‘I want to be selfish’ Pokémon World Champion Wolfe Glick opens up about competing and the crowd

IF you know only one thing about competitive Pokémon, that thing is probably a single name: Wolfe Glick.

He is the most decorated player in the game’s history as an eight-time Regional champion, a Player’s Cup champion, and an International champion.

Glick was proud of his team that took him to 13th place at EUIC


Glick was proud of his team that took him to 13th place at EUICCredit: The Pokémon Company

Best known as the 2016 Worlds champion, the ‘World Champ difference’ has allowed him to amass over a million subscribers on YouTube.

Here he breaks down competitive Pokémon, makes creative documentaries, and offers viewers insights into how a top trainer thinks.

He most recently attended the European International Championships in London, the largest Pokémon tournament to date.

From the comfort of your home, you don’t realise how taxing these tournaments are on players.

The first round on day one of EUIC began at 9am, and players didn’t finish their ninth round of the day until past 8pm.

Glick tells The Sun: “I’m definitely tired.

“Tournaments in general are so difficult and so stressful and require so much focus — doing it in a foreign country definitely adds a whole other layer.

“I think my stamina has gotten pretty good. There are tournaments where I’ve been exhausted by the end of the day, but I feel pretty good here.

“I’ve gotten a lot better at working on my mental game and just understanding how to relieve myself of some of the external factors that tend to make the tournament feel longer.

“A lot of the tournament is actually waiting. You finish a set and you have like 20 or 30 minutes sometimes before the next game.

“So seeing that time as a relief rather than an additional stressor is something I’ve done really well in my past few tournaments.”

Glick owes his fame online to his success at playing Pokémon but, after speaking to him, these two aspects feel at odds with each other.

If you were at the event you will have seen big name creators such as Aaron Zheng, James Baek, and even other World champions like Eduardo Cunha and Shohei Kimura freely walking around the hall.

The same cannot be said for Glick who often finishes sets, marches to hand in his slip and quickly snaps a few pictures with overwhelmed fans before disappearing from sight.

He tells us: “It’s definitely a blessing to be in the position that I’m in.

“But there are additional challenges that come with it, where I find that doing well as a competitor and a content creator are a bit at odds.

“You really want to be very selfish and think, ‘What do I need right now? How do I look after myself as a competitor?’

“But you really want to make sure that you’re doing what other people need.

“Someone might come up to you and say, ‘Oh you’re Wolfe, hi’, but they didn’t really think ahead, so they don’t know what to say.

“They just stand there, so I have to drive the conversation, I have to think, ‘Okay, are they comfortable?’ and I’ll ask questions about them.

“It’s a little bit difficult to switch between these two disparate modes, especially when I really do care about competing and doing all of these [tournaments].

“So it’s an additional challenge that I have to face, but it comes from a good thing.

“It’s really difficult to balance being a creator and being a player, especially as my reach as a VGC creator is so much bigger than I think.

“The space isn’t really designed to handle it, and it’s really important to me to take my role and responsibility seriously.

“For most tournaments I find a little hidey hole, and I’ll talk to people on the way to and from there, but I try to have my own space. It’s tough.

“People see you and they don’t know the context. Being asked for a picture right after you learn you have been kicked out of the tournament feels really bad.

“It’s like, ‘I just lost. I just want to reflect. I just want to be alone’.

“I tend to try and just find a space where I’ll have a little less traffic, and go chill there with my friends.”

One early round in particular, Glick and his opponent were sitting directly next to a pathway where spectators could freely walk past and stand to watch him.

He was playing Diego Bonome Garrido, a trainer playing a slow Trick Room team, featuring bulky Pokémon like Porygon 2, Wo Chien, Raging Bolt and Enamorus.

Because of this, Glick’s match was the last to finish, and by the time he stood victorious, a crowd of around a hundred had gathered to watch him play, including some of his biggest competition.

Among these players was Alex Gómez, who faced and beat Glick in Round 14, paving his way to come third in the entire tournament, while knocking Glick out of a Top 8 position.

Glick says: “There was a time when that would have bothered me, but I’m really grateful that we use open team sheets [a form that players swap before a match with details of that person’s team] now.

“Back in the day, the information you could glean from sitting next to someone and looking at their screen was massive.

“And because I’m such a high profile player, that would make me the target of any information they could get. My team would be out there by Round 2 and everyone would know about it.

“With open team sheets it doesn’t really bother me anymore, because I’ll get that information as well.

“I ended up losing to Alex today, but honestly I’m not upset that I missed top cut.

“It’s my third time missing top cut to resistance [Glick won as many matches as the Top 8 players, but the players he beat didn’t win enough matches for him to progress] in a big tournament like this.

“I would have liked to have gone further, but one thing you need to learn if you’re going to play competitive Pokémon is that how well you do and the result aren’t always directly related.

“Sometimes you have a great tournament, where you feel you did everything right, but you don’t get the result you want.

“And sometimes you feel you weren’t playing that well but you get really lucky and end up getting a good finish.

“I can be proud of this result, because I’m proud of myself for locking in today and playing good Pokémon.”

If you want to read more about EUIC, check out the new Pokémon players who won $13k.

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