Other OU Player of the week #6: M Dragon

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Welcome to OU's Player of the week, a thread where I interview well known players to gain insight on how they battle, as well as get to know some things about them. The goal of this thread is to have these high level players give insight to other players in this community in hopes of creating a better overall experience in the OU environment. As always, if theres someone youd like to see interviewed, feel free to shoot me a PM. So without further ado, lets get to it! (Just a note: Anyone tagged in this post was tagged in the interview by M Dragon)​

Most Known For:
Winning Smogon Tour, being able to play every gen at a good level, being a member of the OU council...

Favorite Pokémon:
Latios

Most Used Pokémon:
Tyranitar

Where did you get your name from?
Back in 2002, I joined the Spanish Nintendo forums with the nick Eonking (because Latios was my fav mon), although I did not play competitively (it wasn't until 2004 when I discovered Netbattle). I joined Netbattle for the first time because a monotype tournament, so I decided to change my nick in Netbattle. At that time there was a player who was very good and considered as one of the best spanish players (he still plays with the nick Sand Alchemist but he sucks now... (jk xd dont kill me :( )), whose nick was "Maestro Arena" (Sand Master in English) and was a big fan of TSS teams (toxic + spikes + sandstorm). So I decided to play in that monotype tournament as "Maestro Dragon" (Dragon Master in English), because my fav mons were all dragon or dragon-likes (like mence, dnite, latios, flygon, ttar...), and then I changed it to M Dragon. After that tournament I kept that nick all these years, although I have also played as Ardorin a lot as well, and in some forums my nick is Ardorin, a character of Calico Electronico, which was a series of Flash animations that were p famous in Spain back in 2004-2006.

How and when did you get into competitive battling?
I already said in the last answer how I started playing competitive pokemon, so I will continue from there. After that monotype tournament (which I lost terribly), I got interested in competitive pokemon and I started learning p quickly. At that time there were great hispanic players like Arena, Gaditano, Lince, make, Siegfried, Pedro, Tay Yen and more players (I cannot remember everybody :( ) who helped me getting better (my English back then wasn't good enough so I just stayed in hispanic communities like Cemzoo or Stats), although I remember staying in Smogon server and watching battles of big names like VIL, Husk, Loki, etc. Watching them battle made me realize how strategic this game can be (especially in gens like RBY and GSC that were very popular back then). I owe a lot of what I learned to those players and am thankful to have been able to watch them play. The NB and hispanic communities I was a part of at the time were really good in general and the great times I had with them really made me want to stick with competitive battling.

What’s your favorite playstyle and why?
My favourite playstyle is balance, because I like having the control of the game and it makes games more strategic in the mid and long term, while giving me the chance of breaking the game with a surprise set, a heavy hitter at the right moment, a bulky sweeper with the right support, or a mon like Taunt Gliscor or Taunt Mew. I also feel it is the most consistent playstyle, because HO relies a lot more in short term predictions, and a lot of times, if you do make those short term predictions right you are in a big disadvantage, and recovering from a bad position with a HO team is much harder than with a balanced team.
There are 2 kind of balance I like using a lot: bulky volturn and bulky teams that can also hit hard (with heavy hitters or bulky set uppers).

The first kind of balance is good at winning the tempo of a game and better controlling it. For example, in DPP I like using bulky u-turn teams because the move u-turn allows me to get the tempo of the game, especially with hazards, in BW I liked balanced teams with things like lando-t + rotom-w + hazards, and in XY bulky volturn + hazards is also very effective.

In every gen I also like using bulky teams that allow me to take hits well with solid defensive cores (like FWG in newer gens), but being able to hit hard as well (the 2nd kind of balance). For example, in ADV I like aggressive Toxic + Sandstorm + Spikes teams with offensive threats (Gengar, Flygon and/or Aerodactyl), or balanced teams based on a bulky sweeper (like CMBliss, CmCune CM Celebi, CurseLax, DDTar, DDMence, Heracross, etc). In DPP I like balanced teams based around a bulky sweeper or teams based around hazards + scarfers. In BW, bulky sand or rain teams with heavy hitters (like lati@s, garchomp, alakazam, dog) or bulky sweepers (like CM Reuniclus, CM jirachi or SD Scizor). In XY I also like the same kind of teams: bulky teams based around a heavy hitter or a bulky set-upper.
Even in older gens like GSC I do the same thing: bulky (like nearly everything in GSC) Explosion team based on a threat like Nidoking, Vaporeon, Machamp, etc, or a screens + para stall based around things like Marowak, Vap, BDLax, etc

Aside from the sarcasm, do you agree with everything gr8astard said about how the OU Council goes about suspecting things here?
gr8astard would even ban Pikachu if he sees a game like this one!!
Fortunately Im there to stop him from being that ban happy.

Are there any bans that you disagreed with, and if you had a chance to ban or unban something, what would you choose, if anything?
The only ban I disagreed with was with the Aegislash ban, but because I wanted to suspect (and ban) MMawile first, and then see how the metagame evolved with Aegislash in it.
However, I would not change any ban because I like the metagame as it is atm (even though I think older gens like ADV are better metagames, but that is normal because the power creep, covering everything is impossible so most teams are weak to at least one threat, some megas are really strong, etc).

If we talk about older gens, I think that it made no sense that Latias in DPP was voted OU like 6 times (I dont know the exact number) until it got banned, and after that it never had the chance to come back, and I (and others) think that Latias metagame was better than the current DPP metagame.

With ORAS just a few weeks away, how do you think that the metagame will shift in terms of playstyles?
People always try first the new things (new megas, new tutor moves, etc), and after a while, the metagame stabilizes and things can change completely (I have seen things like Terrak being UU in early BW in PO).

