent times first. As soon as McMeghan got word of who his round 1 opponent was set to be, a Tournament Policy thread appeared. In what many considered to be a shocking twist, McMeghan came out and publicly supported the right to choose. Series decided. watashi has won the mental war without a doubt and has probably already asked McMeghan to play at this point, to further add to the headache.
As for their expertise, McMeghan is the clear favorite. I think he's elite at DPP and he'll dissect watashi's great Kristyl supported DPP PL run down to the very EV, too. His ADV prowess goes without saying and McMeghan has consistently been great in GSC as well. If there's any tier watashi might be favored in it's BW, but that's yet another good metagame for McMeghan. You see where I'm going with this? I will say that I have never seen watashi lose a BW game with Xatu, though. Or Choice Band Cloyster, for that matter. watashi also just won an SCL OU game with his teammate's PU team. No wonder McMeghan wants to play spies instead... If watashi's prime clicking instincts are having one of their good days, this actually could be a really close and entertaining contest. Here's to hoping that watashi doesn't start playing AMQ mid series as McMeghan takes 15 minutes between games to reconsider all of his prep. I couldn't honestly rule that possibility out, tragically.
Aliss vs. crucify - Damn, maybe it's a good thing CyberOdin didn't qualify after all. At least this series isn't against Nails, I suppose. Talk about finally being able to hang with the big dogs. Alright, alright, I'm done. This is actually an exciting pairing, because it means one of these two new qualifiers gets to play at least two playoff series no matter what. I'm not really sure what to expect from either of these two, especially from crucify, though I look forward to finding out. Aliss is definitely the more battle tested of the two, particularly in these tiers. She has a ton of unofficial and circuit tournaments under her belt and even played RBY in SPL earlier this year. crucify is more of an innovator and BW specialist in my eyes.
This might be due to my lack of exposure or research, but until I've seen more of crucify I can't go against Aliss for now. I know Aliss knows all 5 tiers well and could take a win in all of them. Anyone that's ever been on Smogtours knows that Aliss has the time and motivation to really get ready for this series, too. She'll probably lose the BW game, though. I've seen what crucify can do with Pokemon like Medicham and it's gnarly as hell. Good luck and have fun to you both. Remember to enjoy the occasion.
erz vs. ABR - The best 3k of all time (twice) against the best (the only?) 36k of all time. It's hard having to pick between two teammates, except this time it isn't, not really. erz is a good player and I know for a fact that he's very motivated to play ABR, but determination alone probably won't cut it here. GSC should be free, though I have no idea where the other wins would come from. Looking at the qualification spreadsheet, Dragon Claw hasn't been special in any generation other than ADV. The problem is, this is ABR's best tier as well and he's currently dominating in the Callous Invitational to further establish that. erz certainly can't claim the same for his SCL season, even though we've been watching.
I don't think there is much potential for an upset here, though me writing this right now will only further fuel that fire for the Demon Claw. I'm actually very curious to see what kinds of teams he'll roll up with. He knows ABR very well from SPL, so maybe he gets it right in the team builder. That said, I'll believe it when I see it. It's not like ABR isn't driven to win here himself; this is the individual he still really wants. Ultimately, as you guys know, until it actually happens I'm someone that always erz on the side of caution. The Breeze > 6 eyes.
frisoeva vs. august - This is a crazy series. I've said this before when talking about my WCoP teammate, but I genuinely have no idea what to expect from him, ever. To me he is all of the best player in the tournament, the worst player in the tournament and a near guaranteed activity loss that leads to august getting a freebie into the top 8. And all of this depends entirely on how friso wakes up on gameday. I've tried to figure him out or to get some sort of handle on him for the good of Team Europe, but I have yet to crack the code. If anything friso might code because of the crack. That said, I'd hate to face him round 1 myself. He's very dangerous and could definitely take these playoffs by storm. He even randomly made top 8 of the official doubles tournament earlier this year, somehow. Can he scale this Cliff, too?
