Re: ANW 13 Yes, Finals are really good so far. Liked the Split Decision even better this way, good runs and surprising results. The Power Tower has definitely been massively upgraded too.
If anyone's interested in hearing way more of my ninja opinions than they'd ever want to, I've posted a very long review on my channel. Pardon me for being monotone and stuttering. I was reading my notes and talking at the same time (although it's always bad anyway ):
Re: ANW 13 It's been awhile since anything has happened, so I guess I'll post about the new trailer!
Numbers 2 and 3 are now Double Twister (not surprising they brought it back, but interesting it skipped last season!) and Ring Chaser, which feels weird to be introduced during Finals. Indeed, it hasn't been in a finals ep yet!
We can't see the second half of the course, but pretty sure it's the same Split Decision at least, based on a question they asked on Instagram last week about which obstacle we'd choose. I could be reading too much into it though!
Last year we only had three extended course eps (of course in a different style than this year with all the format changes recently). Semifinal 1 to semifinal 2 did only see two obstacles change, both on the front half of the course, so maybe they'll stick with that system here. It's not like we have a large sample size of episodes to base this off of though, so I'm not sure, but I would wager it's still Corkscrew in 8th.
Re: ANW 13 This semi had its course leaked online at the time of filming, I'll post it in full below:
Wall To Wall
The Inverter / Tuning Forks
It's been a while since the last episode because of the Olympic break so hopefully it acts as a little reset button, leaving behind the bad taste of the heats and moving forwards to better episodes. Semi 1 was by far the best episode we'd seen to that point (mind that's not saying much) so hopefully this episode won't disappoint.
Re: ANW 13 The trend of this season seems to be producing rather bland and forgettable episodes. There really isn't much of note here - perhaps because they've re-used the same core format structure and even course layout since the days of filming in a car park in the late 2000s. I feel there really was a missed opportunity to shake up the course for these semi-finals, considering they're filming on a separate course in a separate location for the first time.
I think I've decided too that as much as I like this split decision, it's simply too late on the course to see enough of it - especially with a brutal 8th obstacle like tonight. The 8th obstacle in question, Padlock, I found to be a bit awkward of a move, a bit difficult for an 8 and not brilliant for camera. Don't get me wrong it wasn't bad but I didn't really get into it either. Another problem was every segment bar one showed only one full run that got to at least obstacle 8, where the run usually ended - the repetition didn't help this episode.
Another thing that annoyed me was how they spoiled the end before the episode had started: the intro kept leaning into "could it be teacher vs student (Joe vs Jay) on the Power Tower?" and SURPRISE it was (sigh). They really love the themes this season don't they! Then they were like "this could be really useful for Joe to help him win the million dollars in Vegas" so I'm thinking Joe's winning this power tower isn't he? Sure enough he did. I'm also thinking a kanzen from Joe is more likely after they stressed the million dollars, something they didn't do with Daniel last episode. I also think skipping Kaden at this point makes it unlikely he's winning but I think Vance has a chance (ooh rhyme) - I assume he'll be in next week's episode? I've got my eye on Jake Murray too - I've probably jinxed both of them now...
The Dungeon / Diving Boards
Overall a pretty decent episode but wow a couple of the obstacles tried to challenge that. Diving Boards with the strangely high dismount didn't have much of an effect due to it being late in the course and on the split decision part. Drop Zone though did have more of an impact, yeah literally. I think we're all wondering how it got as far as appearing on the show, surely somebody should have flagged its blatant safety issues! Sadly it's back for the final semi... somehow?
I also want to talk about Vegas a bit because they showed their first snippets of footage in this episode. I know most of the obstacles already so I will say they showed (admittedly briefly!) what I'd deem to be the three most interesting changes this year from what we've previously seen in Vegas.
