Marble League Rolldown: Marble League Showdown

Senor Weaselo
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The rush continues! As mentioned in prior installments the marathon, the non-qualifying teams from the 2020 season compete in a B-league event called the Showdown. 12 teams compete for 8 spots in next year’s Marble League Qualifiers, where they will be joined by all the non-auto qualifiers from this year’s competition (the top 3 plus the host). Let’s meet the teams. In most cases this is a re-acquaintance from the qualifiers, but there are of course four teams entirely foreign.

Team Primary: Imar (c), Prim, Rima, Mary, Aryp (a), Secondary-coach
One of the shocks of the season, Mary gave up her captainship not to her brother Prim, but to Imar. We’ll see if this changes Team Primary’s fortunes or could be the beginning of the end.

Jungle Jumpers: Jump (c), Hop, Skip, Leap, Bounce (a), Tarzan-coach
One of the fan favorites, the Jumpers may have missed out from qualifying when Leap leapt off the funnel track, 2 consolation points or not.

Snowballs: Snowflake (c), Snow, Snowy, Snowstorm, Snowblast (a), Blizzard-coach
Captain Snowflake had to have been kicking himself all Marble League. His bouncy 5 meter run was dead last in the qualifiers and cost the Snowballs a chance to return to the Marble League.

Chocolatiers: Choc (c), Cocoa, Mocha, Bonbon, Fudge (a), Truffle-coach
Prior to the qualifiers, Cocoa handed the captaincy to Choc. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to prevent relegation this past year.

Indigo Stars: Indie (c), Gogo, Diego, Bingo, Montoya (a), Ringo-coach
The Stars were thwarted in a return trip to the League, as they couldn’t recover from their tough start in the balancing event.

Jawbreakers: Candy (c), Taffy, Sugar, Sweet, Tidbit (a), Gummy-coach
One of the original sixteen Marble League teams, it’s been a long time since their top half finish in the inaugural competition. It’s been three years in a row not qualifying for the main games.

Rojo Rollers: Rojo Uno (c), Rojo Dos, Rojo Tres, Rojo Cuatro, Rojo Cinco (a), Rojo Cero-coach
Has it really now been four seasons where this original Marble League team and fan favorites failed to qualify? They were popular enough to get a Marbula One call, where the team finished 13th.

Pinkies: Pinky Rosa (c), Pinky Winky, Pinkydink, Pinky Toe, Pinky Panther (a), Pinky Promise-coach
And then there were six. The Pinkies’ failure to qualify for the 2020 League means only 6 of the original sixteen teams have qualified for every Marble League: Savage Speeders, O’rangers, Mellow Yellow, Team Galactic, Oceanics, and Thunderbolts.

Shining Swarm: Sparkle (c), Shiny, Shimmer, Sterling, Glimmer (a), Gleam-coach
These silver marbles are best known for being the winners of the infamous fidget spinner collision event of 2017. 2017 is, however, they only season they’ve been in the Marble League, missing out in 2018 and 2019, not even making it out of the Showdown in ’19, finishing 9th and losing out to the Minty Maniacs on medal tiebreakers (MNT silver to SHN bronze)

Kobalts: Azure (c), Meepo, Gnome, Cerulean, Royal (a), Sapphire-coach
Another one of the original sixteen teams, the Kobalts haven’t qualified since the inaugural competition in 2016 and were, according to former member and new manager Dodger, in danger of folding. Auto-relegation after last year’s showdown probably didn’t help things, but they’re looking for redemption.

Turtle Sliders: Crush (c), Squirt, Shelly, Dash, Frank (a), Splint-coach
The Sliders (blue, yellow, and brown) debuted in the 2019 Showdown via fan vote, but couldn’t make it stick into results, finishing 11th in the 12-team competition. With a full year under their belt they’re looking to make it into the qualifiers for the first time.

Limers: Sublime (c), Lemonlime, Goolime, Slimelime, Limelime, Keylime-coach
Longtime rivals of the Raspberry Racers, it hasn’t been a great couple years on this side of the rivalry. The Limers missed out for the first time and ultimately finished last in the Showdown last season, while the Racers won the Marble League.

