Project Ubers Player of the Week · [Week #2: Transcendent God Champion]

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Arii Stella

No Tears Left To Cry
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnus
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Welcome everyone to the Ubers Player of The Week! For those who don't know what this is,it's a project where I interview top Ubers players who are well known and respected by the community, and have performed consistently well at a very high level. In addition to that you, will also have the chance to ask some questions to the interviewed person.
If you have a suggestion as to who I should interview, feel free to shoot me a PM. Anyways, lets get to it!


Transcendent God Champion

Most Known For

Being Leader of Dragon Rush, Dragon Masters and Heavenly Dragon Gods, as well as the Greatest Pokémon Master to have ever walked under the Sun.

Favourite Pokemon

My favorite Pokémon is Dragonite.

Back in 1999 or so... I had just beaten the Pokémon League in Pokémon Red. I entered the Unknown Dungeon and captured Mewtwo, which I had already known to be considered to be the world's most powerful Pokémon, since I had seen Mewtwo Strikes Back and all.

With the Ultimate Pokémon under my control, I was naturally very excited. I headed back to Indigo Plateau in order to test its powers, by challenging the Elite Four again. I easily swept my way through Lorelei, and especially Bruno and Agatha, given Mewtwo's natural type advantage over them, before standing face-to-face with the dragon master himself. Under my command, the Psychic-type Pokémon easily slaughtered the fourth Elite Four member's Gyarados, Dragonair, Dragonair and Aerodactyl, before the Dragon/Flying-type behemoth appeared before my eyes. At that point, my Mewtwo was at least nine levels higher than my opponent's Dragonite. It used its most powerful attack, Psychic... which, in accordance with my opponent's claim that his Pokémon was "virtually indestructible"... failed to knock out its foe. After that, the mighty Dragon Pokémon fired its Hyper Beam at my Mewtwo, knocking it out in a single blast despite the fact that it was at near full health.

Thinking back, my at least level 71 Mewtwo taking that much damage from a level 62 Dragonite's Hyper Beam could only have been a result of a critical hit... but my eight-year-old self did not know what critical hits were or what they did. As such, I was thoroughly impressed. At that moment, Dragonite became my favorite Pokémon ever, and it remains as such even up to this very day, while Hyper Beam also became my favorite Pokémon move ever, up until I learned about how bad it was competitively in 2003 or so.

However, as powerful as the aforementioned experience was... it would be ridiculous to believe that the impact of such alone would be enough to allow Dragonite to continue remaining as my favorite Pokémon, especially with the release of newer generations of Pokémon, and along with them, extremely cool and badass Pokémon such as Tyranitar, Rayquaza, Garchomp, Kyurem-W, Xerneas and Solgaleo. Obviously, for Dragonite to remain as my favorite, certain factors had to exist to perpetuate its position. Such factors that make it so incredibly cool in my eyes are:​
  • The fact that it possessed the single highest Attack stat of all Pokémon in Generation I. In Generation II, it was tied with Tyranitar for this position. Possessing a high Attack stat was something that meant a lot to me in my early days, because I knew that having a high Attack stat was proportional to possessing a strong Hyper Beam, which I used to consider to be the single best move in the entire game. It should also be noted that I had no idea what Same Type Attack Bonus was back then, meaning I literally did believe that Dragonite had the strongest Hyper Beam in the entire game.
  • Dragonite possesses amazing stats, surpassing or rivaling those of all but the most powerful of legendary Pokémon. The fact that it is technically not a one-of-a-kind legendary Pokémon, and yet still possesses the strength of one is also cool, as it not being legendary makes it feel more realistic when I battle with one.
  • It learns all sorts of elemental attacks, from Thunderbolt to Ice Beam, Flamethrower and Surf, making it in my opinion superior to most Pokémon, which at best can only use one or two of those moves. It also has an amazingly diverse movepool in general.
  • It is of the Dragon type - presented as a very special, legendary and almost divine type throughout the series, especially in Generation II. Furthermore, in that generation, it was one - and the stronger - of the only two fully-evolved Dragon-type Pokémon in the game.
  • The fact that Dragonite was often portrayed (much moreso in extremely early media in the Pokémon franchise) as a god-like Pokémon, such as when a giant one appeared before Bill's Lighthouse in the Animé, when Drake's Dragonite demonstrated its immense power in its battle with Ash, as well as the fact that this Pokémon is considered to be "Legendary" alongside Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres in the Pokémon Trading Card Game for the Gameboy Color.
  • It learns Extreme Speed, something which was more "special" back in Generation II than now, considering the only other Pokémon which could learn that move back then was Arcanine, a similarly majestic Pokémon. Although, the move became cooler in my eyes when I later learned that Extreme Speed is known as God-Speed in the Japanese games.
  • It learns Horn Drill, an unbelievably powerful attack which, for a long time, replaced Hyper Beam's position as my favorite move ever, after I learned that the latter was a bad move competitively. I began idolizing this move after someone on a website known as Neoseeker pointed out to me long ago that that which I used to consider to be my unbeatable Pokémon team (consisting of Aerodactyl, Charizard, Gyarados, Kingdra, Tyranitar and Dragonite - all knowing Hyper Beam) gets 6-0'd by Curse Snorlax, to which I responded by putting Horn Drill on my Dragonite, which allows it to defeat Snorlax in a single hit regardless of the number of times it boosts its Defense with Curse. My love for the move Horn Drill only grew as I began battling online on a simulator known as Pokémon NetBattle. At the time, Generation II was the main generation played on that simulator, and everyone was spamming stall teams with Skarmory, Blissey, Snorlax and Suicune... so I thought it would be fun to destroy them with one-hit KO moves, since there was no ladder back then, and people only battled each other via direct challenges. So nothing prevented me from challenging people while having the OHKO Clause unchecked. Even up to this very day, in which it no longer has any notable niche competitively in any metagame, Horn Drill Dragonite still holds a very, very special place in my heart, and I consider it to be one of my signature Pokémon when looking at the entire history of my Pokémon battling career - even while taking into account my current extreme distaste for inaccurate moves. DRAGONITE for the win!
  • The numerous cool and badass tools it gained in later generations, such as Dragon Dance in Generation III, Draco Meteor, Superpower and a 120-power physical Outrage in Generation IV, and Multiscale and Hurricane in Generation V.
Could you tell us a little about yourself.

I am a 25 year old male who lives in Sydney, Australia. I studied in the University of New South Wales, in which I took the Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Philosophy and Film Studies. I worked in various jobs after I graduated from University in 2015, but ultimately grew tired of them and quit them (I really dislike having to deal with people and having a boss over my head - in fact, I dislike entertaining the idea that there is anyone "above" me, in general) after I finished writing my first fantasy novel, a fighting-focused story known as Purity Before Existence (you can buy the book by clicking here. If you are considering buying this book, you can ask user Aquasition to tell you a bit about how the experience in reading it was like). At the moment, I am unemployed, but I don't really mind since I saved up quite a lot of money from when I worked, receive money on a fortnightly basis from an organization known as Centrelink, and I also don't spend much at all, since I live with my parents.

I consider myself to be a rather simple individual. The ultimate mottos that sum up my views on life are "all's for fun," "life is random," and "living life is like creating a work of art," meaning I basically try my best to view any situation I encounter in life as one to entertain myself with. A great majority of things that I do in life are done mostly, if not entirely to entertain myself, or as a form of art with the ultimate goal of satisfying my own personal sense of aesthetics. I do make serious efforts to achieve things in some situations, such as when participating in Pokémon battles (in which I always try my absolute best, no matter what, although I guess this is just my way of living up to my own ideal of "Pokémon Mastery"... something I ultimately do for fun and aesthetics), and in writing stories such as Purity Before Existence.

However, my "need" to make such serious efforts are mostly self-imposed - I have never really cared about impressing others, or given much thought about the opinions that others hold about me, unless caring about such serves a means to a very practical end such as making money, of course. In this way, I do not really view myself as a part of society or any community, but rather, just a person who is in this world to enjoy himself in his own way, without feeling obligated to live up to anyone's expectations, or being attached to any other person or community on anything more than a superficial level. This is partially because I have realized since a long time ago that in this world, every man is ultimately for himself, and the "positive connections" that people have with one another are mostly just people using each other for their own benefits anyway, meaning that being too attached to any person or group is never a good idea. Although, I do abide by a rather strict set of moral principles that dictate not only the limits of my own actions when it comes to dealing with other good people, but also my own obligations when it comes to dealing with those who are immoral.

My interests besides Pokémon include:
  • Writing stories (the sequel to Purity Before Existence at the moment)
  • Listening to music while daydreaming (this could be about various scenes, characters, powers, abilities, weapons, locations or ideas that I could incorporate into my story, or about random stuff completely unrelated to my story, such as philosophies that apply to life)
  • Bushwalking (and daydreaming while doing so)
  • Surfing the internet (this often involves reading about and researching a topic I'm really interested in, with this topic constantly changing over time, like phases. For example, at the moment, I am very interested in reading about and researching lions and tigers, as well as topics related to them, for some reasons. A few months later, this topic will most likely change to something else. I'd say this is the #1 factor contributing to why I may seem like a very knowledgeable person)
  • Watching various stuff on my computer, such as movies, Animé, as well as YouTube videos relating to the topic that interests me at a given period in time
  • Playing video games
  • Chatting on Pokémon Online, Pokémon Showdown!, Discord or other places, about topics relevant to my interests
  • Rereading old conversations I have saved onto WordPad documents on my computer (I literally save every single conversation I ever have. If I ever fail to save a conversation, I always ask someone to give me a PasteBin of it later)
  • Writing down quotes and other thoughts on WordPad documents

How did you come up with your name?

My username has a very, very long history. Firstly, I would like to draw your attention to the story I have given above, about how Dragonite became my favorite Pokémon. The experience I recounted in that story was also what made Lance my favorite character ever in the Pokémon series. Other factors that further solidify the Indigo Plateau Pokémon League Champion's position as my favorite Pokémon character include his use of Hyper Beam on literally every single one of his Pokémon in all games prior to Generation IV (with the exception of Pokémon Stadium), his incredibly awesome battle theme in both Pokémon Gold/Silver/Crystal as well as Pokémon Stadium 2, the fact that my favorite Pokémon is his signature Pokémon, and the fact that the stage on which he is battled in Pokémon Stadium 2 simply looks incredibly awesome, grand and awe-inspiring to my eyes, with the gigantic dragon statue in the background on his side of the stage. Furthermore, in Pokémon Stadium 2, the dragon master also gave me an experience very similar to the one he gave me in Pokémon Red - I had swept through the Gym Leader Castle mostly with Mewtwo, defeating even Karen with it... but for a long time, I could not defeat Lance at all, simply because his Tyranitar always overwhelmed my Mewtwo, while the rest of my team struggled with his remaining Pokémon.

Because Lance is my favorite Pokémon character, I once decided to roleplay as him sometime in early-mid 2009, during the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl days, on an online Pokémon battling simulator known as Pokémon NetBattle Supremacy. I created my own server, known as the POKéMON LEAGUE, and modified the server's database in order to give some Pokémon some moves and Abilities they cannot normally possess. These were the Ability Huge Power as well as the moves Extreme Speed and Flare Blitz for Dragonite (Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver were not out yet at the time, so Extreme Speed was illegal on Dragonite in Generation IV back then), the Ability Magic Guard as well as the moves Flare Blitz and Head Smash for Aerodactyl, and the Ability Magic Guard as well as the moves Head Smash and Wood Hammer for Charizard (I imagined Charizard using Wood Hammer in a manner similar to the way it uses Rock Smash in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, except with a large chunk of wood instead of a boulder).

Inspired by the way Lance is known for using illegal Pokémon and moves in the Pokémon games, such as a Barrier Dragonite in Pokémon Red and Blue, a Rock Slide Aerodactyl in Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal, as well as underleveled Dragonite across many games, I decided to throw together a team consisting of Gyarados, Dragonite, Dragonite, Aerodactyl, Charizard and Dragonite (the team Lance uses in Generation II, as well as in the first battle against him in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver), with every Pokémon except for Gyarados (in part due to the fact that I personally find the act of leading with a Pokémon with the Ability Intimidate to be extremely awesome aesthetically) utilizing the illegal moves and Abilities I gave them by modifying the POKéMON LEAGUE server's database. Under the name CHAMPION LANCE, I stayed on that server for a few weeks, accepting any battles from trainers who challenged me, and stood as a completely undefeated trainer on that server (I actually participated in way more than 20 battles, but most of them were unrated), thanks to the unnatural powers that my dragons possessed. While roleplaying as LANCE on that server, I also typed in a way similar to the way in-game characters in the first three generations of the POKéMON games speak, by completely capitalizing the same words or terms that those characters do, including DRAGONITE, EXTREME SPEED, HUGE POWER, etc, as exemplified by this very sentence.

Pokémon NetBattle Supremacy was also the very same simulator on which I later met my long-time friend aLiEn Mw, the sole leader of a Brazilian clan known as Dragon Rush at the time. After winning a DPP OU tournament on the main server (without using any illegal moves or Abilities, of course) on New Year's Eve at the end of 2009, and having a battle with aLiEn Mw himself shortly after that, I was made his fellow Clan Leader of Dragon Rush. I joined the Dragon Rush forums under the name CHAMPION LANCE, as carried over from my Pokémon NetBattle Supremacy name.

Later, in 2010, I joined the Pokémon Online forums under that name as well. However, as time passed, I got bored of the name CHAMPION LANCE, thinking it was too mundane-sounding, so I started using the cooler, grander, and more badass-sounding, yet similar name Ultimate Champion, which was also the name I later used on the Dragon Masters forums after fusing my Dragon Rush clan with sasha the master's Masters clan. Actually, "Ultimate Champion" was a title I had used to refer to myself in some fanfictional Pokémon stories I had written long, long before I even started playing Pokémon on online simulators, but still.

However, I later thought that even Ultimate Champion was too mundane a name, and I wanted something that transcended even that name in terms of grandeur, while at the same time retaining roughly the same idea. Inspired by a chapter title of Bleach (my favorite manga ever), "Deicide 21 [Transcendent God Rock]", I came up with the name Transcendent God Champion, which I used on a simulator that existed in 2014, known as PokeBattle (random fact: the name of my most famous Übers Rate My Team ever, The Blazing Glaciers, is also a Bleach chapter title). Later, I simply decided to reuse my PokeBattle username for my current Smogon forum account.

Also, I know that I have already answered the question at this point, but just for fun, I'd like to link to this page, which explains the creation of the username Immanent God LANCE, which was made after the name Transcendent God Champion, and which I use on the Heavenly Dragon Gods forums, with this name having also been used by me on both Discord as well as Pokémon Showdown!.

Also, just for fun as well:

Pokémon Trainer R (the name of a Smogon account I used in the past) -> R The Resurrection (the username I used in the days of Ubers Premier League III) -> Auferstehung【天龍神】(the name I used in the days of Ubers Premier League IV. "Auferstehung" means "resurrection" in German, and the rest of the name is the Heavenly Dragon Gods clan tag) -> Oppstandelse【天龍神】 ("Oppstandelse" means "resurrection" in Norwegian")

LLW -> LivingLegendWataru (Sasha and I are considered to be the two Living Legends in the world of competitive Pokémon. Also, Wataru is the name of the character Lance in the Japanese version of the Pokémon games) -> 1337 Legend ワタル (this username is pronounced "Leet Legend Wataru")

How and when did you get into competitive Pokemon and the Ubers tier?

In the most technical sense, the beginning of my competitive Pokémon battling career was in 2000. When I first bought Pokémon Red in 1999 and completed the game, I already developed a strong desire to possess a team of six Pokémon which together are able to battle and defeat any trainer not just within the Pokémon games themselves, but in real life as well. After all, the Pokémon series strongly promotes the idea of becoming the very best, like no one ever was, and I personally found, and still find the whole idea of Pokémon Mastery to be incredibly glorious, epic and awe-inspiring. And because I already had that desire by that point, the start of my competitive battling career was technically marked by the first time I battled my best friend in Pokémon Stadium, since competitive battling is defined as the act of battling other real people and doing everything within one's power to win.

When the Generation II Pokémon games were released in my country, the competitive battling careers of me and my best friend (as well as some other friends of mine, who later also started playing Pokémon Stadium with me as well) moved to Pokémon Stadium 2. Back when I used to battle with my friends, I was considered to be the most powerful trainer among the group, although looking back, I wouldn't say that I was overall any good at battling at that point, as the teams I used all consisted of six Pokémon which all know Hyper Beam. However, despite the bad strategies I used in my battles against my friends, I was able to beat them all simply because they used even worse Pokémon, moves and strategies than I did, and also because they were not as familiar with the mechanics of the game as I was (although my knowledge of Pokémon wasn't that great either, as there were certain mechanics such as DVs and the way Hidden Power types work which I had absolutely no clue about. But of course, none of my friends knew anything about them either).

