The Games are beginning once again, and this year looks to be the most competitive yet. With above-average performances from almost all of this year’s tributes, it’ll be hard for most spectators to pick out a winner. I lean back and peruse my notes, looking over each tribute’s performance during their training session and allocating out training scores.
The male from District 1 carried himself with an air of determination and confidence during his performance. His medium-range attacks with throwing knives and axes nearly all hit their targets, as is expected from a District 1 tribute. In terms of close-range, the male’s ability with a katana left me feeling overly satisfied. His fluid strikes with his blade left several dummies with cleaved limbs and jugulars. Had he been from any non-Career district, I would give him an extremely high score. But for a District 1 tribute, he really only met the standards set by his predecessors. A 9 suits him well.
The female from 1 does not look like a Career, nor did she carry herself like one when she first walked into the room. Yet ten seconds into her performance, she had already launched an arrow into the heart of a dummy with a small crossbow. Her impeccable aim caught me off guard, as did her almost-instantaneous crafting of an acidic cocktail which began melting the synthetic dummy skin as soon as she’d launched the concoction at it with a small slingshot. As her time had run out, she’d grabbed a trident and launched it across the room at the melting dummy, ripping its head off of its shoulders. The woman is impressive, to say the least. She’ll catch a lot of tributes off guard, even with the 11 I decide to give her.
I guess I expected the male from 2 to be a bit more aggressive in his showing. His jabs with a spear were precise, and he utilized his shield and throwing axes in an efficient combination of dodging, blocking, and throwing when faced with a barrage of arrows fired from stationary dummy targets. That being said, it took him longer than I expected to take out his targets, though he brought them all down eventually. He’s not as strong as I expected him to be, but he’s close. He earns a 9.
The woman from 2 got my attention by not shying away from the more brutal weapons available in the presentation room. I knew I was in for a treat when the first thing she grabbed was a heavy spiked mace, and she left as much of an impression on me as she did on the body and head of the dummy she assaulted with it. Her follow-up with a meteor hammer was an odd combination of grace and power, as she effortlessly slammed the heavy metal sphere into the skulls and chests of several dummies around the room. She was heading towards a crossbow when her session time was up, so I can only assume that she’s just as capable with long-range weaponry as she is with a mace. Unfortunately for her, I don’t give scores out based on potential; though her performance easily merited the 10 she receives.
District 3’s male tribute last year had a training score on par with the Careers he followed, but he still managed to die early on in the Games. So it was difficult to not have some bias towards this year’s male tribute from 3. The man was clearly intelligent, as he spent most of his time tinkering with a flashlight using some materials from the mixing station. I was about to write him off as yet another early out as his time started to trickle down, as it appeared that he was simply wasting time to hide his lack of skills. I was wrong. In the last few seconds, the man had flipped on the flashlight before tossing it away from him and racing across the room to cower behind a dummy. The beam had flickered for a brief moment before the flashlight exploded in a ball of shrapnel and heat. An impressive showing. Hopefully he has some talents with actual weapons, since there’s no guarantee that there will be twenty-three flashlights for him to tinker with in the arena. He gets an average score of 6.
The female tribute from 3 is the youngest in the Games this year, which I’m sure she will use to her advantage. No one’s going to be targeting her once the Games start, and if they do, she at least stands a chance of fending them off with her bow. Sure, she missed a few arrows, but maybe she’ll manage to scare off some of the older tributes who didn’t expect her to put up a fight. She’s clearly nervous to be here, but tributes less-skilled than her have made it far in the Games before. Though none of them have ever won. She’ll have to settle for a 6.
The male from District 4 has big shoes to fill, seeing as his counterpart from last year almost won the Games last year. It was clear from the get-go that unlike the literal hands-on approach Luke took last year, this male prefers to keep his distance. One of his targets was taken down by a barrage of throwing knives, while the next three were all shot in the neck with precise shots from a bow. The man also displayed some balanced proficiency with a katana, whirling and slicing at a dummy while staying out of arm’s reach. He’s a strong contender to make it to the finale this year; he gets a 10.
