Posted by: forwardarrow | May 7, 2015

A Big Retrospective of ForwardArrow’s MYM Career Part 1: MYMX-MYM12

So I’ve been in MYM for nearly 4 years now, something I find kind of hard to believe given I feel like I joined late in the contest history. God this contest has been going so long hasn’t it. Regardless, reading Kat’s retrospective made me think back on if I should do one for myself, given the last time I did a self ranking was years ago, in a video, and horribly horribly outdated. It comes from a time I was still living in the delusion that Doc Scratch was a good moveset after all. That and I didn’t really include any personal history to go with it, so I’ll be telling you a bit more about the design process of a lot of these sets, at least as much as I can remember, and some historical context around the time I posted them. I’m going to try to be as honest as possible in this article, which naturally means going over some things I’m not proud of. Hopefully you don’t hate me after this is all over though some of you probably do anyway. With that disclaimer out of the way lets get started.

I joined around the end of MYMX, which wasn’t a contest I saw that much of, but it seems to have been a slightly rough one for the community in general. Hostilities felt more intense than usual if you looked at Bunker articles and comments, and to a degree in the thread as well, there were huge lulls in activity, and it didn’t really feel like anyone was too excited about movesets at the time. It was a time a lot of people from the MYM3 period were growing disillusioned with the contest. I actually lurked the contest for a ridiculously long period, a lot of people don’t believe the “I lurked since MYM2” story but I was scared to sign up on forums for fear of embarrassing myself. That was probably a pretty correct fear because even joining all the way in MYMX I embarrassed myself horribly at times, and it probably would’ve been so much worse if I joined any earlier. But in the period before I joined, I could just tell something about this contest’s atmosphere felt off especially compared to 9. A lot of people do not look back on MYMX fondly nowadays, so I’m sure my suspicions were right.

Hoppip

So I don’t know what specifically prompted me to join, it may have honestly been DM leaving for reasons I’ll get into slightly later, or it may have just been me wanting to stretch my legs and see what a set I made would be received like. But I made a Smashboards account and posted a moveset for Hoppip. The idea was pretty simple, Rool made a Jumpluff set back in MYM5 that was based around getting as high in the air as possible, so Hoppip would work as a pre-evo of that with little of the set up or other fancy tricks Jumpluff could perform. Just no nonsense going high in the air and knocking the opponent off the top of the screen by juggling them.

The way Hoppip got them up there, as the character is really weak, was by putting a bunch of status effect powders in the air to hinder the opponent. The powders fell over time and disappeared on the ground, so they were pretty useless outside of a juggling or gimping context. He also had cotton spores he could cover the foe in that made them fall slower, something fairly similar to what Jumpluff did. I thought the set for that reason would be called a huge inferior ripoff of Rool’s Jumpluff but I made it in two hours with nothing to lose, so I posted it anyway. Being my first moveset, it was written entirely in neon green and pink because I was somehow not aware how eye straining that would be when I posted it. I’m sure if the moveset was remotely long nobody would have ever read it on account of that, but at least I learned from my mistake after that.

So I expected nobody to like it particularly much but had the outside hope of surprising people by being at all aware of playstyle. That plan went way better than expected because to my surprise, people actually liked my watered down Jumpluff, because it lacked the more pointless parts of Jumpluff like having to water your plants to make flowers to get you up into the air, rather just taking the route of jumping that high and focusing on the actual air game. I mean the creator of Jumpluff came out with a very positive comment on it while Smady, Nick, and Kupa also gave it plenty of praise, with Kupa even going so far as to Super Vote it. Honestly I wasn’t ready for this kind of reception and didn’t know if I was some kind of minor deity or just being really overestimated and we were all waiting for Warlord to come put me in my place. If we’re being real it was the latter, but Hoppip was still one of my better early efforts.

Now how much does better early efforts actually mean in this day and age? To be blunt not that terribly much, but it’s nothing I think anyone would be offended by. It’s very simplistic gimping with the primary distinction being it can happen off the top blast zone and you can hinder the foe’s fall speed, and most of the moves at least make the attempt to be focused around that. I doubt Hoppip could really have that great a set under any circumstances so this one doesn’t seem too bad on account of that, but there were a few areas I definently messed up. The Forward Smash, something even Rool pointed out at the time, comes across as really random in the context of the rest of the set. It was Giga Drain in the midst of a bunch of small bumps and plant spores being used to knock people around, and I don’t really get my logic in including it in the set in the first place nowadays. Was it to compensate for his stupidly light weight, because the Pokemon itself is so underpowered that it doesn’t really deserve it? Or was it just garbage I wrote because I made the set in two hours. More problematic than the FSmash is the Grab where I decided it was totally cool to put in absolutely no throws, which is pretty much inexcusable in this day and age and sometimes looked down on even back then. I guess a move like that mildly bad FSmash wouldn’t stick out to me in another set, but here it does because honestly the “good” parts of the set are more just mediocre. That being said given how MYMX ages in general, I guess that was all it really needed to be to get people’s attention.

So Hoppip’s reception surprised me, and not long after its posting Rool posted Gengar, which is a set that was hugely influential on me at the time. A lot of it probably was the dark presentation and atmosphere because I was a very young and stupid MYMer, but the way it handled duplicates felt much more intuitive to me than most of the other interpretations at the time, and I also actually mind the random lightning god air and similar moves, thinking they’d be really fun to actually play with and people were just getting bitter over nothing. Now in hindsight, I think Gengar is pretty bad, I can see traces of what I liked in it nowadays, but I’m still very thankful Rool posted the set right after I joined. I hadn’t really read that much MYMX stuff and Gengar was one of a very small number of sets I was able to get actually excited over in a long time. Enjoying a set that much was kind of essential to get me to actually read a lot of the other top end sets of the contest like N. Tropy and Baron K. Roolenstein, as well as vote. Probably help encourage me to keep making sets too, I mean if the creator of the “amazing” Gengar liked my stuff as he always seemed too when he commented on it I couldn’t possibly be a bad moveset maker right?

Cofagrigus

I bring up Gengar in part because I decided I needed to make a ghost Pokemon of my own after it was posted because they were apparently all the rage or something. So I made Cofagrigus, which unlike the other ghosts did basically nothing along the lines of invisibility or duplicates that contest, instead deciding to focus on… a really annoying status effect. You see Cofagrigus makes mummies which he can animate with Shadow Balls, which kind of inspired by Gengar’s use of Shadow Balls but a fair bit more random by comparison on the character, and they would wrap around the opponent and disable their specials. Yeah you can imagine how great that must be to play against, especially if you’re someone like poor Olimar. The rest of the set was mostly command grabs to stall for your mummies and had a ridiculously laggy and impractical grab game that nobody in their right mind would ever use, even if the results were somewhat powerful. I spent a fair bit longer on it than Hoppip and it was more “creative” so how could it possibly be bad?

As it turned out nobody really liked Cofagrigus all that much. MarthTrinity and Nick were the only 2 people I ever heard comment on it and neither particularly enjoyed it, and after joining the chat a bit later I asked Smady about it and he considered it the biggest blemish on my record at the time. Eventually Rool commented on it and said it was basically okay, probably the highest praise it ever got. I disowned it pretty fast at the time and if you couldn’t tell I still hate it, but there was one concept I was rather fond of in the set. Cofagrigus could unwind the mummification around the opponent to make a string of gauze which he could set on fire or hit with some of his command grabs, and we didn’t really have a lot of sets that allowed you to extend the foe’s hurtbox like that. Of course it was still stupid in this context because all it meant was Cofagrigus had an even easier time landing his stalling command grabs and it basically makes no sense on the character, but it was something I ever could come back too.

So Cofagrigus was a failure and it didn’t take that long for me to figure out it was, so I went back to the drawing board and asked Nick if he had any advice. He basically suggested I take some more time to write and ask someone to preview. I also decided that for the time I was done with Pokemon, I didn’t even particularly like the series and it was mostly just easy moveset fodder.

Before we go over that, we may as well go over a bit of an oddity in my history, my brother joined MYM at one point. He made a grand total of one set, which was also a Pokemon, and it had snazzier presentation than Cofagrigus and was generally pretty well received, because it fell into the invisibility/duplicates genre but actually did something unique with having a fairly complex system to switch up the opponent’s controls, as well as being able to turn into the foe, allowing you confuse the players as to who is who. Obviously the concept doesn’t hold up insanely well nowadays but as far as MYMX sets go, you could do a lot worse. I did help him a decent amount on the set but was generally kind of a jerk about it and told him nobody could possibly like it because he didn’t have the lurking experience I did. But hey, he put time and effort into it and listened to what I had to say, so it wasn’t a failure like my ghost pokemon. He never really made sets again since it was a big time commitment for him that he didn’t really want. That’s probably a good thing because now he has a life and a lot of things would’ve been way more awkward if he was still around because of family bias and whatnot.

Homura

So I spent a week on my next set, Homura Akemi, and no way would I make this one in a single day when I actually cared about the character. I was pretty strongly associated with the franchise for a long time because I always used characters from it as my chat/thread avatars, and also because it was one of my favorite series to actually talk about because I was long past the phase I cared about Pokemon, and I was basically the only person in MYM who cared about Magic the Gathering besides Legend of Link. Most of MYM chat seemed to talk about Marvel vs Capcom 3, Team Fortress 2, or Disney/My Little Pony and god I did not want to talk about any of those things because I hated them. Yes, MYM had a My Little Pony phase and this is one of the many, many reasons I do not miss that era. I imagine most of my weaknesses as an MYMer probably come from the fact that I’ve never been a fan of competitive fighting games, though by comparison I feel it also didn’t hinder me in the way it did a lot of other people, as they’d take an approach to Smash Brothers movesets that would really feel much more reasonable in a fighter not based around knockback. Regardless, Homura was a character I really liked because I thought she had a lot of character depth, a great fighting style, and it was cool to have someone entirely aware of Kyubey’s machinations while everyone else was pretty oblivious.

So naturally I wanted to do well on her, especially because this character was a small part of why I came to MYM. You see back in early MYMX I read Katapultar’s Charlotte set for god knows what reason and while I hated it, I saw a lot of the imagery in it and Walpurgis Night and thought it’d be a pretty cool series to at least give a look. Then I found out that before DM left he was considering a Homura set and it annoyed the hell out of me that he dropped out of MYM forever without completing her, so I decided to take up the job. It was that and, frankly, I was kind of pissed that DM was treated as something of a joke because he was one of the only people who joined after MYM3 who ever reached huge success in MYM. I always cheered for and looked up to MYMers who joined after that and weren’t part of the initial “close-knit” community making a name for themselves. The primary 2 were DM and Wizzerd. I doubt I will say anything more embarrassing in this article than the fact that at one point I thought Wizzerd was really cool but now you all know and can laugh at me.

