Misty Mountain (Mount Huaze; M1)
Marble League 2018; Marble League 2019 (3rd Place); Marbula One Season 1 (Runner-up); Marble League 2020; Marbula One Season 2; Marble League Winter Special (3rd Place); Marble League 2021; Marbula One Season 3
Perhaps the thing that makes the Hazers so unpredictable is their sheer mystery. It seems to many fans that their talent in competition appeared out of nowhere, and they’re right: journalists across Marblearth have been unable to get any leads on the Hazers’ origins for years. Although the team’s origin is estimated to be among the misty mountains near Mount Huaze, the team has consistently declined to share details about their home and how they became interested in marble sports.
Hazy, Smoggy, Foggy, Misty, and Cloudy entered the fray as the Hazers in the 2018 Marble League Draw. With an opaque, light-gray uniform, these athletes stood out instantly from all the other teams, but it remained to be seen how the novice team would hold up against series mainstays in Group A Qualifiers. The Hazers earned the honor of being the highest-scoring rookie team to qualify for Marble League 2018. At the end of the season, they finished sixth overall with 111 points, several medals, and record-breaking performances, making them the highest placing rookie team of the season.
In the offseason, Foggy finished fifth in the 100 Meter Water Race, being the highest qualified rookie team to do so. Irrespective of their poor performance in the Amazing Maze Marble Race, the Hazers stormed into the Marble League 2019 Qualifiers with force, earning first place in the overall standings. Leading the standings after the fifth event, the Hazers fought through the second half of the season to place third overall, denying themselves a repeat of 2018. They finished with 184 points and seven medals at the conclusion of Marble League 2019, prequalifying for the 2020 Marble League and ensuring their legacy in the tournament among the most celebrated teams and athletes in marble sports history.
The Hazers were taking a short break from preparing for the Friendly Round when they received an official letter from JMR inviting them to compete in the first season of Marbula One. The team accepted the invitation and announced that they would be represented by Hazy, “Jetstream”, and Smoggy, “Smokebomb”, during the tournament. The team’s poster confirmed one of the team’s biggest mysteries for the first time: depicting their training grounds high up on a mountaintop, with Mount Huaze in eastern Asia in the distance.
The Hazers were a formidable force throughout the season, a constant for the championship. With three medals under their belt during the first half, the Hazers’ consistency rivaled that of the Savage Speeders until Greenstone, where Hazy, after qualifying in fifth, placed eleventh. The team’s lead narrowed to one point, and the next race did not help. Although Smoggy qualified in fifth at the Short Circuit, Smoggy in fact short-circuited themselves, placing eight and allowing Speedy—having earned a bronze medal—to edge the Savage Speeders ahead to first overall.
Coach Smokey submitted Smoggy to appear for the second Grand Prix in a row at the Razzway. Smoggy, earning P2, was positioned to do well during the race and ended up leading every lap except for the sixth lap, winning the GP. The Hazers retook their lead in the standings, fourteen points ahead of the Savage Speeders. To their detriment, Hazy had a bad run during Qualifiers at the Midnight Bay, and finished the race in eighth, falling short of stopping the Savage Speeders, who won the GP and the championship. The Hazers finished second overall, with Smoggy placing third in the Racer’s Championship.
The Hazers finished third in the 2020 Marble League Friendly Round, but as soon as the team began struggling in the main tournament, with a string of mediocre performances leading to a dooming last-place finish in Block Pushing, rumors abounded about the “discovery” of the “third-place curse” by a paranormal investigator, Aleister Crolley. By some miracle, Foggy won the next event, the Triathlon, in one of the most engaging finals of any Marble League event yet, putting the Hazers back on track. They would finish the season in sixth overall with 147 points, tying Team Galactic in points but carrying the edge in medals earned, thanks to Foggy’s gold and the team’s Aquathlon bronze.
During the 2020 offseason, the Hazers began sponsoring a tourist excursion to their training grounds, which they entitled “Haze Getaways”. The trip was accessible from a variety of locations in Eurasia, starting in Om, Polaria, Skaigan, and Hunluen before branching out to other cities. Sometime later, the Hazers received an invite to Marbula One Season 2, one that they, as the runners-up in Season 1, expected. They submitted both Hazy and Smoggy to return as racers, and in early November, the Hazers and their fans were ready to support their team at the Minty Mania Grand Prix in Herbotamia.
Yet, until the Tumult Turnpike GP, the team had been struggling to put up impressive results, in part being distracted by another report of rumors about a “prophecy”. When they started rolling in the race, Hazy remained largely unnoticed, save for a mention from Greg Woods of their speed in the 90-degree turn section in Sector 2, at Turns 5 and 6. That sector was exactly what Hazy needed to score some key overtakes and steal the lead, winning the Tumult Turnpike GP. Smoggy followed their teammate’s performance with fourth in the Arctic Circuit Grand Prix, and the Hazers finished the first half of Season 2 in sixth overall.
