WRDN Gamecast: 2013 USARS Region #2 Championship

It’s a WRDN Gamecast double-feature! From the Stockton Indoor Sports Complex in Stockton, Calif., it’s the placement games of the 2013 USA Roller Sports Region #2 roller derby championship.

Four teams competed for the three spots available into the 2013 USARS Roller Derby National Championship, to be held in Tulsa, Okla. this October. After three games each of pool play, the teams contested the third-place and championship games to determine qualification and seeding into the national tournament.

USARS roller derby rules feature faster gameplay, a larger emphasis on team play and pack work, and allow the pivot to become a jammer to score as it was originally designed to do. As many teams are still new to the USARS ruleset, the level of play here is somewhat low; however, there were some pretty close games and exciting moments throughout the weekend despite that.

Both games can be viewed below. Each game is compressed to eliminate jam resets and timeouts, so it’s all wall-to-wall derby. And even better: The video is in high-definition, baby!

You can view the games below. For past Gamecast videos, check out the Gamecast archive page.


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Third-Place Game

High Country Mountain DG vs. Suburban Legends RD

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Championship Game

Temporarily Unavailable


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mazel Tough Cocktail on 25 August 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!


  2. Posted by Lyxar on 28 August 2013 at 2:38 am

    Interesting game, that showcases the game dynamics of the ruleset. It’s remarkable how much the game revolves around the pivot – from start to end of jam. At start, everyone including the jammer is concerned with keeping the pivot at bay, and once the pivot gets out, he controls when the lead jammer calls it off. I’m not sure if the pivot in that bout is actually too powerful, but as you said, many players are new to MADE/USARS style games.

    Also, unlike some other flat track bouts, one could actually see the track (i totally insist, that there are three types of track: Banked track, flat track, and invisible track). It was also nice to see how much could be done with just a single camera placed at a good spot, and someone knowing how to use it.

    More of this please :)


  3. Posted by A. Squeaky Wheel on 2 September 2013 at 10:40 am

    I tried to watch the Port City/San Diego game, but got bored. There were a few times where it seemed that the “pack” had players on opposite ends of the track, which was confusing, though I’m not sure if the camera angle wasn’t including all of the players. While there was some good juking from a jammer or two (and a number of failed apex jumps) in the segment I watched, that didn’t translate into dynamism among the rest of the players. Overall, it seems there’s far less contact overall and less engagement between blockers in a pack than in a WFTDA game–it seems most players are just trying to keep pace rather than do anything interesting. I’m not sure if it’s just skill level–it seems like trying anything risky under this ruleset isn’t worth losing your position. I don’t know if this game is representative of USARS games, but it doesn’t seem to me like USARS rules are the answer to the problems with the WFTDA ruleset (the biggest of which is the length of powerjams and the power that the offensive team has to not engage during them).


    • Overall, it seems there’s far less contact overall and less engagement between blockers in a pack than in a WFTDA game–it seems most players are just trying to keep pace rather than do anything interesting. I’m not sure if it’s just skill level–it seems like trying anything risky under this ruleset isn’t worth losing your position.

      At this point in the development of the USARS game, it’s really lack of experience with strategy and the lack of overall skating skill many players and teams have in order to execute many of those strategies. That no one wants to do anything “risky” is a direct byproduct of both of these things. The general lack of knowledge of this style of roller derby means a lot of teams don’t know when it’s beneficial to do something risky.

      An extremely common example of this is when a lead jammer is so deathly afraid of losing lead status to a trailing jammer/pivot that they immediately call off the jam without ever trying to score any points. Although in some instances this is the right thing to do, a lot of times that lead jammer doesn’t notice that their team has a dominating pack position or penalty advantage. Coupled with the fact that a lead jammer can’t call off the jam if the other team blocks them out of bounds, this can undo their jammer losing lead status on the way back around to the pack.

      This ties into the fact that a lot of teams playing USARS and roller derby in general just aren’t very good. (Yet.) To be successful in the USARS style of game requires a lot of one-on-one or 2-wall defensive strategies, which require a hell of a lot more awareness and skill to maintain than 3- or 4-walls. Every time you see a team get to the front and pull the pack away, rewind a few seconds and watch how many ignored opponents or missed blocks the other team had which led to that. A team that’s better at keeping solo blocks will never have that happen so easily.

      This is why everyone was just trying to “keep pace” in the pack. A player that’s poor at keeping a block at a slower speed will compensate for this by going faster. (It’s easier to keep someone behind you if they can’t skate by you as quickly.) If everyone is pretty bad at blocking, everyone will look like they’re just skating in circles. And if everyone is skating in circles, it’s pretty boring.

      That is to say, if everyone is bad at playing the game, you get a boring game. Now, if you watch a team like Oly play, who is very very good at playing the game, you don’t get a boring game. (Trust me on that.)

      Don’t forget that this is only really the second year of USARS’ rules development, whereas the WFTDA is pushing eight years. You can only really look at the best and/or evenly matched teams playing in USARS at the moment to get a fair gauge on where it’s at right now, since a lot of people point to the best teams and matchups in the WFTDA when saying how much WFTDA rules have improved. (“Improved.”)

      To that end, wait for USARS Nationals in October, which will definitely be streamed, to get a fair and somewhat more complete idea of what USARS is trying to bring to the table.


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