Part four- getting back on track; making the transition to showdown
GGFan: It seemed as the though of the fruits of your labor were paying off, as you continued to excel in the summer, finishing 2nd place in the Ultra League and making the finals of the first Indigo Cup. While you were consistent, however, you were not winning tournaments. Did it bother you to not win them, or were you more concerned with consistency at this point?
marco: Of course, it bothered me a lot more than usual because at that point I had to prove myself again that I had learned the game - the original goal. But I felt like things were coming back under control, so I was light hearted.
GGFan: So, after a rough start to the year, you were starting to pick things up in the spring. You won Master Tournament 18 as well as the first Cerulean Cup. Do you have any memories of this tour? For those who don't know, in the Cerulean Cup you had to play on the ladder and obtain as high of a score as possible, and then the highest ranked players would face off against each other in the playoffs.
marco: I remember having multiple accounts for the cerulean cup as a result of qualifying all of them - one per week
I had to beat troller in the final stages
but I'm not sure whether i beat troller in the first cerulean cup or the second (I don't even remember whether I won one or two), and I don't remember anything about MT 18 without help
I see, I had to beat During Summer to win the MT, another great italian player
GGFan: Did you play on Showdown or on Pokemon Online?
marco: I think we played on PO
at first, the playerbase switched to PS because it was the only place with the correct mechs - I mean, it was faster in implementing them
after that, in 2015, there was a time when both simulators were a thing and I liked PO better
GGFan: Yes, that's right. The PP players were against using Showdown, myself included.
marco: it's actually more comfortable/good looking, but you have to use a software and obviously this led to PS dominance through time
GGFan: It wasn't until season 7 when we were all forced to make the change, so I assumed you played on PO.
marco: Yeah, I definitely think so... I remember having some good fights against During Summer and I remember them on a PO graphic
I had to beat Golden Gyarados and ALLALA before DS
ALLALA was and still is, when he feels like, a great player
one of my tutees nonetheless, I've had the privilege to meet him IRL too
actually, we were the first guys to understand something was wrong with mechs: I remember posting on RBY2k10 reporting an issue
his para'd Slowbro outsped my para'd Tauros and we both were puzzled
yeah - needless to say we played some RBY with my cartridges and (almost) perfect pokemon
GGFan: Did the Slowbro use Amnesia after paralyzing the Tauros?
marco: Of course: we didn't figure it out, but that's the only explaination and it makes perfect sense
it's funny to remember how we were cursing against our Tauros and Snorlax missing paraslams on Norma-Types game after game!
so, "non paralizza" (it won't paralyse) became a meme - that's how I used to nickname my Snorlax at the time
GGFan: Wow, that's funny--you had no idea at the time.
marco: Also, I don't remember anything about that Cerualean Cup, so I assume my memories are referred to the next edition
GGFan: So, you had really picked things up in the middle of the year. You won another Master Tournament, your first cup, and you finished 2nd in the Ultra League. However, season 7 would begin with several upsets, most notably when you were knocked out earlier than expected against Charrol Astra. Now we were all playing on Pokemon Showdown, as I alluded to before, so perhaps it was fitting that we would witness immediate change. Not a single one of us (me, you, Mister Tim, etc) made it into the semi finals after having performed so well in the Master Tournament scene for the last year or so.
Do you have any recollections of your set against the enigma, Charrol Astra?
marco: Yeah, I was playing a lot at that time - as I said before, binge
so... against Charrol Astra I just lost, I don't remember much but it just happened: Charrol was another good italian player and all in all I'm happy that he got the chance to win a MT before retiring from the tournament scene
I'm not sure whether our set took place on PS or PO
I remember winning the RBY Smogon Cup (which was an invitational, not the actual RBY Cup on Smogon Classic) , beating Isa among many othersthe tournament was kinda snobbed, also because I played my sets quickly and went 7-1 so the other guys understood that it was not worth trying - I said "enough guys"
GGFan: Yeah, I didn't mention that one because so many games went unplayed.
marco: I remember that quite well for two reasons: beating Isa was always special to me because he was my mentor and one of the legendary players - the elite of the paraslam era
the other reason is... I qualified as best OUPL score, which happened to be basically the only team tournament I won - I think I can say I won another team tournament too, but there's a special story about it and it will come out later...
