Part six- getting up, falling back down
GGFan: Whereas you had a rough start in 2018 (going negative in SPL), you began 2019 with another cup (the Vermilion) in your collection. You had a decent shot at winning two cups in a row, reaching the playoffs of the Cerulean Cup, but were bested by Troller yet again. At this point, I'd have to say that Troller may have been your best opponent in the sense that he may have motivated you to play better. After all, he seems to be only the one that truly had your number. Do you feel the same way?
Lusch: I view him on roughly the same level as myself. I beat him in Vermilion. This time, I finally was the luckier one. Vermilion is the Cup that had only been won by myself and marco at this point. Since marco did not sign up for this one, it was on me to win it a second time and preserve that history. That was my motivation in this one (since there was no new Cup for me to win). Finally my performences in the second half of 2018 got the result they deserved, i wanna say. The second half of the year looks worse than it was, playing wise.
Still, of course one measures a year at the results. And there I was lacking a bit. Still making semi finals and finals of tournaments and winning two Cups was still something most players would have traded with me.
In Cerulean, i really tried to qualify with all 4 alts. I did not have enough time in week one. But I managed to qualify 3 times. Troller did it 4 times. To be honest, Troller was not the problem in this Cup. I beat him once and lost to him once. Losing twice to a guy called "Hachimaki", who no one has ever seen after that was the main issue.
GGFan: Well, in regard to the cups, you were the alpha male. If you didn't win, you lost in the finals. The main problem was the Master Tournament scene, which was still giving you trouble. In MT49, you suffered another first-round loss to another random player, and then Mister Tim knocked you out in the second round of MT50. So, you failed to make it past the second round five times in a row. Was there ever a point where you considered giving up from the frustration?
Also, speaking of Mister Tim, he has made some slightly controversial comments about you in the past, suggesting that you were not on the same level as your peers. How do you feel about that, and how you do feel about Mister Tim in general?
Sadly, things did not turn around in MT51, where your streak of not making it past the second round extended to six tournaments in a row, this time losing to HML Am, who has gone on to make a name for himself. Did you see his potential in that set, or you have no memories of it? Also, were you happy he got bought in SPL?
Lusch: Yea, I had a really bad season again. I lost to wyc2333 and Mister Tim early in the first two, which (with all the given respect) should not happen if you wanna have a say about the outcome of the season. Losing to HML am can happen, He's a good player. Losing 3-0 to him was a bit tough, but I think there were again games where luck just boned me.
I never considered giving up. Also I have to say this season, I simply did not peform well enough again. Whereas my previous losses where unlucky for the most part, this time I did not play well enough. It was like one year before in SPL. Maybe it's just that time of the year.
I don't know what Mister Tim said about me to be honest. But if he ever said I was not as good as my peers, then I don't think I need to comment on that. He should look at the numbers and tournament victories, and the question answers itself. Thinking about it, I can see why he might think that way. He has always been a bit of a boogey player for me. He probably did win against me more than against any other top player. Not to disrespect him, but I don't think I lose to him because he's better than others, but because he can make very irritating moves sometimes. I think I'm a bit prone to players who play like that.
About HML am, I did not need to see his potential in that set. I knew of it before. He was already a very good player back then. We played sometimes on Showdown for fun before we faced each other in a tournament. Yes, I was happy he got bought. I don't know his record off the top of my head and I did not watch the entire SPL, but from what I have seen from him he played really well, but got haxed by a couple of opponnets. From his play, he was superb.
Part seven- the streak
GGFan: You finally won that second Master Tournament, and finally beat Troller in a high-stakes setting. However, you still had another goal in mind; that is, the gold medal for reaching the top of the Player Rankings. With that said, what your emotions like to win your second Master Tournament in a row (you won MT53), especially after what you had been through earlier on?
Lusch: No, I would not rank this over winning my first MT. Funnily enough, I also beat Troller in that one, as he was one of the opponents of the three way final there.
GGFan: Yeah, that's true. That's funny.
Lusch: I won the first game vs him. This time I was the one leading the set. I got a few very lucky turns at the start of g2, where he probably did not believe to be able to come back from. He then forfeited the entire set. Very sad, but not my fault. He was good at taking the luck when he got it a year prior. When the tables turned, he was not ready to stick it out. Not the final I wanted, but it was a win.
