A History of the WSC

By Alchemator.
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WSC? To those who do not frequent the Smeargle's Studio forum, this collection of three letters could mean anything—Wolf Smogoner Catfight, Where's Some Cod, Wandering Shall Commence; there are many possible options. Jesting aside, "WSC" is actually the abbreviated form of "Weekly Spriting Contest".

This type of recurring spriting contest is nothing new to other Pokemon, but surprisingly only made its debut on Smogon in August of last year. Since then, however, it has become a staple attraction for both new and experienced spriters with its inspired themes and standards set by the entrants!

WSC #1: Re-type to any type but the Dark- and Steel-types

Darthvader317 took the cake with Agaki pulling in second. Lord Jesseus and TVBoyCanti took a place in the Hall of Fame with their honorable mentions.

The 317th ultimate Sith lord grabbed the gold medal of the inaugural WSC with this outstanding Fire-type Raikou. The usage of vibrant colors, along with the flawless line-art, netted him the win—it was a very tight competition! In the flames of the Raikou's 'cloak', pixels were used to create a distorted outline and thus a more fiery texture.

Being forced into second place in no way makes Agaki's Grass-type Sandslash a bad sprite; in fact, it is absolutely fantastic. The main attraction of this sprite is the detail and effort put into the spines-come-leaves—many more spines were scratched on and completely re-shaded to give that shiny, grassy feel. The flowers interspersed among the leaves add a nice sense of realism to the sprite, as do the darker spots that are supposedly inspired by the Bulbasaur family.

These two sprites of Lord Jesseus's and TVBoyCanti's respectively both received an honorable mention, and for good reason. Lord Jesseus's charming Flying-type Diglett (“definitely not inspired by Lakitu in any way”) is amusing yet well-executed, and as such received the "Most Humorous" award. TVBoyCanti's Rock-type Suicune is a novel and beautiful take on the concept, and was a sprite that narrowly missed out on the two top spots.

WSC #2: Winter

Agaki nudged past Darthvader317 for first place, and Hybrid99 and Pink both attained honorable mentions.

Agaki stole the show with this amusing Snow Blissey, beating Darthvader317 to the top spot by four points. However, beyond the obvious humor, there is actually a lot of technique behind this impressive sprite—mainly the use of dithering. Dithering is the use of an almost 'checkered' (chess board-like) pattern to ease the transition between two colors and create textures such as fur. Agaki has used dithering to great effect, making what would otherwise be random shades of gray look like real snow.

Darthvader317 was in the lead for quite a while, until there was a massive surge of Agaki votes which unfortunately left him in second place. However, in the same vein as Week 1, this is by no means a bad sprite—the color scheme suits the winter theme perfectly, and the snow is equally well executed through the use of a pale blue outline and small amounts of dithering at the base of the Scizor's "feet".

These two sprites gained well-deserved honorable mentions, Hybrid99's Yak Camerupt being a favorite of mine whilst Pink's ice skeleton Charizard is simply outstanding. The ice Charizard is completely scratched (made from scratch) and the shading makes it look like real ice. The color scheme of Hybrid99's Yak also adds a sense of realism; it almost makes it look cuddly!

WSC #3: Sprite Generator Fusion

Atyroki steamed through for a win with a staggering twenty-nine votes, with Brutal Satyr coasting into second place, narrowly beating Agaki's Maxwell, who I'll have you know "enjoys long walks on the beach"!

These three sprites were previously thought unfusable... until now. The main appeal of Atyroki's brilliant superhero-esque sprite is its clean line art, making it automatically more visually appealing than something which looks just hashed together. The color scheme is vibrant and innovative, much like the background with which it was presented!

It is doubtful that when you think of Monferno, Sealeo, and Dustox that you come up with a tribesman fully-equipped with shield and horns, yet Brutal Satyr pulled off the concept with aplomb. Despite the huge gap in voting between first and second place, Brutal Satyr's sprite shares the same standards of cleanliness and innovative color scheme. However, it was the sprite concept that netted Brutal Satyr the runner up spot.

What's pink, green, near-humanoid and is generally great? No, not Barney—it's Fuzzberry's sprite! With supernatural, yellow whiskers and a rather indifferent expression, it was a great choice to pick up an award. Estranged's sprite looks slightly like the retarded lovechild of a peanut and a monkey, yet you can't help but love it! Above the general concept, it is a very clean and strangely natural sprite with little to fault.

WSC #4: Repose

New spriter Wizwum took 1st place, with Darthvader317 taking second. Lord Jesseus and Wombat Sky Forme attained honorable mentions.

