My Long-Awaited Return To The Pokémon World Championships

·5-min read
I was so happy to be in London competing against the very best at the Pokemon World Championships 2022.
I was so happy to be in London competing against the very best at the Pokemon World Championships 2022.
I was so happy to be in London competing against the very best at the Pokemon World Championships 2022. | Photo: Nicholas Yong

It has been four long years since I competed at the Pokémon World Championships 2018 held in Nashville, Tenessee that year. This year, I finally returned to the biggest Pokémon event of all time! I didn’t make Worlds 2019, but I qualified for Worlds 2020. Then… a certain pandemic happened that brought the world to a pause.

Fast forward to August 2022, and, at long last, I set foot in the ExCeL London convention centre along with Team Singapore as we competed in the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) division against the rest of the world.

For the first time, the event was held outside of North America at the ExCeL London convention centre.
For the first time, the event was held outside of North America at the ExCeL London convention centre.
For the first time, the event was held outside of North America at the ExCeL London convention centre. | Photo: Nicholas Yong

What is the Pokémon World Championships?

Every year in August, The Pokémon Company International hosts the Pokémon World Championships, where the best players of the Trading Card Game, Video Game, Pokken, Pokémon GO, and Pokémon Unite from around the world battle for the Pokémon Champion crown.

Plus, for the Top 32 players in each game, there is over US$100,000 in prize money to be won, with the winner going home with US$25,000.

But for those of us who grew up with Pokémon, we only have one dream: “To be the very best, that no one ever was.”

The World Championships has always been held in North America since 2004 - that is, until this year. For the first time, the 2022 edition was held in London, UK.

What does the Pokémon World Championships look like? Imagine fans from all around the world in one place celebrating their love for these cute and cool creatures. This vlog will give you a taste of the fervour:

How is the World Championships played? And how did Team Singapore do?

For the Pokémon TCG, the World Championships is divided into four days. Most players (myself included) start on Day 1. We have to play eight rounds, and win six of them to qualify for Day 2. Three losses, and you’re out. With each round taking about an hour, this is a gruelling all-day affair.

Day 2 comprises players who qualified from Day 1, plus some of the top-ranked players and champions from around the world who win the right to skip Day 1.

The Top 8 players from Day 2 move on to Day 3. Day 3 is a single elimination bracket for the Top 8 players. They will play until we are left with only two players, who will compete on the final day to determine the World Champion.

Team Singapore at the World Championships 2022. Thanks guys for the prep leading up to the big day.
Team Singapore at the World Championships 2022. Thanks guys for the prep leading up to the big day.
Team Singapore at the World Championships 2022. Thanks guys for the prep leading up to the big day. | Photo: Wayne Tan

Seven of us from Team Singapore ground through Day 1. Only one of us managed to make it to Day 2 – congratulations, Tan Yong Siang!

Yong Siang joined our Singapore Championships winner, Wayne Tan, who had won the right to enter the competition from Day 2. Here's Wayne playing against the defending champion, Henry Brand; the match was livestreamed:

Unfortunately, both players didn’t make the cut, but a huge congratulations to them, and to the rest of Team Singapore for making it to the world stage!

Here I am with Neon Lai (right), a player from Hong Kong whom I had only interacted with via Facebook Messenger before this event.
Here I am with Neon Lai (right), a player from Hong Kong whom I had only interacted with via Facebook Messenger before this event.
Here I am with Neon Lai (right), a player from Hong Kong whom I had only interacted with via Facebook Messenger before this event. | Photo: Nicholas Yong
Sophia Barrett from the UK (left) and I got to know each other virtually four years ago; we finally met IRL, thanks to the World Championships.
Sophia Barrett from the UK (left) and I got to know each other virtually four years ago; we finally met IRL, thanks to the World Championships.
Sophia Barrett from the UK (left) and I got to know each other virtually four years ago; we finally met IRL, thanks to the World Championships. | Photo: Nicholas Yong

As for me, I had a great time and an unforgettable experience at Worlds. I met so many old faces I haven't seen in years, and made new friends from all around the world.

I hope I'll make it to next year's competition... in Yokohama, Japan!

Photo: Nicholas Yong

How to qualify for the Pokemon World Championships 2023?

It’s not as easy as just showing up to the event. You must earn your right to play.

For the Pokémon TCG World Championships 2023 in Yokohama, Japan, there are two ways to qualify.

The first is to win the Singapore Championships 2023, which will be held in the middle of next year - the winner gets an automatic Day 2-entry into the big competition.

The other way is to earn Championship Points (CSP). Players need to play and finish well (or better still, win!) in local competitions called Town Leagues and Regional Leagues. These tournaments will earn you CSP. Players who place in the top standings for the Singapore Championships also get CSP. The Top 4 players with the highest CSP will earn a Day 1-qualification to Worlds.

Photo: Nicholas Yong

Where to learn the game?

There are a number of local shops called “Pokemon Gyms” all around Singapore. These stores host tournaments every week. Click here to find one near you.

Alternatively, drop me a message at The Southern Islands, a Singapore-based Pokémon TCG Facebook Page that I started. We will be happy to help you learn how to play.

Will you be repping the Singapore flag next year 🇸🇬? Hope to see you at one of our local tournaments very soon!

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