"Oh, Brother!" – Juniors Orlando & Philadelphia Regionals 2016 Tournament Reports

This is the companion discussion topic for this article.

Now imagine if I told you that Will Post had gotten to the finals at every Regionals so far this year, going undefeated in Swiss every tournament and then crushing people in Top 8 and Top 4. AND HE WOULD BE AT EVERY REGIONAL THE REST OF THE YEAR.

Someone’s been reading my dream journal.

When do quarters reset? How can they announce that caps are time-boxed to distinct periods without telling us when the periods are?

The seasons are listed here http://www.pokemon.com/us/play-pokemon/pokemon-events/pokemon-tournaments/earn-championship-points-tcg/

•July 11, 2016, through October 2016
•November 2016 through January 2017
•February 2017 through April 2017
•May 2017 through the end of the tournament season


Hmmm, I think I got more private messages on this one than usual, but less comments. :thumbsdown:


Do you have your kids play the mirror to whatever deck they choose? Do you own enough copies of cards to make 2 of any deck, proxy everything or just not play the mirror?

It seems like the only way to have siblings paired up less is to increase the amount of juniors playing. Masters has greatly increased since last year, but junior participation is flat. Is there any easy way to increase junior participation?

I’ve thought about this quite a bit. I feel like this is a hard time to get kids into the game. The tournament schedule, until League Cups, will only have at most one major local tournament close by for a casual or new player.

You’ve got to pay to enter.

If you do any research at all ahead of time, you may balk at the cost of entry into the game (Shaymin EX).

It seems much more challenging to get new or casual kids interested than it was even a couple of years ago.

My thoughts haven’t really brought me to a conclusion on how to get around these things.

I have to agree 100%. On the one hand, Pokemon’s rejoinder would no doubt be: Big prize money. But I am pretty sure that when we got into playing we assumed we would suck. The fact that everything was free for the kids was, no doubt, a big draw. Now, Pokemon could respond back with “making it free for juniors, lowering cash prizes”, but that just fuels the poor economics of juniors even further. How can they create a qualification structure that rewards massive travel and then not pay juniors anything for traveling like crazy? Seems bad.

Now, my rejoinder to their response (see what I did there?) would be that the prize payouts are so limited for juniors compared to what they are marketing that they should make it free and leave the payouts the same. And we don’t need more mats, so it is all good.

Shaymin-EX is a problem. That would have really put us off when we started. I tell people all the time that we got our start in the golden era - my kids got 4 Deoxys tins, 3 Thunderus tins, and 2 Lugia tins and we had a top tier deck. I continue to be surprised that we aren’t seeing more juniors playing Volcanion. It is the first time since Yveltal tins 2 years ago that you could build a top tier deck more or less by buying 4 tins and then a Volcanion theme deck. That is pretty legit.

Still need Shaymins though.


I got lucky. We bought a box of Roaring Skies and pulled two Shaymin EX. I bought four booster packs of Roaring Skies and we got two more. Finally, I got my son a lunchbox last year around Cities and we pulled a fifth. Luckily I’ve only got to build one (or, at max, two) deck(s), so that was enough. And even if I hadn’t gotten lucky with my pulls, I still could’ve picked up a playset for the cost of one full art now. Insanity.

My cousin, who is starting to get into the game, is trading away all of his crappy ex’s for Shaymins at school. So far he’s got like three of them by trading Blastoise EX and the likes.

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Your cousin sounds like a genius.

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We have/need 3 playsets of Shaymin’s in order for me and 2 boys (and in LC’s my wife) to all be able to play. Same thing goes with computer searches (3), jirachi ex (4). At least the expanded cards will keep their full value indefinitely, where as Shaymin will drop some amount when it rotates.

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My son started playing in July and has ambitions to attend the worlds.

Shaymin is part of the issue (we pulled one and bought 3 as they were more reasonable back in July). Shaymin is a one time expense that can be reused over and over. If your son is serious about the game I can over look the one time expense. It’s like buying baseball gear (bat, glove, bag, shoes and helmet).

We then looked at going to Orlando, and quickly realized it was going to cost $1000 for all the same reasons Brent listed in the article (airfare for 2, own hotel room, etc…). I looked at my wife and knew what the logical answer was. At best if he won, he would win $1000 so it was a break even, but realistically he wouldn’t so he would win $0.

