Today we’ll get a chance to speak with a player from the Northeast, Dylan Bryan! Although he is fairly young, Dylan has been quite successful in his first few years in the Masters division, which is very impressive. Let’s hear from him!
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.?
Hey, I’m Dylan Bryan from Freehold, NJ. I started playing this game from the beginning during base set, but quit around Neo Destinies. I picked it up again around 4 years ago and within a year I was into the competitive scene.
I started competitively in Seniors the year Gardy was big. I won States, Regionals, top 8 Nats, top 8 Worlds. The following year I won States, Regionals, cut Nats, and top 32 at Worlds. Then the past two years I played in Masters, winning States, getting an invite both years, and finishing 10th at this past Worlds.
Right now you are ranked #10 in North America for Masters with 34 Championship Points. How did you go about getting to such a high number, and what do you attribute your success to?
I can attribute most of my points (28) from attending so many Cities with the help of the NJ marathon. I had 4 wins and 1 top 4 as my best finishes. I might have maxed out, but had to skip several cities due to school, friends, girlfriend, and other commitments. It’s really all about going to all the Cities you can and performing your best.
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?
In this format there’s a lot of variety, which means that every deck has bad matchups it has to avoid. If you hit good matchups and draw well you’ll win the event. I believe a person should just play with they’re comfortable with. For some people this could mean sticking with one deck while others are comfy oracle switching each week. As long as your deck doesn’t have a lot of bad matchups in your metagame you’ll do fine.
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?
For bigger events I playtest more, but for smaller events there’s some theory as well as play testing. For tournaments like Cities I can always tweak my deck as the metagame evolves and I play in tournaments. PTCGO is too glitchy for me to play online.
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 going to move up to Masters I remember being excited and had that hunger to do well and succeed to prove to myself that I can compete. I see so many Seniors move up and just give up because they don’t win every event anymore. They have to want to win and part of it is just a natural finesse for the game.
I attribute a lot of my success to the former Seniors in NJ that I competed with because I believe the competition then was harder and helped me improve. Now Seniors have so many new websites like The Top Cut to help them improve.
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?
I’m going to Nationals since there’s so many people there I only see once or twice a year. As long as I get my invite I’ll go to Hawaii.
What are your goals for the rest of the season?
I just want to have fun playing and stay on track for my invite.
Do you have any other hobbies besides Pokémon?
I play ultimate frisbee, chess, hang out with friends, hang out with my girlfriend, mall, movies, and the other usual stuff. I used to be into video games but the past few years I just never find time outside of Pokémon, school, and everything else.
Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?
I’d just like to thank The Top Cut for this opportunity and say that I think what they’re doing is great for the game.
Thanks again to Dylan for taking the time to answer our questions. Hopefully our younger readers can learn something from him as they make the shift from Seniors to Masters. We’ll be back with more interviews soon, so keep checking back. Thanks for reading!