4chan Winter Cup 2014 - Group Stage draw

The draw is cast, and the group stage is finalized; the 4chan 2014 Winter Cup is in full swing and the hype is so thick you could cut it with a Lyra Plushie. Commissioner DrBorisG (the "G" stands for gay) with his spiffy white 10-gallon hat and on-the-spot divegrass experts Joe and Dusty drew the groups for the opening two weeks of the cup last Saturday, and here they are!

 Group A - Flashback edition

Back in the early days on 2013, Summer 2011 champions /a/ and /adv/, a reliable and strong team in its own right, shared a group together alongside /m/ and /mlp/, of whom also share a group this time around.  /a/'s long streak of honor and glory is sure to spark against the scrappy determination of the /adv/ team. The dead non-Molly /cgl/ team has a history of being the cup train-wreck slipping by and causing havoc in previous cups, including fucked-up chants during Summer and kicking /pol/ in the arse hard enough to relegate [s4s] in Autumn. /cm/, a team shunned from glory in the wake of Dragongate, has had halfway decent Friendly matches under new manager Freeman but was stopped by homo-titan /y/ in the opening rounds of the Ro16 in Autumn.

 Group B - Soccer Practice edition
A rematch between David and Goliath, Summer 2013 /g/ stood before the great beast /sp/ before the gates of relegation, able to drag the dishonored team down to the Babby level with it. At the end of /sp/'s disheartening Group Run, they found a way, able to score enough goals to stay in the tournament (however briefly). /sp/'s management is still in tandem, hopefully they'll pull themselves together enough to maintain their elite status /f/'s return to the elite stage comes with grim reminders of fallen GD's six months ago that shot them down a level, left them wondering still if they'd ever find the hood. /lgbt/, the Autumn Babby favorites shunned from their championship by a cheeky own-goal header, has found little luck in 2014. Hopefully the old titan of the Provisionals can find themselves comfort in beating on the weak-looking /g/, whose reputation as a yo-yo team is surely to be put to the test in this group of muscle-bound teams. That, or transgendered team could rely on their new temporary Center Forward.

 Group C - Group of Death V1 - Porn 'n Robots edition
The big boys are here to play in this Group of Death! /toy/ returns to the elite league donning a silver stud on its chest and Dawgamus Prime ready to roll out over the competition. A rival worthy of /sp/, they finally have a cup championship to call their own, and hopefully Woody, Madoka Titus, Optimus Prime, and Kinder Eggs can secure that golden star. /h/, however, is a crowd favorite, proving their mettle last year against /a/ and earlier in the Winter Cup friendlies by beating reigning champions /wg/ THE FUCK OUT OF THE WATER TAKE THAT DUCKY (>implying friendlies matter). I'm sure they'll fly away (now) to the championship. But don't rule out the other teams; /y/ ended up in the top 8 in Autumn, able to trump the old gay titan /lgbt/, but has been met with recent troubles in PES 14. Perhaps SDA's decision to have a gold defender lead to a 3-3 draw against /gd/. Maybe. Maybe it also caused a 2-1 loss against lowest-ranked team /hm/. Maybe. Maybe /co/ will shock the world and remind /toy/ that you can have all the collectibles in the world, but it's worth nothing if you can't read or watch or fucking PLAY with the damn things.

 Group D - "Second Best" edition
With the new rules in place, one has to question the value of certain teams. The original height abuse team, /mu/, has shown decent play in PES 14 post-regulations, which is more than can be said to the team it lost to in Summer. Another silver trophy-holder, /fa/, now lacking the managerial talent that pushed it to that title and is running on auto-pilot thanks to an interim manager's hard work. /u/, a team once laughable, has found recent strength with a revamp in tactics last summer under their manager retortelement, putting two Elite-status teams into the Babby level. They've faced off against bigger foes before, and stood to return to the knockouts, but top-tier "Provisional" team /gd/ has matured over 2013 to bring it's own artsy-fartsy brand of ass kicking to the tournament. /mu/ and /fa/ be damned, the new kid on the block's sure to make their layers of play transparent.

 Group E - Group of Death V2 - Champions edition

Here we have a true match of champions! /mlp/ and /m/, vigorously strong teams each with a Spring Babby Cup champion and solid Summer Cup runs under their belts, have butt heads before a year ago. Though both were sent back to the Babby Cup, their arrogance is high, and are willing to do anything to have a repeat performance of being >raped or a dropped colony. /pol/ marches onwards, the horsefuckers in the cleansing eyes of the Autumn Cup Golden Boot, Stormfront. /mlpol/ is sure to be the hypest match of the Group Stage, both teams bringing massive fanbases and the might of Adolf Hitler looking to stomp out any and all jewish agents of the overarching force controlling the rival board, Hasbro. But in the shadows of the blitzkrieg, scantily-clad and hourglass shaped, /s/ carries with them their own sizable breasts muscles and a reminder of the 6-7 penalty shootout that almost sent /pol/ tumbling out of the knockout rounds. Each knockout player on the team could be enough to scare away the weaboos of /m/, betafags of /mlp/, and overly-arrogant pricks of /pol/ on her own, capping off this group with four times the hype, four times the goals, and four times the rigging.

Group F - Spooking Adorably in other Languages edition
 Bandwagon team and archenemy of /asp/, the adorable little girls of /c/ trounced their way around Autumn enough to return to the Group Stage, only to fall into a group with two incredibly strong teams and one that causes match upsets and work-arounds like some kind of ghost. If /v/'s two matches in PES 14 are any indicator of how they're to do in this cup, then #Pray4Gaben. However, nearly all of the big teams utilized strange new tactics and sliders in the Winter cup friendly weeks, to see how the new engine worked and reacted to them. Though /v/ were trolled away a third-place trophy last Summer, they're sure to be a team to look out for this cup, alongside /x/, who has a habit of causing /cgl/-tier havoc when prompted. /x/-tan and Pyramid Head invade the nations of /int/ this Winter, banded together with reminders of weak Summer runs and the championship that should have been. Vladimir Putin will be sure to be putin' it in, but only if he's got his nightlight on.