So back to the actual moveset, the idea was pretty simple: Homura’s moveset would be largely projectiles, but she uses her signature time stop to allow her to set up huge formations of them at once to provide massive amounts of pressure on the opponent. In the downtime between time stops, she could use the projectiles and traps in her set to camp, and there was also the more defensive option of just setting up a bunch of traps around herself or around the foe make them less in your face. I say traps but they basically just amount to some moderately powerful explosives, the set is fairly lacking in variety. At the very least I came up with a few unique ideas, such as being able to stack machine gun bullets together in one powerful wave that deals larger amounts of knockback, a concept that I’d come back too as a bigger focus in Chakravartin. The set makes any attempt at having a melee game that flows into the playstyle at all, largely being based around using the rather awkwardly designed Side Special dodge to punish people, which is more than can be said for a lot of sets in the era. That said, I still don’t think Homura holds up all that well today, Time Stop has been done by other sets much better than this, but more importantly we’ve come up with better ways to handle projectiles. I mean compare Homura’s 2(and one of them awkwardly placed) methods of working off her projectiles to all the material in Vector or Vander Decken, it doesn’t hold up. That said, I still like the character a lot so the set holds some sentimental value, and I mentioned MYMX aging badly in general so I mean, being outdated in comparison to other sets isn’t the worst thing it could be.

So as far as reception goes, I didn’t get the kind of immediate responses I had been used to from Hoppip and Cofagrigus, and that annoyed me to no end. I mean I put so much more work into this set than either of those, it had actual variety in the moves, a stronger concept, but nobody really paid attention to it. Eventually I got responses to the set as time went on, but I do know a lot of people just voted without reading it because it was buried by the My Little Pony movement(this was a thing people, this was a thing and MYMX forever belongs in the depths of hell for it). In the midst of my frustrations, my brother did me a favor and actually went to xat for me, which I was too scared to do at the time. Comments did eventually come through for the set, and it was actually very positively received amongst everyone who actually did bother to read it so it managed a solid placing. It was the only MYMX set of mine that Warlord read, and while I was expecting him to be the person to finally talk me down he actually seemed to genuinely like the set to my surprise.

This was an interesting time because I’ve mentioned a lot that I respected DM and I made a character choice he would in the case of Homura… and DM was also really big into Pokemon. So my sets were a DM character and 2 Pokemon. And I joined shortly after a pair of articles that basically said DM was a gigantic overrated piece of shit who nobody will remember fondly. So the extremely obvious assumption was that I was DM, to the point Warlord just called me DM in his recaps. DM didn’t help when he posted an article talking about himself in college where he just decides to fuel the fires by saying he totally could be me but won’t say anything on the subject. Then I actually came to chat and a lot of people were still unsure if I was someone’s alternate account but to a decent number it was solid evidence that I wasn’t. DM and I ended up becoming friends down the road entirely because of this accusation, and as time went on the “FA is DM” thing became more of a joke than something anyone actually believed. I think some people still thought I was some weird alternate account and theories like me being the return of Wizzerd or Baloo were proposed, which are naturally absurd I couldn’t POSSIBLY be Wizzerd trying to redeem himself.

There was a time in MYM where we all used xat, for very new people, a website which was made in the 90’s and definently runs like one. It was an absolutely horrible means of communication that broke in many different ways and definently ran like a relic of the early internet, but MYM was attached to it because the emoticons were basically all made into memes, and we all loved our memes back in those days. And we had a Youtube player so we didn’t have to tab out that people totally didn’t abuse the broadcast function on to annoy everyone. There was also the spamming “joke” bans because they were so fast and easy to do and undo that were incredibly annoying when you were on the receiving end of, and for some ungodly reason Sundance, a guy who hadn’t contributed anything to the MYM thread in years, was given unrestricted administration of the chat. Oh and the log would vanish over time so you couldn’t see what most of the conversation was when you came in, a fact that only got worse and worse as xat became more broken. But hey, it was how we communicated at the time.

And while we’re talking about terrible things in xat, I was one of them. By god was I an obnoxious jerk back then, begging people to read my sets, throwing insults around at other sets at random, spamming Caps Lock, generally not remotely following the subject at hand and when I did trying to contribute by saying stuff along the lines of “this sucks and I don’t care”. A particularly vivid memory to me is that at one point I joined up with David to make interacting with people extremely difficult for Majora, someone who came back and was just trying to post sets to get by. I ended up talking to him a lot in private initially for the purposes of insulting him, but after a while we ended up friends and I have no idea to this day why that happened. I think this was just what I thought was what people considered cool at the time but all I did was make a huge ass of myself. It’s no wonder I wasn’t a very popular figure in the community at the time.

Wailord

So shortly after joining chat and all the mess that happened around that time, I got an idea in my head for how to make Wailord remotely playable. It was a pretty stupid thing to attempt, and I told the chat about it and they thought I was a madman. So I wrote one up in an even shorter period than Hoppip and posted it, and people were mostly confused by my decision to not make him a playable stage. I never really thought of that, and I still think that concept wouldn’t really work that well, but I’m pretty sure my interpretation of Wailord was far, far stupider.

You see Wailord is pretty much as big as the entirety of Final Destination, and just gets slapped onto the stag. It was Weight 12 to its Size 50 because that somehow balances it for 1v1, and the playstyle was simply flooding the stage via water spout so you could access you’re broken Smashes or sleep under the stage to restore the ridiculous amount of punishment you probably took early. It was very unique, and it actually managed to go over well with a few people. Rool adored the set and said it was my best, to which I declared he was a madman and that he was supporting what I thought was a borderline joke set anyway. It also got a positive comment from MT and I got surprisingly little criticism on the set because nobody who knew it would be bad bothered to read it.

So I’ve been fairly nice to Rool thus far so I hope none of you mind what I’m about to say, but he absolutely was a madman for liking Wailord, and so was MT. This is the worst moveset I have ever made looking back on it now, because the balance is so horribly, horribly messed up its almost impossible to believe it was ever taken seriously. The set skips out on all the grab inputs and most of the aerials, and the Smashes can only be used underwater. The standards are all really generic bumps and whatnot that are me desperately trying to make animations for this context Wailord could never possibly work in, including him arching his back on Up Tilt somehow. His stage flooding forced everyone aside from Wailord into an awkward swimming state that would kill them in 6 seconds if they stayed underwater, which was extremely broken in the context of the Down Aerial body slam which could likely trap opponents for times in the range of 10 seconds given how crippling the status effect it inflicted was. His means of getting into the air to body slam was also ridiculous, he literally flips over and fires water down at the stage to propel himself into the air. The underwater exclusive Smashes are also insanely imbalanced, between how easy the FSmash is to suicide with and how otherwise stupidly ungodly powerful they are. Nothing about this set is really done right, and it shows a lot that was wrong with the MYMX mindset and how we viewed balance in general that this set was received in any positive light, especially when its own maker even went out of its way to disown it at the time, because yes even stupid MYMX me could tell this set was bad.

Gamzee

So after that MYMX reached its closing point, and deciding 4 sets in one month was not enough I figured I might as well pump out one more set. So on the last day I wrote up a set for Gamzee, a character from Homestuck, the other major franchise I was associated with early in my career because it was one of the few I could find to talk about with anyone. That being said, it was also heavily despised by a huge chunk of the chat because of the art style/fanbase, so it was mostly just something I talked about in private. In hindsight though, I really hate what the series has become, and few things moreso than Gamzee himself. He’s basically turned into a walking plot device that does whatever the author can’t make sense of on another character while flashing between attempting to be horrifying and attempting to be funny in a way that just doesn’t really work on either end. I didn’t mind his earlier appearences which the set was based off, but in hindsight this is the worst actual character I’ve ever made a set for and one I kind of wish I never actually made at times.

The set itself was a weird mess of effects that I thought were fitting on Gamzee at the time, like him randomly vanishing from the battlefield entirely, teleporting to harlequin markers across the stage, and then basically trying to abuse his constantly teleporting nature to camp or surprise foes. There’s very little flow here, and a lot of the moves are absurdly tacky, most notably the Forward Smash where he just honks a horn to randomly gimp people’s shields for absolutely no logical reason. It also had a boss mode for absolutely no logical reason, I guess I thought the concept worked into a boss but it doesn’t really make any sense on the character at all.

The set basically didn’t get a reception, as almost nobody read it, in a recurring trend of people just not bothering to give any attention to sets for characters that aren’t familiar to them. I remember 2 people’s responses to the set and again, it was with general positivity. Rool thought the wacky, nonsensical moves were really interesting while Smady Super Voted it on account of liking the characterization and unorthodox playstyle. It honestly was a set I was fond of for a while too, because honestly it was pretty fun to cut loose while writing it, but it doesn’t hold up and was another in a long string of sets to set me up to be stupidly overconfident come MYM11.

So at this point I’ve settled into the chat community with my incredibly shitty attitude and bizarre taste, making a few friends with Kibble, Smady, and David. I don’t really like bringing up that I ever got along with David, but I’m trying to be honest here. He tried to work with my tastes even when we were complete opposites and we were both huge dicks to newcomers, so it worked out. It was also just that I needed anyone to talk too I guess, and I had already been going out of my way to antagonize people like MarthTrinity and Phatcat. As time went on I also became friends with DM and Majora, but I don’t remember exactly when that started. I do feel kind of bad I rejected a joke DM proposed of having me post Two-Face for him to convince people more strongly that I was him, but at the time I really wanted to break away from the stigma that I was him.

So in the meantime between MYMX and MYM11, the Bunker was created, and at the time I had no idea what all that really meant. I just knew I had a bunch of new article to read and if nothing else, I really enjoy reading sets or content made by MYMers. That was true back then and its true now, so I had a lot of fun during the Bunker period, but for older members it was a very tense time where a lot of old systems were called into question. Obviously I’m kind of glad that picks was removed as that was a horrible system that basically rigged the Top 50 in a lot of ways, but I think a lot of really nasty things were said both in open and behind closed doors and I think it was a big part of why the people who currently go to Tirkchat left MYM. Mind you, I think that was actually a good thing, because for basically the entirety of late MYM11-13 the chat was an extremely hostile place to be, and it’s better for not only MYM, but also for the people who left it to just put all that stuff behind us.

Vol Opt

For me, I was entirely convinced at this point I was effectively a god who was only incapable of winning MYM because of lack of time spent on sets and a small readership. So I started MYM11 with Vol Opt, which was a pretty huge departure from my material up until this point. My MYMX sets were focused largely on soft interactions, small mobile characters, and hoping the concept I propose in the Specials would be a smash hit with people. Vol Opt entirely did away with that approach, and instead I decided everything must have a flashy interaction with everything else. This set is what people like JOE and a good chunk of Tirkchat probably are convinced the majority of MYM sets are, entirely appealing to flash by making all the moves connect to as many things as possible in the most forced way imaginable.

So the basic idea of the set is, Vol Opt can produce the pillars from his boss fight, as well as electric shocks, and summon his computer monitor which flies around with free flight in a manner that has absolutely nothing to do with his boss fight. The computer monitor than produces a bunch of bizarre projectiles, bombs, and wires that also have nothing to do with the boss fight to create some really weird cage set ups that are all constantly electrocuted which makes them miserable to play against. Vol Opt itself is basically a useless lunk of metal that entirely exists to serve as “that thing you KO” as for some ungodly reason the monitor is completely immortal. Fights with Vol Opt are completely one sides snowballs where as soon as either gets a slight edge they will immediately win with no hope of the other fighting back because Vol Opt does nothing without his set up but once he has it he’s ungodly OP. I imagine in most situations he’d just be rushed down and die immediately because his grab game which was meant to give him anything to defend himself was absolutely useless on account of the lag and it basically just putting opponents in a place where attacks more predictable than easy Brawl bosses will occasionally be fired at them while they can freely wail on Vol Opt from the inside with nothing he can do about it. Again, this has absolutely nothing to do with the boss fight.

