UU Player of the Week #10: Hogg

Kink

www.soundcloud.com/keylontix
is a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Tutor Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnus
How does one grow such a magnificent beard
same way I grow such magnificent shoulder hair.
How does one grow such magnificent shoulder hair
same way I grow a magnificent beard.
I'm posting because I'm also a musician. I play piano, sax, and kinda sing among other things, but I am interested in starting to compose electronic music. Do you have any tips for an aspiring composer? do you have any software suggestions- specifically, something that is free/doesn't cost too much money (emphasis on the not a ton of money lol)?

on a slightly more serious note- I just wanted to say I respect you as a player and as a person, you seem like a really nice guy.
I'm glad to hear that you're starting to write your own music! I can't wait to hear it when it's done. In terms of tips, if you haven't composed music before I'd recommend trying to write your own "versions" of songs you already like. For example, I really loved Radiohead's '15 Step' from their album In Rainbows, so I created my own song called "Guidance" as a learning tool to 5/4 music composition. It'll also may take you a long time to develop the sound you like, unless you're some sort of genius at mixing and mastering and learning programs... to be honest, 4 years after writing my first tune and I'm only now starting to discover the sound I like for myself. Just never give up if you have the music in you man, it's so worth it in the end. In terms of programs, I'm not sure of anything free that's actually worth your time. I use Ableton Live, and managed to get a copy off my friend for some minor edits on my computer when I'm not at his place (he has all of the equipment).
Can you explain this for me?

View attachment 83023
I had a venomoth quiver pass team in gen 5 that never used rocks and I was making a half generalization half joke and instead of thinking I'm retarded and letting it die, former prestigious uutl dodmen decided to never let it die. friendship.
 
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Assume we will lose Clefable, Gengar, and Keldeo while gaining Alolan Muk, Jirachi, Buzzwole, and Mega Steelix. Which of these are you most excited for and which one are you least?

Would you rather eat a pound of worms every St. Patrick's Day or forget how to read?

Edit: Conkeldurr suspect when?
 
thoughts on the tnd radiohead worst to best list. follow-up, how critical do you feel in rainbows was to cementing radiohead's legacy as a frontrunner of 2000s rock, personal bias aside (it seems to be a highlight for u, which is the correct opinion)?

u listen to fishmans? feel as tho u should / would

for something competitively geared, and i'm sure you understand this comes from a completely sincere place, at what point do you think that you'll abandon (or, perhaps more appropriate, shy away from for some time) haunts of old, notably scarfbat, in a tour setting? i ask because, while i recognize the [narrow] niche of some of your more lauded homebrews, i have felt as though a major draw to some of these in the past have been a surprise value afforded to you only in a ladder setting, which is obviously lost in the visibility of continued higher profile games and other such contributions (especially in a community so tightly-knit as this).

much love b
 

Amaroq

Avatar courtesy of DrReuniclus
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Forgot to ask this earlier and had to put up with the baguettes whining at me. Answer my questions so they leave me alone.

General Pokemon Stuff:
Who do you think are the top five SM UU players and why (feel free to list the top ten if you feel like ranking that many players)?

Who do you think are some good up-and-coming UU players?

What do you think of UU's current tournament structure? Do you think we would benefit more or less from moving to a more "standard" seasonal structure?

What is your opinion regarding the influence Z-Moves have on the competitive metagame? How do you feel about this mechanic?

What do you think should be done to help the UU community continue to grow and develop (feel free to talk about any or all of the following aspects: increasing the size of the playerbase as a whole, increasing the competitiveness of the playerbase at any and all levels, fostering more forum contribution, helping new players network with more experienced players, etc.)?

If you could go back and balance old UU metas, what would you do and why?

UUPL (feel free to skip all or part of these questions if you don't feel comfortable answering them):
What do you think of UUPL so far? Are teams and players performing more or less as you expect them to?

Which player or team's performance has surprised you the most so far (this can be positive or negative)?

How closely did your team's final draft align with your expectations/desires?

What did you think of the auction as a whole?

What good decisions do you think managers made before or during the draft (for example, Shiba retaining HT)?

What bad decisions do you think managers made before or during the draft (for example, Shiba spending 10,000 credits on that Amaroq idiot)?

What decisions related to the draft do you find just plain confusing (for example, Shiba being allowed to manage to begin with)?

Did the various managers draft more or less the way you thought they would, or did some of them surprise you?

What is your thought process when building a team for a Premier League? What plans do you make before the auction? What thoughts do you have and what actions do you take during the auction?

Beyond the obvious "can win games", what do you look for in a player when building a Premier League team?

What do you think of the decision to add retention rights and relegations to UUPL?

Do you ever intend to manage UUPL again in the future?
 
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Kink

www.soundcloud.com/keylontix
is a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Tutor Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnus
Assume we will lose Clefable, Gengar, and Keldeo while gaining Alolan Muk, Jirachi, Buzzwole, and Mega Steelix. Which of these are you most excited for and which one are you least?

Would you rather eat a pound of worms every St. Patrick's Day or forget how to read?

Edit: Conkeldurr suspect when?
I'd be the most excited for Alolan Muk and Jirachi - the former for another Pursuit mon with good typing that can compliment a ton of shit, and the latter for another Steel/Psychic mon, which will change up the currenty Latias vs Metagross dynamic we have. I especially like Jirachi because I'm a huge lover of U-turn, and Jirachi is probably the Psychic-type best equipped to take advantage of it due to how spammable it is with serene grace, and I imagine it'll be used way more than Celebi or Mew. As a result, I think Celebi and Mew will become a bit harder to prepare for since there won't be dedicated sets that govern the meta; rather, their sets will be a reaction to the meta, which will allow for more surprise play.

All this being said, I still think that Buzzwole is interesting, I wonder how it'll compete with stuff like Conk, Coba, Scizor, and Terrakion. In terms of Mega Steelix, pif will probably find a way to use it well and I guess it never hurts to have another Mega to experiment with. To be honest, I'll be sad to see Gengar go, I really like it in the tier, however on the bright sight with the departure of Fable, we may see Sylveon have some shred of use.

