No, it's not some new disease that Mechwarriors catch in the pods, it's Zax's new bloodname.
On Friday, April 15th, a Bloodname tournament was held at The Airlock. Bloodname tournaments are derived from the Clan fiction and are very similar to Gunslingers tournaments. The main difference is the prize - the winner is awarded a Clan Bloodname - but there are a couple of differences in the mechanics of the tournament as well.
Up to 31 pilots can be entered in a standard Bloodname tournament. The 32nd spot is then filled by holding a Grand Melee. We ran a half-size tournament with 16 entries instead. We had 9 pilots, 8 of whom wished to purchase a second entry in order to fill out the brackets. So we held a "grand melee" to determine which 7 of the 8 pilots were allowed to do so and awarded New Guinea to the eliminated pilot. Gurn decided that New Guinea was more appealing than a second entry, so he chose a Vulture C (the twin Gauss Rifle variant) for the grand melee, rapidly ejected all of his ammunition, then self destructed.
In each duel, one pilot is randomly selected to choose the weight class. The other pilot then gets to choose the map. The first pilot then chooses their 'Mech and then the second pilot chooses theirs. The duels are 10 minute no return matches, and as in a Gunslingers you must destroy your opponent's Mech and survive in order to win. It's possible for both pilots to lose, either by time expiring or by a simultaneous explosion.
As the end approached it was starting to look like Justice might end up facing himself in the finals - he'd reached the semi-finals in the top half of the bracket vs KwikPain and in the bottom of the bracket vs Zax. But then KwikPain pulled out a dramatic win in his round followed by Zax doing the same in his! For the finals, Zax chose Assault 'Mechs, which seems to be his specialty, so KwikPain chose HotPlate in an attempt to mix things up. The fight was brutal and in the end Zax came out on top.
Fiachain brought a sourcebook listing all of the Clan bloodnames with him. Zax perused the list and ultimately chose Osis, so he can now be known as Zax Osis in the pods. Congratulations!
The format proved interesting, especially allowing one pilot to pick the weight class and the other pilot to pick the map. There were some very strategic choices made which really added some excitement to the tournament. We'll have to figure out a way to add something similar to future tournaments as well.