As the girl from 12 exits the training room, I turn to my notes and prepare to start assigning scores.
I’ve seen five sets of tributes enter and exit this room over the years I’ve been a Gamemaker, and this group is without a doubt the most talented. Most of these tributes will be getting scores above the average “6”; I know that before I even go to my notes.
The boy from 1 started things off with an above average performance with a slingshot. Personally I tend to avoid giving any tribute who shows off skills with a slingshot an above-average score, even if all their shots end up piercing through a dummy where a tribute’s eyes would normally be, like his do. Unless a tribute is standing absolutely still, the most a tribute like him can do is be an annoyance. Still, he’s a Career, so he must know how to use other weapons. I give him the benefit of the doubt and write down a score of “8”.
The girl from 1 was more impressive than her male counterpart. Her brutish performance with knives and a broadsword left a field of decapitated and slashed dummies at her feet. The only drawback in her performance was her failure to be a threat at long-range, something that most Careers have skill in. Maybe she has that skill and decided not to show it today. A score of “9” fits her nicely.
The boy from 2 started his performance launching arrows at dummies, and ended with him slicing off heads with a katana. The most interesting thing about his performance, however, was the calm and ease I felt permeating through him. Almost as if he’s done this before. He’s a threat in these Games to any tribute, and a score of “10” reflects that.
The girl from 2 surprised me. I can’t say I was expecting her to drop into a split and slice the ankles of the dummy she faced. Nor did I expect her to cartwheel to the weapon wall, grab an axe, and launch it at another dummy. Granted, the axe didn’t stick into it’s target, but it did shave off a generous portion of the dummy’s side. She’s a Career, so I doubt anyone will underestimate her. But if they do, they’re in for a world of hurt. She gets a “9”.
District 3 has always been a wild card. Sometimes they produce dangerous tributes, like Hannah Cruz from three years ago. Other times they produce more mediocre tributes, like Hannah’s brother, Rene. The male this year isn’t quite a Hannah, but he’s certainly close to it. What would have been a mediocre slingshot performance instead turns into the boy shooting metal balls coated in an acid that he produced at the alchemy table. The burns on his target dummies are extensive, and look painful. Slingshot and all, he deserves the “9” he gets.
I sigh as I look at the girl from 3’s picture. Clearly she’s one of those tributes that just doesn’t belong here. Apart from getting lucky like Kasey Send from last year’s games, who made it to the final 5 with a below-average score, I don’t see this girl getting very far. Her performance consisted of her cracking a whip and throwing some poorly-aimed knives at a dummy. I give her a “5”, half because I feel sorry for her, and half because she at least looks athletic. Maybe she can run from danger, for a while.
The boy from 4 is everything I like in a Career. Strong, athletic, and knows how to kill from a variety of distances. His aim with a bow is impeccable, and he can handle a knife with surgeon-like precision. I say that because of the way his knives almost always targeted the jugular of his targets’ necks. He’ll be a fun one to watch; a “10” matches his skill and potential.
Cold and calculated would be the best way to describe the girl from 4’s exhibition. Whether she was smashing a dummy’s face in with the blunt end of her staff or launching a barrage of arrows at another dummy with a crossbow, all I could really focus on was her emotionless face and deep concentration. I can tell she’s vigilant, and while that might save your life in the Games, sometimes what you really need to do is move without thinking. I give her a “9”. We’ll see how she does.
The boy from 5 missed the mark. His mediocre performance with a katana was at least worth a “6”, but then he spent the rest of his time at the alchemy station crafting a potion that he didn’t even get a chance to show off. His time ended before he was even halfway done. Hopefully his perfectionism won’t hinder his performance in the Games like it did here today. I give him a “5” for his skill with a katana, and for wasting time.
District 5 women have always been a mixed bag. The girls from the first and third year both made it mid-way through the Games, the girl from the second year made it to the finale, and the woman from last year died on the second day. I can see this girl making it to the finale though, judging from the way she launched spears and arrows at her targets. She might be the deadliest female tribute at long-range this year. I give her a “10”.
I’ll admit, I laughed out loud when the boy from 6 picked a katana as his weapon of choice. He honestly didn’t look like he could pull it off. Needless to say, I immediately shut up once he took off all four limbs of a standing dummy, and decapitated it as it fell to the ground. I’d already decided to give him a high score before he shot a few arrows off with a bow. This boy seems to be as strong as his male predecessor from last year, Zack. Hopefully he doesn’t meet the same early elimination. Like the girl from 5 before him, he gets a “10”.
