You won the 2009 Pokémon World Championships. Do you remember how you qualified that year?
In the beginning, I went to the Regionals in San Jose, and I got Second Place there. That granted me a free trip to Nationals, and I got first place there. With that I got a free trip to Worlds, and then I won Worlds.

So you swept that year. That’s a pretty nice year. This year you had to come in via the LCQ, a completely different route to get to Worlds. How does it differ?
It basically seems like Regionals all over again. In my group of friends, we know there are only a few really strong players at this point, but a lot of my friends are in the LCQ so I hope not to battle them. It’s still a lot of pressure, because there’s some really good players that don’t say that they’re going to the event beforehand—they just hide off kind of in the shadows—so you don’t know if they’re good or not.

2011 Pokémon World Championships

Jeremiah Fan, 2009 Pokémon Video Game Junior Division World Champion

Do you feel like the game has changed a lot since you won the 2009 World Championships?
In 2009, there was a lot of variety, and you could use 493 Pokémon. But now you can only use Unova Pokémon, which is about 150 or so, and about seventy-five percent of those, no one uses competitively. So basically, if you take a group of people, you see the same Pokémon a lot.

So you’re not seeing a lot of variety in the teams right now?
Well, in the Last Chance Qualifier there is a lot of variety, because there are a few players that live around the San Diego area, and they put together the Pokémon that they like to add to a team, and then you see stuff that you wouldn’t expect.

So do you expect to see more teams become a little bit more standard in the Main Event?
There will be a lot more consistent teams tomorrow.

How are you preparing for the type of Pokémon you’re going to see?
I’ve practiced for like two months against those teams I’ve tried before, and then countered against them. I've been playing them and predicting what they are going to do.

Did you strategize against the teams that were common and try to build a team against that?
I just went with what works. My team works. My friends may say that this or that Pokémon isn’t the best choice, but it works for me.

How long have you been set on the team that you have?
I had my team and then I finished my team of Pokémon yesterday on the plane ride.

How many other friends do you have here?
I know three Juniors and most of the Seniors are my friends. And I know a lot of the Masters as well.

What's it like to play here as a former World Champion?
Players are definitely afraid to play me. While we were playing, Nick [McCord, the Worlds emcee] announced who I was. The guy I was playing against said, "Ah man! I don't want to play against you anymore!"

How did it feel the year you were the World Champion?
It was awesome. I want to do it again.