Saturday, December 31, 2016

Interview: London International Championship 2016 Seniors VGC Runner-Up

Murray McKenzie
The following is an interview with Murray McKenzie, runner-up in the Seniors Division of the VGC competition at the recent Pokémon International Championship in London, England.

Where are you from, and how did you get into Pokémon?
I'm a player from Fife, Scotland, however most of the tournaments I go to are in Glasgow. My first Pokémon game was Pokémon White, which I got for my ninth birthday. I started getting into competitive play just after 2014 Worlds, but I only considered myself a good player after 2015 Worlds, where I made a successful rain team.

What was the team you used for this event? 
-Tapu Koko
-Tapu Bulu

Full team information is available at

This tournament was likely to feature a wider-than-normal set of Pokémon due to the games being fairly new. How did that affect which Pokémon you chose?
To be honest, I only really thought about a few Pokémon whilst building this team, namely “Koko-Raichu”, “Maro-Dos” and I think Gastrodon. There was a light foundation of a metagame brewing on Showdown, so I based it off of that.

What worked well for the team in the tournament?
The most important change I made to the team was definitely passing the Life Orb from Nihilego to Koko and making Nihilego hold the Focus Sash-a change I made two days before the event. I have no idea how I would've dealt with rain if not for that Sash, as it came in handy so many games. Honourable mention goes to Electric Seed/Acrobatics Celesteela and Mudsdale. The Seed helped Celesteela to be extremely bulky in both sides and Acrobatics was nice as it let me hit things which resisted Heavy Slam, it even two-hit ko'd a Pelipper! Assault Vest Mudsdale (I didn't think any others would be running it and I didn't see any prior) was also extremely nice due to it having an extraordinary attack stat and a great Ability for a Vest user. I designed it to survive both a Marowak Flare Blitz or an Energy Ball from a +1 Life Orb Xurkitree-pretty much some of the most powerful attacks you'll see on either side.

What didn't work so well, and what kind of changes might you make to this team if you used it again?
To be honest, I think the team was as good as you could get with these six Pokémon; however I do want to use other teams for the Regionals in Sheffield and Liverpool. This team is utter rubbish in best-of-one though, so I wouldn't try it there. All of my losses (except one round in Swiss I lost 2-0 and the final match against Jan) were in the first game. This team is great for adapting to situations once you know certain things like is the Pelipper Sash or Scarf? To be honest, I should've paid closer attention to IVs and made sure my Mudsdale was faster than my Wishiwashi as those two and Tapu Bulu's speed IVs were unknown.

What did you think of this new level of event?
Initially, I was quite wary of this new structure, namely the opportunities for Americans, Japanese and the like to get CP which would've gone to Europeans. Also, the fact that the tournament was two weeks after the release scared me. However, whilst I still believe that they should've made it Europe exclusive, I had a blast and this is much better to me than having three smaller Nationals. The event was very well run, but they needed to be more transparent. All of us in the top eight expected (due to things on the Pokémon website and prior events) to play on Sunday, have a lunch break and have the finals be streamed. To our surprise (and crushing our dreams of being on stream) none of these things happened. So yeah, they should've just clarified the first and last ones and had a lunch break after I think round four of Swiss.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Poké Press Digest Podcast: Episode 2-London International Challenge TCG/Ralph Schuckett

In this episode, we have two segments. First (0:49-11:04), I interview Michael Pramawat, the winner of the Masters Division of the TCG competition at the recent International Championship in London, England. We talk about his deck, his time in London, and what he thinks of the upcoming Sun and Moon cards.

The second segment (11:10-43:15) is an archival interview with Ralph Schuckett, a musician who composed the scores for the dubs of the first three Pokémon movies. You’ll find out how he got started in music, as well as some behind-the-scenes details of those films.

Here's a transcript of the first segment:

Steven: Hi, I’m Steven Reich here at the Poke Press Studios in Madison, Wisconsin. I’m on the phone with Michael Pramawat, who is the winner in the Masters division of the recent Pokemon International Championship that was held in London, England. And Michael, we just have a few questions. First off, where are you from and how did you get into Pokemon, both the franchise and then to competitive TCG play?

Michael: Well, I live in Seattle, Washington now and I’m originally from the East coast, in Virginia. And I got started with the Red and Blue games from way back. And from there, I just kind of got into the trading card game because some of my friends had the cards. We didn’t even know there was a game with it. Then they got a theme deck, read the rules, and just started playing from there.

Steven: What would you say was the first major TCG tournament you went into?

Michael: The first major tournament I attended was the Super Trainer Showdown. This is back when Wizards or the Coast had the license for the trading card game. It was basically the equivalent of a-I think the closest equivalent now would be a Regionals, in terms of level, but in terms of like prestige, it was basically like a Nationals.

Steven: Yeah, the Super Trainer Showdown, that was sort of the initial big events they had, before Wizards ran their single Worlds, they had the Super Trainer Showdown, which there was an east coast and a west coast event each year for a couple years. And they would have qualifying events and bring people out there. Organized play was very different back then than it is now.

So moving on from there, for this particular tournament in London, you decided to play a Yveltal-Garbodor deck, which was very popular. Actually, based on some analysis I’ve heard, it was a little over 20% of the Masters metagame at the event. What made you choose that deck for this tournament?

Michael: Well I haven’t played too much since the World Championships, so I wanted play a deck that I knew I could run. I didn’t want to play anything that maybe you needed to know all the matchups in and out, like you would for Greninja. And I wasn’t a fan of Rainbow Road. And Volcanion seemed a little clunky at times. And I had seen the recent success of Yveltal-Garbodor, so I decided to go with that deck.

Steven: Do you think that that kind of reasoning partially explained why so many folks used it at this tournament?

Michael: Yeah, I think so. It’s one of those that it’s pretty easy to pick up but has a lot of intricate plays, which is why you see such a large disparity between people who are very good at using it and people who are just kind of picking it up. There’s a very big difference in results that they get.

Steven: So you’d say it’s like maybe a decently easy to learn but difficult to master type of deck?

Michael: Yeah, yeah. It’s definitely one of those. You have to have very good fundamentals of the game in order to properly pilot the deck.

Steven: And even though it’s a very common deck, obviously there is some wiggle room. Your particular decklist does have a little bit of a twist on it. Can you sort of explain that?

Michael: Yeah, so typically what people had been using was the deck list that when I took first place at the Regionals at Florida and Fort Wayne, I believe. And those lists had things like Delinquent in it. But it had a running trend of running Trainers’ Mail. And people had been talking about, “How many Trainers’ Mail do you run? Do you run 2? 3?” Some people are going down as low as 1. And for me, once you go down to the realm of 2 Trainers’ Mail and below, the consistency boost that you get becomes so miniscule that I’d rather just have options with things like Escape Rope, Team Flare Grunt, Delinquent, Pokemon Center Lady, things like that.

