Corona virusThe Dragonspiral Tyrants have been one of SPL's best franchises over the past couple of years. Hogg and reyscarface always manage to put together perennial title contenders; last year's squad was the first one in the history of SPL to not have a single below .500 player in the starting lineup. Despite their two impressive drafts in SPL IX and SPL X, however, the Tyrants had 0 hardware to show for it. In SPL IX, reyscarface perhaps overthought his tiebreak choices a bit, choosing to send out z0mOG over his team's ace player, blunder. The team fell to the Raiders in the semifinals, losing both tiebreak games; in z0m's infamous live-recording of his match with BKC, he wondered aloud whether BKC's Zygarde could be Weakness Policy...after clicking HP Ice with his Landorus-T. This was a sad end to an otherwise great season for the team. The team looked to build upon their success last year, and looked to be in cruise control for almost all of the season. They managed to amass a 6-2 lead in the finals, before their players slowly withered under the pressure, allowing the Ruiners to tie up the series at 6 games a piece. Smogon's greatest duo, 2019 lax and Lavos, would not let the Tyrants off the hook, as each of them won their games and propelled the Ruiners to a major upset over one of the best teams ever constructed. Expectations were thus naturally high going into this season, and pretty much everyone expected the Tyrants to be favorites for the trophy before the auction had even taken place. Personally, I was nearly certain that I would be enamored with the Tyrants roster; reyscarface, despite his lack of titles, is definitely one of the best SPL drafters of all time. His teams are always remarkable on-paper, and it felt inevitable that his drafting prowess would eventually be rewarded with a trophy. Would the Tyrants finally earn their much-coveted ring in SPL XI?
The Tyrants entered the auction with 3 solid retains: blunder, marcop, and Troller. blunder would be the franchise's cornerstone for yet another season, as the team gobbled up his hefty 28.5k retain fee with no hesitation. It's hard to predict how much blunder would have been in the normal auction, but the general consensus was that that retain was a sensible one. bro fist wound up being 26k in the auction, so its conceivable that the Tyrants could have saved a few thousand dollars by letting blunder go to the open market; however, it was also equally likely that both his and bro fist's prices would exceed 30k in the auction. So, all in all, this was a fine retain. The team's next retain provided them with some much-needed value. marcop was only 11.5k, which felt like a steal considering his past performances in ADV coupled with the rather dire state of the ADV playerbase. This was one of the best retains available. The team's final retain was Troller, whom they purchased for 11k. You all know that I'm not a big fan of spending too much on RBY; that being said, Troller was the consensus best RBY player going into the draft. 11k isn't too crazy of a sum to acquire the best player in a given tier, so even I was fine with this retain. The Tyrants' retain core propped them up for success heading into the draft, and raised expectations for the franchise to an even loftier state.
The team started off the auction by taking their other franchise player, CBB, for 22k. CBB was widely regarded as the best ORAS player in SPL, with the pool expected to be an absolute dumpster fire. CBB isn't really known for being a sheet warrior, but the dire state of the player pool coupled with his high skill level made this a solid selection for the price. The team then took Heist, now known as 'The Grand Babido,' for 11.5k. Unlike the Troller selection, I wasn't too enthused by this pick. I'm not a big fan of spending too much on the thinking gen; even though Heist is one of the best DPP players ever, 11.5k felt like too steep a price tag for someone with hardly any recent results. As we have seen time and time again this SPL, the crust rule should not be underestimated. Regardless, I figured rey could easily recuperate some of the potential lost value in this selection later on, so I wasn't too worried.
The team then picked up Luthier for 7k; he was coming off a solid debut tour in Snake, and was widely considered to be one of the top LCers going into the tour. This felt like a fine selection. The team then selected ima for 8.5k, who was coming off a breakout tour in Snake. I never drank the ima kool-aid, but this price wasn't too crazy, so it seemed like a decent enough selection. The Tyrants then picked up GarytheGengar for 4k, which felt very strange considering the fact that the team had already acquired Heist for DPP. Little did we know that these two, along with eden and Descending, who the team would take for 6k combined a little later on, would be the trade package for one of the best players of all time, Ojama. Ojama was purchased by the BIGs for a price far below his actual value due to his rather abrasive personality; he was naturally miffed at the prospect of having to play for the BIGs, so he essentially forced them to trade him to the Tyrants for ima, Gary, and some filler characters. This trade was probably the most lopsided exchange in the history of SPL; the Tyrants were making off with one of the best players of all time for only 18.5k in draft value.
