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Cap's Corner

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jay Capistrano Joins RhyDinSportsDaily.com as Dueling Columnist

RhyDin City, RhyDin --
RhyDinSportsDaily.com is happy to announce that they have signed Wrecking Crew duelist Jay Capistrano to a two-year contract as a Dueling Columnist.

Capistrano is a three-time DoS Madness Final Four finisher in 2009, 2012 and 2013, a one-time Runner-Up in the Winter 2019 Warlord Tournament, and a one-time Runner-Up in the Spring 2020 Swords All-Ranks Tournament. He has a lifetime Wins over Losses record of 46 in Swords, and has recently reached the rank of Ruby in Fists as well. In the course of his 13 year dueling career, he has gone from the upstart who upset Aya Hayashibara and Cassius Maximus just months into his dueling career in the 2008 Madness tournament to a solid veteran presence in the rings.

“Jay brings RhyDin Sports Daily something we’ve been missing for a long time,” Editor-in-Chief Roger Meyerhoff said. “He’s somebody who’s experienced nearly all the things that a top-level duelist can experience over the course of their career. Those early days in a dueling ring, being an underdog and then a Cinderella at Madness, winning challenge grants from Overlords, challenging for titles, joining and being a member of one of the all-time best dueling teams, and dealing with all the ups and downs of a dueling career. He’s hit some of the highest highs, and the lowest lows, and our readers should look forward to him sharing his expertise and insight with them.”

“I was stoked when Roger approached me with this offer,” Capistrano said. “It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, how I can give back to the dueling community and sport that’s given me so much over the years. I’m hoping to combine my personal experiences with in-depth analysis of the duels, to give readers both a close look at the mindset of a duelist and a bird’s eye view of these sports and how they work.”

Capistrano’s column, Cap’s Corner, will run on a semi-regular basis on RhyDinSportsDaily.com. In addition, Capistrano will write additional articles and columns as needed, and will be a regular panelist on RhyDinSportsDaily.com’s Sync channel.

RhyDinSportsDaily.com is RhyDin’s preeminent dueling news and analysis website, reaching over 100,000 unique users a month. RhyDinSportsDaily.com is a two-time RhyDin City Paper award winner for Best Dueling Web Site in 2019 and 2020. For more information, please contact Marketing Director Jenna Ogrovax at jogrovax@rhydinsportsdaily.com.
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((OOC Disclaimer))

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((OOC DISCLAIMER))

First, I wanted to give a shout-out to all the people who have written dueling themed articles in the past. I’m sure I’m missing a few names here, so apologies to anybody I’ve left out, but I’d like to thank the players of Colin Talvitie, Peter Pham and Chris Reed at the RhyDin Post, Conner Reid, Ayperi Durrishahwar, Jack Smith, Kalamere, Harris and Seirichi, and Jewell Ravenlock for all the similarly themed writing they’ve done in the past. You’ve inspired me to give this a shot with Jay, and I hope that his column is seen as a loving homage that builds upon everything you’ve done over the years.

Second, I wanted to say that, tonally, Jay (and me the writer) are ultimately looking to pay tribute to something that’s given us a lot of joy over the years and provided an amazing amount of RP opportunities. That isn’t to say that Jay isn’t going to be critical of duelists’ performances IC, but he will strive to not be overly mean about it, and any IC critiques are not meant to be OOC commentaries or assessments of a player’s dueling skills. Jay’s criticisms come from an educational place, and if it leads to some IC conflict and spice, I am all for it.

That having been said, please, if you are not interested in having Jay write about your character in the columns that are to come, please send me a message through the forums here, or through Discord (kerouacatRP#0812). I will make sure to keep them out of the column if you feel uncomfortable having Jay (or me) write about your character or characters.

Thanks, and I look forward to exploring this idea and sharing it with you all!

