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The Smogon Frontier is considered to be one of the most difficult tournament challenges. The original season only had seven brains to be conquered to being named champion. No one was able to defeat them all. The 4th Generation of Pokémon saw the addition of five new brains. The challenge was almost twice as great as before. The Frontier remained undefeated in it's first season of this magnitude. However, with the additions made for the recent season, the brains had their hands full with more challengers than ever looking for the right to call themselves champions.
Part of what makes the Smogon Frontier seem to be impossible to beat are the brains. Brains are handpicked staff members of Smogon that are excellent in the current metagame. For the most part, the brains that were originally chosen for each position stayed there for the duration of the frontier. The only brains to move around were KD24, Earthworm, Gouki, and Aeroblacktyl. KD24 began as the Palace Maven and stepped down for a chance to defeat the Frontier. To fill his role, Earthworm stepped up to the plate to knock out some challengers. Towards the end of the Frontier, Earthworm handed his postion over to Gouki, who had the difficult task of being the last line of defense against Atticus. KD24 took over Aeroblacktyl's place as Arena Tycoon for the final change for the Smogon Frontier brains.
With registration being open for 15 days, there was an increase in people challenging the Frontier since last time. In total, there were 180 challengers that accumulated 393 battles (including rematches) against the brains. One of the challenges stood out amongst the rest. Atticus was clearly a threat when he collected half of the needed symbols to win with just one loss. It became evident that he could be the first person to defeat the Smogon Frontier when he was down to just one brain, Gouki. It was a must win for the Frontier, otherwise Atticus would be able to rematch the person he lost to (panamaxis) twice. Gouki came up big for the Frontier with a decisive win to make Atticus 10-2. This shifted the odds back into the Frontier's favor since he would have to be flawless. And flawless he was in his rematches, earning him the first ever Frontier trophy.
The brains were not easy to defeat. Atticus overcame the Mount Kilimanjaro in the Pokémon tournament world. Below is an accumulation of the overall Smogon Frontier brain stats:
The Smog: How can you describe your Smogon Frontier experience?
Atticus: I have to say it was an extremely thrilling experience. It felt like a roller coaster ride with its highs (and lows of course). It was difficult at times and sometimes just downright nerve wracking. Although at the end of the day, I can honestly say that it was extremely fun and if the opportunity rose to play again I would definitely do it.
The Smog: Who was your most difficult brain to face and why?
Atticus: If it was only based on my frontier run then Gouki, without a doubt (TAY and panamaxis are tied for a close second). Gouki was really the only brain who defeated me outright - 4-0 was the score I believe. Throughout the entire match I felt as if I just couldn't do anything, all my attempts to take the lead were immediately brought to a halt. My second match with him was a bit spoiled as I got some early luck in the match that really dictated the rest of the game and he just simply couldn't recover. That's not to say the rest of the brains were pushovers though, a lot of my matches ended with the score of 1-0 and I have to say that there really were no "freebie" brains other than MoP who used some team consisting of 5 Water-types or something like that, lol.
The Smog: How much did nerves effect you in your final battle?
Atticus: Well not so much during the battle as it did prior to the battle. Before the match I was so nervous it was ridiculous. Even as I accepted the challenge I was shaking a bit, although after the battle started I got into my "comfort zone" so to speak and the pressure sort of evaporated.
The Smog: Did you ever think you had a shot to defeat the Smogon Frontier when you signed up?
Atticus: I know a lot of people might not believe this, but I actually felt I had a good shot of winning the entire thing from the beginning. I don't know what it was, whether it be an instinct or simply a cocky mentality, but it was definitely there and I'm happy that everything turned out so well.
The Smog: How did you approach the Smogon Frontier in terms of team building and play-style?
Atticus: To me, the Frontier was really a comeback to competitive battling. Since the banning of Garchomp I really struggled to create a good offensive team (the type of team I mainly used in DP). For the World Cup I turned to stall and it didn't turn out so well as I finished with a 1-2 record in the round robin stage. I then realized stall wasn't for me and I basically updated one of my old offensive teams with Garchomp and decided to go with that. Through all 14 of my battles (minus the randbat one) I used a purely based offensive style team and while DPP may appear to be shifting to a more "balanced/semi-stall" style metagame, I will always stick with offense simply because it is my favorite style to play.
The Smog: What has this win done for your Pokémon playing career?
Atticus: It make me feel big and strong. Just kidding! Really, this win is just a big accomplishment for me to look back on. I feel proud of what I've done and hopefully I can continue winning future tournaments!
The Smog: Thanks for your time.
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