Now with a shiny new bracket; click for full size! Also, check the original post if you need a reminder what each team/story pairing is based on, and check here for the round-one recap.
In the most depressing result for me personally, the Wild (My Little Denarians) were swept by the Blackhawks (Fallout: Equestria), including three of four games where we just needed one goddamn bounce... anyway, the bottom of the bracket saw plucky overachiever Calgary (Past Sins) finally fall back to reality against an Ducks (My Little Dashie) team that's turning out to be probably the most complete team in the playoffs.
Over in the East, Tampa Bay (Friendship is Optimal) looked like it might be getting ready to blow a commanding 3-0 series lead, but eventually put away a feisty Montreal (DoAM) in six. And on the other side of the bracket, the Capitals (The Celestia Code) really did blow a commanding 3-1 series lead, letting the Rangers (Fall of Equestria) take the last three games to win the series, including a heartbreaking overtime clincher in game seven. Sorry iisaw; when I paired your story with Washington, I probably should have mentioned that the team isn't just an exciting one to watch with a
Now, with all the housekeeping done, let's head below the break for some thoughts-on-fanfic goodness!
Starswirl and the Purple Terror, by ValdimarGreen
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Starswirl just wants to be left alone. Unfortunately, a time-traveling purple unicorn wants to watch her idol at work, and she knows where (and when) he lives.
A few thoughts: Although it's got a little timey-wimey stuff, a few bits and pieces of worlbuilding, and some other odds and ends, this is really a comedy, first and foremost. And judged on those grounds, it's a little hit-or-miss. Some of the character play is good, but plenty of conversations drag on in circles, and the minor characters are pretty disappointing or caricaturish (particularly Celestia, who ends up cast as a half-mad tyrant in what I assume was an attempt to make her seem "zany"). Still, the author does land a fair number of gags, both of the physical (without spoiling too much, Starswirl literally tosses a child out a tower window with utter nonchalance at one point, and it's hilarious), and the dialogue-driven. Again, not all of them land, but enough do that I didn't feel like my time was wasted.
Recommendation: The writing on this is more than a bit rough around the edges, and although it's perfectly readable, I wouldn't recommend it to people with an aversion to editing errors. Beyond that, those looking for something silly, and who aren't too caught up on spot-on characterization, might enjoy this.
Horn Marrow, by Sapidus3
Zero-ish spoiler summary: When Twilight's brother needs an emergency marrow transfusion, all of his family get tested to see if their a match... and Twilight finds out something she'd never been told.
A few thoughts: I thought this was just going to be a "Twilight is adopted" (spoiler alert, I guess, but come on; it was clear from the start where this was going) fic, but then it got... strange. Unfortunately, I can't say a lot of good things about this besides "it's got a lot of novelty;" the writing is mechanical and comma-deprived, the pacing lurches about (Twilight's dying brother basically gets forgotten through the middle of the fic), and if there's plenty of originality here, it's also fair to say there's more "strange" than "clever" to it.
Recommendation: I'd only recommend this to people specifically seeking a unique take on Twilight's family history.
The Symposium, by Orbiting Kettle
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Shining Armor and Celestia observe, from behind the safety of a nice, strong, shield spell, as the decennial philosophical forum (quite literally) rages around them.
A few thoughts: This really needs a random tag, I think; it's mostly an excuse to make a bunch of jokes about different schools of philosophy ("A charge from the pragmatists dispersed the last core of solipsists, their attempts to disbelieve their rivals out of existence meeting with bitter failure"). Of course, I thought those jokes were pretty darn funny, and I like that the author was able to weave a bit of Equestrian history in around those jokes without dragging down (or dragging out) the proceedings.
Recommendation: For those looking for something short and silly (and who know at least a smidgen about the various schools of thought at play (war)), this is a good choice.