Mr. Hammersly's run has been an interesting one. He was a great BW player back when BW was the current generation, but I don't think anyone expected this significant of a resurgence in a non-DPP tier regardless. I'm there for it, though, as I've grown very fond of Clifford over the last few years. Generally speaking I think august is the more consistent and fundamentally reasonable player, but frisoeva has more recent experience and success in the 5 tiers overall, particularly in GSC and RBY. frisoeva's BW and DPP are solid as well, which doesn't help august's chances either. I do believe august will show up better prepared and, as mentioned before, this could just as easily be a quick washing the other way. Who knows with friso, really. I sure as hell don't. Clifford is the safe pick here, but after getting subbed out of SCL last week I sense a good week coming up now for friso. Do not take my word for this one.
Exiline vs. Mana - Exiline I swear you better be extremely clear in your scheduling this week, or else you'll get farmed before the games even begin. Mana's path to the playoffs this year has been very different from last year's dominance. The number 1 seed 12 months ago, Mana barely got his foot in the door this time around after getting three points from BW Cup, despite not winning a single BW game to earn them. Be that as it may, though, he's here now and that means he's a big ass threat to anyone that has to face him.
Honestly, Exiline has had a great year in tournaments this year. He isn't currently banned for being angry at something, which is already a big victory in and of itself, but he's also just putting up result after result. One of the best Ubers players all year and now qualification for Classic playoffs on top of that. He could win this series, especially if Mana takes things too far towards insanity in the team builder. I do feel as though Mana is just relieved to have snuck in the way he has and will now actually show up big from here on out. I don't see him losing to Exiline and honestly consider him to be a dark horse for the trophy as a whole. Nobody wants to play against Mana here.
SoulWind vs. spies - Here's a fun fact for the fans at home: I'm actually the only player that has ever beaten spies in Classic. On top of that, spies himself eliminated SoulWind from RBY Cup a few weeks ago, as he went on to win the cup and qualify for these playoffs from there. The problem here is that SoulWind is great at RBY, too. Actually, the problem is more so that SoulWind is great at all of these tiers, while spies didn't even sign up for BW, DPP and ADV. Against other opponents he might've had time to sufficiently pick up the slack there and figure things out, but he landed one of the all-time greats and favorites to win this Classic instead.
It is not all hopeless, though. spies is very capable in RBY and after having played him myself in GSC Cup, I don't doubt he could take the GSC game off of SoulWind as well; GSC is probably SoulWind's weakest of the five tiers if I had to pick one. Picture Skarmory, Raikou, 350 turns and no gg at the end. If spies wins both RBY and GSC, that leaves just one of the three newer Classic generations to actually survive this round. To me it's just unlikely he'll take any of those three, let alone winning both RBY and GSC in the first place. He does get a power boost from being selected by McMeghan as his would-be opponent if he could have it his way, but even then SoulWind should still just have too much sauce. I wonder if spies goes full-on boomer and brings like Toxicroak rain in BW or something like Spiritomb in DPP. Unmissable series.
Stareal vs. Bushtush - I'm not sure how to approach this other than putting my faith in the Tush. I saw Bushtush play watashi for round 1 of GSC Cup and now I'm pretty sure Stareal is gonna take that game, but I do know Bush is actually good at BW, DPP and ADV. He beat SoulWind in a must-win game last SPL and has generally played old gens frequently throughout the years. Stareal I'm less familiar with, though his BW Cup run would indicate that he can hold his own there at the very least. I worry a bit about qualifiers that qualify off of just one cup run, though. Speaking from personal experience, it usually doesn't end well in the playoffs, especially when your opponent is also good at the same tier.
It hasn't all been sunshine and rainbows for our hero, though. After a short resurgence, Tush has regressed to a 2-5 record in the currently ongoing SCL, getting disposed of handily by various substitutes playing their first game of the tournament against him. Whether or not he'll be able to separate the two tournaments and not have personal frustrations carry over from one to the other, we'll have to see. For now, he gets the benefit of the doubt. I really do think he's good at BW, DPP and ADV, too. Besides, history proves that voting against a Bush isn't enough to prevent his victory anyway.
