Sceptross has been one of the most industrious men in the game for well over two years, having successfully juggled competing with his various administrative duties on both Pokemon Perfect and Smogon.  In this scintillating discussion with the Portugese busybody, we touch on his achievements (and struggles) in both RBY and GSC, the rewards and frustrations of being both a season host and member of the Global Tournament Team, his days as the room leader of the Ruins Of Alph server, the importance of moderation, SPL, and more!

Part ONE - MAKING AN IMMEDIATE IMPACT

GGFan: How did you discover the competitive Pokemon scene?

 

Sceptross: I discovered the competitive Pokémon scene in 2016 when I decided to pick up RBY and talk more regularly on RoA. I'd been playing in simulators for along time and I'd known Smogon for a long time too, I was even registered on the website, but I wasn't aware of the fact that regular Pokemon tournaments were held until 2016, since my simulator play was very casual up until then. I discovered NetBattle Supremacy back in 2008, played gen 3 there, skipped gen 4 (and Shoddy Battle) entirely, played BW on PO and in the very beginnings of PS (when it was so laggy I'd disconnect at least 5 times every battle). Skipped BW2 and ORAS, came back for a short while in 2016 (which is when I discovered the competitive scene), and then came back again in 2017 and never left again.

 

GGFan: When did you make your debut? What was the first ever tournament you played in?

 

Sceptross: Technically my debut was in 2016, on Pokemon Perfect, on the Master Tournament Diego won. However, my computer at the time broke when I was going to play my opponent (which was p2, if I recall correctly) and I had to play the game in subpar circumstances. Being out of a computer was what made me lose interest in 2016, and I only played that set back then, so I consider my debut to be MT37 on PP, vs Enigami.

 

GGFan: It looks like you discovered Smogon a few years before Pokemon Perfect. How active were you on Smogon before you started to invest more time on Pokemon Perfect?

 

Sceptross: Not at all. The only time I participated on Smogon before 2017 was because I decided to participate on Kanto Classic, a Nintendo competition that involved using only the original 151 (well, 149, since Mew and Mewtwo were banned), and since I really liked the metagame, I'd discuss it on Smogon with the other guys who played it. In fact, I still have more messages on Pokemon Perfect than on Smogon, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

GGFan: Alright, I'd like to focus on Pokemon Perfect for now.

As you alluded to before, you made your debut in MT37, which marked the beginning of season 13.

You made an immediate impact, beating the experienced Enigami in a close five-game set. You followed up this surprising victory with a huge upset win over marcoasd in three games. Do you remember this set?

Sceptross: Yes, I do. It was not the most interesting of sets though. All 3 games were short and decided on correct predictions and me capitalizing successfully on lucky breaks. Still, it gave me a boost in confidence for my tournament career, as I had already fought marcoasd in the ladder in the past and could already see how good of a player he was. Being able to beat marco in 3 games definitely meant I had a chance to pit myself against the best - and win.

GGFan: With your momentum sky high, nothing was stopping you from winning the whole thing. Unfortunately, you lost to the veteran, Disaster Area, in a set that went the full five games. Still, it was an incredibly impressive debut.

How long were you active on the ladder before the start of MT37?

Sceptross: That set against Disaster Area still lies in the back of my head, because I feel I lost it due to sheer inexperience. It's quite likely where my inexperience showed the most in my early career. Had it been played today, I think I would have never lost it. About my ladder activity, I think I had played for 1-2 months during 2016 and for another 1-2 months immediatly before joining tournaments on PP. I probably had a total of around 300-500 games played.

GGFan: How high did you rank on the ladder in 2017?

Sceptross: Second place. I had yet to top it, but I had already reached 1600 ELO multiple times. At the time the ladder was quite competitive, it was really hard to reach the top. Lots of players like marcoasd, Peasounay, Kaz or roudolf were regular sights. About GXE, which I believe is a better estimate of skill than ELO, mine was at around 86%. I ended up peaking at 93% in late 2018, at the point I consider to be the pinnacle of my career, which further proves my statement about GXE.

GGFan: Yes, I remember the ladder definitely reached its zenith in 2017. I had a score of 1643 with a 93.5% GXE, which was only enough for 3rd place. It isn't as competitive as it was before.

