Gotham (#1 WFTDA East, #1 DNN nationally)
First Bout: Saturday 11:15am vs winner of Rocky Mountain / Nashville
2011 WFTDA record: 10-0
2011 biggest win: 404-30 over Steel City (East Playoffs)
2011 biggest loss: No losses
2011 closest bout: Gotham 147, Rose City 79 (East Coast Derby Extravaganza)
2011 background: As they did last year, Gotham has rolled over all of their regular-season opposition with little (or, in the case of Dutchland, no) challenge thus far, establishing an average margin of victory of 194 points. Even only counting games against teams that qualified for Championships (two against Philly, one against Charm and one against Rose City) their average was still 148. The only two teams that were able to keep the margin of victory below triple digits in bouts against Gotham this year were Rose City (who lost by 68) and Denver (who lost by 71).
Tournament history: With the exception of a highly anomalous 1-point loss to Philly in the 2009 Easterns final, Gotham has pretty much owned their region, winning it over Windy City in 2007 and 2008 and over Philly in 2010 and 2011. Along with Texas and Windy City, they are one of the three teams to have made it to Championships every year since WFTDA introduced the regional-playoff format in 2007. Though they’ve only won the whole thing once, in 2008, they’ve also always been a bellwether team — in each of the three years they’ve fallen short of the title, the team that eliminated them went on to win the Hydra. They’re 21-4 in postseason play overall (6-3 in championship-tournament play.)
Lowdown: If it was Duke City who first introduced the concept of slow play at the tournament levels in 2008 and Denver who took it to new extremes in 2009, it’s been Gotham that has stretched it to its logical conclusion over the course of 2011. Their spring games and especially their ECDX match against Philly represented the first time many had seen the strategy of blockers crowding the jammer line to ensure control of the back of the pack on jammer release, which has led to the now-ubiquitous “rugby starts” in which jammers immediately dive into a tight pack of bodies rather then approach the pack together. But Gotham has also proven perfectly adept at the more traditional game as well and has established themselves as arguably the most well-rounded team in the sport today.
Players to watch: This year’s addition of Tampa Bay transfer Wild Cherri has given Gotham a very solid backup jammer, but when it comes to Gotham’s offense it’s still mostly the Bonnie Thunders & Suzy Hotrod show. On a fairly consistent basis, Gotham scores this year have left their primary two jammers with around 100 points each while the backups (also including B.Zerk, Sexy Slaydie and Hyper Lynx) combine for somewhat fewer.
Both Cherri and Slaydie (also a first-year Gotham player after transferring from Nashville) have been making eye-catching plays in the pack this year as well, with Slaydie intimidating size belying her agility and Cherri’s jam-skating background showing in her ability to effectively block even when seemingly off balance. Reliable vets include Fisti Cuffs, Kandy Kakes, Donna Matrix and Sweet Sherry Pie.
Road to the championship: Unless Nashville pulls off what would be an enormous upset, Gotham will be going up against Rocky Mountain in their first game. Last year, when Gotham was unofficially ranked #2 in the nation and Rocky #1, they met in the semifinals, where Rocky jumped out to a significant first half lead by shutting out Suzy Hotrod for the first 30 minutes. Gotham was down 75-31 at the break; they were able to win the second half, but not by enough to come back.
Should Gotham manage to get revenge on Rocky this time, it seems like they ought to have an easier time of it in their semifinal match against Minnesota, Charm City or Texas. Gotham has already pummeled Charm City by 139 this year while Texas barely squeaked by Charm in a 6 pointer. A win in that game would put Gotham in the championship match for the first time since 2008, most likely against Oly or Rose City; Naptown, Philly, Kansas City and Windy City are the dark horses on the other side of the bracket.
Roster: 00 Ana Bollocks // 2 Donna Matrix // 2×4 Splint Her // 6 Wild Cherri // 10 Kandy Kakes // 31 Hela Skelter // 55 Suzy Hotrod // 60 Brigitte Barhot // 68c Sexy Slaydie // 100 B.Zerk // 201 Sweet Sherry Pie // 241 Fisti Cuffs // 295 Luna Impact // 340 Bonnie Thunders // 404 Hyper Lynx // 500 Papierschnitt // 753 OMG WTF // 929 Davey Blockit // 999 Puss ‘N Glutes // 8212 Em Dash
Philly (#2 WFTDA East, #11 DNN nationally)
First Bout: Friday 7:15pm vs Naptown
2011 WFTDA record: 11-8
2011 biggest win: 277-26 vs DC (June)
2011 biggest loss: 267-34 vs Gotham (June, ECDX)
2011 closest bout: Bay Area 115, Philly 113 (June)
Tournament history: Philly’s reached the championship tournament every year since 2008. That was the year of their best showing, where they finished third by defeating Texas in a last-jam nailbiter; since then, they’ve suffered a first-round overtime knockout to Rocky Mountain when they hosted in 2009, and finished 4th behind Gotham in 2010. Overall, they are 13-8 in postseason play (4-4 in championship-tournament play).