Later, when most of my friends lost interest in competitive Pokémon battling, I moved on to my very first online Pokémon battling simulator, Pokémon NetBattle, which another friend of mine introduced to me in late 2003. I participated in Generation II battles when I first started battling on Pokémon NetBattle, as that was the most recent and popular generation available on the simulator at the time. I lost some battles initially due to my lack of knowledge of the game compared to most of my opponents. However, I quickly learned more about how to battle effectively, and thus for the first time in my five years of playing Pokémon, I actually became a genuinely good battler in early 2004. This prowess only grew throughout the first half of that year, as I later managed to develop one of the greatest win-loss records in the history of Pokémon NetBattle on numerous servers, including Blue Heaven, Tafop, Ultimate Arena and Battledome, having achieved about 200 victories and only about 10 defeats in each of those servers under one name. My skill at battling in Generation II had reached such a high level that I was matched only by a handful of other trainers back then, such as Veteran In Love, DaElite, Master Sun Elite and Moonlight.

Having known about Pokémon NetBattle... I had already established a connection with the Pokémon battling community. Through word of mouth, I naturally discovered all the other Pokémon websites and online Pokémon battling simulators that came after that, including Ignazio's Arena (established in mid-2004), Smogon (established in December 2004), Shoddy Battle (created in late 2008, though I barely used that simulator), Pokémon NetBattle Supremacy (created in early 2009), Dragon Rush (New Year's Eve at the end of 2009 was when I discovered this community, though it has existed since 2006), Pokémon Online (created in early 2010), Pokémon Showdown! (created in mid-2012), Dragon Masters (established in June 2013), PokeBattle (created in early 2014), Heavenly Dragon Gods (established in June 2014), and possibly more I may have missed.

There are three reasons why I got into Übers:

1. The first reason is because although rules such as the Sleep Clause and Species Clause have existed in every Übers metagame so far, Übers has nonetheless traditionally been the single metagame that is closest to Pokémon battling in its purest form, since it has the fewest number of bans and clauses. I am a person who dislikes the idea of a metagame having too many rules or things banned from it, while I do not mind the chaos embodied by a tier in which all or most of the "overpowered" Pokémon are usable. In fact, on the contrary, I actually love that very idea.

Ironically though, this is also one of the reasons why I never got too much into ORAS Ubers for most of the time when this metagame was played, since Anything Goes - the metagame which I have personally always wanted Übers to be - was created shortly after ORAS Ubers came into existence. Since I have traditionally played Übers because it was the closest thing to Anything Goes, I for a long time saw no reason to keep playing that metagame after Anything Goes was introduced.

2. Übers has traditionally been the only metagame in which the strongest legendary Pokémon, such as Mewtwo, Lugia, Ho-Oh and Rayquaza are usable. Since such powerful legendary Pokémon are considered to be deities within the Pokémon universe, I feel an immense amount of power and satisfaction in controlling them in battle and using them to defeat other legendary Pokémon of similar god-like abilities, especially with epic and gloriously destructive attacks such as Aeroblast and Sacred Fire. Such satisfaction is akin to the feeling one experiences upon catching any legendary Pokémon in the main Pokémon games. Since they are extremely rare and possess incredible power, having them under one's own control creates a great sense of empowerment.

What I am about to point out in this and the next paragraph may be a bit off-topic, but I would nonetheless like to proceed anyway since it gives more insight into the positive feeling that I am describing here. I have never, in any generation of Pokémon, played any tier below OU, at least seriously. And the reason why has to do with what I described above. Pokémon that are often used in tiers below OU tend to be Pokémon that are commonly-found and mundane within the Pokémon universe, and they do not possess a high degree of power. This makes the act of both controlling and defeating such Pokémon to be unsatisfying to me, hence why I have never played such tiers.

Many people may also know that I am a quite avid Balanced Hackmons player. The reason why I like that metagame so much can be considered an extension of the second reason why I like Übers so much. If controlling rare, powerful and god-like Pokémon and using them to defeat other Pokémon of similar grandeur represents a form of immense satisfaction and empowerment for me, then the same would apply even more so to controlling almost any Pokémon - including the aforementioned super legendary ones - while at the same "transcending" the "legal limitations" of the game by allowing such Pokémon to possess almost any move or Ability, in order to push things to the limit and utilize powers unseen in legal play. (this is aesthetically awesome to my eyes as well, as it reminds me of the in-game Lance using illegal Pokémon). When one is capable of utilizing powers that are "special" or defy normal laws and rules, it is only natural that one feels like an omnipotent deity.

To put things into simple TV Tropes terms: I like Übers for the feeling of empowerment that comes with playing with Olympus Mons, while I have always avoided tiers below OU exactly because such tiers subvert this, and I like Balanced Hackmons because it takes what Übers is to me Up To Eleven.

3. The simplest reason of them all is the fact that Übers has traditionally been the metagame in which the highest number of my favorite Pokémon see common use. Mewtwo, Arceus, and the cover legendary Pokémon are all among some of my favorite Pokémon ever, largely for reasons explained in the previous section.

What's your favourite generation of Ubers, and why?

I find it very difficult to decide between ADV, XY (if that counts as a generation) and SM, so I guess I'll explain my views on each of them.

ADV Ubers:

Admittedly, my love of ADV Ubers is based a lot on nostalgia above all else. It is the metagame I spent the most time playing on Pokémon NetBattle in 2006, and I found it incredibly fun to destroy my opponents with immensely powerful moves (by that generation's standards at least, anyway) such as Choice Band Lugia's Aeroblast, Rayquaza's Choice Band-boosted attacks, Mewtwo's catastrophic special attacks combined with its Selfdestruct technique, Kyogre's immensely destructive attacks, and other things like that. Also, I think I had less worries on my mind in general at the time when I played ADV Ubers, in terms of both life and Pokémon, as I was much younger back then (at that time, I certainly did not think of many practical but restraining concepts that are central to me as a Pokémon trainer nowadays, such as hax-resilience in teambuilding), making it seem more pleasant when I look back at it.

I think I liked this metagame even more when I reflected upon it in 2012 and 2013, at the time when BW2 Ubers was the latest Übers metagame played. I remembered how back in Generation III, things were much simpler, as extremely annoying things such as Stealth Rock, Arceus-Normal and Darkrai did not exist to limit teambuilding so much. I particularly loved the fact that Spikes was the only entry hazard back then, meaning that if I had a team with many Pokémon immune to it, I could get away with using a team with no countermeasure to entry hazards at all. This was in stark contrast with BW2 Ubers, which I played at the time of my reflection, as in that metagame, I either had to go out of my way to include an Espeon on my team, or take for granted that every one of my Pokémon had to suffer from at least Stealth Rock damage every time it switched in (and even if I had Espeon, the opponent could sometimes get entry hazards up anyway, through either prediction or things like Mold Breaker Stealth Rock Excadrill). This was something I did not like, because I have always disliked the idea of playing with entry hazards on my side of the field, since they restrict my freedom of switching so much, and turn many would-be safe plays into 50/50s, making things more random and giving less skilled trainers a better chance at defeating me.

But as I mentioned though, my idealized view of ADV Ubers is definitely largely influenced by nostalgia, because as I watched many ADV Ubers battles in this year's Ubers Premier League, I noticed that battles in this metagame are very, very commonly decided by hax - much moreso than in any other Übers metagame barring possibly ORAS Ubers in my opinion. For example, take a look at my team member Melle2402's ADV Ubers run in the fifth Ubers Premier League. I do not recall him playing a single clean set in that entire tournament - every set, he either won or lost as a result of hax. And this is only natural when I think about it, as ADV Ubers was a metagame dominated by Thunder spam, Thunder Wave, Calm Mind wars, and many other things that made it very RNG-based. This aspect of the ADV Ubers metagame does bother me nowadays due to my current mindset, as I strongly dislike metagames in which consistent success cannot be achieved (I'll talk more about that later in this interview), but I guess it meant absolutely nothing to me back in 2006, especially since I didn't take this game as seriously back then.

XY Ubers:

As a metagame, XY Ubers was definitely a rollercoaster ride for me, but one that I ultimately loved. Entering this metagame fresh from BW2 Ubers towards the end of 2013, I initially absolutely loved the Defog buff. No longer did teams need an Espeon in order to be able to expect to even have a decent chance at playing a game without having at least Stealth Rock on one's own side of the field. Not only was Espeon far from a foolproof method of keeping entry hazards off the field in BW2 Ubers, as mentioned before, but it was also a Pokémon that only fitted on one playstyle - Sun offense. So in BW2 Ubers, I was forced to either only use Sun offense, or use other playstyles while accepting that having at least Stealth Rock on my side of the field was a given - something I really disliked. But with the Defog buff in XY Ubers, I felt, at least initially, that all playstyles could equally viably play without having to take for granted that Stealth Rock will be on the field.

As someone who specialized in the use of Sun offense in BW2 Ubers, I started off XY Ubers with a Ho-Oh balance team known as Heaven-Defying Immortality, which had Defog Arceus-Rock as well as some other Pokémon I was comfortable with using in the previous generation, such as Groudon, Palkia and double status Lugia, as that felt most natural to me. My team saw amazing success for the first few months of XY Ubers, but fell flat on its face when the metagame developed. When people started putting Toxic on their Stealth Rock users to wear down Defog Arceus, and when Taunt became omnipresent on Mega Gengar and all forms of Mewtwo, my team no longer worked.

The fall of my Heaven-Defying Immortality team made me explore some other playstyles, including Mega Blaziken hyper-offense (something Ubers leader Hack once complained about being "broken" in the XY Ubers metagame, which inspired me to use it, thinking it was good); Mega Mewtwo X/Choice Specs Kyogre balance (a team I made together with Sasha, with some ideas taken from Sheetanshu); SwagPlay (culminating in my creation of In Luck We Trust); a Scolipede hyper-offense team made by Arsenal/Astounded, about which Level 56 created a Rate My Team thread; various teams made and given to me by Arsenal, as well as various stall teams I took from Chinese Master Seele. For a long time, In Luck We Trust was the only team with which I had even decent success in this metagame, as I found teambuilding in this metagame to be unbelievably difficult, due to the myriad of threats that exist in it, including the extremely centralizing forces embodied by Stalltwo and Geomancy Xerneas. Furthermore, once developed, XY Ubers as a metagame looked completely unlike BW2 Ubers, meaning that most of the experience I had developed in playing BW2 Ubers were completely irrelevant in this new metagame. Things became even worse for me after Swagger was banned, leaving me with no good teams at all, something that made me leave for some other metagames such as Balanced Hackmons and Almost Any Ability for a few months.

However, I regained my love for this metagame towards the end, when I took a certain rain stall team made by Seele (which was actually a modified version of a team initially made by ZoroDark) and made various changes to it, such as replacing Arceus-Fairy with Arceus-Rock, as well as Giratina's Sleep Talk with Shadow Ball in order to deal with Taunt Mewtwo. In doing so, I created not only the single best XY Ubers team ever, but also the single best, most consistently successful and most hax-resilient team in any Übers metagame I have ever played up to that point in time.

A large part of my love for XY Ubers also comes from the fact that I am particular fond of neither the Übers metagame that came directly before it (BW2 Ubers), nor the Übers metagame that came directly after it (ORAS Ubers). BW2 Ubers had problems with entry hazards (as I already explained) as well as game-deciding 50/50s (which exist mostly as a result of the aforementioned overpowered entry hazards). As for ORAS Ubers, it was a metagame which I have intensely disliked for a long time, to the point where I quit it for a long time in favor of ORAS Anything Goes (although to be fair, this wasn't the only reason why I quit ORAS Ubers, as I mentioned earlier. And in all honestly, looking back, ORAS Anything Goes was actually infinitely worse than ORAS Ubers as a metagame). This was because I have always thought that ORAS Ubers was a metagame in which a consistently successful and hax-resilient team, let alone one to the same extent as my XY Ubers rain stall team, could not possibly be made at all. I thought that the best teams in that metagame all depended on things like Intimidate, Mega Gengar's Focus Blast or Giratina-O's Dragon Tail to not be swept by Arceus-Normal (the last of those requires +2 Shadow Claw not scoring a critical hit on Giratina-O, and a 90% accuracy move hitting!), Precipice Blades hitting Geomancy Xerneas in order to not be swept by it, and extremely shaky and unreliable stuff in general, such as Dark Void, Focus Blast, Thunder, Precipice Blades and Stone Edge.

Although, to be fair, I had begun to reconsider my stance on ORAS Ubers after creating GaiaForce and achieving a 58-2 win-loss record with it, with my reconsideration of such being recently solidified upon witnessing the ORAS Ubers stall team Pohjis used in two of his tie-breaker matches in the previous Ubers Premier League. I believe there is a very, very high chance that the team Pohjis made may be the single best ORAS Ubers team ever, as I have battled many times with it against various people, without a single loss. Had I come up with such an incredibly awesome, consistent and hax-resilient team in early or mid-ORAS Ubers, I actually think I could have enjoyed this metagame a lot.

SM Ubers:

I love this metagame, as it seems to be so easy to make consistent and hax-resilient teams in it. While it may have been true that such consistent and hax-resilient teams in the first half of SM Ubers were mostly limited to stall teams, I think the release of Marshadow has changed this. Marshadow can now make offense a lot more consistent than it ever was in the past in Übers, for reasons I'll explain in the appropriate section of this interview.

How do you feel SM plays compared to ORAS, and if you could change anything about the current metagame, what would it be?

I think the difference between SM Ubers and ORAS Ubers is far less than the difference between any other two consecutive generations of Übers, due to the lack of extremely significant changes in game mechanics, such as the Special split as well as the advent of the Dark and Steel types between RBY and GSC, the introduction of EVs, Natures and Abilities between GSC and ADV, the change in the way physical and special attacks are determined as well as the introduction of Stealth Rock (and to a lesser extent Toxic Spikes) between ADV and DPP, the introduction of Team Preview as well as various game-changing Dream World Abilities between DPP and BW2, and finally, the Defog buff, the advent of the Fairy type, as well as the introduction of immense power creep in the forms of Geomancy Xerneas and Primal Groudon between BW2 and ORAS. However, the transition from ORAS Ubers to SM Ubers has definitely benefited defensive playstyles overall, with the departure of Darkrai, Latios and Mega Diancie, combined with the fact that Alolan Muk serves as such a powerful Mega Gengar check. With that said, I personally think that in both metagames (at least before Marshadow was released, in the case of SM), stall is by far the most consistently successful playstyle, contrary to what many people may think about it in ORAS. It's just that in ORAS, the number of viable stall teams was vastly eclipsed (probably at a ratio of about 99:1) by the number of viable balance and offensive teams, but I'd say that the 1% of viable teams in that metagame that were stall teams were still better than the 99% of viable teams that were not. I personally do not think that the transition from ORAS to SM has made the best stall teams in the metagame any better. But rather, it has helped stall in the sense that it has vastly increased the number of different types of viable stall teams.

However, I personally very much welcome that which may have probably been the single most significant change in the transition from ORAS Ubers to SM Ubers, and that is the departure of Darkrai. I believe that Darkrai was an incredibly unhealthy presence in ORAS Ubers (as well as in any pre-SM metagame, really. Remember when I said, "ORAS Anything Goes was actually infinitely worse than ORAS Ubers as a metagame" earlier?), for this reason:

When measuring how "good" a Pokémon is in a metagame, there are two metrics people often consider. The first is the question of how much consistent success a Pokémon can give you if you were to participate in countless battles using an optimal team containing this Pokémon. And the second is the question of how much the presence of this Pokémon in the metagame shapes teambuilding, as well as the metagame itself. Generally, the more consistent success a certain Pokémon gives people, the more often it is used, which increases its impact on the metagame and teambuilding. However, the correlation is not linear, as can be observed through this example:

Consider an incredibly versatile Pokémon, with an extremely huge movepool, as well as the ability to run countless viable movesets in one metagame, with all of those movesets demanding different checks and counters. This Pokémon's impact on the metagame and teambuilding is absolutely massive. However, in reality, it still can only run four moves and one moveset at a time. While the element of unpredictability (in the sense that the opponent will often not know how to react due to them not knowing exactly what moveset it runs) certainly increases the success that its user can achieve, the effect of such an element is minimal when looking at the Pokémon's ability to give its user consistent success. This means that this Pokémon's ability to give its user consistent success is not on par with the extent to which it influences the metagame and limits teambuilding.

The above is one example, but I believe Darkrai in any pre-SM metagame is another huge example. When preparing for Darkrai in teambuilding, it is always assumed that Dark Void always hits... just for the benefit of the person facing it. After all, this move does hit most of the time. However, if you were to use Darkrai yourself, you would realize that its actual level of viability is not actually on par with how much it restricts the metagame, since at the end of the day, Dark Void does, on average, miss once in every five uses. A Dark Void miss is usually incredibly costly given how frail Darkrai is, being game-changing a significant portion of the time, which results in the use of this Pokémon being quite detrimental for one who seeks consistent success. Just imagine succeeding in getting Stealth Rock past the opponent's Mega Sableye thanks to the use of Deoxys-S's Skill Swap. Then, sometime after Deoxys-S faints, the opponent sends out their Arceus-Water, a move you read and respond to by double-switching to your Darkrai. A whopping 20% of the time, Arceus-Water succeeds in using Defog in this situation. Of course, I am aware that many Pokémon trainers like to think under the mindset that "any loss as a result of hax should be completely disregarded, as if they did not even happen at all"... but the reality is that Pokémon does not work this way, both in measuring team quality as well as trainer skill.

