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Foothill Ranch Boy Is Really Good at Pokémon, Really, Really Good

Tyler Corliss is representing at the Pokémon Nationals this weekend after winning the Nevada State Pokémon Junior Championship.

Tyler Corliss with his sister Samantha at the Pokemon Nationals in Indianapolis. Photo credit: Rachel Corliss
Tyler Corliss with his sister Samantha at the Pokemon Nationals in Indianapolis. Photo credit: Rachel Corliss
You ever get that momentary thought when you're really good at a game, how you'd kill it if there some sort of national competition? Ten-year-old Tyler Corliss from Foothill Ranch is living that fantasy.

While the rest of us are stuffing ourselves silly with barbecue and pie, Corliss is in Indianapolis this weekend, facing off competitors in the 2014 Pokémon nationals.

Here's a Q&A with his mom, Rachel. 

PATCH: How long has Tyler been playing?

Rachel Corliss: Tyler has been playing for two years now. He started when he was just 8 years old. 

PATCH: Why did he start playing Pokémon?

Rachel Corliss: His friend had a couple packets of cards and then he started collecting the cards, but he didn't know how to play. He had them everywhere and knew all about each and every attribute of every Pokémon card. I could see that he was really interested in them and he asked for them for Christmas, birthdays, and any time he did anything good. I knew there was a game that could be played, but I couldn't figure out how to play it. So, on his eighth birthday, I was determined to find someone that did. We found a league in Huntington Beach and another one in Orange County and he started playing there three hours at a time on Saturdays and Sundays. The first year he played there was a lot to learn. 

PATCH: How does the game of Pokémon work?

Rachel Corliss: The Pokémon Trading Card Game is a 60-card strategy game that you compile yourself. There are many strategies and many different types and styles of decks. A player must learn all the cards and what each of them does so that he/she can "make a deck". They also need to know all the other cards that aren't in their deck so that they know how to strategize against their opponent. The game has hundreds (if not thousands) of cards. In addition, Pokémon adds cards every three to four months and retires cards (approximately every Aug. 31 for cards that go back about two or more years), so the game, and therefore, the strategy is always changing.

It is also very competitive in California, so the players are highly skilled. The first year he was learning how to play, and I was learning about the points and the Pokémon system they have in place to play competitively. He went to many events and got better and better.

PATCH: What's Tyler's track record in competition?

Rachel Corliss: Tyler won the Nevada State Pokémon Junior Championship on March 15 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

He also won five cities and many league championships, enough to qualify to go to Pokémon World Championships in Washington, D.C. In August.

PATCH: Why does Tyler like to play Pokémon?

Rachel Corliss: Tyler loves to play Pokémon because it is fun, competitive and you make lots of friends.


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