Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

Looking Toward Quarter 2

Zach interviews a handful of players on how they are approaching Q2 in this free article.

11/22/2019 by Zach Lesage

Floating Thoughts

What’s up 60Cards readers? It’s Zach Lesage here and I am back from São Paulo with a free article today! Something that has been difficult for me to grasp is how players will react to the Best Finish Limit in general and how they will approach it for Quarter 2. Considering I am in a position to figure that out myself, I am still trying to figure it out. If you don’t know how the quarterly BFL works, it is a grind of a system. The season is divided into four Quarters and the season is also observed as a full season, regardless of anything that happens within it. For both systems, players can earn CP from their best eight Cups, eight Challenges, six Regionals, and four Internationals. For example, I already have my eight Cups for the year with 305 CP / 400 CP. That translates into three Cup wins, two Seconds, and three Top Eights. My goal this Quarter is to replace some of my finishes with better performances and to earn CP for my three open League Challenge spots. On top of that, I have plans of going to Daytona Beach, San Diego, Dallas, and OIC (Melbourne Internationals) for major events. While it seems like I am going full steam ahead, I have reached out to a few players to see how they are reacting to this season. The goal of this article is to ask different players in the game how they are planning to approach the new quarter. Considering this article doesn’t have any relevant TCG information towards Cups / Regionals, it will be a freebie for everyone. Let’s jump into it.

Player Spotlight - Will Jenkins

Name: Will Jenkins
City: Myersville
State: Maryland
Age: 17
Current CP: 557
Best Pokémon Accomplishment: Top 4 Toronto Regionals 2019

How are you doing right now? I'm doing good. I just got back home from a long week of travel and have been catching up on school work. Traveling to Brazil for the Latin America International Championships was a lot of fun and a great experience, but traveling can take a toll on a person.

That's great to hear, how is your season going so far? Have you been playing much?
So far, my season is right on track with where I want it to be. I started this season aiming to get the OCIC 2020 travel award in order to plan out the rest of the year and I was able to achieve that goal. I originally didn't see myself chasing Top 16 this year, but now that I have the OCIC travel award I plan on going for it. After the conclusion of LAIC I was able to accumulate five hundred and fifty-seven Championship Points ranking me at #15 on the Leaderboards. I have been playing pretty much non stop ever since worlds. With the new stipend layout and constant cups, there has been almost no rest for most players pursuing a travel award or a Quarter one invite.

You had a great Quarter 1, congrats! How are you planning on tackling Quarter 2? How many Cups are you going to attend? Which major events are you going to?
As of now, I have no real plan with tackling quarter two. I plan on attending Daytona Beach Regionals and Dallas Regionals, but most likely skipping San Diego Regionals. Since I live on the East Coast, traveling to the West Coast can be quite expensive. I also plan on attending the OCIC 2020 and going to as many cups throughout the year to acquire a minimum of eight finals or better.

That's fair, I skipped Santa Clara, CA Regionals last year too for the same reason. Has your behaviour changed from Quarter 1 to Quarter 2? Have you started to plan your Quarter 3 at all?
My behavior has changed ever so slightly from Quarter 1 to Quarter 2 mainly because of the way TCPI decided to handle the stipend system this year. I believe TCPI should have created a year round BFL of eight, which they did, but limit the cups per quarter to two for stipend purposes. It is exhausting traveling to so many cups and there is almost no down time for a player who wants to pursue a Top 16 stipend. I haven't started to plan Quarter 3 outside of driving to the regionals in driving distance and attending the EUIC 2020.

I agree with you there! Do you have any advice for the readers?
My advice for any readers who are trying to get better at the game or take their game to the next level by pursing a stipend is to play a lot and play for fun. I say play for fun more so in a manner that players should have fun with the game they are playing because in the end it will make you a happier individual. People shouldn't stress out too much over a bad round or finish because it will truly diminish a players spirit going forward. There are tons of great people in this game to meet and make connections with that can become lifetime friends. Although I play this game a lot and it is really important to me, I try to focus on the other aspects of the game while playing at all times to remember all the great things the game has granted to me. Traveling the world, meeting new people, and having fun are just a few of the things that Pokemon has to offer. If you are looking to become a better player or take your game to the next level, I highly recommend playing as much as you can. I know there are time constraints for many people, but actively thinking about the game and playing the game will sharpen your skill so you are ready to take on anything. Analyzing your losses and wins in tournaments will also help a lot. Instead of chopping up a round to "I lost this round because of a dead hand" try to analyze all the paths you had to get yourself out of a bad hand. Maybe your sequencing was correct or it didn't give you the best odds of getting to play the game. People do infact draw unplayable hands and people do make mistakes. Analyzing your wins and losses will help you become a better player in the long run and can prevent mistakes that might cost you games.

