10 Questions with Xavier Chua

Posted: December 15, 2012 in Interview

Continuing our spotlight on Singapore’s Worlds participants we have yet another Top 16 contestant-Xavier Chua. Having shot to local stardom by earning an invite to Worlds by Championship Points alone for the 2012 season he performed even better by beating quite a few well established, international names during his Swiss rounds. As a side note, any local terms which might be unknown to our international readers have wikipedia links embedded.

He loves Pokémon and he's not afraid to show it

He loves Pokémon and he’s not afraid to show it

How did you start playing the TCG competitively?

Well, I started playing Pokémon competitively about, a year and a half ago? Initially, the plan was to represent Singapore in the video games department because I felt I was pretty good there. But after seeing people play the card game at the league I attended for a couple of weeks, the cards kinda got to me, and after trying it out for a few months, I told myself “This is it. I’m going to get good.” I started participating in every tournament available to us. Oh, and one point to note is that, if not for my girlfriend’s initial obsession with my DS and my Pokémon games, none of this would have ever started. I love Pokémon, but it died down during my National Service days. She revived that love.

You managed to break into the Top 16 of Worlds this year, beating quite a few famous names such as Tom Hall and Jason Klaczynski. What were your feelings after your Top 16 match?

Whew, up till now it’s hard to believe that I was paired up against these amazing players, gave them a good fight, and came out on top. Well, being my first full competitive season, breaking into top 16 is already more than I could ask for. However, being able to beat our world champion Igor during swiss, I was confident that top 16 would be good since I had an upper hand. Bad draws that morning really got the better of me, and well, a loss is a loss. No shame losing to the world champion though. Heh.

You were quite the smart dresser at Worlds. Would you say your fashion sense contributed to your outstanding performance?

Dressed to crush dreams

Dressed to crush dreams

Haha. Well, na, I just wanted to look good at the world stage. Gives an unknown player like me a better image, as well as looking approachable and cool at the same time.

Besides regularly top cutting at PTCG tournaments what else do you do in your daily life?

Hahaha I wouldn’t say regularly top cutting :p It only happened recently when CMT[Celebi/Mewtwo EX/Tornadus] brought me to greater heights! Well, my daily life is spent on school, family, friends, and badminton as well as playing video games once in a while.

How much do your family and peers know about your achievements? What are their opinions on them?

Well, I don’t go around introducing myself like: “hey, I’m top 10 in the world in the Pokémon trading card game!” Sounds rather obnoxious. But well, my closer friends would ask about my performance and I’d share it with them. And some hear or see them on my Facebook page, and congratulate me after. Most are happy for me of course, but well, the stigma of playing trading cards is always there, and some friends would tell me Pokémon can’t bring me anywhere in life. Same goes for my parents I guess. Sure they would tell me “Good job” and they in some way support me, but I believe they would not want me spending too much time on the game.

Tell us more about your involvement in the local PTCG community.

I took over the E2max Pokémon league when the previous gym leader stepped down and requested me to help him. I of course agreed to it, and I now run the area every Saturday. Personally, I enjoy developing and helping other players get better in the game and to help them achieve their goals. And I find joy in doing that. Those who know me would know I’m a friendly player and always willing to help others when they ask for it:)

What do you think contributes to the high level of play that we have seen in Singaporean players?

Hmmm, I would say the high level of play would be due to how the community in Singapore is a small but tight knitted one. Unlike America and several other counties where they have a plethora of competitions, Singapore only has a handful. In order to gain points for an invitation to worlds, you need to stand out. To stand out, you have to be good. And thus, if a player here take the game seriously and wants to go to worlds, he literally has got to work his ass off. I think this motivation polishes players and prepares them for every single tournament that comes by.

What advice do you have for new players who wish to emulate your meteoric rise as one of the top players in Singapore?

Advice huh? Play test of course is a must. Be decisive when it comes to tournament decks. It’s better to be a master of one than a jack of all trades. Make sure you have sufficient testing against all the meta decks prior to a tournament. Play test! With as many varieties of players as possible. And most importantly, which I feel plenty of players are unable to overcome because of their ego, is to be receptive to criticism. I was once like that, egoistic and thinking I should keep my deck a secret and it should stay the way it is, but, you will get nowhere without the testing and critique from a good player or two.

You are known as a member of Team Lavender in Singapore, what exactly do you do together other than wearing matching T-shirts?

Hahaha. The usual team stuffs! Aside from our regular playtesting sessions, we do meet once in a while for dinner, sit down, talk, just like a group of friends would. Only difference is, Pokémon brought us together 🙂

Battle of the FAs: Do you choose Skyla, N, Cheren or Bianca. Why?

Juniper! Hmmm, that is if juniper had a FA, it’s sad she doesn’t have the special treatment. Probably one of my favourite cards in the format right now. If I had to pick, well, no doubt it’ll be N. In terms of usefulness and character preference that is. Who else could speak to Pokémon and relate to them? Who else has a single letter name? And besides juniper, you need 4 copies of N in your deck! And also, I like N-ing people to 1! But they usually top deck juniper…… Who am I kidding, we need a FA juniper, NOW!

[Would you believe it? Just a few days after we concluded the interview, FA Juniper was released.]

Xavier Chua, prophet of great things

Xavier Chua, prophet of great things

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