A new Howl is here! With the new Pokemon season starting in September we decided to ask some question to Christian Fontenot, one of our Pokemon Trading Card Game players, as well as Benjamin Wood, our Pokemon Video Game Championship player. Here’s what they have to say about Pokemon and some other stuff!
1) Hello! To kick this interview off, please tell us a little bit about yourself!
Christian: Hi, my name in Christian Fontenot. I am 17 years old, and have been playing the Pokemon TCG since 2016. I am from Denmark.
Ben: Hello! My name is Benjamin Wood. I’m 16 years old and I am a Pokemon VGC Player for Wolves Esports. I have been playing Pokémon since 2014 and competitively since 2016. I live in Manchester, United Kingdom
2) Since you are part of our #WolvesPokemon section we need to talk about Pokemon. Let’s start simple: What is your favorite Pokemon and why?
Christian: My favorite Pokemon is Torchic. No real reason, it’s just the one I liked as a kid, but it has stuck with me. Whenever I would go to events in America, I’d always buy any Torchic merch I didn’t already have.
Ben: One of my favourite pokemon is Regeleki. This is because of its typing which is electric and is the fastest Pokemon in the game as it hits 277 at Max Speed . For example, it can outspeed the likes of Dragapult which hits 194 Speed at Max Speed and Calyrex- Shadow which hits 187.
3) The Pokemon franchise has been around for a very long time and a lot of games and cards have been released. There is a huge audience for them so we want to know what your favorite card and game is.
Christian: My favorite Pokemon game is Pokemon Alpha Sapphire. I got into the series in 2013, with Pokemon X and Y, but I think ORAS (Omega Ruby, Alpha Sapphire) is what really made me love the franchise. As for the card, it’s probably “Max Elixir” from the set “Break Point”. It’s an Item card that lets you look at the top 6 cards of your deck, and pick any basic energy you find, and put it straight onto one of your benched basic pokemon. This was fun for me as it lets the player using it speed up the pacing of the game by a lot.
Ben: In terms of the game, my favourite game has always been Pokemon Omega Ruby as that is what got me into Pokemon and its competitive scene and it has my favourite legendary Groudon. In terms of my favourite TCG Card, it would have to be Marshadow from Shining Legends due to its Let Loose ability which caused havoc for my opponents as the ability forced them to shuffle their hand into the deck and draw 4, potentially downsizing their hand and ruining their game plan.
4) You’ve both been around some time competing. What is your biggest achievement so far? Also, what has been your most fun event you attended?
Christian: I think I would have to say Worlds 2018 for both. It was my first ever World Championship, and also the first ever event I made day 2 at.
Ben: My biggest achievement so far would have to be getting Top 16 in Europe in 2019 because it was only my second season of competitive play I have participated in. In terms of the most fun event i have ever been to, that would have to be the Pokemon World Championships 2019 where I made day 2 as it was my first ever out of europe event and I was seeing my friends from all over the world.
5) With the new season approaching in September, what are you looking forward to the most?
Christian: Seeing friends and meeting new ones. This has always been the best part of Pokemon for me, and something that has been lacking, while being locked at home for events.
Ben: With the new season approaching, I am looking forward to seeing friends I have not seen for ages. I am also looking forward to getting back into high level competition especially now as I have just transitioned from being a senior to a master.
6) What can we expect from you and the team in the upcoming season?
Christian: For TCG, I would expect consistency. This is something the TFG (Team Freezing Gaze) roster has been good at since its founding back in 2019. Expect at least one, but often a lot of the players on this team to be at the top end of the standings by the end of every event.
Ben: Hopefully, in the upcoming season, we will have picked up some more VGC Players. Another thing you can expect to see is to see us travel to high level events such as Regionals and Internationals around Europe and hopefully see us perform consistently and highly.
7) What do you think about our idea to bring Pokemon closer to esports through picking up TCG and VGC players?
Christian: I have said this before, and I will say it again. I love the idea, and am happy to be working with Wolves to make it more common in the future. I truly do think Pokemon has a lot of potential as an Esport.
