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2:21 AM, Eastern Time. Tucked in a little corner of Smogon's campus, The Competitor's offices stood. Sadly, that was abandoned because it was never fully coded. Next to it, however, the offices of The Competitor, whos lights were shining brightly. A young badgeholder stumbled towards it, obviously upset to be woken up this early. She stumbled into the building, flashing a The Competitor access card to the machine that would unlock the door for her.
Stepping inside the building, and wincing for a minute straight due to the bright light in the room, eventually regaining her eyesight. She stared down the young man sitting in one of the staff chairs, the one who had rudely woken her up to get her to do an interview. sandshrewz quickly said hello, and made a phone call for the interviewee himself to come in. Lady Salamence eventually managed to wake up fully, and sat down in her seat, waiting for the interviewee to step in. When he did, sat down and said he was ready, she started the interview.
Thank you, Stone, for doing this interview with The Competitor, and congratulations on winning the World Cup of Pokémon!
My co-interviewer shoots a look at me, obviously suprised such formalities are actually required. I give him a quick glance to shut him up, as the door creaks open and a shy asian girl slips into a chair at the side of the room.
It's about time.
sandshrewz looks at the girl, immediately recognizing her as Stone's friend, sirndpt. Looking back at Stone, he mutters something about a double interview, but Stone shakes his head.
Alright, Stone. You've been at the helm of the US East team since as long as anyone can really remember, and have seen your team go from an 'auto-out' team to a finalist, to the winner of the whole tournament. What do you think is credit to that?
Hard work goes a long way. I have been a member of East for 5 years, in the first 2 years the talent was there, the teamwork was lacking and even though we had an authoritative figure in a sense, we didn't have someone to push us above and beyond. When I took over East, I was the only returning member, with yondie to join as the second returning member shortly after, and we pretty much decided that if we didn't want East to get canned that year, we needed to find talent, and incorporate solid work ethic. By scouting PO ladders and taking the best ladder players and sticking them on a team with us and teaching them the way we wanted them to operate, we made a solid team. Having everyone on the same page is an important feature to have, that's why if we have a dispute, we end it fast, and we try to keep a strict policy of friendship and teamwork so there is no falling outs.
Actually scratch that. I'm a God. That's why.
Sounds like a really fun team to be on! What do you think made a team like yours, picking unknowns from the ladder, successful, when a team like Team Italy, who did nearly the same thing, flopped Round 1?
sandshrewz stares at me, looking where I had my notes on every question I was planning on asking.
Before we focus on Italy, how about we talk about Germany first? Because, Germany and Italy are both two teams with a lot of talent, but Germany had the direction of a veteran player in Conflict, where Italy had no direction from a veteran player. Conflict has won a team tournament before in SPL2, he knows how things work and with the addition of CBB, Rocka, and a few others, they became a solid squad. Italy can be a decent team, but they need a leader with direction, and their players have to want to show commitment, and so far, their players haven't shown that sort of commitment.
Are you implying you have a leadership aspect that Italy doesn't have? [USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS COMMENT]
Haunter is a dear friend of mine. However, him and I have discussed before over some Spaghetti and Meatballs in Florence when I visited (he had no meat—he's vegetarian), that if Italy was to succeed, they would need a new captain who is more up to date with the metagame and who can play the mean guy when it's necessary. Haunter tends to be way too nice of a user, and that's what hurts Italy. The fact that he doesn't know any of the players on a personal level might be a detriment to Italy as well.
Was there anything you did differently this year than last year that led your team to win this year's tournament?
Well, I think that like any team (sports, Pokémon, etc), you can't expect instant results. I recruited players for my team in 2011, our goal was to go further than East ever had before, which was the round after qualifiers. We did so, so the next year, our goal was to get 1 step further, and we made finals. This year, our goal was to go EVEN further, and we won. I think that, our biggest differences between this and last year were the following:
First, gr8astard and CTC were on the team this year. That gave East a huge confidence boost, because we had lost Lamppost, and ThatsJustPeachy was going to be busy, which means I needed to get us two other players—who better then the ST9 champ, and the highest OU record holder of SPL. Gr8 and CTC are also constantly testing, and even though we had that last year, their ability to change up their styles, and bring in creative ideas was huge. Also, our team on a personal level seemed to click even more so then last year. Last year, Shake was the awkward guy whose only experience in the English language was typing "lol", and dragonuser was the new guy. Both of them evolved and became extremely vocal, and when all 8 of your teammates are talking and good friends, it makes this tournament FUN, and enjoyable.
