We’re inching closer to the end of the tournament, but there’s still plenty of action to come. Mami and Shmion has done a good job already on crunching the numbers for the previous round in the previous post (see comments), so I don’t see the need to repeat what they already have to offer. As an alternative, here’s a comparison on the numbers of the Top 16 match-ups as a guide before I proceed to the previews.
Mikoto is in an excellent position to pull off what she couldn’t do last year: make it to the Top 8. She certainly has carried the momentum brought forth by that momentous win over Homura all the way, and has never looked back since. She has to be favorite here, and personally I found Victorique stronger than Lotte anyway, so if Mikoto managed to overcome both Homura and Victorique, there’s no doubt that she’ll punch a ticket to the QFs with authority against an overmatched Lotte, who has done well to reach this point anyway. Mikoto by 80-100 votes.
Likewise, after a forgettable Prelims performance, Tenshi has taken advantage of her good draw and just destroyed her foes along the way without any hint of resistance whatsoever (along with fake votes just for shits and giggles). And like Lotte before her, Erica has done well to go this far. In fact, let’s just say she’s even lucky to be here to begin with (nothing against her, she’s one of my high-tiered Witches), considering that two of her wins were decided by a margin of three votes and two votes respectively.
As for the matchup, we’ve seen Tenshi shoot down a Witch the previous round, so we’ll probably see an encore. The degree of difficulty rises a bit for sure, but still, the result will still be the same. Tenshi by 80-100.
This might be the time where we will see Madoka in full strength. It’s clear she’s holding back, given that in her low-profile matches she still has garnered a staggering 63% of the votes whenever she is involved. LC has been doing fine herself, but in a battle between God and LCfer, the outcome is obvious. The obvious disparity is apparent when you look in the stats and even if anti-Madoka voters jump for LC here, I don’t see it being enough to overcome the strong odds against her. I expect to see this match garner a high voter turnout, but in the end it will result to Madoka winning by 125-150 votes.
Yuno’s done enough for this year, getting Hidamari in the record books, but the journey ends here. The interesting part here would be how much Ika will be winning here. I see some sort of strategic voting coming here, but then again, Madoka (the most interested party in this match) might just leave it for later in the Top 8. Ika Musume also has done her share of being in the record books, and continues her case as the possible non-Madoka winner at the end of it all. Dark horse pick? Maybe. She has to take care of business here for the meantime, and leave the speculah for later. Ika Musume by 80-100 votes (only because this match might not receive much fanfare).
Sayaka has overcome too many obstacles from the past few rounds, it’s quite foolish to doubt her now at this stage of the tournament. Sure her number two seeding might be a bit skewed because of all the high profile matches she’s been involved with, but she has done well in all of them, including a convincing victory over Char last round. Haqua actually surprised me as well considering that she had a tough bracket to overcome, beating Ohana and Azusa along the way, but this is the end of her impressive run. Sayaka by 120-150 votes.
Mami has been ranked number one for the past two rounds, and rightfully so, crushing opposition with ease. She even made a respectable opponent look like cannon fodder last round (poor Yoshika), and most likely she’ll do the same to Shirayuki. The latter has been raising eyebrows and turning heads, but Hidan no Aria’s strength has been exposed by the last Aria-Houki match. Against a much stronger opponent, even with a few anti-votes in her favor, Shirayuki’s staring at a 150 vote rout here. And that might even be being conservative.
The scary thing about this matchup for Index is that Kokoro is around her level and a decent opponent, and Kyouko still crushed her to the tune of 200 votes. Yikes. Great to see Index make it this far, and I can understand why people think this match will be closer than it should be stats-wise. Index wouldn’t be here were it not for that amazing win against a fancied Kousaka Kirino, and we can only speculate how much of that involved strategic help from the other side of the fence. Now Kyouko is primed to emerge victorious here, albeit by only 60-80 votes. Wouldn’t surprise me if it goes up much higher than that but yeah, same outcome.
As much as highly-predictable the first seven matches will be, it might all be worth it in the most intriguing match of the Block Finals. Obviously, it inv0lves non-Madoka characters. Houki’s win in the final match ensured that there will be no statistical upsets for that round, and now she has to win here, to break the trend, should the previous seven matches go as expected. It’s number seven versus number nine, and I still see myself going with Kuroneko for the win. Granted, the vote average difference for these isn’t significant enough but the vote% average might be the edge that Kuroneko has to push her into a Top Eight berth.
Interestingly, this match offers plenty of chances for other factions to get rid of the huge threat that Kuroneko poses once we go into the Top Eight, but the cat has many lives. She survived a tough opener against Sherlock and made it look utterly easy. We might be looking at a 100-vote win for Kuroneko here, despite the seedings making it look closer than it really is.
To sum it up, we’re likely heading for a predictable round here once again. The excitement and the upsets might have been used up in Rounds Two and Three already, and unfortunately, we’re just going through the motions right now. The good news though is that the Draw for the Top Eight will entirely change the dynamic of the tournament and I’m very much looking forward to how that unfolds.
And yeah, Round Four poster to cap off this post.