Star (all) vs Altina McMeghan (RBY, ADV, DPP, BW) vs watashi (GSC) Aliss(RBY, GSC, ADV) vs crucify (DPP, BW)
erz vs ABR (all)
frisoeva vs august (all)
Exiline (GSC) vs Mana (RBY, ADV, DPP, BW)
SoulWind (all) vs spies
Stareal (GSC) vs Bushtush (RBY, ADV, DPP, BW)
Altina (ADV, GSC, RBY) vs Stareal (DPP, BW2)
ok Altina is pretty impressive taking down a giant like Star who won DPP cup. I see them winning the older gens over Stareal who struggled against but managed to win against Bushtush. That would be taking down two stars!
watashi (BW2) vs spies (ADV, GSC, RBY, DPP)
despite playing in only 2 tiers this regular season, spies is popping off! watashi is no slouch either, they are pretty good at GSC, but I mean... it's GSC, it could go either way. But I don't see that as the deciding factor. ADV and RBY actually might be, and I've known watashi a bit more than spies, but spies looks like they could really make a solid run in the playoffs. I'm rooting for both of them! Mana (DPP, RBY, ADV) vs crucify (GSC, BW2)
Mana has been able to do above average in all these tiers and superb in the playoffs, so I'm going to give Mana the W here. crucify definitely had some tough battles, but I think they can handle GSC well. BW2 is really a toss up between the two, since crucify had more points in the regular season, but Mana is really good at this tier too! But on the safe side, I'll go by the points-based for BW2 and give crucify that tier. But overall, I see Mana winning. ABR (BW2, DPP, ADV) vs frisoeva (GSC, RBY)
Shocker isn't it! usually ABR is the GOAT of GSC but have you seen that SPL performance? it's fine tho he's done better in the newer tiers, especially DPP and BW2. ADV is going to be the deciding factor here, but i'm biased coz I want ABR to win Classic after going to finals last Classic. LETS GOOOOOOOO ABR!!!
Altina beating Star was something I don't think many people, if anyone saw coming. Stareal beat Bush but it took a fair bit of fortune to pull off and got really tight for him in GSC in game 5. I think Altina is more solid as a player (winning GSC Cup does take some knowledge and beating Star in his best tier twice is pretty good) and has more knowledge in every tier except BW, where Stareal made finals of BW Cup and has more general background but I don't think the gap is that large.
watashi(ADV, DPP, BW) vs spies (RBY, GSC)
Another upset, with spies beating SoulWind. I still think watashi is the more complete player, beating Roro in a set of tiers he's known to be historically good at holds some weight. It also helps watashi he has a lot more experience in gens 3-5 than spies seemingly does (in spite of spies winning the former 2, but he needed some good fortune in DPP to do it). However, while I think the gap between them in GSC is pretty small in the grand scheme, I think spies has a pretty decent edge in RBY, winning the cup and watashi not showing the same kinda caliber. Should be an interesting one and I'm looking forward to seeing how far spies can go.
Mana (RBY, GSC, ADV, DPP) vs crucify (BW)
Mana is a player who's always at the very least pretty good at everything and has a lot of experience in this set of tiers while I feel like crucify feels a bit more specialized to BW (not a bad thing, just an observation). He did win vs Aliss in 5 so there's that but I don't think he'll be able to do it vs Mana but not closed off to the possibility of it happening with how there's already been a few upsets.
ABR (all) vs frisoeva
Fris is a pretty good player on the whole but I still feel like ABR has an edge in everything from his wider experience in this tour (even if only a slight advantage in some places). He did lose RBY and GSC vs erz, but I feel like GSC came more to the Steelix matchup being a bit rough for him more than his playing ability. For RBY and GSC, I don't think the gap in playing ability or whatever is a huge one but the latter 3 gens, I think ABR will be able to strangle a good advantage. Wouldn't rule out a possible win from Friso though, he's still a good player and could probably come up with something to throw ABR for a whirl.