Forget how to read, assuming I could prep myself in advance to re-learn that shit as soon as possible.
thoughts on the tnd radiohead worst to best list. follow-up, how critical do you feel in rainbows was to cementing radiohead's legacy as a frontrunner of 2000s rock, personal bias aside (it seems to be a highlight for u, which is the correct opinion)?

u listen to fishmans? feel as tho u should / would

for something competitively geared, and i'm sure you understand this comes from a completely sincere place, at what point do you think that you'll abandon (or, perhaps more appropriate, shy away from for some time) haunts of old, notably scarfbat, in a tour setting? i ask because, while i recognize the [narrow] niche of some of your more lauded homebrews, i have felt as though a major draw to some of these in the past have been a surprise value afforded to you only in a ladder setting, which is obviously lost in the visibility of continued higher profile games and other such contributions (especially in a community so tightly-knit as this).

much love b
tnd makes reasonable points, but I don't agree with all of them. we can go more in depth one-on-one if you want, but I'll give you my album power rankings. also read it starting from 9. sorry:

1. In Rainbows (every year after OK Computer, Radiohead has tried shedding layers of itself until it found the perfect balance. Enjoy all the colours of music. House of Cards is totally brown though.... their Masterpiece)
2. Kid A (revolutionary for 2000s music, created electronic sounds never heard before, pushed edm further than it had ever been pushed in popular music, penultimate)
3. Hail to the Thief (I know this is controversial, but if you cut 3-4 bad tracks it's so fucking good and so close to in rainbows)
4. A Moon Shaped Pool (Finished off so many old tracks, some real beauties like Present Tense. Might be their last idk?)
5. OK Computer (revolutionary for alt rock, but not penultimate since they're not alt rock anymore)
6. King of Limbs (Minimalist, Loop-based, IDM's arrogance rubbed off too much on the record. Little by Little is an amazing track though)
7. The Bends (Radiohead's actual first album)
8. Amnesiac (b-sides Kid A, second worst. Some good tracks though)
9. Pablo and Honey (lol)

listening to Long Season for the first time right now. good recommend, thank you VERY much.

generally speaking, I don't care for scarfbat at all. I recently just did a QC check on Crobat, and I specifically told the dude to not put in Scarfbat in OO since it's not actually a competitive option. I also know far too well how the perception looks on the outside brother, but my type of game is mental (as in, I try to force people to be assumptive). We all have our own type of crazy. If it made sense, everyone would do it. This being said, I think I used scarfbat "competitively" once since 2014. But I also smoke a lot of weed and my memory could be failing me at this present moment. I don't think I'm good for using it, I don't think it's good, but if I deem a situation needs a certain dose of kink-crazy, I'll dish out. In terms of the whole tight-knit community thing, I definitely see where you're coming from. Except there are people on this forum that'll hate me no matter what I say or do because in the past I've made some questionable choices, and that's my bad. But since they'll hate me no matter what, I might as well do me and win right? love u b.
 

Kink

www.soundcloud.com/keylontix
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General Pokemon Stuff:

Who do you think are the top five SM UU players and why (feel free to list the top ten if you feel like ranking that many players)?
In no particular order, I think the best right now are Sacri', dodmen, and Pearl. The rest of the council is tied for fourth and fifth and Christo is probably somewhere there too.

Who do you think are some good up-and-coming UU players?
In no particular order, Aquadext, Eyan, you, TSR, slurmz, Accelgor, r0ady, and a few others. A lot of old tour veterans have also demonstrated they're a force in SM as well.

What do you think of UU's current tournament structure? Do you think we would benefit more or less from moving to a more "standard" seasonal structure?
I'm very biased considering we were the ones to pioneer it, but I am extremely satisfied with our first circuit year and look forward to the next. I wouldn't consider moving to a more standard seasonal structure, I think that's a step in the wrong direction, but I would definitely consider expanding our official tours if we have demand for it, or if we have a really good idea to work with.

What is your opinion regarding the influence Z-Moves have on the competitive metagame? How do you feel about this mechanic?
Too wild. I made my thoughts clear before our betas were released but to be fair nothing could've really been done so we're all in this together o.o


What do you think should be done to help the UU community continue to grow and develop (feel free to talk about any or all of the following aspects: increasing the size of the playerbase as a whole, increasing the competitiveness of the playerbase at any and all levels, fostering more forum contribution, helping new players network with more experienced players, etc.)?
There are a lot of things I think individuals can do to foster community growth and development, such as every single thing you mentioned. As long as we have active staff engaging with users on a frequent basis, people will inevitably develop and grow as players. In my view, the second people utilize their skills, and subsequently the cultural authority granted by a high level of skills to interact with new users, everyone benefits. An engaged community fosters growth. And, for the most part, a lot us can be disengaged at times - myself included. Not that there's anyone to blame in particular, loads of individuals are putting in amazing time and effort into giving us a reasonably competitive community to thrive in. That being said, a little bit more consistency in UU room workshops would also go a long way making things interesting for new users. However, ultimately even workshops and things alike are extras. The fundamentals are staff participation with new users. If we all just spend a little time in the room every day, the community will definitely benefit.

If you could go back and balance old UU metas, what would you do and why?
I'll get ADV out of the way cause I'm hardly an expert, but maybe I'd take a look at suspecting Kanga in ADV, and possibly Baton Pass. BW, ban tini - it's broken.

For ORAS, I think [the council] collectively started pushing towards a less offensive metagame (re: banning Alakazam) which just opened the door for other offensive threats (ex. Sylveon) to go ham. The issue is, to get back that feeling of "security" we had near the end of XY, we'd probably need to make really radical bans which would be controversial at best; we would need to get rid of Celebi, Conk, Sylveon, and potentially Hydreigon as well, just for starters. Notice how those four literally make 4/6s of an amazing ORAS team. Fill in the blanks and win right? Who knows, maybe we should've been more aggressive with our policies. Not that I'm saying we 100% made the wrong choice, but I'm hardly convinced the meta is unimpeachable.




UUPL (feel free to skip all or part of these questions if you don't feel comfortable answering them):

What do you think of UUPL so far? Are teams and players performing more or less as you expect them to?
I was extremely surprised with Fuga's/Hogg's teams, they seemed much better on paper and I think that given the right circumstances both teams probably are a lot better than their records demonstrate, especially with such competent leaders. I'm very pleased with UUPL overall, whatever happens it's been an amusing season, if not a little controversial on my part, but right now I need to worry about finals and getting my team through the storm.

Which player or team's performance has surprised you the most so far (this can be positive or negative)?
Overall in this tour, Pak has surprised me with an extremely consistent showing in ORAS. I also expected good players like Amaroq and TSR to do better, as I'm convinced they're far better than their record suggests. In that regard, I also think Aquadext is much better than a 4-4 when he remembers how to use Toxic Spikes. As a Battlegirl, Slurmz has probably surprised me the most. see above for team performance surprises.

How closely did your team's final draft align with your expectations/desires?
I wanted reachzero in BW but it all worked out in the end.

What did you think of the auction as a whole?
It honestly couldn't have gone better, especially considering how the season turned out. There were a couple surprise picks in regards to Fuga's choices, but that's typical. I really hope some of the people that were close to making it but didn't get a chance to perform next year.

What good decisions do you think managers made before or during the draft (for example, retaining HT)?
All retains seemed reasonable except for Kratosmana which just flopped. Choolio was also a bit of a bust, I guess. Tony was also a bit of a wizard and just by talking to him pre-week 1 I knew he'd be in finals.

What bad decisions do you think managers made before or during the draft (for example, spending 10,000 credits on that Amaroq idiot)?
Remember when Fuga bought like two people who ended up being the wrong users.

What decisions related to the draft do you find just plain confusing (for example, you being allowed to manage to begin with)?
Seemed pretty clear to me.

Did the various managers draft more or less the way you thought they would, or did some of them surprise you?
Hogg surprised me with picks like ABR, not that ABR is bad or anything I just assumed Hogg would go for something more traditional overall. Fuga always surprises me. Christo and ICT both looked like bastard versions of the delinquents from last year, but in a good way. Shiba and Ark picked predictably but reasonably.

