Hello adventurers and welcome at long last to the Blogger Blitz Championship Match! Today you will learn the outcome of the whole competition as the winner is crowned at last. Two amazing bloggers have worked very hard to get to this point, and now they’ll face off in the most complicated and emotional Blogger Blitz event yet! If you haven’t read the match posts for this week, I highly recommend you check them out before reading on as understanding each blogger’s argument will be important to understanding the finals! You can read LightningEllen’s argument here, and Sheikah Plate’s argument here.
Once these arguments were submitted, our five fantastic judges put their analytical minds to work, critically reading each post to decide which of these two bloggers should wear the championship belt (is it a crown, is it a belt, you’ll never know). Our judges are Athena of AmbiGaming Corner, Chris of Overthinker Y, Geddy of Nostalgia Trigger, James of Quickly Tap X, and Destiny of Adventure Rules (whose instagram you are definitely gonna want to follow with Inktober starting this weekend!). These folks have worked so very hard to make this championship possible, so if you have somehow gone through this whole event without visiting their sites, please rectify that today! You’ll love what they have to offer!
There’s a part of me that is tempted to draw this whole mess out into some really long, rambling post about how amazing it has been to host this event and all that stuff, but honestly I am ready to get right to the good stuff! So let’s put on some tunes fit for a champion and begin the final battle of the Blogger Blitz!
The championship event is a three-part contest for which each competitor had a total of 1200 words to write. Summoned to the Mushroom Kingdom by the steward, these two heroes must protect Peach’s Castle from the six defeated Blogger Blitz competitors (christened “The Fallen Six” by Ellen, such a catchy moniker that all the judges used it in their comments!). However, it’s more complicated than just beating some folks up – the Princess Peach of this event is not the grown woman but the infant, and her emotion powers (see Super Princess Peach for reference) are totally out of control. The heroes have to protect both Peach and the castle from the Fallen Six, sure, but they also have to protect the castle from its princess, who anger or sadness could tear the place to the ground.
Since this event has a few different parts to unpack, let’s take them one at a time. A key part of this event is protecting Peach’s Castle from its namesake. Baby Peach has volatile emotional powers and the only safe state of being for her to be in is calm, which is pretty hard to manage when you’re being attacked by six really angry fallen heroes. Both bloggers took a different approach with this, even down to Peach’s starting emotion upon their arrival to the castle! Ellen’s Peach was in tears while Teri Mae’s Peach nearly burned the castle to the ground. Destiny in particular enjoyed seeing that each competitor defaulted to a specific emotion, as this made them have to deal with their situations differently.
LightningEllen chose to have her shero calm Baby Peach the old fashioned way, and by old-fashioned way I mean giving the baby instructions in such an awkward and stern manner that even Baby Peach has to stop crying just for a second to gawk at how weird the moment is. “I wasn’t entirely sold on why her stern command to stop crying would have worked. I’ve found that talking sternly to crying babies rarely puts them in a better mood, and considering there isn’t much in Lightning’s canon character to suggest she has any esoteric connection with children it was a bit of a hard sell,” Athena stated. However, she preceded this statement by acknowledging that Lightning’s second tactic – allowing Baby Peach to play with her hair – would probably work better. “It was very cute to see her heart melt when Baby Peach began playing with her hair, as well, and was another very creative way to placate the screaming baby.”
Meanwhile, Link arrives at the castle and decides to deal with Baby Peach through more magical means. Whipping out his nifty Minnish cap, Link shrinks the tiny princess to an even tinier size and then plops her into a glass bottle. Definitely a canon choice on Teri Mae’s part, as the hero has voiced no objections in the past when it came to shoving a princess into a bottle. “Knowing she couldn’t use any of Link’s tools to remove the threat entirely, Teri Mae was quick to hit upon a way to minimize it, and then contain it, and I thought that was genius,” James said. “Right away, massive elemental danger was reduced to a storm in a tea cup (or bottle, actually), and with that dealt with, she and Link were free to deal with the fallen six.”
So both bloggers came up with methods of protecting the castle from Princess Peach, but did anyone have an advantage? The judges were pretty consistent in that everyone thought both competitors did a good job with this section. Teri Mae’s idea was clever and Ellen’s quite touching. Chris said of Lightning “”Lightning turns out to be surprisingly good at dealing with little babby Peach, which is quite sweet and actually does ring true; she’s got some caring instincts in there, as we know from her interactions with Serah, Hope and others.” And Destiny felt that “shrinking Peach and putting her in the bottle was really smart.”