With all the teams introduced, time for the first event. All events can be found here, rather than in multiple videos.

Event 1: 5-Meter Relay

The rules are just like the relay in the main competition, but with only 12 teams competing, only the winners move onto the final, plus the runner-up with the best time.

Heat 1: Snowballs (Snow, Stowstorm, Snowy, Snowflake), Kobalts (Cerulean, Meepo, Gnome, Azure), Jungle Jumpers (Hop, Skip, Leap, Jump), Shining Swarm (Sterling, Shiny, Shimmer, Sparkle)
Again, captains like to be the anchor. As for the top of the course, the gate lifted and the Kobalts did not move. It was called a false start for some sort of malfunction. On the restart, the Kobalts got a decent launch, as Cerulean was 3rd ahead of Sterling. At the front it was Hop and Snow close together, and so they remained. The Jumpers built their lead through the first two legs, but the pass to Leap wasn’t clean as Snowy passed by and the Snowballs could cruise to the win.
Result: Snowballs, Jungle Jumpers, Kobalts, Shining Swarm

Heat 2: Limers (Lemonlime, Slimelime, Limelime, Sublime), Rojo Rollers (Rojo Cuatro, Rojo Tres, Rojo Dos, Rojo Uno), Jawbreakers (Taffy, Sweet, Sugar, Candy), Indigo Stars (Bingo, Gogo, Diego, Indie)
It was an even-ish launch but Taffy had a slight lead through the first leg. Rojo Tres however got a massive run in their second leg, and the Rollers just coasted from there. Looking at it (and the times), the Rollers got a good run but everyone else’s was quite poor and probably won’t get them into that top 2nd place contention.
Result: Rojo Rollers, Limers, Jawbreakers, Indigo Stars

Heat 3: Chocolatiers (Mocha, Cocoa, Bonbon, Choc), Turtle Sliders (Frank, Squirt, Shelly, Crush), Team Primary (Prim, Rima, Mary, Imar), Pinkies (Pinky Winky, Pinkydink, Pinky Toe, Pinky Rosa)
It was Mocha coming out of the blocks quickest, with Prim in 2nd. But at the relay the Chocolatiers lost speed and Cocoa fell behind Rima and Squirt. They got it back in the third leg as Bonbon stormed back out to the lead, with Mary having a good enough leg to keep up. Choc had the lead going into the anchor but Imar took that new captaincy to heart and tracked the new Chocolatiers captain down for a photo finish… and the win.
Result: Team Primary, Chocolatiers, Turtle Sliders, Pinkies

Advancing marbles: Snowballs, Rojo Rollers, Team Primary, Jungle Jumpers (best runner-up)

Non-advancing marbles (5th-12th): Kobalts, Chocolatiers, Turtle Sliders, Limers, Shining Swarm, Jawbreakers, Indigo Stars, Pinkies

Final: Team Primary, Jungle Jumpers, Snowballs, Rojo Rollers
Same team runners, so they were off. Snow got a great launch, and the Snowballs held the lead through the first three legs, the Rojo Rollers close behind. But the pass for the anchor leg wasn’t clean, and Snowflake had absolutely no go as the other three passed him. Rojo Uno didn’t have a great launch either as he was passed by Imar and Jump, who got the jump on Imar as well and pipped him at the line.
Result: Jungle Jumpers, Team Primary, Rojo Rollers, Snowballs

Results and standings (after Event 1 of 4)
1. Jungle Jumpers-20 pts
2. Team Primary-15 pts
3. Rojo Rollers-12 pts
4. Snowballs-9 pts
5. Kobalts-7 pts
6. Chocolatiers-6 pts
7. Turtle Sliders-5 pts
8. Limers-4 pts
9. Shining Swarm-3 pts
10. Jawbreakers-2 pts
11. Indigo Stars-1 pt
12. Pinkies-0 pts

Remember, top 8 move onto the 2021 Qualifiers, top 4 are automatically placed in the 2021 Showdown.

