UU Player of the Week #10: Hogg

What are some of your favourite movies?

What is your favourite book genre?

What are some books that everyone should read before they die in your opinion?

Favourite book series?

What is the most disappointing book you've ever read?

What is the best book of 2016 in your opinion?

Greatest meme set in adv uu?

Other than UU, what is your favourite lower tier?

Other than Pokémon, are there any other games you play?
 

Amaroq

Avatar courtesy of DrReuniclus
is a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributor
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 did you think of UUPL? Did teams and players perform more or less as you expected them to?

Which player or team's performance surprised you the most (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 in the future?

Thank you for your time.
 

Hogg

grubbing in the ashes
is a member of the Site Staffis a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributor
UU Leader
Cynde
why choose this book over all the other ones?

I picked Hogg more or less at random, because I wanted a short name that sounded like a name and I had the book on the mind.

Regarding the actual book, yeah, it's an abjectly and viscerally upsetting book. I actually really enjoy Samuel Delany's fiction in general, but I've never been able to finish Hogg. Delany is an incredibly talented writer who intentionally wrote an "ugly" book meant to provoke extremely instinctual negative responses. If you want an article on his use of displeasure and disgust as a literary tool, this article isn't bad:

https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/uses-of-displeasure-samuel-delany/

Felski argues that literature “becomes truly disquieting not when it is shown to further social progress, but when it utterly fails to do so, when it slips through our frameworks of legitimation and resists our most heartfelt values.” How, then, are readers to make “use” of that failure — and, moreover, of that disquiet? Ngai suggests that “in its intense and unambivalent negativity, disgust thus seems to […] prepar[e] us for more instrumental or politically efficacious emotions.” Disgust is inherently challenging in its uncomfortable embodiment, in its resistance to being abstracted, and in its immediacy. Whether and how readers value a disgusting text may be a matter of choice, but the disgust comes first: only then evaluation, or, as in our opening quotes, the flummoxing of evaluation. And therein lies its fundamental worth: disgust confounds terms of literary value and democratizes them at the same time. Embodied unpleasantness, when produced by a literary text such as Delany’s Hogg, might indeed pave new ways to consider the foundations for shared readerly experience.


Like I said for all of that, I've personally never managed to get through Hogg; it's just too much for me. For other challenging works by Delany (that I actually enjoyed), I'd recommend Dhalgren or Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand. (Also, fun fact for col49 - the clipping album Splendor & Misery is actually a reference to the never-finished sequel to Stars in My Pocket called Splendor & Misery of Bodies, of Cities).

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col49
as subpop signees w/a 90's rap tie, do you have an opinion on shibazz palaces?

I actually don't know them, will have to check them out. From quick googling they definitely look like they'd be up my alley.

top 5 mountain goats tracks?

    • No Children - I know it's a crowd favorite and probably not the cool answer to give but come on, this song is fucking perfect, and only gets better if you've been following the hate-filled meanderings of the Alpha Couple throughout the early Mountain Goats stuff. (The way it bookends with Old College Try off the same album is particularly special.)
    • Going to Georgia - I know Darnielle doesn't even like this song and I 100% get why but the way he captures the anger and desperation of the subject matter and turns it into something exhilarating and anthemic means it definitely gets a spot. The older I get, the less comfortable I get with this song, but along with No Children it was such a quintessential part of older, angrier Mountain Goats that I feel like I have to include it.
    • Matthew 25:21 - Life of the World to Come is a weird album for me, sometimes I think it's one of his best and other times I just can't really get into it, but this is probably my favorite track off of it.
    • Palmcorder Yajna - I said when I did this list I'd try to stick to just one song from each album, which is a shame because I think there's a lot of good tracks on Healed. Went with Palmcorder Yajna because it still captures all the usual misanthropy and paranoia you'd expect from the Mountain Goats but has a lot of tenderness for the subjects as well.
    • Abandoned Flesh - I know I said I wasn't sure yet where Goths will sit in the pantheon of Mountain Goats albums, but this song has definitely been sticking with me. Maybe it's just because it's new, but it's the one I find myself going back to from Goths, so I figured I'd include it here.
follow-up, fave late-career record (post-sunset tree, as to steer clear of the crowd faves)?

