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PHS Junior is Pokémon Champ

Think Pokémon is a kid's game? Serious gamers like Thomas Messick, a junior at Palatine High School, is a stand out in the tournament circle.

Thomas Messick (grey sweatshirt) at a regional Pokémon tournament. Credit: Courtesy Thomas Messick
Thomas Messick (grey sweatshirt) at a regional Pokémon tournament. Credit: Courtesy Thomas Messick
For Palatine High School junior Thomas Messick, playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game isn't just a hobby, it's a challenge to be the best.

Recently, Messick placed first in the Masters Division of the 2013 Pokémon City Championships in Romeoville, earning the title of Pokémon City Champion.

Along with the coveted title and City Championship trophy, Messick earned valuable championship points that count toward a potential invitation to compete at the 2014 Pokémon World Championships in Washington D.C., according to a press release.

In addition, players that achieve a top championship points ranking after the 2014 Spring Regional Championships in April will earn travel awards to compete at the 2014 Pokémon U.S. National Championships in Indianapolis next summer.

Messick said he started playing the Pokémon trading card game in the fourth grade, after a friend introduced him to it. He's been playing ever since, competing in Pokémon-sanctioned battles.

"My best year was in 2011, when I got to the top cut at almost every tournament including 19th place in the national championships," said Messick.

Recently i have gone to the regional championships, at Yeti Gaming, in Saint Louis. I did not finish as well as I would have liked to, but I ended up in 119th place (out of 344) in my division."

Messick was undefeated in the city champtionships in Romeoville, using his preferred Pokémon deck, "Empoleon/leafeon/Dusknoir."

Game for All Ages

Information about Pokémon competitions, leagues and stores can be found at www.pokemon.com. Through the website, Messick found the Everything Pokémon League in Buffalo Grove, which hosts events and competitions.

The biggest reason Messick said he continues to play the game, is the people.

"The Pokémon community is arguably the best card game community around. Some may consider Pokémon to be a little kid's game, but a majority of the competitive community are masters, age 15 and above. Many people, such as myself, have been playing since they were 9 or 10 years old, or play because of the friendships they have. I have met some of my best friends through the game."

Messick said Pokémon is one of the best games out there for all ages to play.

"If you are considering playing the game, just try it out and maybe one day you will be the next Pokémon World Champion!"

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