Steven: So you went that route. You sort of went without it. Do you think that maybe helped you out in the tournament, and helped you eventually win it? If so, how?

Michael: Yeah, it definitely helped me win. Because the cards I put in instead of Trainers’ Mail was cards that let me have advantages in certain matchups. For example, Escape Rope was very good versus Greninja. If they put down a Bursting Balloon, you can get around it with Escape Rope. Delinquent was one of the MVPs of the deck. You only play 2 Parallel City, and sometimes your opponent will play down Parallel City in a direction that’s not favorable to you. So, you’re going to want to use Delinquent to replace their Parallel City so you can lay down your own in the direction that would be more favorable to you. So, there’s a lot of tricky plays that you can do. And it ended up being really good. I like the list a lot.

Steven: Anything you think you should have played differently in this tournament, or going forward you might play differently?

Michael: I definitely think that Yveltal, if it didn’t already have a target on its back, it definitely does have one now. So you really have to into consideration, can you deal with Zebstrika, which is a deck that got played, and fortunately for me, got 9th place. Which, made sure it was not in the top 8 for me to have to contend with. It can be a tricky matchup because Zebstrika can one-shot your Yveltal EX even if you have a Fighting Fury Belt. So, people who want to play Yveltal going forward are going to need to take that into consideration.

Steven: Yeah, that was definitely one of the surprises that came out. Didn’t quite make it into the top cut for the top 8, but definitely one of the surprises that we saw, and something I think players should keep an eye out for in the future to see if more people pick that up.

Now of course, one last thing about last weekend’s event. You did spend a couple extra days there. What did you check out in the city?

Michael: Went sightseeing around the city. I went to see Big Ben. I went on the London Eye. I saw the Abbey. And I also just went and see what kind of food London had to offer. There’s a very high Indian population in London, so I went and got some Indian food, and a bunch of places. The food was good. I liked it.

Steven: Yeah, it’s definitely a good food city. And hopefully we’ll have some more chances with that with the upcoming International Championships. We don’t know exactly when or where those will be. But I’m hoping to go to at least one of the ones outside of North America myself. Do you think you’ll be able to have a chance to go to some other ones besides the North America one?

Michael: I hope I can get to one. I’m not sure where exactly they’re going to be outside of North America, but I’ve been hearing Australia. So, we’ll see. It’s definitely easier for me to go to an English-speaking country than somewhere else. But even if it’s not in an English-speaking country, I think I’d strongly consider going anyways.

Steven: Yeah, definitely something that’s on my to-do list; very excited about the possible opportunity. Alright, well, you did very well at that tournament and we’re looking forward a little bit here. So, the next logical thing is that we are coming very close to the Sun and Moon generation of TCG. Of course, the games came out back in November. The first set doesn’t come out for a couple months. What are your thoughts on what we’ve seen so far of the Sun and Moon TCG?

Michael: The set looks pretty fun. It’s definitely a breath of fresh air. But because they’ll put in the new mechanic of Pokemon GX. They’re kind of like exes back-the original exes where they could have been stage ones, stage twos, basics. It’s all over the place. And it’s just whatever the Pokemon happens to be. And the cool thing about these cards is they have a once per game attack, which is really cool. And depending on how you use that, it can come out with some pretty cool strategies. I haven’t delved too deep into the Sun and Moon strategy, but I think it looks very promising.

Steven: Yeah, it definitely has some different dynamics than what we’ve seen in the 5th and 6th generation, which are relatively similar to each other. This is definitely a bit of a turn here. So, we’ll have to see what happens. Alright, well, thank you very much, Michael. This has been Steven Reich from the Poke Press Studios in Madison, Wisconsin on the phone with Michael, the winner in the Masters division of the TCG competition at the recent London Pokemon International Championship.

Transcript by

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tour: Pokemon International Championship Europe 2016

Want to know what was at the Pokemon International Championship 2016 in London, England? We go on a tour to find out:

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Poké Press Digest Podcast: Episode 1-Pokémon 2000 Music/My Life in Gaming

In order to provide audio content in a form more suitable for longer listening sessions, I've decided to repackage some of my interviews in podcast form. Each episode will include at least one new (or recently released) interview, though it won't necessarily have every interview we produce. As such, I've decided to call this the "Poké Press Digest Podcast".

In this initial episode, we have two segments. In the first (0:57-44:48), Anne from Pikapi Podcast joins in to discuss the Japanese and English ending themes of the second Pokémon movie. We go over production details, analyze the songs, and then determine which one we like better.

For the second segment (44:55-59:37), I interview Try from the "My Life in Gaming" YouTube channel. Their channel covers retro video games, with a focus on how to get optimal picture and sound quality from original hardware. We discuss the origins of the channel, and their upcoming Game Boy episode.

Finally, after the outro (1:00:02), stick around to hear Anne and I discuss some of the other songs from the Pokémon 2000 soundtrack.


Segment 1:
Pikapi Podcast
Mark Chait Interview
First Movie Music Discussion

Segment 2:
My Life in Gaming YouTube Channel
RetroRGB Site

Here's a transcript of the "My Life in Gaming" segment:

Steven: Hi, I'm Steven Reich from the Poké Press studios in Madison, Wisconsin. I'm on the phone with Try from the "My Life in Gaming" YouTube channel, and Try your channel focuses a lot on various technical aspects of video games in terms of getting them to appear correctly and stuff like that, but you've also covered specific games and you also have done some kind of interesting "How to Beat" videos-how did a channel like that-how did that get started?

Try: Well, Coury and I have known each other online for a long time. I'm one of the founding members of a website called "The Backloggery"  that's, and it's a game collection tracking site, sort of with a focus on tracking which games you've beat, which games you left unfinished, and we just met through there and sort of just hit it off because we're both video editors.

We met with a bunch of other Backloggery people at MAGFest which is a convention, a gaming convention near Washington, DC and at some point Coury was like, "You know, we should make a YouTube channel together you know. There's not a lot of YouTubers out there that I think have like a professional background in video editing", so we thought we would be interesting.

The first thing we did was those "How to Beat" videos, sort of inspired by the old VHS tapes that would tell you how to beat Mega Man 2 or Ninja Gaiden or something like that, but we did it with modern games, and I think that was never intended to be the focus of the channel but we thought it would be an easy thing to do to get started, and it was kinda light and funny-not at all the kind of content we intended to create long-term, but it was I think a good starting choice because it did get us some attention early on and we kinda used that as a launching point to get into the the other types of videos that we wanted to make.

