UU Player of the Week #20: Hogg


Hello, and welcome to UU's player of the week where I interview
some of Smogon's most accomplished and well knowns 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 next week, shoot me a PM!
Hogg
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm 31 years old, from Baltimore, MD. I've been married for the past five years, and I have a son that's just about to have his first birthday. I was a Creative Writing major in college, which is probably second only to Philosophy as the most useless degree. Right now I'm the administrator of a Legal Support firm, where my job is to do court research, draft affidavits, serve subpoenas and skip trace people (i.e. track them down). I love 70s British glam rock and 90s hip-hop and R&B. I played and coached roller derby for more than seven years. I know all the words to 5000 Candles in the Wind.

Most Known For:

Building with lesser-used 'mons like Ferroseed, Shedinja, Spiritomb and Hitmonlee. Way too much knowledge about metas no one cares about anymore (RIP 200 and ADV UU). Long ass posts on the forums.

Favorite Pokemon:
Houndoom was my favorite when I first started playing Pokemon Gold a million years ago. I still have a soft place in my heart for Crobat as well, as it was one of my favorite Pokemon to use in early ADV, and it still has one of my favorite designs.

Favorite non Pokemon game?

I like to play Mario Kart, old SNES-era JRPGs, and old school puzzle games like Myst/Riven. The only actual video game system I own other than my computer/phone is a Nintendo 64 that I've owned since like 1998, which I break out once or twice a year to play Mario Kart 64.

Most used UU Pokemon:

Easily Mega-Aerodactyl. It's just so easy to fit on every team, whether I'm playing offense, balance or stall. It checks a million and one threats, it can sweep, it has utility. After that is probably Kyurem or Doublade. Kyurem is such a beast, and something that many teams don't prepare for, with both its SubRoost and its Specs sets being really insanely good in this meta. Doublade ends up on a large number of my teams as well for its ability to check both fast offensive threats like Beedrill and Aero, and the fat Psychic-types like non-Shadow Ball Reuniclus and Cresselia.

Where did you get your name from?

Back when I first started making online accounts sixteen or seventeen years ago, I chose the name LazarusLong, based off the character from Robert Heinlein's novels. Of course my tastes changed pretty drastically over the years, and I mostly found the Lazarus Long novels pretty stupid as I got older, but by then most people online new me as Lazarus, so I just kind of stuck with it. But when I decided to pop onto Smogon again after a five or six year hiatus, I couldn't remember my password, so I decided to just create a new account named after an absolutely terrible character from a terrible book by an author I actually enjoy. (Note: don't actually read Hogg; it's a really bad book. Delany has written some really amazing novels. Hogg is not one of them.)

How and when did you get into competitive battling?

Oh man, that goes back a ways. When I was maybe fifteen, I saw some people playing a weird game next to me in my computer lab, and I asked for a copy. That turned out to be a really poorly translated ROM of Pokemon Gold, which had just come out. It was only translated up until you got to Whitney, after which point it was mostly just baffling, so I went online to figure out what the hell was going on and eventually came across competitive battling. I briefly got into it in the GSC era, primarily on IRC or the GFaqs boards at the time, but mostly abandoned it because I had other crap going on. Then when Ruby had its US release some of my friends from the forums sent me a copy, and I discovered the IRC bots (which was the main simulator for Ruby/Sapphire before stuff like Netbattle, Shoddy Battle, PS, etc.).

I played competitively pretty heavily in what is now known as the 200 metagame (based on the 200 pokemon accessible prior to the release of Fire Red/Leaf Green), which is still one of my favorite metas, then took a long break. I came back again toward the end of Advance era, and played pretty heavily until people mostly stopped playing it in favor of figuring out Diamond/Pearl, which I didn't really have the energy to learn. When I came back again no one used the IRC bots anymore, and since the main sims didn't work on Macs, I mostly just hung out.

I came back again about a year and a half ago, having missed all of DPP and just about all of the BW era. I've mostly been active since my son was born, since I'm home watching him a lot.

Opinions on ORAS compared to XY?

You know, I really enjoyed XY, but I definitely prefer ORAS. I think that the metagame shifting around all the new megas was very much a positive effect in UU, especially with things like Beedrill, Sharpedo, Pidgeot (RIP) and Swampert breathing new life into offense in general and really shaking things up.

What is your favorite playstyle and why?

