Sprinkles broke into the competitive scene in 2009 on Shoddybattle, back when DPP was at its peak as the current gen. After making a name for himself on the ladder, his rise through the ranks was cut short due to his penchant for mischief on Smogon, which led to him being banned for life (at the time). Seven years later and the ban was lifted, granting him a second chance which he has taken full advantage of. I invited Sprinkles to be interviewed on The GGFan Experience, where we discussed his early years, his ban and resurgence, the "real" SPL, and more!
Part ONE - a shoddy start
GGFan: How did you break into the competitive scene?
Sprinkles: Okay sooo I joined around 09, started out as “sprinklesmom” based on an old RuneScape account someone gave me, changed it to sprinkles. Made an alt called sprinkles dad and made a thread to troll. I team rated often but never could get badges because I was a troll. Did pretty well on ladder, top 4 of ou, top 20 ubers and top 50 uu, qualified for latias suspect testing, could beat some good people but wasn’t elite or anything. My heavy offense thread however changed the ladder for months after Ward with over 600 replies in the thread as well. I think I found smogon just through looking up things about in game etc and thought there must be some sort of online game for Pokémon. Found shoddy battle and such and fell in love with it. I started right before platinum came out, so I only managed to use garchomp for a limited time. I was eventually permanently banned with my ban message talking about a consistent failure to improve as a user.
GGFan: You started playing on Shoddybattle. You were active on the ladder, right? Back then, DPP was the current gen. Were you an active ladder player? If so, were you ever able to reach the top?
Sprinkles: I don’t think many people really respected me as a battler then, I mean I could never beat the big names consistently like earthworm, he always beat me. Guys like that were ahead of their time. And guys like me could win games and maybe changed some stuff in the meta but weren’t elite. Now I think I have potential to break into that scene. Yeah I primarily played ladder. I consistently did pretty decently on the dpp ladder, you saw a lot more random stuff on the ladder as well. I never quite could reach the top but I managed to get top 5-10 pretty consistently. And that was when everyone laddered.
GGFan: Do you remember some of the teams you used 11 years ago? Were they vastly different to what you use now?
Sprinkles: Yeah definitely, one of my all time favorites was this semi stall with scarf tyranitar, life orb heatran, skarmory, expert belt mix jirachi, sub will o wisp rotom, and a taunt dd gyara, energy actually used it in the dpp cup he won 3 years ago after he found it in the rejected rmt archive teams. A team style like that is definitely still used today, some of the sets are not very common at all now. But that one certainly stood the test of time in his own words. Overall yeah I use a lot more variety and stuff that’s known to be useful now rather than all the experimentation that the meta was back then.
GGFan: Yeah, it's always cool when you discover other people using your sets and ideas. People still use my FriendlyMie and BeamGore to this day. You know you've done well when you see people imitating you. Did you play in any tournaments, or did you focus only on the ladder?
Sprinkles: For sure, I don’t think I invented anything really, just made some team styles and terms more known. People made fun of me saying semi stall and now it’s a common phrase. Yeah I loved doing tournaments. There were a couple I made the semifinals of and ultimately lost. Tons of good people did every tournament and scouting was limited as well so every game was pretty unexpected in multiple ways. Ladder was definitely my favorite though. Always the best way to test and just have fun without much pressure
GGFan: Where did you enter tournaments in the beginning? Were there any on Smogon, or are you talking about the server tournaments on Shoddybattle?
Sprinkles: Yeah smogon tournaments and there were some on shoddy I did as well. Of course there was smogon tour where I never got a chance to play much because of having to go to church etc. and the times I did play it I lost to guys like earthworm
In the official smogon tournament I did, I lost round 1 I believe to an hp electric heatran vs my immediate gyarados switchin turn 1
I think I got counter teamed LOL.
GGFan: Well, at least you were obtaining valuable experience in your learning excursion. Did you have a high opinion of yourself back when you started? Was it frustrating to always lose early in tour play, or did you not care and enjoyed ladder play more?
