The season of close finishes amongst the four top corps was unlike anything we’ve ever witnessed, driving up attendance to record-breaking numbers at many shows. But when the smoke cleared, Blue Devils finished in a spot they’ve been 16 times before—1st place.

The high caption awards were based on scores averaged from Prelims, Semifinals, and Finals, and as such, may not reflect the top caption placements from Finals alone. Blue Devils took top honors for Visual Performance, Percussion Performance, and Color Guard. Carolina Crown won the award for General Effect, and the Cadets attained the award for Brass Performance.

There were two judges for GE 1, GE 2, and Percussion, with scores from each of those pairs of judges averaged together for the total caption score. The scores of the two Effect captions are counted for full value, but each of the scores of the three Visual captions (Visual Proficiency, Visual Analysis and Color Guard) and three Music captions (Brass, Music Analysis and Percussion) are first divided in half, with each of those half scores added together for the Total Visual and Total Music scores.

Here is a look at the caption placements awarded to the 12 corps competing at the 2015 Drum Corps International World Championship Finals, Saturday, August 8.

View the complete recap of scores from the DCI World Championship Finals.

Blue Devils (1st-97.650) added 1.025 to its score from Semifinals. Though Crown won the combined GE 1/GE 2 caption, BD was only 0.10 behind in 2nd place. The corps won all three Visual captions, scoring 0.45 over Crown in Total Visual, accounting for most of the 0.575 spread over Crown in the total score (0.30 of that Total Visual score was due to BD’s lead in Visual Analysis). Brass took 3rd, but was only 0.20 under Crown’s 2nd-place caption finish (which accounted for only a 0.10 difference once that caption was divided in half). Percussion took 1st, 0.75 over Crown’s 5th-place score, accounting for 0.375 of the total spread over Crown. Despite ending 3rd in Brass and 2nd in Music Analysis (by just 0.10), BD won Total Music, 0.225 over Crown.

Add that 0.30 advantage over Crown in Visual Analysis (after dividing in half) to the 0.375 spread for which Percussion accounted (also after dividing in half), and those two captions alone accounted for a 0.675 lead over Crown. That was 0.10 more than what BD needed to pass up Crown for the title. Therefore, it can be stated that the Visual Analysis and Percussion scores steered the championship to BD.

Carolina Crown (2nd-97.075) added 0.30 to its Semifinals score, winning Total GE and Music Analysis. Visual Proficiency, Color Guard, and Brass placed 2nd. (In Prelims, the Crown color guard beat BD by 0.20, then took 2nd in Semifinals.) Visual Analysis finished 4th and Percussion 5th.

In the Semifinals Recap Roundup, it was pointed out that in Prelims, Crown’s lead over BD in Total GE was 0.70; but in Semifinals, it shrunk by 0.30 to a 0.40 lead over BD. It was further mentioned that another 0.30 shrinkage in the Total GE spread could shift the title to Blue Devils. The GE differential in Finals did indeed shrink by another 0.30 to a 0.10 lead by Crown. That shrinkage of 0.30 in Total GE was equal to the 0.30 deficit to BD in Visual Analysis; so that too could be considered part of the reason Crown lost in the Finals.

Bluecoats (3rd-96.925) added 1.15 from Semifinals, the most of any corps in the Finals. While the focus may be on BD beating Crown for the title, it shouldn’t be discounted that Bluecoats closed up the gap with Crown by 0.85, coming within 0.15 of matching Crown’s score (despite winning no captions) and 0.20 of taking 2nd place away from Crown. In addition, Bluecoats came within 0.725 from matching BD’s score.

The corps was 2nd in Visual Analysis and Percussion, 3rd in Total GE, Visual Proficiency, Color Guard and Music Analysis, and 4th in Brass. Total Visual and Total Music finished 3rd. The 0.15 deficit to Crown in Total GE was exactly the spread by which Crown stayed in 2nd place, and Bluecoats’ lead of 0.05 in Total Visual was matched by Crown’s lead over Bluecoats in Total Music.

The Cadets (4th-95.900) added 0.40 from Semifinals and dropped from 0.275 behind Bluecoats in Semifinals to 1.025 in Finals. Brass placed 1st, Visual Analysis and Percussion 3rd, and Total GE, Visual Proficiency, and Music Analysis 4th. Color Guard slipped from 4th to 5th, with the same score as in Semifinals. The corps took 2nd in Total Music and 4th in Total GE and Total Visual. Despite finishing in 4th place, the fact that Cadets scored 1.75 under BD and 2.05 over SCV means the corps scored closer to 1st place than 5th place.

Santa Clara Vanguard (5th-93.850) added 0.425 to its score from Semifinals, finishing 4th in Color Guard and Percussion, 6th in Music Analysis, and 5th in the other five captions, taking 5th in Total GE, Total Visual, and Total Music. SCV ended up almost exactly halfway between the Cadets (who finished 2.05 up) and Blue Knights (who finished 2.00 down).

Blue Knights (6th-91.850) added 0.70 from Semifinals and ended 5th in Music Analysis, 8th in Visual Analysis and Color Guard, and 6th in the remaining five captions, taking 6th in Total GE and Total Music, and 7th in Total Visual. The corps scored 1.475 over Phantom Regiment and was in no danger of slipping out of the top 6.

Phantom Regiment (7th-90.325) gained 0.55 from Semis and was 6th in Visual Analysis and Color Guard, 8th in Percussion, and 7th in Total GE, Visual Proficiency, Brass, and Music Analysis. The corps’ biggest improvement came in Color Guard, improving an astounding seven spots from 13th place in Semis and jumping from a score of 16.70 to 18.40. Such a differential in caption scores from one day to the next—at the very end of the season—is most intriguing and rare.

Madison Scouts (8th-88.750) added 0.125 from Semifinals and finished 8th in Total GE and Total Music, and 9th in Total Visual. While Visual Analysis finished in 7th, the other two Visual captions of Visual Proficiency and Color Guard finished in 10th. In the Music sub-captions, Brass and Music Analysis finished 8th with Percussion 9th. The corps finished 0.425 over the Cavaliers due to their 0.65 advantage in Total GE.

The Cavaliers (9th-88.325) lost 0.075 from Semifinals and was one of only two corps to drop in score. The highlight for the corps was 7th place in Color Guard, up from 9th in Semis, with an increase in that caption of 1.00. Visual Proficiency placed 8th. Both GE captions, Visual Analysis, Music Analysis, and Percussion finished 9th, and Brass 10th.

Boston Crusaders (10th-86.800) added 0.50 from Friday and was 9th in Visual Proficiency and Color Guard, 10th in both GE captions, Brass, and Music Analysis, and 11th in Visual Analysis and Percussion.

Blue Stars (11th-85.150) lost 0.125 from Semis and had a highlight in placing 7th in Percussion. Total GE took 11th and the remaining five captions finished in 12th. The corps beat Crossmen by 0.125 due to the 0.425 advantage in Total Music. The spread in Percussion alone accounted for 0.625 over Crossmen, and that was after the Percussion score was divided in half.

Crossmen (12th-85.025) added 1.15 to its score, with Visual Analysis finishing in 10th. Visual Proficiency, Color Guard, Brass and Music Analysis all took 11th, and Total GE and Percussion placed 12th.