Southampton’s Dominic Rice claimed victory at the Pokémon X & Y Battle Tournament 2014 Grand Final, crowned the winner of the Pokémon Apprentice category.
He fended off competition at Mayfair’s The Music Room, and we took the opportunity to ask how he found the experience, how he selected his team, and whether he was looking forward to Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire later this year.
[This interview was conducted ahead of the 2014 Pokémon Video Game National Championships in Manchester]
Nintendo Insider: How does it feel to have been crowned Pokémon Apprentice? Has your victory sunk in yet?
Dominic Rice: First off, it feels amazing to have won my first ever serious tournament, and no I definitely not expect to get this far at all! To be honest I didn’t even expect to win the heats at West Quay, but hey, I guess I’m better than I thought! [laughs]
NI: Which Pokémon did you select for your team, and how did you decide which to choose?
DR: Well, I chose my team based on power and diversity and since I bred them and raised them all myself, I have grown quite attached to the team! [laughs] It seems kinda weird I know, but hey. Anyway, my team consists of my Goodra, Ferrothron, Tyranitar, Gyrados (I swapped it out for an Azumarill recently) Talonflane, and finally my Jolteon.
As I previously mentioned I picked my team for diversity and as you can see there is no major weakness to it. And I also like the mixture of speed (Jolteon and Talonflame) Power (Tyranitar and Gyrados) and Bulk (Ferrothron and Goodra) that comes with my team. They all did amazingly in the tournament, although I think Azumarill fits my team better because it can take out other massive threats, like Tyranitar, without having to worry about rock moves.
NI: How have you found Pokémon X & Y? Have you been playing the game since launch?
DR: Pokémon X and Y have been my favourite games so far, and that is massive thing for me because I have played Pokémon since the original Red and Blue. But they are my favourite for a few reasons, namely the graphics.
X and Y have MASSIVELY changed the way fans play Pokémon. If you go back to Generation V (Black, White, Black 2 and White 2), the whole experience feels alien just because of how the game looks and plays. I hope and expect they will keep this in future games.
Mega Evolutions are another reason because, lets face it, when the fans first saw the Kanto starters Mega Evolve we ALL lost it – no matter what age you are! I hope they keep them in the future games as well.
Lastly, I love how the new breeding system and EV Training works. Before X and Y breeding individual values (IV) onto Pokémon was a nightmare. I won’t go into detail, but trust me it was. Now it is as simple as finding a decent IV’d Pokémon from Friend Safari or from a baby Pokémon, make it hold a Destiny Knot and hope the IV’s are passed down. Also, Super Training and Horde Battles are a godsend. It makes EV Training so much faster. I just pray that these features stay in all future games.
NI: Do you have any plans to compete in the 2014 Pokémon UK National Championships taking place in Manchester later this month? If so, will you be making any changes to your team?
DR: Unfortunately No I won’t as I didn’t register in time an I don’t have enough Championship Points to enter. However as previously mentioned with my new Azumarill I bred I hope to make it next year with Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire in hand.
NI: Are you looking forward to Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire later this year?
DR: I am SO hyped for Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire! I cannot wait to see what the Hoenn region looks like in all of its 3D glory. Also what Mega Evolutions they add, assuming that feature stays, and what they may change or add to the games to make them better. I just hope that my before mentioned features stay so I can enjoy these games as much as X and Y.
NI: Do you think that you’ll continue to compete in tournaments with new Pokémon games in the future?
DR: Most Definitely. I will probably end up transferring my team over from X and Y for online use and building a new one from scratch for tournament play, as only Pokémon from that region can be used. But yes, I will definitely be making a return to the competitive scene. In fact, I am playing in the May Online tournament this coming weekend so maybe I’ll see some of you reading this on the Battle Spot.
NI: What battle tips do you have for other players who may have only recently started playing Pokémon?
DR: Ok… battle tips. Well, first off make sure you know your Type match-ups. You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t know what’s effective against what. Secondly, building a well balanced team is very important. When team building try picking holes in your own team.
If you can’t get a friend to help you, make sure to EV Train (Super Training) at least. I know its monotonous but it DOES help. Every EV point counts towards your Pokémon’s stats, so make sure you put the full 252 points into every Pokémon and it doesn’t take as long as you think it will. If you want to take it a step further, learn what IV breeding is if you don’t already, and with the added mechanics in Generation VI this is made much easier. It DOES help.
And lastly practise. You’re not going to be able to outwit and predict your opponent if you don’t practise, so make sure to either hop online, battle locally, or use battle simulators to help develop your tactics.
NI: Thanks for your time, Dominic!