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Top of the World - Interview with Steven Reich (Yoshi1001)
My third interview is with the one and only Yoshi1001 from the Pokemon Internet Radio Network. While he isn't DJing the latest Pokemon tunes and advice on the radio, he decided to sit down with me and have a good conversation about the game. Check it out:
Phil: Howdy Mr. Reich! I'm glad I finally get to talk with a Master Professor on the Top of the World. What's your full name, how old are you, and where do you play?
Steven: I'm Steven Reich, 19 years old from Janesville, WI (just south of Madison).
Phil: Wisconsin, land of cheese and assorted dairy products, did you eat lunch yet and if so what did you have?
Steven: I went to Wendy's and had a chicken nuggets Kid's meal. I got one of those Celebi Compasses.
Phil: Those things are cool, at least you'll never get lost with your Celebi on those long road trips. How long have you been involved in the game and how did it start?
Steven: Well, I got the Game Boy TCG game for Easter 2000. I got into the actual card game after I visited a local league to see if I could broadcast games on PIRN (the Pokemon Internet Radio Network) in August 2000. The next day or so, I scrounged up all the change in the house, took it to the bank, and used it to buy my first theme deck and booster packs.
Phil: What theme deck and booster packs did you get?
Steven: Wipe Out and I got some assorted booster packs. I was lucky-one of them contained a Wigglytuff.
Phil: Is Wigglytuff one of your favorite to play? Or is there another deck you like to play?
Steven: Well, for Unlimited it was. For Rocket-on Modified I played a deck known as Trainer Denial Babyporter consisting of Dark Vileplume and Dark Alakazam. The deck strategy there was simply was to use Dark Alakazam's Teleport Blast to hide behind babies. This strategy became a lot more popular recently thanks to Mindy Lambkee's Donphan-Slowking deck (which uses a similar premise) that she used at Worlds. For modern Modified I use a deck called Leduck, which is short for Light Ledian/Light Golduck. It introduced the concept of modular deck building, which uses lots of tech cards to create one deck with many variants.
Phil: You told me earlier in your Email that you coined the term Babyporter, what exactly does that mean? I tried my dictionary already.
Steven: Babyporter is derived from Dark Alakazam's Teleport blast attack. The idea is you use an attack that lets you switch with one of your benched Pokemon, preferably a free retreat baby. Thereby, making your opponent flip for an attack every turn and keeping your main attacker out of harm's way. This was comboed with trainer denial so that the opposing player couldn't dislodge the baby easily.
Phil: Any deck you would rather not play? I know myself I cant stand facing Fossil Ditto if I'm judging or playing!
Steven: I've never been a big fan of fire decks. They just don't appeal to me much. Neither do stall decks. I guess I'm just too impatient for them.
Phil: You also told me earlier that you knew the rules so clearly like the date of your mother's birthday. What is your mothers birthday and, lets see, Genesis Pichu's Zzzap in Team Play, does the attack affect all four players in the game, or do you simply pick one player from each team?
Steven: Well, I could tell you the first one, but there's a chance my mother might read this. But Pichu would hit all four players.
Phil: Correct! You must be some sort of psychic, because that was dead on correct. Wow! Where do you get all your answers to these rulings?
Steven: Well, the Compendium is the source of most of my rulings, but sometimes I have to do some digging into WoTC's Master Rulings. Most of the time I can just rule from memory, though.
Phil: I knew that, just wondering if you did too. Have to keep tabs on people... no I'm not stalking you Steve, but you understand. Organize and judge any tournaments locally?
Steven: I used to. Since I've gone to college, it's been hard to get things together since I'm only in a place a few months at a time. I was a judge for GenCon 2002 and the Central Stadium Challenge 2002.
Phil: Tell me about this Pokemon Internet Radio Network, what's on it, and where can I pick it up? AM? FM?
Steven: Well, it all started back in 2000. The original idea was to broadcast live games of the Pokemon Trading Card Game I kinda decided that wouldn't work though without the visual element. Instead, we broadcast Pokemon music, news, interviews, along with a multitude of other programming, including everything from the Beatles to game show themes. It's available online 24 hours a day at http://www.live365.com/stations/pirn/. All you need is a 33k or faster modem connection.
