Published on June 11th, 2015 | by Wyrms Eye23
VGC 2015 Italian National Preview
With a veritable buffet of Pokémon battling served up in Manchester over, our attention turns to the decadent dessert of a finale in Milan, Italy on 13th-14th June. This tournament is the penultimate major event on the European circuit – there is one final regional to be held in Germany later this month – but the points earned here will almost certainly solidify the vast majority of invite permutations still to play for. This preview will differ in format slightly to the previous two, as you shall see shortly. As ever though, we will be covering the metagame and looking at the shifts that we saw, discuss the boring details about the event itself, and then go over the players themselves and the scenarios that will be laid out like a large cheese board.
As expected, there is a mountain of Championship Points on the line for players attending, far above what has been seen so far at the Regional events. These points are critical for securing that important invite to the Pokémon World Championships that are being held in Boston, Massachusetts from 21st – 23rd August. In addition to the points, there will be some very valuable Pokémon and Nintendo prizes on offer to those who do well.
- 1st Place ‘Pokémon VG National Champion’ Trophy
- Nintendo Wii U Deluxe
- 600 Championship Points
- 2nd Place ‘Pokémon VG National Finalist’ Trophy
- A Nintendo 3DS XL system (or New 3DS if available)
- 500 Championship Points
3rd & 4th Place:
- 3rd and 4th Place ‘Pokémon VG National Semi-Finalist’ Trophies
- A Nintendo 3DS XL system (or New 3DS if available)
- 400 Championship Points
5th – 8th Place:
- 300 Championship Points
9th – 16th Place:
- 200 Championship Points
17th – 32nd Place:
- 150 Championship Points
33rd – 64th Place:
- 100 Championship Points [128+ Players Required]
65th – 128th Place:
- 50 Championship Points [256+ Players Required]
Moving into the final National event, people who are still chasing those all important points will be looking to get a fix on what to expect and counter. As ever, the usage stats below will be divided into two tables: one showing the Pokémon being used as a mega across each team in the top cut and secondly one showing the usage statistics of all Pokémon being used across teams in the top cut.
|Mega Pokémon||Germany||UK||TOTAL||Usage %||Change %|
- One again, the UK Nationals saw a wide diversity of Mega Pokémon being utilized with 15 different species. We also got to see more unorthodox picks being piloted to top cut, including Gyarados, Charizard-X and Abomasnow.
- Kangaskhan remained the most popular mega to use in the top cut with a 29% usage rate in the UK and was on the winning team. Her usage appears to be fairly stable, which is something we would expect with events in such close proximity. She will most likely retain this spot for Italy, again at a similar usage threshold.
- Charizard-Y also maintained its wide appeal and was on just over 21% of teams in the UK top cut, and remained Kangaskhan’s closest challenger overall. Despite a hostile metagame environment, Charizard continues to shine with raw power, and more are beginning to run unusual move choices, including Hidden Power Ice or Ground among the most prominent in lieu of Overheat.
- Venusaur was the biggest loser in Manchester with only 3 uses overall. Regional variations in the metagame could partially explain this, but I expect more people were prepared to deal with it given it was on the winning team in Stuttgart, so reacted accordingly. In addition, Metagross saw a further drop in use which coincides with Heatran and other Fire-types rising in popularity slightly, as well as the continued dominant use of Landorus-T and Dark-type moves such as Knock Off on nearly every team.
- Salamence, however, saw a modest rise in usage, and was also piloted to 2nd place in Masters. There may be an upswing in use in Italy as people aim to replicate the team, but this may invite Pokémon that counter it to become more prominent once more.
|Pokémon Name||Germany||UK||TOTAL||Usage %||Change %|
- Diversity continues to be a theme across European tournaments with 64 different species or forms being used in Manchester top cut. Amongst the usual suspects, we saw some very unusual choices including Dusclops, Kabutops, Roserade and Ditto.
- Landorus-Therian continues to dominate usage overall with 21 uses among the top cut teams in the UK, equating to approximately 55%. This is lower than Stuttgart’s usage by some 6 percentage points, a significant drop and one that does suggest either players are starting to distance themselves from using it or players are more prepared to deal with it.
