UU Player Interviews #4: Manipulative

#1
UU PLAYER INTERVIEWS

Hello, and welcome to UU's Player Interviews, where I interview
some of Smogon's most accomplished and well known players in the tier to give
some insight on who they are and their views on certain aspects of the metagame.
If there's someone you want to see interviewed, shoot me a PM!

Manipulative

Favourite Pokemon: Mewtwo
Most Used Pokemon: Scizor / Latias
Most Known For: Hookers, unfort.

This was by far the longest time taken by anyone to answer simple questions.
Hi manip thanks for finally doing this interview after johning me for 2 weeks -_-. tell me a little bit about yourself. Make sure you keep it interesting by the way.

Uhhhh....ffs why is my life so bland...I'm 19 and going to college to study psychology at the moment. I plan on eventually switching to a counselling major when the option becomes available and sticking with that throughout my bachelor's and master's degrees. The idea of helping people, particularly young adults and teenagers, had always interested me.As for hobbies, I mostly spend my time between Smogon, watching anime, and finding new music. Lately I've started getting more into exercise though. Not much more to say, just a typical dude trying to get his life together :3



What made you select your current username? Also, i remember your old username being xvarsity or something like that, why that one and what prompted the change?

xVarsity was a dumb name I made on the spot from some false hope I'd used to give myself about making the varsity basketball team in high school lmao. I probably would've kept it if it was just 'Varsity', but the x was really bothering me. I can't exactly tell you why I changed it to Manipulative in particular, other than for it sounding cool to me and being a pretty clean username. I'm actually not manipulative as all as a person though... well, maybe. :blobthinking:

I doubt it lol. A manipulative person would have been able to convince a hooker to give him a good deal :bloblul:. Nice win in spl this week! you've had a pretty decent record so far so good job on that! What are your thoughts on spl so far?

Thanks! I've enjoyed watching a lot of the UU games that have happened so far. We've had a number of really neat matchups already. There are definitely some surprising records as of yet, such as Pak going undefeated, A Hero's Destiny doing considerably well despite most people doubting him, and Sacri and Bushtush being 1-3. Also good to see HT finally escaping his curse. I hope the guys who are doing well continue to do so, but I also know that the guys who haven't been doing so great are definitely skilled players who are more than capable of turning things around. Also, interesting to see that half of the pool has their record tied up at 2-2 at the moment lol. Looking forward to see how things pan out!

Based on these past 4 weeks what has your favourite trend been and why?

Not sure if I can call it a trend seeing as the only people I can recall using it recently are dodmen and I, but I really like Volcanion. We have a shortage of CB Azumarill switch ins, let alone offensive switch ins, and Volcanion fits that role. Despite things like Latias and Hydreigon being popular, they both take a chunk from switching in and Volcanion often ends up putting in some work anyway. Though, I can only say such throughout all of the test games I've played, seeing as it did next to nothing in my actual game against dodmen lol. Kyurem is definitely another underrated mon I'm a fan of. Both the typical specs set as well as offensive Sub Roost can be pretty frustrating for a lot of teams to deal with and I think that Kyurem is better than its usage says of it. That said, lefties + hp fire is certified ass imo.

Is there anything about this Smogon Premier League experience so far that has differed from your Smogon Snake Draft one?

Yeah. It feels great getting johned for a week at most as opposed to two :D. In all seriousness though, I wasn't a big fan of the snake format. Facing 3 people throughout two weeks not only took up more time and effort, but was also more frustrating since a good portion of the time you would be jamming those games into late of the second week. Weeks > Pools. Something I appreciated during snake was having support from two of UU's best players which made it a bit easier on me. Of course, I'm happy to finally get to prove myself as an individual, and my team is pretty supportive despite having no other UU mains. I've loved teaming up with all of the people I have so far, both on the Rattlers and the Bigs.

good god I'm fucking slow

Alright you've taken too long. Time to get personal I’ve received several detailed reports that you are and always have been, a christo alt, how would you respond to the several accusations that I have received regarding this?

,

Alright..You’re playing classic now right? What’s your favourite old gen uu metagame?

