After 8 weeks of competition, 391 completed seeds, and over 700 hours of FF6 Worlds Collide action, the inaugural season of Ultros League has drawn to a close! As the league pauses and the racers take a well earned break, it’s time to go around the league and look back at the season that was, with thoughts and insights from racers throughout the competition.

On Top of the Worlds

At the pinnacle of Ultros League, the competition is fiercest among the largest division, the prestigious Megalixir. While larger than most other divisions, Megalixir is unique in that only the top half of the division is safe from the spectre of demotion. As a result, the top racers in the community have no room for error, as each week a single misplay or bad break can be the difference between survival or utter defeat.

Rising to the top of this contest was none other than Doesnt, the premiere season’s Megalixir champion, earning a decisive win with a 43 point campaign – including four 1st-place finishes – and clinching the division before the final week even began. We caught up with Doesnt on the heels of his victory to get his thoughts.

Doesnt, you’re the very first Ultros League Megalixir Champion! How are you feeling?

A little surprised, honestly. I don’t expect to hold this position, since runners are very good now and are getting better.

You’ve been in the community for a while and have built quite a reputation as a dominant racer. How did you get started in Worlds Collide?

I first tried WC in February last year. Mostly just casually played seeds with Moogle Charm off, but I don’t remember when I got into racing. I think a few months afterwards? A friend showed it to me, they tried racing before I did but didn’t get as hooked by it.

Before going on your three-race win streak, you hit a bit of turbulence in weeks 3 and 4 with a pair of finishes near the bottom of the group. What went on there, and how did you turn things around?

One of those was mostly just rotten luck with checks IIRC, and the other was a Kefka wipe. My week 8 run was also really slow for the pack too, since I played the early game very recklessly and got punished for it. Megalixir’s quite cutthroat and this game is merciless, so it’s real easy to get a delay that puts you way behind because of bad luck or one or two bad decisions. Just have to take it in stride.

With Season One in the books, you’re able to take a breather. Anything outside of WC going on right now?

Uh, various things. I’m not too big on streaming; main thing I’ve been working on is a Pokemon romhack. Might try streaming a certain old strategy game some time, but don’t hold me to that.

Finally, based on your experience in season 1, what advice would you give to the rest of the league heading into season 2?

As far as game-specific tips: Take some time looking at the algorithms FAQ if you haven’t, and the spellpower values on various abilities. Magical damage scales (mostly) linearly to Mag Pwr, so if you know all the multipliers in play you can generally know how your attacks will compare to each other and pick the correct ones to open up with. Vigor doesn’t matter much outside extreme cases, throwing weak items, and SwdTech 7. You can save time and brainpower by completely ignoring the base vigor on your characters. And remember that “dead” time when you’re moving from point A to B is planning time.

Outside of that, don’t succumb to tilt, and don’t forfeit runs prematurely. Especially when you look outside Megalixir, there are plenty of cases of high times getting strong placements. Even if a costly mistake is “your fault,” there’s no guarantee that lucky routing or collective tripping won’t put you ahead of the pack. Pretty much all of my runs have costly mistakes in them; this game is very hard to be optimal in.

Thanks Doesnt, congratulations again and good luck defending the title in Season Two!

Critical Hits

While Doesnt may have taken the biggest crown, champions emerged throughout the league (and you can see them all over at the Airship of Fame). Among them, perhaps the most dominant performance came out of Potion B, where Zen0bian earned the league’s only set of six 1st-place finishes, earning the maximum 54 points. But despite pulling this off, he doesn’t expect we’ll see it happen again soon.

“After season 1, I think it will be really rare for people to get 50+ points, as the intra-division skill levels should become closer with each seasonal jumble,” Zen0bian told the league following the close of the season. “I’ll be lucky to get half as many points next time, and that’s good. It’s better for everyone’s motivation to have closer scores.”

Some of his competitors may not share Zen0bian’s doubts about future repeats for the champ, however. According to Potion B runner-up and soon-to-be Elixir racer Mograe, “by week 6 it was clear Zen0 wasn’t going to let anyone else win and everyone else would have to play for 2nd. Zen0 truly belongs in the Elixir division, and he’s dragging me along for the ride.”

