The Key to the Cup: An Interview with the Yooyus
ALTADOR - The Normal Yooyu “behaves as you might expect, without any surprises.” The yooyu I spoke with sat politely in a chair, answering my questions good-naturedly and with honesty.
Q. So how long have you been training for the Altador Cup?
N. My whole life. Both my parents were in the original Altador Cup, and I’ve always known that I wanted to play.
Q. Your style of play is very regular—you travel at a medium speed, and go in the direction you’re thrown. Who likes playing with you best?
N. I think no one loves playing with me, and no one hates playing with me. I’m very normal, as you said. But the team that likes me best compared to the other teams? That’s the Lost Desert—they are a fairly average team, and I’m an average yooyu. They’re quick, but not fast enough to really enjoy playing with the Fire yooyu.
Q. So what team are you rooting for?
N. Lost Desert, definitely.
The Fire Yooyu “must be transferred very quickly between teammates” because it is of course on fire. The yooyu who spoke with me kept jumping in his seat and enjoyed darting around the room. Luckily, he sat still long enough to answer some questions.
Q. The Fire yooyu is not new to the Altador Cup this year. Are any of the same yooyus as last year playing?
F. I know some yooyus who spent their whole lives preparing for last year’s tournament and then retired right after it... but most of us want another shot at the glory of playing in the finals. I was actually injured last year by Elon Hughlis, who got mad when a shot didn’t go in. But I’m pleased to say I’ve made a full recovery.
Q. So I guess Maraqua is not one of your favorite teams.
F. No, not really.
Q. So which team plays with you the best? You’re a very fast-moving yooyu, so the team that prefers you would have to be very fast.
F. I think Roo Island. After doing so well in the tournament last year, they’re very confident and feeling pretty invincible right now. The result is that they play with a lot of vigor, and I’m the perfect ball for that.
The Snow Yooyu’s “piercing cold slows the muscles of those playing with it.” This snow yooyu was defensive and indignant at times, but very proud to play in the Altador Cup. Her accent seemed like it belonged in Terror Mountain, which she says is her home.
Q. In the yooyuball games I’ve seen, the fans often groan when they see the snow yooyu jump up into the stadium. Does that bother you at all?
S: Yes, it does. I’m one of the slowest-moving yooyus because I’m so cold, but I think a snow yooyu round can be just as interesting as with any other type of yooyu. Take the Brightvale-Haunted Woods match in round 2 of the Cup last year—that was a game to remember. And it was my brother playing in it!
Q. But Brightvale was cheating pretty badly that match. Are you sure that’s not why it was so interesting?
S. Of course that’s why! But if they hadn’t been playing with a snow yooyu, Reb Weemelott wouldn’t have been able to scrape of the snow from the outside of the yooyu and start a snowball fight!
Q. Oh. I see. Well, that certainly would make the game more interesting.
The Faerie Yooyu “floats high and bends through the air, leaving players to wonder when it will drop down low enough for them to capture and pass it.” The Faerie Yooyu I talked to spoke in almost a whisper, a gentle voice that could have belonged to Fyora herself. The yooyu giggled (most un-Fyoralike!) when I mentioned this.
Q. As a faerie yooyu, do you favor team Faerieland when they play with you?
F. Of course not! They are just the best at working with me because many of their players can fly to catch me, whereas other teams watch me sail overhead.
Q. You must work harder than all the other yooyus: you fly around during the match, while other types of yooyus just go in one direction.
F. Yes, and faerie yooyus have to train harder as well. No one wants to use a faerie yooyu that isn’t a strong flier; otherwise we would be just like normal yooyus.
Q. Does that strike you as a bit unfair, that you have to work harder than the other yooyus to get to play?
F. Not really. Everyone knows we’re elite, so we get a certain amount of respect—except from Darigan yooyus, of course. They can be quite selfish.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to talk to the Darigan Yooyu, a tricky little creature who “flies off at unexpected angles.” But I did... and listened to the most evil cackle I have ever heard.
Q. You’re often referred to as “the most annoying yooyu ever”. What do you make of these allegations?
D. *laughs evilly* I try.
Q. So do you always travel the opposite direction that you’re thrown out of spite?
D. *maniacal laughter*
Q. I’ll take that as a yes. So I was wondering: who most enjoys when a Darigan yooyu is in play?
D. The fans. I make the game very—um—“interesting”.
Q. That’s true. Fans never know what’s going to happen when a Darigan yooyu is around.
D. *Flies around and hits me on the head*
D. *evil laughter*
Q. Okay, that’s it. I’m leaving.
The Mutant Yooyu “is extremely unpredictable, moving in a variety of patterns.” The Mutant Yooyu I talked to was more polite than most of his kind, but still seemed to enjoy the trouble his erratic flight patterns cause.
Q. You’re a Mutant yooyu, but you seem to actually move more regularly than the faerie yooyu.
M. Well, sometimes I act very normally—but on long distances I like to mix things up a bit and curve to where I’m going, faerie-style.
Q. So you play like a combination of a normal and faerie yooyu.
Q. But are there any aspects of your play that are uniquely “Mutant”?
M. Well, I can be a little spiteful sometimes. You know, just to make good teams work a little harder for their goals. So sometimes I’ll straighten out mid-flight and bounce off the goalpost, or curve just so I miss the goal.
Q. That must make you a difficult ball to play with. But, in your opinion, which team plays with you the best?
M. Haunted Woods. They’re a very fluid team—responding to things as they come up is one of their greatest skills. So they don’t get flustered when a Mutant yooyu starts curving in strange shapes; they just keep playing excellent yooyuball.
The Clockwork Yooyu “will explode within seconds if it isn't immediately put into a goal.” It speaks in a robotic voice, exactly what you would expect from someone with metallic limbs.
Q. What are clockwork yooyus made of?
C. Metal, mostly. We have a soft underbelly that is protected by a metal exoskeleton.
Q. So which team is best with the clockwork yooyu?
C. That’s hard to answer. I’m heavy, so I move like a snow yooyu. But I also need to score quickly or I will explode. So I think Mystery Island—they’re good with slow yooyus but still can score quickly.
Q. Here’s something I’ve always wondered: where do clockwork yooyus go when they explode?
C. We go—
Q. Well. Goodbye to you too.