Part nine - departure from smogon; double digit dominance

GGFan: Let's look at 2017 now. It's SPL season, but you did not sign up this year. Do you remember why?

marco: I can tell you more about italian rby cups: alexander won in 2016, troller in 2015, During Summer in 2014 and ALLALA in 2018

GGFan: How many signups did they get on average?

marco: I would say 30

GGFan: It's SPL season, but you did not sign up this year. Do you remember why?

marco: I just didn't fancy being on Smogon and I was busier IRL

GGFan: What was your major issue with Smogon?

marco: I don't think it was being well directed, RBY was and still is very marginal and the playerbase includes tons of toxicity

GGFan: Fair enough--many feel that way. So you were primarily investing your time into PP, where you were back in the Master Tournament scene. You made an immediate impact, making it into the finals against a familiar foe, sweet Bernard, who beat you in three games. On this note, I'd like to ask you what your opinion on Bedschibaer is. Would you say he belongs in the same category as yourself and Alex?

marco: It's hard to tell, my guts would say no but Beds definitely has had his good times and he has been wildly underlooked all along

I feel like he belongs to the top 10 easily, though

GGFan: What separates somebody like him from somebody like you or Alexander? Is it simply numbers, or is it more than that?

It's interesting because Bernard definitely had his fair share of success against you, at least compared to some of your other peers.

marco: Well, it's hard ot tell... Alexander is the best pokemon player in the RBY pool, and I am the most experienced

I have played a lot more than you, after the tragedy - you don't even come close in that

on the other hand, Beds is an elite player but he lacks that extra

GGFan: I'm not sure. I was just as active as you on Pokemon Perfect overall, and obviously I couldn't play actively on Smogon or SmogonJr.

marco: at this time, I find it hard to rank him but I feel like he has higher chances to trip into a bad tournament than the legendary players do

and alexander has suffered from this, too

GGFan: But when I did play in those organizations, I was very successful.

marco: You did not play nowhere near as much as I did outside of the tournament scene, it's just that simple

Laddering, mentoring, friendlies and obviously we have already discussed about my ghosting trip

GGFan: What do you mean? Were you active on the ladder?

Well, I did play a lot on the ladder in 2017. I was #2 in GXE, only behind roudolf.

marco: You didn't play on Smogon for many years...

GGFan: I still played in the Global Championship that one year.

marco: I have played more than anyone else before retiring, I'm sure about that

GGFan: Yes, I suppose you very well may have that claim.

marco: that's one of the main reasons that led me to this soft retirment

that's inevitable

GGFan: Speaking of Alexander, though, you finally got redemption when you beat him in the finals of Master Tournament #32. Do you remember this set at all? To me it's kind of symbolic how you won it in four games, whereas every time he won it took the full five. Alex won a few races against you, but you had won the marathon.

marco: Haha, it was a tough nut to crack. No, I don't remember the games sadly.

GGFan: How about your feelings?

Do you remember winning and how you felt?

marco: I was running to the next goal: double digit MT wins I guess

but I have the feeling it was more natural than it looks now: I was playing and trying to win, simple as that

GGFan: Yes, that victory marked your 10th Master Tournament win.

Alex was a fitting person to go through to get it.

marco: Absolutely

GGFan: Both you and Bedschibaer were in a heated competition to win the season. You ended up winning by just one or two points, which meant you had now won 10 Master Tournaments and five seasons. Was winning season 11 special to you, or did you still have the attitude that these achievements didn't matter much?

marco: 10 is a round number, 11 makes it a football team

so 11 is interesting too

GGFan: Well, you won season 11.

And 10 Master Tournaments.

marco: but this is for my 11th MT win

GGFan: #11 wouldn't come for a while.

marco: I got tricked

yeah

well, I was happy to win the season

it's always good

GGFan: So you were happy this time.

marco: at this time, if you look at the numbers, it served more for me to disallow opponents to catch up with me

which is pretty nasty

Had I retired, someone else would have had the chance to start getting somewhere

GGFan: Yes, at this point, nobody could possibly catch up.

I was #2 at the time, but we were something like 80-100 points apart.

That's not even counting the Master Tournaments.

Is this why you decided not to play in any seasons for the rest of the year?

marco: I just got busier IRL

Playing was not worth the effort

GGFan: Going back to 2016 for a moment, I noticed that you won the second Cerulean Cup, which featured both Troller and Bomber. Was this a hard tournament for you to win?

marco: I qualified my account for every single week, so I had an advantage and I won most of my games in the final stage too

so, I would say it was easier, at least compared to other do or die situations

GGFan: Interestingly enough, you would end up losing to Bomber in the finals of a Master Tournament some time later. Some people aren't as familiar with him as they are with the likes of you and Troller, so what are your opinions of Bomber?

marco: Yeah... I'm glad I lost to him

He deserves a MT, he is a great player (he made it to the top 8 of Smogon Classic) and also a Team Italy mate from the very beginning of my poke carreer; he's also a guy I've met IRL and played with my cartridges. What more can you ask?

GGFan: How about Troller, who was also in this one? You must have played him in the Italian circuit, so you know he's been doing this for a long time. Is he somebody you would put in the same category as yourself and Alexander?

And does it surprise you to see what he's managed to accomplish?

marco: Of course, he has reached the highest status, easily. He's definitely my successor in all regards and also a great all gens player, not much you can say. Some don't like his attitude to tell the whole story, but that's part of the deal. No blood, no harm, no foul.

GGFan: What's wrong with his attitude?

marco: Well, he's not the kind of guy who pulls back or sugar covers it. He'll hurt your feelings if necessary.

Part ten - team spirit; new adversaries; rekindling an old rivalry

GGFan: Yes, I suppose so.