Long story short, Darkrai in all pre-SM metagames is a Pokémon whose presence places incredible amounts of restrictions on teambuilding, limiting the metagame a lot. But at the same time, the reward that comes with actually using it is not on par with all the damage it causes. Thus, the existence of this Pokémon in any pre-SM metagame lowers the consistency of teams, making everything more random.

As for what I would change about the current metagame... I know this may sound controversial, but I'll say it anyway as it's my honest opinion:

While SM Ubers in its current form may undeniably be an absolutely wonderful metagame... I personally think that SM Anything Goes is an even better metagame. Both offense and stall seem more consistent in it than in Übers. Offense's increased consistency in Anything Goes owes itself to the fact that Mega Rayquaza and Arceus Formes (Arceus spam is the single most common archetype in SM Anything Goes, though to be fair, the introduction of Marshadow probably hinders it a lot) do not really use many inaccurate moves, as well as the fact that multiple Extreme Speed Arceus makes it much easier to check opposing sweepers (as opposed to having to do things like relying on a Precipice Blades hit to prevent a Xerneas sweep). On the other hand, stall's increased consistency in Anything Goes comes from the fact that Mega Rayquaza's very existence in the metagame completely invalidates Mega Salamence, while pushing Mega Gengar's usage down to a far, far lower percentage than in Übers, as a result of opportunity cost. And Mega Lucario is non-existent in that metagame due to a combination of Mega Rayquaza's existence (in other words, opportunity cost once again), combined with the fact that Mega Lucario is slower than Arceus and cannot boost its Speed with any viable move, which is just bad in a metagame dominated by Arceus spam. Despite the fact that Mega Rayquaza as a Pokémon is infinitely more threatening than Mega Salamence, Mega Gengar or Mega Lucario... I think stall would rather have to deal with Mega Rayquaza along with Mega Gengar (which I again emphasise, has significantly less usage in Anything Goes) than to have to deal with three different and threatening Mega Evolutions which all have roughly the same usage, as well as requiring vastly different checks and counters. Furthermore, the dominance of Arceus spam in Anything Goes also makes things easier for stall, as Arceus as a Pokémon rarely possesses the tools necessary to threaten stall, whereas Übers teams are generally much more adept at pressuring stall.

SM Ubers has many bans and clauses for various reasons, many of which were policies that were implemented in previous generations of this tier. And that's understandable. For example, I would never even dream of allowing the Sleep Clause to be lifted in DPP, BW2 or ORAS Ubers, for reasons I have explained a few paragraphs ago. But honestly, considering just how incredibly balanced SM Anything Goes is, even if you may not agree that it's a better metagame than SM Ubers... do many of these clauses, such as the Species Clause and the Mega Rayquaza Clause even need to exist (the fact that the use of multiple Arceus is allowed in Anything Goes significantly helps in keeping Mega Rayquaza in check, though I know of many Übers-legal Anything Goes teams that handle Mega Rayquaza just fine)?

Stuff that are banned from Übers for being uncompetitive rather than overpowered, such as one-hit KO moves, Evasion-boosting techniques, Swagger, Moody and Hypnosis Mega Gengar are almost never seen at high levels in Anything Goes, simply because it's not worth it to use these inconsistent things in the long run. And if they were unbanned in SM Ubers, I'd say the same story would apply after the initial hype surrounding them dies down (there is a reason why Moody Glalie was used in early Anything Goes significantly more often than at any other point in that metagame's lifespan). Although, I wouldn't mind keeping them banned under the logic of preventing someone from gambling with them in a single tournament match against an opponent they perceive to be far more skilled than themselves, in the belief that it is their best chance of winning, and then getting lucky and winning via the use of such things.

What are your thoughts on Marshadow? Has it impressed you so far?

I absolutely love the introduction of Marshadow in the SM Ubers metagame, due to the fact that, at least based on what I can observe, this Pokémon has contributed immensely towards allowing offense to be a consistently successful playstyle. To give you an idea of how much this means to me, BW2 Ubers was literally the last Übers metagame in which I ever liked offense of any kind. And even then, the reason why I preferred offense over stall in BW2 Ubers was simply because offense was better than stall in that metagame, despite still being significantly less consistent than the best stall teams seen in later generations.

One of the biggest problems with offense traditionally, as well as one of the greatest reasons why I use stall almost exclusively in XY, ORAS and pre-Marshadow SM Ubers is because of offense's lack of solid methods for checking Extreme Killer Arceus. When dealing with an incredibly dangerous offensive threat capable of sweeping entire teams if one fails to check it... using extremely soft checks to it such as Intimidate Pokémon, or stuff that easily lose to a Focus Blast or Will-O-Wisp miss or a single critical hit (often from a move with an increased critical hit ratio, too) is simply unacceptable, and not to mention that a lot of these "checks" don't even work if Arceus-Normal has something unusual like Recover or Lum Berry. However, offense also cannot afford to use more solid checks to this Pokémon, such as Clefable, Lugia, Giratina-A or Skarmory, due to the way these Pokémon disrupt the team's own momentum due to their lack of offensive presence.

To be honest, Arceus-Normal is hardly the only sweeper offense traditionally uses flimsy ways of "checking," but at least Marshadow existing makes the problem presented by Arceus-Normal pretty much irrelevant now. Offense now has a very solid, reliable and consistent way to deal with Arceus-Normal, and while Choice Scarf Terrakion has always existed... it is obviously not a good idea in a metagame in which Mega Gengar, Mega Salamence and Xerneas all exist. I think that, thanks to Marshadow, there is a very good chance that I will like offense again for the first time since BW2 Ubers.

As we all know, Baton Pass recently got banned in Ubers, how do you feel about this? Did you support it or not, and why?

I do not support the Baton Pass ban at all. Thimo's infamous Eeveepass team was not close to an excellent team in my eyes, at least when used by the vast majority of people, for reasons I explained here. Although this does not prove my point, I think the fact that even someone as skilled as Ubers leader Hack could not succeed in climbing significantly above the 1500s on the SM Ubers ladder using this team strongly supports my stance as well. And even if you could justify banning Eeveepass for the reason I gave in the final paragraph of the post I just linked to, I think it would make more sense to ban the move Extreme Evoboost instead, since the move Baton Pass does have various legitimate uses, as can be observed in the team HunterStorm used in this Ubers Premier League battle of his (though granted, it didn't actually work there).
 

Arii Stella

No Tears Left To Cry
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnus
#2
Favourite game from any tour and who was the toughest opponent that you've faced?

Out of any tournament battle in which I have ever participated in history, my favorite one would be my battle against Arsenal/Astounded in the finals of an XY Ubers tournament known as the Dragon Masters League Tournament, a tournament which took place on the old Dragon Masters clan forums. It is a battle I will never forget. Arsenal is one of my greatest rivals ever in the entire history of my Pokémon battling career. He was the single person I battled the highest number of times in XY Ubers, and I was also the single person he battled the highest number of times in that metagame. According to him at one point in 2014, the only person to hold a positive record against him in that metagame is myself.

Looking at the Team Preview, I was almost certain that I was going to lose. However, I did not allow this drop in morale to prevent me from sticking to one of my numerous philosophies of Pokémon Mastery - that no matter how badly I may be losing or how hopeless the situation may seem, I will always battle to the very end, depending on hax or attempting to outplay my opponent via a long series of god-like predictions if need be - something I repeatedly emphasized to my own players when I managed The Burning Red White Kyurems in Ubers Premier League V.

Arsenal and I fought against each other in a short exchange of mostly intuitive plays... until the fifth turn of the battle, at the beginning of which my Scizor stood face-to-face before his Heatran, a Pokémon which could easily incinerate its opposition with a single Lava Plume in a heartbeat. In that situation, I knew that staying in with Scizor would be an incredibly risky decision, but I also knew that I had no choice. I knew that had my Scizor taken a Lava Plume on that turn, then that would have meant instant defeat for me. But I also knew that had I switched out... I would have also eventually lost anyway, as the team matchups were extremely heavily in Arsenal's favor. To me, cowardice was not an option in that situation. Had I retreated, I would have aged, and had I hesitated, I would have lost. Faced with an all-or-nothing scenario, I bravely, with the heart of a lion, clicked the "Mega Evolution" button, followed by "Superpower," to the shock of both my opponent as well as even the Living Legend Sasha the Master, who spectated that battle live. And my decision paid off. Within a single turn, Arsenal's Heatran, which would have otherwise completely walled my entire team barring Groudon (which was completely walled by Gliscor) and Mega Scizor (which no one would ever expect to stay in on a Heatran), lost 88.7% of its health in exchange for setting up Stealth Rock. Now that his Heatran was weakened, it could no longer take a Brave Bird from my Ho-Oh, a Spacial Rend or Thunder from my Choice Scarf Palkia, or a Judgment from my Arceus-Rock, at least without several turns of Leftovers recovery.

The battle went on. Since his primary switch-in to my Ho-Oh was crippled, he had to fall back on his Gliscor and Zekrom for the purpose of checking my Rainbow Pokémon. This resulted in the fall of both his Zekrom as well as his Mega Mewtwo Y, the second of which made an unsuccessful attempt to knock out my Ho-Oh with its signature Psystrike technique, before being disintegrated to ashes by a catastrophic, Life Orb-boosted and harsh sunlight-fueled Sacred Fire.

After a while, I managed to eliminate my opponent's Stealth Rock-setting Heatran, before getting a Defog off with Arceus-Rock, sacrificing it in the process. At that point in time, I still did not think that the battle was mine, simply because my opponent's Gliscor had not revealed its entire moveset, and it would have been troublesome for me if it knew Taunt. But to my relief, it was eventually revealed that it did not. At this point, I knew that I had won. While his Gliscor completely walled my team, it could not threaten anything else, as its only attack, Earthquake, was easily walled by my Mega Scizor, which recovered the damage easily with Roost. Ho-Oh was immune to the attack, while Toxic failed to deal any net damage to my phoenix thanks to its Regenerator Ability, and Mega Scizor was also immune to the move. Basically, all I had to do was use Mega Scizor to stall the Gliscor out of PPs, and then his remaining team is easily massacred by my Ho-Oh. However, he forfeited before the battle even came close to ending. The only thing more I could have asked for from this battle would be that he played to the very end, as a Pokémon Master would in my opinion. But overall, this battle was an unparalleled experience in my entire Pokémon battling career.


If you would prefer to specify it as my favorite Übers battle that took place in a Smogon tournament, then that would be my battle against Problems in ADV Ubers in the third iteration of the Ubers Premier League. Unlike in the case of my battle with Arsenal in the finals of the Dragon Masters League Tournament, the entertainment that I derived from my battle with Problems had less to do with how the battle itself unfolded. After all, it was not even a particularly difficult battle. Rather, it has to do with various aspects of the circumstances surrounding the battle.

Problems is an individual whose name, in my opinion, serves as a very fitting description of his attitude and character. Back in the era of the original Dragon Masters clan, the members of my glorious clan pretty much unanimously viewed Problems as a villainous character. Between getting Sasha and I banned from the Pokémon Online server (too bad banning a Living Legend is as pointless an act as killing a phoenix is though, as bypassing our bans was as simple a task as said phoenix rising from the ashes, something shrang would be able to attest to), his extremely rude and condescending behavior towards others and especially the members of my clan, as well as countless other flaws in his character, I have never before liked this person.

Ubers Premier League III was a tournament which took place more than half a year after the disintegration of the original Dragon Masters clan. Due to some internal conflicts within our clan, about which I would prefer not to speak, the original Dragon Masters had split into two seperate clans. ALiEn Mw and I created Heavenly Dragon Gods, while Sasha created a new Dragon Masters clan of his own. Since so much time had passed since the fall of the original Dragon Masters clan, and I had not interacted with Problems in a long time, I thought that he would treat me as just another one of his opponents in the third Ubers Premier League, and nothing more. But I was sorely mistaken.

Prior to my battle with him, this hideous creature demonstrated the exact same behavior I would have expected from him back in 2013. Furthermore, when I private messaged him to battle on our scheduled time, he revealed to me that he had not even built his team yet, and told me to give him thirty minutes to do so. As my manager Hack and I immediately suspected, Problems was attempting something underhanded... something which ultimately contributed significantly to the satisfaction I experienced in my inevitable triumph over him.

The ultimate goal of all Pokémon trainers should be, as repeatedly emphasized by Nintendo and Game Freak, to reach the ideal state of Pokémon Mastery. Almost everyone knows the opening lines of the English version of the Pokémon Animé's opening: "I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was." However, certain lyrics from the first opening of the Japanese version of the Pokémon Animé strikes with me greater awe: "Aa, akogare no! Pokémon Masuta ni! Naritai na, naranakucha, zettai natte, yaru!" This translates to, "Ah, I long to be a Pokémon Master! I want to be, I have to be, I know I'll be one!"

Unfortunately, Nintendo and Game Freak has never given a concrete definition of a Pokémon Master. When asked at one point, they simply responded with:

"I'm very sorry, but the Pokémon Company does not answer questions of this nature. It is the intent of the Pokémon creators that such questions be left to the imaginations and interpretations of Pokémon fans, adding more excitement and mystery to the Pokémon universe."
By my own interpretations, a Pokémon trainer needs to meet certain requirements in order to be considered a Pokémon Master. Firstly, a Pokémon Master must possess incredible battling skills. This does not need to take the form of consistently outpredicting the opponent or winning 50/50s, if that can even be considered to be a skill. But rather, simply never making a single blatantly incorrect decision in battle. But this is not enough to guarantee consistent success in Pokémon. To guarantee that, one must possess and utilize excellent teams in battles. Teams which, when played perfectly, win consistently over countless battles against innumerable different trainers and teams. Of course, no team or Pokémon Master can never lose. Everyone loses eventually, as hax and bad team matchups will always exist and be encountered. Nonetheless, even with hax and team matchups in mind... consistent success over countless battles against all sorts of different opponents and teams serves as the foundation stones of Pokémon Mastery.

How exactly does a Pokémon trainer succeed in creating an excellent Pokémon team? As I have personally repeatedly emphasized to my players in the last Ubers Premier League, I only know of one method, and that is to first throw a team together in the Teambuilder, before participating in an absolutely insane number of battles with it. During the course of all of this, it will eventually become clear that the team has weaknesses, at which point one ought to make tweaks and changes to their team to cover those weaknesses, before battling with the team again. Some more weaknesses are likely to be discovered in the process - either ones that were undetected previously, or ones that previously did not exist, but arose as a result of the various tweaks and changes made to the team in an effort to cover other weaknesses. After many, many battles as well as a long process of testing and tweaking, one will eventually find the number of defeats they suffer with their team, through hax or otherwise, to be significantly decreased, until the point at which the team can truly be called excellent. To see an example of how this is done, read the "Team building process" section of this Rate My Team thread of mine.

However, Problems did not act in accordance with the principles of Pokémon Mastery at all. Instead of bringing an excellent team against me, he chose to quickly go through the replays of my previous battles in that Ubers Premier League, before, within the space of half an hour, throwing together a cheap counter-team, designed not to combat the entire ADV Ubers metagame, but solely for the purpose of defeating me. And to his humiliation, he lost to me not in spite of the underhanded tactic that he employed against me. Rather, I would personally say that he lost because of it... an experience suffered by many other people who have battled me in Pokémon tournaments... in Übers metagames or otherwise. After all, it is unthinkable to expect a team built in thirty minutes to triumph over one which was built almost a decade before the battle. All in all, this was a memorable battle to me both because of who I defeated, as well as the fact that I had triumphed in a moral and philosophical sense, since I won by sticking with my own principles of Pokémon Mastery, while he failed by doing the exact opposite.

As for the battle itself... nothing much to say other than the fact that Kyogre basically owned him.


However, I wouldn't say that my battle against Problems was my favorite Smogon tournament battle ever - only my favorite Übers one. My favorite Smogon tournament battle overall is actually this battle against Adrian Marin in the second Other Metagames Premier League. However, since it is not in an Übers metagame, I will not spend time explaining the details about it, although anyone should feel free to ask if they are interested. The replay freezes on turn 243, but it should be obvious how the battle ended. If it isn't, then once again, feel free to ask if you are interested.

Your UPL team The Burning Red Kyurem-White did well reaching finals this year. How was your experience as a manager, and did the auction and your draft plan go as you initially planned it?

This was my initial auction plan for the fifth Ubers Premier League. At first, my thought process went something like this:

At the time when I was formulating my auction plan, I considered Lacus Clyne and Lord Outrage to be the two best ORAS Ubers players ever, and I also knew that both of them would cost a lot. However, I also believed that of all the metagames played in that tournament, ORAS Ubers was the only one in which a strong correlation between player price and skill level existed. After all, player price is only necessarily correlated with reputation, but all of my experience in life tells me that reputation, and the concept of general consensus is ultimately a very meaningless thing. In playing various Pokémon metagames throughout the years, I have realized that the general consensus about many metagames are usually wrong, such as when people considered Espeon to be unviable in BW2 Ubers. With all of this in mind, I devised a plan, which was basically to buy the two best ORAS Ubers players ever, while at the same time suffering very little from the amount of money I would need to spend on them, since I believed that I knew about the existence of many Übers players from other generations (mostly SM) who were incredibly skilled, but weren't recognized much by the Ubers community, meaning they would be cheap despite their skill levels.

