Altador Cup II (2 Jun 2007)


Once again the time has come for that most beloved of Neopian sporting activities - the Altador Cup! When we last checked in with the world's greatest Yooyuballers, the Haunted Woods had just pulled off a thrilling victory over the Darigan Citadel. Instead of resting on their laurels, however, both teams have made key roster changes, which they feel will vault them into being odds-on favourites to take home the Cup. The Citadel has elected to bench last year's goalie Mungo Lifler and start brilliant new netminder Reshar Collifey, while the Haunted Woods has plugged in bone-crunching defender Autry Fulse. Could either of these moves provide the edge that these teams need to reach the top, or could such adjustments have the opposite effect and backfire in their faces?

Those aren't the only changes you'll notice out on the playing field, though. In addition to a few free-agent signings and the arrival of some promising rookies, an entirely new team has come down from the mountains of Shenkuu to participate in the tournament. The sport itself has even undergone a bit of an alteration, with three new kinds of Yooyuball (Normal, Clockwork, and Darigan) coming into play for the very first time. Off the field, you'll find two new ways of lending support to your favourite Yooyuball squad, so sideline sitters no longer have any excuse for not participating.

What are you waiting for, then? Pick a side and get in on the action!



What happened to Team Kreludor? (8 Jun 2007)


From a statement released by Derlyn Fonnet, the Left Defender of the Kreludor Yooyuball team, on behalf of Team Kreludor: "As you may have noticed by now, Team Kreludor is not one of the participants in this year's Altador Cup. This is due to a malfunction with our training centre's gravity control that went unnoticed; it seems that we have spent the better part of this past year training in gravity that is weaker than that of Neopia. For this reason, it would not be safe for us to compete, due to insufficient bone and muscle density. Rest assured that the problem has been fixed. It is not known, however, whether the incident was a case of simple mechanical failure or the result of sabotage by disgruntled factions here on Kreludor."

"We will continue our training in hopes of returning to form next year, but I'm afraid it would be impossible for us to participate in this year's tournament. We'd like to thank everyone who has supported us in the past and all of our fans both on Kreludor and in Neopia. Thank you."



Krawk Island vs. Darigan Citadel (12 Jun 2007)


It was, in all likelihood, the most anticipated match-up of the Double Round Robin phase of this year's tournament: Krawk Island -- undefeated on the Yooyuball field and the overall leaders thus far -- squared off against the Darigan Citadel, last year's runner-up and the odds-on favourite to win it all going into this year's tournament. Who would win this pairing of Yooyuball powerhouses and gain an early upper-hand in vying for this year's championship?

The Citadel came out with a blistering offensive attack, sending a flurry of shots at Krawk Island goaltender Garven Hale. Though Hale bravely turned away nearly all of Darigan's volleys, the onslaught was simply too much, and as a result a handful of shots managed to slip through. On the opposite end of the field, Krawk Island's creative use of passing and offensive sets created enough scoring opportunities for them to stay within reach. The islanders, however, never quite managed to come up with the energy needed to make a final push and take the lead. In the closing moments of the match, the Darigan squad reached deep down and added a few late scores to pull away and secure the victory.

As impressive as the Citadel has been on the playing field (winning six of their seven match-ups) they've been far less formidable in the tournament's other two aspects. Today was no different, as the rowdy buccaneers from Krawk Island slung more slushies than their foes from the floating fortress, and raised enough of a racket to come away with a draw in the noise-making competition.

So, in the end, it wasn't a total loss for Krawk Island and their swashbuckling spectators; not only did they manage to come away with a few points and keep their place atop the leaderboard, but they could also take heart in knowing that another chance to avenge their loss to the Citadel lies in their future.



Brightvale vs. Virtupets (15 Jun 2007)


Despite lacking the level of anticipation of this week's higher-profile matches, Thursday's contest between Brightvale and the Virtupets Space Station pitted a pair of evenly-matched squads against each other. Which would prevail?

The game was a hard-fought stalemate in the early going, with neither side giving an inch. Brightvale's aggressive (and no-longer-so-surprisingly clean) style made gradual progress in wearing down their Space Station opponents, while Virtupets' arsenal of elaborate offensive sets occasionally flustered King Hagan's crew and created quality scoring chances. Goals were few and far between, with the score dead even as the game reached its midway point.

From then on, however, the fatigue of the Space Station's players became far more noticeable. Mental mistakes increased in frequency, defenders lost a step or two on their rotations, and Brightvale pulled further and further ahead. Rather than mounting a comeback, the Virtupets players struggled just to keep the match close. In the end, despite a valiant effort by Keetra Deile and her Space Station teammates, the Brightvale squad pulled away to post an impressive victory.

