Pokémon Go-ing Places


Clarion photo Jennifer Singh

Pokémon Expert Colter Decker

By Jennifer Singh, Reporter

You may know the game Pokémon, but you probably do not know it like Cleveland senior Colter Decker.

Decker has been to the Pokémon World Championship seven times, traveling all over the country and internationally. He has been to San Diego, Hawaii, Vancouver BC, Washington DC, Boston, San Francisco, and most recently to Nashville for the 2018 World championship. He has earned both second and third place at Worlds in the past and has acquired scholarship money, free trips, and prizes.

“Last year I met up with my friend the day before the Portland regionals,” Decker said. “He’s one of the best players in the game and we just practiced the day before tournament.” The practice helped Decker win $2,500 dollars after coming in second at regionals.

As far as the basics in Pokémon go, one opponent is trying to knock out the other player’s Pokémon with their own, and as soon as a player defeats another opponent’s card, they win the game. “There’s a whole bunch of different nuances in how you build your deck to do best against the other decks that are being played,” Decker explained.

Decker got this far through years of practice. When he was in elementary school, all of his peers were playing Pokémon. “I found this card on the playground and I wanted to know what it did, so I learned all the rules online and there’s these local leagues where people go and play Pokémon. So I started doing that and just went to tournaments,” Decker said. “I was just having fun; I would do awful, I would lose every round, but it was just fun, and I got better and better and started doing more.” Decker has taught himself the rules and tricks of the game, competing locally, nationally, and internationally.

Within the month or two before a competition he will start increasing his practice time and research what decks of cards he should be playing with. As the competition nears, he practices with friends all over the country through Skype and starts narrowing down the cards he wants to use for competition. Within the week before a competition, up to eight hours a day is spent playing and practicing.

“[Friends] are definitely the reason that I keep playing,” Decker said. “Pokémon’s the reason I think that I’m not super introverted.” The connections he has made through the game has been a driving force for him to keep on playing.

Decker has had many successes in his tournaments and competitions, and has accumulated around $30,000 dollars in total throughout his Pokémon career. However, high school has occupied more of his time he usually devotes to preparation.

“Last year I started playing less because of high school, and this year I foresee myself playing a lot less, especially with college apps,” Decker said. Nonetheless, he still sees himself trying to make time for the hobby that has made him a national title-holder and into the person he is today.