We’ve been lucky to have a close relationship with the Piwek family ever since meeting them at a local event years ago. The Piwek’s son Jaxson, has been to 4 Pokémon World Championships including:
- 2013 Vancouver (Last Chance Qualifier)
- 2014 Washington DC (Junior, placed 36th)
- 2015 Boston MA (Junior, placed 96th)
- and 2016 San Fransisco (Senior, placed 44th)
Recently they shared with us some tips and advice for training to play Pokémon TCG competitively.
Training to Play Pokémon Competitively
Like any competitive sport, training is important to your success in Pokémon TCG. It’s a little costly, and time consuming, but in the end, it’s no different from wanting to be an NHL player or soccer star!
Here are some tips from the Piweks based on Jaxson’s own training:
Put in the Hours
It takes an incredible amount of dedication and commitment to be a competitive Pokémon TCG player. It’s no different from athletes training for competition! To make it to worlds and be competitive, you have to put in long hours of training.
Jaxson spends 3-5 hours a week playing the game itself. This is in the form of battling friends and family and playing the online game. We also play together as a family with non-competitive fun decks. It’s a great way to spend time together while still getting play time in!
Remember, like anything in life, hard work and dedication pay off!
Build Many Different Decks
There’s so much information about building decks it warrants its own blog post. Luckily, we created a blog post with some good deck building tips, but the meta changes frequently. What was powerful one season may not be viable the next!
This is why it’s so important to be constantly experimenting with new decks. Jaxson spends time researching the most popular decks online then builds them in Pokémon Trading Card Game Online. After using these decks for hours, he’ll build the top 4 physically. This allows him to train in real time and get a feel for the “flow” of the deck.
Additionally, the fun decks that we use to play together let him experiment with different playing styles.
Keeping up with the Meta
New expansions are released every couple of months which change the game’s meta. This shifting meta means you need to stay on top of what new cards are coming out, what new builds are being used in competitive play and more!
Alongside his 3-5 hours of training, Jaxson spends time researching the decks that are currently being played. When researching he looks for the following:
- What decks are winning tournaments?
- Which deck meshes well with your play style?
- What decks have the best odds for victory?
You have to dedicated yourself to staying on top of the game as it changes and evolves during each season. For many, it is a case of “eating, breathing, and sleeping the craft”.
Wrapping things up, we’ll summarize what you should be doing to train for competitive play:
- Play the game! Every player trains as much as they’re comfortable with, but the more time you put in, the better your chances of becoming a champion!
- Spend time researching! Search for new cards, decks, and strategies. Find counters to current decks in the meta, and weaknesses of the decks you use.
- Experiment with decks and play styles. Build new decks weekly and try them both online and offline.