BSSI Champion Spotlight: Greilmercenary9

Approved by cant say
Special thanks to the people at smogon ubers, I borrowed a lot of the questions and the format from them!

Happy New Year to all of my Battle Spot buds! To kick off 2019, I'd like to present to you all with an in depth interview from our newest Battle Spot Singles Invitational Champion, Greilmercenary9. Without further ado, here's what Greil had to say!


List of Accomplishments
2018 BSSC Invitational Champion, 2018 BSLT Champion, 6-0 record in USM BSS in BSPL3 (9-1 in BSPL all-time), 2017 BSSC Invitational qualifier, 2000+ BSS rating on USM cart for Seasons 10 and 12, top 5 U.S. BSS cart ladder ranking in Seasons 4-12, top 5 U.S. BSS cart ladder ranking ORAS Season 16

Main Questions

1. Give me an overview of your playing career
"I started lurking on Smogon during very late 3rd/early 4th gen mostly to help get mons in-game that I might be able to use for something competitive at some point down the line. Played UU and some OU in late Gen 4, and used to keep a fair spot on the ladder when I mained that. Also played some OU at the start of Gen 5, but grad school forced me to devote most of my time to that so I mostly didn’t play through late 2011-2012. Started playing GBU on cart in 2013 and was mediocre, though since I didn’t RNG abuse I didn’t have perfect mons, which hurt. Started playing 6th gen Battle Spot on cart in late 2014 and started getting high ratings first in XY and then in both it and ORAS when both ladders were up. The 7th gen games have been by far my most successful from a competitive standpoint though, as starting with Season 3 I have made 1800+ every season and 1900+ most seasons, including 2k twice this year in Season 10 and Season 14. Started playing Smogon BSS tournaments in May 2017 and made it to Quarters before losing to Chemcoop in a really close set in Season 4.

The rest of 2017 was pretty decent owing to my 3-1 BSPL record, but I crashed out of both the Season 5 BSSC tournament and Invitational, which was disappointing. In 2018 though I was much more consistent, and my worst finish was my R16 loss to Psynergy in the Winter Seasonal. But going 16-3 this year in sets, and with all of my losses in sets going the maximum number of games, was more than I could have expected coming into the year."

2. What is the origin of your name?
"Greilmercenary9 comes from the Greil Mercenaries led by Greil--and later Ike--featured in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn."

3. What is your first memory of Pokemon?
"In 1999 one of my friends introduced me to the video game not long after I had found some of the cards. I had so much fun with the game that we had to agree to me not playing it while hanging out since I would get so engrossed that I would forget to do anything else lol. So for my next birthday, I asked for the recently released Pokemon Yellow and a Game Boy Color to play it with."

4. How did you get started in Battle Spot Singles?
"When online battling on the cartridge became a reality in BW I was excited to finally use some of the Pokemon I had trained on cartridge in real PvP battles. I was a little disappointed that the format wasn’t 6v6 since that was what I had played competitively to that point, but the excitement overrode that. But with limited resources during Gen 5 in concert with grad school providing a sizeable IRL distraction, I was only an above average player in BW and BW2. The 6th gen updates to breeding and guaranteed 3 perfect IV legends, as well as not working on a grad school thesis during 6th gen, meant that I started getting a lot better results much faster in the XY and then ORAS BSS metagames. I wasn’t playing with a handicap like I had been in some of BW2, so I was able to use my tactical skills to achieve much better results. By late in the ORAS metagame I was getting top 5-10 US results."

5. What pokemon are you best with in BSS and why?

"Probably either Gengar or Mimikyu, and if I had to pick one I’d probably say Mimikyu. Disguise just allows for so much tactical utility in 3v3 where the one turn it makes a difference on is very likely to swing the game if used well. Gengar, for its part, can use Shadow Tag to control matchups during the battle to some degree, and if something is in that gets outsped and OHKOed by Gengar (or otherwise can’t touch it) once it has gone mega, then the respect they have to pay the potential switch puts a ton of pressure on the opponent."

6. What would you describe as your play style?
"The archetype style I normally play is bulky offense, mainly because I think it is probably the most reliable and arguably the best playstyle for consistently strong results. More generally I would say I have a somewhat aggressive but also an extremely tactical style. I am looking for the most efficient way to win at all times, but I’m more than willing to try to make a hard read or take a risk (*cough Hypnosis cough*) if I feel that is required to win."

7. Provide us with a team that you think accurately sums up your play style?

"Go check out my RMT!"

