Smogon Snake Draft 2 Power Rankings

By Finchinator and shiloh. Released: 2018/08/16.
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Art by FellFromtheSky.

Welcome to the official Power Rankings for the second edition of the Smogon Snake Draft. The goal of this article is to build up hype for the tournament in the days leading up to the opening phase of battles and give a representation of where each team's players fit in the context of the metagames they shall be playing. To obtain a general overview, we asked a handful of knowledgeable players from each tier to rank its expected players; we then averaged the rankings and ended up with a mostly unbiased list. We also decided to try something a bit different and removed both the highest and the lowest score each player received in order to remove some biases that may have occurred. We wanted an even number of rankers for each tier, so each person submitting their ranking represented their team and provided input on all teams except their own. This means that every team got an equal amount of representation in the rankings. For the scoring itself, number 1 gets ten points for their team, number 2 gets nine, and so on; the exception is OU, where numbers 1 through 4 get ten points, 5 through 8 get nine, and so on. Similar to the SPL 9 Power Rankings, we have included a spreadsheet with how everyone voted, which means we have the data on median and mode rankings as well, illuminating the potential outliers. Thanks to Earthworm for setting up the original sheet during SPL.

As always, it is vital to note that these rankings are far from perfect and there is plenty of room to disagree with any of them. However, Power Rankings are intended to be enjoyable for readers and give a somewhat accurate gauge of everyone's expectations going into the tournament. They mostly take raw individual skill into account more so than many factors that can have lots of influence in a team tournament setting; this includes synergy, the rotation of players, trades, hot or cold streaks, and potential private calls that may or may not happen during battles.

Thanks to the people that helped rank: ABR, Ajna, AuraRayquaza, Ayevon, BKC , bro fist, col49, Corazan.., Corporal Levi, Croven, Cynara, Cynde, dcae, dodmen, Dundies, elodin, EmbCPT, Eo Ut Mortus, esche, Eternal Spirit, Eternally , Exiline, Ezrael, Finchinator, Fireburn, FlamingVictini, FLCL, Genesis7, ggggd, Hogg, Hootie, HunterStorm, jake, Jytcampbell, Kaori, Kory2600, Kushalos, KyogreF4N, Level 56, lighthouses, Lycans, MajorBowman, McMeghan, miltankmilk, Mounts, MrAldo, Mysterious M, Nat, Nido-Rus, obii, Pak, Pearl, Plas, reyscarface, Robert Alfons, Sabella, Sacri', Sharow-san, Shiba, shiloh, SMB, snagaa, soulgazer, SoulWind, star, talkingtree, TDK, Teddeh, The Trap God, tko, Tony, Tricking, Void, z0mOG.

And a special thank you to the people who helped in extra ways, whether it be GP, art, HTML, or writing: A Cake Wearing A Hat, BKC, col49, FellFromtheSky, Fireflame479, Hogg, lotiasite, MajorBowman, martha, obii, Pearl, piikachuu, Quite Quiet, talkingtree, The Dutch Plumberjack, TonyFlygon.

Ambrette Astrotias

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Managed by completely new managerial duo Teddeh and Arifeen, the Astrotias had a draft that was a bit all over the place. They made some very questionable decisions such as taking Hogg round 5, when he said he probably would not start, into Manipulative round 9. However, they also made some pretty respectable decisions such as grabbing Eternal Spirit at the very end of round 3 and Doubles player Stax in round 6. All things considered, this draft could have been much more disastrous for these two, even if it didn't necessarily go perfectly. Backtracking to their first picks, the Astrotias took three-time individual trophy winner Ciele at tenth overall and Grand Slam runner-up Tricking at eleventh overall, giving them a respectable start with two quality OU players, including one who could easily support or switch into a lower tier. They also picked an OU player with their third round pick, with the aforementioned Eternal Spirit falling to them there. Tenth round pick blarghlfarghl, who has tasted WCoP finals victory and OLT qualification but never quite secured it, will round out their starting OU core, while relatively unknown Brazilian wannabe Mencemeat Mncmt will be a substitute and supporter for this very respectable group. Transitioning to lower tiers, the Astrotias bought the aforementioned duo of Hogg and Manipulative for UU, with the latter seeming to be the starter. Manipulative is not exactly seen as the best UU player nowadays, but with support and perhaps a different mindset than in SPL, he can salvage some wins. In the other two lower tiers, it is worth noting that Teddeh, who mains NU, and Arifeen, who mains RU, can give their players quite a bit of assistance. They predictably went with Realistic Waters for NU, who has been in and out of the game for a couple years now but previously had success on the big stage in ORAS. If he can not screw around with gimmick teams and return to previous form, then expect big things from the European. Otherwise, he may struggle or take a while to reach his old winning ways. lighthouses is their RU pick, which was a solid value buy despite forcing the team to tolerate Slurmz all season long. He had an off SPL, but the versatile Brazilian is poised to make another big splash in Snake this year after he did so last year in his debut. In the final two tiers, the Astrotias will have Stax in Doubles, who has done quite well over the past year or so and has Nido-Rus to prove support, and CKW in Ubers, who is completely inexperienced and many are unsure of. To expand on their Ubers situation, the Astrotias picked two relatively bottom-end prospects in unproven CKW and veteran Fireburn, electing to start the former in hopes that he taps into his ceiling instead of his dangerously low floor. With the support of Fireburn, there is a chance the former occurs, but they budgeted two late round picks for Ubers, so expectations are set quite low for the time being. All things considered, the Astrotias have their strong suits, but also some clear question marks. A lot of the question marks turning into more reliable slots could lead to the team being threatening, but otherwise the Astrotias are going to have their work cut out for them.

Berry Forest Bushmasters

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If you look over at the manager column in the spreadsheet and see Tony's name, especially alongside ABR, then odds are the team is going to be good. Needless to say, this Bushmasters team does not seem to be an exception to that rule. While they may not stand out to the same extent as the Bushmasters of the past, who may have had one of the best modern OU cores in Smogon history outside of some ridiculously stacked WCoP teams, the 2018 Bushmasters are still solid all around. An interesting approach was taken by this managerial duo, actually, which involved centering their draft plan around fielding the strongest conglomeration of players regardless of some tier-based constraints that may lead to most teams taking a more concentrated main over the best player available. This is largely exhibited by taking BKC with the third overall pick, who is far from an SM OU mainstay but is likely a prime candidate for dominating the playerbase nevertheless due to the support from manager ABR and his top-notch in-game abilities. Two other examples would be the drafting of shiloh in the seventh round, who would likely have been drafted higher had he signed up to play NU but seems to be transitioning to the OU metagame strongly instead, and Nintendi in the eighth round, who will likely be playing NU, a tier he has never touched in tournaments prior to this but likely will hold his own anyway given his track record in ORAS OU and overall as a tournament player in conjunction with shiloh's teambuilding support. Aside from the aforementioned names, the Bushmasters have a few other strong starters, including top ranked Ubers player The Trap God, SPL Doubles stand-out EmbCPT, Little Cup's very own novelist Corporal Levi, and RU's very own intellectual personality turned in-depth metagamer col49 if he shows up to play all of his games. The remainder of the Bushmasters lineup is rather pedestrian, if you will, but they at least have some high ceiling picks. Gondra has had many ups and downs in the past year or so since his breakout OST into WCoP performances, but he is at least a clear-cut starter who should get it done vs weaker opponents and have a shot in the dark against anyone in the tier. Hayburner is a different case than Gondra, as he just broke out onto the scene in the past month or two, but he did so in pretty spectacular fashion through going 2-0 in WCoP playoffs. However, many are unsure if he can sustain this level of success, especially given relative inexperience and higher level of competition, so we will have to wait and see how this pans out. Finally, ADV player pasy_g finds himself in UU because manager Tony needs to have his fun with this slot—ok, the real reasoning behind this pick is that the Bushmasters believed he was a good player who they could hook up with teams and lead to a good record, but many are still scratching their heads as to why him of all people. At least they have another UU builder in the back in Accelgor. In addition, the two potential OU substitutes in the reserves the Bushmasters picked are both OLT qualifiers in French tournament frequent Simia and wild child Mob Barley. Rounding out their roster is a fairly unknown Doubles substitute Vallex. Will the strategy of taking strong overall players work out for the team that will inevitably be forcibly labeled "the ABRs" or will the Bushmasters risks prove to be too much, leaving them with weak spots that they cannot make work out in the long haul?

Celadon City Cobras

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The Cobras were largely regarded as an experiment by the TDs from the beginning; managers ChillShadow and snagaa are both semi-well known throughout the tournament community, but neither has any managerial experience whatsoever on the big stage. Both parts of this duo originated on Pokémon Online, where they rose the ladder as lower tier players, and together they have successfully managed a number of smaller scale tournaments such as RoAPL. However, this is a true test if they will be able to command respect and motivation of their players or if they will end up being another reason why the TDs should have picked blunder and Soulwind. Thankfully for the pair, Cdumas fell to 5th overall and they got started with someone who they desperately wanted and both worked with before in SPL. Cdumas is going to anchor their OU, and many believe this is a perfect fit given his near-flawless track record, going positive in every team tournament he has played in thus far. Fellow OU players veteran Tamahome, Frenchman Kickasser, and previous OLT stand-out CaronSmith are also very capable of doing well, but many believe the former most will need support to perform near his peak, which Cdumas is going to be tasked with providing in all likelihood. This team lacks a builder in SM OU, which can be problematic if their team choices end up not being as solid as they need to be, but they do have one of the more respectable groupings of players and OU players Corazan.. and Jytcampbell in the back. In the lower tier department, they have a pretty diverse group, starting with highly touted player Lycans in UU. They cool off a bit with HANTSUKI getting his first starting gig in a while in NU, where he has had moderate success in smaller tournaments, and Scythe., a gem of the past who has come back to life recently, in RU. Adding on to this, big things are expected out of KyogreF4N in his Ubers debut this Snake, coming off a respectable run in a very unrespectable Ubers open, and SMB in Doubles, who has been tearing it up in a number of tournaments as of late, showing that he is poised and ready for the big stage. jake is another veteran who rounds out their lineup, getting the starting spot in LC; he clearly knows the metagame well and can play at a solid level, but many think that he will struggle to get wins against more recently established, top-notch tier mains, who make up a bit over half of the playerbase. UU and RU player esche and modern day NU legend and historical managerial legend Stone_Cold also found their way onto the roster to substitute, and both managers are well versed in lower tiers in order to grant assistance, too. All things considered, the Cobras do not necessarily have the most talented roster of the bunch, but they have a lot of potential and a handful of top-end players, which could be enough to do well depending on how the team starts off and their level of motivation throughout.

Goldenrod Gliders

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While rumor has it that manager z0mOG forgot there were multiple OU slots until the second half of the draft, the Gliders still have a diverse and respectable roster, capable of doing damage in this tournament. Thankfully for the tournament community as a whole, this roster lacks the full cast of expected personalities that notorious kek and US West player z0mOG could have graced the tournament with if he elected to. This Yoshi-spamming group is led by first overall pick TDK, who is expected to start in UU, a tier that he has excelled in recently and won a crucial SPL tiebreak game in, too. It is true that TDK never really has been seen as a tried-and-true UU player; he has been less passionate about SM OU in recent months and seems to be the most motivated in UU, so perhaps this change of scenery from Landorus-T to Latias will lead to a dominating performance from someone who is clearly capable of it. While TDK may be slotted in UU, you can expect his influence to spread to numerous other tiers, most notably OU and NU. This support and the support of first-time manager z0mOG are going to be instrumental in any success that the Gliders may have in SM OU aside from Empo, who is largely regarded as self-sufficient and their anchor in this metagame. With Welli0u, 1 True Lycan, and FMG all being regarded as SM4 caliber players according to the rankings and all three of them starting in this lineup, you can draw two conclusions (aside from the fact that z0mOG wishes he could have his beloved Ciele right about now): all of the aforementioned support is going to need to be spot-on, and this team better have top-notch lower tiers if they want to be a legitimate contender. The fact of the matter is that the Gliders non-OU is quite good, if not the best overall in some specific areas. With their UU/RU/NU being the aforementioned top overall pick in TDK, 42-22 lifetime lower tier playerbase killer soulgazer, and 5-3 SPL NU player lax, respectively, many believe they have the best traditional lower tier core in the tournament. While there is a slight drop-off in Doubles and Ubers, with two thus far unproven but highly touted prospects in emiforbes and HunterStorm, respectively, many believe that the Gliders used their mid-round picks wisely on these slots, drafting individuals who are poised to make big splashes in their first official tournaments. Time will tell as to if these picks pan out or not, much like the strategy of cheaping out on the remaining OU slots. Going back to their OU core beyond Empo, it is true that Welli0u has some experience under his belt and even moderate success, but much of this is overshadowed by a publicly exaggerated label of him as a choker. 1 True Lycan and FMG, on the other hand, have played in WCoP before, with the former participating in a number of editions, but have never broken into an SPL or Snake field before, making this a new experience for them, one that many are unsure of their readiness to take on. The same can arguably be said for Little Cup player trash, but he at least has assistant manager ggggd by his side to help him, which can go a long way. Substitutes and supporters AuraRayquaza, a Doubles main with decent success in smaller tournaments, ima, a US West WCoP player who is a bit all over the place but at least has had a clutch WCOP finals victory, Luigi, who is a long-time Tournament Director, and yoppie, who only really made a splash in OUPL prior to this, round out the roster for the Gliders. Will overreliance on lower tiers and a weaker OU do the Goldenrod Gliders in or will they glide on through the tournament, proving the doubters wrong?