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Re: Cap's Corner #1

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FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE 2020 IFL SEASON
By Jay Capistrano
RhyDinSportsDaily.com Dueling Columnist

Hi, I’m Jay. Long-time Wrecking Crew duelist, two-time runner-up in the Warlord Tournament/Swords All Ranks Tournament, three-time Final Four finisher in DoS Madness. Simply put, I’ve been around a while and done some things I’m kinda proud of.

So what am I doing here on RhyDin Sports Daily? Well, recently Roger Meyerhoff reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in doing some commentary and columns and things for the site, and after I thought about it for a bit, I said, “What the hell?” Where I’m from, there’s a long history of retired athletes becoming color commentators and play-by-play guys and columnists covering their sports, and while I haven’t retired yet, I’ve definitely scaled back my participation so I can be present to see my son grow up. But the duels have given me a lot over the years, and I’d like to give back to them in some way, so here I am.

I wanted to start by looking back on an event that a lot of folks have already given plenty of their thoughts on -- the 2020 Iron Fists League season. My thanks to Conner Reid, Ayperi Durrishahwar, Jack Smith, and Kalamere for their past coverage of the season. I’m standing on the shoulders of giants here, and I hope that I can provide a fraction of the information and entertainment they did over the course of the season.

That said, let’s get into my five takeaways from the 2020 IFL Season.

1. REAL RHYDIN IS AN IFL DYNASTY
Sure, some people might argue with me, saying that dynasties win back to back championships, and only one IFL team has ever done that: Badside Brawlers. But a quick look at the record book shows that there was a six year gap in those IFL seasons (2007, 2013) and they only carried over three members from the 2007 team to the 2013 team (Jake Thrash, Lilly Hyde, Napoleon Bonarat). That doesn’t really count to me. And yes, King’s Gambit did pull off a perfect season in 2019, but who did they have to beat to win that championship? Real RhyDin. What was the margin of victory? A single point. With just a smidge more luck, we might be calling Real RhyDin the back-to-back-to-back IFL winners.

As the only playoff team with a losing Bouts Won/Bouts Loss percentage, Real RhyDin got the championship this year through clutch victories when it counted. Year by year, they’ve managed to deal with the usual roster churn with fresh blood. And while Jaycy Ashleana’s season was a disappointment, Dakota Street’s run to the finals of the PowerHouse Party tournament and Jaycy’s lifetime pedigree in Fists suggests the best is yet to come from them and this team next season.

2. TEAM NEW BLOOD WILL MAKE THE PLAYOFFS NEXT SEASON
Despite the 1-4 record this season, Team New Blood was far more competitive than that suggets. They were 50/50 on Bouts Won and Bouts Lost, and only had a -6 point differential across their matches. They kept things incredibly close against three of the four playoff teams they faced, losing by just a point to season undefeateds Team Fist, two points to eventual champs Real RhyDin, and three points to last year’s undefeated champs King’s Gambit.

More importantly, they have some solid building blocks for next season, starting with Scarlett, who went on a Cinderella run through a PowerHouse Party tournament filled with heavy hitters. She made her way past Koyliak VanDuran-Simon, Gatito, Morgan Chae, and Street to win this year’s Kiowa Belt. Having that magic bullet on your team will make for all kinds of match-up nightmares for next season’s opponents. Add another year of seasoning for Rookie of the Year candidate Shelby Monaro and returning IFL duelist Chae, and I think you’ll see this team in the postseason next year.

3. OLAF VON TRUNK WILL WIN THE NEXT POWERHOUSE PARTY TOURNAMENT
As Conner always says, “Never bet against the trunk.” While his 2020 season didn’t turn out quite as well as his 2019 season (member of the undefeated champions King’s Gambit, undefeated himself in regulation and playoff dueling), he was still a crucial part of King’s Gambit’s second-place regular season finish in 2020. He put up the most points for the team, and finished second only to team captain Xanth Van Bokkelen in PDPB, which, besides winning, is the best way to know who’s standing out in IFL.

