The Well #71- CALLOUS

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Hello Smogon users. Honestly I'm a bit surprised someone nominated me for this, as I definitely don't have the competitive resume of some of the more recent guys you've featured (BKC, Earthworm) and in general I'm a lot more open and transparent about my personal life than the majority of community members, so I think a lot of what I'll say here is stuff that's already known, but nevertheless I appreciate you guys having enough interest in me to vote for me to do this and I'll give it my best shot. Please be aware that some of the stuff I say here won't be the happiest or most wholesome, but, if you're asking about my life you're going to get the good, the bad and the ugly.

If you've ever interacted with me on Discord you already know my real name. At the time of this writing I am less than two weeks away from turning 32 and I was born all the way back in 1989 in Lowell, Massachusetts in the US. I'm an only child and my parents weren't even married a full year and divorced before I was even a year old, so for as long as I can remember my childhood was mostly spent split between both parents, with my mother having me four and a half days out of the week and my father having me on Wednesdays and then one of the weekend days overnight until the next. Without getting into too much detail in order to keep this in the realm of appropriate for Smogon, I'll simply say that my childhood was not a happy time. My father was abusive and I stopped seeing him entirely when I was 8. Right around this time my mother, who had (and still has) a plethora of behavioral issues stemming from unaddressed childhood trauma, met some loser at a bar and three weeks later we were moving an hour away to live with him. Shockingly, the guys you pick up at bars and know for three weeks aren't always the best guys to move yourself and your young son in with and indeed we soon learned that this guy was a raging cokehead who would smack both of us around. There were clearly pre-existing issues, but this put my mother completely over the edge and has taken her down the path of decades long drug and alcohol abuse. I don't feel the need to discuss any of that too much further, but, the things you go through make you who you are and if you read on you'll see how some of this stuff impacted me later in life.

Video games were a much needed escape for me back then and I've played mons since the beginning. I was in third grade when Red and Blue came out, which I sunk hundreds of hours into, and I fondly remember link cable battling other kids on the school bus. My first starter was Squirtle and I ended up naming my level 100 Blastoise DEATHWISH and I thought I was the biggest badass around. I even gave it Earthquake, Blizzard and Surf, so even back then I vaguely had the right idea (though I suspect Strength as a last move wasn't necessarily optimal). I also remember trading my Aerodactyl for a Ditto with a girl in my class because I was absolutely convinced it was the best Pokemon in the game. I guess I wasn't quite a Pokemon master back in the day... I had the cards too- First Edition, Jungle, Fossil... I had full sets of all of them! It really was a very special time to be a kid, and I adored the anime when it came out as well and watched it faithfully on Saturday mornings. Likewise, when Gold and Silver came out I was playing for hours and hours every day. In my opinion Gold and Silver are the best in-cartridge experience, but I certainly say that with bias and my nostalgia goggles very much on.

School was a mixed bag for me... Academically I was ahead of the curve and was underchallenged, but behaviorally I had some serious problems which I now know were because of how messed up my home life was. Between the fights I was frequently getting into at school and the stuff that was going on at home I took an interest in martial arts when I was 8 or 9 and, as you'll read a bit later, that's still quite prevalent in my life. The ease of the work but the difficulty with the social aspect continued throughout the entirety of my middle and high school years. I even skipped a couple grades, but it didn't change anything. Ultimately I ended up graduating when I was 16 and was set to go straight from high school to college, but alas, my life went another way...

I had started playing Magic: The Gathering right around the same time I started playing Pokemon- about 8 years old. My mother was a nail technician and didn't have anyone to babysit me so she often took me to work with her, which she was blatantly not supposed to do, and there happened to be a card shop next door. Originally I was only interested in Pokemon cards, but the cool older kids were playing Magic so of course I wanted to learn too and beat them at it. Back then, obviously, I was horrible, but by 12 or 13 I was getting good ish at a local level and by 15 or 16 I was one of the best players in New England. I won my first Pro Tour Qualifier when I was right on the cusp of 16/17 in a little town that no one has heard of called Standish, Maine (the deck I drafted in the top 8 to win the tournament) and in doing so I qualified for a Pro Tour in Geneva, Switzerland. I went to that the following February, barely 17 years old, did well for a young first timer (I started off 5-1 after my first two pods with a 3-0 and 2-1, respectively - see number 32) and ended up going all in with professional MtG. Upon returning from this Pro Tour, already with an unstable and unhappy home life and now with a taste of the kind of money I could make, I moved out of my mother's house and never looked back.

