10 Questions with Reuben Fong

Posted: December 25, 2012 in Interview
Tags: ,
If you are a Singaporean you probably know all about Reuben Fong, our new player done good, grabbing the title of National Champion of 2012.
If you are an international player, you might not know him unless you played him in this year’s World Championships.
Click and read all about Singapore’s National Champion!

Our National Champion standing proud

Our National Champion standing proud

You are a relatively unknown player internationally. Tell us more about yourself.

Well, I’m just like any other player who loves Pokémon. Although many people know me as ‘Nonsense Fong’ because of my previous Facebook name, ‘Bacon Strips’ because of my lucky shirt that I usually wear during Top Cuts (credits to EPICMEALTIME) and ‘Master Fong’ after Clifton Goh coined the term during Nationals.
What actually got me playing many years ago was when I bought a Worlds Champion deck. I later started playing Pokémon again in 2010 during National Service. One of my bunk mates Jia Fung brought his deck to camp and told us that he wanted to play again, so the next day we all brought in our decks of which mine so happened to be the 2004 Worlds Champion Deck (Team Magma).
My first competition was actually Nationals where I used my VileChamp deck after much advice from Xavier and ended up with a score of 3-4, which I thought was not bad given that it was the first time I was playing competitively.

It really got me thinking how such a competition exists and how I could get there, as it had been my dream to participate at Worlds since I was young. Well, I guessed I fulfilled my dream already 🙂
I considered quitting Pokémon after coming back from Worlds, because of my commitment to studying in university and my Hall[i.e. student dormitory] activities which are taking up most of my time. Sadly I lost a bet to Xavier Chua where I told him that if I positioned 40th and below I would quit. I ended up 39th -.-

How supportive are your family and peers of you playing the TCG? Any moments where they go “Hey it’s the National Champion!”?

My family are always coming to me and asking me why am I still playing the game but they have never once told me to stop playing. They know that I like to play it. My dad always tells me not to appear on the newspaper because he doesn’t want people to know he is the father of a Pokémon Nationals champion. Guess I’m doing him proud by not appearing on the newspaper!
My peers are very supportive of me playing the TCG, my university friends know me as the National Champion and for a moment I was afraid that they would judge me for playing Pokémon. However it was quite the opposite, they flooded their tweets with “Holy shit, I’m friends with the Singapore Pokémon National Champion”. This was especially when both my Hall and Faculty orientation were Pokémon themed.
Well, everyone in our community calls me that too!

During Regionals, I could tell people from other countries were pointing and whispering to each other which was kinda creepy, I felt like I didn’t zip my pants or something.

You took home the title of National Champion this year amidst some controversy. What were your thoughts and feelings then?

Well, amidst all the brouhaha, what we were trying to do was to push for more local players to enter the international scene. At the start I was quite demoralized knowing that people were unhappy but after awhile it got numb. A good friend once told me “Even God doesn’t judge you, therefore nobody should judge you”

What are your thoughts on the cost of playing the game for newer players?

The game is honestly getting more and more expensive but the Pokémon Company is a troll-they always release the promo Exes out after our major tournaments. So I guess in a way it’s affordable to play if they are willing to wait and not play any meta decks. Or if they want to be like me and BLING everything up with Full Arts, Shinies and RH cards.

Any lessons learned, interesting stories and the like during your trip to Worlds that you want to share with our readers?

To the next National Champion going to Worlds!
Bring an extra pair of slippers!
Play test with all the decks and have faith in yourself. The people there are very, very friendly so you won’t have to worry about making friends or finding your way around. Problem was that I did not have adequate time for play testing due to school but I just believed in my deck choice and went there to just have fun.

It was really an eye opener! When I saw the Singapore Flag, there was this moment when I felt really proud to be there and to represent Singapore.

What is the key to success in large tournaments, in your opinion?

Have this mindset that you are going in there to play for FUN but at the same time BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF YOUR OPPONENT! Players who know me well know that I like to joke around during tournaments, in the end, its just Pokémon!
Please do not argue over small things and issues that will cause any animosity. Have a target, aim for that spot, with the new system of Worlds invite, all you have to do is TOP CUT at every event. Constantly play and know your deck inside out! I went to our recent Regionals without any prior game play or play test and ended up 4-3, so know what you are doing!

Besides the Pokémon TCG, what else do you do in your free time?

I’m usually in my Hall training for my sports competitions. I have 6 years experience in playing Softball and I enjoy playing the game with my friends even thought I think that the sport itself is pretty boring. I’m also involved in Volleyball and Ultimate Frisbee! My Inter-Hall-Games are coming up so training is getting pretty intense right now. I really hope I have time to play test for Cities and not end up like Regionals!

What’s one Pokémon TCG related product you definitely want to see get made?

GOLDEN EVERYTHING! I WANT MY WHOLE DECK TO BE GOLDEN! My 4 Golden Catchers are quite lonely!

This question should be dear to you. If you could only one Full Art, which would you choose and why?

Why are you torturing me with all these questions! Everyone knows in the community that I love Full Arts! I recently just completed my set of 4 full art N, 4 full art Bianca, 4 full art Cheren and 4 full art Skyla. Next up is Juniper. 🙂
Okay back to the question, My one FULL ART that I would choose would be TWINS! That card was sick in the HGSS format, Team Lavender used to laugh at me for putting 1 Twins in my ZPST/CMT deck, they always said that the 1 card, what would be the chance of me drawing in it when I need it and ZPST/CMT becoming behind on prizes. They were wrong! But in the end I didn’t put it in my deck as it was a waste of space 🙂

Any up-and-coming players from Singapore you want to introduce or think deserves to win big and hopefully go to Worlds this season?

I will always support Team Lavender: Jeremy, Joshua and Pearlyn. I want them to go to Worlds and experience the atmosphere, I will be pushing for them to go this year as it doesn’t really matter to me whether I head to Vancouver next year since I went the previous one. Belp, Gerald, Joey, Jake, Kennard, Josiah, Anselm, Irfan, Febri and yes Purvis you too! They are all people who I’ve played with and know that they have the potential to go far. They probably have heard enough of my nonsense during competitions as well 🙂


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