The Fates of Norway, United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico – The 2020 MKWC Group D Preview

Group D in the 2020 World Cup is definitely the group to watch out for. Being appropriately considered by many to be the “group of death” it is without a doubt the group with the most uncertainty. Featuring arguably three of the strongest teams in the whole tournament in Norway, United Kingdom, and Germany, it is sure to produce some interesting results and ensures that a strong team will be knocked out even before the bracket stage. Rounding out the group is Mexico, who are surely the odd one out in this group, but are also capable of making waves of their own and causing upsets. Let’s take a more in depth look at the teams in this group and try to decipher what’s going to go down.




Norway

Projected Lineup: Fox, Barney, Noctl, Kyon, Twingy (bagger)

Norway is a new team to the World Cup this year. In past World Cups, they played as “Nordic” combining with other countries such as Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. In 2016 they came into the tournament firing and ended up getting 2nd place to Team USA. However, in 2017 they were knocked out in the Group Stage after suffering a crucial upset loss to Team Italy.

In 2020, Norway comes into Group D as the Pool 1 seed of the group. In other words, they are projected by seeding as the strongest team in this group. As we will dive into later this is absolutely not to say that they are the clear cut favorite in this group. 

With that said, there is no denying that this team has an incredibly strong main lineup of running talent that has seen a lot of experience in high division play over the recent years. Noctl is a seasoned veteran who has a lot of valuable experience not only in the Wiimmfi era but also was considered one of the best players in the game in the Wifi era as well. While I think it’s fair to say that Noctl is not at his peak anymore, he still performs quite admirably and is an integral part of the main lineup of Ethereal (E) which is currently considered to be the best team in the game, leading the charge in the Mario Kart Professional Series (MKPS) in 2020. Noctl is renowned for his skills with items and pack play, known to disrupt the enemy team with carefully placed snipes and innovative item strategy.

Fox and Barney are frightening frontrunners and currently play for Metro Wipeout (Mw) which is debatably a top 3 team in the game right now. They also both experienced a good amount of success on Vitality prior to Mw’s uprising. Fox is a well established player and has been known for dominating the Time Trial scene for quite some time, holding upwards of double digit world records at the same time in the past. His focus since then has shifted to other games as well, which has noticeably affected his performance at times, but as of late it has seemed like Fox has gotten back up to form and been a crucial part of Metro Wipeout’s success as they still are considered a top contender for winning the MKPS this year. Barney on the other hand is a little more inconsistent, but is definitely a player that can get rolling and make a huge impact on a match. While I would put him a notch behind Fox and Noctl, don’t be surprised to see him score upwards of 120 in an important match. 

Rounding out their lineup is Kyon, who is rather inactive at this point and is definitely a step behind the other racers in the lineup. I have also been informed that his interest is low and it is possible they could use Jeenu as well, who is a lesser known player who however has shown flashes of potential both in Mogi Lounge and in wars for Apocalypse. The consistency of their fourth runner is definitely a point of concern for the team but definitely not a huge drop off in skill. 

If there is any major point of concern for this team it is the bagging situation. Their main bagger is currently slated to be Twingy, who is not an experienced bagger and is doing so mainly because of a lack of bagging options in the country. It is also possible that they have Jeenu bag, however I think that whichever one they use will be the underdog in a lot of the more important matches when it comes to the bagging battle. Since shock is a crucial part of the game this could end up being the make or break point when it comes to this team’s success in the tournament.

United Kingdom

Team United Kingdom have competed in every year of the MKW World Cup and have seen a good bit of success for themselves. In the inaugural year of the MKW World Cup in 2015, they got 2nd place to Team USA after a big upset victory over Team Germany in the semifinals. They did not make another finals appearance in 2016 or 2017, but had playoffs appearances in both years. 

While United Kingdom is a Pool 2 seed in this group, it can be easily argued that they are the best team in this group. They have a very strong core of running talent as well as a talented shotcaller in Xander, and they have an incredible amount of bagging depth which could be what sets them apart from the other teams in this group. 

Leading the charge on the team is Xander, who as previously mentioned will be the team’s main shotcaller and has a lot of experience doing so, in teams like Relapse and now Metro Wipeout. He’s a strategic player who is known for having a lot of strong opinions on the game and he also is no slouch when it comes to in game speed and mechanics.