I'd spend the next half decade consumed by college, which I put minimal effort into, and playing Magic professionally. I was traveling absolutely all over the place to all the Pro Tours and Grand Prix. England, Germany, Czech Republic, France, Japan, Australia, Brazil, every major city you can name in the US... I was everywhere! My schedule sometimes would be something along the lines of California one weekend, Germany the next, back to the states to play in Florida the next weekend and then in Japan on the next. I would regularly go three, four or sometimes even five or six weeks without coming home. Initially my focus was actually playing on the Pro Tour, which you had to continuously produce results and/or maintain a really high rating in order to qualify for, but I figured out fairly early on that I could actually make just as much or more money by "money drafting"- unofficial 3v3 drafts on the side in which the teams are wagering cash (and all the cards involved in the draft) against each other- and trading. I'd regularly travel to events, including Pro Tours I was qualified for, not play and spend the weekend drafting and trading. I'd routinely make 5-7K in a weekend and on good weekends making upwards of 10K or sometimes even in the vicinity of 15K wasn't unheard of. I built up a sizeable bank account and by the time I was in my late teens/early 20s I was absolutely out of control. I had no rules or guidance, a huge ego, money to burn and childhood trauma very much fueling my anger and emotionally instability. What could go wrong? Without getting too into it I can tell you I was arrested on multiple occasions and even spent a little time in prison. Far worse though, at the time, was my mental and emotional health.

So now I'm about 20 and I'm starting to get really worn out from all the Magic travel. Don't get me wrong- I will forever be extremely appreciative from the bottom of my heart of the opportunities I was given. I got to see more places than the vast majority of us will see in a lifetime, often for free, and then make money doing it and party my butt off in whatever country I was in and find some women and get into trouble. Those are, obviously, very fond memories. However, there's a downside to everything, and the travel over time was really, really draining. Flights could sometimes be 10, 15, even 20 hours each way, and that's to say nothing of long layovers, long cab or bus rides to the hotel or the airport, airlines constantly messing up and losing your luggage or canceling your flight or having delays, hotels not having your reservation that you're certain you booked, etc. The good times- going somewhere cool for free, making 10K on the weekend, leaving with a smile and a fat pocket- were amazing. The bad times- taking a very long flight somewhere far away, not doing as well as you wanted to/getting unlucky/making little or nothing and then having to take that same long flight back, especially if you're sick or exhausted- were terrible. Ultimately I knew Magic couldn't be a "career" forever, so around this time I got an apartment and tried to settle into "normal" life, and that adjustment was very, very difficult for me.

I worked a bunch of crappy jobs that didn't last very long. I worked in the lumber department at Home Depot (and repeatedly got in trouble with my boss for winking at customers and telling them "I've got wood!"), worked as a pizza delivery driver, a nightclub bouncer and even a male "dancer". Having traveled so much and being in go go go mode for all those years, and of course being too busy doing my thing to really get to know anybody or cultivate any meaningful friendships, I found staying in one place and working ordinary jobs that I had no passion for extremely difficult. My mental and emotional health at this time was at its all time lowest point. Trying to get back to something remotely comforting, preferably something that would keep me at home and out of trouble and would keep me vaguely stimulated, one of the hobbies I decided to pick up around this time (along with Poker and this online card game none of you have ever heard of called Urban Rivals) was competitive Pokemon.

I first appeared on the competitive scene in 2011~. I had been reading the Smogon analysis of all the gen 3 mons and trying to figure out mentally, without ever having actually played a competitive game of Pokemon in my life save my childhood link cable battles, what might work. As a side note, the reason I chose gen 3 is because they're the last cartridge games I played, as I never owned any handheld systems after the Gameboy Advance. I played gen 3 a lot as a kid though, both in cartridge and in Pokemon Colosseum and whatnot. I would listen to the Nirvana Unplugged album on repeat when I was like 13 and grind out Colosseum, which I eventually beat with a Swords Dance/Endure/Flail/Shadow Ball Zangoose (with a Salac Berry, of course) that I raised myself and traded over. The first team I ever built was Metagross, Celebi, Blissey, Starmie, Swampert, Salamence. I'd been lurking and thinking about this for about six months before finally growing a pair and actually playing. I will always remember my very first competitive Pokemon battle. It was on Pokemon Online and it was a ladder battle against some random I had never heard of- his name was M Dragon! Somehow, I won! He immediately messaged me afterwards and asked me a bunch of questions, repeatedly asking me who I was/who am I an alt of, which at the time meant nothing to me and I kept insisting I'm just some new guy playing for the first time and wasn't messing with him. He made me play him six more times in a row after that initial game and he beat me in all of them. I only had that one team!

