Monotype: Past, Future, and Present

By Eien, Paleo, The Immortal, Lax, Ridley., Sabella, and Vid.
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Introduction

Monotype, with its self-explanatory title and aesthetically cohesive teams, is a favorite "other metagame" not only amongst wannabe Gym Leaders, but with players all throughout Smogon University. Despite being the most popular of Smogon's many "Other Metagames," it was still a huge surprise to many when Monotype was declared an official tier just under two weeks ago, to the delight of the hardworking Monotype community. For those poor souls who aren't familiar with the now-newly-official metagame, I interviewed Monotype's now-newly-official tier leaders—Eien and Paleo, as well as The Immortal, Other Metagames Leader, and four of Monotype's top players. So without further ado, let's hear what they have to say.

FellFromtheSky

FellFromtheSky

Tell us a bit about yourselves. How did you discover Monotype? What got you involved originally?

Eien

Eien

I got into Monotype back in October 2015 when a good friend I played Mafia with offhandedly mentioned competitive Pokémon one day. I used to play on Shoddy Battle and Pokémon Online for fun back many years ago, so hearing him talk about Pokémon got me interested again ("No one quits forever" as they say). Well, it turns out he didn't play OU but this weird format where you can only use one type instead. When he got me to start playing, it wasn't even on the main Pokémon Showdown server either, but on a side server that was full of just Monotype players who were part of "leagues." I joined his league (wonderfully dubbed the Hitmon League, which I thought was absolutely hilarious) and started meeting people in the Monotype community there.

As I soon found out, though, that side server was only a subset of the community, and it would take me some three or four months before I even learned about the main server and that we had a discussion thread on Smogon. One of the council members, who I looked up to as one of the best players in Monotype history, would come by and criticize us all the time for being bad players. One time, though, he called us out specifically over not contributing to the community and wasting our time doing nothing of worth. That really struck me and got me to start actually using the forums and posting to help out. From the time I started Monotype to about when I started contributing was only a few months, so remembering what it was like to be a complete noob and wanting to help people that were in that very position is part of what motivated me to help out with C&C and is what has kept me going even to this day.

Paleo

Paleo

About a month after XY started and the ladder reset I randomly hit up Monotype, made this cheesy Steel team with Choice Band Genesect and Mega Lucario, and thought I was some type of god because I peaked the ladder once, but as soon as OU suspected and banned the two, I didn't play Monotype again until summer 2015. I decided to try my hand at the first MLT when it was announced, and I think I stayed this time more so for the community than for a more balanced metagame. There were some dudes who remembered me from 2013, but I made a lot more new friends this time around, who all seemed to want to improve at Pokémon in general, not just Monotype, and I'm still close to these guys today.

FellFromtheSky

FellFromtheSky

So tell us about the history of Monotype. How did it start? And how did it get where it is today?

Eien

Eien

I was a pretty late joiner, so we were already one of the larger communities on Pokémon Showdown and whatnot, having been around since 2013. However, right after I started being part of the community around January 2016, we got our own subforum, which is how a lot of us started getting into contributing to Smogon. A few months later, we had a short one-month trial run of our own semi-official analyses before fully joining up with the OM C&C section. Throughout this time, we ran four suspects, which did feature some additional drama concerning the decision to eliminate the final complex "type ban," banning Aegislash only from Steel teams and not from Ghost teams. While it was an initially controversial decision, simplifying our banlist helped align our tiering policies with Smogon's framework and was eventually accepted by the community.

When SM rolled around, the council had a plan for how we would tier the new generation, and it worked exactly how we wanted it to. Unfortunately, only a couple weeks after our final set of quickbans, our former leader scpinion disappeared. Because Monotype was quite centralized around him, this left us in a difficult situation for a few months before Acast and I took on many of his previous roles and stabilized our leadership situation. As Monotype continued to grow and more of our users began to use Smogon, the many years worth of effort and work by the community finally paid off in the form of finally becoming an official tier.

Paleo

Paleo

I'm not sure either; by the time I started frequenting PS in 2013, they already had a ladder and one of the biggest rooms on the main server, and the Frost server already had leagues. Aside from this, our first major step had to be Monotype's separation from the OU banlist because it was the first glimpse of self-determination and consciousness that Monotype tiering could be taken somewhat seriously. Tiering in this period was done by a single tier leader, usually a high-ranking staff member, until Monotype formed a five-man council in summer 2015. I think this was an even bigger step because instead of an autocratic "outsider" we had a group of veterans collectively leading the tier, similar to a typical metagame. I think Eien's answer picks up from here.