Phil: What do you think of Wizards of the Coast's performance with the game? Got any bones to pick with them or have they answered every request you needed?
Steven: Well, there is that whole intentional draw issue-just kidding DMTM! Actually, me and WotC have gotten into quite a few rulings spats (and I've lost nearly all of them). The first one I remember had to do with energy cards way back in 2001, and the most recent one I can recall was the debate over Porygon 2 and colorless Ho-oh. Despite this, we're on relatively good terms with each other. I've been pleased with virtually all aspects of how they've managed the game.
Phil: How will Nintendo/Pokemon USA meet the demands of players and judges when they have control over the game? What would you like to see them do?
Steven: Well, the first thing they need to do is set up a system where we can get rulings on cards quickly and efficiently. Also, a new series of tournaments would be nice-a lot of people are waiting on them for that info. Basically Nintendo has to make the transition as smooth as possible. I must say, I am impressed with their efforts so far, all things considered. However, they will have to set things into motion soon if they want the game to continue.
Phil: Okay, listen carefully on this one: If you could go back in time and decapitate one employee at TCG Research and Development that created a card you dislike, which card would that be and why?
Steven: Well, there are several cards I don't like. Probably the guy who created Super Energy Removal, because there's only room for one SER in this game and that's me (my middle name is Edward, so that makes my initials SER). Actually, I use that card in my Unlimited deck, so I guess I can't totally say I hate it. Maybe Lass, just because it's so disruptive.
Phil: What formats do you like to play? Hate any?
Steven: Well, I've been pretty partial to the Modified formats. Unlimited hasn't really held much interest for me. I'd even play my Modified decks against other people's Unlimited decks for an added challenge. I once nearly beat my unlimited deck with my Neo-on deck.
Phil: Do you have any interesting Pokemon TCG stories? Funny incidents? Anything involving maple bars is NOT funny!
Steven: Well, I could tell you about the time my friend Joe had Master Trainer Mike Locked up in Klingon jail at GenCon 2002, but that's already well known. Actually, for the 2002 Central Stadium Challenge, I bought the Master Trainers some Bucky Badger string cheese as a gift. As I later found out, though, by the time they got around to eating it, it had already melted, so they drank it. Then there was the time I was about to interview Master Trainer Mike for Worlds 2002 via cell phone (I was stuck in WI for the weekend), when the dog started barking at one of the cats, so I ran upstairs yelling, "This never happened to Dan Rather!" to let the dog out.
Phil: I more of a Walter Cronkite fan myself. But I wont hold that against you. Any advice you would give to new judges or players starting the Pokemon TCG?
Steven: Well, the sheer volume of rules may seem insurmountable at first, but it pays to learn them. That way, you know exactly what options are available to you and your opponent. Study a little of the compendium every day and before you know it, you'll be an expert. There may not be a complete all-encompassing system for Pokemon TCG rulings, but that doesn't mean you can't be a rules expert.
Phil: What makes the Pokemon TCG different from every other game?
Steven: The people who play it. I've seen Magic players, Yu-Gi-Oh players, DBZ players, and more, but none of them are quite like Pokemon players. Pokemon players take pride in their game in a way other game's players don't. Maybe it's just because there's also a TV show and video game, but then some of the other games have that too. Whatever it is, the Pokemon TCG has transcended from being just a game to being a culture unto itself.
Phil: What else do you do Steve other than Pokemon?
Steven: There are things other than Pokemon? Actually, I spend a lot of time watching game shows, listening to music, and playing video games. Sometimes I'll even do some computer programming as well.
Phil: Did I forget any other details? Want to say something to the readers?
Steven: One min-I have to feed the aforementioned dog.
Steven: Anyway, there's a saying I like to use as my away message on AIM: The future of the Pokemon TCG belongs to those willing to seek out the solutions to its problems, instead of merely sitting on their hands and doubting their ability to change the situation. This is probably the best advice I can give to anyone.
Phil: Thanks for taking time out of our broadcasting schedule to talk Mr. Reich. See ya later at GenCon?
Steven: We'll see.
Phil: Ladies and Gentlemen: Steven Reich. Take a bow Steve!
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