Project OU Player Interview: #2: ABR

curiosity

idiot love will spark the fusion
is a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Live Chat Contributor Alumnus
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Welcome to the SS OU Player Interviews! The aim of the project is to feature conversations with some of the biggest names in the tier to try to learn more about them.

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abr.jpg


ABR

Favourite Pokemon: Clefable
Most used Pokemon (outside of Clefable): Corviknight
Most known for: Winning two consecutive stours, former OU Tier Leader, generally being one of the most successful players in recent history
curi.png

hey man, how are you?

abrclef.png

irl things are boring but fine, regarding pokemon/smogon ive been enjoying the game a lot

curi.png

sweet
now i should probably ask, how does it feel to be first consecutive winner of stour

abrclef.png

to screenshot my win post
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winning a tournament is always very satisfying
you put all that effort in for months and you see it come to fruition
all the teams and plays connecting its very, very rewarding
i dont think its something thatll get old any time soon
third feels at least as good as the second, second at least as good as the first

curi.png

nice
im glad to see all your effort's paying off
now on the topic of effort, do you mind telling us a bit about your stour runs
like how you prep for a game and all that

abrclef.png

thanks man
well for starters i have servers for individual playoffs i make
invite some of my closest friends who i have to bounce opinions off of
look at my opps replays to get a feel for what they could use balance that with how i feel about my own usage tendencies
combine those factors somehow to maximize my odds of winning to the best of my ability
that all sounds very scientific but sometimes stuff just feels right or doesnt as well
and ik whether about mons or not
a mans gut has value

a little bit more into the specificsearly on in the week im kind of in the idea floating stage
throw a few options out there, try to sort it both in my head and in the builder
then when its closer to the series i narrow it more and more
im not usually a big tester unless im very unfamiliar with how something operates
so its more sorting stuff in my head than anything

curi.png

lmao i get that

abrclef.png

i can explain the testing thing more if ud like
cuz ik some people r religious testers

curi.png

up to you man

abrclef.png

sure why not
so part of it is
as i alluded to before i spend a lot of time on the idea stage
starts with 1 or 2 mons as a basis
but i dont fully form 6 mons until later in the week usually and i spend a ton of time working out set details, evs and all
so just like time wise alone its not feasible for me to just pump out variations and test em like that
i also dont consider myself a grinder

separate point but in test games like people dont play it like a serious game
there will always be clicky plays from both ends and it doesnt really line up with how the real game would go
theres also a bigger issue if the person ur testing with knows ur sets (and even then only the first game is "authentic")

lastly i think it could cause some improper tendencies if x or y works during your test game you may be more inclined to do x or y during the real game, even if its not proper in that unique scenario
i like to go in with a fresh slate a fresh mindset of how a game can unfold
i also dont want to diminish any confidence i have in a team if it loses in tests
if i truly feel something is right
despite some flaws i just wanna roll with it and not second guess myself so it serves a lot of different purposes for me (to not test)
not in an objective way but its worked for me so yea

curi.png

oh yeah i get that
pretty cool outlook on things tbh

abrclef.png

id recommend anyone to genuinely explore what works for them
theres no objective best way to do things
every personality has different needs and functions

curi.png

on that note
how did you learn to prep like you do now?
like was it more just trial and error until it just clicked or did it just come naturally to you?

abrclef.png

in terms of how i prep
the balancing of opponent analysis + self analysis is something ive always aimed for
i used to be a much bigger tester though but it was just
the uncertainty that comes with being new
over time i grew to be much more confident and certain in my decisions that i didnt need the same level of reassurance to go forward

curi.png

i see
i wish i had the confidence to do that lmaoo

abrclef.png

experience is everything
same for in battle decisions mildly tangential but i imagine we'll get to it anyway
theres only so many "right plays" u can make
i used to struggle a lot with trying to get a feel for those things over-analyzing

i try not to "click" but like at some point you have a better understanding of how people play both from a general perspective and also adapting to your opponent mid game
thats another thing that just comes from experience though you cant write it or teach it

curi.png

yeah that's true hey
now after this whole discussion on prep i think i've got to ask
is there something you've used in ss recently where you've just gone like holy fuck i need to use this more?
like you've def used some interesting stuff recently


abrclef.png

necrozma.
idk if u saw but in finals i used cm shock hwave morningsun
with wish aroma clef

curi.png

yeah that game was p fun to watch

abrclef.png

most of the counterplay to it is status, pex, zera, heatom, u name it
if u can kill/chip them while they status u and heal it off later ur golden
thats what happened in my game
i got statused a few times but i aroma'd and went back to it a third or fourth time
its stupid bulky but also strong at the same time
there are very few things that reliably beat the necro aroma combo long term so as long as u can offset the opponents short term pressure ur usually good to go
pre libero etc stuff anyway
havent kept up w that

