How did you get involved with competitive Pokemon?
This requires a much longer answer than I can offer at this time, but I will try to give the tl;dr version.
Back in 2005 or 2006, I was hanging out with a buddy of mine who told me that there was a competitive version of Pokemon and it was played online with other people from around the world. I was a huge fan of the series, but I had only ever played the handheld games to this point (Ruby / Sapphire / Emerald was the current generation at the time), so I was very intrigued and I asked him to show me sometime. So one night he loaded up NetBattle on his computer and challenged various people with his Medicham + BP Jolteon team - a true NetBattle specialty. I had a blast just watching the different strategies unfold. As you all know, competitive Mons is nothing like in-game, so this was a real eye-opener for me. I mean, he didn't even have Strength on a single Mon - what gives?
After watching him play for a while, I decided to try my hand at the game too. So as soon as I got home, I downloaded the program and fired up the teambuilder. I had no idea what I was doing. My first teams looked about like what your average low ladder team does today. Lots of Mantines and Hitmonlees. I still had a lot of fun and eventually learned enough to become decent at the game.
The NetBattle era was dominated by clans, and so I found a home in the Majesty clan. My IRL friend was a member as well, along with noted ADV legend, and one of my oldest friends in the game, JabbaTheGriffin
. Some other great friends from back then were guys like vapicuno
, JRRrrrrrrr, D4D, Tom Jane, Avaricious, Legendary Curt, and of course our leader Mystica.
My time on NetBattle ended around 2007 to 2008, right when DPP was being released. I went off for college the following year and didn't return until Spring of 2016, when I was in the midst of an endless Internet browsing session and I opened up www.smogon.com/forums/
for the first time in at least 8 years. I saw the link to Pokemon Showdown right there on the front page, fired it up, and played my first games of Pokemon since 2008. The rest, as they say, is history.
What past gen tier are you most known for playing, and what are some of your greatest achievements in playing (in either this tier or in general)?
Well this one is much easier to answer than the previous question. Pretty much everyone knows me as an ADV Main. That will likely never change. I've been around for three years now and played more or less nonstop since then, in tournaments across all three major Pokemon sites. My greatest accomplishments to date are as follows:
- 1st place No Johns Tournament in 2016 (my first tournament and the reason I even re-registered a Smogon account to begin with)
- Won an ADV Season on Pokemon Perfect, which is really no small accomplishment considering the level of play there is quite high (seriously, look at the names of the guys in the final 4 of most Master Tournaments there. Hint, it's always linear, BKC, Asta, etc...)
- 3rd place CALLOUS Invitational 1
- 2nd best record SPL IX
- 10-1 record in WCoPP
What are your favourite old gen tiers and why?
Apart from ADV, my favorite tier is definitely BW OU. I think there's a great deal of counterplay within the tier among all the broken threats. Team preview brings another element to the game, but I don't think it changes the game drastically compared to ADV for example. There is a huge element of sequencing to most BW games, which to me feels very similar to ADV. The only difference is you can make much more educated guesses on what the other guy has. There are also no nonsense trapping games, or Spikes games in BW. However I must admit I find >2 turn Taunt to be extremely annoying and a rather silly mechanic. On the other hand, the Sleep mechanic is very cool and gives teams an option against opposing uber-threatening Sleep users. It also introduces the mind games between clicking Spore or Stun Spore with your Amoonguss for example. Another great allure to this tier is that a lot of the best players on the site still actively play it, which just gives me more inspiration to want to become better at it.
What are some of your most often used Pokemon in the tiers that you play?
I don't have enough games of BW to really answer for that one, although there is really nothing like spamming Keldeo and Latios
In ADV, the answer would probably be generic Tyranitar + Swampert + Skarmory, by usage stats at least. Ironically I get typecast as a SkarmBliss spammer, but in reality I have probably the lowest SkarmBliss usage of anyone who mains the tier.
Looking through my teams really I have a hard time discerning any patterns. It would be easier to point out which Mons I don't use than which Mons I do. I really like finding ways to make unique Mons work. Not unique as in "no other Water type can threaten Zapdos the way Salac Berry Kabutops can," but unique as in nothing else fills this team slot as well as __________. Weezing is a perfect example as something I love to use on mixed offenses that need a Skarmory switch in that can also lure Milotic and Blissey. There are other Skarmory switch ins in ADV, but they don't always fit on Spike-less offenses.
Some other Mons I might be known for are Venusaur, Hariyama, and maybe Gyarados I guess.
What type of playstyle do you enjoy using the most in these tiers?
I definitely prefer playing offense to stall. I find that it fits me better as a player and typically affords me the option to get a little more creative in the teambuilder. Sometimes I find an idea that clicks and gives me a massive edge in the opposing stall matchup, and sometimes my ideas fail. That's just the name of the game.
Do you consider yourself having innovated or popularized any sets throughout your time playing?
Absolutely. My fast Blissey with Fire Blast had a metagame defining influence on the tier. The reason you see mixed Metagross's, mixed Tyranitars, random Skarmory, even Swampert run INSANE Speed creep is because of my Blissey originally outspeeding all Skarmory and hitting first with Fire Blast. That set off a chain reaction that culminated in most Mons from base 60 to base 70 just maxing their Speeds.