 Group G - /wg/ gets BTFO edition

 Four words. -7GD. Git gud Ducky :^). With that, it's safe to say this group is ever-so-slightly one-sided. With /wg/ shortened to regulation height and /vr/ rising from the qualifiers, /trv/ and /ck/ have their matches set out for them. Both teams had excellent group stage performances in Summer, and thought their knockouts were cut short, Superpornowat and Nachos are sure to make /wg/ drop it and find a glitch or two in the system of /vr/. /wg/, the Summer and Autumn Champions, have had an extremely hard time in PES 14, and internal struggle with rumors of one of their managers, Tom, potentially leaving for /sp/. That said, Cunt Destroyer is a menace to behold still, and Doomguy's excellent scoring technique might not be enough to stop the block-headed team.

Group H - Social Trolling edition
 Should /b/ even be in this cup? Did Cosa Nostra's tactics really mean the once-pathetic team's Summer 2013 run was well-earned, and not the result of some strange green goo in the YLYL threads? Either way, the /soc/ manager has been soaking in the new PES engine for a very long time, promoting its use, preparing his tactics, and is ready to strike on the 3rd-place teams of yesterday, /b/ and /hr/. With cheeky headers and a quiet run across the knockout rounds of /hr/, the starstruck ladies Taylor Swift and Emma Watson are above the /b/etas and /soc/ially inept, but might find themselves unable to hurt such cyoote wittwe animaws~. Under a different manager, Honey Badger and Spacebat of /an/ might just not give two shits about the top-tier teams they're pitted against, and continue their climb up the ladder as the only Dragonfag team to make it all the way from fetus to elite. Godspeed all of you.

After the draw, our on-the-site reporters caught a few managers and got some pre-game predictions.

What is your outlook for your own team for the cup? How are you perceiving your group to be in difficulty, hype, potential upsets?

"/ck/ is in a good spot with this group, I’d say that all the teams are on a competitive level with each other.  I think that because we are all teams that are on par with each other, my number one priority is to test effectively and spend time feeling out the other teams.  If it comes to us losing a match, it cannot be because we underestimated any of these teams.

While I don’t see my group attracting a large amount of hype, I do expect good games out of the group.  I am however, more confident now than I have ever been of my own team having a pocket of support from the home board.  I expect to see some PJSalt from the chat." -Antacid Canada, /ck/

"Due to the switch to 2014 no team in my group will be underestimated, and /pol/ will be playing at its full potential in every match. We'll be prepared and I believe in my own and my team's capacity to overcome any obstacles and finally win the Winter [we packed winter coats]." -KHS Rowan, /pol/

"I have high hopes and expectations for our team in the actual cup now that we aren't running a generic formation to be safe. I feel like we have a relativelly unpredictable group, it could be hard, or easy, /m/ likes to fluxuate between good and awefull, the only hint we have on /pol/ is Rowan, who did well in the babby, and finally /s/ whom either gets BTFO or BTFO of the other team, notable exception being /pol/. We are easilly in the most hype group of the cup (again) and any outcome of our group will be considered an upset." -ShadowTester, /mlp/

What groups are you most looking forward to?

"How can you not be excited about Group C?  Those are all teams that have had great showings in the recent past, and there will be tears no matter who gets relegated.  I see /co/ and /y/ coming out on top."  -Antacid Canada, /ck/

"Group C, although I'd love to see a managed /fa/ somehow topping the table on group D(ickhead) as well." -KHS Rowan, /pol/

"Other than our own it is a hard choice, I am looking forward to group C, and hoping /c/ gets blown out of group F." -ShadowTester, /mlp/

Any predictions? In particular, who do you think is going to win it all?

"Despite how active Fang seems to be, I worry that /cgl/ is in too dangerous waters for a true rookie to be able to survive.  I may even say that unless he buckles down and activate some serious autism, I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t get the export out on time.

/fa/ is ded.  Welcome /asp/.

Lastly, I can see /a/ being THE team to beat." -Antacid Canada, /ck/

"I don't really thing that should ever be in question. /pol/ will win." -KHS Rowan, /pol/

"It is never a good idea to pick who is going to win it all, in almost every case the favoured team has gone out early or been relegated, like /d/ in spring. Unfortunatelly it looks as if /sp/ has drawn another "easy" group, but I'm hoping Sou can step it up and humiliate them." -ShadowTester, /mlp/

What are some of the bigger suggestions you've gotten for new players/players to get the boot? Did you get a scarf? (ShadowTester only)

"I'm not really the guy who has been collecting the suggestions, that would be Test Anon, but according to the spreadsheet.
OUT: C&D, Liquid Pride, Jackie Chan Tulpa ;_; , Muh Job, and  "I don't get the appeal".
IN: DYEWTS, "Don't Believe Her Lies", What's in the box?, Twicane, and (TBD)

No I did not get a scarf."

With the group stage set, the first deadline for managers due this Friday, and plenty of potential hot matches to come, we at Horse News are announcing that we are doing full cup coverage, not just /mlp/. Reminder to watch at twitch.tv/the4chancup, and check out the Rigged Wiki at implyingrigged.info. We'll have more promos, news, and interviews as the season goes on. Giddy up!

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