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Project ZU Player of the Week: Week 11 - Aaronboyer

Favorite ZU Pokemon: Delibird
Most used: Bellossom
Most known for: Moderator, ZU Council member

Oathkeepre: Hello Aaron, how are you doing today?
Aaronboyer: I'm doing well, and you?

Oathkeepre: Could you tell us more about yourself?
Aaronboyer: I don't think I can dodge around this by saying it any other way, but I am a college dropout. I didn't like the degree program I was going for at the time (Engineering Management), and I didn't find the school I was attending to be a good fit, so I dropped out. I've spent the last 6 months or so working at our local Wal-Mart with Online Grocery Pickup, which we just got and has rocked the world of my rural Missouri hometown. Besides ZU and Pokemon in general, in my free time I like playing 3D Platformers like Banjo Kazooie, doing escape rooms, and spending time with family. I also have plans in the near future to start speedrunning Banjo Kazooie, as well as try hosting a game or two in the Circus Maximus subforum soon.

Oathkeepre: Could you tell us the origin of your name?
Aaronboyer: I get this question quite frequently, and there are only a handful of users that I am super close with that actually know. Just something I'd like to keep reserved to myself and those I'm close with on this site.

Oathkeepre: Tell us some of your IRL favorites (color, restaurant, etc)
I am a :bigfan: of shades of little blue like cornflower and cerulean. Super excited that ZU Council's Discord role was changed to light blue recently. I am also a :bigfan: of Celine Dion and have spammed one too many of her songs in the ZU Music channel. I've been watching her on Youtube as she is currently going on tower. Particularly watching If You Asked Me To as she hadn't sung that song live in nearly 25 years. Also watching All By Myself which is my favorite song of all time, and she's starting to sound just as good as she did in her 2011-13 era. I don't necessarily have a favorite restaurant but Chicken Strips are like my #1 favorite food. Also Pepsi is better than Coke; don't @ me. My favorite number is also 17 and the number I pick when gambling.

Oathkeepre: How did you get into ZU?
Aaronboyer: During generation 6, when I was maining PU, I would watch other users play games. I wanted to get better at ORAS PU, and obviously watching voiced and staffed users and seeing how they'd played and built would help me. 5gen was one of those voiced users, and from time to time I'd see him playing normal ORAS PU and then I'd see such garbage Pokemon like Electabuzz and Fraxure and Simisear and wouldn't understand. I also didn't understand when he played those games it was against the same user, Chinese Pooh. I eventually asked him and he told me he was the leader of an informal tier below PU called FU. Chinese Pooh and 5gen helped me along starting to build some teams and showed me some basic resources to work off of. Time passed, and Chinese Pooh and iRebel both stepped down from their positions at the same time, which prompted 5gen to ask me to be on Council. FU later changed to ZU and the community rapidly grew over the course of the generation, which leads to where we are today.

What are your thoughts on the old gens of ZU?
They need to be updated LOL, and that's partially my fault. I need to find time to do that, but we have several months before SwSh hits ZU so we'll find time. My biggest worry is that ADV hasn't really recovered from the Gloom suspect, but all the other Old Gens have already seen the effects of having tournament representation even if its in such basic things like a ZU Classic and ZUPL. Also Electabuzz to S- in ORAS? Electabuzz to S-.

Oathkeepre: How did you get into competitive Pokemon?
Aaronboyer: Despite having this PS account and my Smogon account in 2014 I didn't actually start my competitive Pokemon journey until 2016. Would you believe me if I told you that journey started in the Pet Mods subforum of all places? Well it did with Alolan Formes V2, where I was placed on Council. Yeah, take that ZU. Ultimately, I knew Pet Mods wasn’t the place for me, as most of the Pet Mods including Alola Formes were trying to make Pokemon that would never actually come into competitive play, which deviated from Pokemon a bit to much for me. Thinking back on this I'm surprised I never really tried out CAP. :blobthink: In super-duper late 2016 I decided I wanted to join an official tier and finally get a grasp on playing in a true metagame. I ended up joining PU during the Quagsire meta, hoping that “Smogon’s Newest Metagame” would be more willing to take a new user like me in. The PU community was exceptionally helpful and took me in and I made PU my home.