This is going to sound weird, because I'm mostly known for playing semi-stall, but I actually love HO. There's something really fun about running teams where your biggest answer to major threats is not giving a fuck, and you rely on putting on enough offensive pressure that the other team never gets a chance to do its thing.

That said, I also get immense satisfaction out of building really fat teams with a couple of strong offensive threats backing them, and most of my teams lately tend to hover right at the line between semi-stall and bulky offense. (I'm also not averse to building and playing full on hard stall - though I don't play it exclusively by any means.)

Do you think any mon is suspect worthy at the moment? If yes, which mon and why.

Any 'mon? Probably not. I hear people grumble about Feraligatr and Mamoswine, but as the meta has settled, I don't find either of them overly centralizing in practice (though Gatr comes closest - it's certainly had the most impact on my own teambuilding). If we were going to suspect anything currently in the tier though, I would say it should probably be Scald.

Then again, I tend to be of the opinion that if a 'mon isn't absolutely making the tier crap or boring to play, it should mostly be left alone. I voted to keep both Pidgeot and Victini, and stand by my decisions even if they were obviously in the minority.

How do you feel about the new drops to the tier? Those being Venemoth, Smeargle, and Goth.

I'm cautiously optimistic about Smeargle - I think it won't make a huge splash on the tier, but might make Sticky Web offense playable again, which sounds neat. That said, a part of me suspects that it's only going to be a month or two before someone figures out how to break Smeargle again (probably involving Baton Pass, because let's get real, Baton Pass is a move that is made to be broken).

Venomoth will probably be a solid 'mon at about the level of something like Yanmega or Tornadus - decent if you build around it, but probably not metagame defining. Tinted Lens means that a mono-attacking set can definitely work, and Quiver Dance is an insanely cool move, but the fact that Venomoth really needs a boost to have a decent offensive presence will hinder it from being a top threat.

Gothitelle... yeah, I got nothing.

Favorite to win UU open?

Ah, that's a tough one. Both dod and fuga are incredibly strong players in the tier, so neither of them would really be a surprise if they won the open. I also think it would be silly to bet against someone like Lowgock with as much tour experience as he has. That said, the part of me that always roots for the underdog would love to see a dark horse like TewMew or Christo or meeeeee take it.

What is some advice you can give to new players who want to get noticed?

Take the time to read as much as you can before you post. Don't be afraid to ask questions when you don't understand something, or to admit that you're not sure about something. Don't get shitty when you lose a game. Just basically be a decent person and don't shitpost or be absolutely toxic on the chats, and focus on bettering yourself as a player, and you'll get noticed.

How do you go about preparing for tournament matches?
If it's a player I don't really know much about, I'll try to watch at least a few replays so I can get a feel for how they play, and see if they have any particular habits when it comes to teambuilding. I try not to focus too much on any specific team, and instead get general ideas for things they like. Then I try to make sure I have a solid bunch of teams to choose from that will do alright. For example, if my opponent has a tendency to use bulky offensive teams with a lot of hazards, I'll make sure I have at least three or four teams that aren't particularly hazard weak at the ready. Then I play a few games with each team on an alt and see what feels right to me. I tend to tweak teams last minute, too, just because I'm always fiddling with sets and EV spreads and what not.

In general, though, I try not to spend too much time thinking about my opponent before a game, because I know that they'll probably look into how I play just as much as I've looked into them, and act accordingly.

Who are some of your favorite people in the Smogon community?

Ah I hate doing things like this, I always end up forgetting so many people :(

In general there a bunch of users who I really like building or testing with, or who have given me some great advice overall, or who I just think are really solid people: Christo The Gr8 dodmen Euphonos King UU NV teal6 Tipsy Russian Waiv YABO and a million others that I'm forgetting. Special shout out to Ernesto for drafting me in UUPL and giving me so many chances to play one of my absolute favorite metas.

Finally can you provide for us a team that you think reflects you as a player with a brief explanation of how it works?