What is your thought process when building a team for a Premier League? What plans do you make before the auction? What thoughts do you have and what actions do you take during the auction?
Won't go into too much detail regarding my more "intricate" thought processes since I'll possibly manage next year. Since people's opinion of me can be quite low I tend to start with a list of people I know I can get along with and are willing to play for me. Once I have that figured out, I actively go out and ask said people if they want to play for me. I do that for a few weeks until I have the best combination of not hating me and skill, and this is a recipe for teamwork. Teamwork is the most important thing, and respect for your teammates is equally important.

Beyond the obvious "can win games", what do you look for in a player when building a Premier League team?
Amicability. Effort. Willingness to accept and implement feedback. Are able to deal with me on a personal level.

What do you think of the decision to add retention rights and relegations to UUPL?
Love it. Adds more depth.

Do you ever intend to manage UUPL again in the future?
Potentially.
 
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Manipulative

At least I... wasn't boring, right?
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Sorry for the long delay! Took a while, but I've got a great interview for you all :). I'll leave it down below, but feel free to look for it in the OP as well.



Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I'm a 23 year old Brit living and working in London. I'm working in IT but I'm hoping to get a job in finance once my current role is over. In my free time I like playing tennis, running, playing guitar, and obviously aimlessly browsing Smogon. I also enjoy going to gigs and mainly listen to classic / indie British rock music.


Most known for?
Being a washed up UUer who was previously involved in the community for a long time through modding and playing tours. I've barely been involved over the past year, but I have more free time on my hands now and plan on getting into SM UU after wcop.

Outside UU I'm probably known around the community for co-leading RMT, being part of the B101 staff, and that avatar which I haven't bothered to change in god knows how long.


Favorite Pokemon?
Pert, my first game was Sapphire and starter was Mudkip :heart:


Most Used Pokemon?
In ORAS, definitely Whimsicott. I used to slap it on teams so liberally since it added so much in one slot, i.e. Fairy typing, Water check, ton of speed, a way to mess up setup sweepers and stall with priority Encore / Switcheroo.

Across all UU gens, probably man's best friend Arcanine.


What brought you to Smogon and competitive Pokemon in general?
Around 9 years ago (man I feel fucking old) I came across a guide on gamefaqs which mentioned competitive battling and mechanics like EVs and IVs. All this meant nothing to me and the guide mentioned Smogon a few times so I checked the site out. I was pretty amazed that there was an entire website devoted to this stuff! I downloaded Shoddy Battle, imported a team that I was using in-game (I think it had Cradily or some shit), and started battling.

Needless to say I got my ass kicked countless times, but eventually through studying the strategy dex and testing a million teams I got a reasonable grasp of it. After a while I got burnt out at OU, tried my hand at UU and fell in love with the tier. I played it almost exclusively for a long time. I lurked around the forums for a few months and then started posting and contributing, gradually getting into other tiers and becoming more experienced. I've stuck with UU through every generation since. I do love some OU gens though, namely ADV and DPP OU.


What made you choose your name?
I used to be really into metal when I joined Smogon, so I just combined the names of my favourite bands at the time lol. No prizes for guessing which bands.


What is your favorite Generation of Pokemon and why?
DPP has always been my favourite. I grew very fond of it during my initial years here and I've never become tired of it. I love how stable both OU and UU are and I feel that they are ideal in terms of pacing and balance. ADV is fun but it can drag sometimes, while BW was a little too offensively oriented for my liking with the amount of powerful new threats it introduced. An aspect I particularly like in DPP is that there are comparatively less threats as there are in later gens, so by playing it enough you can start to intuitively guess your opponent's remaining Pokemon and act accordingly, which introduces a cool new level of strategy.


Thoughts on the SM UU metagame so far? Have you been playing it at all, or maybe plan on getting into it at some point?
My only thought is that Latias in UU sounds fun as hell :D But yeah as mentioned before, I haven't played it at all unfortunately and plan on getting into it at some point.


Do you plan on ever beginning to play competitively again in any tier? How about UU in tournaments such as SPL or Grand Slam?
I'm playing for UK so that takes care of the first part :P I'm not sure about SPL, I guess that depends on how much UU I play before it starts and how confident I feel. I highly doubt I will play in GS - 5 tiers is simply too much for me to get into and I just think it requires an excessive amount of time and commitment to be worth it. One thing I am definitely looking to participate in though is UU classic, DPP especially! I also hope to finally sign up for UUPL next year.


What is your favorite playstyle?
My preferred style has always been bulky offense. I feel that it provides the best balance between covering threats defensively while allowing me to go on the attack at any point. I'm also a pussy and tend to stay away from hyper offense as I hate not having a solid core.


What is your favorite UU Old Gen?
DPP UU > all. I grew very fond of it during my initial years here and I've never become tired of it. I love how stable it is and even though it's centralised around Milo and Venu, they're not overly dominant and there's still plenty of opportunity for being creative with building.


Who are some of your favorite people in the Smogon Community?
Everyone in RMT and B101 are people I enjoy interacting with on a regular basis. Celtic is a cute co-lead :3 Several of my UK and former SPL teammates are also good friends of mine. Then there's my usual UU peeps - Christo, Kink, Hogg, teal, Sam, dod, r0ady, Pearl, Tony, Cynde, Icy, Clarion, yourself etc. Much love <3


Finally can you provide for us a team that you think reflects your current playstyle with a brief explanation of how it works?
Haven't built any SM teams, so I'll just post an old ORAS one that I feel describes my preferred playstyle perfectly:


Mamoswine @ Life Orb
Ability: Thick Fat
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Ice Shard
- Earthquake
- Icicle Crash
- Knock Off

Hydreigon @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Draco Meteor
- U-turn
- Dark Pulse
- Fire Blast

Toxicroak @ Lum Berry
Ability: Dry Skin
EVs: 40 HP / 252 Atk / 216 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Knock Off
- Drain Punch
- Gunk Shot
- Swords Dance

Whimsicott @ Choice Specs
Ability: Infiltrator
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Energy Ball
- Moonblast
- U-turn
- Switcheroo

Slowking @ Leftovers
Ability: Regenerator
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpA
Bold Nature
- Scald
- Psyshock
- Dragon Tail
- Slack Off

Forretress @ Leftovers
Ability: Overcoat
EVs: 252 HP / 16 Def / 240 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
- Gyro Ball
- Volt Switch
- Stealth Rock
- Rapid Spin

Everyone knows what Mamo and Scarf Hydrei do - Mamo's the best wallbreaker and Hydrei's the most reliable revenge killer in ORAS UU by a long way, nothing to say much here. SD Toxicroak is my main wincon. It can straight up destroy bulkier teams while being an asset defensively too by absorbing Toxic Spikes and dealing with most bulky Waters easily. Lum Berry is mainly to lure in and defeat Sableye who can be a massive pain. Obligatory Whimsi packs a mean punch with Specs and adds some pure power and speed which is somewhat lacking in this team otherwise. Slowking + Forry act as the glue and form a pretty potent defensive core. Slowking just takes so much abuse it's ridiculous. Dragon Tail isn't seen much but has pretty cool utility in phazing sweepers and preventing random shit like Celebi from treating Slowking as a free switch-in. Forry is the only source of hazard control for the team, setting up SR while keeping my side of the field clear of it. Specially defensive is definitely the way to go in this meta.

