A Sandy Longstride Hot Take

Quack

Summary
Ask around and you will hear that this sphere is regarded as the current “hegemony” of Orbis. Consisting of The Knights Radiant/Syndicate/House Stark/Seven Kingdoms and their satellites, this powerhouse certainly packs a punch. Upon first look, one may be taken aback by this lineup. However, upon closer evaluation you will see several clusters of alliances trying to set themselves up for the time period after Quack inevitably implodes. For example, TKR has been playing the long game by keeping “small” and growing their allies quietly. Take a look at their current in-game treaties: There is of course The Syndicate, but then you also have Chaos ally Seven Kingdoms and homegrown protectorates (The Imperium and Chocolate Castle). If and when the Syndicate treaty evaporates, these ties are the making of a solid base for a new sphere.

Current Ringleader: The Syndicate/Partisan
2021 Outlook: Grim
2020 Performance Grade: A- – They have kept quiet and have set themselves to be in a decent position for whatever move comes next. This helps direct attention away from the bloc and the “hegemony” narrative. More importantly, the alliances in this bloc have set themselves in a decent position for whatever move comes after the next move.

Hedge Money

Summary
Formed earlier this year from the dissolution of KETOG and Chaos, this bloc has been seen as the de facto replacement of the former bloc ‘KETOG’. This is the only bloc to be completely separated from the rest of the treaty web and consists of the alliances Grumpy Old Bastards, Children of the Light, Guardian, Knights Templar and Error 404. Although they have made waves with some of their moves against the former ‘tCW Sphere’, they have also seen their fair share of mistakes and leaks (Mostly from the newcomer, Error 404). A curious blend of experience, solid fighters and new blood. How will they hold up? Unsure.

Current Ringleader: Children of the Light/SRD
2021 Outlook: Hazy
2020 Performance Grade: B – As mentioned before, there have been some blunders and instability in this bloc over the past year since they have formed. However, one must not discount the experience that these alliance tout along with their ability to recover from various changes. From KT misgivings of the past, COTL leadership changes and E404 blunders they continue to stand as one of the more influential blocs on Orbis.

Rose Bloc

Summary
One of the sneakier blocs in the game, Rose Bloc (Rose/Camelot) continues to attempt to be perceived as small and non-threatening while reaching its influential arms across aisles. On one hand, one may argue this is a smart move. On the other, Rose’s track record of standing by and choosing to react rather than be proactive has cons. By choosing to react and curl up in a ball, they allow other blocs to make the moves to cause them to react rather than being the dominating force. Sooner or later Rose will need to make a move if they ever want to be thrusted up as a dominant player. However, history tells us that they enjoy being the underdog.

Current Ringleader: Rose/Valk
2021 Outlook: Healthy
2020 Performance Grade: B+ – Although their strategy may be called into question, there is little doubt that they are executing their strategy well. They appear to have full control of the subpar World Task Force/Schrute Farms group as well as influence among the other blocs. Due to the small size of Rose Bloc, there is a high likelihood that it will survive and grow in 2021.

Swamp

Summary
A surprise to be sure, but a pleasant one. This gaggle of people consists of too many alliances to name. Upon the formation of the bloc, most of the community snickered and jeered. The joke of Orbis. A majority of the community’s undesirables grouping up together, how delightful. Although the criticisms of Swamp are valid, one cannot deny Tyrion’s ability to keep the cluster in line. This is seen in a smaller capacity through the management of The Immortals and Tyrion’s ability to manage inexperience and manage cringe through organizational discipline. Tyrion has played his cards well and (in this writer’s opinion) is the leader of the year for putting together the base he has and managing his problem allies as well as he has. With the pseudo-signing of tCW, Swamp has become a legitimate player and Tyrion is living up to the name of the character he plays.

Current Ringleader: The Immortals/Tyrion
2021 Outlook: Entertaining
2020 Performance Grade: C+ – Even though Tyrion has done a solid job managing his allies, the actions of his allies still need to be taken into account. Although Tyrion deserves praise for his ability to handle such a group, the question must be asked: With this huge cluster of communities, how long can Tyrion hold it together before the top blows off? Has Swamp bitten off more than it can chew?