Sunday, July 17, 2016

Unboxing the "Mailing out My Voice" single from Japan

The CD single for "Mailing out My Voice", the ending theme to the latest Pokemon movie in Japan, came in this week. Let's take a look and see what comes with it:

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Interviews from Pokemon US Nationals 2016

During the recent Pokemon US Nationals in Columbus, OH, I had a chance to interview a few of the top players. First, we interviewed Wayland, winner of the Seniors division of the 2016 US Nationals Pokken Tournament competition. Find out why he uses Blaziken, and what his strategy was in the finals:


Steven: Hi, I’m Steven Reich, here at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio at the Pokémon US Nationals 2016. I’m here with Wayland, who is the winner in the Seniors division of the Pokkén Tournament event that they had here. So Wayland, first of all, where are you from?

Wayland: I am from Douglasville, Georgia.

Steven: So, you came all the way up here. And Pokkén has only been around a while, but you were involved in Pokémon before that. How did you get introduced to the Pokémon franchise?

Wayland: When I was younger, my little brother handed me a Game Boy. Once he finished his game, he was like, “Here, go play this.” It ended up being Sapphire for the Game Boy Advance. And ever since that, I love Pokémon.

Steven: You said the first video game-you’ve been playing video games since you were 3, and the first one you played was actually the Mario Baseball game on the Game Cube. So, you’ve been into video games for a very long time. So, you were pretty much interested in Pokkén pretty much right when it was announced. What was your reaction to the announcement of the game?

Wayland: Okay so, when they announced it in Japan for the first time, when they were showing the game play of it, I was surprised. I was like, “Is it coming to the US?” I was super excited, and it was really nice.

Steven: Yeah, it’s something different. We haven’t had a true Pokémon fighting game, and of course, now we do. So, the character you play is most of the time, in Pokkén, is Blaziken. What attracts you to that character? Why do you play as that for the most part?

Wayland: When I first played Sapphire, my starter Pokémon was Torchic. So, my favorite Pokémon is Blaziken. Well, it kind of grew on me. And when Pokkén came out, I remember my friend calling me at 3 o’clock saying there was an early access event. And I was like, “Is Blaziken on it?” And he was like, “I don’t know, man.” I’m like, “Come on!”

Steven: I could see the connection there. Absolutely. I’m sure a lot of the folks at home had maybe a similar experience with Smash Bros. or Pokkén, about whatever their first starter was, they want to be able to play with that in some of the side games. Alright. Well, let’s tell the folks at home about the finals then. You were paired against a guy. He used, over the course of it, two different Pokémon. He used some Lucario and also some Shadow Mewtwo. Let’s start with Blaziken vs. Lucario. What’s the things to watch out for in that type of match?

Wayland: If you’re going to win, for Blaziken, you’re going to have to use a lot of Flare Blitz to cut him off, because he has a lot of counter moves. You can counter break him. Lucarios love to counter. Another thing is you don’t have to really stay spaced, because really can’t space you out if you put him towards a wall. Once he’s in a wall, he’s kind of in a bad position. And when you have Burst against his Burst, you technically have a huge advantage.

Steven: And what about Shadow Mewtwo, the other character he used? What are the things to watch for there, and how did you react to it?

Wayland: When he switched to Shadow Mewtwo, I really wasn’t fazed. Most people would be fazed, but Shadow Mewtwo-people switch to Shadow Mewtwo when they want power. But his health is super low, so it takes only a few hits to take him out. And I have some counter piercers, some good moves. Everyone says since he goes to Burst faster and I go to Burst faster, it’s like, I better Burst pretty fast. I’m like, I have my Burst and it gives me a speed boost, so I’m already good.

Steven: Yeah. Speed, obviously, in any fighting game is extremely important. So, in Pokkén, you also get something called a Support Pokémon. I noticed you-I think you always chose Cresselia, which is a little bit of a healer. Is there a particular reason for that, other than, obviously, the healing? How do you decide when exactly to use that? Because you don’t necessarily want to use it right away when the meter fills up.

Wayland: Cresselia is only used once per turn, she summons fast, she gives a large health bonus, a large synergy bonus, and a large-it takes away negative status on you. So, my moves hurt myself. I hurt myself when I do my moves. When I hurt myself, it doesn’t take away my full bar, it takes away my green bar. So my darker shade of green is still there. That’s the health I can recover. So, when Cresselia is charged and I’ve used enough of her, and I have my Burst-if I know when I used her, my Burst will come out, I’ll just say I can use Cresselia, get my Burst and get all of that HP back that I already wasted.