Oathkeepre: Who are some of your favorite people in the ZU community?
Aaronboyer: 5gen has always been there to support me through anything and despite being younger than I am has so much maturity and passion for ZU, I wouldn't be here without him. As a player and even more so a friend, I really have to respect DurzaOffTopic knowing that he gets shit on all the time and fights through animosity and comes out on top so often. He's such a great guy to talk to, and even though we don't always see eye-to-eye we know that even after we eventually leave Smogon we'll keep in touch with each other. I have a lot of faith in Ho3nConfirm3d in being the next RawMelon-esque top-tier ZU player come SwSh. He has such a unique perspective on the metagame and he always lets me bring meme teams versus him without getting mad. I hope to see his Eggy S-Dark team submitted soon as a sample team. There are also a lot of underrated players in the community like Calucha, Spook, yovan33321, and dwib, and I want to also wish all of you continued success into SwSh ZU. Only wishing Calucha, not Kalucha, well wishes

Oathkeepre: What was your first Pokemon game and do you remember the team you used in the end?
Aaronboyer: My first Pokemon game was Pokemon HeartGold which I purchased through eBay, and that cartridge already had saved game data on it. I think a lot of people generally know that the method of deleting save data in a main-series Pokemon game is relatively cryptic, so I just used the file that was already on the cartridge, and ran through the entire game with just a Slowking. I don't remember quite what level it was when I beat Red, but I believe it was somewhere in the low 90s.

Oathkeepre: So now that you're out of school. Do you have plans to go back and if so, for what?
Aaronboyer: I do have plans to go back to school to study something more business-oriented. Just about the only class I liked when I was at college the first time was Economics, whereas all the science courses I thought I would enjoy like I did in High School I realized I couldn't enjoy doing for the rest of my life. For what its worth I should probably mention that before I graduated High School I had enough college credits to receive an associate of arts 2-year degree, so in the long run I'm not very behind taking some time off to explore and decide what I want to do in life. I don't know where this expectation has come over the last several decades for students just graduating out of high school to have their whole life figured out, but it just doesn't always work that way, and its something I've come to terms with, and I have no one else to prove that to.

Oathkeepre: Based on what you've seen, what are your hopes or expectations for SwSh (Gen 8)?
Aaronboyer: I am admittedly a little bit worried. Dynamaxing and all that aside, this is the first generation of competitive Pokemon without infinite weather and without mega evolutions, so right there I think we are going to see the teambuilder open up way more in terms of building constraints and rock/paper/scissors matchups (looking at you OU). Gen 8 as a whole I expect to be much bulkier. It is Pokemon Sword AND Shield after all, and with the lack of broken ass offensive Z-Moves to break through traditional checks and items like the boot, I think bulkier playstyles receive the long end of the stick. I haven't been keeping up with all of the new Pokemon like everyone else has, but I will say two things. 1) I am hopeful Galarian Corsola and Farfetch'd end up being really good in LC. 2) The Zacian might just edge out Mega Gallade as my favorite Pokemon design and I hope it does well in Ubers. Yes, very ZU-focused hopes, I know.

Oathkeepre: Lastly, could you share a meaningful team to you and explain what it does?

Simipour @ Life Orb
Ability: Torrent
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
- Hydro Pump
- Ice Beam
- Superpower
- Knock Off

Huntail @ White Herb
Ability: Water Veil
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
- Shell Smash
- Waterfall
- Ice Beam
- Return

Luxray @ Assault Vest
Ability: Guts
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Atk / 8 SpD
Adamant Nature
- Volt Switch
- Wild Charge
- Facade
- Superpower

Gourgeist-Small @ Leftovers
Ability: Frisk
EVs: 152 HP / 104 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Substitute
- Leech Seed
- Toxic
- Shadow Sneak

Wigglytuff @ Leftovers
Ability: Competitive
EVs: 44 HP / 252 SpA / 212 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Stealth Rock
- Dazzling Gleam
- Hyper Voice
- Fire Blast

Whirlipede @ Focus Sash
Ability: Speed Boost
EVs: 248 HP / 8 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Protect
- Spikes
- Toxic Spikes
- Infestation

Going a bit retro with this team, in ZUPL Week 3 this team got its worst possible matchup with Choice Scarf Servine but we got the Leaf Storm miss as Huntail used Shell Smash which was clutch to pull out a W. The premise behind this team is for Simipour and Huntail to break down each other's checks until the opponent no longer has any more Water checks. People at this stage in ZUPL had shown to use very few Water checks outside of Grass-types like the frail Simisage and the bulky yet relatively slow Servine. Assault Vest Luxray ends up being a really cool check to Pokemon like Politoed and Electabuzz, can capitalize on their passiveness and common usage of Toxic to receive a guts boost, AND slow pivot. Whirlipede sets up entry hazards and Gourgeist-Small + Wigglytuff was the anti-hazard removal core, with Gourgeist providing another answer to certain Water checks like Quiladin while Wigglytuff compressed the roles of a Defog deterrant and a Stealth Rock setter. It also speed creeps Vibrava which is neat.

Oathkeepre: Well Aaron, thank you so much for your time and answers and have a great night!
Aaronboyer: Thanks Oathkeepre, you too!

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