Steven: Yeah, as i mentioned before one of the big things your channel focuses on is video quality-a lot of RGB-related topics and things like that. How did that all get started?

Try: Well, really that's in a lot of ways that's kind of the origin of the channel because part of why we decided to make a YouTube channel was because we had been looking at this website [called] Hazard-City. It's run by this guy in Germany that has so much information on video scalers and stuff and the Framemeister, which is this Japanese upscaling box that, you know you can plug RGB from your retro consoles into it, and it's just perfect crisp pixels and it's amazing and we're looking at this and thinking, "Wow, does this really do what it looks like it's doing? I'm not quite sure I believe it." And, you know Coury finally bought one, he showed me some pictures and I'm like, "Okay I believe it." You know, it's this three-hundred-dollar box, and it's a lot of money, but you think about it that's like the price of a modern console, [and] if retro gaming is important to you, then you know it's not that bad of an investment if you really think about it.

Between that and some capture cards that we bought, we're like, "Wow, we've got this like awesome setup for capturing real consoles in such high quality-we should put this to good use," but we did not anticipate really making videos about video quality-we just wanted to have really good quality captures for other videos that we would be making. It's called "My Life in Gaming" in part because we wanted to tell stories about games and maybe some personal connections that you might have to those games-not just us, but we always want to interview people, like for example when we did a Myst episode, we interviewed the creator of Myst. You know, we want to have other people's voices in our videos if possible, but then we wanted to make this video about the Framemeister because it introduced us to the this whole world of high-quality capture and it just took off, and we're like, "Well you know, we could do a whole series about this and all the stuff that took us so long to figure out we could like make this great resource for other people to discover this.", because I think a lot of people didn't know-I mean we didn't know until just four years ago that this kind of stuff is even possible, so it's just kind of our way of sharing that information, and it was never intended to be the main thing but it kind of has become that.

Steven: So you have actually, in the RGB series you have a couple levels-100 is sort of the basics, 200 is system-specific, 300 is sort of niche topics, so you're going to be having a new 200-level video, hopefully within the next few weeks about the Game Boy, which is kind of interesting in part because it's a portable console, so it's not something you would normally think would make a great topic necessarily, but as it turns out you've come across a lot of things and this is probably gonna be your longest video yet. So, how did this get started?

Try: Yeah, it's almost twice as long-I'm looking at my timeline right now, which is about maybe 20 or so percent edited, and it's a an hour and three minutes-it's more than twice as long as our longest video, otherwise. Yeah, it's absolutely insane.

Originally, early on in the series, I was like, "Oh, I wanna do a video about how to play Game Boy games on your TV, and how to get the best quality doing that.", because you know obviously the options people think of are Super Game Boy on Super Nintendo and the Game Boy Player on GameCube, but there's a lot of nuance there. Then Bob from's the guy that runs Retro RGB-he's been a huge supporter of ours and he's got a great website and also does a great YouTube channel called the "Retro[RGB] Weekly Roundup" and he was like, "You know, I need some space and I know you're going to do a Game Boy episode." I think this is around this time last year, actually. He just sent me this big box full of Game Boy stuff. We're talking backlit-modded Game Boy and Game Boy Pocket, front-lit modded Game Boy Color, original Game Boy Advance with the brighter backlit SP screen put in it, clock-modded Super Game Boy, just all kinds of stuff that I never even would have really thought of looking into because I had this on-TV focus.

I was like, "Well, you know I guess we could just do kind of like an all-encompassing video, but I'm just going to talk about the handheld stuff like really, really briefly.", but then, you know I just start writing the episode now I'm like I got to the point where I'm like I don't see what I can cut out without being as comprehensive as I want to be and it just it's ended up being this big thing. There's been fleeting thoughts like, "Maybe we can separate Game Boy and Game Boy Advance into their own episodes, or maybe we can do portables and on-TV and in separate episodes or something.", but it's like there'd be so much overlap between them because there's just so much shared between platforms within the Game Boy series and you kind of have to understand how Game Boy Color works to understand how Game Boy Player works and how Game Boy Color backwards compatibility works on Game Boy Advance and how Super Game Boy has special palettes that are not recreated on any other official hardware, and so it's it's like, "Let's just include it all in this one massive episode that I'm completely insane for even tackling."

We had hoped it would release [on] Black Friday-probably not going to happen, but I am keeping that mindset that I'm going to release it on Black Friday-it keeps me motivated, it keeps that glimmer of hope that I could have it done by then. If I don't keep that, then I'm just gonna make terrible progress between now and Thanksgiving, but yeah it's intense but it's-I know it's gonna be big because you know people are interested to know more about Game Boy.

Steven: Definitely, and especially of course, Pokémon fans. Anything in particular you wanted to sort of share that might be specific to the Pokémon games?

Try: Well, certainly for Super Game Boy it's pretty cool because the way it works is it can draw sort of hidden areas in the screen to have entirely separate color palettes. Normally, you can only assign four colors to a Game Boy game in a Super Game Boy but a Super Game Boy enhanced game like Pokémon Red/Blue and of course gen[eration] two, they can, well, in the battle screen they can basically draw a box around each Pokémon and they can be the correct color they aren't bound by the four-color limitation because those areas of the screen where those Pokémon exist can have their own color palette. So that's pretty exciting.

On the N64 end we are covering the Wide-Boy 64 which was a development tool and a press tool for getting Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance screenshots through an N64-nothing particularly special regarding Pokémon there, but we are going to look a little bit-just a little bit-into the emulation through Pokemon Stadium and Pokémon Stadium 2, which is kind of interesting because even though it's emulation, you do get the benefit of the Super Game Boy enhancements there. But, you can use flash carts-this isn't something we're really going to be able to show directly-but people have experimented with editing rom headers to trick the Pokémon Stadium games into loading non-Pokémon games. They basically fool [Stadium] into thinking that it's Pokémon Blue or something like that. I understand that they kind of crash like when they try to save and stuff like that, so it's not really a reliable method, but it but it is kind of interesting.

Steven: Especially if you could use the double and triple-speed options that you can unlock in at least the original Pokémon Stadium to play those games at hyper speed-that might actually be kind of interesting.

Try: Yeah, well with this overclocked Game Boy that I'm borrowing it's got this dial where you can literally overclock it or underclock it. It's kind of wonky I wouldn't really trust it to be honest. I was told that it's actually kind of intended more for people who want to do something with like the Game Boy sound chip for music or something like that, but there's a dial on it that you can turn and you could play the game at hyper speed, though I think it would be pretty likely to crash from what I've experimented with.

Steven: Alright, well we certainly look forward to that Game Boy episode in the near future. In the meantime, what are some of your other plans going forward for the channel? Additional systems, additional topics, what are you looking into?