Lake of Rage Leviathans

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Managed by the team Canada duo of Genesis7 and Evan., the Leviathans are an interesting team to say the least. To start off the auction, they decided to pick up a where the Leviathans left off last year and picked up Finchinator, who is statistically (and only statistically) Smogon's most liked user. However, this time around they decided not to risk him falling to a different team by picking him up Round 1, as both managers are not as well-versed and up-to-date with all the tiers in this draft and he offers a large amount of knowledge across every tier in this tournament. This, in tandem with his large amount of experience participating in team tournaments on Smogon, made him an obvious pick. This managerial duo seemed to keep up this theme for their next pick as well; picking up robjr in round 2 was surprising to just about everyone. While he is by no means a bad player, many people expected him to still be available for the next couple of rounds so this Leviathans pick seemed more of a reach. robjr is, however, a now two-time team trophy tour winner, winning both SPL9 and WCoP XIII, and he will be able to play UU again in this tour, which leads to many expecting a good showing from him. With their third pick, the Leviathans stuck to another member of the recently crowned World Cup Champions in Hiye, who was also the winner of Smogon Tour 24. Though he's not known for his large presence in team tournaments, he has put up great records in both SPL and World Cup and is a great anchor for the Leviathans OU core. This OU core is rounded out by Lopunny Kicks and Jirachee, two vastly different players though both have put up solid results in the past. Lopunny Kicks has the most favorable recent showing with a great debut tournament in World Cup, while Jirachee has been struggling as of late in the numerous older generations he has been playing. However, he has taken a shift to SM for this tournament, and if he puts in the time, we may see a great showing overall from this OU core. The problem for them may be their lack of solid builder, leaving most of the building pressure on the trio of Finchinator, Lopunny Kicks, and KingKDot, one of whom has to help support other tiers and two that are fairly new to the tournament scene. This team has a fairly solid other tier core in MajorBowman, OP, and Eternally; all three tier leaders of their respective tiers. They made good use of their subs as well, allowing the Leviathans to be one of the most flexible teams in this tournament. With a sub or a swap for just about every tier, it's hard to imagine they will end up with the same lineup throughout the tour. Even though King Wynaut has no experience and this may seem like a large hole in the Leviathans lineup, if needed they can put in Robert Alfons, or even move Eternally there. robjr has familiar face Cynde in his corner as well, which can allow him to support OU, or even move there as the tournament moves on. Garay Oak's ability to play both NU and Ubers at Snake level also give him, Mysterious M, and Eternally the opportunity to move around. Overall, the Leviathans may be able to fix any patches that may arise early on in the tournament, but if they fail to make it past Phase 1, all these choices may just go unused.

Black City Mambas

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When manager reyscarface saw that his assistant Will of Fire's beloved Tricking was taken before they could get him on the way back in round two, he spent an early timeout, acquired as much liquid courage as he could, turned to the draft plan labeled "full-on danger", and proceeded to draft one of the most ratchet yet crafty lineup mankind has ever witnessed. With a veteran core one Floppy short of sheer perfection and an OU core one ben gay short of being the most ungodly assortment of teambuilders in modern history, the Mambas are one of the least predictable teams you will encounter this Snake, in terms of likely teams brought and potential results. Appropriately, modern day McMeghan leads the Mambas and will start in UU, where he is notorious for using off-the-wall stalls and exploring the intricacies of the metagame unlike anyone else can claim to. The results of McMeghan will likely play a large role in setting the tone for the remainder of the Mambas, and this is a large reason as to why they are unpredictable; a motivated and in-form McMeghan can dominate any playerbase with ease, but if things do not go according to plan early on or his head is not in the game, then there is an unparalleled level of flop potential, as we saw during SPL 7. Moving on from the high-ceiling first round pick of the Mambas, their OU core consists of the supposed activity risk FlamingVictini, OST semifinalist Charmflash, user voted most likely to use Shuckle Bro Kappa, and successful veteran Malekith. While these four all have their quirks, all of them are capable of doing tremendous as players, and if they manage to work together well and use acceptable teams, then they can actually generate top results collectively, especially with the support of virtually unknown Italian substitute LittleBigPlanet2 and trusty supporter Analytic. Aeroblacktyl, a modern-day enigma who may very well pull up with monotype teams and still win, mans the ship in RU after surprisingly being picked in the fifth round. dcae looks for his shot at redemption in LC after a number of years being out of high-stakes tournaments such as this, while Exiline also looks to prove his worth in Ubers after a less-than-ideal SPL showing in multiple other tiers. Rounding out the Mambas lineup is recently quiet Doubles player miltankmilk, who is often good for a respectable record, and NU tier leader Hootie, who will be either an activity risk or an underrated value pick given his position in the draft and capabilities while active and motivated. Santu and Alpha Rabbit are also present on the Mambas roster to offer support in a number of metagames. All things considered, the Mambas are a pretty scary group if everything pans out, but that may be asking for a lot. If manager reyscarface is up to the task, then expect great results, but if things do not go according to plan at first, then the Mambas may have a shortened season.

Lanakila Nagas

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The Nagas are a pretty interesting group, led by two relatively new managers, with Void at least having a WCoP under his belt in that department. They field a pretty diverse team, too, with first round draft pick SoulWind leading the way. While SoulWind is not seen as an SM OU main at all, he has some of the best results in the metagame, and this is impressive considering the fact that he has been similarly dominant in BW OU for a number of years now. Although he may not be the best teambuilder or metagame presence like ABR, many believe that his playing ability is second to none at this moment in time. Alongside SoulWind in SM OU are complementary teambuilder and all-over-the-place OU player craing;_;, straight off his tournament ban, consistently solid Frenchman Kory2600, and ex-UU main turned 3-0 WCoP OUer Frenchman Sacri'. Alongside the outside-the-box building of craing;_;, the Nagas also have relatively unknown supposed madman robopoke, who will eventually take the tournament community by storm, and capable substitute Updated Kanto. All things considered, the Nagas OU has a lot of potential, especially with the strong front-end that was expanded on earlier. However, their other tiers are a bit more scattered, with some highs and lows that clearly stand out. For example, Kushalos is a pretty respectable NU pick who can also lend a hand in RU, complementing the managerial duo and the other early round picks quite well considering their inability to cover these tiers. This was a great pickup for the Nagas and will hopefully bring them success in NU and beyond. On the other side of the spectrum, MrAldo is a great RU builder who clearly understands the metagame, but nobody is quite sure of his ability to perform at a high level like this, thus making him being a starter a major question mark, especially with Sam, who is not regarded as a modern player at all, as the supposed backup. In between these extremes you find some picks with promise. Heysup always is a capable LC option, and while his form may detoriate more and more as time elapses, he at least has a successful history. HT is a bit below average in the UU pool, but he has the support of a strong UU player in Sacri', and he also has shown that he can compete with anyone in the tier over SPL, so this slot at least has high upside potential. Rounding out the lineup you have two picks that are regarded similarly to that of HT in Ezrael and Sharow-san, both of whom are relatively unproven in these type of settings but are highly touted by just about anyone you ask who is familiar with their respective tiers of Doubles and Ubers. Topping it all off you have a rather bizarre pick in GaryTheGengar; not many people have much to say about him in recent years, but he used to be a very respectable player and could very well prove to be an asset as a substitute if he is up to date with the tournament's various metagames and he does not waste all of his time dwelling upon 2012 ladder games. Ultimately, the Nagas have a lot of "hit" potential, but also a scary amount of "miss" potential, and their season will boil down to how well their managers set the tone and their players develop over the course of the season, which could end up being quite short or very long for this group.

Sootopolis Sidewinders

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The Sidewinders are managed by a duo that is known for being pretty fun loving and chill, but rarely ever serious enough to bear down and take control of situations, which could lead to a pretty disastrous team dynamic if they do not step up or simply have a relaxed, friend group-based environment. Thankfully for the team managed by Kaori and Level 56, they did draft a pretty laid-back and synergistic group, especially with regards to SM OU. FLCL being the round one pick could work wonders or just lead to this team being pretty pedestrian overall; on the one hand, you have the fact that FLCL is bit more reserved in most team environments, similar to his managers, but on the other hand you have to wonder who will fill the shoes of the heart and soul of this team if they didn't have it between the managerial duo and first round pick. Moving on to the aforementioned SM OU group, their SM core has three Midwest players, Eo Ut Mortus, UltraBallz, and ayevon. This may very well take the place of whatever energy and environment they otherwise would have lacked if all three are active and motivated, especially round two pick Eo Ut Mortus. Mortimer was one of the best SM performers in SPL and is hoping to rekindle his relationship with Chansey and Clefable in order to turn Snake into another positive performance. UltraBallz and ayevon are far less proven, let alone successful overall, but both at least went 2-1 in WCoP, so here's hoping that the duo can work together well and generate good results again while fostering a good overall environment for the Sidewinders. Alongside them in OU would be YouTuber PokéaimMD, who can put on quite the display with plays if he remembers that Heatran does not in fact force out Gliscor, so remember to rate, comment, and subscribe! Outside of OU, the Sidewinders have top-notch NU player FLCL and highly touted RU player Nat, who is coming off of a strong SPL showing and hoping to continue her successful tear. Speaking of hyped-up prospects, Zesty43 finds himself in Ubers for the Sidewinders, and the expectations for him are quite high, with many knowledgeable individuals saying he will surprise everyone in his debut with his competency and level of play, especially with the support of manager Level 56. Sken, Lunar., and Shiba round out the line-up. All three of these players are not ranked too highly but have potential to break out. Sken has had some alright performances in the past and is the most experienced of the trio, but Lunar. and Shiba are both getting their first real chances to shine in the spotlight, and perhaps one, if not both, will take advantage of it. It is also worth noting that manager Kaori can support Lunar. quite well in Doubles. Rounding out their roster is the pride of China, yjh971203, OLT qualifier XxKidOfDeathxX, past LC starter and current LC supporter tko, and friendly-faced NU supporter Stan Soojung. While the Sidewinders are ranked quite low overall, if they have a sense of synergy and camaraderie kick in that many do not expect, this group can overcome the low expectations and make a lot of noise. However, if their environment proves to be rather passive and lacking leadership, then there is a good chance this team has a pretty brief season.

Shinto Ruins Serpents

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The Serpents are a very intriguing group; manager obii followed his failing footsteps from SPL in taking Ojama and TDK/Ginku's failing footsteps from last Snake in taking Ojama+Posho early, but their overall roster appears to be one of the best in the tournament, perhaps leading to a change in fortune for all of them! History aside, obii and Mounts are poised to lead a positive campaign for their Serpents. Ojama and Posho are their first two picks, and both are in OU. While neither needs any introduction given their universally accepted status as strong players, it is fair to say that this is far from a sure thing for the Serpents, as neither excels specifically in SM. However, both of them have been working in the metagame recently, especially Ojama, who qualified for OLT and made an insightful post, so it is plausible that they live up to the sky-high expectations if their hard work pays off. On top of these two, the Serpents also have WCoP stand-out suapah, who is looking to establish himself as a mainstay in SM OU tournaments, and recent OLT qualifier Paycard. Neither of these guys is expected to dominate the field, but it would not be too surprising if either held their own, especially suapah given his aforementioned 4-1 WCoP run that opened a lot of eyes. They also have the support of Frenchman and OLT qualifier RedEmption and Spanish tournament player Ramboss to assist them with teambuilding and testing in SM OU. Switching gears, Ajna was the first lower tier player the Serpents selected, and he will suit up in RU, where he hopes to assert himself as a top player once again after a dominant run last Snake. It is worth noting that he had a shaky SPL run and then dipped on his team, but many believe that he has returned to full activity and top form, leaving him poised for another successful run. Another early-round pick for the Serpents was Biosci, who is one of Smogon's most storied Doubles players. While he has had his fair share of ups and downs, a lot of this depends on his form at the time and team environment. Seeing as he is surrounded by a seemingly motivated and competitive group, led by manager obii and including Doubles tier leader and team supporter talkingtree, many believe that Biosci will finish much closer to his ceiling than his floor in Snake, unlike last year. The remainder of their lineup is very diverse, comprised of people with entirely different backgrounds, more or less. Recently flashy Brazilian elodin will man NU for the Serpents alongside the support of crafty teambuilder Tangelo; many believe this duo will work together perfectly given elodin's ability to pilot teams well and Tangelo's ability to come up with the right teams for prospective opponents. Pak is back for another season in UU, where he has moved from near the bottom to near the top of the pak ever since a successful SPL stint on the Raiders. German player Leru is going to be slotted in Ubers, where he is seen as a bit of a dark horse. Not everything about Leru is known, but he put up a relatively good performance in WCoP, so perhaps he can replicate that here, in a metagame he is a bit more familiar with. Finally, Northeast RBY player and historic UU player teal6 gets the go in Little Cup, where he hopes to make his official team tournament debut. There are very scattered expectations surrounding teal, but one thing is for sure: he has the teambuilding support of Starmaster, so he at least won't go into games entirely unprepared. All things considered, the Serpents have a strong lineup with only a few weaker points, most of which can easily be salvaged as well, so there are high expectations surrounding the team obii led to the playoffs last year for some form of repeat result.

