US Snatches Pokemon World Championship from Japan


The world’s best Pokemon masters converged on Hawaii, but in the end there could be only one.

I’m going to be honest here: I think competitive Pokemon battling is really cool. There’s an incredibly deep and strategic game beneath the surface, a game where it ceases to be “my Charizard uses Fire Blast on your Bayleef” and becomes “I use SubSeed!Jumpluff with Sunny Day in the Uber tier to take advantage of its low base HP to sustain itself indefinitely.” It’s essentially that one scene in The Princess Bride, with adorable little monsters instead of poison.

Hundreds of would-be Pokemon trainers converged on Hawaii for the finale in this year’s World Championship series for battles in both the Trading Card Game and the handheld titles.

One can imagine that the competition was fierce at all levels of play, but the main event is the Senior Division of the videogame tournament (that is, competitors who were born before 1997. Wow, does that make me feel old). In a “shocking” upset, the New-Jersey-born Ray Rizzo triumphed over Japan’s Yasuki Tochigi to take the title. Presumably he gets a cool trophy belt with Pikachu on the front or something.

All of the other champions were from Japan with the exception of the winner of the TCG Senior Division, Jacob Lesage of Canada.

Congratulations, Ray. I consider myself to be a pretty darn decent Pokemon battler, but I tip my hat to you.

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