Germantown, MD and New Bern, NC¬¬—Long time, no see. This year’s grateful reunion will feature a great many players who took up online gaming and thrived since 2019. How rusty will we be in the return to the pressures of face-to-face competition? Will we remember the surprising upstarts who beat us in 2019 and have now matured into perennial threats?
Let’s review the big successes of 2019-22 (yes, online trophies are counted). MIT SGS should never be underestimated again. The Siegelmen just keep on winning. School of Sharks had big wins in 2019. Klayder’s Crew emerged from obscurity and may prove to be the new kids on the block. St. Paul’s Rejects are hitting their stride. Canucks – Heroes are proving to be strong online and off. Princess and the Frogs have moved up a level. Train Conductors are growing threats. Terraformers are moving up the ranks. Meeple Syrup is still a long shot, but has talent. 3000m Meeplechase is making a charge. Beware Los Lobos Locos no matter the age.
The tougher issue for your betting choice is which heavy favorites are bad plays. Me and 3 Stiffs will be missing at least one stiff. The various Greenville Mafia teams had an off year in 2019 and are hard to trust now. Band of Fools need to bound back.
As for the real long shots, a few are proving they don’t belong on the bottom of the rankings, but they are still to be avoided with your betting dollars: The Pros from Dover, Canucks – Youngus, Scrubbitude.
This handicapper may be playing Lions of Winter, both Fire and Ice, as mid-rank longshots worthy of a try. Ultimately, your Pick Ten can’t just be the 10 favorites. To stand out in a crowd you have to take a chance on a team others overlook. That said, I can’t leave off my Pick Ten the teams that prove they can win any event in any year, and no doubt these will prove to be the three favorites this year: The Harry B’s, Nest of Spies, and The Western PA Social Club.
The handicapper is relocating to North Carolina, so time is precious. I see that we are getting a late start on gathering teams. Don’t procrastinate. Get your team together ASAP.