I became involved in the scene pretty quickly after that. I got involved in tournaments on Pokemon Online, became the ADV Gym Leader in their league and I was an ADV tutor for a while. I even tutored some people you may recognize back then, including Pearl and Rewer. I started out my reign as ADV Gym Leader 0-3, which made a very arrogant and hot tempered 20 year old me pretty steamy, but M Dragon gave me a team- CB Mence, Offensive SubCune, SuperBi, SuperRachi, CM OffKou, Dugtrio- that he was intending to use in SPL that week and I started spamming it in every battle and I ended up with a record of 50+ wins and 5 losses before finally losing my position. I also played that team literally every single week but one in the first POCL I played in and I went X-1 (with the 1 being an activity loss to, who else, M Dragon...) and carried my team to the championship. Needless to say my ego at this time was through the roof and I was a real jerk, even though I obviously didn't see it that way at the time, and I genuinely believed I was really, really good. I knew that Smogon existed but I thought it was just another Pokemon site, just like PO, and I had absolutely no concept of Smogon being the NBA and PO being your local high school basketball league. Obviously, I was a moron. I got my start with the whole narration thing, which is likely how many of you know me, in 2012. Pokemon Online at the time had this "Battle of the Week" thing that they uploaded onto their YouTube channel and when the ADV one came around, M Dragon vs Tamahome, they asked me to narrate it. I did, and I did a crappy job, not to mention I was doing it without a headset into my laptop's built in microphone, but nevertheless I enjoyed it so when I was asked to do it again for another ADV battle I did it once again. Soon after, I started my own YouTube channel, which I was actively uploading to, sometimes a couple dozen battles in a week, for several years.

Truly for whatever reason mons between 2014 up until 2016 ish is a real blur for me. I know I took breaks here and there, but never super long, and I don't know why I remember so little from this period. I definitely had a lot going on in my personal life, but that's nothing new. Disaster Area, the leader of Pokemon Perfect at the time, reached out to me around 2016 on YouTube and asked me to get involved with the website. I was reluctant as I hadn't heard of the site before and I was really sour about the community aspects of mons, as I felt a lot of the time it could get really heated and toxic when it simply didn't need to, but I ultimately accepted. I started helping out PP and getting back involved with the tour scene and at one point was actively playing in their tours. When I was really invested and trying to be good (even though I still wasn't) I had taken BKC to game 5 in a tournament final and then I beat him 2-0 deep in another tournament. I thought I'd stay involved in PP in this way for a long time but things unraveled pretty quickly when it became apparent that I was definitely not getting along or seeing eye to eye with Disaster Area, Lord Ninjax or GGFan who were huge voices on PP at the time. I remember quitting the site outright and stepping down from all the roles I had at the time with no intention of ever returning.

Remember that game, Urban Rivals, I mentioned earlier? I had met a female friend on there way back in 2009/10, and we'd exchanged numbers and always kept in touch and had a solid friendship, but she lived 30+ hours away in very Western Canada and we'd never actually met in person, but in November 2017 we decided it was finally time. She flew here and we spent a week together and that was that. We were in love, we wanted to get married and nothing was going to stop us. Her sister was pregnant at the time and it was important to both of them that my future wife be there for the birth of her sister's first child, so we decided she'd stay in Canada until the kid was born, which was supposed to be late February, and then on March 1st she'd come here for good and we'd get married and live happily ever after! Have you ever watched 90 Day Fiance? Immigration stuff is quick and easy! ...What a f ing joke... When she went to come here, having quit her job, given up her apartment, told her friends and family goodbye, she walked up to customs confidently with her bags packed, eager to come here and start a new life. When they asked her why she had so much stuff and why she was going to the US, she told them the truth- to get married! Friends, if you or someone you know ever find themselves in that position, I can tell you that is, in fact, not the right answer... She was denied entry into the United States, detained for hours, fingerprinted, searched and eventually sent on her way. I'd literally that day, March 1st of 2018, just moved into our new apartment in a new state that we were going to live in together. I don't have words to tell you how either of us were feeling when she called me, hysterical, and explained what had happened. We'd both given up our apartments, she'd quit her job, I'd literally spent the day moving our stuff into our new place... And then this... To say we were devastated, emotionally destroyed... There really aren't words for how awful we felt at that time. That was possibly the single worst day of my life, and it was about to get worse. We had to see each other and make this work. The way this happened was unacceptable and there had to be something we could do. So we got the brilliant idea in the heat of that moment, if she cannot fly to the US because of what happened with customs she can certainly still fly to Canada! So, she dropped 1000 dollars on a last minute flight to the airport in Canada closest to me- Montreal- and off I went at 2AM after spending the whole day moving to make the five hour drive to Montreal, pick her up and then drive her back across the border. We'd say she's just visiting and there wouldn't be any problem!

