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It's a beautiful early spring day, and the sun is just starting to peek through the shades of my window. Thoughts go through my head on what I should do outside on this very fine day. After daydreaming a bit I start to get up, though my room seems a bit off for some reason. When my eyes come into focus I nearly pee myself. A dark figure is standing in the shadows of my room.
"You're going to Canada for your next assignment."
"Son of a b—"
And here I am, back in a cold, barren wasteland. I find the abode of my next victim and ring the doorbell. Animosity towards my predicament of having to be here in CANADA of all places is still coursing through my veins when the interviewee opens the door.
"Come on in, stranger, make yourself at home."
I grumpily find a grumpy recliner chair near a grumpy fireplace and grumpily take out my grumpy notes.
OK, let's start with who you are and what you do in real life.
Hello!! I'm Iconic, a 19-year-old student hailing from the glorious nation of Canada. I'm originally from Ottawa but I go to school in Kingston (the one in Canada, not Jamaica unfortunately). I spend most of my time pretending to study and wasting my time with my friends. It's a good life.
A shot of intense hatred for my interviewee flows through my body at the thought that I could be at a beach house in Jamaica instead.
What are you going to school for (besides wasting time)?
Like 95% of the nerds on Smogon, I'm majoring in math. I get to pick an area of focus next year, and since I've discovered I hate pure math, I'll probably go into something easier like actuarial or business. I'm probably the dumbest math major this website has ever seen, so unfortunately I can't help anyone with their homework. I'm also minoring in psychology, which is awesome because I get to watch videos of babies whenever I go to class.
Any idea what you'd want to do once you graduate? Like, what's your dream job?
I've given it a lot of thought over the years, but I can never come up with a definite plan. I'm pretty indecisive by nature, which doesn't help, but I'm not really one of those people who is working towards a particular profession. I think I'd honestly be happy doing whatever as long as I have my family and friends (lol). Recently, I've been contemplating law school because that's where my sister is at, and I want to be (and look like) Harvey Specter.
I audibly snort at the last sentence.
OK, so what brought you to Smogon?
Well, I used to frequent a forum called TeamUber, a place which many of the readers will remember with fond memories. I was never particularly good at Pokémon, but I wanted to play against the best so I could improve, so I started joining tournaments on Smogon. It was around this time that TeamUber started to die off, so I ended up spending more time on Smogon and decided to stay.
You have an awful lot of badges; when did you start to branch out from Tournaments and why?
Although I started off in the Tournaments forum, I actually began contributing through B101. After joining Smogon, I started looking for ways to contribute because it seemed like it might be fun. I eventually found IRC and started messaging this random user named Bloo. He struck me as a little strange, but I was just using him because he was a Moderator of B101. I asked him if I could tutor, and despite my ~100 posts, he agreed because of my irresistible charm. What a nice guy, I wish we still talked... I got my tutor badge after two months, and after that I started branching off and contributing wherever I could.
Is there an area of the site that you wish you could get to know a little more, or are you pretty content with where you're at now? Or, is there an area of the site you wish you could spend more time on?
That's a pretty cool question. I guess I'd say I'd like to be more involved in a forum, but as I've said in the past I feel pretty intimidated by the whole culture. I'm pretty content with where I'm at now though, since I have a foot in the door of almost every other forum.
I laugh at the thought of Iconic being intimidated by Ninahaza. Iconic seems to read what I'm thinking and replies with:
<iconic> LOL nah hes not scary <iconic> ill fite him
I await the pictures of said fight.
OK, so tell me a little bit about your role in OU tiering. What was your reasoning for wanting to bring back suspect testing in some fashion?
I've always subscribed to the belief that suspect testing was the optimal way of tiering a metagame that we as a website construct. As many people rightfully point out, every tiering system is pretty flawed, but I think putting tiering in the hands of the regular users provides the greatest number of benefits for the greatest number of people. Pokémon utilitarianism, if you will. I also have a lot of trust in our Tiering Contributors that they will make intelligent and informed decisions based on logic rather than emotion. If you look at the history of Smogon tiering, I would argue that voters have done a pretty good job shaping the tiers we play.