Lowdown: This has been by far Philly’s most erratic season, sometimes putting in performances that seemingly are over their heads (most notably, a 2 point loss to Bay Area in June) and also barely winning a few matchups that looked on paper to be highly in their favor (5 points over Detroit in March, 17 points over Minnesota in August). Although they’ve only been successful once in their long history with Gotham, this year saw them suffer their two biggest blowouts ever to them — 233 points (at home) and 155 points in the East Playoffs. Judging by the range of their results this year, it seems quite possible that they could either give Oly a surprisingly tough run for their money as in 2010 — or go out in their first game to an upstart as they did in 2009.
Players to watch: Philly has gotten major jammer-line contributions from a relatively new face in Goldy this year; she wasn’t part of the rotation during Philly’s run last year, but has consistently been among their high scorers this year. She led her team’s scoring in both Philly’s critical East Playoffs semifinal win against Charm City and their big loss to Gotham. Mo Pain usually plays the role of other primary jammer and led the team in points when they successfully fended off upstart London at that tournament.
Teflon Donna and Shenita Stretcher — both members of Team USA — remain two of the most serious double-threats in derby. Tef has repeatedly proven herself to be one of the best late-game jammers around and did it again in an August game against Minnesota, scoring 21 of Philly’s last 23 points — and 15 in the last jam — to lead them to a comeback 101-84 win. In pack, Dara Licks and Olivia Face are heavily relied on along with Heavy Flo and the aforementioned Teflon Donna and Shenita Stretcher.
Road to the championship: Just like last year, Philly will face the 3 seed from the North Central. Last year, they smashed Madison 213-53, but there’s reason to believe that this year’s 3NC, Naptown, will be able to put up a tougher fight as the region’s second and third seeds have become considerably more dangerous this year.
If Philly can successfully get through Naptown, they’ll meet Oly; in last year’s championships, Philly had a pretty good showing against Oly that would eventually be overshadowed by the classic Oly / Rocky championship match. Philly lost by only 25 at 106-81, and Oly has won all of their games this year by more than 25. Beyond an upset of Oly, the possible opponents for Philly in a semifinal would be Windy City, Rose City or Kansas City.
Roster: 06 Castro // 8 Mo Pain // 13 Wendy Whiplash // 15 Persephone // 22 Elle Viento // 29 Copper Top // 39 Shannanigan // 47 Eurothrash // 0049 Mercedes Bends // 67 Dara Licks // 72 Gloria Grindem // 81 Eileen U Scream // 85 Teflon Donna // 87 Goldy // 91 Allessa Evil // 247 Devoida Mercy // 305 Shenita Stretcher // 527 Heavy Flo // 668 Olivia Face // 933 Ginger Vitis
Charm City (#3 WFTDA East, #12 DNN nationally)
First Bout: Friday, 2pm vs Minnesota
2011 WFTDA record: 9-7
2011 biggest win: 292-77 over Jet City (July)
2011 biggest loss: 241-102 to Gotham (May)
2011 closest bout: Charm City 156, Detroit 154 (March)
Tournament history: Thus far, the Baltimore crew has been consistently making it a little bit further in the postseason every year they’ve been eligible. They were knocked out of the 2008 regionals in the quarterfinals by Windy City, lost in the third place game in 2009 to Boston, and now has qualified for Championships for the second year in a row by winning the East’s third place game. At last year’s Championships, they squashed Minnesota by 131 before losing to Rocky Mountain 165-103 in the quarterfinals. They’re 8-6 overall in postseason play and 1-1 in Championships play.
Lowdown: As they did last year, Charm City pursued a very challenging schedule in the middle of the year that ended up resulting in a lengthy losing streak — they went down to Texas, Gotham, Bay Area, Windy City and Denver all in a row — but the Texas, Windy and Bay Area games were all last-jam affairs.
For years, Charm has excelled at the speed control game — they have many players who can land very hard hits from a near crawl — but in closely matched games, they sometimes find it backfiring on them in the form of heavy penalty accumulation. At the East Playoffs against Philly, they racked up a whopping 42 box trips (to 31 for Philly) and ended up with six key players with 5 or more box trips by the end. Last year at Championships, they also hit 40 box trips in the loss to Rocky Mountain that eliminated them.
Players to watch: I.M. Pain has solidly established herself as the engine for Charm City scoring — she led the team in all three of their games at the East Playoffs. In the Philly bout, she took the jam star in 20 out of the game’s 46 jams and scored a remarkable 81 of her team’s 127 points. Team USA captain Joy Collision, though, is probably Charm’s single most effective player, consistently responsible for positive point differentials and usually able to pull out a key turn with the jammer cap needed.
Longtime vet Dolly Rocket can be lethal in the pack but has long been plagued by high penalty counts — against Philly at the East Playoffs, she fouled out before halftime and was also one box trip away from a foulout against Boston. Holly Go Hardly shares both Dolly’s effectiveness and her affinity for the penalty box, with 6 trips against both Philly and Steel City.
