Hello everyone! It’s been sometime since I was able to write so I’m very happy to be back once again this month. So far, I have been very impressed with the direction that the new management has been taking SixPrizes and I hope that everyone has been enjoying the differentiated flow of information. It’s nice for once to see content flow out in a more focused manner and while, this month, I have been tasked with a “longer” article, I do look forward to trying to take on smaller and more focused projects. One of the biggest things that I think has been missing from the community is a large body of statistic and analytics concerning results, deck matchups, and so on, and I am happy to see SixPrizes and various other outlets strike up a renewed interest in this issue.
It’s mail time! I have never done a section like this before in my articles and am borrowing the style from Kenny Wisdom who often spent his time writing to answer community quandaries and with that in mind, let’s have a little fun in this section! Sorry to those who sent me a question and did not get an answer, I will try to include your questions at a later date but I only plan on answering the first couple questions each time as my viewpoints tend to be somewhat wordy.
Rahul Reddy (@thefleeee) asks: How do you feel about this season’s tournament structure as a whole? As in the League Cup system and Regionals being standalone events? Would it be better to bring Cities back over League Cups or everything is alright the way it is?
In general, I think this season has been a happy return to a truly competitive season. I think there were many of us who were unhappy about the casual nature of the 300 point seasons, and I am glad that it has become much harder to qualify for Worlds. I think TPCI is doing a great job trying to turn the game into a circuit of Tournaments that require the grind rather than simply rewarding it. It is hard to know if TPCI themselves are happy with this shift, as, in the past, they seemed to be behind the “bigger Worlds is better” so I would not be surprised if some LCQ-type events eventually pop up at the end of the year.
As for Cups versus Cities debate, I honestly wish that they would get rid of smaller tournaments entirely and focus more on the bigger picture. I think that there should still be an incentive for Leagues to grow and aid new players and so League Challenges certainly should exist, but I think Cups don’t fit the current competitive mindset. That is, there tends to be such a disparity in these events where some players win 10 person Cups in the first weekend of the quarter and others have to slog through 5-6 60+ person tournaments in order to just meet their best finish limit.
I think that the biggest thing I would like to see next season is the inclusion of 1-2 invitation only tournaments in conjunction with the World Championships. I think one of the biggest things holding Pokémon back from growing into something larger is the lack of a narrative across multiple events so I would absolutely love to see a 16 or 32 person World Championships and then have something slightly below that with 200-300 people.
The only problem I really have with the season this year is that the power of the stipends more or less created a snowball effect. Being able to attend Internationals created a huge advantage for those with the means to attend and while I am certainly not trying to discredit those players, it made things incredibly easy for the initial top 16 who were already so far ahead of everyone else at the start of the year. Next year, if stipends continue to go out in the same way, I would like them not to include Worlds Points.
Thanks for the question and for those who don’t know, Rahul Reddy who is doing an excellent job promoting the community through regular content. Make sure to peep his YouTube and upcoming streams.
Leonard Batfish asks: (if that is your real name) What is your take on the current Madison Regionals/Ohana-Con debate. Is the controversy a reasonable one or simply being blown out proportion by dissenters and Jimmy’s somewhat questionable and argumentative answers?
For those unaware, the upcoming Madison Regional Championships is directly tied to a nerd culture/anime convention and has a steep entry fee of $50 to get into the tournament. I think the my voice on this matter lands squarely in the middle in that I think that it is foolish and unfortunate that the event had to be planned like this. If we have to spend all weekend competing, then the convention is absolutely not a bonus, as there would basically be no time to enjoy it or participate in the other activities happening at the same time.
I am probably one of very few who already attends 1-2 anime conventions every year and even I am not enthused with the idea of having to pay extra for seemingly no benefit. However at the same time, I am happy to give Tournament Organizer Jimmy Ballard the benefit of the doubt in this scenario and I think it is both unfair and foolish to see this conflict as an attempt to simply try and make more money or scam plays for sake of a petty profit. It absolutely should have been planned different, but I think that Jimmy runs some of the best events in the entire World and has put his heart and soul into the game for longer than many of us have been playing and this whole debacle was a rare lapse in judgment and not evidence of miserly behavior.
Editor’s Note: The registration fee for all TCG players in Madison is now $40, as opposed to the prior $50 fee for TCG Masters.
Travis Nunlist (@travisnunlist) asks: If you had to create a dream team of Pokémon players and could have anyone in North America that you wanted, who would make the list and why?
Fun question! To try and keep things equally fun but also concise, I will limit my answer to a group of four that does not include myself. I am of the belief that it is best to work in small numbers, but include as many players from a different areas to get as diverse as an opinion as possible. Four members will also to participate in the group archetype made famous by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia of the brains, the looks, the muscle and the wild card. Let’s begin:
The Brains: I think that this is somewhat obvious given my previous writings but my pick for this slot none other than our own Christopher Schemanske (@cschemanske). I tend to write nothing but praise for his work but I think it is completely evident from his writing that he has the analytical mind to process results and outcomes unlike anyone. At Orlando Regionals, I got to see his Excel sheet for calculating who would and would not make the top cut and having access to someone like that seems a necessity.
The Looks: This person is an important part of the overall dynamic as they act as a liaison between the casual and competitive player. On the outside, they probably look totally normal and not like a Pokémon nerd at all, but deep down there is someone who cares more about the game than they let on. Their general charisma allows them to slip in and out of multiple groups which in turn gives the group more information and viewpoints to analyze. As such, I think my draft for this position would be Brad Curcio (@). I’ve seen him work with multiple testing groups across the county and in recent years, he’s begun to see quite a bit of success. He has a strange but undeniable charm to his personality and remains somewhat elusive as a result.
The Muscle: The muscle is the theoretical bouncer of the group and while they do not physically need to prove themselves, their stature tends to be intimidating giving them an initial advantage when entering into a match. They are sometimes overlooked by their more vocal team members but there is no denying that these players have the brains to match their brawn. My choice here is Daniel Lopez, or, as he’s known on PTCGO, Danny Bicepz. A very skilled player who tends to come up with strange lists for already popular archetypes, he remains somewhat unknown amongst many players but he has more than enough results to back up his validity as a player.
The Wildcard: Unpredictable, wild and erratic, the wild card favors their own rogue concoctions to any pre-established archetypes. Similarly, their results tend to be all over the place as well and they either see great success or an early exit from any given tournament. As such, my pick for this final spot is Liam Williams (@lmwlms), who placed in the top 4 at last year’s US Nationals. I think anyone who knows him will not be surprised as his inclusion as this member of the group.
The final question for this edition of the mailbag will lead us directly into our final section!
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SixPrizes has been a phenomenal resource for me from the very beginning. Shortly after I started, I became a subscriber, and being able to partake in all the knowledge a lot of the best veteran players had to share helped me learn and grow as a player. I still read to this day so I can keep up with other players’ thoughts and ideas to help me stay on top of my game!
Brad Curcio, Top 8 Worlds 2016, 1st Place St. Louis Regionals 2016, Top 4 Seattle Regionals 2017, Top 4 Orlando Regionals 2016
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Kian Amini, Top 4 Oceania Internationals 2017, Top 4 San Jose Regionals 2016