- Heatran rose sharply in usage in Manchester, with 39.5% usage across teams, up by around 9 percentage points from what was seen in Stuttgart. Heatran continues to be the premier Pokémon of choice for teams for Fire-types and Steel-types, and manages to carve out a solid platform despite the heavy presence of Landorus-T in the format.
- Thundurus was the big loser in Manchester, despite being the 4th most popular Pokémon for teams. With only a 23.7% usage, it saw a drop of over 12 percentage points compared to Stuttgart, and only one team in the top 8 had it amongst the chosen six. It’s a stark drop, one that openly suggests that players feel it has become more vulnerable in the current metagame climate.
- Rain failed to make any notable impact in the top cut with only one team making it to the single elimination. By contrast, Sand cores saw a notable increase in usage, with Excadrill and Tyranitar being the two beneficiaries. Japan has very recently popularized the sand team archetype and it has started to filter through to other countries as well, so we can assume that this may be a team decision that builds momentum in Italy.
- There were sharp rises for Sylveon and Milotic in use. The former appears to have finally re-invented itself outside of the obvious Choice Specs Hyper Voice role everyone is familiar with, to accommodate a more defensive build and making more use of the supportive options it has available. Of the supportive options, Helping Hand is a useful way of allowing Sylveon to have one final hurrah on the field just before being knocked out. Milotic’s rise could be a sign players are looking to abuse the large Intimidate presence still in the format to take full use of its Competitive ability. Coupled with its bulkiness, it can largely stick around and give players a huge headache and often runs Scald along with an Ice-type move of choice. This covers a wide array of common threats in the metagame, allowing a filler option that compliments the team.
- Fire-Water-Grass cores continue to be a prominent fixture on teams, and those that ran a partial core largely opted to run a Fire-type with a bulky Water-type. It’s very simple, but continues to remain an effective way of teambuilding in this meta, and often aesthetically balanced.
The Main Event
(Five mutant Spaghetti monsters) / 5
Location: Mediolanum Forum, Via G. di Vittorio 6, Assago, (Milan, Italy) 20090
Registration Time: 8.00am – 10.00am (If you are not in line to register at 10am you may be refused entry or incur a round loss!)
In addition to the information above, there are a couple of further points that are worth noting. Players should be aware that the organisers are aiming to start the tournament at roughly 10.30am, so please ensure a prompt arrival. Please remember to take your Player ID to the event if you already have one. There will not be any byes awarded for the first round of swiss this year for those at the top of the CP Rankings, so everyone will be starting on a level playing field regardless of their achievements in this season to date.
As was the case in Stuttgart and Manchester, the top cut portion of the event will see anyone with a X-2 record, or better, proceed to the single elimination stages, provided that the relevant age bracket has 65 or more players. It is pretty much a certainty that Masters will hit this modest threshold, and the Senior division may also exceed the needed numbers. Juniors, however, may run according to fixed top cut numbers, but should be aware of the possibility.
You can find information regarding this event, provided in both Italian and English, here: http://www.gedis-group.it/vgcnationals15.html. Please be aware that there will also be side-events held over the course of the weekend. There will be a stream set-up to watch over the weekend, when we have more information we shall make sure that everyone is aware of the address.
Last Years Results:
- Florian Wurdack (DaFlo)
- Christopher Arthur Koryo (Koryo)
- Umberto Palini (Terrakhaos)
- Vangelis Eloy H. (Dragoran5)
- Ben Paul Kyriakou (Kyriakou)
- Cristoph Kugeler (drug duck)
- Jan Ulrich Michelberger (Lati)
- Matthias Helmoldt (Tyvyr)
- Steven E. (SirSmoke)
- Jaime Martinez (Repr4y)
- Timo Koppetsch (37TimoK1)
- Miguel Marti de la Torre (Sekiam)
- Davide Guaring
- Markus Stadter (13Yoshi37)
- Frank Steven Benalcozar
- Alberto Gini (BraindeadPrimeape)
- Peer Broxtermann (Bjart)
- Nicholas Rottoli
- Andrea Sala
- Luigi Domenico Orsi (ZPhoenix)
- Michael Maneia (Porro88)
- Luca Catapane
- Rolando Pece
- Pietro C.
