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Jay Lesage

"Interviewer's Questions Part II" - Worlds Invites at a Glance

A second part extension off of Jay's first interview article!

07/26/2018 by Jay Lesage

Hey there, 60Cards readers! With Worlds inching closer towards us, I figure I’d start up the conversation by interviewing players form different sets of knowledge and wisdom. These interviews are rather self-explanatory, as they detail players as they work towards a World Championship invite. This will be a two part article, as there are many perspectives that can be explored via the same set of interview questions.

 

Zach Lesage Interview

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I’ve opted to interview Zach because not only can I be of testament to his great playing abilities, but also his mentorship as the premier global coach this year and his dedication to the game. Zach has been on the brink of Top 16 all year, and being in and out of that position is something worth documenting.

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What is your name?

Zachary Lesage.

How old are you?

I am 26 years old. 

Where do you play?

I play in Toronto, Ontario.

How long have you been playing?

I have been playing for 13 years total.

How did you get into Pokemon?

I got into Pokemon from playing in school primarily. I started collecting cards with my classmates and just went from there!

How many CP do you have right now?

I have 1257 CP, which currently puts me in at 15thplace in North America!

Wow! How did we amass this much CP?

I got a significant chunk of points from attending all of the International Championships so far, and by placing really highly within a few Regionals. I didn’t really max my League Cup points either since they’re pretty difficult around here, but just general consistent placements got me here. 

What’s the chase been like this season for Top 16? You’re one of the players who have been on the brink of it all season. Share what that’s been like.

It’s been a grind travelling outside of the country every weekend. Sometimes it feels like I’m not even home for months! I’ve met tons of new friends, and lost a few old friends in the process – it’s a culture shock as much as it is a lifestyle. I’m glad I’ve gotten to play this crazy season though, as it is something that I’ve yet to have the chance to achieve. I hope I achieve it, because that means that all my hard work will have paid off. 

Were there ever moments when you doubted you could get T16?

Yeah – usually after a rough tournament such as Virginia Regionals, or the second Mexico Special event. When you miss points at a tournament, it just feels like you can’t catch up to those ahead of you. I’ve really been fortunate enough to bounce back and achieve those points. 

Speaking of tough tournaments - did you bomb an event this year at all?

Virginia was that tournament for me. It was just switching formats back and forth between Standard and Expanded – I was left unprepared for that tournament. There was also a lot of personal stress within me that weekend which left me poised for defeat. I changed up the way I looked at tournaments, and entered Madison with a fresh unique look at my season. Ever since then I never turned back. 

What was your most successful moment? 

My most successful moment this season was coming back to Mexico Regionals, and popping off to eventually bubble out of Top 8 at 9thplace. Even though I bubbled, it felt like a mark of my success as a player, and showed I could be resilient in any room of players!

What was your biggest learning experience?

Trust yourself – but don’t be afraid to reach out to friends for help. I learned this by discovering myself as a person and player, and being burnt a few times throughout the season. Misfortunes cast fortunes. 

What’s your biggest goal as a player?

To prove to the community that I’m timelessly one of the best players this game has seen. 

What do you think of when you hear World Championships? 

Usually I feel the prestige of the tournament – there’s something special about this event that always gets me so excited. 

What are you most excited for at the World Championships?

To have a chance to take the title back home to Canada with me!

How often do you practice?

I practice every day whether that’s through my coaching service, in person with friends, or just theorizing. 

Do you have any weird practice strategies?

I stay up late to practice my endurance during an event; during the later rounds, it’s really easy to succumb to fatigue, so I’ll always try to stay awake and play to the best of my abilities. I’d urge everybody to try this at least once, because it can make a big difference in your testing!

Do you have any advice?

Find out what you need to do to improve as a player – achieve that goal. Set a new goal, and then strive to complete that new goal. Never struggle though alone! Always feel like you can reach out, especially to players that you know are better than you. 

What decks got you to this point in the season?

