A new ladder to climb

Sometime in December, Pokemon Online finally supported RBY OU, meaning it finally had a ladder for the first time in its long and ridiculous history.  With the ladder came a batch of new faces who were hungry to reach the top, so it was that time again where I had to prove myself against yet another new generation of players.  Since I was banned from their forum, I played under the name "Mezura," which translates to "moderation" in Old French.  Indeed, while I could go all out in the battlefield, it was also important that I kept quiet so as not to blow my cover.  After playing for a few days I was able to reach #2, but lost a game to bad luck which set me back quite a bit and subsequently caused me to lose interest.  I forgot when exactly I dusted myself off and tried again, but tried I did--my vintage persistence paid off.  On March 6th, 2013, I was the #1 ranked player on the ladder, placing me above names such as Golden Gyarados, Raish, Isa, M Dragon, Lutra, James G, and Gen 1 OU (a Smogon alt).

I was, by far, the most dominant player on the ladder: at one point I was 100 games over .500 with an overall 134-34 record.  During this particular run on the ladder I was playing under the alias "Mr. Friendly," a name which was so lame that I thought it would lead people to think it wasn't me.  Of course that didn't happen, as people would message me and ask who I was, and I also introduced myself to familiar names.  One such person was M Dragon, who was trying to reach #1 on every ladder.  He asked me for advice, we had a few interesting games, and I ended up forming a bond that would eventually play a major role in my inclusion in SPL.

What made my ladder team so successful was FriendlyMie and a new innovation, BeamGore, which I called my Exeggutor with Hyper Beam.  At the time the only fourth move you'd ever see was Stun Spore, Mega Drain, or Leech Seed, making it easy to surprise the opponent.  BeamGore would later help me defeat another future SPL teammate in what I consider one of the greatest games of all time.

Zurück zur Heimat

I noticed that there was a German server on Pokemon Online called Pokemon-Exorzist.  I popped in for what was supposed to be a one-time visit, but was surprised that most of the old gang was still around: jira, cune, Sapientia, DerDomme, Majin Tupac, and so on.  This in conjunction with my feeling homesick prompted me to return to Pokefans in January of 2013, entering my first RSE tournament in three years and scoring what was considered an upset victory against Porengan in the first round on my road to a top 4 finish.  Next, I entered the 4ChordsCup--a name I'll never forget (and not because of how stupid it was)--which marked my official return to RBY tournament play after two years.  After only dropping one game going into the semi finals, it seemed like I was going to win with no problem, but Conflict was determined to knock me off the chromatic throne that I had been comfortably sitting on in his land since 2006.  Thus, one of the greatest tournament sets of all time took place on May 5th, 2013, with the third game in particular earning cult, if not legendary, status in the old gen circle. 

 

Conflict had been dominating in the German circuit for a good two or three years, thereby emerging as their new superstar.  I'm not sure how well known he was on Smogon at the time, but it didn't matter.  In the first game, Conflict beat me handily, forcing me to play the second game with my back against the wall.  Unfortunately, I didn't save the second game, which is a shame considering it was a great chess match that came down to Conflict's Tauros and Zam against my Chansey and Zam. I predicted the Hyper Beam and switched into my full-health Alakazam, scoring the kill on Conflict's crippled Tauros and eventually forcing him to forfeit because my Chansey had Light Screen of all things.  The stage was set for the dramatic third game, which was simply unbelievable.  Long story I short, my only chance to make a comeback was by baiting Conflict's Jynx in, which I would finish off with BeamGore--my plan worked like a charm, and thus this Exeggutor was introduced into the mainstream.  All that was left standing when it was over was my 46 HP Snorlax, making me the victor in one of the greatest gen-one encounters ever and was a major reason Conflict wanted to draft me in SPL five years later.  It's a small world.

I ended up winning the 4ChordsCup by beating Fire-Blaziken in the finals to win my first  tournament in three years, which felt great.  I continued to compete in Pokefans until October, when I felt satisfied with the overall results of my comeback tour and wanted to focus more on another organization that strove to be, shall we say, perfect.

Imperfect start, perfect finish.

I joined Pokemon Perfect on May 25th, 2013, 20 days after I set the world on fire with Conflict.  It looked like the dark ages of RBY were finally coming to an end: there was a ladder, there were tournaments, and there was a new organization dedicated to the ancient arts.  Although I wouldn't describe Lutra as an ideal leader, to say the least, it's as the old saying goes, "Beggars can't be choosers."  Myself and others were just happy to have an arena on which to joust with our bulls once more.  I signed up for its second Master Tournament, in which Lutra made me the #1 seed because I was still on top of the ladder.  Once again I found myself in familiar territory as the respected veteran who had to prove himself against yet another new generation. 