- Riccardo C.
- Arash Ommati (Mean)
- Albert Baneres (Arbol Deku)
The Italian National Championships, certainly last year, was the smallest national event on the calendar, but, at the same time, is the most intriguing since a lot of dreams are made and crushed in equal measure as the results pan out. For the lucky few that are safe in their invite bracket and are also playing, this event serves the unique purpose as a practice for Boston, and the opportunity to experiment without worry. However, for the vast majority, this event will be critical. The test of nerve will mean that many will need to maintain an icy cool resolve and possibly take a few calculated risks too.
Unlike previous preview articles, I’m going to look at where players stand in the context of the standings as of the 8th June and what players will need to qualify for Boston. Those who may have seen my recent twitter comments will be aware of my predicted figures for the final cut-off’s, which stand at 602CP and 330CP for Top 16 and Top 60 respectively. However, for the purposes of this article, I will be slightly inflating the numbers to provide a small buffer, therefore the expected Top 16 cut-off for this article will be set at 650 CP, while the Top 60 will be set to 375 CP. This means that, should a player exceed the number, they are statistically more likely to be guaranteed their invite spots. Please remember that while the modelling has provided these figures, they are by no means guaranteed, and thresholds could be higher (or lower) than anticipated.
The Hunt for the Paid Invites
Safe and secure:
1st – Baris Ackos (Billa) – 1116CP
2nd – Markus Stadter (13Yoshi37) – 926CP
3rd – Arash Ommati (Mean) – 793CP
4th – Markus Stefan (Blacklag) – 778CP
5th – Matteo Gini (Matty) – 736CP
6th – Eugenio Discalzi – 691CP
It’s a near certainty that the six players at the top of the standings, that are going to Italy, will have already guaranteed their paid invitation regardless of the circumstances that play out over the weekend, barring some doomsday scenario occurring. All six will have deserved their places, with superb results in both Stuttgart and Manchester between them.
Baris deserves credit for what he has achieved this year, having top cut every Regional and National event he has participated with the same team throughout, and is certainly not under any obligation to attend Milan, but may do so to chase that elusive National trophy. In a similar manner, Markus Stadter will not need to attend thanks to his win in Manchester, but could certainly use this tournament to practice strategies for Boston, only a mere 10 weeks away. Arash’s runner-up spot in Manchester was good enough to place him 3rd in the rankings, and will be in attendance. Not as a participant, but as a commentator on the stream that will be broadcasted over the weekend. Nevertheless, I am sure he will be keeping a close eye on proceedings, and will look to read the metagame from his commentary post.
Stuttgart winner Markus Stefan will be participating, and will certainly be aiming to follow up with another strong result here. I will be interested to see whether he chooses to run the same team, or if he decides to experiment a little to prepare for Boston. Matteo Gini, currently in 5th, will be the highest ranked Italian in the field participating, and should be the best shot for a player outside of Germany to break the German domination at a National level. The final player in this list was the surprise Manchester Semi-Finalist Eugenio Discalzi. Of the six, Eugenio’s place is the most tenuous, but will likely be attending as it is his home event.
In-the-hunt for the flights
7th – Jamie Miller (Blaze King7) – 638CP
8th – Tobias Koschitzki – 600CP
9th – Luca Breitlig-Pause (sewadle) – 580CP
10th – Matthias Suchodolski (Lega) – 518CP
14th – Alberto Gini (BraindeadPrimeape) – 440CP
15th – Adrian Baumann – 436CP
16th – Barry Anderson (Baz Anderson) – 416CP
17th – Lee Provost (Osirus) – 413CP
18th – Tirso Buttafuoco (Fuoco24) – 406CP
19th – Kelly Mercier-White (KellsterCartier) – 406CP
20th – Till Bohmer – 382CP
This is quite a large selection of players, but once again, barring the doomsday scenario, all of these players have already wrapped up an invite, but they will all be looking to secure those remaining spots into the second day of the event, as well as the bonus of flights and accommodation being catered for. Unsurprisingly, the majority of these players will be playing, and those I’ve not got any firm confirmation about are very likely to be there in any case.