Stone pauses for a second, staring at nothing.
It's a lot easier to get points across when everyone is having fun, being cheerful, and just constantly testing and preparing. I would be willing to say, our team had the most preperation of any team in WCoP this year. Something we lacked last year.
sandshrewz nods back at me, informing me to take over the interviewing. Stone mentions something about sirndpt also wanting to ask a couple questions, but quickly laughs as if it was a joke. He continues mentioning that the faithful cheerleader of US East is, in fact, more Asian than 80% of the people on Team Asia.
What does your team do in offseason? Do you stay together, or disband until the season starts up again?
Our team channel in the offseason tends to pick up when SPL is winding down. I would say that I recruited CTC and gr8astard in January/February of this year when I ran into them on a random Skype chat. I asked where they were from and they both happened to be on the East side. From there I invited them to the channel, and started to form my team rather early. However, recruiting players early isn't always the best option. The year before I did the same and two players left a week before roster deadlines were due. We don't prepare for WCoP as much as we just socialize though. It's as much of a social channel as a team world cup channel. I think playing with 12 friends is what makes it so enjoyable honestly.
Only 12? Surely there were more in the chat, right? Any mentions, aside sirn, obviously.
sandshrewz feels the need to explain to me the definition of 'playing'. I quickly hush him, and turn back to Stone. Why the hell is this guy my boss...
Actually, no! I set down a strict rule at the beginning...
sirndpt suddenly decides to speak for the first time, interjecting Stone.
"Hands off sirndpt."
... that none would be allowed in, due to rumor issues in previous years. The only non-East roster members in the channel were previous year's roster members. Shoutout goes to Fabbles, the East Captain before me, who was one of our most active members by far despite not being in line for a trophy. Loyalty at its finest.
Stone pauses for a second to smile at sirndpt, then looks back at us.
Also, hands off sirn.
I nudge sandz to continue asking questions while I get my thoughts in order to formulate new questions, while Stone laments an entire 5 generations of EAST pictures he was not able to use throughout the tournament.
French surrenduring pictures?
East didn't face France last year, Brazil did. France beat us in 2011 though, so it was sweet revenge we knocked them out this year. France probably has some of the best teamwork of any team. Also, Spain not making it this year was a huge shock to me. I predicted Germany, France, and Spain to be the big powerhouses.
Stone pauses for a second, fumbling through his wallet. He eventually pulls out a picture, and hands it to us.
I was actually in vacation these past 2 weeks so for the last 2 rounds of WCoP I had to read most the results off my phone. But the day after World Cup, I ran into Sirndpt, and we celebrated the victory of East.
If you could give a trophy to anyone not on East, who'd it be?
If I could give a trophy to anyone on the forums, it would be Fabbles. He has been a part of the competitive scene of Pokémon as long as I have and has done a lot of contributions for the site and constantly sticks by my side in tournaments. He lost in SPL3 finals and that was rather unfortunate, I would love to get a trophy in his hands one day.
Perhaps starting another 300 likes campaign, except with Bloo in LizardMan's place, will accomplish that. Speaking of, any opinion about that thread?
Stone just shook his head, declining to comment while sandz stares at a picture Stone gave him of some dog.
Stone, is there anything you wish to say to your teammates and perhaps the opposing teams as well?
Yeah, couldn't ask for a better team this year. Even though I was extremely inactive, they kept motivated and deserve every bit of success, because they earned it and worked hard for it. To France and Germany, ShakeItUp has a big mouth at times but is a good kid, please excuse him. And to Smogon, when does gr8astard get his 3DS and ST9 Shirt?
Stone slips us an image of a Shoddy Battle chat, in which approximatelly seven quadrillion PMs are open. I immediately call out it's claim of authenticity, as nine mods were online the Shoddy chat. The most mods on Shoddy ever recorded was four.
So Stone. I got this picture earlier today, from sirndpt.
sandshrewz passes the image to him, and Stone's forehead furrows in confusion.
While I cannot show the image to the general public, it says you promise to give sirndpt your trophy. Will you do that?
If she wants, I don't care.
With that, Stone and sirndpt left the building, leaving the three awake members of The Competitor sitting there. sandz was the first to leave, cheerily walking out and waving goodbye. CBTerrakion, the newest member of The Competitor's access group, noted how it was a good interview, and left shortly after. However, Lady Salamence stayed for a bit longer, just enough to have sandshrewz's computer blare some obnoxious song when she turned it on, and then walked out, mumbling on how the job she signed up for was not what she had just been called in to do.
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