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Top o’ the World Player Profile

NAME: Chad Mills

RANKING: # 69 (as of 10/15/1999)
Gilbert, AZ
Arizona Gamer,107 E Baseline Rd, Tempe, AZ, (480) 456-0568

[POJO] What do you like best about the PokeMon TCG?
The point of playing for me is fun, and I hope I never forget that :)

[POJO] What do you dislike about the PokeMon TCG?
The fact that wizards doesn't recognize older players, and also the lack of cards - leaving haymaker as the only (in my opinion) viable deck to use in a tourney and have a good chance at winning.

[POJO] Do you find casual play or organized competition to be more fun? Why?
I find casual play a lot more fun. It's nice not having to play a haymaker, variant, or some sort of deck that the objective is to crush your opponent. Right now, bench destruction is my favorite deck to play, but on the tourney scene, it just won't stand a chance with the lack of trainers.

[POJO] Where do you usually play? 
Arizona Gamer, Waterloo, my house, friend's house, school, anywhere I have the room and time to play and a person to play against. Also, I play at Arizona Collector's Paradise when I have the time to go to the tourneys all the way across town.

[POJO] How often do you participate in organized tournaments?
I used to every week, sometimes 2 per week, but with the coming of soccer I'm going to be participating in probably 1 tourney every 2 weeks till I get a break between games. The tourneys overlap with about half my soccer games, and my dad doesn't see playing a Pokemon tourney a reason for not going to a soccer game :(

[POJO] What was you most thrilling victory? 
Hmmm, this is a tough one. After soooo many games, it's hard to pick a single favorite win. I'd probably have to say it was my game against an adult at the Pokemon League the other day. Probably this is my favorite cause it happened so recently (just a couple days ago), but it's very hard to pick a certain victory. There's about 20 of them, all of which I find equal, some from tourneys, some for fun, and just as many that I've lost by stupid mistakes. I guess I chose this one because it's so fresh in my mind. I went to the Pokemon League for the first time (with only 3 weeks left in the session). I just heard about it over the weekend, and it's open to all ages, and free! :).

So, I went with every intention of having a blast, and I did. There was this guy there, a gym leader, that everyone thought was indestructible. He hadn't lost a game the entire time, and had played everyone there several times. I brought up my new Fossil deck, and it was a Haymaker. I figured this guy was good, so I didn't want to help my image by beating "the best". He was using his usual deck. I brought out my new deck, which was simply Magmar and Scyther.

A little info on it: It has only 4 Magmars and 4 Scythers, 21 energy, and 31 trainers!

WOW! It's undefeated so far. I've come to realize over the past few weeks that trainers are what win the games, and evolutions are what lose it, which goes against my Wiggly deck I was previously using. I do lose a couple mulligans once and a while, but this deck is so good against everyone I've played against. I played the winner of the tourney at Arizona Gamer (I was unable go to the tourney) and beat him fairly easily, and he's a great player - Todd M. I've come to realize that having 8 basics, 21 energy (17 fire/4 DCE), and lots of trainers (including a couple retrievals) works great! I've toyed around with the trainers, but I usually have: 3 Computer Search, 4 PlusPower, 4 Professor Oak, 4 Energy Removal, 4 Super Energy Removal, 3 Gust of Wind, 2 Item Finder, 2 Energy Retrieval, and 3 Scoop Up. That's my deck. It works great, I wish anyone to try it out and see how it does.

Anyway, sorry about all that on my deck. I just creamed him. He started out with a Goldeen, a Squirtle, and Articuno. I had a single Magmar, a hand full of Fire Energy and 3 Scoop Ups. I went first, paralyzed, smog, drew a Magmar. YAY! Now, I scooped up my Magmar, and Smokescreened again to KO Squirtle. I drew another Magmar, and an Item Finder, having 3 Magmars, 3 Scoop Ups (1 used, 1 Item Finder), and a hand full of energy. I took out his Goldeen, and he came up with Articuno. I poisoned it, he got bench support, and I had 2 prizes to none. I finally got a Bill, which gave me a Professor Oak, and I got out a Scyther. My Scyther took out a Gyrados, I got a Computer Search for a Professor Oak, and just took over the game. He couldn't believe it. He knew he had been out played. I had the worst hand in the world against his setup, and I beat him with it. He was amazed. He said, and I quote, "I've never seen anyone play like that! WOW!". I give all the credit to my deck, which is great. I did get some lucky draws and coin flips, but it was fun.