New megas mean new very strong mons, so at first metagame will be centralized around those new megas. After a while, some megas (new megas that dont work as well) will see a big decrease in usage, and some mons (especially some old megas like zardx or scizor) will get more popularity as the metagame evolves (and/or we ban some broken megas).

It is too early to tell how ORAS will evolve, because there might be more megas in the final game, and we dont know every tutor move (for example, we recently discovered that Blaziken can learn Ice Punch in ORAS, and something like that can completely change the metagame, as did Bullet Punch Scizor in Platinum or Gunk Shot in Greninja)

How has ORAS felt, if you’ve played it? Is there anything (bar Mence) that you feel is too much for the tier?
Well, I wouldn't call the implemented metagame as ORAS yet, because as I said in last question, we don't know if there are more megas, we dont know every tutor (we just learnt about Ice Punch Ken recently and there could be more cases. Something like Gunk Shot Greg can change everythig), etc.

However it is a good way of trying the new megas and learning what megas work better, trying things like Gunk Shot Greninja, etc.

I would say Mega Mence is clearly broken in this meta, and other megas like Gross, Gallade, Lati@s, Altaria or Slowbro and some mons with new moves like MGyara or Greg are really good but probably non broken. However I would not even thing of what mons are "too much" for the tier unless we know everything.

What is your favorite OU tier to play, and why (can be across generations)?
ADV is my favourite OU tier to play, because it is a balanced tier where (nearly) every playstyle is viable, with a lot of different team styles and pretty fun to play (ADV can be very strategic as well).

I know ADV is pretty old (more than 10 years), but the metagame is still evolving (there was a time where CM teams were very popular, then Spikes + CMBliss teams, then TSS with physical heavy hitters, then trap teams...) and there are still a lot of new ideas, it is much more than "SkarmBliss" or "Spikes + Gengar".

Many players feel that team match up has been an issue since Competitive Pokémon first got its start. What do you do when building teams to migitate this as much as possible?
Team matchup will always happen, especially in later gens, and that is because there is a huge number of threats and you cannot cover all of them, and there is not much you can do.

The best thing you can do when choosing a team to battle someone in a tournament is adjusting to your opponent (how he likes playing, if he likes making risky plays, if he plays conservative, if he likes bulky teams, if he is an offensive player, etc).
When team building, the first thing I check is if my team has at least an answer vs the common threats (and that does not mean that I can wall them, it means that I can do something to that threat and it does not automatically 6-0 me, if I have at least an answer). Then I do the same thing for the most common playstyles: sand offense, rain offense, stall, etc. Looking at the most common cores or builds used and thinking about how you can get an advantage vs them is also a good idea.


Do you have any advice for players who are newer to OU?
Practice, play a battle, make mistakes, learn from them, play a battle again... The best way of learning OU metagame (and any metagame) is getting experience, and the ladder is a good way of getting experience.

When battling you should always think before making a move what you can win, but also what can you lose. Watching replays of good players, trying to understand how the player plays (why did he volt switch there? why did he switch out there? etc) also helps.

Something I recommend as well to newer players is trying solid and tested teams to learn the metagame, and thinking about what you liked using, what gave you more trouble, trying other team styles, etc. When you know the metagame, then you should start building your own teams with the experience you already got.

As a player who has played every generation of OU, how have the metagames developed since RBY?
Metagames are constantly evolving and changing, and that happens even in RBY. Generally metagames adapt to beat the most common used playstyles / cores used at a time or when a new set or a new core that works well in the current metagame is created.

RBY was the first pokemon metagame, and it has some "bugs" like Focus Energy reducing the CH chance and some different mechanics compared with later gens, like Hyper Beam not needing the recharge turn if it kills something, CH chance depends on speed (so getting a ch with something like Starmie after a couple of turns is no longer "luck" and it is something that should be expected), Wrap mechanics, Special Attack and Special Defense being the same stat (which made Amnesia really good), Sleep mechanics (you cannot attack the turn you wake up, so if the sleeper is faster you cannot hit it unless the sleep attack misses), Freeze mechanics (you cannot unfreeze), Fire not resisting Ice, there were no EVs and mons could have max stats making the metagame bulkier. RBY is heavily focused in Psychics (Alakazam, Exeggutor, Starmie, Jynx, Slowbro...) and Normals (Tauros, Snorlax, Chansey...), and the early game is very important because a good start is important in RBY (this includes the early game, sleeping something ASAP, etc). There was a time when Exeggutor lead was the most common lead because it was a solid option and it could also sleep Alakazam, another very common lead. Then people started using Jynx lead a lot to sleep Exeggutor (or to do a lot of damage to it, or even killing it with a CH with Blizzard). When Jynx leads got very popular, Gengar leads got more common because it is the fastest sleeper, although 40% chance of missing really hurts it. Alakazam and Starmie are solid leads that can para stuff or hit hard with a fast Psychic / Surf / Blizzard, or damage the Egg/Jynx lead with ST (in Alakazam case) before going to Exeggutor to get a sleep ASAP. The other thing that makes RBY evolve are threats like strong Blizzard users (Lapras, Articuno, Jynx...) that can hit very hard and freeze Chansey/Starmie, Rocks (Rhydon/Golem) that can be very hard to stop especially with a lot of paralysis support, Electrics (Zapdos/Jolteon) that are huge threats for teams without rocks, surprise moves (like Counter Chans/Lax, or Reflect Chans/Lax, or Amnesia + Reflect Lax, Sing Lap/Chans, etc) and Wrap/Clamp (Dnite, Cloy, Victreebel...)