In my mind, my ultimate ace card was going to be SvetaGS3. She is an unbelievably skilled player at using stall, possessing an extremely solid understanding of all of the intricacies of this playstyle, such as Pressure-stalling Defog and entry hazard PPs with Giratina. This is something even many "established" players in the Ubers in the community do not know how to do, for some reasons, and some of said "established" players have even revealed to me quite recently that they did not know that a Pokémon loses two Stealth Rock PPs when it uses this move against Giratina. I believe that the only person who surpasses SvetaGS3 when it comes to utilizing stall in SM Ubers is myself. Furthermore, I consider stall to be by far the single best playstyle in SM Ubers (at least prior to Marshadow's release, which was the case at the time), due to its sheer consistency embodied by its ability to win even after suffering from an absolutely insane amount of hax, combined with the fact that this playstyle is extremely unreliant on winning Speed-ties and 50/50s. This means that a person using stall, especially with the level of skill that SvetaGS3 possesses, would be extremely unlikely to lose to random factors. And to add on to all this, I also knew that SvetaGS3 was someone completely unknown to the Pokémon community, meaning that she was an easy 3k steal for me (I put her price as 5k in the PasteBin I linked to before, but that was just me being paranoid of other managers upbidding her. I actually fully expected her to be 3k, which she was).

In the auction, things did not go exactly as planned, in the sense that I had to give up on March Fires, since his price went up way too high. However, things ultimately went quite smoothly, as I managed to buy every single other player I initially wanted as well, for a much lower price in general than I had expected too. This allowed me to buy two other players originally not in my auction plan - namely, HunterStorm and DontStealMyPenguin.

In managing The Burning Red White Kyurems, I relied on a number of strategies in an attempt to claim my imminent victory. These were:

1. Having a team of extremely skilled trainers in general, something I managed to achieve using my aforementioned auction strategy of buying the two best ORAS Ubers players, while at the same time being unhindered by their immense cost thanks to the cheap prices of my other skilled trainers, particularly SvetaGS3.

2. Making extremely strict rules regarding the use of inaccurate moves. For example, I disallowed all of my players from using any team that relied on the move Focus Blast for the purpose of achieving anything of importance, especially checking Extreme Killer Arceus. I basically did not want them to ever use a Mega Gengar with this move, at all. Although, I did not mind them sticking Focus Blast on something like a Choice Scarf or Choice Specs Lunala, not because I believe that Lunala's Focus Blast should be relied upon for anything of importance, but rather because there simply wasn't a better move to put on that slot. And despite its extremely low accuracy, Focus Blast might help in some desperate situations, such as if one faces a particularly bad matchup and there is literally no better way to win than to hope that it hits. I also disallowed my players from using Precipice Blades on any Primal Groudon with 0 Attack EVs, as Earthquake is simply more consistent. All of this served to significantly reduce the chances of my players losing to hax, since my experience tells me that hax-resilience is easily one of, if not perhaps the single most important factor contributing to consistent success in Pokémon battling, and therefore Pokémon Mastery.

3. Making sure that all the teams used by my players were excellent teams - ones with which they had achieved consistent success over countless battles. In the case of HunterStorm, he even peaked the SM Ubers ladder with his teams before using them in his Ubers Premier League matches. I intensely dislike it when people approach a tournament match using the mindset that Problems had when he battled me in the third Ubers Premier League. Quickly throwing together a team within a short period of time prior to a tournament match is the path to defeat, or at least inconsistency, whereas using an optimized and tried-and-true team is the path to victory and consistency. Problems was hardly the only person to have ever tried what he did against me and failed, and I am happy to go into the details about the other cases when such a "strategy" had failed against me if asked, though I will not do so at the moment since many of those tournament matches were not for Übers metagames.

4. Banning the act of purposely giving the opponent a free turn in order to compensate for haxing them. This act is completely against my entire philosophy as a Pokémon trainer, and its practical purpose is also obvious.

5. Banning the act of forfeiting within my team. The logic behind this decision of mine is explained in this post. Furthermore, forfeiting also decreases morale within the team, which leads to my next point.

6. Placing a huge amount of emphasis on morale, and doing my best to keep such at an all-time high in my team. The various speeches I posted each week in the Ubers Premier League threads perfectly exemplify this, but they were not everything. Here is a morale-raising speech I showed all my players immediately after the auction. Also, below are some screenshots of various motivational speeches I gave in The Burning Red White Kyurems' Discord channel:

After Alex Walls lost to Pearl in week 3:


Sometime later in week 3:



Me firing SvetaGS3 up prior to her week 4 match:



Me reassuring my team after SvetaGS3's week 4 loss:



A speech I gave to my team in week 5, when morale was at an all-time low, due to the seemingly extremely hopeless situation we were in, as both my team and the Grand Helix Fossils had to win that week in order for us to make it to finals:



A speech I gave about the philosophies underpinning the ideal state of Pokémon Mastery:



A motivational speech I gave in the final week against The Defiant Durians:



A speech I gave prior to the tie-breaker (Fireburn had mistakenly told me at the time that The Defiant Durians had chosen BW2 Ubers as their tier, which is why Alex Walls was in place of Melle2402 there):



However, I realized that my initial strategy in managing The Burning Red White Kyurems was not completely flawless, due to some factors I had overlooked.

Firstly, I will start off by saying that in my eyes, SvetaGS3's position as one of the best SM Ubers players, as well as one of the Greatest Pokémon Masters in general (she actually knows and plays many different metagames) has not changed. However, as far as her effectiveness as a player in the Ubers Premier League is concerned... the trope Awesome But Impractical describes her perfectly, as while her ability to play stall is almost unparalleled, it is also the only playstyle she knows how to use. Once people figured that out, she could not win a single set despite her skills, as in the entire Ubers Premier League, she faced absolutely nothing except for anti-stall teams one after another. Fortunately, despite the fact that she was initially supposed to be my ace card... the fact that she was not putting in work was not a massive setback to me, since at the end of the day, she only costed 3k anyway.

The second problem was with the two players who were initially supposed to be the front of my BW2 Ubers force: Bossness and Sheetanshu. I have always had nothing less than an immense amount of respect for the BW2 Ubers skills of these two individuals, hence why I bought them in the first place. But the problem was that the time at which I became impressed by their skills was all the way back in the days of 2012 and 2013, and they had been away from Pokémon for several years. In hindsight, I should have expected both of them to be incredibly rusty, but such rational thinking I should have done was overwhelmed by the impressions they had made upon my mind years ago. I cannot put the blame upon the two of them, as even I would become rusty if I left Pokémon for that long. So this was entirely my own mistake.

The third problem was with Lord Outrage, on several different levels. Firstly, his activity in the first three weeks was incredibly poor. He did not show up on scheduled time in any of those three weeks, and in week 3, he ended up being more than two hours late to his match, resulting in me having to substitute Lacus Clyne in his place, while disallowing him from battling in the Ubers Premier League any further. This resulted in me having to let Klefkwi battle in ORAS Ubers in his place in the following week, which also, as an after-effect of Lord Outrage's activity issues, posed as a minor problem for us, as Klefkwi's battling abilities were not as great as I had initially believed (not that he is bad though). At the end of week 4, Melle2402 convinced me to let Lord Outrage battle again despite his potential activity issues, since at the time, our chances of making it to finals were incredibly slim, meaning it was better to go all-or-nothing anyway, as Lord Outrage's battling skills ultimately cannot be denied.

He did manage to show up on time, and win in week 5 as well as finals, but there were other issues with him besides activity. Namely, he was, as he even admitted himself, an incredibly difficult individual to manage, as he simply cannot accept having his choice of teams controlled by a manager, at least to the same degree as my other players. This would have been fine by me... had he not had the tendency to use teams reliant on inaccurate moves such as Focus Blast and Thunder, as well as teams utilizing very flimsy methods of checking Extreme Killer Arceus. Another thing that makes me scratch my head is his tendency to not use Absolute Control, one of the best, most consistent and most hax-resilient ORAS Ubers teams ever, despite the fact that he is the very creator of that team, meaning his ability to use it exceeds that of every other trainer in existence. He only used that team once in the entire tournament, and that was because I told him to do so, not because he thought of using it himself. The problem presented here was actually far more damaging to my team than my own overestimation of SvetaGS3's effectiveness and practicality in the Ubers Premier League, since Lord Outrage was my most expensive player, while SvetaGS3 was my cheapest.

Managing Lacus Clyne in the Ubers Premier League also made me realize that she was just as annoying and difficult to deal with as Lord Outrage, due to some issues with her personality. Although, since she did win the vast majority of her battles and contributed a lot to the team overall, I guess it's not worth it to complain that much here, especially since the Ubers Premier League is over and her relevance to me has ended anyway. There were also some other imperfections in my team, such as people forfeiting despite being told not to, and proposing the use of teams heavily dependent on useless moves such as Focus Blast despite being told not to. But all in all, I should digress on the negativity here, as not only is it completely unrealistic to expect a group of human beings to work completely perfectly as one unit, but despite all of these imperfections, my team did make it to finals and tie-breaker, after all. The reason we did not win ultimately cannot be blamed on anything in the first five weeks, as the finals were something we had to win regardless of our performance in the weeks leading up to it anyway. And I'd say that in both the finals and the tie-breaker... we performed superbly, and far better than we did in any previous week - we only lost because the team we faced was even better than we were, so I have no regrets.

One interesting thing to note is that one of the players on my team who contributed the most to it - HunterStorm, who achieved a 4-1 win-loss record - was not even considered in my initial auction plan, and I did not even let him play until week 3 (and the only reason I let him play in the first place was because Lacus Clyne had to be benched that week due to some problems she exhibited as a person). Initially, I did not think that letting HunterStorm play SM Ubers for my team would be a good idea, despite the fact that I have always known him to be one of the best players ever in an extremely similar metagame - SM Anything Goes. This was because, as several people had pointed out to me, his method of battling in it was extremely unorthodox, with many of his teams lacking Primal Groudon despite not having very good reasons to be so. Additionally, I have also observed that Thimo, another player on my team who also happens to be a top SM Anything Goes player, seemed to have adapted to the SM Ubers metagame significantly better than HunterStorm did.

However, after a while, I realized that this was a minor problem, as I figured out its roots. In SM Anything Goes, HunterStorm is, in general, far more reliant on Mega Rayquaza and multiple Arceus than Thimo is, as perfectly exemplified in his signature hyper-offensive team in that metagame, Cuntsquad (consisting of Mega Rayquaza, Yveltal, and four Arceus). Thimo, on the other hand, typically uses SM Anything Goes teams that tend to resemble SM Ubers teams more, with him never using more than two Arceus per team. So while Thimo's style in SM Anything Goes made it far easier for him to transition to SM Ubers, at its core, both players are exactly on a very, very similar level when it comes to raw Pokémon battling skills. This meant that, after HunterStorm became used to the difference between SM Anything Goes and SM Ubers, he became just as good as Thimo at the latter. As such, the fact that I had initially consider SvetaGS3, rather than HunterStorm to be my strongest card in SM Ubers was probably the biggest highlight of my own inexperience as a manager of a Premier League tournament team, as this was my first time being one, after all.

All in all, managing The Burning Red White Kyurems was a positive experience for me. Pokémon Mastery is a concept of unparalleled grandeur to me as a person, for reasons that are ultimately rooted upon my childhood. And when looking at all the Pokémon metagames I play and am good at, there is honestly no better Premier League tournament for me to manage a team in than the Ubers Premier League - even something like the Other Metagames Premier League would be a tournament in which I would be unfit to manage a team in, since I only know two out of six of the metagames played in that tournament. As such, managing a team in the Ubers Premier League has allowed me to go all-out in sharing my extremely vast amounts of experience as a Pokémon trainer with my teammates - experience and insight not only specific to the metagames played in this tournament (for example, "switching your Mewtwo out of Deoxys-A isn't always the best idea as it may be Substitute + Petaya Berry!", "sacrifice your Groudon against the opponent's Choice Scarf/Choice Specs Kyogre lategame, before setting up your Extreme Killer Arceus on Kyogre in the Sun!", or "predict the Mega Gengar switch-in and Scald it with Tentacruel!"), but also pertaining to Pokémon battling in general, such as general concepts like the importance of hax-resilience in teambuilding, use of excellent teams, and never giving up when battling. Furthermore, managing The Burning Red White Kyurems also felt similar to roleplaying as a general in war, commanding my players as if they are soldiers in a very strategic manner while giving awe-inspiring motivational speeches to boost their morale, something I found incredibly fun to do.

With all of that said though, I probably will never manage a team in any Premier League tournament again, because as fun as it was, it was also an incredibly stressful and tiring experience for me, especially when my players fail to act or respond in the way I expect them to. Ultimately, I guess my decision to never manage again is largely linked to my dislike of interacting too closely with other people, as I am someone who is just best off entertaining myself while interacting with others from a distance at best, without being put in a position in which I am responsible for too much, such as the victory of twelve other players, in the case of myself in managing The Burning Red White Kyurems.

Anyway, I did talk about more negative stuff in managing my team in the Ubers Premier League than I would have liked. So I guess I'll end this on a very positive note by revealing the victory post I had written and planned to post had I won the tournament, since the victory post contains my shoutouts to various people, and certain people have found it strange that I never made a shoutouts post for the Ubers Premier League despite being a manager. So here it is:

As The Burning Red White Kyurems deactive their Overdrive mode upon witnessing the defeat of their foes, the ice and snow left behind by their powers slowly melt away. As the snowing clouds disperse, the blazing Sun rises over the frozen wasteland, to herald the victory of the strongest team in the history of the Ubers Premier League. By walking alongside me - the Great Pokémon Master - a man of unparalleled experience in the art of Pokémon battling, the people of The Burning Red White Kyurems have endured both the heat of the toughest of Pokémon battles, as well as the cold of the long and difficult search for the most optimal Pokémon teams in each of the metagames played in this tournament. And now, the people of this team may enjoy the hard-earned pride and glory of their success!


Glory be to SvetaGS3, and may the mountains and the seas bow before the Heavenly Dragon Gods! The fact that you happened to face some of the worst possible team matchups in this Ubers Premier League has led to you attaining a win-loss record that is as effective at reflecting your skills as a Pokémon trainer as a dry lake is at reflecting the light of the Moon. In truth, I have no doubt in mind that, with your extremely intricate and detailed understanding of stall as a playstyle, you are easily one of the Greatest Pokémon Masters to have ever lay foot on this coarse Earth, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to work together with you in this tournament.

Glory be to Thimo! Sticking with the tried and true may guarantee success in Pokémon, but innovation is the method by which success is taken to newer and greater heights in this game. Your unparalleled creativity in teambuilding has contributed immensely to The Burning Red White Kyurems' victory in this Ubers Premier League, and the help you provided to your teammates cannot be understated.

Glory be to DontStealMyPenguin! As mentioned in the above paragraph, looking past conventional wisdom is necessary for attaining success in Pokémon, and you show that better than the vast majority of people I know. Your character is strong - you have never allowed the condescending words of those around you in regards to your choice of teams, Pokémon and strategies to allow you to overlook that which your own experience tells you, when it comes to achieving success. And this is a strength I can certainly relate to as a Pokémon trainer.

Glory be to HunterStorm! Innumerable people look down upon Anything Goes, the metagame that serves as the primary source of your fame. They make claims about it being "uncompetitive," "unofficial" or "lacking in a skilled playerbase," despite this metagame being literally Pokémon battling in its purest form, which means that that being good at this metagame places one far closer to the ideal state of Pokémon Mastery than being good at any other tier does. Yet, even without the aforementioned philosophy in mind, you have nonetheless exposed the lies of those around you with your immense success in this Ubers Premier League.

Glory be to hyw! Glory be to the Dragon Masters, and long live your proud clan! A trainer's skill in any metagame serves as a measurement of their proximity to the state of Pokémon Mastery, but the same can be said about the number of Pokémon metagames one is proficient at. With your vast knowledge of multiple different metagames, you have contributed to The Burning Red White Kyurems' victory in three of the five metagames played in this Ubers Premier League. Additionally, you have also performed excellently in your role as my assistant manager, and I must express my thanks to you for that.

Glory be to Lacus Clyne, and may the mountains and the seas bow before the Heavenly Dragon Gods! You are an unbelievably skilled Pokémon trainer as well as a very nice person, and having a chat with you has always been an incredibly pleasant experience for me. You have performed amazingly well in this Ubers Premier League, contributing immensely to The Burning Red White Kyurems' road towards victory, and for that, I am very thankful. I hope and believe that as a trainer, you will continue to rise towards even greater heights.

Glory be to Lord Outrage! "Steal Pokémon for profit. Exploit Pokémon for profit. All Pokémon exist for the glory of Team Rocket" may not be a philosophy I subscribe to, but I must nonetheless express my very deep thanks to you for taking your time to help The Burning Red White Kyurems achieve victory with your amazing battling skills, even while you are in the middle of your final exams. Your lack of luck in your battles is unfortunate, but I acknowledge that it is far from your fault, and admire the fact that you tried your very best for your team's sake.