Sprinkles: Definitely, remembering the speed tiers and stuff like that that you take to heart helped me not have to relearn as much when I returned this year. Yeah I think I definitely overrated myself. Looking back and thinking about it, I was nowhere near as consistent as the top guys but I’m finally learning to be consistent now that the meta is more defined and that I’m older and can think about it in a different way. I think it was cool to be able to do decently in a few but definitely frustrating that I couldn’t quite make the winning cut. It definitely bothered me to never win a tournament. Ladder was a good way to win and not care as much when I lost too.
Part two - BANNED
GGFan: You were quite the gregarious soul on Smogon in your early days; many people interacted with you in 2009 and 2010. What was the reason for this? Were you engaging in a lot of social threads?
Sprinkles: Lol definitely my wall is filled with old posts from old users people even know today just commenting on my behavior... I posted a lot in firebot and other threads trolling and just being a dumb kid in general. A lot of people didn’t like me to be honest. But there were a few that defended me. I believe I amassed quite a bit of infractions and was banned at least twice before my permanent ban.
GGFan: When were you banned the first time? And do you remember what you said that resulted in the ban?
Sprinkles: I don’t even remember to be honest. I’m sure it was something just being a general ass in a legitimate sub forum. Not to mention my fire ban for just consistently shitting up firebot.
GGFan: Unfortunately, lapsing into recidivism led to being permanently banned from Smogon. Did it have anything to do with that racist joke you made regarding Machamp and Jynx? When were you banned?
Sprinkles: Yeah they just figured I’d never stop being an idiot and stuff and I don’t know if I got infracted for that or not but it probably didn’t give a good outlook on me in general. And I think I finally got perma banned around the middle of 2011. I remember lashing out at stone cold and team east for not making the wcop team even though I thought I was good enough to be on the team that year. Might’ve gotten in trouble for that one.
GGFan: That's certainly possible, as you were likely low on the totem pole and criticizing those two pillars higher is always a recipe for disaster. It's similar to how I mocked blunder during SPL because he was being an antagonistic ass. Sure, even if you're right, you have to be aware of the political climate. How long were you banned from Smogon? What did you do in the meantime? Did you compete outside and try to gain experience, or did you surreptitiously enter tournaments under alts? Did you feel like you had to prove yourself when the ban was instated?
Sprinkles: Lol that’s very true I always felt like people could make fun of me and shit too and people don’t care because of who I am. Even if I feel like I’m right I’m still in the “wrong” for retaliating. I was banned until 2017 or so. I asked chaos to unban me and checked the forums for a little but didn’t come back to play until about May 2019. I played a lot of other games and did well, like madden. Was able to get ranked highly on a couple different year’s leaderboards and competed with tournament players in the madden scene. I never came back on alts. I was already losing interest in the game up until my ban and that led to me lashing out further and stuff not caring if I got banned. So I basically quit cold turkey for years besides cartridge games and roms. I was inspired to return to play after energy messaged me about winning the dpp cup and thought that was awesome.
Part three - FROM BANNED TO CHAMPION
GGFan: Why did you want the ban to be lifted in the first place, and did you expect to be given a second chance?
Sprinkles: I just wanted to check the forums and see what people were still on like my old pal stathakis. And not at all really. I guess maybe I thought they’d have forgotten about me. Chaos said a lot of time had passed and just gave me a second chance. Also I wanted to see if people had been posting about me. I found a lot of posts about me still on forums dating years after my ban.
GGFan: So, you were indeed given another chance, and started to become active in 2019. Were you surprised by how much the game had grown ever since your departure? It's similar to how an ex-convict returns to society after years in prison and immediately discovers how much things have evolved.
Sprinkles: Yeah for sure there’s a lot more standardized team types and cores that are common and less off the wall shit used. Also the rise in usage of clefable. People didn’t start to see how good it was until a few years after gen 5 started apparently. Also the rise of usage of some other threats and decline of others. Clefable is probably the biggest one. For the record I think it’s a good thing latias is back.