Event 2: Halfpipe

Like in the Marble League, two teams at a time enter the halfpipe to stay in as long as possible. The first finishing marble of each team’s time is thrown out, and teams get two runs together swapping positions. Largest cumulative time against the field wins.

Run 1: Snowballs vs. Indigo Stars
It’s not the massive break you heard in the League competition, so one of the Snowballs very slowly worked up the halfpipe, rather than hitting the wall and bouncing back hard. This could prove useful. But two Indigo Stars lingered on the left side for even longer, letting that Snowballs marble go through them. Unsurprisingly, those were the last two marbles to finish

Snowballs: 5.78-6.08-7.23-9.54 (22.85)
Indigo Stars: 7.01-8.27-11.35-12.24 (31.86)

Run 2: Team Primary vs. Chocolatiers
There was a little more of a break and two Primary marbles up the course, but this time they both bumped the Chocolatiers marble even further up, keeping it up there longer and slowing both of them. But there was a big gap between those three marbles and the other five, and the three Chocolatiers marbles, including two scored marbles, would hurt the time a bit.

Team Primary: 4.59-6.93-10.76-12.21 (29.90)
Chocolatiers: 7.07-7.78-8.59-12.30 (28.67)

Run 3: Rojo Rollers vs. Limers
A mixed run for the Limers, who got the two towards the wall positioning. Those two bumped each other, which slowed one down for it to be the last to finish, but the other streaked down the course. It would make it an interesting score.

Rojo Rollers: 5.08-7.48-8.55-9.94 (25.97)
Limers: 5.78-6.86-8.69-10.98 (26.53)

Run 4: Pinkies vs. Kobalts
Not a huge break as one for each reached the wall, no third marble could get there. But the second Pinkies marble was further up than the second Kobalts marble and was doing a nice job of lateral movement. There was a little bump between the Pinkies and Kobalts marble at the top which spun the Kobalts marble enough to throw off its time as the two Pinkies were the last two to finish.

Pinkies: 5.11-5.20-10.61-11.50 (27.31)
Kobalts: 6.47-6.58-9.42-9.95 (25.95)

Run 5: Jungle Jumpers vs. Shining Swarm
The Jumpers got the break you want. One went to the bottom, yes, but three to the left meant the scored marbles would all have decent times, compared to the Shining Swarm’s.

Jungle Jumpers: 5.82-9.78-10.72-11.79 (32.29)
Shining Swarm: 6.05-7.39-9.11-10.89 (27.39)

Run 6: Jawbreakers vs. Turtle Sliders
The Jawbreakers got the better break, sending two to the wall, but it might have been too good, as one hit hard or got bumped by the Turtle Sliders marble there and kicked back down the halfpipe. Even the one that stayed on the wall got enough of a kick as it was the Sliders marble finishing last, and last is first in this event of course.

Jawbreakers: 6.12-7.76-8.46-10.02 (26.24)
Turtle Sliders: 4.92-5.00-8.39-10.72 (24.11)

Neither team got a great run as after the first set of runs it was the Jungle Jumpers with the lead, a little four-tenths under the Indigo Stars, with no one else above 30.

Run 7: Indigo Stars vs. Snowballs
The Stars were 2nd, Snowballs 12th through the first end. The Stars got the one to the wall, not kicking off too hard, but as expected they also had the first marble finish, actually the first two. The Snowballs, in the better spot, you’d expect to have better results.

Indigo Stars: 5.22-5.79-9.30-11.17+31.86=58.12
Snowballs: 6.23-8.90-10.35-10.98+22.85=53.08

Run 8: Chocolatiers vs. Team Primary
The time behind being in the 20s makes it definitely possible and reachable. The Chocolatiers got the two to the wall, and the quicker of the two bumped the leading Primary marble, scuppering their run but helping out the Chocolatiers.

Chocolatiers: 9.23-9.50-11.07-12.95+28.67=62.19
Team Primary: 3.78-8.27-9.88-9.89+29.90=57.94

The Chocolatiers’ 33.74, while three-quarters of a second down from the ML record, gives them the lead with the best run so far.