curi.png

you're def not missing out on much lol

abrclef.png

im just waiting for dlc to drop
dont really feel like bothering with a "temporary" meta

curi.png

yeah i was just about to say
what do you think of the current or ig pre-libero meta and what do you expect out of the dlcs
like is there anything you're hoping to see that's not confirmed atm

abrclef.png

i didnt like the meta as much during spl but i also felt like i wasnt as personally involved
once stour playoffs came around i got more into it and started to like it more
for reference, this is the stuff i ended up using
just had different ideas to try out, and i think theres more variety than people gave the tier credit for
vish ban definitely for the better though
stupid strong

curi.png

oml im so happy that we don't have to spam toad anymore
like ngl i lowkey forgot that defensive kommo-o existed lmao

abrclef.png

its nice because few zeras ran play rough most are busy with knot or toxic so its kinda the most reliable answer while also checking heatom nicely
the one on the incin team was sd 3atk tho cc eq ihead

curi.png

oh that set's fire
i've used that a few times before lowkey amazing

abrclef.png

yea its nice, especially if people are expecting rocks

curi.png

ok unrelated but
from the information we have on the dlc atm, what are your predictions in terms of meta shifts?
like personally im lowkey expecting ss to turn into oras v2, but im interested to hear your thoughts

abrclef.png

i dont have a ton right now admittedly
i checked out the serebii list at some point but i usually limit the theorizing and just jump into it when it releases form my opinions from there

curi.png

that's fair hey
i'm probably just way too excited for this lmao
but there's a few more things I'd like to ask
first off, do you have a team that you'd be willing to share w/ us atm

abrclef.png

yea ill post the necro one


(click for import)

curi.png

oo this looks sick, mind giving us a brief explanation?

abrclef.png

yea sure

so defensively at the time i considered this the best structure plain and simple kommo pex corv
zeras a top tier threat and kommo is the best answer to it while also being a good rocker, heatom check, shadow ball immune (when specs pult and aegi r so common) all amazing traits
pex is a tspike absorber but also the early game knock is so valuable in this tier with no megas or zs to absorb it can really make the difference with long term progress
mandis good but less necessary with kommo as sball immune so i opted for corv as my main fogger and obviously nice vs the grounds that threaten pex
sturdy momentum grabber, uk the drill
and yea well clef is clef i think if ur not using HO, ur handicapping urself by not using clef
theres nothing else to it
whether thats orb calm mind rocks wish u name it a clef set fits on every team
offensively speaking i really like the zera/pult type mons the scarfers in this tier are kinda bad (like hydra, etc) so the non scarf speed control revenge killing is super super good while also applying offensive pressure
i liked zera here because it gave me an electric immune but also let me revenge hex pult (which couldve been an issue with my own pult)
for the necro slot i was considering other mons like aegi, jirachi i knew i wanted it to pressure clef but necro just seemed amazing and once i realized i could run aroma clef alongside it i was sold

curi.png

sweet, thanks for sharing this
and i think the last thing left to ask is
got anyone to shoutout?
i would've asked right after we started but i completely forgot LOL

abrclef.png

haha all good
lets see
northeast, TLC, kong, ng, cclm
for being fun to hang out with

curi.png

is there anything else you'd like to say for the people reading this?

abrclef.png

just a thanks to those who reach out showing their support, always means a lot no matter who its coming from and thanks for reading

curi.png

thanks for the time man

abrclef.png

thanks for doing this


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Feel free to ask ABR any questions! If anyone has any recommendations, feel free to hit me up on discord at curiosity#275 or shoot me a convo on smogon if you're still doing that sort of stuff. I'll also leave a link to his previous interview with false if you really want to read over that. Next interview will probably be with the winner of classic, so stay tuned! Edit: if ABR does manage to win classic we're 100% doing this again.
 

Ruft

Dance first, think later
is a member of the Site Staffis a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
Won OST Predictions
You made 2nd seed for both Smogon Tour and Classic playoffs. How would you compare your experience playing for either tournament? Do you find it harder to succeed in one over the other? Do you enjoy playing modern gens or old gens more (I've heard GSC is your favorite)?

As for your gameplay, many people would dub you as the master of status (paralysis in particular, at least in modern gens). Do you think this is a fair assessment? Do you tend to have a particular reasoning for your seemingly copious usage of Thunder Wave on teams (e.g., speed control, neutering particular threats) or do you perhaps think the crippling nature of paralysis is so valuable in itself that you feel the need to abuse it? That is to say, is yellow magic real?

Props on your continuous tournament success. Your consistency is inspiring and it's great to see you establish yourself as one of the greatest, or quite possibly the GOAT.
 