More importantly, he made a longer run in this year’s Powerhouse Party tournament than in 2019, when he lost in the first round to eventual Kiowa Belt winner Kheldar Drasinia. This year, he got past Morgan LaFey and Sophia Song before dropping a 5-3 match in 9 rounds to eventual runner-up Street. I think next season will see von Trunk turn it up another notch.

4. WE WILL NOT HAVE AN UNDEFEATED OR WINLESS TEAM NEXT SEASON
This was the second straight IFL season we had a team go through the regular season undefeated (King’s Gambit in 2019, Team Fist in 2020) and a team go winless (Warrior Force in 2019, The Rock Hards in 2020). I don’t think we’ll get a three-peat of this feat.

Why? I think there’s more parity coming into the league. The difference between the top PDPB scorer in 2020 (Matt Simon of Team Fist) and the 10th best PDPB scorer (a tie between Cade Washington and Ria Graziano, also of Team Fist) was 5.17. In 2019, that difference was 6.67. You can see the parity also reflected in the Bouts Won/Bouts Lost numbers for each team. With the exception of King’s Gambit and The Rock Hards, most teams were right around 50/50. That was not the case in 2019, when King’s Gambit (75% Bout winning percentage) and Real RhyDin (69% Bout winning percentage) were clearly a cut above.

The Rock Hards will be able to build upon Haru Jeong’s Rookie of the Year season, and they’ve got three Emeralds in Kruger, Rachael Blackthorne, and Amaris. Likewise, I think you will see some regression to the mean from Simon (all-time PDPB -0.03), Crunchem (5.33 PDPB in 2020, 1.00 PDPB overall), and Graziano (all-time PDPB -0.13).

5. THERE WILL BE A SEVENTH TEAM ADDED IN 2021
This is admittedly me trying to wish something into existence in the world, but I think given how successful this season was, in terms of viewership across formats, readership on the various dueling sports web sites and blogs, and the chatter around town, I’d be very surprised if there isn’t somebody out there with some free cash and a love for the duels who doesn’t splash some cash and try to sign up some of the top unaffiliated Fists duelists out there, or bring some veterans out of retirement.

Who would I like to see come back to IFL? I’d start with former Team Dirty ace Terry King, former Diamond and 11th Triple Crown Winner Mallory Maeda, back-to-back-to-back-to-back(!) Diamond Quest winner Lilith Anderson, the second-best all-time PDPB (and really, probably first, since the person above him has two duels to his 14) Jake Thrash, and current IceDancer holder Karma Armstrong to round things off. That’d put butts in seats, and give the rest of the teams a run for their money come fall.

Those are my takeaways from the 2020 IFL season -- let me know in the comments what you think is gonna happen next year!
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Cap's Corner Online: Valentine's Day Challenge Massacre in Swords (Part 1)

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The premiere edition of Cap’s Corner Online could be viewed through any device with a screen and a connection to RhyDin’s internet, such as a computer, a smartphone, or a scrying mirror. Broadcast through Sync, streaming partner for the Arena and the Duel of Swords, the set-up was actually fairly simple. It was a classic two talking heads set-up, the screen split evenly down the middle, with Jay Capistrano on the left hand side in what appeared to be an office. There were several pieces of Crew memorabilia in the background, though, like a replica Maria Graziano baseball bat, a poster with the original Wrecking Crew logo, and an old team photo. On the right side sat Conner Reid also in what looked like an office, only his had the familiar backdrop of the Arena’s stone masonry behind him. Over one shoulder was a sign that read “It has been --3-- days since our last Arena incident.” At the bottom of each of their boxes were their Tweeter handles.

Jay: Hi everybody, and welcome to the debut episode of Cap’s Corner Online. I’m Jay Capistrano. I duel a little over in the Arena and the Outback as a member of the Wrecking Crew, but I also have an online column for RhyDinSportsDaily.com -- my first one, sharing my takeaways from the 2020 Iron Fists League season, can be found in my Sync profile and pinned in this video’s comments.

