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Top of the World - Interview with Chrissy Zawadzki (Professor Sharkie)

This must be a real treat for Chrissy Zawadzki and for those reading. Why? She's the first female player and professor we have had on the Top of the World. As well, Miss Zawadzki is ranked 24 globally in the world for Pokemon. Not too shabby. Let us hear what she has to say... because she has some darn good advice:

Phil: Howdy Chrissy! What is up with the 24th Player in the DCI? Refresh my memory, what's your name, where do you live, and where do you play Pokemon?

Chrissy: My name is Chrissy Zawadzki. I live in Buffalo NY and I currently play Pokemon at Two Guys Cards in Fredonia NY. See that there are no more Battlezone locations here in Buffalo.

Phil:  Wow, good ole Buffalo, New York... too bad there arent any BattleZones there. I was just looking over all the past interviews that we've had and I noticed that there are no women! So your the first and hopefully not last female in this section... what's it like playing a game with mostly males?

Chrissy: Wow! There are really not alot of difference with playing with the guys. When I walk into the shop, they are always like Chrissy is here so that they know it is going to be tough to win. There was on boy that used to play that I always felt that he had a crush on me but could never admit it. Alot of the parents always say hi and ask me to help keep an eye on the kids so it is almost like I am a mother figure to some of them.

Phil: Do you think you intimidate the male players?

Chrissy: Some of them I know I intimidate them. It has gotten into their heads that I am one of the better players in the area and that it is hard to beat me. Some of the kids have even forfeit instead of playing me. I always look forward to playing though and try to talk them into playing because there are times that I am beaten and yet they wanted to forfeit.

Phil: That is a good attitude to have with kids. I know one who does the same thing at a local tournament. Speaking of kids, how did you get started in this "kids" game that is full of adults?

Chrissy: I started playing in the Summer of 1998. I was actually on a suspension from work so I decided to go to the local flea market since I had nothing to do that day. At the flea market I saw this ad for a Pokemon tournament and thought it would be fun to play so I went and copied a deck from this book that he had. I went and bought all the cards and called the store to say I was coming to play. Well when I called they told me it was a garbage deck tournament. So I had to redesign the deck seeing that there were alot of rares in the deck, So I came up with a Dewgone and Wartortle deck. I actually came in 3rd place with my first deck and my first tournament.

Phil:  I can recall my first few tournament experiences weren't up to par... I never should have used Rattata. Have you eaten lunch yet? What are you going to have?

Chrissy: No I have not eaten lunch yet as I am sitting here in the school computer lab looking at WizPoG and analyzing some decks. I will mostly likely end up going to Anderson's for a roast beef sandwich though.

Phil: Mmm roast beef... sorry, I just like to write a random question from time to time. Do you have any highlights, special occasions, or memories you had with the game?

Chrissy: At last year's Professor's Event at Origin's I was in first place after the booster draft but I did have a sub-par deck using A Venusaur/Meganium deck with the event filled with alot of fire. Also at the last ECSC I played in the Professor's Rochester Draft and made the top 8. I lost in the top 8 but it was funny seeing it was the only time MTM and DMTM ever saw a booster draft match end up tieing and going to a tie breaker. It would have been another if I would have flipped a heads on a Crosscounter. While at the hotel for the first ECSTS I remember playing Pokemon in the hallway with a few friends. The last ECSTS I called our "Deck Guru" at midnight hoping he could help me with a deck idea to play with at the ECSTS.

Phil:  Ah! You were at Origins last year. Congrats on the booster draft victory. I did well in the draft too, but ended up facing alot of water with my poor Ninetails/Entei deck. Do you judge or help out at events since you are a Professor?

Chrissy: Yes I have been running tournaments up here in Buffalo and I also help out in Fredonia with running tournaments. There are not that many people that still play Pokemon in Buffalo. It has shifted to a Yu-Gi-Oh crowd here.

Phil: How long do you think the gravy train is going to last for Yu-Gi-Oh? Are any players starting to come back to Pokemon?

Chrissy:  I think that as soon as Wizards comes out with Duelmasters, Yu-Gi-Oh is going to fall. I have seen some players trying already to trade in their Yu-Gi-Oh cards for Pokemon. So yes some of the serious players are starting to come back. I know myself I am looking forward to seeing Duelmasters.

