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#1 Meridell always seems to be my favorite to win it. There is so much raw potential here: friendly team, fabulous talent, dogged persistence. It's their attitudes in the face of hardship that has historically been the team's downfall. With the right momentum and camaraderie, I know they can clinch a win.
#2 Tyrannia is that sneakily scary team. They always burst out of the gate in the first few rounds so vehemently that it scares the other teams into doing their absolute best against the Tyrannians. It's that burst of energy from other teams that causes Tyrannia to fall, in my opinion. They've been just shy of first tier several times, and are not to be underestimated. I believe they are due a podium finish.
#3 Darigan Citadel is never to be underestimated. This team has one of the strongest, most dedicated player base of any other team, on par with Krawk Island in terms of mass and power. However, Darigan doesn't take missing out on the podium very well, and I think they'll come screaming back for revenge this year.
#4 Krawk Island is always a strong contender for the cup, and I see Darigan Citadel and Krawk Island as nearly identical teams: both huge, strong, and dedicated. As I said before though, I think Darigan will have the higher intensity this season, and finish ahead of KI. That's not to say it won't be a lot of fun watching the two as they progress, though. Competition between these two teams will be fierce.
#5 Whoa, what's that you say? Kiko Lake is far too high on my predictions? Call me crazy, but I love Kiko Lake. Maybe it's the colors. Nonetheless, they have always been a team that is full of surprises, pulling miraculous upsets and even placing ahead of Virtupets, Krawk Island, Maraqua, and Tyrannia last year. Not yet time for a cup win, I don't believe, but definitely time for a consistently strong finish!
#6 Far more surprising on my list is this, I think. Why do I place Maraqua so low this year? Two years ago I believed it was our chance at a title, and we placed 4th. Since then, Maraqua has been its own worst enemy. The change in brackets last year caused a lot of apathy, ultimately resulting in an 8th place finish. I do think Maraqua's day is yet to come, and I'd love to be proven wrong here, but I just don't think one year is enough to recover from 8th to 1st. I believe Maraqua will place higher this year than last year and grasp a position to be considered a contender for ACIX, but I don't think ACVIII is going to be our year.
#7 Kreludor won't suffer as much from the Curse of the Cup, methinks. However, they are a smaller team and the legion of undecided players will likely flock there regardless. Furthermore, having secured the win at long last, some players will probably want to give another team a try this year. Don't count them out, though. Kreludor will always be a powerful team.
#8 Brightvale seems to roller coaster through the standings year after year, ultimately finishing around 12th. I see them taking a page from the book of underdogs and scraping out a place in the stronger teams. I don't see them getting too much higher than 12th, but this seems high enough!
#9 Virtupets might still need some time to recover from their win in ACVI. Surely they will finish more strongly than their position at 13th at the end of last season, but generally speaking,it usually takes a couple of years to recover from a win. I believe this to be a respectable position for a respectable team like Virtupets as it recovers from its illness.
#10 Mystery Island surprised everyone last year when they turned out to be the team to beat with the weird brackets. However,I am going to chalk that up as a fluke. Since many of the old powerhouses fell and many of the underdogs rose to the top, I'm going to call Shenanigans on this one. Somewhere around 10th seems appropriate for them.
#11 Terror Mountain has been doing pretty well lately, finishing 8th and 11th in the past 2 cups. It's kind of hard to place them with so much in transition these days, but fighting the teams I've placed around them in the standings, I think this is probably about where they will end up, but perhaps as high as 9th. I don't think they have the strength in YYB to get too much higher than this.
#12 Haunted Woods has been pretty consistent hereabouts for a long time. They have the drive to pull upsets and pick of weaker teams, but not the overall capacity to pull off the wins against the strongest teams needed to propel them higher into the standings. Still, though, they do manage to snag wins where they aren't supposed to, and should not be overlooked.
#13 Lost Desert reclaimed a position at 5th last year, suggesting that perhaps they have finally recovered from their cup win. On the other hand, almost all of the teams have improved dramatically, and most of them have something to prove. Lost Desert already won; everyone knows they're strong. They won't be underestimated and won't necessarily need to prove themselves, so I think they'll be overturned by the other teams trying to establish themselves as contenders.
#14 Roo Island doesn't much seem to care whether they win or lose these days. In the past three years they've fallen from 4th to 9th to 13th. They were a small team to begin with, and with an ever dropping finishing placement, aren't likely to attract new talent. After last year's tournament changes, the apathy can really only be worse. Who knows, though? Perhaps this year there will be even more changes and the Rooligans will be energized and... bouncy.
#15 Shenkuu still can't seem to get back on its feet. However, I don't foresee them letting Moltara edge out ahead of them this time. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like they are going to leave the lower tiers for a while, though. Shenkuu still has the ability to pull upsets though. The ninjas are full of surprises, and may shock us yet.
#16 Moltara has been improving. Now an established team, they seem to have more organization and intensity. With some friendly promoting, they might become stronger in the years to come, but for now are still outpowered by the other teams above them in this list.
#17 Faerieland suffers from a lack of new, talented players. However, after the craziness that happened last year with brackets, there are many players who have thrown about the idea of taking a year off from the pressures of powerhouse teams and signing up with Faerieland. Were they serious? If they were, I don't think you'll see Faerieland in 17th after all.
#18 Altador has usually placed last. Having established a reputation as the last place (or nearly last place team), it's hard to convince players to join, and thus, the situation seldom seems to be improving. Beware the slushies, though.
These will be updated as we have daily matches
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