Overall the aim of the team is to bust stuff with Mamo and Whimsi and hopefully open up a hole for Toxicroak to sweep if its a more defensive team or Hydrei to clean if I'm facing offense. Slowking and Forry form a strong backbone to fall back on against most of the main threats in the tier while the type synergy between the other four is enough to take on most other things.



----------

Thank you for your time and the great interview, IB! If you have any questions that you would like to ask him, feel free to leave them below. I'll be back next week with another interview!
 

Kink

www.soundcloud.com/keylontix
is a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Tutor Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnus
I know you've played guitar for a very long time - do you write any originals? If so, what kind of stuff do you tend to write? If not, what do you think keeps you from writing music?

If you could travel to one place in the world, where would it be and why?

What's the one thing you wish you could change in the world?

Chocolate or vanilla?
 
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IronBullet

Astronomy Domine
is a Tutoris a member of the Site Staffis an official Team Rateris a Battle Server Administratoris a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis an Administratoris a Smogon Social Media Contributor Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus
RMT Co-Leader
I know you've played guitar for a very long time - do you write any originals? If so, what kind of stuff do you tend to write? If not, what do you think keeps you from writing music?

If you could travel to one place in the world, where would it be and why?

What's the one thing you wish you could change in the world?

Chocolate or vanilla?
Unfortunately no - I've never had the time or the motivation. To be honest, I've actually never given it much thought. I've always just done covers which is something I enjoy and am comfortable with. Writing music would definitely be a really cool thing to do though! Now that I have more free time, I might just give it a shot :) I'd definitely like to talk to you regarding the type of stuff you write.

Switzerland, Interlaken specifically. I've been there before but I was very young, so I don't remember much. But I do know that I loved every second that I spent there, and if I could I would go again in a heartbeat. The food, people, scenery and weather was all perfect. It was just such a peaceful and expansive town. Considering that I'm living in London now, travelling to Switzerland would be a very welcome change from the hectic life I have here. Also, I'd like to go to Interlaken in particular because it's really close to Jungfrau, one of the main summits of the Bernese Alps. I love skiing and climbing, and there's not many places in the world better to do that.

I wish there was less greed in the world and people could be more happier and satisfied with themselves. I've been working in the world of business for a year now and from what I've seen in the workplace and read in financial news it's just ridiculous how people that have pretty much everything still desire more. Humans tend to be selfish and greedy and it's hard to change something that's so natural to us, but I think the world would be a much better place if people were just a little more content with their lives. /end of deep thoughts.

You're the best! n_n

Did you manage to catch a little bit of the UUPL action this year?

If yes, how did the DPP games fare in your opinion?

Thoughts on your WCoP group? Confident you can top it?

If you could ghost Wenger's transfer window, what would your priorities be?
Right back at you :heart:

I managed to catch a few of the UUPL games, DPP ones mostly. I thought they were incredibly fun to watch! It's unbelievable to this date the number of different sets that pop up and the amount of creative potential that still remains in such an old metagame. I especially enjoyed Eo vs 49 in the semifinals which featured some of my favourite Pokes like Scarf Ape and WoW Missy. Scarf Electrode was pretty funny to see as well :D

pana and ToF are DPP legends and Honor is a solid player too, so I'm honestly not confident about topping it. I have been practising though and think I'm in good shape going into the tour. I'm definitely looking forward to the games and hope I can put in a good performance.

A proper defensive midfielder god damn. It's been a fact for years that the team has a soft underbelly. Flamini hasn't worked, Cazorla hasn't worked, Xhaka hasn't been great and Coquelin got worse as last season went on. A top centre forward would do wonders as well. Giroud and Welbeck can do a job but aren't world class, while Sanchez is obviously fantastic anywhere he plays but honestly I think he is best on the wing. If Wenger had stopped farting around and snapped up Suarez or Benzema when he had the chance I think this team would've won the title by now.

the most underrated player in your wcop team in your opinion?

can you do a small ranking of wcop teams that you think are the most threatening?
I think our team as a whole is pretty underrated this year. We have a great bunch of players but not all of which are well-known or considered among the top. If I had to pick particular players out I would say CZ and Tox. I've been really impressed by what I've seen from their past matches and during practice games, and think they will do a great job for us this year.

I don't really know that much about the skill of SM OU players in other wcop teams so it's hard to have a well-informed opinion, but I think that East, Oceania, Canada and Spain look really strong going into the tournament.
 
If you could change one thing about ORAS UU what would it be and why?

How often do you get asked for tech help by friends/family? Do you frequently deal with stuff like "my internet is broken!!" when the problem was the user's monitor being turned off?

Have you ever been to the US? If so, what did you like most about it?

Would you rather eat one pound of live dragonflies every Valentine's Day or forget how to read?

Late thanks for archiving my team :heart:
 

IronBullet

Astronomy Domine
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RMT Co-Leader
most potent playstyle in uu right now in your opinion?
I can't say for SM because I haven't played it yet, but for past gens from ADV to ORAS I've always thought that the most effective style, or at least the one that worked best for me, was bulky offense. As I said in the interview, I feel that BO provides the best balance between covering threats defensively while allowing you to go on the attack at any point, and this works much better in UU than OU due to the step down in power. You don't need to be too worried about overpowered wallbreakers busting through your team, which means you can dedicate 2 or 3 slots in your team to attacking while having a strong defensive backbone. Hazards have always been potent as well, particularly due to the relative lack of spinners in UU. It's no surprise that some of the most successful teams in ORAS like Hogg's, Christo's and dod's archived teams utilised some combination of SR + Spikes / T-Spikes and were built on a solid defensive core with at least a couple of strong attackers that could directly threaten the opposing team.

If you could change one thing about ORAS UU what would it be and why?

How often do you get asked for tech help by friends/family? Do you frequently deal with stuff like "my internet is broken!!" when the problem was the user's monitor being turned off?

Have you ever been to the US? If so, what did you like most about it?

Would you rather eat one pound of live dragonflies every Valentine's Day or forget how to read?

Late thanks for archiving my team :heart:
I actually quite liked the way ORAS ended. It's a balanced metagame with no overpowering threats and is fun to play without being too stale. One thing I'd love though would be to see Starmie back in the tier! I played a lot with it in the few months before it went to OU and I always felt it was excellent for UU. It's no secret that we had a lack of good spinners, which forced people to use Tenta and Forry to cover multiple roles which they typically did not excel at. Starmie on the other hand provided so much to teams as a fast spinner, decently bulky and powerful Water-type that could hold its own against Nape and Entei, and with Natural Cure + Recover it could easily last entire games.

