An STS Adventure of a Lifetime

My name is Christopher Bailey, I am 9 years old, and I live in Dubuque, Iowa.  On Saturday mornings, my dad and I can usually be found at Comic World in Dubuque playing in a DCI sanctioned Pokemon Tournament.  The competition at Comic World is very high.  The top 5 players are ranked in the top 125 of the world.  On Thursday nights, that I am not at Cub Scouts, I am at the Dubuque Toy-R-Us Pokemon League with my little sister. 

In September, my family and I went to the STS Qualifying tournament held out side of Chicago.  My dad told me that we were going “just to have fun” and not to expect to win a “Gold Invitation”.  If I were to earn an invitation, I could add it to my Pokemon collection.  I qualified, placing second.  Dad was knocked out in the second round of his tournament.

On the way home, I asked Dad if he would take me to the East Coast STS.  He and Mom talked it over and decided that Dad and I could fly to New York for the Tournament.  I made several T15/3 decks and game tested them at League against unlimited decks with some success.  My Dad got as much information on T15/3 decks as he could and all of the great articles off of PoJo.

On Thursday morning, November 16th we drove two hours to the Cedar Rapids airport and flew to Chicago and then onto New York City.  That night, as we broke through the clouds, I could see the lights of New York City!!  I knew then, I was setting out on the adventure of a lifetime.  The lights of the New York looked like nothing I had ever seen before.

Just a Bus, Train, and Subway ride latter I was standing in Time Square.  Wow!  That was cool!!  We took a taxi out to our hotel near the Meadowlands Exposition Center in New Jersey, the tournament site.  It was after 1:00 am when we got to bed. Friday was to be our fun day in New York City.  Dad said we could go to two of the tourist sites of my choice and then back to the hotel for an early night.  I was so excited that I thought that I would never get to sleep.  Dad said that I was out in under 10 minutes.  It must have been all the travel.

We got up early and went to Battery Park and then on to the Statue of Liberty on the Ferry.  Dad and I climbed all the way up to the top of the statue.  The view from the crown was great.  We had lunch on Liberty Island and then headed to the World Trade Center.  All of the subway rides were cool!  We had dinner and watched the sun set from the 110th floor of the World Trade Center.  Another subway ride and then back to the hotel.  We got in at about 11:00 and I was hungry again.  Dad ordered Chinese in our room.  My fortune cookie said my lucky number is 9, my age! Before bed, Dad counted my deck four times, a got everything ready for the morning.  I wanted to wear my STS qualifying Tee shirt and the cap I had won.

We got up at 7:00, grabbed a couple of Pop-Tarts and took a short limo ride to the Meadowlands.  Dad had pre-registered me, and I had my Golden Invitation in hand, I ran for the end of the line.  The line was not very long and they were giving out free hot chocolate to everyone in line.  I made it through registration and got my new STS Tournament shirt and put it on.  Since it was only 8:00, we walked around for a little while talking to other people.  We went (I went, Dad followed) over near the Tournament Area and I played a few warm up games, I did OK.  All kinds of kids came up wanting to know if I had a Rocket’s Zapdos to trade or sell.  Dad had been worried about Rocket’s Zap.  My Clefairy’s and Clefable’s made short work of Rocket’s Zapdos in the tournament.  I played and traded cards until the first posting were put up.

Dad helped me find my seat and told me to get ready for deck check.  There was none.  So Dad told me to count my cards again, like I would loose one!  I counted them three times, only 59!!  Dad counted, still only 59!!  Dad said it was too late to find out what was missing and wanted me to add another energy card.  I told him to give me a Ditto from his deck; I was not playing with any Ditto’s.  Dad changed the sleeves and gave it to me.

Sorry no names or deck types, I was too excited and I can’t remember.  Everybody I played was very good.  My first opponent was a girl.  She played a good game and I started out energy starved.  She took a couple of prizes while I was still trying to get energy.  I started to recover, but it was too late.  She took her last prize and I still had two left.

I was 0 and 1 with 0 points, Dad said that the pressure was off and to just have a good time.  My second opponent was another girl.  I had taken four prizes and had not yet given one but time was running short.  Seeing that she was not going to be able to recover she conceded.  Her father had taught her that it was better to concede the extra point when the person you were playing earned it with a decisive win.

One and one going into round 3 with 3 points.  My next round went quickly, even though the he was a very good player.  I was able to build quickly and keep him from getting anything going.

Two and one with 6 points.  I just could not put the next player away.  It was a close game, when time was called I was ahead on prizes.  A win and two more points.    After my next win I was ranked 28th.  With a record of 4 and 1, 11 points, and 2 rounds left I still had a slim chance of finishing in the top 8 and making the finals.  I was now being paired with the players with the best records.

My Dad was getting nervous and was not watching me play any more.  He would help get me to my seat and come back to see how I did.  I had fun teasing him, I would see him coming, make a sad face and wait for him to ask, “How’d you do?”.  I would slowly get a smile on my face and give him a “thumbs up”.  My last two matches were close, both were wins.  I finished 6 and 1 with 17 points.  Dad told me that I had only a slim chance of getting into the finals.

After my final match, I went back to trading cards, as I did between every battle.  My Dad said that I liked trading better than battling.  I loved them both.  I got a lot of great Japanese cards and a few of the last Gym Challenge cards that I needed. 

Dad went off to talk to the score keeper to see if I made the Final 8.  After a while he came back and told me what a great job I had done and how proud of me he was but... I finished #9.  Ninth, just like my fortune cookie said.  They wanted the 9th through the 12th place finishers to stay in the tournament play area in case one of the top 8 did not show up for finals (yeah right!!). 