Today, though, I’m here to talk about Swords. We had a bit of what I’m calling a Valentine’s Day Massacre, after which, all nine titles in the Arena found themselves under challenge. I’ve brought a special guest with me today to discuss these challenges, and we’re gonna share our predictions for how it’s all going to shake out in the upcoming days and weeks. Conner Reid is the Manager of the Arena, and he’s also written a bit on his own in the past about IFL and DoS Madness -- which, by the way, registration just opened for that on Valentine’s Day as well. You should sign up -- you never know if you’ll be the next Cinderella. But anyways, yeah, here’s Conner. Thanks for being on the...what do I call this? Show? Stream? Video? He scratches his head.

Conner: Thinking ‘show’ be appropriate. Cheers, mate. Glad to be with you. Oy, and thanks for calling out Madness. We’ve got a few spots left, but iffin you be interested, best be getting registered today, aye?

Jay: Now, a couple of these challenges came in before the flurry on Valentine’s Day. Ebon Ilnaren challenging Salvador Delahada for Seaside, and Neekylah Lang vs. Maggie Harker for Dragon’s Gate. It seemed a little touch-and-go that the Dragon’s Gate challenge might happen when scheduled due to some crazy weather, but things seem to have cleared up, and it ended up going off.

Conner: Neeklyah were looking for her first title here after making solid showings in three previous attempts -- two against Olaf in Dockside, and one against Salvador Delahada in Seaside. Iffin she thought she’d picked a weaker challenge in the young Harker of Dragon’s Gate, Harker’s long history at the duels despite her young age should have given her pause. It were a close battle, and though Neekylah were chasing Maggie through much of the duel, she took a lead right at the end. But Maggie’s great experience here had her fighting back and notching another defense. Dragon’s Gate remains renegade.

Jay: He nods, clears his throat, and continues. The other pre-Valentine’s Day challenge came from Ebon Ilnaren towards Salvador Delahada for Seaside. Sal’s got a long history with this barony. He was Seaside’s first Squire, held the barony for a big chunk of 2019 and 2020 with three defenses, and won it back this fall in a Swords All Ranks Tournament and has defended it three times already.

Conner: Speaking of Madness, having seen the man up-close-and-personal in last year’s go-round, thinking Sal might be difficult to unseat here, aye? He grins into the camera.

Jay: Ebon’s not a slouch with a blade, by any means, though. He’s a two-time Baron of Dragon’s Gate, though he’s not notched any defenses, and he also made it to the finals of last year’s Madness, losing to Lilith Anderson. But yeah, Sal’s been on a tear, both in the Arena and the Outback, and the only bet I’d probably place here is that this one’s a best-of-three.

Conner: No doubt, this one could be close. The Line be setting the odds at 3 to 1 Sal defends again.

Jay: Now, those two challenges were already in the making, before we got a bit of pre-Madness madness on Sunday, starting with Ria Graziano’s challenge against Hope Naharis for Overlord. It then spread throughout the Arena, as the other six Baronies that weren’t under challenge before all came under challenge by the end of the day. We’ve already got dates for two of them, and it looks like we’ll be seeing a doubleheader for Old Temple and Old Market, with Caleb Feren gunning for Mart Di’luna in the former and Karma Armstrong going for Ettyn Gedda in the latter.

Conner: Should be a fun night in the rings all around. Ettyn Gedda picked up Old Market, her first barony, using her special grant won during the Arena’s Yuletide festivities. Karma still be looking for her first, though she’s already made a run at Battlefield Park and New Haven. With that experience under her, she might be coming into this fight with something of an edge.

Jay: She’s also got IceDancer, and held one of the Isle’s Towers for a while. I’ve also fought Karma, and she made me work for it. There ain’t a lot of tape on Ettyn, but even so, I’d lean towards Karma. He nods.

Conner: Seen Ettyn bloody a couple noses just for fun, so, iffin that be something you’re into, might have you a good time spectating this one. He chuckles. The Line be setting these odds for Karma, but without a lot of room to give. 2 to 1, Karma wins the barony. Will be interesting to see iffin the Overlord steps in on this one. Might be the difference here.