Part five - rivalry with alexander
GGFan: In Master Tournament 20, we both made it back into the semi finals; however, instead of facing off yet again, we both lost to two newer stars, Alexander and Bedschibaer. I lost to Alexander in a roller coaster of a set that went two hours, while you lost to Bedschibaer. Do you remember how well he played here, and did it surprise you that he was able to come out of nowhere and beat you after not really standing out?
marco: Of course he knew what he was doing, I don't remember much but I feel like he deserved his chance to go ahead
Beds is a guy who always worked hard to improve
Alexander, on the other hand, is a talented player (I would say the best Italian multigen player) who can play anything but gen 2: it took him a couple week to become a machine in RBY
GGFan: You trained him, right?
marco: yeah, it was pretty easy... he was absorbing everything
GGFan: What are some of the lessons you taught him?
marco: We just played many games, at the time we thought that alakazam/physlax/reflect chansey/ lapras would be the best team
at some point he started using ReflectBoomLax
GGFan: That's interesting, but in 2015 I remember not using that.
In fact, he brought out Zapdos against me in game 4 of our set.
I remember that game.
I had Zapdos.
Anyways, in the final Master Tournament of 2015 (#21 to be exact), you ended up reaching the finals, where you met your protege. It's interesting how the narrative went from me passing the torch to you, to Alex having to prove himself by going through me, and then you being forced to relinquish the torch to him. As I'm sure you remember, Alex won the set in five games, which was the start of a rivalry that would last for quite a while. What's your opinion of Alexander? Would you put him in the same category as yourself?
marco: Well, first of all I remember that sequence - call it rivalry if you want - : we met many times and he had that 4 tournament in a row run
I lost to Teal 6 on one MT and I faced Alexander in possibly 3 occasions
I remember losing 2-3 to both Teal6 and Alexander
those were hard fights that could've gone both ways, and I feel like I didn't reap what I sow - these runs, like mine, Alexander's, Roudolf's, Lusch's, Troller's and Peasounay's involve two key factor that are the key to gaming: being both lucky and good and Alexander was both at that time
GGFan: In terms of skill, would you put him in the same category as yourself and your other foes?
marco: Alexander in general is a great RBYer - I'm getting ready for the rankings, of course he stands out - he's one of the players who separated themselves from the competition
the problem with Alexander is that he's had ups and downs and got burned out sometimes; while other guys like Roudolf just stopped when they didn't feel like playing, Alexander just played at times where he shouldn't had and I feel like this is going to cost him his place in the top 5
Alexander is a way better pokemon player than I am, he was easily the best player on team Italy and he has proven himself on the Smogon Classic - a damn hard tournament
that being said, when it comes to RBY alone... I feel like I've been more consistent
GGFan: What's your opinion on me, then, since you've alluded to players who either had big runs but burned out too soon (roudolf) or players who were dominant but had issues with consistency (Alexander)?
marco: I feel like you've struggled a lot after the tragedy, but you eventually reached the highest status (no matter what the name) around 2017
you'll get two ranks, one before the tragedy and another after
just like everyone else
I feel like Alexander was better than you after 2015
well, you could change things if you'll play for a couple years... but you'll face a problem that hurt Lusch: he was unlucky to peak at a time when the playerbase was leaving PP
or just taking a break
GGFan: Interesting. One could also argue that Alexander was better than you in 2016 as well, for you met once again the finals of Master Tournament 22, with him winning once again. Did it bother you to drop two sets in a row to somebody for the first time in two years, or were you happy for your disciple?
marco: By that time I had won so much that I knew I was going to win again and on top of that I knew I just got less than I deserved which is just part of the game. Of course, I was happy for him and that validated my work as a mentor too.
Anyway, I feel like I was winning other tournaments at the time. MTs just were his thing
GGFan: Speaking of other tournaments, we were both in the controversial Supreme RBY Tournament on Pokemon Online. By this point our relationship had degenerated into a sort of Schadenfreude: you laughed at my misfortune for being disqualified, whereas I made light of the ghosting allegation made against your team in World Cup. However, I ended up getting the last laugh here, as I beat Alexander in the second round, who ended up winning the fake version of the tournament by beating you in the finals.
