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The RaNd0m Report

11.15.02   Where do we go from here?

The life of the Pokemon player has always been exciting. And Iíve been extremely privileged. Iíve played in many competitive events, and Iíve played (and beaten in some cases) some of the best players in the world. Itís going to be coming up on 4 years for me in the next couple months. FOUR years. Do you realize how long that is? I started playing Pokemon when I was TEN, going on ELEVEN. I was immature. I was condescending. Yeah, I was a tween! That was a third of a lifetime ago for me.

Now Iím going on 15. Iím in High School. To think this started as a grade school fadÖ just a thing everyone was doing, into something that has greatly affected my life. I canít think of what life would be like without Pokemon at this point. At least, without it ever have affecting me. I only started using the Internet because I picked up Pojoís old magazine. Then I was opened into a brand new world for me.

I met TONS of people from the Internet. And just in the last year, with the WCSTS and Worlds, Iíve met MORE. Truthfully, I hated Junior High. Sure, I kept up good grades, but I was bored. Pokemon gave me something to look forward to on the weekends besides the fact that it wasnít school. It gave me a challenge. I loved spending hours and hours just tweaking my favorite deck, preparing it for the Saturday tournament about 30 miles from me.

Two years ago, I couldnít ever imagine quitting Pokemon. I thought itíd go on forever. Sure, there were 15+ problems, but they were small. I figured Wizards would fix them. I didnít even THINK about the fact that they might be overspending. Did you guys? I mean honestly, recession wasnít really the thing on everyoneís mind. We thought weíd get out of our short ďbear marketĒ, and move back into the positives. Hell, most of us are USED to a ďbooming economyĒ. Losing jobs? Cutbacks? Whatís that?

However, it seems like this yearís challenge series may be the last. Will they stop manufacturing the cards? Not for quite some time. If you still only play casually, you wonít be affected. Good for you. I mean, look at Digimon! That game has nothing going for it other than the fact that the company makes the cards. But you can still occasionally find a pack at your local Wal-Mart.

See, one of the things I used to really respected about Wizardsí Pokemon Department at the time was that it seemed that they cared more about us than the profit they were making. Companies donít do that! They had very, VERY happy customers. Again one of the reasons so many kept playing for so long.

And on that point, why do you think Magic has been around so long? You think that Wizards has sat back and just ďmanufactured cardsĒ because thatís ďall they owed themĒ? Sorry to put it, but cards just being made doesnít keep a game around for 10 years. They have treated Magic players royally. TONS of rewards. TONS of tournaments. TONS of fun.

Pokemon was like that. Remember? Remember back when everyone was included? The Mall Tours were an excellent point in Pokemon history. We all had fun. We all had fun COMPETING.

Now as easy as it is to blame Wizards for Pokemonís troubles, itís probably not all their fault. The game has gotten stale. Itís boring, quite frankly. Expedition doesnít look all that hotÖ theyíre making rare cards an easy commodity to get. The cards have poor art, and the mechanics werenít thought through.

Ask yourself this: If you donít have a league nearby, you donít have DCI tourneys, and you donít have any friends nearby that play Pokemon, when was the last time you played a game of Pokemon? A real game? Most of you havenít since the last major tournament, or qualifier, you went to. How would you feel if suddenly even THAT was taken away from you? Welcome to the life of a 15 year old. And for most of you, thatís coming soon.

Do you honestly care when you see people talking about MMF decks on the various message boards? Unless you fit one of the criteria above, probably not. Most likely, you are idle; not playing the game, not looking at your cards. You might even be thinking about playing another game.

Before I go into this, I want to make sure. Iím not advocating quitting Pokemon. Believe me, when the Challenge Series comes out, yes, Iíll go to the Central Stadium Challenge. I love the game. And I always will, as it was my first game. But in my opinion, Pokemon is nearing death, and itís time to move on.

Which game would you go into?

There are two main ones at this point people are going into. Magic: The Gathering, and Yu-Gi-Oh. And a few people are branching into other games, like DBZ, Harry Potter, MLB Showdown, Star Wars, LotR, etc.

Iíve looked at both Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh. Believe it or not guys, I probably will start playing Yu-Gi-Oh on the Pojo ladder. Why? For fun. For something to do. But I wonít invest money into it. Why? Because itís going to be the same as Pokemon was.

I mean, the yu-gi-oh players will disagree, but itís true. What is yu-gi-oh right now? A fad. A Japanese fad. A Japanese fad involving creatures. A Japanese fad involving creatures that has a tv show that is =/. A Japanese fad involving creatures that has a tv show that is =/ AND its cards are worth a lot right now.


I wonder what that reminds me of. And it doesnít take a rocket scientist to get it, either. Guys, Iím warning you, if you enter into Yu-Gi-Oh AND are quitting Pokemon because itís ďdyingĒ, you have two years. Two years until Yu-Gi-Oh falls flat on its face, like Pokemon did. I predict by the end of 2004 Yu-Gi-Oh will no longer have a huge impact on the TCG world. Like Pokemon, itíll fizzle, and eventually die.

Then of course, there will be another card game thatís popular, and history will repeat itself, once again.

Guys, Magic is the safest bet if you want to find a secure card game. It has been around for 10 years. Never really a HUGE fad, but always maintaining stability. Now more than ever, it is gaining an influx of Pokemon players, and the base is increasing. Wizards isnít losing profits, believe it or not, to other card games. Itís still sucking in the money weíve poured out, because now weíre buying another card game of THEIRS.

One of the reasons people have told me for not going into Magic is that it has too big of a card pool. Guys, you know how Pokemon has Modified? So does MAGIC! Trust me, it wonít be that hard to become a good player. Just buy cards from the latest sets. If you want a place to go, I recommendÖ Itís run by Scott and Christine Gerhardt, who have supported Pojo for many years. They sell pretty cheap too. And yes, they sell Yu-Gi-Oh cards too. And they donít bite either. Odds are you could probably get help from them on tips on what to buy to get you started.

So if you are considering going into another competitive game, I say go into Magic. Yu-Gi-Oh probably will do well too, but remember, itís just another Pokemon. And hey, if you arenít into the competitive element, by all means pick any game you like.

Remember, I still play Pokemon. I havenít quit. Iím just making Magic my priority game.

By the way, look forward to some new opinion articles by me about other things than just TCGís. Iíve found that many of you actually have LIVES! You CARE about other things! So Iíll talk about them. =)

~ RaNd0m

AIM: JonSchweppe (Please donít be offended if I donít answer immediately; you must realize I have a personal life too.) 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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