Here we have an interview with a player from Norway, David Hovland Jensen! We don’t get to feature too many players from this country, so this is a real treat. Let’s hear from him.
Congratulations on your invite to Worlds! How did you earn your points?
Thanks a lot! After missing out on my invite last season, I decided to really “go for it” this year, attending a lot more tournaments than I use to while also playing more seriously. In retrospect, I guess it paid off! I had an outstanding Regionals run, placing in the Top 4 or better in each of them, and suddenly I found myself with 495 CP and the invite!
For those who may not know you, can you tell us a bit about your history in the game?
This is my seventh season of competitive play, and wow, this game has changed over the years. I live in Norway, and back in the days, Nationals consisted of hundreds of players in each division. Tournaments were announced in weekly magazines and even on national television, and everything seemed to go in the right direction. Then, our distributor merged with another company, and everything went downhill. After some dark years, the player base has stabilized at ~100 people, counting each age group. I really hope we’ll get 64+ Masters at Nats this year, giving us a Top 16 cut for once. Way too many good players whiff out of top 8 every year… But hey, this should be about me!
In my first ever Nationals, I placed 3rd. This inspired me a lot, and I ultimately managed to win Nationals three times in a row (09, 10, 11), albeit this was in Seniors. Still, I got Top 32, Top 8 and Top 32 respectively at Worlds those years. Today, I can reminisce about some really skill-intensive matches, but I have to admit; Masters is clearly a division over Seniors, both literally and practically. That’s why I really look forward to some new challenges at Worlds this summer – this time in Masters!
In the picture above, I am battling out my Top 8 match vs. former World Champion, Hiroki Yano. This is maybe my fondest Pokémon TCG memory of all time, although I eventually lost the match. The nerve in the game, combined with the smiles and appreciation when the opponent did a great play, made this an unforgettable experience altogether. Even though I stated I was playing more seriously to get my invite this year, it still means you can have fun! Even at high level tournaments like Worlds. After all, that is what the game is all about…
What has been your favorite deck to use this season? What have you been using currently?
My favorite deck to play has to be Darkrai variants. In fact, Darkrai alone has netted me 380 CP. I’ve played all sorts of Darkrai; Midnight City, Darkrai/Hydreigon, Speed Darkrai, Darkrai/Blissey, Hammertime, Darkrai/Lasers… just to name a few (or them all). I feel that Darkrai is the best attacker in the current format. The deck itself is super strong, versatile and consistent, even besting Big Basic decks if played correctly. You always have a handful of options, and that plays an important part if you want to outplay your opponent.
Currently, I have been testing the BW-Plasma Freeze format, and I can assure you all that Darkrai still is to be found at the top tables for Nats and Worlds. The new Plasma EX’s sure are strong, but I won’t call Thundurus/Deoxys “the new Luxchomp” just yet. Blastoise is still in there too, gaining a lot from Super Energy Retrieval. As of now, I am torn between these three decks for the upcoming meta.
What do you attribute your success to this season?
I’ve devoted a lot more time to playtesting this season, averaging 5 hours a week. I’ve also attended lots of tournaments – gone into each of them with a winning mentality – playing a consistent, well-rounded decklist. My advice to success: know your list inside and out, stay calm, and figure out your opponent’s next moves. Last but not least, if you have the option, you should always play as if your opponent has the godliest possible hand in any given situation.
How do you feel about the current state of the game?
I don’t like the direction the game has been heading for a long time now, with Big Basic EXes taking advantage of the first turn rule. Hypnotoxic Laser just tops it off. I’ve lost so many games to that ridiculous Sleep flip it’s not even funny. Fix the first turn rule to make it fairer and bring back the old Rare Candy, and the game would maybe be a little more tolerable. I know this topic has been discussed up and down everywhere else, and I don’t really have anything new to add, so I’ll leave it there.
Right now, I only play for the love of the game and for the people that plays it with me.
What are your plans now that you have your invite?
I’ll probably work a lot this summer to earn the necessary funds for the trip. If I win Nats, that’s another story though. :p
What do you enjoy most about the Pokémon TCG?
The community of course! I’ve got a lot of friends in the game, and nothing is more fun than hanging out before, during and after an event. Most people are friendly and outgoing, which makes the events pretty unique experiences. What I also find amazing is that the community is so diverse. You can find people having great fun together with nothing but Pokémon TCG as their common interest.
Do you have any hobbies besides Pokémon?
I enjoy playing table tennis and football in my spare time. I am also an avid Tottenham Hotspur supporter. Every now and then I play Starcraft 2, Minecraft or some random retro games like Earthbound and Fatal Labyrinth. I’m also a pianist, and if I grow really bored I compose music.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
Thanks a lot to the Top Cut for making me do this interview! What you guys do for the game is invaluable. See you all in Vancouver!
Thank you for the great interview, David. Best of luck to you at Worlds in your first year in Masters! Hopefully we hear from you again.