So I obviously don’t like Vol Opt, and even at the time I felt something was obviously wrong with it compared to say, Homura, but I posted it anyway. In an increasingly baffling trend with my early sets that basically culminates here, Vol Opt got a very positive reception. Nick loved it and viewed it as a huge evolution on my setmaking because it did so many hard interactions, Rool thought the clunky/mechanical execution was really fitting, Kupa Super Voted it in a move that was somehow even more bizarre than him SVing Hoppip, Smashbot also loved it, and Smady was less big on it than the others but still enjoyed it. Warlord was the most critical of the initial audience when I assumed the set was just pandering to him and he’d immediately like it with him saying it was “basically okay”, though Legend of Link also criticized the snowball aspects for being too extreme. Eventually DM posted a pretty scathing comment on it that was entirely right where he said nothing about the set works as intended and it’d be so painfully unfun to play as or against. I was a little offended by it at the time, but at the same time I was kind of frustrated MYM wasn’t more critical of what was basically a pile of half assed interactions I didn’t think through at all. In a way I kind of wanted this set to be hated to prove MYM wasn’t shallow because even at the time I was at all aware of what a mess it really was. I grew to hate it more and more as time went on, especially because I made it for a character who is basically just a big box with no character traits.

Kyubey

So my generic block of stationary succeeded, and I had an idea again on an “impossible” character who I really wanted to make, because unlike Wailord, I actually liked this character. That character being Kyubey, and this is one of my most well-known sets for some… interesting reasons. remember how I said I was basically waiting on Warlord to tear me a new one on a moveset finally. Yeah that happened, but we’ll get to that as that particular bit took a long time to actually come about after the set was posted. The idea was simple, Kyubey would try to talk the opponent into becoming a magical girl throughout the moveset by spamming his Neutral Special to make them more susceptible, and then once they are a magical girl spend them down the path of misery and despair he always tries to send them on to get the most out of their emotional energy. It also plays around with a reincarnation mechanic where he has basically 5 stocks for every actual stock, and can gain them back by eating his corpses, but he’s insanely light and any attack that deals 10% or more will reduce him to a corpse. He also can block weaker attacks with his fluffy tail to make it hard to prevent the foe from creating corpses, allowing him to complete his long flowchart and reach the phase where he tries to horribly murder the foe.

And frankly, while I think it’s a good representation of what he does in the show even if the stuff where he messes with the soul gem is largely made up, it does encompass a lot of the problems I had in my early sets even before we get to balance. The whole set is painfully linear with every move serving the same purpose, but more in a fashion similar to Vol Opt where he funnels all this into a very singular and boring goal that is probably very unfun to play against. It’s a flowchart, if you will. It also deals a lot in something that I grew to hate as time went on, messing with the opponent’s characterization. It just assumes people will accept Kyubey’s power and his stupid persuasion methods like pretending to be a friendly cat with the opponent will somehow actually work. I’m sure Ganondorf would never fall for that, let alone various villains with MYM sets. I feel its still a better set than Vol Opt as the end stage of his game is a little less painful than cage and it at least gets Kyubey’s own characterization spot on, but it is awful that its at the expense of the opponent.

The reception was kind of two part, but the early reception was a bit of a surprise to me, because I previewed the set to Smady and he really liked it, and I made a ton of improvements to try to fix what he mentioned were problems(such as the original lack of a real grab game, yes there was an old version that was even WORSE). And yet while people seemed to enjoy the ideas plenty, there was a general consensus that the set was overpowered because of how he could counter attacks of both varieties, and how strong he becomes once he turns into a magical girl. This analysis turned out VERY incorrect, but Rool pointed out what I was mentioning in the above paragraph with forced characterization and the flowcharty nature of the set, and for once I think Rool was one of the most correct people in criticizing the set. That’s probably because I told him he’d like it though. Naturally it still had some fans, Legend of Link, Smady, and Kupa all thought the set was great(though Kupa realized the error of his ways later in the contest). I was a little bitter about the “broken” complaints though, I thought that you could still counter him especially in the context of any form of traps or decent zoning, because the ideas went over well somehow and this was and still is one of my favorite villains.

So up next is the MYM11 Halloween, which definitely wasn’t a high point for me in particular, but it is worth talking about regardless. Halloween has always been considered “MYM day” because Halloween oriented characters tend to fit the model of what MYM wants for movesets more. And let’s be honest, you can stretch most villains to fit the Halloween theme in some fashion if you really want too. MYM11 Halloween stands out as the most memorable just because of the sheer incredible quantity of sets that were posted, we were still digging through the pile finding new stuff for days. The most memorable part was the Duck Twacy movement, which was a movement for characters with literally 2 seconds of screen time each and nothing beyond a name to them. While it was a very stupid idea for a movement because you’re basically making a set for cartoon physics and nothing else, it was a pretty ambitious effort and we got a large number of sets out of it. I can’t help but feel it really drained Rool though, he never finished another set and mostly stopped commenting after that Halloween, and it was very clear he hated his non-Wolf Man contributions to the movement.

So in this enormous mess of sets I contributed a total of 2, one because Magic the Gathering had literally just done a horror themed set and I wasn’t going to miss my opportunity to post something from that. The other was me joining a movement, and in a trend that would reoccur with absolutely every time I was asked to make a set against my will, it turned out to be a mistake. This one for slightly different reasons than usual, but none-the-less, I feel like if I’m requested to make a character it always ends terribly. So take notes, Kiwi/Bionichute/Slavic/future MYMer reading this article, if you somehow rope me into joining your movement do not get excited for what I post, its probably going to suck.

But this first movement I joined was, of all things, a Cereal Mascots movement proposed by the Sundance Kid, and on account of David and I still having something resembling a friendship at the time, he asked me to join. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into, so I accepted. He also told me the movement was basically going to be treating the Cereal Mascots like actual monsters, edgy cereal mascots if you will, in passing, and I did not realize he was joking. I only found out after it was posted that was not in fact, the plan, and what I had created was a horrible monstrosity. What can you do though.

Mummy

So that was the origin story of Fruity Yummy Mummy, a character that to this day looks extremely out of place next to everything I’ve ever made barring Grandmatriarchs. So the set starts out with the even slightly reasonable premise of him using his bandages to tether to the opponent, but then proceeds to have him start biting the opponent’s head trying to eat their brains like a classic zombie. It gets really sadistic during the grab game though, where he force feeds the opponent cereal and also gives them acid milk, which force them to start vomiting. The vomit can be made into a much bigger thing with the random wind from the Up Special, which for no logical reason in particular causes it to expand into goop globs. He can also suppress or immediately force out the vomit in some pretty disturbing animations. The rest of the set has a pretty disturbing amount of stun and redundancy to try and get the goop out, and what the goop amounts too is allowing Mummy to stun the opponent for even longer so you can finish them off with the Side B.

So if you couldn’t tell from my description, I don’t like the set, for the ludicrous characterization and rather lackluster playstyle, though the weird thing is it has any redeeming features, being one of the earlier attempts at a tether oriented set even if it just mostly used it for lockdown. Regardless, the reaction to the set was basically just disgust and bewilderment that I took David’s idea for edgy cereal mascots seriously. I realized the error of my ways almost immediately after posting it, and asked people not to even bother reading it. I do feel that today amidst my early sets its not even the worst, but its definitely the one I question making the most, though at this point I find the set’s existence mostly just hilarious and I don’t mind having it on my record.

Gatstaf2

So naturally the first part of MYM11 Hallowen was a disaster for me, but what about the second part? Well it was also a disaster. My second moveset posted that day was Gatstaf Shepherd. And this early in my career, it was probably a suicidal undertaking to do, as it was something I made up on the fly for Halloween because I really wanted an Innistrad moveset out. The set had 2 premises, one of which being to summon up sheep so the wolf form could make use of them once he transformed, which is a pretty logical premise for the character but the execution was kind of messed up. The other was shield breaking, where Gatstaf Shepherd’s attacks would deal excessive shield damage but be otherwise weak, while the Gatstaf Howler’s attacks would have any actual power behind them and hit the dodge planes, in a move you should really never do as depriving opponents of their dodging option against attacks is generally really terrible to play against and nonsensical. It was all the rage back in this era of MYM though, you’d see it in all sorts of movesets, and it’s a part of why a lot of them age badly, alongside excessive stuns and messing with the opponent’s characterization.

So as you might expect, I don’t like Gatstaf Shepherd/Howler at all. They both have their share of stupid moves, like a pitfall trap and invisibility they can use amidst sheep because of the old “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” saying and not anything to do with the actual character. Though I think the real standouts have to be the Shepherd’s Forward and Up Smashes, the first of which randomly disabled shields when it broke them, and the later dazed opponents when hit and this causes them to… be forced into using their shield. Even at the time this was found to be extremely stupid, and it is basically the only way the Shepherd has to get the opponent to use their shield as all his other attacks are pretty terrible and easily dodged, so there’s not terribly much point when the character is so underpowered and pathetic otherwise. Randomly it did have a concept I used for a set I looked back on significantly more fondly, with Gatstaf Howler being able to cling to and move along the underside of the stage. The main problem with this concept is it doesn’t really work as well on stages like Yoshi’s island that don’t really have an underside, but you can just use the side wall if you feel so inclined. Still, one vaguely decent idea didn’t save Gatstaf from being garbage.

Unlike Mummy, this set wasn’t ignored because I asked people to ignore it, but it was immediately shut down by Warlord for the reasons I talked about above. Nobody really considered it worth their time to read after that, but the set was such an obvious rush job I wasn’t really upset about it, nor about Mummy. It was a bit strange to finally be getting negative reception, but I suppose that comes from being not nearly as ignored as I was earlier. Regardless, I probably should’ve taken the hint at this point that something really needed to change, given I wasn’t terribly fond of Vol Opt and Kyubey had a fair share of criticism.

As an aside, this set has a rather unique distinction amongst my sets of getting remade by another MYMer. In MYM13, Froy decided to make his own attempt at Gatstaf Shepherd, which was clearly pretty directly inspired by mine and in a rather baffling decision even keeps the sheep based invisibility. The set instead focuses on creating wool structures to bounce sheep and hay off, which is actually kind of interesting compared to the terrible shield breaking in my set, and made the Shepherd self-sufficient enough to be interesting at all. The howler was by comparison pretty underwhelming, but it made any use of consuming the sheep compared to mine and had some material to cling to other than the underside of the stage in the wool structures. I’d still say the set isn’t particularly good, on account of being way too cartoony for the character and being very heavy on filler, but if you read Gatstaf you may as well check out the sequel. That said, there is a really good set that features a forced back and forth transformation posted rather recently. I forget what it was called, Papa Corn or something.