GGFan: Regardless how much things have changed, it seems you were able to adapt. You found yourself picked up in the Pokemon Online Grand Prix. How well did you perform in that event, and were you nervous to be there? Some eyes were now on you to see how well you could play, as you had a reputation for being a troublemaker. Did you see this as a chance to prove yourself?
Sprinkles: Yeah I think it’s easier for me in any game when I can see visually what people are using that works and use it in my own style. Yeah thankfully callous picked me after I begged him as he was picking his last 2-3 3k picks as subs. We actually went like 4-0-1 in the regular season, 4 wins and a tie throughout the weeks and then won finals. I won the finals game for us in dpp and went 1-0 in dpp and 1-0 in bw in the regular season. I don’t think I was nervous, I wasn’t starting, just throwing into the rotation. I was just happy to be able to help and show that I have some knowledge to provide. Yeah I think so and I think I did prove I can help and win in a team environment, even if spl managers don’t see that yet. Every one of us did well for our team though. Insult was a huge part of our success for one and other guys like that. It was just a great team to be on all around and that was big for all of our confidence, multiple people said it was the best team environment they’ve been on after we won it all.
Part four - SPL AND THE "REAL" SPL
GGFan: Yeah, it's funny: I had similar feelings the year my team won POCL, which was the year we beat Callous. Now he was managing again and you were on the battlefield again. Constancy has never been the norm in these parts. So you had gone from banned to champion. I imagine that must have felt nice; however, as you alluded to, you did not get bought in SPL. Do you feel you deserved a shot given how passionate you are about the tier, or were you OK with sitting out?
Sprinkles: Yeah true when you have that feeling of focus of confidence from everyone helping out, it goes a long way. Uhh I personally think I deserved a chance to at least help out a team, but maybe not necessarily think I was owed it, because I haven’t been in a ton of tours since my return even though I’ve been doing well. Also pogp ended after the draft too I think too so that was yet another chance to show I can help out and win. I’m ok with sitting out. I just think people missed out on a chance for good insight. There was definitely a lot of deserving people that have been here and helping for longer. So it’s just what the managers thought was best.
GGFan: You did stir up some controversy early on with reyscarface, who has a lot of pull in that organization. He called you a "big idiot" and said he would never draft you. He later revealed the full conversation which revealed some rather braggadocious statements on your part. You claimed you were better than him and that he was too afraid to draft you. What's your side of the story here?
Sprinkles: Lol I think I meant he was afraid to play me but I was just mad at him for trolling me and wanted to battle him for honor. I was just being an ass after he trolled me. Then I stopped bugging him. He was always a general dick to me back in my early days
GGFan: Ah, I see. There's always been a personal grudge. Could you explain more about it? What was the reason for that grudge in the first place?
Sprinkles: I honestly don’t even remember why we’ve bickered like this. Just one of the dudes to consider me an idiot when I was a dumb kid and it always stuck with him. And he thinks I’m the same person and decided to fuck with me.
GGFan: Well, it had become clear that playing in SPL was out of the question as long as your detractors remained in power, but is it true the Bigs invited you into their team chat? If so, how has that been going?
Sprinkles: Nah they actually didn’t, no team wanted me in their team chat either to help out. Fakes wanted me to help him in dpp but he actually is starting in BW now. A couple other people play me in test games though but I’m not actively helping them with their teams, just playing them.
GGFan: So, knowing that participating in SPL in any capacity was clearly not in the realm of possibility, you took matters into your own hands by starting up the "real" SPL--the "Sprinkles Premier League." What led you to do it? Was it for a chance at redemption, the chance to show that you don't need Smogon to host big tours?