Almost never haha. I very occasionally get asked by my mom for iPad / laptop help but that's pretty much it. My dad works in IT so the chances of him asking for tech help is practically zero. If anything it's more likely that I'll be asking him :P My sister is in her late teens now and so rarely needs any help of this sort either.

I have, twice. The first time I was very young and don't remember much, but I do remember we drove from LA to Phoenix, went to Disneyland and visited the Grand Canyon. The second time we went to NY and Orlando. The things I loved the most were the food and the roads :D Man, the food is just incredible. I seriously have never seen it served in such large quantities before. Pancakes are among my favourite, so IHOP was unsurprisingly heaven for me. As for the roads, they're so wide and spacious which is such a welcome change from how fucking narrow they are here.

Even the sound of an insect makes me queasy so yeah, I'd probably choose to forget to read. No problem, I'll just learn Braille. Plus then I'll finally be able to understand the Regi codes. On the other hand, I have nothing better to do on Valentine's Day :pirate:

DAB team is strong team
 

Manipulative

At least I... wasn't boring, right?
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Thanks, IB! Sorry for the delay again, but I've got another interview for you all and I'll leave it right down below.



Hogg
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I'm a 33 year old Jersey native currently living in Baltimore. I'm also married with a three year old son. Currently working for the Maryland state government, though I still have dreams of writing the great American novel. I played and coached roller derby for years and still like to skate/bike/run, though I don't do any of it as much as I should these days. Love good books (favorites include Samuel Delany, Junot Diaz and Kazuo Ishiguro), good food, good music (particularly love Nina Simone, David Bowie and 90s hip hop and R&B).


Most known for?
Being old =\


Favorite Pokemon?
Reuniclus. Great design, and I absolutely love building and playing with it - it's so good at just completely turning games around. It isn't great in SM UU right now, but I actually like it a lot in SM OU, and it was one of my favorite things to build around in ORAS.


Most used Pokemon?
In SM UU, probably Latias. Since alpha days it has ended up on like a solid 70% of my SM UU teams. In old gens.... probably MAero or Coba in ORAS. Definitely Mew in BW UU and Clefable in DPP UU, both mons are just so fat and so good at threatening almost every possible team archetype in their respective gens. In ADV UU the only answer is Kanga/Oma, which are on 95% of every team, but I also use Tentacruel a lot.


What brought you to Smogon and competitive Pokemon in general?
I'd been playing a lot of Ruby/Sapphire right after it came out and hanging out a lot on the GameFAQs boards. One day a bunch of people from some other board came on to troll Gfaqs, as happened a fair bit back then, and I got flamed by a user named Celia/TheGreatNeoKefka. Decided to follow them back to see what they were talking about, ended up discovering the IRC bots and Azure Heights and a bunch of other Pokemon communities, and became pretty active on the IRC bots in the early ADV days. I took a break for a bit and came back around 2006, to find that most of my old friends had ended up on a new site called Smogon. Hung out there for a while before disappearing again. Came back a few years ago to see what was what, after missing out on pretty much all of DPP/BW, and somehow ended up getting pretty active in UU.


What made you choose your name?
I wanted something short and easy. Grabbed the name from a very bad book by a very good writer (don't Google it).


What is your favorite Generation of Pokemon and why?
Generation 3, by far. Part of this is definitely nostalgia—while I started playing in gen 2, the gen 3 games are definitely the ones I've played more than any other. I've spent more time playing Emerald than I ever have with any video game, period, and it's still my all time favorite Pokemon game. Competitively, I just really like how well balanced the metagame is without feeling stale. Adv Ubers/OU/UU are all super fun, and I still build for all three metas when I'm feeling bored with ORAS/SM.


Thoughts on the SM UU metagame so far? How much have you been playing it?
It's a bit hard to say, because this tier is still really in its early stages of development despite having been around for a few months now, but I think SM UU is a lot of fun, with a ton of options still left to explore. I'm pretty excited to see how it evolves.


What's it like being the new, esteemed UUTL?
I've been council for a while so nothing too crazy so far, although I have big shoes to fill—UU was really lucky to have dod at the helm for late ORAS/early SM. Anyhow I'm lucky enough to be TL of a tier full of a lot of really active people in the community that keep things moving, so thus far things have been pretty straightforward.


What is your favorite playstyle?
It differs a lot from gen to gen and even from metagame to metagame. In SM UU, I definitely prefer bulky offense. Teams where pretty much every member can put in work both offensively and defensively are just really flexible in a way that I think is important for a tier where it's almost impossible to reliably counter all the top threats of the metagame.


What is your favorite UU Old Gen?
ADV UU, with BW UU a close second. I think ADV UU is an incredibly well-balanced metagame with only one exception (no, not Kanga... I'm talking about Baton Pass). While there's a relatively small pool of Pokemon as compared with later metas, there's actually a lot of flexibility within those Pokemon. People harp on Kanga being a requirement on every team, but I actually don't think Kanga is broken at all, just really flexible. If it's akin to anything, it would be Mienfoo in LC or Clefable in SM UU: it provides a ton of defensive or offensive utility, so that it fits on most every team, but it's not actually independently overwhelming.

As for BW UU, it might just be the pool of players we have that still build and play the tier, but I really like how competitive it is despite being several years old at this point. Also for as much as people complain about hazards in BW UU, I kind of like how they balance the tier and both keep key offensive threats like Tini in check and also pressure fat.


You are known to be among the most solid players in the UU community! Is there any advice you would give to newer players in terms of playing and building, competing in tournaments, etc?
Ugh this ended up being longer than I meant it to be so have some hide tags:

Re: how to play in tour games, my biggest piece of advice is to take your time and think about what you're doing. A lot of the best ladder players rely on an instinctual understanding of the game, and that's pretty awesome if you have that ability, but chances are in a tour game you'll be up against players with just as much skill as you. That's why I think it's worth taking a step back and thinking about the game at a really fundamental level.

What do I mean by that? Well, at any given turn, there are a maximum of nine moves I can make, and probably five or six of those are garbage options that I can discard immediately as bad ideas. That means that I've probably got three moves I can realistically make, and my opponent has the same. Rather than trying to think of what my opponent is most likely to do, I like to think of what the best case and worst case scenario for each of my available moves is. If I've got a Specs Raikou in Draco range against a Latias with an unrevealed item, and my opponent has a Nidoking in the back, what do I click here? What's the absolute best case scenario for this turn for me? What's the worst? Do I go for a neutral "reset" play like hard switching to Gliscor and getting some more information about my opponent's team, or is it worth risking Raikou early to potentially turn the game in my favor by taking out Latias here and now?

When you start thinking about games in these terms, you can play anybody. Remember that the best Pokemon player in the world is faced with the same set of decisions as you. Just take it slow, consider your options, and make the plays that move you closer to winning.


So I definitely build to suit in important games. That being said, I really don't think that full cteaming is ever that useful, because it relies too much on getting the matchup just right. Some people like talking about counterteaming versus counterstyling, and I'm not entirely convinced that you can actually draw a hard line between the two, but I guess that's closer to what I do. I like to scout my opponents and pull up their teams to get a feel for what they like and don't like, and just build with that in mind. But in the end, I'm building a team that I want to play, not a team designed to perfectly counter my opponent.

