A Columbus resident is making his way down the road to this year’s Pokemon World Championships.
Jared Weiss recently won a Pokemon City Champion title and a trophy in the Masters Division at the city championship competition in Ann Arbor, Michigan. That win also put Weiss’ points for the season at around 175, giving him more than half the total needed to make it to the world championships, he said.
Like most kids born in the ’90s, the 21-year-old grew up watching the popular television show and trading cards with his friends. Weiss is originally from Ann Arbor but moved to Columbus late last year because his father works for Cummins Inc.
Weiss also had an aunt who was a university professor in Japan, and she would buy toys and other Pokemon gear and bring them back to the states on visits, he said.
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But he didn’t start participating in competitions until three years ago, when he went with a friend from his figure skating training to get some decks at a card shop. Some people at the shop were involved in a league, and his interest built from there, he said.
This season of competition is the first time Weiss has buckled down to shoot for a spot at the world competition, he said. He’s been doing well because of the Donphan deck, which he used to win the city competition.
In the Pokemon Trading Card Game, players win matches by taking all of their six prize cards, which lay face down during the round, before their opponent can do so. Prize cards are won one or two at a time by knocking out your opponent’s Pokemon.
Weiss, and most players, do well with the Donphan deck because it has cards that help in blocking opponents from getting their prize cards, he said.
Doing well and being fully prepared for competitions comes down to building the right decks and practicing with them, he said.
Weiss compared playing the game to a chess game, where you have to know the right moves for each situation.
There’s also some luck of the draw involved, and lots of close calls during matches, he said. During one round toward the end of the daylong city championship competition, Weiss and an opponent went into sudden death, when players start a new game with only one prize card each in play.
Though he does get nervous about hoping to do his best and not mess up, Weiss has learned to deal with that feeling over the past three years competing, he said.
And with his competitive nature, he really enjoys the matches and seeing how well he can do in competitions, he said.
It’s also good to take road trips to events with friends and hang out with the people at the competitions, who are generally friendly and accepting, Weiss said.
Weiss encouraged anyone with an interest in the competitions to get involved in a league close to home. The two closest to Columbus are in Bloomington and Greenwood, he said, though he wishes there were one closer, those still present the best opportunity to get involved.
Organized Play events are sanctioned by The Pokemon Co. International and locally managed tournament organizers who run hundreds of Pokemon TCG and video game tournaments every year throughout the United States, according to Kersa Leichner, who handles public relations for the tournament series. Thousands of Pokeman competitors train and compete at various local league events and sanctioned tournaments in an attempt to become a Pokemon world champion, she said.
People also can go online to learn the game and play for free on pokemon.com, he said.
“Just play and have fun with it,” Weiss said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Weiss now is looking forward to the regional competition in St. Louis this spring. If he earns a top ranking at that competition, he’ll move on to the national competition, which takes place this summer in Indianapolis.
Jared Weiss is preparing to head to the regional competition this spring in St. Louis. If he earns enough points there, he’ll receive an invitation to the U.S. national competition this summer in Indianapolis.