Steven: There’s definitely a management aspect there that you have to keep any eye on, and think very quickly. That’s quite impressive. It sounds like Cresselia is a very interesting Assist Pokémon to use in this game. One more thing about Pokkén. For a while, we didn’t think there was going to be any DLC beyond the initial release. But it seems that recently there’s been some rumblings in Japan. Why don’t you tell us about that and what you’re hoping for.

Wayland: Japan’s official Pokkén tournament, they announced there’s going to be a new character on July 20th on the arcade version. But, we don’t know if it’s coming to America. Everyone’s hoping it would be Darkrai or another Legendary or Empoleon. But I feel like it’s going to be a different type of Pokémon. Because we have a fire type—I’m thinking it’s going to be a water type, because we don’t have any water types.

Steven: Well, we’ve got Suicune, but that’s about it. So, we don’t have any conventional bipedal ones. So maybe if they want to fill that void. Of course, I know some folks are still wishing there was a playable Hawlucha, ever since Pikachu Libre.

Wayland: Hawlucha, Hitmonchan. And I think that’s it.

Steven: So, we’ll have to see what happens. Hopefully, whatever does get revealed later this month does come to the console version. Alright. Well, thank you very much, Wayland. This has been Steven Reich from the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio at the Pokémon US Nationals 2016.

Transcript by

Second, we got a chance to interview Brady Bourgeois, winner of the TCG event in the Seniors Division. Brady used a Giratina/Seismitoad deck, with a few tweaks for this event:


Steven: I’m here with Brady Bourgeois, who is the winner of the TCG Seniors division at this year’s tournament. And Brady, we just have a few questions. First of all, where are you from?

Brady: I’m from St. Louis, Missouri.

Steven: So yep, we get people from all over the country. And what was the deck that you decided to play for this tournament?

Brady: Giratina-Seismitoad.

Steven: And what made you choose that particular deck for this tournament? Were you expecting a certain metagame? What went into the strategic choice there?

Brady: I knew there was going to be a lot of Night March and Vespiquen bees and Vespiquen. So, I decided that Giratina-Seismitoad would have amazing matchups against those. And it also had a good matchup for Mega Rayquaza, because of Giratina’s ability blocking Mega attacks. And it also had a good matchup against Mega Manectric. So, I knew it had good matchups most of the way around. It had a bad matchup to Greninja, which people thought was going to come. I thought I was going to hit a few Greninjas today, and might lose a few matches, and might get kicked out of the tournament.

Steven: Well, you certainly didn’t in the last couple rounds on your way to the championship, so that was pretty fortunate. Were there any fine tuning adjustments? Any specific cards you balanced out of the deck? Any adjustments you made there for this specific tournament?

Brady: I got rid of Hex Maniac and all the Super Scoop Ups and AZ and Garbodor, a two-one Garbodor line to block Abilities to further beat down Night March because of Mew, so that they can’t use Mew anymore, and I also have a better matchup against Greninja.

Steven: Yeah, being able to shut off abilities is obviously very important. Now obviously, your Giratina has one, but unless you’re playing against a Mega, you don’t have to worry about that too much. Alright, so you had your deck, you had your strategy there. Let’s go to the finals. You were on-stream for those, as well as the top 4, if people want to take a look at that. But let’s focus on the finals. You were pairing up against a deck that was playing Mega Manectric against Jolteon EX. So obviously, Giratina has a good matchup against that, just Jolteon EX is something to watch out for, isn’t it?

Brady: Yeah. You have to keep pressure on really early. And you have to use your Giratina to make sure that it can’t attach Double Colorless Energies so their Jolteon doesn’t get setup really fast. And you also try to use Crushing Hammers and Team Flare Grunt and other Items that discard energy to get rid of all of the energy on Jolteon until you can Lysandre it up twice and knock it out.

Steven: Yeah. Jolteon, because it had the attack that makes it temporarily invulnerable from Basics, is obviously a big problem. But, you work very effectively around that. Although, you did have some help in the finals. First of all, you hit heads very heads very consistently on the Crushing Hammers that you played to get rid of the Energy on your opponent’s side of the field. Even though earlier in the day, you had a streak in the top 4 where it just wasn’t coming for you. What’s it like with that card when you going from both the positive and the negative, how does that make you feel?