Interestingly enough, you went from pulling off upsets to being on the receiving end of an upset loss, when the relatively unknown byronthewellwell beat you in the first round of MT38. How disappointed were you with this loss?

Sceptross: I was terribly disappointed by that loss, specially because the World Championship, which also counted for that season's standings, was going even better than MT37, so I felt I had a very good shot at a season medal. I despise casting the blame on external factors, but that set was one of those I would never be able to win, the bad luck was just too much to handle.

GGFan: Well, you were able to bounce back, at least. You made the top 8 of MT39 and also the World Championship. Speaking of which, this was where we crossed paths for the first time. Did you know who I was when we played, and do you remember the set? Our encounter was a memorable one for me because I lost one game to you, which would be my only loss in my road to the semi finals.

Sceptross: Yes, I knew who you were, and yes, I remember that set. I am not sure how I first heard about you, maybe it was on Smogon, but I already knew you before joining Pokemon Perfect. I do remember the set, I think we even struggled to schedule either because of timezone differences or because I was away for some days. If I recall correctly, the third game was quite close, it was an interesting set to play.

GGFan: Yeah, I lost the first game rather handily, then won the second thanks to playing Golem correctly, and in the third game my Reflect Chansey needed to avoid a Drill Peck crit for several turns--luckily it did.

You finished in the top 5 of season 13, which also marked the end of Disaster Area's days as the season host. Did you enjoy being the new season host, or was it too frustrating?

Part two - hOSting and struggles

Sceptross: I enjoyed it quite a lot. I've always enjoyed hosting, having hosted multiple tournaments both on Pokemon Perfect and on Smogon. In fact, I was even talking about season 14 a couple of days ago, because it was the biggest RBY season PP has ever had, and I'm really proud I was the host of it. It was a lot of hard work, but it was certainly pleasant.

GGFan: What do you find enjoyable about hosting?

Sceptross: I like generating the brackets the most. PP had a quite complex process for determining brackets, but I really enjoyed doing it. It was quite interesting to see how the several steps translated into what would actually be in the final brackets. I also liked seeing how the tournaments would progress, from the host's perspective. The downside was definitely doing hard activity calls, though. Although I never had issues with people contesting my decisions, when it was hard to decide I'd always feel "guilty" about it. That feeling never made me run away from the decision, however. It had to be done, so there was no use in dramatising it. In fact, it probably was for the best, as it would make me ponder quite a lot about my decision.

GGFan: Yeah, as the host you're the jury, judge, and executioner. It's an interesting albeit stressful position to be in at times.

Sceptross: Definitely stressful, if you care about doing a good job, there's no question about it.

GGFan: You juggled hosting and playing. Unfortunately, you ran into the Italian brick wall, marco, twice in a row and lost both times, then lost to a newcomer, Djokra, in the first round of the season's final tournament. I suppose you have mixed feelings about season 14 in that you were a successful host, but did not place as highly as you did a season ago.

Sceptross: My tournament history with marco is quite interesting. I started by beating him in MT37, as we previously talked about, but like you said, he ended up being a brick wall from me, because I would lose to him several times in spectacular ways. The most memorable is perhaps the finals of MT46, where I lost to him 3-2. It was a very, very close set, in 5 very intense games, where I even won one game with Articuno. Either player could have won the set. Unfortunately, fate decided it would be him winning that day. One of those sets you mention, I started losing 2-0, tied 2-2, then lost the decisive game. It was crushing and it's the perfect example of how my tournament history with marco was after that 3-0. I did beat him at least once more, but the losses were more than the wins. About season 14, it was indeed disappointing from the playing side of things. It was where I started making a mistake I thrive to not repeat again - being involved in so many things I couldn't do a good job at most of them. I remember I was involved in more than 10 tournaments at some point, between hosting and playing. I feel my playing career suffered during that time because of it. I will never join more than 2, maybe 3 tournaments at a time again, not only because of that but also because of real life constraints.

GGFan: Is that why you decided to abdicate the hosting throne and hand over the reins to Linkin Karp, who was the host of season 15?

 

Sceptross: Yes, that was indeed the main reason I decided to let Linkin Karp host the season instead. I had too much on my hands, and since he wanted to try hosting a season, I decided to let him host starting from season 15.

