12/03/2018 by Mark Dizon
Welcome Back to Level One!
Another week has passed, and we had a small weekend of cups. This upcoming weekend doesn’t have regionals and will have even more cups. The balance of expanded and standard is a very interesting one with the alternating format at regionals having to keep players on their toes when it comes to what it takes to play on the weekend. Today I had the wonderful opportunity to work with the local boy scouts in our area and teach Pokémon to sixteen kids ranging from the age of seven to ten. It was extremely eye-opening and it reminded me of being a kid and not knowing how to even play the game. Remember when we thought Pokémon with higher HP just knocked out the Pokémon with the lower HP. It was a different time then than it is now but people still love Pokémon and watching kids love the Venasaur ex in their deck that we’d never play was worth every moment. One of the kids ended up asking me “what type of player I was?” such a different question, I didn’t really know how to respond. They asked, “what type of Pokémon I enjoyed winning with?” It would have been easy to say Dark Pokémon because I loved Yveltal and Zoroark, but I said: “I like winning with smart decks”. Come to think of it we never really talk about what type of Pokémon player and that’s what we are going to talk about today.
Who is Giovanni? He is the leader of Team Rocket and the final gym leader in Viridian City. What type of Card Player is Giovanni? Giovanni is the type of player who likes to win through sheer brute force. Just like his in-game team of Rhyhorn, Nidoking, Persian in the game he wants his Pokémon deck to be strong and overwhelm the opponent by overpowering them. Giovanni is the type of player that opens a booster pack sees a super strong Pokémon and wants to play them. Giovanni is motivated by the strong attacks and abilities of Pokémon. When he plays in tournaments he doesn’t really care if he top 8’s but he wants to make sure when he beats his opponents that they feel crushed. He wants his opponents to tell his friends that he rattled the cages and they felt like they had no chance to beat him. What decks does Giovanni play? He plays with decks that involve cards like Volcanion EX – Rayquaza GX, Tapu Bulu GX and even the new Blacephalon GX. These decks can steamroll the opponent with the biggest weakness of the deck is it can be inconsistent when not set up.
Ash wins with the Pokémon he loves and enjoys playing with. This is the type of player that plays their favourite deck for the whole season. From Pokémon to the show to cards they just like personally based on the Aesthetic, Ash will try to win with them. The biggest thing about Ash is they want the ability to win this way because they feel validated by winning with their favourite cards. Ash feels that he has earned a win if he is able to win the game his way. He will be playing Zoroark for the full season and not switch if he enjoys the deck. He wants to get to know the deck he plays and play that because he trusts that. He doesn’t just want to knock his opponents Pokémon out and donk them, he wants games to be drawn out and played to a decision. The longer the game or the more decision points the better.
Team Rocket blasting off at the speed of light! What type of player is team rocket? They are your favourite type of player to play against in a tournament. They are the rogue deck builder. They enjoy playing what they believe no one else will play. Mill is a deck. Granbull is a deck. Shocklock is a deck. How Team Rocket enjoys winning is with their own creating and your misery versus playing them. Team Rocket Players are very creative, they want to win with style and flair. They enjoy being challenged when they play and they thoroughly enjoy winning with cards no one else likes to you. The new Lost Zone mechanic and Unown Missing might be a deck that Team Rocket would play. Out of all the player types, you will see here, Team Rocket is the type that cares more about deckbuilding than any other profile. They want to build their own or improve the decks they play. They will come up with interesting decks like Nagandel Waterbox with Suicune and Quagsire that you will lose to round one in a regional and question your choices in the metagame. They are really fun players to play against and they will show up a lot at your local league. You also never know when they might break the format and give you a crazy deck that will let you beat everyone else. You will generally enjoy playing against this player until they keep looping Acerola on their Steelix while you realize you have no way to win this game.
Oh, Gary! He’s our man, if he can’t do it, no one can! We all know the Gary at our local and regional level. Gary doesn’t care what deck he plays as long as it does one thing! Win. He wants to win every game he plays and he doesn’t care how he beats you. Did he donk you? That’s a great win! Did you dead draw? And he drew everything, that’s a great win! Winning is all that matters and Gary doesn’t care what Pokémon are in his deck as long as it can beat most decks. In essence, he is able to assume the role of the three profiles above but he is not building his own deck most of the time and assuming his play level and play style will allow him to gain wins with his deck. If Rayquaza won last week, Gary is probably playing it at league. If Decidueye Ninetales Zoroark won the week before, Gary is probably playing it. Gary wants you to be intimated whenever you play him. Gary’s biggest weakness is that sometimes the Meta moves so fast he will be playing the wrong deck.