I started this season off by playing Darkrai in Expanded, and ultimately pioneering the Turbo Darkrai-GX variant that saw a ton of success at Daytona Regionals. I used Golisopod-GX in Standard within the first half of the season, with my most amount of CP coming from the European International Championships (where I played Golisopod-GX/Latios/Gumshoos-GX). For the rest of the season I mostly played Buzzwole-GX to get the majority of my CP, whether that was alongside Garbodor, or just with Lycanroc-GX. 

Any shoutouts?

Shoutouts to all my friends and family for the support. Shoutouts to my team, Carta Magica, for being the best team in the game! Be sure to follow them on Twitter @packTCM, and give me a follow while you’re at it @zlesage! See you guys at NAIC!

 

Rochelle Fortier Interview

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I decided to interview my girlfriend Rochelle as she enters her first competitive season next year. She is a fresh face to the game, and especially as a female can offer unique insights that those who have been playing for so long may have forgotten. Here’s her take on things.

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What is your name?

Rochelle Fortier.

How old are you?

I am 24 years old. 

Where do you play?

I play in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

How long have you been playing? 

I learned how to play when I was 18 but like, I never really played until recently. 

How did you get into Pokemon?

Me and my ex-boyfriend Phil went out to the corner store one day and bought starter theme decks. It was pretty cool, and we had a lot of fun. From there, my brother got really interested, and he started going to League, and got really into it. Because of that, I gained a desire to take my game to the next level and play against harder opponents. My first ever pack I pulled a Ho-Oh EX, and I remember I always used to beat my brother. 

How many CP do you have right now?

I have 20(?) CP total. I earned my first CP this weekend by playing in a League Cup. I went 3-0-2 in Swiss, and unfortunately lost in the Top 8 to my sister-in-law.  

What’s your goals for the 2018 season?

To play more, and actually learn what the cards do. I’ve never played at the competitive level, and have really only played in the living room with my friends. I’d like to start small by winning a League Cup, and then work my way up to doing well at Regionals. 

What’s going to be your strategy to obtain the goal? 

I’m going to playtest really hard, and mainly practice with my boyfriend (who is writing this article). He’s really bad, so he’ll be an easy win. I also plan to gain a network of highly skilled players to teach me the ropes – this way, I’ll start my first competitive season off strong. 

What motivates you to try next season?

Well, mostly because my boyfriend introduced me to the game. I enjoy playing Pokemon with him, and it’s something that we do quite frequently – it’s something I can see he’s passionate about, and I share a similar passion. We’re competitive people, it’s all about the drive for us. As long as he has it, I have it too. 

What was your most successful moment? 

When I made Top 8 at the Ottawa League Cup. I got my first CP ever, aren’t you proud of me? It felt great to overcome some people who had been playing for so long, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting the chance to partake in it. Playing 2/3 was a unique experience as well, and almost felt like too much for me – maybe I’ll get used to this when I play more 2/3 tournaments? Although I lost in 2/3 format, I still think I enjoy Bo1 slightly more because it goes by faster. 

What was your biggest learning experience? 

When I attended Toronto Regionals in 2017, it was my first tournament. I got handed my deck (Night March) the evening prior to the event, got a ride, and was swooped off to the venue the next day. It was fun for me though because I had never played before, and I had to figure out how to maneuver these cards in order to turn a positive result. It was a lot of work – Pokemon is difficult. But the climb is rewarding for those who enjoy the competitive scene. I ended 4-3-2 in the end, which isn’t bad for my first turnout! 

What do you think of when you hear World Championships?

I think of the trophy – the 1stplace one. I see it on my boyfriend’s dresser all the time.

What are you most excited for at the World Championships?

I don’t know what it’s like, but I’d be excited to slap fives with some of the Pokemon mascots. I really hope I’m there, because that would mean I’d have my invite. I’d be excited to embrace the culture behind it, and to see the city of Nashville. It’s inspiring to be surrounded by all of your hometown favourites, as well as some global legends. 

