Going into a Pokémon tournament, most players want to mize (crush) their opponent on the first turn by having a good set of 60 cards in their deck. The better the deck, the more wins a competitor will get.
And that is exactly what Livingston brothers Monaco Polluck, 9, and Ravyn Pollock, 13, do every tournament — set up a good deck.
“To win on the first and second turn it takes having strong cards in your deck,” said Teresa Pollock, mother of the two siblings. “Each kid gets 60 cards in their deck and they pick the ones that work the best together. They make it up themselves. It is like a formula.”
Monaco and Ravyn started their Pokémon adventures about three years ago by playing with kids at school.
“We started playing and trading cards with kids at school,” Ravyn said. “Playing against friends is fun.”
Then it grew from there starting at one tournament every so often to a grand total of about 30 tournaments in the past three years, of which both boys have taken home first and second place medals in most of those tournaments.
“I figured if they are buying cards, they might as well play to potentially win scholarship money,” said Teresa Pollock.
So far, Ravyn has already earned some scholarship money from playing a game that he enjoys.
And his favorite card is called the Bidoof — “I like it because it is a funny word and it’s funny because it does damage to itself,” Ravyn said.
Pokémon has other benefits, as well.
“It takes a lot of memory to know about each card,” said Teresa Pollock. “To know what they do, how they work and how they work together.
“They both have straight As,” she said. “I encourage other kids to try it.”
The recreational aspect of exercising the brain, socializing with new people and being awarded trophies and medals when they win a game is really a well-rounded activity for Teresa’s sons to participate in, she said.
“It is a really nice community,” said Teresa Pollock.
Her sons started out in a league in Modesto and have developed many friendships expanding them to more leagues from all over. They have also participated in regional and state competitions.
The game isn’t just about slamming down a Pikachu to win the game, it is about knowing what Pokémon cards work with others and utilizing each of their powers wisely.
“It is challenging,” Monaco said. “You use different strategies with your different cards.”
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