Brady: Well, when you hit a ton of tails, it just gets really annoying because your opponent gets a very big window to get back in the game in Energy. So, they might get a big attack off and knock out one of your main attackers, and it’s just annoying. It’s not fun. But when you get heads a ton of times, it helps you very in the long-run. Your opponent runs out of energy slowly. And, you’re also preventing them from attacking you.

Steven: Alright so, if folks have watched the finals stream, if folks at home have done that, then what they might have noticed is that during the finals match, there were a couple things that kind of got through for a little bit that shouldn’t have happened. Mainly on your opponent’s side. But, the first one happened, I think in game 1. He played a Rough Seas in order to get some damage off one of his Pokémon, even though you had used Giratina’s attack and he couldn’t play Stadiums. That was rewound fairly quickly. But, in the second game, there was a more major error. Your opponent actually had Parallel City out. And he had it pointed to him so that he could only have 3 on his Bench. And all of a sudden, he put more on, including a Shaymin. So, how did that all resolve out, and when did you realize that he had made a mistake?

Brady: I didn’t really notice it at first, because I usually have Parallel City pointed at me, because that’s the only Stadium I play in my decks. So, I’m used to having about 3 Pokémon on my Bench. And I didn’t notice it at the time, because it didn’t really matter. Actually, before they caught it, I was thinking about playing my own Parallel City in my favor to lock out his Parallel City. But, you can’t do that, actually now that I think about it. But, he got a major penalty, but it was only one Prize Card and it didn’t really affect the rest of the game. And they effectively just took the Shaymin, the cards he got from the Shaymin, and put them back on the top of the deck after showing me. It didn’t really affect the game too much, so it wasn’t a big deal.

Steven: It would be nice, obviously, if they had caught that a little bit sooner, before he had progressed and they could have at least gotten a warning instead of you getting a Prize for that. But, stuff like that does happen. And people can get a little nervous and move forward a little too quickly sometimes and that can happen. Alright. Well, of course, next month is Worlds in San Francisco. And there’s kind of a big question mark over this one because we have another set, Steam Siege, that comes out very early in August. And they’ve changed the legality rule so that it will be legal for Worlds. Do you have any opinion on that? Or, are you going to be planning anything out based on what happens with that set?

Brady: Not too much. I know I’m probably going to switch my deck from Giratina-Seismitoad to YZG or something else. But the reason why I don’t want to play Seismitoad anymore is because I think Night March is going to have a falling out with the new card that shuffles all Pokémon from both discard piles into the decks. So, Night March will not be played as much, which is one of my best matchups. So, I’m thinking about whether or not I want to play Giratina-Seismitoad or another deck.

Steven: Yeah, that’s the big question mark with Steam Siege. There’s a card coming out as a promo in Japan called Karen that is sort of a less broad Lysandre’s Trump Card, because it only shuffles Pokémon in. But, we’re not 100% sure if that’s going to come out in Steam Siege or somewhere separately, or it could even be a while. So, that’s the big question mark and we’ll know a lot more in a couple weeks. Alright. Well, thank you very much, Brady. This has been Steven Reich from the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio at the Pokémon US Nationals 2016.

Transcript by

Monday, June 20, 2016

Poke Press Interviews...Now on Cassette Tape?

Remember these? Yes, now you can listen to your favorite Poke Press interviews on that boom box you had back in the 90's!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Monday, May 16, 2016

WTPT-Pokemon: The First Movie Soundtrack-Part 4 (Tracks 13-16)

In part four, the last set of tracks are discussed:

-Catch Me If You Can (Angela Via)
-(Have Some) Fun With The Funk (Aaron Carter)
-If Only Tears Could Bring You Back (Midnight Sons)
-Brother My Brother (Blessid Union of Souls)

These may be the last tracks, but the episode isn't over-stay tuned for part 5!

Special thanks to Jowy Romano for giving permission to upload this audio.

Monday, May 02, 2016

New Pokemon TCG Prerelease Format Review (w/Marriland)

Devin (a.k.a. "Marriland") and I give our thoughts on the new Pokemon TCG Prerelease format for the Fates Collide set:


Steven: Hi, I’m Steven Reich, here at Pegasus Games in Madison, Wisconsin at one of the Pokémon Trading Card Game Fates Collide prereleases. I’m here with Devin, or as you know him, Marriland. This is kind of a big prerelease in a way because they changed up the way they do things here. They’ve really changed how you get packs, how you build decks, and stuff like that quite a bit. So let’s go over first of all, Devin, let’s go over some of the changes they made.