Kyoko

So the last set it took for me to get the damn hint was Kyoko, the last of the three major Madoka characters I actually particularly like(and yet Mami and Sayaka are the ones that got popular sets much to my frustration). The set was based around varying up the range of your spear, and choosing where the more powerful hitbox of the move was. An immediate problem is that I probably only should’ve had one move to modify the spear’s hitbox size but several moves only served that purpose in the playstyle and nothing else. It honestly gets much worse than that though, the set has a horde of balancing mechanics to try to compensate for you being able to switch up where the hitbox of the move is because having it be far away from Kyoko would be so insanely overpowered right? It ends up making her feel very slow, clunky, and pathetic, especially in combination with her weight. The spear also has a lot of weird mechanics, I can get that I needed to have it split into the chain version at some point but it then has a “building power” mechanic as you use consecutive attacks, supposedly based off the momentum in the chain or something but if you actually look at the animations for these attacks it makes fairly little logical sense for them to build up power like that. The thought of building up momentum in a chain was kind of interesting but it failed to amount to much in practice. In the midst of me making her fairly pathetic, I had her Forward Aerial randomly terraform the stage when she hit the ground with it, which was pretty incongruous with the very weak image I made of her in the set. I felt it made sense for her in the context of the show where her attacks actually have some power behind them, but it’s called internal consistency MYM11 FA. Learn it.

So the set was pretty bad, but honestly I don’t think it was completely without redeeming features. The range/power modification would probably work on a better set for the character if it wasn’t executed so poorly, and while the Down Smash is very poorly written, I think a similar move could ever be interesting if executed right. I do have to mention the Up Smash though because that is the most ridiculous wall in the history of man. Aside from not fitting the input, it can be 6 Ganondorf heights tall and have 80 stamina at full charge. Kyoko should probably quit spear fighting and go into the business of wall building if this set is any indication.

So, in a trend with the last couple sets, Kyoko was not well received. Kibble and a couple others initially posted some vaguely nice comments, with Legend of Link being the main one to detract the set by negatively comparing it to Khold’s Knight Man. I was kind of pissed about this on account of hating Knight Man and ended up getting in a not particularly serious fight with Legend of Link over it which reached a peak in me posting a rather negative comment on Chaos 0 which basically amounted to “I don’t get what this set is trying to accomplish”. In hindsight, it was probably right for me to hate Chaos 0 because it wasn’t a good moveset, but in all fairness neither was like anything else in MYM11.

So Warlord finally decided this was the right time to crush my ego and posted a pair of comments on Kyubey and Kyoko which were pretty crushing for me at the time because he actually made very solid arguments as to why they were both awful. The thread wasn’t the half of it honestly, though there’s a lot of me embarrassing myself trying to defend Kyubey in the thread if you’re morbidly curious. But the basic idea was that it really would be insanely easy to just kill Kyubey before he gets to his corpses and kill him on the same part of the stage over and over again due to how pathetically easily he gets made into a corpse, and that the 5 stocks mechanic just means he’s going to be miserable for longer rather than accomplish anything, because the sheer amount of time required for him to actually land the “pummel KO” on the opponent is ridiculous, especially when the resulting buff is not even necessarily game winning on its own even if it is strong. As for Kyoko, he basically mentioned everything I did above. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have taken the criticism nearly as hard as I did, but I thought I was one of the best set makers in the contest at the time because frankly, not many people had given me reason to believe otherwise. This is why I don’t spoil newcomers by saying I like their sets when I don’t, because it will only lead them to disappointment later.

Lets not kid ourselves though, I was WAY too melodramatic over this stupid incident, basically attention-whoring and saying how I was so terrible in chat all the time. This lasted until a decent amount of time after I posted Praetors, but I suppose it was better than my stupidly cocky persona. Didn’t stop me from treating most conversations the same way, but at least I was a bit more respectful to other people’s setmaking abilities and newer members of the community. Still, its alright to be disappointed with a set’s reception but please don’t make the same mistake I did and spend all your time loudly begging for people to love you for being a failure. Its not going to get you anywhere and it’ll just make everyone uncomfortable.

Though, that being said, for all my annoying behavior in chat, I am proud of one thing I did, and that’s that I didn’t give up on setmaking or just accept that all my stuff would be hated from this point on. Instead I took time out to work on by far my most important group of sets ever, the Praetors. It was a collection of 5 Magic the Gathering villains from the New Phyrexia storyline. I’ve always kind of liked Magic as a more serious version of Yugioh, with its ability to create vastly more interesting and complex game states than my old childhood favorite game and designers who are much more cautious about creating game-breakingly powerful cards or card combos. The one problem with it for me though, is that the designs were usually pretty boring if we’re being honest with ourselves. There are usually a couple standout monsters here and there, but its mostly just boring humans and their boring goblin, angel, centaur, or whatever cousins in copious quantities. Some sets are better about it than others, but its usually a pretty consistent problem.

Not so with New Phyrexia, where the much more generic designs are done away with for some gruesome, monstrous, flesh and metal hybrid ones that always caught my fancy, as I’m a sucker for weird monsters and body horror, which Phyrexia had in spades. And on top of that, the leaders of the factions all had standout high quality designs(barring Sheoldred but she’s nothing terrible) and enough implied content in their art, lore, and other cards that could make them easily have sets. I like working with implied material more than a very clearly defined source, it gives me a little more room to put my own spins on how I feel the character should be interpreted. I’ve heard this called “making a set for a picture” by Warlord, but there’s always a lot of background to MtG cards from the setting that gives a sense of guidance for how their sets should be made, so I think it’s a bit more than just that. Especially in the case of Praetors, who have whole articles dedicated to their characters. I only wish there was more of an actual storyline for them to be involved in, as the actual books just focus on horrible characters like Elspeth and Venser doing absolutely nothing instead of the actions of the Praetors.

So I’ll talk about the Praetors in posting order, because I pretty much worked on all of them overlapping each other. That being said, despite my pride in this project, I want to make it clear that these sets aren’t what they used to be because we’ve evolved a lot since MYM11. It is something I’d really love to do again in the future though, posting a large number of sets back to back from the same series like this, because personal multi-set projects always have a lot of impact, especially when they’re done well.

Elesh Norn

So the first Praetor posted was Elesh Norn, and she was one of the less popular ones. I actually did start on this set first of the movement, before even finishing Kyoko. The set was doing something that ironically was rather disliked at the time of focusing on minions rather than some awkward invisibility or trap/projectile-combo hybrids that were all the rage in those days. Elesh Norn was pretty different in terms of execution from a lot of the established minion sets though, because she wasn’t just spamming minions on random inputs and worked off them with some remotely well thought out interactions, such as attacks with actual somewhat relevant hitboxes armoring them up and turning them into projectile streams, and it rarely did anything particularly tacky with the minions themselves. You could also personally control them if you wanted too, and have some fun with the personal guard tome lackey Elesh Norn has out at all times.

All that sounds good probably, but compared to how we use minions nowadays I don’t think the interactions hold up that insanely well, not even in terms of being less complex but they’re just less interesting in applications. I feel the minion control is also a bit underwhelming when the minions themselves are so weak, though if you want to talk about weak, Elesh Norn herself is Weight 3. I want that to sink in for a moment, that this giant armored villain who towers over Ganondorf and is very powerful in the lore and card game is for, some ungodly reason, 3/10 weight. The logic was “porcelain is fragile” and White Phyrexia having a porcelain theme but Elesh Norn’s stats are more balanced towards durability to the point she’s tankier than Vorinclex. So no there’s basically no logic behind this stat and I absolutely do have to complain about it when it makes the character so underpowered because her abilities are honestly pretty weak in the first place.

If you want to talk about other bad stuff in the set, the thing that probably sticks out the most is the cape. I felt a need to have something to get people’s attention to other than the minions so I added the ability for her to throw her cape across the stage to trap foes under it in a ridiculous cage match scenario against the minions, with everyone writhing around under it like a cartoon rug. Not only is it pretty miserable to play against, it also looks pretty hilarious and completely incongruous with this very serious character. She can also ride around on the shoulders of her Tome Lackeys and Porcelain Legionnaires with her Dair, which is similarly ridiculous looking and rather undignified for a character who, just from looking at her, is probably obsessed with her dignity. There’s also a bunch of attacks without hitboxes, and the like.

So I don’t think Elesh Norn ages well, and there was clearly a reason for her rather muted reception in comparison to the other Praetors. Still, it has a lot more redeeming qualities than my other material in this time period, and was a clear step up from everything else I made in MYM11. It is kind of frustrating to have it age poorly, I’ll admit, but that’s just how MYM works. We learn more about how we can make our sets interesting, balanced, and well characterized, and once we do looking back old sets look kind of bad without that context. I mean we all wonder how Dr. Strangelove placed 4th now, but we weren’t as aware of conceptual imbalance back then, and just wanted to enjoy a unique, flowing playstyle. I mean even today “unique” describes Dr. Strangelove rather well.

Jin-Gitaxias

Next up is Jin-Gitaxias, which had probably the roughest design process of the Praetors, as the concept was one that had never really been touched on in much detail before, and was fairly ambitious. Jin-Gitaxias could apply a bunch of vile mutations to himself, which featured some pretty disgusting and gorey animations that became something of a trademark of my more popular sets, as Three and Jarad also come back and do some more of that. But where the set gets interesting is that he can apply these mutations to the foe through the Neutral Special potions, and the mutations have upsides and downsides and can counter each other in various ways. They also increase the size of the opponent’s hurtbox and have some other nasty detriments that allow Jin to actually combo the foe very well despite his rather clunky fighting abilities, making him an actually logical take on the “combo heavyweight” genre, and one that has combos which strongly depend on the variables in the moveset so he’s not just limited to a few static strings of attacks.

And god forbid, I had an actually interesting subtheme in the set. Jin could carry 2 items around at once with his Side Special arms, which meant he could have 2 of the potions on hand at a time to change the opponent’s mutation set on the fly. This was later supplemented by the addition of some throwing syringes and dirt(the later of which is a bit awkward and redundant but in comparison to the bad parts of my previous sets it wasn’t that huge of a deal), which could be used to extend Jin’s combos and make him actually on even ground with foes in terms of capacity to combo despite them normally having the advantage on account of Jin’s enormous size and awkward shape.

So yeah I actually like Jin-Gitaxias, and that is the first time I’ve said that about one of my sets in this article, but let’s not pretend it doesn’t have problems, because it definitely does. There are some really awkward effects in the set like the Up Aerial randomly having a huge benefit against one specific mutation, mutation effects being put where they really shouldn’t be(the primary example being the FSmash mutation, but Up Tilt is also kind of bad for one in general), and a very stupid move in the FThrow where Jin-Gitaxias brainwashes the foe for an incredibly strange status effect that was there because I needed something to address him having the ability to manipulate minds, despite wanting to focus on the scientist aspect of his character because I really hate trying to use mind control in sets, it almost never works out the way you want it too. For that matter, a lot of the moves are pretty boring just because I needed generic fodder for Jin to use in combos, and while that’s fine it shows how little we knew about making interesting melee games, I’m sure those moves could have been a lot better designed.