PhilWhat do you think of Wizards of the Coast's performance with the game?

Chrissy: Wizards has done great things with the game to keep it top notch. I mean who would ever think of the Professor Program to keep the 15+ crowd into the game and the prizes for all the top tournaments has kept alot of players into the game. I think it is sad to see Wizards lose the contract to Pokemon but I am just hoping Nintendo will keep the game alive and strong.

Phil: Will Nintendo match up? What does Nintendo have to do to impress organizers and players?

Chrissy: I hope Nintendo will do the game proud. The first thing Nintendo should do is bring something like the mall tour back so that they can shop people that Pokemon is still alive. They should also hold some major tournaments sorta like the STS or SC. I love the look of the new EX cards. I also like the way that Nintendo will allow us to keep playing with the Wizards produced cards. I feel if they did not allow that to happen the game would have died really bad.

Phil: Speaking of cards, what do you like to play? Anything you dread to play against?

Chrissy: Right now, At our Battlezone we are currently using Unlimited Decks. So I am Currently playing a Rocket's Zappy and Sneasel deck. As for modified, I am waiting to try out my new deck. I really hate playing against Slowking, or NR Kingdra.

Phil: Okay, listen carefully on this one: If you could go back in time and paralyze one employee at TCG Research and Development that created a card you dislike, which card would that be and why?

Chrissy: Hmmmmm....... It would have to be Dunsparce. I love this little guy but we need to make his attack alot better and also no retreat so he can get out of there.

Phil:  Is there any competition up there in New York that you hate playing against? Like certain people? Names please, we want to blackmail em.

Chrissy: No really. Seeing I never really see them unless at a Big tournament. But if I had to chose some I would say Johnny Blaze, Crobat1 and Crobat 2 (from WizPoG). There is not really alot of competition here in Buffalo. The closest competition would be those from Toronto or Ohio.

Phil: Got a favorite card you like to play in a deck?

Chrissy: Any Mewtwo I try to get into a deck unless it is like all electric, ect. I am a huge Mewtwo fan. Can't wait for the next Battlezone season.....drools Reverse Holo Rocket's Mewtwo....

Phil: Are we going to be able to see you at GenCon or any other big events this summer Chrissy? I really want to see face a Mewtwo deck at GenCon!

Chrissy: I know for a fact I will be at Origins helping out at the STG booth and playing in some tournaments but I am not sure yet for GenCon. I hope so seeing I want to play in two major tournaments at Gen Con.

Phil: Any advice you would give to new players/judges?

Chrissy: For Judges, I would say to always make sure you have the compendium handy and to know the rules of the game. For Players, I would tell them to look out for new combos that could help you win.

Phil: If you had a boat full of money, what Pokemon box of boosters would you buy and why?

Chrissy: I would actually have to spilt it up and get two boxes. Hey I do have a boat full of money to spend. One of Gym Challenge because of all the great cards; Rocket's Mewtwo, Zappy, Rk9. The other would be Neo Genesis because I can always use more Focus Bands, Elm, and Gold Berries.

Phil: I know Pokemon must be a big priority in your life... but what else is going on with Miss Zawadzki?

Chrissy: I am a student at Erie Community College. I am an employee at Martin's Fantasy Island. I also play other card games such as WarCry, and MTG. I am also a huge fan of Settler's of Catan.

Phil: How well did I do on a scale from one to ten? Was my driving good? Anything else you want to add?

Chrissy:  will give you a 10 Phil as for your driving you might not want to hit the old ladies crossing the street. I know they are easy targets but we need them. I hope to see everyone at Origins and hopefully Gen Con I will be there with the rest of Team Buffalo. If you ever need a deck fixed feel free to IM me at "Makemefreaky" or email me at

Phil: Thanks again Chrissy, I hope to see you at GenCon is here to provide guidance to all Pokemon trainers out there.  Whether it's the Gameboy Game, N64 or the Trading Card Game, provides all the wisdom you desire. 

If you have cool game tips, a killer deck, or breaking news ... send them to us.  We'll post it on the site ... and give you all the credit.  


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