This part of the challenge boiled down to a couple of judges preferring Link’s method of handling Baby Peach’s turbulent emotions, primarily because it seemed that – although very sweet – Lightning’s method seemed to gloss over that aspect of the challenge. We already read above how Athena doubted the effectiveness of sternly scolding Peach, and Chris added “her tactic is just to cradle the baby, which is nice but also… I don’t know, potentially not as convincing?” Destiny said “I don’t think it would be as easy to calm down Peach as she makes it seem. All she does is pick her up and she’s fine…it seems too easy.” And though Link’s method certainly created a question or two – said Athena ” I wasn’t sure about how Peach could agree to any of Link’s requests – particularly about being put in a bottle – if she’s a baby” – the judges were more consistent in having doubts about Lightning’s method. So while both Ellen and Teri Mae have succeeded at the first task, Link came out unscathed while Lightning is a little worse for wear.
With Baby Peach safe and sound, let’s look at the castle itself. Part of the competitors’ task is to make sure the castle isn’t ruined by the Fallen Six, which means that each hero has to be able to protect the Power Stars from being stolen and the castle interior from being damaged by the battle. This again took different forms for both heroes. Link placed warp points all over the castle so he could instantly go where he needed to in order to protect it, and used his various companions from throughout the series to warn him when danger was coming – a cool touch as a helper to guide him was the original source of Link’s Z-Target ability, allowing him to instantly shift focus if needed. “The nature of the final dictated that our heroes would need to keep a lot of plates spinning at the same time, and Teri Mae straight-up put herself in a great position (or positions, I guess) to do just that,” James said.
Chris referred to Teri Mae’s methods as being “strategic” and “prepared,” but there’s a dark side to that – how much time does Link really have to set all of this up? “The only thing I can think might be an issue is that Link is heavily reliant on old friends and items, and while I’m convinced that this would all be perfectly capable of addressing the challenge, I’m wondering whether Link would actually be able to get them all together in what’s presumably quite a short time frame between hearing about the Babby Peach situation and arriving on the scene. In other words, I’m not sure Link would have time to assemble his squad and pick up all the gear he needs.” Link’s method is effective but time-consuming, and it only works as well as it did because the attackers approached the castle from different sides. “It’s very convenient,” Destiny says, “that they all came out of different places instead of just concentrating on one area of the castle after [Link] left.” So while Teri Mae gets points for planning, not all of the judges were equally convinced about the effectiveness of those plans.
Ellen took a very different approach in her article, setting up the plot of her story so that the villains were ALREADY in the castle and Lightning had to take it back. This allowed her to play offense instead of defense but also put her at a weird sort of disadvantage right from the get-go. Taken alongside Ellen’s self-imposed “no magic” rule, this gave Lightning an overall harder challenge to deal with. Chris said “I feel like Ellen’s actually made things more difficult for herself by expanding the story so that the Eliminatees are actually responsible for the situation, what with Ditto posing as Peach and all. It adds an extra layer that Link didn’t have to deal with!”
Overall, the judges felt that the outcome of this choice is that it added an interesting tension to Ellen’s post. Geddy’s response was short but potent: “Love LightningEllen’s confidence – badass move to remove all of Lightning’s badass moves.” James said of this choice, “Ellen decided to eschew her character’s ability to use *any* magic, and initially I thought that may’ve been a mistake, but actually, as the piece continued, I thought it was a pretty clever decision. In essence, it meant that it was a much more tense, realistic entry… that one decision came to set the tone for everything that followed, and it created some great moments.” By taking away abilities and making the challenge more difficult for her shero, Ellen created an environment which allowed her narrative to be more gripping – definitely a clever move! When it came to defending the castle from its attackers, Lightning gained an edge by taking her edge away.
That’s two parts down – with the castle safe from both Princess Peach and the Fallen Six, it’s now up to our heroes to protect Peach from the defeated competitors. It wouldn’t be much of a championship if there wasn’t some serious fighting going on, right? Once again both Ellen and Teri Mae bring some very different methods to the table when it comes to combat.
Teri Mae and Link bring a strategy that they have solidified over the course of the competition: bust out every tool imaginable from the Zelda franchise. Arrows, bombs, magic spells, companions, nothing is off limits and everything works in Link’s favor as he effortlessly overcomes the opposition one at a time. A cool aspect of Teri’s post is that Link spares most of his opponents, acknowledging that they are mind controlled rather than attacking of their own free will. “I was definitely impressed with the way each foe was dispatched – and to emphasise that, the weapon/bad guy match was so well done that, in each case, it felt like these could’ve been actual events in a Zelda Game. I was also quite taken with the idea of not outright murdering her enemies,” James said. Geddy added “tying up and holding the bad guys in a dungeon, rather than all out destroying them.. teleporting Claire out of the world as ‘she would be able to protect herself’ to then ‘fetch her and return her to her home’ later…Shiekah Plate showing mercy is awesome.”