Jay: The Caleb/Mart match-up is one I’ll freely admit, I had to dig a lot into the histories for. There ain’t a lot of tape here either. Caleb’s one of the newer Warlords, but he also held Old Market right before Ettyn took it from him, like, a month ago. Old Market’s been a bit of a hot potato recently, absent Jaycy Ashleana’s run last summer and fall. He scratches his head, looking a little sheepish. Mart beat me pretty good in the Swords All Ranks tourney last June, got the Talon of Redwin and a title shot, and took advantage of it against the senior baron at the time Gloria Blaze. He’s already defended once against Anubis Karos, who we’ll talk about later.

Conner: Hard not to be thinking that Karma ain’t trying to avenge Caleb for the loss of Old Market. But we won’t go speculating here about the private lives of the duelers. Leave that to other less reputable publications, aye? He winks at the camera.

Anyhow, Caleb won Old Market in a pretty dominating performance, shutting out the then titleholder, Jaycy, in a 5-0 match. Iffin that ain’t a statement, we don’t know what is. Now he be coming for Mart and Old Temple. Thinking Mart might be in a spot of trouble here. The Line be setting the odds at 2 to 1 for Caleb to pick up the title.

Jay: Mart got past Anubis, which ain’t nothing to sneeze at, but this feels like it might be tough sledding for him.

That covers the challenges that were scheduled as of the time we recorded this. We’re going to take a quick break, but before we do, let me tell you about Silver Mark: Blue...
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Cap's Corner Online: Valentine's Day Challenge Massacre in Swords (Part 2)

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Jay: We’re back, and we’re here to talk about the rest of the challenges that have yet to be scheduled. We’ll start with New Haven first, where Colleen MacLeod is going up against Bailey Raptis. My understanding is Bailey’s expertise is in Magic, which I don’t really follow all that closely. Three-time Archmage, one-time Keeper of Water, just won PathFinder and the Tower of Earth. He defended this barony against Karma a little while ago in a one-shot. Colleen is one of our most recent additions to the parade of Warlords, and she also held the Tower of Earth a while back. No, I didn’t know that off the top of my head. We gotta good stat team here at RhyDin Sports Daily, and my producer Nasir does a good job feeding it into my ear. He taps the side of his head.

Conner: Were surprised that Colleen were not a Warlord already given her family’s storied history here in the duels and the Arena in particular. Looks like the lady be trying to add another fancy home to her other fancy homes. He grins.

Jay: I think she gets it. Bailey’s a bit spread out, I think, and this isn’t his stronger sport.

Conner: Bailey be a fine sportsman, but this here be his first barony. Be interesting to see iffin he can pick up another defense. Thinking he got a good shot at it, given this here be Colleen’s first try for it, but with her family history, aye we think he might be in trouble here. The Line be setting the odds at 3 to 1, Colleen picks up the barony.

Jay: Low-key, I think Dockside’s a sleeper to have one of the closest results out of any of these challenges. Gatito is Sal’s Squire for Seaside, and he used to be the Talon. He stepped in to test Anya de la Rose, who’s the current Talon and Squire of the Overlord, when she challenged for Seaside with a grant. Morgan Chae tried to block the test, but lost a nailbiter, before Anya promptly posted a shutout on Gatito to get to Sal. She kept it close against the Baron, but wasn’t able to wrench it away from him. Perhaps that early match between Gatito and Morgan is why this challenge is happening now.

Conner: Aye, everyone favors a rematch. He chuckles. Morgan picked up his first title back in August when he nabbed Cadentia from Myria Graziano in a decisive 5-1 drubbing. But he weren’t able to hold onto it for long before Anubis were wresting it away from him. He picked up Dockside from Olaf when the Arena’s least-beloved trunk had to go on the lam. It were a close fight, which leaves the bookmakers scratching their collective heads.

Jay: He shrugs They’re both pretty brutal, which ain’t my style, but I’d guess at a best-of-three here. Gun to my head, I give the advantage to the incumbent.

