The Colosseum has now witnessed 53 battles take place within its sandy arenas. Each match has drawn capacity crowds, so much so that the overflow of spectators have had to sit on the arena floor itself, contending with scorpions. Security have made sure that no-one gets too close - not just for the safety of the players (large wagers of battlecoins on the group games led the Head of Colosseum security to announce earlier this week that player assassinations were a genuine threat), but also to prevent the phenomenon known as 'courtsiding' - where spectators secretly feed players information about the set-up of their opponent through the use of coded shouts of encouragement.
The opening rounds have already provided a few upsets. yoyordy and B.E.M.HCS claimed the scalps of top-tier seeds sevenseas and josephwhite respectively, whilst Group 16 is wide open after SilverFox defeated astros and Hercules 1926 overcame zoografos. And finally after over 40 matches without one, mrbrainiac and hondjekpaitein provided the first tie of the tournament.
Week 4 will be the busiest week of the tournament, with approximately 35 matches scheduled to take place as a number of players return from holiday. Due to maths, that's 5 a day for the next week. Needless to say, there's always some epic battle going on in The Colosseum.
On a more personal note, a number of readers have enquired about the identity of Final Fantasy, which remains a mystery. Years ago I assumed he was dead. Final Fantasy, a rival journalist (spy) meant to assassinate me after I penned an expose which suggested that his company was wasting paper and manipulating readership ratings. I had him cornered with two pieces and had just unleashed a scout in his direction when my opponent disconnected - I never saw the piece revealed and over time had simply assumed that he met an uneventful death in that forgotten corner of a Stratego Board. Recent spottings have caused me to re-think, as I come to the realisation that my life is still under threat after all these years. My guard is up and my senses, just like all the players participating here in the Champions League, are on full alert.
This seems like a good moment to run a competition here at The Pioneer. For a chance to win ringside seats to the Champions League Final - just who is Final Fantasy?
This is Javier Flag, undercover maverick reporter of The Pioneer bringing you the action from The Colosseum.