The judges were consistent in their praise of Link’s arsenal and Teri Mae’s ability to demonstrate that he was totally capable of completing the challenge. “The way Link used the items at his disposal was wonderfully creative, and I loved the image of Link and Baby Peach zooming up and down while riding a hookshot,” Athena said. Destiny appreciated that “[Teri Mae] went the extra mile and didn’t have every plan work out perfectly.” From bringing fairies along to having the Song of Time as a fallback plan, Link was prepared to fail and to come back from that failure.
But while Destiny praised the Song of Time as a clever fallback plan, not every judge felt the same way about it. Luckily for Teri Mae, she just mentioned it as a possibility rather than actually bringing it into play, for even the mention of it was enough to off-put some of the judges. “While it was a neat nod to Majora’s Mask, and while every gamer has had to retry a difficult boss fight at one time or another, in the ‘real life’ of a fantasy world, there aren’t technically any do-overs,” Athena said. Geddy stated that “Song of Time almost feels like cheating here – plus, would it actually work outside of Hyrule and in the Mushroom Kingdom? We don’t know the inner workings of Nintendo’s world interconnectivity!”
Ultimately, Teri Mae wasn’t necessarily penalized here, but just saying the words “Song of Time” brought down some of the most critical comments on her post. It just goes to show how important it is to keep up with the other Blogger Blitz matches – the judges clearly expressed their views on time control in the battle between Lightning and Mega Man. While the ability to manipulate time is certainly in the wheelhouse of many characters, in a competitive setting like this it borders on cheating in a way that many judges aren’t comfortable with.
While Link is whipping out every weapon ever conceived to defeat his enemies, Lightning is limited to nothing but her gunblade and her sharp wit. That wit is perhaps her greatest weapon, as the judges universally praised the sense of humor and meta-narrative that Ellen brought to the table. Because I’m married to Destiny, I get the unique pleasure of hearing her judgments as she reads the articles, and throughout Ellen’s post she kept bringing up points that made her chuckle or that she thought were cool references to the competition. From the quips at Mega Man’s expense after her narrow semifinal victory to the fact that Claire showed up to the competition with Ganon’s hand in, er, hand, Ellen wrote a post that tied together the whole Blitz in the championship round.
“[Ellen] handles every ‘downed’ participant gracefully by referencing character-specific traits pulled from past installments – all the callbacks are fantastically done,” Geddy said. James too loved these references, saying that “Certainly the references added to the Narrative – and the sense of occasion – and as a judge it was particularly well received because it showed Lightning had been paying attention to the whole competition, and the judges comments throughout it.” Every judge in some way or other mentioned Ellen’s snark throughout the piece and how it brought a nice bit of humor to the otherwise tense proceedings. It made Lightning’s character come alive in a way that both offset and complimented the tender moments with Baby Peach.
Speaking of tender moments, Ellen made the riskiest play of all by having her shero sacrifice her life at the end of the post (the judges have dubbed this “pulling a Hundstrasse,” I’m sure Luke will be honored). However, her sacrifice play had a very different purpose – positioning the very end of the match so that a zombified Claire was the last opponent Lightning faced, Ellen put Baby Peach in direct danger and had her shero leap between certain death and the mini princess. The article ends with Lightning whispering her sister’s name into an empty void as she fades away.
So this certainly makes it easier to decide – now the judges only have one character to pick! Link has certainly fought hard for a win and has proven his ability to complete all three aspects of this challenge. The judges certainly have no doubt about his ability to succeed. “[Link] had a back-up plan, he had help, he had fairies, and he defeated his enemies in different ways,” Destiny said. James added “I had little doubt that Link would succeed, and given his box of tricks – and guided by Teri Mae’s extensive knowledge of it – it really felt like just another day at the office for her hero.”
Chris provided a great summary of what we have seen so far: “Link 1) protects Peach from the other competitors, 2) protects the castle from them, 3) stops Peach from destroying the castle with her emotion majicks. I can’t fault any of the three pillars of this challenge, really, since Link deals with them all with pretty epic precision and skill.” And Athena puts it this way: “Link’s approach is like novocain – it might not be flashy, but give it time and it always works.” Link met every aspect of the challenge and proved his ability to overcome anything through extensive preparation and forethought. Those are certainly the qualities of a champion, so I think it’s safe to say that Teri Mae and Link are ready to be crowned the wi-
Wait, what’s Baby Peach up to?