GGFan: So you let Linkin Karp host the season so that you could focus more on the games. You ended up getting paired against Lusch and Troller throughout the season. Were you grateful for the experience, or was it frustrating?

Sceptross: Mixed feelings, to be quite honest. Obviously, I always want to play good players. It's what makes me improve as a player and it's the players I take most pleasure from playing with. But obviously, I also wanted to do well in the season and/or win a Master Tournament, and being paired against good players throughout your path means you have less chances of getting through to the next round.

GGFan: That is indeed true. So, while you gained some valuable experience playing two of the game's best, you failed in each encounter against them. Things started to look up in season 16, however, when you made the finals of MT46 and took marco to the limits in five games, as we touched upon earlier.

Let's talk about said season, which seemed to be the beginning of the end of your run on Pokemon Perfect. You went from nearly winning your first Master Tournament (MT46) to losing in the first round to yet another newcomer, Alfredo Rivero, in MT47. You then lost in the first round once again to HML Am, who has gone on to make a name for himself. Finally, you dropped out of the World Championship in the second round. Was this because you were frustrated with your previous losses, or were there external circumstances that resulted in your premature departure?

Sceptross: My loss against Alfredo was, once again, another one of those moments that the game didn't want me to win. Several people were watching that set, and everyone said that it was one of the worst things they had ever seen. I am certain I couldn't have done much to win it (that was said by the spectators even). Even Alfredo was feeling bad about it. My loss to hml am was similar to the reason I dropped from the World Championship. Once again, I found myself involved in too many things (I was room owner of the Ruins of Alph room, leader of Pokemon Perfect, part of the Ruins of Alph tournament host team on Smogon, managing a team in WCoPP and was in, at least, 8 tournaments at the time). At that time I also got involved in new real life commitments that would greatly reduce the time I had for competitive Pokemon. So I was forced to drop out of some tournaments, the World Championship included, and to not play the set against hml am with the commitment I wish I could have. It was here that I learned that I had to cut on my Pokemon-related responsibilities, and made the decision we touched on before of not being in more than 2-3 tournaments at the same time. Professionalism is something I take seriously, so I would never drop from a tournament out of frustration.

GGFan: Yes, balance is key, otherwise you'll get burned out. However, it's worth noting that you were incredibly successful in the GSC scene, which you entered in fall 2018. You finally won your first Master Tournament, made the finals of the World Championship, and won season 10. Were you proud of these accomplishments, or was PP's GSC scene too stigmatized?

Sceptross: Although PP's GSC scene is nowhere near the level of RBY's and ADV's, it's worth noting that some notable players did participate in that season. Me and hyogafodex (who is definitely one of those very good players) were neck to neck for the whole season. That gave me a big motivation to do my best and try to win it. Losing the World Championship in the finals felt a bit bitter, but honestly, the season in itself went so well that I cannot complain at all. It was a really fun season to play, allowed me to improve my skills in GSC (a generation I had been playing for a while in friendlies and on the ladder already) and despite the lack of competition compared to RBY, it still felt fulfilling.

Part three - more responsibilities

 

GGFan: Fair enough. OK, let's talk about your run on Smogon for a bit. When did you start entering tournaments there, and when were you appointed to room owner of Ruins of Alph?

Sceptoss: I started entering tournaments on Smogon in early 2018, participating in the RBY Global Championship. I did quite well in that tournament, reaching quarter finals in a tournament that started with 192 players, while beating notable players such as MetalGross in the process. About the room, I was appointed Room Owner in early 2018 too. I have always been very committed to the room in my time of greater activity (starting from summer 2017), constantly trying to provide a good environment, help people in what I felt I could and volunteering to host tournaments whenever needed. I really, really like the Ruins of Alph room, not to mention the staff team, that I find very capable and competent (and as a Room Owner, I never hid the "pride" I had in them). I only quit when I realized that I couldn't give the room the attention it deserved anymore, and to be quite frank, it was a very hard decision to make.

GGFan: Did you ever have to ban anybody, or deal with people who caused trouble?

