Robby’s Rookie Report

An Interview With Up-and-Coming Master Jeremy Gibson
jeremy gibson ryan sabelhaus philly regionals 2014 top 4
Say hello to Jeremy Gibson!

Hello everyone! I’m Robby Weidemann, and this is my first article for SixPrizes. I’m sure you all would love to know a little about myself, but that’s a topic for another day. This feature is about a player by the name of Jeremy Gibson. Jeremy is a first-year Master who is already starting to pile on accomplishments and Points toward a Worlds invitation. I introduced Jeremy into the competitive scene, and he has been thriving ever since. I have the blessing and curse of seeing Jeremy and how his Pokémon mind works daily, so I’m here to open it up to the community. Let’s dive into the interview!

You’re a first year Master, but you have been playing the game for quite some time now. Can you tell us about yourself?

As a Pokémon player, I’ve been playing for 5 years before this one (4 in Seniors, 1 in Juniors). I earned my invite in my four years of Seniors and I’ve had some decent accomplishments depending on who you’d ask. Aside from Pokémon, I’m a sophomore in high school, I play basketball, and I enjoy watching basketball and football.

Since you’re a first-year Master, do you expect for there to be a learning curve?

Coming into Masters, I knew there would be some adjustments I would need to make to my game. I’ve already learned a ton from veteran players like Sam Chen and Frank Diaz, but there’s definitely still more I can learn from people like them. The main thing I’ve noticed about Masters is that everyone is going to give you a run for your money, regardless of how well you’re doing. No wins come easy. On the other side of this, however, it’s also not as difficult as I expected. When hearing about Masters from others, I had this mental image of a different game where you wouldn’t stand a chance against the best players. After playing a few tournaments in Masters, I’ve realized that you have a chance to win any game, regardless of who you’re playing. Of course the better players will capitalize on any slip-up you could make, but they’re still playing the same game as everyone else; they just make extremely minimal errors.

You got top 4 at Philly Regionals in October. Can you tell us your thoughts going into the tournament?

Well it was my first tournament in Masters, so I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect. I knew it would be more challenging, but I knew I just needed to play my game and I would do fine.

jeremy gibson ryan sabelhaus philly regionals 2014 top 4
Top 4 vs. Ryan Sabelhaus at Philadelphia Regionals 2014

Did you see yourself going that far?

I didn’t necessarily expect it, but my goal is always to win the tournament. Usually I just play with that goal in mind and I take whatever I can get placement-wise. Overall though, I’m very happy with how I did and I was grateful to even get to compete with some of the best players in the game.

What are your thoughts on Masters looking down on Seniors and brushing off their accomplishments? Do you feel that since you are now a Master, you see yourself doing this?

I absolutely hate it. Of course Masters is more difficult, but nothing frustrates me more than when Masters belittle the accomplishments of Seniors and Juniors. The way I see it, there are age divisions for a reason. It would be absurd to expect even the best of Juniors to be able to compete with Masters. The Juniors and Seniors who are winning now may not be as good as the Masters, but I’m sure they’ll be up to the task by the time they’re old enough to play in this division.

Are you putting in extra time for Pokémon since you just aged up, or are there other things that take priority?

No, not really. I do play on Pokémon TCG Online a lot, but that’s mainly for fun and not for serious testing. I prefer to let the metagame develop so I can make an educated decision on a deck shortly before a tournament. Testing doesn’t concern me too much because I feel I can usually make the correct plays when in a game situation. But yes, there are things that take up my other time. I wouldn’t describe it as taking priority, but I distribute my time between a variety of things.

What are these things?

Basketball mainly, but obviously schoolwork is important and I enjoy hanging out with my friends too.

How do you balance your time?

It can be tough, especially when you try to factor in sleep. Sometimes I have to just cancel all my plans out of pure exhaustion. Mainly, I just try to make the most out of every minute of the day. This includes relaxing, which I consider to be very important to one’s health, even though a lot of people would just consider it laziness.

ash pikachu sleeping
A Trainer’s got to get some rest!