However, things didn't go quite as I had hoped: while I was able to make it into the semi finals, I was taken to the limit by Lutra, who gained a two-games-to-zero advantage.  I was able to rally back and force a fifth game which came down to a Chansey-Chansey stalemate.  Mine received the fatal freeze, and so I lost.  There was competition here.  I needed to stick around.  After a couple of duds in subsequent tournaments, I returned to my winning ways in Master Tournament #6, defeating ladder rival, Velli, my rival from yesteryear, Crystal, and then shook the obnoxious monkey off my back, Lutra, in the finals, who retired from full-time play after our encounter.  Order was restored--at least for now.

Finding new beginnings at the end

The founders of RBY2K10 did everyone a favor by leaving.  They gave Isa ownership of the forum, a call that was, to put it nicely, questionable, as Isa clearly didn't care about the place and was far more invested into Smogon.  At any rate, Isa tried to liven up this cemetery with the "RBY2K10 Revival Tournament" in October, which was interesting in that it felt like a "who's who" of the ladder, as Golden Gyarados once put it.  In the first round I was up against alexejj, who was #1 on the Pokemon Showdown ladder at the time.  I won in three, finally overcoming horrible luck with a timely BeamGore crit on the opposing Alakazam that had Reflect up, which barely won me the game.  Next I was up against the aforementioned Golden Gyarados, against whom I had many, many games on the ladder.  We continued our rivalry here, with me winning in two.  It looked like I was going to meet Crystal in the semi finals, but he lost to a newcomer, marcoasd, who had been playing on Pokemon Perfect for a few months at the time.  I won the best-of-five in three games--little did I know that marco would subsequently embark on a quest for triumph and payback.

The stage was set for me to either play another ladder rival, M Dragon, or Isa himself in the finals.  Unfortunately, Isa won but refused to play me, forcing me to declare myself the victory by forfeit (thought that was justified).  Thus, I had won both the first and last tournaments in RBY2K10's miserable history.  I wrote some acerbic messages about the site's inept leaders, left the wasteland for good, and found out that said wasteland died shortly after.  However, it wasn't all bad: I won what was, for the most part, quite the legitimate event, fought against fellow adversaries on the ladder, and began a new rivalry.

 

Passing the torch

I won the most tournaments in 2013, had arguably the most dominant run in the history of the PO ladder, and revolutionized the metagame with FriendlyMie and BeamGore.  However, marco had managed to go from worst to first, winning two consecutive Master Tournaments in a row and knocking off every big name along the way--except for me.  By defeating him again in Master Tournament #9 in June, I remained the one person marco had been unable to beat, thereby remaining the best player.  And, with a playerbase and tournament scene that was flourishing for the first time in ages, I was happy to be able to say that I was the undisputed king of the mountain.  Now having toiled in organization after organization for 12 years, I was grateful to have reached the top again.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.  Marco and I squared off in the finals of Master Tournament #11 in September in what was described as "an encounter between the top two RBY players in the world" (a shame how much confidence Pokemon Perfect has lost since then).  This time, marco pulled off the sweep, winning 3-0 in what were three very close, very exciting games, and then defeated me once again in the finals of Master Tournament #12.  The torch had been passed, but I was happy to have held it for as long as I did.

Throughout 2014 I played a large portion of the playerbase: Mister Tim, Ortheore, ALLALA, Bomber, The Joker, SoulWind, marco, Raish, Disaster Area, Golden Gyarados, Bedschibaer, During Summer, and others.  While I was very successful for the most part, I was starting to burn out at the end of the year--I had to rekindle the flame somehow.

(Un)lucky number 13

In the beginning of 2015, I surreptitiously created an account on Smogon named "Year13," which was so abstract that I didn't think anybody would realize it was me.  I wanted to participate in its RBY OU Global Championship, which I believed I had a very strong chance to win given how well I had performed the year prior.  I ended up with an overall 9-2 record and found myself in the top 8 before McMeghan banned me for representing enemy territory.  Lutra didn't help, either, who was more concerned about his image on Smogon than promoting a fair event.  Because I was never given a shot to finish my run, I considered myself the true winner. 

Back on Pokemon Perfect, I was continuing my winning ways and had a chance to win my first season or at least finish in the top 2, but was disqualified from Master Tournament #18 in March despite my opponent having disappeared for a full month.  After a lengthy debate with both marco, who was the season host, and Lutra, who I felt had conspired against me due to his childish and unwarranted grudge over only God knows what, I ended up taking 3rd place and questioned whether or not I should have continued competing on Pokemon Perfect.  There was no other game in town, so I decided to take a small break and mentally unwind.