Road to the championship: Charm City will once again face the 2 seed from the North Central in their opening bout — unlike Philly’s situation, though, Charm will be facing the exact same team in Minnesota. Minnesota looks significantly improved since their blowout loss last year, particularly considering their most recent common opponent with Charm City, Philly. Philly needed a comeback in the last few minutes to escape Minnesota’s challenge by 17, while Philly held a sizable lead against Charm City that shrank to 26 by game’s end but was as large as 70 in the second half.
If Charm knocks off Minnesota again, they’ll have another tough one ahead when they meet South Central champs Texas, who only beat Charm by 6 earlier this year but have added some key members since that bout. Even if they get past that one, it seems very likely that the semifinals would be the end of the advancement road as they’d almost certainly be up against either Gotham or Rocky Mountain.
Roster: 2 O’Chit // 3 Mya Bloody Valentine // 4U ZoomzByda Boomz // H4LF Xena Paradox // 6 Dolly Rocket // 9MM CC Bang Bang // 12 Thorough Bled // 26 Just Carol // 34 Lady Quebeaum // 63 Holden Grudges // 91 Loretta Scars // 100 Rosie The Rioter // 101 Crowella De’Vil // 116 Reckless N’Dangerment // 222 TwiBite // 415 Holly Gohardly // 666 Deathany // 747 Joy Collision // 1618 I.M. Pain // 3636 TerrorIzHer
Oly (#1 WFTDA West, #2 DNN nationally)
First Bout: Saturday 2:45pm vs winner of Philly / Naptown
2011 WFTDA record: 11-0
2011 biggest win: 298-11 over Atlanta (June)
2011 biggest loss: No losses
2011 closest bout: Oly 161, Rose City 132 (September, West Playoffs)
Tournament history: Oly won it all the first year they were eligible for tournament play by running the table in 2009; in 2010, they lost their only two games ever in the West Playoffs final and the WFTDA Championships final, both to Rocky Mountain. That leaves them with a 13-2 record in postseason play and a 6-1 record in Championships.
Lowdown: With a 38-2 all-time record in WFTDA sanctioned games, Oly is the winningest WFTDA team ever in terms of win-loss ratio (95%). They’ve mostly eschewed the rugby start that gained popularity this year, preferring to play a somewhat more traditional opening-pass game at higher speeds. That said, Oly is extraordinarily good at using the boundary lines to stop jammers by blocking them out and stopping on a dime, making them far from a one-dimensional team. In their early years, they’d picked up a reputation for being all talent and little technique, which was reflected in heavy penalty totals, but they’ve refined themselves greatly since 2009 — in their runs at last year’s Championships and this year’s West Playoffs, there were no games in which they had more penalty minutes than their opponents.
Players to watch: Atomatrix is the go-to jammer for this crew — she scored over half her team’s points in both this year’s West championship game against Rocky Mountain (78 of 143) and the third-place bout against Rose City (87 of 161). Dedicated blockers Sassy and D-Bomb, along with double-threat Tannibal Lector, are Oly’s most heavily used elements through their games; this year has seen a major addition to the primary Oly rotation in Jet City transfer Hockey Honey, who occasionally jams but is most often used in the pack. Another 2011 addition, Des Moines satellite player Stella Italiana, put up solid numbers at the West playoffs as a nearly exclusive jammer.
Road to the championship: As they did last year, Oly has caught a bit of a break on the random seeding, as the two other most dangerous teams — Rocky Mountain and Gotham — are on the other side of the bracket. However, while they might have it easier than those two, there are still some significant roadblocks in their way. They have a first-round bye, after which they’ll get the winner of Philly / Naptown. Last year, Philly came within 25 points of Oly in their semifinal matchup; Oly led for the majority of the game but never really put Philly completely away.
Beyond that, it’s either Kansas City, Windy City or Rose City waiting in the semifinals. Oly has beaten the first two solidly in their most recent meetings, but if the opponent is Rose City, their history predicts a real classic. While Rose City has never beaten Oly, they’ve repeatedly come extremely close, losing by 6 points, 8 points, 39 points and 29 points in their 4 meetings. Oly would very likely be up against Gotham or Rocky Mountain in the championship if they get out of the semifinal alive.
Roster: 2 Sassy // 2X Scara ta Death // 2TON Heffer // 03 Atomatrix // 4X4 Wheel-Her // 7 Hockey Honey // 8 D-Bomb // 9 Tannibal Lector // 21 Crooksie Contraire // 22 Riot Girl // 28 Blonde an’ Bitchin // 29 Rettig to Rumble // 30 Stella Italiana // 33 LiL ToNKa // 38 Deadly Aim // 66 T’erin Traxx // 127 Chest-Nutz // 300 Hard Times // 523 Licker*N*Split // 911 Intended Anger
Rocky Mountain (#2 WFTDA West, #3 DNN nationally)
First Bout: Friday 3:45pm vs Nashville
2011 WFTDA record: 7-2
2011 biggest win: 278-45 over Sacred City (September, West Playoffs)
2011 biggest loss: 117-75 to Oly (June)
2011 closest bout: Rocky Mountain 117, Rat City 107 (September, West Playoffs)
Tournament history: After a couple of years of middling regional tournament performance in 2007 and 2008, Rocky Mountain took their program to the next level with the 2009 addition of three transfers from Pikes Peak: sisters DeRanged and Psycho Babble, along with Ecko. They finished 2nd in the West to Oly that year and 4th in the nation at Nationals; they’d win the West outright in 2010 on their way to claiming the 2010 championship over Oly. This year, though, it was Oly besting them in the West’s championship game. They’re 14-7 in postseason play, 5-2 in the Championships.
