Here we have an up and coming Masters player who just aged up from Seniors, Henry Prior! For those who don’t know Henry, we were able to record his matches from Indiana Regionals where he ended up finishing 2nd to Ross Cawthon. Let’s hear what he has to say!
Congratulations on your invite to Worlds! How did you earn your points?
Thank you! I earned:
Worlds – 70 points
1x Top 16
Battle Roads – 54 points
2x 2nd Place
2x Top 4
1x Top 8
1x Top 16
Cities – 140 points
1x 1st Place
1x 2nd Place
1x Top 4
1x Top 8
States – 140 points
2x Top 4
Regionals – 180 Points
1x 2nd Place
1x Top 8
Totaling up to 584 points so far this season.
For those who may not know you, can you tell us a bit about your history in the game?
I started playing the game through POP in 2005. I had loved Pokémon for as long as I can remember, being introduced to the video games and cards by my older cousin when I was 3 or 4 years old. I saw the ad for Pokémon leagues in the Worlds 2004 deck booklets that I got from Chris Fulop and Yamato’s decks, which I enjoyed playing with friends at school. I loved playing the game, but never really got into it too competitively until my last year in Juniors. I attended Nationals every year, though, because Origins was 10 minutes away from my house, which is one of the biggest reasons I decided to get more involved in the game. I really enjoy large tournaments and I’m sure many people would agree with me. All these years later looking back I never imagined being able to meet Chris and Yamato, let alone all the other big names that I learned about when I first got into competitive play.
In your first year in Masters, you haven’t had any problems adapting. How were you able to deal with aging up so easily?
My first year in Masters has been more enjoyable than my years in Seniors. Harder tournaments make me feel more accomplished when I do well, even if the prizes are the same (they were last year, don’t get me started on the difference in prizes this year). A lot of tournaments in Seniors were boring, most games didn’t make me think at all. This year my 1 Cities win was harder than all 8 that I had last year combined. The games were closer and a majority of my opponents made me really think about each play that I was going to make. I think aging up so easily was due to the people that I talk to and practice against in the game and also my experience at Worlds. A lot of people that did well in Seniors who haven’t done as well aging up aren’t used to playing against Masters, a lot test against their parents or younger siblings. This is fine for Seniors; you get a lot of time to practice and most of the players you’ll be paired against will be similar to the people you test against. No one in my family plays anymore and haven’t for at least 5 years so I have to look other places for people to test against, which I feel is better practice. The other reason that I feel I did well this year was the deck I played for Worlds. I played Mew/Chandelure/Accelgor/Vileplume/Darkrai, which is easily one of the hardest decks that I’ve ever played. I tested the deck for months before the tournament and I feel like all the things I had to think about when playing the deck really helped me grow as a player.
What has been your favorite deck to use this season? What have you been using currently?
My favorite deck this season was probably Darkrai, especially my Regionals variant “Midnight City,” which was Darkrai/Terrakion/Ho-Oh/Stunfisk. Darkrai is such a versatile card and has been amazing since it came out. Right now I am playing another Darkrai variant, Darkrai/Mewtwo/Bouffalant. I used it to get Top 4 at States twice and has been a really fun deck to play. Bouffalant is easily my favorite card in our current format and works really well with Darkrai.
How do you feel about the current state of the game?
The state of the game isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. Sure, you have a dumb game here or there when you get donked with some Laser + Virbank + Mewtwo/Landorus combo or something along those lines, but a lot of the decks right now have a lot of variety in what can be played, which opens up a lot of room for deck building. The format obviously isn’t as good as it should be or has been, but people don’t give it as much credit as it deserves. At least it isn’t as bad as HS-BW.
What are your plans now that you have your invite?
Right now I might be going to Wisconsin Regionals. My plans are still up in the air right now. I’ve been using most of my Pokémon time to test for Nationals and Worlds. I’ll probably go to a few local Battle Roads to get some practice for Nationals or play some fun decks. Tournaments are still really enjoyable to attend so there isn’t much of a point not to go. I can also scoop to my friends who are really close to their invite.
What do you enjoy most about the Pokémon TCG?
I enjoy the people the most about the game. If I wanted good prizes or a better game I would go to Magic, but Pokémon is just more enjoyable to me. The game is just part of the experience and I’m sure many of you feel the same way.
Do you have any hobbies besides Pokémon?
I enjoy playing basketball and I also play the Kaijudo TCG.
For younger players struggling to adapt to Masters, do you have any advice for dealing with the change?
I would recommend putting more time into the game, if possible. I have to devote a lot more time to practicing since moving up into Masters; it just isn’t as easy. I know time is usually an issue for most high schoolers, but it shouldn’t be too hard to set aside 5-6 hours a week (I know that sounds like a lot, but it isn’t).
Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
Thanks for reading all the way to the end, and I hope to see you guys in Indianapolis and/or Vancouver.
Thanks, Henry! It’s always interesting to hear the perspective of players who just age up into Masters. Surely he’s a player to look out for in the near future.