So, now with three losses in a row to Alex, you must have wanted redemption in Master Tournament 22, where you faced him in the finals for a staggering fourth time.
Unfortunately, Alex won this one in five games as well. Was it disappointing to always lose to him, or were you content with being consistent by this point?
marco: Come on man, you did not pull a good effort off to hide what you were doing - I felt like you were genuinely trolling and being abrasive on PP. I don't even like discussing these aspects which I like to see as jokes, coming from a Dennis Rodmanesque charachter, which have nothing to do with the player.
GGFan: I don't recall trolling or being abrasive at all, to be honest. In fact, I hardly ever said anything besides, "Won in a good set/lost in a close one."
marco: Well, let's stick with that!
Of course, on Smogon you didn't do anything too blatant but everyone who knew you easily understood it was you. Your name was Year13, and it was easy to understand it was you.
Anyway, that instance was pretty ridiculous, you got DQ'd only because Alexander said "gg GGFan"
GGFan: I was silent in that tournament too; it was only because Alex said, "Lost to ggfan" that the Smodrone hosts were prompted to take action. But, banning me in the first place was pretty stupid--my ban was removed for good reason.
marco: Yeah, i agree that it was pretty nonsensical
GGFan: Well, as for Year13, I made the top 8 before being banned, so it was a reference that thankfully went over a lot of their heads.
Anyways, let's go back to Master Tournament 22.
marco: Anyway, if I am correct I got to play Alexander in 3 of his 4 MTs in a row - the other time i lost to Teal and again, I remember 2-3 loss after 2-3 loss no matter whether it was Teal or Alex. It just happens.
GGFan: I want to know your emotions going into that set.
marco: I don't know what to say, I tried to win pokemon games. It wasn't meant to be, so I let it be...
marco: at the time, it didn't bother me too much also because playing, I mean scheduling, was way easier.
Nowdays getting to play is harder than winning - that's the real challenge.
GGFan: You had another chance to beat him, this time in the finals of Master Tournament 23. Combined with the Supreme RBY Tournament, this would be your fourth final-round set in a row against Alex. It was yet another competitive five-game set, but Alex would end up winning yet another tournament. Is your answer the same here, or were you feeling at least somewhat frustrated?
marco: Every single time you lose, let alone 2-3, you are frustrated. Had you asked me at the time, maybe I would have answered differently.
It's pretty obvious that after 5 years I am over it
GGFan: Your intense rivalry continued into Master Tournament 24, where you went to battle for an unfathomable fifth time in a row, once again losing in five. I won't ask how you felt again; rather, I'll just say that, even if you lost every time, you were still unbelievably consistent, always making it into the finals and putting up a tremendous fight.
marco: Damn, now I'm angry as fuck. Again? GODDAMN IT?
What a choker.
GGFan: So, Alex had won every tournament, every encounter against you, and the season. The torch had been passed, in a sense, but you weren't going to give up that easily. You participated in the Indigo Cup, which was one of Pokemon Perfect's tournaments of champions, and made it into the finals as usual. Who else would you play besides Alex?
Do you remember this set? Unfortunately, Alex won this one as well.
marco: I don't remember it. Daaaaamn!
I'm going to have nightmares tonight. Try asking me tomorrow.
GGFan: If it makes you feel better, I was going through similar issues against you.
We played four times in 2016, and you won each set.
marco: Also, Indigo is the only Cup I never won... add that I had to play Alexander and it is natural that I couldn't win
It was just meant to be that way...
Part seven -ghosting scandal; cup quests
GGFan: In 2014 you had one of the most dominant years ever, winning seven Master Tournaments and three seasons. In 2015, while still great, your numbers declined. Now, in 2016, it was a question about whether or not you would even be able to win something again . With Alex out of the picture in season 9, you had a golden opportunity to take back the throne, but were bested by teal6 in the second round of Master Tournament 25. Was this loss especially annoying because Alex had already been eliminated?
marco: Again, at this time I don't even remember the tournament...