8. What is your most memorable game/set of BSS?
Before this year’s Invitational this would have been my BSLT Finals set with Chemcoop in a runaway. But my Semifinals set against Psynergy in the Invitational is right up there with it now, especially since I managed to pay it off by winning the tournament. Links to vods below: Vs. Chemcoop in BSLT Finals Vs. Psynergy in Invitational Semifinals

9. Talk to us about BSPL.

"This year’s BSPL was very exciting and I enjoyed it. Teamlock was new for Singles, and at first I was a little worried about having a bad enough matchup in a set that I might just drop a set of that. I’m happy to say that I think those fears were mostly unfounded, and I actually enjoyed the challenge of having to make sure that my one team was more prepared for specific threats. Blanket checks like Curse Mimikyu helped, and then just finding outs even in bad matchups (most notably my Week 3 set vs Bobochan, where my team matchup was extremely poor but I somehow found a way to win anyway) was intriguing in its own right. I was disappointed that our team didn’t make the Finals, especially when I didn’t get the chance to play a set that would’ve put us through if I had won due to the game’s RNG being horrible to Solerme with a critical Leaf Storm miss in Game 3 vs NOVED, but it’s the game we play. Next year I hope to see another exciting tournament, though it’d be cool to capture a title next time. Going undefeated individually again would be nice too."

10. What is your advice for newer players trying to get into Battle Spot?
"Try things out. Play a lot. Newer players are often going to face a bit of a learning curve, so it can be a tough balance to strike between wanting to play as well as possible and acknowledging that with a lack of experience you’re probably going to make some suboptimal plays. Several other members of the community have mentioned that both looking over your own replays and watching the games of top players are good strategies, and I agree completely with both and still do both regularly myself.

When things go badly, I think it’s important to remember the following quote: “It’s OK to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.” If you’re winning every game you’re playing you need to find more stringent competition, because if you’re winning every game you’ll eventually stagnate somewhat as a player and you probably aren’t really pushing yourself to get better or refine your own play--I know I still need that because looking at my own replays I still see times where I can play much more precisely. And frankly, with the luck involved in our game, eventually you’ll have a game where the luck just doesn’t go your way. The key is to control what you can control, much like a pro poker player controls as much as they can but on any given hand is ultimately at the mercy of the cards if it comes to that. But I know that actually going through failure is much harder than that and reading some quote doesn’t just make it feel better, so I understand that actually following that advice is really hard."

11. What ideas do you have to grow the scene (both overall players in general and competitive players)
"I’ll be honest: this is not my forte, as I prefer to focus on improving at the game, and I’m not a particularly adept promoter or advertiser. I’ve seen some interesting ideas suggested especially on the BSSC Feedback Thread though, and one I personally think is very interesting is 11oyd’s idea that we could have badges and an Elite Four. That wouldn’t be directly related to the circuit of course, but I do think it might interest some more casual players since there really isn’t the same time commitment involved, and it might allow for some fun theme teams, side events, or friendly to keep the atmosphere both competitive and light.

Overall, though, I think growing USM BSS in particular right now is not the easiest task: the games have been out for well over a year, and most of the casual crowd has moved on to other things, including Let’s Go. Others have mentioned that this means that even the low ladder on cart can be very difficult for a newcomer, and while I didn’t experience this in XY in particular, I also already had a background in competitive battling, so it was an easier transition for me than it might be more someone who is trying the format for the first time. This balance between rewarding excellent play and making the game/format appealing to new players (where having a decent chance to win against anyone is a huge help so the new players don’t get frustrated) or just as exciting as possible to watch or pay attention to in general is something that competitive games and sports will always have to weigh carefully. Usually by this point in the life cycle though it tends towards the former somewhat though.

That said, I’m optimistic going forward. We have seen a decent influx of new players over the course of this year, with many of them performing very well after a little seasoning, so while it has slowed down a little compared to, say, the very beginning of 7th gen, I think that’s mostly just a natural consequence of the game’s life cycle and will likely ramp up again as we approach the release of the 8th Gen games."

Random Questions

1. What pokemon do you see as a sleeper pick in BSS and why?

"There are a lot of interesting choices here, but I think Mega Lopunny is constantly underrated. Its speed tier is amazing, and in USM with the growing number of threats that can overwhelm defensive cores, a lot of faster but somewhat frail stuff is being run. Lopunny does very well against most offensive teams in an era where more and more teams are moving in that direction."