Try: Well, you know it's hard to believe we've gone all year without making a new Sega episode and Saturn and Dreamcast are both pretty high priorities. Dreamcast in particular is very popularly requested, so we want to get back to Sega. We want to do PlayStation 2, we want to do Wii, we basically want to do every system that is realistically possible-original Xbox and other RGB topics we want to talk about SCART switchers, we want to talk about all kinds of things. And outside of RGB I mean, you know we always want to take a break and get to our-just get to our game-focused episodes. They're the kind of our reprieve from our more technical episodes because they do take less work, and you know they're not as popular but they're sometimes just what we want to do, and we're never gonna run out of ideas. We talk about it all the time, like I just literally cannot imagine I could ever run out of ideas-it's just there's so many things that we just want to talk about. We've got this list of topics from when we started the channel and we haven't done but maybe fifteen percent of them because you know we just keep getting sidetracked by the newest idea we have and there's just so much wanna talk about-technical and otherwise.

Steven: Yeah, it never really ends with this, and of course you know in this era of the Internet we've actually had opportunities to learn more as some of the developers and hardware folks have sort of come out of the woodwork, so there's always going to be more-I think you're right about that.

Try: Yeah, I mean it's so funny you can come up with new things to talk about for retro stuff, and it's-I think a lot of people don't think about that. They think just what's old is set and done with, but there's so much to it and so much the people still are doing in that world in terms of new developments to modify the hardware and get new results.

Steven: But in the meantime, how can folks find your YouTube channel, and you have any other social media?

Try: Well, we've got of course YouTube is just We've also got a @MyLifeInGaming Twitter and then we've got our individual personal accounts-mine is @tryumph4ks inspired by the the fish in the Wind Waker they called the Triforce the "triumph forks", and Coury's just @couryc. We've also got [a] Patreon account-just and that has gone a long ways to supporting the channel. We've also got Facebook but I don't know anything about that-I don't follow Facebook, but Coury pays attention to it.

Steven: Alright, well thank you very much, Try. This has been Steven Reich talking to Try of the "My Life in Gaming" channel about his upcoming Game Boy-related episode.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

WTPT-Pokemon Christmas Bash Review-Part 1

Way back in 2007, I appeared on the WTPT Pokemon Podcast to discuss the "Pokemon Christmas Bash" album. In the first part, KC and Jowy do a brief news segment, then bring me in to introduce the album:

Special thanks to Jowy Romano for permission to upload this audio.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Review: Pocket Monsters XYZ Character Song Collection Volume 2

Steven Reich
Earlier this year, Pokémon put out an EP of character songs featuring the Japanese voice actors from the sixth generation of the anime. Predictably (given that the EP had “Vol. 1” in its title), this has led to a second volume that was released in late October. Despite its name, this second volume also includes the songs from the first volume (though not their instrumental counterparts), and as such, the question becomes whether the new songs add enough value for consumers who already picked up the first volume. Here’s a run-down of the new tracks on this album:


“DreamDream” is one of several rearrangements of songs from earlier in this generation in this collection. Unlike when this was done in generation four for Hikari (Dawn), however, this version is fairly close to the earlier release of the track. As a result (and perhaps also due to my unfamiliarity with Serena’s Japanese voice actor, Mayuki Makiguchi), I’m not particularly attached to this rendition of the ending theme. It’s hardly bad, but doesn’t offer much beyond the original version.

Brilliantly (a.k.a. Glitter)

Performed by Citron’s (Clemont’s) voice actor Yūki Kaji, this remake of a song from the “Getter Ban Ban” single was more appealing to me, but perhaps that’s just an indication of my fondness for his engineering work (similar to how my love of art elevates my opinion of Tracey), or that the underlying song appeals to me more due to its “fun” quality. In any case, it ends up being one of the standout tracks on this collection for me.

Pikachu’s Song

A call-and-response track between a group of children and Ikue Ohtani, this is clearly a song designed for a different audience. There’s a fair amount of variation, and I appreciate the challenge writing this song must have presented, but it’s definitely not something I would listen to more than once in a while.

Meowth’s Ballad

Another in a line of Meowth-related tunes, this song (as the name implies) goes for a lighter mood akin to “Meowth’s Song” from generation one. Like the older track, I enjoy listening to this, and it’s impressive that Inuko Inuyama can deliver such a low-key performance. Definitely comes across as one of the better entries on this CD.

XY & Z (Movie Version)

As one might expect, this is the earlier TV version with some new instruments (Side Note: I really miss instances like the first few English movies and “High Touch” where they would re-do or otherwise majorly change the theme for the movies-it doesn’t have to happen for each one, but it would be nice to see more often). My feelings on this version are pretty much the same as the original-it’s good overall, but the ending doesn’t seem to be quite what I wanted tonally.


If I didn’t own either, I’d probably pick up just this second volume (especially since I’m not running a station anymore), as there’s not a great need to own the instrumental versions present on the first volume. If you already have that first EP, I would still say this is worth purchasing as long as you’re interested in enough of the new tracks. I would have preferred to have a few more fully original songs, but in general it’s still a good package.

Want to see an unboxing of this CD?

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Pokemon: The First Movie Ending Theme Comparison

Anne of Pikapi Podcast joins in to compare the Japanese and English ending themes of Pokemon: The First Movie. What do "Together With The Wind" and "We're A Miracle" have to offer, and which one will come out on top?

Additionally, I recently posted some bonus audio from that discussion:

If that's still not enough for you, here's a preview of our discussion of the second movie's ending themes:

The full version will be posted later, but you can hear it now as a timed exclusive on the Pikapi Podcast Patreon feed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Unboxing a "We're A Miracle" Mastering CD

Christina Aguilera's "We're A Miracle" wasn't written or recorded for Pokemon: The First Movie, but it did take some work to make it ready for the film. Here, we go over a mastering CD that I picked up off of eBay that fills in some details about how that song ended up where it did:

This was an interesting opportunity for me, as I'm always looking for ways to find out more about the production process behind Pokemon music. It's difficult to say if or when I'll have another chance like this, but I'll certainly keep looking.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

WTPT-2.B.A. Master Review-Part 4 (Listener Mail) + First Movie Ending Theme Discussion

In the last part of the episode, we go over some of the mail Jowy and KC received:

Special thanks to Jowy Romano for permission to upload this audio.

