ONE37pm: What’s the most valuable card in your collection?
Diaz: The #3 trainer that I won at the 2010 World Championships. That’s the rarest individual item. You can make an argument for my “Championship Arena”. In the 2005 World Championships, they would slide them under the doors of the hotel rooms where we were staying. It wasn’t just the players, it was some of the staff. One per room. They were getting scratched up as they slid them under the doors. That thing has become a really hot commodity.
We also have a couple of Nintendo DSs. They gave away custom DSs at the 2008 and 2010 World Championships. Those are also highly sought after. A lot of players would sell things as they went throughout the years. My brother and I saved everything.
ONE37pm: How has covid affected the competitive Pokemon community. Are they back hosting events? Or is everything done on platforms like zoom nowadays?
The Pokemon company, and Play! Pokemon has done a great job in terms of transitioning to online events. We can’t have in-person events and that’s all they were doing previously. Now they are doing online events. First, they did a “Players Cup”, then they did a “Players Cup 2” where they made a ton of improvements. The Pokemon online client updated to include tournament keys. That’s something the Players Cup 1 didn’t have. That meant that in the first Players Cup, players weren’t given the same number of chances. You could play in X number of tournaments based on your count, and there was no control over it. In the second Players Cup, they implemented tournament keys in the program that enabled you to play in 50 different little 8 man events. It was good to see them pivot. They are learning and improving. They are also trying to innovate. The next thing they are doing is a team challenge where teams of 3 play against each other representing different stores. They have never done that before. Sometimes a big organization can be slow to move and react. I have been very impressed by how the Play! The Pokemon team has responded to the pandemic.
ONE37pm: When are you going to win your first World Championship?
The next time they have it! It’s a long time coming. You gotta figure before too long they will start running live events again. Once they run one, I’ve got a good chance!
ONE37pm: How many people compete in the World Championship and where are most of them from?
There are players from all over the world. There are a lot of Europeans, lots of Japanese players, tons from the United States. It’s invitation only. You have to earn an invite. They do 3 age groups. Juniors is 10 and under. Seniors is 11-14. Masters is 15 years olds and above. Each age group has a few hundred people competing.
They have international championships. Those get a lot more people because it’s an open event. They can have like a thousand people in each age group. I think all of these events will be bigger than ever once live events come back.