Saturday, 25 May 2013

Battle of the Nations 2013: good memories and meaningful conclusions

A little more than a week ago I returned from the Battle of the Nations, I had some rest and decided that it could be a good idea to express my thoughts about this year's event.

I have been to all “Battles of the Nations” since the very beginning of the championship in 2010 (though at that time I was not in the team yet, I fought then only in “all vs all”). And I can truly say that every year it is different and this year it was really unique.

The first thing I was impressed with when I came to the tournament was the size of the camp. Yeah, it was big and it was obvious that it cannot even be compared to the previous year’s, actually the camp was huge and I have never seen such a big camp at a reenactment event. People say that on Grunwald the camp could be bigger, but I've never been there. The Aigues Mortes fortress was also impressive, but come on, let us confess that we don't care very much about the fortress after several years of reenactment festivals. You just consider it as something compulsory. But remember, last year in Poland it was an epic fail with the fortress.

We set the tent and started the standard camp review. The biggest tent I saw was the USA tent and then I heard rumors that they brought 50 fighters and 60 people of support team. I think Americans want to conquer the tournament in a few years and the amount of people coming proves my opinion. Later they proved it on the battlefield.

The first thing we check at the festival are toilets and showers. Well, the toilets were not bad, I would say innovative - as they were not plastic as usual, but the showers were terrible. Last year in Poland the showers were much better. This year hot water almost didn't work and in 2 days the showers got completely broken and gathered enormous amount of crap and became a real swamp. That was a pity, but it didn't actually spoil the impression.

But let's get to the fighting part.
The parade was big, there have never been so many countries at the parade on the reenactment of HMB event and so many fighters. We saw fighters of 4 continents. We communicated in Facebook, shared some photos and info, visited each other's groups and now we saw everyone in real life. The captain of Israeli team Michael Morgulis came to me and said that he thought that that I was smaller. I was not. That was a nice compliment :)

Btw was a great fun when our Ukrainian team stood near the UK team and heard them speaking Russian. I think it had a major influence on our communication development.

For those who didn't know (I think for our western friends), the 9th of May was Victory day in The Great patriotic War (WW2 in Soviet Union) for post-Soviet countries, so all the slavic teams wore Georgian stripes. That way we commemorate our ancestors who fought against Nazis. And that's why at the festival we heard many Soviet was songs. For us it was really great to fight having such a soundtrack, I think all slavic teams would support me in this.

The 1 vs 1 tournament

I read at Sergey Ukolov Vkontakte page that this year BoN “1 vs 1” category would be the competition of the
"Bayard" club (as all the Russian 1 vs 1 fighters are from "Bayard") and the Poles - Waszkielis and Szatecki brothers who are also from one team. And that happened to be very close to the truth, but our Konstantin Nataluha proved that Ukrainian fighters are also worth something. He was new at the BoN tournament, but he took the 4th place and that it our "standard" result for the "1 vs 1" at the BoN, so at least we didn't lose position and that is already not bad.

The thing that was astonishing is that Marcin Waszkielis was kicked out by our Nikolay Avenirov. Nikolay is a very good fighter, but actually Waszkielis fought with Ukolov for the first place last year and they were almost equal. I think it happened mainly to the fact that Nikolay just hit him out of the ring 3 or 4 times, I think it was a drawback in the rules, but anyway he lost his positi
on and I was even sorry (though very happy for our fighter) because I wanted to see Ukolov and Waszkielis fighting again. I think the team of Poland had their revenge with our fighters because the fight of Krzysztof Szatecki (so hard to spell Polish names :) ) and Nataluha practically was won the same way but now Ukrainian fighter was kicked off the ring. Krzysztof is bigger and stronger and his used this advantage in the best way possible.

Bayard this year was as cool as usual and they really fought great. Especially I liked the fight of Lapik and Babynin, that was very professional. And the fight of Nataluha and Lapik. Both guys use the tactics of “3000 strikes per second” so the fight was at the highest pace, very dynamic and was a real challenge for their stamina and general physical condition.

Generally the results of the Duel were predictable except the situation with Waszkielis.