Jamie Miller and Tobias Koschitzki currently lie 7th and 8th respectively in the standings, and the aim will be to pick up any championship points from the trip to get them over the 650CP threshold. Both are more than capable, with Jamie achieving two consecutive top cut berths and will be looking to achieve the elusive treble, while Tobias’s Runner-Up spot in Stuttgart will provide him with confidence that he can go far into the event once more.
9th place in the standings is currently occupied by Stuttgart Semi-Finalist Luca Breitlig-Pause. For Luca, the job is slightly more difficult than his contemporaries’ above him, with a Top 64 spot threshold required. This is very much an achievable prospect for the young German, although nothing can be taken for granted at this level of competition. In my opinion, Luca is certainly one of the likely standard-bearers for Germany in future years, and this year could be defining for him as he establishes himself in Europe.
One German who is already well-established is Matthias Suchodolski, who occupies 10th in the standings. A Top 32 finish will be sufficient to cement Matthias’s position for a paid invite, but will inevitably mean that he will need to top cut to achieve this. Given Matthias’s form this season, I feel this is again well within his reach and he is well-versed in handling the pressure cooker of the swiss stages.
Lajos Kowalewski and Yan Sym occupy 11th and 13th in the standings. Both need a Top 16 spot from Milan to secure their Top 16 placings overall, but, as expected, the difficulty in achieving that in a likely field of 300 or even more should not be underestimated. Lajos will probably be the more likely of the two to achieve the required result given previous form from this season and others. Yan has shown unerring consistency in amassing points across the season, but apart from a top cut appearance in the UK Regionals, nothing ultimately spectacular. Still, his quest for the best VGC could yet surprise a few individuals. Oh, and by the way America, have fun in Boston with Yan!
The last batch of players is the largest and all need to reach the Quarter-Finals in Milan to secure their paid invites. Those that have confirmed their attendance are Alberto Gini (14th), Barry Anderson (16th), Lee Provost (17th) and Kelly Mercier-White (19th). All four are established names, and should all be considered valid threats. Milan will definitely define their seasons and dictate whether they attend Boston in certain cases. Of the four here, I’m definitely drawn towards Alberto Gini to have a serious run. His form in this tournament over previous years has been very strong, I fully expect that to carry him forward. While openly downplaying his chances from his own personal opinion and being vocal on his current stance on the game itself, Barry Anderson is still a player to look out for and respect. In many ways, it will be interesting to see what Baz takes to Milan, especially since his recent publication of his recognisable Liepard and Breloom squad. Lee Provost has maintained a fairly quiet and steady season without much in the way of standout results, but his Top 32 in Manchester was enough to put him on the fringes of the Top 16 for the first time. He is certainly on finding form at the right time, so do not discount him. Finally, Kelly Mercier-White has slipped outside of the paid invite spots for the first time since February and has not showcased the form that he would ultimately have liked. His Top 128 Manchester run was way down on expectations, but this one last throw of the dice to secure the paid trip could be all that is needed.
Davide Sperati (12th), Adrian Baumann (15th), Tirso Buttafuoco (18th) and Till Bohmer (20th) are the four players who I’ve not been able to get information on attendance in an orderly timeframe, but all four are either assumed to attend as it is their National event, or have been making the trips to the other events over the last month so are expected to be in attendance. Nonetheless, if they are not going, they have a regular invite in their pockets pretty much locked up.
The hunt for the regular invites:
Need a Top 128 finish or better
21st – Huib Buijssen (Lolnub) – 358CP
22nd – James Kean (Sweet Clive) – 356CP
24th – Jan Michelberger (Lati) – 354CP
25th – William Tansley (StarKO) – 350CP
26th – Luigi Lo Giudice (LPROX) – 342CP
27th – Pietro Chiri (kirro) – 337CP
28th – Timo Koppetsch (37TimoK1) – 330CP
Ultimately the modelling has suggested that these players should all be safe from dropping out of the Top 60, but any points that they can earn will be gratefully appreciated to put their minds at ease, and can also still have an outside shot at the paid invite slots, but would require a significant run to the Semi-Finals to be absolutely certain.