GSC changed things a lot compared to RBY, and it is also the bulkiest metagame because like in RBY there were no EVs and pokemons could have max stats, but the most important thing was the introduction of items, especially the item Leftovers, as well as some moves like Curse, Sleep Talk, Mean Look, Perish Song, Belly Drum, Hidden Power, Spikes, etc, as well as the introduction of very bulky mons like Umbreon, Suicune, Raikou, Tyranitar, Skarmory, Miltank or Blissey. Those are the reasons why GSC is considered as the "stalliest" metagame, because every mon is very bulky, and OHKOing something is very hard. Anoter huge difference was that Special Attack and Special Defense were now 2 different stats. GSC metagame is one of the metagames that has evolved the most, and that is for different factors, like the bans (HP Legends were banned, which made Zapdos and Raikou worse, and also the Trap + Sleep + Perish Song ban which made Misdreavus worse) or the introduction of event mons like Lovely Kiss Snorlax, Lovely Kiss Nidoking or Growth Vaporeon. At first Skarmbliss (Skarmory + Blissey) teams were very popular with things like Mean Look + Hypnosis + Perish Song Misdreavus until its ban. Snorlax soon became the king of the tier, especially when it got Lovely Kiss, being nearly unkillable with Curse, and being able to beat Skarmory with Fire Blast, Rocks and Ghosts with EQ, beating Growlers (that are very good at stopping Cursers) with Belly Drum, and being able to sleep something with Lovely Kiss or even exploding. Explosion teams also started getting common (check Borat guides for more info), because they are very effective in GSC, removing threats so sweepers like Machamp or Vaporeon and mixed sweepers like Nidoking or Dragonite could sweep (for example, Cloyster is a great lure to things like Starmie, one of the best Machamp Counters if not the best). Another thing that made GSC evolve a lot was the removal in SPL 1 of Hidden Power Legends ban, so grounds like Nidoking, Marowak (probably the hardest hitting mon in the game with Thick Club), Steelix, Rhydon, etc were no longer 100% counters to Zapdos/Raikou. GSC started being a very stally metagame, and it has evolved into a more offensive metagame thanks to huge threats like Snorlax, Electrics (especially after the HP ban was removed), Explosion users, Vaporeon, Machamp, Marowak, Mixed Sweepers like Nidoking/TTar/Dnite, etc, while stall teams continue being very good.

ADV added the EVs, and that was probably one of the biggest changes in Pokemon, and that added a much bigger strategic part to pokemon since you could only max 2 of the 6 stats a pokemon can have, which also added a lot of variety to the sets a pokemon could have. As I already said in another question, ADV is my fav metagame and it is a metagame where nearly every playstyle is viable. Skarmbliss + Dusclops cores were very popular, especially at first, and metagame was a bit stally, but then the popularity of Trappers (Magneton and Dugtrio) and Pursuitters (especially T-Tar) made the metagame evolve becoming more offensive, especially with powerhouses like Metagross, Salamence, Tyranitar, Heracross, etc, and the inclusion of Choice Band, which allowed physical sweepers to hit much stronger. Magneton + CBers (Choice Banders) or Physical set uppers (like Curselax) became very common since they could easily beat those teams that heavily relied on Skarmory to stop those threats. With all the trappers being that common, and with Tyranitar and its sand negating Lefties everywhere, Dusclops lost a lot of usage, and it was replaced by Gengar as the ghost used in defensive teams to spin block, since it was much more offensive and versatile, being able to beat Pursuitters (FOcus Punch), and it was very good with Spikes support, while being able to lure Special Walls with PerishTrap, Focus Punch or Explosion.Another important thing that made the ADV metagame evolve was the creation of the CM Teams (with the popularity of JabbaTheGriffin CM team) that were based on Offensive and fast sets of CM Suicune + CM Jirachi + CM Celebi (3 mons that were very common but because their bulky sets) with Dugtrio to beat Blissey. CM Teams were very popular, so CMBliss got more popularity to beat those teams, and CM Teams reacted with CM + Roar Raikou and Suicune sets, and offensive TSS (Toxic + Spikes + Sandstorm) teams with fast and strong heavy hitters like Flygon and Aerodactyl (the fastest OU mon tied with Jolteon) also became common since those mons were very good vs CM Teams and vs typical balanced teams with Sand and Spikes support, and also Offensive Gengar.

DP added the split between Physical and Special attacks: in older gens an attack was physical or special based on its typing (for example every Water attack was special). That was huge because it allowed mons like Gyarados to use a physical water attack which made it much better (it had to use HP Flying in ADV, which was physical), while hurt other mons like Gengar (Ice/Fire Punch are physical, although he won Focus Blast). Another huge change was Choice Scarf, so Aerodactyl and Jolteon were no longer the fastest mons in OU. Another big thing was the inclusion of Abomasnow, creating Hail Stalls, which were very common in DP (until Platinum). In early DP, SkarmBliss + Cresselia cores were very popular, as well as sweepers like Weavile (it could beat Cresselia). The introduction of sweepers like SD Lucario or Infernape, as well as the introducion of Draco Meteor made the metagame evolve into a more offensive one, and Cresselia lost a lot of usage (its lack of reliable recovery in a metagame with a lot of sand and hail teams hurt it a lot). The introducion of threats like Deoxys-S in the metagame and the creation of new sets (like bulky DDMence, MixMence, etc) and cores (like CeleTran) and the ban of Garchomp and Deoxys-S were the main things that made the DP metagame evolve. Platinum changed things a lot with the introduction of Rotom-A, Bullet Punch Scizor, Outrage as a move tutor and Latias being unbanned. Things like ScarfTar, Sub Toxic Heatran, U-Turn based teams (Flygon + Scizor), are example of new sets or cores that made the metagame evolve because they were good in the metagame when they were created. With the Latias and Mence bans, FWG cores became more common, with things like Breloom and Shaymin winning a lot of usage. At the moment FWG cores and ScarfTar stall are the most common things used in DPP.