Sprinkles: Yeah maybe in midseason. We’ll see LOL and well I just think there’s not enough dpp tours on the forums as well as not enough good people to play sometimes like on ladder, so I just wanted to start a cool competition that good people would wanna join. And I guess it’s a chance to show people I am serious about mons and wanting good quality games, even if I like to dick around sometimes. But I don’t like to dick around when it comes to making good quality games. There’s been a lot of big names to join the tour too which is really cool and I hope to see some awesome replays and hope me and others can draw inspiration from the teams and players.
GGFan: Yeah, quite a few heavy hitters signed up, which is definitely inspiring. How important is it for you to do well in this tour? Is it enough that it was so positively received, or do you feel you have to go deep and make a statement?
Sprinkles: These are some good questions haha and it’s definitely important for me to do well. It would be embarrassing for me to see an early exit. I really wanna prove myself among the big names in any real tour, and I think this is one people can take seriously. People don’t take the random forum tours seriously enough sometimes and they try to downplay my wins so this is something I think will carry weight if I can do well. It’s obviously going to be hard to with the pool we have but I do well vs a lot of people in test games or friendlies so I think I can keep doing well in other tours.
GGFan: How did you advertise it? Did you private message most people, or was there another method you employed?
Sprinkles: I linked it in a few discord’s such as the dpp discord, the ruins of alph one, ones like that and I also messaged a ton of people lol. Some people unfortunately were too busy, a couple big names like tama couldn’t join but there’s plenty more to make up for it. And I might even host another one in the future after spl so other people that are too busy with spl can participate.
GGFan: Yeah, I think there's potential for more than just a one-off tournament. If this is successful, you can host more or even create your own organization dedicated to DPP, like how Pokemon Perfect was dedicated to RBY and THE Alternative before that.
Sprinkles: For sure much like callous invitational I can keep doing this, it’s not bad to host so far so let’s hope it all keeps going smoothly. Don’t see why it wouldn’t.
GGFan: And it seems like you'll always focus on DPP, given this was the current gen when you broke in. It's much like how I focused on RBY for as long as I did. It wasn't technically the current gen (GSC was), but it was more popular in the tournament scene so it basically still was. It's hard to change that wiring in your brain, lol. Do you think your goal will always just be to become one of the best DPP players in the game, or are you already interested in other tiers?
Sprinkles: I think I’ll definitely mostly stick with dpp until I feel completely confident in the tier, I’ve played a decent bit of bw and a tiny bit of adv and sm, and I think I’ll start getting into Adv and bw more. They’re pretty fun but also really tough. So I think they can be a good way to get into bigger tour scenes as well. Especially just knowing multiple gens to be able to help with. I did sign up for an adv and bw tour recently so we’ll see how they go.
GGFan: As someone who was prominent on Smogon a decade ago, do you feel the site has changed a lot over the last 10 years or so?
Sprinkles: I gotta take a break. About to play.
Sprinkles: My tour game for my tour. Will message you later.
GGFan: Sure, OK and good luck.
GGFan: Welcome back. Interesting that this discussion is taking place just after your first-round bout. That first game must have made you nervous. Luckily the Gliscor was fully paralyzed, right?
How did the second game go? I didn't see it because of connectivity issues.
Sprinkles: Yeah I got a little lucky the first game, he played pretty well that game. Scarf tar was a big threat late game. And I won second game in a balance vs stall game that he forfeited early in lol.
GGFan: So, at any rate, you got off on the right foot. Let's hope you can keep it up. Do you have any final thoughts before we wrap this up? I believe we've discussed just about everything relevant.
Sprinkles: Yeah I hope so too appreciate it and I’m not really too sure. Just that I hope I can make people start to take me seriously and show I’m here to win. I appreciate the interview.
GGFan: No problem. It was interesting to talk someone like you. It seems like you're on your way up, so just keep at it.
Sprinkles: Thanks. You seem like you are as well. Same to you. Gl with future interviews and your site.
GGFan: Thank you, I appreciate that. Take care.
INTERVIEW COMPLETION DATE - 1/8/2020