You mentioned you make “educated decisions” for your decks “shortly before a tournament.” How close to a tournament on average do you wait to choose a deck?

Haha, sometimes it can get as close as minutes before the deadline. I usually have a few decks in mind, but I believe the later you choose your deck, the more prepared you are.

What are your thoughts on the current metagame?

I really like it. So many options and cards that allow strategic plays.

Worlds now has a requirement of 300 Championship Points. How do you feel about this?

I have mixed feelings on this. It’s good to know that I have my invite locked up for the most part, given that I already have somewhere around 180 Points, including Worlds Points, but I definitely will feel less accomplished getting the invite, assuming I will. I may go for 500 CP to prove I’m capable, but I don’t know if I’d be able to do it, especially with all the extra people who will be playing now because of the lowered Points requirement.

How do you feel about the new three-day format for Worlds?

I think it is logical, but I’m not a fan of it. I like the idea that the 16 “best” players get a free ride to day 2, but what I don’t like it how these 16 are determined. The way I see it, it gives an advantage to people who attend more tournaments. Obviously people need to attend a good number of tournaments in order to be good, but, especially with the new Regionals scheduling, it’s possible to rake in the Points by traveling to east nowhere to get Points.

In my opinion there either needs to be a cap on the number of large tournaments you can attend (States and Regionals) or they need to put all the Regionals on one day. Going to places a great distance from each other, like Pennsylvania, Texas, and Indiana, is an absurd thing to expect the majority of people to do, but some people will do it in order to accumulate Points. I understand that tournaments won’t always be close to everyone, but I don’t think an advantage should be given to people who are able to fly across the country.

I am somewhat biased because I’m too young to travel alone, but I think this is a serious problem for Juniors, Seniors, and young Masters. Either the parent ends up paying for a trip to a far-away tournament that their child may not even place at, or the child’s chances at getting a pass to the 2nd day of Worlds are hurt. In my opinion, the three-day structure and day 2 pass is a clever idea, but there are a significant number of problems with it.

Thoughts on Boston as the location?

Well I love how close it is, but I’m not sure how I feel about it as a place. I prefer it when Worlds is in a tropical place. Also, I’ve never been to Boston before and I have this mental image of it looking like pre-Revolutionary-War Boston. I may be surprised when there’s no British soldiers and townspeople carrying around muskets.

Alright, now that we tackled your Pokémon life, let’s say we dive into some other things?

Yeah, sure!

Favorite basketball team?

I’m a fan of the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors. If I had to choose between them I’d choose the Knicks, but I’m more of an outspoken Warriors fan because, living so close to New York, being a Knicks fan is extremely common.

knicks hitmonlee saffron
Starring Carmelo Hitmonlee.

Knicks going to take it this year?

Um, better odds than the Sixers I guess.

Favorite basketball player?

Stephen Curry, but Tim Hardaway Jr. is a close second.

Best player currently in the NBA?

LeBron James. Just too athletic, talented, and smart. Kevin Durant can shoot the lights out, but he’s not well rounded enough to be the best.

Jordan, LeBron, or Kobe?

Jordan is definitely the best but I don’t really like him. My favorite of the three would probably be Kobe. He works harder than anyone in the league even though he probably won’t even come close to the playoffs in the rest of his career.

If Stephen Curry was a Pokémon, which one would he be and why?

Magikarp: #30, 30 HP, underrated, crazy potential, makes it splash.

NBA Finals prediction?

Spurs over Cavaliers in five.

Favorite Pokémon?

It’s been so long since I’ve been asked this question. I really have no idea.

iPhone or Android?

iPhone. Android’s probably better but I really hate Android users because all they do is talk about why their phone is better than an iPhone.

Thanks for your time, Jeremy! Good luck on reaching your invite in your first year!

Thank you!

Thanks all for reading! I hope everyone now knows a little about my good friend and fellow competitor. By the looks of it, he is a promising young player in Masters. I hope to be writing again shortly! If there is anything in particular that you guys want me to write about, feel free to get a hold of me through Facebook or by other means as I would love to hear from you guys. Have a great day!

Robby Weidemann

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