Bittersweet redemption

I entered the next season in August, which was a significant one in that attracted a lot of players from Smogon who refused to play on Pokemon Online, meaning we had to make the jump to Pokemon Showdown.  Thanks to my fellow Pokemon Perfect originals facing some struggles against this new wave of players, I had yet another decent shot to win a season.  In the semi finals of Master Tournament #20 I was up against a newcomer by the name of Alexander, who was trained under the tuleage of marco.  I lost in five games in what was one of the most intense sets I had in a long time.  I would end up playing Alexander quite a few times over the next two years, with whom I had a lot more chemistry than I did with marco.  Although he was kind of a jerk to me at times, I can't take away how good he was. 

Alexander dashed my chances of winning the season, so it was only fair that I tried to a throw a "supreme" wrench in his plans of winning a certain tournament on Pokemon Online in the beginning of 2016.  By this time, PO had been dismissed as "SmogonJr," but an RBY tournament is an RBY tournament is an RBY tournament.  Although I was also banned from SmogonJr, that didn't stop me from entering the tournament and scoring a win over Snaga in the first round, who would actually go on to become my assistant manager two years later.  Next I faced off against Alexander, who was able to deduce that “StudMuffin” was actually me, but that didn’t help him avoid defeat.  My win against him was significant in that I was one of only three people who beat him during his big run in 2016. After the set, Alexander revealed who I was—which he may have done out of desperation to save himself—which resulted in another ridiculous ban.  However, because we were now in the quarterfinals, the spineless administrators and Lutra decided that restarting the entire tournament was the ethical choice rather than evaluating why I had been banned in the first place.  Thus, Alexander was reinserted back into the tournament and ended up winning, though it’s clear who the true victor was.  The argument was much stronger this time, too, considering I had already beaten Alexander.

Future stars and more frustration

I returned to Pokemon Perfect and had a solid 2016, finishing in the top 4 of quite a few tournaments and facing off against names that would shortly go on to achieve greatness.  The first future star I met was Lusch in the quarterfinals of Master Tournament #24, with me winning the encounter in a well-played four-game series.  Next, as a member of team USSR in the International League, I scored victories against old rivals Ortheore and Golden Gyarados, then defeated Peasounay in an entertaining three-game set, who would go down as one of my greatest adversaries ever. 

 

At the end of the summer I was still red hot, for I was among the final four competitors in season 9, which still might be the most competitive in Pokemon Perfect’s history.  It came down to me, marco, Peasounay, and Lusch.  Unfortunately, it was déjà vu all over again—and a bit of extortion added in for good measure—that resulted in probably the most controversial disqualification in Pokemon Perfect’s history.  Whether it was on Smogon, SmogonJr, or even on what was supposed to be my territory, I kept getting set back by inane, politically motivated grudges.  As was the case in 2015, I had no choice but to dust myself off and keep at it, as there was nowhere else for me to go.

 

Breaking point

The remaining three or four months of 2016 were exasperating ones that would put my patience to the ultimate test.  I started season 10 on the worst note possible: I blew a two-games-to-zero lead against Genesis7 in what was one of the most aggravating experiences I ever had to endure from playing this game.  Nonetheless, I maintained my composure and made it back into the semi-finals of the next Master Tournament, #29, but lost in a tough five-game set to Ortheore thanks to Sing missing three times in a row in the dramatic fifth encounter.   I was able to get some payback by beating him in the RBY World Championship, a win that saw me advance into the quarterfinals and face off against Alexander and Bedschibaer, who was having his best year.  Both sets went the full three games with me losing both, resulting in a 6th place finish.

 

My last opponent of 2016 was Enigami in the second round of Master Tournament #30, who was so lucky against me that he refused to take the win and gave it to me.  For example, in one game my Tauros missed Body Slam on his Exeggutor, which used Explosion and got the timely critical hit.  This had been done before in tournaments, and most felt that I should have gotten the win (most importantly the season host), but Lutra made a special guest appearance to usurp Disaster Area’s authority and eliminate me from the tour.  I found myself in the eye of controversy once more, and I was getting tired of it.  This time I really felt like it was time for me to leave, even if it would mean the end.  I was tired of the politics, the unfair judgment, childish people in control, the endless pandering, having wins taken away from me in illegitimate fashion—everything.

One more journey to the top

I thought about leaving, but wasn’t content with some things.  While I consider 2016 a successful year overall, it was clear that my role had changed from top player to more of a veteran stepping stone that people needed to beat to reach the level I aspired to be at.  I was also unhappy with politics and childish idiots getting in my way—if I kept pushing myself, I would eventually have my day, I figured.  Finally, I didn’t want my run to end with me victimized by politics.  I had to stay.