It was also great to see the look on his face several times: when I flipped over my opening Magmar, when I used my first PlusPower to screw up his plans, and when I beat him with my "stupid, cheap Magmars", as he said earlier. Anyway, it was just fun to beat someone that everyone thought was the best. I had so many people wanting to play me, I got the Pikachu card within my first session (2 hours)!!! Wow, that deck works wonders.

[POJO] What was your most crushing defeat?
My most crushing defeat was in a tourney. It was my first sanctioned tourney, taking place at Arizona Gamer. I had a water/electric experimental deck, not realizing the competition at Arizona Gamer since I hadn't been there. I ended up not going to the Final 4 because of a bad call by the judge. I won the first game, and if I won the 2nd game in this series I would go on to the Final 4. If not, there was always the 3rd game. In this second game, I was winning fairly easily, and was, in my opinion, definitely going to win the match. Then, I played a Japanese Dewgong on my Seel on my bench.

My opponent called the judge over (Mike Bahr). He said Japanese cards were illegal (I had red backed sleeves on, and this was the first tourney there). I NEVER played Pokemon without my computer printout of the DCI floor rules and penalty guidelines. I opened my binder, and they were gone! I had been reading them over the night before (a little anxious for my first sanctioned tourney), and I had left them at home! I was kind of mad, I was trying to figure out how to prove they were legal, and also trying to remember if I could appeal the decision to DCI when I got home. Then, I was saved. Mike said no big deal, he'd just log onto the Internet and look for himself! My opponent and I went over by the computer, while Mike tried to log on. BUSY SIGNAL! Great! Not a whole lot of time left in the round, and he had to make a decision now. He said I lost the match, and had to replace my card before game 3. GRRR... I replaced it, and into game 3 we went. Time ran out, and we got a tie for our match, giving us each 1 point. I needed 2 more points to tie for second (along with 2 others), and 3 more points to be tied for the lead! You get 3 points for a win, 1 point per tie, and 0 for a loss. A win would have gotten me tied for first, and in the Final 4 for sure. Right after he had made the decision and just before time ran out, he finally logged on, and saw he was wrong. I have basically memorized that document, and would be surprised if I was wrong on any tourney ruling. So, I was knocked out of the tourney, and just out of luck.

That was pretty depressing, but I came back since then, and have had a lot of fun at that place. I try to forget about that, everyone makes mistakes, I just wish it hadn't happened then :). No big deal, really, I don't care whether I made it to the Final 4 that day, I know I was good enough to be there, and that's all that matters to me.

[POJO] Who is your toughest competition? Why?
My toughest competition is definitely David O‘Connor (ranked 44). He's beaten me in 3 of 4 tourneys we've been to. The first one, I was messing around with my decks, and had a Gyrados / Dewgong / Electrode / Electabuzz deck that was not too good. He came with a Haymaker and killed me easily. The 2nd time, he had a Stall deck, and in the best 2 of 3 games per match, he won the first easily, I won the 2nd easily, and the third was SO close, but he barely won. The third time was my favorite (I won). It was crazy.

We talked for hours the day before the tourney (he lives way out on the other side of Phoenix, so we don't go to many of the same tourneys) trying to figure out each others decks. With no luck for either of us, and a lot of boasting of how good our decks were, we came with virtually the same idea. Jungle had been out for not too long, and I came loaded with a Hitmonchan / Scyther/ Wigglytuff deck, and he had a Scyther / Pinsir / Wigglytuff deck. His deck was inferior because of the Pinsir versus Hitmonchan. I beat him easily this tourney, and it was my best deck up to that point that was original.

After I posted my report at the PokeGym, it was really funny. I got about 10 letters from other players saying they took full credit for the deck - while nowhere had I ever seen the deck posted on the net, other people had the same idea. They thought that word had spread about their great deck, when actually we all had the same idea – kinda weird. Anyway, the fourth time I had the same Wigglytuff deck against a great Haymaker. Wigglytuff fell in the 3rd game of the finals.