“5 vs 5”

Unfortunately our teams did not get success in this nomination this year. The results were actually also predictable, as usual Russia took all three places. But this year a new strong team appeared at the arena of "5 vs 5" and that is team USA. Guys were tough, very tough. Though having actually only a year of experience in "5 vs 5" they managed to get to the fourth place and that means a serious menace for the next year. If they maintain the progress, they will get to top 3. Why did they win? Well, USA 3 was actually the strongest USA “5 vs 5" team with all the most experienced and the muscular guys. They stroke hard, they learnt how to stand under halberds and they learnt how to run, and moreover all guys are 100+ kg I think. Personally I was happy to see them making such a progress though they bet our team :) And they fought Russia 3 also very well, no matter the score they fight was long, hard and it really meant something.

Team of Poland and Belarus had their usual result, though this year Belarus bet Ukraine 1. I think it was an accident (with all respect to fighters from Belarus), because after score 4:0 Ukraine 1 brought the second squad to the field which lost and then bringing back the first squad did not help due to some unpredictable reasons ( I think some of the guys fell unintentionally and some were tired after 2 rounds). But anyway Belarus won and it is the fact.

Russia was as usual, nothing interesting :)

“21 vs 21”

And that was a real fun. The new strong team in “21 vs 21” was USA. They kicked some asses and we really had to prepare to fight them. I think that USA now is the power in HMB and quite unique power, all of them are big, strong and very motivated.
Belarus also did well this year, they bet us in one round and that was a stress, we had to gather some thoughts and forces to beat them on the final day. We were sure that we would do it and we did it, but guys showed that they mean business and that we shouldn't relax.

Poland in “21 vs 21” fought better previous year. Actually they were not in a worse shape, I think they lacked some motivation. I don't know why Hubert didn't fight, but usually he managed to motivate his team being at the battlefield. Hope he will fight next year and his leadership will give some additional +5 to attacking skills.

Russia as usual.

Other "21 vs 21" teams were "youngsters" in this nomination so there was no reason to expect something outstanding. But they tried and that gave them some experience.

But generally "21 vs 21" this year was a much more fun, because at last it was a real competition. We never had more than 4-5 teams and they are too few for competition as it ends just in an hour and it is not very spectacular, but now having 7 teams it was already time requiring and it made a much better impression. Royal Category this was really truly Royal for the first time. Now we really see the power of many participating countries.

"5 vs 5" is a fight, but "21 vs 21" is a battle. We need to develop and practice the tactics again every time, and as more teams appear on the arena - as more fun it becomes. I think with time "21 vs 21" will soon require people who will be very good in strategy and who can manage fighters on the battlefield in the process, as in such massive battles the role of one fighter diminishes but ability to cooperate, to hold the rows and react appropriately to rival's strategy is of high importance.

We took the second place as usual and at last we got the medals for it :)

“All vs all” were mostly in the format "Russian vs Earth" as there were something like 70 Russian fighters on one side and all other teams managed to gather approximately the same amount of fighters on the other side.
Here I want to address to everyone and note that this is the reason why Russia wins. While all other teams "conserve their strength" for the next day, Russians go to all possible fights. And that happens on all festivals. Result: they get much more experience. If you take part in all possible fights at all the festivals you participate, you will succeed with time. And if you sit and watch your opponents fighting and think "Fools, I will better have a good rest before tomorrow and kick their ass" you will witness them having level up. So if there are "all vs all" fights, that means everyone taking part in mass battles must participate, especially those who participate in "21 vs 21". It is always a free chance to check the tactics you developed and to make necessary changes to it before you get to fight the enemy in a competitive nomination.

 Other thing that was cool was the soundtrack, as I have mentioned before. Fighting and listening to Soviet war songs was very motivating for all Slavic teams, seeing USA team fighting with AC DC was a real drive and watching German team fighting with Rammstein songs was very cool. I don't know who was responsible for the soundtrack, but he did a great job.

Well, that was BoN 2013 and personally I enjoyed it.
We trained hard, we fought hard and we died hard on the battlefield.
And now we will train again...

Do you have any special memories of "Battle of the Nations 2013"?

Igor Omelianchuk

Will add more photos.