Hey everybody. Greg Poverelli here, bringing you a brief Fantasy Pinball strategy and analysis for the UK Pinball Open 2022.
Big shout out to my good friend Tim Sexton of Stern Pinball for making this incredible platform for us to enjoy! It’s the most comprehensive and easy to use version of pinball fantasy ever, check it out at:
The name is representative of the method used to rank players, as it utilizes not just IFPA ranking but also IFPA rating, power 100, and matchplay events rating. The combination of those different metrics truly paints a picture of a player’s consistency and likelihood to win. Of course the key to a strong fantasy team like most sports, is to accurately pick the best performing top players as well as “sleepers” in the form of productive players that come at great value. Each person has a value based on their statistics and your team cap is £250. The winning team will likely be one that has the Champion on it, or multiple finalists, along with someone who came in at a lower draft cost that made a deep run.
So as I sit here at the hotel bar in Croydon, reminiscing about my first awesome night exploring the streets and pubs of London, day dreaming of the BOOMs, BEEFs, and high stake pinball to come this week; I can forsee many different paths to a fantasy team that will bring you home the win.
The first class of players at the highest price point are all capable of taking this tourney down in dominate fashion. It is essential in this format to have a player or two who makes the final 4. I’m going to analyze 3 players at each price level. High, medium and low. My recommendations:
Daniele Celestino Acciari £ 94.33:
As the most expensive player and the favorite, picking Daniele eats up over 1/3 of your bankroll. Well he’s worth it. The 4 time world champion is a sure bet to be playing deep into the event. The last two majors Daniele didn’t win he lost great battles to the GOAT, Keith Elwin. From the moment he walked into the scene, traveling from Italy to Pittsburgh, winning the PAPA circuit by surviving the entire ladder, Daniele has been a dominate force touting 12 major finals appearances, the 4th all time.
Julio Vicario Soriano £ 85.76:
If you have ever seen Julio play it’s a real treat. His physical style correlates to fast paced and exciting pinball. Hailing from Spain he is no stranger to winning at high level European events, including 3 major finals appearances at EPC historically. Julio has a winning record against all opponents he has faced at least 5 times except for 7 people worldwide. He is a strong contender to win it all and is a smart pick for any team.
Arvid Flygare £ 80.88:
Arvid is a rising superstar having jumped into the top 25 winning a string of large events in Sweden in the last few years. At 14 years old he has nowhere to go but up and considering he’s currently ranked 8th, I suspect a world championship is in his future. At this price point he could bring your team glory as the extra £ 14 in your budget compared to Daniele can allow you to add some depth. He might be the best value in the A class of this draft pool.
Franck Bona £ 65.69
In my 13 years of competing I have seen Franck up in the top 50 for the majority of the time, as he produces incredible consistency at the EPC. Having won it twice and made finals six times, he has one of the best major championship records in Europe. Due to pandemic his ranking has dropped a bit due to less events, which makes him a steal at this price point. If you decide to pass on one of the more expensive players and build a roster of more affordable heavy hitters, this Frenchman is your guy.
Levi Nayman £ 55.22
You know Levi for his boisterous booms and beefs in the commentary booth, but he is no stranger from winning at championship level events. Hailing from NYC he was able to make the top 8 his first trip to EPC and helped bring team America to the final 4. This season he has been on fire, being in the running for a great position in the Stern Pro Circuit, he finished second to Jason Zahler at both the Allentown Pinfest and the New England Silverball Rumble. He’s a safe addition to any team as a second pick.
Jorgen Holm £ 50.95
Here it is folks, my best value pick of the draft. Jorgen is a former world champion, dominating in Sweden he’s won 100 tournaments in his career, and he was ranked 1st back in 2006. The only reason he isn’t up at the Julio price point is a decrease in events player since pandemic. If you don’t draft him at this price point you are passing on a very big opportunity to have the winner as your second pick. He is almost a sure thing to make a big run.
Rich Mallet £ 35.73
Rich is the leading choice of the under priced sleeper players in the UK Pinball Open. One of the hometown heroes hailing from London his current rank is not representative of his skillset as he is traditionally in the top 50 area and a regular attendee of the IFPA world championship. I’ve had the luxury of losing to him in that tournament, trust me you’ll be thrilled with his production at 35 quid and change.
Peter Blakemore £ 26.93
Peter is another top player in the UK who has been in the top 50 and comes in at tremendous sleeper value. He’s won 50 times in his career and just finished 3rd in the UK pinfest classic. Your team probably needs to add one final player to come in at £ 250 budget, Mr. Blakemore is a strong option to make the finals and score you points on the cheap.
David Mainwaring £ 20
You’ll see a trend that my value picks are due to decreased play. One of the strongest strategies in the format is to build a team with two of the most valuable players available. The only way you can do that is if you find 1-2 great values in the £ 20 lowest price point option. David is my last recommended sleeper from the UK, as he caught my eye as the best player at this price. He was ranked 57th in 2017 and also no stranger to the IFPA world championship. If you can get a finals qualified player at £ 20 along with your two top picks, it can win you the draft.
Well there you go folks. I hope you enjoyed this fantasy analysis, make sure to go draft a team with your favorite picks. Whether use my advice or prove me wrong, either way enjoy the amazing pinball to come; tune in live this weekend on Backhand pinball on Twitch!