 

In order to get better, I began playing on the Pokemon Showdown as soon as 2017 started, which was actually tremendously helpful.  I liked the anonymity of it, and it was easy to get multiple games in a day. Playing on the ladder helped keep me sharp while also allowing me to experiment with new teams that would go on to be very successful.  And so I was able to start the year on the right foot, winning first place in my bracket in the Vermilion Cup and finishing in 3rd place overall.  I continued to play religiously on the ladder from January up until April, where I managed to reach 3rd place with a 1643 score and 93% GXE.  It wasn’t quite roudolf level, but it was good enough, I thought, so I stopped at that.

Sweet redemption

In February I signed up for the 2U World Championship.  I helped construct the tier two years prior with marco, so I was very familiar with it.  I ended up winning the whole thing with an amazing 14-1 record, dropping just one game that came down to a Kadabra stalemate.  Along the way I scored wins against Golden Gyarados, Enigami, Peasounay, and finally marco to win it.  Things were certainly looking up—it’s funny how quickly fortune can change in the span of just a few months. 

 

I signed up for PPL 2 in April, where I played for team Poison.  Being in a supportive environment for a change was a refreshing experience that reminded me that not everything about the competitive Pokemon scene is toxic (and I say this as a member of team “Poison”).  My record wasn’t great, but most who saw my games know that my level of play was so high that it didn’t matter.  More importantly, I started to get hot just before our season was over, and my momentum would only get stronger from there.

I signed up for the Indigo Cup in May, which was the second tournament of champions.  This one featured the highest ranked players in the Player Rankings, which I had consistently placed in the top 3 or 4 of since 2014.

Ready to re-enter season play, I overcame a tough bracket in Master Tournament #34 to reach my

first final round in two years, where I met Peasounay once again on a hot June afternoon.  This would be our fifth encounter, which was by far the best, as it went five games and lasted for two hours in what was a hard fought battle that also received a live narration.  Peasounay was dominating at the time and was clearly #1, but I knew I had what it took to win and dethrone him.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be, but it did put me in a great position to win the season since both Peasounay and I lost in the quarterfinals of the next Master Tournament.  The one who beat me, EvanRBY, was a ladder fanatic who introduced me to some interesting teams and techniques that I would incorporate.  Troller ended up winning the Master Tournament and put himself in position to win the season as well, setting up an exciting three-way race in which all of us were only a point or two within each other.

 

Season 12 was the most enthralling season since the infamous season 9.  However, this time there were no childish vendettas or crippling politics to vitiate the integrity of the competition.  The finish to this season would simply be three of the game’s best trying to win a major prize.  I was able to win my quarterfinals matchup against old rival Ortheore in what was a feel-good win due to what had occurred in Master Tournament #29.  Meanwhile, Peasounay was unable to add yet another feather in his already ostentatious cap due to his loss in the same round, which meant that it came down to me and Troller in the semi finals.  Troller surprisingly lost his set in four games; if I could take two games off of Disaster Area, I’d win the season.  Back at the very beginning of the year, Disaster Area and Diegolh taunted me by mocking the level of competition that I faced in the GameFAQs era and asking when the last time I even finished in the top 3 of a season was.  I already knocked off Diegolh in the Vermilion Cup, so now it was time to get redemption by answering Disaster Area’s question. 

 

After starting the set 0-1, I won the next two games to finally win a season.  I was the official winner of season 12, roughly a year after season 9.  To this day, many people recognize me for my longevity and for how much scrutiny and adversity I’ve overcome during that time.  After everything I had to deal with going back to Lutra’s childish behavior in the early days of Pokemon Perfect, the Year13 incident, season 6, the Supreme OU Tournament, season 9, and season 10, I finally triumphed.  I wrote my obligatory victory message, which resonated with several people who were seemingly aware of what I had to go through before I finally got the win I deserved for so long. I nearly got banned for voicing my frustrations during the events that transpired in season 10, so it was amazing, in a sense, that I had gone from that to people congratulating me and saying I deserved to win.

Full circle

 

I honestly didn’t want to finish the set against Disaster Area, but decided to because I was afraid Lutra would try to take my win away from me if I didn’t play out the remaining games.  While I ended up losing the set, it didn’t matter to me at all—winning the season was my primary goal, for it also meant that I qualified for the Fuchsia Cup, the third tournament of champions alongside the Vermilion and Indigo Cups.  The Fuchsia Cup was the most prestigious, as only previous season winners, the one with the best record in SPL, the winner of the World Championship, and the winner of other tournaments of champions were eligible to enter.  My conquest of season 12 meant that I qualified at the very last second.

I was able to defeat the two best players of yesteryear, Alexander and Bedschibaer, and then The Idiot Ninja, who was a rising star, on my journey to the semi finals, where I awaited another old rival, Marco.  Thanks to a bit of luck in the first game and an unorthodox team choice (non-lead Gengar) in the second, I scored the huge victory and met Lusch in the finals, who won season 9 a year ago.  If not for the politics that ensued, I most likely would have played him in the semi finals of Master Tournament #27, which would have decided the season winner.  Lusch got two decisive wins over me to win the cup, leaving me just slightly disappointed.  Sure, winning the trophy would have been an impressive accolade, but I got everything I wanted.  I won my season, I had a positive record in all three tournaments of champions, I beat the players who I knew I could do better against, and I got my big game against Lusch. 