I have no clue about how I felt
GGFan: Let's go back to Smogon, then.
You decided not to sign up in SPL right away. What was the reason for this?
marco: SPL 8?
GGFan: 7. You signed up in the midseason.
marco: I see, that's the year where I got caught in a bad incident which revealed my ghosting activity on Smogon
I was just looking to play some extra games and I was aiming at certain guys of the Smogon gang
I think I can say that I've never been a guy who is looking to start a fuss, but unfortunately I definitely used to be one to overreact
GGFan: Do you want to explain your side of the story regarding the ghosting?
marco: it's well known
I was ghosting a guy, Prankster and Alexander himself leaked it
haha how ironic
so, I was banned by the time SPL started
Alexander got mad at Prankster and didn't take time to protect my identity... oh well
GGFan: That's too bad. If you hadn't been banned, you would have played all nine weeks in SPL, right?
marco: Who knows
I'm not sure... at the time I was more focused on Team Italy than SPL, but obviously when I signed up I tried my best
GGFan: I think the timeline is a bix mixed up.
You were tournament banned in 2016, right?
marco: to this very day, my only pokemon related regret is having missed winning POWC/WCOP with team italy - you can see that everything else barely scratches me
It was a Smogon Classic. I had no interest whatsoever in that thing. I think I lost to an italian player - Deidara95 - during the RBY Cup
GGFan: No, did you really forget?
You made it all the way into the finals that year.
marco: Oh I forgot that too
GGFan: You had a great run in the RBY Cup. You made it into the finals, where you lost to Ciele. However, since you don't remember it, I'm not sure what I can ask you about it.
marco: You can see that I really value the trivia and the behind the scenes way more than the score of the game.
Oh I see, now I remember that.
GGFan: Tell me about your run, then.
marco: Well, not much I could do there...
GGFan: Did you feel like you were expected to win the whole thing?
marco: I don't remember much about the run, I just won a bazillions of rounds and lost the last one.
GGFan: So, anyways, let's fix the timeline.
At the beginning of 2016, you signed up in SPL during the midseason. It wasn't because you were banned because that wouldn't happen until WCOP.
Or were you banned in 2015?
marco: Well, I don't remember it...
the time I signed up at midseason and finished 3-2, I was banned
GGFan: Yeah, your ban was over by then.
marco: Also, I won a 64 men RBY Ubers tournament on Smogon while I was banned - that's an extremely remarkable achievement.
GGFan: Then you entered the RBY Cup and came within a hair of winning it.
And then you entered the World Cup, where your team made it into the semi finals.
marco: Yeah, I think we lost to Team Germany
I won against Beds during the week, then lost in the tiebreaker... some bad things happened, basically I got some good luck in the game I won and got BS'd in the two I lost.
GGFan: I imagine this loss hurt more than others.
marco: Of course
That's the games I would like to play again if I had the chance to I guess.
GGFan: You also played in POWC in 2016, right?
marco: Yeah, I don't remember any of it without help/looking it up though. Again, in general RBY memories are like an overall picture to me, bar specific things. I remember pretty well that I used to go beast mode when playing for Team Italy, it's easy to say that I was always at the top of my game
GGFan: You did play in POWC this year, but your team was sadly eliminated during the regular season.
Now we're done with Smogon and PO, so let's return to the "perfect" mountains.
marco: I should look it up, but it happens. If this happened before our deep POWC run, we were at a stage where we still needed to grow a lot as single players and as a team, had this happened after we just were short-handed
I felt like I wanted to win with Team Italy, and this is just how I could answer you every single question from this point on... so, I'll try something different
ops... well, whatever the next victory was, the concept still remains
it felt good because I wanted to satisfy my whim to reach the double digit in MTs win
Part eight - what mattered most
GGFan: But I want to talk more about season 9.
This was the most competitive and thrilling season in the history of the organization.
