FimFiction Link - Short ID: 3378/the-moonstone-cup
Published: Nov '11 — May '12
Bleh. It's not terrible, okay? Just painfully mediocre.
There are two valid reasons to read Moonstone Cup. The first would be its legacy aspect. After all, almost everyone recognizes it as "The Tournament Fic". If that's what's motivated (You) to look it up, my advice would be to drop it. If you have ever seen any media with an "anime tournament" arc, you've also seen everything that Moonstone Cup has to offer, and probably realized in a better way than in this fic.
If, instead, you're actively looking for uninspired fast food fiction, then sure, you can trust Moonstone Cup to relatively competently meet those criteria.
>"Whoa, that's so cool, Twilight!" came Rainbow's decision on the subject, after brief consideration. "I can't wait to go and see you show those other unicorns who's boss!" She engaged in some brief but vigorous air-boxing to underscore the point.
Again, I'll open this paragraph by saying that the fic doesn't have any Huge Glaring Flaws That Ruin It Forever. The problem is, it also doesn't have any standout qualities, but it DOES have plenty of small annoyances that require you to turn off your brain a little (or a lot). The cast is one-dimensional and usually written by focusing on Mane6's quirks to the point of caricature. The writing is extremely basic but every so often includes words like "sepulchral" or "crenelated" in contexts where they don't fit at all (perhaps suggesting thesaurus use?). The plot is mind-numbingly simple and follows the genre's tropes to the letter*, still managing to waste time on a handful of sub-arcs that go nowhere.
Admittedly, the magic competitions start out pretty fun and creative. But even that is undermined by the continued ramping of the stakes, and soon enough the cool spells get gradually replaced by generic FIRIN' MAH LAZER-type encounters.
Unless that's something you are looking forward to reading, the fic will commit the cardinal sin of "cool" fiction and get boring before the """epic""" finale.
As for why it has almost three thousand likes, take a look at the publishing date. Early 2012 is the answer. As I said, it's not actively terrible, and a "cool" anime fic like this one was exactly something that many fic readers were looking for back then. It's just painfully mediocre, and that's a textbook 5/10.