The team selected John W next for 5.5k. He had done well in the most recent Smogon Tour, and many people were hyped about his odds to succeed on the big stage. I was a bit more dubious, but it seemed like a fine pick for the money. The Tyrants then selected Floppy for 3k to play GSC; at his peak, Floppy was only a mediocre player. Could he really put forth even a decent showing on the big stage while under the clutches of the crust rule? The likelihood of Floppy succeeding seemed abysmal; that being said, he was only 3k would be going up against a rather pitiful GSC pool, so this pick seemed defensible in a vacuum. marilli was next off the board for the team; he was only 3.5k due to a hiatus, and had performed well in Doubles in past tours, so this felt like a solid pick. The Tyrants rounded out the draft by taking ict, Nat, CTC, Christo, and starry. Nat and Christo would be starting in SS OU; there was no evidence that either of these lower tier mainers could succeed in OU, so I was a bit skeptical of their ability to notch wins on the big stage. They were both apparently tearing up the ladder, though, and considering that they were only 6k combined, both players felt like decent selections.
After the draft, the Tyrants felt like one of the strongest teams in the tour. The community would not sit idly by and let the team walk all over, though. The masses were outraged at the Ojama fiasco, and demanded his immediate tourban. One policy review thread and countless hours of Discord discussion later, and Ojama was forcibly ejected from SPL. Instead of having a legendary player on their team, the tyrants were left with ima, Gary, and two fodder slots. Despite still being one of the tournament favorites, the Ojama decision had without question significantly lowered their ceiling. Luckily for the Tyrants, though, another one of the BIG's superstars, TDK, was also distraught. The thought of playing for the BIGs sent shivers down his spine, and the team eventually agreed to ship TDK off to the Tyrants for the same package they had received in the Ojama trade. TDK was slumping mightily heading into this tour, so this move wasn't as slam-dunk of a deal as the Ojama trade. Nonetheless, it was still pretty clearly a win for the Tyrants, with TDK's teambuilding prowess expected to bolster the team's cheap SS OU core and propel them to the trophy. The team was ranked 1st overall in the official Power Rankings by a decent and first in my rankings as well; they were once again the favorites to win SPL.
Things would not start out so hot for the squad, though. Their Week 1 series against a pretty mediocre Raiders team was a challenging one that pushed the team to its limit, albeit with a fair amount of luck on the Raiders' side. The series eventually came down to Floppy of all people having to face off against Earthworm; if Floppy lost, the Tyrants would start off the season 0-1 against some pretty inferior competition. Almost no one expected anything of Floppy; the formerly mediocre player had basically been nonexistent on the big stage for years, and he was going up against Earthworm, a veteran like Floppy who, at one point, was considered to be the best player of all time. Could this journeyman crust player really bail the team out in its time of need? Well...kind of? LOL Floppy vs. Earthworm was pretty one-sided for most of it, with Earthworm firmly in control for the majority of the game. However, even legends aren't immune to the crust rule. Earthworm completely fell apart down the stretch, letting Floppy set up his CurseLax, which swept Earthworm's team and salvaged a tie for the Tyrants. Perhaps Floppy wasn't going to be the liability everyone assumed he would be.
The team smashed the Classiest 9-3 next week, with Floppy notching another win and proving that he may be viable after all. Just when it looked like the Tyrants were ready to be a juggernaut, though, things fell apart. The team was unable to best the Cryonicles, falling to 1-1-1 on the season. In addition to this, one of their SS OU players, Nat, tilted off the face of the planet after losing to Eo. Nat was always known to be a tilt-prone, and after an 0-3 start, it was rather unsurprising to see her quit so early into the season. The team was left with no choice but to turn to the basedlord himself in Week 4. However, as we know all too well, the crust rule should not be underestimated. CTC got smashed by Empo, and the Tyrants fell to to the upstart Ruiners 8-4. One of the team's star players, CBB, was also struggling mightily, amassing only one measly win in 4 weeks against a pool of players that was expected to be downright terrible. Suddenly, it seemed as if the season was in jeopardy. If the Tyrants fell to the revitalized MAGMA BIGs in Week 5, the season would almost assuredly be over.
With the season seemingly in the balance, though, the Tyrants' players showed that they had the hearts of champions, They managed to take down the BIGs 7-5. The rest of the season would prove to be absolute cakewalk for the team, as they would easily win the next 4 weeks and claim their spot in the playoffs. The players that took them there, though, were a bit...surprising. The team was being hard carried by Heist, Luthier, Floppy, and Christo. Troller and marcop were both also 6-3; however, the team's superstar Jerk players, CBB, blunder, and TDK, weren't performing too well. CBB did manage to salvage his poor record by the end of the season, ending on a hot streak that saw him go 4-0 in the finals 4 weeks of the season. Still, 5-4 is still rather poor for a 22k player. TDK was only 4-3, while blunder was somehow two games below .500 at 3-5. The playoffs are a different animal compared to the regular season. The team would almost certainly need their superstar players to perform if they wanted to win the trophy. Nevertheless, the fact that the team was able to cruise to the first seed despite their Jerk players failing them is a testament to the squad's unmatched depth. If CBB, TDK, and blunder could perform to expectations for 2 weeks, the Tyrants would almost certainly acquire those coveted red pixels by the end of the tournament.