Anyhow my advice when building is to not go too crazy trying to build a perfect check to everything in the game. A lot of people get really paranoid when they're building tour teams, and they end up losing the thread and building these boring do-nothing teams as they try to check every possible threat in the game, or they get frustrated, say fuck it and build super matchup based HO and cry foul when they don't nail the matchup. Instead I'd recommend building the team you feel comfortable with, and then just making sure you have some counterplay against the things it is weak to.


Also, final advice: don't take this stuff too seriously. It's OK to just dick around sometimes. As a community we sometimes shit on anything but super high level tour play, but that's such a tiny part of the game really. You'll burn yourself out if you don't let yourself just have some fun.


Who are some of your favorite people in the Smogon Community?
Oh man I hate trying to play the shout-outs game. Christo, teal6 and IronBullet are probably my longest running friends on this site atm, just really good bros all around and still some of my favorite people to chat or build with. As far as players I really look up to, my two favorite players to watch right now are ABR and SoulWind. ABR is one of my favorite builders in general for pretty much any tier, and I really like the way he thinks about the game and the way he puts teams together (plus he's a stupid good player too). SW is just a fucking delight to watch play because he's so solid and methodical with everything he does. When he's in his element, I can't think of a scarier player, and it's a crime to see him without an individual trophy next to his name.

Other than that there are a lot of people that really make Smogon worth coming back to every day: people like Omfuga, Hikari, dodmen, r0ady, Tony, Kink, atomicllamas, Pearl, Star, blunder, obii, ZoroDark, meeps, ict, Sam, pif, Pak, YABO and a bunch of others I'm sure I'm forgetting. (Oh and that Manipulative guy's pretty cool too.)

Also shout out to everyone on US Metro, wish I could be playing alongside y'all but I'm super pumped about our team this year. 10 to 1, baby, this is our year.


Finally can you provide for us a team that you think reflects your current playstyle with a brief explanation of how it works?
I haven't built a ton in this metagame but here's a team I've been messing around with lately that I enjoy:


Beedrill-Mega @ Beedrillite
Ability: Swarm
EVs: 16 HP / 252 Atk / 240 Spe
Jolly Nature
- U-turn
- Poison Jab
- Drill Run
- Pursuit

Suicune @ Leftovers
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Calm Mind
- Scald
- Substitute
- Protect

Xurkitree @ Zap Plate
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Volt Switch
- Thunderbolt
- Grass Knot
- Hidden Power [Ice]

Latias @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Draco Meteor
- Psychic
- Defog
- Trick

Cobalion @ Fightinium Z
Ability: Justified
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Close Combat
- Iron Head
- Stealth Rock

Togekiss @ Leftovers
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 232 HP / 24 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Nasty Plot
- Air Slash
- Fire Blast
- Roost


Offensive VoltTurn built around using Bee + Zap Plate Xurk to wear down opposing teams. Zap Plate Xurk has actually been my favorite set for it lately, hitting almost 10% harder than Specs Raikou with its STABs while still retaining the ability to break down fat Grounds like Hippo/Gliscor. Running Suit on Bee is a really nice way to punish some problematic threats like Lati (Z-Thunder in particular is a dick for this team otherwise) and Chandelure. Toge and Fightinium-Z Coba are my main mid-game threats and both are really good both at providing some defensive utility and in breaking down fatter teams. Scarf Lati is just fantastic versus offense in general and is probably my favorite Lati set at the moment, and acts as the primary revenge killer and also hazard removal for the team. Finally, Vincune is a huge threat in this meta and acts as the late-game wincon, going in over other defensive sweepers like Slowbro thanks to its ability to outspeed some key threats like Xurk, Toge and Buzzwole.

BONUS: have some old gen UU teams!

Slurpuff @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Unburden
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 28 HP / 252 Atk / 228 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Belly Drum
- Play Rough
- Drain Punch
- Return

Krookodile @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Earthquake
- Knock Off
- Taunt

Reuniclus @ Leftovers
Ability: Magic Guard
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 252 HP / 244 Def / 12 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Calm Mind
- Psyshock
- Signal Beam
- Recover

Cobalion @ Lum Berry
Ability: Justified
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Close Combat
- Iron Head
- Volt Switch

Blastoise-Mega @ Blastoisinite
Ability: Rain Dish
EVs: 104 HP / 252 SpA / 152 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Scald
- Dark Pulse
- Roar
- Rapid Spin

Crobat
Ability: Infiltrator
EVs: 248 HP / 116 Def / 144 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Acrobatics
- Taunt
- Toxic
- Roost

One of my fav teams lately, built around a surprisingly fun offensive core of Puff + Reuni. Puff puts a ton of pressure on opposing teams from preview and makes people play really cautiously with typical Reuni checks like Hydra. Cobalion lures and weakens Doublade with VS for Krook to fuck with. RoarToise is a neat bit of tech to help vs Vincune and break down the omnipresent Sylveons in the tier. Stallbreaker Crobat is also super underrated.

Mew @ Leftovers
Ability: Synchronize
EVs: 252 HP / 64 Def / 192 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Nasty Plot
- Psychic
- Substitute
- Baton Pass

Sharpedo @ Life Orb
Ability: Speed Boost
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Protect
- Hydro Pump
- Dark Pulse
- Ice Beam

Swampert @ Leftovers
Ability: Torrent
EVs: 240 HP / 252 Def / 16 Spe
Relaxed Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Scald
- Earthquake
- Roar

Togekiss @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Tri Attack
- Air Slash
- Trick
- Fire Blast

Roserade @ Black Sludge
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 240 HP / 216 SpD / 52 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Sleep Powder
- Giga Drain
- Sludge Bomb
- Spikes

Cobalion @ Chople Berry
Ability: Justified
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Close Combat
- Iron Head
- Stone Edge

BP is broken af in every gen.

Drapion @ Lum Berry
Ability: Battle Armor
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Taunt
- Crunch
- Earthquake
- Pursuit

Hippopotas @ Focus Sash
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 252 HP / 164 Atk / 92 Def
Relaxed Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Yawn
- Earthquake
- Protect

Clefable @ Leftovers
Ability: Magic Guard
EVs: 252 HP / 216 SpD / 40 Spe
Calm Nature
- Knock Off
- Seismic Toss
- Encore
- Soft-Boiled

Cradily @ Leftovers
Ability: Suction Cups
EVs: 252 HP / 96 Def / 160 SpD
Careful Nature
- Rock Slide
- Curse
- Sleep Talk
- Rest

Gligar @ Leftovers
Ability: Sand Veil
EVs: 200 HP / 84 Def / 224 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Toxic
- Taunt
- Earthquake
- Roost

Cloyster @ Leftovers
Ability: Shell Armor
EVs: 248 HP / 16 Def / 244 SpD
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Spikes
- Rapid Spin
- Surf
- Toxic Spikes

Cradily is actually a nonsense Pokemon. Also if you want to fuck with people who like to lead Scarf Molt, run Scarf Crunch/Pursuit/Rock Slide/Taunt Drapion instead. (I'm a bad person.)