Glory be to Klefkwi! Despite the fact that you are not The Burning Red White Kyurems' manager, you are undoubtedly an extremely important presence in this Ubers Premier League's team channel, with your lack of hesitation to go out of your way to help your teammates whenever possible. You are a very pleasant individual, and the constant social support you give your teammates is extremely admirable.

Glory be to Bossness! Glory be to the Dragon Masters, and long live your proud clan! My history with you is long, with its ups and downs, but your skills and innovative abilities in BW2 Ubers cannot be questioned. I deeply appreciate your contributions to Dragon Rush, Dragon Masters, and now The Burning Red White Kyurems.

Glory be to Sheetanshu, and may the mountains and the seas bow before the Heavenly Dragon Gods! There is a Cantonese saying which goes, "old age is like a machine breaking down." In the same way, no matter how skilled a Pokémon trainer may be, if they do not battle in a long time, they will inevitably succumb to the power of rust. However, despite what may have happened in this Ubers Premier League, I will always remember you as who you were in your prime - the King of Power, the man who occupied the top of Pokémon Online's DW Ubers ladder for an entire year between 2011 and 2012, and one of the Greatest Pokémon Masters I have ever known in my life.

Glory be to Alex Walls! You are a man I have always regarded in a similar manner to Sheetanshu, and in a sense, the very existence of this Ubers Premier League in its current form owes itself to you. After all, without you, The Blazing Glaciers would never have existed, and thus neither would The Burning Red White Kyurems, a team whose name pays homage to the aforementioned legendary BW2 Ubers team.

Glory be to Melle2402! In the very first Ubers Premier League I personally participated in, Ubers Premier League III, I signed up to play ADV Ubers exclusively, and did so for The Defiant Durians, which ultimately won that entire tournament. And the reason I did so was because I found, and personally still find ADV Ubers to be an admirable tier among Übers metagames to play. A metagame void of any entry hazards besides Spikes, a metagame void of Darkrai, and a metagame void of Arceus. A tier in which one can experience the satisfaction and nostalgia of seeing Lugia, a Pokémon known exclusively for its defensive capabilities in later generations, blasting the opponent's team to shreds with its devastating Choice Band-boosted Aeroblast. A tier in which Mewtwo dominates with its elite Speed due to the non-existence of the Choice Scarf item, and in which the Genetic Pokémon devastates all in its path with its powerful special attacks and Selfdestruct technique. And in response to the absolutely beautiful ways in which you have played this wonderful metagame in contribution to my team, I salute you.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Special thanks and glory be to James Jimmy, for all the help you provided for The Burning Red White Kyurems, despite not being an official part of this team! Observation of history tells us that Greeks have a strong inclination towards and affiliation with philosophy. As far as the world of Pokémon is concerned, the first sign I beheld of this being true was when a certain man from Greece once said, more than a decade ago, that "Pokémon is a gambling game." And the second and last sign of such being true was when you yourself expressed the very same thought before me. The two of us are both very well aware of just how incredibly luck-based and random the game of Pokémon battling is, and we have each responded to this knowledge in our own ways. While you developed a strong interest in the concept of the Skillmons tier before ultimately quitting Pokémon altogether, I chose to continue playing this game out of my love for the very monsters I battle with, as well as the elusive and fascinating idea of Pokémon Mastery, both of which representing extremely important aspects of my childhood. Albeit, I do so whilst adhering to certain principles that are extremely strict, to the point where they may detract from the overall enjoyment of this game for most people, such as forbidding myself and my players in this Ubers Premier League from using any team that isn't hax-resilient, something my ORAS Ubers players are more than likely sick of hearing about by now. Yet, despite the fact that you have officially quit Pokémon long ago, you were still willing to offer my team tremendous help in preparations in the ORAS department, and I cannot express how thankful I am to you.

And finally... special thanks and glory be to Shitegotreal, for extensively participating in test battles with my team's BW2 Ubers players - Bossness, Sheetanshu, hyw and Alex Walls - in order to maximize their chances of winning in this tournament! I especially appreciate the fact that you went to the effort of helping me despite the fact that you were never under any obligations to do so, since just like James Jimmy, you are not technically on my team. You are a very skilled and knowledgeable BW2 Ubers player, and my own BW2 Ubers battles with you have always been extremely enjoyable.

Now, then... one final time, my fellow Pokémon trainers of The Burning Red White Kyurems...

GLORY BE TO OUR UBERS PREMIER LEAGUE VICTORY!

Who are your favorite people that you met playing Pokemon throughout your career?
Since I've met countless people across my Pokémon battling career, my list is going to be huge.

In the entire competitive Pokémon community, my favorite person at the moment is my clanmate Mumu, as she is an incredibly intelligent person in my opinion, capable of understanding many of my views regarding Pokémon (basically any tier I play), philosophy, as well as life in general, and all of my conversations with her are generally incredibly entertaining.

My clanmate Balanced Freakmons is also an incredibly pleasant person, and battling her in Balanced Hackmons, as well as discussing with her about that metagame and various random stuff is always very enjoyable.

My clanmate Lord Itachi is also a very chill and fun person, though he hasn't been active in a very long time.

hyw is awesome, being perhaps the first person to ever buy Purity Before Existence, as well as a great friend in general. He is incredibly fun to battle against in many different metagames, from all the Übers metagames between ADV and SM to Anything Goes, and sometimes even Balanced Hackmons.

ShadowQuinn is a very fun person to talk to, and he is also a very skilled trainer. The circumstances around when we first met was quite funny, and I still laugh when thinking back to it :)

My clanmate Emberr is one of the nicest persons I know, as well as a staple member of Heavenly Dragon Gods back when it was more active. She is extremely inactive nowadays though, typically coming online once in months, but I guess that's what happens in life eventually.

My conversations with SparksBlade pertaining to various philosophical stuff about life are usually very enjoyable and engaging, and I am usually very entertained by the jokes he makes as well.

In terms of Pokémon battling skills, my favorite individuals are, in chronological order of me meeting them:

Master Sun Elite: The leader of Pokémon Tribunal 4, and a Generation II opponent I battled back in 2004 and 2005. He was my single greatest rival ever, and we've had countless extremely long battles in the past, including the single longest battle I've ever had up to that point, lasting 393 turns (although several battles I had later surpassed that one in length). As a trainer, he and I also both shared many similarities, as we both battled with extremely defensive and stall-oriented teams back in Generation II (at least during the peak of our rivalry anyway), as well as having very similar tastes in Pokémon and movesets.

Ace Trainer J: An incredibly brilliant trainer I met on Pokémon NetBattle Supremacy in 2009, who mainly participates in Generation IV battles, but seems to be adept at battling in every generation up to that point. He has given me many tough battles in a wide range of different tiers and generations throughout 2009 and 2010, and also seems to be a very logical and intelligent person too. By the way, just like me, he is also from Sydney, Australia. He is also the only person I first encountered on the internet who I have also met up with in real life.

aLiEn Mw: My fellow leader of Dragon Rush, Dragon Masters and Heavenly Dragon Gods, and one of the best OU players I know in several generations. One tradition within my clan is that, in commemoration of the battle aLiEn Mw and I had when we first met on New Year's Eve at the end of 2009 (a DPP OU battle, which I lost as my Metagross got frozen by an Ice Beam), the two of us would battle on every New Year's Eve, in a different tier every time. He would win some, while I would win others, and it was always very fun.

Sheetanshu: One of the best players ever in both BW1 DW Ubers as well as BW2 Ubers. Competing with him for the #1 spot on Pokémon Online's ladder was simply a blast, and battling against him always put me on the edge of my seat due to his incredible prediction skills, made further dangerous by how well he abused his team's Ditto, Recover Extreme Killer Arceus and Choice Specs Kyogre.

Alex Walls: One of the most innovative players ever. Not only did he dominate in BW1 DW Ubers and BW2 Ubers in a manner very similar to the way Sheetanshu did, but he somehow managed to peak #1 in BW1 Ubers using a team without a single Pokémon resistant to Water, thanks to his skillful use of a specially-defensive Groudon to play around Kyogre, as well as an incredibly dangerous Choice Specs Reshiram, Life Orb Ho-Oh, Choice Scarf Terrakion and Swords Dance Arceus-Ghost. He was the single person who revealed to me that a hyper-offensive team without a solid Kyogre counter can still work with a specially-defensive Groudon combined with skillful play, and his BW1 DW Ubers team formed the basis of The Blazing Glaciers, one of the most famous BW2 Ubers teams ever.

Sasha the Master: The sole Leader of the current Dragon Masters clan, as well as one of the only two individuals in the world of competitive Pokémon to have ever held the title of "Living Legend." The sheer amount of achievements he has had using SmashPass prevents me from ever denying his skill in Generation V Übers.

Hack: A very skilled player in almost every generation of Übers. He was a member of Dragon Rush and Dragon Masters, as well as my manager in the third Ubers Premier League, in which he did a fantastic job at managing.

Adrian Marin: The God of Stall in Balanced Hackmons. He is one of, if not the single most innovative player in that metagame, being the inventor of countless movesets in it, including a certain Kyogre/Primal Kyogre set which is, even up to this day, arguably the single best sweeper in the entire tier. I have battled him many times in BW2 and XY, including one instance in which he gave me my favorite Smogon tournament battle ever, in the second Other Metagames Premier League, something I discussed earlier.

Seele: This Chinese Master may be the single best stall player in XY Ubers as well as one of the best team builders in that metagame. He built a great stall team early on in the XY Ubers metagame, being the first to ever give me a completely hopeless and crushing 6-0 defeat in that metagame. And he later made another stall team by replacing the Mega Tyranitar on ZoroDark's Ghost Stories with Arceus-Fairy among some other changes, although that team was weak to Mega Gengar and Choice Band Ho-Oh. However, I took that team myself and solved the aforementioned problem by replacing Arceus-Fairy with Arceus-Rock, while at the same time covering the weakness to Taunt Mewtwo by giving Giratina Shadow Ball, creating what I personally believe to currently be the single best XY Ubers team ever. In this way, you can say that Seele was to me in XY Ubers as Alex Walls was to me in BW2 Ubers. The former influenced me into becoming a mostly stall-oriented player in XY Ubers, just like how Alex Walls solidified Sun offense as my primary playstyle in BW2 Ubers (although to be fair I did make a team of that style before The Blazing Glaciers). But unlike in the case of Alex Walls, whose influenced on me existed only within BW2 Ubers, Seele's influence on me extended way beyond a single metagame, as he was directly responsible for influencing the way I play several other later metagames - namely, ORAS Ubers, ORAS Anything Goes, SM Ubers and SM Anything Goes. Some of the most famous teams in these modern metagames, such as my ORAS Ubers team GaiaForce, my SM Ubers team 天下無敵 (more commonly known as "Lance stall"), 天下無敵 [Ultimate Pokémon Mastery Mix] (my SM Anything Goes stall team, which is basically just 天下無敵 with Arceus-Steel over Arceus-Ground, Perish Song over Ice Beam, and a different EV spread for the Arceus), as well as the stall team Hack used against Problems in their battle in the second week of the previous Smogon Premier League all ultimately had their roots largely upon the aforementioned excellent XY Ubers rain stall team. This chart says it all.

Arsenal: I have literally had several hundred XY Ubers battles with him back when he was in my clan, and I am simply amazed not only by his incredible skill, but also by the sheer speed at which he can build countless teams for that metagame, almost like an XY Ubers team-producing factory. I estimate that about 70% of the XY Ubers teams that I currently have saved in my Pokémon Online folder were given to me by him. Also, fun fact: his love of the hazard lead Scolipede in many XY Ubers teams he built actually directly inspired me to use that Pokémon in my first Anything Goes team ever, TheAbsolutePower.

SvetaGS3: I have already mentioned everything I need to explain about her earlier, at least regarding SM Ubers. She is an equally skilled player of stall in Anything Goes too, and also plays several other interesting tiers, including my favorite ORAS metagame ever, Inverted Balanced Hackmons on Pokémon Online (too bad this tier was removed later though). She is also the single person with whom I had my longest Pokémon battle ever, which lasted for 719 turns in SM Anything Goes.

fsk: In my eyes, he is the God of Hackmons tiers in general, being incredibly skilled at every single one of them between ORAS and SM, including Inverted Balanced Hackmons, Balanced Hackmons on both Pokémon Online and Pokémon Showdown! in both generations, as well as Classic Hackmons, a metagame I admittedly never became good at due to its unbelievably high skill floor.

Is there any advice for new players getting into Ubers that you'd like to share?
I have some insightful quotes to share. It should also be noted that most of the following pertains not only to getting into Übers, but getting into Pokémon battling in general:

1. Pokémon is a gambling game.

This is a simple, yet brilliant, true, and timeless quote in my opinion, said by someone known as ChaosLord all the way back in 2005. This quote does not mean that you should disregard the entire concept of trying to get better at this game, since skill in Pokémon is about probability management. Rather, this quote is about accepting the fact that luck is a part of the game, and someone winning or losing a battle due to luck is nothing special. Rather than being something to be complained about, the existence of luck in this game is something that should be accepted, exploited (as in, if haxing is your only chance of winning, then you ought to try to hax), and fought against (as in, in both playing and teambuilding, one should seek the path that is least likely to result in a loss to hax).

2. Pokémon isn't about what would have happened. It's about what happened.

If you got haxed or misplayed, and are now in a position in which it is very difficult for you to win, then that may be tragic. And if you haxed your opponent, or he or she misclicked and is now in a terrible position, then it's understandable that you may feel bad. But always remember that at any given point in a Pokémon battle, how things would have went if certain prior events in the battle, be it RNG-related or not, had turned out differently is irrelevant. All that matters is to choose the move in the present time that will give you the best chance at winning, even if said chance may be small. This quote can also be interpreted as a means of discouraging the act of giving the opponent a free turn to compensate for hax, something.

3. Do not think of Pokémon in terms of a single battle. Try to picture how things work in the long run.

This quote serves two purposes. The first is to express the idea that complaining about hax when it happens once over many battles is pointless, since it will happen eventually. "My win-loss record is 19-1, but the one loss was to hax, so it's technically 20-0" is an incoherent and pointless thing to say. And the second purpose it serves is to encourage people to build teams that seek to win consistently in the long run, rather than merely having a good chance at winning in a single match.

4. But as counter-intuitive as the following may be, the pursuit of knowledge is a double-edged sword. On one hand, such a process may give one knowledge about a certain matter by arriving at a conclusion via experiments, but at the same time, it may lead one towards a wrong conclusion about that matter, which would push one a step back from the position at which they originally started - that is, holding no belief whatsoever about the matter.

This is a quote from the glorious introduction of my legendary tenth anniversary Rate My Team thread, dedicated to my BW2 Balanced Hackmons hail team, Mirages of the Frozen Wasteland. This quote basically tells you to think twice before drawing conclusions about aspects of any Pokémon metagame, such as calling a certain Pokémon, moveset or concept unviable, or definitely completely outclassed by something else. Once you have deemed something to be useless, you will miss out on every opportunity to make use of it, at least until you acknowledge that it isn't completely useless. While calling certain things useless may be a practical thing to do in order to eliminate the need to have to consider certain options that are truly not worth considering, make sure to think things through before doing this, so that your beliefs do not place a limit on your own potential as a Pokémon trainer.

Also, as a bonus answer to this question:

Start of turn 20
Theories's Xerneas used Focus Blast!
Norman2509's Groudon lost 81% of its health!

Norman2509's Groudon used Precipice Blades!
Theories's Xerneas avoided the attack!
The intense sunlight continues to shine.

Theories: and that
Norman2509: o
Theories: is why lance doesn't like gruodon
Norman2509: yes gg

Start of turn 21
Theories's Xerneas used Moonblast!
It's not very effective...
Norman2509's Groudon lost 0% of its health!
Norman2509's Groudon fainted!
The harsh sunlight faded.