I am! I've been having fun with it so far too for the most part. Obviously the answer would have to be ORAS, the gen I started with and had mained for a while. I've practically abandoned it since SM came out, but I still enjoy playing in it despite it being objectively horseshit. I just wish Amaroq would stop johning me already zzz. I also find BW to be pretty fun too! I never played it on a serious level and am still not actively investing myself into learning the tier or anything, but it has still been the old gen I've enjoyed the most apart from ORAS.

Recently we freed mega doom, buzzwole and Breloom. Do you think the Houndoom decision was the right one? And what are your initial thoughts on Breloom and Buzzwole?

Absolutely. I never supported the decision to ban doom instead of drought. Sure, you could say that sun is not broken without doom instead of the other way around, but I see no point in removing a mon that could be beneficial to the tier just to preserve a playstyle that is niche at best. My initial thoughts were that buzzwole should have never been retested because it was just that ridiculous the first time around. Never had much of a strong opinion on loom though since I lack experience with it. I haven't ran into them much in the ~10 games I've had on the ladder so far though, nor have I used either of them, so I can't say much else at the moment.

Any mon / set that’s flying under the radar right now that you think deserves more attention?

Not exactly under the radar, but I think there are at least a couple of sets that I think I've been seing a lot less frequently than before. SD Sciz would probably be the biggest one. That set became uncommon in a meta dominated by volturn, and it wasn't until recently that I started using it again over CB Scizor. It was always great and still doesn't disappoint. Some other things that I personally like are Z-Psych Lati and Special Altaria, both which I believe to be underrated. Specs Hydreigon is definitely something I'd say is under the radar right now.

Is there anything you’d like to see freed from BL?

I don't think I'd actually want anything to drop down from BL. I already think that there are couple of things that shouldn't be in the tier in Azu and Serp, and I probably wouldn't be happy with Breloom or Buzzwole dropping down either. That said, there are a couple of other things in BL that I don't just look at and think "busted!" in PZ and Slowbro-Mega. That's not to say they're not actually busted and that I'd want them in the tier, just that they're the only other mons I'd even bother retesting. Though, Manaphy should probably get its chance to be tested at least once.

Who are ur main men on smogon (Or women) Jk lol. Only men

The dudes I've spoken to the most on Smogon off the top of my head are Christo Finchinator and Pearl, but there are a shit ton of other guys who I've either enjoyed interacting with or have simply appreciated the presence of. Sam I Yam IronBullet Hogg Sacri' Accelgor teal6 Kingler12345 Arifeen Bushtush HJAD Dundies I appreciate all of you guys n_n. There's a good amount of uu dudes who I've enjoyed speaking to as well like Cynde Kink Shiba Amaroq Eyan YABO and also dodmen Hikari just for being the players I look up to in this tier. Shoutouts to the BIGS and the Rattlers too n_n. Sorry if I've missed anyone, don't take it personally :c.

Provide a team you enjoy using please :D
Nidoking (M) @ Life Orb
Ability: Sheer Force
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Earth Power
- Sludge Wave
- Ice Beam
- Stealth Rock

Tornadus (M) @ Flyinium Z
Ability: Prankster
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
- Hurricane
- Superpower
- Defog
- Tailwind

Bewear @ Choice Band
Ability: Fluffy
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Return
- Superpower
- Facade
- Earthquake

Primarina @ Choice Specs
Ability: Torrent
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Moonblast
- Hydro Pump
- Psychic
- Sparkling Aria

Latias (F) @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Psychic
- Draco Meteor
- Tailwind
- Hidden Power [Fire]

Sharpedo-Mega @ Sharpedonite
Ability: Speed Boost
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Crunch
- Ice Fang
- Protect
- Psychic Fangs

The idea behind the team was almost as simple as Tailwind + Breakers. I chose Nidoking, Primarina and Bewear as my breakers here, though I guess Shark counts too. Shark and Scarf Lati were there to make sure I have good speed control outside of Tailwind. Shark can also clean outside of Tailwind. I put Tailwind on Latias as well as backup in case the first go didn't work, but usually by the time you use and finish your first Tailwind you'll be set. Unfortunately, the team didn't work out as well as I wanted to since I lost with it vs Christo in week 2 of SPL, but I still found it really fun and effective despite that. I haven't used it since so I can't say for certain how it performs in this meta, but I can't see it being all that bad.