Terminus Taipans

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The Taipans have a pretty respectable roster all-around; despite a managerial shake-up in the last days before the draft to have Smogon's favorite midget Sabella replace Smogon's favorite weeb FLCL, Pearl and Sabella seemed to have their plan ready and executed it well enough. bro fist was their first round pick, going second overall, and this is a great start seeing as he has a pretty ridiculous track record in SM OU. Seeing as he is the first ranked SM OUer in nearly unanimous fashion, this should not necessarily be surprising; the real question is if he will live up to the hype again or struggle once more like he did last Snake, which many chalk up to team environment issues moreso than his own capabilities. Slotted alongside bro fist in SM OU is Smogon Classic champion Lavos, who usually sticks to older generations but seems to be determined to prove himself as someone capable in modern ones too. Rounding our their OU core is highly touted but generally unproven prospect Eternam and German ORAS OU star who has recently taken an interest in SM xray. While the latter two do not necessarily stand out, they have plenty of support from manager Sabella, bro fist, and substitutes Moltres trainer august and Spanish sensation Spectear. Moving on to lower tiers, the Taipans have an interesting arrangement set up here, with dodmen in RU despite being more familiar with UU and NU. While this may seem odd, it looks to be entirely justified given their full lineup and plan, especially seeing as he has at least dabbled in RU and has the ability to play well enough. Manager Pearl will work with new prospect Sage in UU, who the Taipans hope will turn out to be a good-value pick, and top two NU player Rodriblutar was their round three pick, thus meaning that RU was the logical slot for the dodmen, who is the most versatile of the group and perhaps could use a change of scenery after a mediocre showing in UU during SPL. Rounding out the Terminus Taipans lineup are their three mid-round picks in Ubers player Cynara, who is hoping to use her top-notch tier knowledge to give her an advantage, LC player Kingler12345, who is poised for another solid campaign as he only gets better with time, and Doubles player Demantoid, who is back for another hopefully solid showing given his respectable track record. All three of these picks do not necessarily stand out in the context of their metagames' respective playerbases, but they should all at very least hold their own, if not go positive. Substitutes Croven, who plays Doubles, and Plas, who plays NU and LC, finish off their roster. Overall, the Taipans seem to be a very close-knit group, and they have a sufficient amount of playing skill to get it done, so it will come down to their execution throughout the tournament to determine how well they will do.



SNAKE SM OU RANKINGS
  1. bro fist - 1.000
  2. Cdumas - 3.438
  3. Ojama - 3.875
  4. SoulWind - 4.875
  5. BKC - 5.625
  6. Ciele - 7.500
  7. FlamingVictini - 7.688
  8. Posho - 8.250
  9. craing ;_; - 8.750
  10. Eo Ut Mortus - 9.188
  11. Empo - 10.188
  12. Tamahome - 11.375
  13. Eternal Spirit - 11.938
  14. Hiye - 12.125
  15. Tricking - 13.188
  16. Finchinator - 14.375
  17. Kory2600 - 16.375
  18. Jaina - 17.438
  19. Malekith - 17.500
  20. Kickasser - 19.375
  21. aim - 19.500
  22. Lavos - 20.438
  23. Bro Kappa - 21.313
  24. Gondra - 21.375
  25. Sacri' - 23.688
  26. suapah - 23.875
  27. xray - 24.188
  28. Lopunny Kicks - 26.000
  29. shiloh - 26.000
  30. CaronSmith - 26.000
  31. Eternam - 26.438
  32. welli0u - 26.563
  33. UltraBallz - 27.500
  34. FMG - 30.625
  35. Jirachee - 30.688
  36. 1 True Lycan - 31.375
  37. Hayburner - 31.438
  38. ayevon - 31.500
  39. blarghlfarghl - 33.125
  40. Paycard - 33.438
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1. SoulWind: 4 - Nagas

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1. Kory2600: 17 - Nagas

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1. craing ;_;: 9 - Nagas

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1. Sacri': 25 - Nagas

The Nagas have the first-ranked SM OU core, and it is led by SoulWind, who is having one of the biggest and best years of anyone in tournaments currently. Throughout 2018 thus far, the raging Spaniard has reached the finals of both OST and Smogon Tour while also being a part of the SPL champion Wi-Fi Wolfpack. While Soulwind has not always been slotted in SM OU, he has been dominant when given the opportunity to play, especially in individual tournaments. This controversial managerial snub hopes to lead the group also consisting of spooky teambuilding prodigy craing ;_; and Kingpin cronies Kory2600 and Sacri'. craing ;_; is fresh off a tourban dating back to WCoP 2017, but he has continuously pumped out innovative builds, testing the extremes of every metagame he touches. It will be very interesting to see what he comes up with this Snake, especially seeing as these will be his first official games in over a year, but there are some worries about his in-game execution and actual desire to play SM OU itself on the big stage. Moving on to the French duo that round out the Naga's SM OU lineup, Kory2600 and Sacri' are two very respectable starters that find themselves settling near the middle of the overall individual rankings. Kory2600 has far more experience in the metagame, playing SM OU in every official team tournament since WCoP 2017 and going slightly positive in the 2018 editions of both SPL and WCoP. While his approach is often fairly standardized, Kory has at least shown that he can branch away from his previously beloved Amoonguss and builds that lack a Steel-type. Sacri', on the other hand, is a UU staple of the past turned OU frequent. Although the sample size is relatively small, Sacri' did go 3-0 in WCoP against a weaker group of opponents and proved that he knew how to play this metagame at a high level. His ranking is not quite as high as his teammates', as there still are some question marks surrounding how good he actually is, but there is certainly potential to do well. On top of these four starters, the Nagas also have the enigmatic duo of robopoke and Updated Kanto to sample different types of cheese lend a hand wherever needed. Will this group live up to the top-ranked SM OU hype or will they struggle to reach their expectations?

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2. Cdumas: 2 - Cobras

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2. Kickasser: 20 - Cobras

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2. Tamahome: 12 - Cobras

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2. CaronSmith: 30 - Cobras

A second highly ranked SM OU core that happens to have two Kingpin cronies belongs to the Cobras. Cdumas actually outranks his fellow Frenchman, Ojama, for the second consecutive year, earning himself the second spot overall due to consistent dominant performances in big SM tournaments. While he does not necessarily stand out too much for his teambuilding prowess, nobody besides bro fist has been as consistently successful in SM OU in recent tournaments, thus showing that his gameplay, even while under pressure, is top notch. Prior to SPL, many people were curious as to if Cdumas could really do well on his own, seeing as he had ABR at his side during last Snake. He proceeded to put up a 6-4 record for the Ruiners while also helping some of his teammates put up respectable results, too. To top it all off, he went 4-0 in WCoP despite drawing the group of death round 1 and Sabella in the quarterfinals. All things considered, Cdumas is a legitimate SM anchor who will do his best to lead this group to victory, especially with the lack of CBB in the field. Veteran Brazilian player Tamahome is another Cobras OU player, who is coming off of a 7-2 Snake last year. While he does not main SM OU, Tamahome is perhaps one of the best players ever, and he is capable of doing well in any tier. With this said, he is in major need of team support, and you have to wonder where that will come from. Perhaps Cdumas will step up and contribute on this front, but if not, there is a chance Tamahome will struggle due to resorting to suboptimal teams. If he can come into games with a neutral or advantageous position and he has kept up with the metagame, then expect big things from highly ranked Tamahome. Otherwise, there is indeed reason to be hesitant. Kickasser is another French SM OU player who has been around for a year or two now, but he has found less success than Cdumas. While he has been a product of recent hype, Kickasser previously struggled to break through and had issues staying active for his teams, so we will have to see what he truly can do here now that he has a stable opportunity. Finally, CaronSmith is finally getting her? tournament debut after having a big showing in OLT and Bushtush's nightmares last year. While she is one of the lesser known players in the field, it is safe to say that Caron understands the metagame at a high enough level and can compete; the main question lies in how she handles pressure and opponents scouting her normal teams. A third Frenchman that has been highly touted in a few circles known as Corazan.. and Canadian rookie WCoP starter Jytcampbell are also on the roster to provide support, which may very well be needed to assure they bring effective teams. All things considered, there are sky-high expectations for this group, but they are going to have to work well together when it comes to preparation if they do not want to be facing consistent uphill battles come gametime.

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3. FlamingVictini: 7 - Mambas

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3. Malekith: 19 - Mambas

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3. Jaina: 18 - Mambas

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3. Bro Kappa: 23 - Mambas

For a team that did not take an SM OU player in round 1 of the draft and clearly wanted to draft Tricking in round 2 of the draft until he was taken beforehand, it is pretty impressive that they still managed to be ranked so highly in SM OU. The Mambas have a versatile cast of starters here, ranging from a Spanish veteran with a 2009 join date to a frequently tourbanned, flashy and modern Italian. All four of these users are vastly different in terms of background and personality, but they all do have one thing in common: crafty or innovative teambuilding styles. FlamingVictini is their top-ranked SM OUer despite having an apparent desire to not start due to being busy transitioning to college; FV is actually the closest to "normal" of all of the Mambas's OU players in terms of teams, but even he has his moments. Overall, you can pencil FV in for a consistent 6-3 type of record historically, and unless his supposed activity decrease will truly be crippling to his ability to prepare and play, then you should expect about that from the seventh ranked SM OUer. Jaina is a newer player who has stood out in recent months, most notably for a run to the semifinals in OST, and is finally getting a big chance to show his ability to compete with the best. Despite being highly touted by manager reyscarface, he still received a middle-of-the-pack ranking, as he still lacks team tournament experience. That does not mean he will do poorly, however, as his style appears to do quite well against metagame norms and continues to adapt accordingly depending on what others are using. Oftentimes, Jaina uses less orthodox strategies in order to give himself an upper hand and his open mind may very well be his best asset if he continues to build for himself throughout the tournament. Malekith, on the other hand, does not have much of a developed style, as his team choices tend to be scattered; I suppose you could label his overall nature as a player as potent and punishing, as he is not afraid to bring ungodly beasts such as Thundurus with Substitute, Toxic, and Protect, but there will be times that his ideas flop despite him having enough confidence to bring them to big games, so his teammates will have to keep a close eye on this. If he can come in to battle with the right team, Malekith is a very respectable veteran player who does not mind pressure and lives for the moment, so there are high expectations but also a lot of potential for variance in his performance. Bro Kappa is the final starter for the Mambas, and the best word to describe him is dangerous. Despite keeping quiet throughout this (multiple) tourban(s), the Italian stallion has still been cooking up some teams worthy of the :warning: emoji on Discord, and we should not be worried about his form. If Bro Kappa plays as well as last year, expect very respectable results depending on how wild his team choices are, but if they are too wild, then he may struggle. In addition, the Mambas also have Analytic in the back as a reliable starter who also has experience playing OU in team tournament settings. This group will be one of the most interesting to spectate for sure, but their overall results could be anywhere from spectacular to mediocre.

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4. Ciele: 6 - Astrotias

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4. Tricking: 15 - Astrotias

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4. Eternal Spirit: 13 - Astrotias

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4. blarghlfarghl: 38 - Astrotias

Seeing as the managerial duo of Teddeh and Arifeen has minimal OU experience, it is no surprise that they used their first three picks on SM OU players, grabbing Ciele, Tricking, and Eternal Spirit. While the Astrotias OU is ranked fourth, they have three accomplished players all ranked in the top fifteen, which should be quite telling as to how well they can do if things go according to plan. Ciele is someone who needs no introduction; he has three individual trophies across a number of generations and metagames, so it should not be a challenge for him to get into form in SM OU, especially considering his history in the tier, including winning the most recent edition of OLT. Despite being seen as quiet and almost robotic in some circles, Ciele will also do his best to assist his teammates when possible, making him a fine SM anchor for the Astrotias. Tricking was the second pick by the Astrotias, and while he can end up in just about any tier, it appears he will be starting the season in SM OU. While he is not necessarily seen as a top player in SM OU, Tricking has a respectable track record and is capable of competing with the best of the best. He likely will not be the best teambuilder and may require assistance, especially considering he will not be teaming with Will of Fire, but once he gets into the game he is a force to be reckon with. Eternal Spirit was picked third and he is no stranger to success either, being the most dominant SM OU team tournament player for a number of months dating back to mid-SPL this year. While he has cooled off a bit, there are still high expectations surrounding the flamboyant, fiery Brazilian, especially if his killer instincts work out. Rounding out the Astrotias's SM core is blarghlfarghl. blarghlfarghl is far from a standout, with his only team tournament experience being a pretty mediocre 2-4 WCoP campaign. While some believe that he shows signs of breaking out, he still has to polish a lot of his late-game execution and handling of nerves, which was shown perfectly in his game against aim in WCoP, where he positioned himself well but then threw opportunities away and let a winnable game go after a few things did not go his way. There is always fake mencemeat, Mncmt, in the back if they do need another player or simply someone to test around with, but he is a virtual unknown aside from an ok WCoP showing and the fact that he is Brazilian—maybe Eternal Spirit requested him? Regardless, this is not a huge addition, and a lot of the Astrotias' SM OU firepower comes from their big 3, so expect big things from them or a bust on this front.