As one of the two divisions with all racers completing their races every week, the competition in Potion B was notably fierce. But the other full participation division, Elixir A, was no less challenging. If this made for more stressful races, however, Elixir A champion Fiktah isn’t showing it.

“No pressure,” said Fiktah, when asked how he felt as the competition continued to tighten up. “In fact, it was more fun since I got to compare times and share feedback with all of the racers, every week.”

He also added that the level of competition in the group pushed him to innovate. “Competing against the same racers week after week allowed me to modify my playstyle in a way that would give me a slight edge over my competitors,” Fiktah explained.

Balance and Ruin

While the division champions made racing look easy, for others, the weekly race was a constant battle to maintain their position in their division and avoid being exposed to the possibility of relegation to the tier below. For Megalixir competitor Javinat0r, the season might have been a test of his racing prowess, but it didn’t necessarily catch him off guard.

“I wouldn’t say I was surprised, necessarily,” said Javinat0r. “It’s a weird feeling though when you have a run and get low 1:20s and you’re in the back half of the group. I think everyone in Megalixir is used to either winning or coming close to winning when they race, so it’s a bit of a reality check when you’re constantly playing against only the best in the community and essentially requiring perfection for placement.”

“Given the level of competition, Doesnt’s stats are legitimately insane. Also, FalconHit coming in hot at the end of the season was also cool to see,” he added.

Looking to season 2, Javinat0r is taking these lessons of Megalixir forward.

“Honestly, I think I might chill a bit more,” he joked, when asked whether his approach will change moving ahead. “Really though, I think if I run consistently like I did for (most of) this season, I can be back in Megalixir next season. Just need to tighten up on the fundamentals and discipline, but I think that statement applies eternally.”

In Potion tier, for Mograe, competing against the dominant Zen0bian lead to similar experiences – and similar lessons learned.

“I managed a win in the middle of the season and started thinking I could fight back and win it all, but I think that extra pressure I put on myself actually slowed me down,” he recalled. The pressure escalated once first place slipped out of reach. “If you’re fighting for 1st you have a buffer to still promote, but having a 3-way race for 2nd increases the stakes to promote or get left behind. Honestly, I don’t think I did stay focused enough to hold onto my spot. The pressure got to me and weeks 6-8 were my three worst performances, but I had just enough points built up in the first half of the season to hang on to 2nd.”

“I’ve got my work cut out for me with the even higher competition I’ll face next season,” Mograe added.

Searching for Friends

Ultimately, while the level of competition was fierce, a recurring theme throughout the league was the sense of camaraderie and fun. From Megalixir champion Doesnt through to the first Spirit of General Leo winner, Tonic B racer Amilas, having the chance to connect with other members of the community and form deeper bonds with fellow racers was a big draw of the competition.

“The Worlds Collide racing community is extremely helpful in learning and encouraging new members to keep trying new and different settings for improvement,” said Amilas.

For Mograe, “Ultros League has been an absolutely great experience, especially with the great people in my division! It felt like we came together and bonded over the event. If you did your seed late in the week you could count on a couple people from the division lurking your race. When I did mine early, watching the others run the seed was both exciting and stressful, we regularly had people posting Personal Bests in races; nobody (except Zen0) was safe. Potion B(easts) forever!”

“Highlight of my WC ‘career’,” was Fiktah’s summary of the experience. “This was a fantastic league… I am looking forward to the next season!”

To Zen0bian, the league was an opportunity to get a chance to regularly compete at the game he enjoys. “I just want to play more,” he told the league. “Having one serious race each week is a great addition to the community events and random asyncs that happen.”

Javinat0r is also anticipating the future, but not without some trepidation as well. “There are a lot of people getting crazy times in the lower divisions. I think as seasons progress and the divisions normalize a bit, Elixir and Megalixir are going to be crazy tiers with lots of turnover.”

But it’s not deterring him from being enthusiastic about the future, either. “Can’t wait for the next season,” he added.

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