Theories: as xern check

(01:05:00) 【天龍神】 ワタル: By the way, I want to ask you something, since you've known me for a long time.
(01:05:06) 【天龍神】 ワタル: "Is there any advice for new players getting into Ubers that you'd like to share?"
(01:05:15) 【天龍神】 ワタル: Whar would you say is the best one I have ever given?
(01:05:17) 【天龍神】 ワタル: *Whart
(01:05:20) 【天龍神】 ワタル: *What
(01:06:44) Theories: hm
(01:08:54) Theories won against Norman2509.
(01:09:32) Theories: well
(01:09:35) Theories: you said that many times
(01:09:45) Theories: I guess norman can see why now
(01:09:46) Theories: o/
(01:10:10) 【天龍神】 ワタル: Yeah.
(01:10:13) 【天龍神】 ワタル: So anyway,
(01:10:18) 【天龍神】 ワタル: can you answer my question?
(01:10:45) Theories: after that hilarious groudon show I am tempted to say "don't use inaccurate moves for no reason" but I guess thats a bit too specific
(01:10:47) Theories: hm
(01:10:49) Theories: how about
(01:10:52) SM Ubers battle between 【天龍神】 ワタル and Norman2509 started.
(01:11:08) Theories: "don't be upset at anyone if you lose, its just a game"
(01:11:17) 【天龍神】 ワタル: Cool.
(01:11:18) 【天龍神】 ワタル: Thanks.
Lastly, could you provide us a team with a brief explanation of how it works?
The Guardians of Heaven's Vacant Throne


DeathInVision (Mewtwo) @ Lum Berry
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
- Fire Blast
- Ice Beam
- Self-Destruct
- Thunder

UnfinishedJulyRain (Kyogre) @ Leftovers
Ability: Drizzle
EVs: 160 HP / 252 SpA / 96 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Hydro Pump
- Ice Beam
- Thunder
- Thunder Wave

KnockdownMonster (Groudon) @ Leftovers
Ability: Drought
EVs: 208 HP / 48 Atk / 252 SpD
Careful Nature
- Double-Edge
- Earthquake
- Swords Dance
- Thunder Wave

TheVulgarianNoise (Lugia) @ Choice Band
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Aeroblast
- Earthquake
- Shadow Ball
- Thunderbolt

LikeARagingFire (Ho-Oh) @ Leftovers
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 252 HP / 212 SpD / 46 Spe
Calm Nature
- Recover
- Sacred Fire
- Shadow Ball
- Toxic

Deicide (Rayquaza) @ Choice Band
Ability: Air Lock
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
IVs: 30 SpA / 30 SpD / 30 Spe
- Earthquake
- Extreme Speed
- Hidden Power [Flying]
- Thunderbolt

The goal of this team is simple: Destroy the opponent's team using a series of catastrophically powerful attacks, including Kyogre's monstrously strong moves while paralyzing fast threats such as Latias and Latios is necessary; Mewtwo's three strong special attacks as well as its Selfdestruct to blow up specially-defensive Pokémon such as Blissey; Groudon's Swords Dance-boosted assaults; as well as two very powerful Choice Band attackers. Specially-defensive Ho-Oh is great for checking Latias and Latios, especially under the harsh sunlight summoned by Groudon. Rayquaza's Extreme Speed prevents this team from being run over by sweepers such as Salac Berry Groudon and Petaya Berry Deoxys-A, and it serves as a very strong check to Deoxys-A in general.


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

Thanks again to Lance for taking out time to complete this short interview, see you all next week! :heart:
 
#6
Hm, let's see now...

Favourite Books/TV shows/Movies/Games/Music? I mean Sabaton, Bleach, SSB, and Pokemon are obvious, but what about others?

Ever had any real fun/good IRL moments you don't mind talking about?

Any particular game genre you don't like playing?

Do you think the term "god" has been devalued by most pop culture nowadays (I mean, how many JRPGs have done the whole "killing a god" thing)?
 
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Pearl

This country dog won't die in the city
is a Community Leaderis a Tiering Contributoris a Tournament Director Alumnusis a Site Staff Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnus
UU Leader
#10
I still don't think that posting this is a good idea, but I just can't help myself. You're probably one of the most intriguing (read: weird) characters I've gotten to meet on this website, and while I'm usually the first to joke around (note: I might or might have not done so already), I also have a bunch of questions (that are, IMO, entirely legitimate) to ask. First of all, excuse me for my fairly unrestrained tone, but I'm going to be really honest with you. Also, I feel that if no one does this, the thread is very likely to become a glorified meme instead. Anyway!

Do you legitimately believe that you're one of the best minds to ever grace this game or is it just a central part of your Internet persona?

Why have you never competed in an official (team) tournament? I'm expecting the answer to be something along the lines of "those peasants do not have the capability to comprehend my enormous talent, so I never get picked up", but I'd still like to hear your thoughts on it.

Do you acknowledge that your team's UPL run was only possible due to luck? I'm not saying this from a personal point of view, as I honestly didn't follow the tournament that closely aside from my own team's performance (which, IMO, definitely received the shorter end of this game's RNG during the week we faced The Burning Red White Kyurems), but this seems to be a popular opinion which you seem to discredit in most of your mentions of the tournament.

I know from your interview that you enjoy playing Ubers the most due to the Pokemon that reside in it, but I also feel that you value competition a lot as well, which leads to the following question: Have you ever given OU a real shot? If not, what's the reason behind that? I feel that most people believe it to be the most stacked tier when it comes to competition, and after picking it up for both SPL and WCoP, I definitely agree with the popular opinion.

Contrary to what most of the "top dogs" think regarding ladder play, you seem to hold it in high regard. Why is that? I don't necessarily dislike the ladder nor your mindset, but it seems sort of obsolete when considering the fact that, outside of ladder tournament season, most of the truly competent players don't bother with it at all. Without trying to brag too much, I personally don't find it hard at all to build up good streaks on any ladder anymore.

Why do you value consistency so much in tournament play? I get that it's a necessary aspect in ladder play, considering that you're trying to build a long streak, and that luck has a much higher chance of screwing over the approach of an offensively-oriented team/person, while stall and similar archetypes can hold on slightly more easily. However, this sort of mindset can be detrimental in a competitive environment, where people will make use of all information available to screw over the opponent's gameplan. I'm not saying that people should go out of their way to counterteam the opponent (in fact, this is something I'm not really a fan of either), but as shown by SvetaGS3, being one-dimensional is just as fatal as bringing shaky teams.

Who are, in your opinion, the best SM Ubers players at the moment? Asking for a friend!

After reading about your UPL management experience, I feel that it's safe to assume that you're a very micromanagement oriented person who's constantly looking into what your players want to bring and correcting whatever feels wrong to you. Why did you choose this approach? I've managed teams in the past (2 SPL teams and 1 WCoP team, as well as a bunch of others in minor tournaments), and while I agree that some things are just unacceptable (and also that some people are more prone to fucking up if you don't watch every single move of theirs), it just doesn't make sense to me that somebody would get mad at their player for using Focus Blast on one of their 6 Pokemon. I also think that this sort of approach can be a real motivation killer if you go overboard. It's fine to guide people the right way, but denying their ideas entirely and/or doing all the work/choices for them seems a little lame (and disrespectful even, but I won't get into that) in my eyes.

There's probably a couple of other things I'd ask if I sat down for a bit to think about it, but I'll close this off with two questions related to your experience as a writer instead.

First, I'll admit that I couldn't get past the third Chapter of your book. I probably have the attention span of a peanut, which makes me unable to appreciate the beauty of it or whatever, but it seems to me like the story (while still undeveloped at that point) is all over the place, probably due to how ambitious it is, and while some writers wholeheartedly believe that there are never enough descriptions in a story (which is not a lie, honestly, but it doesn't necessarily bode well with this sort of literature IMO), I feel like it ruins one's immersion in this case. I personally feel that it is better to leave some of the details up to the reader's discretion, after all. With that said, could you please list the strongest (and the weakest as well) points of your book and why people should read it? It'd be interesting to see how you criticize your own work.

Finally, what advice would you recommend to somebody who, for whatever reason, considered writing multiple before but has never actually ended up doing it? Feel free to let us know a little more about your personal experience/motives as well!

GLORY BE TO THE IMMINENT WALL OF TEXT!
 
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#12
I know you said you had written a lot, but even for you this is something!
As much as we joke about it I always enjoy reading these things (even rereading) and it's great that you put in the time to write this stuff for other people to learn from.

I'm not much of an ubers player but I'm sure I'm not alone in saying you've definitely been an inspiration to improve and most importantly to always have a good attitude about it, even when I win 6 consecutive speed ties using a cteam.

Ok some questions:
Is there anything about this particular game that draws you to it over some others that might be regarded as more competitive/less luck based (chess for an example)?
Have you any tips for maintaining concentration after multiple ladder battles?
If dragonite is your favourite, what's #2?
 
#14
Lance! Glad to appear in your text, I actually knew I would when oppening it. Nice speech as always, you're an awesome writer and you were an inspiring manager through UPL V. I hope you'll manage in UPL VI too ;).
I won't talk that much because we both know what we think of each other, I'll always be glad to have been one of your main inspiration in 5G Ubers by introducing Magic Sun and SpD Groudon in the metagame. The Blazing Glaciers based on my sun Reshiram is and always will be one of the strongest BW2 Ubers team and that's awesome. Love you man and I'll be glad to continue sharing our passion to the game with you.

GLORY BE TO OUR IMMINENT VICTORY!! (In UPL VI lol).
 
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Minority

Numquam Vincar
is a Tutoris an official Team Rateris a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
Moderator
#15
Is reality governed by determinism, choice, both, or neither?

Is true selflessness real? If so, what is an example of a truly selfless action?

Does art have subjective value, objective value, both, or neither?

Is it possible for something to be more than a sum of its parts?

"Brevity is the soul of wit". Thoughts in regards to this famous quote about writing?
 
#17
What advice would you give for people who are struggling to get better? I, along with countless others (I assume), have recently been struggling with higher level thinking when it comes to climbing the ladder. Is there anything in particular that you recommend, or do you just go with your gut?
 

Ransei

Let legends be real
is a Community Contributor
#18
okay, let's take 2 hours reading this!
It took me exactly 6 hours to read this, and I was doing many things in between that time. Also, this interview is short? O__O

Lance you seem to now be one of the most influential people I have ever seen in my life and you are amazing.
Continue on your ways of Pokémon Mastery as for one day, I myself may thrive to seek that path on greater heights than what I'm going for now.
 
#19
Well first off, quite an amazing read and one of the most interesting (or weird whatever you want to call it) pieces of text I have read but mainly one thing popped out to me here that I have heard before and still kind of bothers me about the way you think:

Why are you so adverse to teams that are meant as cstyles/prepping specifically for someone, which has often become the norm as of tournaments as of late? I personally am I player who thrives off this cstyle/cteam business and have garnered a pretty big amount of success with this teambuilding in mind as I have beaten big players and done well in both Winter Seasonal (2nd) and UPL (2-1). I understand that consistent teams can often be very good in certain places such as roomtours, ladder or smogtours, but why the aversion to using cstyling in big tours?
 
#20
Really enjoyed reading most of this as it is very inspiring and interesting and I wanted to ask you,

Will you be participating in Grand Slam?

What's your favorite anime?

Where would you place Marshadow in the rankings?
 
#22
Transcendent God Champion just finished reading the interview now. I'm very glad to be nominated in your text and I always find the time we spend talking, be it about the game or something else, very interesting which makes me a better player and a better person.

I always enjoy reading your RMT's and other posts, since you're an amazing writer and this "short" interview is no exception at all :)
Since we talk almost everyday I don't have nothing much special to ask, just want to thank you for being a good friend and a pretty good adviser when things don't go well. I'll always be glad to you to for introducing me the best BH (and prob of every meta) Moveset I know (The Ultimate One <3) and to improve as a player by knowing your battle and teambuilding philosophies :)

Hope to see you battling again in competitive tours soon ^-^
 
#23
Hm, let's see now...

Favourite Books/TV shows/Movies/Games/Music? I mean Sabaton, Bleach, SSB, and Pokemon are obvious, but what about others?
My favorite books are Purity Before Existence, its direct sequel (which I estimate is about 80% written at the moment, although I am currently stuck at a point at which I am having a lot of trouble deciding on some things in the story, so this is not a good indication of when it will be out), as well as the many other sequels that currently exist only in my mind, but will be written in the years to come. I don't really like any books not written by myself, since most people's writing styles are too different from my own. I have many quirks in writing, such as not referring to any character by name until their name is revealed and directly and obviously linked to them in-universe; describing action scenes in vivid detail; using certain phrases such as "he widened his eyes and gasped as he saw that," "he smiled evilly" and "a huge amount of blood spouted out of his wound like a volcanic eruption;" using certain techniques that are unconventional yet feel natural to me, such as using words like "insanely" and "catastrophic" to describe stuff; and other things you may have noticed in reading Purity Before Existence, and it feels weird to me to read stories that are not written in this way. I guess this is largely because ChaosLord (who, by the way, is also the same person who first said "Pokémon is a gambling game"), the primary person who influenced my writing style through various Pokémon fanfictional stories or Add-on Story posts that he wrote, also writes in such a manner, and when it comes to reading prose not written by myself, the vast majority of my experience comes from reading his writing.

Besides Bleach, some other shows I have personally enjoyed a lot include Naruto, Fairy Tail, Code Geass, Death Note, Digimon Adventure, One Punch Man and many more.

My favorite movie ever is definitely Godzilla: Final Wars, and I also like most of the films in that series besides the early goofy Showa ones (with the exception of the original 1954 one, of course). I also greatly enjoyed most of the films in the Terminator series, with Terminator 2: Judgment Day being my favorite one in that series. Martial arts movies, particularly the Ip Man series, Enter The Dragon as well as many films involving Bruce Lee are among my favorites as well. As a Pokémon fan, I liked many of the Pokémon movies as well, with Pokémon Heroes being my favorite, although some of them were questionable in my eyes, particularly in the way they sometimes depicted some of my favorite legendary Pokémon as being weaker than I personally imagine them to be (such as Rayquaza in Destiny Deoxys and Arceus in Arceus and the Jewel of Life). As a massive fan of Bleach, I enjoyed all four of the movies in that series as well, particularly Fade To Black. As far as more "recent" movies are concerned, I would say that Disney's Frozen as well as the the Animé movie Your Name are two of the best films I have seen in a very long time, at the time when I first watched them.

Video game-wise, I greatly enjoyed most of the games from The Legend of Zelda series, particularly the 3D ones (I have yet to touch Breath of the Wild though), as well as many Super Mario games, although I have not kept up with that series in a while. I also enjoy RPG games in general, as well as one 2D shooting game known as Soldat, which I used to play a lot in 2008 and 2009.

Besides Sabaton, which is notable to me both in the fact that I love almost all of their songs as well as the fact that songs from that band make up a significant portion of my favorite songs, I am not really attached to any singer or band - I just listen to songs randomly irrespective of the artists behind them. I mostly listen to original soundtracks from video games, Animé and movies (or remixes of such), opening or ending songs from Animé, as well as random other songs depending on my mood, with this one being a notable favorite of mine.

Ever had any real fun/good IRL moments you don't mind talking about?
Back in 2009, in my final year of high school, I remember a rather awesome event that happened one morning in homeroom. Most of the students in my homeroom were socializing with each other, while I was reading a textbook in the back corner. While mucking around, someone threw a paper plane, which glided across the room in an unusually slow manner. The paper plane flew to my left, and then, without even bothering to take my eyes off my textbook, I caught the paper plane with my left hand, before throwing it to the ground, while continuing to read my textbook as if nothing happened. Many people who witnessed this thought it was epic.

Any particular game genre you don't like playing?
There is no particular genre of games I do not like playing.

Do you think the term "god" has been devalued by most pop culture nowadays (I mean, how many JRPGs have done the whole "killing a god" thing)?
I do not think so. Personally, I believe that this question proceeds from the assumption that the term "god" must necessarily be limited to the Abrahamic understanding of such - the understanding of God as an omniponent and omniscient being. However, outside of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, the term "god" in many cultures merely refers to a divine or sacred being, generally more powerful than any human or animal on Earth. However, they are not necessarily immortal, and are almost never all-powerful and all-knowing. As such, I do not believe that pop culture has devalued the term "god" in any sense with their depiction of deicide, but rather, they simply used this term based on a different cultural understanding of it (most likely the Shinto understanding of Kami, in the case of JRPG games) compared to people's understanding of Yahweh or Allah.

Who would have any questions after this detailed biography?
Pearl, ZoroDark, Willdbeast, Dominatio, Minority, magsyy, MadCritz, EternalSnowman, xCaptainHero, Mazinger, and possibly more.

how much free time do u have
Would the phrase "I love my life" answer your question?

Do you legitimately believe that you're one of the best minds to ever grace this game or is it just a central part of your Internet persona?
I do legimitately believe that I am, in fact, the Ultimate Champion - the undeniably, unequivocally, indisputably, irrefutably, absolutely Greatest Pokémon Master to have ever walked this Earth.

My tendency to express this as often as I do, on the other hand, is a part of my internet persona. I mainly express this as often as I do as such phrases sound epic in my opinion. Saying this stuff is entertaining and greatly suits my sense of aesthetics.

Why have you never competed in an official (team) tournament? I'm expecting the answer to be something along the lines of "those peasants do not have the capability to comprehend my enormous talent, so I never get picked up", but I'd still like to hear your thoughts on it.
By "official (team) tournaments," I am assuming that you are talking about the Smogon Premier League as well as other tournaments that Smogon itself deems to be "official," even though there is no reason to assume that tournaments held on any other website are any less "official." In that case, there are three primary reasons:

1. I was banned from the Smogon forums for most of the time when I existed as a Pokémon trainer.

2. My Pokémon battling career goes around in cycles. Sometimes, I am very much in the mood to play this game, while at other times, I take massive breaks from it, such as a long one I took between late 2006 and mid-2008, a several-month-long one I took in 2012, as well as another long one I took for most of 2015.

