In this interview we get a chance to talk with a young player from the crazy area of Southern California, Edmund Kuras. In every area there is something different that players need to deal with, so it was interesting to hear what he had to say. Here is Edmund!
For those who may not know you, can you tell us a bit about yourself? Where are you from, what is your history with Pokémon, etc.?
I’m a player from Southern California. I’m attending my local high school, but due to having wayyy too many AP classes I am mostly busy and rarely play Pokémon over the weekends. I started playing Pokémon in 2008 after moving here from Germany. I was in the Seniors division, and started racking up tournament wins and started qualifying for Worlds. Last year being my 1st year in Masters I started out better than I expected but just was short of a Worlds invite.
Right now you are ranked #5 in North America for Masters with 36 Championship Points. How did you go about getting to such a high number, and what do you attribute your success to?
This year after getting my driver’s license I had more freedom to go tournaments that are farther away from me. But my busy schedule only allowed me to go some tournaments. Also due to the lack of $$$ I just borrow cards and make most of my decks at the tournaments. I attribute my success to that I was running hot winning 5 Cities, but also with the support of my friends and teammates I was able to make any deck I wanted to play. The best part of cities was, definitely hanging out with everyone and enjoying some fun games of Pokémon.
(Especially half deck Durant mirror match :D)
In this format, there seems to be a ton of viable decks. Do you think it’s better to pick a deck and stick with it, or do you change decks based on the metagame?
I personally like to switch my decks around as I have done in Cities winning 5 Cities with 5 different decks. In my opinion switching decks allows a player to improve at many aspects of the game because playing several different decks requires different ways of thinking which leads to improvement. Although in some circumstances sticking to a deck for a while might be better, especially when you feel confident with your deck and you like to play it, because these are the magic ingredients for a having a wonderful time at Pokémon events.
Do you playtest a lot, or do you prefer relying on theory and discussion with your friends? Also, would you rather play online or in person when you practice?
I playtest whenever I have free time because I enjoy playing Pokémon and trying to find a “secret” deck that has favorable matchups vs. metagame decks. I like to talk theorymon sometimes but most of the time I get so hooked by an idea that I just throw it together and start playtesting. If time would allow me I would rather play in person because it’s so much fun to hang out with friends and play some Pokémon, but because of time issues I am forced for most parts to playtest with my friends over playtcg.com.
You live in California, which is known for its huge tournament size and an unpredictable metagame. How do you prepare for that?
The only thing you can prepare for California tournaments is having a good night sleep. California’s attendance is so high that you can face any deck at any time. The rather unpredictable metagame forces one to play the deck he feels most confident with. But even if one feels confident with their deck, here in Cali you can hit the most random matchups that can give you a loss, and even great players like The Top Cut’s own Crimz aka the “greatest theoretical mind in the game” have to struggle in order to do well here. Also Socal is especially known for “hate teching” against the winner’s deck of the previous week. I personally experienced that when my 10-0 Chandelure deck lost to 2 decks that had put Sigilyph in them just to beat me the next day forcing me to drop at 0-2. That is why I kept switching decks every week.
Normally players struggle when they move up from the Senior Division to Masters, but you managed to make the transition pretty seamlessly. What advice would you give to younger players who are struggling to adjust to the tougher competition?
When I was a Senior I was always scared that in Masters I will be doing so horrible, but guys have some self-esteem. It is true Masters division may be more challenging than the Senior division, but with enough practice you will be performing very well in this division. The first thing I noticed when I moved into the Masters division is that it takes longer than in the Seniors division, and as a result I got very exhausted. Therefore my best advice is to get a good night’s sleep so you are rested for a long day of Pokémon.
At this point, you are well on your way to earning an invitation to Worlds this year. Do you plan on going to Nationals still? More importantly, will you be making the trip to Hawaii?
There is a high chance I will be attending Nationals because it’s the most exciting event of the year where I can meet all my friends from all parts of the US. In case I will get my Worlds invite I would plan a trip to Hawaii even if it means to crack open my piggy bank.
What are your goals for the rest of the season?
To get my Worlds invite, and not whiff like last year when I was 6th place after Cities needing to win only 2 games at Regionals and ending up as one of the bubble boys.
Do you have any other hobbies besides Pokémon?
Besides Pokémon I enjoy reading manga and watching anime. I also enjoy playing Dominion either online or in person with my friends. (YOU GUYS NEED TO TRY IT OUT! IT’S SO GOOOD) I also enjoy playing poker with friends or online.
Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?
I would like to shout out thanks to all my friends who have supported me throughout my Pokémon career and also my teammates (Kenny & Kristy, Ruben, Oscar, Dilly, Andrew, Kamran) who always have lent me cards for all these tournaments.
Well, there you have it. As a young player from California, Edmund provided some interesting insight. Hope you enjoyed this interview, and thanks again to Edmund for taking the time to answer our questions!