So it used to be that you would get six packs. You build a 40-card deck with Basic Energy that’s provided and then you just play a couple rounds. This time it’s a little different. You get a little package. What’s in there?

Devin: I was rather surprised when I heard they’re going to be changing how prereleases are run and you’re right. Nowadays you get a little package starting with this prerelease and it’s random. Everyone will end up with a different pack of 22 cards in addition to four packs, rather than six booster packs in the newest set like older prereleases.

It has its pros and cons. I at first thought, ‘well, are there going to just be Commons in here? Are there going to be good cards?’ And I found out today actually and it’s interesting, I’m kind of mixed on it to be honest.

Steven: Yeah, I can see some good and bad points too. but yeah, you get four booster packs and then you get the special 22-card pack that has one of four prerelease promos and then going along with that promo they have a set of about 20 or so cards that include some Trainer cards, a couple of evolution lines and some other stuff to choose from. So do you know which of the four possible insert packs did you get for your 22-card part portion?

Devin: So I ended up getting the Tyranitar promo and I guess that I’m not entirely sure what all the different ones are. This is my first prerelease. I haven’t looked-the first of this new prerelease, I haven’t looked too much into the different starter kit kind of things but I ended up with the Fighting and Dark one. So I used Lucario and Hawlucha and Carbink and I had Mandibuzz and Tyranitar lines for that. And one thing I will say, I was actually pleased to see that there is a good selection of lines and it had some Trainers in it which was kind of nice, but the fact that there are four promo cards, that’s really interesting from a collector standpoint.

Steven: That is one of the things people were kind of worried about, that since there’s no way to tell what you’re going to get until you open it, which I guess keeps it somewhat fair in a way, but it also makes it difficult to potentially get the cards you want. Now the pack that I got in there was the White Kyurem pack which comes with a similar fighting Pokémon to yours. It doesn’t have Tyranitar, obviously, but it has the Carbink and the Lucario, but on the Water side it has the “barnacle” Evolution line. I can’t remember the exact name but they have that, plus some supporters, which I think is a big thing that-a big plus, actually, going into this is that in prerelease tournaments if you’re limited to whatever is in a set, the problem you can run into there is that each set will have a different group of Supporters and it may work out okay, or may not work out very well at all, but of course,which ones you get the number can determine a whole lot. So this kind of evens it out a little bit. What do you think about the trainer selection that came in the packs?

Devin: So I’ve been there at prereleases where I’ve had to build a deck with zero Supporter cards, no Trainers, no Supporters, nothing to help. It’s like, ‘really?’ and it was refreshing knowing hey, I have some options here. I have Shauna. I have Tierno. I have a few different things that could help. Obviously, I like I drew, or I pulled an N that was really helpful in the third game that I played, but it was just really nice knowing that hey, there is some good Trainers here that can at least help. It’s not like perfect stuff that’s you know-Professor Sycamores or really good Trainer cards, but it’s at least good for prereleases which I guess is nice. It solves the problem of not having any Supporter cards in a prerelease and I do like that decision.

Steven: Yeah, I think it definitely helps maintain the balance and one thing we’ve seen in previous tournaments that the folks at home might be aware of, is that you often run into cases once EXes started coming into the metagames that people would play like one of those and then 39 mostly Energies with maybe a few Trainers if they got some of those and I didn’t particularly enjoy playing against those too much. I did try to tech against them, but I think A, having Carbink, which is a Safeguarder in this set really helps, but I think the other changes did too.  Do you think that the additional cards that are more structured kind of helped make decks that are maybe less random or stilted?

Devin: So, I like it and I don’t like it, Why I like it is the fact that now everyone kind of has a base and you’re guaranteed to at least have something that will kind of work for a deck because I’ve played prereleases where I just have nothing and it’s just, it’s not going to happen. I played prereleases where I get that one good Pokémon EX and I just played 39 Energy or whatever and I like that it’s now accessible to anyone to have at least somewhat of a working deck.