Of the post-Sunset Tree stuff, it's probably a tie between Transcendental Youth and Life of the World to Come. I listen to Transcendental Youth more but I think Life is a tighter album, so it's hard to really say. As we talked about on Discord I've been listening to Goths a lot lately and I definitely think it's up there, but I still wouldn't put it up past classics like Tallahasee (which is still my favorite album by a mile, the sheer misanthropy of the album is what drew me in to Mountain Goats in the first place) or We Shall All Be Healed.

recommend me something outlandish.

Going to recommend some Bmore club, there's not really anything else like it (closest spiritual cousins would be gogo music out of DC, Louisiana bounce and Jersey club, but they're all pretty different overall).

My favorite Bmore club artist right now is definitely TT the Artist, who 100% fits the bill for outlandish. Queen of the Beat is pretty good, but I also recommend you check out the sheer nonsense of Art Royalty. (For a taste of Art Royalty, look up songs like Pussy Ate and Pum Pum on YouTube.)

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 capacty (a la lc this past spl), or do they fill some pre-meditated competitive criteria for you?

I'm not sure there's a connecting thread. I've put a lot of time and work into UU, so it's usually the most rewarding tier for me to play competitively, but I also like most OU tiers just because even if I don't play them, I watch them enough that I usually have an OK feel for them. As for what non-UU tiers I pick up in a more serious capacity, I guess that's more necessity/random chance. LC for example was something I picked up for Grand Slam a couple of years ago and I found myself really liking it, so I stuck with it.

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Mylo Xyloto
what's your favourite thing every new generation brings to the uu metagame?

Not really sure what you mean. Do you mean specific Pokemon, or do you mean mechanics changes between the generations?

most underrated pokemon/set right now?

Starmie. I don't know why it gets such little usage, considering how consistently useful it is. Great Speed tier and absolutely phenomenal coverage makes it a major pain for so many teams to deal with. My favorite set is four attacks with Colbur or Waterium Z, but there's a lot you can do with it.

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

I still stand by my votes on Azumarill, and think it would be fine in UU. I was honestly surprised to see so many people vote to keep it banned, because I've never found it particularly problematic in any of my testing. CB almost was a bit busted back when Drizzle was still in the tier, but even then I didn't think it was overwhelming, and once Drizzle left I thought it was fine.

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r0ady
Will you have your son watch the anime and hope he follows in your footsteps?

I feel like there's a 100% chance my son is going to be deeply embarrassed by anything I find interesting, so really if I want him to become a Pokemon master I should forbid him from ever touching the game.

Is the common age range still the same as when you left back in ADV days for players?

Yeah, more or less. I remember when I was 22 thinking I was one of the older people around, but I definitely wasn't the oldest, and there were a lot more of my peers. Age is a funny thing, though; at 22 I felt like there was a huge difference between me and the kids still in high school. At 33 I often can't really tell the difference.

Top 5 ADV UU players?

Not ordering because I've done enough lists to last me for a lifetime, but based on what I've seen over the past year I'd call Anti, CBB, ict, John and Level 56 the top players right now.

Why wont you finish Breaking Bad?

Protesting because they killed the best character.

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

Actually I've never owned ANY of the games. I've played the ADV and GSC era games more than any others, but I've only ever played them on emulators.

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Pak
Most overrated mon in oras?

Rocks Mamoswine. Mamo's scary as hell, no doubt, but it provides next to no defensive utility for teams, and the fact that there are so few good switch-ins for Mamo actually hurts it as a Rocks setter, because it means teams often will stay in and attack to wear Mamo down. Just run a fourth attack and slap rocks on something else, please.

Most underrated mon in oras?

I've already talked about Reuniclus so instead I'll talk about one of my favorite sets that no one ever uses: CB Cobalion. Choice Band gets rid of its biggest problem (underwhelming damage without a Swords Dance), plus it has a great physical movepool and momentum in Volt Switch. Definitely recommend more people try out CB Coba.

Thoughts on oras as a whole?

I've got a love-hate relationship with ORAS, but definitely more love than hate. I think that the metagame was definitely starting to get a bit stale toward the end, with the three dominant playstyles IMO being Gyara bulky offense, Cele/Krook/Sylv balances and stall. But for all that, I think there was actually a lot of room for innovation, and I think that the meta actually had a fair bit of room for growth when SM came out. I'd like to see how it evolves down the road with tours like UUPL and Classic.

