On June 15th and 16th, the 2013 Pokémon TCG Nationals were on in Australia. Kaiwen was lucky enough to become the Senior Champion, running a Plasma deck, securing himself a free trip to the World Championships in Vancouver this year!
Below is our interview with Kaiwen, not only asking about the day, but finding out a little bit about him as a Pokémon TCG player too.
A: I became interested when I visited my cousin in Malaysia in 2010 who played the Pokémon TCG for 3 years competitively. I started to buy packs, but didn’t know about the competitive game until after the rotation before the World Championships in 2011. At that time I started to build decks and started to find out what’s good in the game.
Q: How long have you been playing competitive Pokemon TCG?
A: This is my first competitive season and for the people who I have mislead about this I am sorry (you know who you are). I was building decks and going to league last season and I developed my skill for the game then, but I didn’t enter any tournaments and wasn’t serious until this season.
Q: What is your favourite card in TCG Modified Format and why?
A: This is a really difficult question to answer because there are many cards I like in the format, but if I had to choose one it would be Pokémon Catcher. I know many people have mixed feelings about this card and it is understandable, but Catcher has won me too many games, and it can be used for many different purposes such as picking off an easy prize or stalling. It’s like everyone says, Catcher wins games.
Q: What was the reason for your deck choice?
A: I was deciding between Blastoise/Keldeo with two tech Exeggcutes or Plasma the night before the event. After around 5 testing games with Blastoise I ultimately decided not to run it because of the risk with starting with Exeggcute and also because the deck was not drawing well the night before. Plasma seemed to do very well in my 6-hour-long testing, and I won a Battle Road playing no games with my build prior to it a month back. I also felt comfortable with it, so I decided to play it.
Q: What changes did you make prior to the event that saved you or hurt you on the day?
A: I added one Max Potion and took out a Skyla for it the night before the event. I consulted a few of my friends (Christian Dellioaco, Michael Zirnsak, and Marcus Raj) before the event to see if they thought the card was good enough to warrant a spot. They all told me it was good and it was so clutch on the day. It saved me from losing many games and I don’t regret making the decision.
A: I made one misplay on Saturday in Round 1 against Brent Tonisson. I attached a Plasma Energy from my hand to my active Deoxys EX instead of playing Juniper, and discarding it which hurt me because I wasn’t able to attach a Prism Energy from my hand to Thundurus EX to Raiden Knuckle. Luckily he allowed me to take it back which ultimately won me the game.
Q: Which was your hardest match on the day? (What kind of deck did you play against, how did your opponent play, etc.?)
A: The hardest matchup I played at nationals was against Brent Tonisson Round 1, and Top 4. He played a very consistent and hard-to-beat Darkrai/Absol/Sableye deck. He ran 13 Supporters and 2 Bicycle so his deck was maxed out in consistency. When I played him in Round 1, he destroyed me Game 1 with his fast set up. Game 2 was much closer with me getting a better set up, but he still gave me a hard time, as Absol was destructive the whole game. In Game 3, he pulled off a triple Dark Patch turn 2 Darkrai and my hand was 5 Energy and a Float Stone so I couldn’t come back from that. In top 4, I started very fast Game 1, but I ran out of steam towards the end and lost. Game 2 I donked his lone Sableye and Game 3 he drew dead at the most crucial moment of the tournament. It was unfortunate that he lost in that way, but he was definitely my toughest opponent throughout the whole event. He played the matchup extremely well and is a very skilled player in general. I wouldn’t be surprised if he destroys Seniors next year.
Q: Which deck is the worst match up for you?
A: After losing 20 games against Jennifer’s Klinklang deck and losing to Michael’s Garbodor/Landorus/Cobalion deck, I was 100 percent sure that those two matchups were the two toughest for me. In the end, there were no Klinklang decks that showed up, but Michael played Garbodor/Landorus/Cobalion, and I hoped all day I wouldn’t play him, and I didn’t.
A: There were no unique decks I saw on the day and the metagame was largely what I expected it to be. The only surprising thing I saw was the amount of Plasma and no Blastoise in the Senior Division. As a result, I ended up playing 3 Plasma mirror matches.
Q: What was the most surprising card played on the day?
A: LUGIA EX! It did nothing for me at all. Worst card I played on both the days. The funny thing is during testing, it was one of the best cards I played. It only attacked twice in the event and both times I lost regardless. In my testing for Worlds, I am definitely going to take Lugia out for an Absol.
Q:What was the highlight of the day for you?
A: My highlight of the day would be when I topdecked Pokemon Catcher for the National Championship Game 2 against Jordan. He played an N and put me at one card, but the one card I drew was an N. I played the N and the one card I drew of it was Catcher.
I would like to thank Michael Zirnsak, Jennifer Wilson, Cameron Dimond, Henry Brand, Kevin Wu, Rubin Mao, and Marcus Raj for helping me in my 6 hours of playtesting I got before the event. I want to thank the judges Cameron, Kara, Charles and Sam for judging the event well and making correct ruling calls even in some tough situations. I would like to thank Edmund for his hard work in running the event. I know he must have been stressed during and very tired after the event. I would like to thank all my opponents I played against, as each game was honorable and well played. Lastly, I want to say thank you to all of the people who play the Pokemon TCG in Australia and competed at the National Championships as the event wouldn’t have been as special as it was without the competitors.
Thanks everyone and for all the Worlds Competitors in Australia, see you guys in Vancouver!