Run 9: Limers vs. Rojo Rollers
Not an out of the ordinary run for either team considering starting positions. The Rollers had three of the four furthest up the pipe, and could try and get as much time as possible. They did bump two Limers marbles though which definitely dipped into that time.

Limers: 5.41-7.82-7.86-11.89+26.53=54.10
Rojo Rollers: 5.81-9.32-10.18-12.62+25.97=58.09

Run 10: Kobalts vs. Pinkies
Good breaks for both as two from each made their way up the pipe, even if only one actually reached the wall. They all held serve, no bumping or big spurts of speed, so it was expecting to be fairly even this round at least.

Kobalts: 5.32-8.81-10.72-11.50+25.95=56.98
Pinkies: 4.60-5.59-10.41-11.70+27.31=55.01

The speed from the bottom gets lost in the top.

Run 11: Shining Swarm vs. Jungle Jumpers
The Jumpers had the best first run, but still would need a 29.90 or better to take the lead. Doable, but not easier from the less prime position. Especially after losing two quickly, and the third that bumped the wall was ahead of the other one.

Shining Swarm: 5.78-9.33-9.92-10.20+27.39=56.84
Jungle Jumpers: 5.36-6.29-9.79-9.96+32.29=58.33

The Jumpers don’t get it done, as that’s only good for 2nd.

Run 12: Turtle Sliders vs. Jawbreakers
Both teams would need greater than the single-run MR, which would be a shock. Especially after one of the Jawbreakers was sent all the way down on the break. The Sliders had three to the left of the pipe, and even though the trailing Jawbreakers marble finished last, three definitely helps.

Turtle Sliders: 7.04-9.88-10.32-10.38+24.11=54.69
Jawbreakers: 3.48-6.79-8.31-12.44+26.24=53.78

Results:
Chocolatiers, Jungle Jumpers, Indigo Stars, Rojo Rollers, Team Primary, Kobalts, Shining Swarm, Pinkies, Turtle Sliders, Limers, Jawbreakers, Snowballs

Standings (after Event 2 of 4)
1. Jungle Jumpers-35 pts
2. Chocolatiers-26 pts
3. Team Primary-22 pts
4. Rojo Rollers-21 pts
5. Indigo Stars-13 pts (hold tiebreaker over KOB from a 3rd place)
6. Kobalts-13 pts
7. Snowballs-9 pts
T-8. Shining Swarm-8 pts
T-8. Turtle Sliders-8 pts
10. Limers-6 pts
11. Pinkies-4 pts
12. Jawbreakers-3 pts

Event 3: Black Hole Funnel

Rules are same as the Marble League version. Four teams of two will compete at a time trying to stay in the funnel as long as possible. Times are added up between teammates and runs, where the best cumulative against the field wins.

Run 1: Jungle Jumpers (Jump & Leap), Limers (Sublime & Limelime), Shining Swarm (Sparkle & Shimmer), Snowballs (Snowy & Snowflake)
One of the Jumpers and one of the Swarm did not take a good angle and almost immediately seemed to be in trouble. It seemed like a smaller field for some reason as well, possibly because of the shorter duration. One of the Snowballs did try the wide line and made a full orbit before joining the fray. It was Sparkle, captain of the Shining Swarm, to finish last and win individually.

Shining Swarm: 20.16+26.44=46.60
Limers: 14.24+22.56=36.80
Snowballs: 17.66+18.66=36.32
Jungle Jumpers: 14.69+15.20=29.89

Run 2: Indigo Stars (Bingo & Indie), Pinkies (Pinky Rosa & Pinky Panther), Rojo Rollers (Rojo Cuatro & Rojo Uno), Turtle Sliders (Shelly & Dash)
An even split between the wide line and the faster line a little closer to the event horizon, and interestingly each team had one marble take each line. I can’t say which one is faster but I can say the Pinkies marble that took the wide line was the one who strayed the longest, as Pinky Panther won the individual heat.

