2013 Masters Men's Championships Preview

Posted: July 24, 2013 08:58 PM


Event Page

Event Guide (PDF)


Masters Nationals 2013 (Mastronals anyone?) What is there to talk about? Didn’t we just do this three months ago? What could have changed in three months? Wait, you mean it has actually been nine months? Okay, I suppose a few things could have changed in that time…

Oh wow! Instead of Sarasota in October, the Masters Championships are in DENVER in July. And instead of sea level, we’re running at 5,200 feet. Yeah, that’s a big change. There isn’t going to be a crowd of young club players hanging around and taking note of the gracefully aging veterans in the sport? That is going to take some getting used to as well.

Welcome to the new model, seniors! Here we are with our own venue, spotlight and coverage. One could consider this a Senior Tour de Force, a chance to establish an event on par with past Nationals, an event rife with possibilities for the experienced player to stand out and relive the glory of days past (minus those pesky club boys stealing the show)!


Pool D

D1 Tejas

D2 Kelt

D3 Crawl

D4 Flashback


In looking at the pools, there is not an apparent "most difficult" pool. I would say that Pool D seems the most unfortunate, having Tejas as the top seed. Of the changes mentioned in the previous paragraph, adding the Seattle team (Kelt, right?) to the mix will probably have the most impact. They are probably going to win; just ask them! Now, I realize that Tejas has some quality experience in Calvin, Seany Mac and other Houndz, and the youth they have reflects the decade or so of continued Texas success a la Doublewide and Hangtime, but if everyone has gotten older at the same pace (and I understand this to be some sort of physical truism), then Vegas money would likely go to Kilt taking this pool.

As far as Flashback and Crawl are concerned, this year marks their first appearances at Nationals. While I know no one should ever underestimate any team, I suspect both of these low-number squads will look to fill up their rosters for next season. Between the two, I give Crawl the nod as the Phoenix natives will be the most ready to deal with the hot, dry conditions of Colorado. Well that, and my man Sam Levenberg and Big Nate are not to be trifled with!


Pool C

C1 Johnny Encore

C2 Reckon

C3 Black Cans and Highlands

C4 OrCa


Let’s talk Johnny Bravo and Chain for a minute because that’s really what the one and two seeds in Pool C boil down to. There is so much history here, and not the crappy, chippy history that many with an eye for fireworks would hope for. We have been playing these same guys for years, and both our styles seem similar: flashy, high risk, high reward. Bravo a little better on the D side, Chain a little more adept on O. Shoot! As a Bravo, Encore, Gun Club player, some of my most memorable games have come against the Atlanta side! We got the best of them in a hotly contested, 3 v. 4 consolation game in Sarasota last year (many thanks to Luke and Dar for observing that one). Seriously though, this game will be a coin toss.

In the three and four spots, we have two new teams to the show in Black Cans and Highlands from Washington, D.C. (formerly known as Chesapeaked) and OrCa from the Northwest. Here again, we have two teams that have elected to get the most bang for their buck regarding playing time. I remember the days when I wanted to/could play 70-80 percent of the points in a tournament. But those days are gone, and these two teams will figure out that you usually need to max out a roster to go deep into three-day tournaments.


Pool B

B1 Boneyard


B3 New York Masters

B4 Old Stones


I find Pool B interesting in that I can’t remember an intense rivalry between Portland and Ring (Burnside and Boneyard) from back in the day. I suppose they both had reputations at various times for being somewhat agro and free with the calls, but we’re all mature adults now, right? My experience with Burnside involves them nearly beating Encore in quarterfinals last year, with only a game-saving D from Paymaster being the difference in the upwind/downwind death march that was 2012 Nationals. That game made an impression. Boneyard, however, beat Reckon and then lost to Surly in close games. Differences here are miniscule. The Ring guys like Brooks, Bass, Parrish and Proctor do have a good deal of Nationals success under their belts, and adding Stephen Poulos probably doesn’t hurt. I like Boneyard in this one unless Burnside somehow brings Brian Linkfield and Aaron Switzer out of retirement and replaces a couple of those dudes on their roster who won’t be at Nationals anyway. Burnside will take the second spot here.

While you would never underestimate a NYNY team, this version is more of an amalgamation of Northeast players making their first appearances. As for the pool’s fourth seed, we played Old Stones at regionals, and while awesome dudes and great hosts, I suspect their 19-man roster will be happy to enjoy the awesome brews and majestic scenery Colorado has to offer.


Pool A

A1 Surly


A3 Ra

A4 Slow Country Boil


Surly, Surly, Surly…Yet another team with one of those "real" bios that speaks of credentials and accomplishment. (Sigh.) I guess you can’t argue with success. These guys are the deserving top seed based on recent history and the fact they added Sam O’Brien, Bart Watson and Turtle. Yeah, go figure that the rich get richer in masters too!

I expect Surly to take Pool A fairly comfortably, but I am intrigued by this Borderline team. The Northeast has a high concentration of masters players, and winning that region outright implies a high level of ability. Given that they are in year three of a three-year plan, I could see them creating trouble for a higher seed in the power pools come Saturday. That is, if they don’t burn out in some foolhardy attempt to try to win the Surly game. There are only 20 of ’em, after all.

Ra looks to be another "serious" team and is probably going to do well as a first timer. Best game of the pool looks to be Borderline v. Ra – that one happens Friday at 5 p.m. Slow Country Boil comes to the show as a sophomore team with what I might consider an old masters team of 17. Seventeen guys?! That is some stuff right there! Have fun, and take care of yourselves.


Food for Thought

How will it shake out? I’m not going to do that here. But one thing to consider as you make your brackets include the fact that many important games will be played in the late afternoon. Anyone ever try to fly out of Denver in the late afternoon in the summer? It wouldn’t be surprising to have incredibly volatile weather for all, some or none of the late afternoon rounds. Another consideration will be how crazy dry it is up here. How many squads will be up to the climate? I suppose this is why I am a little dismissive about teams with low numbers and their chances for success.

Did I say I wouldn’t comment on results? Here are a couple thoughts without actually being definitive. You will probably recognize the semifinalists as some iteration of successful club teams of the past. Surly has an easier pool but a harder road. Seattle Krill has a difficult road but some pretty serious horses to ride it. The teams in the middle seem pretty balanced. Potentially great quarterfinals match ups include a 5 vs. 6 contest between Krull and Reckon and 3 vs. 4 Encore-Tejas contest. Were it to happen, Encore v. Tejas would be the game of the two. Oh yeah, a Surly v. Kelp semifinal would be AWESOME! I mean, if my team makes it to semifinals, I might have to go watch that one anyway! But alas, it’s all speculation until the deeds are done. Hope y’all have been hydrating.

Full Disclosure: Jason Brask is a captain of Denver’s Johnny Encore and will be playing at the Masters Championships this weekend.

Have any questions or comments? We welcome community feedback and discussion made in a respectful manner. Please refrain from profanity or personal attacks, as such public comments negatively reflect on our sport and community.