2. Which user do you admire the most? And why
"This is a tough one; hard to pick out any one person but I will make the shoutouts that I was going to make on my Finals post but didn’t get around to before the thread was locked:
  • First, shoutouts to 11oyd, Psynergy, and Mishimono for being incredible opponents in the Invitational. All of our sets were all very exciting and I think a couple of them rivaled the best sets in the tournament, and it was fun to battle all of you.
  • I also want to shoutout to Chemcoop: you are an incredible BSS player, and if it weren’t for some really horrible luck in these Invitationals the last two years you might very well have an Invitational title of your own already. Your consistent extremely high level of play always pushes me to keep getting better, because I know with you around the Red Queen hypothesis is in full effect!
  • The next shoutout goes to Solerme: when you drafted me in BSPL a year and a half ago, you were getting a cart ladderer who had nearly knocked off Chemcoop in a tournament but had very little other simulator tournament experience in many years. I was still a pretty unknown quantity in the community outside of Chemcoop, Noved, and a couple of others who had taken notice of my play. I’m not sure any of us--myself included--expected things to go as well from there as they did. But I’m glad that I’ve been able to help out the Farseers the past few years, and I appreciate your constant support even in non-BSPL stuff more than I can effectively express here. I might not have been able to bring the Farseers a BSPL title either of the past two years, but at least we have an Invitational Title to make up for that now.
  • Before continuing: shoutout to DragonWhale for running the Circuit. Thank you for all your hard work!
  • Shoutout to NOVED for managing his team to BSPL victory this year and for just generally being a great guy to talk to.
  • The last shoutout goes to cant say and 11oyd for fun streams, whether BSS, Let’s Go, or anything else. These are always enjoyable and often stoke my interest in getting back into the game if I’ve taken some time off."
3. Thoughts on Pokemon Lets Go?
"I haven’t played the Smogon format yet but the game is surprisingly enjoyable for another Kanto remake. I think the little changes made in the Yellow formula and the immense graphical upgrade on any other Kanto game really helps. That said, as much as I like Kanto, Game Freak might want to dial down the nostalgia meter from 11 for the next main series games, because the Kanto influence has been extremely pervasive recently even for a big fan of the original games."

4. Who is your favorite memer in BSS?
"Both cant say and Ika are talented at using offbeat Pokemon on teams, and the streams where CS uses the offbeat teams are always fun. Xeroslash hasn’t played much BSS lately but his exploits with a Glalie + CasinoGar team back during the summer were extremely inconsistent but also immensely entertaining."

5. You have the big red button. You can nuke a pokemon off the face of this planet. Which one do you choose (does not have to be a competitive mon!)

"See you later, Glalie! If we’re talking non-competitive, Spinda probably turns into the main contender though. Don’t do drugs kids."

6. Which BSS streamer has the sexiest voice?
"Since no ladies regularly stream BSS at least in the community, none lol. But for just most interesting voice to listen to, both Australians (cant say and 11oyd) who stream regularly do very well. Some days I wish I had an Australian accent lol. For color commentary on streams of tournament sets Chemcoop also does a really impressive job of breaking down what is going on at any given time."

7. Best Fire Emblem Game?

"As my username might imply, Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn are my favorite FE games. I think Path of Radiance has the better story and plays like a classical FE game far moreso than Radiant Dawn does, but I think some of the gameplay mechanics were at their height in Radiant Dawn even if its ambition with story sometimes made it more annoying to play if you didn’t know precisely when party POV changes would occur. I also enjoyed all of the GBA FEs too, although I somewhat prefer the Tellius games."

8. Have you played the new smash bros game? What do you think about it.
"I just bought it as a Christmas present to myself but haven’t had time to play it yet, so I’ll have to chime in on this sometime later."

Life Questions:
1. What are you up to outside of pokemon? (other activities, job/school, etc)

"Mostly work. I teach history at the high school level so that takes up much of my time, and is part of why I am usually able to be more active playing in the summer. I also follow sports when I can and had a successful season with my fantasy football teams, with over 70% of them reaching the Finals of their respective leagues and around 50% of them winning their league title (depending on how this last Colts - Titans game goes)."

2. What are your goals for the new year?
"I would like to help make sure we have resources on the Forum updated for the late USM meta, and I would also like to continue being successful both in tournaments and on cart at BSS. I’ve also been thinking about getting back up to speed on a Smogon tier or two just to continue to expand my range as a player. Outside of Pokemon, I would like to travel a bit more in the near future and I would like to get back into playing golf more regularly again. I used to be pretty decent but going a long time without practice is particularly brutal in golf."

3. What are your long term plans in life?
"This is a harder question to answer. I would definitely like to continue to be successful at both my job and my hobbies, but I also don’t have any plans to move or make any major changes in the near future. Not saying that couldn’t change, but for now things are going fairly well."

Thank you to Greil for spending the time to answer the questions! Please feel free to ask other questions in this thread!
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Greil I'm going to ask you bizarre BSS questions

Who do you think is top 10 in BSS? (Of course, you being #1) Shoutouts to bobochan weird list
The most promising new player that has potential?
Out of all the players that you face or that you could face, who would you not want to face?

Random Qs
Do you have any pets?

Enjoy the new year buddy! Hope to see lots of more great things from you!

Edit: Might put more questions but I couldn't think of any at this moment.
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cant say
is a member of the Site Staffis a Top Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Super Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Battle Simulator Moderatoris a Team Rater Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnus
Battle Spot Leader
if you were to manage a team in BSPL4 what would you name the team?

what changes would you like to see in Gen 8 BSS to improve the format?

