We here at Team Magma strive to emphasize, empower, and unite the community surrounding the Pokemon world. While we celebrate the VGC competitive side of things just as much as our family over on Smogon, Serebii, Nuggetbridge, Skarmbliss and the like, we typically view the tournaments as an incentive to bring trainers closer together rather than a way to divide them between the good and bad players, or other cliques. As such, our number one goal is to create and celebrate a pokemon culture where everyone has a place to call home.
Most, if not all, of our regular content will emphasize this goal. DrFidget’s podcasts bring guests from all over the community, Team Magma regulars and others, to come together to talk about VGC and differing trends. Chalkey’s “Pokemon Trainers As People” column encourages trainers to get to know each other, and learn about what people are like outside of the game – and possibly learn about some cool new hobby or idea. And each week, we have practice tournaments where trainers both old and new can test ideas, and learn from each other in a positive and friendly environment.
Initial Conception and History
The origins of Team Magma date back to the 2005 Battle In Seattle National Championships, held in Seattle Washington. A few members of the top 14, Chalkey Horenstein, Travis “BSTS” Standiford, Stephen “Stess” Parrish, Kevin “Multi” Ellis, and Mike “Skarm” Papagianis bonded over the hilarity of the Nationals – inside jokes formed, prank wars ensued, and eventually a recurring joke for that weekend was that this group was “a bunch of terrorists worse than Team Rocket” – leading the group to christen themselves as Team Magma. The gang kept in touch, and all vowed to see each other again at another National Championship.
For a long time, the name was just an inside joke that accompanied any of these members succeeding in future tournaments. But in the 2009/10/11 VGC tournaments, “teams” started to form at the Regional level because of what was known as the Friend Rule. TCPi began to tolerate players requesting to be re-distributed if randomly paired against a close friend in the lower tournaments, largely due to the limited number of tournaments at the time and the consequently far drive each group of friends would have to make to get to one. To put this in perspective, imagine driving eleven hours, playing your friend first round in a single elimination tournament, then getting knocked out and having to watch said friend go all the way. Crazy, right? But soon it became hard to differentiate close friends from just two people who knew each other and didn’t want to play each other, and one of a few solutions that floated around was dividing into actual teams with t-shirts to verify association. And so, in 2010, Team Magma began to officially play as a team, bringing four out of five of the original founding fathers to qualify for Nationals that year.
During this time where teams began to trend (for the above reason and others), pokemon became a crowd that started to feel a little clique-ish. It became hard for more shy trainers to make friends with the experienced players, and trash talk about the more arrogant/elitist players was almost as common as trash talk about socially awkward or incompetent players. As such, Travis, Chalkey, Kevin, and Stephen teamed up with Gabby Snyder, an experienced web designer, and started their own forums in Team Magma’s name, hoping to foster an environment that is more welcoming to those who didn’t feel like they were noticed or tolerated elsewhere. The numbers remained small, but the crowd was intimate and more often than not hanging out outside of the tournaments. We truly created a family.
A lot has changed since then – for example, Regionals are no longer single elimination, but now Swiss, and the National Championships are comparatively a little easier to get into (especially with the reinstatement of the World Championships). The cliques and elitism that once plagued the VGCs has calmed down, and although it may never truly go away entirely the community as a whole is a little more open to newcomers. On Team Magma’s progress, our numbers have grown, and we’re no longer just a forum – we’re a full blown website with articles, live streams, videos, podcasts, and our own weekly tournaments. But the one thing that hasn’t changed is this: Team Magma will never stop trying to foster that feeling of small, intimate groups that can make lifelong friendships over something we all love – Pokemon!