In this interview, I was able to speak to the 2012 World Champion in Seniors, Chase Moloney! Even though he aged up into Masters this year, he still retains his invite to the World Championship, where he’ll need to adapt to the higher level of competition. Let’s hear from the Canadian champion himself!
For those who may not know you, can you tell us a bit about your history in the game?
Sure, I started playing semi-competitively about 3 years ago. I mainly played at leagues and local shop tournaments in 2010 and 2011, though I did go to a few official tournaments, grabbing 2nd at a small Regionals in Seniors. I didn’t start to play the whole season competitively until the 2011-2012 Season, where I really began testing a lot more and reading articles to try to stay on top of the meta. I also attended quite a bit more tournaments throughout the year, and was able to grab an invite to my first World Championships in 2012.
Have you been playing a lot this season even though you already had an invite from winning Worlds last year?
I’ve still played a good amount, yeah, though less than half as much as I would be if I didn’t have the invite. I observed that most people who win Worlds often don’t do as well the next year, even if they’re very accomplished. I figured that they probably get out of practice with the game, and I didn’t want that to happen to me. I also knew that a lot of people had trouble adjusting to Masters which meant I had all the more reason to get practice. So I’ve taken an approach to the season that I want to play a lot and run competitive decks with the goal of gaining a good understanding of what it’ll take to stay a top player in the new division. I also enjoy playing the game as well as seeing friends way too much not to keep playing, ha ha.
Speaking of Worlds, what was it like to be crowned the World Champion? Were you expecting to win?
It was amazing. I certainly wasn’t expecting it going into Worlds. I had practiced a lot, and I felt confident with my deck and knew my match ups, but at the same time at Worlds everyone is a tough opponent. You don’t get the luxury of an easy win or two like you sometimes have in regular tournaments. After the Swiss day one I certainly felt like I had a very good chance after starting off 6-0, but I knew anything could happen and not to go into my matches overconfident. Even though I recognize that Seniors is easier I still am proud of the title of World Champion, and I hope someday I can follow up my success at Worlds in Masters.
What has been your favorite deck to use this season? What have you been using currently?
I enjoyed and had some success with Eels at Cities and Regionals. While I used both Mewtwo and Rayquaza versions, I switched to Rayquaza in the end because I like the fact that the deck is on-board once you set up and can just win in 3 turns. Even though it can often be brainless OHKO’s, I found teching for the mirror with cards like Raikou EX (which allows for huge comebacks as well as trick plays) and managing resources when you’ve had a limited set up was thought provoking enough to keep my interest. Recently with Plasma Storm out I’ve transitioned towards Blastoise decks and Big Basic decks though. Blastoise is because I like it’s matchup vs. Big Basics and it functions like a clunky but harder to donk RayEels. I originally never liked Landorus + good Colorless attackers decks due to their lack of acceleration, but the deck is growing on me due to all its options as well as great early game.
How do you feel about the current state of the game?
I really don’t like the direction Pokémon has been going in since EX’s came back in Next Destinies. The only meta that I’ve found to have both options deck-wise as well as reward skill since EX’s hit the scene is HGSS-DEX. I might be a bit biased due to that being the format Worlds was played in, but I really enjoyed the amount of decks (Darkrai variants, Eels, CMT, Klinklang, Accelgor, Terrakion Mewtwo) as well as their consistency due to cards like Smeargle, PONT, and Junk Arm. I’m certainly not saying that format was anywhere near perfect mind you, it had a bunch of problems. With the three sets since the rotation we’ve seen cards that I find lower the amount of skill needed and speed up games (Rayquaza EX, Keldeo EX, Black Kyurem EX, Hypnotoxic Laser) combined with a lack of much added as cards to increase the consistency of decks over those 3 sets. This has left us with a fast format where the main deck options are to overpower using the insane pressure of Laser and fast attackers, or to use a deck that streams OHKO’s on EX’s until it wins. On top of this there’s a bunch of games where you won’t set up, so I’ve found that a lot comes down to going first, draw, and flips.
Now ALL of that said, I actually like the direction the next two Japanese sets have gone in. While still a bit fast for my taste, I feel like Plasma based decks will be a combination of the good attributes both Darkrai and Landorus decks, having accel as well as attacker options. New cards like Ghetis, Metagross, Virizion EX, and maybe even Jirachi EX might just fix some of the issues players have had with the game lately. This is all speculation of course; I’ve barely done any testing with these cards, and I can’t say how good or bad a format was until it’s over. I’d like to think it will get better though, and at the very least we’ll have some new decks around as the current ones all feel like they’ve been around forever. While I sometimes wish it was better, we could always have a Sabledonk format, so it could be way worse.
Last year you won Worlds in Seniors, but now you’ve aged up to Masters. Are you confident that you can adapt to the new division?
It’s certainly quite a bit more challenging, I’ll say that. Besides the fact that there’s some incredible players who have been around forever and are intimidating just on experience, there’s also a lot more players that are fairly good as well. Even though I think I can handle a lot of the competition, you’ll often have close games all day no matter how good you are. I do think I won’t have too much trouble getting my invite on Championships Points next year, but I’ll certainly have to travel a lot to get it. Now for Worlds in Masters, that’s a whole different story. I’m going to just do my best for it test hard, try to predict the meta, attempt coming up with innovative builds, etc. But you can’t really go into Worlds expecting anything in my opinion. All I’ll do is prepare thoroughly, play my best at worlds, and let the cards dictate how I do in the end. I’d like to say I’ve got a pretty good shot at doing alright, but there’s definitely a lot of really talented players who have much more experience with worlds than me.
Do you have any hobbies besides Pokémon?
Not too many, between Pokémon as well as high school there isn’t too much time left. I watch a lot of TV and go online a lot though. I also hike a lot when the weather permits it. I used to play badminton as well, but I haven’t gotten back into it this season due to focusing more on doing well in my courses.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to our viewers?
I’d just like to thank The Top Cut for interviewing me, as well as the content you guys put out. I especially enjoy the commentated matches and live interviews / deck breakdowns. It really helps grow the community while at the same time being entertaining for new as well as experienced players, keep it up. Good luck to all those players still trying to nab their last few points, and I look forward to seeing everyone in Vancouver this summer.
Thanks for the great interview, Chase. Clearly he’s a great kid with a good head on his shoulders, and he represents Pokémon very well. I’ll be rooting for him come this year’s World Championships, and I’m looking forward to seeing if he can handle the Masters division. We have a lot of rising stars in the game currently, and he might be the one shining the brightest. Good luck!