What’s it been like for a year being World Champion?
It’s been pretty busy. I’ve been starting college. It’s my first year, so I’ve doing a lot of studying.

So being a World Champion for a year, do you get a lot of questions from people on what strategies to use?
They ask for team advice and strategies. I try to give them a foundation, not build their whole team for them, but just give them the tips they need to do it themselves.

Do a lot of people here recognize you from last year?
Yeah, at the events, they definitely do.

Can you give us a little summary of how you’ve done this year in the tournament play?
I haven’t really had to play since I had the free trip, but I played at Regionals just for fun. I did all right. I got into the group of finalists, but I didn’t end up attending Nationals.

2011 Pokémon World Championships

Ray Rizzo, 2010 Pokémon Video Game Senior Division World Champion

Obviously there are new teams this year. How do you feel coming into this tournament?
I feel pretty good. I think my team is definitely good enough. The rules are definitely a lot different from last year, but it’s still something new that I have to get used to. I think having a larger number of Pokémon last year was definitely better for me.

How long have you been working on this team?
I’ve been working on it for a month. I got it ready by battling my friends online.

What strategies do you think will carry over from last year, even with the new format?
I think Trick Room teams were really good last year, and this year they are going to continue to be very good.

So did you build your team around the most popular Pokémon?
I picked a few of the less popular tournament Pokémon that I don’t think people are going to be very prepared for, and built a team with them.

With the limited amount of Pokémon, do you think that kind of preparation is the best strategy?
I think that’s a lot more important. You have to know what other players are going to be using, and figure out a counter for it.

What’s it feel like to be back at Worlds?
It feels really good. These events are just a ton of fun.