The second set would be more or less standard SpDef Gengar, also known as the one that survives Pursuit Tar switching out. I've written about both of these sets quite a bit, in both the Underrated Sets
thread, and my team dump
Something more recent might be my Protect + three attacks Adamant Metagross. As far as I know, I was the first one to slap Protect on Meta in the fourth moveslot. I've seen that set gain a bit of traction as of late.
Another set I'm proud of is my mixed Tyranitar which runs the same set as MixMence, but with Ice Beam > Dragon Claw. That set can be a real game changer, and it sees quite a bit of use in modern ADV.
Are there any specific games you've played that you consider really great?
Definitely, and I'm glad you asked this. Time for some shameless self-plugging, but I think my game against undisputed in SPL IX was truly excellent. We both brought Jolteon Spikes, which can be an extremely irritating matchup for each other (Jolteon vs. Jolteon in general is really tough to play). I think we both played great, but I eventually came out on top. Game here.
I believe this game has some historical context by the way, as this was the first noted instance of offensive Swampert on the big stage. Also I brought my trusty Dynamic Punch Gengar here, although it did not have the chance to shine.
Another contender for my favorite game of all time has to be against Smilzo in WCoPP. I didn't know much about him at the time, just that he was an Italian ADV player with a pretty good track record. We went on to play an amazing match that required a ton of smart switching from me just to get my Snorlax out of range of his Snorlax, so that I could still Boom later. Game here.
And finally, I have to say my game against London Beats last SPL. This was the game that my game against zf this season was supposed to be. AKA the impossible BeerLover matchup that I still was able to overcome. It wasn't great because of flashy plays or an insane prediction or some wild moveset being showcased. It was great because this is the kind of game that can remind people Pokemon isn't all about matchup fishing. Game here.
(This is not meant to be a callout and I apologize in advance for making it sound like one.)
Some other contenders are:
- The whole series against both Dekzeh and ViL in CALLOUS Invitational 1
- Game against CALLOUS in SPL IX (the Weezing game)
- Game against dice in WCOP 2017 (my first big game after my introduction on the big stage in SPL VIII)
Favorite competitive memories?
All of SPL VIII was a blast. Nothing will ever replicate the team atmosphere we had on Raiders that year. Also just to be a part of such an incredibly talented group was really something special.
I can't really shout out each individual team tournament because that won't be giving everyone their due justice. Every team I have been a part of has been great in their own unique ways.
A good answer to this might just be all of CALLOUS Invitational 1. I would probably recognize this as my "coming out party" since I was fresh off a mediocre 4-6 SPL and 2-1 WCOP, but still nobody on Smogon really had seen dominance from me. I still consider that tournament to be the peak of my playing.
Are there any changes to older tiers that you think would be beneficial?
I'm not really sure. There has been a lot of hand wringing over three Spikes in ADV, but frankly I wouldn't change a thing. Maybe just maybe ban Mr. Mime + Baton Pass. But that's not really a systemic issue in my opinion.
Sometimes I do wonder what ADV would look like if Dugtrio banned. I can't help but feel it would be appreciably better. Not that Dugtrio is broken, but sometimes it rewards average playing.
Who do you look up to as a player and/or person, and which players are you close friends with?
Too many names to list. Here's a start:
BKC (absurd consistency across so many tiers, always using what he likes or feels is best)
Ojama (pretty much the same as above)
Asta (at peak playing is probably the highest skill of anyone who's ever touched ADV)
linear (most insane reads, still the ladder king, willingness to think way outside of the box in the teambuilder)
McMeghan (enthusiasm for all things Pokemon and oh yeah amazing skills in battle too; his accomplishments speak for themselves)
Golden Sun (huge fan of the way he plays, a staple of the ADV playerbase)
undisputed (the most surefire positive record in ADV in SPL, which really says a lot)
Triangles (honestly extremely underrated for how well he plays. Probably a top 5 ADV player right now)
There are so many more too.... huge props and respect to the BW gods like SoulWind and dice.... gotta throw love to Lavos and Fear for their insane GSC skills (among other tiers too).... Osgoode can be kinda meme-y at times but he has an insanely high skill level, wish he would've competed more at the highest level.
This list falls way short but it's a good start.
My best friend on the site is easily Astamatitos
. First guy I met when I came back to Pokemon back in 2016, we hit it off on the ladder and have been great friends ever since.
The rest of the Ugly Swans (BKC, pasy, Sunny) are probably my other best friends on the site, and I love the crew in
Multi-Cultural Crust Club and also ADV Community.
Are there any old players who you wish would come back?
Mystica, Jabba (he's still here but wish he was more active), uhh I dunno. Sort of a lame answer but I wish all the old ADV Greats would come back. Husk, imperfectluck, Groudon80, Majin, all those guys.
Any teams you feel fit you as a player particularly well?
I still love the team I RMT'd a year ago (Jolteon / Skarmory / Tyranitar / Flygon / Gengar / Zapdos) and use it frequently. Anything that allows me to play offense. I also like turning passive stuff on their heads whenever I can get the opportunity. Stuff like Heracross, Celebi, and Suicune can be really amazing at beating passive teams that are aimed to beat Skarm + Gar + Tyranitar. I'm mostly open to using anything in ADV.