FellFromtheSky

FellFromtheSky

What are your future plans for the tier and its community? What lies ahead, in your estimation, for the future of Monotype?

Eien

Eien

My main goal since I first started was to support new and future Monotype players, and that hasn't changed with our new status. So my future plans include starting up our own tutoring program soon, which has been one of the most requested projects over the past year. If we're successful, I think it'll be a great way for newer users to not only learn how to play Monotype better but also to really become part of our community and get to know people. It's also a new vehicle for many of our older users to contribute and support "the next generation," which I think is very important for the long-term growth of any community. I think there's a lot to benefit from this project, so I hope to have the time to get it up and running soon!

The other thing I want to work on is Monotype's reputation. Monotype has had a pretty bad reputation thanks to some of our more infamous users, and the nature of our metagame being similar to gyms in the video games and matchup based doesn't help out for those looking in. The thought of a "Monotype user" carries a stigma that I, naturally, think is rather unfair, so I hope that with more interaction with the larger Smogon community, we can slowly overcome that stigma. Monotype has had more than a handful of players that have participated in the most prestigious of Smogon tournaments and a large number of up-and-coming contributors to on-site content, so I believe that's something we can definitely do given time.

Paleo

Paleo

I'm not sure if the rest of Smogon is aware, but a good portion of the Monotype playerbase resides on the side server, and as of late the other Monotype forum staff members have made strides to integrate side server players onto Smogon. I'm not claiming there's a worse way to find joy in such a simple game, but we feel the subforum can host more projects and bigger tours, that it can get more participation in suspect tests without our community cut in two, and that resources and tournaments Smogon has to offer are extremely beneficial. Upon logging into the side server, the difference with main is quite self-evident, and it's unfortunate because we play the same metagame, just not together for no real reason.

On the Origin of Monotype

The Immortal

Monotype's existence goes back many generations. In recent times it has been a staple OM, with popularity surpassing that of Doubles and LC. However, Monotype didn't have the best leadership. It was always run by a single person with sporadic activity. I saw the potential for Monotype to grow and decided to assign a new leader as well as form a council so that the metagame wasn't dependent on a single user. At the time, scpinion had been the driving force behind Monotype. He created tons of off-site resources for the Monotype metagame and worked as Room Owner to also positively develop the community. In addition to his work ethic, his passion for Monotype was obvious. With scpinion, and the formation of a council, the Monotype metagame finally had consistent development. Fast forward a couple of months, and scpinion had contacted the OM Leaders, myself and EV at the time, about opportunities to cultivate Monotype. His idea was for a Monotype UU ladder to be added. We didn't think that was the best course of action, and instead I gave him a goal to work towards: Monotype subforum. At that time the Monotype community didn't have the best of presence in the OM forum, with rather low-quality contributions. scpinion was committed to fixing that. A couple of months later, he contacted us once again. He provided strong reasoning for the creation of the subforum, with clear signs of quality improvement, and the opportunity was given. The metagame and community went on to grow, and today it is an official Smogon tier!

Advice for new players from the Monotype giants

Ridley

I got into Monotype roughly four years ago towards the end of Gen 5. I started off playing OU, but when I saw Monotype, I was immediately hooked. The concept of battling like a Gym Leader just seemed so cool to me. After playing on PS for a while, I discovered leagues that were hosted on side servers of PS, and that is when I got really involved with Monotype. Leagues consisted of Gym Trainers, Gym Leaders, Elite Four, and a Champion, just like an actual Pokémon League. After hopping around from league to league, I eventually came across The Aftermath League and met the people that really helped me develop as a player and also became my closest friends. Most of the top players left AM and created a new league that evolved into The X League, which is now a clan called WoA that consists of most of the top players of Monotype. A lot of these players are the ones who really innovated the metagame and also had a big part in pushing Monotype to the next level with tournaments such as Monotype Premier League, Monotype Seasonals, etc. and eventually helping it become an official tier!

Some advice to new players is to use all of the resources Monotype has to offer. There are so many things in the roomintro that can help newer players learn and improve. Another bit of advice is to make sure to talk in the chatroom a lot to learn about the metagame, and also to make friends. Getting involved with a group, such as a league, is a great way to improve as a player. And last but not least, ladder. The best way to improve your teambuilding and battling skills is by practicing, and the ladder is a great place to do that. Playing in Smogon tournaments as well as Monotype room tournaments is also a super good way to improve.