Lowdown: Like Oly, RMRG has mostly eschewed the currently popular slow start for more orthodox derby; it almost cost them significantly against Rat City, who played a stall game to extremes against them at West Playoffs and nearly managed to turn it into a backdoor victory, falling just 10 points short at 117-107. Most of the Oly / Rocky classics of 2010 and 2011 have been high-speed battles featuring traditional pivot-line starts and a lot of 2-on-1 and 1-on-1 action rather than the clumps of humanity that Gotham and Rose City build – if the expected Rocky / Gotham rematch comes to pass on Saturday, the match of those specific styles ought to be a highlight of the weekend.
Players to watch: In the past couple of years, DeRanged has built a reputation as an incredibly difficult skater to stop, marrying extreme speed and agility to serious strength that gives her a wide variety of options both as a blocker and jammer; as a true double threat, she usually plays approximately equally in a game as blocker and jammer. Urrk’n Jerk’n As Booty Blockya can also do both but excels in the jammer role and led Rocky’s scoring in the West Playoffs losing effort against Oly. Frida Beater doesn’t have the size advantage of those two, but the longtime vet was the last-jam heroine in last year’s WFTDA championship game with a last-jam, no-time-on-the-clock 9-0 to give her team the 1 point win.
The RMRG pack is deep as well, keyed by Assaultin’ Pepa, Amanda Jamitinya and Psycho Babble; newer face Bob Loblaw has been integrated into the rotation this year.
Road to the championship: Rocky Mountain is a prohibitive favorite in their opening match against Nashville on Friday – if they get past that one as expected, all eyes will be on their Saturday-morning clash with Gotham. Last year, narrow DNN favorite Rocky Mountain jumped out to a big early lead on Gotham, and Gotham wasn’t able to make up the difference in time. This time Gotham comes in as DNN’s unofficial #1, looking to be the first team other than Oly to defeat RMRG in sanctioned action since Denver did it in the third-place game of the 2009 Nationals.
If RMRG does get the win on Gotham, they’d face Texas, Charm or Minnesota in the semifinal. Charm managed to beat a severely shorthanded Rocky Mountain team in friendly action in June, but a full-strength matchup seems likely to go differently. Texas and Rocky have faced off in the championship tournament before, in a 2009 semifinal (Texas won, in a game that was remembered more for an infamous late-game punch than the outcome); Rocky won a regular-season rematch by 99 points in 2010. Minnesota and Rocky Mountain have never faced each other in sanctioned action.
Roster: 00 Urrk’n Jerk’n as Booty Blockya // 1.75L Queen Elizabitch // 3 Catholic Cruel Girl // 8 Winona Fighter // 9 Amanda Jamitinya // 9er Uber Alice // 10 RoboFlow // 21 Psycho Babble // 27 DeRanged // 31 Fiona Grapple // 37 Bob Loblaw // 40 Red Die // 52 Whipity Pow // 86 Assaultin’ Pepa // 88 She Who Cannot Be Named // 99 May Q Pay // 202 Frida Beater // 1972 Ecko // 1990 Betty White Knuckles // 7423 Triple Shot Misto
Rose City (#3 WFTDA West, #4 DNN nationally)
First Bout: Friday, 5:30pm vs Kansas City
2011 WFTDA record: 9-5
2011 biggest win: 239-61 over Boston (August)
2011 biggest loss: 147-79 to Gotham (June)
2011 closest bout: Denver 149, Rose City 142 (May)
Tournament history: Up until this year, Rose City had built a tough-luck reputation in their West region, never able to advance out of their playoff tournament from 2007 to 2010. They broke the drought in dramatic fashion at home, though, knocking out two of their most tenacious regional rivals in Bay Area and Rat City to take 3rd in the West. Their all-time postseason record is now 6-6.
Lowdown: Having waited so long for this opportunity at Championships, the key question for Rose City is whether their strong performance in this year’s regionals represented an end to or a lull in their old postseason woes. The last time they entered a tournament in Denver, they came out flat against Rocky Mountain and were one-and-done. But Rose City has come a long way since then and plays some of the most dense team defense in the sport when they’ve got four on the floor, leaving absolutely no daylight for solo opposing jammers. That pack density was very much on display when they played Gotham in June, giving the New Yorkers some trouble by playing their own game against them; Gotham was up by only 16 at the break before pulling away in the second.