Lanturn (F) @ Leftovers
Ability: Volt Absorb
EVs: 100 HP / 208 SpA / 128 SpD / 72 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Surf
- Thunderbolt
- Sleep Talk
- Rest

Omastar @ Leftovers
Ability: Swift Swim
EVs: 240 HP / 236 Def / 32 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Spikes
- Surf
- Toxic
- Protect

Misdreavus @ Chesto Berry
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 HP / 172 Def / 16 SpD / 68 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 2 Atk / 30 Def
- Calm Mind
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- Thunderbolt
- Rest

Electrode @ Petaya Berry
Ability: Static
EVs: 12 HP / 140 Atk / 252 SpA / 104 Spe
Mild Nature
- Substitute
- Thunderbolt
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- Explosion

Kangaskhan @ Leftovers
Ability: Early Bird
EVs: 212 HP / 216 Atk / 56 SpD / 24 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Toxic
- Return
- Substitute
- Roar

Hypno @ Leftovers
Ability: Insomnia
EVs: 228 HP / 160 Def / 120 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Calm Mind
- Psychic
- Taunt
- Wish

I think Lanturn's super underrated and I like how well it matches up against common leads like Scyth/Oma/Walrein/electrics. Get spikes down, keep them up, win with Kanga/Trode.




----------

Thank you for your time and the great interview, Hogg! If you have any questions that you would like to ask him, feel free to leave them below. I'll be back next week with another interview!
 
as subpop signees w/a 90's rap tie, do you have an opinion on shabazz palaces?

top 5 mountain goats tracks? follow-up, fave late-career record (post-sunset tree, as to steer clear of the crowd faves)?

recommend me something outlandish.

given your tendency to tier-hop to some mild extent, have you noticed any connecting threads between the tiers you select? is it simply a matter of necessity and / or a desire to help out in a certainty capacity (a la lc this past spl), or do they fill some pre-meditated competitive criteria for you?
 
what's your favourite thing every new generation brings to the uu metagame?

most underrated pokemon/set right now?

which bl mon do you feel should be alright in current metagame?

ps: you seem like a really cool dude even though i've only spoken to you like once lol (asking for adv uu teams :D)
 

r0ady

You're S.P.E.C.I.A.L!
is a Community Contributor Alumnus
Will you have your son watch the anime and hope he follows in your footsteps?

Is the common age range still the same as when you left back in ADV days for players? (Late high schoolers and early 20 smths)

Top 5 ADV UU players?

Why wont you finish Breaking Bad?

Is ADV and GSC the only physical games you've owned?
 

Hogg

grubbing in the ashes
is a member of the Site Staffis a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributor
UU Leader
Spent all morning answering bouff's question so I'll get to everyone else a bit later...

rank the prince albums from worst to best, same with david bowie

thoughts on mobb depp?

how do you prep for tours like spl and uupl?

what are your favoroite clickhole articles?

best tour games youve played?
rank the prince albums from worst to best, same with david bowie

Oh my god this is almost impossible. I'll give it my best go.

EDIT: also whoops I did best to worst instead of worst to best
  • Station to Station - OK I know this is a weird choice as best, because it's probably strictly a weaker album than Low or Ziggy, but it's my favorite and this is my list so fuck it it's on top. A short album, six incredibly claustrophobic songs, musical inventiveness that foresaw the later release of Low, and an incredible depth of voice. Really amazing album, made all the more so by the fact that he was so high he doesn't even remember making it.
  • Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust - Obvious choice for obvious reasons, possibly the single best rock album of all time.
  • Low - Another that could have easily been number one, it's such a big departure from literally everything else Bowie has ever done. Decades ahead of its time, simultaneously minimal and soaring, and it takes all the melancholy and claustrophobia of StS and makes an entire album out of it—without the vocals or the funk beats to give you something to hold onto.
  • Hunky Dory - Amazing and affecting album that would be Ziggy-level if not for a couple of somewhat weaker songs (but the weaker songs on Hunky Dory would be dynamite by any other artist).
  • Space Oddity - OK yeah some of this is pure nostalgia, this album has a lot of weak spots, but it's the first real Bowie album and it's still a really well constructed album with the best opener of just about any Bowie album, some really great heights in songs like Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed and Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud, and a great finish.
  • Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) - Easily one of the best albums of the 80s (though not THE best, see the Prince list for that one). Really tight album without a single bad moment.
  • Heroes - OK let's be honest, Heroes is actually not a great album. Take off the title track and it would be pretty low on this list. But... Heroes is a really good song. Like, really really good. So good that it actually props up an otherwise mediocre album.
  • Diamond Dogs - By this point it was probably pretty easy to say Bowie had been pushing the concept albums a bit too far, but luckily DD is strong enough on its own to not matter. Also this album could almost be considered a punk progenitor album, mixed with healthy doses of Bowie's glam. Apocalypse chic would definitely come up again for Bowie, but this is really where it started
  • Outside - Again this might be nostalgia, because I first really became aware of Bowie during his Outside tour with NIN, but even though I almost never listen to anything that you might call industrial these days, Outside is just a great album. It's kind of a spiritual successor to Diamond Dogs, so I guess it makes sense to group them together, but if I'm being honest I actually listen to this one more than DD.
  • Labyrinth Soundtrack - You remind me of the babe.
  • The Next Day - After like a decade of mediocre albums, TND is actually really solid. This, Blackstar and Heathen are the only two post-Outside albums that I listen to with any regularity.
  • Heathen - See above. A bit sad because it's the first time you can really hear him start to hit the limits of his voice, but it's also still a really fun album.
  • Aladdin Sane - I know most people love this album but.... eh? I mean there's nothing wrong with it, but it just feels like such a re-hash of Ziggy Stardust and I'd much rather just listen to that. Technically a stronger album than a bunch of stuff above it, but it's one I almost never find myself putting on.
  • The Man Who Sold the World - I sometimes suspect the reason Bowie had that long break after the Outside tour was that he was so pissed off at kids constantly coming up to him telling him how cool it was that he was covering Nirvana.
  • Young Americans - Just a really fun album. Hard to really talk a lot about the middle catalog.
  • Let's Dance - See above.
  • Lodger - It's like Heroes, but without the title track! Which, it turns out, isn't actually that compelling to me.
  • Reality - You're not a looker but you're alright.
  • Earthling - Eh.
  • Hours - Eh.
  • Black Tie White Noise - Honestly shuffle these around as you like, it's a bunch of albums that aren't terrible but aren't that interesting.
  • Tin Machine - Grouping both Tin Machines together because they're both pretty forgettable. Better than his previous couple of albums, but that's not saying much.
  • Never Let Me Down - Definitely let me down.
  • Tonight - Have you ever wanted to hear David Bowie try his hand at reggae? No? Me either.
Not included: Blackstar (I can't actually separate this album from his death, so it's really hard for me to rank it), Buddha of Suburbia (not actually an album and yeah whatever I included Labyrinth, but that's because Labyrinth is fun), Pin-Ups (David Bowie doing covers!), David Bowie (technically his first but feels really unformed, I feel like it's totally fair to just call Space Oddity his first and forget that this one exists - if I had to rank it, though, it would be somewhere around Lodger).