How often do you practice?

Once or twice a week with real cards. Sometimes I’ll watch streams or YouTube videos – I’m pretty casual right now, but next year? Watch out, boys.

Do you have any weird practice strategies?

When I’m with friends, whenever they draw a Prize Card, I’ll take a shot (and vice-versa). It makes a nice party game for friends, and motivates me to test even when I just want to wild out. It’s reaaaally hard though to stay sober against Buzzwole decks. 

What is your favourite deck?

Buzzwole aka BuzzDaddy! I don’t like decks where I have to rely on crazy abilities – I like simple decks where they’re just fast, and efficient. I always forget abilities since I’m still learning, but this deck’s doing really well in the format – I’m obviously doing really well with it too. It’s fun to wail on opponents!

What tournaments do you plan on attending next season?

I think Jay and I are planning on going to the European Internationals, and from there perhaps a few Regionals in the States. We discussed Mexico a little bit, but will go to Toronto for sure. Besides that, local League Cups seems like the move for me!  

Any shoutouts?

Shoutouts to my Ottawa crew, Green Tea, for always being amazing. Shoutout to my two brothers, Zach and Greg on getting their invites to the World Championships. Lastly, shoutouts to Jay, for inspiring me to get back into the game and play more. Oh yeah, also shoutouts to Zach Lesage on Team Carta Magica, #TeamCM #PokeAcademy! Be sure to follow my 2018 Pokemon journey @rochellefortier! Until next time, folks. 

Wallace Family Interview

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Lastly, I decided to interview a family I enjoy very much, the Wallaces. Their son, William, is within the Top 16 of NA and has been a top contender within the game for a while. William is an aged-up Senior, and has original thoughts on the game. Supporting him in this interview will be his parents, who supplement their thoughts on the outer elements of the game. 

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Who are we interviewing?

Dan Wallace, Maria Wallace, William Wallace.

What are do you play in?

Philly and NY area.

How long have you guys been playing?

2.5 years total.

What got you into playing?

The kids at school at school were playing it the “made up” way, and then William came home one day and wanted to know how to play it the correct way. We watched some videos on the Pokemon website and some YouTube videos, and learned that way. 

What’s your favourite memory as a family playing?

When William won the first City Championships, we were all so excited. That was like William’s first accomplishment in the game, and was pretty memorable. Meeting Will Post was pretty cool too. Coming fourth at Worlds was also amazing, it sucked for him losing (but then I got my prizes and it rocked). William celebrating with his friends was priceless. 

What was it like trying to get William’s first invite?

As long as the family is committed, and you can get your kid to tournaments (as well as practice), it’s doable. The structure makes it realistic. William actually got his invite that year through winning City Championships, and doing well at States. Through the leaderboards, he made it into the Top 16 of North America going into Nationals. That was the first time we got an actual stipend.  

What’s it like maintaining William’s rep as a top contender as a Juniors? 

After going into his final year of Juniors, he wasn’t fully well known. He made it to Worlds, but didn’t make Day two or anything. That year he went to Orlando and won the Regionals – he was on stream, and that’s where he first got recognized as a good player. That’s when we realized that he has a really good chance of doing well in his final year as a Junior. As far as reputation, he filled it throughout the year by befriending other top contender Regan Retzloff and always being in contention. At the International events was where the most pressure was placed because William knew how important they were to maintain Top 4 in the leaderboards. 

So you talk about Regan a fair bit. What’s networking/friendship like as a family?

Just like anytime in life, when your child meets other kids, you’ll do things as a parents to make those friendships happen. The memories are countless. At these tournaments because everybody is in the same situation as you (sitting around and waiting for kids), you get to chat and build relationships and then do stuff after the tournaments. You build these great friendships because of those moments. When you’re testing with people and you share great ideas, it’s sometimes hard to swallow when you see other friends do better with the deck you created. You’re happy for your friend, but you’re kind of in a situation where you know it’s difficult for you. It’s tough sometimes. 

