Project Player Interviews #2: Nat


is a Community Leaderis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Top Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnus
RU Leader

Art by Kalalokki

Favorite Pokemon: Donphan

Most used Pokemon: Golisopod
/ Donphan

Most known for: Winning 2 RU Seasonals back to back undefeated, alongside performing really well in official tournaments

Months passed, somehow I ended up in New England, couldn't see a thing and my tropical, third world country outfit clearly wasn't meant for this weather, I decided to enter a nearby pub to warm up a bit...

As soon as I entered, I noticed a group of people in a corner, I decided to get close and watch, it was a small game of poker between what I think were two locals.

The game seemed to end decisively, I could hear one of them say: "Do u think we need to post replays lmao". I couldn't quite understand what that meant but felt the urge to learn more.

My competitiveness made me sit down and challenge her, even though I have never played serious poker in my life before..

Hey Nat, how is it going?

im ok, hru?

I'm fine, thanks for asking
You know, I'm probably the guy in the RU community that has known you the longest, but still know so little about you actually
Would you care to explain who you are? Who's the person behind the username Nat?

yeah you've known me p much since I started playing lol. When I first started in like end of 2015/2016 I was open about everything, but now I keep life and this p seperate, and rlly only talk to a couple ppl about irl stuff. There's no crazy story or whatever to me tho. I live a pretty normal life, bordering on boring. Playing this is probably the weirdest thing I do tbh lol, but other than that I play a decent amount of poker, hang out with rlly only a few friends irl. I love art but I'm atrocious at creating anything myself. Working easily takes up the most free time of my day for awhile now. I used to be a mess up until a short while ago but have thankfully pulled my life together in a sense, albeit still working on it.

I see, happy to hear that fren, what do you do for a living if you don't mind me asking?

it's not my specific title but the easiest way to describe it is that I'm pretty much gathering and analyzing data all day, and subsequently determining what to do w/ products. I get to work with engineers which is sometimes fun and sometimes not, but ultimately it's a job I'm happy with and it pays the bills. It's rewarding but often stressful, though I never thought I'd have a job like this looking back a few years.

That's p dope ngl, how did you end up in a job like that if you never imagined yourself doing so?
And since we are at it, what's your backstory? Where do you come from?


yeah i always figured i'd end up in something like this but not so soon into my uh, working career. It's not so much that I never imagined myself doing it, it's moreso that I didn't think the opportunity would become available to me tbh. I started at a different job there and they liked me enough to offer a huge promotion and I thankfully went for it. My backstory in general is pretty basic. Only child, middle-class home. I grew up in New England and love the cold/winter so I'd probably not want to move anywhere else anytime soon. plus we have the goat seafood


Never been to New England before but when I go I'll def go for some seafood now
How did you end up playing mons? And how were your early days in PS?


it's p wild how i got into it. i used to play (not rlly be great friends with, just play) with a couple of youtubers like marksman/aDrive back when they were smaller. I think aDrive had 3-4k subs when i met him. Anyway, a few years passed since I last talked to them and I decided to look up adrive for fun, and saw he now played pokemon. I was p interested and some draft league named GBA (a youtuber league kind of thing) caught my eye. I think I was actually on mons a little before this, but didnt rlly know much of anything. My early days of ps started in the tournaments room lol. I definitely had a ton of fun there and met a lot of cool ppl, some of which i still talk to now. I kinda left the tours room last year but it defo is nice to see how a lot of ppl who also started there are doing.


And how did you decide to start playing competitively? And then RU in specific?


uh, i've always had a preference for more competitive stuff, idk. it drew towards me more (tho non-comp stuff is cool too). I didn't actually start playing ru, I started playing uu at first but didn't have a lot of skill/success back then. the big reason i think i started playing ru is that I randomly got to top 8 of my first ru open (2016) despite not rlly knowing a lot about the meta. I lost to the eventual winner Ciele, but it was enough to get bought in LTPL and I BOMBED SO HARD LMAO. I sucked so bad then, I didn't really understand the nuances of prep and it was pretty bad. Sorry tricking :(. Anyway after that I was pretty locked into ru as far as main tiers went. I mained BSS too and arguably more than RU until mid-2017 when I randomly and miraculously got picked for snake 1 by tony who took an unfortunate chance on me, and the rest is history.