Sceptross: Yes, I had to ban several people. Most of them just bad trolls, though. The usual things that every room on Pokemon Showdown has to deal with. I did have to ban some more known people, however. I had a situation where I had to ban and blacklist (which is a 1 year-long ban, unless the room owners decide to renew it) an RBYer due to recurrent bad behaviour, a situation where I had to ban a notable Ubers / ADV player because of how toxic he was being on an alt and, finally, what was easily the most controversial decision I made as a room owner, the demotion of a staff member without consulting the other Room Owners, which was not our modus operandi at all. I did it because he was displaying attitudes that were not adequate to someone in the position he was. Obviously the other Room Owners wished I had done things differently, but the entire staff team ended up voting whether he should stay a staff member or not, and we ultimately decided not to repromote him back to his original position. I sometimes feel bad about how things went, but I think it ended up being the best thing to do for everyone involved (since he was clearly burned out from the game and seems to have matured from what happened), and if he decided to come back, I'd give him the same chances I would to any other person.

GGFan: Speaking of banning people, you were appointed to PP's Global Tournament Team in 2018 and made the decision to issue the only three bans in the organization's history. You banned Skeptics/Konzern and Lord Ninjax during PPL 3, and Ebola shortly after. Was I a major reason you banned Konzern and Ninjax? I remember consulting you during the event about it.

Sceptross: It's no secret that I am overall harsher when laying out punishments than Disaster Area and Lutra are. Those 3 users undermined the website and the tournaments it runs in very serious ways, so they had to be severely punished for it. I vouch for a style of leadership that is based on hearing the opinions of several people before taking a decision. I am a firm believer that a decision taken by having the opinion of several people in mind is much more likely to be just than a decision solely made by one person. That means that when I have a situation at hand that needs profound pondering, I generally consult several people before making a final decision myself, based on the arguments laid by those people and my own opinion. You were one of the people I consulted for those decisions, so your opinion was indeed one of the major considerations when we made the final decision of banning them.

GGFan: That's a sound approach to dealing with problems, unlike a certain other place which is seemingly run by a nine-year-old dictator. It's no surprise that you were well liked during your time on the GTT. You captained the ship during the organization's most tumultuous period, dealing with people who were threatening the integrity of the game and taking action that honestly restored peoples' faith in Pokemon Perfect. You also had to figure out what to do with the polarizing CALLOUS, who was (and still is, depending on who you ask) one of the most controversial figures in the game. You made the decision to give him power after he spewed vitriol about Pokemon Perfect and several players in a caustic 40-minute video that angered a lot of people. Do you stand by your decision in retrospect, even after he ended up pulling a runner yet again and abandoning his team during WCOPP 2?

Sceptross: The decision to give CALLOUS power was probably my most controversial decision on PP. The reason that happened is that, although he was quite harsh in the way he put things, his vision was quite compatible with what both myself and most people wanted PP to be. He was also quite passionate about the website, something that was honestly in need at the time. I knew I was making a controversial decision and that it was an "all-in", based on what had happened in the beginning of 2018, but it's in my nature to give people second chances, and even before he was appointed, he was already giving suggestions for the website that users were liking (like the current panel where you can find the current tournaments accepting signups). Obviously, I was quite disappointed, hurt even, when he abandoned everything yet again, because of the belief I had put in him. Needless to say, I received several "I told you so" messages when he quit once again, and quite frankly, I can't blame people for sending them at all.

GGFan: On that note, how does it make you feel that Lutra made him a leader recently? I noticed you're no longer in the Pokemon Perfect discord. Is that partially why? A lot of people have lost faith in the site and left, myself included, and that decision certainly didn't seem to help.

Sceptross: The reason why I'm not in the Pokemon Perfect Discord server anymore is because I needed some time away from the competitive Pokemon community, so I left most servers I was in. If I feel I have enough time to dedicate to PP without compromising my real life, I'll join it again. About Lutra nominating CALLOUS as the Leader of Pokemon Perfect, as long as he doesn't quit abruptly, he has the potential to be a huge asset to anything he is invested in, based on how much effort he puts into his projects when he is committed. Pokemon Perfect needs a leader that is emotionally invested into the website, and Lutra himself recognized that he no longer had the interest in PP that he once had. However, CALLOUS will have to understand that he needs to gain people's trust after two sudden disappearances from the game, and that will only come with time and more important than anything, consistence. It's perfectly normal that people are skeptical of his ability to help PP. The fact that he is putting money into tournaments is good, shows commitment from him. I wish the best for the old gen Pokemon community, specially RBY, so I will never root for his administration to fail. I will support any platform for the older gens the best I can, and PP is no different, so I sincerely hope CALLOUS brings PP back to its glory days.

