BLACK JACKS (BLJ)
Hubelino Tournament 2016; Hubelino Tournament 2018 (3rd Place); Marble ManiaX
The Black Jacks met in Las Veglass, a city in the Herbotamia region known for its wealth and its hosting status for Marblearth’s prestigious cards tournaments, such as blackjack. Club, Heart, Spade, Diamond, and Ace played in these tournaments, developing close bonds with each other even when competing against one another. While exploring the city’s outskirts, closer to the fertile farmlands that the region is known for, the five came across a turf tournament being conducted by the Minty Maniacs and Golden Wisps. Driven by their competitive nature as card players, the friends formed a team to participate in the turf tournament, and despite falling behind their competition, the Black Jacks found that they loved the opportunity. It was this love that inspired the team to work with the Minty Maniacs and Golden Wisps to form the original Herbotamia Tournament in 2010, beginning to establish a legacy of organized marble sports in the region.
Five years into the friendly tournament, which had become officially recognized and funded in part by the Black Jacks, the Herbotamia teams declined inclusion in a featurette about the rising popularity in regional sports competitions. Following the discontinuation of the Herbotamia Tournament, the Black Jacks later appeared in Jelle’s Marble Runs’-sponsored Hubelino Tournament and initially finished third in eight events. The extra four events were not as kind to the Black Jacks, with the first two events going poorly. After being invited to watch the 2017 Marble League, the Black Jacks’ performances did not improve, and they finished fifth at the end of the tournament.
Following their first season competing on broadcast, the Black Jacks accepted a spot in the 2018 Marble League Qualifiers. They finished sixth in Group C, failing to qualify. During the offseason, Club competed in the Marble League 2018 Consolation Race, finishing sixth, and Heart competed in the 100 Meter Water Race, finishing seventh. However, the Black Jacks announced their withdrawal from the Marble League during the Amazing Maze Marble Race. They declined to appear as they prepared for Season 2 of the Hubelino Tournament.
The Black Jacks excelled during the first half of the season, placing first in the Funnel Race and second in the Swing Wave and Halfpipes to lead the standings at the end of the first half. Despite much difficulty in the second half, the Black Jacks finished on the podium at the end of the season. However, this would be the team’s undoing for several years, as the Hubelino Tournament disbanded due to a lack of interest, and only the top two teams were granted a spot in the 2019 Marble League Showdown.
With fan support for the team’s return building for the next two years, the Black Jacks started training again after the Herbotamia Tournament Reunion in late 2020. They were invited to compete in the Herbotamia Invitational in April 2021, placing fourth. Although they were disappointed to find out that they missed out on two more spots to enter the Marble League, they continued training throughout the year, their desires and true passion for the sport keeping them motivated to compete.
On 06 December 2021, JMR announced that the Black Jacks had been invited by the Balls of Chaos to compete in Marble ManiaX, an extreme marble sports tournament commissioned by Dion Bakker to be officiated by Jelle’s Marble Runs. The team traveled to Hunluen later that month to compete in their first JMR event since late 2018, and earned a silver in Extreme Diving. Their other performances ranked in the midpack, with their final performance in Super Collision nearly being a point of major controversy.
After being eliminated in the initial round of heats, a group of attentive fans realized that the Black Jacks had tied with the Constrictors instead of losing to them, and appealed to officials with the evidence. Similar to the fan support that motivated the team’s return to marble sports, it was the insurmountable amount of fan support that motivated JMR to conduct an official review and hold a tiebreaker match after holding the podium ceremony and aftershow. Contrasting the team’s momentum in the moment, the Black Jacks bluffed and lost the match, affirming the original results and leaving the team in seventh place overall, with a total of 18 points earned in their return to Jelle’s Marble Runs.
Special thanks to Project Marblearth contributors ElrQ and Stynth for helping craft the lore of the Black Jacks.