Project Player Interview #8: alpha rabbit

Art by Kalalokki

alpha rabbit
Favorite Pokemon: Infernape

Most used Pokemon: Mandibuzz

Most known for: Playing in official tours, as well as being a known community member

After a few months of hard work, my agent was keen on sending me to Europe, to branch out our contacts. Unfortunately I took a wrong turn and landed in the UK.

Still, spent a few moments around near a group of people that were attending some sort of table tennis draft tournament. I figured it'd be a fun watch to kill some time.

Then I saw a guy, running around the captains for some pickup games, telling all of them "bro ur so fire oml" before being picked by the fifth one. However, he claimed he had something really important to do and warned them he was gonna be dead for five months.

I saw some of myself in this dude, so I decided to follow him....

Hey rabbit, how is it going?

hey feli, i'm doing alright, how about yourself

I'm fine bro, thanks for asking
Similar to roman, you are a newer player when compared to the other top players, so tell me a bit about yourself

So I’m currently doing my masters degree in systems biology at Cambridge currently having just completed my bachelors from here as well. I’ve been in the UK for 3 years and prior to that grew up for most of my life in India. Most of my time is taken by work as a student currently since the work is quite intense but you get moments here and there with friends in college to make the time seem decently enjoyable. Outside of academics and this it mostly is time with friends and doing the usual college stuff. Haven’t had too much time to cultivate hobbies but I still play table tennis with friends as a fun activity typically before dinner

Ohh that's interesting, what do you see yourself doing in the future in regards to what you are studying?

I’m applying for a PhD here after I finish my masters. After that I’d target more of an industry job I think. There’s a lot of applications of computational biology and I feel there’s things brewing beneath the surface in my field so I’d want to do something that has lasting meaning and can help cure patients or improve lives. I’m not very keen on a career in academia as a scientist so am interested in something in industry or something more applied
Also the pay for academia jobs suck rofl

That's good to hear, what about your background? How was your childhood?

So I had a fairly shelthered and nice childhood. I was born in the US and stayed there till I was 6. I don't remember too much from that time but I definitely had fun in kindergarten and had a lot of friends. After that I went to India and was at the same private school for 12 years so I was very comfortable with the school and fairly well known. Our school was very academic oriented but I had a fuckton of fun there and a lot of great memories just because everyone there was generally very nice and there was some spirit of competition but nothing over the top and we all gelled together nicely. Outside of school, I lived in gated communities so that was also quite sheltered and a comfortable environment. I developed a lot of close friends in school and some of them study in London for uni and I've kept up fairly close so I really enjoy that aspect that I haven't forgotten about school completely. On that note though, I wasn't exposed to a lot of the harsh reality of growing up in India for the vast majority of people. I did start working in a charity in high school so finally got more exposure to the kinda lives most Indian children lead and in that respect I consider myself super lucky and blessed to be brought up in a well-off household especially in a country like India because for those children and families, getting out of the cycle of poverty is a real challenge

Damn that's a really cool story, I agree that being able to see the contrast between you and people living in the same country is always an eye opener
So how did you get into pokemon?

So my parents first bough pokemon emerald for me when I was 5 for the gameboy when i got it recently. I remember quite distinctly because it had its own special game boy case we got as part of some promotional thing and it was big hype at the time. I loved emerald when I was six years old and in general pokemon was a thing amongst my friends who had firered/leafgreen but after some time we sorta grew out of it. Then a few years later my friend introduced me to downloading emulators and rom to revisit some games i didn't play earlier and thereafter I played HG, platinum and bw2 and the games were fucking amazing so I had a bit of a pokemon ramp up again. In uni, I was bored in the library 1 day so just looked for pokemon stuff and found a simulator and competitive battling aka showdown. So i was playing randbats in the library for a good year when i was bored but then I got introduced to monotype and side server stuff and eventually transitioned to full on smogoning. So ig that's a whistelstop tour of my fascination w mons - sorta on and off but meeting people on smogon and forming friends is what has kept me here for quite some time

What got you into RU as a tier?

