Altador Cup Team Histories: Kreludor
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Far from the mainland of Neopia orbits its moon, Kreludor. The landscape of the mass of rock is barren— there is only a Grundo settlement and some Sloth colonies. We aren’t too sure if the colonies are really Sloth’s, though. While its Grundos toil in the mines to maintain their lives on the moon, Kreludor boasts a much richer culture. In the yearly Altador Cup, Team Kreludor is one of the strongest competitors. Kreludor is the second best team by average position and owns the record for most podium appearances (five) by any team. The Cup has recently ended its twelfth year, and the Kreludorians have proven themselves once more, placing in second.
In the first Cup, Kreludor lost by a narrow margin to Haunted Woods, the team what would end up winning. In the elimination-style format, members of Kreludor were left teamless. Many chose the very team that had defeated them, out of respect for The Zombies’ merit. However, the Kreludorians lost the opportunity to test themselves against other competitors like Darigan Citadel, Roo Island and Krawk Island. In addition, the team sat out of the second Altador Cup, costing them a timely return and second opportunity to compete. The second Cup also introduced the new format of the double round robin, in which no team was eliminated, and Slushie Slinger and Make Some Noise! The new elements of competition established reputations, like powerhouse, side-game talent, or underdog. Kreludor’s absence influenced their early reputation, preventing them from becoming behemoths, like Darigan Citadel and Krawk Island, or underdogs, like Roo Island and Shenkuu. The people of the moon had to forge their own sense of identity.
Fortunately, Kreludor reappeared in ACIII as if they had never left, earning strong records in both Yooyuball and the side games. The Kreludorians managed to defeat the winners of the third Cup, Roo Island, in a daily match, a feat that was also accomplished by Meridell and Lost Desert. Kreludor was only swept by Roo Island and Krawk Island, both of whom would stand on the podium. In the finals, Kreludor defeated Haunted Woods but lost to Meridell, and finished in sixth. Kreludor did not lose a match to any team that placed lower than them.
The following year, Kreludor attempted to defy the succession of teams from second to first, and would create the legacy that would haunt them forever. The Kreludorians had impressive records in all games, especially Slushie Slinger. In Yooyuball, they were weakened, losing to Darigan Citadel, Lost Desert, Maraqua, and Shenkuu. In spite of this, the people of the moon managed to hand Krawk Island, the winners of ACIV, a sweep in the second round. At the of the round robin, Kreludor was sitting pretty in the top seed, ahead of Krawk Island, much as the Pirates had been the year before ahead of the Roos. In spectacular fashion, fourth-seed Shenkuu defeated first-seed Kreludor and knocked them out of the running for first. In the second round of the finals, Lost Desert also handed them a loss, leaving no space for Kreludor on the podium. The team finished in fourth.
Whether they liked it or not, Kreludor forged a reputation for themselves in ACIV. Completely defeating the champions that year was big news, as was their meteoric fall from grace. Kreludor became the team that sought to overthrow established teams from their positions of power, and was quite successful, until the Finals rolled around. The team was well-rounded, yet could not cinch their wins when it mattered most. Kreludor was a team of choke performers.
Apart from establishing Kreludor’s reputation, the end of ACIV marked the victory of each the top four from the first Altador Cup— Haunted Woods, Darigan Citadel, Roo Island, and Krawk Island. With the exception of Haunted Woods, these teams were all considered to be contenders since the first Cup. With the fulfillment of their goals, each dropped down the rankings as a result of the winner’s curse, and as a result opened up the podium for other teams. Kreludor would make the best of the vacancy.
Once again, the team dominated the double round robin, claiming the first seed. However, ACV marked a change in the style of gameplay. Side game powerhouses like Terror Mountain and Tyrannia emerged, claiming SOSD and SS respectively in almost every match. Kreludor kept its status as a jack-of-all-trades, earning a decent record if less impressive than that of ACVI. However, Kreludor struggled against a rising Virtupets team and strong Lost Desert and Darigan Citadel teams. In the finals, the Kreludorians defeated fourth-seed Roo Island, but once again, choked and ceded the Cup to Lost Desert. ACV proved that Kreludor was a serious threat to any team that wanted to win the Cup—until the finals— which endeared a lot of players. Kreludor was no underdog yet they lacked the competitive decisiveness of powerhouses like Krawk Island and Darigan Citadel. A group of All-Stars that jumped from one team to the next decided that they would be the perfect project; Kreludor already had consistent talent, they just needed a little push to number one.
