Pokémon ace to play world’s best in USA

S22572H14 ''Pokemon card game ace Samuel McLewee
S22572H14 ''Pokemon card game ace Samuel McLewee

A TEENAGE card gamer who scooped second place in the national championships is jetting off to America to fight for the world title.

Samuel McLewee, 17, of Downland Road, Upper Beeding, has been collecting trading cards based on the popular video game Pokémon since he was four years old, and has been playing competitively for the last six years.

Samuel came second in the national finals in Manchester in May.

“It was good, but very stressful at times,” he said.

“In my top-four game, winning or losing decided whether my brother and I would have our flights and hotel paid for when flying out to America, and so my heart was beating very fast throughout it.”

Samuel, whose favourite Pokémon is Charizard, plays every Thursday in a league at the Shoreham Centre with around 15 other players.

“I really enjoy the competitive side to the game,” he said.

“I’m a relatively competitive person, probably due to the fact that I have grown up with two older brothers, and it’s nice being able to have the option to do well in tournaments.”

The club has been running for almost a year now and is attracting a lot of new players.

“My favourite thing about the game has to be the people involved,” said Samuel.

“The majority of people who judge or compete in the tournaments are really nice and friendly, and I have met so many good friends through playing the game.

“It’s thanks to these people that you can do badly at a tournament, and still have had a great day regardless.

“If it wasn’t for these people, I don’t think I’d still be competing to this day.”

Samuel said he was looking forward to his upcoming tip to Washington DC in August, but said the feeling had not completely sunk in yet.

“I definitely think I have a chance, but the fact of the matter is that the tournament will only contain the world’s best players, and so there will be a strong competitive atmosphere,” he said.

Samuel added that there was a lot of prize money up for grabs, and that all the competitors would be bringing there top game to the tournament.

The Shoreham Pokémon League welcomes all players, regardless of experience, from age five to adult for both trading-card games and video games.