Of the 28 teams that started the journey 12 will head into the weekend for Ontario Championships. From those 12 a yet to be determined number will head to Montreal for the Canadian 4v4 Ultimate Championships (C4UC). This weekend will also have an impact on bid allocation for 2019 sectionals giving teams an additional incentive to perform well.
Read on to find out how things may shake out.
While this may be a championship event the final ranking also determines who heads to C4UC. With at least two bids up for grabs the most important game is the game to go and the schedule has to be aligned to provide a fair opportunity for all teams to make it to that game.
However, in order to make a decision as to which UPA Tournament format to use the number of teams advancing needs to be known. Ultimate Canada is currently determining the final number of bids for each region and will communicate that on Saturday morning. The number of bids will determine how Sunday will be structured. Ahead of then an educated guess can be made.
The UPA Tournament manual states that: “The preferred method, therefore, for all variations of a twelve-team tournament is to start off with two pools of six.” The seeding of each pool can be based upon the number of bids so beyond knowing that there will be two pools of six not much else can be finalized at this time.
It should be noted that it is not beyond the realm of possibility that Ontario receives 10 bids like it did last year or even more. Realistically 6-8 bids can be expected which leaves the door open for the mid-field to make it to Nationals.
By seed (finishing rank at O4UC 2017):
- G’s Pot – Toronto
- Tune Squad (1) – Kitchener
- Waitlisted (6) – Kingston
- Frankenstein – North Bay
- Fluid – Toronto
- Swift (5) – Waterloo Region
- Dynamite – Ottawa
- Tetraphobia (2) – Toronto/Hamilton
- Puffins – Waterloo Region/Guelph
- Six Thirteen – Kingston
- YUM – Bowmanville
- Errant Scoobers – Ottawa
Of the 18 teams that competed in 2017 only 5 return with the same name. Comparing results to last year also shows that Tetraphobia (8) seeded well below where they finished last year while Waitlisted (3) is significantly higher. With the various sections coming together we should see lower seeded teams beat higher seeded teams in pool play.
Of the 12 teams only 1, Frankenstein (4), has not had to play a game as of yet as they won their section by forfeit. They are an uncertain quantity and this leaves them vulnerable to both the 3 and 4 seeds in their pool. By looking at the 4 teams that follow them in the overall seeding it’s clear that the 2-4 spots are indeterminate. However, this is a North Bay team and on more than one occasion they have proven themselves to be more than capable to challenge for winning it all; this team is the biggest wildcard in the tournament.
The other team that will be a 2 seed in a pool that is a bit of a uncertainty is Waitlisted (3). They played short rostered in Kingston, with a few tight games, and managed to take the 1 seed out of the section. With a full roster they are in a position to upset the 1 seed but are in a position to also be upset by either Fluid (5) or Swift (6).
Fluid (5) was a pleasant surprise at South sectionals and are poised to upset the teams seeded higher than them. They were the dark horse, along with Force, in South Sectionals and they have more than proven themselves to be contenders for heading to C4UC.
What makes this tournament exciting is the uncertainty. The initial seeding simply rotates through the sections without any relative comparison of the sections themselves. The disproportionate allocation of bids to the sections also leads to higher calibre teams out of of some sections vs others which matters when the results from this tournament impact bids in 2019. Let’s take a look at bid allocations by section:
- West: 7 teams – 3 bids
- North: 2 teams – 1 bid
- East: 6 teams – 4 bids
- South: 13 teams – 4 bids
For the East the results are significant as they have 2 bids at risk. They need an excellent performance by 3 of their teams which means beating two teams from the South and two from the West. That means finishing above: YUM (11), Tetraphobia (8), Puffins (9), and Swift (5). Failure to finish 3 teams above those 4 should result in 2 bids for the section in 2019 whereas finishing above 2 will result in 3 bids for the section.
The biggest challenges for the East come from YUM (11) and Puffins (9). They need to beat both to hang on to 3 bids and both are tough teams from tough sections. YUM finished 4th out of the South section by beating Force in the game to go. Force finished 10th in 2017 in a fairly competitive tournament with a team that was still in a growth phase. YUM has significant potential for moving into the midfield and that should put the teams above them on notice.
Puffins (9) are also from a tough section with a combination of talents out of the West. They beat Perturbed Pachyderms in the game to go. Pachyderms had finished 15th in 2017 and returned in 2018 with a revitalized roster. This means Puffins have faced fairly strong competition in their section and are prepared for tough games. They will have a tough time moving up, though, considering the calibre of teams above them and will need to look at Dynamite (7), a team of TC veterans, as their best possibility for an upset.
The North is fairly stable in their Section and will maintain at least 1 bid. However, if they can maintain seed then they are in contention to pickup a second bid for 2019. The South is in position to gain at least 1 bid as it stands based on size alone. They can gain a second if all of their teams finish above two teams from the East and two from the West. The West can pickup a bid if Puffins maintains seed above the teams from the East and South.
The bid predictions are based upon distribution strategies utilized over the past years by UC and USAU. It also relies upon the 2019 O4UC staying at 12 teams rather than 16. A case could be made to expand to 16 teams considering that Ontario went from 18 teams in 2017 to 28 teams in 2018 competing in the series. That, though, is still a far cry from the Quebec Ultimate scene.
For the teams at the top end and in the mid-field the greatest uncertainty, at this time, is just how many bids they have. If between two to six bids are available then the following teams are in contention:
- G’s Pot
- Tune Squad
If eight bids then:
- G’s Pot
- Tune Squad
The top end will be very competitive in this tournament. However, without knowing the number of bids nobody can provide good predictions on the outcome of this tournament. Perhaps the only fair prediction would be that G’s Pot (1) will move on to C4UC unless they have an epic meltdown.
Instead, let’s focus on who is likely to win Spirit. Of the qualifiers that played the following teams are in contention for finishing first in Spirit (Spirit ranking in their section):
- Swift (3) – West
- Puffins (4) – West
- Dynamite (2) – East
- Six Thirteen (2) – East
- G’s Pot (6) – South
- Tetraphobia (6) – South – 1st in 2017
Missing from this list is Perturbed Pachyderms who finished 1st in Spirit in the West section but lost the game to go to Puffins (4).
What can we expect from this tournament? Well, it all depends on how many bids Ontario receives. If it is a small number then expect high level of play and highly competitive finals. If it is a large number then the battles will move to the mid-field.
You can watch the on field action at Central Tech Stadium in Toronto on Saturday from 1100 and on Sunday from 1500 (3 pm).