How has your experience in tournaments been so far? Do you think you have been enjoying them more as time passes?


o gosh, idk, probably gonna be a long one. my experience in tours has been pretty uh, peculiar? I think it's fair to say I've found success in ru, but it definitely hasn't always been enjoyable. At first when I didn't rlly expect anything of myself it was a lot of fun to join tons of stuff and do whatever. My first official tour was pretty scary. I knew I wasn't rlly rdy, having not played almost any sm and just randomly getting in off of a 5-2 oras rupl record and quality manager-pming abilities. My first official tour game was vs ajna and while that name didn't mean then what it did now, I was shaking irl and v nervous. I didn't wanna let ppl down since I felt like officials were above my level in a sense, but the nerves and lack of confidence definitely were constant throughout that tour. Despite team help, almost none of my teams were really teamtour-level looking back now. We tried too much to have counters for everything at the cost of fluid teams, imo (if that makes sense.) It definitely was hard throughout that season to realize how bad I was compared to teamtour caliber ppl, and I can't remember too many days on smogon worse than getting benched after playing an awful game vs diogo to drop to 2-7, right before playoffs.

we then lost the last 2 ru games anyway, and I definitely felt I held back such a good team from a trophy. SPL IX draft came around and my name went unpicked, and that also was a pretty bad feeling knowing nobody would prolly wanna buy u again. Mids came around and tony put in a good word to teal. I worked my manager-pming magic to assistant manager [redacted], and I somehow ended up onboard as building support for new breed. Due to something coming up, I was subbed in vs ajna my very first week on the team (w5), and I knew I had to play with confidence and calm any nerves. It was kinda easier to when nobody expected anything from you after going 2-7. The rest is history and I really haven't looked back. I've definitely made A LOT of mistakes verbally in-game, and for whatever reason I really just can't help myself, but otherwise I'm pretty happy with how I've done the past 2 years and have no other regrets. My enjoyment kinda rises and falls, and it admittedly partly is affected by how I perform in tours etc.


I can definitely relate to some level, nerves can definitely mess you up big time, at least you have managed to play more calmly as time passes, and it def shows in your latest records and accomplishments
Do you think you'll keep playing in Gen 8?


yeah I'm thankful for how everything turned out. I wouldn't say I play uh, calm, so much as not nervous. I'm pretty hyped if it's a big tour game like snake/spl, but more lax obvs for smaller stuff. we'll see if i play gen 8. obviously, the lack of spl this year sucks for lower tiers. Another factor to how much I rlly put into gen 8 will depend on whatever they change on the official tour circuit, since ik some are looking to edit it.


What do you think about the current playerbase? Are there any players that catch your eye? Both veterans and newcomers


i'm not sure how I really feel about the current playerbase. Unlike most tours ppl I'm pretty willing to call a lot of people "good" at ru as my bar is lower for that criteria. In my mind t's fair to say not too many ppl have rlly broken out to the top of ru lately, but there's definitely 15 or so I'd consider potential snake starters. There's one person I think is completely unknown in the RU scene but could do well, and that's Vapo. His teams need work regarding meta knowledge but he's a great player and a very good friend. Some ppl from uu would know him. He's been back for a minute and hasn't lost a step. Other than that there's a faces new to snake that could make an appearance, like durza/luthier/roman/ave, and I'm sure 1 of them gets a starting slot. Sae doesn't seem bad either, even though he's a mono main he's done well in majors so far and gave me a good game in pspl albeit i think my mu wasn't ideal. Ajna and 49 always impress, too. I think Evi is better than I used to, tho see her going down the road I did slightly. People always sleep on diogo but I think he's good, he just needs composure and I hope he starts in snake.


Interesting, I've bopped Vapo a couple of times on the ladder and can say he isn't half bad :wink: can you tell me your 10 starter players in Snake? Seeing how we won't have RU in SPL this year I'd say snake is the big tour to go for if you wanna show your worth as a top contender


it depends who signs up. i still, as anyone else would, value spl higher than snake but snake is all that's left so yah. 10 starters just w/o knowing who is signing up or not imo: me, ajna, kw, evi, diogo, aim(if he wants to, if not i'd say 11th spot is like roman or durza or luthier), feliburn, some non mainer tryhard who happens to be generally good at pkmn, 49, and surprise pick averardo. Of course it's nvr this simple, and there's always 1 or 2 starting slots a year you defo never see coming.