The Dungeon / Diving Boards
A lot of people seemed to dislike this episode, I actually quite enjoyed it. Perhaps like heat 5 it was the success in a season with a drought of it. Strange though that both Power Tower contenders got mid-cuts, that being said the moment they started showing any of Austin Gray's run in a non-fast-forward segment I knew he was going to be on that PT. I also need to take back my criticism of the difficulty of the Diving Boards from last week, I think this was a case of one night's poor results influencing my opinion too readily. I also see why the crash mat at the end of the Diving Boards was that high after one of the clears had a high-impact crash with it, they'd have gone flying otherwise! There was one run I'd have liked to see in full - that person was I believe Taylor Amann - who had loads of close calls. I find it strange that dramatic runs like that end up normally getting the FF treatment despite the fact they'd be much more entertaining in full as you wouldn't be expecting it or know how it would end.
Vegas next week! Seems strange how quickly the season has gone despite some pretty rough episodes and a couple of two week breaks but I suppose it's also a shorter season too. Now logically this should be the best part of the season but we've seen it go so badly in the past so I'll not get too excited. Plus we have ANW's editing to deal with.
I'm going to make a few predictions, the first being that Jesse Labreck finally beats Stage 1 - she's been so close the last three seasons (that had Vegas in of course) and I feel it's going to happen sometime so why not this year?
Then to predict stage clear numbers - it's a slightly smaller field this year of only around 70 athletes as opposed to the usual 80-90 but it is a very strong field, especially with the introduction of so many strong new athletes due to the "TEEN INVASION!" - apologies but they've been going so hard on that I had to say it at some point. In that light I'll go for a season 9-esque higher Stage 1 proportion of clears - slightly under half, meaning a clear count of around 30. Stage 2 I'm hoping is more balanced this year than has historically been the case, I'm going to bet on that and say 10 clears here. Stage 3 I originally thought may have a clear as I think they want a new winner to overshadow the previous one for obvious reasons - so I was going to go with that, one singular clear. Considering ANW has a 75% clear rate on Stage 4, and that one fail was probably due to the fatigue of having run the previous stage just half an hour earlier, I'll say that if we get a Stage 3 clear we're in for a good chance of getting a Total Victory (or kanzenseiha to reference Sasuke). However, there were two things making me doubt a winner: to my knowledge they haven't spoiled it yet but I suppose they still have time (hopefully we don't need to watch this space), and the overhead shot of the tower we saw in semi 3 or 4 was of the skills competition setup rather than the main competition one - for those reasons I'm going to make my official prediction that we won't get a Stage 3 clear but because of the strong field we get 3-5 deep runs on that course. So 70>30>10>0>0 (all numbers approximate).
But of course the big question regardless of the results spread is who do I think the top competitor will be? My top contenders for that are:
• Joe Moravsky - he's strong, consistent and has a safety pass this year. As a two-time LNS I think he has to be the odds-on favourite here and they did mention the Million Dollars in his commentary which could be some post-production hype for a Moravsky win
• Vance Walker - probably the strongest teen of the season, one of only 4 ninjas all season to beat the Mega Wall as well as having a fastest time of the night in his semi and a Power Tower win under his belt. Another safety pass holder who's been main-evented twice
• Jake Murray - he has the skillset but no safety pass. Main-evented in his heat and second to last in his semi with the fastest time of the night. Stage 2 has brought him down in every Vegas season so far, if he finally gets past it though I do fancy his chances
• Adam Rayl - ok he hasn't had the favourable edit this season but he never does and actually showing his run in the semis (admittedly only half of it) when there wasn't anything particularly notable about it could be a good sign, plus we all know he's strong, coming third in season 11, and kind of in season 12's alternate format too
Post-edit disclaimer: I based my original clear numbers partly on thinking it was a 4-episode Vegas, turns out it's back to 3 episodes this year and it's highly unlikely without editing even more questionable than usual for my original numbers to be possible so I've lowered them.
Re: ANW 13 I agree about liking this most recent episode! It felt fresh to have clears again. I also agree that they always skip the more interesting runs. Like I would've loved to see the man who made the epic save at the end of Diamond Dash and the guy who "hit his testicles" (to quote Will in a less recent ANW review) on the Barrel Roll landing!