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5. Ojama: 3 - Serpents

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5. suapah: 26 - Serpents

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5. Posho: 9 - Serpents

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5. Paycard: 40 - Serpents

Despite a lot of negative team tournament history being found within the Serpents SM OU dynamic, including obii/Ojama last SPL and Ojama/Posho last Snake being on failing teams together, they have a lot of potential to do quite well. Ojama and Posho alone are top players who have shown potential to dominate while suapah went 4-1 in the most recent WCoP, so perhaps it is time for some of these guys to turn the page on the past and start winning together. Of course, that will not come without difficulty, as both Ojama and Posho are not seen as SM mains, but it seems to be very possible for them to figure things out given that they have began playing the tier again recently and both are smart enough to manage. Ojama himself has already qualified for OLT and posted some in-depth analysis on his team, so that is likely a good sign for the Serpents and their first round pick. Beyond the big two leading the Serpents OU, suapah shows a lot of promise as someone who can break into household name territory with another decent tournament performance, and he seems to be active as a teammate and player, so perhaps now will be his time to shine now that he is given a second consecutive chance to play some big games after his successful WCoP campaign. Rounding out this SM OU core is a fairly unknown prospect in Paycard. While he has qualified for OLT before, including this edition just a couple weeks ago, we have never seen Paycard play a team tournament game before, and many wonder if he has what it takes to compete with the best. If he does, then perhaps he can make a big splash in his first days in the spotlight, If not, the Serpents still have flashy Frenchman RedEmption and crafty Spaniard Ramboss to grant assistance or substitute in, so all will not be lost. All things considered, the Serpents may be ranked near the middle of the pack, but their ceiling is as high as any other SM OU core in the tournament, and the difference between average and good may very well be found in how suapah follows up his WCoP performance or Paycard proves himself in a big tournament!

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6. bro fist: 1 - Taipans

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6. xray: 27 - Taipans

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6. Lavos: 22 - Taipans

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6. Eternam: 31 - Taipans

The Taipans have a pretty interesting group of SM OUers, led by the man who is tied for the most team tournament victories this year, with 13, in bro fist. bro fist is the top ranked OU player in the field, and this should be no surprise to everyone; he has been outright dominant in every tournament he has played in the past few years aside from last Snake, including some ridiculous records such as being 8-0 in tiebreak games, 19-3 over the past 3 WCoPs, and 10-1 in his last 11 games played in SPL+WCOP. While the Taipans' first round pick may not be seen as an ABR type builder, he is more than capable of coming up with his own teams, and clearly his in-game abilities are second to none, so expect big things from this slot and hopefully some influence to be spread to his three teammates. Lavos is the next SM OU player on the Taipans, and while he is far from a mainstay in new generations, the Charizard wielder is coming off of a Smogon Classic victory. Many believe he is a good enough player to be successful in any metagame, especially given how the playerbase tends to drop off the further down you go, so Lavos being ranked near the middle of the pack with potential to break out should be no surprise. xray is another starter for the Taipans; the German is used to being slotted in ORAS, but lately he has taken a liking to SM, and perhaps that will lead to success. However, he is going to have to prove to everyone that he not only likes the metagame but also can excel in it, as he is mostly unproven, leaving his ranking to general speculation and reflections of his respectable results in ORAS. Finally, Eternam gets his second shot in the spotlight during this Snake to round out toe Taipans lineup. While he had a pretty mediocre showing in WCoP, Eternam has shown a clear grasp on the metagame in the teambuilder, and if he can work out nerves and his long-term thinking process, then many believe the Greek will live up to the high expectations set for him. Additionally, veteran Moltres innovator august and hyped-up Spanish prospect Spectear are also on the bench to lend a hand, especially to newer SM players like Lavos and xray who may need it.

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7. Hiye: 14 - Leviathans

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7. Lopunny Kicks: 28 - Leviathans

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7. Finchinator: 16 - Leviathans

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7. Jirachee: 35 - Leviathans

The Leviathans come in 7th overall; it's a testament to the competition, both in-tournament and in SM as a whole, that such an overall solid group of players is ranked so low, relatively speaking. This is best seen with Hiye, winner of Smogon Tour 24 and 5-1 in the recent WCoP, being ranked at #14. He's a strong bet to beat anyone and always uses solid teams. Finchinator is not as well known for SM as he is for BW, but he has proven himself a solid overall player in a variety of generations and tiers over the past few years, has experience playing SM in big tournaments—making appearances in SPL 8 and last Snake, and keeps up with the tier actively. Lopunny Kicks has the potential to play at a level much higher than his rank suggests, but he doesn't have too much of a playing resume to go off of, mostly just reputation based off his WCoP battle against Googly that sent shock waves through the community as he muscled through Googly's team by predicting perfectly with his Mega Mawile. If he can channel the way he played in that game, he'll have a solid record. Jirachee comes in last; this is more due to his having no SM experience to date rather than his ability as a player; while he hasn't had stellar records, he's had numerous great instances and big wins across BW, DPP, and even ADV across the past few years. If he can get up to date with the metagame, he should be able to put up a fine performance.

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8. BKC: 5 - Bushmasters

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8. shiloh: 29 - Bushmasters

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8. Gondra: 24 - Bushmasters

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8. Hayburner: 37 - Bushmasters

The Bushmasters picked BKC in the first round, giving them a potentially dominant SM1 to pair with their standout teambuilding manager ABR. However, the rest of their OU draft can be briefly described as pedestrian. To start with the positives, BKC himself is not exactly an SM main, but he is clearly familiar with the tier, winning it in a SPL tiebreak and recently laddering up a bit for OLT before giving up. So long as he actually believes the tier exists, BKC should do exceedingly well in this environment and perhaps be of great assistance to his teammates here, too. Gondra is their next SM OU starter, and his game can be best described as inconsistent; there are certainly flashes of brilliance from this Latin American player, but Gondra also has some games or even turns where you really wonder what is going on. Overall, this tends to lead to an average performance throughout an entire tournament, but there will be many ups and downs. Perhaps manager ABR can help straighten him out, especially on the teambuilding front, but support can only go so far and we will have to see if he can finally break through and dominate. shiloh is playing his first real team tournament games in over a year and was never seen as an OU player to begin with, but that does not mean he is not capable individually, as he has taken lots of initiative in recent months to learn the tier. Additionally, recent results show that he appears to be playing at a high level for an NU main, so perhaps some success will transfer over. With this said, shiloh is yet to prove much of anything in this domain and is coming off a run-in with the Smogon law™, justifying his fairly low ranking and leaving many uncertain about his ability to compete with more proven players throughout the field. Finally, Canadian WCoP hero Hayburner is the last SM OU player in the Bushmasters' starting lineup, and while he is still relatively unknown, Hayburner did manage to go 2-0 in WCoP in the playoffs, showing that he knows the metagame well and can handle high-pressure situations. If he can adapt well to this tournament's playerbase and his teams environment, then perhaps he can surprise everyone and put up more good results that go beyond a very small sample size. Simia, a French tier main and supporter, and Mob Barley, a wild ladder child turned sporadic tournament player, round out the Bushmaster's OU core, both of whom are capable of starting but would not be expected to stand out in the playing field if given an opportunity.

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9. Eo Ut Mortus: 10 - Sidewinders

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9. UltraBallz: 33 - Sidewinders

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9. aim: 21 - Sidewinders

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9. ayevon: 38 - Sidewinders

The Sidewinders may have taken a few too many pages out of the book of Finchinator with their OU picks, finding themselves with three Midwest players. While they are ranked fairly low overall, the Sidewinders at least have a respectable anchor, some veterans, and some potential to round out their lineup. The main issue is that the two starters with that aforementioned "potential" have played a combined 0 SPL/Snake games. UltraBallz and ayevon both went 2-1 in WCoP and have been around tournament circles throughout 2018, but neither stands out or has experience in bigger settings. Perhaps their WCoP success can translate here, too, however, as they have old teammate Eo Ut Mortus on board as well. Speaking of mortimer, he has to pull his weight and then some if this group wants to do well. Eo had a fantastic SPL showing and also went 3-0 in WCoP 2017 in SM OU before cooling off this past WCoP when he could not outthink Baton Pass. He has the ability to craft unique structures that can take advantage of metagame trends and put himself in positions to win, and that is often what distinguishes him, especially given how he pilots those teams. If the aforementioned UltraBallz and ayevon can subscribe to this philosophy or work well with Eo, then perhaps all three can do well, but this will not be easy given the field. The lone remaining player in OU for the Sidewinders is aim. The YouTube sensation is no stranger to high-level OU tournaments, but he does not necessarily stand out in this field and in the modern day as much as he may have a year or two back. Still, aim is highly touted, and with the support of three active players of the tier, he should be able to hold his own, especially if he meshes well with the Midwest synergy dynamic the other three have going together. yjh, who did well in WCOP, but is now less active due to being in China, and XxKidOfDeathxX, who qualified for OLT and won the SM release tournament, also are on the Sidewinders roster and can grant teambuilding assistance or substitute in if either of the Midwest dream team fails to perform.

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10. Empo: 11 - Gliders

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10. FMG: 34 - Gliders

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10. welli0u: 32 - Gliders

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10. 1 True Lycan: 25 - Gliders

z0mOG's group of SM OUers glide into 10th, which makes some sense seeing as they did not invest many early picks into the tier. With TDK being the first overall pick of the draft and this team's round 1 pick and z0mOG managing, the Gliders at least have a good supportive foundation, so they will likely not be bringing bad teams. However, this assortment of players does not stand out comparatively whatsoever. Empo has been one of the brightest new players in recent memory, doing well in Smogon Tour, Smogon Championship, and a plethora of other tournaments, but even he lacks the sustained team tournament experience and success to be revered like other anchors, specifically those on teams ranked higher. All things considered, you can pencil Empo in for a solid, likely positive record and perhaps some team contributions, but not much above and beyond that. Once you get past him, the quality of play drops significantly, which is where the worries kick in. welli0u has been in a number of bigger tournament but often is remembered more for throwing away winnable games than anything else. Rumor has it that he has been excelling in recent months in both OU and RU, so perhaps he will turn it around and show what many believed he was always capable of, but we will have to see it to believe it. FMG is another player who shows a lot of potential, but he only has a messy group of WCoP games and a STour run that came up short due to some last-minute controversy under his belt, so who knows what will happen against more consistent competition in a tournament like this. Finally, consistent UK WCoP starter 1 True Lycan gets a crack at the big stage again; he is known mainly for putting up mediocre 1-2 records historically, but this past year he went 2-1, including a win against ABR. Perhaps he has finally turned it up a notch and can compete with top players, but many believe he will regress towards his mean and end up doing poorly, hence his low ranking. What will actually occur is largely dependent upon how these guys play as a group as teams will likely be good enough given their abundance of aforementioned support, including substitutes ima, who won in WCoP finals, and yoppie, who did well in OUPL, that can play OU, too.


SNAKE SM Ubers RANKINGS
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1. The Trap God: 1.286 - Bushmasters

It's no surprise that TTG tops this list thanks to being the only player in this pool with positive tournament experience. He finds himself playing under familiar faces in ABR and Tony, which is the perfect environment to really flourish as a player. Despite taking a break from playing in the past couple months, it shouldn't be difficult for him to pick up the pace once again. While not as creative in the teambuilding department as some other names on the list, he certainly should not be painted as predictable either. TTG has wielded a plethora of effective Pokémon and structures, ranging from Mega Gyarados to full stall, throughout his history in Ubers tournaments. In addition to all of that, he's extremely practiced in stall vs. stall, hyper offense vs. hyper offense, and pretty much anything you can think of. All things considered, TTG is definitely the player to beat in this tournament.

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2. KyogreF4N: 3.000 - Cobras

KyogreF4N—the "rightful winner" of the last edition of Ubers Open—finds himself ranked 2nd. Despite lacking experience on the big stage, KF has been displaying his skill in the Ubers circuit with top 5 finishes in the seasonals and finishing the latest UPL with a 5-2 record. While KF may not make the Smogtours chat go "LOL" and "GOAT" every other turn, he rarely misplays, and this goes a long way when paired with consistently respectable team choices. He plays quite conservatively, and while this may be seen as a negative in some cases, he certainly has the potential to outplay and comeback from any early-game bad luck or bad matchup. However, KF's downfall is his predictable teambuilding tendencies, since he rarely branches out of his comfort zone. Don't be surprised when seeing some Ho-Oh balance or standard hyper offense in his games, though KF playing at his best in his comfort zone is still quite a scary opponent.

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3. HunterStorm: 4.429 - Gliders

Hunterstorm's a highly touted Ubers prospect despite coming off of a string of mediocre performances. He went 1-3 in UPL and didn't have any notable seasonal finishes. However, Hunterstorm still finds himself ranked this high due to his accomplishments in SM Ubers and his innovative team building in USM. His experience in the AG metagame gives him a unique outlook on Ubers, making him the progressive teambuilding mind every playerbase needs in order to see the tier evolve throughout big tournaments. Hunterstorm integrates innovative strategies into his teams, most of which appear standard until the surprise value kicks in and ultimately gives him an advantage. Hunterstorm's spin on usually standard sets makes playing against him quite difficult, as his offensive teams can quickly turn the tide of a battle through several aggressive plays intended to punish normal responses. Hunter is not entirely lacking in support either, as TDK can pick up the tier easily and really develop his teambuilding. The only question is how well he can manage the end-game, since he's also infamous for losing to an Arceus-Fairy with essentially four counters. But hopefully Hunter can forgo bad memories and focus on raking in wins.