Players to watch: Tall and lanky jammer Scald Eagle was the breakout star and hometown favorite for the Portland crew this year, and was the high scorer with 52 points in Rose City’s crucial 139-120 opening-round win over Bay Area at the West Playoffs. Soulfearic Acid, though, was the engine in the other two games — particularly against Oly, where she put up more than half of Rose’s points (73 in a 161-132 loss, including a 24-0 in the final 5 minutes that gave Rose a chance at the win.) White Flight and dedicated jammer Sully Skullkicker round out the primary Rose City jammer attack. Rose City boasts extremely tight pack work that usually gains its strength through impenetrable walls than through individual effort, but Mick Swagger, Mercy and Mobi-Wan Kenobi still find ways to stand out in the purple swarm.
Road to the championship: Rose City’s opening-round meeting with Kansas City is particularly memorable for the fact that both teams were part of the WFTDA’s original 30 back in 2006, but have never met in sanctioned play in 5 years. Both teams handled common opponent Rat City this year by somewhat similar scores in a 32 point win for KCRW and a 52 point win for Rose City, so this one could be a barnburner.
A win would take Rose City up against NC champs Windy City; the all-time record between those two is at 1-1 with WCR winning by 40 at home in 2009 and Rose winning by 45 at home in 2010. Should Rose win again, it’d set up a West semifinal rematch with Oly in the Champs semifinals.
Roster: 5 Mel Mangles // 8 Sully Skullkicker // V8 Cadillac // 20 SoulFearic Acid // 23 Wreck Deckard // 50 Scald Eagle // 53 Mick Swagger // 54 White Flight // 55 Layla Smackdown // 74 Napalm Beth // 81 Havana Goodtime // 82 Hurricane Skaterina // 93 JK Rolling // 100 Mercy // 210 Heidi Go Seek // 243 Scratcher in the Eye // 357 Rhea DeRange // 360 Joyride // 444 Mobi-Wan Kenobi
Texas (#1 WFTDA South Central, #8 DNN nationally)
First Bout: Saturday 9:30am vs winner of Minnesota / Charm City
2011 WFTDA record: 12-8
2011 biggest win: 384-7 vs Big Easy (February)
2011 biggest loss: 185-59 vs Bay Area (August)
2011 closest bout: Texas 162, Charm City 156 (May)
Tournament history: There’s never been a WFTDA championship tournament in which sport originators Texas did not figure prominently. They won the first WFTDA national tournament, the Dust Devil invitational in February 2006, before the regional playoff system was put into place for 2007; since then, they finished in the top four in ’07, ’08 and ’09 before finally getting eliminated short of the last two games in 2010. They’ve won their regional title in 2008, 2009 and 2011 and have racked up an impressive 19-7 record in postseason play (6-5 in Nationals/Championships play).
Lowdown: In terms of sheer number of victories, Texas is the winningest WFTDA team ever with 50 sanctioned victories under their belts; that translates to lot of institutional experience that has been buttressed by a steady influx of top players from around the nation over their history. Though they usually like to play a traditional game, they haven’t been shy about introducing new rules exploits, as they were one of the first to successfully employ the knee start to force quick jam starts during last year’s tournament cycle. However, they haven’t always been too successful with the rugby start this year; against Detroit, in August, a game that was almost all rugby starts ended up almost being an upset win for Detroit before Texas hung on for the 8 point win.
Players to watch: This year’s most recent additions to the Texas crew are Polly Gone and Barbara Ambush; Polly Gone, in particular, was a key double threat that helped tip the balance in their SC final game with Kansas City. Olivia Shootin’ John remains the most dangerous offensive weapon but is more than ably backed up by Killbox, longtime veteran Bloody Mary and young Luce Bandit.
Road to the championship: Texas starts against the winner of Charm City / Minnesota, a match that could quite conceivably go either way. Texas has one close win already this year against Charm in a game where both teams weren’t fielding all their top players (and Texas had not yet added Polly Gone or Barbara Ambush). If Texas gets out of that game, though, the road gets a lot harder as they’d almost certainly be up against Gotham or Rocky Mountain in the semifinal.
Roster: 02 Shortcut // 03 Olivia Shootin’ John // 5 Smarty Pants // 6 Sic Shooter // 12 DeBella DeBall // 19 Molotov M. Pale // 21 Rita Menweep // 22 Polly Gone // 30 Bloody Mary // 33 Luce Bandit // 52 Ruby Wring // 56 Lucille Brawl // 66 Devil Grrl // 76 Curvette // 86 The Killa’ Sal Monella // 914 Virgo Vengeful // 989 Killbox // 1600 Barbara Ambush // 1853 Vicious Van Go Go // 1889 Belle Starr
Kansas City (#2 WFTDA South Central, #9 DNN nationally)
First Bout: Friday, 5:30pm vs Rose City
2011 WFTDA record: 10-2
2011 biggest win: 274-36 over Gold Coast (South Central Playoffs, September)
2011 biggest loss: 169-88 to Oly (June)
2011 closest bout: Kansas City 111, Windy City 92 (September)
Tournament history: Kansas City holds the distinction of being the only non #1 seed to win a WFTDA championship — they swept through the 2007 Nationals as the #4 seed from the West, picking up three upset wins in a row during their title run. They’d miss the 2008 Nationals due to an infamous Regionals upset at the hands of Duke City, but appeared again in 2009 and 2010; in both years, they were eliminated in their first game. They have one regional title to their name, having taken the South Central in 2010. All in all, their postseason record is 14-7 (3-2 in championship-tournament play).