If you missed some of the earlier parts (or want to restart from the beginning), all four parts are available in a playlist:

If you still need more discussion of Pokemon music, Anne from Pikapi Podcast and I recently recorded a comparison of the Japanese and English ending themes for the first Pokemon movie ("Together With the Wind" and "We're a Miracle"). It will appear here eventually, but for now it's a timed exclusive on the Pikapi Podcast Patreon feed. Here's a sample:

Monday, September 19, 2016

WTPT-2.B.A. Master Review-Part 3

We continue our discussion of the Pokemon 2.B.A. Master album by giving our overall thoughts:

Special thanks to Jowy Romano for permission to upload this audio.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Mega Shiny Garchomp Cosplay (Geek.Kon 2016)

At Geek.Kon 2016, I had an opportunity to interview Ross Cunha, a cosplayer with an amazing Mega Shiny Garchomp outfit. Find out what materials he used, and what went into the build process:

After this video was posted, Ross provided us some photos showing the construction of the costume:


Partially assembled headpiece

Partially painted headpiece

Wire planter used for tail
Dorsal fin
This is definitely one of the most impressive costumes I've ever seen at a convention, and I had a great time interviewing Ross about his creation.


Steven: What does it take to make a killer Garchomp costume? Let’s find out.

Hi, I’m Steven Reich, here at Geek.Kon 2016 with Ross Cunha, who has made an absolutely fantastic Mega Shiny Garchomp costume. We have a little bit of it here, but you can see a full picture of it right now.

And Ross, let’s talk about a few parts of it. Start at the beginning. Why did you choose to make a Shiny Mega Garchomp in the first place?

Ross: Well, I was playing Pokemon X and just wondering around Route 13, the desert area. I came across a random encounter and it was a Shiny Gible. Like, oh my goodness, that is the first Shiny I’ve ever encountered in the wild. So, I just had to capture it. And I did. And I leveled it up into a Garchomp and Mega Evolved it. I had no idea that the Mega Evolution form would look so drastically different from the regular version. I’m like, wow that is beautiful. That is going to be my next cosplay.

Steven: Absolutely. That’s sometimes the inspiration there. Let’s just do this head to toe. So, you’ve got right here with us, you’ve got the headpiece. Which, you can see there has the face, and the teeth, and the little side things. How did you go about making that? Where did you start? And what was the process like?

Ross: I started off with a bicycle helmet. I decided I would build up the basic shape with paper mache and wiring. And then I wanted to experiment with a type of thermal plastic. So, I decided to go with WonderFlex. What I did was I basically used cardboard that I got from my work. The fins here are made from cardboard tubes. So I built up the basic shape, covered it in WonderFlex. Then, I decided I wanted an articulate jaw.

Steven: Oh, it actually moves. That is really neat.

Ross: I built up the jaw using wood and cardboard. Made the teeth out of wood. And I put little hooks and rubberbands on the inside of it so that the jaw would move when I talk. After that, came the painting. And it just came out better than I had ever expected. I put a lot of time mostly into building the helmet alone, compared to the rest of the costume.

Steven: But we do still want to talk about it and let the folks at home know about the rest of the costume. So besides the head, you also had to build basically a jumpsuit. What went into that to cover the torso and legs?

Ross: Well, first came the material. I wanted to do a Shiny version. But knew that if I went with anything that was actually shiny in material, it would probably look pretty bad for pictures. So I went with a dull satin. And I managed to find just the perfect color at my local fabric store. Started off with the leggings, and then I built the shirt to go with it, and I sewed them together. I left a slot in the back because I knew that I had to be wearing a dorsal fin as well. So, I had to accommodate for that as well.

Steven: You really got everything in there. The fins in the back- well, there’s a fin and then there’s a tail. How did those come together?

Ross: First thing that I had to do was I made the fin out of wood. And I took pictures from the game, blew it up, and made it to scale. So I cut out the fin, and I made myself a harness using a metal plate, and bolts, and brackets.

Steven: And you actually attached- the tail is attached to the fin by a wire there. Is that just to keep it from dragging on the floor?

Ross: Yes. The wire is also a conscious safety choice for other people that might be near my costume. Because obviously, if they get caught on it, it could damage their cosplays or anything like that. Fortunately, that’s never happened. But yeah, it’s for both support and visibility.

Steven: You also had to make some claws on your arms for the costume. Is that more wood there?

Ross: Yes. Those are made out of wood. And I drilled finger holes for them. So, I’m basically holding them like this at all times. And the interesting part about that one was making the sleeves that cover up my wrists. So, I wanted to go for a complete look. And my wrists are completely covered up. I have literally no use of my hands at all while I’m wearing the costume.

Steven: Yeah, it’s obviously not something you want to wear all the time. Which, is one reason we only brought the headgear down for this interview. How much would you say the costume weighs, overall?

Ross: Let’s see. This helmet alone weighs about 7 pounds. The tail itself is made from an old tomato planter that I found in my back tool shed. And that’s about 2.5 or so. The dorsal fin, probably another 2. All around, I’d say probably about 15 pounds. The sides themselves are rather heavy for their size.

Steven: Yeah. That’s always something to consider. But, it looks like you managed to accomplish getting around at the photo shoot yesterday pretty well. You sort of implied earlier you’ve made other costumes. Which ones have you made?

Ross: I’ve never done any other Pokemon costumes before. The ones I’ve done before this are Batou from Ghost in the Shell, and Dust from Dust: An Elysian Tail. I’ve never actually made a costume of this size and scale before.

Steven: Absolutely neat. And like I said, super impressive costume when it’s all put together. Alright. Well, this has been Steven Reich from Geek.Kon 2016.

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Monday, September 5, 2016

Geek.Kon 2016: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Tournament Winner

At Geek.Kon 2016, I had an opportunity to interview Jesus Solis, winner of a Super Smash Bros. for Wii U tournament. We talk about how he got  into competitive Smash, his choice of characters, and his strategy for the finals:


Steven: Hi, I’m Steven Reich here at Geek.Kon 2016. I’m here with Jesus [pronounced hey-seuss] Solis, who is the winner of the Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Tournament for this year. Jesus, we just have a few questions. First of all, how did you get into competitive Smash Bros.?

Jesus: Well honestly, I’ve always loved Smash Bros., but I just recently got into it when the game came out. I hung out with some friends around Geekplastiq, which is a local store around Madison. And they held these tournaments. I just figured I’d go, and I got to meet some friends who really got competitive with it. So, I kind of just hung around the crowd and kind of got into it.

Steven: That’s neat. So, what were the basic rules for this tournament? How many stock did you have, and what were some of the other things about it?

Jesus: The tournament rules were you had 2 stocks. It was timed for 6 minutes. The stages were a little bit weird, but they were tournament stages. And otherwise than that, it was just basic standard tourney rules.

Steven: So you are allowed in certain cases to switch characters. Basically, if you lose a round, you’re allowed to switch your character for the next round. So you actually used several different characters for this. What were the characters you used for this tournament?

Jesus: I only used 2, which were Mario and Kirby.