Reuniclus @ Leftovers
Ability: Magic Guard
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Calm Mind
- Psyshock
- Focus Blast
- Recover

Mandibuzz (F) @ Leftovers
Ability: Overcoat
EVs: 248 HP / 200 SpD / 60 Spe
Careful Nature
- Taunt
- Knock Off
- Foul Play
- Roost

Suicune @ Leftovers
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 248 HP / 236 Def / 24 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Scald
- Roar
- Sleep Talk
- Rest

Cobalion @ Leftovers
Ability: Justified
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Iron Head
- Close Combat
- Stealth Rock

Aerodactyl @ Aerodactylite
Ability: Rock Head
EVs: 40 HP / 252 Atk / 216 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Defog
- Aerial Ace
- Earthquake
- Roost

Roserade @ Black Sludge
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 240 HP / 252 SpD / 16 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Spikes
- Giga Drain
- Sludge Bomb
- Synthesis

So this is one of my favorite semi-stall teams in the current meta. I started it because I absolutely love the combination of Spikes and Reuniclus, as opposing teams are always forced to switch whenever Reuniclus comes in to avoid letting it set up. Cobalion and M-Aero went in as ways to apply additional offensive pressure and act as fast revenge killers, since I knew the team would otherwise end up being slow and bulky. They also did good work against Mandibuzz and the rare Taunt Umbreon, both of whom can really crap on Reuni's day. I used Specially Defensive Roserade as my spiker to have something that could reliably switch in to strong Volt Switch users such as Mowtom, Helio and Mega-Ampharos, and because I was running a cleric-less team so I wanted an additional way to absorb status. RoarTalk Suicune is just the best blanket check there is to a wide number of problematic 'mons, such as SD Gatr, Mamoswine, SubSD Cobalion, and to some degree Snorlax/CMRoar Suicune (although the latter two obviously beat you if they are the last 'mons) - I use it over the more common sets because standard Crocune tends to lose to Substitute sweepers like Gatr, while CM Roar can get worn down easily and gives too many free turns while resting. RoarTalk Suicune also just has phenomenal synergy with Rose, and can pressure the hell out of teams once Spikes are down. Finally, Mandibuzz finished things off as a catch-all stallbreaker, additional Special wall and Reuniclus answer (you can never have too many!).

It's been a surprisingly flexible team for me, able to play like bulky offense or like full stall depending on match-up. I think this team does a good job of showing off the playstyle I'm most comfortable with, as well as the flexibility and usefulness of semi-stall in general.

Here are some replays of the team in action:
http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-uu-80046
http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-uu-79485
http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/uu-253252617

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

Feel free to leave any questions down below.
 
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Thoughts on UU Open, players to watch out for, mons that will rise in popularity, etc.? Additionally, which tiers do you expect to play for the other Opens?
 

YABO

King Turt
is a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnus
Is there any pokemon that whenever you see it on your opponent's team you just groan and dread facing?
 
On a scale of 1-10, how good of a user am I?

What is it in UU that makes you like the tier so much?

Most underrated UU mon in your opinion?
 

Hogg

grubbing in the ashes
is a Tournament Directoris a member of the Site Staffis a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris an Administrator
UU & Tour Head
Thoughts on UU Open, players to watch out for, mons that will rise in popularity, etc.? Additionally, which tiers do you expect to play for the other Opens?
Number one thought on UU open: holy crap, there are some really cool people playing, I just wish I could actually watch some games. If only there was a way to save your replay, so others could see it!

But seriously, there's some cool stuff going on. I really like seeing people that don't play UU regularly try out the tier, especially when they're well regarded players from other tiers. I think it's important to get a lot of fresh looks into UU, and I like seeing what they bring to the tier. That said, I do want to see a notable UU player take it. If someone like King UU, dodmen, Omfuga or Hikari ends up winning it all, I'll be happy.

As for some players to watch out for, one of my favorite teambuilders right now is Decision Makers. I always love looking at any of his squads. Also, Euphonos is both a really creative builder and a fantastic battler.

'mons that will rise in popularity... I think Heracross usage is going to go up, especially now that bulky Psychics and things like Suicune are continuing to rise in usage. I'm still kind of shocked usage was so low in July, which I mostly attribute to Salamence being in the top slot, but it's still one of the best wallbreakers in the tier and I can't imagine it's going to stay low for long. As far as more serious dark horses go, I think Nidoking is really good right now, as is Darmanitan (whose CB set is one of the hardest things to switch into in the entire tier, and who really benefits from teams moving away from common Scarfers).

I'm going to try to play every tier I can, because I've been meaning to get into other tiers for a while and this is a good chance to try things out of my comfort zone. The only tiers I feel reasonably comfortable with are UU, NU and OU, so this should be interesting. I have literally never played a single game of LC or ORAS Doubles outside of battle factory tours.