Well, there were problems. On my drive to Montreal, keeping in mind that it was super late, super cold and super dark and I was ultra exhausted, it felt like everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Huge sections of the highway were completely closed off because of construction, my GPS had no idea how to reroute me to the airport (it kept telling me to take exits that were literally barricaded off and inaccessible) and of course all the signs up there are in French, which I do not speak, so I had absolutely no clue where to go or how to find the airport. What should have been a five hour drive ended up being eight or nine, but somehow I found the airport and I still managed to get there before she did. I laid down and slept on the airport floor for an hour or two before she finally landed and you've absolutely never seen two more upset, pitiful people. We decided it was best we get a hotel for the night given how upset and exhausted we both were, so that's what we did. Of course, because it's that kind of trip, she somehow lost or dropped the ticket I'd given her to hold for my car in the parking garage so we had to turn around and pay for an entire day even though I'd only been there maybe two and a half hours. We were going to drive back to the states the next day but as we quickly found out upon getting in the car I'd apparently punctured one of my tires with a road nail because of all the construction I'd driven through on the drive up so we hunkered down for yet another night. Finally the next day we got the tire repaired and headed back to the states. Certainly the worst was behind us, right? They immediately knew upon trying to drive through the border that she'd been turned around in customs and denied entry into the states a couple days prior, and, obviously, they were ultra suspicious. We were asked to pull the car over, get out, go inside and then we were separated for hours and questioned. At one point I had to be held back by multiple border officers with how upset I was about them trying to separate us and not knowing if or when I'd see her again or what was going to happen. Ultimately we were only there for two or three hours, but it felt like an eternity, and the border officer, even though I was absolutely furious and wanted to fight him at the time, actually did us a solid- they gave her a stamp in her passport that allowed her to stay in the states for seven days, meaning we'd at very least get to spend some time together and not have to part ways immediately, with the huge caveat of she must return to Canada after those seven days or she'd be deported and barred from returning to the states for any reason for ten years! This was obviously not what we were hoping for and we were both as upset as either of us are ever going to be when we finally drove towards home, to the brand new apartment I'd rented for us that we both knew she could not stay in...

Nearing the end of that trip, on March 8th, 2018 we got married. It was a simple courthouse wedding with zero guests, but that didn't matter to us. We were husband and wife and that meant everything to us. We were going to go through this process the right way and be together, period, no matter how long it took. Needless to say, driving her to the airport to say goodbye to her just two days after I married her was the absolute worst feeling I could possibly imagine. I cried, I puked and I even got into a car accident as I was leaving the airport to head back home because why wouldn't I... The ultra abridged version of the next couple years is it ultimately took nearly two full years and 10,000 dollars to go through the immigration process and get her here, and we saw each other only twice a year for one week at a time during that time period, and it was the most miserable, hopeless, depressing time of my life. We'd talk every single night for hours. I wracked up countless noise complaints at the new apartment because it'd be late at night and I'd prop my cellphone up looking at the TV, crank the volume to some absurd number like 80 or 90 so she could actually hear it and in this way we'd watch movies or anime together. It was absolutely pathetic, but it was what we had.

Taking all this back to Pokemon I just want to note that everything I said in the previous three paragraphs was happening during the time when I infamously quit on the Tigers after a really crappy 1-4 start as a player and being benched. The way I handled that situation was absolutely not right and it's my single biggest regret of my entire Pokemon career. I've since reached out and apologized to nearly all of my teammates from back then, and I've developed legitimate friendships with several of them, and while nothing excuses my behavior then, I do want people to understand what was going on for me during that time and why I did what I did. I was absolutely not in the right headspace to play SPL at all at that time, I shouldn't have signed up at all I definitely, definitely, definitely should have handled things differently. I was a real A hole in that situation and I sincerely regret it, and I want everyone familiar with that situation to know that. With what was going on in my personal life and how miserable and emotionally gutted I was, when I got benched my ego and my emotions really couldn't handle it. I've grown leaps and bounds since then, but it's something I did and I'm not going to hide from it.

So if you've read to this point, which very few people will have, where does that leave me today, both in Pokemon and in life? In Pokemon I've been steadily involved again for two and a half years or something close to that, I've managed and won several team tours, including back to back ROAPLs the past two years and some smaller tours such as POCL, I have been actively rebuilding my YouTube channel (which I completely deleted- literally thousands of videos- when I quit mons during the Tigers incident) and my Discord community (both of which continue to grow and thrive) and, ironically, I've become the leader of Pokemon Perfect! I've been in charge over there for about two years and I've tried to refocus the site on old gens, which I feel were sorely neglected on Smogon for many years (though RoA has gotten much, much better in recent times) and our community, while certainly small and zero threat to Smogon, seems to enjoy what we do. As a player I play very few tours- as a 32 year old man I really, truly just don't have the time, and I hate hate hate scheduling because people are total jerkoffs about it and seldom show up on time- but I ladder from time to time and have something in the vicinity of 40+ 1500+ accounts. I managed Tigers in SPL last year, which I'm very proud of, and while there was certainly more drama and controversy than I would have liked, and while we didn't finish as well as I would have liked, I feel largely very positive about the whole experience and I really hope I get another chance to manage again this year as I feel I learned a lot from my first go-around and can do very well this time. We'll see if they let me... Finally, the thing I'm most proud of in over a decade of involvement in the competitive Pokemon scene is definitely my CALLOUS Invitational tournament and the various other cash-paying tours I've been involved in. CALLOUS Invitational is a tournament I started five years ago and it's exactly what it sounds like- an ADV tournament, hosted by me, invitation only, that pays real money to the top three finishers. In the first two years of this tournament the prize pools were exactly 500 dollars each time, the full amount of which came out of my own pocket. These days, the tournament has grown to something truly special. Our prize pool this year, our fifth year, is almost 2000 dollars at the time of this writing and I receive countless messages from participants and spectators alike that they believe CALLOUS Invitational is the best and their favorite tournament in all of competitive Pokemon. It's a huge spectacle, people look forward to it every year and I'm wildly proud of what it's become. I'm also wildly proud of the reputation and trust I've earned over the past few years of being involved in all these money tours, having held literally thousands of dollars of other people's money and never once not paying anybody or pulling any shady business. I'm very much a man of integrity and I hope that's known throughout the community.