Well, you were not playing in the seasons now, and you also did not sign up in the Cerulean Cup (presumably because you had won the first two and there was no point). You were, however, on a quest to win the tournaments of champions. First there was the Vermilion Cup, in which you were unable to make it past the first round, but then you made it into the finals of the Indigo Cup, where you faced off against Peasounay. In 2017 he was the alpha male, and you were attempting to remind everybody who the best still was. Do you remember this set?

Peasounay told me that he hated the set because he was too lucky.

He wanted a fair fight against you.

marco: Yeah, I understand... I liked Peasounay's interview and his attitude in general. He's genuinely humble, too humble I would dare to say. He didn't get what he wanted, he genuinely felt that way. It happens.

GGFan: How did you feel about it?

If you remember this one, that is.

marco: I wanted a fair fight too, but we have played a lot...

It is what it is... I didn't get much of a chance to play and he didn't allow me to come back from the positions I found myself into.

GGFan: Were these "tournament of champions" type of events something that you wanted to win more than other tournaments?

marco: Maybe yes, I have won many of these: "biggest cock on smogon" and another three way stuff on Pokemon Online if I remember correctly.

MTs/seasons are a grindfest, having a restricted pool of players feels good. You get to play them, guaranteed.

GGFan: While you weren't going to play on Smogon, you were still active on Pokemon Online, once again playing for team Italy in the POWC. This time your team made it all the way into the semi finals, where you lost to team Canada. What are your thoughts on the run your team had this year?

marco: My memories are shaky, but I feel like it was somewhat of a training camp for the POWC. Still, you always want to win and we didn't. National teams tournaments are damn hard, possibly even harder than SPL or whatever tournament... and you can smell some special air.

GGFan: What do you like about World Cups more than other kinds of team tournaments?

marco: You play with the same guys every year...

GGFan: Do you also feel a sense of national pride? Are you proud to be Italian and playing for the Italian team, or is that not so important?

marco: I mean, you are teammates

well, no... I mean, you're making a good point but I wouldn't say so, at least directly

you can see cultures having an impact on a team, but other than that I would say no... to me it was all about playing with a group of guys and growing together

GGFan: Yes, that's an interesting point. I got to that experience that somewhat, as I played for team Asia in both WCOP and WCOPP.

Though we never made it out of the first round, we got to know each other and form a sort of bond (but certainly not to the extent that you did).

marco: that's the best pokemon experience, easily

GGFan: But certainly not to the extent that you did.

marco: also because you get to see seven, eight or whatever different generations of a brand and also players of different ages

to me, that's the apotheosis of sports in general

GGFan: Going back to Peasounay, what are your thoughts on him? In 2017 he dominated even more than you did in 2014. Some would say he's better than you--how do you feel about this?

Does he belong in the same class as you and the other Italtitans?

marco: He's one of the legendary players, easily. Not much you can say... yes same class

I don't know whether his year was more dominant or not, that's your job and I'm not going to steal it!

GGFan: What about Lusch? Lusch described you as one of his greatest rivals, as you played him a lot as well. Do you think his recent run in 2019 deserves more respect? In my opinion, he is the greatest player in the history of Pokemon Perfect.

Is he also in that class, or a little below?

marco: Yeah, I feel like Lusch is another player that belongs to the class.

Again, he got unlucky to peak a little bit too late...

GGFan: Well, in his defense, he had a very productive 2017 as well, but that was when Peasounay was at the top.

marco: I feel like calling him the greatest player in the history of PP is going too far, though.

GGFan: One could certainly make that argument.

marco: Of course, I don't think it's ridiculous...

GGFan: He has the multiple Master Tournaments, the cup victories, the World Championship win.

Multiple seasons.

He's neck and neck with you.

marco: Well, it depends on the criteria you take into account...

so I know I'll have to look up on your site waiting for an article about that

GGFan: Yes, I'll get to it eventually.

So, anyways, you had another chance to win the Fuchsia Cup, which might be the most stacked tournament in the organization's history.

It had you, me, Bernard, Peasounay, Lusch, Alex, etc.

The qualifications were rigorous.

marco: Damn

GGFan: We faced off in the semi finals. You had beaten me previously in the second round.

This time, I won the first game thanks to nailing a Blizzard crit with Lapras while your Alakazam was fully paralyzed.

Then, in game two, I used an odd team that had a nonlead Gengar in it.

This victory meant a lot for me. As I said before, in 2016 you beat me every time we played, but there was an interesting theme.

Each time we played, I came closer and closer to winning.

marco: Yeah, it had to happen. Unfortunately for me, it did happen in a very important tournament.

GGFan: In the MT, you swept me but my RNG was atrocious, so I stayed motivated. Then you beat me in a gimmick tournament in what was a slightly closer set, then we had a pretty good encounter in the Indigo Cup, and then I nearly beat you in the International League tiebreaker.

In 2017, we first faced off in the finals of the 2U World Championship. I thought this was great because we both played a major role in developing the tier back in 2015. Do you remember how we would play each other often, testing the viable Pokemon?

marco: Yeah, it was a funny tier... I wish it could be the official 2U: I feel like the current version is too wrap oriented and most players are just pushed away from playing it. At first sight.

GGFan: So, here we were, in the finals of its World Championship. I remember winning the first two and then winning a Tentacruel/Raichu speed tie in game 3 to pull off the upset sweep. Even though it wasn't OU, I was still stoked about this one because you knew the tier inside out and it was my first victory against you in two years.

marco: You definitely knew the tier well too, indeed.

GGFan: But, as usual, you remained one of my demons, knocking me out of the Indigo Cup and beating me in the second round of the Fuchsia Cup, so to get that huge win against you in the semi finals meant a lot.

