Hello reader, this is Joey Page reporting in from the newly formed: Team Inferno. Team inferno is a sponsored by Richmond comix Pokémon trading card game team. This is an introduction to those of us currently on the team and we would like you to get to know us, just as we would like to get to know you, eventually. Here are some of our members:
Zach Lowman, from the Tidewater Area, is a player turned judge turned player again. While his repertoire of accomplishments is not necessarily as wide as the rest of the team he does have a few notches on his belt. Which include: T32’d Regionals, a few Battle Roads victories, Top Cut in Cities as well as placing high in two out of the three Professor Cups he’s participated in.
“I hope to bring a unique view to the articles here as I’ve played a wide variety of games and am seldom surprised by new mechanics introduced to a game. I like to discuss tech choices for decks as well as why two decks running different techs can create a huge gap in achievement.”
Nick Hatchel started playing the Pokémon TCG when it first came out in 1999 with his older brother and attempted to branch out into primitive Pokémon leagues. He started playing the game again in 2004 and quickly got into the competitive aspect of it, doing fairly well for his age (13) winning invites to the Pokémon World Championships in 2005 and 2006, where he finished 14th and 24th, respectively. Learning that Worlds was going to be held in Washington, D.C. in 2014, he decided to give the game another serious shot. It also didn’t hurt that Pokémon was implementing best 2 out of 3 in swiss rounds at major tournaments for the first time.
“What do I bring to Team Inferno, and what can you hope to see me write about? Well, I guess my strongest aspect of card playing is practicing, or play testing as we call it. I grinded games for 3 months straight, playing an average of 6-8 hours a day to prepare for Worlds in 2006, and it paid off. I may not have the most talent or the most creative mind in terms of deck building, but I know how to sit down and practice efficiently.
Tim Copeland was introduced to Pokémon just before the Team Rocket prerelease by his nephews who needed rides to league so their mom could get some alone time. He returned in time for the Emerald prerelease when a new batch of nephews wanted to try league play, and he’s been a regular attendee since then, even after the boys stopped playing. His participation now includes roles as driver, volunteer staff, Judge, League Leader, League Owner, and Tournament Organizer. His tournament experience includes wins at the Spring Battle Road 2010 Virginia Beach, and 2nd place at Manassas City Championship 2009.
“I started out as mostly a collector, making decks out of the cards the kids didn’t want to play. Years later, there are still a few cards I don’t have, but the list is short, and I’m notoriously difficult to trade with because I have almost everything. My interaction with most players now is from the tournament rules perspective, ranging from card rulings to technical game-play aspects like coin-flipping and procedure.”
Russell LaParre started playing Pokémon TCG when Base and Fossil sets were released. Soon after, he stopped playing for some time due to the rise of Yugioh and VS system TCG. He decided to get back into the game with the emergence of Ex Pokémon and the change in the pace of the game. In his TCG career he has top 8’d over a dozen Yugioh regionals, won 6 VS PCQs and topped another 4. Also having top 8’d a VS 10k and top 8’d a Yugioh Championship Series as well as topping the Yugioh National Championship during 2011.
“I’ve wanted to get into the competitive Pokémon circuit after watching nationals and worlds and seeing how much better the Pokémon community treats it players and provides quality content compared to that of Yugioh. I tend to play decks that have an aggressive play style and look to apply pressure instead of control. I usually play rogue or lower tier decks with tech against the current meta due to my personal hate for mirror/ditto matches. I look forward to growing with the team and joining the Pokémon community.”
Aaron Starzyk was first introduced to Pokémon when the first set was released in 1999. Unaware of the competitive aspect of the game, he dropped it soon after. He would return to gaming with the release of Yu-Gi-Oh in 2002. Over the next several years, he matured into a competitive gamer, rather than a Yu-Gi-Oh player, and started picking up any game that caught his interest. He began playing Pokémon competitively in 2008 after meeting Johnny Rabus at a local Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament. Intrigued by the unique challenges the game offered, he was eager to add it to his repertoire. His prior experience in Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic: The Gathering provided him with a strong foundation on which to develop his Pokémon skills. Prior to this season, Aaron has not committed to consistently playing Pokémon, but he hopes to prove to himself that hard work and dedication can lead to success.
Johnny Rabus started playing the Pokémon TCG back in 1999. Eventually stopped as getting his parents to buy cards for no reason was proving to be too much. Started to get back in around the 2004-2005 season and immediately was hooked. Trying to grab hold of being competitive, he always tried to find some tech/some deck nobody thought of to give him an edge when playing. This proved only somewhat fruitful, never actually getting him the wins he desired. He wouldn’t give up though and kept trying to find an edge and eventually he was able to win the 2010 Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships and top 32 the U.S. National Championships with his unique build of Gyarados which also featured Lunatone and Solrock, a combo nobody even tried. Consistently he was doing well, but he couldn’t get his invite to the World Championships. He was always close, but never got in. However, in 2013, he finally broke that barrier. He got into the World Championships and made top 8 at the event finishing in 6th place. Now, as we look to the future, he hopes he can do better and help others out as well.
“This is a game of fun, first and foremost, and you should always be looking to get better.” He also wants to be helping others, hence starting Team Inferno. He hopes he can help them get better, and they help him as well.
Joey Page grew into card games at a young age. His first card game was naturally Pokémon in the fateful year of 1999, in where he played with friends and eventually went to “leagues” at the local Books-a-million. While it was all fun and games to battle with base and jungle cards, he saw a group of people playing Magic: The Gathering. The game looked so cool that he couldn’t resist trying it out. In the following years, he played as many still do: upon the kitchen table top with close friends having good times. Richmond Comix actually showed him the ropes of the game, and then he started playing at Friday Night Magic into playing in his first tournament a JSS (Junior Super Scholarship series). The fun of the game at a tournament level was beyond what he could have ever imagined. This propelled him into grinding Magic for many moons with some mild success. After meeting Nick Hatchel through Magic and school he eventually met Johnny Rabus as well and started to ask about Pokémon. Deciding that the game sounded sweet, he joined Johnny for a trip to Regionals where he saw just how amazing the game is. After that, he was hooked. Now on a warpath to make it to worlds his current ambitions related to the game include how to replicate success via reducing variance & efficient playing, combating the stereotypes of emotions associated with gaming, and a curiosity on how the community impacts players.
“Having joined an officially sponsored card playing team, I hope to keep the level of excitement both in tournament and in practice to be through the roof. Play hard, work hard. While this game presents new challenges for me, I hope that I can help my team mates, and they can help me in becoming local cardboard heroes in our quest for ever vigilant fun and community growth. “
That’s all for us at team inferno today, I hope that you’ve learned a little about us, and we hope to see you at the next Pokémon event!