Steven: Why those 2 particular characters? Let’s start off, first of all, why Mario?

Jesus: Well, I love Mario’s move set. The mechanics just feel good. He always has a good reflector going on. And the FLUDD is kind of underestimated, because it can be used in very good moments, especially in gimping. And he just worked out pretty well.

Steven: And Kirby is your alternate character there. What do you like about Kirby?

Jesus: To be honest, he’s just a big ball of pinkness. But just his move set as well. There’s a lot you can do with Kirby that people don’t really quite notice. For example, if you’re trying to gimp a Little Mac off a stage here, they can just rush into you and you can swallow them up and poof them back out. But it’s kind of risky, because Little Mac is just this brute of superarmor.

Steven: Yeah, that did kind of come up in the finals as well. So, in the finals, you were paired against a guy-he used Cloud, which is of course one of the new DLC characters, relatively new, and Little Mac. So what was your strategy, first of all, against Cloud?

Jesus: Well, against Cloud- Cloud is definitely strong. And he definitely is fearful when he is charged of his move. So the only thing that’s unfortunate is his recovery. So my strategy was to try to gimp him off a stage here and make him fall off stage.

Steven: Yep, that was the basic strategy there. Eventually though, your opponent did switch to Little Mac. By that point, you had switched to Kirby, so what’s that matchup kind of like?

Jesus: Well, it was completely-it was a wait game, to be honest. Because if I had approached him in the middle of the stage, he would have definitely gotten me. Little Mac here, he’s easy to get in the corner of stages here, just because his recovery’s also really bad, his Up+B, and his side+B. From there on, it’s just a patience game with him. Because, you really need to just try your best to avoid his smash moves, because they’re all just strong. It worked out pretty good. It was just very, very intense.

Steven: It’s an interesting match up there. Well, this is the fourth, if you count the 3DS and Wii U versions together, fourth entry in the series. It’s almost certain, although nothing’s officially announced, that there will be a 5th generation Smash. What would you like to see in a new iteration?

Jesus: First of all, a good controller. Continue to have the GameCube controller as the controller for the mechanics, because the WiiPad is not the greatest, the Wiimote is not the greatest. The 3DS isn’t so bad as a controller, but it’s just a bit strange, just because people are used to this mechanic going on with Smash and so on.

Steven: It is interesting how that controller that was originally designed for games like Luigi’s Mansion and Pikmin and stuff like that has sort of lived on as the default Smash controller, especially for competitive players. Alright, well thank you very much, Jesus. This has been Steven Reich from Geek.Kon 2016.

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Preview: Geek.Kon 2016

I recently had an opportunity to talk to Adam Pulver, public relations representative for Madison-area convention Geek.Kon.  He was able to fill me in on some of the details of this year’s event, which runs from Friday the 26th to Sunday the 28th.

How did Geek.Kon get started?
Geek.Kon was started ten years ago by some University of Wisconsin students. After two free two-day conventions on campus, we moved off-site to a hotel, expanded to three days, and promptly outgrew the space in one year. We've been at the Marriott ever since.

Who are some of this year's guests?
This year's featured guest is Jason Carter, best known as Ranger Marcus Cole on Babylon 5. We also have voice actors Jerry Jewell, Christina Kelly, and Ryan Reynolds, author John Jackson Miller, and a number of great local guests including writers, game designers and other industry professionals.

This year there's a Pokémon Go panel, and a Pokkén Tournament competition. When are those?
The Pokémon Go panel is Saturday at noon, and the Pokkén Tournament event is Sunday at noon.

If someone came in a Pokémon-related costume, is there a meetup for that as well?
Yes, we're dedicating a special room for people to take cosplay photos and have suggested a number of photoshoot times. Pokémon’s shoot is Friday night at 8:00.

Where can people find more information about the convention?
We encourage people to visit our website  and download our online schedule

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

WTPT-2.B.A. Master-Part 2 (Double Trouble + PokeRap)

In the second part of our review of the 2.B.A. Master album, we focus on the Team Rocket "Double Trouble" song, and the original PokeRap:

Special thanks to Jowy Romano for permission to upload this audio.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

WTPT-2.B.A. Master-Part 1 (News + Album Overview)

Back in 2008 I recorded an episode of the WTPT podcast discussing the 2.B.A. Master album. In the first part, we discuss some of the details regarding the release of Pokemon Platinum in Japan, then talk a bit about the production of the CD:

Special thanks to Jowy Romano for permission to upload this audio.

Also, we recently posted a video discussing Pokemon Go. Did you know you might be reliving more than your own childhood?

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Pokémon TCG Steam Siege Prerelease: Madison, WI

Glen Ausse
The following is an interview with Glen Ausse, who participated (along with his son) at a recent Pokémon TCG Steam Siege Prerelease in Madison, WI.

Where are you from?

We’re from the Madison area.

How did you and your son get into Pokémon?

My son was introduced to Pokémon cards while attending camp last summer. A number of the kids were bringing the cards to camp and trading them and playing a simplified version of the game. He was really interested in the colorful cards and the social aspect of the game. That meant of course that he needed some cards for him to join in the fun, so we bought him a few tins to start off his collection.

After camp ended, my son wanted to continue playing so I located a local game store, where we quickly learned that they were not really using the Pokémon TCG rules at camp (for example, they didn’t use any Energy cards and just used any attack their Pokémon had). So we decided we needed to learn the rules so he could continue playing. That’s where I started to get more involved-I needed to learn the game myself so I could teach it to him and help him with questions and develop his skills. He learned quickly and his grasp of the strategy of the game often catches me by surprise. This year he even started a Pokémon Club at his elementary school (2nd graders) and I have gone in a few times to help teach the club members.

What’s it been like trying to learn about Pokémon as a parent?

I am a long-time gamer (RPG, strategy/war games, board games), so it wasn’t as hard for me to learn as it might be for others. I also have a few friends that play or have played Magic, so I was aware of the concepts of collectible card games but had never played them myself. We started by getting a couple of theme decks and a few card lots on eBay. We found a number of helpful videos on how to play on YouTube to get the basics down and eventually began attending Pokémon casual play events at local game stores. After we became comfortable with the basic rules we started attending the league events and that has become a weekly thing for us. That league play has helped us pick up some of the finer details and strategies for playing, deck building and trading.

The prerelease you attended was for the Steam Siege set-what are a few cards from that set you found interesting?

The stand out cards for me in Steam Siege are the new trainer cards Pokémon Ranger, Special Charge and Ninja Boy. Pokémon Ranger is useful because it allows players to bypass the effects of many popular “shut down” attacks like those seen on Jolteon, Seismitoad and Giratina EX. Special Charge will likely become a mainstay for decks (such as Night March) that rely on Special Energy Cards, allowing them to recover two of them from the discard pile. Finally, Ninja Boy is sure to create some surprises and interesting strategies with its ability to switch out the active Pokémon with another from your deck.