As you said, 2017 was when I really began to put everything together.

We played one more time at the end of the year, this time in the Vermilion Cup, where I managed to score a decisive victory and finally get the upper hand in our rivalry for the first time in ages. I'm sure it didn't matter much to you, but it definitely boosted my confidence--which I needed, as I signed up for SPL.

I remember game 3. My Snorlax landed a Hyper Beam crit through your Reflect Lax.

marco: RIP

GGFan: Do you remember any of our sets in 2017?

marco: Sadly, no.

GGFan: Since we're on the topic of our rivalry, what's your opinion of me? Perhaps you have a lot to say.

marco: Possibly my toughest opponent in RBY #1, borderline for the highest status in RBY #2

but again, I would say that you would need to play some more at the level you ahve reached in late stages

in terms of skill, i would say so

GGFan: Towards the end of 2017, Pokemon Perfect began its first World Cup, which you did not enter. This is a little surprising given how much you enjoy this kind of event. Do you remember why you didn't sign up?

marco: My wild guess is "I got busier IRL". Yeah, that excuse, again.

Add that I felt safe dropping my slot to Troller. I knew it was in good hands.

Also, I'm a bad luck magnet for team tournament - this looks like a good time to tell you the story I mentioned before.

GGFan: Well, you won your 10th Master Tournament and 5th season, so I imagine you were content with your year anyway.

Do tell.

marco: Oh, first of all, Team Italy won a couple of PP World Cups in a row without me. See? I need to get my ass out of the way!

I have played COUNTLESS team tournaments, I've been teammates with great players, managed by great managers, and I have always finished over 50% in all of them. How many did I win? Just 1 or 2. OUPL, managed by Lutra, teammates with Bomber was the only clean one.

The other one, was on Smogon: the manager was TonyTheFlygon, simply the best manager you could possibly ask for. Our team was kicking everyone's butt, literally... we finished first, obviously. That is something that I didn't see often, and I 7-0'd the regular season. Then the playoffs came. Oh no, forget about that: things were going too well for me, so the torunament was canceled - it was going to well for me, so it was only right to end it abruptly. That's my luck with team tournaments.

GGFan: Why was it canceled?

marco: "It was going too well", that's what I understood at the moment

I didn't even care to understand why it happened

GGFan: Did they accuse you of cheating because you went undefeated?

marco: HAHA no, that has nothing to do with it

there's no way to cheat

GGFan: Oh, well, that's rather lame, then. But it's Smogon, so it isn't supposed to make sense.

marco: Low activity I guess?

I don't know, it's not important. It just shows you my luck with team tournaments

GGFan: Well, after a quiet year (by your standards), you managed to win the Vermilion Cup at the very end of 2017. Did this boost your morale going into SPL, or is this yet another victory that you don't remember due to how many medals and trophies you have?

marco: Yeah, I don't remember it because I was just doing my thing and waiting for the POWC.

Part eleven - return to spl

GGFan: Makes sense. So let's talk about SPL IX then.

Now we're in 2018, and you decided to sign up. This would be your first full SPL since SPL VI.

marco: The playerbase was just too good, I had to sign up.

GGFan: In a moment that shocked the masses, my stupid lifetime ban was removed mere hours before the signup period had ended.

marco: The playerbase was just too good, part 2. They had to allow this to happen.

GGFan: You were interviewed by none other than Egghead, I mean CALLOUS, shortly before the tournament started.

You made the bold claim that you would go 6-3. In retrospect do you regret saying this, or did it not add any pressure?

marco: I feel like 6-3 is doable, I didn't promise anything too great.

GGFan: I'd say 6-3 in that pool would be great.

Only two players pulled it off: roudolf and Alex.

You and I both came very close.

marco: If you sign up and think you're going to go 2-7, you shouldn't even sign up. Especially with my showcase.

I feel like my luck with team tournaments came back to visit me again. This is one case that upsets me a lot to this day, I have to admit: nothing similar to the regret I have with POWC, but this was the beginning of the unhappiness that eventually led to my retirement (combined with the boredom of scheduling of course).

GGFan: Well, let's take a detailed look at SPL IX, which featured the most stacked pool in the history of the event.

First there was the Power Rankings. How did you feel about them? Do you think you deserved to be ranked #1 because of what you had accomplished in the past, or did you not care about them?

marco: There's no need to say this was the toughest RBY tournament ever. It's not easy to rank players of this caliber: you have to factor many things, and more often than not you'll look at the rankings after the tournament and laugh at the guy who did them.

GGFan: What would your rankings look like? This year the pool consisted of you, me, Lusch, Peasounay, Metalgross, Alexander, roudolf, Idiot Ninja, Diegolh, and badabing.

marco: I published an article about that! So I feel like it would be more accurate than my memories, but actually I remember it.

I felt like it was reasonable to put myself at number 1, but any of Peasounay, Alexander, Roudolf and maybe Lusch had the chance to get the best record. Coming into the tournament, you were not on the same level, I guess, but you came out well oiled and you were yourself again; Roudolf also came out and showed up after starting 0-2. Metalgross was nowhere near the RBYer he is today, even though he has always been a brilliant player in general. TIN and Diegolh were at their first trip and pretty much untested. The managers fucked up big time and let Beds pair with me, also Troller was snobbed and Isa got to pick him for free - I feel like he should've been the starter over Lusch because also Lusch had not reached his prime yet, while Troller was ready to go. Anyway, letting myself and Bedschibaer, and Troller and Lusch happen to be paired up is an absolute abomination. We're talking about starting lineup material.

GGFan: I'm not sure Lusch wasn't in his prime--I'd say he was one of the two or three best players in the game at the time.