BW added the team preview, which helped reducing the "last mon hidden sweeper", helping making team matchup a lesser issue than what it could have been (because the already big list of threats). The other huge thing that BW introduced was the weather abilities (Rain and Sun) in non Uber mons, and also Sleep mechanics, that made sleep moves much better and ResTalk strategies much worse. The 2 things that contributed the most to the evolution of the BW metagame were the Dream World abilities being released progressively and the bans. At first, BW was very heavily based around the weather mons (even more than now) with Sand having Excadrill, Rain having Swift Swimmer and Sun having Venusaur. With the Excadrill and the Drizzle + Swift Swimmers ban, the metagame changed a lot. In BW2 the therian forms were introduced, as well as Kyu-B and Genesect, and it was a huge change in the metagame, especially the therian formes. Torn-T and Thund were too good in rain and they were banned, as well as Genesect. After that the metagame has evolved around the weather wars.

XY added the mega evolutions, it has the normal sleep mechanics again, and it introduced some big mechanic changes, like Spore missing vs grass mons or Electric mons being inmune to paralysis, or the nerf or perm weather abilities, reducing the weather wars BW featured. It has evolved in the same way than the other 5 OUs: some threat gets common or gets banned and the metagame adapts. For example, when offensive teams with Lando, Thund, Aegi, Deo-d, Latio@s, etc were very common, Sand teams with Excadrill became very common.


Since you were one of the main ladderers in Shoddy, how would you compare the SB ladder with the PS ladder in terms of skill?
Shoddy Battle ladder was different because some the best players in Smogon used to ladder a lot there. You could find players like Earthworm, panamaxis, Zak91, Krack, imperfectluck or myself used in ladder frequently, and that allowed you to easily get some "high level" games vs those players. I remember a lot of games that were very interesting, especially vs Zak91 and imperfectluck that were 2 of the users I used to battle the most in high ladder.

The community now is much bigger, and some of the players that used to ladder a lot (and that includes myself), now don't have that much time, and we just play some tournaments. Another thing is that I feel that being consistent in ladder, where you do not know what you can expect to face in the next game is much harder in XY than in DPP. However that does not mean that there is less skill in the PS ladder (or in the PO ladder), since there are great players there, and I have had the chance to battle most of them in the OLT.


What players do you look up to / are good friends with?
There are 4 players I would like to highlight:
  • Malekith: My best "friend" in this game, and one of my best rivals in the spanish community since DPP, and a very good player, always being in the top even if it might seem he is in a bad shape.
  • @[K-12] the Madchine : My other spanish greatest rival. He got famous in Smogon because he used a Pelipper in a WCop game... and he won (and because his terrible English). You are probably the player with the best W/L record vs me in tournaments.
  • Earthworm: One of the best players I have ever faced in every gen, and top 3 in at least 3 gens. Lol sucks btw. Our battles were all very good.
  • Veteran In Love: One of the best old gen players, with a crazy GSC and ADV record in tournaments, and the most annoying player to face in RBY (in my opinion) because fuck your Victreebel, it always gets me. Our battles in the older gens are usually very good and close.
And there are also a lot of players I think that are very good and I am in general good friends with them, like for example: panamaxis (amazing DPP player), Zak91 (dpp master zak :p, my greatest rival in SB ladder together with ipl), imperfectluck (my other greatest rival in sb ladder), Gouki (amazing dpp player), 6A9 Ace Matador (very good battle, and very complete), SoulWind (one of the best spanish players atm), make (Top ADV player), ]V[ajinTupacZ (one of my greatest ADV rivals, our games are always interesting), DracoMalfoy (DPP and ADV rival, very solid player), Borat (one of the best offensive GSC players if not the best), Astamatitos and Fear (really good team builders in ADV and very good friends), Crystal_ (very good RBY and GSC player), BKC (a very good team builder and player), @Ojama(although we rage a lot, he was probably the best BW player), Bloo (one of the best BW an XY players), McMeghan (really good player, has the ability to quickly learn and dominate a ladder), Danilo (nice ADV ideas :p and good player), Siegfried (together with VIL the best ADV and GSC player I have ever faced), Pedro (the peruvian ADV and DPP master, retired but amazing at this game), gr8astard (good BW and XY team builder), CTC (good player and good team builder, who was a big help in my tour win), Kevin Garrett (a great rival in SB ladder, and a big help in my tour win), Masterclass (great player in the later gens, I like his team building style), aim (a very solid XYer), Loki (I wont kill more koalas I promise :(, amazing ADV and GSC player, we had an awesome DPP game in a tour I still remember), Heist (amazing DPP player, and very solid at ADV and BW) Stathakis (He defeated me in DPP with an Entei RIP so he deserves a mention), @august(very solid DPP player), Blim (best Ubers player atm), Light The Thunder (solid player), reiku (he is a hater, but he plays ok), reyscarface (very solid ADV, DPP, BW and XY player), Iconic (Very solid DPP player) Alastor Law (good ladder player, but he loses to Tenshinhan rip), Axel10 (one of the new gen spanish players that will be good), Ecuacion (same than Axel), Conflict (he is a germen :o and a very solid GSC and DPP player), @baris (my germen DPP bro :) ), Fakes (great DPP player),Picollo (solid RBY and GSC player, although Fissure Tauros is no longer allowed :o), DarkLucario (my germen bro, amazing DPP player), dragonuser (SPL team mate and amazing BW and XY player), Bad Ass (DPP UU was the best y/y), Floppy (gorgie, the RBY and GSC master), Hipmonlee (great RBY player, we have had some great games), Jackal (I cannot forget you, the RBY Dodrio and Freeze master), Teh Umby (SPL 1 mate :p, great GSC player) and a lot of players I have forgotten XD.