Shaun is well known for being one of the best players of all time. He has been playing the game since 2008 and has consistently been one of the best players for all 12 years of playing the game, which is highly impressive. He is without a doubt one of the most individually skilled players in the whole tournament. However, in more recent times he has been more known for playing mogis and has a lack of interest in wars, leading to a lack of top level warring experience and communication issues, which could be seen as his weakness.

LukeGB currently dominates the Time Trial scene and is an incredibly quick racer, with that being said he is less consistent online and also is known for having attitude problems which could be something that plagues the United Kingdom in their matches. He is a member of Kinetolic Gaming’s MKPS team but he does not see a lot of playtime there, which does show that despite the fact that he is currently the best time trialer the game has to offer, that skill does not necessarily directly translate to online play. Despite that he is definitely the type of player that can make a huge impact on a match if he gets going and will break away if he is let into 1st.

UK’s fourth runner is a bit more of a question mark. In scrimmage matches, their fourth has primarily been Klyne, who is not known as a top player but is a fairly consistent pack player that wouldn’t hinder the UK lineup. With that being said, in my opinion UK’s best option for a fourth runner is Flairy, who has been seeing playtime lately with Metro Wipeout’s second team and has been doing quite well in their matches. He is mostly known for his skill as a Custom Track player but he is no slouch on regular tracks and could make a positive impact for this team.

The team’s main bagger is slated to be Jazz, who is arguably one of the top baggers in the game, but they also have Sammeh on the roster who is right up there with him. Additionally, Klyne who was talked about before also has bagging experience and talent. If every team’s main bagger is able to play every match, then their bagging depth isn’t necessarily a huge advantage. However they have several options that can all compete with the best baggers the game has to offer currently, and this will surely help them match up against other top teams in the tournament.

Germany

Projected Lineup: Crash, Kevin, Kay, Niko, Jiren (bagger) 

Germany has always been a well versed team in the World Cup. They had appearances in the semifinals in both 2015 and 2016 to UK and NDC respectively, both of which join them in this group. In 2017, they got 2nd place to Team USA. 

Germany comes into this group as a Pool 3 seed and quite questionably at that. I think that this team definitely should have been in Pool 2 and perhaps as even one of the best teams in that pool no less. With that said, Germany was decided to be a Pool 3 team and thus landed in this group. The team for what it’s worth does not have a whole lot of depth, and is pretty reliant on using its main lineup or something close to it in every single match in order to have a real shot at competing here. 

Leading the team is Crash who is one of the best players in the game currently and is a part of the dominant Ethereal squad mentioned previously. He has a great mix of running power and great pack play that makes him extremely versatile in a variety of different situations. Along with that his experience will allow him to have a good voice in the team when it comes to crucial shotcalling and decision making in matches. 

I would say this team’s #2 is Kevin, who is a newer and perhaps lesser known player that really has made a splash in recent years. He made a name for himself in Mogi Lounge where he went from essentially nothing to ending up being one of the top ranked players in the Lounge at a time. He definitely has a lot less war experience than many of the projected top players in the tournament but he is a member of Avail (Av) in MKPS which is a top ranked team that he has made contributions to throughout the year. 

Kay is a player who is not very active anymore, but when active is a pretty solid player all around who uses Daisy and is very good and consistent at the large shortcuts that the character specializes in, those being the GBA Bowser Castle 3 ultra shortcut and the Bowser’s Castle glitch. Teams will have to be aware of this and make concentrated efforts to block these shortcuts or disrupt him on them, or else he will almost certainly be making them.

Niko rounds out this lineup and he is another solid and consistent player who is not known for being amazing but is surprisingly reliable on the racetrack. He used to primarily be a bagger but as his running talent became more clear he has started to make appearances in important matches of competitive play with Vellichor (vc) in the MKPS.

If there is a point of concern for this team, it is definitely the bagging situation, similar to Norway’s problem. Jiren is not a well known bagger and is a big question mark for this squad. He also has not been making appearances in many scrimmages so how good he will be in the tournament, is little known. If he can surprise people and get a lot of shocks for this team, then Germany suddenly will become a huge force to be reckoned with in this tournament.