Peasounay was cleary #1, then #2-4 looked something like you, me, and Lusch.

In my opinion, of course.

marco: I wouldn't say so at the time: he was one of the best but not that much.

He clearly peaked later.

You're underestimating Roudolf big time, who indeed got the 7-2, Alexander and Troller.

GGFan: Roudolf dominated the ladder and was generally placing high in the few tournaments he played in, but I don't think it's unfair to rank him lower because he simply didn't have the track record that others did.

Would you rank roudolf higher than Lusch, for example?

marco: I'll tell you this - this thing was planned to be revealed later in the final rankings that I know I'll be asked: I only got to see Troller coming to me once, telling me that a player was a beast. He was talking about Roudolf. "Roudolf is a beast, and he's also lucky as hell. There's no way to stop that". You do the math.

GGFan: Well, it's impossible to please everybody when you write Power Rankings.

marco: In that specific tournament was hard to rank Roudolf over Lusch, very few people had the elements to say that and obviously that was skill based. Basically, you needed to play him to know that; your approach is based on results instead, so what you're saying is correct. Lusch was a well known and accomplished player, you can't go wrong by ranking him as high as you want.

GGFan: So you would be #1. Who would be #2-4?

marco: I'll look for that article - I splitted the matter in before and after the tournament.

so, before the tournament: i didn't rank myself, but i thought i could've been number one

I put alexander ahead of everyone, even though he was known for being moody already

then roudolf, then troller, then peasounay (and maybe I was a bit too low considering his accomplishments; I kinda got the prediction right though), then you and lusch

so, actually it wasn't much before and after the tournament, I just made a comparison with smogon's rankings and posted a memish reaction to them

this thing is hilarious

oh, then bedschibaer, diegolh, TIN, metalgross and... badabing

GGFan: Interesting. Alright then.

So, in week 1, you did not start on the right foot, losing to Metalgross. Did this one bother you considering how tough the pool was, and that you guaranteed you would go 6-3?

marco: I didn't guarantee that

GGFan: Did that loss change your mentality or playstyle going into weeks 2 and 3?

marco: historically, I guarantee an over 50% finish no matter how crippled I am

GGFan: Yes, that's fair.

marco: you could shoot me dead, destroy my body and I could go over 50% anyway I guess

it has happened so many times...

that 6-3 thing was a prediction, what's the point of going in an interview saying "èhm, I don't know"...

anyway, I felt and still feel like I could've achieved that, but oh well...

GGFan: Yes, it was definitely more entertaining and interesting to give an exact number.

marco: No, I don't feel like it changed much

GGFan: It also highlighted your belief in your abilities.

Now we're in week 4, and you've bounced back quite swimmingly, winning four games in a row against badabing and Lusch. We both overcame rough starts to go into week 4 at 2-1. This was a special set for me, as we were now taking our rivalry into the mainstream. It was also special in that I felt this may have been the last time we would face each other. How did you feel about it? Were you more motivated than usual to win this set because of my recent victories against you on Pokemon Perfect, or did that not matter?

marco: I was motivated because I had lost one set already in the tournament

and I think it was not a clean one

so, it was not time to mess around, already

GGFan: I'm always honest when I do these interviews.

So I have to say this: you were the only person who I feel truly outplayed me.

My other losses were more because of bad luck. I hate to say that, but when I look at the replays, it's true.

marco: I remember the long setup for Counter... that was something you rarely see also because I tried to counter team you

GGFan: But when I played you, I felt overpowered by game two and knew my only chance of winning was by throwing you off guard with a bizarre team.

marco: and obviously, if you try to cteam you and you try to cteam me and i try to cteam your cteam... bad things are going to happen, it's like trying to shoot a moving target

so, I found myself with counter chansey as the only way to stop your amnesialax

GGFan: So I used that weird team in game 3: Gengar/Jynx/Persian/Zapdos/Tauros/Chansey

Yes, that's right. The Counter Chansey.

marco: Maybe I even FP'd on that

GGFan: Game 3 was a close one. I remember it came down to Sleep Powder mindgames.

If I kept Persian in, it would have came down to my Tauros against your 68% paralyzed Zapdos, sleeping Tauros, and 86% paralyzed Chansey.

It would have been interesting.

But I switched to Jynx and took a Psychic.

marco: Yeah, it was a tough endgame and the fact that you were using a wild team allowed that to happen

I like these games better than the stall/overprediction + matchup + luck games

GGFan: Yeah, I knew I had to try something different. You played incredibly well.

marco: Thanks!

GGFan: Did you have the same feeling that I did; that is, that it would be the last time we would ever face off?

marco: Was it?

Who knows... we'll also talk about the future of RBY later, I guess

never say die

My bet is that we'll play again at some point

GGFan: We'll see.

You later squared off against Alexander in either week 6 or 7. Was this also a memorable encounter for you?

marco: It was the turning point of the tournament: I came into that series with the best score, possibly tied with him

it's funny how eventually neither of us got the best score and the guy who started 0-2 did

I won in three games thanks to a peculiar approach: I realized that he was going to lead with Zam, so I used Seismic Toss Chansey; many players used to play the Starmie vs Zam matchups that oftentimes ends up horribly; I traded TWave with Starmie then used Chansey to pressure. I also foiled A Sing Chansey and an Amnesialax, while also overcoming critical matchups like Zam 6th vs Zapdos and Rhydon vs Lapras. It was definitely hard and possibly my most important win.

GGFan: You suffered your second loss to roudolf, who you previously showed tremendous praise for. Is he another player that makes your "highest status?"

What's your opinion of him?