The Tyrants squared off with the team that had conquered them in last year's finals, the Ruiners, in Round 1. This match-up looked to be relatively even on paper, so the Tyrants would almost assuredly need their 3 Jerk musketeers to propel them to the finals. The Tyrants started off the series with a bang, collecting their free donation in RBY as the Ruiners willingly sacrificed the slot by sending in an unviable player to face off against Troller. The Tyrants would not be so fortunate in the next game, though; an untimely Draco Meteor crit on John W's Celebi (yes, he used a Celebi in 2020 BW OU, but that's neither here nor there) spelled doom for the Tyrants, as Dr. Caetano leveled the series at 1 each. The team looked to one of their superstars, blunder, to help them retake the lead. However, he was unable to defeat the newly-ascended GOATDRA, who had smashed his competition up to that point en route to an 8-1 record. The team now turned to the basedlord, whose skills had clearly decayed a fair bit from his heyday, courtesy of the crust rule. CTC was in prime position to level the series at 2; just when everyone in the stadium was certain about the game's outcome however, the crust rule reared its ugly head yet again. CTC committed arguably the worst choke of his entire career, donating the game as if he was one of those Red Cross members he had laughed at many years ago. Choking one game in a tight series can spell doom even for the best teams. After qsns claimed a big lead in his game against marilli, the series looked to be over. However, the gods were not going to let the Tyrants, the pinnacle of consistency over the past few seasons, be eliminated so easily. They gave marilli not one, not two...but THREE freezes against qsns, allowing him to cruise to the victory and keep the Tyrants afloat.
This East-esque plot armor was not enough to save the franchise, however. Christo's team was ravaged by Empo's Chandelure, and it was clear that the season was slipping away from the Tyrants. Luckily, the team still had 2 of their superstar players, TDK and CBB, remaining. TDK could not get past his fellow Jerk comrade FLCL, though, as the former lower tier mainer pushed the Ruiners lead to 5-2. Things were looking more dire by the second, as every game remaining in the series was relatively close on-paper; the Tyrants had no big edges left, and were staring at a 3-game deficit. marcop was the next to the fall, as he was unable to topple Prinz's Suicune. Now facing match-point, it was only fitting that CBB, the final one of the Tyrants' three Jerk musketeers, stepped up to the plate. The victory looked to be within his grasp, as he demolished Raptor for the majority of the game. However, an untimely Thunder Punch para allowed Raptor to seize victory from the jaws of defeat with the help of his trust Manaphy, propelling the Ruiners to the finals and sending the Tyrants crashing out of the playoffs for the third season in a row.
The Tyrants were once again unable to seal the deal after an amazing regular season. The franchise seems to always fall short when the stakes are at their highest; no matter how good of a roster reyscarface is able to create, it seems as though the stars just never align for him. I honestly don't even know what to criticize the Tyrants' management for. The only draft move I disagreed with was their decision to purchase Heist for 11.5k, but he managed to blow my expectations out of the water and go 7-2. The Floppy move panned out in spectacular fashion as well. The Tyrants were clearly the best on-paper roster by the end of the regular season; they were just unable to bring home the trophy. The team's three superstar players, blunder, TDK, and CBB, all underperformed relative to expectations; none of them were able to even finish positive in this tour, and all three lost in the semifinals. I can't really blame reyscarface for drafting any of these players, especially since the Tyrants managed to acquired TDK for pennies on the dollar. The Tyrants will almost assuredly continue to be perennial contenders under reyscarface's leadership; one would think that the franchise will eventually win the trophy. The fact that these three amazing rosters were unable to amass one trophy between them is rather insane, though, at least to me. Perhaps the franchise is destined to never succeed. That being said, it would be absurd to count out such a great drafter. I believe that the Tyrants will notch their first SPL victory in the near future. However, three years of playoff heartbreak definitely makes the future a bit more murky than it should be.
Speaking of Relous, that untimely freeze left him at winless in four appearances; the team could not really afford to have him struggle this badly. Relous wasn't the only Classiest member to get MrE'd in Week 4, though, as Raiza got brutally lucked by Pearl, dropping the overpay to a 1-3 record.
Maya-chan is pleased with your performance: