Meet the Staff – Tom Hall

Meet Tom Hall, the newest Underground writer. As you may know, I conducted short interviews with the other writers, so as soon as Tom joined the staff, it was his turn to be in the hot seat.

Without further ado, here is the interview. I wish you the best luck, Tom.

What’s your favorite thing about the TCG?
What I find one of the most enjoyable things about the Pokémon TCG is that it constantly stays fresh due to card rotation, which helps the game remain enjoyable.

By having an ever-changing playing environment, players are not only judged on how good they are at the game based on their skill or how good their deck is at any one time, but their ability to adapt to a game that constantly alters strategic and tactical elements.

As a result of this, truly great players are determined by how consistent they are with regard to tournament records spanning various seasons, showcasing their ability to excel at the game.

What is your most memorable match?
There have been so many matches that have faded from memory, but there are some I can’t forget due to how intense they were at the time. Noteworthy mentions include playing against Freddy K round 5-of UK Nationals 2009 or against Frank Diaz in T32 of Worlds this year.

However, my most memorable match wasn’t at that high a level of tournament. In the 2008-2009 season, I remember playing in a City Championship final against a UK player by the name of Ryan Tur (Stormfront was the latest set at the time).

It was my Regigigas versus his Kingdra. It came down to the final game, where, if my memory serves me correctly time was called when we had both drawn a Prize card. As the judge ruled that the next prize won the match, I had to use Regigigas’s Poké-Power “Sacrifice” as well as take a prize on the same turn, so not to lose the game right there due to prize count.

I eventually had to resort to playing a Spiritomb (LA) to move a damage counter from my Regigigas to his Kingdra to avoid being Ko’d by “Dragon Pump,” as it would hit my Regigigas on the bench for a KO. The damage counter I moved allowed me to one shot his Kingdra the following turn with Giga Blaster, giving me the match.

Regigigas is a complex deck at the best of times, and under sudden death conditions was a huge headache to deal with.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
That would be a tough one. I would say that I’ve had three notable achievements in my Pokémon career, each a milestone that drives me to even greater levels of achievement.

1. Winning my first tournament

After about 1-2 months after starting to play the Pokémon TCG competitively, I entered a States Championship in my local games shop in Exeter, UK. I ended up winning the event and this gave me motivation to try to excel at the game.

pokebeach.com2. 3rd at UK Nationals 2008

I quite frankly, would not have been able to achieve this without the help of an extremely well known UK player called Sami Sekkoum. His expertise and insight into helping me improve my game has been invaluable. The night before the tournament he taught me how to play Plox properly as well as fixing my current list for it. Over the last few years I have learnt a great deal from him and believe he is one of, if not the best Pokémon TCG player in the world.

Anyway, as a result of him fixing my list and teaching me the ropes, I managed to take 3rd, losing to Sami’s brother, Yacine in the Semi finals. Yacine then went on to win the tournament, with Sami coming in second and me in third. A pretty favorable result if you ask me!

3. T32 Worlds 2010

To be honest, top cutting at worlds was merely a dream when I started playing Pokémon in 2007. I can only hope that I can go even further next year!

What was your favorite modified format to play in?
To be honest, I’m quite enjoying this one. I came into the game competitively when the Holon Engine was about to rotate, so I didn’t really have a huge opportunity to play with that cardpool. The next year was the year of Gardevoir in 2008, and I didn’t really enjoy the lack of deck variety.

2009 & 2010 saw the advent of the SP engine, which although fun to an extent, was in my opinion, limited due to a few dominant decks in the format.

So far, this format is looking promising with regard to deck diversity. The release of HS: Triumphant has opened up a whole heap of decks to choose from, making SP a less dominant force than before. I hope it carries on this way for the rest of the year.

Do you have any other talents besides being a great Pokémon player?
– An uncanny ability to sleep for an unprecedented amount of time
– The capability of drinking vast quantities of milk

What do you like to do when you’re not playing Pokémon?
I love to ski as well as surf when time / conditions allow. I also have an enormous passion for traveling, the USA being one of my favorite destinations. I someday hope to travel to Japan, when my wallet says that I’m able to afford it.

In two years, do you still plan to be playing Pokémon?
I don’t plan not to be playing, but I have no idea. I’d like to be able to say that I will be as I have met so many amazing people through the game. However, my time as a student will be over by then, and I will hopefully have a well paid job in the field of business, so I’m not sure if I’ll have time for it. Fingers crossed I’m not too busy!

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