This article is a piece by our Author: Z0mOG
Smogon Tour 23: The Final Eight
Round 1 of this season’s smogtour has just finished, and with it came many exciting and revealing games, as expected with such a high level of competition between determined players.
From my own knowledge and from what we’ve seen in this first week, I’ve gone ahead and ranked the final 8 contestants (descending order under this post), as well as added my opinion on how they have fared so far.
Soulwind entered playoffs after having successful runs in both SM and BW, both tiers in which he won an individual tour. He is also one of the most expected to take the entire tournament. In his series vs. Marshall.Law, he won in SM and ORAS, while dropping the BW game. While BW is Soulwind’s ‘best’ tier, Marshall put up a good fight, yet soulwind outmatched him in the other two tiers in clean and well played games. He has remained consistent throughout his time on Smogon and I fully expect him to at least make finals, if not take the tour entirely.
While many find themselves doubtful of the Italian Darth Vader’s skills and consistencies, he is still my number 2 choice for the entire tourney. Alexander had a very good showing against Blunder in round 1, who was likely his strongest competitor in ORAS, the tier he won a solo trophy in, as well as winning in a clean BW game. While he isn’t the most up-to-date SM player, his experience and time spent in ORAS is none short of masterful, as well as the skill he’s built up is sure to translate in between the other 2 tiers.
Nintendi shocked many with his stellar performance versus ABR, taking down the OST champion in both SM and Nintendi’s best tier, ORAS. As far as the ORAS competition thins out with these final 8, Nintendi is among the best remaining players, as well as a very solid player in SM. Similar to the others who you will read about after, Nintendi is still inexperienced in BW, but I believe he has enough sheer strength in SM/ORAS to advance very far. Nintendi is a bird
Posho returns after facing the disappointment of last year’s smogon tour, where he took 2nd place to BKC. Posho has a very strong grasp on all of the tiers remaining in the tournament, promoting himself as a “bw/oras main.” His SM ability may come into question vs. many of the other more dedicated SM players, but he is nothing short of a huge threat in the other two tiers, as well as someone who still shouldn’t be slept on in SM.
Steve Angello, when motivated, is a very scary threat in SM, as shown in his decent SPL performance. We only got to see him play ORAS and BW vs. Poek unfortunately, but he took both games with a strong performance, and Poek was also considered to be one of the best contenders for this trophy. If Steve can keep up his unpredictable SM teams as well as consistent ORAS performances, he should be able to advance very far, especially if he can get wins in BW vs. other people weak in that tier, as he is slightly better than some of the lower ranked players in BW.
OST finalist Ben Gay makes his first appearance in smogon tour after falling flat in OST finals to ABR. Known for being wildly unpredictable in his builds, while also being known for leaning towards gimmicks like baton pass and stall, many would consider ben to be the biggest enigma of this tournament. After missing his scheduled time with lcans, he showed up a day later to take him in an easy 2-0, especially dominating in his SM game. If he can stay motivated to win after the blow from OST, he will definitely have potential to do well.
Kickasser is regarded as many as part of a new wave of French talent, similar to how Reymedy, Geemick, Mounts etc. were all at one point. In his game Vs. Ciele, virtually nobody was predicting him to stand a chance, yet despite a very unfortunate ending to an otherwise well played SM game, Kickasser managed to take the series. In his ORAS game, he showed a lot of proficiency with his ability to make plays and reads, as well as withstand such a long war, which many players tend to have trouble with early on into their careers. If he can keep winning in SM/ORAS, and get take some time to learn BW on a better level, he could find himself deep into this tour.
FlamingVictini will round out my rankings in last place, however I don’t believe he is by any means not up-to-par with the rest of the competition. He collected a free win in SM, due to Empo bringing a very random team, and dropped the BW game to a man with 4 points throughout the entire season in that tier, which is nothing less than worrying. Similarly to Kickasser, I think if he can perform well in SM/ORAS in upcoming weeks, and practice BW as much as possible, he can still win his way through another round or two, but I don’t expect him to make it to finals as of what I know right now.