An Intro to League 97 – A New Way to Battle
In the spring this past year, several avid battlers came together and formed a new organization for 2-Player battling. The new Battledome radically changed the landscape, so much so that no organized battling took place in quite some time. Despite a long period of silence, organized 2-Player battling was not gone forever. A new league, dubbed League 97, emerged with humble ambitions, soon to garner widespread attention in the Battledome community
First, allow me to introduce myself. I am Steve, although most people will recognize me as Penguinqwert or simply Penguin. I am a writer for Jellyneo's in-Depth Battlepedia (JN iDB), an official Neopets fan site, but today's article is my first time writing for the Neopian Times. However, I write to you for good reason: I want to spread awareness of this league! If you recognize me, then chances are you have already heard of League 97 and are also aware that the in-Depth Battlepedia is the official home of the league. If you don't recognize me, then keep reading, because you are the new audience that I am targeting with this article!
League 97, which is often shortened to L97, is an organized 2-Player battling league sporting a unique rule set. L97 was created by iDB staff member Neoskulltula, and with the help of many JN staff members, we strive to create exciting Battledome tournaments for all players.
If you have yet to experience the thrills of a 2-Player battle, fear not! League 97 is designed to appeal to a wide array of players with varying skill levels. Here at iDB, we love to educate new and prospective battlers, and we offer information on both the basics of battling and more advanced material on League 97 battling. Even better, the L97 community is active on the Battledome Chat, and many experienced participants will be happy to personally mentor newcomers!
What exactly makes League 97 different from just any old 2-Player battle? For starters, let's examine the League 97 pet build. L97 pets have no more than 97 hitpoints, which is how the league came to be named. Note that pets are able to enter into L97 events with as little as 80 hitpoints, but they are strongly encouraged to train towards the 97 hitpoint marker as every hitpoint counts! L97 pets also must have 20 to 34 strength points, commonly referred to as the 20 strength boost, and the pets must also have 35 to 54 defence points, commonly referred to as the 35 defence boost. If the term boost is unfamiliar to you, you can find an explanation of strength and defence boosts at the in-Depth Battlepedia, linked at the end of this article.
A pet with 97 hitpoints, the 20 strength boost, and the 35 defence boost may sound like an obscure combination of stats, but this Battledome stat build actually spawns from the 'traditional' league system. More information on the traditional league system can be found on iDB. This stat build is one of many possible traditional league 5 builds, meaning many battlers already had a pet with these particular stats. The League 97 build was selected because it was already common and also low enough that the benchmarks could be reached quickly at the training school, but also for one more important reason: the hitpoints are disproportionately high relative to the strength boost.
The large number of hitpoints relative to the strength boost is important, as League 97 is a league that puts increased emphasis on defense. In regular 2-Player battles, where anything goes, defensive play has largely gone by the wayside. With the release of more and more powerful offensive forces, such as the Sword of Reif and its "Anagram Sword" family in the Hidden Tower, defensive play is simply unable to keep up. Today's normal 2-Player battle places little emphasis on anything but raw firepower. When players with high-caliber sets and traditional league pets square off, battles will typically be over within the first few turns!
On the other hand, League 97 rules lengthen battles and put increased emphasis on the use of defensive measures. The typical L97 battle will last ten to twelve turns, meaning that battling in the league is a marathon, not a sprint. The offensive firepower of all weaponry is limited. Weapons that both attack and defend, known as dual duty weapons, are similarly limited. However, pure defensive items, known as shields, are not limited in any way. The complete and detailed rule set can be found on iDB. The rule set allows many defensive items to regain usefulness, as the defensive items are now able to stand up to the offenses they will face.
As for the faerie abilities, players may only use abilities in the four lowest tiers, or up to and including level 25 abilities. Why these restrictions? First, the faerie abilities of the new Battledome are exceptionally unbalanced; the selection of only the bottom four tiers creates the most strategically-enriched atmosphere possible for the league. Second, the lower-level abilities are the cheapest to train; the cost of acquiring them for a L97 pet is negligible.
The cost of training a League 97 pet is quite cheap as well, particularly if the slow but steady Krawk Island Academy is utilized for as long as possible. It is not the cost of training stats or faerie abilities that deters prospective battlers though. Typically, most players are scared by the cost of weapons.
In League 97, there is no limit to the amount of Neopoints a player may spend on their set. As a result, some players have quite extravagant sets. The cost of a weapon is not everything, however, and League 97 reinforces this idea better than any battling organization to ever precede it. In League 97, weapons can be found with many different price tags. Yes, many weapons cost in the millions, but just as many options can be found for under a million Neopoints each. Some quality options can actually be found in users' shops for a few thousand Neopoints! Make no mistake; the cheaper options are not always inferior versions of Hidden Tower counterparts. In fact, top competitors in League 97 play will typically use both wildly expensive weapons and dirt cheap ones simultaneously.
Of course players with larger funds can afford more options to use in battle, but League 97 offers more parity than regular 2-Player battles. The fact that the offensive limitations in League 97 diverge from the conventional idea of an upgrade allow battles in the league to be closer. In general battling, players want to upgrade their offensive weapons to new weapons offering more firepower. But in L97 battling, the offensive limitations mean that players can only upgrade towards more preferred icon type alignments, since the maximum firepower allowed can already be obtained from the Shop Wizard in the form of a weapon like Scroll of Knowledge.
If defense were not included in the damage calculation equation, players in League 97 would find that all their weapons inflict almost similar amounts of damage, regardless of cost. Defense does play a factor though, and therefore it is the icon types dealt and received that are of importance in League 97 play. Still, the relative equality in firepower means that League 97 battles wind up being comparatively closer than traditional 2-Player battles when two players of radically different wealth meet up.
One last note on cost: don't worry so much over spending Neopoints! In League 97, the only weapons allows are reusable weapons. Many players are often nervous about making a big purchase, but realize that buying multiple-use weapons is not like buying a paint brush to use. Remember that you can always sell these weapons off after you no longer want them. Your Neopoints are not disappearing; they are simply in the form of a tradable item.
Since the new Battledome now hands out daily prizes in exchange for very little effort, many informed Neopets players have taken an interest in this aspect of the Battledome. Although the number of players hoarding daily prizes is quite large, only a small portion of these players take part in 2-Player battling. Chances are many of these players are unaware that 2-Player communities like League 97 exist, but you are now one of the lucky few. The Battledome is one of the most competitive aspects of the site, and League 97 is no different, but don't let friendly competition scare you! The League 97 community is growing, and it would love to expand into new territory outside of the Battledome Chat regulars.
As the official home of League 97, the in-Depth Battlepedia strives to provide resources to all its participants. We not only organize tournaments, but we also keep track of player stats and rankings, release articles and reviews, and we even put together a handy weapon reference sheet for the league! One of the best things about organized 2-Player battling is that it is entirely in the players' hands; as a result of all this mass-interaction, friendship and community are built effortlessly! If you are yearning for a new experience in the land of Neopia, why not give 2-Player battling and League 97 a shot? We'd be happy to have you! I invite you to check out http://battlepedia.jellyneo.net/ for boatloads of additional information!