In a refreshing departure from the German, British and Italian domination currently seen in the standings and this preview, we have the Dutchman Huib Buijssen who leads the charge for the rest of Europe in a richly deserved 21st spot. As I have mentioned before, the skill of the Dutch contingent this year has been noticeably higher and Huib will certainly be aiming to replicate or even improve upon his Top 32 from Stuttgart.
James Kean is certainly a new name to these preview articles, but given his results so far in the National events it is certainly on merit. Two Top 32 results have propelled him up into 22nd position, and there is little reason to suggest that he cannot do the same in Milan. His results are all the more impressive considering he has only actively played the official format for less than a year. Once again, he has the opportunity to achieve a clean sweep of top cut results in the National events, and I certainly wish him luck.
Back on a more familiar name in these articles, Jan Michelberger will be looking to carry the positive momentum he has built up in Manchester across to Milan. His Top 16 result was enough to put him comfortably back into the thick of the invite hunt, to 24th spot. Once again, Jan is a player that has found form at the right time of the year. However, we shall see if Manchester is when he peaks or if Milan will see him make a further climb to the summit.
The 25th position is once again occupied by William Tansley, whose Top 32 in Manchester was a much-needed result for him to re-engage himself into the invite fight, although not without its wobbly moments. That said, I think Will has definitely shown that he’s got the fighting qualities that a lot of players need to have. Just don’t be fooled by the laissez-faire attitude; he’s a determined competitor.
Luigi Lo Giudice has been somewhat unmentioned in the National previews, but at this late stage, at his home Nationals, it would be rude of me to ignore him at 26th in the standings. This previous world championship competitor has already reached the single elimination stages once this season, with a Top 32 result in Stuttgart. It’s not unreasonable to expect a similar result from him in Milan. Just behind Luigi is Pietro Chiri in 27th spot, who also reached the Top 32 in Stuttgart with perhaps one of the more eccentric mega choices across the field, but obviously an effective one. I’m certainly interested in his team, and I would be lying to say that I’m curious if he plans to bring it to Milan or not. Time will tell, I guess!
The last player in this particular group is Timo Koppetsch, who arguably has not had any eye-catching results, but his consistency has kept him in the hunt throughout the season. Manchester was not the happiest of hunting grounds with a Top 128 finish, but that will not deter Timo in the slightest in my experience. He’s a player that has a lot of grit and is not afraid to walk the line in most scenarios.
Need a Top 64 finish or better
32nd – Christoph Kugeler (drug duck) – 315CP
33rd – Thomas Schadinger (TH1806) – 310CP
35th – Pedro Lima (Findow) – 306CP
36rd – Noah Fuchs (Daydreaming Ninja) – 304CP
37th – Miguel Marti de la Torre (Sekiam) – 302CP
39th – Felix Rossler (fxelxy) – 300CP
41st – Alexander Kuhn (Hibiki) – 295CP
42nd – Eloy Hahn (Dragoran5) – 292CP
This next group of players are those that need a solid result from this weekend, but nothing spectacular. There are quite a few interesting names among this bunch, and I’m certainly keen to see a few players here reach Boston.
One of the more interesting points with this group is the fact that we have four Austrians in it: Thomas Schadinger, Noah Fuchs, Felix Rossler and Alexander Kuhn. Once again, Austria has shown notable progression this year with the depth of solid players in the circuit, and it would be great to see these four represent their country. Arguably, Noah has the best result of the group from a major event with his Top 8 back in Arnhem, but Felix and Alexander’s achievements in Stuttgart, both reaching the single elimination stages, carry far more clout based on the depth of the field, in my opinion. Of the three, Alexander is my favoured choice to do well here. I will be particularly keen to see whether the team from Stuttgart remains the team of choice, or if Alexander has decided to mix it up a little based upon his experiences and information obtained. Thomas certainly is not to be overlooked either; he is another player that has been consistent across the year and it is paying off.
