By this point, Pokemon Perfect was recognized as the convergence of the most formidable practitioners of the ancient arts. Reading this year's Power Rankings highlights that the site's egotistical and petty staff were forced to begrudgingly admit this, as half the pool represented it. It's interesting that they even said the site's name this time around, whereas its existence was barely acknowledged as seen in marco's description from last year: "He has probably had one of the most impressive tournament results in recent history, having completely dominated the RBY scene on another forum."
So here we were in 2016, and Pokemon Perfect still maintained its brand of daily tournaments and the most competitive scene any gen had to offer. The end of 2015 was interesting in that it saw the rise of a new talent, Alexander, who entered the last season and immediately got results. This was also when Bedschibaer started to really show his potential, who had now been playing RBY for quite a while, by winning his first Master Tournament, knocking off both marco and Alexander to do so. His momentum continued into the next tournament, as he made it into the semi finals of the next one and neatly beat marco again (all going off memory here--please correct me if I'm wrong). Given how marco, Alexander, and Bedschibaer were the biggest stars at the end of 2015, I expected all of them to play, but it turns out marco signed up for the midseason and Alexander was not bought as an RBY starter. What did the pool look like, then?
What I was doing at the time: After my controversial run in the first Global Championship, I took home my virtual trophy back to Pokemon Perfect and stayed there for the rest of the year. Unfortunately, while I was red hot for the first three months of 2015, my motivation started to flag due to the site's poor (and politically motivated) administration getting in my way multiple times, which I believe also played a role in not achieving the results I wanted. Things started to pick up a little bit towards the end of the year, as I found myself in the semi finals of another Master Tournament against Alexander. It was an intense roller coaster of a set that went two hours, and came down to my Slowbro against his Tauros in game five. His Tauros got the RNG it needed to pull through, and I was defeated. There's an old adage that applies to me very well, "History is doomed to repeat itself," for I started 2016 off by entering the Supreme RBY Tournament on SmogonJr and squared off against Alexander in the second round, winning the set in two games. Like what happened in the Global Championship, my identity was revealed and the tournament was restarted, with Alexander winning the fake version.
The RBY pool: Tiba, Bedschibaer, Golden Gyarados, Tobes, Ortheore, The Chaser, Agammemnon, Metalgross, Lutra, reyscarface, Alexander, marcoasd, Isa, Stathakis, Aeroblacktyl, Hantsuki, Ary, dice, Luigi, Tesung
This is yet another year in which at least 20 people ended up playing RBY, as two of the chosen starters were not consistent. The seventh installment of SPL had Tiba, Golden Gyarados, Ortheore, Bedschibaer, Metalgross, The Chaser, Tobes, and reyscarface, but plans changed once Ortheore bailed on his team (supposedly he was unhappy with the environment--no surprise there) and reyscarface was penciled into other tiers. Marco also entered the fray in the midseason, which obviously shook things up. Isa, Hantsuki, Aerodactyl, dice, Luigi, Ary, Stathakis, and Tesung were only penciled in once or twice, and nothing is worth pointing out about this bench other than Isa being a GSC starter this year, which impacted the star power of Smogon's RBY field.
With that out of the way, let's analyze the pool this year. With Isa playing GSC, Alexander not playing RBY, and marco not signing up until later, I have to say that this lineup is rather disappointing compared to what we saw last year. As a whole, the Pokemon Perfect side is a little underwhelming; it was lacking me, who finished in the top 4 of that aforementioned season which Alexander and Bernard performed well in, and Mister Tim, who was shockingly not bought despite producing consistent results for most of the year. Unfortunately, he started to slump in that last season, though I also wonder how much of a presence he had on Smogon at this point, as networking and politics play just as large of a role in getting into this tournament as do results. Instead, it would be Ortheore and Golden Gyarados receiving the opportunity, which actually makes sense on a political level: the former has always been active on the forums, while the latter was a room leader, hosted tournaments, etc. In regard to whether or not they represented the best Pokemon Perfect had to offer, in their defense I will say that they had both been on the site since 2013 and were two of its most dedicated players, having joined practically every tournament they could and were household names of both Pokemon Perfect and RBY. Moreover, when looking at the playerbase at the time, it's hard to think who would have been better choices besides myself and Mister Tim, especially in regard to Ortheore, who actually had a very solid year overall. Then there was Bernard, who was a logical choice given that he was playing his best Pokemon at the time and whose momentum was sky high. It gets shaky from here, though: Lutra was far removed from serious competition and Metalgross didn't play RBY that much after his Global Championship run. Still, I will admit that Lutra had name value, while Metalgross already had more than two years experience with the tier (which is equivalent to having twelve years of experience doing something that's actually difficult). Overall, the Pokemon Perfect side is passable but nothing special. Bedschibaer was doing great, Golden Gyarados and Ortheore were underdogs, and Lutra and Metalgross were coming back from a long period of absence. I was certainly disappointed, but I suppose it could have been worse.