Finally, is there a team that you can show us that is a good fit for this metagame with a brief explanation of how it works?
Tyranitar (M) @ Smooth Rock
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 252 HP / 44 Atk / 112 SpA / 100 SpD
Sassy Nature
- Fire Blast
- Earthquake
- Stealth Rock
- Ice Beam

Scizor-Mega (M) @ Scizorite
Ability: Technician
EVs: 200 HP / 184 Def / 104 SpD / 20 Spe
Impish Nature
- Bullet Punch
- Knock Off
- Swords Dance
- Roost

Thundurus (M) @ Leftovers
Ability: Prankster
EVs: 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Thunder Wave
- Thunderbolt
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- Focus Blast

Keldeo @ Choice Specs
Ability: Justified
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Secret Sword
- Hydro Pump
- Scald
- Icy Wind

Excadrill (M) @ Air Balloon
Ability: Sand Rush
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Earthquake
- Iron Head
- Rock Slide
- Swords Dance

Latios (M) @ Life Orb
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
- Dragon Pulse
- Psyshock
- Hidden Power [Fire]
- Earthquake


This is the team I used in the ST finals to beat Leftiez. It is a bit old, but it still works very well in the current metagame, especially that 4 attacks Latios set luring a lot of its counters. The team is very offensive, and it tries to weaken the other team with heavy hitters so SD Excadrill (something that nobody usually expects and that is much better now in a metagame full of Scarf Lando-T instead of bulky Lando-T) or MZor (everything else in my team can lure and kill Heatran, and Keldeo and Quag are less common in this metagame) can sweep late game with the sand support.

Pursuit might be better in Tyranitar atm because Latios is very common in this metagame, and pursuitting it helps Keldeo and Thund a lot, as well as my own Latios (which is slower because HP Fire).

One of the main problems this team had when I built it was MMaw with Fire Fang, but it is now banned so it's not too much of an issue any more.

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So there it is. If you have any questions for M Dragon, feel free to ask him in the thread. I apologize for the short delay in getting this up, but hopefully it was well worth the wait! id like to thank M Dragon for doing this, and see you next week!

Edit: I apologize for any tags that didnt work. I tried to fix them numerous times and they either got fixed in an edit, or didnt want to work at all.
 
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Seems like a weird question probably but people mentioned you have an "anti-ban" philosophy. If you believe this to be true where do you believe it stems from and I guess what are some main focuses that you take into account in regards to potential suspects? It seems like that last part is sort of a given but some individuals put more weight on one aspect, such as uncompetitiveness over broken, so just curious on your perspective.
 
What goes through your mind when you battle. Do you come up with strategies to weaken threats. Also do you think using only 1 team will help a player improve.
 

dekzeh

B is for BRUTUS
is a Tournament Director Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Past WCoP Champion
Will you ever beat me in an official tourney ADV game? You might get a chance this SPL assuming we are both ADV'ing huehue

Do you miss the Atq times as much as I do? :[

Suggest me some good Maria Valverde films.
 
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destinyunknown

Banned deucer.
no reference to being a bot, disappointed :/


what do you think about your nickname Mariano? Where did it come from :P ?
 
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Alastor Law

The Black Parade
is a Past SPL Champion
¿Cuándo me pasarás los teams de BW y DPP que me debes? :<

Alright, so you know I admire you a lot as a player, so could you make us a briefly explanation of your mind process when both playing and building?
What Spanish players do you think will have a good future here in Smogon?
And finally but not least, what do you have to say about this?

Thanks for answering c:
 
Hey what would you like to see given a Mega, be it through preference, what needs one or just what you would like to see given anew into OU?

Also howdy and enjoyed your perspective over each gen's progress over time. Thought it was cool seeing bout ADV as its a Meta I hear a lot bout but was but haven't gotten into (and was still a Tad too young to back when is was their Gen).
 

M Dragon

The north wind
is a Community Contributoris a Top Tiering Contributoris a Top Tutor Alumnusis a Tournament Director Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnusis the Smogon Tour Season 17 Championis a Past SPL Champion
I am answering the first 2 questions, I will answer the rest later

AM
Seems like a weird question probably but people mentioned you have an "anti-ban" philosophy. If you believe this to be true where do you believe it stems from and I guess what are some main focuses that you take into account in regards to potential suspects? It seems like that last part is sort of a given but some individuals put more weight on one aspect, such as uncompetitiveness over broken, so just curious on your perspective.
Yes, I usually don't like banning mons unless they are very broken, because I think that banning a threat should be the last thing to, and I have always thought that we should try the best possible metagame without banning too many mons. I also think that a lot of times, especially in a metagame like XY full of really powerful megas, if you ban one mon that is "nearly broken" or "broken", another "nearly broken" or "broken" mon will replace it (there have been a lot of examples here in XY, like mega khan => mega luke => mega maw => mega gard or mega zard x etc), so banning is not always the best solution to get a better metagame. Sometimes I feel that a metagame is worse without that "nearly broken" threat (an example being Latias in DPP as I mentioned), and that is why I wanted try in a suspect ladder how would metagame be without Aegislash when its suspect test. Don't get me wrong tho, I 100% agree with all the bans we have made (but the Aegi one for the reasons I said in the interview) and I think that those bans helped in our goal of getting a better metagame. Things like Mega Blaziken, Mega Gengar or Mega Kangaskhan are some of the most broken mons I have ever seen in an OU metagame, together with things like DPP Deoxys-S.
About banning based on uncompetitiveness vs being broken, those are completely different cases, and it really depends in the gen. We have always tried to limit "uncompetitiveness" since RBY with things like Evasion Clause, and I think it is a good thing to do, because nobody likes playing a game were every game is decided by luck (evasion, swagger + prankster, etc), so I 100% agree with those bans. About BP, that is a more controversial thing, and it depends on the gen, because in every gen (but RBY for obv reasons), BP can be very good, but for some reason or for another, in some gens (ADV, XY and maybe DPP) BP is more broken because "uncompetitiveness" than in the others. However, banning BP is not a good solution, because there are a lot of good strats that use BP, and a BP ban would also ban a lot of possible strategies that are not "uncompetitive", something I would like to avoid.

