Compared to the other groups that have one outlier pertaining to overall skill-level, I believe that Group A has the smallest skill-gap between the teams. Why say this? Let’s dig right in.
Projected Lineup: Ruby, Suip, Polar, Puffe, Eetu (bagger)
Team Finland put on quite the show in the play-in stage, defeating Swiss-Austria, Eastern Europe, and Spain, while losing solely to the mighty Team Ireland. In some senses, they were positioned as the favorites for the match-up, and for good reason. A squad led by Ruby’s leadership and in-game expertise can manage quite well. They brought back big names such as Suip, Eetu, Polar, and Puffe to compete versus the other strong nations. Suip, in fact, was on the verge of a 150-point match versus Spain before he scored 34 GP3 to squeeze out a massive 131.
One thing to look out for is Finland’s ability to recover from deficits. I believe that if the aforementioned players were to all be on point while Eetu secures the bolt, great things could arise.
Projected Lineup: Nanase, yrety, Jan, Azma, Kapera (bagger)
Team Japan is unbelievably powerful.
Individually, these players have each achieved diamond rank or higher in Mogi Lounge, an impressive rank in the community’s ranked ladder; and together, have been able to compete in the highest level of play in the former Wiimmfi League on multiple occasions. Nanase, yrety, Jan, Azma, Mine, and type are all top level Regular Track players in the mogi format. Will they be able to bring their wrath to a team-oriented format?
I believe they are capable of making huge upsets due to their individual skill; however, versus teams with long-standing chemistry and communication power, it may be tough for Japan to be able to break out big. Additionally, Kapera is solid as an overall player, but does not have a ton of bagging experience (especially recently). This could hinder them a lot, as there are other more prominent baggers in this group that could heavily out-shock him. That said, Team Japan should be able to pass through to the bracket stage and perform very well in this group, if nothing else because of their sheer racing ability.
Projected Lineup: Leops, Leo, Mae, Thomas, Joris (bagger)
From personal experience, take it from me: Team Netherlands is a force to be reckoned with. Through various scrimmage wars with US East versus them, this team is no joke. Leops is one of the greatest in-game-leaders (or IGLs) and overall players in a match (“war”) format. Not to mention he has great technical players surrounding him in Mae, Leo, Thomas, and Christan. Additionally, they have Joris, the stand-out bagger and a valuable asset for the current number 2 seed in the Mario Kart Professional Series (MKPS) making the Spring Split Finals, Team Avail.
They have been steadily building chemistry by warring top teams and have accumulated many impressive wins. With aggressive item play, confidence in their maneuvers and shock calls, Team Netherlands have a great chance at demolishing this group.
Projected Lineup: Boardz, K1NG, Daru, Hakim, Ryou (bagger)
Last but certainly not least, Team France has a fantastic roster that can bring the heat. With a their projected lineup, they can produce some magic in this group. Mastah’s unique pack-play style inspired by Barry/Saik (“schlagging”) is lethal, slowing down players with items and aggressive teamplay alone. Paired with the strong running power brought by Boardz, K1NG, and Hakim, they are able to compete with anyone, let alone this group.
Then there’s Ryou. Ryou was a Top 5 bagger in the game when he played actively back in 2018-2019. He has always been known as an ultra-aggressive sandbagger, cutting tight turns and running close to racing players. Ryou has been known to drag up accidental penalties because of this, but is still incredibly talented. French teams such as Team GUN historically have not had great success in the top divisions of leagues versus the best of the best. But French teams also haven’t had Ryou, often playing with Kinetolic Gaming. I think that this specific group of hand-picked French players can pull off upsets if Ryou is able to pull those shocks.
Ultimately, I think Team Netherlands is going to come out on top in this group.
All in all, wars come down to effective communication, execution, and of course, shocks. Team Netherlands have a full package, with Leops taking the communication reins, and a few other competent and powerful runners, while Joris snags the shocks. Can’t ask for much more than that.
Japan will be a close second, as their individual skill in Nanase, yrety, Jan, and Azma could prove fatal if Kapera is able to nab 5 shocks. Kapera is not nearly as strong of a bagger as Joris, so that is one way The Netherlands have the edge versus them. As previously mentioned, communication is key, and this is a question mark for the team coming into the World Cup. Mogi formats are primarily played without voice communication, so it will be interesting to see how they perform versus a team with a strong IGL.
France will come in at third, as I believe they are strong all around, but do not have that X-Factor player that puts them over the edge. In order to compete versus the aforementioned teams, France will have to clutch out shocks, blues, and key “schlag” items to prevent other teams from breaking away with their running power. However, you can never count them out, as they could very well surprise us with upsets.
Finland may have a rough time in this group, mainly because most of their runners do not play this game actively to begin with. Ruby is the clear exception, as he has been a prominent top division player for years. Additionally, they lost to Ireland by a hefty margin, and I believe that every team in this group has a much higher skill-level than them.
- The Netherlands