Indigo Stars: 23.29+25.75=49.04
Pinkies: 16.85+28.49=45.34
Turtle Sliders: 17.33+21.38=38.71
Rojo Rollers: 14.50+18.46=32.96

Run 3: Chocolatiers (Mocha & Cocoa), Jawbreakers (Taffy & Tidbit), Kobalts (Cerulean & Royal), Team Primary (Prim & Imar)
This was a less split set of lines as everyone took a middle of the road path. Approaching the event horizon it looked like the Kobalts had the high man up on the funnel. And if that didn’t prove it a 1-2 finish most certainly did, as Cerulean and Royal were the last two to finish.

Kobalts: 25.66+28.21=53.87
Chocolatiers: 19.54+22.75=42.29
Team Primary: 17.48+21.12=38.60
Jawbreakers: 16.02+19.04=35.06

With that the Kobalts took the lead through the first set of runs, the only team above 50 seconds, with over a 4 second lead on the second place Indigo Stars. On the other hand, the current Showdown leading Jungle Jumpers were sitting in last.

Run 4: Jungle Jumpers, Limers, Shining Swarm, Snowballs
One of the Shining Swarm had a nice wide line and kept it for a good while, which is most important. Meanwhile on the other side, the Jungle Jumpers finished 6th and 7th, better than only Sublime, pretty much ensuring they’d have the worst time of the heat again. As they’ve shown this year, funnels aren’t their strong suit. That marble from earlier however? That may have been Shimmer, as the other Shining Swarm marble was last to finish this time around.

Shining Swarm: 17.81+27.64+46.60=92.05
Snowballs: 20.66+22.61+36.32=79.59
Limers: 13.37+24.22+36.80=74.39
Jungle Jumpers: 14.28+15.36+29.89=59.53

Run 5: Indigo Stars, Pinkies, Rojo Rollers, Turtle Sliders
The Indigo Stars would need a 43.01 to catch up to the Shining Swarm, definitely doable. As for the run, another wide line by the Pinkies, this time over a full revolution, very impressive as those pink marbles were fairly high up. The Pinkies went 2-3, and surprisingly both Stars went out early. That 43.01 looked unlikely.

Pinkies: 21.56+23.19+45.34=90.09
Indigo Stars: 16.24+19.40+49.04=84.68
Turtle Sliders: 17.83+25.05+38.71=81.59
Rojo Rollers: 14.38+20.09+32.96=67.43

Run 6: Chocolatiers, Jawbreakers, Kobalts, Team Primary
The Kobalts need a very doable 38.18 to win the event. And they split their route, one wide one close, along with the Chocolatiers. It looked like a Jawbreakers marble had the lead though, but with their rough first run it would be needed just to get them to the midpack. Imar and Prim were first two to finish, so no great run for Team Primary. The Chocolatiers marbles were next, before the Kobalts and Jawbreakers broke the two by two formation, Taffy the winner.

Kobalts: 21.37+25.61+53.87=100.85
Jawbreakers: 22.49+28.42+35.06=85.97
Chocolatiers: 18.23+19.6+42.29=80.12
Team Primary: 16.04+17.09+38.60=71.73

The Kobalts’ combined run would have been good for silver in the main competition behind only the Savage Speeders. For this competition, it’s over 8 seconds above the next-best team.

Results: Kobalts, Shining Swarm, Pinkies, Jawbreakers, Indigo Stars, Turtle Sliders, Chocolatiers, Snowballs, Limers, Team Primary, Rojo Rollers, Jungle Jumpers

Standings (after Event 3 of 4)
1. Jungle Jumpers-35 pts
2. Kobalts-33 pts
3. Chocolatiers-31 pts
4. Team Primary-24 pts
5. Shining Swarm-23 pts
6. Rojo Rollers-22 pts
7. Indigo Stars-20 pts
8. Pinkies-16 pts
9. Turtle Sliders-14 pts
10. Snowballs-13 pts
11. Jawbreakers-12 pts
12. Limers-9 pts

Event 4: Mogul Race

Just like the moguls in the Marble League, though again, only the winners of each heat plus the best runner-up advances to the final.