A lot of people have been saying they expect a winner and I can see why they'd aim for one, but I maintain that it'd be silly to have two winning Vegas courses in a row (plus last year). That'd give the illusion to casual fans who don't really know how the show works that there's always a winner - which is exactly against the point of the show. That being said, I wouldn't be surprised if they always aim for a winner at this point - they seem to be going for broke.
Is it possible that the Final Stage has actually just changed and it wasn't an All-Stars overhead shot? Or was it the head-to-head thing so we know?
I like your predictions overall; those are just about ideal results for this season in my opinion.
Stage 1: 22 clears
Stage 2: 8 clears
Stage 3: 1 clear (although could easily be 0 in my mind)
Stage 4: No clears
They need to strive for a much lower Final Stage clear rate, it feels anti-climatic at this point.
Re: ANW 13 Congratulations making two hours on that lol!
So Vegas stage 1 night 1 happened, I watched it today and didn't have as many things to say as I thought I would so might go over the Stage 1 course obstacle by obstacle and take it from there (clearly SPOILERS ahead):
Slide Surfer - even straight after the course intro I had no idea what this was called so had to look it up. I like the obstacle how it was intended to function, didn't work as well as I hoped due to the proximity of the boards - most people just ran across them without having to wait for them to slide. May have worked better later in the course so they could be spaced out a bit more - plus there's another obstacle on the course that I'd have liked to have seen as a 1.1!
Swinging Blades - come on they're axes, essentially Spin Your Wheels but a different aesthetic and slightly different grip, seemed to require one or two less swings but still a little long-winded for a 1.2 I think. That being said it's a fine obstacle.
Double Dipper, Jumping Spider, Tire Run, Warped Wall - all good but ageing obstacles that we've seen here before, I think the fact that the middle section of the course stayed exactly the same and it was the obstacles on the fringes of the course that got changed made the course feel a little more stale than it should have done. One thing to say about the Jumping Spider though: it took out a lot of teens, I assume it's because their training seems to be very upper-body oriented.
Dipping Birds - ANW really has given up on obstacle names haven't they? I liked this one quite a lot but it's too easy to be the penultimate obstacle, I assume it's a case of wanting to show off their split decision and make this more of a time-waster for that, not that going for the fast ring was sensible anyway! I think this would have been a good 1.1 (as much as I want a non-upper-body start for a change), and according to someone in the know, this one may well have ended up as 1.1 if ANW12 Vegas had happened.
Split Decision (High Road / Fly Hooks) - bit of a strange ender I won't lie. Fly Hooks is rather typical for a Vegas 1.8, and so similar to Sky Hooks in appearance it almost nicked its name! The fact that there's multiple hooks on each swing that didn't get used suggests that this may have been slightly different in function originally and then got changed to a more vanilla idea, but honestly this worked well enough. High Road on the other hand was so difficult to time correctly only 3 people went for it and only 1 got it. Frankly I don't see why you'd pick it unless you were really running low on time or were more desperate to be shown than to have a chance at the million! (Not that I think that was the case for these 3). Also the red ladder was just odd, especially right on top of a cargo net that was perfectly within reach. A big problem I had with this obstacle is the button after the wall kind of made the last section of the course feel completely separate to the rest, something that clearly isn't good for a timed course.
Overall a similar Stage 1 to last year and I enjoyed a lot but feel that they need to part with at least a couple of their beloved mid-course obstacles next time.
The episode as a whole was pretty good (at least for the standard set by the rest of the season), my favourite episode so far - and the first where the 1h25 of footage felt like less because it went by quickly.
With regards to my picks, 2 completed the course (admittedly one did an interesting grab on the hook of the final obstacle rather than the ring, I think Adam's status as a top competitor may have helped him not get the DQ and cut treatment for that one!), 1 failed but has a safety pass and 1 is yet to run. I was surprised Joe went for the ring quite frankly - he had plenty of time for an obstacle of a kind he can easily do. He apparently has since blamed the choice on not having a proper warm-up due to the traditional Vegas food poisoning (in all his modesty :P) - I think there was also a good bit of poor judgement too! Surprised but happy that they split his safety pass run into the other episode - something they should have done last year that doesn't give away the outcome if a usual main event fails and has to be aired early.