I appreciate your time, do you have any shoutouts you want to give? Any parting thoughts?
I'd like to shout out my Sponsors Queen City Gaming and PTCGO STORE for making it easier for me to attend events. You can check them out for all your product and code needs at the hyperlinks above. I'd also like to thank Team Rocket's Hideout for giving me a great opportunity to write about my deck choices, opinions, and knowledge about the game. I usually write an article or two before every big event so be sure to check out my articles if you want to hear more from me! Rocket's has a payment system that changes the way articles are purchased by allowing a person to individually purchase an article rather than paying a full subscription. Check it out above via the provided hyperlink. As for parting thoughts, I want to thank Zach for reaching out to me and allowing me to do this interview with him, and I wish everyone good luck at their future events! Im always open to meeting new people so feel free to come up to me and introduce yourself at events, or message me on any of my social medias with questions you might have. 

Thanks for all of your time. You can follow Will on Twitter @WillJenkinsTCG.

Player Spotlight - Rudy Wade

Name: Rudy Wade

City: Fairfield

State: New Jersey

Age: 17

Current CP: 222CP

Best Pokémon Accomplishment: Day 2 at Atlantic City Regionals

Hey Rudy, how are you doing? I’m doing great, thank you!

That is great to hear! How is your season going so far? Have you been playing much? My season has been going incredibly well! I've gotten points at every Regional I have attended and acquired the most CP by the end of Quarter 1 than I have ever done before.

That must be really exciting, great job! How are you planning on tackling Quarter 2? How many Cups are you going to attend? Which major events are you going to? I've been playing quite a bit practicing about three hours a day. In Quarter 2 I’m going to be attending as many Cups as possible because I only have two finishes currently, not sure of the exact number, but lots is my best guess!

I should be going to Dallas too, hopefully I see you there! Has your behaviour changed from Quarter 1 to Quarter 2? Have you started to plan your Quarter 3 at all? I will be attending Dallas for sure and maybe another one or two Regionals - still undecided. Nope, my ambitions remain the same, trying to achieve my worlds invite! I have not planned past Quarter 2 by any means other than the fact that I will be grinding Cups and Challenges to try and earn my invite.

Any shoutouts you want to give? Any parting thoughts? Shoutout to ROC Games LLC,, and my twitter @RudyWadeMusic!

Thanks for the interview Rudy, best of luck at getting your invite

Player Spotlight - Mark Dizon

Name: Mark Dizon 

City: Toronto

State: Canada 

Age: 27

Current CP: 177 

Best Pokémon Accomplishment: Top 16 NAIC 

How are you doing right now?  Wishing Zoroark was in the format 

Haha, I have never been a fan of that card like you have been! How is your season going so far? Have you been playing much? I am currently on track to make Worlds at 177 CP. I have four Challenge finishes and 3 Cup finishes. 

That’s good to hear! How are you planning on tackling Quarter 2? How many Cups are you going to attend? Which major events are you going to?  I plan to play many Cups that I can be in. I am going to Daytona, Toronto, Charlotte and Collinsville.

I should be at all of those events too! Has your behaviour changed from Quarter 1 to Quarter 2? Have you started to plan your Quarter 3 at all? Taking it one quarter at a time and trying to get 90 CP a quarter 

That is a great way to look at it!  Do you have any advice for the readers? Don’t get rushed into getting your invite. Getting your invite is a marathon not a sprint. A lot of people are on an accelerated pace to get invites because of the no-cap situation. Make time to understand what events you have and try to go Quarter by Quarter to close out your invite. 

That is some amazing advice! Any shoutouts you want to give? Any parting thoughts?Shout out to our amazing community. Always remember to try to be nicer to each other. Pokémon is all about getting together and creating awesome experience. So don’t forget to have fun

Best of luck getting that invite! You can follow Mark on Twitter @MarkDizon

See Ya in Daytona

Well, I hope that has given you a decent perspective on how players are going to behave going forward with this season! I know I am still gonna play until it is no longer an option so you can catch me at most events. As for me, I am currently home while writing this article, I am travelling to Daytona Beach later this month, and then San Diego in early December. I am currently at 622 CP and my goal is to get a stipend to attend EUIC in Berlin. I have been putting in a bunch of effort lately to improve as a player and I truly hope it pays off. If you are looking to follow me on my adventure, here are the links to my Social Media / sponsors: 

PTCGOStore: use code zlesage5 to save 5% off your order

TCEvolutions: use code zach10 to save 10% off your order



YouTube: RareCandyTCG


Reach out to me if you are interested in coaching or any other business opportunity. 

Let’s go have some fun,

Zach Lesage

[+26] okko


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