The woman from 4 started off her strong showing by quickly constructing a snare to trap a small animal or a tribute’s foot. A Career that can feed herself and doesn’t need to rely on supplies is a strong contender, if she can defend herself as well. This one can; her knife and club attacks were relentless, if not focused or calculated. Her untempered aggression could lead to her making a critical error in battle, but at least she knows how to fight. She’ll be an entertaining tribute to watch this year; I give her a 9.
The male from 5 has all the confidence of the stronger Career tributes, and almost all of the talent. He’s a good all-around tribute, and has moderate ability with a bow and a shield, as well as much stronger ability with a trident. Even through his talent, however, I still saw his nerves throughout his performance. His hands were shaking every time he loaded an arrow, and on a couple occasions he’d missed his target because of it. If he’s nervous firing arrows at dummies, then what will he be like in the arena with actual tributes? I end up knocking a point or two off of his final score, rounding him out with an 8.
At first, the woman from 5 just stood in the center of the room, looking up at me defiantly. Every year there’s some tribute that refuses to participate, out of some pacifistic desire to keep their hands clean. I had made it clear to her after a minute or so that she needed to show me something if she wanted any chance to make it out of the arena. Her desire to survive quickly overcame her desire to be a pacifist, and soon she was staring down a dummy while loading an arrow into her bow. Turns out the pacifist is the best archer in the Games. All ten arrows she fired had embedded themselves right where the dummy’s eyes should have been. The woman then grabbed twin sickles and charged through a crowd of dummies, rolling and slashing until her time ran out. If this woman gets over her desire to not kill, then she’s going to take out a lot of tributes. I give her a perfect score of 12. That ought to draw some attention to her from the other tributes.
The man from 6 kept up the pattern of strong showings from the tributes this year, utilizing a katana throughout most of his session. As I watched him effortlessly slice his way through a sea of dummies, I couldn’t help but remember Edwin from 6 last year, who also used a katana. This man is much more proficient than Edwin, who’d managed to make it to the final 8 despite his mediocre skills. Arguably, this man should go even further. With the last few minutes of his performance, the man stabbed at a few intact dummies with a spear, boosting his already-high score up to a solid 10. Another tribute to watch this year.
The woman from 6 isn’t as strong as her male counterpart with a katana, judging by the jagged cuts she’d made into the dummies during her performance. At first I thought I was going to have to give her a low score, but she’d made up for it in the second half of her session, launching off sets of arrows into a dummy with both a bow and a crossbow. If she’d only showed me her long-range ability, I’d have given her a higher score. It’s best to show what you’re good at, and not what you’re mediocre at. She earns an 8 based on her showing.
The man from 7 had announced that he had no intention of participating in this year’s Games as soon as he strode into the room. I just shrugged and sat back in my chair, waiting for his time to end and perusing my notes on the other tributes that had gone before him. After about four minutes, however, movement down on the performance floor had caught my eye, and I looked up just as the man fired an arrow into the heart of a dummy with perfect technique. He dropped the bow and stormed out of the room well before his time was up. The pacifistic tributes this year have some real abilities hiding under that guise of self-righteousness. If he’d stayed a little longer, I’m sure this man would have earned a higher score than the 9 I give him.
The woman from 7 gave the first truly bad performance of the year during her session. First, she missed all but one arrow she fired with a bow. Then she followed that up with a poor showing with a katana, in which she hacked away at a dummy and lost her balance every time the sword made contact with her target. She has no idea what she’s doing in terms of weapons, but she at least tried her best. I doubt her best is enough to get her past the first week in the arena though. I can’t give her anything higher than a 3.
The curse of District 8 is well-known to anyone who’s followed the Games at all. In the past six years, the tributes from 8 have never made it past 17th place. The male from this year stands a shot at breaking that curse, though my doubts still linger. His performance consisted of some trap-making, as well as some impressive athletic display using a spear and shield in combination against a set of dummies. He knows what he’s doing, which is more than I can say for many of the tributes from his district that preceded him in the Games. I give him a respectable 8.