Is there any pokemon that whenever you see it on your opponent's team you just groan and dread facing?
Oh god, Reuniclus terrifies me. Even when I've come prepared with something like Perish Song Melo or Shadow Claw Doublade or Taunt Mandi, I still have to play carefully around that thing in case it's running something weird like Signal Beam or Shadow Ball or Thunder.

Who do you think are the most prospective new (relatively speaking) UU players?
Dang, hard to say. I think the single best "new" user is probably Christo The Gr8, if you can call him new. Sacri' is also consistently good, and seems to only be getting better. I definitely expect to see more and more out of them.
 

decis

formerly Decision Makers
Hey Hogg , gratz for being player of the week, I appreciated that someone from the UU community noticed me :'). Thanks for the words spent, I'm happy that you liked my Creations.

Question:

What do you think about the UU tier leaders ?
 

warzoid

wreck into a poll like a Raichu volt
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnus
What's it like being a "grown-up" on a site full of adolescents?

You're well known for succeeding with rarely seen mons. Could you provide some tips (other than majoring in liberal arts) for coming up with creative ideas and successfully using them in a team?
 
How would you rank the major archetypes in terms of general effectiveness/viability in the current meta (HO, BO, Balance, SemiStall, Stall; if that's not how you prefer to think of them go ahead and change it)?
 

Hogg

grubbing in the ashes
is a Tournament Directoris a member of the Site Staffis a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris an Administrator
UU & Tour Head
On a scale of 1-10, how good of a user am I?

What is it in UU that makes you like the tier so much?

Most underrated UU mon in your opinion?
You're more than just a number, baby.

I feel like UU has consistently had the best metagame of any tier this generation, but honestly, I've always been drawn to UU tiers for some reason. When I was an active ADV player I switched to UU when the metagame started feeling stale, and never left. I've never been great at multi-tasking - I usually prefer to mostly focus on one tier when I can, and play others on the side, and between the community and the metagame, UU is by far the best on Smogon right now.

Most underrated 'mon in UU is tough. The easy answer is Kyurem, because holy crap guys, Kyurem is really good in UU and people should use it more. But just to put in something different, I'm going to say Meloetta - it has solid speed, incredible Special Attack (higher than Hydreigon or Reuniclus) and really fantastic Special bulk, plus a fairly impressive movepool, but it sees almost no usage. While Azelf mostly outclasses it as an offensive Psychic type thanks to the superior Speed and access to Nasty Plot, it's got a ton of potential as a CM sweeper or Specs user, and it makes a great SDef pivot (with its typing, special bulk and access to Perish Song making it one of the best answers to Reuniclus around). It's ridiculous that it gets something like 1% usage in UU.

What do you think about the UU tier leaders ?
I think the quality of a tier is the best way to judge a tier leader, and from what I've seen, UU is the most quality tier on Smogon. It seems like they've mostly taken a behind the scenes approach to running the tier, which I think works well because we've got a fairly engaged community here. I don't really know either of them particularly well as people - I don't think I've had a real conversation with either of them outside of things like thread proposals - but I can't really argue with their results.

What's it like being a "grown-up" on a site full of adolescents?

You're well known for succeeding with rarely seen mons. Could you provide some tips (other than majoring in liberal arts) for coming up with creative ideas and successfully using them in a team?
I'd be lying if I said it was never a little weird, but mostly I stay out of the silliness and talk to people like they're adults, and everything is fine. A decent majority of the people I talk to on this site are at least post-high school, which helps.

Regarding rarely used 'mons... I think a lot of people go about it backwards. They take a 'mon that isn't very good in UU, and try to make it good. That's OK for testing purposes, I guess, but mostly if something's not used in UU it's for a reason (although not always). Instead, when I'm looking to fill niches in a team, I try not to only think about common UU 'mons, and if something else fills that niche, I'll use it.

So for example, one of my favorite offensive teams was a T-spikes offense with Mega-Pidgeot. I wanted an offensive spinner that didn't kill momentum and I wanted a second way to check Snorlax, so I went with LO Hitmonlee, who had a guaranteed OHKO on +1 Snorlax with Reckless HJK and could spin when necessary. I didn't build the team around Hitmonlee, and I think Hitmonlee is almost always outclassed by the other Fighting types in the tier, but in this instance it was what worked best for the team.