In life, things are going better than they ever have. My wife and I have been happily married for three and a half years, she's physically permanently been here for almost two and we're still very much in love. If anything, our experience made us even closer and more bonded and I really, really doubt we'll ever get divorced. Professionally I now own my own business- a small martial arts instruction studio- where I teach kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I have a huge video game and anime collection- hundreds and hundreds of each, all physical- and I thoroughly enjoy both hobbies though I certainly wish I had more time for them. I haven't played Magic remotely seriously or regularly for a long time, but I've still got the skills! I got dragged to a team tournament eight years ago after not playing for years and I went 10-0 on the first day. Hell, our team was even in one of the feature matches and the commentator still knew me and knew my reputation for going to all the tours and drafting and trading on the side. Then a year and a half ago I got dragged to another team tournament and I went 8-0 on the first day and carried our team to an $1800 finish! My life these days is mostly working, hanging out with my wife, rinse, repeat and I'm very happy with that. I'm in the best place mentally and emotionally I've ever been and I'm really proud of the mature, decent guy I've become and how far removed from the out of control, ultra arrogant, ready to brawl with the next guy who looks at me the wrong way craphead I was all those years ago. Hopefully I've contributed positively to the Pokemon community with the countless hours hosting tours, creating videos, etc I've put in- I've certainly made a very conscious effort to do that and it very much eats into my already ultra-limited free time.

If you've read this far, which no one did, I guess that's my life in a nutshell. I'm happy to answer any respectful, appropriate questions you may have (that's the whole point of this thing, right?). Thanks for reading and I guess while you're here please consider checking out my YouTube channel! ;)

Love,
CALLOUS
 
Did you ever compete in other card games like Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh?

What would you say are your fondest memories of Gold and Silver?

Strangest interaction when working at Home Depot?

Is Xaviere your son
I played the Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh card games but was never overly competitive or serious with them. YGO in particular never overly held my interest and felt kind of... I don't know... Not something that should be overly competitive. As an older guy, twenties, I played every online card game you can think of. I played Hearthstone for several years when it came out and maintained myself infinitely as a free to play player via Arena. I played a hefty amount of Hex, Eternal, Shadowverse, Duelyst. Spellweaver... Whatever the highest possible ladder rating was in any of those games, I got it, including sometimes being outright #1. A game I was really, really into at one point was this little known gem called Might and Magic Duel of Champions. I was very well known in that community and went by the username EnlightenedOwl. I ran the biggest website that community had, MMDoC King, and I was one of the top deck builders and article writers in that community. That was, for me personally, the best card game I've ever played, at least before a certain update took the game super downhill, and I miss it quite a bit but Ubisoft sucks.

I can't think of any specific moment of Gold and Silver that I'll always remember. Rather, I just enjoyed the whole experience and it felt magical at the time. That's just being a kid at the right time I guess. I really enjoyed the day/night cycle though, and for me it did a lot to make the world feel real (although we all know now, as adults, that you can manipulate the clock) and it felt like there were always day-specific things to do and people to interact with, which added to the escape for me. The fact that there were two entire regions also made the world feel huge. I had really enjoyed Red and Blue previously and it felt to me like GSC took what worked and improved upon everything else in a very noticeable way. They're just superior games.

Home Depot... It's retail and dealing with the public, so, you always meet a variety of people. I found a specific spot in one of the number aisles where there were stacks and stacks and stacks of large wood on the ground level and there was always this tiny little opening to get behind them all the way at the end. I'd routinely slip in there and lay down for a nap or play on my phone, sometimes for an hour or more, and it took months and months before my boss finally caught on. Somehow, this didn't even get me fired- they merely transferred me to the parking lot as opposed to the lumber section- which I liked even less (and I lost my OP pun!) but I stuck with for a little while. Shockingly, ultimately I did indeed get fired. Their loss!


did you ever get round to swimming to germany and killing that kid for not playing his tour game? or whatever that drama was icr
I think this is a troll question so I'm not going to go too far into it, but I want to say that Bluri and I were friends then, are still friends now and that entire story got twisted and blown completely out of proportion and context and was made into an "incident" where there was none. He and I laughed about it then and laugh about it today and when I used to tell that story, which I've obviously stopped doing, it was just an anecdotal, exaggerated re-telling to the players I was managing in whatever tour to give them the hint-hint to play their matches and not disappear on me. The entire German community, and Bluri himself, rallied to my defense last year when this whole thing came to light and he's sitting in my Discord server literally as I type this.