A rivalry of global proportions

Season 12 started in May and the Fuchsia Cup ended in October.  During that time the first World Cup of Pokemon Perfect (WCOPP) started, and I was recruited by a supposed newcomer by the name of Skeptics, who appeared out of nowhere to become the captain of team North America.  Skeptics was actually the notorious Konzern, a journeyman troublemaker who frequently bounced between Smogon and SmogonJr for a few years.  With his identity unrevealed, he was able to secure his spot as captain and actually form one of the strongest teams in the entire event. 

 

In week 3, our team was elevated into the precarious heights of controversy when Skeptics exploited a rule that allowed him to replace his substitutes with his main roster at any given time.  He did so to see which slots Diegolh and Peasounay would take, thus he started peach_nair and “Krack,” his alternate account.  When he noticed that Peasounay was put at #1, he “subbed” me in over the aforementioned alt in a clever yet wildly devilish and cowardly maneuver that was scrutinized by several teams.  I actually wasn’t privy to what Skeptics did, but as assistant manager I felt it was necessary to support the decision.  I was also as abrasive and loud as I was in order to protect my teammates, as I figured other players would think it was solely Skeptics and myself—or just even me—who were culpable.  Becoming the despised team planted the seeds for something incredible later on.

 

And so the stage was set for yet another great clash with Peasounay.  We both agreed that our WCOPP bout surpassed our fight in the finals of the Master Tournament—not just because of the drama that transpired prior to it—but due to how well we both played.  The set went the full free games, and as usual it took a lot longer to finish than one may think.  I was able to come out on top as the victor this time, finally getting the big win against Peasounay that I longed for.  We would meet one more time in another tournament, the RBY OU World Championship.  In what was, perhaps, my most dominant performance all year, I was the only player to advance into the semi finals without losing a set.  I lost just one game along the road that led me to Peasounay once more, who was equally desperate to win and further solidify his legacy as the best player of 2017.  While I couldn’t replicate his volume of success, I could at least earn a medal and become a World Champion yet again.

 

If someone were to ask, “What are the best games ever played in the history of RBY,” I would tell that person to look no further than my body of work against Peasounay—especially the semi finals of the World Championship.   This was one of the most grueling yet rewarding two hours of Pokemon I ever played.  I ended up losing the five-game set, but honestly, I wasn’t all that upset with the loss.  In a rare moment, even my opponent admitted that he doubted how much he deserved the win, which I considered a great compliment.  Here I was, 15 years after I broke in, having the opportunity—and successfully—tearing the house down against the undisputed #1 at the time.  I overcame a lot of adversity—not just over the last two years, but in general—to be in that position, and I can safely say that I made the most of it.  Moreover, I feel that my performance gave me a free pass as far as my role as a heel in the WCOPP was concerned, but that event had only just begun.

SWIM IN GARBAGE, O YOU GARBAGE.

The two-man power trip of GGFan and Skeptics proved to be a formidable one.  Team North America made it into the playoffs of WCOPP, where we were able to force a tiebreaker in the semi finals to stay alive.  The antics of another team, USSR, earned my enmity, which caused me to embark on my now-iconic "last stand," a verbose rampage against team USSR for their unabashed display of cowardice, team Italy for reprehensibly exhorting the Russians, and everyone for disrespecting myself and my leader.  This made the final tiebreaker match between Golden Gyarados and Troller a lot more exciting (I opted not to play because Golden Gyarados was 10-1 at the time).  Skeptics and I did what we could to help the golden one—in fact, Skeptics spent a dozen hours or even more dissecting Troller’s playstyle and team choices—but Troller ended up winning in a highly dramatic three-game set.  The heroes won, and the villains were shut up for good at the end of the year—or so one may have thought.

 

During my last stand, I got into heated arguments with Smogon franchises, Earthworm and BKC.  The former was more calm and politically correct than the latter, who had a bone of contention to pick with my choice of words, such as calling the opposition Smogon alts, a term which I use describe people who think and act the same way.  The verbal repartee lasted over an hour, which was a result largely of my criticism of SPL being nothing more than a gathering of part-time players desperate to rest on their laurels, and that Smogon was a cowardly and illegitimate organization for it banned me yet claimed to have the best competition.  The challenge was made, and BKC and Peasounay did what they could to lift my lifetime ban which was put into effect 13 years ago.  There was also a strong movement on the Smogon forum to unban me and allow me to sign up for SPL. 