So mono was my first real smogon tier as I got into side servers. There I was part of the alpha league and even though side servers were cancer alpha is truly a blessed place and I keep a couple of close friends till this day including my best friend Harpp. Those are my day 1s and we don't talk as much but we're still good friends. Apart from them I made a couple of other friends who I keep to this day including skysolo14 who's my other brother on this site. Mono's a very boring tier tho so I decided to branch out to other tiers and got into RU and Ubers. UU was in a mess considering the bans and cleaning up they were doing and OU seemed a bit unappealing so I thought RU and Ubers (and AG rofl) were a good starting point. My first RU tour was a seeded tour where Diogo was my first opponent. Diogo kinda fucked me but afterwards I asked him if he could teach me a few things and sure enough he was an amazing teacher lol. I then tried to get into ru more and tryharded RUPL where diogo bought me last buy. I learned a fuckton from there and made some really close friends including eifo and snaga. And then I guess i just continued playing RU since then more regularly including this snake

Yeah I remember u sent me a tryout message too and I was gonna buy you till I found out u sent the same message to Diogo rofl noob, how has your RU experience been so far? In both the community and in tours

My original RU experience was really nice and the community was really accepting at first of newcomers. I still remember my first interaction in the discord was with the goat avocado where we kicked it off about AOT talk and general anime related stuff. Initially when I joined the discord was quite active with you, ajna, evi, aldo, rakan, feen etc. and you guys gelled really well together and were super fun to be around and what made me gravitate to the tier. After that I started to form my own friends getting into the tier and have gotten quite close to feen, averardo, eifo, lep, bebo, the wall and kt. It's been really fun just building with each of them and interacting with them and we talk quite a bit about irl as well which is nice. Later on I started to get to know you and ajna a lot better especially ajna's music which is amazing still. Tour wise though building a new team every week has been hugely taxing and stressful im ngl especially since I think building in the current tier is so hard. Regardless, my team is amazing so I can't complain too much. Still though my favourite experience so far this year was the open run with lep and you because my teams were quite free flowing for that tour. If we both won our series we would have met in finals which would have been amazing but alas next year bro
All in all though there is always room to complain but there's been a lot of positives about the community and what's made me stick around
Also fr the tryhard thing for the first RUPL is super funny but considering what i got out of RUPL i don't regret it

As a mid new player, which players do you look up to? Both old veterans and newcomers that are just starting to do well in the tier

There are plenty of people I enjoy seeing playing and take ideas on generally how to build + play. In RU I generally enjoy watching ajna and you and from a team building perspective there's evi and mop who just build wild but amazing teams which I really love. I think Aldo is though like a model in terms of attitude + building and if we see him play a little more polished he has the potential to be one of the best RUers. Newcomer wise I think there's a lot of potential. Obviously there's ODR who's just generally very solid at building and piloting and composed as shit. I loved his finals series vs charm and trusting his ice cream team in g3 and comprehensively winning was really cool. In any capacity we'll see him roll around this LTPL and perhaps next snake but I'm excited to say the least. I think sensei is another guy who can go quite far. He builds sensible teams and plays quite well from what I've seen in ssnls so I hope he gets a shot in LTPL as well because he definitely can go far. The other newer faces to the tour scene like me, roman and averardo all have ways to go but hopefully we'll get there soon enough. Ave did quite well in his wins but the long haul was a little hard for him. I think though without any support it becomes hard to build your own teams every week and remain consistent and I think his form in the first half of the season is more representative of what he's become. Looking forward as well to his next tour and LTPL games

Would you mind dropping a team that best represents your style? Also explain your thought process behind it

I think this team probably epitomises my building rn in RU. I don't know wha the impetus was but i guess it was FO champ. Facade 2hkos bro after rocks so it's a good balance breaker if utilised well. This team also was the birth of sub endeavour sceptile which is one of my favourite techs in RU. I feel scep forces a lot of switches so vs offensive teams behind a sub it's harder to force it to leaf storm and stuff. It also helps for instance in the aggressive stay in prediction your opponent would make and endeavour is a great emergency check to some set up sweepers especially lax. Mandi does mandi things. The Fly z set is what i ran initially but it's kinda bad im ngl. It's just a bit of a fun tech to catch some fights and ohko them if they stay in but not extremely useful. Slowbro and meta round up a defensive core. Slowbro to me is the best defensive mon in the tier. It checks a lot, spreads status and has amazing longevity with regen. Aero adds a more offensive noivern and lazzle check and injects speed which this team needs. I kinda think this team just had a lot of deficiencies but is sorta free flowing offense which I just like and it's not really possible to cover everything

Looks solid
Lets talk about current snake since your team is in finals, how do you feel about your tour overall and your expectations for this upcoming final game vs roman?