Conner: Like so many others on our list, Gatito be looking for his first barony here with Dockside. Can’t say he hasn’t been working at it too. Iffin you been to the duels at all in the past weeks, you’re bound to have seen him fight. So the Line will be disagreeing with my counterpart here and is giving the advantage to Gatito. 2 to 1, Gatito takes the barony.

Jay: He chuckles Agree to disagree, though I think that’s our first one? We gotta disagree and yell at each other more, dude.

Conner: Were that supposed to be part of the thing? He chuckles too. Will work on it.

Jay: It was on the sports shows at home, but honestly, it felt a bit forced. We don’t need sizzle to sell the Arena’s steak. And really, this next challenge sells itself. Anubis Karos. Matt Simon. Battlefield Park. Matt’s the senior Baron right now, having held the title since December of 2019, with five defenses under his belt. And really, I could spend all day reading off the list of accomplishments from these two men. You should really sell tickets to this one, dude. He grins.

Conner: Aye, this one feels like a grudge match, eh? He chuckles and shakes his head. Never had the pleasure of seeing either of these two fight in their heyday, but both seem to be going strong. Anubis had Cadentia most recently, but held it only briefly before it were taken up by Lilith Anderson. Anubis may have something to prove in trying to end Simon’s long reign. The Line be giving the edge to the baron, 2 to 1 Simon defends. But this be a heads-up line, and it may get swayed by the bettors iffin it to be too one-sided as the date closes in.

Jay: If Anubis wrests this from Matt, he’ll break a tie for second place for most reigns as a Baron, and put himself just two from G'nort Dragoon-Talanador’s all-time reigns record. Clears his throat. Speaking of Cadentia, that was the last challenge to come in on Valentine’s Day, to complete the...uh...whatever you call it when there’s nine of something. Nine-fecta? He laughs.

Conner: Nona-fecta? He chuckles and shakes his head. Cadentia changed hands quite a bit there last summer until it settled in the experienced hands of Lilith. Before finding her way to Cadentia, Lilith were the 119th Overlord of the Arena. And she be one of that short list of Triple Crown winners. The lass can do it all.

Jay: Jaycy’s another person whose bona fides could fill up an entire book. She’s the current Governor, the current Diamond, the 43rd Overlord, and that just goes to show you how far back her career goes. Plus, y’know, she’s another person all the gossip wags go after. But, yeah, I’ll just follow your lead and leave that one alone. He chuckles, itching his nose briefly

Conner: Unlike the battle for Battlefield Park, this one be feeling less like a grudge match and more like a heavyweight match. These two duelists know what they be about and we expect them to put on a show. The Line thinks this one will be close, but is giving the edge to the titleholder. 2 to 1, Lilith defends the desert.

Jay: I’ll be contrarian and go against you. This ain’t the trunk, after all, and us Jays gotta stick together. He laughs.

Conner: Won’t be fighting you on this mate, this one should be close. He grins.

Jay: Last, but definitely not least, we’ve got the upcoming Overlord challenge. Ria Graziano didn’t waste any time once she reached Warlord, immediately challenging for the title the second she was eligible to. Most of her dueling success has been over in the Outback -- she’s the 30th Diamond, and she’s one of a select few duelists to have held all the Opals.

Conner: Hope be no slouch herself. Also a former Diamond three-times over, an all-Opal holder, and team leader of Real Rhydin, she also first made a name for herself in the Outback. But she’s seen considerable success in the Arena as well, holding New Haven and Old Market. She been holding onto the OL title since last summer.

Jay: A good sign she’s got the skill inside the ropes and outside to defend that title and have allies on her side to keep her there. Right now, only Seaside, Dragon’s Gate, and Cadentia are Renegade.

Conner: Seems to be the purpose by this here slew of challenges, aye? In any event, should be a good challenge between these two fighters. We’re not offering a line on this, but expect this to be a one-shot challenge. But we are offering a line on the challenge overall. 3 to 1, Hope defends the title. Ria be too new to the Arena to give better odds her way.