David is just great to play against, and can analyze any situation better than anyone I've played against. The games with him are almost always close, and I wish I could play him more often. Not to mention, I've beat him on Apprentice a lot, it just seems at tourneys, he somehow pulls it off. 3 of 4 is great for him, and I give him all the credit in the world as a great player. I know, however, if he kept coming to tourneys I went to, I could pull that record up :)

[POJO] What is your favorite card? Why?
My favorite card is PlusPower. While it may not be as good as Bill, Professor Oak, Computer Search, etc., not many people have a favorite card of PlusPower. It is the best card at disruption, in my opinion. Your opponent is planning in his/her head exactly what they will hopefully be doing over the next several turns, what cards they could use if they drew them, and their basic strategy. You slam down a PlusPower for the KO, and you put yourself one turn ahead in your opponent's plan. While Computer Search can get any card, Professor Oak gets you a new hand, and Bill draws you cards, I just have some little thing for PlusPower. It's not the best card in the game, and surprisingly few people use it around where I live. My favorite card will probably change from time to time, it used to be Electrode (Base) until Energy Rremovals cropped up all over the tourney scene. This is something that changes a lot for me. I favor one card one week, then I go to a tourney and it does me absolutely no good, and I rethink it's value in my deck. But, for now,it's PlusPower.

[POJO] What kind of deck to you dread having to play against?
[CM] I dread playing against Haymaker. Because, either I have to use a Haymaker variant (my decks I try to keep a little different at least from the regular Haymakers, Rain Dance, etc.). Right now I have this deck that crushes anything it's played against (just since Fossil came out). It's a variant of a Haymaker, so I dread having to play it. Once it gets out in the open in my area, it will probably dominate the tourney scene until Rocket comes out. Haymaker is an inexpensive deck. I remember several years ago when I played Magic. I was a kid and had no money. If there was a deck that was cheap and did well at the time, I had built it. I looked in InQuest and was always discouraged to see Black Lotuses and Moxes and expensive cards in all the decks. Haymaker provides a relatively cheap deck for kids to build, and does surprisingly well. However, though they are good, game after game against Haymaker after Haymaker just gets incredibly boring! I can't wait until Rocket comes out, then Haymakers should be a little less powerful! YAY!

[POJO] What does it mean to you to be ranked as one of the best Pokemon TCG players in the world?
Well, it means a lot, but at the same time not much. I think it's great to be one of the top players. I go to tournament after tournament, and do well in all them. I have kids (and adults too) that sometimes copy my deck (sometimes the adults just kinda copy the basic idea, not the exact deck list). While that is great that I do this well, it's also kinda bad. I don't have too many people on my skill level. While there are a few that are close, I love playing against David O’Connor, because he is the one person who actually understands every concept of the game, anticipates your attack and trainers you will use. I think you reach a certain point (in terms of skill level), where you can't get any better at playing the game. Yeah, you might make a couple mistakes (like every once in a while energy removal a Pokemon you're about to KO is one that I hate). But, you can anticipate what will happen, judge a deck by the first couple Pokemon played, and guage what you're opponent's strategy is. At this point, deck building and luck are the only things that separate you from first and second. When everyone plays Haymakers, luck is more of a factor. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is: Being one of the top ranked players in the world is great, but I still seek competition from others on my level. I'm looking forward to Apprentice games at the Pojo, because that will definitely give me a chance to play others from other places, and see where I really stand in the world. My area of the country may be extremely horrible, and I shouldn't be ranked in the top 100. Who really knows? It's great to be in the top 100, but I really want some competition.

[POJO] Do you play the Pokemon video game?
I played it when it first came out. I'm in high school, and people get made fun of for playing Pokemon. I personally don't care, nor do my friends. After beating it, and getting some level 100 Pokemon, I haven't touched it in months. But, playing the game is what got me into the cards. I was one of the first ones to start the TCG thanks to the game (I got a starter deck the day the TCG came out, then WAY too much sincethen :). I rented Pokemon Snap, and am probably going to buy Pokemon Stadium (not Pokemon Yellow, though, probably). I'm looking forward to Pokemon Card GB, especially for the promo :)

[POJO] Do you watch the Pokemon Animated Series?
I did, at first. I watched the regular episodes on UPN until they kept rerunning the same things over and over. They are now running new shows all the time, so I have watched a couple new shows recently, but I don't watch it daily or anything, just when it happens to be on and I'm not busy.

[POJO] Do you have a collection of Pokemon toys?
Kinda. I have a couple little 1 inch tall figures - Pikachu and Charizard. That's it. I have shirts, a hat, and more stuff. I think this will change when Burger King gets the new Pokemon toys in, I'm sure I'll get a few if they're cool.

[POJO] Do you have a favorite card? Favorite video game character? Favorite animated series character?
The favorite card I have is 1st Edition Charizard because I like seeing the looks on kids faces when they see it in my binder (remember I was around since the beginning of the TCG).

My favorite game character is Articuno, I pretty much beat the Elite 4 with my Articuno.

[POJO] Anything else you would like to add to this interview?
I guess I'd like to add a little about rankings. Rankings could be accurate, and they may not be. I guarantee if I had as little money as some of the kids do to spend on Pokemon, I wouldn't probably be ranked in the top 1000, let alone the top 100. To be in the top 100, you need to have lots of cards, or just a really good deck, which usually (not always) means spending a fair amount of money. I am thankful that I've gotten all these cards, and that is why I am in the top 100. So many of the 4093 ranked players do not have enough cards to remain competitive. I hope everyone that has a good ranking realizes all those that are less fortunate than those that have a lot less cards.

The reason I play Pokemon is for fun. Though I only have 4 tournaments ranked, I have played in over 15-20 that were sanctioned, and lots more that weren't. I just wish WOTC would get them up a little quicker. However, the reason I play is for the fun. In tournaments, we (meaning most players, but not all) forget why we play the game (or at least I hope that's why anyone does). The reason it was created was for money, and the reason we support it with our money is for the fun involved. Yeah, some people go to a tourney and are completely cut-throat, mean, nasty, and trash talk. I go for the fun. Sure I don't intentionally lose to people to make them feel better, but I also don't go all out for my rating.

Here's just a stupid little example. In one instance in a tourney, me and my friend were the 2 remaining undefeated players (Swiss), and were gonna play each other in the final round before the top 8. If we played, and one of us lost, we still would have been in the top 8, but we would play harder opponents (1st vs. 8th, 2nd vs. 7th, etc is the format). I played my friend with the exact same decks we had more than 25 times within the last week, and he hadn't won a single game. That was really boring, but he kept insisting I play it (not my fun deck), because he wanted to beat it. Since we play pretty much every day, I still had plenty of time for the fun deck also. He doesn't have the money to invest, and his deck is very original and

does well. It's a Psychic deck (with Colorless) with Alakazams, Mewtwo's, Jynx, Snorlax, and some weirdo cards nobody uses. However, it works pretty well. The point is, he had a good deck, but in best 2 of 3 games, I was positive I could beat him. While some people would go for the ratings and kill their opponent despite the fact that he's your friend, I still drew (as I'm sure most of the Top 100 do) for the tie, and we both went on to face each other in the finals, and THEN I killed him :)

The point is, sportsmanship is very important in Pokemon. That is one of the reasons I quit Magic a couple years ago, and traded all my cards for Star Wars. I moved from Iowa to Phoenix, and knew nobody to play Star Wars. So, I have a bunch of cards that aren't worth anything. Star Wars had pretty good sportsmanship, and I liked that. Then, Pokemon came around. I was SO surprised by how the people in the game acted. They didn't cheat, trash talk, or anything like that (most of the time...). I loved it! Finally a game without the majority of the players being all-for-their-rating. I guess my point here is that I don't do anything for my rating. I'll do whatever is the smartest thing to do in any situation, and see how it affects my rating later. While these ratings do tell you how good of a player you are, they aren't so important that you need to base your playing Pokemon around bringing up your ranking.

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