GGFan: Yeah, he's definitely an emotional player in that regard. Do you think it's rude or silly when people react that way when luck doesn't go their way, or is it understandable?
Lusch: Troller would go on to disappear for the next MT even. He forfeited the Indigo Cup as well, because I was his opponent. Yea, I managed to win that one as well. Facing ErPeris in the finals, who is a good player. We had a great set that was played out all the five games, no matter how the RNG fell, the way it is meant to be.
I'm not sure I would decribe it as rude or silly. To be honest, such behaviour is simply childish. And no, understandable is it not. I was victim of bad luck against multiple people, includinng Troller. I always played the games out. It is part of the game, no matter how hard the luck treats you. Remember that you had it at different moments and accept that now the opponent has it.
GGFan: Yes, I have to agree with you there. You get some, you lose some.
But maybe there was something else. Maybe he felt there was nothing left to prove on Pokemon Perfect, as he would make the transition over to Smogon, which was a big loss for the site. As you probably noticed, the playerbase had begun to shrink and (arguably) decline. You won MT54 to pull off the first hat trick in the site's history since Alexander did it three years prior, but did the dearth of talent make it harder for you to appreciate the victory, or were you still incredibly happy with it?
Also, you beat Troller in the finals, which would you be your last encounter against him. Did he finish the set this time?
Lusch: I was happy with it. I had to beat good players in this one as well. Laroxyl is not bad. ErPeris and Troller, who returned for that tour again, in the three way finals.
It was deja vu against him. I won the first game. I got an early freeze against him in g2 and with his back against the wall, he forfeited that game and the entire set. He even made a post in the forums to not want to play me ever again. There he complained about "ice spammers rewarded". I would be curious how he thinks of that now. I have noticed in the SPL games I watched from him that he himself went for some early ice beam dish-out, which was something he did not do before. Maybe he reflected on it a bit after cooling down.
GGFan: So, you got all the redemption you could have hoped for. Now you were the one winning the Master Tournaments, and you evened up the score against Troller. The gold medal was yours--you had accomplished everything you set out to do. But you weren't done yet: you would go on to become the most dominant player in the site's history. Your path of destruction began in MT55, which you won to become the first player to have won five tournaments in a row (four MTs + the Indigo Cup). Your momentum did not show any signs of abating, as you went on to win MT56 and the World Championship to make it seven in a row. The caveat, though, was that the tournaments were smaller and the star power was not as bright as it had been before. How did you feel about these events, and how did it feel to pull off such an unbelievable feat (smaller tournaments or not)?
Lusch: First, I want to say a last word about Troller. I don't want to give a false picture here. I respect him as an RBY player. I have no problem admitting that he is one of the greatest RBY players of all time. I am just not content with his behaviour in a loss, even if he percieves it as an unfair loss. It's easy to be the bigger man in victory, but in defeat it shows really, and I would have hoped for more greatness on his part there. That's it.
But moving on. Yea, there where not the same stars around, but don't underestimate the players I had to go through to win those tours. Jaajgko, Laroxyl, Enigami, Christos, Ranshiin, Caetano93, ErPeris, Ortheore, Mister Tim are no byes. I feel no less achieved because some people decided to not play the tours.
GGFan: What's funny about the World Championship is that you ended up beating the unknown player this time. It's amazing how much your fortune turned around.
Lusch: marcoasd has won 11 MTs and is (rightfully) considered the greatest RBY player of all time, and on Pokemon Perfect. He won most of those tours, when the tours were smaller, and the playerbase weaker also. That takes nothing away from it in my opinion.
GGFan: You may not have won as many, but you still have the greatest streak of all time, which finally concluded in MT57, which you also won to win a staggering eight tournaments in a row. ErPeris wasn't thrilled about this loss, which caused a falling out between you two. Would you like to go over the details and explain your side of the story?
Lusch: The tournament had dragged out for a long time. 2020 was getting close and I wanted to get the games done in 2019, since I played my games quickly and had to wait long enough anyway. We were scheduled to play the finals and he messaged me one day prior that he was not feeling well, and asked me if we could reschedule in case he feels too sick. I said, that I would only reschedule reluctantly, because it would have likely dragged out into 2020 and I was eager to finally get that chapter done. He agreed to play at the scheduled time then and showed up for it the next day. We played a normal bo5, where he played (from my observation) exactly the same way he always did (we met a couple of times now). I won 3 games in a row, getting the better end of the luck in the decisive g3, frustratingly for him, I suppose.