I won't lie and say everything has been perfect, though. Being at the center of it all has been pretty stressful, and there are certain times I get incredibly frustrated. In particular, there's always that very loud, very obnoxious minority of users who get incredibly whiny when they don't get their way. It's people like this who sometimes make me question if I'm doing the right thing by supporting suspect testing, and they have certainly make me a bit more pessimistic about the process. However, I look past that to the big picture. I fundamentally believe the pros of Suspect Testing far outweigh the cons, and I'm willing to put up with a few hiccups to make sure we don't revert to a system where a small handful of people make all the decisions.
OK, shifting gears again, tell me a bit about the organization of the Grand Slam; what was the thinking behind it?
The Grand Slam pretty much originated as a result of Pokémon Online, believe it or not. PO allowed Smogon to revert Tour back to the multi-generation format it was originally intended to be, but this left the Gen 5 lower tiers without official tournament representation outside SPL. There was talk about alternating Tour between multi-gen and multi-tier, but eventually, with the help of Aldaron, the Tournament Directors came up with a new official tournament exclusively for the lower tiers.
Cool beans. So, what's your personal favorite tournament and why?
My favorite official tournament is definitely Tour. I really enjoy live tournaments because they have a completely different atmosphere compared to traditional tournaments. I'm not sure if I'll ever have time to participate consistently in Tour again, but I had a lot of fun grinding it out for a playoff spot back in the day. Unfortunately, nearly all of these attempts ended unsuccessfully as a result of uncontrollable and unfortunate events, but they will still exciting nonetheless!
Moving to the social side of Smogon, explain your relationship with user Bloo. He was apparently someone who started to introduce you to the broader Smogon community. What was your relationship like after that first meeting and what is it like now?
Iconic just kinda stares back at me for a bit and then continues.
It's pretty funny, ever since I messaged him back in 2010 asking to be a tutor, we've talked almost every day. He and I see eye to eye on pretty much everything, and we definitely take Smogon a lot less seriously than most people realize. He's a really great dude and not bad at Pocket Monsters either. I definitely consider myself lucky for having had the chance to get to know him.
It's really strange to think about the relationships we make online. I've made a ton of great friends on Smogon and they are certainly the reason why I still come on IRC after all this time. Most of us come to Smogon to play Pokémon, but the reason why we stay is almost always because of the people. Except Krack. He rules. He doesn't need people. Long live Krack.
Who would win in a battle, Krack or Bloo?
Krack, of course. But we all know the real winner of this battle would be franky.
Let's talk about C&C for a second; what led you to help out in that forum? What advice would you give to users looking to help out there?
When I started playing Pokémon back in 2008, I read over every single OU analysis several times to learn about the various intricacies of competitive Pokémon, and I attribute these articles to shaping me into the player I am today. Or maybe I should say "player I was"... I'm pretty washed up now. Anyways, our analyses are massively important to anybody who wants to learn about competitive Pokémon, and I've always wanted to contribute to the section I benefited so much from.
I would encourage anybody who wants to get involved to start off by writing analyses in tiers they are comfortable with. I started off writing Gen 4 Ubers analyses because that was (and still is) my best tier. In fact, I think I recall you writing the overview of my Dark Arceus analysis! After your first few analyses you really get the hang of the process, and it becomes much easier. There are also a ton of other ways to get involved. It's always great to have grammar enthusiasts join the GP team or competent players lend a hand to QC. Pretty much anyone can contribute to C&C, the hardest part is getting started.
OK, I think we can wrap this up with the last two questions. What is your favorite tier to play, and what is your favorite Pokémon?
The first one is a toughie. I think DPP Ubers has to take the cake as my favorite tier because it was the first tier I got pretty decent at, and it was actually my stepping stone to Smogon (I tutored in DPP Ubers until I got my badge and I started using IRC to join #ubers). My favorite Pokémon has always been Bulbasaur! I've been a Pokémon fan since I was a wee little boy and I fell in love with Bulbasaur when I would watch the anime because green was my favorite color. I guess you could say I'm a man of simple pleasures.
Okie dokie, thanks for pressuring me into doing this. 9.9
More like you're welcome for having the honor of interviewing me. ; - )
I don't even remember the trip home. I was so glad just to leave Canada and get back to the nice spring weather.
I step out of the plane only to be met with more March snow.
So is Wisconsin weather...
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