The new Pokémon TCG Senior Division National Champion is Kaiwen Cabbabe! For the second time in three years, an Australian has won the Pokémon TCG Senior Division World Championships, following in the footsteps of previous winner Christopher Kan. Kaiwen battled French player Clement Lamberton in a thrilling match. Clement mounted a strong comeback in the decisive game, but Kaiwen hung on to win!
Pokemon.com: Congratulations, Kaiwen. How does it feel to be the World Champion?
Kaiwen: It feels surreal, actually. I wasn't expecting to win, let alone go undefeated throughout the entire Worlds. It feels amazing.
Pokemon.com: How did you qualify for the World Championships?
Kaiwen: I didn't have enough Championship Points prior to the Australian National Championships. I went in trying to qualify, and ended up winning Nationals, and at the same time earning a trip to Worlds.
Pokemon.com: Is this the same deck that you played at the National Championships?
Kaiwen: It's somewhat the same deck but I made a lot of changes. My Nationals deck ran Lugia-EX heavily. I wanted this deck to be more consistent. I was worried about the Gothitelle/Accelgor deck. There was a Gothitelle/Accelgor deck in the other half of the semifinals, and I was really glad when Clement's Rayquaza-EX/Eelektrik deck beat it.
Pokemon.com: Gothitelle/Accelgor won the U.S. National Championships, and we thought it would stay hot here, too.
Kaiwen: I thought so, too. I think what happened is that since it's no longer an unexpected deck, people know how to prepare against it, and so it became less played.
Pokemon.com: What did you do to prepare prior coming to the World Championships?
Kaiwen: I made a Facebook group with my other friends that were going to Worlds. We tested against each other and spent a lot of time theorizing on what to play. We couldn't play a lot during school, but there were holidays right before the World Championships. We were able to use the time to take a look at each other's deck lists and give each other ideas on what to play.
Pokemon.com: What was the turning point during the tournament when you thought you could win it all?
Kaiwen: When I finished 8-0 in Swiss. Actually, I had a really bad match-up in top 32 when I faced a Terrakion-EX/Garbodor deck. It also had four Enhanced Hammers in the deck, which really wrecks my strategy. After that match was really when I thought it was feasible I could actually do this.
Pokemon.com: Tell us about the experience of attending your first World Championships.
Kaiwen: It is amazing. It's unlike any tournament I've been to. I thought the Australian National Championships was huge. But coming to Worlds and getting to meet the best players in the world is fantastic.
Pokemon.com: You're joining a growing legacy of great Pokémon TCG players from Australia. How does it feel to be a part of that?
Kaiwen: I don't really know how it feels at the moment. I'm just happy about winning. But it's incredible being here with Christopher Kan, the 2011 Senior Division World Champion and have him watching my match. He was the last Australian to be World Champion. It's unbelievable to be on his level as a World Champion, too.
Pokemon.com: Are you going to contact your friends at home to give them the news of your victory?
Kaiwen: I think my friends have already done that for me! [laughs]
Pokemon.com: It's early to plan for 2014, but are you excited about being able to attend next year's World Championships?
Kaiwen: I am so excited. I got told by my mom that I wouldn't be able to attend Worlds next year without a travel award. So making top four was the goal. And now I'm definitely coming back next year!
We're sure Pokémon fans will be excited to see Kaiwen back at the 2014 Pokémon TCG World Championships next year, too. Congratulations, Kaiwen!