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4. Cynara: 4.714 - Taipans

Cynara is a longtime contributor to the Ubers tier, but this is her first big tournament appearance. Her forte is how deep and complete her knowledge of the metagame is, but this can only go so far in a field full of top-notch players. It is true that she also puts in Finchinator-esque levels of work into preparation. Cynara has a sort of talent for spotting even the most illusory tendencies and using it to her advantage. Overall, there will be no trouble in the teambuilding department given that Cynara puts in the usual amount of effort. However, despite graduating from the Gunner Rohan School of Plays, it seems that she did not learn much and may struggle outmaneuvering the opposition on a consistent basis. Cynara has some trouble executing and making the right decisions in a game, leading to sloppiness and often getting chopped from tours. All is not lost, though, as she went 4-1 in UPL, showing that maybe she can hang with the best. That kind of record doesn't happen by mistake, but her follow-up performances in other Ubers tournaments have been mediocre, raising questions about her consistency. With this said, Cynara's team environment, filled with veterans of all kinds, is perfect for fostering nerves of steel and improving as a battler overall, so expect Cynara to put up a solid record befitting her rank if she can maintain her highest level of playing.

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5. Leru: 4.714 - Serpents

The 5th spot goes to Leru, the player on this list who is most known for playing a larger variety of tiers than just Ubers. This past World Cup he captained Germany and went 4-1 in SM, and he has been a fairly large figure in the Monotype community over the past year. However, last year he chose to sit out as a player during the premiere Snake Draft and instead managed the Nagas alongside current host Hikari. In Ubers itself he is known for going 5-5 across the past two UPLs and winning the 2017 Ubers Circuit Playoffs. In terms of support from teammates, he does have his manager obii, who can help him in building and testing. Overall, Leru is a very solid player in this pool, and as said by his record, expect an average to above-average record by the end of the season.

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6. Zesty43: 5.571 - Sidewinders

Zesty is, without a doubt, the most intriguing player in the pool. He has absolutely zero noteworthy results and wasn't even drafted for UPL, but he is constantly praised by the Ubers community and even managed to win the hearts of a few managers, which led to him being a Round 6 pick. He doesn't have much in terms of support, since the only other Ubers player is his manager, Level 56, but this shouldn't pose an issue. Zesty is one of the most creative minds the tier has to offer. He has a unique take on teambuilding, a very DPP-like style in which he focuses on heavily offensive strategies to force games down a very specific path and checks the meta in creative ways rather than just putting a check to X and Y threat. This method of building leads to teams only he can pilot, but Zesty is also a very solid player. He is excellent at planning out games from Team Preview and accounting for nearly every variable. His middle ranking can primarily be attributed to his lack of experience and credentials, but the community opinion is overwhelmingly positive. There are big expectations for Zesty, so it'll be interesting to see if he can meet or even surpass them.

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7. Garay Oak: 5.571 - Leviathans

Garay is the only other player besides TTG and Exiline with tournament experience. He played with the Serpents and finished 0-1 in Ubers (1-2 overall), but this does not speak to his skill level. Substituting in at the last minute to play speaks to his mental strength and confidence. There isn't much in terms of support, but this shouldn't pose an issue because Garay is very self sufficient and capable of building solid teams on his own. There are questions regarding his consistency, however. Garay is either hot or cold, with not much middle ground. At his best he can outplay anyone in the Ubers pool with aggressive reads coming off his heavy hitters and at his worst he is clicking Toxic with Primal Groudon against a Toxapex. The key to his success is if he doesn't get ahead of himself and can remain clearheaded during games.

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8. Sharow-san: 6.143 - Nagas

Sharow finds himself in his first big tournament playing with the support of manager Pohjis, a longtime top Ubers player, and Soulwind, a team tour titan who has recently taken interest in the tier. Hailing from the ladder, Sharow has so much experience playing tons of relevant matchups, giving him a sufficient amount of knowledge going into this tournament. Sharow's plays are intelligent and crisp, often gaining a ridiculous early-game advantage that his opponents can rarely come back from, making him a dangerous opponent for anyone ranked above him. However, one of the bigger concerns about him is his teambuilding, which can be all over the place. For example, Sharow used Pokémon many deem as unviable such as Alakazam but also piloted many of them to victory in the past. Overall, it speaks volumes of how well he can utilize his own teams despite how crazy they may seem. He is the pioneer of the famous "French Webs" featuring new tech like Focus Sash Endeavor Marshadow and the famous "French Goth Balance". With this said, it is true that despite him having success in other venues, it won't exactly be the same on the big stage, meaning that Sharow will have to step up or go home. Sharow is a hit-or-miss player and pick, but if his team can manage to reign him in and use more standard teams, perhaps his strong, aggressive gameplay will be enough to put up a good enough record, if he doesn't just stick with his usual insane teams and struggle.

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9. Exiline: 6.286 - Mambas

Sent into hiding by blunder, Exiline desires to make a return into the scene by playing Ubers this time. He actually has a decent amount of playing time in official team tours with multiple appearances in SPL but ended on a negative note. Being touted as the next big Ubers thing by the Durians, Exiline actually had mediocre showings in most Ubers tournaments he's played in. It should be made clear, though, that his results aren't entirely due to a lack of skill. In some games he showed an incredibly high skill ceiling. But what really holds Exiline back is his poor mentality; he is extremely tilt prone and easily loses motivation after a bad start. Exiline has shown that he can hold his own in high-pressure situations in past UPL editions, though. His teambuilding also raises many questions, since if he tries to work alone he usually ends up with something creative but sacrifices reliability. At least he has fellow Durian Alpha Rabbit to help him in that department. All in all, Exiline will be interesting to watch this tour if he can bring consistent teams.

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10. CKW: 8.429 - Astrotias

The final Ubers pick of the draft raised many eyebrows, since there were more experienced and accomplished options available. CKW has been around for a bit, but he never stood out to anyone up until now. His 5-1 exhibition run in Ubers is something to make serious note of, but he followed that superb performance up with a lackluster one, going 1-3 in UPL. Overall, there is a lot of doubt surrounding him, specifically with regards to his ability to perform against stronger opponents and under higher pressure. That being said, CKW is a very hard worker and clearly knows his way around the metagame, so perhaps the hunger to win combined with team spirit will lead to him picking up some surprise victories. If not, CKW may struggle.


SNAKE SM LC RANKINGS
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1. Corporal Levi: 2.000 - Bushmasters

When he is not writing dissertations on Pokémon in the viability rankings or making 5,000-word April Fools Day posts, Corporal Levi is in the teambuilding lab creating the next big metagame innovation. With an astonishingly wide pool of Pokémon that he uses, preparing to play against Levi is a challenge in and of itself. This problem only becomes more of an issue when the battle begins, as Levi aims to gain control of the pace of the game early on and simply maintain it from there on out. With this said, Corporal Levi has been out of the official tournament scene for a while now, and this will be a slight adjustment for the top-ranked LC player no matter his level of competence and versatility in the metagame itself. With this said, there are high hopes for the novel writer, and if you are standing in his way of a win, watch out, because he might just make you play at deadline and then mercilessly beat you down.

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2. OP: 2.143 - Leviathans

When talking about OP, every player that knows him will mention his consistency. While it has been said countless times before, OP's veteran status is truly backed by his ability to jump into high-pressure situations and perform. OP has been dominating tournaments recently, taking the top spot in the Spring Seasonal, making top 8 in Swiss, and having an incredibly strong showing in LCPL. All signs are pointing towards another successful campaign from the newly appointed Super Moderator and LC leader. If OP breaks the mold of his cookie-cutter teams and does not become too predictable throughout the course of the tournament after doing so, then you can expect some big wins from him this year once again.

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3. Kingler12345: 2.571 - Taipans

Kingler12345 has had his fair share of up and downs in his LC career, but Mr. 2-7 is back once again to prove his dominance in the metagame as the face of Indian Little Cup—as long as Star is banned, anyway. Kingler12345 shows off his level of play best in high-pressure situations, as seen in tours like SPL 7 and SPL 8 where he initially proved that he could hold his own with the best of the metagame. With a playstyle that rewards being one step ahead of the opponent throughout the game, Kingler12345, backed by his patented "lucky and bad" technique, will display why he is a top contender and ranked so highly if he continues to make use of strong team structures. However, he will have to work his momentum-centric magic consistently to achieve a top record and doing this has not always been automatic in the past, so we will have to see how things ultimately go for the Taipans' Little Cup starter.

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4. Dundies: 2.857 - Astrotias

Ever since hopping aboard the LC community from the exiled land of PU, Dundies has proven to be one of the best players of the metagame despite clicking his way through a number of games. Given this, Dundies felt right at home with the fast-paced metagame of LC, as he has had nothing but success since joining the LC community, which is likely a sign of what is to come during Snake this year as well. Since then, he has become the holder of LC Champion title while also achieving a strong record of 8-1 in the most recent LCPL. Dundies hopes to surge ahead of the competition with his aggressive plays and prove why he was the first pick of all of the LC players.

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5. Heysup: 5.286 - Nagas

Widely considered to be one of the best LC players of all time, Heysup has had his share of the spotlight as one of the premier LC mains. With tremendous showings throughout the years, it is no secret that Heysup is pretty good at Pokémon. Despite this, rumors have surfaced that Heysup is considerably less active (aka washed up) and will not be able to contribute at the high level that is expected of him. On the other hand, Heysup has dispelled talks of this in the past, as he continues to triumph on the big stage, but many think that this may be the year he finally struggles. Only time will tell if this is the case or not, but how Heysup performs will be one of the most intriguing stories in Little Cup this Snake!

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6. jake: 6.143 - Cobras

While jake is quite used to subbing in at times of need ever since his prime as a BW NU player passed years ago, he finally takes the driver's seat once more in this iteration of the Smogon Snake Draft in the LC slot. While jake is known for his success in both NU and RBY, he has made waves in LC over the past two years, displaying himself as very capable in both battling and teambuilding while being an active member of the community and tournaments. Despite the fact that he has not had the streamline of wins that some of the other players hold, this former head tournament director is looking forward to a season that may very well put him back on the map as a respectable starting option and not just another friendly face that tennisace buys every year in SPL if things go according to plan.

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7. dcae: 6.429 - Mambas

After falling off the face of the Earth after SPL5, dcae returns to the big stage once again as he attempts to prove why he earned his chance in the Smogon Snake Draft. With finals appearances in both the LC Spring Seasonal and LC Swiss tournaments, dcae has been surging in momentum lately. With this said, he still is far less proven than a number of the names above him, and many believe that he will struggle to compete with the top tier of LC players on the big stage despite his recent string of success. Will that aforementioned momentum be enough for him to bring home some victories, or will the hype fall short, just like it had in the past?

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8. Sken: 6.857 - Sidewinders

Sken has been a centerpiece for LC in the tournament community for quite a few years, as his first appearance was in SPL 7 and he has played consistently since then with a wide array of results. While he displays extremely high peaks and very creative teambuilding over several years, he has also suffered disappointing losses, which drives down his ranking lower than some might expect for this LC mainstay. If Sken manages to maintain the high level of play that you have seen in some of his victories, then you can expect him to have a very successful season. Otherwise, he may struggle to compete with some of the more trendy LC players ranked above, assuming they are ready for whatever he may cook up to face them.

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9. teal6: 7.429 - Serpents

While teal6 has been known to be successful across several tours over a long period of time, he makes his LC debut in a major team tour, which can be seen as cause for some concern. Known as an accomplished player in both RBY and UU, teal is still not exactly a stranger to LC, with deep runs in several major LC tours, including a storied history in LCPL. With desperately needed support from tournament banned friend starmaster in the teambuilding department, teal hopes to carry his success from a plethora of other settings to the land of LC, where his off-the-wall aggressive playstyle may also be rewarded moreso than ever before if his opponents do not catch on soon enough.

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10. trash: 8.143 - Gliders

Most known for his prowess in the teambuilder, trash makes his official team tournament debut alongside the Goldenrod Gliders and their assistant manager, ggggd. While he is not known for his battling ability, hence his bottom-of-the-barrel ranking, trash has shown solid results in more recent team tournaments and has a clear understanding of the metagame as a whole, which is reassuring. trash rounds out the list at the bottom mainly because of his lack of experience on the big stage relative to pretty much everyone ranked above, but if he can overcome the initial pressure and find a groove, then he can work to do well and pull off some upsets with the aforementioned guidance of ggggd.


SNAKE SM DOU RANKINGS
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1. MajorBowman: 1.429 - Leviathans

After a #1 ranking in SPL's power rankings, MajorBowman has only continued to prove he has earned that place. With a very strong 7-2 record there, as well as solid results from both the most recent seasonal (3rd place) and the currently ongoing Smogon Doubles Tour (top 8 so far), MajorBowman is a consistently strong player with solid builds and strategy. The changing format for this year's edition of Snake Draft may work to his benefit, as last year's format led to a rather mediocre 5-5 final tally for him. MajorBowman also struggles a bit with finishing tours out, losing in or near finals of many big tours he's entered. Even so, he's sure to put up an impressive record and can win against any player in the field right now.

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2. EmbCPT: 2.286 - Bushmasters

Bursting onto the scene in the most recent SPL, EmbCPT posted the second-best record of 6-3 despite some initial fears he would struggle in a first team tour with little support. Since then, he's only continued to prove his skill, reaching grand finals of the most recent Doubles seasonal and generally performing at or above expectation across the board. With support from Vallex, a relative newcomer with a solid DPL and seasonal performance under his belt, EmbCPT should be positioned well to turn in another solid tour. The only hesitation in betting on him would be his recent claims he was prioritizing VGC and the upcoming World Championships over DOU; we'll have to wait and see if and how that impacts his results.