Which profile are you? You can be a mix. I would say I am a mix of Ash and Gary. I do enjoy winning games and playing the best deck, but I will always pick the best deck that I believe I have the most experience with. So while Blacephalon might be one of the best decks in the format right now, I would rather play what the consensus best Zoroark Deck is at the moment. With now knowing what type of player profile you are. Have you ever really thought about why you personally play Pokémon?
You enjoy Pokémon
You loved TV Show, You loved the video games, and you just love Pokémon in general. You collected some cards in the past and were curious about how to play the game so you started playing and here you are.
Your older sibling played
Your bigger brother or sister played so you started playing as well. You really enjoyed watching them play so you started to play yourself. Okay, you might not have wanted to play but you were voluntold by your parents to have to go on every trip with them so you started playing to past the time. Eventually, you might become better than your sibling and you guys started a rivalry or you two ended up helping each other become the best possible Pokémon Trading Card Game Player you could be. They might have stopped playing but you still are
Your Children Play
Similar to the example above, your child plays Pokémon. Whether it is TCG or VGC you have to bring them to the event anyway. Some Parents do not like sitting around waiting. You are one of them. You decided to pick up the trading card game and learn it so you could help your children practice for events. You decided that you enjoyed the game itself and how it challenges your mind so you started competing as well. I mean who doesn’t need more regionals promos right? You are not just a PokeParent, you are a player in your own right and you damn well have some League Cup top eights to prove it
You came over from another game
Fed up from the rampant theft and cheating in Yugioh, fed up from the elitist and intimidating community in magic, you left your current game to take a break and give Pokémon a chance. Sure it was different from the other games with the age groups and you weren’t used to having a bunch of kids run around the venue, but you really enjoy the community here. Everyone is super nice and welcoming and you have even made a lot of great friends. The cards are cheaper, the venues are nice and you get to play with cards that are beautiful. Sometimes you feel that the gameplay in the other games is less variance-focused but you look past that because you only have to deal with mostly nice people in this game. Sometimes you complain about paywalls, yes we get other games do not have the Paywall sites and every game has its bad apples, but you are still playing this game.
All your friends play
Just like the example above, you chose to move on from another game or start playing this game because all your friends play. When we play games we want to play with the people we like and I hope you like your friends. One of the best experiences in the game is travelling with your friends and family to far-off places such as London, England Sao Paolo, Brazil and even Madison, Wisconsin. These are places you would not have visited otherwise but you get to travel to them and go there with people you love to be around. I have seen long-distance relationships formed from Pokémon. I have seen groups of friends get sick from eating at a restaurant in Fort Wayne that they went to. One of the biggest things about life is trying to have great experiences and playing this game definitely allows you to share those with your friends. Even when you do badly at your tournament you can find solace in cheering on your friends and vice versa in reverse. It is an absolute blast to have your friends congratulate you on a day 2 qualification after a heated battle in a win and in.
You used to play and you decide to Come Back
Maybe you played back when it was the Diamond and Pearl format. Maybe you still have a bunch of Black-White era cards and wanted to play Expanded. You heard Standard was in a good place or you walked by a store and saw Tapu Lele GX and were intrigued. No matter what made you leave, something has brought you back into the game and are we happy to have to have you back. You started going to League and then League challenges and you wonder why you ever left. The game is great and you are back to enjoying it. Welcome back.Shout out to Andre Chiasson for all the work he's doing since he came back for the Hamilton, Ontario Community.
We probably missed some other reasons why people are playing Pokémon but the game of Pokémon is ever growing. We are experiencing growth. Not just counting regionals, they are players who are playing casually that we have to attract to leagues to grow the game. Pokémon is unlike any other game as it has the age divisions that allow players to progress as they grow as players and humans. This graduated age division system is one of the best ways I have ever seen to grow the game. Have you ever given your nieces and nephews cards? How about your little cousins. Why wouldn’t they want to learn the game from their big cousins? I remember never having played Pokémon before and asking what was a Yveltal and a Greninja. I only knew up to gen 4 Pokémon but by playing the game, I Instantly fell in love with these Pokémon and even more as the game has grown. Currently, I think Trumbeak is a cool Pokémon because being able to lost zone it and your opponents Guzman is truly fun. Fun. Sometimes in the other games around no one really uses that word. You are taught in most other games that the game itself is a competition and that is all that matters, but here in Pokémon for the most part Fun is still the first rule to have. I hope you might of reminisced today of why you enjoy playing Pokémon and reach out to someone this holiday season to help them learn to play. Recently I have seen my community grow with players driving six hours to our league cups, I want to make sure they feel welcome as many others have made me.
Until next week,
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