The woman from 8 actually laughed her way through her brutal performance, in which she used a small crossbow to fire arrows into the necks and hearts of several dummies before loping their heads off with a katana. What really made her stand out, however, was what happened when she went over to the mixing station to construct a poison. Her time ran out in the middle of whatever she was doing, but as she had sulked off towards the door, her half-concocted creation had exploded violently on the table, shocking both myself and her. Had she still been standing over by it, her face might have been burned off. Unfazed by this reality, the woman had started laughing again as she left the room. Nothing’s going to break this one. A 9 suits her well.
I will be completely shocked if the man from 9 makes it halfway in the Games, let alone past the first day. I’ve never seen a tribute fail to do any sort of damage during their performance, but this one managed to. Every arrow he fired with his crossbow veered far off to the left or right of his intended target, as did the trident he launched at a dummy afterwards. His nerves showing, the man finished off his performance by accidentally slicing his hand on an axehead. The only distinction I see him making in the Games is being another tribute’s first kill. I sympathetically give him a score of 2, even though he probably deserves even lower.
Unlike her district partner, the woman from 9 is actually a contender. Her close-range abilities remain to be seen, as she spent the entirety of her presentation firing arrows and small metal balls with a bow and a slingshot respectively, with satisfactory accuracy. I can see her making a couple kills during the Games, and I don’t think she’ll die on the first day, as long as she can manage to keep tributes from getting too close. Once they’re up in her face, I’m not sure she’ll last long. Still, her talents are impressive. She earns an 8.
When the man from 10 rolls into the room in a power chair, I immediately write him off as I did the male from 9. How is a man in a wheelchair supposed to defend himself? He tries his best to show his talent with a shield and by constructing a small snare, but all I can think about is how immobile he’ll be in this year’s arena. Unless he has a team of allies helping him out, he doesn’t stand a chance. At least he can make traps. A 3 is the best I can give him.
Last year, Kylie from 10 managed to make it to the final 4 with her talents with a bow. This year’s female tribute from 10 also uses a bow, but with less ability than her predecessor, scoring no critical hits during her presentation. Still, arrows lodged in arms and legs are nothing to scoff at, and she showed promise with throwing knives as well, actually managing to lodge one in the skull of a dummy through either skill or sheer dumb luck. She’s an above-average tribute, but only just. A 7 fits her talents well.
The male from 11 clearly came into the session with a strategy in mind, making sure to show both long-range and short-range ability with a crossbow and a katana respectively. Though neither of his showings with these weapons were particularly impressive, I appreciated his knowing what I want to see from tributes. His knot-tying skills are what really caught my attention; the nooses he constructed could easily trap an unsuspecting tribute who stepped in the wrong place. Let’s hope there’s plenty of rope for him in the arena. I give out yet another above-average 7.
The woman from 11 stands out from the other tributes by being the only female tribute to utilize a chain whip during her session, slashing and piecing a few dummies with the metal dart attached at the end. She’s smart to pick this weapon, as I doubt many tributes will know how to face off against it. I’d give her a higher score if she had thought to coat the dart in some type of poison, though I did see her eyeing the mixing table right before her time ran out. Still, scores are given out based on what was shown, and not on potential. I give her a respectable 7. She’ll go far.
If the male from 12 manages to not be the first to die, then he’ll have already done better than his counterpart from last year. Honestly, after watching his performance, I’m not totally confident that he will. His abilities with a spiked mace were limited to clumsy blows that sent him staggering around, and he actually managed to slice himself when he tried to use the chain whip. He’s not totally useless though, seeing as he was able to crush a dummy’s chest with the mace. Maybe he’ll surprise me once he gets into the arena. For now, he’ll have to settle for a 5.
The women from 12 have almost never been contenders in the Games, until Jess won last year. This woman has big shoes to fill, and she must know it. So her decision to stick to constructing snares and nooses for the majority of her session strikes me as odd. In fact, throughout her session, she never comes close to touching an actual weapon, though she seems to consider the crossbow for a moment. Her snares will be effective tools for catching animals or slowing other tributes down, but does she know how to kill? Only time will tell. I give her an average score of 6.