Hopefully Pokemon realizes that these juniors (seniors and younger masters) are the future of the game and should be doing everything they can to accommodate them. Realizing that anyone under 18 will most likely have a parent accompany them. Maybe offer them a travel voucher for the parent for 1 or 2 regionals. I don’t know how the other Pokeparents justify the $1000 expense to attend each event and then attend multiple of them on top of that.

Our decision in the end was to attend the one local Regional event and as many League Cups until he wins 6 for 300 points. He’s won two league cups so that is 30 points.

Hopefully we have some special events where he can win the extra 70 points needed to attend the worlds (assuming less than 32 juniors at these events means he would have to place top 4 to get any points).

If the special events don’t get him there we may decide to attend a regional at the end of the year, knowing he would have to place in the top 8 to get any points (as all events to date have been less than 64 juniors).

If anyone know’s of other ways to make this work, please share.

I wish everyone here the best of luck at every event they attend!


I have to question if juniors are really the future of the game (I have 2), the masters managed to grow dramatically by importing players from mtg/ygh. The future really looks like 20+ yr olds who have the disposable time, transportation and can share a room with 6 people. And the people most targeted by 20th anniversary nostalgia are 20/30’s.

I think getting more kids into organized play starts at the local league level. I think cities/states helped juniors in the past since they were closer and less competitive than a regional. Maybe Cups will fill that void, but there will still be a huge gap (skill, cost, etc.) between a Cup and a Regional

I agree entirely. I think the game just has a history of catering to the younger crowd with free/reduced cost entry that leaves the impression that letting them in free was to seed the game for future generations. Prizing worth chasing has attracted way more people into the Masters division than free entry ever attracted into the younger divisions.

Brent, as a first year senior I am in full agreement with you and your sons. The fact that they don’t put cash as one of the prizes for JRS, SRS, and some young master’s is a huge problem. I spend all my allowance on singles for a deck for just one regionals, and then you make a slightly bad meta call and flunk at the tournament, with almost nothing in return as far as money for a better deck goes. And that REALLY bugs me.

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I want to chime and say this is a super interesting observation. For many years (since, like, 2003?) the credo was that Juniors + Seniors are the future of the game; Masters, be thankful for what you have. We’re definitely witnessing a shift of philosophy, and I wonder how sustainable it is for all parties involved (TPCi, kids, parents) to partake in competitive play in its current state. Maybe League Cups will solve everything once they get going?


What’s a League Cup? :stuck_out_tongue:


This is incredibly true. Back in 2013, there were cash stipends to Nationals for winning States. Juniors/Seniors got $500, Masters got $300.

Pokemon has never hit the balance between catering to the younger and older crowd. It only makes sense that they’re putting the most money and effort into the much larger group that pays them the most money.

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I have to agree that from a competitive play point of view Pokemon is wise to put more of the money focus on the masters.

JR and SR players may or may not continue to play the game as they get older. Kids interests change and they have school calendars that dictate their free time. This is no different then any other activity that a child picks up. They get interested, try it out and maybe they stick with it maybe they don’t. From a JR/SR point of view it’s important that Pokemon keep the game accessible to the kids and that means local events and strong leagues. In that area I think Pokemon could do a lot better. We need the League cups the start soon and we need lots of them! (Come on Pokemon get it in gear) I don’t think putting significant money into travel for JR and SR is the way to get the little ones into the game. Put it into local events and make it worth while for stores to run good events that have good prizes for the kids. (and places for the parents to sit). Simply make the experience fun, that’s what the kids and parents want.

If the child wants to make the jump to truly competitive play then the parent has a serious decision to make. Does the parent have the time and the resources to facilitate that level of play. To be competitive in just about any sport takes 2 things. 1) time and 2) travel money. Yes their is a cost to the cards but that is no different then buying sports gear or a musical intstrument or dancing classes etc etc… the real cost is time and travel. For me I have a child that has been playing for 5 years. We have traveled all over the US and I have spent literally thousands of dollars on travel but we almost always make a family vacation out of it and we have had some great experiences.

Masters are different. They are generally only paying for themselves, tend to carpool, put 12 people in a single hotel room and survive off of Red Bull and Doritos. Ok maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration but they do make up the bulk of the players and they are the ones making it a truly competitive sport so that’s where the most prize money should be.