Why can't I ask the well questions on a Tuesday?
That's a fantastic question! I had never even heard of this thing until someone nominated me, so I sure as hell don't have the answer for you. As far as I'm concerned you can ask me questions on Tuesday or whatever other day, but, I wouldn't dare break the rules of THE WELL!

how do you like your steak
Medium rare for sure, maybe even rare if I'm familiar with the place and trust them to cook it properly and not get me sick. I could tolerate medium if I absolutely had to, but I'd never order it on my own, and anything beyond medium I think is gross and won't eat at all. My wife orders medium well which I think is really icky, but to each their own. She also doesn't eat seafood, so I know she's a total noobcakes with poor taste in food!

whats your favorite?
You are baby!
 
Can you give me a brief run down on The forum you now administrate. I have an account there but im not too big into ADV as I used to be. The whole reason I nommed you is because you're an influential player in the Old gens community and I remember the shit storm thst happened in SPL when you got removed from managing.

Basically, Can you give me a run down on the old gens forum you run and also can you talk about the SPL fiasco when you got booted as a manager and how it played out.

EDIT: What's it like running your gym. Out of the three Martial arts you teach whats your favorite. I teach BJJ at my college for a club and it's certainly my favorite.
 
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Can you give me a brief run down on The forum you now administrate. I have an account there but im not too big into ADV as I used to be. The whole reason I nommed you is because you're an influential player in the Old gens community and I remember the shit storm thst happened in SPL when you got removed from managing.

Basically, Can you give me a run down on the old gens forum you run and also can you talk about the SPL fiasco when you got booted as a manager and how it played out.

EDIT: What's it like running your gym. Out of the three Martial arts you teach whats your favorite. I teach BJJ at my college for a club and it's certainly my favorite.
I'm not exactly clear on how much I'm allowed to talk about Pokemon Perfect here on Smogon. It might be best to just Google search and check the site out rather than me linking. Basically, it started out as an RBY-focused site but over time, largely due to my influence in 2016/17 ish when I brought in a ton of players from ladder and was promoting it heavily on YouTube and Discord, it became very ADV-focused as well. Today we run regular tournaments for generations 1-5, with ADV these days being far and away the most popular and highest level as far as overall player quality, and we have our own annual team tour, Pokemon Perfect League, as well as a World Cup of Pokemon Perfect. I think PP strikes a balance between casual and competitive where most people are trying to win, sure, but playing for fun and not taking it overly seriously or getting super toxic as you sometimes see in more serious tours. You're certainly more than welcome to come check us out if you're ever so inclined. Also, while many of you already know this I want to be clear- I don't own Pokemon Perfect, I just run it. Lutra is the owner of the site, but he hasn't been involved with it with any regularity for years. RoA on Smogon, which he also runs and puts a lot of time into, is similar to PP but being on Smogon it will, of course, always be bigger.

I'd rather not go too deep into last year's SPL drama. I don't want to say anything that could be used against me in the future and I'm not a person to hold grudges. I will say that I was truly shocked to be given Tigers of all teams given the 2018 incident there. I thought I had a reasonable shot to possibly get selected to manage, but I thought perhaps Raiders or Scooters were more realistic for me, and I was just as shocked as anyone to be given Tigers. I can understand why that would upset certain people and I immediately reached out to atomicllamas (my former assistant manager from 2018 who had also applied for the team) and apologized and expressed my shock when the announcement was made.

As far as the removal and then un-removal I will die on the hill that I didn't do anything wrong, the reasons given for the removal ("harassing" and "threatening" Bluri and, gulp, having the audacity to talk to and give a platform to a banned user, Lavos) were complete garbage and certain people were looking for any reason they could find to give me the boot and that was the best they could come up with. I am grateful the decision was reversed and I am really, really grateful for the massive outpouring of support I received from the ADV and old gens community as a whole as well as all the German guys and people who know what actually happened with the stupid Bluri thing. I had an overall positive experience despite the drama and I'd really love a second chance this year, minus the drama and the distraction, as I won ROAPL again this year (back to back) and I did some really good guy things last year, such as contacting Stone Cold (BIGs manager) in week 8 when we were down 2-3 in a must-win week to inform him there'd been a leak and we had information we weren't supposed to have about the team Devin (one of their SSers) was intending to use. Ask yourself honestly, how many other managers would have done the same thing? I hope I demonstrated my commitment to integrity and fair play in doing that.

Regarding owning your own business, it's really, really hard and don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise. It's a massive time and effort sink, it's stressful af and you're expected to resolve any and every problem that arises whether doing so is fair and realistic or not. I would not recommend opening your own business unless you have some serious fire inside of you like I do to never work for someone else, but realistically you'll work far harder for yourself than you would for another person and that has to be worth it to you. I don't specifically favor one martial art over the other. Overall I try to teach in a grounded, realistic way and I think way too many people in the martial arts world either take themselves way too seriously and think they're invincible tough guys or they try to teach ridiculous, ultra-precise and specific techniques that are not remotely realistic in a real-world situation and in doing so you're actively doing your students a disservice and possibly even putting them in danger if something were to really happen and they were to try your stupid Dragonball Z ninja technique to defend themselves. I have strongly considered taking to YouTube to discuss the wide world of fake martial arts, fake martial arts masters with made-up credentials and the type of techniques you should never use or listen to in realistic, real-world situations. Anyone who tries to tell you you can use TECHNIQUE X to safely take a knife from a person attacking you with it is lying to you. The reality is, in a knife attack, you're going to get stabbed or cut, and it's more about survival and minimizing damage/not letting vital areas get hit than it is about somehow ninja kicking the knife out of their hand, catching it midair and then turning it around on the other guy. I wish people were more educated on these kind of topics and I wish YouTube or whatever other platforms were significantly stricter about the kind of videos people can post regarding self-defense techniques, because people out there watching don't know any better and they're going to get themselves hurt by listening to the garbage.
 