3. Of all the metagames I play, the only ones played in these "official (team) tournaments" are the Übers ones. To my knowledge, these "official (team) tournaments" have never included either of the other two metagames I main, namely Anything Goes and Balanced Hackmons. However, even while I am active in Pokémon, the amount of interest I have in any particular metagame I main changes all the time, with the metagame I am most focused on changing all the time in a cycle, like phases, similar to the case of topics I am interested in, as explained somewhere in my interview. For example, I was active in Pokémon last year, during the ORAS era... except that for almost the entire duration of that time period, I had very, very little interest in ORAS Ubers, for reasons I explained in my interview. Instead, I was focused mostly on two other metagames - Pokémon Online's version of ORAS Balanced Hackmons (which was like Pokémon Showdown!'s version of that metagame, except Pokémon could have 252 EVs in every stat, Protean was allowed, and Arceus could be any type regardless of its item or Ability) and Inverted Balanced Hackmons on that simulator (which was the same as ORAS Balanced Hackmons on that simulator, except in Inverted Battle format, with Primal Kyogre and Primal Groudon both allowed). Even up to this day, they are my two favorite ORAS metagames ever... but they are not playable in any of the "official (team) tournaments" that you speak of.

I regained my interest in Übers when Pokémon Sun and Moon were released at the end of last year, and I even signed up for the Smogon Premier League. However, I had to retract my signup post, due to some real life issues at the time (which were ultimately solved far more quickly than I had initially imagined, but I didn't know that at the time). Of course, I cannot say the following for certain since I cannot read other people's minds, but I think I was more than likely going to be picked up anyway if I hadn't retracted my signup post, so I am not going to say "those peasants do not have the capability to comprehend my enormous talent, so I never get picked up," as you would have expected, at least until I somehow confirm that I was indeed not going to be drafted had I not removed my signup post (if by some miracle that happens to be confirmed, then yes, you guessed exactly what I would say).

Do you acknowledge that your team's UPL run was only possible due to luck? I'm not saying this from a personal point of view, as I honestly didn't follow the tournament that closely aside from my own team's performance (which, IMO, definitely received the shorter end of this game's RNG during the week we faced The Burning Red White Kyurems), but this seems to be a popular opinion which you seem to discredit in most of your mentions of the tournament.
I do agree that we were generally luckier than other teams, at least if we were to only talk about RNG-based luck. However, I also believe that the amount of RNG-based luck we had was exaggerated by many people, simply because they overlooked the following fact: When I go out of my way to make my players use solid and hax-resilient teams that do not depend on many inaccurate moves, while other managers do not, then it is only natural that it would seem as if we win via hax more than we lose to it. Imagine if my team had won as many battles as it did through hax, but also lost an equal number of battles to hax. People would not call my team "lucky" in that scenario. Just think of my team's players winning via hax a certain number of times (which is absolutely natural, as this kind of stuff happens eventually over many battles, especially when the teams my players face are not necessarily hax-resilient and depend on inaccurate moves a lot), while the number of times it "would have" lost to hax is cut down somewhat due to my principles in ensuring that all my players only use hax-resilient teams. Although, again, I do acknowledge that even with everything I just explained in mind, we were overall luckier than other teams, RNG-wise, but just not by as much as many people claim.

However, it can also be argued that we had less luck than other teams when it came to team matchups, something which I know can be controlled to an extent. But ultimately, an educated guess is still a guess, as you never know exactly what kind of team your opponent will be bringing.

I know from your interview that you enjoy playing Ubers the most due to the Pokemon that reside in it, but I also feel that you value competition a lot as well, which leads to the following question: Have you ever given OU a real shot? If not, what's the reason behind that? I feel that most people believe it to be the most stacked tier when it comes to competition, and after picking it up for both SPL and WCoP, I definitely agree with the popular opinion.
I have played OU quite extensively in GSC, DPP before Salamence was banned, BW1 before the banishment of Blaziken, Garchomp and Thundurus, and XY before Aegislash was banned. Besides the fact that OU does not allow the use of the big legendary Pokémon, there are three primary reasons why I do not like this metagame much, or at least be very dedicated to it in general:

1. OU is a metagame from which Pokémon and other things get banned very often. Every time something gets banned from it, the excellent teams I've made and have been using prior to that point tend to become completely unusable, forcing me to build new teams, often from scratch. I know that a very similar thing happens in all metagames whenever a new generation arrives, or something new is introduced to it, such as Marshadow in SM Ubers recently. However, still... the rate at which teams become unusable in OU is significantly higher than in other metagames I play, and this is often very detrimental to me, due to how long my teambuilding process generally takes, involving the testing and tweaking of my teams over many, many battles, as I explained in my interview.

2. OU being "the most stacked tier when it comes to competition" not being a strong motivator for me to play it is the same reason why people who play OU in Pokémon aren't necessarily motivated to play chess, a game which is infinitely more competitive than any Pokémon metagame. In all honestly, Pokémon in general is extremely far from a very competitive game (for reasons I am happy to explain if anyone is curious, though I think it's pretty obvious anyway) yet many people still play it for many reasons, such as their attachment to the very monsters they control and have known and loved since childhood, the imagination that an actual fight between monsters is going on, and other things like that. Basically, I think the pursuit of competition is not as strong a motivator for playing games, or choosing to play one game instead of another, as you may think.

3. Traditionally, the biggest factor that attracts me towards any metagame in which the big legendary Pokémon are not usable is the ability to use my favorite Pokémon ever, Dragonite, on an excellent team for that metagame. That was a large part of why I played on PokeBattle. That was why I got into Almost Any Ability in XY (bonus points came from my ability to use my second favorite non-legendary Pokémon, Hydreigon as well). That was why I played Mix & Mega a bit at the start of SM (Dragonite was considered to be S Rank in it before it was banned). That was also why I got into Almost Any Ability again at the start of SM, when the Ability Aerilate was unbanned (guess the significance of this for my favorite Pokémon). It was why I quit Almost Any Ability in ORAS after the 2 Ability Clause was implemented in it on top of the already-existing Protean ban, which made my excellent team with both Dragonite and Hydreigon on it unusable. It was why I quit that metagame again in SM, after Dragonite itself was banned. And the fact that Dragonite was eventually banned in Mix & Mega was also why I quit that metagame as well.

Dragonite was considered by Smogon to be OU last generation... but was it really that good in that metagame, considering the abundance of bulky Fairy-type Pokémon, combined with the Dragon/Flying-type Pokémon's lack of access to a strong physical Flying-type move, as well as the fact that fitting a Steel-type attack on it would greatly hinder its coverage? And in this generation, it is considered to be BL in OU. I have found it hard to make a truly excellent team with Dragonite in OU for a long time, and this, combined with all the other reasons I mentioned before, is why I don't like this metagame.

Contrary to what most of the "top dogs" think regarding ladder play, you seem to hold it in high regard. Why is that? I don't necessarily dislike the ladder nor your mindset, but it seems sort of obsolete when considering the fact that, outside of ladder tournament season, most of the truly competent players don't bother with it at all. Without trying to brag too much, I personally don't find it hard at all to build up good streaks on any ladder anymore.
In many other games, such as chess and fighting games, defeating a million randoms without losing means nothing compared to defeating the best player once, or especially in a best of three or five set. When looking at a single battle, Pokémon is indeed a game in which defeating a more skilled trainer generally means more than defeating someone of lower skill. However, because Pokémon is a game infested with an absolutely insane amount of RNG, as well as luck in the forms of team matchups and arguably even 50/50s, it is also a game in which quantity eventually makes quality. That is, the difficulty of defeating a high enough number of randoms in a row without losing is eventually going to surpass the difficulty of defeating the best trainer once, or even in a best of three or five set. The quality of trainers encountered on the ladder has no relationship whatsoever with the question of whether performing well or poorly on it, win-loss record and GXE-wise, says anything about the quality of a trainer or a Pokémon team. Over countless battles, a skilled trainer is going to get a better win-loss record and GXE on the ladder than a less skilled one, while an excellent Pokémon team is going to get a better win-loss record and GXE than merely a very good team, and the quality of the opposition faced does not change this (unless it is so incredibly low to the point where anyone decent can get a 999,999,999,999-0 win-loss record on it after factoring in team matchups and hax, of course, which isn't the case).

Why do you value consistency so much in tournament play? I get that it's a necessary aspect in ladder play, considering that you're trying to build a long streak, and that luck has a much higher chance of screwing over the approach of an offensively-oriented team/person, while stall and similar archetypes can hold on slightly more easily.
The simple answer is because, regardless of whether a Pokémon battle takes place in a tournament, on the ladder or in a friendly unrated battle... the exact same game mechanics still apply. The accuracy of Precipice Blades remains at a constant 85%, while Focus Blast remains as a move that hits only 70% of the time. Losing tournament battles as a result of these moves missing is far from unheard of.

However, this sort of mindset can be detrimental in a competitive environment, where people will make use of all information available to screw over the opponent's gameplan. I'm not saying that people should go out of their way to counterteam the opponent (in fact, this is something I'm not really a fan of either), but as shown by SvetaGS3, being one-dimensional is just as fatal as bringing shaky teams.
I am quoting this part of your question separately, because I don't see its connection with the previous part, in the sense that valuing consistency and being multi-dimensional are not mutually exclusive. I have always valued both, though the former to a much greater degree, although I did begin valuing the latter more than I used to after seeing my players repeatedly facing bad team matchups in the last Ubers Premier League. If I never valued the latter, then in the name of the former, I would have only allowed my players to use stall in SM and ORAS Ubers, which was not the case (contrary to what many people may believe, none of my SM Ubers players actually used stall because I told them to. They chose to do so on their own accord, although to be fair, I did approve of their team choice before they battled).

Who are, in your opinion, the best SM Ubers players at the moment? Asking for a friend!
This is hard to say as I don't know many people well enough, but probably me, SvetaGS3, Hack and HunterStorm.

After reading about your UPL management experience, I feel that it's safe to assume that you're a very micromanagement oriented person who's constantly looking into what your players want to bring and correcting whatever feels wrong to you. Why did you choose this approach? I've managed teams in the past (2 SPL teams and 1 WCoP team, as well as a bunch of others in minor tournaments), and while I agree that some things are just unacceptable (and also that some people are more prone to fucking up if you don't watch every single move of theirs), it just doesn't make sense to me that somebody would get mad at their player for using Focus Blast on one of their 6 Pokemon. I also think that this sort of approach can be a real motivation killer if you go overboard. It's fine to guide people the right way, but denying their ideas entirely and/or doing all the work/choices for them seems a little lame (and disrespectful even, but I won't get into that) in my eyes.
To be honest, I do see where you're coming from. I basically managed my team the way I did for a number of reasons. Firstly, I really, really wanted my team to win. In fact, I would honestly say that me being the manager of The Burning Red White Kyurems in the fifth Ubers Premiers League marked the single time in my entire life when I have taken a Pokémon tournament this seriously. At all other times, while I obviously did try my best to win, I never really cared that much at the end of the day. I guess the reason why I took Ubers Premier League V so seriously was because I saw myself as the primary person responsible for carrying not only myself, but also twelve other people to victory. Whereas in all other tournaments, either individual ones or team tournaments in which I participated as a player, I mostly just saw myself being responsible only for my own battles, which is 100% justified in the case of individual tournaments, but admittedly not so in the case of team tournaments. Despite the fact that the team I was on won in both the third and the fourth iterations of the Ubers Premier League, I did feel a bit of guilt stemming from the fact that I did absolutely nothing except battling in those tournaments, without ever helping any of my teammates, something which was further unacceptable in my own eyes given my familiarity with ADV, BW2, XY and SM Ubers, as well as my decent knowledge of DPP and ORAS Ubers. As such, I wanted to correct that as the manager of The Burning Red White Kyurems, although looking back, I suppose I may have gone a bit overboard.

I was also further influenced to manage the way I did when I asked Hack about his experience when he managed The Defiant Durians in Ubers Premier League III, and he repeatedly emphasized that passive managing never works (even though it did work when Raseri managed the really good reshirams in Ubers Premier League IV, for some reasons).

Also, as I said, I strongly do believe that I am the single Greatest Pokémon Master to have ever walked under the heavens. While this does not guarantee that my knowledge of any singular Pokémon metagame I play exceeds that of everyone else (for example, I do acknowledge that Lacus Clyne and Lord Outrage know more about ORAS Ubers than I do, and I also acknowledge that Alex Walls, Sheetanshu and hyw know more about DPP Ubers than I do), I personally think it's quite safe to say that my experience in the art of Pokémon battling overall exceeds that of every other person in existence. This, combined with my great skill and knowledge in most of the metagames played in the Ubers Premier League, made it feel as if it simply made sense for me to micro-manage that much, as I thought it was for the best. I strongly believe that I do know what I am talking about when I say that teams need to be hax-resilient, that Focus Blast is a bad move, that the ultimate form of teambuilding comes from participating in countless battles with one team while tweaking it as weaknesses are discovered, that one should choose to fight a losing battle for thousands of turns over forfeiting, and many other stuff. Throughout my inconceivable amounts of battle experiences across the many different metagames and generations, I have drawn countless conclusions about Pokémon battling, Pokémon Mastery, consistent success, and things like that. Just read this excerpt from my thread about GaiaForce, in order to behold the vastness of my experience:

Transcendent God Champion's philosophy on teambuilding, Pokémon Mastery, and Pokémon in general:

In this game of Pokémon battling, exactly what is it that defines a skilled trainer, or an excellent team? In many multiplayer games, including fighting games and more, success is defined by who you defeat, rather than the number of opponents you defeat. Usually, beating a million randoms consecutively without losing is an insignificant feat compared to achieving victory over a skilled player in a best-of-three or five set, or even in a single match. But does the same philosophy really apply to Pokémon battling, a game which, to be fair, does not really have that high of a skill ceiling compared to many other multiplayer games, and in which almost anyone has the chance to defeat someone else given the right combination of RNG-based luck, luck in the form of team matchups, correct guesses in 50/50 scenarios, and other factors, regardless of the difference in skill? And all of this is not even touching on the possibility that in a single battle between two Pokémon trainers, one of them may simply make the conscious decision to bring a team which has a positive matchup against the one he or she expects his or her opponent to bring, and achieve victory despite the fact that his or her team is in general far worse than his or her opponent's, in respect to the fact that it has far less favorable matchups against the majority of other teams used in the metagame in general. With all of the aforementioned factors in mind, I have long ago realized a certain truth about Pokémon battling, which many people still have yet to catch on to, possibly because acknowledging this truth undermines the "competitiveness" of Pokémon battling in their eyes, something they consciously refuse to do out of their love of this game.

Don't get me wrong - Pokémon is a large part of my childhood, and it is a game I will most likely love for the rest of my life. Yet, I am not afraid to face this truth, which in fact is not even that difficult to handle: Success in Pokémon is not determined in a small number of battles, regardless of who the opponents may be. Rather, success is determined by winning consistently over countless battles against innumerable different opponents and teams, even if many of the opponents one defeats may be unskilled, or if their teams may be flawed. From a purely mathematical point of view, in a game as luck-based as Pokémon, the act of defeating a high enough number of opponents of any skill level in a row without losing eventually surpasses the difficulty of defeating the best trainer once. And all of this serves as the foundation stones of the model according to which the quality of a trainer or team is measured.

Because luck is such an inextricable part of Pokémon battling, it is not something that can be completely disregarded in teambuilding. It is senseless to completely dismiss a certain victory or defeat as being nothing of importance when it comes to telling how good a trainer or team is just because the outcome of that match was a result of RNG-based luck, more commonly known as "hax." If a person were to participate in ten thousand battles in any metagame, and loses only once to "hax," such a person would be in no position to be complaining about luck ruining what would otherwise be a perfect record. On the contrary, such a person should consider themselves to be extremely lucky that "hax" had not resulted in him or her losing a significantly higher number of battles, regardless of how incredibly skilled he or she may be, since the chances of that not happening are statistically unbelievably low.

What I am getting at through explaining all of this is that how "hax-resilient" a team is is an incredibly important, if not possibly the most important factor determining how good a Pokémon team is. "Hax resilience," of course, refers to how much "hax" it would take on average for the team to lose a battle it would otherwise win. For example, in the ORAS Ubers metagame, a team whose primary method of checking Extreme Killer Arceus involves hitting it with Focus Blast would be a team that is very weak in terms of hax resilience. Not only because Extreme Killer Arceus is a very commonly-used Pokémon in this metagame, but also because statistically, if such a team were to face a team containing Extreme Killer Arceus twice, the odds of the Focus Blast team winning both battles is only 49%, without even touching on the possibility that the Focus Blast team loses anyway despite the Fighting-type move hitting Arceus-Normal in both matches, as a result of other factors such as hax happening elsewhere in the battle.

In truth, the need to make a team hax-resilient is very similar to the need to have most threats in the metagame covered when teambuilding, despite the fact that the latter is acknowledged far more often than the former. If a certain Pokémon had a usage of, say, 10% in a metagame, people would regard it to be foolish to make a team that automatically loses to that Pokémon, since that would mean automatically losing 10% of one's battles on average. However, by opting to depend on an inaccurate move, one is also automatically losing in many scenarios as a result of that move missing - it's just that such scenarios are more subtle, situational and difficult to identify. A single Pokémon team can only have six Pokémon and twenty four moves - it cannot cover everything. And what many people do not seem to realize when teambuilding is that leaving a team weak to certain uncommon threats in a metagame, in exchange for making it more resilient to hax is actually a perfectly viable way to improve the overall quality of the team, if doing so increases the team's overall chance of winning taking both RNG-based luck and the usage of threats in the metagame into account. The only reason why this is not commonly acknowledged is because victories and defeats whose outcomes are a result of RNG-based luck are often dismissed as meaningless, whereas a trainer losing to a certain threat their team was not prepared for is something more often blamed on that trainer themselves, despite the fact that this should not be the case since both cases are forms of luck, and luck is something that will almost certainly and inevitably even out over a high enough number of battles.


