Cobalt Circuit (Zuro; ML)
Electron Expressway (Zuro; M1)
Marble League 2016; Marbula One Season 2; Marbula One Season 3 (3rd Place)
The Kobalts, true to their name, love the color blue, but there are three things they love as much as the color blue: science, roll-playing games, and marble sports. The four original members of the team came from humble backgrounds and attended university together in Zuro, a city in Central Africa renowned for the sciences, and majored in chemistry. Azure, Cerulean, Royal, and Dodger met while working in a lab exercise with cobalt(II) oxide and alumina, which, when heated, produces the cobalt blue pigment. The four were in their graduating year in 2014 when they first heard about the growing popularity of marble sports—but not on television or the radio.
In the little free time they had as doctorate students, the four friends played Marbles & Monoliths, a popular roll-playing game, online on a chat room called the Marblebase. They were in the thick of a campaign when they saw the #sports channel light up with a notification. A user named Sapphire had shared a featurette about the Knikkegen Marble League, and the friends watched the video together from their apartment. They were hooked.
After finishing their semester in Spring 2014 and graduating, Azure contacted Sapphire and learned that they were an athletic trainer with connections to Knikkegen. Sapphire agreed to train Azure, Cerulean, Royal, and Dodger for competition. The Kobalts’ application for the Knikkegen Marble League 2015 was not accepted, but the team kept training.
In 2016, they submitted an application for the rebranded Marble League and were one of the few teams to be accepted, along with the Oceanics and Team Galactic. They finished ninth overall, a welcome start to their Marble League career with two silver medals earned and room for improvement.
With two months to go before the Marble League 2017 Qualifiers, the Kobalts were experiencing difficulties training. Royal and Dodger were trying to balance their time with their jobs as chemists, and they were weary from long nights in the lab and early mornings training.
The two left, leaving Azure and Cerulean as an incomplete team. They were understandably disappointed, but determined to compete in the Qualifiers: accepting both Meepo and Gnome from their Marbles & Monoliths party, the two siblings from Elsham were ecstatic to join the team. Meepo and Gnome quickly headed to Zuro to begin training. But their professional debut with the team ended in disappointment: The team finished with 13 points in the 2017 Qualifiers, tied with the Snowballs on points, and failed to qualify for Marble League 2017.
The Kobalts, while disappointed, understood that the late change in the team’s roster affected their chances of qualifying. During their first offseason, the Kobalts attended Marble League 2017 and began to train together as a team. They were even able to recruit Royal back to the team as their reserve. By the 2018 Marble League Qualifiers, the team felt prepared to redeem themselves, and they were sorted into Group B. Group B turned out to be the tightest group for qualification, with all four teams qualifying within one point of the threshold. The Kobalts came the closest of the teams that did not qualify, but unfortunately, they would miss Marble League 2018 as well.
After attending the main tournament, the Kobalts participated in the three offseason events held for Marble League teams. Their hosting bid for Marble League 2019 was denied, leaving the fate of the Kobalts hanging in the balance.
This question was answered in the Marble League 2019 Qualifiers, when the Kobalts failed to qualify for the third time in a row. The team declined to comment on their unsuccessful demonstration in the 2019 Marble League Qualifiers. After learning of the new relegation system and returning from a Marbles & Monoliths convention in Elsham, they began training in Zuro for the Marble League Showdown. Although the Kobalts did well in individual events, they were not as successful in team events: finishing tenth place overall sealed the team’s fate: they would not advance to the Marble League 2020 Qualifiers and remain in the Showdown until at least 2021.
Rather than feeling down on themselves, the Kobalts were determined to demonstrate their desire to be in the Marble League the next summer. They were eyeing the podium after a decent start in the 2020 Showdown, sitting in sixth overall. Then, the team earned two straight gold medals, claiming victory in the tournament. The final podium of the 2020 Marble League Showdown saw the Kobalts make a statement for the first time in nearly five years.
