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A tap on my shoulder wakes me up, and I notice my interviewee standing there, looking at me confused. I mumble something about falling asleep, and quickly get up. He suggests we rent a small fishing boat to do the interview on, and I oblige as soon as he points out the nearest location to do so.
Once on the boat, we exchange some basic information, such as name, phone number, and hatred of Furai. Once we settle down about half a kilometer off shore, I begin asking questions.
Hello, Hugendugen, thanks for doing this interview with us! You're in the unique position of being the only (assistant) manager that was not on the team at the start; care to explain how you got onto the Team Raiders?
Haha, thanks for having me. Yeah, it was a bit of a funny situation. Without going too much into it, I was originally slated to be part of the Scooters managing team, having scooted since I first started in SPL3. However, a little misunderstanding meant that two others were chosen. Given the (ridiculous >:|) 2 assman limit and not wanting to remove august or brofist, I figured I'd just spectate this time around. That's when locopoke PM'd me asking if I wanted to assman for the Raiders. I'm good friends with everyone involved with the team, so I was really excited at the opportunity. Unfortunately I was busy at the time and didn't get back to him by the deadline, so Birkal and negres were chosen as the two assmen. That didn't mean I wasn't still involved with the team - I was basically the honorary 3rd assman until midseason. Then, to everyone's disbelief, negres managed to get off his ass and sign up to play at midseason, which meant that there was room for me as an actual assman where his ass used to be.
Do you enjoy being an assistant manager on the Team Raiders; or would you have been fine with Atticus staying on the managerial team?
Of course I would have been fine with Atticus staying on the team, the decision was entirely up to him, but I'm delighted at the opportunity. Even if we may not have been the strongest team this season, I've enjoyed every bit of it. There's a very relaxed atmosphere on the Raiders, since we're basically all just a bunch of friends. Couldn't have asked for better teammates. Except for Eo and dodrio. They make me uncomfortable.
We hear a KACAW in the distance, and Hugendugen's eyes scan the waters, looking for the source.
It's Eo and dodrio, what's to be expected? Anyways, despite not being around for it, I'm going to ask you about some older drama - specifically, those regarding the tier lineup, and the accusations of dynasties and sucking the fun out of the auction (and, as an extension, SPL). Thoughts?
Classic interview technique right there. Two easy fluff questions, and then BAM! Hit them with the hard one.
I stared as he continued on. I was just asking about his opinions... Interview technique?
I was actually quite involved with the tier lineup debate, not so much the dynasty one, so I'll start with the former. It was always gonna be difficult going into a new generation, especially with the timing so close to the release and with Pokebank released right around the start. I argued quite strongly for a focus on XY over BW and Pokebank over Prebank, since I felt those were the most relevant. Especially Pokebank, since Prebank XY Ubers was essentially Prebank XY OU + three Pokémon. I also made a number of suggestions for different types of format, including weekly rotations, 12 tiers instead of 14 and so on. However, even if I don't totally agree with how some of the decisions were made, I think we ended up pretty close to the ideal list of metas, given what we had available. It'll be interesting to see the discussion again next year, when we have a bunch of XY lower tiers.
He pauses for a minute, considering the next part of my question, and laughs as I struggle to try to reel up a fish.
As for the dynasties discussions, I've always thought that the auction was the most interesting and entertaining part of the season. For that reason, it's a bit of a downer when teams already have more than half of their players locked. I agree that we need to tweak the system for next season, but also agree that it wouldn't have been fair to do it this season, since some managers considered it part of their bidding strategy in SPL4. That'll be another interesting discussion: do we limit it to 3 retainers? Do we increase the cost of retaining a player? Or is there some other ingenious idea that hasn't been suggested yet?
Well, if we do limit it to 3 retainers, who'd you pick?
Hmm, that's tough. Melee Mewtwo is a solid pick. Veteran In Love is a champ, so you can't go wrong there, though he might be a tad expensive as a retainer. Oh and definitely MarceloDK, 2015 is your year buddy!
How is MarceloDK, anyway?
Brauce is a funny guy. Despite what his record might suggest, he's quite a solid player. I think he's actually a bit to harsh on himself sometimes.
Interesting, watching the SPL General Talk thread doesn't say the same... You're coming up on your final week during the main season. How do you think you would change the Team Raiders for next season, if you stay on the managerial team?
I wouldn't change a thing. My plan is actually to change SPL to be an entirely 4th Gen tournament. I'd play DPP Ubers, Iconic would play DPP OU, kd24 would play DPP UU and Eo would play... DPP LC?
Hugendugen dumps yet another fish back into the sea, unsatisfied. He mumbles something about him needing a legitimate person to play DPP LC if that happened, but I miss his exact words.
This is a good idea. Moving on, what are your thoughts about the upcoming week vs McMeghan's Ruiners; and then the playoffs and the teams likely to be in it?
Like any good sports coach, my answer is, "I like to focus on one week at a time. Get back to me once we've beaten the Tigres." But seriously, it'll be a close week. Both teams have arguably underperformed this season, so we'll each have something to prove. It'd be fun to see a Bloo vs Iconic matchup, though we'd have to make sure modchat is on, so that they have the chat for themselves. As for the playoffs, I still have some loyalty to the Scooters, so it would be nice to see them make it, even if chances are slim. Who do I think is the most likely? Boring answer but I'd have to pick the current top 4: Cryos, Sharks, Wolfpack, and the Classiest.
You're probably one of the busiest Smogoners in the pool of managers, leading both PS! and Ubers, as well as various other projects - has managing taken its toll on those responsibilities?
To be honest, I think those responsibilities, as well as uni starting back up, have taken a toll on my role as a manager. It's actually also why I didn't sign up as a player. I felt that I'd be too expensive for someone who wouldn't be available every week. Somehow how I constantly manage to find more things to do, but I've tried to help out the team where I could.
His cellphone rings, and I see Furai on the caller ID. Hugen seems to not notice the ringing.
If locopoke were to leave, would you step up to be head manager?
It's difficult to say. I'd definitely enjoy the challenge, but who knows how busy I'll be a year from now. Managing takes consistent effort over the entire season, so I'd have to decide closer to the date whether I'd be up for it. I was actually almost a manager this season, but that's a story for another day.
Would you have done it for this season? I'm not letting you get away with "a story for another day!"
I don't think my schedule would have allowed for it, to be honest. If I was gonna be a head manager, I'd want to give it my all and I probably wouldn't have been able to do that this season. Assman was ideal, since it allowed me to contribute when I had time, without having the final responsibility.
Ah, alright. We're starting to wrap up here - any shoutouts you'd like to give?
Shoutouts to the three most important women in my life: you, my mother and Floppy's girl.
My mind flashes back to the information exchange, and I make a mental note to change my phone number.
OK. One final question: How shit is Furai?
I beat him with a Gyarados and a Ninjask in DPP Ubers.
Thanks for doing this interview!
Thanks for having me!
I slowly steer the boat back to shore, dropping Hugendugen off. After a couple questions to the store owner, I get back in the boat and head further south, calling up FireMage to rendezvous with me so I can take him back to England in a dinky fishing boat. At least we won't lack food, right?
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