Questionairre
What goes through your mind when you battle. Do you come up with strategies to weaken threats. Also do you think using only 1 team will help a player improve.
It depends on the gen and on that kind of team I am using, but it is usually the same.
Early game I try to scout things like how my opponent plays, how he reacts to some different situations (basically if he tries to double switch to get an advantage, if he plays safe...) and in the case of older gens I try to scout the other team. Basically in the first turns of a game I try to get as much information as I can, so I can make an strategy that could give me an advantage in the late game to win the game with some backup strategies.
In the midgame I try to execute that strategy with the information I got earlier. The goal of a game is winning, so when I make a move, I always try to think things like: what can I win with this move if it goes well, or what can I lose if I predict badly, what scenario do I prefer that could put me in a better position in the late game, etc. I also try to think from my opponent's point of view: what would I do if I was him to try to win the game. Psychology is an important factor here as well: for example, people in a bad position will always risk more than usual, trying to get a double switch or making a risky play to get the advantage again and recovering from a game that was probably nearly lost. Sometimes the strategy is as simple as for example "ok, looking at the team my opponent is using, keldeo is the only thing that can stop my SD bisharp, so I will try to weaken Keldeo and then find a chance to set up Bisharp so I can win", while if I am the player with the Keldeo team, I will also try to thing a strategy that could put me in a good position or that could allow me to win, but I also see my opponent team and think "ok, my team is a bit bisharp weak when Keldeo gets weakened, so I will try not to risk it too much until later in the game when I can make sure that Bisharp does not get the chance to set up and sweep". Identifying winning conditions even when the "main" strategy fails is also important, because a lot of times, a game will not go as expected, and you will have to change your strategy in order to win.

About your second question, if you focus on one team, you will end up dominating that team, and that is definitely a good way of learning a tier if you are new in a metagame because you will learn to use it better and it will help you at trying to find a way to beat some threats your team might have trouble with, which will make you a better player. However, if you only use 1 team you will be more predictable and you have the risk of becoming "too used to that team", so I would recommend to eventually switch teams, or maybe having like 3 teams and alternate between them when learning a tier. This will also give you more experience with different playstyles and threats, so you can pick what you like using more (threats and/or playstyles), and also learning about what you don't like using, until you find your best playstyle (the one you are most comfortable with)
 

Kevin Garrett

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Many accomplished players like to leave a legacy behind to their students or peers, a special philosophy of the game that has given them success throughout their time playing this game. Imagine every aspiring champion viewing this thread was fortunate enough to be your student. What philosophy of this game would you pass down to your successors?
 
Do you think It would be hard for newer players (b/w or x/y per say) to go back and learn the older gens? There really aren't many people still even playing them outside of tournaments.
 
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Hey, as a rookie ADVer looking to hit big, I'd like to ask for some advice there.

What kind of teams/mons dominate the current metagame? Any underrated movesets to try out. Best playstyle in your opinion? Any other information that might help? Same kinda metagame knowledge for DPP/BW/XY? Thanks in advance, sorry if its a bad question.

Also Stath's dogsquad lol.
 
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M Dragon

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Dekzeh
Will you ever beat me in an official tourney ADV game? You might get a chance this SPL assuming we are both ADV'ing huehue

Do you miss the Atq times as much as I do? :[

Suggest me some good Maria Valverde films.
Who knows :o, we only played once and your Solrock was too strong for me :(
Yes, Atq was the best :). Big props to my bros Fear and Astamatitos because I know they are still there and they were a huge part in ATQ being an awesome clan
I am not a fan of her films tbh.


Haunter
Hello Mariano, you're a good boy :heart:
Will you ever evolve?


DestinyUnknown
no reference to being a bot, disappointed :/


what do you think about your nickname Mariano? Where did it come from :P ?
Am I a bot? :o
People calling me Mariano is actually because some noob called DestinyUnknown, when he was trying to guess what the M of my nickname meant, he started calling Mariano Dragon because Mariano is the name of the Spanish Prime Minister. Apparently the troll user HeIIraiser found it funny and spread the joke, so eventually a ton of people started calling me Mariano lol! (note: my IRL name is not Mariano)


