Antwerp QC, Much of Belgian Core, Leaves Competitive Quidditch

Punctuating the end of a six-week quidditch hiatus, Heroes vs Villains Invitational returns this weekend, bringing a high-powered showing of quidditch to kick off the second half of the USQ season. Although this iteration of the tournament may not quite live up to its previous versions’s record-setting lists of teams, the tournament still promises one of the most interesting lineups we will see until nationals.

This invitational will feature a guaranteed seven first-time matchups, and could feature an additional two should the Bosnyan Bearsharks and Rain City Raptors or Terminus Quidditch Atlanta and Diablos QC meet in a finals or third place match.

Full college EI and SNITCH ratings

To preview this tournament, The Eighth Man has produced its Excitement Index and SNITCH (Stratified Novelty Index Tracking Competitive Hierarchy) ratings to help predict some of the best matchups of this upcoming weekend (for more information on how these indices are calculated, see their introductory article here). Since the tournament will feature separate college and club divisions, our ratings for the two have been separated as if they were separate events.

In the introductory article of these rating systems, I wrote that it could be “theoretically impossible” for any matchup’s EI rating to be 100, because it would require the two highest-rated teams at the tournament to have the exact same Elo rating, an event that has never happened at a tournament that I have previously tracked. Despite my overconfident declaration of this scenario as statistically unfeasible, an EI 100 match has surfaced on just our second time calculating these ratings. UCLA and the University of Kansas both enter the tournament with the highest college Elo rating–899–meaning that their 2:20 pm matchup on Saturday will have a perfect Excitement Index score of 100, bringing such a score from the realm of “theoretically impossible” to just “very, very, very unlikely.” Since this will be the fifth meeting between these two teams, their SNITCH rating falls to a still impressive 58.9, but just below the first-time matchup between UC Berkeley and Creighton University, which scores a 59.5 SNITCH rating. Rounding out the top of the list are the matchups between Kansas and Cal (72.1 EI, 48.8 SNITCH) and UCLA and Cal (72.1 EI, 36.1 SNITCH) which both promise to be high-intensity games, even if they are games we’ve seen multiple times in the past. At the bottom of the list is the lowest-rated UC Irvine, who enters this tournament with an Elo Rating of 1645 after putting up a disappointing performance on a short roster at November’s Let’s Get This Bread Bowl. That being said, Irvine hit a season Elo peak of 1739 after going 3-1 at the Chandra Classic, and if they can return to that form, their low EI-rated games could easily be underestimations of how interesting this team is to watch.

The club side of this tournament promises multiple interesting looks, including the first-time meetup between the highest profile clubs to spring from the loins of Emerson College: the Bosnyan Bearsharks and The Lost Boys. Though The Lost Boys may have lost many of their purple lion founders that gave them the moniker “Emerson West,” this game still promises to be an intense matchup with a division-topping EI and SNITCH rating of 76.8. Despite only cracking The Eighth Man’s media rankings once this season, rumors of The Lost Boys demise may be greatly exaggerated, as they’ve put up a 14-1 season with only a snitch-range loss to Diablos. However, this tournament will feature their first out-of-region tests, and their top SNITCH-rated games against the East Coast’s Bearsharks (76.8 SNITCH) and Terminus (70.4 SNITCH) could be indicative of the West’s level of competition this year. Rounding out the top of the EI ratings are a Boom Train/Bosny rematch from last year’s Heroes vs Villains which ended in a snitch-range win by Boom Train and a Bosny/Terminus rematch from this year’s Oktoberfest Invitational. Terminus’s snitch-range win in that matchup gave them the tiebreaker they needed to take home the first club autobid from this season, and while the coast may have changed, this matchup’s EI rating of 68.6 promises that the stakes could remain just as high. It is likely that the club champion comes from one of those four club teams, though if any team has a shot at contending for one of those slots it is Diablos QC. The Diablos saw a meteoric rise in their Elo rating throughout the first half of the season, going undefeated against Western region competition and peaking at 1810, before sending a small roster to the Crescent City Invitational and going 0-5, dropping their rating to 1720. Hosting this tournament in Southern California means the Diablos will have as much of a home field advantage as they can get this season, and if they can leverage that bounce, we’re likely to see them outperform their maximum EI rating of 47.9 this weekend.

Full club EI and SNITCH ratings

Livestreaming and film from this tournament are not expected, but you can catch the occasional college match on The Eighth Man and those in attendance can expect an exciting weekend filled with must-see quidditch.

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