Recently, Good Games staff had the chance to chat to Otis Spiess, a young man making his mark on the Pokemon scene in the USA. Otis is eleven years old and has already hit the top 8 at Regionals in the Midwest. We asked Otis about his experiences in the competitive card game scene.
Hi Otis, it’s a pleasure to speak to such a talented young Pokemon player. Let’s start by discussing you – how long have you been playing the game and what do you find most enjoyable about it?
I’ve been collecting for about 7 years and just recently (about a year ago) started playing Pokemon TCG competitively. It’s just very, very fun. I enjoy whenever I win matches in competitive tournaments and see my name up on the screen. Seeing your name up on the screen at a big event–It just feels really good. If you go to league you can meet a lot of new friends.
What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
I got top 8 at a regional tournament in Madison, WI, on my first time ever in a regional competitive tournament.
What are some of the challenges you find in playing Pokemon?
I don’t find the game itself or building decks challenging, but it is a challenge to get to competitive tournaments. It’s expensive to travel and there are so many events I’d like to attend. So right now, my parents and I are working on figuring all of that out. They both support me in my Pokemon TCG activities.
Tell us about your favourite deck and your favourite Pokemon?
My favorite deck of all time is definitely Lycanroc because that’s what I got top 8 at regionals with. My favorite deck to play is anything with seismatoad ex, because it’s just fun locking your opponent out of items. When I was 4 or 5 years old, my friend Max gave me a Dark Raticate card from Team Rockets Base Set. I guess you could say that’s what got me started collecting Pokemon cards. So it holds a special place in my heart.
How do you prepare for a big event?
My dad and I plan our travel. I play test A LOT with the deck I’m going to be taking. I spend a lot of time in my local card shops trading and buying the cards I need. I eat a big meal right before an event because we usually don’t get much time to take breaks.
Your Top 8 Placement in the Midwest Pokemon Regionals puts you solidly in the top-tier of players around the world. What are your goals for the near future in Pokemon?
World domination. Just kidding…or am I? Blinging out all of my decks. I mean all of them. My parents help me, but I am also responsible for partially funding my Pokemon hobby. So, I suppose I’ll have to get a job in the near future…maybe.
Finally, what encouragement would you give to other young players of Pokemon looking to move into more competitive play?
Don’t give up just because you’ve lost a couple matches. Never lose hope and keep trying. Finally, DON’T BE A RULE SHARK!
Thanks for the interview, Otis. From all of us here to you, your family and everyone reading, happy holidays from Good Games!