I also like the rereleased Yveltal, the new Yveltal BREAK and the full art Professor Sycamore cards. My son is looking forward to trying some strategies with the new dual-type Pokémon like Volcanion EX.

This is the second set using the new prerelease format. What are your thoughts so far?

I think the addition of the Evolution pack has really added to the playability and consistency of prerelease decks. Both my son and I were able to easily include ten useful Trainer cards to our decks with the new format. Before the addition of the Evolution pack we were lucky to find one or two useful Trainer cards. Without Trainers it was hard to employ any kind of strategy and it came down to basically the luck of the draw. The new format is much more fun to play.

One thing I have noticed is that if you are lucky enough to pull an EX card in a prerelease (like I was this time) it can really give your deck a power advantage. Maybe they could include one random EX in each prerelease package and place a limit of one EX in prelease deck builds to even that out.

Any general suggestions for other parents?

Get in there and learn to play, it is much more fun to play with your kids than just to watch them play. Start off with a couple of premade theme decks in a causal play environment. There are some good “how to play” videos on YouTube. The Pokémon TCG Online application is also a great place to learn the game.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Unboxing the "Mailing out My Voice" single from Japan

The CD single for "Mailing out My Voice", the ending theme to the latest Pokemon movie in Japan, came in this week. Let's take a look and see what comes with it:

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Pokemon US Nationals 2016: Seniors TCG Winner Interview

At this year's Pokemon US Nationals, we got a chance to interview Brady Bourgeois, winner of the TCG event in the Seniors Division. Brady used a Giratina/Seismitoad  deck, with a few tweaks for this event:


Steven: I’m here with Brady Bourgeois, who is the winner of the TCG Seniors division at this year’s tournament. And Brady, we just have a few questions. First of all, where are you from?

Brady: I’m from St. Louis, Missouri.

Steven: So yep, we get people from all over the country. And what was the deck that you decided to play for this tournament?

Brady: Giratina-Seismitoad.

Steven: And what made you choose that particular deck for this tournament? Were you expecting a certain metagame? What went into the strategic choice there?

Brady: I knew there was going to be a lot of Night March and Vespiquen bees and Vespiquen. So, I decided that Giratina-Seismitoad would have amazing matchups against those. And it also had a good matchup for Mega Rayquaza, because of Giratina’s ability blocking Mega attacks. And it also had a good matchup against Mega Manectric. So, I knew it had good matchups most of the way around. It had a bad matchup to Greninja, which people thought was going to come. I thought I was going to hit a few Greninjas today, and might lose a few matches, and might get kicked out of the tournament.

Steven: Well, you certainly didn’t in the last couple rounds on your way to the championship, so that was pretty fortunate. Were there any fine tuning adjustments? Any specific cards you balanced out of the deck? Any adjustments you made there for this specific tournament?

Brady: I got rid of Hex Maniac and all the Super Scoop Ups and AZ and Garbodor, a two-one Garbodor line to block Abilities to further beat down Night March because of Mew, so that they can’t use Mew anymore, and I also have a better matchup against Greninja.

Steven: Yeah, being able to shut off abilities is obviously very important. Now obviously, your Giratina has one, but unless you’re playing against a Mega, you don’t have to worry about that too much. Alright, so you had your deck, you had your strategy there. Let’s go to the finals. You were on-stream for those, as well as the top 4, if people want to take a look at that. But let’s focus on the finals. You were pairing up against a deck that was playing Mega Manectric against Jolteon EX. So obviously, Giratina has a good matchup against that, just Jolteon EX is something to watch out for, isn’t it?

Brady: Yeah. You have to keep pressure on really early. And you have to use your Giratina to make sure that it can’t attach Double Colorless Energies so their Jolteon doesn’t get setup really fast. And you also try to use Crushing Hammers and Team Flare Grunt and other Items that discard energy to get rid of all of the energy on Jolteon until you can Lysandre it up twice and knock it out.

Steven: Yeah. Jolteon, because it had the attack that makes it temporarily invulnerable from Basics, is obviously a big problem. But, you work very effectively around that. Although, you did have some help in the finals. First of all, you hit heads very heads very consistently on the Crushing Hammers that you played to get rid of the Energy on your opponent’s side of the field. Even though earlier in the day, you had a streak in the top 4 where it just wasn’t coming for you. What’s it like with that card when you going from both the positive and the negative, how does that make you feel?

Brady: Well, when you hit a ton of tails, it just gets really annoying because your opponent gets a very big window to get back in the game in Energy. So, they might get a big attack off and knock out one of your main attackers, and it’s just annoying. It’s not fun. But when you get heads a ton of times, it helps you very in the long-run. Your opponent runs out of energy slowly. And, you’re also preventing them from attacking you.

Steven: Alright so, if folks have watched the finals stream, if folks at home have done that, then what they might have noticed is that during the finals match, there were a couple things that kind of got through for a little bit that shouldn’t have happened. Mainly on your opponent’s side. But, the first one happened, I think in game 1. He played a Rough Seas in order to get some damage off one of his Pokémon, even though you had used Giratina’s attack and he couldn’t play Stadiums. That was rewound fairly quickly. But, in the second game, there was a more major error. Your opponent actually had Parallel City out. And he had it pointed to him so that he could only have 3 on his Bench. And all of a sudden, he put more on, including a Shaymin. So, how did that all resolve out, and when did you realize that he had made a mistake?

Brady: I didn’t really notice it at first, because I usually have Parallel City pointed at me, because that’s the only Stadium I play in my decks. So, I’m used to having about 3 Pokémon on my Bench. And I didn’t notice it at the time, because it didn’t really matter. Actually, before they caught it, I was thinking about playing my own Parallel City in my favor to lock out his Parallel City. But, you can’t do that, actually now that I think about it. But, he got a major penalty, but it was only one Prize Card and it didn’t really affect the rest of the game. And they effectively just took the Shaymin, the cards he got from the Shaymin, and put them back on the top of the deck after showing me. It didn’t really affect the game too much, so it wasn’t a big deal.

Steven: It would be nice, obviously, if they had caught that a little bit sooner, before he had progressed and they could have at least gotten a warning instead of you getting a Prize for that. But, stuff like that does happen. And people can get a little nervous and move forward a little too quickly sometimes and that can happen. Alright. Well, of course, next month is Worlds in San Francisco. And there’s kind of a big question mark over this one because we have another set, Steam Siege, that comes out very early in August. And they’ve changed the legality rule so that it will be legal for Worlds. Do you have any opinion on that? Or, are you going to be planning anything out based on what happens with that set?