Jin-Gitaxias was actually extremely well received, and got much higher praises than many of my previous sets with several people considering it one of their favorites in the contest. There were some complaints here and there about the more awkward moves and that Jin needs to mutate himself in order to mutate the foe in the first place. Still, this didn’t stop people from voting it all the way to the position of 2nd place, which was kind of shocking to me back then. There were also a few mentions of the fact that it was in some ways the expansion of a concept initially in Katapultar’s Jason Voorhees, of giving the opponent something that your set was designed to counter, but that Jin made it a lot deeper than just that. Still, credit where it is due, I actually thought of Jason’s concept while I was writing Jin.

Fun Fact: before I went with the much more interesting mutation based plan, I actually had an alternate idea for Jin where he would create what was basically a voodoo doll of the foe and wail on it to allow him to camp them from wherever he was on the stage. There was some kind of weird sampling process with creating the voodoo doll that I forget now but I remember thinking was kind of cool back when I thought of it. Knowing past me, it probably wasn’t.

Sheoldred

The next set is the black sheep of the Praetors(and its funny because she’s the black Praetor), which unlike the others who all placed, did not receive a single vote and was pretty disliked on a whole. That set was Sheoldred, which in all honesty I had no idea of a clear direction of when I made her. The idea basically amounted too “she makes magic goop that deals damage over time, and if you go over a certain percent you instantly die due to Phyrexian corruption”. After that it branched in about a billion different directions with no logical conclusion for any of them. She could split from her giant mouth and had a fairly weird mechanic to make her actually vulnerable to knockback because she was basically invincible while mounted, have her upper half go invisible to lay traps like spikes and pitfalls which basically serve the same opponent of trapping the opponent in oil. She could even terraform a hole in the stage where she keeps all her nastiest traps and herself, which might sound a little cool on paper but ends up really conceptually broken to just have her able to overlap all these grab escape traps with no consequences for herself.

Honestly, aside from being disjointed as all hell, this is by far the worst I ever got with stun. Almost every move was dedicated to locking the foe down in some way or another, with 2 standout offenders. One, you can make invisible traps that the foe must escape with grab difficulty, whether it be the hilariously awkwardly designed pitfall trap on Dair or the wave of spikes. Two is the Down Smash, which is a stun that lasts for 3-6 seconds. That’s right at one point in my history, I unironically thought putting a 6 second stun in my set would be totally okay. I didn’t think over the implications of this, but really it doesn’t excuse how incredibly miserable this set would be to play against.

Sheoldred was pretty much ignored, I didn’t get much in the way of feedback on it and what I did was generally either dislike or finding it “okay but not particularly interesting”. I didn’t really want it to receive attention either, I hated working on it and just wanted it done so I could post it alongside the other Praetors. I really wish this set was better to make the entire movement respectable, but it had the impact I wanted even without Sheoldred being well-received.

Urabrask

So next up is Urabrask, a set that, for those of you who saw my last self-ranking, I said was my best moveset, an opinion I held for a long time. And I can definitely still see some of why I loved it so much on a reread, because at the time concepts like this weren’t really tackled. The idea is basically Urabrask can create lava pits, superheated gas clouds, and metal blocks on the stage, which are controlled by his magnetic push and pull effects given to those objects by his Side Special. They can attract and repel from each other. From there, you can do all sorts of crazy things, like fill your metal structures with hot gas, rain metal and firey death upon the foe by first bringing everything up to you in the Up Aerial, explode your heated materials like bombs with the Up Smash, lift huge orbs of lava out of the stage to play with amidst your huge playground with the grab game, and plenty more. I feel like I did a good job of making everything feel really impactful, and it’d doubtlessly be a very fun set to play, while having plenty of flow.

So, now I’m going to go on to the reception of the set first because I feel I need to point out why this set was very important to me at the time, before I talk about what I think of it now. I feel like this was finally the moveset where I truly showed up Warlord, because he was honestly so impressed with it at the time he apparently couldn’t think up criticism, and he wasn’t the only one. There was a lot of very positive reception to this set from Smashbot, Smady, Kupa, Kibble, Legend of Link once I did some edits to the stats, and Rool, whose article I’ll get too later but it was really nice to see Rool and Warlord agree over a set I made. Of course the set had some detractors, Silver making a point that it felt kind of weird for a giant lava monster to be so setup oriented, which I think is kind of missing the point of the character. He’s a blacksmith of sorts, he doesn’t really want any involvement in the Phyrexia/Mirran war and would rather just tend to his forge, if anything it fits perfectly for him to be not terribly interested in fighting the foe directly. And his set up is still appropriately aggressive in how its used for a red character, he’s basically just haphazardly throwing every dangerous thing he can find at the opponent to get them to leave him alone or die. It placed 3rd and I’m quite proud of that placing, and for a long time I did think it was a much better set than Jin-Gitaxias who outplaced it. Past me would honestly take it as something of a personal attack when you insulted this set to give you an idea, because I thought how endless his options were and how creative it was by the standards of the time made it basically infallible.

Well, allow me to apologize to past me, even though he’s a prick, because I don’t like Urabrask anymore, and it really amounts to something that’s become huge in the past few contests, balance. Urabrask is extremely broken, and even if he needs some set up to get there, all his set up abilities have enough innate defense due to having hitboxes and whatnot that he won’t have much trouble getting where he wants to be. Once he does set up, he becomes an absolute monster, because the magnetism he create are extremely oppressive and require the opponent to be almost constantly be moving against them, lest they get trapped in a lava pit or god forbid between 2 magnetized blocks. The range on his moves is also absurd, frequently being several Bowsers in length to give him obscene camping potential. Perhaps most importantly is the fact that you can place the gas clouds inside a group of blocks, which I mentioned requires set up, but here’s the thing. Urabrask can go inside the blocks himself, and then the opponent has to break him out and get hit by the gas cloud no matter what, because of its lingering properties as it explodes out of the box, so he can basically use it as an almost permanent turtling measure. Oh yeah and the set has a 2 second stun too, and it has triple the pull of a normal magnetized object if you manage to create it so no foe is ever going to avoid it reasonably.

And while I talk about Urabrask’s good qualities earlier, the whole “endless playground” appeal doesn’t really hold up in this day and age. Sure you can create your block forts to play in, but compare it to something like a beetle from Jarad, Jarvis’ jars, any of Reynolds’ traps. Or compare the rather bland camping to something like the great melee games of a set like Albert Wesker, Father Cornello, Three, or Funny Valentine. I don’t care how many dicks you make out of metal blocks(lets be real that’s probably the first thing some people would do upon learning the character could build things), you’re not going to get the same kind of depth and satisfaction out of this set as you will a more modern or well-designed MYM set, and it honestly just comes across as kind of dry in this day and age. I still think this is a better set than almost all of my early MYM works, but I can’t say it quite fulfills what I’d want out of a moveset anymore.

Vorinclex

So we’ve reached the end of Praetors with Vorinclex, and this seems to be the middling Praetor in terms of reception, though thoughts on it were very varied. It had a few fans that thought it was the coolest thing ever, a few people who thought it just wasn’t as good as Jin or Urabrask but still plenty enjoyable. The idea of the set was that Vorinclex would be an extremely heavy terraformer, but instead of pits would make mountains that he would dig up out of the stage, which he would then play off by shoving them around, charging down them with incredible terrifying power, or trapping opponent’s inside them. He did a bunch of other terraforming too, the terraforming effects were rarely terribly consistent between moves to try to prevent redundancy, but it makes the set come across as kind of tacky regardless. Another emphasis of the set was reshaping the stage to land his awkward melee hitboxes, which often had huge blindspots but incredible power and more speed than you might think. Vorinclex was incredibly easy to combo though outside of his highly predictable rage form, and hitting his mouth will allow him to be KO’d much more easily than he seems like he would be.

Now that sounds pretty fun, but there’s a big problem with the set and that’s the fact that I made a pitfall subgame. I went out of my way to avoid infinites, don’t get me wrong, but this is a set that pitfalls on multiple different moves and even can create a super powered pitfall by smushing a foe between two mountains. And then stack it with his grab for glorious 3x grab escape difficulty. This was so I could fit in a mechanic in the grab game where he devours foes, which has horribly designed times anyway so Vorinclex could probably never eat them even with all the stacking, with the preferable gameplan just being to push the mountain into a hole with the opponent trapped in it so they probably die from all the rubble falling down with them. The thing is I avoid making the set have much in the way of chain-stuns so I doubt it’d be as terrible to play against as Sheoldred, Urabrask, or a lot of my early sets, but the fact is focusing on stun is pretty bad in this day and age. That and honestly, the way the terraforming effects work is weird and honestly trying to be subversive of the whole pit genre didn’t really work out like how I wanted it too.

And you know what, in spite of that? I actually still kind of like this set, much to my surprise, because the bits with using the terraforming to adjust your almighty hitboxes to be more feasible to land is still very interesting to this day. Its probably too extreme in how it goes about it with how absurdly strong some of the hitboxes are and how you could probably abuse the pitfalls to make landing said superpowered hitboxes way too easy, but I still think this concept holds a lot of merit. I also kind of like the stage clinging game, and I feel I did a great job of characterizing Vorinclex as this immense but somewhat unintelligent presense on the battlefield, whose every move is literally earth shattering. Now I wouldn’t call it particularly high quality so if you reread it don’t be surprised if you dislike it, but I remotely enjoy it even if its not nearly as strong a set as Jin-Gitaxias.

So that’s the Praetors, as I already mentioned the somewhat unexciting but still positive reception to Vorinclex. A while after they were posted, Rool did a big review of all of them, which holds up as a pretty interesting read today, as he talks about it being “phony psychoanalysis” but I think he might’ve been right about me in a lot of ways. My sets were pretty inconsistent and awkward in the execution because I wasn’t in MYM for a long time and, frankly, that was the norm back then. It wasn’t really something I grew out of that contest either, oh trust me I have very little good to say about my MYM12, but it was pretty interesting to me regardless, especially how he connected each set to the colors and did a small analysis on how he interpreted each character from the description and set. At the end of the article he also goes out of his way to compare me to Wizzerd at the end, which I am offended by because there is no possible way Rool could secretly be on to something.

Speaking of Rool, he was basically on his way out as he posted that review, as no further reviews or sets came from him afterwards, and only one comment on Warlord’s MYM12 Necromancer set. But as a last ditch effort to revive his enthusiasm, he asked everyone to do one day Pokesets from a random Pokemon generator. I was absolutely disgusted by this, because once again Pokemon bias was going to get in the way of my sets getting read, and vocally opposed the movement being done so shortly after Praetors because I am nothing if not a selfish jerk. Then everyone reassured me they would read and comment Praetors… if I joined the movement. So I basically got dragged through the mud and made another Pokemon set despite really disliking the series at this point for how spammed it was in chat and how Hoppip, I felt, overshadowed Homura as it could just be the token FA set you could read and be done with it.