"Wizwum, a new spriter on the scene, was planning to repose Ho-oh using this Gamefreak sprite—wait, what? This is his repose?" This was the first reaction of many spriters, astounded at how official this sprite looked. It is a fantastic concept and the sprite is simply flawless. So flawless that nothing else can be said about it!

Darthvader317 was back for revenge, and he certainly nearly got it—the difference in votes between first and second place was almost negligible (a meager three votes separated the two). Despite being nudged out of the top spot, Darthvader317 still took a comfortable second spot with this innovative Poochyena repose. It looks cool, cute, and is once again a nigh on flawless sprite (there must have been some Lugia fans out there who gave Wizwum's sprite the nudge up!).

Lord Jesseus slid back into his comfort zone in week four, taking home the Most Humorous honorable mention (his Diglett being the first ever recipient of this prestigious award). This Gengar is fully scratched too, capturing the essence of what a Gengar really is—a ghost who likes to jump from the shadows and scare people. Note how Lord Jesseus has used a small amount of dithering underneath Gengar's right arm to ease the transition between the two color shades. Wombat Sky Forme received the Most Original sprite this week, with a Wigglytuff skilled in martial arts, but unfortunately this sprite has gone missing from the Hall of Fame.

WSC #5: Disguises

Lord Blood took a convincing first place with TVBoyCanti pulling in second. Brutal Satyr and Empoleon Guru received the Most Humorous and Most Original awards, respectively.

Lord Blood nabbed first place with this amusing and well-executed Ampharos—or is it a Breloom? Nevertheless, the line art is flawless and, with some clever shading around the stomach, the transition between the two bodies of the Pokemon is almost unrecognizable. Lord Blood has deftly balanced the features of the two Pokemon perfectly to create a smoothly joining fusion.

As TVBoyCanti aptly put it: "I can has Uber now?" This is a fantastic sprite, retaining the unique features of Rayquaza yet also obviously being a Seviper. The fact that the middle section (as well as the yellow pattern) is scratched only adds to its merit. Despite being beaten to the first place spot by six votes, it is still an incredibly well-executed and humorous sprite.

Gyarados, the master of disguise, revealed his latest espionage utility—now that he can easily masquerade as a Caterpie, the Metapod of Viridian Forest cannot possibly stop him from stealing their Pecha Berries! Quite the evil plan! Brutal Satyr was the obvious choice for the Most Humorous honorable mention, and for good reason (who knows how he thought of disguising Gyarados as a Caterpie!). Beyond the humor factor, the sprite is very good when the huge difference in size of the sprites is taken into account. Another odd, yet effective, concept was Empoleon Guru's (deep breath!) Venonat-disguised-as-a-Primeape. The base (Pokemon upon which the sprite was based) could be either of the two Pokemon used, showing how intricate and well Empoleon Guru has made this sprite.

WSC #6: Sprite Generator Re-type

Estranged pulled ahead by just one vote, with Agaki coming in second. BynineB and Raikizen received the Most Humorous and Most Original honorable mentions respectively.

The three Pokemon chosen by the infamous sprite generator were Feraligatr, Zubat, and Wobbuffet. With this sprite, Estranged decided to take everyone's favourite crocodile and make it into a badass, smoke-spewing, sludge-covered behemoth! Estranged's choice of position for the dripping sludge and smoke-ports adds a good sense of realism to the sprite (the sludge is bound to be falling off the arms, as they are raised).

The fact that such a fantastic sprite as this was pushed into second by only one vote shows the insane standards that this week commanded—Agaki was in the lead and favourite to win for quite a while before Estranged took off in the voting. Agaki's Psychic-type Feraligatr is not only an innovative idea, but has mostly scratched shading—this makes the sprite more fluid and uniform due to no parts having different light sources.

Feel free to guess which of these was deemed Most Humorous this week—yes, the choice is obvious. BynineB's Flying-type Wobbuffet had us all in hoots (excuse the pun) of laughter—the expression is one of sheer brainlessness and the fact that it is on its side only adds to the comical effect. Raikizen's Poison-typed Wobbuffet is both an interesting concept and well-executed, making it a good choice for the Most Original award.

WSC #7: Mass Fusion

Agaki snatched first place away from the other competitors by an astounding supermajority (27 to five), TVBoyCanti took a modest second while BynineB and Alchemator took Most Humorous and Most Original respectively.

Agaki stole the show with this amazing fusion of Ninetales, Cresselia, Pidgeot, Ho-oh, Raikou, Shaymin and Absol (that's a lot of Pokemon). The most difficult part of a mass fusion is getting each separate part of the sprites to meld unnoticeably, and Agaki has achieved this remarkably well. The color scheme compliments the sprites elegant pose, with small touches such as Shaymin's flower completing such an incredible sprite. Agaki was the first spriter to achieve a bronze trophy in WSC history.

