In an effort to help the hardcore as well as casual roller derby fan better understand the recent playoff announcements, we felt it would be good to address the derbyverse in perhaps a more accessible language: that of Pokemon Go.
#1 Gotham Girls Roller Derby
Abilities: Swarm, Hidden Ability: Sniper
The Beedrill seems right in line with Gotham, with its nature being one that attacks in swarms, at great speed, with a venomous sting. Also echoing this Pokemon’s characteristics, Gotham’s All-Stars were mainly quiet in their hive this season: until they flew out to the Thin Air Throwdown, going 3-0 against Texas, Denver, and Rocky Mountain, and then heading over to London for “The Rematch”, where they outlasted London by a score of 149-118. Playoffs will tell just how far a well-rested Hivemind can take their success, and see if they can keep moving on to bring the Hydra back to New York once again, against the world’s best.
#2 Victorian Roller Derby League
Abilities: Torrent, Rain Dish
A large, blue force to be contended with, who also has offensive cannons? Yeah. Sounds like VRDL to us. With a 4-0 WFTDA sanctioned season (all at The Big O), and an undefeated showing at The Great Southern Slam, VRDL has once again proven to be fearsome going into playoffs. With several new faces, and an offense that begins before the first whistle even sounds, the Hydra may find a home on a new continent this year.
#3 London Rollergirls
Abilities: Poison Point or Rivalry, Hidden Abilities: Sheer Force
Teams at the European Smackdown can attest to London’s sheer force; having gone undefeated there, they outscored their four opponents with a cumulative 1,477-235. While, when it comes to rivalries, London defeated their Canadian rival from years past, Montreal’s New Skids on the Block, at Mayday in HEL 208-78, and narrowly lost to Gotham 149-118. Long live the “Queen”, who will certainly be showing off their size and speed at playoffs.
#4 Rose City Rollers
Abilities: Guts or No Guard, Hidden Abilities: Steadfast
Who else could be chosen for Rose but Ma”champ”? When a Pokemon can launch 1,000 punches in two seconds, it brings to mind Rose City’s performance at WFTDA Champs last year that brought them home the Hydra. With tremendous dedicated offense, they were able to change the way the game is played, which has continued at The Big O and the Hometown Throwdown, where they went a combined 4-1; over Minnesota, Denver, Angel City, Rat City, while only narrowly losing to VRDL.
#5 Angel City Derby Girls
Ability: Blaze, Hidden Ability: Solar Power
The Charizard is known for circling around in the skies above looking for powerful opponents. Goodness, if that doesn’t sound like what Angel City this year. With seven sanctioned games (4-3), this season, including two against the top four (VRDL and Rose City), and another four games against those in the top 12 (Texas, Denver, Bay Area, and Rat City), Angel City has taken that next step to give any #1 seeded team cause for tremendous concern.
#6 Texas Rollergirls
Abilities: Static, Hidden Abilities: Lightning Rod
While Pikachu is not the first Pokemon, it is the most well-known, and recognizable of its kind, as is the Texas Rollergirls. The standard-bearer, Texas has been to every WFTDA championship tournament since the WFTDA’s inception, and appear poised to continue that streak in 2016. Texas has gone 5-3 in sanctioned play this year, including wins over Denver, Bay Area, and Rat City; while their only losses have been to three of the teams ranked above them: VRDL, Angel City, and Gotham.
#7 Jacksonville Rollergirls
Abilities: Runaway or Flash Fire, Hidden Abilities: Flame Body
With Erin Jackson, Jamsterella, Krispy Kreme-Her, and Snot Rocket Science all on the one team, a Pokemon born of speed and fire seems perfectly apropos. Jacksonville has been galloping all season, accumulating 7 wins and having only lost two games by a mere combined 17-points in sanctioned play to Denver and Arch Rival. Time will tell if their nine sanctioned game season against teams at or below their standing will be enough to trample over WFTDA’s top teams.
#8 Arch Rival Roller Derby
Like Mew, this season Arch Rival has been able to adapt to any of its opponents in order to win. Arch Rival has won three games over top-10 teams by 3-points this season, edging out Denver, Jacksonville, and Minnesota. With an 8-0 record, Arch Rival is proving last year’s appearance at Champs will not be followed with any sophomore slump.
#9 Minnesota Rollergirls
Abilities: Swift Swim or Shell Armor, Hidden Abilities: Weak Armor
The Aqua & Army and the Omastar both have a hard shell after this season, as Minnesota lost two games by a combined 4-points (-1 to Denver, -3 to Arch Rival). And were not able to string together two wins in a row throughout their nine game season, going 5-4. That said, a single pass worth of points separates this 5-4 team from being 7-2; for the stress of the playoffs, Minnesota certainly comes in battle hardened and ready for the top tier opponents WFTDA has to offer.
#10 Denver Roller Derby
Ability: Pressure, Hidden Ability: Snow Cloak
With wings made of ice, soaring among mountains, and with the ability to make it snow down on enemies, the Articuno and Denver seem to made for each other. Also add in the season Denver has had, and you also find they share “pressure”, as well. With 11 sanctioned games, Denver has experienced blowouts for and against (+399 over Boulder County, -141 to Gotham), as well as nail biting wins and losses (+1 over Minnesota, -3 to Arch Rival). With this varied season behind them, it should help the team be set for the challenges ahead in the WFTDA playoffs.
Special thanks to Clara Form (Garden State Rollergirls) and J. K. Trolling for lending their Pokemon expertise in the creation of this feature.