Following their Showdown victory, everything changed for the team. A few months later, the Kobalts were invited to Marbula One Season 2. The team heavily considered their decision to accept but ultimately chose to do so, sending Azure, “Brilliant Blue” and Cerulean, “Natural 27” to compete in the tournament. They also applied to host a race for Marbula One, however their track (Electron Expressway) wasn’t built in time for the season, and the spot was given to the Jungle Jumpers instead.
Although Azure struggled to qualify during the first half of the season, Cerulean impressed with a bronze at the Aquamaring, the fourth Grand Prix of the season. They carried their team to tenth in the team standings, and themselves to seventh in the individuals at the midseason break. The Kobalts were invited to the Marble League Winter Special, but manager Dodger had already set up an exclusive Marbles & Monoliths Conference in Zuro, and thus the team declined the invite.
Following passionate interviews with their fans at the conference, the Kobalts returned to Marbula One with eyes set forwards. Azure managed to qualify for the first time at the Raceforest and managed a respectable seventh-place finish. Cerulean followed this up with a twelfth place finish at the Momotorway. At Palette Park, Azure once again managed to qualify well and finished the race with their best result of the season; sixth.
Cerulean would follow up this momentum with a fantastic start at the Misty Mountain Grand Prix, only to have it undone with a red flag following an incident precipitated by Bumble barreling into Cerulean on turn six, and coming to a stop. Cerulean would finish the race in fifth place.
Azure would earn their fourth DNQ at the Savage Speedway in the next race, knocking the Kobalts out of podium contention. Cerulean, however, would bounce back at Midnight Bay, securing pole for the first time all season for the Kobalts. They would hold on to the lead for a little while, but ultimately fell to second, and would finish the race there. The Kobalts finished Marbula One Season 2 in eighth place; the highest finish for a rookie team besides the champions, the Crazy Cat’s Eyes. Cerulean clinched sixth in the individual championship, establishing themselves as an all-around great Marbula One racer.
The team returned to Zuro for the offseason, where they were greeted by a very excited Dodger. They dropped the news on the team that they would be hosting a fundraiser to help support local residents in need. The team participated in raising funds daily and used this as a form of teamwork training for the Marble League. They were spotted rolling out moveable balance beams as their primary form of transportation around the city, and often used hoverboards for individual travel to practice balancing on their own.
Trying to balance sports with community, the team seemed poised for success in the Marble League 2021 Qualifiers. The team would compete in one more event before then; the Sand Rally Practice Race. Azure would finish 20th here. Yet instead of success, the team experienced tragedy in the 2021 Qualifiers. Despite a decent start in the Wave, the next two events troubled the Kobalts, leaving Azure as the last marble standing to compete for the team in the Sand Rally. Trailing the top three heading into the final stretch, Azure lunged ahead in a final attempt to qualify. Had they finished in second instead of third, they would have qualified with 23 points overall – but Azure lost in a photo-finish to Bonbon, who led the Chocolatiers to qualify instead.
Their “redemption arc” since their surprise victory in the 2020 Showdown spoiled, the Kobalts once again did not feel down on themselves and were determined to demonstrate their desire to be in the Marble League the next summer. With the Showdown expanded to eight events for the first time, the Kobalts were able to submit all of its athletes in individual events for the first time in team history. Meepo and Gnome, additionally, earned their first medals in team history to start the tournament, putting the Kobalts at the top of the standings. It was a position the team did not give up, and they won the 2021 Showdown convincingly with an additional team silver and bronze from Azure. The Kobalts are the only team in JMR history to win consecutive championships in a League.
Following their Showdown success, the Kobalts received an invitation to Season 3 of Marbula One. Citing their chemistry in the Black Hole Funnel event in the 2020 Showdown, Coach Sapphire submitted Cerulean and Royal, “Regal Marine”, to compete in the coming races.
Special thanks to Project Marblearth contributors The Emperor and Stynth for helping craft the lore of the Kobalts.