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3. stax: 3.143 - Astrotias

stax has been a bit of a mixed bag in past team tours, with 3-5 and 4-5 finishes across SPL 8 and 9 but a solid 6-3 finish in last year's iteration of this tournament. Still, he has shown across multiple tours in the Doubles circuit and on the big stage that he can play with the best of the field. His sometimes unorthodox building style is likely to only get wilder with support from Nido-Rus; the latter is known in the community for challenging you with a “YO fight y/n” and somehow winning with a team that should be wholly unviable. If stax and Nido can stay riding just ahead of the trends instead of veering off course, this should be an exciting pair to watch.

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4. SMB: 4.286 - Cobras

Doubles seasonal winners have never been able to repeat their performance; that is, until SMB stepped onto the scene. It might seem strange to see a newcomer to big tours ranked so highly, but SableyeMyBae has won both of the two most recent Doubles seasonals, and both times from winner's bracket no less. A well-prepared SMB is a force of nature, so it will be interesting to see how he adapts to this faster-paced setting. It might seem a risk to put a team tour rookie on his own, but SMB is one of the few that can likely find a way to succeed regardless of that obstacle.

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5. Demantoid: 5.000 - Taipans

Demantoid aptly finds himself right in the middle of the pack, with narrowly positive records in both his previous appearances (6-4 in last year's Snake and 5-4 in SPL 9). This past experience should keep him performing fairly well, with his signature memes and nickname themes propelling him forward. Demantoid has a bit of an odd pick for support in Croven; although Croven's a proven and strong player in his own right, he's known in the Doubles community as someone unlikely to build or even co-build the majority of his teams. While Croven could certainly step in to play in Demantoid's place if that is needed, it will be interesting to see how that support boosts the mish master Demantoid's game from behind the scenes.

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6. miltankmilk: 5.286 - Mambas

The moo man sits right around the middle of the pack in these rankings as well, with a solid 6-3 SSD1 and 5-4 SPL9 showing he's perfectly capable of playing his game when it counts. His most recent team tour performance, a 6-1 DPL, showed his capability in modifying a similar playstyle with Mega Gengar-focused builds driving his tour; it will be interesting to see if he continues his reliance on Mega Gengar or continues tweaking his teams and adapts to this tour's metagame.

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7. Biosci: 5.857 - Serpents

With the most wins in Smogon Doubles of any SPL player in history, Biosci might seem out of place this low in the rankings. Sleeping on Biosci can be dangerous though, as his consistency across years of playing tournaments on the big stage speaks for itself. Even though his first run in Snake Draft ended with a poor 2-6 record, he bounced back and recorded a solid 5-3 record in SPL 9. He is also coming off a very impressive 8th* place finish at the recent VGC North American International Championships, so momentum currently favors him. Supporting him this season is talkingtree, who is known as one of the best builders in the tier and has recently come into his own with a Top 6 finish in the latest DOU Seasonal. As long as he successfully wakes up from his semiannual state of cryostasis, Biosci will be prepped and primed for yet another strong team tournament showing in Smogon Snake Draft 2.

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8. emiforbes: 6.286 - Gliders

The next VGC crossover talent, emiforbes has had a few pretty decent tournaments in SM DOU that propelled him here; most notably, a solid set of live tours for the most recent Smogon Doubles Tour provided him the second-most SM points and overall points and now has him positioned in the top 4 with only two opponents in his way for a big tournament win. AuraRayquaza is an interesting support option, a veteran who's recently shown some consistency with top 8 finishes in the three most recent Doubles seasonals and a similarly strong showing in SM live tours. However, neither player is really proven in large tournaments, and it could be a bit of a risk to rely on them pulling a win against a relatively strong field.

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9. Lunar.: 7.429 - Sidewinders

It might seem strange to draft someone with no notable SM DOU results and an 0-1 record in his only team tournament. Those who follow the other large Doubles format, however, know that Lunar was an absolute powerhouse in VGC for multiple years, and with support from his manager and good friend Kaori, he should be poised to have a better chance at success this time around. Still, Kaori will be helping the whole team and can't necessarily afford to focus on supporting Lunar, making this a potentially shaky "solo" selection for the Sidewinders.

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10. Ezrael: 9.000 - Nagas

A relative unknown in comparison to the rest of this field, Ezrael stands out as an odd pick—especially unsupported as he is. With plenty of experience in VGC, Ezrael won't be caught off guard in high-stakes matches like those he's about to face, but the power rankings voters agreed that he's likely the weakest link in this tournament. Still, the same could have been said for MajorBowman and EmbCPT before their big tournament entrances, and both greatly exceeded expectations, so it wouldn't be unheard of for Ezrael to propel himself to prominence.


SNAKE SM UU RANKINGS
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1. TDK: 1.143 - Gliders

In the words of US West extraordinaire Kevin S., "TDK is the best UU player I have ever witnessed." References aside, TDK finds himself atop Smogon Snake Draft II's UU pool for a plethora of reasons: despite a very early leave in UU Open VII, he managed to achieve the best individual record in UUPL VI, with a whopping 8 wins to a sole loss, while also contributing massively to the success of his teammates by creating a large number of the teams used by the Mikan Island Monsters throughout the tournament. TDK has been one of the most consistent team tournament players since his breakthrough in 2016, and even though this is only his second real showing in UU (with the first being a victory over Christo in Smogon Premier League 9's semifinals tiebreaker), he's demonstrated that he is fully capable of stepping up to the occasion. Probably one of the brightest minds of our "generation" of Pokémon players, TDK's strengths make him one of the scariest challengers to go up against at the current moment, as he is able to craft teams that are both solid and innovative, while also piloting them to absolute perfection, knowing when to pull the right triggers at the right times. All in all, TDK is poised to add this tournament to his collection of stellar performances.

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2. McMeghan: 2.429 - Mambas

Also known as Roro, McMeghan is what one would call a living legend (that is, if applying such terminology to competitive Pokémon made sense). After many years of success across various generations of OU, this competitor has finally found himself a home in the generation of Sun and Moon, where, for the second year in a row, he has chosen to terrorize UU players with Pokémon you would barely imagine seeing in the tier, such as Gourgeist, Mega Glalie, and Lickilicky. Despite being unafraid of exploring the depths of Showdown's teambuilder, Roro's inconsistency as a team creator is very likely to be his biggest enemy throughout this tournament, as the Black City Mambas have very little UU depth, and McMeghan's method of preparing for his opponents suffers from two fatal flaws: high likelihood of procrastination and way more creativity than a single brain can contain by itself. However, this player's placement is far from undeserved, as the previously mentioned characteristics are the only thing likely to hold McMeghan back in Smogon Snake Draft II; highly experienced in tournaments and very thoughtful during his games, Roro can very easily outmaneuver any other player in the UU pool, even with suboptimal team choices, as shown by his performances in the first iteration of this tournament and UUPL VI.

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3. Pak: 2.857 - Serpents

Pak is the highest rated "purebred" UU player on this list (or, as the wise inhabitants of Smogon tournaments would say, "mainer"), which does not really come off as a shock based on recent accomplishments. Pak's journey as a player up until this point can be summed up in two words: "rocky" (author's note: whether or not this is a reference to this player's large chest size is open to the reader's interpretation) and "bizarre". Once touted as a top-notch newcomer back when XY was the most recent generation of Pokémon, Pak lived up to this hype and racked up a vast number of wins in ORAS UU. With the release of Gen 7, he chose to settle down for a while and kept playing within his comfort zone, achieving a stellar record of 6-1 in ORAS UU during UUPL V. Afterwards, he finally made the decision of venturing into the unknown grounds of SM UU, which eventually led to him being picked up by the Sootopolis Sidewinders in the first iteration of Smogon Snake Draft. During this tournament, Pak's repertoire was stained with an underwhelming record of 2-5. This, coupled with a big loss of motivation, led many people into thinking that this player would never be seen again on the big stage. So, what happened? After being annoyed by many of his friends into signing up for SPL 9, Pak ended up being a late auction pick for the Team Raiders, and the tournament community finally got to see a glimpse of the passionate player who was once expected to dominate his fellow competitors in UU. While some people tend to attribute Pak's success to his then-manager Pearl's teambuilding contributions, the truth is that Pak is perfectly capable of building his own squads, with his two biggest weaknesses being a huge tendency to be indecisive while choosing concepts and teams and a little monotony in his builds. In-game, this player knows what to do most of the time and is fully capable of making aggressive maneuvers, but it is also possible to notice a few moments of indecisiveness and a little difficulty while planning out some scenarios ahead of time. Still, a positive record is to be expected from Pak if he keeps up the hard work, as an impressive SPL showing like his isn't exclusively achieved through sheer luck.

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4. robjr: 4.000 - Leviathans

If you're wondering just who exactly robjr is and where he got all those trophies, you're not alone: meet the new incarnation of the former PokéTCGgamer 1288, who serves as living proof that you don't need a good name to be a good player. robjr was hardly considered a common name in the UU tour scene until this past Smogon Premier League, when he was tasked with salvaging the Wi-fi Wolfpack's 0-3 UU record. He did this in a very convincing way, finishing the tour with a 4-1 record in UU, including wins over Pak, HT, and Manipulative. Outside of SPL, he has had decent success in SM UU, qualifying for playoffs of this year's UU Ladder Tour and making the semifinals of UU Majors. He is also no stranger to team tours and high-pressure games: in addition to his SPL experience, robjr was also part of the winning squad of this year's World Cup of Pokémon, Team US Northeast. His recent string of victories and his overall experience seem to speak for themselves. For all that, though, a mediocre performance in the recent UUPL VI has raised some eyebrows. Backing him up will be his former Wolfpack teammate Cynde, who has had an oddly symbiotic relationship with robjr: after beating rob in the semifinals of UU Majors II, Cynde's disappointing performance in the early stages of SPL 9 gave robjr his chance at success. If robjr stumbles this time around, those roles may be reversed, and Cynde may be called upon to pick up the pieces.

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5. Lycans: 4.143 - Cobras

The Venezuelan wonder has been a mainstay in higher levels of UU play for a long time, and this tournament seems to be no exception. Whenever he is "in the zone", Lycans is one of the most ferocious players to go up against, as there is a high tendency for aggressive plays that can leave his opponents with absolutely no room to breathe. Aside from the small chance of misplaying during more complicated endgame scenarios, Lycans has managed to achieve a level of consistency that is surely rare among lower-tier players. So, why would he find himself right in the middle of the rankings? That would be because, unfortunately, Lycans is heavily lacking in the teambuilding department in comparison to his fellow competitors. He is not entirely clueless about the tier, of course, but Lycans himself has admitted to be out of touch with the current metagame, and his signup post explicitly stated that he'd need a decent amount of teambuilding support to thrive in whichever tier his managers choose to slot him in. Backing him up is esche, a player who hasn't really been too active in recent times. Similarly to McMeghan, he has a very high tendency to lose himself among PU Pokémon that barely fill any niche in UU, and despite being able to come up with some stellar ideas at times, one would still expect a little bit more from the Celadon City Cobras's UU depth overall. However, if these two players manage to work well together (and Nicolás Maduro does not interfere with Lycans's safety or Internet connection), the Cobras have very good odds of finding themselves near the top of this tier's standings.

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6. HT: 6.286 - Nagas

If there were ever a poster child for the phenomenon of community results not translating to official tours, it might be HT. In addition to being the only member of the UU pool to challenge robjr's claim of "best name change among the UU community," the former Hairy Toenail is one of the most well-respected players in the UU scene. His trademark style of bulky offense, often peppered with underrated sweepers such as Barbaracle, has proved incredibly consistent over the years, and his methodical gameplay and grasp of the longer game quickly rocketed him above most of his UU peers. He began putting up powerful results during the XY UU era, and he currently holds the best overall UUPL record of any player (a formidable 26-7). These results were enough to see him drafted to the Wi-fi Wolfpack as a mids pickup during Smogon Premier League 7 and later chosen as a UU starter in the first iteration of the Smogon Snake Draft. Unfortunately, he failed to make a splash in either tournament, as opponents took advantage of his overly conservative playstyle, and he went into 2018 with a disappointing 0-4 record in official team tournaments. Fortunately for HT, 2018 represented a bit of an upswing for him: the Cryonicles took a chance on HT in Smogon Premier League 9, and HT finds himself buoyed by a respectable 5-4 record there. Combining this with yet another strong UUPL finish, HT has a lot of momentum coming into the second Smogon Snake Draft. He also has UU wunderkind Sacri' backing him up, leaving many to expect good things out of HT this year.

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7. Sage: 6.286 - Taipans

The freshest face in the field, Sage is a relatively unknown player outside of the UU community and finds herself placed in a very difficult field. However, she is not without accomplishments: she has been tearing through the 2018 UU circuit, stacking up several impressive performances. Most notable among these was her performance in this year's UU Ladder Tour, where she beat out tour regulars such as robjr and Bushtush to claim a first-place finish. More recently, she was an instrumental part of the Blackthorn City Battle Girls during UUPL VI; while she largely played GSC UU, she was responsible for building many of the SM UU teams that carried them to the finals of the tour. She has proven herself to be an innovative teambuilder, often incorporating under-utilized sets such as Choice Band Swampert and utility Choice Scarf Togekiss to great effect. For all this, though, this will be her first time on the big stage; Sage has never participated in an official tour, and even her UU circuit experience has been confined to the past year. Considering the high-caliber field this year, this lack of experience may very well be her downfall as she faces tour veterans with years and years of experience over her. With such little history to draw from, only time will tell how she reacts to the pressures of an official tournament. Luckily for Sage, she is not going at it alone: with the backing of Pearl and dodmen, who were instrumental in the dominating UU performances of Pak in Smogon Premier League 9 and Lycans in the first iteration of the Smogon Snake Draft, Sage has what is easily the strongest support of any UU player in the tour.