Shortly after the end of the first half of Season 2, the Marble League Winter Special was formally announced as an invitational with sixteen teams. Having placed sixth in the 2018 Marble League, the Hazers were ecstatic to announce that they would compete in the Winter Special. Earning two medals, their results were still strong enough for the Hazers to claim third overall in the Marble League Winter Special with 59 points. Fans looked to Smoggy for a statement, who would have secured an overall victory for the team if they had beaten Blue Eye in the Ice Dash. The athlete disappeared without a trace following the closing ceremony, and the team took no interviews as well.
Following the midseason break, Smoggy effectively ended a midseason drag after qualifying in fourth and finishing third at the Palette Park Grand Prix. The Hazers collectively disappeared after the race wrapped up, following the formal announcement of their Misty Mountain Grand Prix as the next track. The former JMRC, members of JMR Staff, and other officials were permitted to board specially-equipped Haze Getaway buses from Van Gotterdam a few days later to finalize and approve the course as ready for racing. Individuals went through a strict screening process being allowed to board each transport, verifying tickets, and preventing any suspicious activity that could compromise the Hazers’ mystery.
Despite testing well in individual runs, Turn 6 of the Misty Mountain GP was too brutal of a turn during the race, causing Bumble to get stranded on the course in Lap 9 after running too close to Cerulean and into the outer curve. The chaos that ensued was ironic: as the Safety Marble lane was lifted, Clutter followed, having gotten stuck there on Lap 7. The Safety Marble grazed Bumble, but Clutter made the same mistake as Bumble, as they ran too hard into the Safety Marble, then the outer curve, and with their momentum arrested, came to a stop next to Bumble.
Four attempts were given to the Safety Marble to free Bumble and Clutter, but they were unable to do so before the officials hastily drew a red flag, ruling that the race would be restarted using the most recent positions. At this point, Hazy was eighth in the race order, having clawed up four positions naturally since the start of the race and owing two more to the earlier disasters at Turn 6.
Hazy entered the top five quickly enough, and by Lap 16, rode the jetstream of a draft behind Rapidly into the lead. They would trade that lead with Rapidly for the rest of the race, but in the end, Hazy would finish in lockstep with Mallard and Rapidly trailing them to win their home Grand Prix, the first athlete to do so in Marbula One history. In addition to their victory at home, Hazy became the second Marbula One athlete to win a Grand Prix from the furthest starting position.
Although the mood on the podium was celebratory, officials clashed over the track design, final approval, and rulings made during the race in the coming weeks. The final two Grands Prix were delayed following a strike from construction companies and following the self-publication of a comprehensive collection of notes and hypotheses surrounding “the prophecy of Huazhen Castle” by the paranormal investigator, Dr. Crolley. These claims were immediately discredited in a rare official statement by the Hazers’ manager, Shade. Reports surfaced in the following weeks of a settlement between the two parties, which the Hazers confirmed in a second, even more, rare official statement.
After putting up a strong performance in the penultimate GP, the Hazers finished off the podium in fourth overall with a poor performance at the Midnight Bay GP. Hazy finished eighth in the Racer’s Championship, and Smoggy finished thirteenth, to conclude a successful Marbula One season, albeit crushing at its end.
In the short offseason between Marbula One and the 2021 Marble League, the Hazers had little planned but training…until they received a special recommendation to compete in the Cranthym Challenges: a new tournament that featured a mix between sports and puzzles, a unique competition compared to many that came before it. Thankful for this interesting-sounding break from the usual training, took up the recommendation immediately and in late March, joined their fellow marble teams at the opening of the Cranthym Challenges.
Despite the friendships in the Challenges, the competition was fierce as each team was to be pushed to the limits with their mental strength and teamwork. The competition was made up of ten different challenges, where the team that ended with the most points at the end would be awarded the Cranthym Crown. The Hazers, through all their hard work and dedication, placed second.
And with that, the team left, ready to return to their usual training for the upcoming Marble League. In the middle of May, Smoggy traveled alone to Felynia to represent the Hazers in the 2021 Marble League Practice Race, held at the legendary Cat’s Dunes outside of the city. There, they placed eleventh and returned the next day to…wherever they’re from.
Appearing in their first Qualifiers since 2019, the Hazers were never out of contention within Group A. Finishing third with 32 points, the Hazers entered Marble League 2021 at an irregular cadence, following a middle-of-the-road performance with silver, then a slate of bottom-half performances with gold. The Hazers’ inconsistency plagued them for the rest of the season – in between earning three bronzes and a second gold, the Hazers continued to place in the bottom half, including three last-place performances. Dropping from second in the standings, the Hazers finished fourth overall with 149 points, winning a tiebreak with two other teams thanks to their 6 medals. Misty became the first athlete to win the Most Valuable Marble award, having earned golds in both of their individual showings.
Following a quiet offseason, the Hazers were invited to Season 3 of Marbula One, submitting Hazy and Smoggy once more to compete in the coming races.
Special thanks to Project Marblearth contributors Phoenix and Stynth for helping craft the lore of the Hazers.