Why do you feel that beating Alex was your most important win?

marco: Yeah, easily. Peasounay, Troller, Lusch, Roudolf, and Tiba are the easy ones for RBY#2

well, me and Alexander too

then you have some borderline cases, but we'll get that later I guess.

Beating Alexander was the most important win because at that point I had overcome my initial deficit to a 5-2 record which was best or at least tied for best.

GGFan: It's interesting that Tiba makes your list even though he only played on Smogon. Why do you feel so strongly about him?

marco: Also, I considered him to be my toughest rival coming into the tournament.

Then I lost to TIN and Peasounay; against TIN I didn't get things going my way, and against Peasounay I suffered my first 0-2 loss.

GGFan: No, your only 0-2 loss occurred in week 9. You didn't lose to Peasounay.

marco: The plan I used against Alexander didn't work against him

his alakazam was just like an elephant on a full musth

GGFan: It's interesting that Tiba makes your list even though he only played on Smogon. Why do you feel so strongly about him?

marco: I watched him playing...

I mean, the fact that we know little about him is part of his charachter, charisma and everything you wanna call it

GGFan: I see, so it's more because he's an enigma.

That's an interesting perspective.

marco: but the man is just like... the uncle you get to see during holidays, just like X-mas, Thanksgiving Day, Easter or whatever depending on your culture. You'll play cards and he'll get drunk, and the drunker he'll get, the harder it will be for you.

GGFan: Yes, I see what you mean.

marco: He's just good at overpredicting, understanding his opponent and also a great gen 2 player (where this kind of skill shines)

to me, the body slam tragedy helped him a lot as RBY came towards his skillset

all in all, to me it would be unfair to pretend he never existed only because he didn't play on pp

GGFan: But let's go back to Peasounay. You did not lose to him. Your first loss was to Metalgross, then to roudolf, and then to Idiot Ninja in week 8. Actually, you and TIN never got along well; in fact, he made some controversial comments about you on his way out of PP.

marco: Well, I think their team just messed around by switching players in the lineup

Peasounay said he was playing that game, and that was pretty obvious

I feel like i finished 5-4 indeed

TIN was week... 8

GGFan: This is what TIN said about you:

"idk what i'm doing in the invites apparently proving that I can hold up against the SPL pool isn't good enough. i don't know what i'd have to do to get treated decently by this community but i had a season that started 4-1 and slowed down due to lack of focus, it could've easily gone to 8-2 or 7-3 with either more luck or more effort on my part, but apparently i only went 5-5 in The Most Stacked RBY Pool In SPL History™ and that's not enough to earn the slightest bit of respect from a large cut of this community. I figured that getting a proper 8 win SPL season has to wait at least a year anyway and this community just won't shut up about how I have "no game vision" or whatever old senile marco went on about in his threads, and now this 24/7 drunk imbecile rates me a tier below people I smacked to hell and back on multiple occasions exclusively because of community bias against me. The fact that GGFan is one of the very few people who actually respect me and my level of play really says a lot. I'm quitting RBY for a good while because this community has treated me like absolute shit for no reason other than envy and pride. I'd like it better if people were supportive of talent, new and old alike, but as a matter of fact this community is not, and I can't take this shit without getting demotivated. TL;DR: Fuck you all, fuck this website, fuck this community, thanks to the three people who respect me you guys are decent humans and made my days more enjoyable. I'm done."

marco: Well, TIN is a complex charachter...he's part of a generation of players that did not express its full potential

GGFan: And this was your response:

"Of course the community has no respect for you: it has better examples of guys who got it done and are still humble. Being invited to this tournament is a dishonor for His Grace no-individual-accomplishment-whatsoever The Idiot Ninja! Pathetic. Learn from Kaz (read his post) and Roudolf: better guys and better players which happens to be a consequence to some degree, I guess. Learn, compete, get it done, pass the torch, then talk (maybe). Drunk imbecile? None of your business first of all and untrue also, show some respect you spoiled narcissistic punk. Be back grown up, this version won't be missed."

marco: at the time I just said what I thought about him as a player and he took it personally

on top of everything, he didn't quite figure out the privilege he had - to be mentored by troller, he kinda tried to do it on his own too soon

he was trying to innovate...

to this day, I feel like I have not seen TIN playin a full tournament using some sober, good hard nosed S4 teams to victory

GGFan: The "idiotic" one has gone on to make somewhat of a name for himself in SPL. Would you consider him a great player?

marco: Troller got where he is by doing so for years, and after that he started allowing himself to SOMETIMES using some wild counterteams

I have not watched himself enough recently to be fair, but my points against him are more about his charachter flaws

he self sabotaged himself, I don't know perfectly where he stands now

GGFan: On that note, was it annoying to lose to somebody who you felt was immature and not behaving appropriately?

marco: I see him criticizing himself every now and then... I wish him best of luck, I hold no grudges

I feel our relationship got better as time went by

well, he won that Invitational tournament which was a big thing

but to me, you have to be consistent and play RBY the good old fashioned way like all the legendary players I have listed do

GGFan: Well, does it really matter how you win, as long as you win?

marco: No, he played well and this is a kid's game

still, I felt he didn't have the full understanding of the game I did

GGFan: Fair enough. Let's look at the final week now.  You were on the cusp of pulling off that 6-3 record, but the unknown rozes defeated you in two games, which was also the only time you failed to win a game. It was inevitable that a couple of players would troll you for being on the receiving end of this loss, too. Do you want to reflect on this moment?

marco: In what regard?

