Friday, May 13, 2016

Preview: Torneo Nazionale Quidditch 2016

By Niccolò Andrea Carissimo and Chula Bruggeling

Editor’s Note: Niccolò Andrea Carissimo will be playing for Bombarda Brixia Quidditch Club for the Torneo Nazionale Quidditch 2016.

Barely a month after Italy hosted the European Quidditch Cup (EQC) 2016, the Torneo Nazionale Quidditch 2016 (TN16), otherwise known as the Italian National Tournament, will see eight teams fight for the glory. This year the tournament will be held in Vignola, in Northern Italy, on May 14-15.

The tournament will follow a somewhat complicated route to decide on the national champion, and can be roughly divided into three parts. This article will explain the different formats for these three parts. The schedule can be found here.

The spreadsheet is in Italian, but with both the spreadsheet and the explanations here, it will hopefully be understandable for everyone.

The tournament will start on Saturday morning with group play, the eight competing teams having been divided into two groups during a live draw this past Tuesday, May 10, on the AIQ YouTube channel. This draw was purely random, and no attempt to seed teams was made. The groups are as follows:

Group A
Green-Tauros Quidditch Torino (GTQT)
Milano Meneghins Quidditch (MMQ)
Hinkypunks Bologna Quidditch (HBQ)
Bombarda Brixia Quidditch Club (BMB)

Group B
S.P.Q.R. Quidditch Roma (SPQR)
Siena Ghibellines Quidditch Club (SGQC)
Virtute Romana Quidditch (VRQ)
Lunatica Quidditch Club (LQC)

Out of those eight teams, five played at EQC 2016: Green-Tauros, Milano Meneghins, Hinkypunks Bologna, Virtute Romana, and Lunatica. SPQR was present at last year’s national tournament, but did not rank high enough to earn an EQC spot. This year, these six teams will be joined by two new teams, Bombarda Brixia and Siena Ghibellines, trying to qualify for next year’s EQC. With this tournament, Italy will be the first European NGB to know the ranking of its teams, which will determine their EQC 2017 slots.

Based on the results of this group phase, a preliminary ranking will be drawn up. So far, nothing unusual. The way points are awarded for games will be a little different than at most tournaments, though: winning a game will award a different amount of points depending on if the game was in SWIM range or won in overtime. A team can even earn points through ensuring their loss is inside SWIM range. The point scheme is as follows:
- Victory outside of SWIM: 4 points
- Victory inside of SWIM (or during Overtime): 3 points
- Defeat during SWIM: 1 point
- Defeat outside of SWIM: 0 points

Based on these preliminary rankings, teams will enter a bracket competition. The two teams that go undefeated in this will compete for the championship, while the remaining teams will compete for third place in a double elimination format. This means that theoretically, a team that was originally first in its group could end up lower than a team that placed fourth in its group at the end of the tournament.

All in all, the way this tournament is set up could lead to some interesting results. Looking at the results of last year’s tournament, as well as this year’s EQC rankings, here are our predictions for this year’s tournament. BMB and SGQC, have been put at the bottom of the list, based on the fact that they will have less tournament experience than any of the other teams. Who knows, though, they might surprise us all.

Group A Predictions

Green-Tauros Torino is last year’s Italian champion, as well as the highest-ranked Italian team at this year’s EQC, with a respectable eighth-place finish (after being knocked out by METU Unicorns), so they could have a relatively easy time in group play, especially since both Milano Meneghins and Hinkypunks Bologna didn’t manage to make it past the group stage at EQC, both ranking fifth in their respective groups. It must be mentioned, however, that both Milano Meneghins and Hinkypunks Bologna were missing a lot of their regular players in Gallipoli and had to rely on mercenary players. With both of them back to a bigger roster featuring more of their regular players, the performance of both teams should improve. Based on experience, Milano Meneghins should have a bit of an edge. As the new team, Bombarda Brixia will most likely rank last out of these four teams, based purely on the fact that they are new and this will be their first national tournament.

Green-Tauros beat Durhamstrang at EQC to make Top Eight in Europe | Photo Credit: Ajantha Abey Photography

Group B Predictions

Virtute Romana was the surprise Italian team at EQC last month, finishing at an overall 10th place (after being knocked out by Southampton Quidditch Club Firsts). With so little time having passed since that tournament, the team will most likely show a similar strong performance at the national championship this weekend, finishing first in their group. As the only other team in their group that attended EQC 2016, Lunatica should come in second place. While their performance at EQC wasn’t spectacular finishing in 27th place they were last year’s runner up at the national tournament. The last two places in this bracket were more difficult to predict. SPQR finished last in last year’s tournament, but that still gives them more experience over the completely new SGQC, who will be making their tournament debut this weekend. As such, SPQR can be tentatively predicted to finish above SGQC.

Virtute Romana at EQC in the Round of 16 | Photo Credit: Ajantha Abey Photography
Overall Predictions
Because of the various stages of this tournament, it is almost impossible to predict what will happen over the course of the weekend. Looking back at previous results, though, the final should be between Green-Tauros and Virtute Romana, with Green-Tauros holding onto their championship title for another year. Meanwhile, a third place game between Lunatica and Milano Meneghins should not be ruled out, with Lunatica coming out on top.

As mentioned earlier, Italy will be the first NGB to have its national championship after EQC 2016. This tournament, Italy’s qualifier for next year’s EQC, is a full 11 months before the tournament (assuming EQC occurs again in April). While nobody will dispute the fact that whoever wins this weekend will be the current best team in Italy, it remains to be seen if these results will still be relevant next year. For now, though, this is looking to be to an interesting tournament. Best of luck to all teams.

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