All eight showed up for finals.  The judges collected all of their decks for a deck check before they started finals.  My dad came by and suggested that we each do a quick deck count, after the scare we had in the morning.  Mine was fine but one of the others was six cards short!! While we waited the four of us (the 9th through 12th finishers) battled and joked.  It took forever, then Master Trainer Pat came up and told me that he needed my deck for deck check.  One of the top eight decks had failed deck check, it only had 57 cards, I was in!!!

In the first round of finals I played Elliot Freidmann, he finished 1st in first 7 rounds to finish with a perfect 7 and 0 record.  After some problems on whether we would use dice or coin flips the game got started.  Elliot won the dice roll and went first.  I don’t remember what he had out, but he put energy on his active and said go.  My active was a Movie Promo MewTwo.  I had a Jigglypuff and a Clefairy on my bench.  I had two psychic energies, a CPU search, and another card in my hand.  Great I would have a fully powered MewTwo on turn two.  I drew a Wiggly, used the CPU search and discarded the two psychic energies for an Oak.  I Oaked and drew my seven, another Wiggly and another Oak but no physic energy.  I Oaked again...again no physic energy!!  I had dumped two of my three Wiggly’s, burned tons of cards and still did not have the energy I needed.  I laid down a Magmar with a fire energy, scooped up MewTwo and used Magmar to Smoke Screen.  My dad latter said that he knew that I had lost at that point.  With the help of Magmar, a couple of NGR’s, and another Oak, I had Wiggly up and running.  MewTwo never did get powered up, but the rest of the boys did their job.  I eventually took all of my prizes in one of the best-fought games I had yet.  It was then that I found out the Elliot had been ranked first.

On to the semi-finals and Jerome Schosse.  Jerome is from Belgium speaks French, no English.  We had an interrupter there for the match.  Jerome played a classic Haymaker deck.  The battle was slower than most due to some language problems.  I used my Clefable to keep him on the defensive.  I had a fully powered bench, Jerome had almost no energy and a lot of damage on his bench, but I was down 5 prizes to 3 prizes. I had a fully powered Wiggly with no damage up against a Ditto with 60 damage on it.  Jaerome retreated the Ditto to his bench.  He brought up something else.  I knock it out (he had one prize, I had two left) and he bought up a Magmar with no energy and 40 damaged on it.  I knew he was going to lay an energy and Smoke Screen me.  A good roll and it would be tied at 1 prize each.  That was when we spotted the Ditto with 60 damage his bench.  There was some sort of problems that I did not understand.  The judges gave me the prize for Ditto but gave him a free retreat of Magmar (I don’t know why).  That left us tied at one prize left each.  He brought up something else.  Now it was a matter of gusting up a weakened Pokemon from his bench or knocking out this one before he got me.

Then time was called.  We were tied!!  Sudden death!!  We both picked up our cards, shuffled and started a new game, first prize wins.  I had a Jiggly up against his Magmar.  He laid energy Smoked me.  I had no energy and said go.  He Smoked me again.  I drew a Magmar and benched it, still no energy.  Jerome put another energy on Magmar, added a plus power, pointed to Smog and flipped..... heads he wins, tails I get another turn..... it came up heads!

Jerome had played a great match.  I had poisoned him many times and he always had a way to retreat and get rid of the poison.  I also saw how important shuffling your deck is before you start.  With all of the excitement I did not shuffle well before the Sudden Death match.  I drew 12 cards; not one was an energy.

Jerome headed on to the finals, where he was beaten by Jonathan Brooks, and I headed to a holding area waiting on the awards ceremony.  While waiting I asked if I could battle Master Trainer Mike.  I got to play him twice, once with his normal deck and then against toughest deck.  I beat him both times.  The first time Master Trainer Mike gave me a 1999 Australian Special Promo.  For the second win he gave me a Holo Gym Challenge card, the last one I needed to complete my collection.

The Award ceremony was fun.  I got to go up on stage and get my 3rd place bronze metal from Dark Master Trainer Mike.  Besides my metal I won a cool tour jacket, a STS cap, STS binder, and 24 booster packs.  I pulled 11 holo’s and some great rares.  I wish I had my new cards for trading earlier.

The STS was great!  We had a blast.  Everyone we met in New York was nice to us.  The folks from Wizards were terrific and the Tournament, as everything at the STS, was well run.  The judging was good in spite of the call in the finals.  Master Trainer Mike was super nice, as were Dark Master Trainer Mike, and Master Trainer Pat.  A special thanks to Judge Elaine Chase, she worked with the 10 and under group all day.  In the finals she did a great job with disappointed PokeParents.  The competition was very tough and fun.  Man, did I love the trading. 


Dad – for taking me, hauling around my stuff, and everything else. 

Master Trainer Mike, Dark Master Trainer Mike, and Master Trainer Pat – for being so nice.

Judge Elaine Chase – for her way with the parents. 

Wizards for putting on the STS.

Clefable – for taking out Rocket’s Zapdos with only one energy and taking not damage.



None – this was too awesome!!

Wiggly Burnout


3    Jigglypuff (Jungle)

3    Wigglytuff (Jungle)

3    Movie Mewtwo (Promo)

3    Scyther (Jungle)

3    Magmar (Fossil)

2    Clefable (Base)

2      Clefairy (Base)

1*   Ditto (Fossil)*



3      Professor Oak

2    Bill

2    Computer Search

2    Nightly Garbage Run

2    Plus Power

2    Scoop Up

1*  Gust of Wind



3      Double Colorless Energy

3      Full Heal Energy

10  Physic Energy

10  Fire Energy


·         Ditto was substituted before the tournament for a lost Gust of Wind