Even though we were in the last tournament of the season (#27), several players were still in the running: you, me, Lusch, Peasounay, Mister Tim, teal6, Bernard, maybe even a couple of others.
marco: I remember that: Peasounay and Lusch were before their primes and I was heavily burned out I guess
GGFan: The final four ended up consisting of me, you, Lusch, and Peasounay.
marco: but I was still playing, at some point I stopped for a season
also, is Bernard IRL beds' name or is it some kind of meme?
GGFan: I was eliminated by administration (I don't want to discuss it here), so it came down to you and the two rising stars of that year.
I just like calling him that. It's a name of endearment.
You played both of them in the three-way finals. Do you have any memories of these encounters?
marco: just like "Mario Rossi pizzaiolo" for an italian guy I guess
GGFan: Yes, exactly.
You ended up barely winning, which was the first Master Tournament you won in over a year. However, you lost the season by just one point.
Was it more important to win Master Tournaments than seasons at this point?
marco: I think I won most of them given I felt like it was time to forget about how burned up I was; I got lucky enough to win most of them, but I still came second by a point
GGFan: Was winning seasons more important?
marco: If you can get both, you get both... there's no such thing like more important or less important
still, you get what you can and a MT is always nice
winning that fucking POWC was more important...
GGFan: I'm sure ending that year-long drought was especially comforting.
This would be your last season for a while, as you did not enter season 10. You still entered the World Championship, though. Do you recall any of your sets here, and how it felt to win?
marco: I also won the International Cup, while playing with Alexander
GGFan: Yes, the International League. I was on team Russia.
We ended up facing each other in a set that would determine who would make the finals.
It was the best one we had that year, and would be the fourth time in a row that you beat me.
marco: It might sound arrogant, but I had won so much already that none of these mattered to me at that point.
You always want to win, that's obvious and it's NEVER easy to win (I want to make it very clear), but you get what I mean.
I wanted the POWC/WCOP.
GGFan: Yes, I understand.
If you lost in the WC, it wouldn't have mattered that much.
However, I would have saw some value if Alex beat Bedschibaer in the semi finals and then you beat Alex in the finals, as you would have finally gotten redemption over the one man who truly had your number.
marco: I beat Alexander in the Italian cup
GGFan: But maybe you're right: maybe it simply wasn't meant to be that year.
Talk about that one.
marco: maybe somewhere else, I don't remember
GGFan: What was the Italian Cup?
marco: the Italian cup is another Cup I just couldn't win
Troller, following in my footsteps, suffers from the same curse
do you get what I mean?
GGFan: Yes, I understand, but I would like to know more about this cup.
marco: There are just so many turning point, one FP or a CH or whatever BS can turn an entire carreer around
there are things I value more
GGFan: Yeah, that's so true.
I mean, I don't like to make excuses, but I feel that a lot of the sets that I lost at the end of 2015 and 2016 were more because of bad luck than not playing well, which is why it didn't bother me how other people perceived me.
I knew I was playing well. I just wasn't getting lucky enough.
And there are sets that, if I won, would have changed the way we analyze history.
marco: I eliminated him, someon else eliminated me, and someone else won I guess...
You not winning not even one of them with neutral luck? No way, I don't remember the games, but that's not even belieavable.
GGFan: It depends on the set, of course.
Against you, for example, I played really well when we met in the semi finals of MT24, but lady Fortuna's wheel did not spin in my direction.
Against Alexander in MT20, game 5 came down to my Slowbro against his Tauros.
That's why I kept playing and plugging away. I knew my time would come eventually.
But this is about you, not about me.
I just wanted to say that I understand and agree with what you mean. Perception is reality.
But, as I said, I don't know a lot about the Italian Cup. Where is it held?
And how big of a tournament is it? Do only Italians sign up, or did you get players from other countries?
marco: It was held on the Meganetbattle forum
You would get the occasional foreign sign-up, but it was mostly italians
ALLALA did sign up and won it a couple years ago maybe
the forum is now kinda inactive, but anyway...
GGFan: It was where a lot of talented players converged, so naturally you wanted to win it.
Well, at least you won the World Championship. That was another huge feather in your already ostentatious cap, whether you cared or not.
It was certainly a great way to end your 2016.
marco: Actually, Troller won it in 2015 - my bad
trash that part lol
to be continued.....