The dark ages had come to an end. For the first time in the history of competitive RBY there was now a ladder, which was the catalyst for the revival of the tournament scene. Indeed, in 2013 RBY would make a miraculous transition from a novelty that was played once or twice a year to the most competitive old gen in the entire scene, offering a highly active circuit in addition to the aforementioned ladder which was at its peak during this time. With RBY reaching new heights, did the first SPL that took place in the beginning of this golden age reflect this change, or was it more of the same?
What I was doing at the time: Now that there was finally a ladder, there was finally a reason to make an invested comeback. I started playing on the ladder in December 2012 and quickly reached #2, then had another go at it and dominated as the #1 player for quite a while as "Mr. Friendly," which is what inspired the nickname of my iconic Starmie set, FriendlyMie, of Blizzard/Psychic/Thunder Wave/Recover which changed the metagame forever alongside BeamGore, an Exeggutor that had Hyper Beam as its fourth move. At the same time I ruled the ladder kingdom I made a return to the German circuit in March 2013, which led me to my first RBY tournament in two years, where I met Conflict in the semi finals. The two of us had what is considered one of the greatest games of all time, and is actually one of the reasons why Conflict would end up persuading M Dragon to buy me in SPL IX, as the legend goes.
I also joined Pokemon Perfect in the spring of 2013, which quickly established itself as the epicenter of RBY, and became a mainstay for the next half decade.
This time I decided to keep track of how many weeks each player was penciled into the RBY slot. Here are the results of the tally:
Giga Punch: 3
This was the most loaded iteration of the tour yet: 25 people ended up playing RBY this time, which honestly surprised me given that this was the fourth inception of SPL. I suppose it’s as the old adage goes, “Old habits die hard.” Moreover, not a single player played for the entire nine weeks--kind of laughable, really.
Well, let’s review the roster this time. I won’t bother acknowledging anybody who played for less than four weeks, so the unspectacular likes of “Windsong,” “Zdrup15,” and “FAFUS” are out of the equation already. Unfortunately, this also means that spies and Crystal are gone, which is a shame because the credibility of the pool suffered greatly without their presence. I was never too high on spies, nor was he one of the game’s greats at any time, but he had a reputation for being a solid RBY main and was clearly one of the most established stars here. Meanwhile, Crystal was one of the best players in the early part of the decade and needed to last the whole way--what a disappointment. Well, at least we got to witness the historic debuts of “Make” and “Pedrock” (Zamrock’s older brother, perhaps).
Our mains (people who played for at least five weeks) were Jackal, Carl, Isa, Tiba, Hantsuki, Austinf, Floppy, and Evan. As I’ve said before, I have no idea who Austinf, Carl, and Evan are. The only reason I know the name Jackal is because M Dragon uttered it to me as someone who played in one of the anniversary tournaments on RBY2K10, so I guess he’s a step up from the other three by default. Hantsuki ended up playing RBY quite a bit over the next several years, so I have to admit they got a recognized talent for this tour (though he had yet to reach his potential at this point, surely). Floppy won the second anniversary tour on RBY2K10 the year before and played RBY quite a bit overall, so he was a positive addition to the roster. Yes, there was a time when Isa played more than once a year; he participated in this tour just after his run on RBY2K10 that lasted for a couple of years. Although we were known for being rivals who stood on the opposing sides of the spectrum (Isa was the Smogon moderator, I was the the champion in its competitor, Pokemon Perfect, among other things), it would be delusional not to give him credit as a well-known RBY specialist. This leaves Tiba, who is another “Smogon RBYer” in that, while, along with Isa and Floppy, will never be considered in a serious hall of fame, Mt. Rushmore, or whatever you want to call it, was nonetheless a staple of RBY in that organization.
Ultimately, this pool, while not stellar by any means, was almost as good as the era of “Smogon RBY” was going to get. Replace Evan and Austinf with spies and Crystal and you’ve got the “who’s who” of that time period. I’d take out those two and not Carl because the latter had actually played in the previous two SPLs, making him a stand out as sort of a symbol of the era. If this happened, the roster would have consisted of spies, Crystal, Tiba, Floppy, Hantsuki, Carl, and Isa--much, much better than what we got instead. Still, in terms of credibility, this was easily the most stacked pool yet in terms of players who were at least competent in the tier. Things would only get better from here, though--a lot better, in fact.
Where I would have ranked myself: While the playing field was more competitive than it had been before, I was on way too much of a role in 2013 to even contemplate ranking myself below anybody. I changed the metagame, dominated the ladder, had the match of the year, won the most tournaments, had the highest overall win percentage, etc. I can comfortably say that 2013 was my year, and that I earned the right to rank myself at #1 here.
Publication date: 3/29/2020