On the subject of safety passes - they didn't even mention Vance's until AFTER his run, a clear sign of a course finish, AND they FAST-FORWARDED safety pass holder Austin Gray. What has that guy done to them?? Yep, as usual some strange edits, you expect to see the supposed top competitors get shown in Vegas so no excuses there.
Was shocked by a couple of run results - NNL champ Jay Lewis, who had a very favourable edit to this point, failed Double Dipper, and Lucas Reale failed obstacle 8 after choosing the wrong obstacle for seemingly no reason. When they first showed Lucas, I was thinking he must have done well in Vegas because they don't normally show him. Then when it was clear he was going for the High Road, I thought they must be showing him to show a clear on that obstacle... but he failed it and is out! And finally a mention for NWUK alum Deren Perez - admittedly I wasn't expecting him to clear but of all the obstacles I didn't think he'd fail Tire Run, the man has a basketball background (despite his height) so I thought that nature of jump would be right up his street, good on him for getting past the first 4 obstacles though - it was clear from his semis episode he was stoked to get to Vegas.
Should probably mention the Daniel Gil situation now. I knew about this well beforehand (that's why you don't see him in my predictions above) but still a bummer for him to miss Vegas and hope he made a full and speedy recovery. Though one thing I found ironic was when he said he wanted to stay positive when he had covid - obviously he didn't mean it in that way so probably more says what the last year and a half has done to me (and probably us all).
One interesting final thing from this episode is they are going to start Stage 2 halfway through tomorrow's episode, which they've never done before. It suggests either not many stage 1 clears or a very successful stage 2 or 3. Perhaps both, I'm really not sure.
Looking ahead to next week, we've got Joe's safety pass run along with Jake Murray and Jesse Labreck. Some more people too of course. With only 12 finishers so far it's likely that my 30 prediction is dead in the water, it's probably more like 20-25 at this point. Still could get 10 Stage 2 clears, depends how they all cope with a stage 2 made up half of, let's be honest, Stage 3 obstacles - still nowhere near Wingnut Alley difficulty of course.
Re: ANW 13 Man, I miss writing course reviews reading posts like those. I think I'll switch back to my old format of text reviews rather than my YouTube ones because it's a lot more efficient to my time and a lot less cumbersome!
I like most of the course. I feel obstacle 7 would indeed have been better as a first obstacle and the first may have been better as the seventh! Also the names this week were crap (except for Surf Slider). Dipping Birds made no sense to me ( ) and Fly Hooks is confusing, just like Wing Swing can be easily confused with Ring Swing!
None of the new obstacles were all that great, but I thought they came together nicely. I liked the different movement of the Surf Slider, but it's a giveaway obstacle. Swinging Blades is kind of cool in that it throws off momentum, but it feels a bit slow and like most people don't struggle. Dipping Birds looked WAAAAY too easy to me, but than it took out way more people than the Broken Bridge, Domino Pipes or Razor Beams did, so maybe I'm missing something? Of course, that position has infamously easy obstacles, but still!
I like the new Split Decision; it's kind of weird that there's no real downside to hitting the button on the wall (and yet many people stood around pondering it ), but I kind of get it because it'd suck to have a bunch of people DQed on the platform for missing the ring if they did force competitors to stick to their choice. I'm struggling as to what's the better choice - I thought the High Road before watching, but that jump is clearly tricky. Still, those ring laches always seem like something that'd get me (I've never tried one), so this big leap on a swinging apparatus would've been really hard to do. So I don't know! I do kind of like that it's so hard to figure out though!
I definitely feel like they should've taken out one of the obstacles in the middle - probably Tire Run. It's weird because I don't mind the obstacle, but it just feels to me like something they'd remove quickly (especially after a win). I'm afraid at this point Jumping Spider is a shoe-in for good, but at least the kids struggled there to mix it up a bit!
The weather may have also played a factor in that obstacle's difficulty, if you know what I'm referring to