Now let's look at what Smogon had to offer. First and foremost Tiba was playing yet again, who had been on a role in the organization at the time, winning both the fake version of the Global Championship and having a great record in SPL VI. He is easily Smogon's superstar with Isa and Floppy out of the picture; it's a good thing he was here because the rest of the lineup is......questionable, to say the least. The Chaser is back for more, but he is known for practically nothing outside playing RBY come SPL season. Tobes makes his SPL RBY debut here, who apparently played it in one tournament prior to this one. Reyscarface is here too, who played in a grand total of two tournaments. However, he did win the RBY Cup, which was the organization's biggest or second biggest RBY tournament that year, so Smogon needed its champion to represent. That leaves Agammemnon, who is nothing more than the answer to a trivia question about the history of the Global Championship. Yes, it's clear I didn't like him (I'm in good company, though), but I'm also being factual when I say that he had nothing going for him and no achievements to speak of. He was probably only bought as a result of cronyism.
So, I would say that, Smogon's RBY lineup actually started off promising. Tiba and reyscarface won its two most prestigious events, so it was axiomatic that they belonged here. The Chaser was already known as the "SPL RBY" player, which can be interpreted as either a bolster or a detriment depending on your perspective. Tobes played it once, and Agammemnon may as well have never played it. As a whole, Tiba and resyscarface save it from being completely asinine like it had been in the past.
The power rankings: Oddly enough, achievements on Smogon were given precedence over achievements on Pokemon Perfect, which is contradictory as marco was ranked #1 last year.
7. Golden Gyarados
9. The Chaser
1. Bedschibaer: Had a lot of momentum going into the tour, knocked off both marco and Alexander, nearly won a highly competitive season, won his first Master Tournament, had a considerable amount of experience by this point.
2. Ortheore: Was very productive throughout the first half of the year (won a Master Tournament, reached the finals of the first Supreme RBY Tournament, won the Indigo Cup, etc), had a decent performance in the season leading up to the tour.
3. Tiba: Had a lot of experience and success in SPL, won the fake Global Championship.
4. Lutra: Was now far removed from his best year (2013) and had been retired from full-time play for quite a while, but had a lot of experience and was still active in the competitive scene, just under a different capacity. Was also successful last year against a tougher pool.
5. Golden Gyarados: The most experienced player in the pool. Started off slow but started to heat up in the middle of the year, most notably when he defeated marco in the finals of a tournament. He was slumping a bit when the tour started, so I can't rank him any higher.
6. Metalgross: Had a few moments, but they were spread out throughout the year, and he had not played RBY for a while. Still had a lot of experience overall.
7. reyscarface: Won the RBY Cup, which was one of the two biggest tournaments on Smogon. Can't rank him any higher, however, as said tournament was in its infancy and he had no track record outside playing two sets in the World Cup. He had momentum going into the event, so he gets the nod over his peers.
8. The Chaser: Had success in SPL before.
9. Tobes: Almost no experience going into the tour, but was successful in his debut in the World Cup.
10. Agammemnon: Knew how to click on a computer mouse.
Where I would have ranked myself: I did not end 2015 on a great note whereas Bernard was playing some great Pokemon, so I definitely wouldn't have been #1. I was more consistent than Golden Gyarados and had a better year, so I would rank myself higher than him, which also means I'd be above Tobes, Metalgross, The Chaser, Agammenon, and reyscarface. If I were here, I'd say I'd be 3. Ortheore accomplished quite a lot in 2015; among his list of accolades included beating me in the finals of Master Tournament #17 (though I did get payback in the Indigo Cup, if I recall correctly). Furthermore, he ended his season on a high note whereas mine had a disappointing finish. As for Lutra, he was playing maybe twice a year at this point, so he wasn't above me.
Publication date: 4/9/2020