Altador Cup: The Island Powerhouses
With the first leg of the Round Robin over, it’s clear that three top contenders of this year’s Altador Cup are the Island teams. Despite their busy Yooyuball schedules all three teams managed to find time for this interview. The teams seem to be in good spirits even though all had suffered losses and made quite a few jokes throughout the interview.
Q: With the first Round Robin over have you changed any of your team strategies for facing the teams yet again?
Dasher Soley (KI): I think the biggest thing for all of us is not to underestimate any team. All the teams are playing well this year. It’s a really hard field out there.
Volgoth (MI): Not lose. That’s our new team strategy. We’ve decided no more losses. You don’t get to the finals by losing.
Lilo Blumario (RI): The way the teams are playing, there is no room for rest. You just have to keep playing, keep playing. But as Dasher said, you really can’t underestimate any of the teams. I think we may have underestimated Lost Desert. We won’t be doing that again.
Q: For the Mystery Island Team. What made you decide to make no roster changes?
Teylore Nix (MI): We felt we are a really good team. I think our biggest problem last year was being the favorite. Being the odds- on favorite to win doesn’t make you play your best games.
Maital Koric (MI): We’ve been practicing hard. We’re much better this year. We aren’t going home early. We want to win this year. But we understand we have to work for it.
Q: I know the Islands have a strong bond off the Yooyuball field. If you had to lose would it be easier to lose to an Island team?
Gordo Gunnels (RI): We’d rather not lose to any team. (All laugh) But with the way the Islands are playing it would be nice to see two go into the finals. Then at least one of us would get the Cup. Of course we’re hoping it’s us here at RI.
Earlyn Hawkshanks (KI): I guess it is a little easier to lose to an Island team. We get together for scrimmages and play a fair amount. I’d even say we’re friends in the off-season. It’s nice to see your friends go to the playoffs if you can’t. But you’d rather go yourself.
Bertie Shultz (MI): Can I just say it? I know it’s not the nicest and so I apologize for that but it is easier to lose to an Island team because we’re all playing so well. We’re certainly some of the top teams. I’d be ashamed if we lost to Kiko Lake, but it hurts the ego less to lose to Roo.
Teylore Nix (MI): Not that we don’t think Kiko Lake isn’t a good team.
Nitri Cassale (KI): The Islands are just playing better this year.
Fenny Vail (RI): Quite a bit better. (all laugh)
Q: You Krawks lead the race for a while being undefeated in Yooyu. Did that first loss to Darigan come hard?
Dasher Soley (KI): Of course. We didn’t want to lose but Darigan played a good game. I’d have rather we won but I think it helps keep you on your toes. Don’t want to win every game easily... makes your game lazy.
Volgoth (MI): I’d say that contributed to our early exit in last year's Cup.
Yaniq Avaan (MI): We thought we wouldn’t have to work hard. We’re working hard now. These teams are hard to beat. I’m still surprised we beat you, Dasher.
Dasher Soley (KI): I think we were a little surprised as well. It’s a rough competition this year. No sitting on your haunches.
Q: What do all of you think of the double round robin approach to competition this year?
Yaniq Avaan (MI): I think it’s great. It lets all the teams have a better shot at the Cup. You don’t sit on the sidelines when you lose a game. Plus after playing a team it lets you re-evaluate and play a better game next time. I think it improves everyone’s games.
Garven Hale (KI): We get so few opportunities to play all the teams. It’s so difficult to make the trek across the ocean for us that it’s nice to get the chance to improve our game by playing all the teams.
Clutch Billaban (RI): I didn’t even know Kreludor had a team until the Cup last year. And I had certainly never played the Virtupets team before. We can’t afford to fly up there.
Garven Hale (KI): We maybe play all the ground Neopian teams once a year during off-season practices. The Island teams more. But the Altador Cup is the only time we get to play teams such as Maraqua who play underwater somewhere and the space teams. It makes you improve your games because each team has such a different approach to playing.
Q: Jair Tollet? You were the hottest thing on the free market this year. What made you decide to play for Roo Island?
Jair Tollet (RI): Well, it wasn’t the money. Actually I got quite the offer from Meridell. I liked the integrity of the Roo team; they are a very close knit bunch, like a family. I liked the showing they put forth last year, completely unexpected. And I wanted to stay fairly close to my family and friends in Maraqua.
Lilo Blumario (RI): She’s kidding. She totally flipped a coin.
Volgoth (MI): Did you really?
Jair Tollet (RI): No. Although, I did lose a particularly vicious game of Dice-A-Roo but it had nothing to do with my decision. Actually I probably would have taken an offer from KI or MI but neither bid.
Dasher Soley (KI): The coin story is better. You should use that in interviews. We wanted to bid on you but we decided we couldn’t lose Hawkshanks. Bringing up Zayle was the best move for us.
Zayle Sufhaux (KI): Actually I almost left you guys. Brightvale gave me a secret offer if I was to cut out right before the Cup but they didn’t actually promise me any play time.
Clutch Billaban (RI): That’s a rather dirty trick.
Zayle Sufhaux (KI): Well, isn’t that what Brightvale’s known for? They’ve never seen a cheat they didn’t like. (all laugh)
Q: Well, we are about out of time. Any final words? Advice for the other teams? Who’s going to win?
Maital Koric (MI): Just that it’s an honor to be playing with such fine Yooyuball players. Even the teams who aren’t winning that many games are hardworking and dedicated.
Fenny Vail (RI): Certainly. We may joke about some teams being easier to beat but it really isn’t so. You have to play your best against all the teams. And I’m sure next year it’s going to be even harder as the teams are only going to get better.
A Lutari: Lutari Island is thinking of getting involved next year. We’d certainly be giving you a run for your neopoints.
Volgoth (MI): What was that? I didn’t know Lutari Island had a Yooyuball team.
Dasher Soley (KI): I don’t think any of us did. Do they have a Yooyuball team?
Lilo Blumario (RI): Who knows? In terms of who’s going to win, personally I’d like RI to win but I’d be happy seeing any of my fellow Islanders win. Of course no one knows for sure. We all have another sixteen games to go before the finals.