Sabella

So back in 2012 my friends introduced me to PO; he was a pretty solid ou player so i played a few times, but i was pretty ass, and idk how i stumbled upon it, but i started playing monotype, and like after maybe a month or 2 over the summer i peaked their ladder. but I went to Italy like 2 days after i did, so i never came back until like 2014.

me and my same friend were looking to play mons again, so we found showdown and started playing again. i knew i had done well in monotype, so i started there again.

after a month or two i had started to do pretty well and got approached by side server people to join their league; i used it as an opportunity to meet new people so i could honestly use their ideas and make them better and just get better.

from there i kept playing and winning tournaments and my focus was to only get better.

the cool people i met and am still friends with are what keep me playing mono these days, altho i've branched out into other tiers and bigger tournaments.

My advice for new players is honestly just keep practicing and trying to get better, no one can make you better but yourself. Do your best to always surround yourself with players better than you so you can eventually be on the same level as them.

it's lame how sometimes people equate skill to people's attitude, but on smogon that happens a lot, so another piece of advice is don't run your mouth or be annoying i suppose.

ultimately my biggest key is just keep practicing; set a goal, reach it, and then set another goal. And if you start doing ladder or tournaments seriously, don't get ahead of yourself; just take everything one game at a time.

Lax

I first got into Monotype in early 2014. Back then, it was like a side hobby to a side hobby, Monotype to the rest of Pokémon Showdown. I started a league with some of my friends from main and we had fun for a while. Then, some drama happened on main where I didn't feel like going back there for a bit, so I kind of moved to the side server while a lot of my friends quit. There I joined leagues and got a huge circle of friends that would be labeled as the best Monotype players, and we would have a bunch of fun just messing around. That period lasted around one year and a half before some of the servers were deleted and new ones popped up, effectively ruining the experience for most of the people involved in leagues. Sure, new servers always popped up and some new players joined in, but lots of the people from my group were done with leagues and just stopped going there and moved to main. Now, the side server players, as everybody refers to them by, drastically dropped in competitive quality and moved towards shitposting. Monotype in the main room and main forums is popping off though and has been for a while.

My first advice for new players is to be wary of the side servers you can find filled with leagues and such. I'm not advising for anybody to never go there or never join a league—they can do whatever they want. In fact, I used to find leagues fun a couple years back, so I know why people still join them. What I mean is, do not distance yourself from the main PS server community by involving yourself too heavily in leagues. "Brainwash" is a term that could even be used here. The gap between the two communities is larger than ever, and some people are pretty adamant about defying the people on main, which will not help you integrate into the Monotype community at all if you choose to follow them. On to forum posting, just lurk first. Everybody says this, but just sit back and watch how forum activities and discussions play out first. Join in if you feel like your opinion is relevant to the topic, and do not be afraid to ask questions to any of the moderators or project hosts.

Vid

I started Monotype in BW because the concept of building a team that shares the same type was very interesting to me. Eventually I joined leagues because it was really cool to see a community of players play an unofficial and unrecognized metagame. My interest in Pokémon Showdown eventually withered away, but when I came back I decided to come back to Monotype and was immediately rehooked in XY because of the multiple radical tiering changes that began to occur, ranging from Shaymin-S and Kyurem-W being unbanned to Mega Lucario being banned. Monotype at this time became its own separate entity with its own banlist, which made it seem unique. Once Monotype started to become more integrated with Smogon, I lurked and learned the Smogon culture and learned how to properly contribute high-quality material to just a mere OM. Looking at Monotype now, we've come a long way; going from not having ladder to being recognized as an official metagame is a big step and gives huge value to all the contributions everyone has made to Monotype. Nowadays I mostly love to play past Monotype metagames such as BW and ORAS to look back at what controversial elements could have been banned or reintroduced if we had a separate banlist like we had in XY.

My main advice for aspiring Monotype players is practice; sure, reading resources, asking prominent players questions, and watching competitive replays from the Monotype Premier League or later rounds of Seasonals can help, but it is all on you to use all of resources available to become the best player you can possibly be. For Smogon forums the best advice I can give is that lurking is never a bad idea especially when you're unfamiliar with certain trends and builds in the Monotype metagame. Looking at examples of good and bad posts can seriously help you get a feel for the Monotype community, which tends to push away new players and contributors for lack of metagame knowledge. When trying to contribute to Monotype, knowing what you're talking about comes a long way along with taking criticism properly when it is given so that you don't repeat those same mistakes.

Planned by FellFromtheSky | Avatars by FellFromtheSky and Sunfished | HTML by The Dutch Plumberjack.
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