Heat 1: Snow (Snowballs), Shiny (Shining Swarm), Lemonlime (Limers), Candy (Jawbreakers)
Three of the four teams below the cut line are in this heat, so this is life or death. It was Lemonlime to the lead with Snow and Shiny close behind. Candy was way back and the Jawbreakers were in a heap of trouble. Shiny was able to get a clean overtake as Lemonlime veered left, but Shiny veered and narrowly missed the collision as they stayed like that across the line to probable heartbreak for all three.
Result: Shiny, Lemonlime, Snow, Candy

Heat 2: Squirt (Turtle Sliders), Gogo (Indigo Stars), Pinky Toe (Pinkies), Rima (Team Primary)
The rest of that cut line’s in this heat with Pinky Toe and Squirt locked together. And Pinky Toe had the best launch, but Squirt had the lead in the sand, and the two sat 1-2 for a chunk of the track. Until Squirt hit a mogul wrong, slowed and turned aside and Pinky Toe went right past, as did Gogo. Squirt tried to get back past Gogo for that try at 2nd but too late as Gogo was in place to block and cross the line.
Result: Pinky Toe, Gogo, Squirt, Rima

Heat 3: Azure (Kobalts), Bonbon (Chocolatiers), Rojo Tres (Rojo Rollers), Hop (Jungle Jumpers)
Doing the math, these four teams were safe, so just to have at it at this point, with very little to lose. Rojo Tres and Azure jumped out to the lead and came together. Azure got the better of the exchange but even she lost out on a position to Hop. But she was able to get back in during the later portion of the race and chase Hop down. It went to a photo finish.
Result: Hop, Azure, Bonbon, Rojo Tres

Advancing marbles: Shiny, Pinky Toe, Hop, Azure

Non-advancing marbles (5th-12th): Bonbon, Gogo, Lemonlime, Squirt, Snow, Candy, Rojo Tres, Rima

Final: Pinky Toe (Pinkies), Hop (Jungle Jumpers), Shiny (Shining Swarm), Azure (Kobalts)
Security assured. Passage to the Marble League 2021 Qualifiers ensured. But hey, bragging rights and a Showdown podium is at stake. Time for the race!

Azure bolted out to the lead, Shiny behind, before he faltered and gave way to Pinky Toe and Hop to chase down the Kobalts captain. Pinky Toe tried but Azure shut them all down and pulled away.
Result: Azure, Pinky Toe, Hop, Shiny

Results: Kobalts, Pinkies, Jungle Jumpers, Shining Swarm, Chocolatiers, Limers, Indigo Stars, Turtle Sliders, Snowballs, Rojo Rollers, Jawbreakers, Team Primary

And your final standings for the Showdown.

ML Showdown Final Standings
(Top 8 advance to ML2021 Qualifiers, rest eliminated from ML2021 qualification)
1. Kobalts-53 pts
2. Jungle Jumpers-47 pts
3. Chocolatiers-38 pts
4. Shining Swarm-32 pts
5. Pinkies-31 pts
6. Indigo Stars-25 pts
7. Team Primary-24 pts (hold 2nd place tiebreaker over ROJ)
8. Rojo Rollers-24 pts
9. Turtle Sliders-18 pts
10. Snowballs-16 pts
11. Limers-15 pts
12. Jawbreakers-13 pts

The eight teams will join the rest of the ML2020 field. The top 3 and the 2021 hosts are still to be determined, and we’ll find that out after the marathon, along with closing ceremonies and thoughts, next time on the Rolldown.

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Senor Weaselo
Senor Weaselo
Senor Weaselo plays the violin. He tucks it right under his chin. When he isn't doing that, he enjoys watching his teams (Yankees, Jets, Knicks, and Rangers), trying to ingest enough capsaicin to make himself breathe fire (it hasn't happened yet), and scheming to acquire the Bryant Park zamboni.
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ballsofsteelandfury

I know someone that’s upset:
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Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

It takes a lot of balls to make this post.

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