Slaking

So I made Slaking, which I wrote up in about 2 hours and I hated it as I wrote it. I knew it wouldn’t be particularly liked and I was bored even as I wrote it, but I tried to throw in some “jokes” that basically amounted to me leaving out detail and saying “I’m too lazy to mention that”. The premise is basically Slaking has a ridiculously broken and boring set, but is weighed down with an extreme version of Pokemon Trainer’s stamina mechanic. He also does a bunch of really really boring terraforming stuff that entirely serves to just try and fail to give the set flow. Honestly, I don’t really want to talk about this set much, because there’s nothing appealing about it and all it existed for was so I could plead for comments out of Junahu, at which point he basically went out of his way to nitpick all the Praetors, say Sheoldred was the best one, and then say all of them were inferior to Kyubey. Great payoff, though I suppose the Rool review came out of it too and that made me very happy at the time, so whatever works. Nobody in their right mind actually liked Slaking, except in a recurring trend of being a ridiculous contrarian, Junahu.

So with that, we close out MYM11. It was a hell of a wild ride, it was not only a short contest but one where we got in the range of 150 sets, and basically everyone was active in chat and the thread. We’ve never really had a contest like it since, and it was a huge one for me developmentally, because regardless of the flaws I’ve brought up in the Praetors to the point you could easily argue Jin is the only good one anymore, they were still vastly better and deeper sets than anything I made before them. And MYM took notice too. Earlier in the contest, there were only 4 people in leadership due to a huge political meltdown, so they held a competition to determine, around halfway through the contest, who could be promoted to Leader #5. Their eventual choice was Legend of Link, on account of his consistent commenting and set quality, the later of which sounds weird now but Chaos 0 placed fourth and came out before his promotion, and he had plenty of well-received sets in MYM9 and 10. After Praetors, I was basically immediately brought into leadership to fill in for Nick’s role because Nick more or less vanished a third of the way through the contest. And you know what, thinking back on it, I still feel really nostalgic for the MYM11 times, because for all the bad that came with it, I developed a lot of friendships during that period, and the crazy activity and atmosphere was really fun to be a part of. I doubt MYM will ever reach that kind of activity ever again given the more complacent attitude in recent years, but it’s fun to think back on.

Up next is MYM12, which was a contest with much a much higher set quality ceiling than MYM11, and a contest that unlike MYM11, I really hated participating in on a whole. My set quality was bad, I didn’t make nearly as much of it as I did in MYM12 despite having so much more time to do so, and chat interactions got a lot more miserable, for a wide variety of reasons. It was basically all compounded by being a leader during this time because frankly, I don’t think I lived up to anyone’s expectations. I did develop a friendship with DM over this contest and there were a few sets made by other people that I felt were important to my development as I learned from them, and perhaps most importantly, Froy joined this contest and we’ve been great friends since like halfway through MYM12. And we all did forced MYMinis, or basically extras, which sounds terrible but there were some actual fun things to come out of it. So it wasn’t all bad, and from the perspective of someone who wasn’t me, I’m sure MYM12 was a blast, but I can’t say I had much fun with it.

MYM12 started out at a really slow pace where we got an initial small burst of sets and didn’t get any more for a few days, which after MYM11 was thoroughly disappointing and I’m pretty sure had people calling for the death of MYM which would be a recurring trend for the entirety of the next 2 contests and part of 14. Opening day did have its big surprise though, where we had Katapultar put out a moveset that could actually be taken somewhat seriously, which took me by surprise. I feel bad saying this given what we know about him now, but at the time I just thought Kat was a butt monkey who was, while a nice guy, not really aware of how MYM worked at all and unable to really improve all that much. But here he was making huge strides in his set making quality with Agiri, which was admittedly a very flawed set that doesn’t hold up now, but you heard what I said about the Praetors, not much in this era is good anymore.

Scratch

So after that slow period I finished working on my next set, which was my second and also final attempt at a Homestuck character, Doc Scratch. The concept for this set was one that was, for whatever reason, inspired by a comment Phatcat made in chat, about how a lot of MYM sets want a much bigger stage than the ones in Brawl. So, seeing as Doc Scratch was a reality warper, I thought it’d be totally cool to have him make the stage bigger himself. It was a pretty bizarre mechanic that wasn’t really ever attempted afterwards except by Bowser Sphinx, probably because there are so few characters it could really work on but moreso because it was in the midst of a lot of other mechnanics in Scratch that were more than a little stupid. Basically every animation is him creating something invisible by flashing green, be it a wall, a hole in the stage, a field that redirects things that travel through it, an anti-gravity pillar(on the Up Aerial of all things), and teleporting invisible objects already on the stage to make things even more confusing. For that matter it could also be masking him about to perform a counter. There was also a pool projectile game which could’ve been vaguely decent if not for the input placement, which was mostly meant to take advantage of a bigger stage as they built up more power the longer they flew through the air.

As for what I think of Doc Scratch, this set was bad. Not just bad, downright apocalyptically bad and honestly you should go read it if you get the time because it’s kind of hilarious. There is absolutely no way you can possibly keep track of the stuff he makes as the player of the set, let alone the opponent who would be so absolutely lost playing against him they could never possibly fight back without the most insane ability to read the Scratch player imaginable. One of the primary features of the set not mentioned in the above paragraph was a slip n’ slide he makes by sweeping the floor with a broom. Not a mop, a broom. He can cover a huge section of expanded stage with this and send the opponent sliding across it whenever he counters them, effectively meaning the opponent needs to travel the absolutely miserable route back to Scratch while being constantly bombared by pool balls or falling into invisible holes in the stage. And did I mention at any point in all this Scratch can speed up time to mess with their reactions to his invisible stuff? Or that his grab game can allow him to cover the entire screen in green fog that makes it impossible to tell what he’s doing? Or that he threw in a Fly mechanic on the Down Throw of all things that’s basically just casually thrown in at the end of the set as if it’s not some huge thing. He can also pretty easily infinitely stall in this alternate stage, just send the opponent back to the main stage and just stay there forever, entirely untouchable. Honestly I’m pretty sure even the Scratch player would have no idea what’s going on until the game was mined for data because there’s no indication whatsoever of how his attacks actually work and he’ll probably just end up bouncing himself off some invisible wall he made by accident or falling to his doom through a hole in the stage he didn’t even know was there. Even once they do learn how he works, keeping track of so many things you can’t see has to be a nightmare for almost any player that isn’t a supercomputer. Its definitely one of the absolute worst sets I’ve ever made with how exploitable it is, as well as how unfun it is to both play as and against, and this is after having a learning curve so steep its nigh impossible to ever make him work in any context.

The really weird thing about this set is I thought it was really good at the time, because I thought “mindgames” were still really popular with MYM and there wasn’t anything inherently wrong with them, but this is a kind of mindgames that are far more confusing than anything Gengar or Pennywise ever did. Not to mention that particular style of setmaking was fast falling out of favor regardless, very few MYM11 sets dealt in invisibility or duplicates compared to MYMX and for good reason. All it does is make opponents do a huge guessing game which there’s basically no skill to other than maybe predicting the opponent’s patterns if they keep doing the same thing, but at higher levels it just degenerates into a total mess. It sounds cool on paper but in practice it would never really work out that well. So yeah the set ended up getting a very mixed reception, with some people thinking it was excessively tacky and unworkable, some people thinking the mechanics/characterization had actual depth to them and it was really good, and some who liked parts of the set but not others. Probably the standout response for me was just Katapultar’s, who absolutely loved this set because of the characterization and unique grab/stage expansion. That’s probably the only reason I feel any guilt criticizing this set so much because I think it might’ve been kind of inspirational to him from what he said about it on multiple different occasions. But honestly, I doubt he cares about it anymore and I don’t judge my set’s quality on what was thought of it at the time, when there’s clearly much more to it than that.

The period around this set’s posting was rather ugly in chat too, and it honestly got uglier because I get the impression a lot of people didn’t like the idea of me as leader. I was too much just another advocate of Warlord and not integrated enough into the existing friend group for a lot of chat members at the time to really feel comfortable with that prospect. And while its probably not in my best interests to talk about it directly, if you look at the thread at all you’ll probably realize David and I had become a bit tired of each other’s presence. I’m pretty sure to this day his voting patterns are extremely oriented around character bias and metavoting, and I called him out on that when I saw his votelist, at which point he went berserk and asked to be exiled from MYM and said he intended to leave for good, when in reality it lasted about a week. For a moment I thought I permanently drove him out and was actually apologetic about it, but once he came back by god did we start getting antagonistic. He decided to take the one quote about Urabrask’s characterization by Silver that I mentioned earlier and run with it to say the set was trash whenever I brought up criticism of his sets, which again, I was very attached to Urabrask at the time and an insult to that set was an insult to me. Its ridiculous and childish, but that wasn’t really the worst we got towards each other where David realized “FA” was the first 2 letters in faggot and had a fucking field day with the picture of myself that I posted. He roped a lot of other people who were probably sick of me at the time into it and there were honestly huge sections of chat time that were just dedicated to “FA is a giant flaming homosexual and should kill himself”. And you know, that was really childish, pathetic, and maybe in some people’s cases entirely in jest, but I can’t just take that shit lying down I’m a leader for fuck’s sake.

So basically it ended in a period where I was constantly bickering with the guy and throwing around childish insults in thread and in chat. I mean you can find a post in the thread where I say “David wouldn’t know what a link was if it hit him across the face” and honestly, is that really the most scathing insult I could come up with. I’m pretty sure some 4th graders could do better. It wasn’t much better in chat where I’d basically just degenerate to calling him a “cum guzzling bag of shit” or something along those lines. It was very stupid and honestly pretty stressful, mostly because I didn’t want to look like some pathetic loser to the people that weren’t David in one of my main social outlets.

A lot of this came to its logical conclusion when Disney Rumble was created, which was effectively a small chunk of MYM going off to create their own small variation on the Smash engine and try and make a full roster of a Disney fighting game. It was a terrible idea because the engine was pretty much a strict downgrade from the Smash Engine, kind of like PSABR but even less competently designed. I was asked to help with it at one point and make Tarzan, which I tossed around the idea of for a moment when I saw Kupa and Warlord being at all on board with it, but ditched as soon as the first real Disney Rumble set came out, Captain Hook. That set was an absolute disaster, it was a severely watered down Smash Brothers set with absolutely no creativity to it and a horrible present move that messes with the opponent’s characterization. I proceeded to go into what was basically a full on essay about why the moveset was bad, out of sheer frustration with David’s chat presense and how slow the thread was going possibly being the result of Disney Rumble.

Elsa Maria

So yeah, on account of all these stupid personal grudges it was very stressful for me to go to chat and talk to people at all, because in my mind I couldn’t just ignore this stuff. It was probably part of why it took me a full month to finish the next set I made, Elsa Maria. This is a set where basically all her attacks slowly start to transform the stage into her “barrier”, or the alternate dimension she resides in during the show. This change ultimately results in Elsa Maria passively spawning some really underwhelming minions which she basically never plays off, other than just kind of having them there while the opponent is caged between her tentacles. She has a limit of 10 tentacles and can basically scatter them across the stage as walls, or make them into more of traps. Probably the stupidest bit was when I added a generic smokescreen to the set where she could turn her tentacles into fog for some reason. It’s a really dull moveset to read and honestly I didn’t enjoy writing it much, but I thought it might be liked because after Praetors I was back in the mindset that everything I made would be good.