If we were to do a BSS CAP how would you design the perfect BSS mon? Or maybe create something to perform some kind of niche..?

thoughts on GBU/ORAS and how they compare to USUM BSS?
To Greil: I know you are an advisory figure for quite a few managers in BSPL, especially in the predraft phase. My question is, what do you believe is the key to getting a good draft?
Greil even though you have made five entries into the 2018 hall of fame, gone undefeated in BSPL and won BSSC invitationals, do you think you will ever be able to reach no.1 on Bobochan's power rankings?

On a side note, tip of the hat to our resident journalist, 1_TrickPhony. Thanks for taking the time and effort for all of your interviews!
1_TrickPhony This year I had a lot of shares of Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott, DeAndre Hopkins, and Antonio Brown across my teams, all of which were big players in the success of my teams. I also got good value on Tyreek Hill and Drew Brees in several leagues as they tended to go for less than I valued them for. Some of the lesser touted players that I drafted a lot of shares of included Kenny Golladay, George Kittle, and Philip Rivers, and all of them played well at different points during the season (though Rivers kind of torpedoed one of my teams on Championship week when he played poorly against the Ravens). I also avoided some land mines, most notably only having a few shares of Le'Veon Bell--and trading out of most of the few I did end up with for 60 cents on the dollar before it became clear he wouldn't play at all--and having no shares of Kareem Hunt when he got suspended/released mid-season.

I also managed to make some strong waiver wire acquisitions on most of my teams: the most notable were getting James Conner on a lot of teams before the season started, picking up Patrick Mahomes after his strong Week 1 (I still didn't see a 50 TD season coming though!), and picking up Nick Chubb when he took over the starting RB job for the Browns after the Carlos Hyde trade. I also picked up several shares of Chiefs RB Damien Williams, Rams RB C.J. Anderson, and Ravens QB Lamar Jackson that helped some of my teams through the playoffs.

As for the Super Bowl, it’s tough to say. I think there are several teams with a legitimate chance, but I think right now I’d say the Saints are the most complete team and have the best shot, especially since they have home field throughout the NFC playoffs.

Puff Killa I feel like by late in the year there was a pretty clear top 3 with Chemcoop, Psynergy, and myself (Jhon would also be in this mix to make a top 4 but for power rankings it's hard to not penalize him somewhat for only playing 4 USM BSS games in tournaments for all of 2018), but after that I feel like there's a bunch of good players who all compete for the 5-12 spots or so and are pretty close together.

As for up and coming players, I think Darkinium is probably the most obvious answer. It's worth noting that most of his success has come in past gens, and thus is more unproven in USM than his reputation might suggest, but he does have a couple of solid USM set wins and has obviously shown that he can handle being in a competitive environment with aplomb given how he performed in BSPL. I wouldn't be surprised if he won an event in 2019.

If I'm really in a must win scenario, then refer to the others in my Top 4 above for opponents who I feel like I'd have lower percentages against than if I was going up against a random player.

cant say Not totally sure on BSPL team names, but some ideas include the Lumiose Lanturns, the Slateport Seakings, and the Cinnabar Eruptions.

Nerfing some abilities like Moody (making the boost only one stage would mostly fix this) and Disguise (making the Disguise vulnerable to entry hazards would help) somewhat would probably provide better balance, although given my success with Mimikyu I'm not sure how much I'd like the latter. We've seen this happen before though with Mega Kangaskhan and Talonflame, but I'm not sure we'll see these nerfed since they don't have the overwhelming meta influence on Doubles/VGC that Mega Kangaskhan and Talonflame did in XY/ORAS.

I'll have to think more about the CAP question. I'm much better at refining and executing ideas like this than I usually am at being the main innovator.

I may be in the minority but my order of preference goes USM > ORAS > GBU. I like revisiting the old generation BSS formats on occasion, but having also played them on cartridge at the time they were current, USM has been more enjoyable when played regularly over a sustained period. GBU was overly invested in weather wars and certain specific Pokemon like Breloom, Conkeldurr, and Suicune, and while I enjoyed XY/ORAS much more than GBU I was glad to see SwagPlay and evasion both nerfed significantly in the transition to 7th gen.

Devilican It's hard to give a specific prescription here because I think being able to adapt quickly to what is going on in an auction draft is critical to success. The adaptability itself is important enough that it might be the answer to your question. For instance, in the most recent BSPL draft the extreme spending early on changed the dynamic significantly, and the managers who I think did the best in the draft were the ones who adapted to this the fastest and made the necessary adjustments to their strategy to take advantage of how the draft was progressing.

GroudonEmpire If I had a more definitive answer I'd have reached 2k more than twice! Just keep playing your game, take note of meta trends, adapt the best you can, and then see where the chips fall.

11oyd At this point I doubt it--if what you listed didn't put me there then basically nothing will.
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