Less than a year later, the second SPL started in January 2011. Was eight months enough time to learn from the copious issues that plagued the original event, or were they still prevalent? Let's find out.
What I was doing at the time: I was actually burned out from the game. I was slumping, players were preparing for my well-known Jynx team by leading Gengar, and I was genuinely unhappy with the competitive scene in general. RBY2k10 was already a failure, and its founding failures were so irritating that they made the typical Smogon monkey seem affable and pleasant. Thus was Hector Gold born, and so was the Pokemon that changed the shape of the metagame, FriendlyMie. GSCLax also made its return after being dormant for half a decade or so, though I used that one moreso to have fun. The team I used as Hector Gold is possibly one of the most influential of the decade because it countered metagame trends (which were established because of what I had been using for so long).
The RBY pool: TV-Rocka, imperfectluck, andrea, spies, ViL, Pirotechnix, Carl, The_Chaser, dbolt, Nachos, ENZO, Mr. E, husk, Knightofthewind, Huy, shapn3l, skarm, Somebody, Mizuno, zfs, Ala
Yes, that's right: we've gone from the prodigious total of 22 to another hefty number, 21. However, even I have to admit the numbers don't always tell the full story. You see, of the 21 that played RBY, the chosen mains were actually apparent. This year's gen-one specialists consisted of spies, dbolt, The_Chaser, Nachos, TV-Rocka, Pirotechnix, ENZO, Carl, and andrea. This isn't to say that it was a star studded bunch, though: I legitimately have no idea who Carl, Nachos, andrea, and Pirotechnix are (I played RBY full time for 17 years straight). To make matters worse, TV-Rocka (Porengan), who I played a few times in the German circuit, was never an RBY main and only played it in this tour because he needed to. ENZO, who I faced during my run as Hector Gold, was just starting out and had no name value. The same can be said for The_Chaser, who only played RBY a couple of times last year and had just started to main it (and only on Smogon for this one tour). Meanwhile, andrea (who never accomplished anything) only played for a few weeks before disappearing, leaving us with dbolt and spies.
Personal opinion aside (I never liked spies because he had a tendency to be an idiot, but considering it's Smogon I suppose that would be like not liking the sky because it's blue), spies was probably the best player in the pool, but that isn't saying a whole lot, honestly. I never squared off against dbolt because he only frequented Smogon, but he had a reputation for being one of the best RBY players on the site in an era when it was only featured once or twice a year and never faced outside competition, so I don't need to go any further. So, while more consistent than last year, too many people still played and there still was a noticeable dearth of talent.
Where I would have ranked myself: Again, it's not hubris, but slump or no slump, I would have ranked myself at #1. Moreover, when I consider the numbers I produced during my "golden" run with the mask, I'm confident I would have been a well-fed shark in a pool of unaware fish who would not have been able to see my new tricks coming, or would have known but unable to do anything about them.
Publication date: 3/23/2020