Despite being blown into oblivion by Agaki votes-wise, TVBoyCanti still took second with this innovative fusion. The factor that sets this sprite apart from the rest is that only the toe-nails and shading of the right leg are scratched—it is almost completely made from fused Pokemon (you can check here! Apart from the obvious Steelix head, the parts of this sprite fusion are almost unrecognisable, and flow excellently when taking into account that seven Pokemon were used.

Once again, it is not difficult to discern which of the two sprites gained the Most Humorous award! BynineB was the definite choice for the award this week, with a mass fusion based on Steelix that has a vibrant color scheme and quirky features (such as the Seaking). The eye expression just tops it all off! A certain person by the name of Alchemator took the Most Original award, but mainly because the other candidate for the award made the final five and he half-asked—doh!

WSC #8: Devamps

Wizwum jumped back into the fray with first place, while Darthvader317 also came back and took second. Albel and MrBlack took Most Humorous and Most Original respectively.

It was close, but Wizwum pulled ahead by two votes with this cool Tropius. Note how the white highlights mimic the style of the original Yellow sprites exceptionally well. The innovative concept and fantastic execution of this devamp netted Wizwum the win. The difference between first and second was so minor that the last few votes were solely down to personal preference!

Darthvader317 rejoined the neverending battle that is the Smogon WSC with the Pokemon that brought him the win in the first ever installment of said prestigious contest—Raikou. The spriting sith lord also made great use of white highlights to make the sprite look more like it was from Pokemon Yellow. The vibrant color scheme and flawless execution netted this sprite a close second place—even Wizwum voted for it!

Although it may have been a serious sprite, the superior Dragon/Ground-type's chin and tooth can almost be construed as a goofy grin. MrBlack took the Most Original honorable mention with this well-executed Gallade which "No-one was really expecting... (except from XandZ :P)" [resident Gallade fanatic]. Congratulations to both!

WSC #9: Legendary Pre-evolution

MrBlack snagged first place, with BynineB coming in second and Chomzloh and DarthVader317 taking the Most Humorous and Most Original honorable mentions.

MrBlack took to warp speed in the voting with this cute Suicune Pup (30 votes to nine). The line art is utterly flawless, and the concept is excellent. Honestly, it's flawless—if it weren't I'd have more to write here.

Although BynineB's attempts to claim the number one spot were utterly thwarted, he still received a deserved second with this cute and squishy Giratina pre-evolution. The color scheme is clean and appropriate, the shading is nicely rounded on the torso and the pose is simple yet effective—overall an excellent sprite!

Don't mess with the Babytran! Chomzloh's Heatran pre-evolution certainly looks funny—like the feisty kid who thinks he can win! Beyond the humorous aspect, the shading and repositioning of the original Heatran's 'helmet' as it were is excellent, and is actually a quite believable pre-evo. For all those who have seen the Pokemon movie Destiny Deoxys, DarthVader317's Deoxys pre-evo should ring a few bells (mainly that Deoxys is centred around the gem in its core). This sprite not only has an innovative concept, but is very well edited to create a believable pre-evolution.

WSC #10: 'Badassery'

Albel and BynineB gained first and second place respectively, with TVBoyCanti and drtisk achieving honorable mentions.

Albel dived into the WSC scene with this unbelievably badass Dunsparce. With enlarged fangs, angry eyes and wings that can probably actually do something this is definitely what Dunsparce fans are hoping for in Generation 5. To create the 'badass's look, Albel has made use of many jagged edges around the eyes, body markings and in the wings. He has also used small amount of dithering and a highlight on the landsnake's forehead to give a realistic texture—a deserved first place!

I'm sure that if BynineB's badass version of Weedle was to be used in games, the certificate would considerably increase! BynineB, who is no stranger to scratching amazing sprites like this one, has used small amounts of pixels across the Weedle's segments to create a hairy texture. He has also, like Wizwum, made excellent use of highlights to retain the shiny exoskeleton that most insects possess. The choice of color is impeccable, especially the contrasting purple skull on the Weedle's torso.

Although animations are not allowed in the WSC, the Hall of Fame states that this humorous and amazing piece of work earned TVBoyCanti the Most Original honorable mention this week. TVBoyCanti is correct in his belief that Farfetch'd needed no extra sharp wings or blood-stained horns to be badass, just a cool animation of it using Leaf Blade (trivia: Farfetch'd only received Leaf Blade in HG/SS despite holding a leek whenever it is encountered). drtisk's [angry?] Mudkip earned him the Most Humorous Honorable mention this week, him saying 'it had to be done'.

Stay tuned for later weeks in upcoming issues of The Smog!

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