Alastor Law
¿Cuándo me pasarás los teams de BW y DPP que me debes? :<

Alright, so you know I admire you a lot as a player, so could you make us a briefly explanation of your mind process when both playing and building?
I have already written about my mind process when playing, so I will do the same about my mind process when team building.
When team building in any gen (yes, inclusing RBY). I always follow the same steps:
1. The main strategy. I think about a main idea or a central idea. This can be a certain threat (for example a SD Excadrill), a common strategy (for example a rain offense team with swift swimmers, or a CM based team in ADV), or a combination of threats that work well together. I also think what kind of team I want build: if I want the team to be offensive, defensive, balanced... As an example, let's assume I want to build a bulky offense XY OU team based around SD Excadrill.
2. Supporting the main strategy. The following step is how to support that main idea: I think what can stop that main strategy (threats and/or strategies) and what I can do to beat those threats (thinking about a plan to help that main strat work vs the common things), and also what I can do to make that strat better. For example, if I want to build a team around SD Excadrill, then using a Tyranitar or a Hippowdon is a good idea, because SD Excadrill is much better with sand support. SD Excadrill main counters are Skarmory, Landorus-T, Gliscor, Rotom-W, Quagsire, Slowbro... so I know that my team should have some ways to lure and/or beat those threats. FB + IB T-Tar seems like a good choice to support SD Exca.
3. Building the main core. Now that I know what will the main strategy of the team be, and how I could support it, the next step is completing. And how do I do it? There are 2 important things here: I must have some plans to beat the mons and the strats I thought that could be a problem for my main strat (point 2) and I also want to build a team that is solid enough to beat the most common threats in the metagame (the viability ranking threads are a good help). What I usually do for the latter part is using cores that I know are solid and that can also help my main strat or adding mons that work well with the main strategy. For example, in the SD Exca + IB FB T-Tar team, something like Latios can work very well with Excadrill, because the main Latios switchings usually give Excadrill a free SD, while the main Excadrill switchings fear Latios, and it can have a free turn to hit hard. Keldeo is another mon that can do a similar thing than Latios, and Scald can hit and burn threats that are annoying for Excadrill and Tyranitar and works very well with Latios as well. Tyranitar + Keldeo + Latios + Excadrill seems solid, but there are many things that can beat that core.
4. Checklist. In most cases, when I am team building a team, I end up with a core of 3/4/5 mons that seem to work well together, but there are still some things I didn't check or some threats I have to cover. In most gens, hazards control is very important, and before finishing the team I think if the team can be hazards weak (some teams don't really need a spinner or a defogger in XY case) and if I should include a spinner or a defogger in the team or not, and in the case of having to include one, which one could fit better in the main core of the team, or if a mon that is already in the core can use Defog or Spin and if I should use them. Another important thing I check, especially in later gens, is if I have a good answer vs status (especially sleep because things like Breloom in BW/XY can be very annoying for a team). Finally, another important thing is who will have SR in the team. In this case, T-Tar is a good candidate for the SR.
5. Finishing the team. Before I finish the team, I check what mons and what playstyles can give me the most problems, and what I can do to try covering those problems with the last member (or members) of the team. In this case, physical things like Azumarill could be annoying for the team because I have no fairy resist other than Excadrill (who is weak to Water) and 3 mons weak to it. Besides, I dont have a mega yet, so Mega Scizor seems like a good idea, and it can also give me a back up strategy, which is also good to have. Mega Scizor also fits well in the core, and works especially well with Latios and Excadrill, because it can remove Quag and Skarm leftovers (which Exca loves) as well as Heatran Leftovers, and Latios can lure Heatran with EQ. Now I have a solid core of 5 mons including a mega, but it still has some big weakness, for example vs birdspam (especially vs Mega Pinsir), so I can try with something like Rotom-W or Thundurus there as the last mon.
6. About team variations. Something I do a lot when building a team is thinking about different possibilities, so I always end up with more than 1 version of the team I am building.
7. About the surprises. An important thing when building a team are the surprises that will make it work better. I especially like using standard mons with some non standard sets that could give me an advantage when playing, giving my opponent a false sense of security
8. Testing the team. After all the theorymon when building the team, the final proof that will tell me if the team is good or no is testing it. In this phase, I will most of the times change a lot of things in the team I end up changing some sets that don't work as well as I was expecting or even replacing some mon to patch a weakness. Sometimes the team is bad and I have to go back to point 3 again, or even to point 1 if the main strategy just does not work as I was expecting.

I always try to build teams with mons that support between themselves, but always focusing in a common main strategy or goal, with maybe one or 2 back up strategies in case the main plan fails


¿Cuándo me pasarás los teams de BW y DPP que me debes? :<

What Spanish players do you think will have a good future here in Smogon?
And finally but not least, what do you have to say about this?

Thanks for answering c:
Probably players like Axel10, Ecuacion or yourself
That video is terrible as a Valencia c.f fan I am, it was one of the worst moments. Losing in first game of the Europa League Semifinals 0-2 (and one goal because a 5m offside btw), and in the second game we manage to score 3 times and losing in the last min because a terrible mistake allowing Sevilla to score was terrible :(


Sapientia
You made me miss Shoddy Battle times :(
Yeah SB times were really good, especially because the ladder
I also miss NB times a lot, as I explained in my interview, really good times (we were younger too xD)
I am sure that newer people will same the same about PO and/or PS in 3/4 years if they continue playing though


Salemance
Hey what would you like to see given a Mega, be it through preference, what needs one or just what you would like to see given anew into OU?

Also howdy and enjoyed your perspective over each gen's progress over time. Thought it was cool seeing bout ADV as its a Meta I hear a lot bout but was but haven't gotten into (and was still a Tad too young to back when is was their Gen).
Personally I would love to see Mega Flygon and Mega Milotic in ORAS, because they were 2 of my fav mons to use in ADV OU (back in the NB times they were probably 2 of my signature mons because I used them a lot), and because they could have a lot of potential. A special Mega Flygon with Boomburst could be really good and that could be a good way of making it different from Garchomp, and Mega Milotic just has a ton of potential to be great (especially if they give it a Fairy typing while being very different to Azumarill)

About ADV, try it! there is a team archive and a couple of RMTs that can help you getting into the metagame, and I always see some people playing ADV in the PO ladder, and if you are lucky you could also face some well known ADV players suck as ]v[ajin, ViL, McM or myself in the ladder, especially now that SPL is near and people will want to test teams and new ideas.