GGFan: On that note, however, do you feel it's fair that he was rewarded so soon after all of the ignorant accusations he made and the way he behaved in previous team tours (including WCOPP 2 on PP)?  Other people have wanted to contribute to that site but were never given the opportunity in spite of their loyalty.

Sceptross: I don't like to discuss fairness, specially in a sensitive case like PP's - it's no secret that PP was dying, mostly due to lack of commitment of its leadership. It's specially interesting that Lutra awarded the administration to CALLOUS, though, because I believe they didn't get along very well. I'm going to assume it was CALLOUS approaching Lutra, and presented with that solution, he figured it was the only way for PP to not perish. I was quite suprised when I found it out, by the way, I would have never expected it to happen, considering what I know of Lutra.

"Other people have wanted to contribute to that site but were never given the opportunity in spite of their loyalty Did you talk to Lutra about becoming admin of the website?" - GGFan

Sceptross: To be quite honest, if he accepted Callous, he would definitely have accepted you too, from what I know of him

GGFan: I tried to join the GTT. He lied and said people didn't approve of it even though both you and tjdaas were both on board.

I also had access to the private discord. There was no contention from anyone about me joining. But let's change gears and move onto Smogon.

Although you weren't getting the results you wanted on Pokemon Perfect, towards the end of the year you came within a hair of winning the RBY OU Winter Seasonal. Were you disappointed that you didn't come out on top, or was going deep good enough for you?

Sceptross: It was not good enough for me at all - my RBY career is filled with "almost good enough" situations. I wanted to win a big tournament, and my path to the finals had been flawless, taking out some good players in the progress. I was heavily disappointed with that loss, to be quite frank.

Part four - heating up and becoming a shark

GGFan: Well, at least you picked things up towards the end of the year. Not only did you nearly win the Winter Seasonal, but you went positive in WCOPP 2, which was a bit controversial before it started thanks to my Power Rankings. I believe there was a misunderstanding. I wrote this: "If he isn’t distracted by his administrative duties on both Pokemon Perfect and elsewhere, Sceptross could deal some serious damage. In addition to great performances in both the RBY Global Championship and PPL, Sceptross has made a mark in a season or two, defeating some big names in best-of-five play."

You seemed to take offense to this, but it's funny, actually. After having this discussion with you, you acknowledged that your other commitments did indeed interfere with you reaching your potential.

Sceptross: I didn't agree with how you ranked me at all - but I understood later that you mostly did rankings based on momentum, rather than perceived skill, like most people do, which explains it, because if I remember correctly, WCoPP happened immediatly after season 14, which we already discussed. I believe I went 4-1, only losing to Lusch, which is a score in line with what I wanted for the tournament. It was very fun to play, because the team environment was one of the best I ever had - I still talk regularly to some members of that team. That obviously helps in terms of performance, specially to people like me who are in the game to have fun more than anything. And yes, you were definitely right about the issue of having too much to do!

GGFan: For the most part, my rankings ended up being fairly accurate. It wasn't an easy task given that so many players in that event had the potential to perform very well, but I did the best I could.

So, after stellar outings in WCOPP and in the Winter Seasonal, you signed up for SPL. Did you expect to get bought? Would you have been disappointed if you weren't?

Sceptross: After putting in consistently good performances throught the second half of the year, I must admit I did expect to get bought and would be disappointed if I didn't. I had even talked to some managers and they were aware of my recent performances, so I saw no reason not to be picked. SPL was the last big RBY tournament I had yet to be in, and it was a major objective to join and do well in it.

GGFan: Was there a particular team you wanted to play for, or did you just want a chance to play? How well did you get along with everyone on the Stark Sharks? Did you enjoy the atmosphere? When I played for them, I thought it was a very unique environment; it was basically "angry old men out on a mission to prove they still got it." Did you feel the same way, or was there a lot more young blood?