What are your thoughts on the current meta?


i think it's alright i guess. it's hard to appreciate this kind of meta after experiencing the golden meta™ for 11 months last year. That being said, it seems ok outside of some stuff being kinda mu reliant. i haven't rlly built in it yet and don't intend to until snake tho.


Could you share your favorite replays from your tour experience and tell me why those games in specific?


I have 2 replays in mind that are probably the most meaningful to me in my time here. the first is This is the win that started it all, the birth of my 'run' i guess you could call it. I kinda went into it above but it meant a lot for various reasons. If I lost this/played bad I probably could have been benched and never seen the light of day again in officials lol. The second replay would be from the same spl season, but my last game instead of my first. in this one the cryos were out and we decided to all goof around kinda. some did that by playing in off tiers, but I wanted to play notable ru figure windsong since these chances seem pretty rare. It's the birth of the golisopod/donphan core, one of the most fun teams I've ever made, and all around a great game. It put a shine on my season, albeit only a 5-game one.


Speaking of replays, why do you hate posting them so much?


nice segue. anyway, there's literally no benefit (to me) to post them. ppl can scout you, ppl can copy whatever team, and you don't get anything extra for it. it's just a losing scenario. Them knowing any team I'd prefer is doubly annoying in my case since I don't rlly build a lot/love a ton of teams. x user watching and thinking 'wow nat played this well!' isn't super appealing either, not to mention unaccomplished armchairs who want to criticize everything. If it's for an official like spl/snake then obvs I'll always post, because there is no higher stage to display/use teams. If replays are forced open and it's (to me) not a necessarily important tour then I'll just sandbag with alrdy public/old teams. If it's finals or rlly deep I might whip out cooler stuff, though.


Thoughts on playing a challenge cup game in the middle of a SPL game?


yeah speaking of losing scenarios, i'd not recommend it if anyone out there is considering it. it might seem hilarious in the moment and might get a few lols from stours but who cares about that. It'll overshadow however well you played/however dominantly you won. just take ur win and shut up lol


lmao word
Could you drop a team that best represents you and your style and explain your thought process behind it?


i was dreading this question LMAO. I have built one team in the past 7 months(from scratch, I usually take half or full teams off ppl and finish/edit from there) and it was arguably my worst bring in an official in the past 3 teamtours. I can explain the thought process behind it though. aero seemed to like offense and fv did when building for him. I wanted a team I felt beat offense, and felt pretty confident in the mu if anything offensive arrived. 4 atk cb arcanine especially can be annoying to that. unfortunately, I got the prep almost exactly wrong. the mu was abysmal, but on top of that I got p unlucky and played worse. In retrospect, I obviously should have prepped more solidly across the board, just usually up to that point my gut feeling in official prep was very accurate. I also brought this team in ruwc vs rozes and upon losing obii claimed "nat really took a dive off clout everest, huh" Hardships aside it was p decent vs offensive stuff, and has won some tour games for me.


lmao if it works it works
How do you feel about the current Donphan/Golisopod movement that's happening in the tier?


I feel it's fair to claim I invented the pair, but I'm not oblivious to the fact that the meta changing over time has caused more people to be open towards it. I think the speed creep war between pod/donphan/diancie/registeel is pretty ridiculous atm, I've never seen anything like it in ru. I remember in ru ssnl finals vs fv I had dragalge hit 144 or so because I was confident he would nvr be running pod quicker than that, and sure enough I draco'd it for an ohko and he commented "speedy" lol. Now that'd be left in the dust.


Yeah the worst of them all is Ajna, that guy outcreeps his own spreads w/ every battle
Anyway this was fun Nat, thanks for ur time


i'm pretty sure he runs jolly donphan at this point.
and np, thanks for the questions


Feel free to ask Nat any questions you want!

If you have any reccomendations I'll be more than happy to read them, just PM me!

Next time on FeliInterviews...

