World Cup of Pokemon: The Panel #1

By Eraddd and Eo Ut Mortus.
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Eraddd: Each panelist, please introduce yourself briefly to the audience. Include any battling experience, and put in your WCOP team and position.

Iconic: Ni hao, I am Iconic. I've been playing Pokemon for over four years now and playing in tournaments on Smogon for about two. I've won a few tournaments during my time here, and I captained Canada's WCoP team this year after Jackal pussied out of the job :)!

Kevin Garrett: I've played competitive Pokemon for six years. In the beginning I was mostly a ladder player, but I transitioned to tournaments soon after. I've mostly focused on the Smogon Tour both as a player and host. I'm a player from USA Metro.

Hipmonlee: Sup, I'm Hipmonlee, the old man of competitive Pokemon. I've been a part of the Oceania side for the past 4 world cups, and this year I have taken over from Blue Kirby as the captain, seeing as how he is too good for Pokemon tournaments these days.

Stone Cold: Hello, I am Stone Cold, a member of US East for my 4th year and the Captain of US East for the 2nd year, but I decided not to participate as to not discourage my team in practice matches when they lose to me. My battling experience includes being in the competitive scene of Pokemon for 5 years on Smogon.

The Panel #1:

Eo Ut Mortus: It's a pleasure to meet you, gentlemen and Iconic. So let me ask you this: With Round 2 wrapping up, which teams do you feel have greatly performed over expectations and performed below expectations in terms of coming into Round 2?

Iconic: An excellent question, mademoiselle. I think it's safe to say Brazil has really outperformed themselves this World Cup. Even though they don't have many 'big names' on their team, they have a really solid roster and put together a nice record with some clutch tiebreak wins. I've got to look to my own team in terms of underperformance, unfortunately. Canada didn't really get the breaks we needed in the beginning of Round 1, and that we couldn't close it out in the tiebreaks. Metro was also a disappointment, since this is the first time in recent memory they didn't make it into Round 2.

Kevin Garrett: France looks like they outperformed expectations for the team. Everyone knew they would be good, having a solid core of players that have plenty of tournament experience, but I don't think anyone expected them to have the best record going into Round 2. They are on par with a lot of good teams coming into the tournament so it's surprising that they did so much better than anyone else in Round 1. As for the underachievers, I think that distinction clearly goes to Benelux. They brought in players from regions outside of their territory and were a top heavy team. Very surprising they were not even able to make the tiebreaker for the final spots in Round 1.

Hipmonlee: Well, I don't think there are any real shocks in terms of the 8 that made it based on what you would have expected pre-tournament. Metro were one of three teams that have always made the second round in every previous tournament, and they missed out, but someone has to. The big surprise for me was Canada turning around the start they got and just missing out on qualification by a whisker.

Stone Cold: I believe US West is the team I think of when it comes to overachieving. Most people thought they took a big blow in players, and bringing in a lot of no names such as Oristeros, Lavos Spawn, as well as yee stepping up this year was a pleasant surprise to watch. Most didn't expect them to make the top 8, so hats off to them. When it comes to underachieving, I agree with Kevin in saying Benelux. They were expected to be a powerhouse and definitely did not meet expectations.

Eraddd: Well, shifting from over- and underperforming teams to their respective players, in round 2, which match do you think has been, or will be, the biggest upset?

Iconic: Song of Life's win over Ojama was the most surprising in my opinion, as Ojama is a pretty renowned name in the tournament circuit, while I'll be honest that I've never heard of Song of Life before. Guess it just goes to show that in Pokemon (especially BW) anyone can really beat anyone!

Kevin Garrett: I may be having some tunnel vision on this one, but I saw the biggest upset being ToF defeating august. ToF is an outstanding player, but he hasn't been shy about sharing his frustration with the BW metagame. Looking at those tiebreaker games solely on record from Round 1, you would have to give a big edge to the 3-0 player.

Hipmonlee: I'm probably not the guy to ask this one, I don't really have the same knowledge of BW players as everyone else, but the match that probably caught my attention was mostwanted beating K-12. Largely because it was the game that knocked Spain out of the tournament, and I think K-12 was one of the guys Spain were really banking on.

Stone Cold: For me the biggest upset of the round was Lavos Spawn versus M Dragon. M Dragon, considered to be a powerhouse in tournaments, versus one of the most-hated OU battlers since Sprinkles. No one expected Lavos to walk away with the win and it was definitely a shock to most players I am sure.

Eo Ut Mortus: So speaking of upsets, and kind of returning back to teams... what were your reactions to Canada's eliminations? A consistent team barely misses playoffs. Do you think Canada could or should have made it to Round 2?

Iconic: I don't think Canada "should have" made it to Round 2, but I was pretty disappointed that we weren't able to complete our comeback. I remember Atticus asking "Are we just playing for pride now?" after our record fell to 2-9, and making it all the way back to 12-12 was pretty phenomenal in my opinion. In the tiebreaks we caught a couple of unlucky breaks but ultimately we didn't play well enough to punch our ticket to Round 2. Still, I'm damn proud of the seven guys I played with, as they all played great (and better than me!).