Hello ABR, I have a few questions. You are an inspiring player and not only for ingame and building, you have a very good mind, so my first question is how do you manage the pressure of each very important match, managing the rng and staying very calm while the time?


What are your tips for getting serious about starting a tier and getting good results quickly?

What is your favorite tier all and what do you think of low tier, have you tried seriously?

Do you think , the RBY rewards the best player in each tournament, if yes think about going deeper to bring something new thanks to your vision of the game and your unrivaled thinking about the game ?

Question that you aren't obliged to answer as it concerns irl but what studies / professions do you
do, what are you passionate about in life except pokemon?

Good luck in the classic and the wcop. I also wish you a lot of success and happiness in your life , this is the most important. take care of yourself and don't put too much pokemon on top of your life, you are someone very intelligent and fair with people. I appreciate that
 
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You made 2nd seed for both Smogon Tour and Classic playoffs. How would you compare your experience playing for either tournament? Do you find it harder to succeed in one over the other? Do you enjoy playing modern gens or old gens more (I've heard GSC is your favorite)?
I consider stour to be the easier of the two for sure. Considering there are 9 weeks and you can play up to 2 each week, that's 18 total tournaments to get points from. Classic cups only amount to 5 total, so stour is definitely more extensive. The amount of variance decreases and things even out more over 18 tournaments especially. Regarding what I enjoy playing, I don't really have a preference of new gens vs old gens. I love the freshness and unexplored nature of newgens, but I love looking for new stuff to do in oldgens as well. Especially if I feel like I've been focusing a lot on the current gen, it's nice to have different metas to play around with.

As for your gameplay, many people would dub you as the master of status (paralysis in particular, at least in modern gens). Do you think this is a fair assessment? Do you tend to have a particular reasoning for your seemingly copious usage of Thunder Wave on teams (e.g., speed control, neutering particular threats) or do you perhaps think the crippling nature of paralysis is so valuable in itself that you feel the need to abuse it? That is to say, is yellow magic real?
I don't think that assessment is totally inaccurate at least. It's a combination of bulkier teams that I'm known for fitting more status moves than offenses do, and also the value I find in their usage. The best way to describe it would be that any amount of attack damage can be healed off and neutralized, while status sticks (in most cases, anyway). A 25% chance really isn't so small when you create repeated opportunities to go for it either. Yellow magic is real.

Props on your continuous tournament success. Your consistency is inspiring and it's great to see you establish yourself as one of the greatest, or quite possibly the GOAT.
Thank you!

~

Hello ABR, I have a few questions. You are an inspiring player and not only for ingame and building, you have a very good mind, so my first question is how do you manage the pressure of each very important match, managing the rng and staying very calm while the time?
The main advice I can give is to remain confident and optimistic. I try to remind myself (both regarding mons and not regarding mons) that there are some things I can control and some things I cannot control. I just try to focus on the parts I can control (how I prepare, play) while accepting and believing in the parts I cannot (rng).

What are your tips for getting serious about starting a tier and getting good results quickly?
Watch replays upon replays. See what people use, how they use them, how general interactions go. Once you get comfortable enough you can try making your own teams and learning from your own experiences that way. I'll drop the "mons is mons" here, just need to gather the basic knowledge and familiarize from there.

What is your favorite tier all and what do you think of low tier, have you tried seriously?
GSC is probably my favorite and has been for a while. Offense and stall both have certain game plans and strategies to implement, and from turn 1 you're trying to make that happen. It's less about "can I predict what my opp does on this turn" and more "can I position myself better over x amount of turns." I've never really been into lower tiers honestly, 8 generations of OU keep me busy enough.

Do you think , the RBY rewards the best player in each tournament, if yes think about going deeper to bring something new thanks to your vision of the game and your unrivaled thinking about the game ?
Yea I mean there are dumb things like perma freezes and high crit rates and 1/255 misses, but the tier is still very skill oriented and some people prove that consistency is possible there. There are some things that can be explored more but nothing I can specify right now really.

Question that you aren't obliged to answer as it concerns irl but what studies / professions do you
do, what are you passionate about in life except pokemon?
I'm interested in psychology, not sure what kind of job that'll end up being though. I just enjoy talking to people and trying to understand the human mind more.

Good luck in the classic and the wcop. I also wish you a lot of success and happiness in your life , this is the most important. take care of yourself and don't put too much pokemon on top of your life, you are someone very intelligent and fair with people. I appreciate that
You are beyond kind, thanks a lot for the message
 
Hey ABR

for what mon you look for the most from the upcoming DLC in a few days, like what mon you look most forward to use and why?

What kind of food you like the most and what do you prefer? Burger King or McDonalds?