OK ranking like 30 Bowie albums was a bit too much for me and I don't have the heart to do that over again for Prince, so I'm just going to do top 10 this time.

  • Purple Rain - Completely, utterly flawless album. I challenge you to find an 80s album better than this one. A lesser artist could make a whole career off of just about every track.
  • Lovesexy - I swear, something about Prince's guitar just exudes sex in a way that no other artist have ever managed to pull off. Also wins the award for one of the best album covers of all time.
  • Sign O' The Times - Probably catches that perfect intersection of funk, pop and rock better than any other album. This album is like an hour and a half long and every minute of it is fantastic.
  • Diamonds and Pearls - Not everyone's cup of tea but I really love this album. Gets a bit gospel-y at times, as it was written during one of Prince's many closer flirtations with Witnessing, but also as far as the actual beats are concerned, only Lovesexy really compares. Also one of his most heavily hip hop-influenced albums.
  • Controversy - Short for a Prince album (less than half as long as SotT), less polished than his later stuff but still really fucking formative, and also just a fantastic listen.
  • 1999 - If Purple Rain didn't exist, this would be Prince's pop masterpiece. It misses a lot of the wilder funk guitar that really defines him as an artist otherwise, and if we're just looking at his more pop-focused stuff it unfortunately has to get compared to the untouchable Purple Rain, but 1999 is still a really great album, and Little Red Corvette is one of the best pop songs of the decade.
  • Emancipation - Ever wondered what album Prince would release if he gave absolutely zero fucks about selling a single copy? Then check out Emancipation. Three hours long and no pop bangers, and a definite departure from his usual stuff, with a much heavier R&B focus than usual. But it's a complete delight to hear Prince making an album that was essentially just for him.
  • Dirty Mind - I'm sorry, did I say that Lovesexy exuded sex appeal? Dirty Mind is straight up pornographic, in a really good way. Not as strong as some of his others (probably including some that didn't make the top 10), but still a really essential part of his catalog.
  • Around the World in a Day - Paisley Park and Raspberry Beret alone would probably be enough to make this album a hit, but it's actually a really good album all around that unfortunately suffers because it inevitably gets compared to Purple Rain, which came out just before it.
  • Prince - For You came first and was certainly a good album, but Prince's self-titled was the real kick-off to his career. Definitely a bit heavier on the R&B and lighter on the funk than his later stuff (until he came back in that direction with Emancipation), but still unmistakeably Prince in every single guitar note, and up there with Dirty Mind as one of the sexiest albums of all time.


thoughts on mobb depp?

First thought on Mobb Deep: how the FUCK did a single housing project in NYC put out so much amazing hip hop? Seriously, Mobb Deep/Prodigy, Nas and Capone, all out of the Queensbridge Housing Projects, plus a million smaller names. What the hell was in the water?

Seriously though, I think the main reason I started listening to Mobb Deep was actually because of Hell on Earth and all the guest tracks - Nas, Raekwon, Meth and Biggie were all really important to me at the time, and to get them all on one album (even if it was someone else's) was a pretty big deal. Shame, really, because I think Hell on Earth is actually a weaker album than Infamous. Infamous and Hell on Earth are both amazing though, even if I don't find their more recent stuff as compelling. I also was a huge fan of Prodigy's solo album when it first dropped, although it hasn't aged as well as a lot of the hip hop from that era.

how do you prep for tours like spl and uupl?
If we're being honest I don't really prep for UUPL, I just bring stuff that seems fun. Sometimes it works out for me—I had a pretty good run last year—but sometimes it bites me in the ass. I actually spent a lot more time prepping for other people's games than my own this year, and mostly just tossed together a team for myself last minute.

SPL's a different story, though. I actually put in a fair bit of prep, looking at teambuilding trends and playing quirks of whoever I'm matched up against. I actually don't do a ton of building or test games, but I like to feel prepared for my games. For teambuilding I tend to focus more on teams that match up well against general trends rather than building outright cteams. For example, this year against Corporal Levi I noticed that he really liked offensive Onix, so I felt a bit more comfortable building around Mareanie since it meant he was probably less likely to run Diglett than the average person, which covered me against a lot of the less predictable setup sweepers he sometimes liked to run. I also watched a lot of replays to get a feel for the types of plays he liked to make, to see where he built surprises into his team, etc.

I'll play a couple of test games to get a feel for the team and make sure there's not some obvious flaw I'm missing, but mostly if I have a big game coming up I try to stay off PS as much as possible. Let's go ahead and call this the Lazarus Corollary: my playing skill for a big game is inversely proportional to the number of games I've played recently. I play a lot better when I don't really touch the game outside of my big matches; it just helps me focus and make the plays I need to make.

what are your favorite clickhole articles?
Good lord you might as well ask me which of my pets I love the most or who the best Wu Tang member is. Here are some really good ones though:

http://www.clickhole.com/article/6-times-tobey-maguire-had-public-meltdown-because--2471
http://www.clickhole.com/article/disgrace-ceo-beans-has-stepped-down-amid-reports-t-5148
http://www.clickhole.com/blogpost/when-i-started-writing-game-thrones-i-didnt-know-w-292
http://www.clickhole.com/article/disgusting-isis-just-released-2-star-review-aeropl-2620
http://www.clickhole.com/blogpost/my-2-month-old-son-wont-stop-demanding-soda-grown--1721

Honestly those were just some good ones I was able to immediately remember and look up, but there's no best clickhole article. They're all perfect.

best tour games youve played?
Man that's actually a really hard question. My recent favorite would probably be my ADV UU game against gorgie in UUPL this year (just a really tight game all around). Overall favorite would be a bit harder. My SPL debut against koko was definitely a high point despite the fact that it wasn't the cleanest game just because I was such an unknown quantity in UU at that point, and koko was such a big name (and was having a killer SPL that year). The game against lochie in semis of that same SPL was similarly a pretty big deal for me, since I prepped hard for that game and it was a really important win for our team.

Replays:
http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen3ou-275806 - vs gorgie, UUPL (ADV UU)
http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-uu-130699 - vs kokoloko, SPL (ORAS UU)
http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-uu-141039 - vs Calloflochie, SPL (ORAS UU)
 

IronBullet

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Radiohead albums ranked? Sorry, not making it any easier.

Thoughts on Blackstar? What's your favourite song from the album?

I know you like Bowie / Springsteen / Prince etc, but what's your favourite band? (The Revolution doesn't count :P)

Thoughts on how ORAS finished? When do you think the metagame was at its peak? Any banned / OU Pokemon that you think would fit well into the tier?

Thoughts on DPP UU and how it compares to ADV in terms of enjoyment and overall balance for you?

Do you mainly play tours for fun or have a particular goal that you would like to achieve in the tour scene?