 

Much to the shock of the masses, my ban was lifted in the middle of December 2017. 

The outlaw returns

 

I’ve always possessed an uncanny ability to reinvent both my game and my character.  In the GameFAQs era I was whiny, childish, and headstrong, to say the least.  I matured over the decade to become sort of a serious, respected type.  Thanks to everything that happened in the WCOPP, I was now an old, embittered, bombastic wordsmith who was so erudite that it was actually endearing.  In a world dominated by belligerent and uncouth buffoons who communicate with “bros” and “niggas,” I offered something entirely different.  I was profound, articulate,  well-traveled, and well-versed in multiple languages. 

 

There were two distinct audiences that wanted me unbanned: my peers who felt I deserved to play in SPL and make it the most stacked RBY event in history, and the spectators who wanted me to say something—anything—to elicit a reaction.  I did, at times, give the people what they wanted, and am ultimately proud of my body of work on Smogon as far as my writings were concerned.  Nobody had ever seen anything like it before; that is, an old man verbally eviscerating a 17-year-old virgin whose primary insults consisted of, “bro ur a meme shut up nigga.”

 

I was unbanned with just enough time to sign up for SPL, mere hours before the deadline.  My entry post was reported to have received some of the most “likes” in the history of the site.  I had signed up before a couple of times, mostly as a joke, so it felt almost surreal to be able to do it for real.  There was some doubt as to how likely it would be that I would get bought, for there was still a strong anti-GGFan contingency that didn’t want me there out of their loyalty to Smogon. I still represented the enemy and outside competition in their eyes; there was no room for an outlaw.  

The circus is in town

The Stark Sharks (and maybe only them) were interested in me, who were managed by M Dragon.  They had a difficult decision to make: do they go for the controversial lightning rod who also happened to be one of the top 2 or 3 players (me), or go for the more mild mannered individual who was almost as skilled (Troller)?  Thanks at least partially to Conflict acting as an advisor and recommending me over Troller, I ended up a Shark.  I was alongside the likes of Conflict, Kevin Garrett, TOF, and Veteran In Love—all older veterans who, like me, had chips on their shoulder and something to prove.  The Smogon staples were eager to prove that they could still win in spite of their age, while I wanted to prove that I was more than just an underground legend.

I made my SPL debut in the first week of January 2018, roughly 16 years after I made my debut in the competitive scene.  Until Hipmonlee made his comeback a year later this was undoubtedly the longest time somebody had been playing before making an appearing in this event.  In addition to the competitive scene of Smogon, the autistic orphanage also known as the anti-GGFan crusade watched my week 1 matchup against Diegolh.  Who these people were deserve no mention; they were the usual childish morons that one could find in Smogon’s official Discord.  I was unable to say anything back due to how quickly I’d be banned, even if they deserved it.  All I could do was ignore the heckling and let the facts speak for themselves: that I was the mortal enemy of this organization yet was participating in arguably its biggest event, while they were nothing more than useless trolls.  It was a circus of several hundred people that witnessed the longest RBY game in the history of SPL.  Game one lasted 70 minutes and went 284 turns.  Despite building the right team and playing optimally, I ran into some crippling bad luck.  However, even in defeat, I won over some of the crowd, and my teammates were there to console me. 

In the second week I was up against Lusch, who was ranked #2 in the SPL power rankings.  My recent loss to him was still fresh in my mind, so I knew I had to plan carefully to win this one.  Thanks to evaluating my playstyle and changing things up, I won my first official set.  Unfortunately, that was just the calm before the storm, as I had to play none other than Peasounay in week 3 in what was one of the most controversial sets in the event.  I received a timeout loss in a game that I probably would have won, and was subsequently taunted by members of Peasounay’s team and the idiot moderator, ABR, who was supposed to be neutral but preferred to behave like a mentally disabled ape.  What ensued was probably the greatest comeback win of the tour, if not in the entire history of SPL, as I won the next two games in what were hard-fought battles as usual, overcoming a lot of verbal abuse in order to do so. 

 

And so I beat #1 and #2, and also went on to score a victory over one of Smogon’s franchise players, Earthworm, towards the end.  To do so after our encounter during the WCOPP made the win feel like yet another culmination, and, of course, to beat him in one of Smogon’s biggest stages made it even more gratifying.  Nobody could say anything anymore.  I ended up with an overall 12-8 record—when one considers how stacked the pool was (me, Peasounay, Lusch, marco, roudolf, Alex, etc), I was extremely content with a 60% win percentage.  People messaged me in private to congratulate me, others to apologize for their irrational behavior in the past, such as McMeghan, who expressed regret over how foolish he was to ban me during my run in the RBY Global Championship.  I found closure.