The tournament's auxiliary competitions, on the other hand, were far less competitive, with Brightvale's followers holding a decided advantage in slushie serving and noise making throughout the day. So then, despite a thrilling Yooyuball contest in the Altador Coliseum, when the smoke cleared this pairing resulted in an across-the-board win for the Brightvale team and their fans.



Mystery Island Injury Brings in New Player (20 Jun 2007)


As one would expect, Tuesday's match-up wasn't much of a contest, with Mystery Island's forwards riddling Meridell netminder Sir Pollonaire Friedl with a flurry of shots on goal that could not be denied. Faster than a Mystery Island fan could say Bubbling Kraku Thickshake, the islanders had posted a lead that even a diehard Meridell fan like King Skarl would've considered insurmountable.

The fact that Mystery Island had such a huge lead made what happened next even more remarkable. Rather than pulling the team's lone starting defender and putting in a substitute, the islanders elected to leave Maital Koric in the game (despite Koric's recent requests to skip practice so he could rest a nagging injury).

As a result, just as the game was reaching its midway point, Koric crumpled to the ground, clutching his leg. The defender was helped off the field and immediately whisked away to the nearest medical facility. Vela Binal, a promising yet inexperienced young defender, was called in to finish out the match, which Mystery Island went on to win handily. After some preliminary testing, the worst fears of Mystery Island's fans were realized: Koric's injury was announced to be so severe that he'd miss the rest of the tournament.

So now, as Mystery Island fights for a spot in this year's final matches, it appears as though they'll have to rely on the talented yet untested Binal to keep shooters off of goaltender Yaniq Avaan. Will Koric's injury ruin Mystery Island's chances of winning the Altador Cup, or could Binal's addition to the lineup be a blessing in disguise that propels the young Lenny to stardom?



Round Robin Reaches Halfway Point (22 Jun 2007)


As the Altador Cup tournament reaches the midway point of the Round Robin, four teams have pulled ahead to the top of the standings. Roo Island players Lilo Blumario and Jair Tollet have lived up to expectations and helped their scrappy team solidify their position as the tournament heads into the second half of the Round Robin. These hardy island players have not lost a single Yooyuball match yet, winning fifteen of their seventeen games and coming to a draw in the other two. In the meantime, the tough team from Darigan Citadel steadily maintains their position as the favourite, while the nearly-impenetrable defense of Krawk Island continues to help the buccaneers pull ahead of their competition.

The solid playing of the Lost Desert squad, as well as the amazing support they've received in the tournament's two side competitions, has helped these desert wanderers find a place on the leader board. However, it's hardly a time for anyone to let their guard down on the field. Despite losing one of their teammates to injury, the Mystery Island team is close behind, hungering for one of the top spots.

In fact, no team is out of contention yet. The battle for the coveted Cup is still open to anyone, though the struggling teams of Kiko Lake, Virtupets, and Faerieland will have to redouble their efforts if they want a chance of staying in the running. As the second half of the Round Robin kicks off, fans wait in anticipation. Which teams will succeed in their bid for those desired spots in the finals?



Kiko Lake vs. Maraqua (26 Jun 2007)


Monday's match-up with the aquatic teams of Kiko Lake and Maraqua was bound to make a splash, as the scrappy underdogs of Kiko Lake attempted to pull themselves out of the bottom of the standings with renewed energy on the field. Having only won one of their twenty Yooyuball match-ups, these lake-dwellers had something to prove.

Unfortunately, their enthusiasm had difficulty holding up against the tough defensive line-up of Maraqua. Again and again, the Kiko Lake forwards attempted to sneak a shot into the goal, but the three Maraquan defenders rebuffed them at nearly every turn. Any shots that managed to get past the defensive line were almost immediately blocked by goalkeeper Tonie Plessix. Though he wasn't quick enough to get all of them, the defensive wall was still enough to make things extremely frustrating for the Kiko Lake team.

Those few goals weren't enough to faze Elon Hughlis, either. Taking advantage of the opposing team's frustration, the Maraquan forward sent a relentless tidal wave of shots towards the Kiko Lake goal all throughout the game, giving the Maraquans a hefty lead as the match drew to a close. Somewhat dampened by their team's struggling performance, fan enthusiasm for Kiko Lake was not enough to come close to the Maraquans' cheering in Make Some Noise, and the Kiko Lake supporters were unable to serve more slushies than their Maraquan counterparts. In the end, it was a resounding victory for King Kelpbeard's favourite team, both on the field and in the side competitions.