Kevin Garrett: Canada had a good looking roster, but only a couple have kept up with the BW metagame. It wouldn't have been a surprise if they made it, but I can't say I expected them too either. If they did advance it would have been on the strength of team support and preparation.

Iconic: Ironically the only guy on our team who didn't keep up with BW was Atticus, our only 3-0! One of life's great mysteries...

Hipmonlee: I feel pretty ambivalent about Canada, on the one hand, I would have loved them to make Round 2 because I just know in my bones, that Jackal is fated to never win the World Cup. So Canada making Round 2 just meant one less team to beat. On the other hand, it does warm my heart just a little bit to know that my bones were right.

Stone Cold: I have no comment towards Canada this World Cup. I was more surprised by Metro being eliminated. Funkasaurus was one hell of a surprise this year, and being one of Metro's only 3-0's, I was certain he would have led them into the playoffs.

Eraddd: Well, Stone conveniently brings us to the next topic on our, Team US Metro. Like Canada, they failed to make it to Round 2 in the tiebreaker. Are any of you surprised at this or did you expect them to fail before the tournament even started?

Kevin Garrett: Coming into the tournament we didn't know what to expect. Metro is the smallest geographic region and many homegrown talents have tried to find greener pastures on other teams. We were really thrilled to bring back multiple past official tournament winners, but weren't sure what to expect. We stuck together as a team and just came up a little short in the tiebreakers. It was probably the best group ever assembled, I really enjoyed the time we spent together.

Hipmonlee: Smallest geographic region? What kind of an excuse is that? How many millions of people live in Manhattan alone?

Kevin Garrett: Those numbers don't translate precisely to top-level Pokemon talent. Besides, I wasn't aware that I was using that as an excuse? I said that in the context that we didn't know what to make coming into the tournament. We felt very good once the lineup was decided.

Stone Cold: I would like to add that this year's Metro did give an opportunity to such players as august, who seems to have had a resurgence in the metagame after being gone for so long. With him returning and hopefully sticking around until next year, and Funkasaurus developing after being a no name, Metro could really turn into a threat next year. Although a small region, Metro has housed some of the best battlers from Smogon, with three current trophy holders. Who knows how far they would have gone if ToF decided to stick around.

Hipmonlee: To be fair population-wise, Metro might actually be the smallest team in the tournament. So I forgive you.

Kevin Garrett: That was probably the highlight of the tournament for Metro, displaying a guy who was relatively unknown in Funkasaurus. He put a team of veterans on his back to even get us into the tiebreaker. The future is bright for that guy.

Eo Ut Mortus: So moving on...what would you say have been the best matches of the WCOP you've seen so far? Highlight matches, nailbiters, you name it.

Kevin Garrett: No one can argue that the highlight of the tournament was the Tamers pummeling the questionable roster assembled for the Smogon side. In terms of actual games for the tournament, the biggest highlight match would have probably been reyscarface vs ToF. Those two players talk trash back and forth to each other like there's no end in sight. A pairing like that is the most interesting because I enjoy the lore of the game.

Hipmonlee: Seeing as how I only really pay attention to Oceania, the highlight for me was probably nagai vs Lamppost. A slightly lesser known player on the Oceania side up against one of the stars of East, and a tight game that went right to the wire, and for once neither player getting obscene luck or throwing away the game with a silly lapse in concentration.

Stone Cold: The match I believe was one of the biggest nailbiters also comes from Oceania vs East for Round 2 of the World Cup. Bad Ass vs Earthworm came down to the wire, Earthworm doesn't want any of his team mentioned, so I will just say, Earthworm came victorious in a 1-0 match where Bad Ass used a pretty creative team. Having just returned to the competitive scene, he did great versus one of the most consistent battlers in the game of Pokemon.

Hipmonlee: Yeah I have to admit that game was pretty stressful for a while there.

Eraddd: Well, speaking of nailbiters, we have one coming very soon, with the Asia/Latin America tiebreaker. This time, it's Eo versus Folgorio, two very known and also very feminine players. Who do you predict to win?

Iconic: Ah, Eo versus Folgorio -- the ultimate battle of rainbows and estrogen. I've got to go with my "man" Folgorio for this one. I think his style matches up well versus Eo's, and he's been on fire this World Cup. Obligatory 'eo sux!!1' I guess...

*Eo Ut Mortus leaves*

Kevin Garrett: I'm going to go with my fellow Tournament Director on this one. Eo has been on a hot streak playing lately. It will definitely be an exciting match. Both teams have made a lot of noise in the past one way or another.

Stone Cold: Having seen Folgorio only play one match since his triumphant return to Pokemon, he lost due to a misclick heard around the Smogon World. Eo on the other hand has been phenomenal somehow in tournament, although he always uses the same mons. CM max Special Defense Celebi, for those wondering, but just for the hell of it, I predict Eo here.

Eraddd: Well, it looks like my co-host Eo just ragequit because of Iconic. Going to the other tiebreaker in this round, Lamppost and panamaxis, two very strong battlers, are scheduled to play later. Obviously we have the captain of Oceania here in our panel at the moment, so I think we'll start with him.