He informed me after the games were played that he felt really sick and accused me of forcing him to play when he clearly could not. That is my side to the story. Had I known he would feel that sick, I would have rescheduled, but since he showed up and did not say a word about it until after the games anymore, I assumed he was alright enough to play.
GGFan: Do you think being sick isn't an acceptable excuse for not getting games done, or can Pokemon be too mentally taxing to the point where it's justified?
Lusch: It depends. If you are really sick, I feel it's okay. But if you have a cold you can play. I had no way of knowing how sick he was, or how he was feeling. How should I? He did not give me much details.
It was a shame, because I got along really well with ErPeris up 'till that point. And from my side there is no shut door. Unwillingly, I guess I made the second rival quit in half a year.
GGFan: Well, let's talk about the games themselves. What was your preparation like during this legendary run? You won eight tournaments in a row. What kind of teams were you using? Were you doing any kind of special preparation?
Lusch: To be honest, no. Maybe that was the key to victory. I simply picked a random team I had in the builder. I had built ap an arsenal of teams I trusted, and decided to go with them. I did not prepare a single set in that entire run. They were no special teams. Mostly standard stuff. Here and there something unorthodox to mix it up.
GGFan: Well, looking back at your run, what are your thoughts on it? It seems you don't get the recognition you deserve for pulling off such a feat. Does that bother you at all? You deserve more credit for what you achieved, in my opinion. After all, when it's all said and done, you are the greatest player in the history of Pokemon Perfect.
Lusch: Thank you! I am proud of that run. It feels great to have reached the goal that I set for myself, to prove it to mysefl one more time that I am one of the greatest RBY players of my time. I think that achievement cements that, in case anyone (including myself) had any doubts about it.
I appreciate the praise, GGFan. You have always been someone who saw my achievements. I think that is because you don't only listen to the loud people, who go bragging. I have never been that way. I think that is why I might go under the radar for some people that do not bother to check the facts.
GGFan: Wins aren't everything. One tour isn't everything. But you weren't only consistent--you always won.
Lusch: I have to say, I still do not view myself as the greatest player in PP history. But I am definitely up there. Marcoasd is still unreached by me, if you compare titles. Troller and myself share the number of MTs and Seasons. And when it comes to Cups I have also won 5 different ones, a feat only marco can claim as well. Being one of the only "Supermasters" and having reached Gold medals as MT champion, Season Champion, Rankings Champion and World Champion, which only marcoasd and Troller have also achieved.
Part eight- future plans, final thoughts
GGFan: What is the future going to look like? Will you ever make a return as a full-time player, or do you feel there isn't anything left to accomplish?
Will you ever play in any tournaments on Smogon again?
Lusch: There is always something left to accomplish. But I will not make another run like that. I will not be a full time player. But I will also not retire. I'm going to join tournaments whenever I feel like it and have the time. In that vein, I'm happy to see Peasounay signing up for the RBY Qualifyers. I'll do the same, if not this one, then some other time, but I will play another RBY tournament some time in the future,
Not sure if I will enter something on Smogon. I doubt I'll sign up for RBY Cup. And I probably won't play one of those seasonals. SPL and WCoP dropping RBY makes it unlikely. Maybe that Global Championship, idk.
GGFan: If you could only use one team for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Lusch: If I could use one time for the rest of my life it would be Starmie+Big4+Rhydon. It's the best RBY team in my eyes.
As far as projects go, I have a vision to play every great of PP once more in a bo5, MT style so to speak. I will likely at some point in the future make some type of challenge like that. I hope that my rivals of the PP era will play one more competitive bo5 agains me. That includes marco, Peas, Troller, you, Alexander, ErPeris, etc.
GGFan: Just so you know, that's interesting but I have no desire of playing on PP as long as Egghead is in power. I can't stand the political structure of the site.
Lusch: It's not PP. It's for me.
GGFan: Oh. Well, as long as it wasn't hosted on PP, I'd do it.