Pedro Lima may also add to the multi-cultural melting pot for this tournament as the highest ranked Portuguese player, sitting at 40th in the standings. I have to say, Pedro is a nice guy after finally meeting him, and I was especially glad to see him reach the Top 32 in Manchester. As a player, I think Pedro is currently undervalued in terms of skill level, but hopefully results and reaching the World Championships, should said results go his way, will help elevate his profile somewhat, but there was some uncertainty in his attendance when I last checked.
Despite Spain’s lack of tournaments and general silence of their players, it’s hard not to ignore the accomplishments of a notable few. Miguel Marti is definitely one player that for the last few years has helped define Spanish VGC and is, with almost certain, the strongest player that the country has to offer right now. His run to the Quarter-Final in Manchester was sublime and did not appear to show any signs of lacking tournament-practice either, despite it being his first major event this season.
Finally, we come to the two German players who will be attending: Christoph Kugeler and Eloy Hahn. I’m expecting both to have a good showing in Milan and to reach Boston this year. The results from last year, where they achieved a Top 8 and Top 4 result respectively, is a good indication that they are more than capable of getting the necessary results, irrespective of the fact that the ruleset has changed in the intervening period.
Need a Top 32 finish or better
47th – Nemanja Sandic (Porengan) – 267CP
48th – Florian Wurdack (DaFlo) – 262CP
49th – Michael Richert (Michilele) – 260CP
51st – Mathias G. (Dreykopff) – 250CP
53rd – Andrea Sala (Yaya) – 248CP
54th – Brandon Ikin (Toquill) – 246CP
57th – Jake Birch (WhiteAfroKing92) – 236CP
59th – Luigi Orsi (ZPhoenix) – 235CP
61st – David Mizrahi (AwesomePlatypus) – 230CP
We’re now starting to move into the territory where a great result is required from the players, and there will be more than a couple players who are in this group who will miss out on the world championships. There are a few names who are chasing their debut World’s appearance in this list, but there are also some surprising names that you wouldn’t usually expect to be in this position.
Two names I am very keen to support, as I am totally biased in favor of, are Brandon Ikin and Jake Birch from this group, as both are tantalizingly close to earning their invites for the first time, hopefully of many. Both have shown that they can top cut now, and Brandon in-particular managed to do so in Manchester and has certainly been on an incredible run of form. Jake’s season has been much more measured and steady, but I have faith that he can pull through.
Another new name to add to the mix is David Mizrahi, a Swiss player who has been hovering around the Top 60 in the standings for most of the season, but has slipped just outside the threshold. I’m not completely familiar with David’s accomplishments in general, but he has managed to score 50CP in Stuttgart for his troubles. He will probably require a breakout performance to secure his opportunity to attend Boston in August.
The two Italian players among this group are Andrea Sala and Luigi Orsi. Once again, both will look to do well this year once again after reaching the single elimination stages last year. Andrea, I believe, will be chasing his right to go to the World Championships for the first time, while Luigi will be aiming to make a welcome return. Luigi will be the likelier of the two to deal with the pressure that will be on them to perform and produce a favorable result, but there will be many players in the same boat.
That finally leaves us with the German quartet of players. Possibly the biggest surprise is the inclusion of Florian Wurdack in this precarious position. I’m pretty sure Florian has had to deal with times of adversity playing competitively many times before, and will need to call on all of his experience after a shocking result in Manchester. He does go into the event as the reigning champion, but his confidence has taken a knock, that much that he has probably conceded. Nemanja Sandic, Michael Richert and Mathias G. all had slightly better Manchester runs, all three scoring a modest 50CP which keeps them in the hunt. Yet again, unfavourable bias goes towards my Mistralton Jets teammate Nemanja to reach worlds, and I certainly will be keeping an eye on results as they come in. Michael Richert is still a solid player overall, and Mathias G. could spring a surprise along the way.