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8. Shiba: 7.143 - Sidewinders

It took years, but it has finally happened: Shiba has been drafted to play in a team tour. Formerly known primarily for such stellar monetary decisions as paying for usernames on Pokémon Showdown!, Shiba has been a staple of the UU community for years, playing in the tier regularly since the early days of XY. However, despite his familiarity with the tier, he has for years been passed over in favor of newer and less experienced players in official team tournaments. Part of this may be due to reputation: for much of the last generation, he was known more for meme teams featuring Fletchinder or Swords Dance Celebi than he was for consistent, reliable results. However, since SM, he has abandoned many of his previous habits and has been quietly building a very respectable name for himself, including an impressive combined 11-3 record over the past two UUPLs. Outside of SM UU, he also started the year off strong, beating out Pearl in the finals to win this year's UU Classic, and finally made his break into an official team tournament as a member of World Cup of Pokémon finalists Team US West. However, he was mainly confined to a support role during that tour, and despite coming a hair away from claiming a WCOP trophy, Shiba is one of only two players in this year's UU pool to have never played an official team tournament game. Perhaps more than anyone else, Shiba has something to prove this year: a solid record could vindicate his years of salt at always being passed over, while disappointing results may be the final nail in the coffin for this UU regular's team tournament aspirations.

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9. Manipulative: 7.429 - Astrotias

If there is anything history has taught UU players (or any judge of skill who has ever stumbled upon Manipulative, really), it is that it is physically impossible to predict how this player's performance is going to look like in any way imaginable, thus making him an entity that could seen as this UU pool's "Schrödinger's cat"; until his games are over for good, he could be both the best and the worst UU player around at the same time. A prime example of this is how he managed to take down three of UU's most solid players in Sacri', dodmen, and Lycans during Smogon Premier League 9 but then proceeded to lose to a Doubles player in his first game of SM UU ever a couple of weeks down the road. Backing Manipulative up are Hogg and Tricking. The former was Manipulative's manager during Smogon Snake Draft I and a seemingly important contributor to this competitor's success during that tournament, while the latter is a player who could serve as a band-aid to the Ambrette Astrotias's UU slot in case of a weaker showing by the favored starter. Back to Manipulative himself; the concept of "hit-or-miss" can be applied to basically everything about the way he carries himself in Pokémon: sometimes he uses teams that look even more impressive than those of the best teambuilders, but there is also a high likelihood that we end up seeing jumbled messes of offensive Pokémon with no Steel-type Pokémon in sight coming from Manipulative. As a player, the same principle applies: we might witness some moments of sheer brilliance during his games, but there also exists a sizable chance of misplays that not even uninformed bystanders would think of making. For the spectators' sake, we better hope that Manipulative brings his A game to this tournament, as it would spice things up a lot for the UU enthusiasts.

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10. pasy_g: 8.857 - Bushmasters

If the name "pasy_g" were to be mentioned anywhere on Smogon a couple of months ago, uneducated users would probably end up mistaking him for yet another new SoundCloud rapper. In fact, that is probably how UU players all around the website feel as they're reading this. However, make no mistake, for this is just the most recent example of managers choosing to trust overall solid players to fill in lower tier slots rather than tier specialists. This breed of players has produced many successful runs before, and despite the small list of accomplishments attached to his name, pasy_goat has proven that he is fully capable of going toe to toe with the titans of his home turf, ADV OU, having beaten both Ojama and Astamatitos during the most recent iteration of the World Cup of Pokémon. As far as his prowess in the SM UU metagame goes, there is absolutely nothing to be said at the moment, since pasy hasn't played the tier in any bigger scale tournament yet, which is the primary reason why he is being placed at the bottom of the rankings this time around. To make up for this lack of expertise, the Berry Forest Bushmasters have assembled a solid group of helpers to make sure that their player has high-quality teams at his disposal: both of the team's managers, Tony and ABR, have experience creating and fine-tuning UU teams. At the same time, Accelgor is an active veteran presence in the UU community who has been credited for some of the teams Bushtush used during his SPL 9 run, which further helps solidifying this slot. Should pasy_g fail to translate his Pokémon prowess to SM UU, both Gondra and shiloh are capable players with enough experience to take over and make use of the team's support. Overall, pasy_g's rank is a result of a lack of credentials in the tier when compared to the people above him, but it isn't an accurate representation of his skill ceiling, and he could very easily achieve a good place in the standings if he manages to adapt to all the threats lurking in the UU metagame.


SNAKE SM RU RANKINGS
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1. soulgazer: 2.143 - Gliders

Historically, soulgazer has remained a pinnacle of consistency in the team tours environment, and if anything his past year has even further reinforced this notion; with his last iteration of SPL finally yielding him a trophy and a strong WCoP showing further cementing his ability to branch out, soulgazer has showcased his potency not just as a lower tier player, but a player period. While this second stage of his career has not highlighted building prowess, perhaps the most exemplary shortcoming that might arise from the Gliders RU scene (a tier that building phenomenon TDK has traditionally struggled with), his ability to stick to the basics and outplay have rarely led him astray in these past few years. With the ingenuity of various, broadly effectual builders in tow, soulgazer is surely the player to beat in this season.

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2. Ajna: 2.143 - Serpents

Ajna has in these past couple years soundly cemented himself as the most essential RU player of the "new" generation of players, establishing consistency as a player and, unlike various others, seeming to avoid the pitfalls of major tour nerves through rigorous circuit play prior. While his latest SPL saw him in a bit of a slump, the shift in scenery offered by an arguably stronger managerial duo and the presence of likeminded individuals and friends would seem to provide every reason for Ajna to play to capacity in order to retain his trophy. Moreover, the interim period between SPL and Snake has birthed something of a renaissance in his building, opening up to the idea of more unconventional concepts and Pokémon, thereby shedding a lot of perceived issues of one-dimensionality. While this stigma as an entirely self-sufficient player has once again left him without any support to speak of from his teammates, Ajna's ceiling is almost certainly high enough to afford him that leeway.

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3. Nat: 3.000 - Sidewinders

While something of a renegade, Nat is undoubtedly one of the strongest players of the pool. Seeming to have escaped most of the nerves that bogged down her previous Snake Draft performance, Nat returns with a commendable SPL performance, a circuit tour win, and even a brief stint in the esteemed RU council under her belt. Furthermore, the team she finds herself on offers an almost unprecedented amount of coincidental RU support in yjh971203, aim, and tko to bounce ideas off, which one might expect could only bolster confidence. Were there any outstanding flaws to be had, Nat is perhaps the most tilt-prone player in the pool thus far, meaning the first preventable loss to be had could potentially snowball into something that could in a worst case scenario result in an unbecoming substitution. However, with an acquaintance in Kaori around to talk her down from situations such as this, Nat does stand firmly along the stronger end of the bell curve.

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4. col49: 3.143 - Bushmasters

If he shows up, which does happen occasionally but not during a plethora of other, smaller tournaments, then col49 is a great pickup for RU. He has a superb grasp on the metagame, including how to craft teams and integrate more unorthodox Pokémon or elements in teams in order to give himself an inherent advantage given into games. In addition, col49 has a clear understanding of the playerbase around him and what their tendencies are, thus also playing into this aforementioned preparation dynamic that certainly plays into his favor. He is far from shabby in games themselves, too, as he has shown flashes of dominance and top player potential in numerous past showings. If col49 will be active enough to get the job done, then it would not be too surprising to see him start with a string of victories much like last year, but if things get tough or he gets busy, then it would also not be shocking if he had to get substituted out or simply did not give it his best effort, compromising the ultimate results.

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5. dodmen: 4.286 - Taipans

dodmen, while more broadly regarded for his contributions to UU, has remained a very consistent RU player during this leg of the tier, going as far as even preferring it. As a player here his strengths lie in both his aggressive, punishing playstyle and his building approach, which tends to overcome the constraints of stigma placed upon your average RU "main". This combination offers him inherent advantage versus a variety of players within the pool, which in conjunction with his high threshold as a player makes the prospect of playing him something of an ordeal for most anybody. As far as negatives are concerned, himself alongside his support in Sage and august have a certain lack of 'depth' in building, and to that end it is very possible we see a few half-baked ideas fail to get left on the cutting room floor. Moreover, in spite of his skill, dodmen has been consistently delivering middling results in a team tour setting, making a seemingly surefire pick seem somewhat less appealing.

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6. lighthouses: 4.714 - Astrotias

lighthouses is a player characterized just as much by his highs as his lows. As a builder, he surely has one of the better minds when it comes to how teams should be built and what needs to be done to achieve certain goals consistently; however, many of these concepts lose the narrative by the time all is said and done, resulting in a product that overlooks huge, overall checklist points. As a player he has exhibited many great games, with his exemplary late-Snake Draft run in the year prior being a standout, but for as many of those games one can pull from a cache of games where he shot the moon overthinking an early-game play. Fortunately, with Arifeen, Eternal Spirit, and (as legend has it) slurmz in his stable, there should be enough peer review to help level out some misgivings the spectators might have for lighthouses, but ultimately it is that uncertainty that pushes him into a middle-of-the-pack ranking.

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7. Scythe.: 6.857 - Cobras

Scythe., as some might recall, was a huge rising star some years back, exhibiting a proficiency for competitive play and some very unique, albeit occasionally wonky, building practices. This alongside an impressive UU Open win had poised Scythe. for a lasting position in the tournament community, but instead he opted out entirely, quitting until very recently and emerging now for this tour. While rust is only an excuse for anybody with a pre-2015 join date to rationalize a loss, lack of metagame knowledge is very much a real issue, and this is perhaps the Achilles' heel of the Cianwood Cobras at large. Including the managing duo, Scythe. is being supported by about five players that, with the possible exception of Chill Shadow, at best dabble in the RU tier, which surely goes a long way but will almost always result in a certain lack of nuance that separates good from great. Of the lower ranked players here, Scythe. has arguably the highest ceiling here, but him and his team will definitely need to put in the work to make ends meet.

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8. Aeroblacktyl: 7.571 - Mambas

Aeroblacktyl is, as expected, something of an enigma here. Discounting all the rumors circling his name and alleged modus operandi, MoP is a player whose past several years have been almost entirely silent on the Smogon front, with the occasional and admittedly unremarkable tour showing once in a blue moon. Of the more recent endeavors was a modest showing in RUPL under FlamingVictini, a scenario reyscarface seems to have sought to replicate here. As a legendary player in his heyday, Aeroblacktyl alongside support from aforementioned collaborator FlamingVictini and promising newcomer Alpha Rabbit would surely be something to be feared; however, this second stage of his career has not been nearly as fruitful. Just as with Scythe., the potential for Aeroblacktyl to return in prime form is incredibly dangerous, but unless he has been playing a fantastic long con in anticipation of this very tour, the likelihood is somewhat lower.

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9. MrAldo: 7.857 - Nagas

RU workhorse and recent product of post-SPL hype MrAldo, having received high praise for his support during the Wolfpack's season, is unfortunately put in a compromising position with his first major tournament as a drafted player. While being a very capable builder and excellent teammate, his capacity as a player and the high likelihood of nerves have come under scrutiny, with many members of the community positing it to have been in his best interest to spent some time on the bench before being thrust onto the front lines. However, with only moderate RU interests in Sam and GaryTheGengar as alternatives, Aldo finds himself as something of a lesser of evils. While his tenacity and solid building could find him prying one or more wins out, he unfortunately is projected to struggle in a pool of players such as this.

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10. King Wynaut: 8.429 - Leviathans

While perhaps something of an overreaction to be placed last, the tenth spot does aptly characterize the underdog that is King Wynaut here. In a bid to escape the unfortunate tag of "2016 Arifeen", King Wynaut has been characterized by many as loud-mouthed and mediocre, attributing his success in circuit play and the like to anything but skill. Be that as it may, his performances of the past several months do ultimately outweigh the three players ranked above him, currently holding the most points of the 2018 circuit, and as the trend has gone he is backed by a surprising amount of support; Eternally, Robert Alfons, and KingKDot all play RU at a high enough level to provide solid feedback to stabilize his performance or offer a solid sub if all goes south. With almost nothing to lose but Finchinator's respect, King Wynaut has to take his spot in the limelight for all it's worth to prove he deserves a spot amongst the tour vros.


SNAKE SM NU RANKINGS
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1. FLCL: 1.286 - Sidewinders

It should be no surprise that FLCL comes in on top in the NU power rankings again, as this lower tier titan has more experience than everyone else in the field. The mostly quiet FLCL has been around since SPL4 and has always managed to remain one of the top players since then. While as of late he has not been as focused on NU, instead making Smogon Tour 24 finals and Smogon Championship finals, he did captain his team to a victory in the most recent edition of NUPL. He also has a familiar face Stan Soojung on his team, who can both build and even take over in case FLCL is needed in another tier. All is not perfect for FLCL though, as he does struggle to put up amazing records in team tournaments, his highest being a 7-4 in SPL4. But if he does show up and play to his best, he is the player to beat over the course of the tournament.

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2. Rodriblutar: 2.143 - Taipans

What Rodriblutar may lack in English skills, he surely makes up for in his playing, netting him a second place spot in these rankings. After winning SPL and NUPL, including the finals game three tiebreak in NUPL, Rodri has been on a tear in NU as of late. Known for some crazy plays and a great read on his opponents, and even equipped with a computer from the start of this tournament, there seems to be nothing that can stop him. Whether it be extending a stall game an extra 200 turns just because he was having fun, or abusing the broken "moons" that always seem to find their way on his teams, he's always an enjoyable player to watch. He does, however, lack in one key aspect, his teambuilding. His team is not as well suited as others in this aspect as well, with the only players with NU teambuilding experience on the team being dodmen and plas, both of whom are known for their playing or teambuilding in other tiers. However, if he does manage to get a solid team week after week, he is one of the scariest players in the pool.