However, what I don’t like about it, is it takes away a lot of that originality. I felt like pretty much everyone was playing whatever the starter kit that they had. They were playing that. Usually maybe one line, maybe both, and then like a few other cards here and there. You saw less of the really out there kind of combos or things that might work very well in a prerelease just because you already had a lot of good stuff, or things that wouldn’t work well and you give it a shot and it works out pretty good anyhow. I think I miss that from the old prereleases where you really don’t know what you’re going to get, whereas with this, I felt like you know probably about half your deck by the time you’ve just seen the first starter kit promo card.

Steven: Yeah, you know that’s definitely an effect. The cards you get in there since they are so related, Evolution lines, you can sort of sort of just default to that. Which I guess might be a good thing for a newer players, which is what prereleases have been targeted at so that they don’t have to maybe obsess as much about what cards to put in or just not be able to figure things out from the cards they they’re getting sometimes. So maybe that helps there, but I do also see the point you’re having of that can it also reduce variety to a point that it’s sort of everyone has the same food, it’s just what garnish they put on top. So maybe there’s a happier medium to be found. So based on that suggestion, or that criticism, do you have any ideas on maybe how they can tweak it?  Obviously, each set is going to be different, the opportunities there are going to be different, but maybe if they do keep going with this system, but they want to try and improve it for next time-any suggestions?

Devin: One of my initial concerns with how this is being done was the fact we’re getting one less pack than before. We’re essentially sacrificing a pack for this 22-card kind of starter kit. So as a player and a collector I was really concerned okay, is asking to be worth my money now? And currently, I feel like there’s not quite enough of a value there. Like I wish I would have had that extra pack rather than the 22-card thing and I wish I didn’t say that. I think it made the prerelease maybe a little bit more enjoyable but then afterwards I look and I think, well, none of this really helps. I didn’t get anything good in my four packs so…and also a lot of the cards you get in the 22 well, everyone has these cards, so if you pull one normally in the set, it’s just not quite as good. I think they’re on the right track with that. I like it better than I thought I would. I was originally rather hostile to the idea, but I figure I would give it a shot and I liked it and I’ll definitely crave more of it if they’ll refine it a bit more so than we have just maybe better cards in the 22, or maybe like six options.

I don’t like the promos though. The fact that there’s four, I wish that it’d be two or maybe three. I feel like four is just too much from a collecting standpoint and it makes that just a little too random.

Steven: Yeah, I’m guessing from a packaging scenario that it was easier to have four promo cards cause there were four pack. I mean obviously, they could do two in four or two in eight. I think that might not be a bad idea if they want to continue to feature more of the set. They can try and pick out a different number, maybe six or eight different sets of cards so you are seeing more even though you’re still getting a set that’s very organized like that. Like I said, what they’re trying to do here is sort of maybe not make things quite as random, but still expose you to a larger portion of the set.

Transcript by

Saturday, April 23, 2016

WTPT-Pokemon: The First Movie Soundtrack-Part 3 (Tracks 7-12) + Get Happy on Digital

In our third part, we go over tracks 7-12 on the album:

-Get Happy (B*Witched)
-(Hey You) Free Up Your Mind (Emma Bunton)
-Fly With Me (98 Degrees)
-Lullaby (Mandah)
-Vacation (Vitamin C)
-Makin' My Way (Any Way That I Can) (Billie Piper)

As noted in the video, a few months ago B*Witched's "Get Happy" finally became available digitally via the "C'est la Vie: The Collection" compilation. This album is available on iTunes, as well as Amazon MP3 and Google Play, and the track is available for individual purchase.

Monday, April 18, 2016

My Record Store Day 2016 Pickups

This was my first time going to Record Store Day, so I decided to pick up a variety of things. I was also fortunate enough to get something extra that's tied to the Madison area's musical history:

Record Store Day web site
Cassette Store Day web site

Monday, April 11, 2016

My Vinyl Pokemon Music Collection

The recent unofficial game soundtrack isn't the first from the franchise to be pressed. In fact, a number of early tracks were released on the format:

As mentioned in the video, this year's Record Store Day is this Saturday, April 16th. You can find out more about it at their official website.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Pokémon VGC Midseason Showdown-Janesville, WI

Stephen Morioka
The following is an interview with Stephen Morioka, winner of the Masters Division at a 2016 Pokémon VGC Midseason Showdown in Janesville, WI.

Where are you from, and how did you get into competitive Pokémon (and Pokémon in general)?