how would you compare magic to competitive pokémon, as someone who's been deeply involved in both? do you think someone like bkc would be able to take over the magic community and travel the world like you did, and someone who's a very strong magic player would find success in mons? do you think you managed to quickly get a reputation in competitive pokémon because of your magic knowledge? i'm very unfamiliar with card games in general so very curious about the answer
 
how would you compare magic to competitive pokémon, as someone who's been deeply involved in both? do you think someone like bkc would be able to take over the magic community and travel the world like you did, and someone who's a very strong magic player would find success in mons? do you think you managed to quickly get a reputation in competitive pokémon because of your magic knowledge? i'm very unfamiliar with card games in general so very curious about the answer
That's really hard to say. Some of the skills are certainly transferable, sure, but there are some clear differences too. In my case I was a top top top card player and was obviously never that in Pokemon so I don't think it's a fair expectation to necessarily transfer from one to the other and dominate. I also think the mons community is way, way too results based as a whole, especially when some of the tournaments like SPL are extremely small sample sizes of games and just about anything can happen in a bo1 in a game that has plenty of variance in the first place, but I digress...

Believe it or not I'd argue very strongly that card games, like Magic, have a lot less variance than mons. In Magic I could show up to a tournament and realistically expect that if I build well and play well I could go undefeated, and this happened quite regularly, whereas in mons, even when you're the best player and you're playing really well, unless your name is Tricking a lot of the time, even playing amazingly, you lose anyway because sometimes the game just happens.

This certainly isn't to deter anyone. If you have a solid mind for strategy, risk management, probability and understanding your role/path to victory in specific matchups/situations- all Pokemon skills- you're likely well-suited for competitive card games. Ultimately I think every person is different and while this is kind of a cop out answer it really does vary person to person on a case by case basis.
 
What's your favorite Pokemon, from a design standpoint, and your favorite to use in competitive?
My overall favorite Pokemon has to be Miltank. It was one of only two non Legendaries in my childhood in-cartridge party (Mewtwo, Mew, Ho-oh, Lugia, Miltank, Tyranitar) and for whatever reason I’ve just always found it simultaneously really cute and really cool. I thought being able to Milk Drink in the field was the coolest thing ever and Heal Bell was OP!

Competitively, no idea. I’ve always been in the mindset of if it’s a “serious” tournament and you’re playing to win you just play the best stuff and your personal favorites don’t matter. If I had to choose it’s gotta be my boy Cacturne! I was largely responsible for putting him on the map in the first place back in 2012/13 after promoting him a lot on YouTube and uploading some memorable battles where he did a ton of work and ultimately carried the team to victory. If you’ve ever laddered against Drake Seawood and his Zap/Forre/Tar/Gar/Cact/Pert squad, that’s my team that I created and gave to him all those years ago. Lavos also took it from me and used it in an SPL game. Likewise, when Bill Shatner was spamming double or triple Sand Veil teams on ladder in 2016/2017, that idea (SD/Sub/EQ/HP Flying Gligar) was also mine and he got it from a conversation with me and ran with it. RIP The Prickler (that nickname was also started by me…)- gone but never forgotten!
 
You've said multiple times you're very surprised by the results of CI this year so far and it's been a wild one indeed. Is there a part of you that whishes the tour had been less wild till now or are you fully on board with it?

Also, any cheeky re-predictions of who your money is on? Or are those a secret?
 
hi there!

how does it feel sitting at the bottom of a well? is it wet?

why did you pick CALLOUS as your username?

do you play/is interested in oms? if so, which one(s)?

what's your avatar?

can your wife kick your ass in Urban Rivals?

give me a 5-page essay about Francis Lowell and his contributions to the industrial revolution (standard letter paper, times new roman, 1-inch margin, 12 point font, double spaced)

is it true you are preparing pokemon perfect for a revolution to take down smogon?

somehow ADV OU is the only OU i have never played. what's your favorite team, and what's one team that you'd recommend to a beginner (assuming they are not the same teams)?
 
somehow ADV OU is the only OU i have never played. what's your favorite team, and what's one team that you'd recommend to a beginner (assuming they are not the same teams)?
ADV OU is the only OU you should ever play. If I had to recommend a team for beginners it would be this one: https://pokepast.es/928c9943d2bcc73b

EDIT: the team is a bit outdated but it still works well lowish to early-mid ladder.
 