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3. lax: 2.571 - Gliders

Gliders NU player lax has generated a lot of respectable results over the past year, including a run to Smogon Classic semifinals and a pair of positive official team tournament results, with NU in SPL and BW in WCoP. While he has been a bit more quiet in NU in recent months aside from NUPL, lax has been consistently demonstrating his capabilities as a player in these higher level tournaments, which is quite impressive for someone who did not stand out on the radar as recently as last Snake. Now, lax is poised to go positive once more in this upcoming Snake and the rankings reflect his ability to do some damage. If he does not use anything too far off the wall, then expect Gliders NU player lax to go positive and even hold his own against top ranked player perhaps.

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4. elodin: 4.286 - Serpents

What may have been a surprise if this had been a year earlier, elodin takes the number four spot in these rankings. Having his first taste of NU last Snake, where he was picked up for Blast, and putting up a respectable 5-2 in that tour, he also finished up the season in NU during SPL, where he went 2-1; he is now an experienced NU player. He was also recently added to the NU council and has been taking a part in tier discussion and keeping up with the metagame, a problem many tournament players tend to have. He is even supported by a relatively unknown name outside of the NeverUsed sphere in Tangelo, who is one of the more creative builders in the tier at the moment. All in all, elodin is a very solid player, and with plenty of experience to rival even FLCL, this Brazilian cannot be counted out.

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5. Kushalos: 4.286 - Nagas

Lower tier aficionado Kushalos seems to have found his home in Sun and Moon, starting in all three tournaments the tier has been a part of over the past year. Prior to last Snake, Kushalos was more known for being one of the top lower tier builders; however, with his last few tournaments, he has cemented himself as one of the better players as well, having gone a combined 10-8 between Snake and SPL. While he does have less NU support compared to the other players in this pool, he is also one of the few players that can be completely self sufficient. He also does have manager Pohjis, who won NU Open using Kushalos's teams and played in SPL. However, this would be more likely as a person to bounce ideas off of and test with, as opposed to a builder. As long as the chef stays cooking this tour, this should be another good tournament for him.

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6. Eternally: 5.429 - Leviathans

NeverUsed Tier Leader Eternally is back for what may be seen as a redemption tournament, as after his promising Snake finish last year he had a shockingly bad SPL. He may be the most up to date with the current metagame compared to anyone else on this list, as he has been a part of shaping the metagame and tier since the start of Sun and Moon. That translates to him having the best grip on the meta, which can be seen in his recent 6-2 NUPL finish. He may also have some of the best NU support in the tournament behind him, with two heavily experienced NU players in Finchinator and Garay Oak, and even his manager Evan. He does tend to get a bit creative with his builds at times though and may try to bring unconventional strategies that do not work as well in practice as they do on paper, but if he does flesh out his builds and play to the level he did last Snake, he may show that his SPL was just a fluke and he is one of the titans of the NeverUsed tier.

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7. Nintendi: 6.571 - Bushmasters

With the Bushmasters sticking to their theme of picking the best players available to fill their lineup, they went with Nintendi in NU despite him lacking any experience in the metagame. Nintendi has been very successful in ORAS OU over the past year and he is poised to extend that success into a new environment with the assistance of teammate and supporter shiloh. shiloh will be playing OU for the Bushmasters, but you'd be foolish to think he would not have a large impact in the team choices made in NU on the Bushmasters. If Nintendi is capable of learning the metagame well enough in a short span of time, then he will do well given his strength as a player. If not, then expect it to be a rough road for the Brazilian ORAS standout.

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8. Hootie: 7.571 - Mambas

The second part of the NU tier leader duo, Hootie finds himself at the bottom of the rankings for the first time in his tournament career. After an above average Snake Draft last year, Hootie went 2-5 in NUPL and 1-5 in SPL. Along with this decline in tournament results, Hootie has been fairly inactive in terms of playing Pokémon, after feeling burnt out after Snake and SPL. He also has no other NU support on the Mambas, so if he starts tilting or goes inactive again, there will be no safety net for him. However, he does have the playing ability, as can be seen by his 5-1 run in the last two phases of last Snake, and if he manages to maintain his activity he has the potential to end with the top record in this tournament.

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9. Realistic Waters: 8.143 - Astrotias

Realistic Waters signing up for this tournament came as a surprise for many, as this is his first official tournament since playing all the way back in SPL7. Since then he has remained more or less quiet and taken numerous breaks, and he has not made a huge impact on the tournament scene. However, during his periods of activity he did consistently top the ladder and remained one of the more creative builders in the scene. Another reason for him being ranked so low is due to the number of creative "gimmicks" that he uses in tournaments. However, he is an amazing pilot of these teams, and if he manages to stay active and puts a lid on some of his more creative team ideas he is a true force to be reckoned with.

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10. HANTSUKI: 8.286 - Cobras

The third Brazilian on this list, and the lowest ranked one, is none other than HANTSUKI. Never been known to have a main tier, he has played just about every tier in existence at one point or another. With this being said, he has the lowest amount of NU experience on this list, and that's why he ended up in this spot. However, he did support the Ruiners NU slot, snagaa and lax, quite a bit through SPL and picked up the tier then. However, since then his only NU experience was going 1-3 in NUPL. He has his work cut out ahead of him in order to keep pace with the rest of the players on this list, and if he does not manage to keep up we may just see the Cobras' secret weapon in Stone_Cold.


MANAGER RANKINGS

Disclaimer: Managers are an important part of the team, but we did not feel they warranted a large part in our rankings. Instead we ranked these ourselves before the tournament, and only used them as a tiebreak when teams were tied on points.

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1. Tony + ABR - Bushmasters

Tony is back to manage yet another official team tournament; however, this time there is a twist, as his long-time star player ABR is now here to manage alongside him. This makes for the biggest powerhouse managerial duo in the tournament without a doubt. Tony is someone who needs no introduction in the arena of managing at this point, leading Team Europe to WCoP finals, the Berry Forest Bushmasters to Snake finals, and finally the Wi-fi Wolfpack to a recent SPL championship. The latter two of these successful campaigns occurred with co-manager ABR on board as a player, too. While ABR is not the most experienced manager like Tony, he has at least managed US Northeast to a WCoP win and also has a background in leadership through working with all of his OU teammates over the past few years, especially seeing as he is known for being a stand-out teambuilder and overall supporter. These two are going to foster an active and success-oriented environment that will likely lead to a replication of past results if all goes to plan, thus making Tony and ABR the easy pick for the #1 managerial pair.

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2. Pearl + Sabella - Taipans

Pearl is one of the most experienced managers of the tournament. After managing in SPL 3 years running and captaining his WCoP side in 2016, he is now giving SSD a shot. Coming off a great SPL this year in which he was a tiebreaker away from winning the tournament, we can only assume Pearl's out for blood as he looks to win his first team tournament. Alongside him, we have the good-spirited and grammatically challenged Sabella, who will provide the OU knowledge to go with Pearl's great understanding of lower tiers. Sabella doesn't have any management experience to speak of, but with a veteran like Pearl completing the pair we don't consider that a concern. Both managers are very integrated in the Tournaments community and we expect them to do well.

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3. obii + Mounts - Serpents

obii is back for another go at managing the Serpents in SSD after putting together a very strong team last year. Despite his struggles as a manager in this year's SPL, obii showed he knows how to successfully draft in this format last year and will undoubtedly have learned a lot from his first disappointing management experience. With obii this year we have Mounts, who he also teamed up with in this year's SPL. Mounts is known as a more quiet but very friendly presence, as well as being a fantastic player. We're not sure what to expect from Mounts as a manager, but obii has been racking up a good amount of experience the past two years, so our concerns are minimal in that regard. Given obii's results in this tournament last year and the fact that he resisted Ojama's urges to pick all of the French players this time, we expect him to bounce back from his SPL woes, winning him the #3 spot on our rankings.

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4. reyscarface + Will of Fire - Mambas

After playing in SSD last year, reyscarface is back to follow up his playoff run as a manager with the Tyrants in SPL in this year's SSD. rey is by far-and-away the most experienced manager in the tournament, having participated in official team tournaments for about a decade already. We also want to give rey a shoutout for being a consistent contributor to our power rankings articles throughout the years. Will of Fire joins reyscarface as a manager of the newly formed Black City Mambas after being purchased by reyscarface as a player in SPL this year. Will of Fire, like most people, isn't as loud or public of a presence as reyscarface, but has built himself a reputation of being a formidable team builder, which is always great to have on any team. With rey's experience, including recent playoff success in SPL, and Will of Fire's current gen team building knowledge we consider this pair to be in the upper half of the bracket for sure.

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5. Genesis7 + Evan. - Lake of Rage Leviathans

Team Canada's captains return for another team tournament after leading their nation to the semifinals of this year's WCoP. Genesis7 in particular is a very dedicated and active manager that knows the playerbase inside and out, while Evan. will most likely focus on the team's lower tier slots, especially NU. On top of that both managers have experience managing unofficial and offsite team tournaments, too. However, this is their first time managing in either SSD or SPL, which are very different team tournaments to prepare for compared to both unofficials and WCoP. Furthermore, neither manager is known as a great USM player or teambuilder, which raises some questions in terms of their ability to support their team post-draft. All-in-all, Genesis7 and Evan. put together a formidable Team Canada squad this year and we're excited to find out if they can solidify their managerial chops as managers of the Leviathans this year.

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6. z0mOG + ggggd - Gliders

After playing for the Gliders last year, z0mOG and ggggd are coming in at #6 on our ranks, which actually makes them the highest ranked rookie pairing. However, despite not having managed in SSD or SPL before, z0mOG was one of the architects behind this year's US West run to the final in WCoP, also winning OUPL as a manager. ggggd is a newcomer to managing team tournaments, but has been building up experience in lower tiers, especially in LC which he played in last year's edition of this tournament. ggggd's lower-tier knowledge complements z0mOG's OU expertise perfectly; alongside being teammates in last year's SSD, this makes for a smart partnership. With that said, this duo is still completely unproven as managers, so any early hiccups or players not reaching expectations could lead to trouble.

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7. Void + Pohjis - Lanakila Nagas

Void is back to manage another team tournament after taking over from TonyFlygon as Team Europe's captain in this year's WCoP. Team Europe made playoffs for a second year in a row and among their best performers this year we find Pohjis, who will be joining Void as his co-manager in this year's SSD. Unlike WCoP, however, the pairing will be asked to draft a team out of a full list of signups, not just the ones that are eligible for Team Europe. Having said that, Pohjis drafted a winning team in this year's UPL and Void's been playing team tournaments consistently for the past two years. They do, however, still have less managerial experience than most of the other managers; in combination with Void's downright horrendous timezone, this landed them at #7.

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8. Chill Shadow + snagaa - Celadon Cobras

Chill Shadow and snagaa are a managerial duo in the truest sense of the word. Unlike the other managers in this tournament, Chill Shadow and snagaa have actually managed several team tournaments together in the past already. They know how team tournaments work, but even more so, they know how they work together after doing so many tournaments together. On the other hand, the team tournaments they have under their belts were either unofficial or offsite, so we can't be sure if it's going to translate into official team tournament success quite yet. To be fair to them, both managers have been part of official team tournaments as players and will without doubt be very active and involved throughout the tournament. We're not ruling out a positive surprise here!

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9. Level 56 + Kaori - Sidewinders

Level 56 made a name for himself in the tournament scene with years of Ubers expertise starting in XY, including a ridiculous Ubers Open record that saw him win one and make finals of the next. He also proved himself capable of playing multiple generations and tiers en route to winning a stunning 24 tournaments overall, which is 6th all-time, including last year's Grand Slam - thus, he knows what he's doing in every tier... or at least he did. He's been very quiet since, and while there's no doubt about him as a player, he hasn't been too active for some time now, and he never was the most talkative person even during the peak of his activity, thus making him an odd choice for a managerial position where he'll have to be a leader. His co-manager, Kaori, is more on the active side; he's a known Doubles player and VGCer and had some incredibly clutch wins this past SPL. How he'll do when in charge remains to be seen. Both these guys are very friendly and will likely foster an amicable atmosphere for all to enjoy, but one wonders how effectively they'll take the reigns.

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10. Teddeh + Arifeen - Astrotias

No offense lads, but someone had to be last. To their credit, Teddeh and Arifeen have been building up a good amount of official team tournament experience. Both have participated in multiple iterations of SPL, WCoP and SSD as players and put up wins in multiple tiers. There's also some unofficial team tournament managerial experience there, so we don't expect these guys to be clueless. Having said that, both are considered to be "mainers" that don't stray away too far from their respective tiers of expertise. This is a notable concern given the fact that there are 4 OU slots in SSD. Neither player has ever managed a team in an official team tournament before either, which doesn't help this pairing. For what it's worth, we're confident Arifeen's managerial decisions will be better than his name changing ones!


Overall Team Rankings

Rankings
Team logos by Bummer, Jackii, and LifeisDANK | Graphics by boudouche, Bummer, and shiloh. | HTML by ant, Quite Quiet, Spy, and The Dutch Plumberjack | Script by Toast++.
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