What would you change if given complete contral (bans/drops from ou)?

I'd bring Zapdos, Raikou and Hippo back down from OU.
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IronBullet
Radiohead albums ranked?

Confession time: I'm a really shitty Radiohead fan. I loved them in high school and early college, but haven't really kept up with them since. That means that Amnesiac is really the last album I've listened to. I've heard Hail to the Thief and In Rainbows (the latter of which I really liked from the one or two times I listened to it), but haven't really given them serious listens.

Of the Amnesiac and earlier stuff, this is a cop-out answer, but my favorite is probably a three-way tie between Kid A, OK Computer and The Bends. Kid A is the one I listen to the least, because it's just less compelling to me, but also the one I appreciate the most musically. I think that OK Computer and The Bends were definitely more traditional rock albums, but I love them for it, and can't really pick between the two. I think OK Computer is probably a better album overall, but the title track and Street Spirit off of The Bends are so good that they kind of shoot it up in my estimation.

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

I mentioned this above but I find Blackstar really hard to separate in my mind from Bowie's death. For that reason it's a very powerful album for me emotionally, but I can't really tell if it still would be if I didn't have that strong association. As for favorite song, I guess that goes to Lazarus, which is also the song I've listened to more than any other since it was released well before the actual album. Close second would be I Can't Give Everything Away, though.

what's your favourite band?

Ugh this is a really hard question. I want to cop out and say something like Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (which is no better than saying the Revolution is my favorite band), but that's obviously cheating. I'll go for a lateral move and say Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.

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?

I think your first and last questions were answered above with my responses to Pak. As far as the metagame at its peak, I think it's a bit odd to claim that it really had a peak, but my favorite meta was the first post-ORAS UU Open/Grand Slam meta, before we started tiering Megas and their base forms separately.

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

DPP UU is weird—I like it and enjoy playing it, but it's also my least favorite UU generation to build for. While there's certainly some potential variety, and some unexplored threats (Clefable in particular has a million sets with a ton of potential beyond the standard CM), I just don't like building for it that much. I don't think it's stale or anything, as I love building for ADV UU which by any reasonable metric is "staler," but I don't just build DPP UU teams for fun.

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

I play for fun. I just happen to find winning the most fun of all.

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Sam I Yam
What type of bear is best?

That's a ridiculous question.
 

Hogg

grubbing in the ashes
is a member of the Site Staffis a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributor
UU Leader
ProfessorMasterChief
What are some of your favourite movies?
Basquiat, Mean Girls, Romeo + Juliet (I'm a sucker for over the top Shakespeare adaptations), Dr. Strangelove, Labyrinth, Dog Day Afternoon.

What is your favorite book genre?
I like a lot of experimental and speculative fiction in general, whether it takes the form of sci fi, magical realism or whatever. Some of my favorite authors include Samuel Delany, Junot Diaz, Kazuo Ishiguro, Jeff Noon and Jonathan Lethem.

What are some books that everyone should read before they die in your opinion?
Taste is subjective enough that I really think it's hard to claim that anything is a must read, but books that I'd pretty much always say are worth checking out no matter what your tastes are include 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, Valis by Philip K. Dick, Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.

Favourite book series?
Off the top of my head, I really liked the Earthsea series by Ursula K. LeGuin and the Bridge trilogy by William Gibson (which I think is better overall than his Sprawl trilogy). More recently, I really enjoyed the Magicians series by Lev Grossman.

What is the most disappointing book you've ever read?
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. I really like a lot of Murakami's earlier stuff, with Wind-up Bird Chronicle in particular being one of my all time favorite books, and I'd been hearing people talk about 1Q84 as being a major return to form. What I got instead was one book full of Murakami's stilted attempt at a female POV character who literally stopped to periodically contemplate her breasts or examine them in a mirror, one book where the plot mostly hinges on how the male writer stand-in fucks a teenager but it's totally cool because magic, and one book where Murakami gets bored and brings back a fan-favorite character from Wind-up Bird for no reason I could tell beyond sheer self-referential wankery (seriously, there's no continuity between the two stories - he just decided to randomly toss Ushikawa into the story in an effort I guess to quickly resolve a story that had been going nowhere for seven hundred pages). There were actually bits and pieces of the book that were really compelling, which if anything made it worse, because you could see there was maybe an interesting book there hiding behind all the bloat and crap. Just a major disappointment all around.

