Have Fun at Nationals (a plea!)

woogychuckI don’t know about you, but I’m getting excited. I’m in the UK and I’m sitting writing this on 23rd May 2011 and I am becoming childishly excited. The kind of excited you get when you see a band you love for the first time or find out they’re renewing a TV show you love.

What’s that? Why am I so excited you ask? It’s because it is just 6 days until Nationals!

Last year I went to Nationals with my Feraligatr / Lanturn deck which, looking back, was really quite badly made. Having said that, during the season I only attended 2 random Battle Roads and a City Championship with random decks (winning a total of 2 games between them!) so I was hardly well prepared.

On the day I went 4-3 and missed the cut. I kicked myself at the time because I lost 2 games for being stupid and one for being too nice but, with hindsight, had I won I would have been playing much better people and would have lost to them. Regardless of all this I had a very, very good day!

Now, in order to do well at Nationals we need to remember to take a few things:

  • Deck (please don’t forget this!)
  • Decklist
  • POP ID
  • Playmat
  • Dice / Coins
  • Hats / Shirts / anything you wanna show off with (I personally have my Team Chimera shirt with Umbreon and Mamoswine drawn on by my mate; it looks rad!)
  • Mascots (personally, I can’t play a tournament without my Mamoswine, but that’s just me)

And most important of all: a sense of fun!


I’ve been getting so excited for Nationals that I have been poring over message boards and forums on this lovely website, as well as several others, and have been, quite frankly, a little sad about some of the things I have read.

People saying that although the day before Nationals is fun the day itself (It is a one day event in the UK) should be all business.

Other people have been pointing out how serious it is and how they need to do well. Others still have been saying they’re not playing Nationals because they have their worlds invite in the bag and don’t want to ruin it.

Now, I think if you can get to Nationals with a worlds invite in the bag you shouldn’t be able to do so badly at Nationals as to ruin your rating bad enough to lose it, but I do understand that worlds is even more exciting than Nationals so this is understandable. Personally, I’d still play Nationals.

The thing that a lot of people seem to be forgetting is FUN! We do need to remember that we are, essentially, playing a children’s card game. A card game that was designed to be fun. That’s certainly why I play, for the fun of it.

This seems lost in some of the things I’ve been reading about the need to do well (not desire but need) and constant reminders of how serious it is and what’s at stake but I think it is, far and away, the most important thing about the whole day.

kossyLet’s look at the prizes on offer: The winners of most countries will get a nice scholarship, 2 boxes of cards, a DSI, and a paid trip to Worlds. Ok, this seems pretty good and does amount to somewhere around £1000-1500 (depending where you’re travelling from) as well as the scholarship.

Now let’s consider how much we all spend on cards. Oh, and travel to and from tournaments (I’m talking all tournaments, not just Nationals) and food and accommodation.

See where I’m going with this? Sure the prizes are awesome but with the amount of time, effort and money we put into this game the prizes alone shouldn’t be enough of a draw.

Which brings me back to my original point: we play for fun.

So, I think it’s time we considered some reasons why Nationals will be awesome, regardless of whether we win or lose:

1. Free Stuff!

Last year I left Nationals with a Garchomp shirt (2 actually), an awesome Garchomp promo, a pack of Rising Rivals, an inflatable Pokéball and a Giratina hat. I didn’t have to do well, it was just awesome free stuff to brighten up my day (and everyone else’s).

2. You get to trade with people

Trading is well good! I just went to league this past week and ended up trading some cards that had been in my folder forever for 2 CoL shinies and a Crobat Prime (watch out for this bad boy next season) so imagine how good Nationals will be.

3. You get to meet new people

I am a sociable man, I love meeting new people and going by my experience of Pokémon in the past year so do the rest of you. I can’t wait to meet new people at Nationals.

4. You get to see people you know and like and share an interest with

As well as loving to play Pokémon I love to talk about Pokémon. I love to discuss new deck ideas, matchups and overlooked cards. Heck, I love talking about any aspect of it (it’s why I like 6P so much). At Nationals there’s a big room chock-full of lovely, friendly people who share your interest.