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favorite song/ music genre?

what’s your approach to tournament building? to what degree do you balance counter teaming with building an inherently solid team?

if you could start again, would you have decided to play OU, given the higher base skill level and prestige?


i tell my ppl i don't need love but
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Two-Time Past SCL Champion
favorite soda fountain drink?

best ru builder excluding me and col?

why do people think throwing out dry hurricanes all game with a noivern is a viable strategy in an attempt to actually win games?

is using a mean look meowstic with yawn and screens and then clicking belly drum with linoone a competitive strategy?

why’d you go from natalie to nat?


is a Top Tutor Alumnusis a Site Content Manager Alumnusis a Team Rater Alumnusis a Community Leader Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Top Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Staff Alumnusis a Past WCoP Championis a Former Smogon Metagame Tournament Circuit Champion
for future reference, whats the best screens setter here?

favorite og tours room members?

are u enjoying the 3 month XBL u scammed from me?

thoughts on Feli "retiring" but still signing up for every single tour and doing projects like this?

apex main if u still play?


is a Top Tiering Contributor
UUPL Champion
favorite song/ music genre?

what’s your approach to tournament building? to what degree do you balance counter teaming with building an inherently solid team?

if you could start again, would you have decided to play OU, given the higher base skill level and prestige?
1) any kind of music is fine w/ me except for country. I'm not sure if I really have a favorite, it's whatever i'm in the mood for. Some days I'm feeling classical music, some days pop, and some days death grips, and pretty much anything in-between.
2) In an ideal world I focus on a solid team w/ slight hints of preparation, though sometimes the prep goes way too cteamish, which can win or not. I just feel like you're gambling a lot more if your priority if cteaming.
3) i don't think so. i'm happy with how ru has gone for me and I don't think I'd change that for any tier w/ an unknown result. sure it'd be cool to have easier access to more tours and i get why a few ppl swap over to ou but it isn't something that interests me.

favorite soda fountain drink?

best ru builder excluding me and col?

why do people think throwing out dry hurricanes all game with a noivern is a viable strategy in an attempt to actually win games?

is using a mean look meowstic with yawn and screens and then clicking belly drum with linoone a competitive strategy?

why’d you go from natalie to nat?
1) I don't drink any soda. It seems one of the worst things you could put in your body, but on top of that I rlly dislike the taste of carbonation. Reason #2 also rules out seltzer water/carbonated water for me.
2) me if i struggle for my art, roman has had some cool stuff recently. there are a few other builders im relatively fond of but nothing crazy.
3) idk. noivern is pretty stupid. i can get behind the z-draco movement 100%. in a meta as offensive as this i don't think you can often afford to miss too many hurricanes.
4) it's not competitive. i get a few of the reasons why people do it tho. it's a way to get ru wins if you don't know what you're doing, or if you don't feel confident using a more thoughtful ru team vs a certain oppo. you can also pretty much sleep through the game, barring rare occasion. it's viable but not competitive.
5) the largest reason was that i had Natalie on ps but Natalie. (with a dot) on smogon. I knew I couldn't get Natalie on smogon because they had posted like 2 years ago (and randomly had chaos post on their wall, lol.) I figured the next best option was just going for a shorter nickname ppl call me half the time anyway, since just the clean 'Nat' was obtainable on both smogon and ps. That aside it's fun to tell ppl how I joined the 3-letter club and instantly became better at pokemon, because that's a known way to improve your game at this point.

what is your favorite cute elephant gif(required answer)

for future reference, whats the best screens setter here?

favorite og tours room members?

are u enjoying the 3 month XBL u scammed from me?

thoughts on Feli "retiring" but still signing up for every single tour and doing projects like this?

apex main if u still play?
1) Meowstic, viriz, tapu koko™
2) vapo, u, EYAN, rozes, miltankmilk, feli, blitz, deceived, soccer, a few others i can't remember atm. gxk and ggunner are up there too
3) i used it for 1 month :( but u made the bet so like bop
4) 3/10 look, but ppl quit smogon publicly and make a big deal of it all the time, just to come back moments later. i've seen worse lol
5) wraith for sure. no i do not play anymore, haven't in like 1.5 months.


is a Top Tiering Contributor
UUPL Champion
What tips would u give to SM RU begginers who want to teambuild in the tier?
just play around with stuff. see what works. i wouldn't recommend laddering since that is useless, instead just play competent friends. the more you play, the more stuff will click generally. don't be afraid to try stuff even if you feel it's bad.

How do you know if somebody is acting as if they were a good person but in reality they’re technically not a very good person?
truly a high iq question so i went to google and found this enlightening, well-written guide.

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