GGFan: The games, the trolling, anything.

marco: Well, first of all I still don't know who I played: if I recall correctly Peasounay claimed he played these games

GGFan: Peasounay ghosted rozes?

marco: and I felt it could've been him: it only makes sense if you consider that his team was out of the tournament anyway and they swapped everything

I wouldn't call that ghosting

maybe they used an alt and it was him, I don't know and I don't even care

GGFan: Wait, do you mean Peasounay played under the alias "AriStella?"

marco: I have no clue, after the tournament he said he went 5-4 which only leads to one conclusion

GGFan: https://www.pokemonperfect.com/forums/index.php?threads/best-players-of-spl-and-me.4885/

You were made fun of in your power rankings to the exultation of two "made for Smogon" trolls.

But it also appears as though you were a lot kinder to me. You actually ranked me over Lusch, though you also ranked Troller third, who didn't get to play.

marco: "About the retain: It didn't turn out as great as last year (obv) but I think you're a bit too vehement about it, 16k is not what you pay for a 5-4 (huehue)"

so, I assumed he counter week 9

anyway, who cares

yeah, I remember that trolling post

they can say whatever they please

I am a well known player who doesn't hide behind alts

GGFan: How did you feel about your performance overall?

marco: they can't even show up and reveal themselves, and in case they're players from the tournament scene... it would be even more delusional

GGFan: Yes, it's frustrating that it went down like that.

marco: the performance was ok, i didn't like the outcome... but that's what you get with a game meant for children, combined with going up against a tough field

Part twelve - one last run

GGFan: SPL IX would be your last tournament on Smogon. You packed up your things and returned to the mountains, where you made one last run in the Master Tournament scene. You made an immediate impact in the first tournament of the season, #40, where you made it all the way into the finals and lost to Bomber in a great five-game series, which we alluded to before. You were in great shape.

marco: yes, I was in an ok shape

GGFan: You then lost to Kaz in the semi finals of the next tournament. He's someone that you played a couple of times in 2018. Do you have any thoughts on him?

Some have praised him a lot, calling him one of the game's best players.

marco: he is a borderline case for the highest status

i feel like he's good enough, but he didn't last long on the tournament scene and he did not quite match roudolf's peak

i also feel like he is the kind of hit or miss player on a major tournament

but at the end of the day, if you ask me, it's ok to put him among the greatest

GGFan: Speaking of roudolf, you had a bit of a rivalry with him in 2018, similar to the one you had with Alexander in that you had a lot of trouble beating him. You first played him in the semi finals of Master Tournament 42, losing in an intense, five-game series. Would you say that roudolf was your toughest opponent overall, or does that distinction still go to Alexander?

marco: Both were lucky and good when I had to face them, and both are guys who scout their opponents

it was definitely hard to play against them

GGFan: Season 14 was a dog fight between the two of you. In the end, roudolf would win by just two points. Was it frustrating to lose so narrowly, or were you beyond winning things at this point and satisfied to be consistent?

marco: just like always, i wanted to win

at the same time, you can't win all the time and roudolf was unstoppable

GGFan: Also, did you sign up in the season because you also signed up for SPL and the Master Tournament games helped you stay fresh, or did it not matter?

It's true, 2018 was roudolf's year.

I played him in the third round of Master Tournament 40. I got crushed.

marco: it didn't matter, i had enough time to play and i felt like

GGFan: Our games in SPL were a lot closer, however, but he was getting that vital combination of luck and skill. I remember in game 2, for example, his Exeggutor got a max roll Psychic on my Jynx, which only occurs about 1/58 of the time.

You definitely had more time on your hands than usual, as you entered the Cerulean Cup and attempted to win it for the third time. You made it into the playoff round and were among the final three participants along with Troller and roudolf. You ended up losing to the latter two out of three times, who would go on to take the trophy. I think the Cerulean Cup was the most frustrating of all the cups due to the qualification process. Was this something you actually enjoyed?

marco: it was ok, but i assume we have to talk about the ladder at this point: i like the ladder as a place where the RBY OU metagame has more diversity than usual, but as an environment i don't like it at all

my playing gets as unmethodical as it gets, with rushed and bad plays: the ladder is dispersive and most of the time you'll find yourself just playing one game after another with some undesired pauses in between and with many distractions; even more, in most cases people will know who you are and you won't know who you'll play against

luckily, in this tournament you knew your opponents (at least those who were in) and laddering was limited to a week, for four times

if i am correct, you only needed to be in the top 4

the most important part was the playoffs

GGFan: On a scale of 1 to 10, how difficult was it to get a score of 1450-1500 each week?

marco: very low

GGFan: So the main problem was playoffs, then.

marco: i don't know what 1 would be, but it was easy

absolutely, in the playoffs things became serious

GGFan: Did playing your adversaries in the qualification round make it harder to beat them in the playoffs?

Or did you enjoy those mindgames?

marco: it was entirely different: your ladder team is not the team you're using in the playoffs

also, just like i said above, laddering is an experience where your focus gets tested - which means: it will get lower and lower

GGFan: I mean, let's say you played Troller five times on the ladder during the qualification round, then faced him in the playoffs. Would those ladder games affect how you would play in the playoffs? It sounds like the ladder games deterred you from using teams that were successful on the ladder.

marco: on the ladder you can't drop moves like earthquake, while against tournament players it's safe more often than not for example

GGFan: Yes, I would agree with that.

marco: also, on the ladder you'll use one team but in a best of three you will get to use more teams

GGFan: I've noticed that a lot during my recent comeback run on the ladder.

So would you usually stick to one team for the whole week?