Head of sanitation 

My amazing run that started at the beginning of 2017 was still going strong in 2018, but I wanted to try something different.  I was given that opportunity in PPL 3, where I got to be a manager.  I gave my team the apropos name, "the Greagious Garbodors," which was another great experience.  The team I drafted was ranked last, as we were seen as the ragtag group of underdogs that just couldn't size up against the rest of the playing field.  However, I felt my choices were not only logical, but were versatile, meaning certain players could play multiple tiers if needed.  I'll save the detailed retrospective for another time and only say that, after overcoming a great deal of controversy and drama, we actually made it into the finals.  While we did end up losing to the superteam of the event, proving I could manage exceptionally well after getting the shaft in ROAPL (though I had no expectations of being chosen in such a supreme country club) felt nice.  It was also just plain fun to have made the finals in the fashion that we did.  If not for being so proactive, our team would have certainly been eliminated.

Cracking an obnoxious egg

My decade-plus ban from Smogon was lifted in December 2017; however, I was still banned from the Nick Jr of online competitive Pokemon forums, Pokemon Online.  Because Pokemon Online has been viewed for most of its unhealthy lifespan as "SmogonJr," it was no surprise that, seven years later, my ridiculous and unjust ban was still in effect.  Since SmogonJr's daddy let me run around in his playground, several people in the SmogonJr vehemently demanded me to be given a "second chance."  Moreover, it was POCL season, so they wanted the RBY pool to rival SPL's in scope and star power.  Miraculously enough, my shackles were indeed removed, allowing me to sign up.  I was bought by the Milan Bisharps, a stacked powerhouse that ended up making the playoffs.  And so I squared off against Finchinator's goon, the uncouth Ebola, in the semi finals, winning the set to knock out his team, which gave me a tremendous feeling of closure.  Finchinator had taken several unwarranted jabs at me throughout the decade and even more before SPL, so shutting him up for a while in his home turf was something that made both myself and many, many other people happy.  It also made the finals a lot more interesting, as my next adversary was CALLOUS.   Instead of a fellating extravaganza between two, as the young generation likes to say, "obnoxious tryhards," this was a final round with a lot of tension behind it.  Lavos hated his opponent, my relationship with Troller was rocky at best, some people couldn't stand to see me in the finals, CALLOUS was obsessed with winning and felt the pressure after spewing so much idiotic vitriol in his "return video."  Most importantly, as somebody who had been the longest active full-time player ever in the game's history, I felt strongly that I had to be the one to put him in his place.  It wasn't going to be easy, however, given that I had to play Troller, who was the undisputed top dog at the time.  He had been dominating, but you can never count out someone like me.  The game was also important for Troller, given how, if not for my ban being lifted, he wouldn't have sat on the bench during SPL.  Thanks to wise prep and dodging sleep multiple times, I scored the win and won my first team tournament in 12 years.  My victory post was among one of my best, and CALLOUS, or should we say, "Egghead," cracked and disappeared once again in humiliating fashion.  It had to be done, and and it had to be me.

A fitting finale

As eventful and positive of a year 2018 was, unbeknownst to me there was a terrifying tornado of feces heading my way.   Before that happened, though, there was still the 2018 WCOPP.  Whereas the 2017 iteration is one of the most controversial events in the entire history of the game, this time things would be far more low key and professional due to more strict moderation and the likes of Konzern, Lord Ninjax, and Ebola receiving lifetime bans.  Moreover, Egghead also being removed from the equation further ensured a peaceful yet competitive event.  I joined team Asia, as I fought alongside them earlier in the year in Smogon's WCOP.  For reasons I won't go into here, I disliked that tour but liked my team, so I decided to give it another shot in a more mature organization.

I was motivated to do well, considering this was the strongest RBY pool we had seen since SPL.  I was there, marco was there, Troller was sitting over there, Peasounay was there, Lusch was there, Roudolf was there, etc, etc.  It wasn't just the sluggers, however--several rising stars also took part.  I was eager to redeem myself after a disappointing WCOP and wasn't going to let a tougher bracket deter me from achieving that goal.  What made the task more difficult than just the skill level of my opponents was Bedschibaer taking offense to my evaluation of him in my power rankings list, which caused him to accuse me of being "washed up" in the WCOPP stream.  I may have been doing the job for ages, sure, but there was no reason for me to wash my hands just yet.  Without going into too much detail, I won in dominant fashion, once again shutting up a few trolls and especially a hideous one who finally got put in his place.  Overall I pulled off a 3-0 record in the first three weeks, then got to play both Peasounay and Golden Gyarados in weeks 4 and 5 respectively.  While I lost both due mostly to unfortunate rounds of bad luck, they were the two most fitting final opponents I could have asked for.  I had some of my best encounters ever against Peasounay, while Golden Gyarados was one of my rivals from the PO ladder days. 