Lowdown: While KCRW had a short time in the wilderness in 2009 following the retirement or hiatus for much of their core, it didn’t take them too long to right the ship again. They usually play a very clean game and take full advantage of lopsided situations in their favor; notably, when they played Texas in the final of the SC tournament earlier this year, there were no powerjams for either team in the first half. In the past, they’d been repeatedly stymied by slow play against Duke City and Denver, but in the past couple of years they’ve demonstrated a much better ability to deal with alternating speeds. Kansas City is the only non-West team in the Championships who managed to knock off one of the West’s top 6 seeds this year, defeating Rat City 155-123 in June.
Players to watch: Kelley Young made a name for herself as a superstar jammer way back at the Dust Devil in 2006, and though she took 2009 off, she didn’t miss much of a step on her return; her speed and agility makes her KC’s ace. Another key element on the jam line is slightly smaller but very quick Track Rat. Like their regional rivals Texas, KCRW has very good pack work but also sports blockers that aren’t shy about going for the big takeout hit, particularly Evolution, Eclipse and Annie Maul. Look for seemingly tireless pivot Bruz-Her to remain on the track for the great majority of the rotations, as well.
Road to the championship: If Kansas City scores the win in their first-ever meeting with Rose City, it’ll set up an interesting rematch with North Central champs Windy City. When they met in Chicago in September right before the Regionals cycle began, the match was essentially two different games: a 78-21 first half for Kansas City and a 71-33 second half for Windy City. KCRW took the win by 19 points at 111-92, but a second match between the teams would be a near-tossup if it goes similarly. Beyond Windy City, Kansas City would have their hands full with Oly, who has already solidly defeated them this year in a 169-88 final.
Roster: 0 Eclipse // 4 Young // 5 Trauma // 7 Princess Slay-Ya // 8 Extremely Frank // 24 Toto Basketcase // 26 Bella Fire // 30 Hall Balls // 34 Case Closed // 44 Damsel of D’Tension // 47 Shady O’Dread // 59 Archie Lee // 69 Track Rat // 84 Tuff Noogies // 111 Annie Maul // 244 Bruz-Her // 411 Ida Know Squat // 816 Jade Lightning // 2012 Evolution // 2501 Mash Hun
Nashville (#3 WFTDA South Central, #19 DNN nationally)
First Bout: Friday 3:45pm vs Rocky Mountain
2011 WFTDA record: 7-5
2011 biggest win: 328-41 over Memphis (June)
2011 biggest loss: 218-75 to Texas (South Central Playoffs, October)
2011 closest bout: Nashville 122, Tampa Bay 102 (South Central Playoffs, September)
Tournament history: This is Nashville’s second Championships appearance in a row, though they’ve never really had a strong run in the postseason. In both this year and last year’s 3rd place South Central games, they eventually brought a complete halt to Atlanta’s offense in two big wins, but they were blasted by over 100 points in the immediately preceding semifinals. They also have the distinction of being the only team to ever get blanked for a full half in WFTDA tournament play, when they fell into a 127-0 hole against Texas during the 2009 SC Playoffs. And for the second year in a row, they have the bad luck of drawing the previous year’s WFTDA champs as their first-round opponent — last year, Oly quickly ejected NRG 214-53. Overall Nashville is 5-5 in postseason play (0-1 in Championships play).
Lowdown: Nashville has exhibited the ability to totally lock down on Atlanta twice in the last two tournaments, but their results through the year would seem to leave them the least dangerous of the 12 teams coming to Denver. Besides their big win over Atlanta, all their wins over playoff qualifiers were fairly narrow — 26 points over the North Central’s 5th place team (Chicago Outfit), 31 points over the East’s 9th place team Carolina, and 20 points over 7th place from the South Central Tampa Bay. Even though this is their second straight year in the Championships, it looks like they’re still at least a year away from being able to pull a win at this level. They did manage to come within 26 points of Naptown in September, but with the other NRG on the other side of the bracket, there’s essentially no chance the two will meet this weekend.
Players to watch: When it comes to the Nashville jammer rotation, it’s pretty much all about ace Ramb0 Samb0. In all three of Nashville’s games at the SC Playoffs, she was responsible for easily more than half of her team’s points; in their toughest game, against Texas, she had 54 of Nashville’s 70 points. Dedicated blocker Union Jack-U-Up is a key in the NRG pack; Maulin Monroe, Lady Fury and Rock Nasty all split duties between backup jamming and pack work.
Road to the championship: It’s safe to say that Nashville has the least desirable position in the bracket this year, even tougher than last year’s opening-round game with Oly. Even if Nashville somehow makes a miracle happen against Rocky Mountain in the first round, they would then have to face undefeated Gotham the next day to proceed any further.