Sceptross: It's no secret that I wanted to be with FOMG - we ended up not only being separated, but even playing against each other on our SPL debut. Other than that, I didn't wish to be in a particular team, I just wanted to get in and have fun. I felt a mixture of both "angry old men out on a mission to prove they still got it" and young blood - it was a nice mix. About the atmosphere, to be quite frank, I feel that the morale was overall low because of how unfair we were feeling our scores were as the tournament progressed. Several players, me included, were clearly losing games that we shouldn't be losing at all, and that started to build up into worse morale and thus, more losses. I still appreciate the effort people put into trying to help me improve my score and help me enhance my skills - and I certainly grew from that experience and thank them for that.

GGFan: With that said, you only won two out of eight sets and just a handful of games. Was this the most despondent you ever felt after a tournament, or was it easy to shrug it off and keep pushing forward?

Sceptross: SPL was easily my worst performance in a tournament. I used to take pride in being very consistent in getting good results in team tournaments, and I couldn't achieve that at all in SPL. It's my biggest moment of disappointment in my RBY career by far. After that, it was clear I needed a break - not a "I give up" break, more of a, "time to reflect upon what happened, train some time in the mountains, and then come back better than ever" break. And thar's exactly what I did. I can't say it was easy to shrug it off, but keep pushing forward was obviously the only way to face what happened.

GGFan: Well, it's like I always say: "Greatness is a marathon, not a race." Although you weren't at your best in SPL, you managed to recover in ROAPL, when you pulled off a 6-3 record and won your playoff game. Did your performance in ROAPL give you a sense of redemption, or were you still unhappy?

Also, if it makes you feel better, I spoke to M Dragon the other day and he told me he was happy with your level of play. He felt you were unlucky most of the time.

Sceptross: RoAPL was a great tournament to play, I had lots of people I respect and get along with very well playing with me. To stay away from RBY for a while, I decided to sign up for GSC - the other generation I feel I play at a good level. The great team environment gave me lots of motivation to do well. I built tons of teams during that tournament - some of which have been used by others throughout 2019. I ended up with a 6-1 score in GSC, if I'm not mistaken, which is insanely good considering my lack of tournament experience in the tier. I have the team's logo in my Smogon signature because of how memorable those weeks were for me. The team was being very dominant too - we were definitely the best team of the tournament in my opinion, and finished the round robin stage with a 5-1-1 score. All in all, I did feel a sense of redemption, but it definitely didn't heal the wounds of what happened in SPL.

"Also, if it makes you feel better, I spoke to M Dragon the other day and he told me he was happy with your level of play. He felt you were unlucky most of the time." - GGFan

Sceptross: It does, a lot. He put trust in me, tried to help me, and I finished SPL feeling I let him down

Part five - granted a second chance

GGFan: In 2019, you began focusing far more heavily on Smogon than Pokemon Perfect. In fact, you dropped out during the middle of season 17, and PPL would be your last tour before leaving. It's no secret that many people (including myself) had grown tired of the politics in the organization. Was that the reason you left as well, or was it because you felt that investing your energy into Smogon would simply be more worthwhile?

Sceptross: It was a coincidence more than anything, the website they were hosted in didn't make much of a difference to me. The tournaments I joined in 2019 were basically only team tournaments, and because friends would ask me to join them. I also joined RoA Olympics because Spain got two second places in the previous years, and we wanted the first place - something we finally achieved, although I didn't contribute as much to the team's final score as I did last year.

GGFan: So, despite being largely inactive, you signed up for SPL regardless. Did you expect to get bought this time around? How would you have felt if you weren't given a second chance? Also, do you feel you deserved to get bought even though you didn't play actively this year? There were some players who got the shaft in spite of being full-timers who are very dedicated. Is the reality that you took somebody's spot something that bothers you, or do you feel you deserve to be there once again?

Sceptross: I think my chances of getting bought were similar to last year's. The general consensus among people is that I got very unlucky last year, and my score was far from what it could have been with better luck. With an SPL in my belt, I had the experience factor counting for me. People also know I am quite committed and that I immediatly started playing games versus some of more active players to get back in shape. I also had some managers contact me, and I assured them my motivation for the tournament, as well as my commitment to "undoing the wrongs of last year". If I hadn't been given a second chance, I'd feel quite disappointed, but I would understand, based on my inactivity. About me taking a spot from someone else more active, as far as I know from what other people have been telling me, no one feels that me being drafted is uncalled for, and I've received several messages of support from people, encouraging me and telling me this year will certainly be better.