Elsa Maria received a very quiet reception, with the general consensus being it was pretty mediocre. I was a little disappointed in that, but at this point I was basically used to sets being less interesting to people than I expected them to be. In retrospect I should’ve seen it coming, I wasn’t very enthusiastic about this set, so why should anyone else be? There was the one token outlier, Nate said to me at one point he thought Elsa Maria was fantastic, one of my best, and Super Vote worthy. I thought it was cool anyone thought that, but I don’t really get what there was in there that he enjoyed. The set had a nice focus on atmosphere, but the gameplay created by it is so bland and insubstantial.

At this point, I was honestly just confused and frustrated with myself. I had hit some kind of insane sweetspot with the Praetors and the magic just wasn’t coming back even when I tried to make more interaction intensive, deep sets. Honestly, in Scratch and Elsa Maria’s cases, it was because they simply didn’t have good concepts. There’s not really much interesting to being able to create a bunch of walls, and there is no universe in which Scratch is ever fun to have in any serious match. My execution was also continuing to miss, because I hadn’t bothered to try to work out the stuff people disliked in the Praetors, shrugging that off as minor complaints that didn’t have that much relevance. Coupled with David’s spam in the chat, it was an awfully depressing time for me in the community. What did at least help was seeing Kat’s rapid rise to fame as he continued posting sets that were well liked, though he hadn’t quite hit the jackpot yet. It was pretty inspirational to see someone whose MYM8 was one of the most hated contests anyone had ever had suddenly being one of the most popular figures in the community. I also started talking to Froy after a bit because frankly, we shared opinions on a few weird MYM things and he was an easy person to talk too about just about anything. I did ask him what he thought of me around this time, he seems to think I was a pretty angry and bitter person compared to later. That says a lot, I’m still angry and bitter a lot of the time.

Grim Poppet

So after a bit of a slump where I didn’t post sets, I eventually got around to posting Grim Poppet, which was a short one day effort I made because I needed something to get me back into setmaking. The idea of the set was pretty much to make my own take on the long dead potato head genre, by allowing this scarecrow monster who carries buckets of acid around to detach his limbs, and then abuse the acid kegs and arms while they’re separated from his body. The ways he has of doing this are pretty basic, pour acid on the ground, throw kegs between arms, prevent the arms from getting knocked around by pitfalling them in the stage, it is very clearly a one day effort to just try to get me back in the set making mood.

So I don’t like this set, in a continuing trend of my MYM12 sets. The potato head genre has always been kind of flawed because splitting your inputs across the stage can leave characters horribly predictable and defenseless, and in Grim Poppet’s case I’m not entirely sure why you would even bother leaving your limbs around the stage at all, because he has a throw that deals a whopping 34% if you keep all of them on you and you’re pretty horribly screwed if you leave a couple of them around the stage and the opponent walks into your face. The set also features a double strength pitfall on a throw and randomly regaining your acid if you hold your keg over your head on the logic of “its MAGIC: the Gathering”. It’s not as horribly boring as Elsa Maria and not as ridiculously conceptually flawed as Doc Scratch, but by no means is this a particularly noteworthy set. Oh yeah, and for some reason this giant scarecrow monster is weight 4.5, I think because the construction of the monster looked kind of flimsy but its still pretty ridiculous.

As an aside, this was my second attempt at a “funny” writing style. The humor here was a notch better than Slaking, but unlike Slaking had absolutely nothing to do with the character. This is a set for a giant ominous looking scarecrow monster that murders people with acid, why did I decide this was the perfect moveset to make the writing style as goofy as possible.

The general reception to Grim Poppet was pretty ambivalent, where the reaction was basically “its okay” but with less random people liking it than Elsa Maria. I don’t get why it was less popular than Elsa when it was honestly less horribly boring, but I guess a remotely decent writing style and atmosphere can do that for a set. The fact that people like Smady and Froy saw anything in it was a bit reassuring to me though, as my one day sets that weren’t Hoppip or Gamzee had for a long time been pretty reviled, so I felt a little bit back on track after this one. So over the next few months I proceeded to sit on my ass and produce absolutely nothing, and sadly this became kind of a recurring trend of me just never being able to get back to the activity I had in MYM11. I don’t know why, I guess I’m too scared of failure at this point to make tons of movesets like I did those first 2 contests(remember, all 5 of the MYMX ones were in a month).

So before my next set, I’d like to take a quick moment to talk about Organization XIII. I mean we see big movements here and there of like, 5-8 sets, but this was an extremely coordinated release of 13 at once. That’s basically unpredicented, and the best part about it was, a lot of them were very well liked. Zexion, Luxord, Marluxia, Larxene, and Lexeaus all had their share of fans, and there were a few others that still had fans even if they weren’t quite as popular. Luxord in particular is noteworthy, because it was a huge breakout set for Katapultar that almost everyone loved, and for a long time was a major candidate to win the contest. I’m not much of a Kingdom Hearts fan, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy that movement, it was in a way a huge turning point for the contest in terms of quality.

It was also kind of nice for me because, to be honest, it made David into a lot more of a villain than he was before. He and Warlord basically agreed to post 2 movesets in the midst of the movement as a means of insulting the Kingdom Hearts franchise and the people making the sets for them. It was obviously a pretty terrible idea, and Warlord realized his mistake pretty fast and not only removed his set and post but dedicated an article to commenting all of Organization XIII at once. David proceeded to realize he was alone with Warlord backing out like this, posted his own apology, and got his set deleted as well. They reposted them later, but honestly if you looked at David’s posts and mannerisms at the time, he wasn’t terribly sincere about it, especially when he made an article later on basically just to laugh at his own joke of sabotaging the movement. At the very least, it made me feel more justified in hating David because we had solid evidence that he was actively trying to hurt some people in MYM, rather than just him throwing some juvenile insults my way in chat while screencapping everything I did that seemed remotely exploitable.

So a while after that movement we had another movement I feel like mentioning, but moreso because there’s a funny story around it involving me. You see a while back, David suggested a bunch of movements to Smady and Warlord and they realized quickly that Mario Party 2 Bowsers was the only remotely decent idea out of the group, so they started that movement. I was initially in it but dropped out because I hated movements and being in one with David felt especially bad, and I also had basically no ideas for Bowser Sphinx. The movement was supposed to be disguised as a Winnie the Pooh movement but I was chatting up DM at one point and let him know about the Bowser movement. DM told Warlord that I told him, and Warlord told David, who then claimed he had some super secret information on me that was going to ruin me.

Now you see the thing is, and I may as well admit to it here, I basically went out of my way to make sure Peanut was not reminded to vote and told several people not to say anything because he apparently had no Junahu or Warlord sets on his votelist, and for some reason I thought this was so criminal he shouldn’t be allowed to vote. I didn’t directly ban his votes or anything, but I did try to prevent him from making the list. I still feel kind of terrible about that, and I thought that was what Warlord leaked information to David about. So I publicly confessed to it in chat so everyone would know before David told them, and people agreed it was a dick move but we all got over it, including Peanut. Then later on David comes out to grandly reveal that I spoiled the Bowser movement to DM, which is such a ridiculously minor offense in the grand scheme of things its kind of funny he thought anyone would react to it. Naturally, nobody did.

Dark Falz 1

Fun asides over with, after several months of moping around and making myself look like an idiot in chat, I finally got off my ass and finished a moveset. This was for my first 3v1 boss, Dark Falz, another boss from Phantasy Star Online because I wanted to represent the series more faithfully than I did Vol Opt. And in some ways it was more faithful, as I used actual attacks from his boss fight. The set had an actual pretty cool concept too, you’d steal the soul of the opponent via the grab, and then when one of the enemies hit you, that damage would also be dealt to the person whose soul was stolen. You could put the soul inside other players to allow you to hit multiple at once with an attack on a single player, and aside from that the set was pretty much just projectile and trap spam. It didn’t really end up flowing off the soul splitting much at all, just using it as a means to murder multiple players at once, but stealing a soul allows you to stall for a set up so I guess I thought that was interesting enough for the MYM12 crowd.

The set was honestly really bad for more reasons than just that, primarily the extremely broken instant death cloud which was so easy to pressure opponents into, as well as a counter that allowed Dark Falz to gain massive healing whenever he lands it on the foe to make him nigh-immortal. The projectile spam and trap spam also gets really excessive, its very easy for Falz to just flood a foe with so many homing projectiles and other similar things that it could never really be dodged, even in a 3v1 context. And honestly, the projectiles and traps were really painfully generic to the point that the set was never really interesting to play as or against.

The set’s reception was pretty negative, when Katapultar, usually the eternal nice guy to just about any set, said Falz was terrible. That was a pretty big indicator for me that the set was bad, though the painful design process which was split over a very long time span probably didn’t help my confidence in it. Other comments about it eventually came out and they were never particularly positive, even if it didn’t seem like anyone particularly loathed the set, it was just a boring flowchart and didn’t get the kind of mileage people wanted out of a 3v1. I felt kind of bad because I thought Kang, a fairly hyped set at the time, was very mediocre and I wanted to show it up with my own attempt at a boss, but I ended up missing the mark by quite a bit, as Falz didn’t receive a single vote.

As an aside, god my contest looked bad by this point. I mean Scratch was my best received and it still wasn’t especially popular. Meanwhile Warlord and Kat were putting out constant great material, Smady and Kupa had few sets but they were all very popular, and even people like Silver, Froy, and Peanut had stronger stuff than I did with Shana, Rattata, and Zexion. I needed something to get people’s attention at this point because honestly, I didn’t feel like I deserved my leadership position at this point. My commenting was consistent and all, but I wasn’t in a very good relationship with the community and my set output was terrible. At the same time though, there wasn’t really a good candidate to replace me so I wasn’t in any danger… on the basis that Legend of Link entirely vanished.

Yeah that was one of the really weird parts of MYM12, Legend of Link just stopped showing up around halfway through the contest. I actually felt kind of sad because while I had something of a joking rivalry with him, we were remotely friendly and I thought he had potential to make some really interesting sets if he didn’t go out of his way to make them boring and hope for “subtle depth that’s not actually there but we want to believe it is” points. But no the guy who was made the original poster of MYM12 just got up and vanished entirely, with no real explanation for a long time. We couldn’t find him much of anywhere for a long time, until he randomly showed up in MYM13 to apologize and then show up 1-2 more times before disappearing again forever. I sent him a list of reading if he wanted to catch up on MYM12, which I don’t think he ever got around to reading but he did mention he talked about it a little in Phatchat and apparently it got laughed at for some reason? I don’t know what I did wrong there even, I tried to give him a good variety of material. But yeah, with Legend of Link just getting up and leaving, regardless of Katapultar’s stellar performance there wasn’t really anyone I could be swapped out for as Froy was still so new and most of his sets were pretty hated back in MYM12, and Peanut was good for set quality and quantity but had no comments to his name.

Chakravartin

Still, I needed to save a little face for myself, and for that purpose I made Chakravartin, the villain of the Asura’s Wrath DLC ending. The character had tons of potential both in terms of having an absolutely enormous variety of attacks and powers, as well as plenty of fun implied material. He even had a time stop, which I had succeeded before with on Homura, except now we had some actual fun projectiles to play with. I do distinctly remember when the set was posted Warlord was pretty offended by the character choice and honestly while I understand why, Chakravartin isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed and he’s kind of a cheesy villain, but I still kind of like him for how flashy his fight is and how surprisingly expressive he is throughout the battle.

