As I sit in front of my T.V. attempting to catch up on Marvel’s Agents of Shield, and drinking a bottle of IPA, I couldn’t help but think that it has been about 7 months since I have written anything. Just as our website has gone through a reboot, I feel it is time I do too. I have all but abandoned my (not so) ongoing series of comic book reviews; who would have thought a baby, school, and full-time work would take a hit on my hobbies? I hope to start up comic reviews again, starting with a plethora of short reviews on what I have been reading in the last 7 or 8 months, we can call them rapid reviews, so keep an eye out for those. However, I wanted to bring to light my newest obsession, which in a way follows the theme of ‘rebooting’ for me: Pokemon.
I was in 5th grade. It was March 25th 1999, my 10th birthday, when I received my first Pokemon cards. I actually remember getting two of the ‘Overgrowth’ theme decks, my parents were apologetic that I had received two of the same gifts, but I was absolutely ecstatic. Unfortunately it was short lived hobby, and while I had fun playing against my brother and friends, participating in the local Toys R Us events, and trading for (most likely fake) rare Japanese cards, Jr. High was right around the corner and fitting in took priority to what I actually enjoyed doing…poor choice Gordon, poor choice. Jump forward 16 years, I am 27 years old, married with a daughter quickly creeping up on her first birthday, and I was now reborn into the world of Pokemon the same way I entered it over a decade and a half ago, with the purchase of two theme decks.
For years I have been searching for something ‘nerdy’ that my wife and I could enjoy together. What started out as board games slowly (too slowly) worked it’s way into different party style card games. I was suddenly struck with the idea that maybe, just maybe, my wife and I could set out together on a mission to become the best, the very best, like no one ever…. okay I’ll stop. Yeah I did it, I got her into Pokemon, but not just her. I myself fell hard all over again, and now this hobby has turned obsession! As I stated above we bought two theme decks so we could duel each other. Both decks were from the Roaring Skies set; she chose the Articuno deck, and I chose the Zapdos deck. After a handful of matches, she (to my surprise) was up on me by 2 wins (and she still is today with completely different decks). It didn’t take long before we were out buying a few boosters to change a thing or two in our decks, and with in a few short weeks our decks were unrecognizable from their original themed origins. We now have a collection surpassing 2,000 cards and each have 3 decks built – I’m so proud of her!
Now to the interesting part: I have made the decision to do my best to take my new hobby to a competitive level. My first event was just a week ago when I entered a pre-release tournament for the new Pokemon card set ‘Fates Collide.’ I find the name of this new set fitting, as though it was fate that I would once again collide with the world of Pokemon, and gain a new hobby, a new sense of adventure, and even new friends. I was both nervous and excited! With the help and support of a local Pokemon Facebook group that I have joined, I dove in head first and I walked out with a 12th place finish….out of 12 in my bracket. Okay okay, so two of the brackets competed together and I actually finished 12th out of 20, with a record of 2-4, but hey I had a killer time! My deck consisted of Audino-EX, and a handful of fighting Pokemon, which I totally knew would carry me to the end, ’til everyone else played multiple Carbink (which are completely immune to attacks from EX Pokemon…whoops). Shortly after this event I was invited to participate in a draft style tournament at the house of one of Spokane’s best Pokemon players. I went in with very low expectations considering the handful of people participating have been playing much longer than I, and participate in competitive play fairly regularly.
We started the draft, and I quickly began snagging up every Eevee that I could with all intentions of building one bad ass Eevelution deck; however, I quickly realized someone else had the same idea as after multiple draft rounds I had yet to come across a single Eevelution card (a Pokemon that evolves from Eevee). On a whim my strategy changed, I had picked up a couple of Ralts’ early on, so Kirlia and Gardevoir became my new focus. Luckily this time I seemed to be the only one with this idea, because when my deck was finished I had a 4-4-2-1 Gardevoir LvX lineup, and I was ready to play. Let’s be honest though: I was proud of the deck I had built, but I knew I had a snowball’s chance in Hell of competing with the other 5 competitors in the room. To my surprise I wont my first game, and my second, only to be massacred in my third game. But, the kicker is, this 2-1 record placed me in 2nd place overall (out of 6), which is 4 spots higher than I would have ever imagined finishing! The truth is this for-fun event held in the living room of a new friend did one thing for me: it fueled my passion for this game even more, and has pushed me to learn as much as I can in as little time as I can to prepare myself for the 2016-17 season starting late this summer.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my autobiography, the true point of this article was less to tell my story, but more to set up the foundations for future articles about Pokemon. Receiving my AA in March, and not beginning my BA program ’til next Fall has given me a large boost in free time. I only hope I can begin pumping out more articles once again, and adding Pokemon to my collection of writings excites me more that anyone can know! Fates Collide released a few days back, and I would like to give my newb-ish point of view on what I see being useful from this new expansion. So join me over the next year, follow my journey through the world of Pokemon, and who knows, maybe to Pokemon Worlds! (The annual world wide Pokemon tournament)