Then use something else for week 2, something else for week 3, etc?

marco: it depends on many factors

GGFan: Yeah, if you got off to a rough start early on, you would probably change the team.

marco: at the time, i felt like using one team or maybe two

outside from cerulean cup, i would just switch teams because you would get counterteamed and what's even worse you would get bored

GGFan: How about the playoff games? Do you remember any of the ones you had against roudolf?

marco: i remember them being hard fought

when he fell behind, he risked a lot to get back in the game

and when i played safe, he would get the piece of luck he needed

the tough part in playing against roudolf is that you can never rule him out

GGFan: That's too bad. Do you also remember your last Indigo Cup? This was the first tournament of the year where you went negative, losing to Lusch and Troller in what can be interpreted as the continued rise of the future.

marco: that's a possible explaination, the other one being that it's predictable for you to simply lose against the best players in the game, good part of the time

GGFan: Did your performance in the Indigo Cup have anything to do with you not signing up for season 15? You came so close to winning season 14 and had been playing some great Pokemon at the time. Or were you just a little bit burned out?

marco: i don't think so, losing a tournament never pushed me back from signing up

i had other things to do i guess, and also i was starting to get a bit bored

GGFan: So you just needed a break then. Well, you made a good decision, as you won the first tournament of season 16, Master Tournament 46, where you defeated ErPeris, Enigami, and then Sceptross in the finals. Sceptross told me the final round was a wild one. Do you remember it as well?

marco: not much, but as far as i remember it went to game 5

sceptross was a great player, and he definitely could've won that tournament

GGFan: What are your thoughts on Sceptross?

marco: he didn't get what he deserved and he did not compete long enough either

i don't know where i would rank him, that's possibly the hardest call

GGFan: How about ErPeris? You faced him once again in the third round of the next tournament, but lost in five games this time. What are your opinions on him?

marco: his situation is similar to sceptross'... ErPeris is the third guy I got to meet IRL after I had mentored him

he looks like a moody guy, so he's the most hit or miss player I guess... that being said, he knows what he is doing, and there is a surprising statistic about him: he has the highest point average for season, after mine

GGFan: Yes, I'd personally rank him a bit higher than Sceptross if only because he hung around a bit longer and achieved more overall.

marco: also, i mean... he looks moody on the internet, in real life he's a classy guy

GGFan: The results of season 16 came in: you won by 5 points. How did it feel to be able to win one more Master Tournament and one more season?

marco: haha

my only possible reaction is to laugh when i think about that season

i didn't deserve to win that one: after i lost to kaz in the invitational, leading me to announce my retirement at the end of the season, i was so fed up with the metagame that my only interest was to spam yugi oh memes while clicking buttons

but i was more focused on finding the most fitting, exact quotes

you guess what?

i won that one, that's perfectly logical: it makes sense

the state of RBY OU was so pathetic that winning in that fashion was almost obvious

GGFan: Yes, I was going to ask you about that. It seemed like you were turning heel, as your behavior didn't resonate with everybody. I remember messaging you and asking where you going with it.

marco: if i remember correctly, i told you i was playing a charachter and that's what i would say now too

GGFan: I also remember in one of the Master Tournaments, Linkin Karp (who was the TD at the time) tried to find a sub for you. I was actually going to sign up as a sub and challenge you to one last encounter.

If I won, I would have dropped out right after.

marco: also, i was going to win the season with it...

GGFan: But you already got the DQ win.

Yeah, it was a bizarre character change for you.

And it happened out of nowhere.

But what's this about "the pathetic state of RBY OU?" What do you mean here?

marco: that's the entertaining and funny part about it

anyone could go mad, at any time

GGFan: I wouldn't know.

I've always been normal.

marco: you never know

GGFan: But what's this about "the pathetic state of RBY OU?" What do you mean here?

marco: the tier was at its lowest with reflect being everywhere, sometimes both chansey and snorlax

you couldn't let starmie lead para'd, because victreebel would've been there to screw you up

it was just a mess with stall, matchups and luck

GGFan: So the game was very unenjoyable at this point.

Things haven't changed much.

I've been playing on the ladder recently, and I still see dual Reflect.

marco: during that season, i kinda forced myself to stop using reflect snorlax

GGFan: Yeah, I got tired of that during SPL.

My first game against Diegolh went 70 minutes.

marco: i don't know how i won the season by using moltres and letting amnesialax getting para'd so i would eventually just boom and trade

GGFan: So you won without even trying. I'll give that a shot next time.

marco: at least, i didn't torture myself with hours of stalling

GGFan: Yeah, the games did have a tendency to be drawn out.

That's what made me start thinking outside the box too.

I started using Amnesialax more, I had Persian teams.

I even started dropping Exeggutor.

marco: i had some moments where i almost got back to normality, maybe i just forced myself to play seriously for the optimal amount of time

GGFan: You only played in a couple of more tournaments before retiring for good. First was the World Championship, where you lost in the finals. I guess you stopped caring at this point, right?

marco: but at the end of the day yeah, that season was the passing of the torch to troller and lusch

they were definitely more hungry than me

when you are in the finals, you want to win no matter what

but i don't even remember that loss to be honest

GGFan: There was one more tournament, the second World Cup. You were the captain of team Italy and, in what was seen as highly controversial, had Troller on the bench. What happened here? Do you remember it?

marco: mmm

this feels like some school stuff

the moment a professor asks something you should know, but you can't remember the answer

i should look it up: my memories with TI are related to the world cup of smogon

GGFan: If you can't remember, I'd like to provide my thoughts on this event. To me, WCOPP 2 felt like the end of an era. We were all there: me, you, Troller, roudolf, Alexander, Peasounay, Lusch, etc.

We all got together one last time.

And I'm happy to say that I ended up going 3-2. This was actually my last tournament on Pokemon Perfect.