GGFan: Don't take this the wrong way, but I feel that networking often plays more of a role in getting bought than having a good or even great year. You've been quite the presence on that organization for quite some time, and many people like you for the quality work you did as room leader.

So, to me it was no surprise you were bought once again. Just as Bedschibaer gets in for posting images of peculiar things to the exultation of the humanoids, you were bought for being a positive influence on the game. Do you agree with my perception, or do you feel there's more to it than that?

Sceptross: Who wants to work with someone that constantly displays a toxic attitude for potentially 13 weeks? It's important to be a good presence, this is a game after all, we are here to have fun. However, it is far from the only thing that matters. Skill is definitely what matters the most, but things like experience, the mentioned positive presence, attitude, mindset, commitment matter a lot too. It is also the jobs of the players to make themselves known to managers. If I am not mistaken, there were almost 650 signups in this year's SPL. It's impossible for a manager to check all of them one by one. Managers will only draft people if they get some form of assurance that they are good. Tryouts, listing tournament results, replays, recommendations from good players of the tier you want to play are very important . If you are good, they will recognize it if you approach them and focus on these aspects. To be honest, the 10 that got drafted this year in SPL are exactly the 10 that I expected to see drafted and I think all of them deserved to. Networking on its own won't do anything, you need to have actualy content in your "CV", a fancy layout is nowhere near enough.

GGFan: What would be an ideal record for you this time around?

Sceptross: Ideal? 11-0 It's hard to say a different record, I want to do the best I can. I don't start a game thinking "I expect to lose this set". I obviously do what I can to win, so it makes no sense to say I'll lose any set before it even started.

Part six - final questions

GGFan: Fair enough. Let me ask a couple of general questions. You started playing towards the end of 2016, so it would be interesting for me to learn your perspective on this. Who do you consider the five best players in the history of RBY?

Sceptross: I can only judge players from after I started playing, so (perhaps unfairly) I will only consider what they did post end of 2016. Those would be marcoasd, Troller, roudolf13, Lusch and Peasounay. Obviously players like you and Alexander deserve honourable mentions, but mostly from what you did before I joined competitive Pokemon.

GGFan: Makes sense. You play both RBY and GSC competitively. If you could only play one of them for the rest of your career, which one would you choose and why?

Sceptross: Tough question, probably the hardest you have done to me so far, because I have fun playing both very evenly. Sometimes I feel more like playing one, and other times the other. I enjoy optimizing simple things to the max very much, which is why I like playing these two more than any other. However, if you put me between a wall and a sword and told me to pick one, I think I would pick GSC, because of the small nuances that can mean everything, and I love that, although RBY has recently been evolving to a state where you are starting to see some of that too. But keep it mind it would be a very hard choice, I spent a couple of minutes thinking about which one I would pick! In fact, you'd probably have already slain me with the sword if that scenario was real!

GGFan: Yeah, I know what you mean. OK, final question. Besides doing well in SPL, do you have any major aspirations this year? Will you play actively, or continue sticking to team competition?

Sceptross: It's hard for me to think like that, because these days my time and commitment to Pokemon is very dependant on the time real life allows me to. For the past year and a half, lots of things happened that meant that I would have less and less time to commit to the game. When I checked SPL's schedule I realized it would fit perfectly in the 2 months and a half that I have a bit more free time to dedicate to Pokemon, so I decided to sign up. I expect to go back to being quite busy exactly when SPL ends, so I will definitely take a forced break from Pokemon by then. Once I have more free time again, which should happen around April, May or June (I'm still not sure) I plan to go back to individual tournaments, but there's still a long road to cross before that happens, so it's hard to say for sure.

GGFan: Yeah. Do you have anything you'd like to say or share before we wrap this up?

Sceptross: Nope, I'd just like to thank you for taking the time to interview me and to everyone who read it for sticking up until the end. I hope you enjoyed the interview, I certainly did!

GGFan: Yeah, thanks a lot for your time. It was an interesting discussion for sure.

INTERVIEW COMPLETION DATE - 12/24/2019

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