Maybe it was having to perform after her much stronger and much more talented district partner. Or maybe she’s just not that good. Either way, the girl from 6 left me thoroughly unimpressed. Her performance amounted to her whacking a dummy in the side and head with a staff a few times, and she did not look happy doing it. The room clearly intimidated her, so I can’t imagine she’ll do much better in the arena with other tributes coming for her. She’s cannon fodder for this year’s Games, and I give her a “3” to reflect that.
Once the betting starts on this year’s Games, I know without a doubt that the odds on this boy will be 2:1 for him to win. In non-gambler’s language, he is by far the strongest tribute this year. Half of his strength comes from you not expecting him to score two headshots with his bow, and then to split those two arrows with two more shots. The way he performed with that bow made it seem like he’s never missed a shot in his life. Knocking the head of a dummy off with a staff gave me the push I needed to award him the highest score possible, a “12”.
The woman from 7 had a lot to follow after her district partner’s incredible performance. And follow she did. Crafting an acidic potion in under a minute is a feat in and of itself, but then coating arrows in the mixture and firing them with impressive accuracy at some dummy heads, now that’s true skill. District 7 is the strongest district this year; I can see both of their tributes making it to the finale. The woman receives a “10”.
District 8 has never had a strong male tribute, ever. Three of them in the past four Games died on the first day, and the fourth only lasted one day longer. The male this year seems to be keeping in that tradition, judging from his lackluster performance with knives and a bow and arrow. The blows that he landed on his targets were strong, but not deadly, and he missed more times than he hit. I give him a “5”; he might be able to kill someone, if they stand still long enough.
The girl from 8, unlike her district partner, actually showed a lot of promise. Her archery skills are impressive, not as much as other tributes that performed before her, but still respectable. What really impressed me, however, was the corrosive potion she created that ate its way through a broadsword that she poured it over. I wonder what it would do to a person’s face. She gets a “9”.
The male tribute from District 9 disappointed me, mainly because he looked like one of those tributes who’d be secretly good at something, like archery or knife-throwing. Turns out he’s just mediocre at both. He gets a “5”, and only because I’m feeling generous. Let’s hope he’s smarter than he is strong.
The woman from 9 might be the most interesting tribute in the bunch. You wouldn’t expect someone like her to handle a katana with such grace and fluidity, or a spiked mace with such power and brutality. In fact, most people won’t believe the damage she caused in the training room until they see her in action themselves. She’s going to kill a lot of tributes, if she gets the chance. An “11” marks her as the strongest female tribute in the Games.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a tribute injure themselves during a performance. Things were going well for the boy from 10 for maybe the first fifteen seconds, and then he managed to hit himself in the side with his own meteor hammer as it rebounded. The knife-throwing that came after that was nowhere near impressive, probably due to the way he was holding his side. I wouldn’t be surprised if he broke a rib. Our doctors will have him fixed up before he goes into the arena, but I really don’t see him coming back out. He gets a “3”.
For someone who looked so unsure of herself, the girl from 10 put on a pretty good show. Accurate with a bow and dangerous with a mace, she could prove to be a real contender in these Games. As long as she doesn’t let her nerves get in the way. An “8” suits her nicely.
Out of all the tributes in the Games this year, the boy from 11 is the only one I would call average. Average performance with a whip, average skill with a spear, not too intimidating but not too timid either. He’s perfectly average in every way, so an average score of “6” fits him perfectly.
What words can I use to describe the girl from 11? Strange. Scary. Skilled. By the time she had finished lobbing explosive vials at dummies, and finished off the ones left unscathed by the burns with a spiked mace, I was convinced of her power and force. She will be very, very hard to kill, and that earns her a score of “10”.
It’s rare that District 12 produces any decent tributes, and the boy from 12 is a nice exception to the rule. Unlike the boy from 10, he actually knew how to handle a meteor hammer, and crushed a few dummies with ease. He also showed promise with a spear, both at close and long-range. He’s a formidable tribute, one that deserves an “8”.
The girl from 12, the last tribute to perform, exceeded all expectations. Her prowess with a bow was evident, as was her skill with a knife. She’s yet another strong tribute from this year’s bunch, and one that any other year would be guaranteed a ticket to the final 8. But the talent pool is stacked this year, and even strong tributes could die early on if they aren’t careful. This girl gets a “9”.