What kind of music do you listen to actually and what are your favorite artists from that genre?

and last but not least good luck w the classics run, you have been doin amazing recently and i hope we see some lit games in the classic series.
 
In my opinion ABR is known for stall + bulky offense builds but what is your favorite team archetype furthermore i wanna know whats your opinion on HO and why we don't see you use that more often
 
Hi ABR,

Firstly, I wanted to say congratulations on the back to back stour wins (which is absolutely insane) and your overall tournament success. You're an official contender for GOAT status.

There's a lot of questions I would love to ask, but I'll keep it to three.

1. What would you say is the most difficult aspect of Pokemon battling? Specifically in tournament settings.
2. What is it that makes Clefable your favourite Pokemon? Alakazam was your former favourite mon, at what point did that shift happen?
3. A bit of a funner one, if there was one ban in any gen that you could overturn, what would it be?
 
Hey ABR

for what mon you look for the most from the upcoming DLC in a few days, like what mon you look most forward to use and why?
no specific mons but i’m really excited to explore the meta more as a whole
What kind of food you like the most and what do you prefer? Burger King or McDonalds?
barbecue is probably my overall favorite and i do it a lot over the summer. don’t have either much but mcd>bk
What kind of music do you listen to actually and what are your favorite artists from that genre?
(refer to post below)
and last but not least good luck w the classics run, you have been doin amazing recently and i hope we see some lit games in the classic series.
thank you!
how useful is the ladder for serious practice as a top player?
it depends what you’re looking for, i never ladder outside of olt/suspects myself but some people like it to just get games and face a wide array of teams
how do you like your steak
medium well minimum, well done sometimes. overly red/bloody is simply offputting
In my opinion ABR is known for stall + bulky offense builds but what is your favorite team archetype furthermore i wanna know whats your opinion on HO and why we don't see you use that more often
my most used / favorite is balance, just a flexible mix of offense and defense, but i like all styles at different times, in different scenarios. i don’t use pure HO a ton because i consider it to be very inflexible, containing a few crucial turns and not a lot of room to make up for those if they go wrong
Now that the DLC is live, what are some of your favorite parts of it?
haven’t played a ton still but it seems to have a lot more offensive flexibility than ore dlc
Hi ABR,

Firstly, I wanted to say congratulations on the back to back stour wins (which is absolutely insane) and your overall tournament success. You're an official contender for GOAT status.

There's a lot of questions I would love to ask, but I'll keep it to three.

1. What would you say is the most difficult aspect of Pokemon battling? Specifically in tournament settings.
i’m always comfortable with how i play, sometimes i struggle with identifying the types of teams i wanna use in different metagames. playing feels a lot easier than the nuances of teambuilding
2. What is it that makes Clefable your favourite Pokemon? Alakazam was your former favourite mon, at what point did that shift happen?
competitive bias, i like the designs of both though
3. A bit of a funner one, if there was one ban in any gen that you could overturn, what would it be?
(refer to zomog question below)
What is your process for thinking through 50-50's that lets you "get it right" more often than not
if you mean earlier in the game its not a 50/50 and if you mean later in the game then there is no strategy and it is simply a 50/50, coinflip
If you had to make one balancing change (ban/unban) for every gen, what would each one be
adv - sleep moves banned, no clause;
rby - wrap banned

can’t really say there’s anything i’d change about the others rn
 
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What kind of music do you listen to actually and what are your favorite artists from that genre?
just so it's visible i'll answer this here. some all time favorite songs, harder to pinpoint artists but there may be overlapping ones below

bonus, soul opening piece over an hour long but what i listen to for long plane rides and drives

 

Freeroamer

The greatest story of them all.
is a Tiering Contributor
One of the things that most impresses me about your gameplay that I wish I was better at is your ability to manage longer, drawn out games where the route to victory perhaps isn’t so clear as remove/chip x win with y. Do you have any advice about playing out these kinds of games?

Have you ever tried playing chess?

Best of luck in classic and wcop!
 
How do you like your eggs in the morning?
have it rarely but my guilty pleasure is a bacon egg & cheese on a bagel, on a more frequent basis sunny side up with toast

One of the things that most impresses me about your gameplay that I wish I was better at is your ability to manage longer, drawn out games where the route to victory perhaps isn’t so clear as remove/chip x win with y. Do you have any advice about playing out these kinds of games?

Have you ever tried playing chess?

Best of luck in classic and wcop!
the main advice i can give is to be flexible with how you try to win. if won’t always be as simple as something calm minding or some other choice scarf mon sweeping. maybe hazards and tedious pivoting get the job done.

i don’t even know the basic rules of chess.

thank you!
 
hey ABR, what's your team building process? do you have any tips to improve in the competitive of Pokemon?
 

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