Gaps indicate a tier break. Discuss if you want.
I agree with you in a way that it's highly unlikely that someone like Yukimura won't advance to 10 at once level in his next match, and as long as you don't expect him to get dropped, I don't think anyone here would contest that. The problem however is that the things you want to assume as improvement are highly subjective and can vary a lot from person to person, which makes the tiering process much more difficult than it already is.
I wouldn't be opposed to a tier list that takes improvements into account if people are up for it. We got enough space in the OP for another one. I definitely do want to keep the current format though.
But I reckon the only way to make a list is do it against the last time we saw that specific player as yeah,
considering Tooyama got wiped by Hakamada for a while but was apparently holding back, Yuki who shat on Fuwa who now could have held back just as likely as Kintaro did, Yuki by now would crush Kintaro if we saw Yuki improve again.
So I was comparing Current Kintaro VS Yuki from a while.
Some of the higher level stuff is absolutely impossible to reason out which should be on top so the only point of reference you have is what do the best players think about certain techniques.
Right now the 10-ball is clearly the highest up there. Several top tier characters were present at the time Tezuka obtained TnK but they don't have any special reaction. Yes part of it is because we didn't see anything but because we didn't see any reaction you'd have to assume even TnK isn't particularly noteworthy for someone at the top to make a note of it. The coaches didn't comment on it either, and they usually do when an ability of significance occurs. It's likely that since Tezuka was going to leave anyway there's not much point to talk about him but the fact is that apparently nobody at the top was particularly impressed with TnK. After all Ryoma learned TnK and got totally spanked by Tokugawa who presumably wasn't even using anything greater than 5-ball level of power.
Yukimura's illusions/yips loses to TnK so by extension it loses to X-ball techs due to lack of further information. As an aside Fuwa said tennis that strips sense is dangerous. This implies that the top players are aware such technique exist and again he didn't act particularly surprised by yips and he's most likely several tiers below the very best players, so as crazy as Yukimura's tecniques are, they're apparently not very special to the top tier characters. And as powerful as Yukimura's techs may appear to be, it's not as immediate as just setting the net on fire (by extension you can set your opponent on fire) which only got approval (not surprise) from the top players.
Yes when Yukimura plays a game of course he's going to be at least a match against anyone he faces up but right now due to not being one of the chosen X-ball players he's got no chance because X-ball is a technique where if you don't have it, you cannot possibly win. It's a tech specifically defined as 'cannot be beaten without the same tech' Even previously seemingly invinicible techs do not have absolute qualifier. That is, we're used to expect any crazy tech to be defeated by an even crazier tech but in the case of 10-ball it's specifically stated it can only be defeated by 10-ball (or higher) and nothing else would work. Even if you want to argue ways to defeat the opponent while unable to get points, Kintaro's current ability to set things on fire easily defeats any KO type techs as he'll definitely burn the other guy to death first long before he succumbs to any yips or illusions or any other weird stuff, even if those lower techs still affected him.
---------- Post added at 04:13 AM ---------- Previous post was at 04:10 AM ----------
I'm guessing eventually it'll be that Yukimura wasn't picked to learn 10-ball because the coaches knew he was still sick and it'd be too dangerous to learn this tech while he's still sick (the same way Tezuka sealed his techs after injuring his arm) because there's literally no reason why Yukimura should not learn X-ball.
Personally, I think the whole 10-ball thing is overrated, and I think many of you are jumping the gun with it. I do not believe it is an end-all. If it were, this entire series would simply be who could hit more balls. 11 > 10. 12 > 11. 13 > 12. If the series came down to that, I would fly to Japan and punch Konomi in the throat.
If I were a PoT player, I would prefer having Yukmura´s new Yips rather than ¨Look, I can hit 10 balls at the same time <_> ¨
For me, Sanada > Tooyama without question. BA + 10ball.
But then again, was Tanegashima said to have 10ball? Was Ryoga? Was Irie?
Considering these 3 who are without doubt at the Top of the camp have not been known to have it, then how can people be overrating it too far.
I don't think 10ball means shut-out to those who don't have 10ball at all.
10 ball is more of a tier status. For example we see the 'set the net on fire' move is only one ball when Kintaro hits it back, and it can also return a 10-ball tech so by definition you must be able to do a 10-ball hit before you can do a move that sets the net on fire. Thus although there's only one ball for the 'fire' move it is clearly 10-ball tier. So there's nothing stopping a 10-baller from using moves that involve 1 ball that's '10-ball tier', and I suspect that's how it's going to be in the future because it'd indeed be pretty lame if every rally turns into 10 balls.
Even Byodouin hasn't been shown to be able to hit 10 balls but does anyone doubt he can do it? For the top tier characters they can simply be hitting normal techs with the intensity of 10-ball. Since there's really no reason to question if Byodouin or Ryoga or even Irie can hit 10-ball we can assume their normal techs already has that property built in. The same cannot be said for MSer simply because most of them have never heard of this move.
---------- Post added at 02:25 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:17 PM ----------
I think the X-ball is a way to deal with otherwise unreturnable technique. How does Byodouin deal with ZSS, Atobe Kingdom, or yips/dream? Well I guess he can always just kill the opponent with his annihilation serve, but suppose he actually wins the game by scoring enough points. Right now, he'd technically lose (or at least draw) against anyone with one of those 3 specials based on how they're described. Even though there's really no conceiveable way the current #1 player in Japan ought to lose to what amounts to paltry tricks (at least at his level), there isn't a good explanation on how even Byodouin can return a serve that doesn't bounce, or a rally that hits a spot his arm physically cannot get to, or how he can deal with yips/dream.
But with ten-ball he can simply say 'you're not ten-ball tier so your tech has no effect'. It's a consistent way to deal with problematic techs.
How do we know Tooyama set the net on fire intentionally?
What if it was an accidental Cord Ball?
It would make more sense since he could only just about reach the 10th ball.
I don't think Tooyama can set nets on fire on demand.
Secondly, I'll reiterate my point on why 5ball didn't mean shit at the Top end of the tier.
Yukimura was the only MSer chosen when the Loser came back and only had 5ball.
Konomi then went on to give them 10ball.
It's clear 5ball was not much and just a hint to show us they would reach 10ball.
Prior to this point there's sort of an equivalence relationship. For example Fuji puts crazy spin on a ball and get Fifth Counter. Tezuka puts crazy spins and do Tezuka Zone/Phantom. They obviously didn't train the same way but we have a rough standing of Phantom > Fifth > Zone in terms of amount of spin, so Tezuka can hit back Fifth Counter like it's a normal shot (or rather the cloned version) even though he's never specifically tried to learn how to counter it. Yukimura was never shown doing any feat of strength but can magically hit back the strongest power shots, presumably because he has some equivalent level of strength + tech to do it.
But there's no equivalence relationship when it comes to X-ball. If you didn't train in X-ball you simply can't hit it back. You can't hit back Kintaro's fire shot without 10-ball. Note that even a 10-baller might not be able to hit it back, but being able to do 10-ball is the minimum needed to have a chance, because the fire shot is a 10-ball level tech (it's what he used to return a 10-ball tech). And since the X-ball is a completely new concept to MSers that means you can't argue they just knew it ahead of time. I think you can certainly make an argument that all the G1-G6 could hit 10-ball if they wanted to, and probably Irie too given he is respected by the top tier.
I think I'm starting to dislike this series... I miss Kanto's PoT.
Phantrom... stop talking about things that we still don't know. Kintarou's fire move was 100% unintentional. Probably Akutsu spread gasoline all over the court to kill Oni if he couldn't beat him, we don't know...