Pompousness [Pokémon TCG Spoilers]

by Geoffrey 'ePaulson

[Editor's Note: I know nothing about Pokémon TCG. As far as I can tell, this is a good-sportsmanship editorial, but I could be wrong. I must be out of the loop.]

I would like to address something that seems to put a down-note on playing the Pokemon TCG; a vice which many players exhibit relentlessly, this occurrence is called 'Pompousness' Pompousness can be found everywhere, collectors who boast that they have every single card, kids who have 'unbeatable' decks, and even excellent players who have won so much that it has gotten into their heads that they just can't even think of being beaten.

The problem with pompousness is that it leads to an 'I Can't Lose' mentality. I live in a relatively small city, and most players here besides a very few teenagers and even fewer adults have a deck of any quality. A stall/haymaker/raindance deck is a very rare thing to find here. I myself have only run into about four different haymakers, two different stalls, one Energy Removal deck, two Turbo Wiggly decks, and one raindance. I have never seen or played against a potpourri or cleaner deck, and I'm the only one in the area who uses a sponge.

This is and of itself is not a bad thing, why? It leads to a lot of original decks, the problem is, and most of these original decks aren't put together with any intelligence whatsoever. The best original deck I ever run into is my friend, Nick Bergez's 'Swinging Ninetails' deck. How do these original, sucky decks lead to pompousness? I'll explain.

The owner of one of these decks looks at a card and says 'Ooooh, Zapdos. 100 damage or 60 damage.' Or 'Poliwrath! 90 HP and two cool attacks' the problem is, they stuff their decks with these 'shiny' cards, and expect to win because of the sheer brute force of the cards. They can't understand how their 1-1-1 Poliwrath line, along with a 1-1-1 Charizard line, and a 1-1-1 Venusaur line can lose to anything! (No joke, that was an actual example of a type of deck I played) As a result, they tend to accuse people of cheating, or calling them 'cheap' for using mean cards like 'Super Energy Removal' and 'Gust of Wind'. They can't stand losing, or even see how they can lose, because their big, shiny cards blind them.

Now, there's the next type of 'Pompous Player' the one who knows how to play, and has a good deck, but is so full of himself that he can't comprehend losing. Ex. I was at the Pokemon League, and I saw someone properly thwomp this little kid's Venonant/Pikachu/Bulbasaur deck with a haymaker. After he was finished, I asked him if he'd like to play. His reaction? Looking me over with a smug little look on his face, smirking, and then laughing saying 'Sure, let's go'. To cut it short, my Sponge tore through his Haymaker in about 6 minutes.

The look on his face was incredible, he wasn't used to losing, he couldn't understand losing. He was so pompous before the match, and now his ego was absolutely crushed. He couldn't even speak or look at me for a few minutes, and refused to shake my hand. After a while he recovered and said, "I'll play you again" obviously he was thought he'd have to redeem his loss by defeating me. He wasn't stupid by all means, because he saw how I played, and the next deck he pulled was a stall deck. I saw this after a bit. And stopped my Oaking, saved my trainers, and concentrated on keeping him from attacking while letting myself attack. When I had no cards left in my draw pile, I lassed. After this, I used a gambler. Eventually, he decked himself out. Once again, he was shocked. He didn't even look at me after he couldn't draw a card. He just said 'Darn' picked up his deck, and walked away. Or the kids who look through my deck and say, "No evolutions and only nine basics? You have way to many trainers in your deck. My Snorlax/Flareon deck could beat this easily"

This is not the kind of behavior we want kids playing Pokemon to use. We should be graceful with losing, and courteous when winning. This is why my friends, and me whenever we win, or lose, shake our opponent's hand and say, 'Good Game' this makes both sides feel as if they have had a very rewarding/learning experience.

When I first started playing Pokemon, I played against my dad, a lot. We averaged about three games every day. He won most of them, and it was through this that I learned that losing is a learning experience, and should be taken gracefully, not immaturely. Now he has stopped playing, and I'm what some people consider a 'Professional Player' Ever since he has stopped playing, I've lost very few times. In fact, so few I can count them, once against a haymaker when I first started in the League, six times against my friend, Nick Bergez, once against my friend Eric (decked) twice against the same stall deck (decked again) once against Jules (decked) and of course, the famous tourney game against Nick where he fire blasted away my lone Electabuzz. ^_^ Now, this isn't much, considering I play about 5-12 games a week, but in these losses, I was courteous of my opponent. Shaking their hands, smiling, and saying 'Good game' don't whine and say 'If only I had gotten my energy' or 'If only I had a better hand' losing can be a good experience. When I lost against a haymaker once, I learned my deck needed more speed, since I've decked myself so often, I've learned I need countermeasures to prevent this. Losing is often better than winning if you learn how to make your deck better, and how to play better. And even if you do win most of your matches, don’t boast and yell, 'I WON! YAAH! I'M THE BOMB' like I see so many people do, smile and be modest. People will respect you more for this.

An example, I know a kid at the Pokemon League, we play against each other often, all our games are very close, but I'm always able to snatch away that last prize before he does, I've yet to lose against him. I don't beat him down for losing, and make a fool out of myself, and he doesn't whine about losing and make a fool out of himself too. Why? We both know that there will be a game where he'll gain the upper hand and win. And I won't whine then, and he won't boast then either.

Remember, a proper attitude can gain you just as much respect as winning a lot, sometimes even more. There is a person at the tourneys I go to, he wins a lot, and he's always bragging and boasting, people don't like to hang around him much besides his friends from school, who are much like him too. I don't brag, as I win I smile and shake my opponents hand. As a result, people hang around me more, they compliment me, and I don't brag when they do this, I smile and say, "Thanks!" People come to me for rulings on cards, because they know that I'll be kind and civil towards them, and won't bite their heads off. I won't say, "You're so stupid! The card doesn’t SAY trainer on it does it?" instead they’ll get "Well full heal energy card SAYS its an energy card, and on the top of the card, it shows its an energy just like any basic energy card. And it's number shows its grouped with other energy cards in the set, not with the trainers. So I'd say it'd be safe to say that Lass won't wipe it out like it does with trainers."

All in all, remember folks, being nice and behaving civilly is just as important as being able to play well.

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