SPL has received more than its fair share of criticism over the last 10 years. However, in this article I don't want to focus on nerdy, white babies acting like hardened ghetto trash, the idiot lambasting entire teams with the writing level of a cranky five-year-old, or the ones who air their sexual frustrations and socially inappropriate fetishes--no, none of that, thank god. Of course I want to analyze the RBY pools and see whether or not the tour really did offer the best the tier had to offer, or if it was another shining example of SPL standing for "Smogon Parttimers League."
As someone who played all year round, I never bought the untenable arguments presented by the organization's supreme sycophants who revel in kissing its ass. SPL has been, at times, glorified as the "biggest stage in competitive Pokemon" (whatever that's supposed to mean) and, even worse, "the most important tour." Since anyone with even half a brain would never espouse such fallacious nonsense, there's no need for me to rattle the monkeys' cage more than I already have (though it still amuses me to see them scream and claw at me in rage). Success can't be measured by one tour--not even in RBY, which is played more due to all sets being best-of-three (inconsistent idiots have inconsistent perspectives, go figure)--as we all know. Still, it would be interesting nonetheless to see how well (or poorly) the RBY pool has aged over the last decade, as I honestly had no idea before conducting my research.
So, without further ado, here's the first SPL, which took place in May 2010.
What I was doing at the time: I wrapped up my four-year stint in the German circuit shortly before the tour started, and headed to RBY2K10, where I beat one of Smogon's finest pieces of trash to win the organization's "Grand Opening Tournament." I never paid attention to the aforementioned site, so I had no idea this tour was transpiring. Let's see if I was missing anything.
The RBY pool: Pirotechnix, spies, junior, dbolt, Floppy, zerowing, TTS, Jackal, Shiv, JMC, skarm, Quantum Mechanics, jira, Somebody, Thorns, imperfectluck, Cost, Mekkah, The_Chaser, CaptKirby, G80, husk
What a mess this was. Obviously, the problem that stands out the most is the number who played RBY. A whopping 22 people played it in this event, and I have no idea who some of the mains were supposed to be; that is, if there were even supposed to be mains in the first place. Well, sloppy (and "floppy") as it was, what about the star power? I don't like to put players down by calling them nobodies, but I have to point out how apropos it was that we actually have a guy who went by the name "Somebody" in this tour. The majority of this pool is unproven and unaccomplished--a far cry to what we would see several years later. I sincerely doubt most of them played the tier more than once or twice a year.
That isn't to say that I never heard or played any of them. I played jira many times in the German circuit, I played JMC back in the GameFAQs days, I banned skarm from THE Alternative for being an idiot, I had someone tell me that his "gen one dream" would be me facing off against dbolt (from what I remember, he was often promoted as the site's best RBY player at one time). I would go on to play spies on Netbattle and Floppy on Pokemon Perfect, so I know who they were. I was called out by Mekkah and won the challenge (he was an ardent disciple of Smogon) in 2008 or so. And, I would end up in the same discord server with The_Chaser, when I was bought by the Stark Sharks in SPL IX. While I was familiar with many of these faces, it's not disrespectful to say that most of them weren't legends, nor were they great at the tier (in terms of achievements and recognition). In fact, the majority were part timers who played RBY to fill up empty slots, which is sad given what we would witness down the line.
Where I would have ranked myself: I was on top during the Netbattle era and remained there with my victory in RBY2K10's first tournament, so I would have been the clear #1 had I participated. This isn't hubris talking, either: the pool here was barren, so naturally I'd be the king shark (pun intended).
Publication date: 3/18/2020