Enough ranting on the character, the idea of Chakravartin was basically I would take all my projectile manipulation material and expand on it as much as possible. He could freeze projectiles in time, slow them as they travelled through his giant energy sun, and completely reformat the stage via terraforming and time stopping a flying chunk of rubble to make it more suited to his projectiles. And if his terraforming got in the way, he could just delete a chunk of the stage with the Nair. This was all for the eventual purpose of landing as many of his Neutral Special swords at once, because the more of them hit the foe at a time, the more knockback would be dealt.

And honestly, compared to the rest of my MYM12 stuff, it came across as an actual half decent “playground” set, and was pretty well liked for the most part, with some complaints about him not having enough melee game on a character who is actually pretty physical in his boss fight. I basically agree with that complaint, as well as that the terraforming may have been a bit unnecessary and weird on the character, but here’s a bigger one for me: Chakravartin’s entire playstyle literally just amounts to trying to keep as many swords out at once, and he has so, so many ways to do this it just ends up stupidly redundant. I mean he can reflec t them back, stop them, slow them, redirect them via Down Tilt projectiles, its basically made so his stuff should never actually expire. And that’s honestly kind of bad, especially when one of the things not expiring is his Up Smash sun, which slows time to a third inside it and would honestly be insanely broken for Chakravartin to use to attack foes from the outside with. For that matter, I know I wanted to focus his KO method around the sword stacking, but for a character with this kind of godlike power, the KO percentages in the set are pretty inexcusable. I don’t think its an awful set by any means, but in a way it kind of lost the appeal of Homura in their being any challenge to setting up projectile formations to give her actual depth, while Chakravartin can just have whatever godlike ones he wants without consequence.

I don’t like Chakravartin anymore, but the clear strides it made over my other MYM12 works were at least noticed by people. It was much more well received than Scratch barring a few of its more extreme fans, let alone anything else I’d made that contest. I almost feel like I’d hit the magic I found in the Praetors, but ultimately it was clear the set was too unfocused to really match the quality of something like Jin-Gitaxias or Urabrask. Now I almost had the old fire back, but considering the contest was already almost over there wasn’t really much time for me to push out another set to try and make myself look good. So Chakravartin basically exists as the sole representative from this contest to me now that isn’t complete tripe, and unlike Jin-Gitaxias I believe it doesn’t hold up in this day and age.

And before we wrap up MYM12, I feel I’ll put in a mention of Slugworth, as it was a set I made in 15 minutes for a challenge and I don’t really consider it much of a legitimate moveset, but I should at least acknowledge its existence. For whatever reason I thought it was perfectly fitting for a Willy Wonka villain to use actual bombs in his moveset, which he could restrain the opponent for the explosion of using small children. The most famous part of the set was the gobstopper related FThrow, where if he uses it five times on the opponent, each time asking for them to give him the gobstopper, they will spontaneously pull out the gobstopper and hand it to him. It was pretty absurdly stupid, but it was made in 15 minutes, so I don’t know what you’d expect. It sure created a reaction in chat as people contemplated how ridiculous it would be for him to extract a gobstopper from just about every MYM character imagineable, but amongst Smash characters, I think Pikachu is a pretty good “absurd” choice.

So that was MYM12, a pretty miserable contest for me, but a good developmental one for people like Kat, Froy, Smady, Warlord, Peanut, Kupa, DM, and many others. I basically couldn’t write much of anything of value and looking back on it, a lot of the stuff I said in the thread really makes me cringe, though that’s true of MYM11 and 10 too, it felt especially pathetic here. At the very least, I enjoyed all the rather out there, experimental sets made this contest in comparison to MYM11’s more restrained tone, it made for some really funny bad sets, and some really interesting good ones(though some of them were, as with the MYM11 ones, only good at the time, but it’s not quite as universally true as with MYM11). Chat was miserable because my god did I fall for some serious bait at points and, if I’m going to be blunt, I think a lot of chat attitudes towards myself and a few others were pretty awful and enough reason for us to kick David and maybe a couple other members out of chat sooner than we did. All the constant fighting in chat was awful and clearly something had to change, but unlike other internet communities we absolutely refused to ban people from MYM, we just tried to drive them out by being as nasty to them as possible. Because honestly, if it was just me they were targeting, this wouldn’t have been a big issue because if it’s one guy getting picked on it wouldn’t have created nearly as much in chat fighting as there was in that time period.

Instead of being bitter about the chat though, I’m gonna talk 2 movesets from opposite ends of the spectrum from this contest that I thought were really cool and taught me a lot about setmaking. Neither of these exactly has universal appeal, but for me they were pretty big standouts.

Ameno-sagiri: Okay I didn’t say I was gonna talk about underrated gems here, Ameno won MYM12 and pretty rightfully in my eyes. It took a huge risk that I wasn’t fond of by being a background, stamina based boss, which sounded terrible to me on paper, but the approach Smady takes to it is surprisingly in smash. For most of the match, you’re actually playing as a moveset, specifically one of the foe’s copied by your minions. Ameno attacks alongside them, making him into a proper boss due to the powerful effects of his attacks. They also have some pretty crazy interactions with the copied foe, allowing you create all kinds of environments for them where they have an advantage, like a cage, a particular platform set up, or a buffing/debuffing field that can give a serious advantage to your copied character. You can even combine player movesets into one super minion, or set up a second eye which can allow Ameno to attack from a different vantage point and be viable on a shocking number of stages despite how restrictive you would expect his design to be.

It’s not really a perfect set in the current day, as while the fog is necessary for the characterization I’ve addressed why mindgame stuff isn’t too appealing anymore, but Ameno at least isn’t particularly offensive about it and makes it more of a minor thing to go along with manipulating a puppet character. Admittedly, the set didn’t change my mindset towards how I make my sets, but explore set ups in a pretty different way than different sets, as the “customizable material” was something far more exciting than a bunch of blocks like in Urabrask or some projectile streams like in Chakravartin, but rather it played with entire movesets. It also was the direct inspiration to Lizard, which in many ways could be considered a more 1v1 version of Ameno, though the sets obviously have huge differences to distinguish them.

Negi Springfield: Honestly this was a set I was kind of uncomfortable with liking as much as I did at the time, because frankly it DOES come across as pretty boring, and I feel DM’s made sets that easily surpass it now like Saber Alter, but the key words are “come across as”. The set makes use of something simple like the lightning spear and some quick movement to combo off of, which isn’t too strong a selling point but it understands that this kind of material is actually a lot deeper when it doesn’t force it as hard as a set like Marluxia does. Probably the standout move to me though is the Nair, as weird as that sounds, because it was basically the early version of the sweetspot moves I enjoy so much now and even took advantage of using the move against the stage with the landing lag, something I don’t really see in Brawl movesets and never saw in MYM sets at the time. It opened up new ground and showed some of the value in restraint, and even if you can’t personally find much appealing in the set itself, you can at least appreciate that something like this would work a lot better in an actual game than an Urabrask or a Chakravartin, by not becoming too redundant or too powerful for its own good.

And now if you haven’t taken a break for some reason, you really should. Pause, take a drink, get a walk or something. If you’re marathoning this that is, if you’re skimming I’m slightly disappointed in you, but I can’t expect everyone to want to read my huge ramble anyway.

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Responses

  1. ” basically went out of my way to make sure Peanut was not reminded to vote…”

    Wait, that happened?…oh yeah, that happened. I think. Wow. I literally do not remember this.

    “…and Peanut was good for set quality and quantity but had no comments to his name.”

    Aha, ya got me 😄

    • Yeah, it was a dick move on my part, really sorry about that.

      And I always found it much easier to write comments than make sets personally. It takes a bit of initial commenting to get into though, so if you don’t really start I can see why you wouldn’t do more of it.

  2. So, someone linked me these articles expecting me to go “lololololol i troll u” at you, but there’s nothing here I read both articles, but I figured I may as well comment this one just because it was the one that pertained to me more.

    I’m not going to treat this like an attack or anything because this is all about your MYM History and I was a pretty sizable part of that. We came in at the same time and I figured that’s sorta why we bro-ed up at first. I did sort of like the dynamic and honestly, it kind of sucks that I ended up having to ruin that.

    Hell, best “FA-and-Dave as friends” memory – when we wrote that terrible Coachman review together. It was so bad that I actually got in touch with you a few months ago just so we could talk about how bad it was and that we needed to remove it off the fact of the Earth.

    ‘m not even gonna try to defend the early shit because holy hell most of it is true and I was a 15 year old prick when I first started doing this shit. I don’t even remember the voting thing but good lord.

    I know we haven’t had a full conversation for well over 2 and a half years and that you wouldn’t exactly want to start again anytime soon, but I wanted to apologize for that shit at the very least. I’ve been meaning to for a while but I was a general asshole for no real reason outside me trying to act like a hot shit teenager who honestly thought he was a viable candidate for leadership with the way he was acting. It’s pretty cringe-worthy. Call it me pulling “Organization 2.0” or reacting or whatever, but I’ve wanted to do it for a while and this seems like an appropriate place to do it. I don’t expect to be buddy-buddy or anything, but I at least wanted to get that off my chest.

    Xat shit aside, one thing I’ve always noticed about your movesets is that you’ve always managed to find a perfect balance between characters and playstyle. It’s more and more evident as you go through your set history, but it was a concept that you really managed to get down throughout. You’ve mostly gone to character choices that could feasibly work in the engine without having to rely on excessive tack, but it’s not at all bad when your stuff is really good. Hell, even Usami is the perfect example of that sort of thing – even if it’s a joke set, she totally bleeds her DR2 characterization throughout.

    On that note, random sidenote but considering you mentioned it in the article, I may as well mention that there was actual talk between me and Kups of a DR revistvisit in October after it suddenly became -popular- in the general SSB4 thread. Hell, n8 even sent me a compatible version of Vader for it after demand hit the breaking point. It was pretty surreal.

    (I also have Slugworth + Bill Nye + the two specials you wrote for Tarzan. They’re pretty godawful but if you want to link them here for posterity’s sake, I’d be happy to send you that shit. )

    • *nothing here for me to really do that about. goddamnit i hate typing

    • I do appreciate the apology, usually after we tried to be friendly again after these things in the past though it always broke down, so this doesn’t change much how we’re going to interact going forward. Still, thank you for at least replying in a polite manner, it probably would be pretty easy to just go on anonymous and pick out something I said that was easy to mock considering I didn’t really proofread this and probably said a few off color things.

      I do think there’s a lot of tension between you and MYM in general at the moment, and I don’t really know why you keep trying to hang around as much as you do. I think it’d be easier for you, and everyone else, to just let this all go and find something else you enjoy more. I mean you have RP forums you go too elsewhere on the internet right, might allow you to dedicate more time to that if you just stop worrying about this place. Frankly it doesn’t bother me if you keep making sets or what have you, but there’s nothing for you to really gain from being around anymore.

      (I do know where those things are if I want to look, but thanks for the offer.)


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