Lusch: This would not be a tournament held anywhere. I would just try to play all those great rivals, in case it is the last time. I have so many great memeories of great sets of RBY on PP in those seasons. I'd like to have a collection like that once more.
GGFan: It would be interesting for sure. Nothing lasts forever. You may as well.
Lusch: It's down the road. it's a vision. I'll see how realistic it is. And I'd try to use some sort of objective metric, based on PP achievements for people I chose.
GGFan: If there was ever a Hall Of Fame and you could only fit 10 players, who would be in there? Of those 10, who would make your top 5?
Lusch: 10 players. I will not feign false modesty, so I will include myself. I knew that a question like that would come. But tbh I did not prepare for 10, only top5. But I'll start with the top 5 and hope I can fill the top 10 without doing wrong to anyone.
There is only one number one for me. The undisputed greatest RBY player of all time is marcoasd.
2-5, I don't want to put these in order, but the greatest players of all time after marcoasd are Peasounay, Alexander, Troller, Lusch.
As number 6, I would have to put roudolf13. If he played longer and kept up what he did in his time playing, he would have been on the same level as 2-5.
Next guys that come to my mind would be Beds, GGFan, Metalgross. Those would (in no particular order) come in 6-9.
Naming a 10th player to round out the hall of fame is tough now. I hope I am not forgetting someone. I'd pick Kaz.
GGFan: How do you feel about the metagame? Do you think people complain too much about things like Reflect, or would you like to see changes?
Lusch: I think the metagame is great as it is. Reflect is annoying on Normals and if Snorlax avoids crits and gets lucky with paraslams, it's hard to take it out profitably, but it's not too bad.
There's still a lot of room for creativity in such a limited pool of Pokemon that make up this metagame.
GGFan: You are also active on Indigo Plateau. How do you feel about the German circuit these days? It used to be great when I played there. Do you think there's potential, or has Smogon become too big for regional scenes to thrive now?
Lusch: Well. There is mostly new generations. Yea, another point on my agenda is to write a guide for RBY in german to hopefully get at least one german intereted in learning RBY and give me the opportunity to pass the torch ( a bit like marco in italy). But we'll see if that ever happens. I started playing at a time where regional scenes were not as strong anymore. I also never was part of the german curcuit. I entered indigo plareau to change that, and I think it's going alright. It could be better, but there's some potential.
GGFan: Do you know most of the German players?
Lusch: I know some. After all, I was part of several german World Cup teams on PP and Smogon in the last couple of years.
GGFan: Do any play RBY?
Lusch: There is FriendOfMisterGolem120. He plays RBY and is really good at it. Other than that, there are not many who play it regularly. Some like Erzengel or Decode play occasionally.
GGFan: How do you feel about RBY's reputation that it only comes down to luck? The monkeys on Smogon are notorious for putting down the tier. Do you feel the criticism is warranted, or is RBY just as skill based as the other tiers?
Do you find it inconsistent and annoying that only RBY is played under bo3 while other tiers in team tournaments are contested under bo1?
Lusch: Not at all warranted. It's crazy how people percieve the tier. RBY is just as skill based as other tiers. There are different skills required because crits for example occur far more often, so you have to account for them. Players from other gens are not used to account for crits as much, which is why they think it's less skill based. It's nonsense, of course. A crit in RBY for example, might occur more often, but is more manageable than a crit in any new gen.
And yea, I think it's inconsistent to play RBY in bo3, while others are not. Bo1 is nonsensical. It baffles me how people value the SPL as much for example. In one game the player who plays the metagame better does not win, the player who prepps for the opponent better does.
GGFan: I actually don't mind bo1 as long as it's bo1 across the board. Discriminating against RBY is just stupid.
Lusch: Oftentimes the result is that the teams that get used in SPL are not even good teams. They are match-up reliant teams that would lose in the open field more often.
GGFan: But I feel that the RBY players are the best players because of this. We're the workhorses. We have to play more so we're better, plain and simple.
Lusch: Yea. I think so too. Make it all equal. But bo1 is dumb on any gen. Make it all bo3.
GGFan: Alright, we'll wrap it up here. Thanks a lot for your time--it was a lot of fun.
Lusch: Thank you for having me. It was a lot of fun.
publication date - 3/28/2020