Stathakis
damn, shouted out every single dpp player except ya boi. my feelings are all over the floor right now

http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen4oubeta-11555

woof woof :(
But... triple dogs was too strong for me :(


Volty
Do you think It would be hard for newer players (b/w or x/y per say) to go back and learn the older gens? There really aren't many people still even playing them outside of tournaments.
PO ladder and some forums like Crystal_'s Mt Silver (you can see a lot of info and logs about GSC, and although inactive atm there were some interesting GSC tourneys), Isa's RBY2k10 (the same but about RBY) or Lutra's Pokemon Perfect (it is very active atm and there are a lot of RBY and GSC tourneys) are the best places to learn the oldest gens.
There are also a lot of teams, guides and logs here in Smogon.
If you want learn those tiers and you want some help you can contact me as well!


Lord Ninjax
Hey, as a rookie ADVer looking to hit big, I'd like to ask for some advice there.

What kind of teams/mons dominate the current metagame? Any underrated movesets to try out. Best playstyle in your opinion? Any other information that might help? Same kinda metagame knowledge for DPP/BW/XY? Thanks in advance, sorry if its a bad question.

Also Stath's dogsquad lol.
Best playstyle? it depends on the person. CB Teams (Magne + CBers), Titans based (physical offense), CM, Aggressive TSS, Bulky TSS, Balanced teams based around Dug + Special Sweeper, Balanced teams based around bulky set uppers, Sub + BP Celebi or Agility + BP + Zapdos based teams, Trap balanced teams, Trap stalls, Full Stalls (for example Pressure based stalls), Suicide Teams (Explosion) or even Suicide Stalls (defensive teams with a lot of explosions)... there are a lot of different strategies with different playstyles and they all work very well if you use them well. I have seen players like make easily sweeping with a CB team or a CM team nearly everybody, while other players like Siegfried or IPL winning a ton of games with their stall teams, while other players like Veteran In Love, ]V[ajinTupacZ or myself prefer using balanced teams (teams that are very solid but with strong offensive threats) with great success.
My advice: try different playstyles and different threats to find which one you like using the most. There is not a better one or a worse one, it depends on how you think in a battle and how you make your strategies.

What I like doing is using balanced teams with some uncommon sets that could give me an advantage in the game (like for example a surprise explosion, or something like Focus Punch Gengar, or some EV spread that allows me to survive something that the mon does not usually survive, etc).
Another important thing I like doing is changing my playstyle a bit, so I avoid being predictable (I like balanced teams more, but I will also use offensive teams or stall teams)

About underrated sets, probably SD Hera, Bulk Up Hera or things like CM Wish Jira (since 95% of jiras atm are superachis)

In DPP/BW/XY it is similar, although there are more threats and some important mechanic changes in each gen. Like in ADV, I don't think there is a "best playstyle", although in the later gens playing defensively is harder because the power creep does not allow you to cover every threat

From the OP: "There are 2 kind of balance I like using a lot: bulky volturn and bulky teams that can also hit hard (with heavy hitters or bulky set uppers).
The first kind of balance is good at winning the tempo of a game and better controlling it. For example, in DPP I like using bulky u-turn teams because the move u-turn allows me to get the tempo of the game, especially with hazards, in BW I liked balanced teams with things like lando-t + rotom-w + hazards, and in XY bulky volturn + hazards is also very effective.
In every gen I also like using bulky teams that allow me to take hits well with solid defensive cores (like FWG in newer gens), but being able to hit hard as well (the 2nd kind of balance). For example, in ADV I like aggressive Toxic + Sandstorm + Spikes teams with offensive threats (Gengar, Flygon and/or Aerodactyl), or balanced teams based on a bulky sweeper (like CMBliss, CmCune CM Celebi, CurseLax, DDTar, DDMence, Heracross, etc). In DPP I like balanced teams based around a bulky sweeper or teams based around hazards + scarfers. In BW, bulky sand or rain teams with heavy hitters (like lati@s, garchomp, alakazam, dog) or bulky sweepers (like CM Reuniclus, CM jirachi or SD Scizor). In XY I also like the same kind of teams: bulky teams based around a heavy hitter or a bulky set-upper."

As you can see, I like playing in a similar way in every gen, and as I have said, there is no better playstyle, it depende on your way of thinking and on making strategies in a game. I have seen offensive players easily sweeping nearly everybody, and stall players with a ridiculous W/L record, as well as players with a similar playstyle than mine easily destroying a lot of people.

About metagame knowledge, I recommend you taking a look at the viability rankings of each gen, and playing. You can read a lot of guides, but the best way of getting metagame knowledge is playing.


--------------------------


I skipped KG's question because I will answer it tomorrow.
 
Have you had the case where you feel like you are just an average player? How did you get past that and improve?
 

LeoLancaster

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Of gens 3-6 OU, which one would you say is most chess-like? By that I mean, which one has the least problems with match-up, and has the most long-term planning involved?
 
Despite the many differences in mechanics between Gen 3-6 OU inclusive, all of the Deoxys forms have been banned from every OU tier since their introduction. Do you think that at least some of the Deoxys forms may find their place in OU in a hypothetical future generation, or does the combination of their enormous support and offensive movepools, along with their ideal stat distributions mean that they'll never be healthy for the OU metagame?
 
I remember you were one of the top ladder players during the old "Garchomp" DP era, with us facing each other on a regular basis with my hailteam. What's your opinion on this forgotten metagame that was, all things considered, completely different from the DPP metagame we know today? Also which of the 2 metagames do you prefer: the old of the current one?
 
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