Roster: 000H Morvant Damme // C4A Showstopper // 5FT3 Lady Fury // F7W Obscene Jessture // 10 Union Jack-U-Up // 11 Jennifer Smith // 13 LeeAnn Crimes // 13EE Susan // 14 Rock Nasty // 33 Hildabeast // 36DD Maulin Monroe // M60 Ramb0 Samb0 // 99 Slammylou Harris // 308 Britches N’ Hose // 313 Nix N’ Bruises // 318 Four Leaf Roller // 808 Jersey Jackhammer // 1970 Slayla // 220V Electra Cal
Windy City (#1 WFTDA North Central, #10 DNN nationally)
First Bout: Saturday 1pm vs winner of Kansas City / Rose City
2011 WFTDA record: 14-2
2011 biggest win: 196-42 over Tampa Bay (October)
2011 biggest loss: 116-49 to Bay Area (August)
2011 closest bout: (tie) Windy City 128, Naptown 117 (October, NC Playoffs) and Windy City 132, Texas 121 (August)
Tournament history: WCR’s win at the North Central Playoffs gave them an unprecedented 3rd straight region title along with a 23-0 all-time record in their region, though Naptown and Minnesota gave them a much tougher run for the title than they’d had in the two previous years. Windy City, Texas and Gotham remain the only teams to have qualified for the WFTDA championship tournament in every year since the regional tournament format began — WCR’s best performance came in a 2nd-place finish to Gotham in 2008. In both 2009 and 2010, they found themselves one-and-done after facing Denver and Oly in their first games in the championship tournaments. They stand at 16-6 in postseason play all-time — 2-4 in championship-tournament play.
Lowdown: Windy City’s long history of success puts them near the top of the list for winningest teams ever both by winning percentage (73%, behind only Gotham at 85% and Oly at 95%) and total victories (48, tied with Philly and behind only Texas with 50). That pattern continued this year, as Windy City comes into the tournament as the winningest team still alive in the postseason in terms of total victories with 14 after a jam-packed season. Only Texas and Philly have played more games this year. 5 of those WCR wins came over teams that made it to Championships (Texas, Charm City, Naptown and May and October ones over Minnesota). However, the bracket layout means they’re unlikely to see any of those teams in the advancement rounds this week.
Like Kansas City, Windy City has had to overcome a reputation for having trouble with the slow game — particularly after Denver’s high-profile, high-controversy introduction of it on the national level against both teams at the 2009 Nationals. WCR also got a rude introduction to the newer strategy of crowding the jammer line at the East Coast Derby Extravaganza when Montreal pulled it on them and was almost able to notch what would have been a major upset — Montreal led for most of that game but Windy City pulled ahead in the end to win 130-105.
Players to watch: Team captain Jackie Daniels, in her second year as a Windy member after starting her career as a Grand Raggidy player, is probably WCR’s most recognizable skater and a serious double threat. She led WCR to their tough semifinal win over Naptown at NC Playoffs with 53 points. Team USA member Varla Vendetta is also a key offensive contributor and led with 43 in WCR’s NC championship victory over Minnesota. They’re supported with the star by a fairly deep set of options that includes limber rookie Zoe Trocious, longtime veterans Beth Amphetamine and Athena DeCrime, double-threat Yvette Yourmaker and hardy Wreck N Shrew. In the pack, rookie sensation Bork Bork Bork has quickly made a name for herself as a precise hitter; vets Hoosier Mama and co-captain Ol’ Drrrty Go-Go both had game-changing turns at the NC playoffs.
Road to the championship: Windy City is in the most precarious position of all the bye seeds this year, as they’ve lost their most recent games with each of the two teams they could face in their first round. KCRW beat Windy City by 19 in August of this year (though Windy City owned the second half, they couldn’t quite make up a huge halftime deficit) and Rose City defeated Windy City late last year by 45.
Roster: 07 Jackie Daniels // 17 ‘Ol Drrrty Go-Go // 19 Tori Adore // 24 Wreck N Shrew // 25 Varla Vendetta // 27 Zoe Trocious // 30 Athena DeCrime // 38 Mya Ssault // 42 Karmageddon // 52 Sargentina // 57 Amy Nonamey // 70 Georgia on Yer Behind // 72 Sunshine N Painbows // 74 Deb Autry // 75 Bork Bork Bork // 81 Ruth Enasia // 90 Norma Lee Wright // 98 Beth Amphetamine // 219 Hoosier Mama // 999 Yvette Yourmaker
Minnesota (#2 WFTDA North Central, #13 DNN nationally)
First Bout: Friday 2pm vs Charm City
2011 WFTDA record: 9-3
2011 biggest win: 221-28 over Demolition City (July)
2011 biggest loss: 172-105 to Windy City (May)
2011 closest bout: Minnesota 111, Naptown 95 (April)
Tournament history: As one of the oldest organizations in the modern game, Minnesota’s history goes all the way back to a fourth place finish in the 2006 Dust Devil. When the regional-playoff system was put into place in 2007, they’d go on to have three frustrating years stopped short of advancement before busting out of the 2010 North Central playoffs with a surprising second-place finish. That made 2010 their first trip to WFTDA Championships proper, though they were solidly stopped by Charm City, 249-118. Minnesota’s postseason record in 2007 and beyond is 7-8 (0-1 in Championships play).
