With Autumn Battle Roads right around the corner, competitive players everywhere are tweaking their decks, testing their matchups, and trying to refine their playing style in the wake of Claydol’s exodus from the format. Up here in Canton, Michigan (about 25 minutes west of Detroit), Monday night PokéNights have always been a weekly guarantee that we’ll make spending some quality time with our friends a priority in a world where school and work seem to monopolize our time.
Last year, our average turnout checked in somewhere around 6 or 7 guys each week, which inspired the formation of “Team Warp Point.” Some of you may have seen us at Nationals sporting red and white baseball shirts that said “Team Warp Point” on the front and “Good Game” on the back. The joke behind the name is another story for another time, but our trip to Nats caught the attention many of our friends back home (who wondered out loud why 6 college-aged guys would drive 6 hours and cram into a 1-star motel room for a Pokémon-filled weekend).
Upon returning, we found that quite a few of our friends were interested in getting into the game, so we began helping them construct decks. Because our decks were already at a competitive level, our friends weren’t exactly content with the whole “Starter Deck” option. They wanted to get competitive quickly, so we placed them on a daily regimen of SixPrizes.com and gave away countless staple cards like Rare Candy, BTS, Pokémon Collector, etc. Word spread quickly among friends, as well as random players we bumped into at local card shops. The result was a huge boom in our attendance at PokéNight, which quickly outgrew our usual basement meeting place.
Recently, we secured permission from the church a few of us attend to move PokéNight to their Youth Center, a renovated barn with plenty of playing space. From 9 PM to 10 PM we play fun games, trade cards, and tweak our decks. At 10 PM the real fun starts, and we kick off a tournament. Last Monday, we had 20 players (larger than a few of the Spring Battle Roads I attended) and played a 5-round, Swiss format tournament with a 4-player Top Cut. Featured decks include LuxChomp, VileTomb, SableLock, Donphan, Gyrados, DialgaChomp, Scizor Prime, and many other current decks that you can expect to see at tournaments this year. We’re constantly testing our matchups against competitive players, and we’re hoping for great things in the upcoming tournament season.
My purpose for writing this article is two-fold: first, I want to encourage other players around the US to start their own Pokémon communities, whether via an official league or D.I.Y. style like we’ve done. If you’re willing to be generous with your time and your cards, you can get your friends hooked quickly on this game we all know and love. Secondly, I want to let the 6 Prizes community know that if you’re ever near Detroit on a Monday night, you’re welcome to come hit up the PokéBarn! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, for any who are interested in getting more details. Good luck this season!