Did you decide to retire because of the state of the metagame, or because there was nothing left to prove?

marco: it's about a mix of things, obviously; playing for TI on the WCOP would motivate me to get back and give my best , but it won't happen for many reasons

all of my teammates retired, and it's only logic for us to go down as a unit

GGFan: Will you ever play on Pokemon Perfect again? It's no secret that it's become rather, shall we say, run down over the last year.

marco: at the time i decided to retire, i was fed up - it's just that simple: scheduling was hard, the games were long and at the end of the day you can always get to the point where your tauros gets frozen and you lose

or things like that

it was not worth it

GGFan: Unlike the other 99% who come back three months later, you've actually kept your word, and have not played in any tournaments since 2018.

I guess you're happier to have more time to do other things, right?

marco: yeah, that's part of my characther: i know what i'm saying, that was calculated

well, that's not the point: i don't consider playing a loss of time, and i picked up mtg arena

i'm doing fine there, and that helps keeping me away from pokemon

GGFan: Will you ever play on Pokemon Perfect again? It's no secret that it's become rather, shall we say, run down over the last year.

marco: that's also why i know very well what laddering means

about PP: I don't think it has become run down, it has just follwed the trend of the playerbase

which, unfortunately, is a bad one

GGFan: What I mean is the obvious lack of leadership and direction.

marco: i don't agree on that one, you'll never hear me saying bad things about callous

GGFan: Yes, I understand he's a very polarizing figure.

marco: the man knows what he's doing, i am confident he'll make the best decisions for PP

GGFan: Alright.

marco: but you can't play a good game with bad cards

GGFan: In this case, I don't feel the joker is a card, but that's where we differ in our opinions. Let's leave it at that.

So you won your last Master Tournament and season, and rode off into the sunset.

marco: the joker was a great player!

Part thirteen - the future  of rby

marco: i would love to look at myself as an anime hero who rode off into the sunset, but that's not the case...

GGFan: Why is that not the case?

Overall, you dominated in 2018 and went out at the top of your game.

Most would love to go out the way you did--on top.

marco: indeed, that would be a good ending but as someone who loves the first generation of this brand (which i now struggle to recognize) i find it hard to stay away from the game completely

i have some specific ideas for the future of the game: it's time for the playerbase to make a decision

also, i said that you will never see me playing again in tournaments...

GGFan: Why do you feel the pre-paraslam era is a better game?

marco: which implies scheduling, something i hate

because having the chance to paralyse normal-types allowed you to make more switches for strategical reasons

nowdays, you only switch to break the stall

obviously, restlax plays a big role in this

you can't switch something like lapras into body slam, because snorlax will use rest and it will get rid of paralysis and it will beat you

pre-paraslam, restlax was damn rare because restlax was bad at switching into paraslams

GGFan: Rest was also a thing back then. It didn't dominate the metagame, but it was certainly there. Look at my Hector Gold team, for example, which had GSCLax as the main event.

marco: also, right now you have speed ties all over the place - mostly with tauros, but also with snorlax

GGFan: But, yes, it was not as common as it is now for sure.

 

marco: and tauros can take out your opponent's tauros and sweep over a team; this was not the case before

of course you and crystal_ were pioneers of that, but restlax was not as oppressive and it was way more limited than it is now

physlax was the more versatile set

GGFan: Fair enough. If there was the option to play pre-paraslam RBY again, would you make a comeback?

marco: possibly yes, but i'm not sure it would last long

i mean, it's all about how the playerbase decides to play

GGFan: How would you compare the playerbase in, say, 2017 to now? Do you think it's worse?

marco: right now the best players of the game are not playing, RBY won't be hosted on SPL again and possibly not even on the WCOP

GGFan: Do you pay attention to any of the talent today? Do any of them impress you?

marco: of course, 2017 was the best year and SPL 9 was the best tournament ever; the invitational had all of the great players but the intensity was nowhere near the same

GGFan: The timing of the invitational was terrible for me.

marco: well, metalgross has improved quite a lot but other than that i don't see great things

GGFan: I was burned out by then, and my round-one opponent was Christos, who I already played in WCOPP.

marco: i mean, if the playerbase would gather and play a season just like PP's, lusch and troller would be the players to beat

i don't see a new generation of players that can take the throne: guys like TIN, diegolh, sceptross, erperis and kaz himself did not enstablish themselves

GGFan: Yes, we've gone from the days of you, me, Peasounay, Lusch, etc to Konzern and Ebola.

marco: to be one of the greatest players you need something more than mere clicking buttons

GGFan: You need persistence and dedication.

None of those guys seemed to have that, but it's a mentally tough game, as we both know.

It's not always easy to stomach bad losses.

But the great ones always had that ability.

marco: i feel like the situation we're facing right now doesn't help either: competing on MTs made it easy for guys who wanted to learn

right now, you don't even know where the playerbase is

GGFan: Now the playerbase is worse and there are less tournaments.

And Smogon has actually been doing a better job at promoting RBY than PP is.

marco: to me, the future of RBY OU is in critical conditions

GGFan: Your contenders on PP are now Ebola and Konzern. Banned trolls are running the show.

you can find many guys who can play, but they are not playing on the tournament scene

i feel like the future of RBY could be on twitch: if it worked for tetris, it could work for rby too if someone can make it popular

GGFan: You would someone to pioneer it.

Perhaps I could do it?

marco: who knows

GGFan: Most popular Pokemon YouTubers don't care about RBY.

Or they only feature one game.

marco: playing on twitch would also make it easier for many guys

i would enjoy playing many games in a row for entertainment purposes

GGFan: Yeah, I could see that.

But I feel like I'm getting a bit old for this.

marco: that's an entirely different way to play compared to playing a best of 3

GGFan: It would be something for the younger generation to work on.

marco: considering that the tough part is scheduling it...

GGFan: But the younger generation wants to play the current gen.

marco: obviously the 8th generation has an advantage, but we don't need the same numbers

to be continued.....

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