What is the best book of 2016 in your opinion?
I only read a handful of books published in 2016, but my two favorites were The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders.

Greatest meme set in adv uu?
BD Poliwrath (shout-outs ict, that thing is scary af).

Other than UU, what is your favourite lower tier?
Little Cup.

Other than Pokemon, are there any other games you play?
I like old school SNES-era RPGs like Chrono Trigger and the Final Fantasy line, and I really liked old school puzzle games like Myst and Riven. I don't really keep up with new video games, though.

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Nightingales
rate the old gen uus from adv to oras
ADV -> BW -> ORAS -> DPP

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Amaroq
...top 5 uu players and why...
  • dodmen - Shouldn't really need a why, amazing builder and great eye for the game, should top pretty much anyone's list of best SM UU players.
  • Pearl - Really inventive builder and just all around great player.
  • Christo - I honestly think Christo is one of the best overall Pokemon players on this site, plus his building is solid too.
  • pokeisfun - People like to simultaneously act like pif is a meme and yet still brag about that time they beat him on the ladder in 2015 like they just won OST. Yes, he often plays stall, and yes, lots of people don't really know how to play against stall, but it takes a lot of talent to win as much and as consistently as he does.
  • TDK - I've got to say, the single builder who impressed me the most in UUPL this year was definitely TDK. He's obviously an excellent player as well, that should go without saying, but it's his teambuilding that puts him into the top 5 for me despite not being a UU main (whatever that means).
...UU's current tournament structure?
I've never been a huge fan of the traditional seasonal structure that other tiers tend to do. I think people need to look forward to a tour, it needs to generate interest and excitement. Think of how much people look forward to UUPL, or Grand Slam, or the other big annual tours. They would lose a lot of their impact if we ran them every three months. A big giant double-elimination tour that happens four times a year is a neat idea for sifting through the more consistent players and even for doing some neat things like ranking, but what it doesn't do is make people excited.

So I've been a big proponent of UU's seasonal alternative, where we have a different official UU tour each season. Now, this year was the first year we managed to do that. Was it successful? Well... yes and no. There were definitely some high points. I think Classic in particular was incredibly successful on just about every mark: it was competitive, it was fun both to participate in and to watch, it generated a ton of interest and development in otherwise "dead" tiers, and it certainly made UUPL more competitive this year. If you want proof of how successful it was, just look to the other tiers that are emulating its structure as an official tour these days.

On the other hand, if I'm being frank, I think that Majors definitely had some issues. I still think that the format was a cool idea in theory, but I think that if we keep that same format again this year, we're going to have to change up the execution. The pool play was really fun and exciting those first few days, when we saw a ton of pool games all at once, but they very quickly started to drag. Activity issues rippled through the tour at large, and there really wasn't a good way to deal with them fairly. By the end of the pool phase, things were starting to feel like a slog, and people were only finishing their games grudgingly. Then we went straight from there into a double elim playoff, which... well, double elimination tends to ALSO drag. I think the tour lost a lot of momentum after the first week of the pools phase, and didn't really pick it up again until near the end of the playoffs.

I would also like to eventually see a UU tour leaderboard, probably using a points-based system similar to what Smogon Championships is doing. I think that one of the benefits of having a consistent schedule of official tours is that you can start generating stats like that, and as I'm a bit of a stats nerd, I think that would be cool to collect even if we don't turn it into an actual tournament like SmogChamps.

TL;DR: I think that UU is pointed in the right direction as far as seasonal tours go, but I think it definitely still needs some work.

...Z-Moves...
Z-Moves are fun but busted af.

...UU community growth...
Not really up for a long answer here, but I think that the biggest way to productively grow the UU community is to have a stable and enjoyable tier, and lots of opportunities to play it.

...balancing old UU metas...
The very first thing I'd do is go back and ban Baton Pass in previous gens. It's just a fundamentally uncompetitive move, and even if earlier gens don't have the huge problem with it that later gens do (though I'd argue that ADV UU in particular really does), I don't think it adds anything positive to the metagame at all.