I am from Chicago, Illinois and I am a longtime Pokémon player. My relatives in Texas gave me a Game Boy Pocket and Pokémon Blue Version as a parting gift during my family’s summer vacation in 1999. I have played through every generation, even when Pokémon’s popularity was declining in the early 2000s.

Nintendo Power magazine is what I credit for entering me into the competitive Pokémon scene. In the winter of 2005, there was a one or two-page spread advertising qualifier tests that funneled into a Pokémon tournament celebrating the release of Pokémon Emerald. I managed to make it all the way to the tournament, which was single battle, later that spring. I didn’t win it but from the other players there I learned a lot about many of the hidden features Pokémon has to offer, such as effort values. Knowing that I could improve my training, I was always on the lookout for future competitions after that tournament. My search led me to the Journey Across America (JAA) in 2006 and VGC’s first official season in 2009.

What was the team you used for this event?

It was a spin of Wolfe Glick’s Winter Regional 1st place team. While the team normally consists of Primal Kyogre, Dialga, Mega Salamence, Ferrothorn, Thundurus and Landorus-Therian, I used Mega Gengar instead of Landorus.

Why did you choose the Pokémon you did?

Several members of the team are very good checks to the common Pokémon in the 2016 format. To provide some basic examples, Salamence does well against Groudon, Ferrothorn does well against Kyogre, and Dialga does well against opposing dragons such as Salamence and Rayquaza. The team also has several options for speed control, such as Thunder Wave, Tailwind, and Trick Room, which is an important part of any VGC format. As for Mega Gengar, I selected it over Landorus simply due to personal preference-I wasn’t really comfortable with the way Landorus was played on the team despite its incredible synergy. On the other hand, I have been using Gengar for a good majority of this format, so I went with what I knew how to play. Gengar is quite useful against teams built around Xerneas and simplifies the game a little with its Shadow Tag ability.

Were there any particular matches that stood out in your mind?

I would have to say the quarterfinals against Calvin Chan, in part because we have a long history. Back in 2006, we actually played in the Chicago Regional for JAA in the round of 8 or 16-I can’t remember exactly. Regardless, Calvin won and ended up playing in the finals for both that regional and the national championship later that summer in New York City. He was somewhat of an idol to me growing up, so it is always an honor to play against him.

For this tournament, both our Swiss round and Top 8 matches were extremely tight, 3-game sets. I lost game 1 in both series, and lost the match in Swiss, but was fortunate enough to come back from that deficit in the Top 8 match.

If you used a team similar to this again, is there anything you might change?

I would actually consider using Landorus instead of Mega Gengar as was originally intended. The rest of the team is a very solid core so reconfiguring that doesn’t really make sense to me. However, minor adjustments can always be made to suit a player’s personal playstyle.

What are your thoughts on the new VGC format?

I enjoy the 2016 VGC format, but a majority of the community probably doesn’t share that sentiment. The general complaints consist of too many luck factors outside of players’ control and strong centralization around a select group of Pokémon. I have been playing competitively for a long time and those issues have arisen every year to varying degrees. I simply brush them aside because I’m used to it and well hey, it’s Pokémon. Another important thing I don’t think players realize is how special this format is. This format allows for two restricted Pokémon to be on your team from a group of 15, such as Mewtwo, Groudon, and Kyogre. Normally, since they are so overpowered compared to other Pokémon, they are always sitting on the sidelines because they are not allowed to play in official formats. This year is only the 3rd time I’ve been able to use these Pokémon in a double battle format (the last two being in 2006 and 2010), so I am appreciating every second of this format because who knows, it may be another four to six years until we see these Pokémon in competitive play again.

Any advice for other players?

First, I strongly recommend watching the YouTube channels created by accomplished players Aaron Zheng, Markus Stadter, and Wolfe Glick. All three of them are repeat National Champions, provide high quality content, and are generously using their own time to entertain and more importantly to educate the VGC player base, both old and new. Also, I think for beginners it’s important to stay positive and not get easily discouraged if success eludes you early on. Pokémon players also need to be self-critical about their play, which many struggle to do. To elaborate, I tend to be very hard on myself when I make mistakes and accept the luck factors for what they are. Lastly, be sure you are playing Pokémon for the right reasons: Play because the game is fun for you. Play because you enjoy the people you are around when you compete. Play for the love of the game.