Nine-year-old Lucas Oldale is shuffling a brick-size deck of trading cards with casual authority, performing a riffle shuffle with a bridge finish, then repeating it for a video camera.
The Langley Grade 4 student is ranked no. 21 among all North American junior players of the Pokemon card game and he is about to head to Nashville and the world invitational championships later this month.
It will be his first worlds’ in the three years that he’s been playing,
He says his immediate goal is move up from being ranked 21 to at least 16, which is a level where a player gets sponsored by the makers of Pokemon.
“Top 16, they fly you everywhere,” he says.
“I’d like that.”
He was preparing for the event by practicing at Pastime Sports and Games in Langley City with another top-ranked B.C. player who is also going to the worlds, Jaxson Piwek, a 14-year-old from Surrey.
The game, as they play it, is quick, quiet and efficient, without a lot of chatter.
Lucas is known for his aggressive style of play.
“I do not play defence,” he says.
His parents are also involved in the Pokemon card playing community.
Farther Jon competes in Pokemon tournaments and mother Angela organizes local competitions.
She says the game has been a benefit to her son, whose reading and math skills have rapidly improved since he began playing.
And like any parent of a child who takes an intense interest in something, there is a lot of time spent transporting her talented son to competitions, both locally and across the border.
And practising, always practising.
“Every weekend, all weekend, this is what we do,” she says.
The 2018 Pokemon World Championships will be held at Nashville, Tenn. from Aug. 24 to Aug. 26.
The best players from all over the world will compete for the title of Pokemon TCG, Video Game, or Pokken Tournament World Champion, and for a combined prize pool worth more than $500,000 in prizes.
The Pokemon Trading Card Game is a collectible card game, based on the Pokemon video games, television and film series, books, comics, music, toys, and merchandise. It has sold over 25.7 billion cards worldwide, more than any other strategic card game.
It started as a video game on the original Game Boy that centered on fictional creatures called “Pokemon,” which humans catch and train to battle each other for sport.
Pokemon is considered the highest-grossing media franchise of all time, the world’s top-selling toy brand, the second best-selling video game franchise (after Nintendo’s Mario Brothers franchise) and the most successful television show ever based on a video game at over 1,000 episodes