Snake's been a mixed bag overall for me personally. I've been happy with the teams I produce but unhappy with the way I play. It's kinda meh because like I've generally gotten a couple of key calls and turns right but one slip up and a lot of the time the game moves away from me. My wins so far generally have been good calls compensating for the bad ones and pulling through but that's room for improvement on my part even tho it's annoying because normally I see myself getting many more turns of the game better than not. It's a little annoying especially since I can map out games from the side but in games some turns my mind shuts off. I think that's also perhaps something that comes a bit more gradually with practice as we play more tour games so that's the aspect I'm most looking to improve. I think team building wise though I'm normally sold on my teams and have room to play an even mu. I generally avoid mu fishing I think but long term that could do more harm than good maybe but ajna does the same thing of bringing a well rounded team to every game so idk it's a mixed feeling overall lmao I'm just rambling a bit here. As for the finals, well you'll have to wait and see how that goes to get an answer from me

And what did you think of the player pool paired against you in snake? Which win has meant the most to you?

I think the player pool has been really even throughout. A lot of people are quick to assume that the pool sucks but I think the fact that the three tour players drafted into play RU all had fairly middling records shows that we held our own for the most part so I'm stoked that a lot of the RU mains showed we have some spark and flair for tours outside of Ajna and Nat. I think the win vs TDK will always be my favourite so far of this tour. I was in a rough spot in week 3 as I was the only winless RUer in the tour and playing against one of the biggest names in recent memory is always daunting. But I think I brought a really nice balanced team and just played the matchup smooth getting a lot of key turns around houndoom right. I really loved our game as well but wish it was under better circumstances but I know next tour you're raring for a rematch and it'll be a lit one

Hell yea, I'm always stoked to play you all but official tour environment rlly blocks my mindset, so I gotta improve on that
Thoughts on the metagame now that its coming to an end?

I think the metagame is alright to be fair and compared to some of the other SM metagames RU is better. I honestly still prefer a gligar/doublade/steelix meta just because I had a bit more freedom of exploration. I think the biggest issue to me is that since there are so many viable offensive threats, it becomes really hard to fit defensive answers without resulting in the same balanced cores. Like for instance, fightings to me are obnoxious in the tier and different fightings require their own checks. Noivern works as a de facto virizion check but folds over to other band fights like bear/champ etc. So you end up having a certain subset of defensive mons that have to be run on most teams like slowbro/mandibuzz/registeel and that sorta kills variety to an extent or you choose to run flimsy checks and lose long term to said mons making it a bit difficult to play around. But I think there's still room for innovation and you can always point out flaws in any usm tier just given the nature of how dumb z moves are

I now know where the alpha came from in your name, what about the rabbit?

haha the rabbit came from halo playing days. My username there was a rabbit because i thought it was funny to see the message 'a rabbit killed x' so I've just rolled with it since

Anything else you'd wish to tell the fans?

Nah I'm alright, thanks for the dope interview and hope to see some of you around in tours

Np bud, thanks for your time


Feel free to ask Alpha Rabbit any questions you want!

If you have any reccomendations I'll be more than happy to read them, just PM me!

Next time on FeliInterviews...

are there any future tours you look forward to playing in, and what are your hopes for sword/shield ru Alpha Rabbit
LTPL should be good but idk how committed I'll be since snake took a lot out of me. I'd take a break after LTPL to focus on uni from around mid january-feb I'd imagine so maybe next snake I'd be pumped up again. Regarding swsh RU I honestly think it's impossible to predict how it'll go. Most of our staples will be gone and those that remain will have gone to UU. I just hope for a balanced meta with a more offensive inclination similar to early USM RU but it'll be a good few months before we even form the meta.
"I did start working in a charity in high school so finally got more exposure to the kinda lives most Indian children lead and in that respect I consider myself super lucky and blessed to be brought up in a well-off household especially in a country like India because for those children and families, getting out of the cycle of poverty is a real challenge"

You are correct but got any schemes or measures to reduce this vicious cycle?
Also, hope you enjoyed while you were here in India bhai. Gl for rest of your journey.
"I did start working in a charity in high school so finally got more exposure to the kinda lives most Indian children lead and in that respect I consider myself super lucky and blessed to be brought up in a well-off household especially in a country like India because for those children and families, getting out of the cycle of poverty is a real challenge"

You are correct but got any schemes or measures to reduce this vicious cycle?
Also, hope you enjoyed while you were here in India bhai. Gl for rest of your journey.
That's a tough question but if you're more interested in the charity I was working in it was Akshaya Patra. It provides free meals for school children to incentivise them to come to school and improve their education and hopefully down the line their quality of life. This is one of the most sensible ways to actually address the problem and the efficiency of the organisation is amazing. As part of my internship I tried to connect more privileged high school children to other less privileged ones so that in essence, some students in my school could 'sponsor' the education of some children and talk to them on a personal level. Ultimately education to me will always be the answer to this question so that more skills are developed.

Also thank you. As I am Indian, I still visit India regularly to meet family along with my parents. Hopefully no matter where I am I won't lose touch with India because it's truly a wonderful place

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