The point I’m making here is about getting to meet up with people you’ve met before but don’t see often. The beautiful thing about Nationals is most of the friends you make through the year at Battle Roads, Cities, and States all converge at Nationals. Beautiful.

5. You get to learn more

pokebeach.comYou will have to keep your eyes and ears glued very firmly shut to not learn a lot about Pokémon at Nationals. 7 rounds of swiss (in the UK) not to mention between round banter means lots of learning and, as a teacher, I can confirm that learning is fun.

6. You get to play the Pokémon TCG!

It’s why I’m going. I love this game, I don’t know whether I’ve made that clear yet but I really do. The thought of playing it all day against awesome people makes me very, very happy.

Maybe I’ve taken a long time to say it but this game we play is awesome and this game we play is fun. I just wanted to remind people about this point before we all go along. By all means try your hardest and try and win and give it your all during matches, but don’t forget that we play for fun.

If you’re not going to have fun, why are you going?

P.S. You will see me at UK Nationals wearing a “Team Chimera” shirt with a Mamoswine and Umbreon design. I will also be wearing a Giratina hat with some pin badges in it and will have my trusty Mamoswine with me when I play.

If you’re reading this and going to UK Nationals, come say hi. Actually, if you’re going UK Nationals and wanna make some new friends then post a comment saying how to identify you and hopefully people will come and say hi to you at Nationals. Let’s make this the best day of the year!

Reader Interactions

19 replies

  1. David Garvey

    Hey! Hopefully I’ll bump into you, what age division are you in? I also cannot wait for Nationals! First time for me this year and only 3 days to go (only 2 til I travel down).

    Oh, you also forgot to mention that you need a notepad, or piece of paper, for serious business prize recording.

    • Ross Gilbert  → David

      Oh yes, i’m all about the Masters! Where you travelling down from? It’s gonna be rad! At work people keep telling me to mark coursework and run revision sessions for exams but i don’t wanna be thinking about that, i wanna be thinking about how to make sure Garchomp C doesn’t kill my whole bench!

      • David Garvey  → Ross

        Travelling from “Glasgae” with a few friends. Definitely can’t wait. If you see an extremely tall lanky looking guy with (probably) a shirt and jeans on, that’s me! I’ll hopefully have fun, though obviously the ambition is to do well at the same time. Regardless, I’m bringing a pile of packs to hopefully get a draft going if I miss out on the later stages.

  2. Callylove

    Very good article, Ross. You have finally pointed out a thing that is too little focused on in the pro TCG community. Most of the people here on 6P play to win, but now as you have hopefully taken their mind back to when the players started. 

  3. Toby Woolner

    Heyy, I’ll be going with a group of my mates but I’ll be the tall-ish one with sunglasses (whatever the weather :D) Hope to see you/play you if you’re in Masters division :)

  4. Tamao Cameron

    lol I wasn’t fully serious when I said that on the boards, I guess you don’t know me well enough to know when I’m serious or not though :p 

    See you guys at nats, can’t wait personally, gonna be fun :)

    • Ross Gilbert  → Tamao

      Oh, i know you weren’t being deadly serious man! I had the pleasure of playing ya at States and it was far from a deadly serious game! I thouroughly enjoyed it :)

      As i’m sure you know, there’s nothing on the 6P boards to rivals boards on other websites. Some of the things i read…….

      Also, rumour is that the only possible outcome is Sami winning and nobody else has a chance. So if anyone’s going only to win they’re gonna be disappointed (unless it’s Sami ;)

  5. stephen shirley

    im a smalish kid with long  messy hair and i’ll be wearing a hoodie with a pikachu sown on and i’ll have my mascot squirtle

  6. Seamus Bonner

    fancy seing you on the forums david lol wish i was going i was so hyped about it then i noticed the price from cumbernauld to ketteing and i was like X.X how the hell will i ask my mum for this money and then she said “we will see” but moneys tight so not that bothered

    P.S : i’ll be there next year :)

  7. Seamus Bonner

    fancy seing you on the forums david lol wish i was going i was so hyped about it then i noticed the price from cumbernauld to ketteing and i was like X.X how the hell will i ask my mum for this money and then she said “we will see” but moneys tight so not that bothered

    P.S : i’ll be there next year :)

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