Six Tips for Competitive Play From a Pokémon World Championship Player

Jaxson Piwek is a competitive Pokémon TCG player who’s attended the Pokémon World Championship four times now. Luckily, we’ve been close to the Piweks since meeting them at a local event a few years back, and were able to get him to share some tips.

1. Pre-Match Deck Check

Before every match, it’s important to check you have all your cards.

In the back to back matches of tournaments, it can be easy to forget a card or two. You can also mistakenly pick up an opponents card (and vice versa)! This is common with things like stadium cards which may be left on the battlefield. It also occurs when you and an opponent use the same color card sleeves.

A great way to ensure you have all your cards you should start with a “pile” shuffle. A pile shuffle is counting your cards into piles of 10, until you reach 60 cards. This ensures your deck isn’t missing any cards and is a good habit to get into.

2. Shuffle the Opponent’s Deck

In tournament play, it is legal to shuffle your opponents deck instead of cutting it. It’s uncommon to find someone who shuffles their deck into a particular order, but it can happen.

So, instead of just cutting the opponents deck, give it a quick shuffle. This will ensure the opponents deck is completely randomized. After you shuffle the deck, it isn’t uncommon for the opponent to cut their own deck.

3. Focus On Your Match

During tournaments, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and lose focus on your current match. A lack of focus may cause you to miss something like your opponent attaching 2 energies on their turn. These misplays happen all the time, and it’s up to you to focus and catch them.

Focus also allows you to analyze and predict your opponent’s strategy. A powerful part of the game play! Often, the difference between a veteran and a newer competitive player, is the level of focus.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Call a Judge

There may be times during the match that you’re unsure about a card or a move. If this happens, at any point, don’t hesitate to call for a judge!

It may be tempting to take your opponents word for it or even second guess yourself, but this is what the judges are for! They help interpret cards and moves. If you ever find yourself needing clarification, just ask a judge!

5. Always Play Out the Match

Always play out your match and never “scoop” or give up. So many times a game may look like there is a clear winner, but changes in an instant. You can never predict what may happen so always play until the end. At the very least you know you have done your best and you didn’t give up!

6. Take Care of Yourself

You may think it unnecessary to keep yourself in good shape for a card game, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth! The less we take care of our bodies, the harder it’ll be to win. No, Pokémon TCG doesn’t require any physical might in and of itself, but our brain’s performance is tied to our body!

The strain placed during these intense competitions requires a player to be in their prime state. This means you need to be well rested, hydrated, and eating right. Being hungry, thirsty, or tired can distract you mid battle and keep you from strategizing effectively. So eat well, sleep weel, and drink lots of water!

Like this post? Check out our other post filled with training information from Jaxson and his family!