We approach the Assago Forum without knowing what to expect.
In short, we are entering the Pokémon Special Championship but what does it mean? How does it work? What happens in these two days dedicated to both trading card games and videogames?
There is only one way to find out: enter, explore the environment and maybe bombard with questions Italian ProGamingthe esports and gaming entertainment agency that organized the event.
Pokémon Special Championship: what is it?
We go through Gate 1 of the Assago Forum, approach the door, collect our precious badge and get to know Valentina Malagò, Marketing Manager at ProGaming, e Fabrizio Garberoglio, Pokémon Project Manager of the same agency.
In the hall, while the players continue to play, Valentina tells us about the Pokémon Special Champions. It is about an official tournament dedicated to the world of Pokèmon. Official means that ProGaming has received the mandate directly from The Pokèmon Company and that the event is part of the program Play! Pokémon, the one to which all the competitive events that revolve around the most loved monsters in the world belong.
The official means that not only are there a lot of envelopes up for grabs to expand your deck but also the points needed to qualify for the World Cup, which will be held in London next August.
As anticipated, there are two divisions. On the one hand we have those who, equipped with Switch, compete with Pokemon Scudo and Pokemon Spadaon the other hand we have the players who, armed with their own deck, face each other card after card.
But how exactly does the tournament work?
The trend, he explained later Manuel Urray, CEO of Pokémon Millennium, it is similar for both divisions. During the first day they clash with a mechanism defined as “Swiss”. In essence, they face a pre-established number of matches with the aim of bringing home the greatest number of wins. At the end of the day the percentage of wins is calculated. The 32 players with the highest percentage qualify for direct eliminations, scheduled for the second day.
For all ages and all nationalities
Having clarified the operation, we take the opportunity to take a tour of the entire area dedicated to the Pokémon Special Championship. As we walk among the game tables, Valentina tells us that the people present are about 650, divided more or less equally between video game and card game. On the other hand, the division into the three age groups is less equitable. Yes, because there is no single category but there are three:
- the Junior (born from 2010 onwards),
- i Senior (born from 2006 to 2009 inclusive),
- i Master (born in 2005 or earlier).
The Seniors are few, the Juniors even fewer. And it is understandable since they must be accompanied up to here the parents, not always willing to move and travel for this kind of competition.
The ones that are there, however, are incredible. We have seen them sitting in a corner for hours, perhaps with a book in hand, waiting for the end of the day, ready to embrace and console their children in the face of defeat.
The climate we breathe is therefore as competitive as it is human. Friendliness, respect, concentration: these are the first things we noticed while walking around the hall of the Assago Forum.
The fourth pillar of this Pokémon Special Championship Valentina and Fabrizio pointed this out to us. Yes, because the tournament does not only attract fans of the beautiful country. Half of the participants come from other states: France, Spain, Germany, the Czech Republic… Just to name a few.
That is why all official communications are done in English. And here’s why The Judges, who oversee the various challenges, also intervene to help players communicate with each other. In most cases, however, the participants are autonomous, with the older ones showing off their English and the little ones managing to make themselves understood in some way.
We confess: we spent a lot of time observing 6-7 year old children, engaged in a game of cards, who managed to make themselves understood by foreign players, united by a common passion for this game.
There is therefore an international climate. We didn’t expect it, we confess, but we found this desire to travel, get involved and fight incredibly stimulating. A sign that Pokémon, even today, is an incredible phenomenon of costume, capable of uniting people of different ages, genders, backgrounds and nationalities.
Ok, but who won?
Here are the winners of the Pokémon Special Championship.
For the Trading Card Game:
- Junior Division; Nino L. [AT]
- Senior Division; Rune H. [BE]
- Master Division: Tord Reklev [NO]
For the Video Game:
- Junior Division; Francesca Z. [IT]
- Senior Division; Francesco R. [IT]
- Master Division: Flavio Del Pidio [IT]