And finally... I know that what I am about to say may not sound very logical, and may even sound superstitious, but throughout the entirety of the fifth Ubers Premier League, one thought was constantly on my mind: the fact that I have never before participated in an Ubers Premier League in which the team I was on did not win the whole tournament, something no other person in existence who has participated in more than one Ubers Premier League can claim, to my knowledge. I thought that, had I put in the effort, I was destined to win in this tournament - that any team with me on it was blessed by fate, something that may be linked to my position as the Greatest Pokémon Master. I thought that, if being blessed by my presence as a mere player was enough to make both The Defiant Durians in Ubers Premier League III as well as the really good reshirams in Ubers Premier League IV win... then as long as I put in the work, The Burning Red White Kyurems in Ubers Premier League V were surely going to win as well, since I was on that team not merely as a player, but as the manager. As such, this further motivated me to not hold back in micro-managing my players, forcing them to follow all my principles and values, as I believed that both my players and myself were going to be rewarded in the end. It turns out I was wrong in the end, so as I said, I do see the points you are trying to make now.

There's probably a couple of other things I'd ask if I sat down for a bit to think about it, but I'll close this off with two questions related to your experience as a writer instead.

First, I'll admit that I couldn't get past the third Chapter of your book. I probably have the attention span of a peanut, which makes me unable to appreciate the beauty of it or whatever, but it seems to me like the story (while still undeveloped at that point) is all over the place, probably due to how ambitious it is, and while some writers wholeheartedly believe that there are never enough descriptions in a story (which is not a lie, honestly, but it doesn't necessarily bode well with this sort of literature IMO), I feel like it ruins one's immersion in this case. I personally feel that it is better to leave some of the details up to the reader's discretion, after all. With that said, could you please list the strongest (and the weakest as well) points of your book and why people should read it? It'd be interesting to see how you criticize your own work.
I'd say that the strongest points of my book are:
  • The world-building.
  • The characters, who are all incredibly three-dimensional in terms of personalities, with many of them having lots of hidden depth.
  • The incredibly vivid details in the descriptions, especially in the fight scenes.
  • The subtle pop-cultural references, with many characters, powers, abilities, events and other things being directly inspired by things in pop-culture.
  • The numerous deep philosophical constructs found throughout the book, pertaining to morality, religion, theology, and more, which is unusual in a positive way for a fighting-focused story.
  • The plot, which, aside from the Prologue, starts off with dealing with some relatively mundane affairs, which escalate and reach increasingly grander scales as the story goes on.
As for the book's weakest points, I'd say such might have to do with the level of detail as well. When the fight scenes are described in too much detail, they might be a bit harder to follow. Additionally, my book also introduces some characters and subplots for no reason other than to be used in the sequels, and I was told that since such characters did not leave much of an impact in the first book, people will not remember them by the time they show up in the sequels.

Finally, what advice would you recommend to somebody who, for whatever reason, considered writing multiple before but has never actually ended up doing it? Feel free to let us know a little more about your personal experience/motives as well!
I would say that the best way to get motivated in writing fiction (I assume that's what you have in mind?) is to listen to some music (mostly original soundtracks from video games, Animé and movies, rather than songs with lyrics. Try this theme, for instance) while pacing around in your room, and daydreaming to the music. Try to use the music in the background to inspire you to form various cool scenes in your mind, and then use those scenes as the basis for your story.

who do you fuckin hate in smogon
There are two types of people in this world: Those who I do not hate, and those who are so insignificant to the point where they are not even worthy of my hatred. It is the same logic behind why I would not invest in the emotional energy necessary to hate an ant that bites me.

whos the shittiest player uve played
I doubt I remember him or her.

I know you said you had written a lot, but even for you this is something!
As much as we joke about it I always enjoy reading these things (even rereading) and it's great that you put in the time to write this stuff for other people to learn from.

I'm not much of an ubers player but I'm sure I'm not alone in saying you've definitely been an inspiration to improve and most importantly to always have a good attitude about it, even when I win 6 consecutive speed ties using a cteam.
Thank you very much.

Ok some questions:
Is there anything about this particular game that draws you to it over some others that might be regarded as more competitive/less luck based (chess for an example)?
There are two factors that draw me towards Pokémon as a multiplayer game, despite how uncompetitive it honestly is.

The first is the obvious fact that I am, on a personal level, very attached to many of the monsters I control and battle with in this game, with Dragonite, Mega Rayquaza, Hydreigon, Kyurem-W and Reshiram being notable examples.

The second is the fact that I think it is much easier to establish, maintain and build an identity in this game than it is in other games, due to the creativity it allows. Chess is such an incredibly explored game that I find it hard to imagine anyone in this day and age being able to create any move or strategy that is original, and associate themselves with that move or strategy. Fighting games may be infinitely more competitive than Pokémon, but ultimately, you cannot claim that the character you main is "yours" in the same way that you can claim that a Pokémon team belongs to you, since no matter what character you main, there are at least thousands of other people out there who main or use this character. In a fighting game, the most you can probably do is come up with a specific combo with a certain character, and then have that combo named after yourself, although even that is an incredibly rare opportunity. But in Pokémon? Just mention the BW2 Ubers team The Blazing Glaciers, or the ORAS Anything Goes team TheAbsolutePower, and immediately, a Living Legend springs to mind. You can make unique teams no one else uses or is likely to come up with, and have such teams tied directly to your identity, whereas in fighting games and especially chess, it is much harder to do anything similar. Also, I remember one instance in which, after a battle of mine against Funbot28 in this tournament, he complimented me on my Zap Plate Judgment Protean Mega Mewtwo Y, to which you responded with something like, "How is that a surprise? It's his specialty, after all." When I heard those words, I felt some pride, to be associated with my creation. Playing Pokémon and being associated with so many creations of mine, including Charm/Growl/Rest/Sleep Talk Umbreon in Generation II, double status Lugia and lead Cloyster in Übers, the whole concept of "Lance stall" in Übers and Anything Goes, Turboblaze Ho-Oh with Pursuit, Spore, Stealth Rock and V-create in Balanced Hackmons, and countless other stuff is truly a magnificent feeling to experience.

Have you any tips for maintaining concentration after multiple ladder battles?
The best advice I can honestly give here is to take a break whenever you feel tired, especially after a long stall battle that requires a high degree of concentration. Everyone suffers from fatigue after a while. Also, practice, especially in fighting long battles helps too. Since you main Balanced Hackmons, this should be much easier for you than for most others.

If dragonite is your favourite, what's #2?
My second favorite Pokémon is the mascot of my legendary Heavenly Dragon Gods clan, the single best Pokémon in the entire game - Mega Rayquaza. I absolutely love its incredibly majestic appearance, as well as its insanely destructive power that led it to becoming the sole Pokémon banned from Übers. Although, in truth, I love using this Pokémon in Balanced Hackmons more than in Anything Goes, despite Mega Rayquaza being the literal mascot of the latter metagame. Aerilate Boomburst off 180 Special Attack really is something, especially with Choice Specs, and the same applies to its revenge-killing abilities with Aerilate Fake Out and Extreme Speed, or Triage Oblivion Wing. What more is there to say? It's a legendary Pokémon, one of the Pokémon with the highest base stat total in the game (and the only one that can hold any item, at that), a mythical Dragon type, and a grand deity of the heavens. No matter what metagame I use this Pokémon in, I can see it as absolutely nothing short of the embodiment of ultimate power in Pokémon.

what is one thing that would cause u to permanently quit this game/get a life

askin for a friend
When the worlds collide and skies fall down
In a pit of Hell we'll be.

In damnation, crucified and tortured
Our spirits guide us through the fear to our immortality
Spirits guide us through the fear to our immortality


Lance! Glad to appear in your text, I actually knew I would when oppening it. Nice speech as always, you're an awesome writer and you were an inspiring manager through UPL V. I hope you'll manage in UPL VI too ;).
I won't talk that much because we both know what we think of each other, I'll always be glad to have been one of your main inspiration in 5G Ubers by introducing Magic Sun and SpD Groudon in the metagame. The Blazing Glaciers based on my sun Reshiram is and always will be one of the strongest BW2 Ubers team and that's awesome. Love you man and I'll glad to continue sharing our passion to the game with you.

GLORY BE TO OUR IMMINENT VICTORY!! (In UPL VI lol).
Indeed, and thank you very much. You are a legend, a Pokémon Master, and an awesome inspiration to me :)

GLORY BE TO OUR IMMINENT VICTORY!

Is reality governed by determinism, choice, both, or neither?
This is a questions whose answer I don't think I will ever know for sure, but I would prefer to think that it is governed by choice, as otherwise my entire life would be meaningless. Furthermore, evidence exists at least in defense of the notion that choice exists.

Is true selflessness real? If so, what is an example of a truly selfless action?
I do not think that true selflessness is real.

Does art have subjective value, objective value, both, or neither?
I'd say both. The question of whether or not a piece of art is beautiful is entirely subjective. However, art can also have objective value, determined by their ability to entertain and inspire those who view it. And the higher the number of morally good people who are positively affected by a work of art, the greater its objective value.

Is it possible for something to be more than a sum of its parts?
Of course. Just look at any excellent Pokémon team.

"Brevity is the soul of wit". Thoughts in regards to this famous quote about writing?
I agree with the quote itself, but I do not believe that it is an important principle to apply to writing, at least most of the time. I think beauty in writing comes from the ability to paint pictures vividly using detailed descriptions.

Does it bother you when people argue with you when you are clearly right?
It depends on what I interpret their intention to be. If I am clearly right but I do not think that they understand that, then I don't mind. But if I am clearly right and it is clear to me that they are arguing with me for the sake of arguing itself, rather than because they want to prove or learn the truth about any matter, then it does bother me. In that situation, I just flame or ignore them.

Do you ever sit down at the end of the day and marvel at how you are the best at pokemon?
Yes. One of the reasons why I save so many replays of my own Pokémon battles is simply because I love going back to watch them, especially to the sound of some epic music. Also, every now and then, I like to gaze upon this picture I created myself on MS Paint (with the help of PIXL EDITOR and this tool sheet), which, in my eyes, is a symbol of my Pokémon Mastery:



When are you gonna take a run at being tierleader for ubers?
I don't think I want to spend the time and effort needed to be the leader of any tier, especially without being paid for it.

Will you do my english homework for me?
No.

Do you ever wonder if you are the person called "god" in all these religions and stories?
If it counts, I have before considered the question of whether or not I was sent upon this world by a higher being (who may ultimately be myself, like in the case of Jesus) to complete a certain mission, such as to rid the world of evil, since to my knowledge, I am one of the very few, if not perhaps the only person who understands everything about morality. I have also considered the possibility that fate or a higher being may have chosen to put me face-to-face before various evil people I have encountered in life, as a means of influencing me into seeking some kind of power to fight against, and ultimately eliminate evil.

What advice would you give for people who are struggling to get better? I, along with countless others (I assume), have recently been struggling with higher level thinking when it comes to climbing the ladder. Is there anything in particular that you recommend, or do you just go with your gut?
Practice makes perfect. That's all I can say.

It took me exactly 6 hours to read this, and I was doing many things in between that time. Also, this interview is short? O__O

Lance you seem to now be one of the most influential people I have ever seen in my life and you are amazing.
Continue on your ways of Pokémon Mastery as for one day, I myself may thrive to seek that path on greater heights than what I'm going for now.
Thank you very much, and good luck :)

Well first off, quite an amazing read and one of the most interesting (or weird whatever you want to call it) pieces of text I have read but mainly one thing popped out to me here that I have heard before and still kind of bothers me about the way you think:

Why are you so adverse to teams that are meant as cstyles/prepping specifically for someone, which has often become the norm as of tournaments as of late? I personally am I player who thrives off this cstyle/cteam business and have garnered a pretty big amount of success with this teambuilding in mind as I have beaten big players and done well in both Winter Seasonal (2nd) and UPL (2-1). I understand that consistent teams can often be very good in certain places such as roomtours, ladder or smogtours, but why the aversion to using cstyling in big tours?
I will answer this question in two ways: Firstly in a philosophical manner, and then in a practical manner.

Firstly, I personally believe that counter-teaming and counter-styling are both against the principles of Pokémon Mastery, as I explained in detail in my interview. I do not think that victories attained using such methods contribute to a person's advance towards being a Pokémon Master.

Secondly, observe the following tournament battles across different metagames:

1. Me VS. Problems in Ubers Premier League III, as discussed in detail in the interview.

2. Me VS. Adrian Marin in Other Metagames Premier League II, as mentioned in the interview. Note the following part early on (and then consider the fact that I won that battle):

adrian marin bh: I actually
sugarhigh left.
adrian marin bh: Changed my team just for you
LLW Gao Changgong: Don't like it much nowadays.
adrian marin bh: So
adrian marin bh: I'm a little guilty

3. Me VS. LJDarkrai in Ubers Major League I. Just ask LJDarkrai's manager Gunner Rohan and teammates SparksBlade and James Jimmy for all the details about what went on behind the scene regarding the team LJDarkrai brought against me.

4. Me VS. draegn in Other Metagames Premier League IV. Note the conversation before and after the battle:

draegon knight
[21:13:34] draegon knight: hey
[22:04:18] Oppstandelse【天龍神】: Hey.
[22:04:20] Oppstandelse【天龍神】: You ready?
[22:04:25] draegon knight: yea
[22:04:29] Oppstandelse【天龍神】: Alright, let's go.
[22:04:32] draegon knight: wait b4 battle
[22:04:46] draegon knight: i've bad net
[22:04:52] Oppstandelse【天龍神】: It's OK.
[22:04:56] draegon knight: so if see i'm not moving
[22:05:07] draegon knight: wait for 5-10 mins
[22:05:11] Oppstandelse【天龍神】: Sure.
[22:19:53] Oppstandelse【天龍神】: Random guess:
[22:19:57] Oppstandelse【天龍神】: Levitate Probopass?
[22:20:00] draegon knight: ye
[22:20:05] Oppstandelse【天龍神】: Thought so.
[22:20:13] Oppstandelse【天龍神】: I assume Donno/Infinity Hand
[22:20:17] Oppstandelse【天龍神】: told you a lot about me,
[22:20:22] draegon knight: rofl
[22:20:25] Oppstandelse【天龍神】: and a team of mine which I laddered with a lot.
[22:20:28] Oppstandelse【天龍神】: Just my guess.
[22:20:35] Oppstandelse【天龍神】: Or you looked up my replays?
[22:20:39] draegon knight: well donno did tell
[22:20:41] Oppstandelse【天龍神】: I had another team
[22:20:48] Oppstandelse【天龍神】: with Choice Specs Rayquaza
[22:20:53] draegon knight: u were probably gonna use specs ray
[22:21:00] Oppstandelse【天龍神】: which had Boomburst, Technoblast, Extreme Speed and Earth Power.
[22:21:03] Oppstandelse【天龍神】: Ah, makes sense.
[22:21:11] Oppstandelse【天龍神】: Yeah, I thought you'd be expecting that team.
[22:21:19] draegon knight: ye that ray's the only reason i used probobpass
[22:21:21] Oppstandelse【天龍神】: He gave me that team and I modified it.
[22:21:28] draegon knight: ah

I am not denying that it can work sometimes, and it has worked even against me before. But observing the above, there is only one conclusion I can draw.

Really enjoyed reading most of this as it is very inspiring and interesting and I wanted to ask you,

Will you be participating in Grand Slam?
Depends on my mood. Managing in the fifth Ubers Premier League really burned me out though, Pokémon-wise. But if Grand Slam starts much later from now, then sure.

What's your favorite anime?


Where would you place Marshadow in the rankings?
A+. I cannot imagine any hyper-offensive team without this Pokémon, as this playstyle literally has no other reliable method of checking Extreme Killer Arceus without either killing momentum, or being bad against the metagame in general (in the case of Choice Scarf Terrakion). Additionally, the ability to combat Arceus-Ghost while at the same time being a large threat to stall is great too. Although, I can also see this Pokémon being lower if its very own existence leads to Arceus-Normal and/or Arceus-Ghost not being used by anyone at all.

what can you tell me about Great God Ryuumaru
He is the Highest God in the Universe. There is nothing in the universe other than His cape that can take a hit from His Heavenly Golden Blast without immediately turning into dust before Him.

Transcendent God Champion just finished reading the interview now. I'm very glad to be nominated in your text and I always find the time we spend talking, be it about the game or something else, very interesting which makes me a better player and a better person.

I always enjoy reading your RMT's and other posts, since you're an amazing writer and this "short" interview is no exception at all :)
Since we talk almost everyday I don't have nothing much special to ask, just want to thank you for being a good friend and a pretty good adviser when things don't go well. I'll always be glad to you to for introducing me the best BH (and prob of every meta) Moveset I know (The Ultimate One <3) and to improve as a player by knowing your battle and teambuilding philosophies :)

Hope to see you battling again in competitive tours soon ^-^
I'm glad to hear that, my friend :)
 
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