We caught up with all three of our new Champions right off of their victories.
2012 Masters Division Pokémon Video Game World Champion, Ray Rizzo (USA)
Congratulations! You are the first ever 3-peat Pokémon Video Game World Champion. Were you confident going through the whole tournament that you could do it?
I started off really well, so I was feeling pretty good, but my first round of Top 8 was really close and really difficult, so there were times that I thought that I wouldn’t do it.
How were you feeling going into the Finals?
Going in I was really scared, because I know that Wolfe Glick is great player. I played him last year in the Top 8 and he gave me a real good challenge.
Even though your team was pretty similar to a lot of teams in the Masters Division, did you feel confident that you’d still win?
Yeah, it wasn’t as different as it was last year, my team was built to win against all of the standard teams, and I knew it had a slight advantage.
The United States just swept the 2012 Pokémon Video Game Championships. How does that make you feel?
It really makes me feel proud because just a few years ago, Japan was dominating the game, and now to see the United States as World Champions for a couple years in a row is really something.
So how are you feeling that you are once again the World Champion?
It’s just so amazing. I can’t even believe it myself.
2012 Senior Division Pokémon Video Game World Champion, Toler Webb (USA)
How did you qualify for Worlds?
I got third the US National Championships. I had a match against Jonathan Hiller, who didn’t make Top Cut today, but he beat me.
Did you change up your team after Nationals?
I’m only using one Pokémon from my Nationals team, which is why it was so rough for me at the beginning—in my first round of the preliminary rounds, I made a huge mistake during the match and lost.
Do you have a group of people you work with on your teams?
Yeah, there’s a group of people I work with online, including the Top 8 Finalist at the U.S. Nationals, Harrison Sailor, who help me with my team.
What do you think was the key to your victory?
Ludicolo was a huge difference in the match. The reason I had Ludicolo on my team was that I was having a lot of trouble with Rain teams, so I prepared for that with Sunny Day.
How are you feeling now that you are the World Champion?
It’s pretty incredible. I didn’t think it would ever happen. Going into Worlds with this team I was a little unconfident, as I only finished it a week before the tournament and I didn’t have a lot of time to practice with it.
2012 Junior Division Pokémon Video Game World Champion, Abram Burrows (USA)
Congratulations! How did you qualify for Worlds?
I won the US National Championships.
Did you switch up your strategy at all after Nationals?
I thought a lot of people would be able to guess what Pokémon I was using, so I decided to changed it up a lot. I switched out Zapdos and Thundurus and kept Landorus and Hitmontop, and switched in Cloyster for Cresselia.
Cloyster is a Pokémon we didn’t see much of. What made you go with that for Worlds?
Yeah, it’s not common, and I thought that not a lot of people would expect it. Plus, all of its attacks hit multiple times, and those add up quickly.
What do you think were the keys to your victory?
There is always a lot of predicting what your opponent
will do, but I usually just went with the obvious choice and that paid off.
How are you going to celebrate being a World Champion?
I’m going to enjoy my last two days here in Hawaii.
Congratulations to all of our 2012 Pokémon video game World Champions!