Alright, time for the toughest question you will have to answer in this interview. What do you have to do before you get off a boat?
Make sure you're not stranded in the middle of an ocean.

Wrong. Get on the boat. Better luck next time.

~~

Thanks for taking the time to do this interview buddy if you wish to ask him questions please leave them below! :psywoke:
 
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Finchinator

IT'S FINK DUMBASS
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#4
Extensive thoughts on the viability of the following pocket monsters in the current Ultra Sub and Moon under utilized metagame: Scizor, Cobalion, Stakataka, Aggron-Mega, Klefki, Doublade, Magneton, Steelix-Mega, Lucario, Metagross, Bronzong, and Forretress.

Immediate reaction to turn 1 of your SPL week 1 game against Pak when your Scizor got nuked by Z-Earthquake from Krookodile?

Follow-up: would you be upset if I made a gif out of that turn and used it in response to anything unfortunate happening in the future?

How are you going to study psychology if you psych yourself out a dozen times over picking the fourth move on Mega Altaria?

Will you ever go a week without trying to get your opponent to play unrealistically early?

Do you think Raikou counters Scarf Serperior or Nidoking counters Z-Brave Bird Crobat by chance? Answer quick, I need to know before the midseason auction starts!

Do you think you’ll end positive against your masterful UU playing SPL manager by the end of the season in tests or will you simply never learn the art of spamming broken shit properly?

— ok also some more serious/less rude ones —

Which opponents are you most looking forward to facing in the second half and why?

You’re the only council member who voted ban on Serperior and ended up slightly on the minority side on Azumarill, also voting ban. If you could reverse just one of these two, which would it be and why? Additionally, is there anything else you feel is problematic in the current metagame?

Which extreme do you find to be more effective right now: stall or HO?

You mentioned Volcanion as a cool metagame pick and it seemed to fit pretty well on the team you used this week. Are there any other examples of similarly underrated, but often effective against common threats/archetypes Pokemon that you have noticed yourself or others using in SPL thus far?
 
#6
that team has no steel-type pokemon :psycry:
We don't need those :psyglad:
what is your opinion on The Emperor's New Groove

I watch real anime only, sry.
Extensive thoughts on the viability of the following pocket monsters in the current Ultra Sub and Moon under utilized metagame: Scizor, Cobalion, Stakataka, Aggron-Mega, Klefki, Doublade, Magneton, Steelix-Mega, Lucario, Metagross, Bronzong, and Forretress.

You know steels are overrated when Scizor is the only one out of that list that isn't mediocre :bloblul:

Immediate reaction to turn 1 of your SPL week 1 game against Pak when your Scizor got nuked by Z-Earthquake from Krookodile?

Aw FUCK.

Follow-up: would you be upset if I made a gif out of that turn and used it in response to anything unfortunate happening in the future?

:blobsad:

How are you going to study psychology if you psych yourself out a dozen times over picking the fourth move on Mega Altaria?

I have decided that defog MAlt is ass on anything but stall n_n

Will you ever go a week without trying to get your opponent to play unrealistically early?

#nojohns

Do you think Raikou counters Scarf Serperior or Nidoking counters Z-Brave Bird Crobat by chance? Answer quick, I need to know before the midseason auction starts!

I will never stop facedesking at the thought of that Z-BB turn :psycry:

Do you think you’ll end positive against your masterful UU playing SPL manager by the end of the season in tests or will you simply never learn the art of spamming broken shit properly?

Serp + Azu spam too good :/

— ok also some more serious/less rude ones —

Which opponents are you most looking forward to facing in the second half and why?

I'm probably looking forward to my games v Lcans and HT the most, just because I think they're the two that I'll struggle with the most out of who is remaining. That said, I won't be underestimating anyone and I hope to have some great games with the rest of the pool as well n_n.

You’re the only council member who voted ban on Serperior and ended up slightly on the minority side on Azumarill, also voting ban. If you could reverse just one of these two, which would it be and why? Additionally, is there anything else you feel is problematic in the current metagame?