Mexico

Projected Lineup: Dante, Alberto, Jose, Mythos, Okereke (bagger)

Mexico is a new team to the World Cup this year. In years past, players from Mexico participated in the World Cup for Team Latin America. That team still exists in this tournament, but this time Mexico joins the fray as their own team. 

Definitely the odd team out in this group, Mexico comes in as the 4th seed from the Play-In stage of the tournament after going 2-1. On paper, they are supposed to be the worst team to come out of the Play-In stage, which is why they ended up in the hardest group per the process of the Play-In teams selecting their group. 

With that being said I actually have my doubts about this. I think they could be the 3rd or 2nd best team to come out of the Play-In stage, which makes this already brutal group even harder. They will absolutely have an extremely tough time making it out of this group, but it’s not impossible. I would say that this team’s best player is Dante, who cannot really stand up to the best players of the other teams in this group but is still an impact player nonetheless and a lightning rod of sorts with a big personality as well. He is pretty inconsistent (scores in the Play-In stage ranged from 70 to 130), but if he gets going, it could affect the whole team and spark something huge in a match. 

Alberto is also a pretty decent player who was a consistent performer for Mexico in the Play-In stage, scoring 116 in their match vs Belgium which clinched their spot in the main tournament. Jose also performed well in the Play-In Stage putting up consistent scores around the 80-90 range, but is mainly a Custom Track player and will likely struggle in this group against well renowned players who focus most if not all of their attention into regular tracks. In the Play-In Stage their fourth runner rotated between Mythos and Boost, but I think they will lean towards Mythos, who has been around for a very long time playing for teams like ER7 on WiFi. Despite having that veteran status in the community, I do definitely think he will struggle a lot in the tournament as he has not been very active as the community has been progressing and the skill level of the average player has been increasing tremendously in the recent years.

The team’s bagger will be Okereke, who much like the situation on Norway and Germany is not a well-known bagger and is likely doing the task simply because Mexico needed somebody to do it. How he stacks up to baggers like Twingy and Jiren is lesser known, but it is almost certain that UK baggers like Jazz and Sammeh will have his number. All around, the team is not awful, and that’s why they made it to this stage of the tournament to begin with. But having no no stand out players will definitely translate to a struggle to keep up with the other teams in this group.

Who Wins?

UK in 2015. NDC in 2016. GER in 2017. All three of the big teams in the group have made it to the finals of the World Cup and suffered a loss there to the hands of Team USA. Therefore, all of these teams are coming with a vengeance and have something to prove. After looking at each of the teams individually I find it very difficult to pick out which two teams will advance from this group and in what order. 

I think the team with the most individual running talent in their main lineup is actually Germany, which makes it even more perplexing that they came into this group as the Pool 3 seed, and I think that they are closely followed by Norway, who has a lot of running talent which is likely why they came into this group as the top seed. 

However it really should not be understated just how important the bagging aspect of Mario Kart Wii is. One team getting a large amount of shocks can completely swing a match, especially if the teams are close in skill, which I think is the case for all three of Norway/United Kingdom/Germany. Therefore, I have to give the edge in this group to the United Kingdom, who have a talented running core but more importantly far and away the best baggers in this group.

When it comes to the Norway vs. Germany matchup, which I personally think will be the deciding factor in this group, it really is tough to pick out a winner here. However if I am assuming that both teams are using their best lineup, then I will have to go with Germany, as I previously stated I think they have the best main lineup of runners in this group. I do have my doubts however of if Germany will be able to use this best lineup in every match, and if they can’t, then they have to defer to backups such as Fred, Lucid, Paul, and the like, who are decent players, but still a large drop off from their main core. 

Norway however also has problems with depth and could face similar struggles. I think these teams will match up closely and determine who advances out of this group, but I have to give the edge to Germany who have always been a force to be reckoned with in the World Cup. As for Mexico, I’m sad to say I have to put them at 4th place here, and do not think they will take a match. If they do take a match though, it could spell doom for the team that they upset and highly impact the group. 

  1. United Kingdom
  2. Germany
  3. Norway
  4. Mexico