What would you say your biggest challenge is as a family?

Finding the time for priorities. It’s just a hobby sometimes, and school needs to come first. Sports evolve, like Will has in football. For him, it’s finding the time to put into it. There’s also a financial barrier as well that is sometimes hard to overcome; you’re trying to be the top of the game, have the top cards to play, and you’re at the point where you’re at the night before a tournament. Somebody gives you the juicy play, you better have the cards. I’d say the financial piece goes hand-in-hand with time. It seems that the most successful players have a strong family that supports them as far as travel goes, and balancing priorities. Those same juniors acknowledge that it’s a privilege to play Pokemon. We’ve went places that we’ve never dreamed of because of Pokemon – we’ve been to London, Australia, etcetra and experience the world with your family. These are lifelong memories.

What was it like “aging up”?

It went smoother than we originally thought. The preparation coming into the season was great because Will was already able to establish a relationship with top seniors. That was key in the transition – having somebody there. The little things in life are great for thanking people – always give back. You also receive a lot, and it can be hard. Reciprocation is good. 

What skills has this taught you and your family? 

Pokemon has taught us that you need to put time in it. You get what you put into it, whether that’s practice, or other things to prepare. You can see the results when Will is unprepared versus being prepared. It taught us prioritization, and showed us what’s important in our daily lives. Maria typically stays at home while I travel, and that requires communication to establish roles during the season (thanks Maria, for your hard work). Will initially didn’t enjoy reading, but when he realized he had to read cards, he took more interest in it. He would sometimes make decisions that were poor in the game because he couldn’t read the full text – so he took it upon himself to learn the cards. Math, negotiation, and relationship building were also things Will learned (as well as us). Within the Pokemon community, we see there’s many shy people – Will is a little shy. But Pokemon is helping to get him out the box. It also aided ius in teaching Will to adapt to change. 

What’s your goal right now?

Will’s goal is to make Day 2 at NAIC this year. His minimum goal is to make Top 32 at Worlds, considering he has already qualified for Day 2. 

How do you practice?

That’s one thing Will has to work on. Coaching has been our secret. He practiced and practiced before, but then went shy at Vancouver Regionals – he stopped practicing and coaching afterwards for a while, and didn’t perform as well. All Will wanted to do was practice with me (Dan), and I was busy with work. With school done, testing will improve as well as many coaching sessions. 

What was your biggest learning experience?

The first time Will missed a cut in Juniors was a massive experience. The experience was that you can’t be too confident in the game, because it can humble you very fast. There’s things like variance and luck that are just out of your control. He even had the “right play” – it was frustrating for him. 

Why did you, Dan, start playing?

To not sit around all day. I wanted to help my son in a way where he could grow as a player. 

What was it like getting your Worlds invite Dan?

Just for background, that wasn’t my goal starting. I just wanted to help William, but once I got T16 in Memphis, it was too tempting to not try. I started playing harder because William and I thought it would be cool to play at this exclusive tournament. This is a one-time thing though; next season, you’ll catch me volunteering. Once I made it a goal, I started putting in as much work as any other competitive player. I’d go on PTCGO, and practice after everybody went to bed! It’s awkward sometimes that I’m 43 though, and sitting across the table from 15-year-olds trying to get my invite by beating him. It felt awkward at times, but overall was fun. 

What decks got you to this point in the season?

Meowstic Spread got me a lot of CP, as well as Drampa/Garbodor. 

What are you most excited for at the World Championships?

We’re most excited to win – and trade all of the mats we have accumulated for Japanese swag! 

Any shoutouts?

We’d like to thank our PokeParent friends, as well specifically the Retzloffs and the Bradners, and we’d like to thank anybody who has supported/helped us throughout our time in the game. We appreciate all of you. 

Conclusion

Well there you have it! Until the next piece of my article, you'll have to enjoy the above interviews. See you next time readers, and remember — get lucky, and run hot!

-Jacob Lesage

#PlayPokemon

[+21] okko


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