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I've started to get used to sudden late-night chats with the Mysterious Voice. It's not the most pleasant way to be woken up, but I suppose it could be worse. I was a bit surprised to answer my phone on this particular night, however. I was immediately greeted with, "look under your pillow."
"What? I..." Still half-asleep, I sat up and looked under my pillow. "Plane tickets? Are you like the tooth fairy or something, man?"
"You know what you must do. Go now."
"Are these first class or coach?" The phone clicked off. Sighing, I gathered my things and made my way to the airport. A few in-flight movies later, I was touching down at the LBA. Noticing a man in a tux holding a sign that said "Jellicent", I made my way over to him. He silently lead me to a horse and buggy, eventually dropping me off at a park a few miles away. Scanning the area, I noticed one man leaning against a tree with a n_n look on his face. I should've known... After greeting the fellow, I kicked off the interview.
So, tab, what can you tell us about yourself in real life, where you're from, and what you do for fun outside of Smogon?
I'm 21 and have just finished my masters in maths at uni. I'm currently working for a year before I start my PhD. I'm pretty boring outside of Smogon really; I waste most of my time playing games / watching TV / getting drunk.
I couldn't help but smile, relating all too well.
Sounds like the good life.
It's not bad, but it's all I've been doing for four years now so I'm ready for a change :<
Any particular goals for the future?
Currently my aim's to do a PhD and go into math research, but we'll have to see how that goes. Certainly my main career goal is something mathematical.
Looking around the park, I suddenly realized I had no idea where I was.
Oh yeah, you never answered where you're from...
Oops 9.9 I'm English, currently kinda between locations. I was in Manchester for uni for the last four years, and I'm currently living at my parents' place in Bradford while I look for a job (preferably anywhere but Bradford!) Kinda an unideal situation, but I'm in limbo for a year before I can go for a PhD, so yeah.
I hear that. I used to live in Medford; pretty sure all ___ford towns are boring.
Bradford is particularly terrible. It wasn't that bad when we moved here in 1995, but a couple of years later the council decided to knock down half of the centre to make way for a new shopping mall, which was never even started 9.9 At the moment we're just in our xth year of having a "temporary" park—a great city!
tab motioned with his arms to the park and cityscape around him dryly.
So, what was it that got you involved in Smogon?
Boredom basically, lol. Like most people my age, I started playing Pokemon when I was 7 or so, and until BW I'd played every gen for a bit when it came out. I actually got into competitive Pokemon when I was around 13, back in ADV, when I considered GameFAQs to be the greatest Pokemon site. I was pretty terrible, so I gave up fairly quickly, but I kept coming back every year or two during the summer when I didn't really have much to do. I really got involved in Smogon in spring 2009 (just finished high school, waiting to start uni), when I decided to download IRC and see what Smogon IRC was like; I'd always assumed it would be hard to break into the community, but I ended up getting to know a bunch of people fairly quickly.
You're probably best known for your RMT work. What got you into that aspect of Smogon?
When I actually started posting on Smogon, I was pretty bad at making teams, so I normally just stole well-known teams from the RMT section. The only real reason I decided to get into RMT is that I thought rating teams would help me to get better at making my own teams, but I actually found that I really enjoyed it. I suppose it helps that when I signed up for tutoring I was given Legacy Raider (he was RMT leader back then), so he helped encourage me to get into rating properly.
Are there any playstyles or tiers that you prefer rating, or are you more anything goes?
I've only ever really played OU, so mostly that. I'm pretty lazy when it comes to learning new tiers unless they're particularly interesting for whatever reason, so I've never really bothered getting into any of the other tiers. As for playstyles, I'm not really too fussy, although I generally don't really enjoy rating the particularly offensive styles, seeing as they usually come down to how you play, rather than how you're able to switch into x sweeper or whatever.
Do you have any personal favorite RMTs?
I remember liking august's same old fears (ST5 or w/e it was RMT, I think that's what it's called), which was posted around the time that I started posting on Smogon. I copied it pretty shamelessly and it ended up being the first team I did well on the ladder with!
Great artists steal~
tab smiled proudly.
Do you have any tips for prospective team raters looking to get involved?
It's cliché but the best advice is definitely to just a) rate whenever you feel like it and b) play Pokemon. Rating is probably 60% being decent at Pokemon and 40% getting used to presenting your rate in the right way. Lots of people get caught up in wondering what the best way to format their rate is or whatever, but generally as long as you're making intelligent suggestions and providing reasoning, you'll get noticed pretty quickly.
Besides rating teams, how do you usually spend your time on Smogon?
I've never really got into any parts of Smogon outside of RMT; any other parts tend to just be something that I browse when I want to kill a bit of time. IRC is the main thing that has kept me coming back to Smogon (I've probably quit Pokemon like 4 times, but each time staying on IRC has made me come back). Smogon's pretty unique among the online communities I've been part of in that it's surprisingly easy to form genuine friendships with people. That sounds gay as fuck but whatever.
Nah, it's definitely true and IRC is undoubtedly the lifeblood of Smogon, haha.
I'd definitely have actually quit when I started uni (like the first of four or so "quits") if it weren't for IRC.
On the topic of IRC, what's with the "gec, look, it's x, !"?
tab smiled a bit; I could tell he was expecting this question.
I really don't know how that's caught on. Years ago gec invited me to a channel he was in and "x, look, its tab, !"ed the entire userlist, basically just to be really obnoxious. It ended up being a bit of a gimmick that we'd do every now and again, basically again to be obnoxious, and it seems like it's basically part of my image on Smogon now. Oh well 9.9
Right, so, no one cares about any of that stuff, cuz they'll all just scroll down to this, all-important question: what's your favorite Pokemon?
Looking confident, tab answered without hesitation.
Any particular reason?
Honestly, I have no idea; I just decided it was amazing four years ago or so. It's cute, it's Christmasy, and like any sane person, I love Christmas.
Tough to argue with that... I also can't ignore the fact that mentioned you enjoy boozing. Care to have a drunk vs drunk randbat next time you imbibe?
I'd love to. Its a shame you didn't ask that this time yesterday; I was absolutely trashed then n_n
Damn, I was working then. Before we wrap this up, are there any closing remarks you'd like to leave for our readers?
I demand that we have a ʕ•͡ᴥ•ʔ somewhere in the interview. Also, Nachos is gay. Also also, please check out my mate Shaun Tysoe's YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/foodking.
Alright, tab, it was a pleasure to interview you. I look forward to our drunkbat, and thanks for your time~
np, it was fun n_n
Just as the interview wrapped up, I saw the horse and buggy making its way back towards us. Hopping on, I set off back to the airport.
Days later, while highly intoxicated, I ran into tab online. He was also drinking, so we finally got our drunkbat. I blacked out shortly after the first battle, but awoke to find this replay on my screen the next morning. http://pokemonshowdown.com/replay/randombattle-42457210 Don't drink and battle, kids. GGs, tab.
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