Ben: It is a very good idea especially in the VGC where over the last few years Pokemon has started to become more like an esport through becoming more accessible to newer players and making this team brings us that step closer to Pokemon becoming a popular esport.
8) How did you learn about your respective games and competitions? Was there any outside influence that pointed you in the direction you have taken?
Christian: I used to be more interested in the video games, but after I learnt to play the TCG back in 2015 I started being more interested in the TCG. Half a year later, I learnt that there were Pokemon TCG tournaments in Denmark and never looked back.
Ben: I first started playing Pokemon when I was 10 in 2014 with the Omega Ruby game. However, my interest in competitive Pokemon started when I attended a league session near me playing TCG. Then i learned about the VGC on Omega Ruby and it stuck with me from there on.
9) How do you prepare for upcoming events and how long does it take? I imagine it takes quite some time to create a new deck or team. Do you have a routine for this or something you do before the match?
Christian: Going into a major, I like to get together with a group of friends, both online and offline (often teammates), to deck build and meta game for the tournament. It’s not a process that always needs to take long, but most of the time, putting in the work to prepare for every match up is worth your time.
Ben: It would depend on the type of the tournament. For example if it was a Premier Challenge or MidSeason Showdown, then I would start making the team about 5 days in advance as that gives me enough time to think of a team, calculate stats and damage and test it. However, for Regionals, Internationals and Worlds I would prepare for about a month in advance as I need to think of the team, theory test it, work out matchups, calculate stats and damage and then create it in game.
10) What’s your opinion on the new Pokemon game releases “New Pokemon Snap”, “Pokemon Legends: Arceus”, and the recently released “Pokemon Unite”?
Christian: I haven’t yet gotten the chance to play Pokemon Unite but from looking at it I am pretty sure we can expect it to be joining Pokemon TCG, VGC, and Pokken Tournament as a staple game of the Play! Pokemon line up. Don’t have major opinions on the other two games, but I’ll probably end up getting Pokemon Legends: Arceus at some point.
Ben: Like Christian said, I believe that Unite will join the Play! Pokémon line up. However I don’t see it becoming as major as the TCG and VGC. I don’t have any opinions on the other two games as at the moment I’m more focused on Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl as they will probably become the game that VGC tournaments will play on.
11) Real talk now: What do you think about the other competition? TCG vs VGC, what’s the real deal?
Christian: I mean I’m sure we could go back and forth on what is better but I’ll just let the money do the talking. In the 2019 World Championship, the winner in the Pokemon TCG earned $25,000 whereas the winner in VGC only got $10,000. Now, you tell me which one is better.
Ben: Now I have experience with both VGC and TCG. Even coming first at a league challenge once. I concede that TCG has a bigger prize pool but at least we don’t have to shell out hundreds of pounds every time a set comes out and we only have to invest £60 every two years. And we also don’t have to deal with scalpers, though that problem has been getting less and less.
12) Apart from playing and competing in Pokemon, what are some of the things you do in your free time?
Christian: I have a lot of different hobbies. I like doing outdoors stuff like climbing, parkour, and camping. I also like playing sports like basketball, I just kinda suck at it. I of course also play a lot of video games, and enjoy hanging out with friends, again, both online and offline.
Ben: Some of the things I like to do in my spare time include: Going to the Gym, going Boxing and to Karate practice, grinding Rainbow Six: Siege and going out with friends. Another thing I also like doing is collecting sneakers and sometimes selling them.
13) Last but not least: Is there anything else you want to say? Where can people follow you and learn more about Pokemon TCG/VGC?
Christian: Hope you guys will support TFG/Wolves Pokemon in the upcoming Play! Pokemon season. If you ever want to know what I’m up to, you can follow me @prosticks64 on Twitter, as this is the platform I use the most.
Ben: Hopefully you guys follow us along as well as our TCG counterparts TFG/Wolves Pokémon in the next Play! Pokémon Season. My Twitter is @ben_wood836 if you want to follow. Thank you for reading and remember to stay safe!