Back to the status quo?  Not exactly.

Although I didn't play in many tournaments on Smogon, I was somewhat active in the Smogtours discord.  From the socially awkward and sexually frustrated teenagers who used the site to air their immature grievances to writing like ghetto trash as a means of fitting in, I was constantly reminded why I hated the place.  Yes, being vilified for so many years because I symbolized outside competition was one reason, yes, but the atmosphere only compounded my disdain.  What made matters worse was that, on a creative level, I had felt stymied.  Back in the WCOP, I commented on my loss to Lusch in clever and humorous fashion, posting a message that received over 100 likes.  The message was inexplicably deleted--well, perhaps I can't use the word "inexplicable" here.  I was far more popular than I was expected to be, which angered the mob of gimmicks, for I had taken attention away from them.  I was a character on Smogon, but I had never broken any rules or said anything that would warrant anger from anyone besides the person or people I targeted (for example, I rightfully mocked idiot ABR and his gang, the Cryonicles, after my comeback victory against Peasounay in week 3 of SPL).  In fact, it was frustrating that I had to be silent for the most part; there were a lot of people who dished out some vicious insults towards me upon hearing that my ban had been lifted--people I never talked to before--and got away with it due to their positions on the site.  If I responded--even in a calm, diplomatic way--I surely would have been banned once again.  I was tired of the people, feeling restricted, and being inclined to silence.

So, one day in November I wrote a message in the discord that mocked the way many people on Smogon speak, and was immediately banned.  Surprisingly, however, my ban actually sparked outrage from many of the site's veterans, calling it an egregious example of power abuse and that there was no reason to agree with the "anti-GGFan" attitude that was still as ubiquitous as the word "nigga."  So, after about a year, my time on Smogon had come to an end.  I was once again banned for life, though I went out in a blaze of glory and earned some fans in the process.  More importantly, it prompted some people to actually examine how the organization is run.  Someone put it best: "ABR is basically a nine-year-old brat running a country."

Moving on

OK, I was once again banned from Smogon, but I still had Pokemon Perfect, right? Unfortunately, I disagreed vehemently with the direction it was going in, and disliked the way certain people had been treated due to politics.  And so, after also being victimized by a politically motivated decision, I knew my time was up.  However, it wasn't just the vision that bothered me--what else was there for me to do?  I was the #2 ranked player in the all-time leaderboard for three years, had somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 top 4 finishes, had a positive record in all of its tournament of champions, finished in the top 4 of the player rankings nearly every time for four years, etc, etc.  The organization was doing very little to reinvent itself, making it feel monotonous to me.  I was a beacon of consistency, but with consistency often comes complacency.  I wanted to focus my energy on other things, such as my website.

WCOPP would indeed be my last tour, as it should have been.  I announced my farewell on February 26th, 2019.  I competed on Pokemon Perfect for six years--longer than I had spent on any other organization.

An uneventful reunion

After leaving Pokemon Perfect I made my return to SmogonJr to once again play for team Asia, this time in the Pokemon Online World Cup.  I was able to extend my undefeated streak in tournament play to four years with an activity win in the second round (I never lost a set going all the way back to 2016), but, as we know, all good things must come to an end.  I lost to team France's RBY player in the final week, making me question if playing was a wise decision given how climactic of a run I had in POCL the year before.  By this point I had built a rather strong rapport with the Asian players, so I figured playing was worth it if only as a means of showing appreciation for the respect they've always shown me.

GGFan: unfiltered and uncensored

Things would heat up in the beginning of the summer.  I was interviewed by one of the staff members of Smogon's Ruins of Alph division, which gave me the chance to talk about my long and storied career.  I pulled no punches, being as candid as possible instead of feigning deference like many other people in my position would have.  I had no desire in using this platform to beg for my ban to be lifted; rather, I spoke openly about how I felt about people there, the way I had been treated, and how I had felt restrained.  Besides that, it was a golden opportunity to revisit some of my fondest memories, such as the VBR, the 2007 Meisterschaft, the Triple Crown, WCOPP, putting CALLOUS in his place, and so on.  Because I denigrated several of Smogon's notable personalities, they actually prohibited the Ruins of Alph staff member from posting the interview, so we put it on Pokemon Perfect instead.  I've also been told my interview is the reason I wouldn't even be allowed to appeal my ban (not that I would--I like having brain cells).  Mission accomplished if that truly is the case.

A new experience

Publishing a website had been a desire of mine for a few years, but I never got around to it due to other endeavors consuming most of my time (my first book, playing full-time on Pokemon Perfect, etc).  Now that I was no longer playing in tournaments, there was no excuse not to pursue this goal.  After several months of writing, The GGFan Experience was launched on December 14th, 2019. 

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