You've said multiple times you're very surprised by the results of CI this year so far and it's been a wild one indeed. Is there a part of you that whishes the tour had been less wild till now or are you fully on board with it?

Also, any cheeky re-predictions of who your money is on? Or are those a secret?
I'm an unbiased host! ;)

Nah, it doesn't matter to me who wins or doesn't win. I'm surprised by some of the results thus far, and I certainly feel there have been more hax and upsets in the early rounds of this one than in any other I can remember, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's just the game we play.

The obvious pick for a winner, especially now that we know they're 2-0, is Star, certainly with ABR not too far behind in that same conversation, but if I were to mention a less obvious pick I think Johnnyg2 looks really good and has gone through two tough opponents up to this point and has the potential to go far. It kind of reminds me on the Linear situation the first time around- ladder guy, we all know he's good but no one is really sure how good, starts out pretty good and beats some big names... Who knows where it could go?

What’s your opinion on arena trap in ADV? Do you think the smogon anti-trapping crusade will eventually hit gen 3?
Whether it will be banned or not I don't know, but I can certainly discuss whether or not it should be banned, and I'd say no. Banning Arena Trap, which in ADV context means Dugtrio only, because Diglett and Trapinch aren't Pokemon, feels entirely unnecessary for me. Bans in mons, supposedly, are only when necessary rather than on principle. If we were banning "on principle", and evasion is bad "on principle", we have to ban Brightpowder, right? What's that? Brightpowder isn't overpowered and it's not necessary to ban it? I agree, so throw your stupid "on principle" arguments out the window. With that, is it necessary to ban Dugtrio? Is it overpowered? I can't find any objective measure that says that it is. Many top players don't even think Dugtrio is good, as you give up massive tempo a lot of the time when you revenge kill something. Zapdos + Dugtrio specifically is certainly powerful and viable, but being powerful and viable isn't a reason to ban something, and I'd stop short of saying that ZapDug is overly powerful. I don't get to make these decisions, but if I were voting on a Dug ban I'd be a hard no. It seems really silly to me. Then again, without getting too far into it, I dislike the current direction some corners of the ADV community are taking bans as a whole. There's sincere talk, including among some legitimate top players, about banning Hypnosis on Gengar, which would have been absolutely outlandish and unheard of around the time I started playing mons. It's still pretty wild to me. I'm not sure where exactly one draws the line between "variance is part of the game" and "this variance aspect is unacceptable and needs to be removed" but for sure a ban like that, for me, is a bridge too far.

hi there!

how does it feel sitting at the bottom of a well? is it wet?

why did you pick CALLOUS as your username?

do you play/is interested in oms? if so, which one(s)?

what's your avatar?

can your wife kick your ass in Urban Rivals?

give me a 5-page essay about Francis Lowell and his contributions to the industrial revolution (standard letter paper, times new roman, 1-inch margin, 12 point font, double spaced)

is it true you are preparing pokemon perfect for a revolution to take down smogon?

somehow ADV OU is the only OU i have never played. what's your favorite team, and what's one team that you'd recommend to a beginner (assuming they are not the same teams)?
I am very wet, yes.

CALLOUS (including the fact that it's in all caps) is actually just a random one-liner from a random side character in Final Fantasy 8 (5:51), which is my favorite video game of all time, and I felt it was a word that aligned with my personality and mindset at that time, so I picked it.

I tried to Google what an OMS is and couldn't find anything. No idea what you're asking me here. Sorry. =/

My avatar is Kyubey, a character from the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Someone else asked me about that below so I'll touch on that a little more in a bit.

My wife was certainly not better than me at Urban Rivals. I love her to death and she's better than me at many things, but that isn't one of them.

Francis Lowell reminds me of the fact that I was born in Lowell. Not quite a five page essay but hopefully this will suffice.

PP is not remotely a threat to Smogon. It's way, way, way smaller and I don't see that changing any time soon. Regardless, I hope it continues to grow and I hope people enjoy what we do over there.

I don't know if I have a favorite ADV OU team, but there are certainly a plethora of resources out there thanks to our awesome community to help a newer player get started. ADV is actually one of the easiest tiers to pick up and play. I'd recommend picking one team of two or three generic archetypes, such as a Skarm/Bliss/Tar/Pert TSS, a physical offense with Magneton and a special spam offense (just examples- there are obviously other choices) and just playing some games and seeing what clicks with you. Half of ADV is learning specific matchups and how the most common mons interact with each other.

What do you like about Kyubey that makes him your certified profile picture™ across all platforms?
I don't even know. I really like the anime and I really like the character, but he's not my single favorite anime character of all time. I guess he was the most suitable combination of "I like this character" and cute among my favorites? I have a super soft spot for animals and quite like cute things as an in general. I have a MAL account (including reviews for damn near everything I've watched) if my taste in anime interests anyone or if anyone wants to be friends.
 
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