Brady: Not too much. I know I’m probably going to switch my deck from Giratina-Seismitoad to YZG or something else. But the reason why I don’t want to play Seismitoad anymore is because I think Night March is going to have a falling out with the new card that shuffles all Pokémon from both discard piles into the decks. So, Night March will not be played as much, which is one of my best matchups. So, I’m thinking about whether or not I want to play Giratina-Seismitoad or another deck.

Steven: Yeah, that’s the big question mark with Steam Siege. There’s a card coming out as a promo in Japan called Karen that is sort of a less broad Lysandre’s Trump Card, because it only shuffles Pokémon in. But, we’re not 100% sure if that’s going to come out in Steam Siege or somewhere separately, or it could even be a while. So, that’s the big question mark and we’ll know a lot more in a couple weeks. Alright. Well, thank you very much, Brady. This has been Steven Reich from the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio at the Pokémon US Nationals 2016.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Pokemon US Nationals 2016: Pokken Seniors Winner Interview

At last weekend's US Nationals, we interviewed Wayland, winner of the Seniors division of the 2016 US Nationals Pokken Tournament competition. Find out why he uses Blaziken, and what his strategy was in the finals:


Steven: Hi, I’m Steven Reich, here at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio at the Pokémon US Nationals 2016. I’m here with Wayland, who is the winner in the Seniors division of the Pokkén Tournament event that they had here. So Wayland, first of all, where are you from?

Wayland: I am from Douglasville, Georgia.

Steven: So, you came all the way up here. And Pokkén has only been around a while, but you were involved in Pokémon before that. How did you get introduced to the Pokémon franchise?

Wayland: When I was younger, my little brother handed me a Game Boy. Once he finished his game, he was like, “Here, go play this.” It ended up being Sapphire for the Game Boy Advance. And ever since that, I love Pokémon.

Steven: You said the first video game-you’ve been playing video games since you were 3, and the first one you played was actually the Mario Baseball game on the Game Cube. So, you’ve been into video games for a very long time. So, you were pretty much interested in Pokkén pretty much right when it was announced. What was your reaction to the announcement of the game?

Wayland: Okay so, when they announced it in Japan for the first time, when they were showing the game play of it, I was surprised. I was like, “Is it coming to the US?” I was super excited, and it was really nice.

Steven: Yeah, it’s something different. We haven’t had a true Pokémon fighting game, and of course, now we do. So, the character you play is most of the time, in Pokkén, is Blaziken. What attracts you to that character? Why do you play as that for the most part?

Wayland: When I first played Sapphire, my starter Pokémon was Torchic. So, my favorite Pokémon is Blaziken. Well, it kind of grew on me. And when Pokkén came out, I remember my friend calling me at 3 o’clock saying there was an early access event. And I was like, “Is Blaziken on it?” And he was like, “I don’t know, man.” I’m like, “Come on!”

Steven: I could see the connection there. Absolutely. I’m sure a lot of the folks at home had maybe a similar experience with Smash Bros. or Pokkén, about whatever their first starter was, they want to be able to play with that in some of the side games. Alright. Well, let’s tell the folks at home about the finals then. You were paired against a guy. He used, over the course of it, two different Pokémon. He used some Lucario and also some Shadow Mewtwo. Let’s start with Blaziken vs. Lucario. What’s the things to watch out for in that type of match?

Wayland: If you’re going to win, for Blaziken, you’re going to have to use a lot of Flare Blitz to cut him off, because he has a lot of counter moves. You can counter break him. Lucarios love to counter. Another thing is you don’t have to really stay spaced, because really can’t space you out if you put him towards a wall. Once he’s in a wall, he’s kind of in a bad position. And when you have Burst against his Burst, you technically have a huge advantage.

Steven: And what about Shadow Mewtwo, the other character he used? What are the things to watch for there, and how did you react to it?

Wayland: When he switched to Shadow Mewtwo, I really wasn’t fazed. Most people would be fazed, but Shadow Mewtwo-people switch to Shadow Mewtwo when they want power. But his health is super low, so it takes only a few hits to take him out. And I have some counter piercers, some good moves. Everyone says since he goes to Burst faster and I go to Burst faster, it’s like, I better Burst pretty fast. I’m like, I have my Burst and it gives me a speed boost, so I’m already good.

Steven: Yeah. Speed, obviously, in any fighting game is extremely important. So, in Pokkén, you also get something called a Support Pokémon. I noticed you-I think you always chose Cresselia, which is a little bit of a healer. Is there a particular reason for that, other than, obviously, the healing? How do you decide when exactly to use that? Because you don’t necessarily want to use it right away when the meter fills up.

Wayland: Cresselia is only used once per turn, she summons fast, she gives a large health bonus, a large synergy bonus, and a large-it takes away negative status on you. So, my moves hurt myself. I hurt myself when I do my moves. When I hurt myself, it doesn’t take away my full bar, it takes away my green bar. So my darker shade of green is still there. That’s the health I can recover. So, when Cresselia is charged and I’ve used enough of her, and I have my Burst-if I know when I used her, my Burst will come out, I’ll just say I can use Cresselia, get my Burst and get all of that HP back that I already wasted.

Steven: There’s definitely a management aspect there that you have to keep any eye on, and think very quickly. That’s quite impressive. It sounds like Cresselia is a very interesting Assist Pokémon to use in this game. One more thing about Pokkén. For a while, we didn’t think there was going to be any DLC beyond the initial release. But it seems that recently there’s been some rumblings in Japan. Why don’t you tell us about that and what you’re hoping for.

Wayland: Japan’s official Pokkén tournament, they announced there’s going to be a new character on July 20th on the arcade version. But, we don’t know if it’s coming to America. Everyone’s hoping it would be Darkrai or another Legendary or Empoleon. But I feel like it’s going to be a different type of Pokémon. Because we have a fire type—I’m thinking it’s going to be a water type, because we don’t have any water types.

Steven: Well, we’ve got Suicune, but that’s about it. So, we don’t have any conventional bipedal ones. So maybe if they want to fill that void. Of course, I know some folks are still wishing there was a playable Hawlucha, ever since Pikachu Libre.

Wayland: Hawlucha, Hitmonchan. And I think that’s it.

Steven: So, we’ll have to see what happens. Hopefully, whatever does get revealed later this month does come to the console version. Alright. Well, thank you very much, Wayland. This has been Steven Reich from the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio at the Pokémon US Nationals 2016.

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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Tour: Pokemon US Nationals 2016

Take a tour of the 2016 Pokemon US Nationals in Columbus, OH! We visit areas for Pokken, VGC and TCG in this video: