The WFTDA had released its first rankings update since Championships, and as of November 30th, 2015 it’s not really surprising that Gotham is still #1 even though they suffered their first loss in 5 years at the hands of Rose City. Since a team’s ranking is comprised of an average of points earned from 12 months of games, things can take awhile to change as more games are played. (For more information, go here for the rankings white papers.)
Here are some highlights of where things lay now in the top 100 ranked teams compared to January.
Top 10 Teams
The top 10 contains most of the same teams from the beginning of 2015 to the post-Champs rankings release, and are still led by the Gotham Girls. Victoria has reached their highest rank at #2 with 9 wins and 1 loss in the past 12 months. Their 1 loss however, has been by far one of their best games as they only lost to Gotham by 2 points in a semi-final game in St. Paul. After scoring 10 points a piece in the first jam of their match up at Champs, VRDL held the lead over Gotham until the final 3 jams.
Victoria did beat London in the 3rd place final game though, giving Brawling 2 losses on the year and 11 wins. One of London’s wins was against Rose City on their own turf, giving them one of the nine games where a team earned 1,000 ranking points in 2015 that Dave Wood highlighted. Gotham, Victoria, and London all entered Champs as #1 seeds and were the only teams to be undefeated up until that point. Rose City was the 4th #1 seed and the only one to have a loss going into the tournament.
Rose was able to enact revenge twice at Champs, first with a 166-154 win against London, and then met Gotham in the final game to avenge their 2014 Championship loss. While VRDL contained and nearly beat Gotham with their box defense, Rose City divided and conquered with their buddy blocking strategy and finally took down the Gotham Goliath with a sly mix of offense and defense off the jam line. Gotham held the lead for about 11 of the last 12 minutes of the game, but Rose City chipped away and regained the lead in the second to last jam, and then finished Gotham off in the final jam, winning 206-195. (This game, and the other final Sunday games are now on WFTDA’s YouTube.)
Texas rounds out the top 5, the same spot they held at the beginning of the 2015, after a dip to #7 mid-year. They ended the season with a split record after losing 3 in a row early on at the Big O. At Champs they nearly lost to Minnesota before Victoria took them out with a 96-point win. Behind Texas is Angel City at #6, the highest rank they’ve held in awhile. ACDG was knocked out by London at Champs by only 32 points after losing to them by 101 points at Pac Destruction in June. Taking 7th is Denver, who was able to beat Texas at the Big O as one of their 11 wins, but one of their 6 losses was against Jacksonville at playoffs, which forced them to fight for 3rd place. One of the biggest jumps in the top was by Jacksonville who gained 7 spots on the year to take #8 after an impressive post-season that placed them in 2nd at their playoff tournament.
Taking 9th is Bay Area, the only team in the top 10 to have more losses than wins, losing to everyone above them with the exception of not playing Gotham. After losing to Denver by 24 points in June, BAD beat them at Champs by 31 points, showing off their renewed teamwork and offense late in the year. Filling out the top 10 is Arch Rival, making their first appearance there and at Championships. Some of their fire power came from a 5 jammer rotation, but they seem to have recently lost Brickyard to the Minnesota RollerGirls. They had the most movement of the teams in the top 10, moving 13 places to claim their spot.
Some of the biggest movers in 2015 were teams outside the United States, which makes sense as we also saw more international variety at Champs. Starting the year at #41, Stockholm jumped 24 places to #17 in time for playoffs after beating both Charm City and Detroit at ECDX. At the Dallas Playoff tournament they beat Rideau Valley before losing to fellow Swedes, Crime City, who also had impressive movement last season by making playoffs after a huge 48-place jump to #30 by the end of June, and now sit at #24.
In the UK, Glasgow had a steady rise until they jumped 42 places by the end of May and then held #26 heading into playoffs where they placed 9th after beating Pikes Peak. Helsinki has been charging towards WFTDA Playoffs starting with a 3-0 showing at the WFTDA European Tournament in November of 2014. Then they pressed on with their 2015 WTF Tour of the West Coast that concluded with a 7-point victory over Nashville. They bounded through the rankings to #25 by playoffs, placed 7th, and now sit at #33.
Within the United States, the Dallas Derby Devils had a good 2015 by starting with the #56 spot and ending at #19. An even broader look at their performance had them placing 5th in Division 2 in 2013, missing playoffs last year, and returned to take 5th in Division 1 in September. Their playoff performance included a first half advantage of 84-81 against Philly, but then fell to them by the end, 240-114. Their success came from a VRDL-style defense that forced a lot of penalties.
Charlottesville and Pikes Peak both had large rankings leaps which resulted in them both attending D1 playoffs in Jacksonville. Charlottesville started the year at #73, had a winning season which squeaked them into D1 where they finished in 8th place and are now ranked #34. Pikes Peak posted some big wins, and after beginning the year at #93, they finished Playoffs in 10th and now hold #38 in the rankings.
Entering D2 in 2015, Emerald City began at #94 and after some important wins at The Big O they had a 31-spot jump at the end of May. After finishing 8th in Detroit, they now sit at #48. Sac City had beat them in that final Playoff game, earning them 7th place and letting them settle at #52 with an upward movement of 30 places since January.
Another team to make ripples this year was a team that had a dramatic drop instead of rise. We anticipated some different results this year after they lost most of their charter from last season, but the Windy City Rollers ended up falling to #61 since Playoffs. They kept it pretty safe during the regular season, only falling to #20 by the end of June, but in Omaha they lost to Montreal and No Coast before beating Toronto to take 9th place.
There were some teams who made an impressive first showing in the 2015 rankings, or got so close but did not qualify for WFTDA Playoffs. Looking forward, it may have been a momentum building season for them, and are teams to look out for in 2016.
Des Moines United first entered the WFTDA rankings in May at #21 and ended up going to Playoffs in Tucson as the #6 seed. Going 2-2, they ended up placing one spot lower at 7th over Charm City, and are now ranked #22. Although they didn’t make big waves at tournaments in 2015, they do share a coach with Your Mom Men’s Derby and have a pool of talented skaters that may take them further this year.
Ann Arbor missed D2 playoffs by just 3 spots this season, but moved 29 places since January to now hold #56. With 12 wins and 3 losses they attended both The Big O and Midwest BrewHaha taking down higher ranked opponents such as DC, North Star, and Grand Raggidy. Although they did later lose to Grand Raggidy by 62 points in September, they could continue to charge through the rankings this next season to finally snag a spot at Playoffs.
Not far outside Chicago, the DuPage Derby Dames got their first WFTDA ranking in April at #91. In their first year of sanctioned play they have posted 8 wins and just 1 loss by the end of November, and currently sit at #88.
Also below the June rankings cutoff and outside of the U.S., Auld Reekie hovered in the upper 60’s all year but are poised to be a playoff contender next season. They attended The Big O where they beat D2 7th place finisher Sac City, and back home they placed 2nd in the Tier 1 British Roller Derby Championships. Also in Europe, Nidaros and Leeds have taken big strides in 2015 and are currently hanging out at #85 and #89 respectively.
In Australia, Victorian Roller Derby League was the only WFTDA member for awhile, but at the end of 2014, about a half dozen Aussie teams became member leagues and started entering the rankings in 2015. Paradise City became ranked for the first time in June at #66 and have maintained that spot since then. Sydney entered at #93 in May, ping-ponged around the ranks for the rest of the year, and now rest at #96. Their last sanctioned game was against Pirate City, a team from Auckland, New Zealand who also just got ranked in June and were ranked #98 at the end of November.
With a lot of newer blood in the mix, things have started to get more interesting and more competitive in the top 100. Now we are in the new year and with a new season approaching, we will find out if Gotham will come back with a vengeance, or if even more competitors will rise to the top with Rose City and Victoria.