Hipmonlee: I just hope Lamppost isn't pregnant or over the age of 70, because he may suffer serious health complications caused by the shock of such a complete loss. panamaxis will stomp Lamppost so hard the shockwave will knock both LA and Asia out of the tournament. There are insufficient battles remaining in the round to contain the level of loss panamaxis is about to inflict.

Stone Cold: Honestly, I see no way Lamppost can lose. Oceania is entirely unmotivated, and Lamppost is one of the hottest BW players in the game right now. Oceania has never lost, however they must be the biggest set of bitches I have ever seen. When their star player Earthworm bitches about having to tiebreak and whines to pana to do it, and when Heist isn't confident enough in himself to take on the match, honestly a 13 year old middle school girl is more secure than those two. Props to pana for putting up with their bullshit, but my players all volunteered to play. That's what a true team is. Let's fucking get it.

Hipmonlee: The thing about it is, worms, Heist, panamaxis, its a lock whichever way we went. As Earthworm will tell you a win's a win, and pana is going to win. There's no points for style, so we might as well share the load.

Stone Cold: You can say whatever you want. The log I was shown specifically said "Earthworm: I am not confident enough, make pana play". A win is a win huh? He was obviously confident enough to take the tiebreak right? I won't disregard pana, however Oceania chose the one player out of their top 3 who has been the rustiest. Let's hope that you made the right decision, in that panamaxis is the right guy to end a 3-year long dynasty.

Hipmonlee: Rustiest? I think you might have mistaken him for ifm? panamaxis is as sharp as ever, and he is going to cut through Lamppost's team with ease.

Stone Cold: You must have Alzheimer's old man. panamaxis went 3-1 this year so far, Lamppost is 3-1. It's about as even match-up as you can get. panamaxis is the only rusty player this year that managed to lose to someone rustier then himself, Giga Punch. Let's not forget the fact that, Oceania is the luckiest team in the tournament. FFS, they are so lucky that Head Tournament Director Earthworm had Bloo make sure our 4-0 superstar KD24 was out of town and unable to play before the tiebreaker could be held.

Hipmonlee: Funny how such a rusty player has managed to match your best in terms of record. And you missed the fact that the one player Lamppost has managed to lose to is a guy who basically only ever plays during World Cups. If pana was rusty, he shook that after his first game.

Stone Cold: Ironically Lamppost isn't the best. He's our worst battler, which is why we would find it hilarious if Oceania got dethroned by the worst player on East. We have nothing to lose, everything to gain. You guys have 3 years of holding a trophy to lose. And dude, I'd fucking start Sprinkles, chaos, or Aeolus on my WCOP team if it meant Earthworm and panamaxis were helping them out. That's not saying much.

Kevin Garrett: To bring this full circle, Stone's depiction of Oceania being a team of insecure girls made up my mind for me. I believe Lamppost will carry East to the semi-finals.

Eraddd: Gentlemen, I believe that if the WCOP was decided on trash talk, Stone Cold would have won years ago. That being said, let's move onto another topic. Although we have full faith in the integrity of Smogon players participating in the WCOP, nevertheless, which team do you believe has been ghosting the most? Speculation is perfectly fine.

Kevin Garrett: That's obviously France. When you lose a game to the timer without any instances of lag or disconnections, the player is obviously focusing on details of the game outside of the battle window.

Hipmonlee: I honestly believe every team has entered into the spirit of the competition and is trying to be as fair and honest as they can. Until I see concrete proof, I don't have any suspicions.

Hipmonlee: Except obviously Stallion who has had wormbot's !decisioncalc ghost for him in all of his matches so far.

Kevin Garrett: He took a risk and it paid off.

Stone Cold: Asia. MoP. Also, US Central without a doubt ghosted during the preliminary part of the World Cup. They would have certainly made the playoffs led by the valiant xtrashine had LonelyNess not decided to ghost 13 of their matches.

Eraddd: Well, we're reaching the end of our panel, so to conclude it, here's one last question: who's your final pick for the WCOP 2012?

Kevin Garrett: I'm going to say Asia because my buddy DracoMalfoy is in his last season of playing competitively. It would be nice to see him go out on top.

Hipmonlee: Honestly all those teams on the other side of the bracket all look the same to me now that Spain is out. West, Asia, LA, they are all going down to Oceania. But just so that I am not spouting what everyone already knows, I am gonna say that if by some miracle Oceania doesn't make it, then Brazil or East are going to take it.

Stone Cold: Once Lamppost unavoidably Baton Pass to Remoraid sweeps panamaxis, I believe US East will become the new World Cup Champions. However, if by some miracle panamaxis defies the odds, I hope Oceania declares their 4th victory so that we can get revenge next year.

Eraddd: Alright gentlemen, this concludes our panel. I thank each and every one of you for coming out and sticking through it until the very end, unlike our Canadian and feminine friend Iconic. Until next time!

Editor's Note: This panel was done before the US East / Oceania Tiebreaker today.

You can find the uncut, uncensored version of the panel here, though it is NSFW, so viewer discretion is advised.