It should follow that ACVI would be Kreludor’s year. In the round robin, Kreludor dominated once more, losing Yooyuball only three times against Krawk Island, Meridell, and Virtupets. Maraqua also eked out a slim victory in the form of a DWDD. With their new reinforcements, Kreludor seemed unstoppable. For the third year in a row, they entered the finals as the top-seed, and were matched up against Krawk Island for the first match of the Finals. Everything was in Kreludor’s favor: extra help, a solid showing in the round robin against Krawk Island, and momentum towards first place. In the same miraculous fashion of ACIV, fourth-seed Krawk Island defeated first-seed Kreludor for a shot at the Cup. After the second match against Maraqua, Kreludor stood at third, embarrassed and confused. What went wrong? Was Kreludor cursed? Were the reinforcements not enough?
The group of All-Stars was used to winning, so getting handed third place was unsatisfactory. They would rejoin Kreludor for ACVII where Kreludor would finally take home gold, largely in part to the restructuring of the tournament. Competition now took place in three brackets of six, where daily play would influence the fluid motion of teams up and down the ladder until a final date. The teams would get assigned points based on their final position. The radical alteration to the format removed Kreludor’s Achilles heel— results that depends on daily matches. Kreludor took first in every bracket in which they were placed, and never lost any game more than twice. Some players consider the bracket system to be the deciding factor in Kreludor’s victory; others believe that Kreludor would have won without it. No matter which side you choose, Kreludor joined the ranks of the winners, finally.
As a result of their victory, Kreludor took the plunge down to the middle tiers for both ACVIII and ACIX. The All-Star group left Kreludor to go assist other teams in their attempts for gold. Competitively, the team felt most comfortable in spots two and three of the brackets, securing them the upper-middle spot of seventh two years in a row. The Winner’s Curse lingered a little too long for some players, who expected Kreludor to make a thunderous return to glory shortly after their win. This expectation led the same reinforcements from ACVI and ACVII to return for ACX.
Kreludor worked the bracket system to their advantage again for ACX, placing first in every bracket except when they took a backseat to Kiko Lake in the second bracket of the Cup. Kreludor’s daily results were strong, too; Out of twenty-five matches, twenty were sweeps. ACX proved that Kreludor was not a one-hit wonder after their successes, which became increasingly common in the later years of the Cup. Historically under-performing teams like Haunted Woods, Altador, and Moltara would shoot out of nowhere to claim podium positions, only to make meteoric descents to the bottom tier in the following years. This phenomenon brought the ideas of consistency to the fore— if a team could not repeat their results, was their spot on the podium legitimate?
The year that followed provided no answer to this question. ACXI did not measure up to any reliable precedent that had been set. Teams with generally average or poor records, like Faerieland, Brightvale, and Altador rose to upper and middle positions, while historically strong teams, like Maraqua, Lost Desert, and Virtupets dropped to the lower tiers. Kreludor took a tumble to their worst finish ever— twelfth. ACXI was a time of confusion. The top and the bottom had been inverted, and much hope for Kreludor’s future success was lost.
The Altador Cup Committee saw the disparity between early records and current records, and put in place new measures to regulate the Cup. The first measure mixed the two competition structures that had been used. ACXII began as a single round robin that morphed into a finals bracket. Performance in both legs of the competition would be used to determine a team’s final position. The second measure implemented a system of checks on players that were deemed suspicious, to negate any sort of undue influence that may have skewed results in years prior. The final measure altered the weight of a win and loss of Yooyuball and the side games; all became of equal value. The numerical scores of each day would break any tie that could arise.
In the new format, Kreludor returned to form. As usual, they dominated the round robin, sweeping Krawk Island on Day 3 and edging out key victories against Meridell, Kiko Lake, and Virtupets. After losing Yooyuball to Lost Desert on Day 9, the Kreludorians struggled to maintain their energy yet still managed win after win. As the single round robin drew to a close, Kreludor finished first, with sixteen wins and one loss. In the top finals bracket, Kreludor struggled to secure decisive victories against tough competition, relying on their Slushie Slinger and Make Some Noise! prowess to break ties. At the end, they scored a silver medal, a leap up from twelfth the year before. All of this was done without the All-Star group Kreludor had become so familiar with.
Overall, Kreludor is a likable, talented team that has succeeded in almost every format— elimination, round robin, brackets, and hybrid. If not for their propensity for choking, Kreludor would have won back in ACIV against Krawk Island, delaying The Pirates’ overdue win for at least another year. Yet, Kreludor holds onto that enormous flaw that keeps them humble and accessible to many players. In a competitive climate that is currently restabilizing itself, Kreludor has asserted their power and affirmed their legacy in Altador Cup History. As preparation for ACXIII begins, consider Kreludor to be a threat, as always.
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