Lowdown: While Minnesota twice gave Windy City a first half scare this year — a tie game at the half in May and a 55-41 lead for Minnesota in the championship game of the NC playoffs — they found themselves nearly doubled up in the second half both times. They also lost a narrow late game lead to Philly in August — although, on the flip side, they did have a tenacious second-half performance against Detroit. If Minnesota hopes to play more than one game this weekend, they won’t be able to afford going cold for more than a handful of jams or teams like Charm and Texas will likely put them in a scoring hole too deep to dig out of.
Players to watch: While transfers (and Team USA teammates) Juke Boxx and Medusa team up for half of Minnesota’s point production, the team also gets critical offense from Harmony Killerbruise and Lex’i Cuter. Lex’i and Harmony were the lead scorers with 44 and 39 points respectively in Minnesota’s defeat of Detroit that assured them a trip to Championships. Diamond Rough, Vuedoo Prodigy and 2011 addition Hurtrude Stein get a lot of time in the Minnesota packs as key blockers.
Road to the championship: Minnesota has significant but not insurmountable obstacles standing between them and surviving all the way to Sunday’s action. Their very narrow losses this year against Windy City and Philly suggest that they’ll be able to give Charm much more trouble than they did last year, as Charm also had narrow losses to both of those teams.
If Minnesota could get through Charm City, Texas would be next in what would be a first-ever matchup there. Once again, Minnesota would be the underdog in the game, but not by a great deal. Charm and Texas went down to the last jam when they played earlier this year, and Texas showed some vulnerabilities against another shared opponent when they nearly lost to Detroit in August. If Minnesota won again there, they would then likely hit the wall in the semifinal vs Rocky Mountain or Gotham, but they’d at least guarantee themselves a shot at 3rd place on Sunday.
Roster: 0 Naughty Kitty // D1 Commander Nix // H8U Tiki Torture // 9 Second Hand Smoke // 13 Medusa // A18 Juke Boxx // 23 Jax Kvaas // 28 Scarmen Hellectra // 55 Venus Thightrap // 69 Vuedoo Prodigy // 74 Skullateral Damage // 75 Harmony Killerbruise // 109 Psycho Novia // 113 Rita Rawkus // 172 Shiva Shankn // 187 L’exi Cuter // 711 Ova Achieva // 727 Hurtrude Stein // 850 Moto Fluzzi //1837 Diamond Rough
Naptown (#3 WFTDA North Central, #14 DNN nationally)
First Bout: Friday 7:15pm vs Philly
2011 WFTDA record: 12-3
2011 biggest win: 271-33 over Demolition City (April)
2011 biggest loss: 147-75 to Detroit (May)
Tournament history: Naptown joins Rose City as one of two teams making a Championships debut, but Naptown’s road has been quite a bit shorter. They telegraphed their ambition in their regional-playoff debut last year when they entered as the 9th seed but scored two upsets and finished in 6th; this year, they came extremely close to knocking over highly favored Windy City in the semifinals before getting the job done against Detroit in the 3rd place match. In two years, Naptown’s postseason record is 4-3.
Lowdown: Naptown has proven themselves to be a team that learns from their losses quickly and effectively. Last year, they lost to Windy City by 92 points in the playoffs before this year’s 11 point loss. Their learning curve was even quicker against Detroit; they lost a May game by 72 before beating Detroit by 11 in the playoffs.
Players to watch: Amooze Booche, Willa Hoeflinch and Maiden America make up the core of the Naptown jammer rotation, but Naptown has a fairly deep series of options on the jam line that also includes Majestic, Blue Messiah, R.I.P. Tide and Dora the Destroyer. Cereal Killer, Ima Hurchu and the aforementioned Dora were key elements of the NRG pack at the NC playoffs, with the lion’s share of the track time.
Road to the championship: Naptown gets Philly in the first round, and although it seems like Philly would be a significant favorite based on their much deeper experience at the top levels of play, Naptown’s already demonstrated probably the most dramatic improvement of any team over the course of the year. If that level has kept increasing since the NC regionals, it could keep Naptown’s season alive for one more game — but then they’d hit a major roadblock in the form of Oly in the quarterfinals. Should Naptown somehow be able to land the upset of the year there, all bets would most definitely be off for how far they could go.
Roster: 0 Ima Hurchu // 2 Cereal Killer // GEN3 Eve Elle // N3 Blue Messiah // 4 R.I.P.Tide // 7 Dora the Destroyer // 8 Ana Slays Ya // X43 Piper Sonic // 76 Maiden America // 101 Trauma-lina // 105 Majestic // 208 Amooze Booche // 218 Asian Sinsation // 313 Haterade // 317 Shadi Layne // 318 Willa Hoeflinch // 321 Katya Lookin // 700 Slammy Faye // 1116 Breezin’ By Ya // 1820 KickaBroad Crane