Other than that? Man, that's a hard question. I'd rather not fiddle with old gens too much, but I would love to see some of the old tiers shift with usage. While I love ADV UU, I'd be interested to see, based on smogtour/classic/RoA ladder tours etc, what would actually be UU if we applied our current standards to the tier, and then move things into BL on a case by case basis.

Other than BP, there's nothing that really stands out to me as broken in ADV and DPP UU (closest things would be Kanga in ADV UU, which I actually think has a positive impact on the meta overall, and Clefable in DPP UU, which can go fuck itself), so short of shifting tiers based on usage or potentially dropping some things down from BL, there's not too much to do. In BW, the obvious problems to me are Mew and Victini. I've actually long been of the (fairly unpopular) opinion that Mew is even worse than Tini, but I'm not 100% sold on a ban of either. I'd like to see how the tier looks without them. In ORAS, I've discussed above my thoughts on that tier, so I'll let that stand.

...thoughts on UUPL...
I think UUPL went really well this year. Obviously it was not a shining moment for my team, but there were some fantastic games, a lot of great competition, and it all just went really smoothly overall. This was also probably the most drama-free UUPL I've ever seen, so that's pretty nice.

Which player or team's performance surprised you...
My own, of course. I definitely made a couple of mistakes during the auction, but I still ended up with an incredibly talented roster of people, and a group of people that all got along, but we never managed to click as a team. Even taking into account our lack of depth in SM teambuilding, I feel like we still struggled a lot more than we should have on paper.

How did the final draft align with plans...
Honestly my team's final outcome was pretty close to my initial draft plan. There were a couple of key differences (I managed to lose on every actual SM UU main I had hoped to pick up), but other than that, it was pretty similar to my initial plan.

...good pre-auction/auction decisions...
Obviously Tony's decision to heavily pursue the Monsters as a manager with the express goal of picking up Pearl was a good one. Similarly, his early plans to nab TDK paid off in spades. There are some other obvious choices (yeah of course, Shiba retaining one of the all time best ORAS UU players was definitely a good idea, as was Kink's idea to trade for Eo), but I think Tony definitely wins out on "good auction decisions."

...bad pre-auction/auction decisions...
Ernes/Ernesto.

...confusing draft decisions...
BOUFF agreeing not only to trade away TDK, but to pay for the privilege. I know he wasn't planning on drafting him, and he wanted to grab Ark to help him with manager stuff, but... listen, I know I shouldn't talk, as I know I paid more than I should have in buying Star's retention rights, but man, to actually pay someone to take a player like TDK off your hands is definitely a bit confusing to me.

Did managers draft as expected?
Mostly, yeah. Tony, ict, Kink and Shiba all ended up with final rosters pretty similar to what I'd expected. Christo's wasn't a huge surprise either, but we'd already talked with each other about drafting plans. I didn't really have a strong idea of what kind of draft plan BOUFF/Ark would go for, though, and Fuga is always a wildcard.

...thought process building a team...
My main goal was to get one or two anchor players in each tier, and then a lot of people who I trusted to play well in pretty much any tier. I also wanted a team of people I liked, so I mostly went for people I've worked with before and who I get along well with, such as ABR, blunder, HANTSUKI and ZoroDark. I also wanted someone that I could plan a team with, and with Christo managing this year, I decided to grab Star, who I built and tested with a bunch during last year's Grand Slam.

...type of player you look for...
To play on one of my teams, you must be handsome, witty and enjoy long walks on the beach.

...thoughts on retentions/relegations...
Big fan. I think it adds some continuity to teams from one year to the next, and another layer to team management. As for relegation, it gives managers a reason to keep motivating their teams even at the end of the season, and I think that's pretty important.

...manage UUPL in the future?
Well, pretty sure I'm getting relegated, so probably not.

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Adaam
Would you rather eat a pound of bumblebees every MLK Day or forget how to read forever?
The bees, definitely. I bet a bumblebee wouldn't even taste that bad.

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Accelgor
What's the one post or thread you've made that you're most proud of or satisfied with?
Mean Girls post, last UUPL. (On mobile so I can't really link.)
 

Euphonos

stains every heart that he uses to heal the pain
is a Community Contributor Alumnus
While I'm not an avid reader, allow me to ask some things:

1. What book do you want your child to read when he is six, twelve, and twenty-four years old?
2. Do you wish to become a story writer one day?
3. What genre of music do you want your child to listen to while in that age?