Jay: Forced laughter. Yeah, you ain’t getting a prediction out of me here on how this all shakes out. His expression flattens briefly, before the smile comes back. And I think that covers all the challenges. Thank you again, Conner, for stopping by to help take our viewers through all this.

Conner: Cheers. Glad to be with you, mate. See you in the Arena. He grins and winks at the camera.

Jay: Thanks for tuning into to the first Cap’s Corner Online! Leave a comment below, like the video, share the video, and subscribe to my Sync channel. You can also read my columns online at RhyDinSportsDaily.com. Thanks, and I’ll see you soon!

((Written in collaboration with Conner Reid’s player, with many thanks!))
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Cap's Corner #2

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2021 DoS Madness Seeding Predictions
By Jay Capistrano
RhyDinSportsDaily.com Dueling Columnist

The field of 32 duelists for the 2021 Dos Madness Tournament has been set, and it’s full of heavy hitters. The Overlord, all but two of the current Barons, two past winners (and the only two-time winner), and plenty of former Overlords and Barons are set to take part in this tourney. There are also plenty of budding Cinderellas just waiting for their glass slipper to be fitted -- and to break the hearts and brackets of many a Line better. As interesting as the “Challenge-tine’s day” spree has been (thanks to whoever coined that), Madness is truly the most wonderful time of the year for Swords enthusiasts.

With that in mind, and in anticipation of the first-ever live bracket reveal in the history of the Madness tournaments, I’m putting my predictions here for who will get each of the seeds, 1 through 16, along with some quick thoughts on why. Join me, Conner Reid, Tippletoe Timbers, and Cajsa Storm live in the Red Dragon Inn this Saturday, March 6 at 8 p.m. Eastern, or catch the live stream of the event on Sync, and see how right or wrong I got it. I’m guessing wrong, but you never know.

#1. Hope Naharis and Matthew Algiers Simon

This one’s easy. Hope’s the current Overlord, having successfully defended against Ria Graziano on Sunday, and Matt’s the longest tenured Baron (over a year now), who just defended Battlefield Park last night against Anubis Karos. Hope’s sitting on four defenses, Matt on six. If there was an overall number, Hope’d get it, but it’s close -- Matt did win it all back in 2015.

#2. Mairead Harker and Bailey Raptis

These are the next most senior barons. Maggie’s coming up on a year in Dragon’s Gate, and she’s managed four defenses, all but one done as a Renegade. Bailey’s held New Haven since last September, and put in two defenses, though one came with Hope interceding and beating Salvador Delahada and then Colleen Macleod to keep him there. If we were ranking these seeds, Maggie’d edge him out.

#3. Caleb Feren and Salvador Delahada

Caleb just won Old Temple from Mart Di'luna, and held Old Market from November until this January. Salvador’s been a fixture in Seaside -- absent a three month reign from Tali Zhdanova this past summer and a vacancy, he’s been it since December of 2019, and he’s racked up four defenses so far. He also won the Summer 2020 DoS All Ranks Tournament. Sal’s tops here.

#4. Rachael Blackthorne and Ettyn Gedda

Rachael’s got more wins than anyone else on the standings, and was the runner-up in the Summer 2020 DoS All Ranks Tournament, earning her a shot at the Overlord. Ettyn’s new to the rings, with only seven wins under her belt, but she’s a Baron, and she’s got a defense against Karma Armstrong, and that’s all I need to see.

#5. Myria Graziano and Ebon Ilnaren

We’re out of the Barons now, but these two almost might as well be Barons. Myria’s won this thing twice, in 2017 (as a #5 seed) and 2019, and she was the 111th Overlord. Ebon finished as a runner-up to Lilith Anderson in last year’s Madness, and he’s also held Dragon’s Gate twice. I put the Barons above these two, but they’re by no means any less difficult to face.

