In the world of Pokemon, Wolfe Glick is kind of a big deal. The 16-year-old junior at McLean High School won his second straight national championship in the masters (16 and up) division of the U.S. Pokemon Video Game Championships last month, and then traveled to Hawaii, where on Aug. 12 he came in second in the Pokemon World Video Game Championships.
There have also been a few trophies, some free travel and even a little scholarship money. ”But I’m not doing it for the money,” Glick said. “It’s for the fun of the game.”
He must love it. In the summer, he can spend six or seven hours a day on his Nintendo DS. During the school year, Glick runs cross-country and sings in the choir at McLean High, so he does get outside too, kids.
Glick said he started collecting and playing the Pokemon card game around age 8, and was never too good. He picked it up again a couple of years ago, continued to lose at the card game, and switched over to the video version.
And last year he decided to check out a regional Pokemon video tournament in D.C. “I didn’t think I had a chance,” he said. “I ended up winning.”
The video game is different from the card game in that instead of using a deck, players select six creatures, examine their opponents’ six, and then choose four for the actual battles, which are conducted on wireless Nintendo DS consoles. “It’s basically a strategy game” rather than a joystick game,” Glick said, “a combination of chess and poker. You have to outmaneuver your opponent.”
There is a ladder one must ascend as a master trainer in Pokemon. One may not simply show up at the higher tournaments and enter. As Glick won, he moved up the ladder, and he won the 2011 championships in Indianapolis, using a team of Reuniclus, Thundurus, Terrakion, Conkeldurr, Scrafty and Confagrigus. Pokemon people know what that means.
Glick did not finish in the money at the 2011 world games in San Diego. But he did qualify for this year’s U.S. championships and won again in Indianapolis. This netted him a free trip to Hawaii for the world championships
In this article, Glick disclosed his secrets for how he compiled his team for the worlds, where he would ultimately face the two-time champ, Ray Rizzo. Glick described himself as “a supreme Pokenob,” which I’m sure is some kind of inside joke, and then laid out his team in extensive detail: Cresselia, Heatran, Thundurus, Hitmontop, Exeggutor and Terrakion. Dozens of analytical comments about this lineup ensued, and it carried him to the finals, through a bracket with 33 competitors from all over the globe. But Rizzo, 20, of New Jersey won for the third time.
The high finishes get Glick an automatic invite to next year’s national and world tournaments. He is the son of Heather and David Glick and the older brother of Max Glick.
Here’s what a high-level Pokemon match looks like, involving “Wolfey” and Sejun Park at this year’s world championships. I have no earthly idea what is going on here.