I'm pretty sure I'd reverse the Azumarill vote if I had to choose. I stand by my opinion on Serp and think it should have gone. Azu probably should have gone too, but oh well. For clarity, I do think that Azumarill is probably the overall better mon of the two, I just think Serp holds more of a 'brokenness' factor. There are still more variants of it to be discovered as well, one of which I've come to really like throughout some test games but will be keeping on the low for the time being in case I decide to use it in SPL.

Which extreme do you find to be more effective right now: stall or HO?

Probably stall. I can't even recall off the top of my head the last time I saw an HO build. Most offensive builds fall under being Bulky Offense. I don't think stall is a "broken playstyle" or anything, but I do think it's really good. Obviously the playstyle is as matchup dependent as it gets, but more often than not, it'll get the matchup. There aren't many things that come straight to mind when I think of mons that are supposed to outright beat stall. With the rise of Acro Gliscor, stall has even found some legit counterplay to Heracross. The only mon off the top of my head that comes close to beating stall on its own is Haxorus, and even then it could get tricky vs. things like MAero or Scizor stall. This means that teams will most likely need a long-term gameplan vs. stall, which most players don't implement. Like I said though, I don't think it's a broken playstyle. The meta is very offensive and there's a ton of things that make teambuilding quite restrictive for anyone who wants to use stall, such as Serp and Azu.

You mentioned Volcanion as a cool metagame pick and it seemed to fit pretty well on the team you used this week. Are there any other examples of similarly underrated, but often effective against common threats/archetypes Pokemon that you have noticed yourself or others using in SPL thus far?

I mentioned that Kyurem is pretty underrated, but clearly it can be effective. Other than that, I'd say Zydoge is pretty underrated as well and can matchup well against a good amount of teams. Scizor and Latias obviously aren't underrated mons, but I think some of their good sets have either fallen off the grid or haven't been experimented with much. Offensive SD Scizor for instance is something I haven't seen a lot of since VolTurn became a dominant playstyle, but it is and always has been a great set. There's a few uncommon variants of Latias that I've been messing around with and think are pretty good as well, though I want to keep those lowkey as well :).
How did you break into the tournament scene?

I started off on the same boat as everyone else, trying to be a ladder hero or winning as many room tournaments as I can on PS!. Eventually, I had gotten my chance in UUPL two years ago and had made the best of it, slowly building from there. I can't say it's been a smooth ride unfortunately, but persistence and effort has kept me in the tournament scene at least.

What's an RU or below pokemon that you've had lots of fun with in UU?

Bewear is definitely the the mon I've messed around with the most from tiers under us and I still think it's pretty good. I've also messed around with Salazzle and have had some fun with it. Snorlax as well, but my success with it has been on and off. Though, there are some other RU mons that could be pretty good in the tier that I haven't messed around with so much, like Moltres, Zydoge and Doublade to name a few.

Favorite sports if you play / watch any?

Definitely basketball. It's the only sport I've played more than just here and there, and also the only sport I've actively watched.
 
#8
Worst battle played?

I don't really keep replays which kind of sucks considering all the dumb ladder games I have so I'll just go with this:
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7uu-315129

This too is a battle I'll never stop :facepalm: at because I decided to go wild turn 1 and throw an official tournament game lmao. Lesson learned though, never again!

Harder battle played?

The hardest battle I've played anytime recently was probably my match v tesung in Snake. Unfortunately there was something wrong with replays at the time but here's the link to download it:
https://www.mediafire.com/file/11h0siyxkfxogyg/Gen7UU-2017-09-21-manipulative-tesung.html

Tesung was able to keep hazards up for most of the game and pressure me pretty well. The game was pretty tough and I even had a couple of lucky breaks starting with turn 1. The game would've been that much harder or even unwinnable if I hadn't gotten turns 13-14 right and he was able to keep his Mega Latias.

a funny replay to share?

Again, I don't really keep replays but...
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/uu-251505535

Here's one of yung manip using the goat team to give christopher the great a beatdown while he talks shit. Enjoy!!
 

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