Kyushu 2021 is Live!
The Kyushu Banzuke is out, and Fantasy Basho is live on Fantasizr. You can create your own league or join the Public League here. The real sumo will start on November 14th, so consider that your deadline to pick your team.
This basho will be a strange one, as Hakuho retired after Aki. Even when he was not often an active participant, the greatest sumotori of all time cast a shadow on each tournament. Now, he will be appearing in a suit or (well in the future) shimpan robes during a basho. Except the Banzuke was going to still have Hakuho, because he didn't get his retirement papers filed before the Banzuke was made. The Sumo Association apparently decided to leave him off anyway, and just have 41 sekitori in the top division.
In reality, only 40 Makuuchi wrestlers will be competing, since Asanoyama is still suspended. He fell down to Maegashira 10 for this basho, which means he will likely be out of the top division for 2022. (Don't make assumptions about future Banzuke, but this seems safe.) With one Yokozuna, two Ozeki, and no special Sanyaku slots, the Maegashira ranks still descend to Maegashira #17 West. That makes the Budget for Fantasy Basho a little more interesting than usual.
The Banzuke in Fantasy Basho form, with the game budget for Kyushu 2021, is below. Some commentary will appear below that.
With 7 Sanyaku wrestlers, the joi-jin line goes down to Maegashira #5 West. That means Hoshoryu will likely still have to face Terunofuji, Shodai, and Takakeisho. The next two on the Banzuke, Shimanoumi and Tamawashi, should probably also plan to face the top ranked wrestlers.
Kiribayama will make his Sanyaku debut at Komusubi West. This is not a fun spot for the up and coming Mongolian. He will likely face Terunofuji in one of the first two days of the basho, then face every other high ranker.
Coming up from Juryo are four former Makuuchi wrestlers, Akua, Sadanoumi, Shohozan, and maybe most notably Abi. This will be Abi's return to the top division after his three basho suspension for violating COVID rules and lying about it in July 2020. In two Makushita basho and two Juryo basho, he has gone 38-6. He could make hay in the lower part of Makuuchi.
Speaking of the lower part of the Banzuke, Asanoyama now sits at Maegashira #10 West. He is still suspended, so he won't compete. That means the bottom 16, who will probably face each other, starts at Maegashira #9 West Hidenoumi.
If any injury or illness updates (let's hope not, though) need to happen, check back in here. And tune in for recaps during the basho.