Hear that music change? That’s right, folks, this match ain’t over! The emotional bond that Lightning forged with her little pink charge is keeping her in this competition, and the judges haven’t yet stated all that they have to say.
Lightning isn’t a character who emotes on a regular basis. But this doesn’t mean she is heartless, and throughout Ellen’s post we see the hard exterior give way to something more protective and personal. James talks at length about this strong characterization: “In dealing with the baby Princess, we saw a crack in Lightning’s tough exterior, and the Princess responding to that glimpse of Lightning’s protective instinct… Lightning had to dig deep and step well outside of her comfort zone and be all maternal and such.” He went on to say that “it struck me that the whole piece was reminiscent of an 80s Action-ey flick (complete with dry wisecracks, old school scrapping and a chunk of ‘stoic hero with a tender side’) and that element was capitalised on in the last few lines of her piece. Indeed, even though Luke had pulled something similar in the last round, I still wasn’t expecting the twist this time, and I thought it was a thoroughly effective coup-de-grace.”
So who edged out in the end? Both articles were strong entries where the competitors thoroughly demonstrated their ability to succeed at the event. Both had incredible plans with only minor flaws. It’s difficult to compare such articles, but that’s exactly the job the judges had this week. And their decisions will decide the final victor of the competition.
“Both extremely worthy finalists and I’m extremely sad it’s over,” Chris stated. Destiny agreed: “both of them were great!” Athena felt that “both competitors brought their ‘A+’ game, and it’s hard to pick which one came out on top.” Geddy finished out saying that “All in all, valiant efforts by both Ellen and Sheikah Plate.” But despite the fact that both competitors gave a fantastic showing, only one can be declared the champion of the first ever Blogger Blitz competition. Allow me to turn it over to James:
“Ellen knew Link was going to manage just fine so…she chose to use that to her advantage by creating tension and doubt, and finally by choosing to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the Princess…that was a genuinely heroic thing to do, so whilst Link was a capable hero, Lightning proved to be a more heroic-ey hero. Both characters completed the tasks set them, but Ellen showed that her character was willing do so at all costs, so for me – and in the context of championing a chosen hero – I think it’s hard to argue with a hero who’ll lay down their life for the cause. So, despite a spectacular display of courage and ability by Link (and Teri Mae), I think the genuine heroism and altruism displayed by Lightning (and Ellen) was slightly more worthy of winning the competition.”
There you have it, adventurers! This was a close match and our judges spent a long time ruminating on who they each wished to choose. In the end, though, Lightning’s heroic sacrifice of her own life in order to save Peach’s life contributed the most to her victory. “An epic ride with the ultimate sacrifice at the end – if this were a movie script, it would be the one that would work the best. Link definitely is equipped to handle this situation…but Ellen finally showing a little emotion in regards to protecting Baby Peach pushed her ahead.”
For Chris, it came down to the fact that Link needed so many resources to succeed. “Link’s setup is excellent strategy, but it requires preparation and a knowledge of the area that I’m not sure he would have, not to mention time to plan. Lightning might be just winging it, but that’s worked for her in the past!” A phrase that got tossed around by multiple judges pretty frequently was “it seemed too easy,” a point which was brought up as a penalty against BOTH competitors by one judge or other. This is ultimately what led Destiny to vote for Link, as she felt that Lightning’s opponents went down without putting up a fight, and that Baby Peach would not be so easily comforted.
Athena had this to say about how things turned out: “Again, I’m left saying to myself, ‘Link did everything right again! He was a hero, through and through!’ But Lightning showed her versatility and ability to adapt in the moment. And that’s how the competition has been. Link has shown up with his gadgets and gizmos again and again, providing solid arguments for why he is the best competitor, and Lightning has been forced to adapt and change how she approaches problems across competitions. So, even though there is no doubt in my mind that Link is the quintessential hero who will always win the day, to me, Blogger Blitz is about pushing a character’s limits, and so Lightning’s versatility across the competition has earned her my vote one final time.”
So congratulations to Teri Mae and Link for a battle well-fought, and a huge congratulations to Ellen and her shero Lightning Farron for being our first ever Blogger Blitz champions! I truly hope that you enjoyed the competition, adventurers. Whether you were a competitor, judge, or audience member, you’ve helped to make this event possible and created a real sense of community around it. Thank you to everyone for helping me to realize this event – and to the judges and competitors for doing the hard part! It’s been a pleasure hosting this event for you all, and I sincerely hope that you enjoyed every moment of the first ever Blogger Blitz competition!