Combined efforts were key to win the Pokémon Ultimate Team category at the Pokémon X & Y Battle Tournament 2014, duly achieved by West Drayton’s Francis and Joshua Jones.
We chatted with Francis about competing with his younger brother, whether they had a battle strategy in place, the risks of using nicknamed Pokémon in public, and what they’ll be spending their £250 prize vouchers on.
[This interview was conducted ahead of the 2014 Pokémon Video Game National Championships in Manchester]
Nintendo Insider: Congratulations on being victorious in the Ultimate Team category! How did it feel when you could see victory approaching?
Francis Jones: In all honesty, at the time, I was more embarrassed as we were just about to win, since the Pokémon I was using for the whole match was the only one nicknamed and it was after my girlfriend who was in the audience. That knowing smirk really just made me blush on stage. In terms of battle, it felt amazing to be able to turn around the match in the last five minutes when it looked like we were guaranteed to lose!
NI: You obviously had to combine your efforts to beat the opposing team. Did you have a clear strategy from the start?
FJ: Our strategy was based on our sibling bond; I would let go all out while I provided support and back-up from the side. My plan was to boost the power of his spread moves (e.g. muddy water) while also re-directing attacks and neutralising the threats on the opposite side. That way, my little brother could do nearly everything by himself while I made sure his Pokémon would be safe while doing so.
NI: How did you decide which Pokémon to use? Did you look for balance across each of your teams?
FJ: Our team was based on sibling bonds; relying on each other and helping each other out too. I also took advantage of his nature to always just attack without thinking so I made sure he had Pokémon with a lot of type coverage, spread moves and priority attacks. I then used Pokémon like Encore Politoed and Rage Powder Amoonguss to help neutralise the threats on the opposite side of the field.
NI: How did you find the experience of playing together? Have you both always been fans of the Pokémon series?
FJ: It felt really amazing. Me and my little brother are really close so being able to fight and win together and prove to our mother that we should continue with our Pokémon obsession felt great! I was into Pokémon back during the heydays of Pokémania, but stopped around secondary school. However, when I got into University, I was surrounded by Pokémaniacs and that got me back into the game. Joshua initially didn’t care for Pokémon despite how much I tried. Then he got into it the same way I did; waking up on a Saturday morning and seeing the anime on TV. He started to get into it and then, since my old room was basically a shrine to Pokémon, it was like he had access to a massive Pokémon-themed toy shop.
NI: Will you look to compete together again with new Pokémon games, or will you look to chase titles solo moving forward?
FJ: I think we will still play together when we get the chance but because I’m always away at University (combined with my obsession with travelling) and he lives with my parents, we will have to play without each other until at least the summer holidays.
NI: Do either of you have any plans to compete in the 2014 Pokémon UK National Championships later this month?
FJ: We definitely will enter the Nationals next week! This will be my fourth Pokémon Nationals and I convinced my parents to take him too. My girlfriend also decided to enter it as her first tournament too so I can’t wait to have me, my little brother, my girlfriend and a lot of my other Pokémon Trainer friends all fighting together, to win a place in the World Finals! Joshua is good friends with the Junior Champion from the last two years, Ahren Bundy, so Ahren has been helping Joshua a lot as well as being Joshua’s motivation to be able to fight Ahren for the title of Pokémon Champion.
NI: £250 Nintendo UK Online Store vouchers was part of your prize. Have you decided what to spend them on yet?
FJ: Joshua cared more about all the toys he got that day so he said I could have the entire £250 voucher. Since after University, I am moving to China to start a new job, it would be hard to be able to fulfil my addiction to Nintendo games so I will be resorting to using the Nintendo eShop and digital games, and that £250 voucher will cover my gaming costs… at least for a year!
NI: Thanks for your time, Francis!