Need a Top 16 finish or better
I’m going to have to start with Steve Edgson who lies 65th. Manchester was very much a case of two halves, after a torrid start going 0-3, Steve managed to pull it back to salvage a Top 128 spot and some points towards his total. I am not convinced, based across the entire year, that Steve will make it to Boston; a very harsh assessment on my end, but I would like to be proven wrong. Steve did Top Cut last year and is more than capable of doing so again. Alejandro Gomez might be down in this group of players in 68th place, but critically is here owing to attending far fewer competitions. More importantly, his attendance to Stuttgart paid huge dividends with a Top 16 finish, accounting for pretty much all of his points. His rain team worked fairly well over in Germany, so we will see if he continues to pilot it and it reaps rewards, or whether he decides to change it up. Simone Sanvito sits in 69th place, but is one of the few lesser known picks I’m keen to throw into the mix here, but I am sure he will be very motivated to go out and prove that it is well-merited. Finally, down in 82nd we have another Portuguese player: Eduardo Cunha. Eduardo still has a reasonable chance of making the cut-off to Worlds, but will need to have a very big result, one that will eclipse anything he has achieved this season to date.
Go big or go home
Nicola Gini (Nicoakiwa) , Christopher Arthur (Koryo) , Nicholas Rottoli (Wonder) , Joe Birch (Professor Birch) , Marcel Kapelle (Massi) , Lorenzo Galassi (Greyfox) , Patryk Bieda (Phlosio) ; Konrad Janik (Gonzo)
Finally, here we have the players that will need THE tournament. The sort of major run that many mere mortals, such as myself, can really only dream of. The tournament where you know you have to walk that tightrope with no safety net. And in a game where luck is fickle and uncompromising, this is a major ask, but it can be done. All of these players are certainly more than capable of producing a result, with many of them sporting notable resumes in the game. We have Nicola Gini, brother to Matteo and Alberto, who I’m sure will be a major name in the Masters’ division in the years to come but is by no means a pushover. Christopher Arthur sports world appearances and was last years’ Runner-Up, but suffered badly in Manchester. Nicholas Rottoli also top cut here last year, and will be another future star of the Masters division. Joe Birch will be joining his brother Jake in Milan, but will still harbor ambitions of his own Boston dream. Marcel Kapelle is a seasoned competitor and sports world championship appearances, a grizzled veteran of the scene if you prefer, and still has the skill and tenacity to do well. Lorenzo Galassi, similarly, has world championship pedigree, but has had less success this year. Lastly, we have the two Polish players that will round off the multi-cultural feel of the event; with Patryk Bieda having qualified for the Nugget Bridge Invitational this year, while Konrad has experience under his belt, if not the results that he truly deserves. But despite not being able to fully commit to the circuit, he’s still a name I fancy could do well here.
As an added extra…
Once again, I’ve had the pleasure to join Baz Anderson for one of his YouTube videos along with Jake Birch. In this preview video, we discuss our thoughts and reflections from Manchester as well as looking forward to Milan, among other topics. Please feel free to watch as Baz, Jake and I go over the main points of interest.
The Crystal Ball Predicts…: It looks like me purchasing a new crystal ball paid dividends last fortnight after I nailed the prediction! In all seriousness, this is still an open event, one that is tough to call purely because of the various scenarios that will test the resolve of the vast majority of players. I’m actually torn between two players, but I am going to go with Alberto Gini. Given that he still needs CP to actually guarantee that paid invite, regardless of how small the amount he requires, will be the key motivating factor for him. Once the shackles are removed and he knows he is safe, it would take a brave man to bet against Alberto going for the title.
That’s it for another preview. I hope you guys enjoy this one despite the fact it feels like I’ve been rambling a lot compared to those I have written previously. A combination of time constraints and waiting on updates on the CP standings that failed to arrive, thus forcing me to collate the info myself, were to blame. Nevertheless, it has been interesting to model the numbers and see all the permutations that are on the table. For those of you competing, I wish all of you the very best of luck, and hopefully you will achieve the results that you need. I may be back to write a preview article for the German Regional in Bochum later this month, if you guys are all for it. Let me know in the comments or get in touch, I’d really appreciate the feedback.