How would you rank the major archetypes in terms of general effectiveness/viability in the current meta (HO, BO, Balance, SemiStall, Stall; if that's not how you prefer to think of them go ahead and change it)?
One of the things I really like about UU is that there isn't necessarily a dominant playstyle. I don't think this tier is nearly as matchup-based as some other tiers I've played, and for the most part you can be successful with any of the above.

Sorry if that sounds like a cop-out answer, but I don't really think that it's a question that can be answered with a straight ranking. I would say that the two extreme ends of the spectrum, HO and stall, tend to be a little more matchup-based than the others, but that's kind of the nature of the game, and even that can be avoided with careful teambuilding.

What would like to see in a new Pokemon game? Pokemon abilities gameplay mechanics etc.
I haven't played the actual games in a while, and probably won't start again any time soon unless they start releasing them as iPhone apps. As far as new battle mechanics, though, I would love to see Stealth Rock fade away over time like weather does in gen 6.

Is there Any mon from OU that you really want to drop to UU?
Oh god, OU players, if you're listening, please give Starmie back :( Seriously, there is a star-shaped hole in several of my teams, and it makes me sad. I wouldn't mind seeing Hippo and Zam drop back also, but Starmie is the one that hurts the most.

What is your opinion on the idea of separate tiering for mega evolutions and their base forms outlined in the following thread?
http://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/separate-tiering-of-mega-pokemon.3546062/page-1
You know, for the longest time I was really opposed to the idea, but the more I tried to justify my stance, the more I realized it was kind of stupid. My biggest qualm with the idea is that it seems kind of messy to claim that we're tiering the mega and the base form separately but then not actually do so in cases where the mega is used less than the base (such as with the Latis and TTar), but honestly, it's all kind of arbitrary and I do think that the lower tiers would benefit overall from the change.

That said, I think it's silly to make a change that drastic in the middle of a major tournament, so hopefully it won't happen until Grand Slam is mostly done.

Best roserade set?? :/
Specially Defensive Roserade is obviously the best Roserade. (It's not actually the best - that would probably be offensive spiker Rose - it just works well on my team, damn it. Sometimes you just really need a specially defensive spiker....)
 

nv

The Lost Age
is a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Driver Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus
Thanks for the shoutout! Glad to be a part of the "Hogg Crowd" ;)

Anyways, I have one question...

When will you and I build a team and flip UU's meta on its head?
 
1. Have you seen me around?
2. How donyou feel about the rock dropping to A+? (Get it cuz rocks drop and aero is rock type?)
 

Cheryl.

Celesteela is Life
Who do u think is the most annoying pokemon to battle?

Any suggestions on how to win Player of the Week?
 

Hogg

grubbing in the ashes
is a Tournament Directoris a member of the Site Staffis a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris an Administrator
UU & Tour Head
When will you and I build a team and flip UU's meta on its head?
Name the time and place, I'm always down to build with you.

hoggggggggggggggg~

What is your most underrated pokemon available in uu?
How to counter Gatr?
waivvvvvvvvvvvvvvv where did all your extra vees go :(

Like I said above, I think Kyurem is still super underrated, just based on usage and the amount of work it puts in. I also think Meloetta has a ton of potential in the tier, but no one ever touches it.

If you can afford to run them, pdef Tangrowth or RoarTalk Suicune both do fairly well against Gatr, as does Chesnaught for the most part (although I don't like Chesnaught very much right now in general, if Aero usage drops down then it could probably have some more time in the limelight soon). P2 can tank a boosted hit and slap it back hard with a Sheer Force Tbolt, or paralyze it if it has no Substitute. Whimsi is always good as a soft answer as well. If you can't pack something like that, just try to keep on the offensive pressure so it can't set up and pray for the best.

What do you think of Tsunami's controversial Porygon2 to S nomination?
P2 is absolutely fantastic in this meta - almost nothing else in UU has the ability to just flat out stop such a wide swath of offensive threats with a single team slot - but I don't think it's quite S-rank material. It's predictable as hell, incredibly susceptible to status, etc. It only does one thing, and while it's very good at that one thing, and is easy to slap onto teams, I just don't think it quite meets the criteria for S rank.

Who do u think is the most annoying pokemon to battle?

Any suggestions on how to win Player of the Week?
Like I said before, Reuniclus tends to scare the crap out of me.
 

Adaam

I’m a computer-y guy
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis the 8th Grand Slam Winner
You said you really like Kyurem (for good reason too it's a monster), but who do you think partners well with it?
 

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