#6. Jaycy and Anubis Karos

I won’t bore you by listing off all the achievements of these two legendary duelists. Just go look at the histories -- their names are all over them. They’re not Barons now -- and they were both unsuccessful in their recent challenges -- but underestimate them at your own peril.

#7. Mallory Maeda and Kheldar Drasinia

Mallory’s more recent success has come in Fists and Magic, but don’t forget she was the 116th Overlord, the first Baron of Cadentia, and also held Battlefield Park at one point. Kheldar’s a Real RhyDin stalwart, but he’s held Dockside, Old Temple, and New Haven twice over the course of his illustrious dueling career.

#8 Eden Parker and Amaris Silhaeven

Eden’s another Real RhyDin fighter who’s arguably done more in Fists and Magic than Swords, but she has held Dragon’s Gate once in the past. Amaris held Battlefield Park before Matt’s reign began, and she also won the January 2021 DoS All Ranks Tournament. Some people are going to say I should rank her higher, but it’s hard for me to justify bumping any of the folks above her down given their track records.

#9. Tali Zhdanova and Karma Armstrong

Tali just recently made Warlord, but she held Seaside even before she was one, cashing in a challenge grant successfully against Salvador. Karma’s been knocking on the door of a Barony for a while -- Bailey, Matt, and most recently Ettyn all managed to defend against her, but she’s been getting closer and closer with each one.

#10. Jay Capistrano and Doran Ilnaren

I might honestly be putting myself too high here. Doran is one of many to have challenged Matt during his reign, but he made it to the Final Four of last year’s Madness before losing to the eventual tourney winner. About all I got is a runner-up in the Spring 2020 DoS All Ranks Tournament and a failed Overlord challenge.

#11. Gatito and Haru Jeong

We’ve got a pair of Warlord squires here -- when Anya de la Rose challenged Salvador for Seaside, Gatito stepped in and allowed the test to continue by beating Dockside’s Morgan Chae, before Anya made it past him and continued her challenge. Haru’s dueled and challenged all over the place (would it surprise you to hear he’s challenged Matt as well?) but hasn’t grabbed that ring just yet.

#12. Anya de la Rose and Runt

We’re out of the Warlords and into the Grand Masters now -- these two are actually the only Grand Masters currently on the standings. Anya’s been a lot more active than Runt lately -- she was the runner-up in the last DoS All Ranks Tournament, winning the Talon of Redwin and an intercession grant, which she used in an unsuccessful attempt to block Gatito from challenging Morgan Chae for Dockside. Runt’s been quiet -- which may be a good thing? -- but he was the first squire of Cadentia and the Overlord’s squire under Mallory.

#13. Morgan LaFey and Skid

These two Master at Arms are both one win from climbing up to Grand Master. Morgan was the Squire of Old Temple while Mart held that Barony, but he’s had more success in Fists and Magic. Skid’s most notable dueling accomplishment in recent memory is being the MVP for Deathcake in this year’s Iron Fists League.

#14. Dris and Luna Sanguinem

Now we hit the limits of where my tape-eating and research can go. The standings say they’re both Swordsman, but I think Dris is probably best known for calling challenges. Luna’s got a little rank in each of the sports, but I don’t got much more to give you than that. Both of them are a win away from hitting Master at Arms.

#15. Jedi and Suturi

Two very different reasons for this seedings, which strained my research even further. Suturi’s never fought an official Swords match, but she managed a win against Myria in the summer 2020 All Ranks Tournament before bowing out to Morgan Chae and Anubis. Jedi’s a former Master at Arms, but his last regulation duel was October of 2019.

#16. Ariana and Skunk the Great

Skunk is a Commoner with no wins under his belt. He faced Gren Blockman as a 16 seed in last year’s Madness tourney and was unable to pull off the ultimate upset there. Ariana isn’t even on the Swords rankings, but she has been active in Fists, picking up a win over there.

And there you have it -- my best guesses on who gets seeded where. Feel free to let me know in the comments what you think I got right, what you think I got wrong, and who you think is gonna go all the way.
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