To Columbus and beyond: interview to Graham Amedee
After battling against Italian VGC player Flavio Del Pidio at Columbus Pokémon Internationals, he conquered the favour among Italian fans. He chose to include Mega Medicham in his team, which granted him a one-way ticket to the final against 2016 World Champion Wolfe Glick, who ultimately won the competition. We’re talking about Graham Amedee, an Australian VGC player who surprised the international audience with his peculiar choices. In this exclusive interview, Graham tell us more about his love for Pokémon, his experience in Columbus and his future perspectives.
Hi Graham! It is a huge pleasure to get to know you! Tell us more about your life, your country and your passions –besides Pokémon, of course!
Hello! It’s a pleasure to be here talking with you. A little about me: I’m Graham and I’m a VGC competitor from Brisbane, Australia. I am a strong advocate for mental health working for a foster care agency, working with children who have had significant trauma. I have always been physically active and I value my health and wellbeing. I love sports! I grew up playing soccer for clubs and attending a swimming club. At the moment I have a passion for health and fitness. I love to train hard and eat nutritious food, not only to look great, but to feel good and have a well-functioning body and mind.
What is your relationship to the Pokémon world? How did you first got into contact with it? Do you have a special memory related to it?
My brother Paulo Amedee, also known as MastodonVGC, introduced me to competitive VGC when he saw me playing online battle spot singles. He knew I was always competitive, so he brought me to my first competition back in 2015 which was Brisbane regionals. I remember going 4-3 at that competition and I only had been playing VGC for 3 weeks. He was very proud and that was a special moment for me.
How did you get closer to the VCG scene?
I loved team building, and I loved coming to VGC events and meeting new friends and sharing new team ideas. I have always enjoyed playing Pokémon, and my favourite part of it is team building. The fact I could mingle with people who enjoyed pokemon and team building also made me want to come back to play more and more.
Tell us more about your experience at Columbus Internationals: how was it?
My experience was unreal. I received a travel award to compete, and I was excited for that – let alone everything else. I had some amazing friends from Canada and Chicago who went out of their way to make sure that my stay was as enjoyable as possible. The competition itself was amazing. I loved being given the opportunity to verse quality opponents every single round!
Why did you include Mega Medicham in your team? How did you build such a powerful team around it?
I originally added Mega Medicham to the team as it can learn Role Play, and that can support Primal Kyogre’s weather. After a few days of testing, I realised that it needs to be used more offensively. I feel this team had a nice balance of speed control and offensive pressure – my favourite play style. I had 6 Pokémon in my team that did an amazing job at each respected match-up. Overall, the combination of Mega Medicham and Lunala was the easiest lead to 90% of match-ups. It made playing easy and fun.
During this season you got some outstanding results, but Wolfe Glick managed to defeat you. Do you still feel unsatisfied for that match? If you could play it again, how would you change your game plan?
I can’t take any credit away from Wolfe’s win. He put in amazing preparation and he played flawlessly on the day. Obviously looking back at the match it seems I got smashed by Wolfe. I had my justifications for my plays, and Wolfe was smart enough to see in to what plays I was going to make. Wolfe’s Celesteela was the biggest concern for my team especially since it had Wide Guard. I did underestimate Celesteela and if I had to play the final again I would defiantly go for my offense rather than set-up and gaining speed control.
During the Columbus International you played against Flavio Del Pidio: what do you think of Italian players? Do you think they have their own VGC battling style?
When I attended the Europe Internationals in Germany, I noticed there were a lot of Italian players. In my opinion, Italy have the most quality completive players, I remember versing a few Italians at the Europe IC, and all of my games were tough. I’m only speaking from my experience, but I do believe Italian players are very good at their board positioning in VGC. From what I’ve seen they can analyse the game very well and they are able to think 2 or 3 turns ahead, and know what’s needed to get in to a position to win later on in the match.
What is your opinion about the upcoming Pokémon games Sword and Shield? In which way could Dynamax change the competitive scene?
Pokémon Sword and Shield look cool! I can’t wait to have the new game on a different console – Nintendo Switch! I haven’t seen too much of Dynamax but it looks as if it could change the VGC game completely – depending on how powerful that Pokémon potentially comes. I hope its something similar to how Zygarde power constructs, as I think that mechanic isn’t unhealthy for the game.
As a soccer fan, are you passionate about Italian soccer teams? Do you have a favourite one?
I love soccer! Italy have one of the biggest soccer leagues in the world, with such incredible talent. I myself am a Liverpool fan, and I remember AC Milan‘s team in 2005 was unbelievably talented! It was easily my favourite Italian team for many years. I don’t necessarily have a favourite team, I appreciate the league itself, with how much quality it brings to the world stage. Since Cristiano Ronaldo‘s move to Juventus, I have been a fan of watching their highlights.
This is our final question for you: will you take part in the Washington World Championships? Can you tell us anything on the team you wish to use?
I will certainly be attending the World Championships in Washington. I have the day 2 paid invite, and I’m super excited to be back competing amongst the best players in the world. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to make Day 2, and I thought if no one saw the team, I would have work on it and make it stronger for Worlds. After sharing the team worldwide, I may need to create a different team, unless everyone wants to see it in action again for Worlds (laughs). I guess we’ll find out in time!
Special thanks to Raffaele Palmieri, who contacted and interviewed Graham and translated the article into Italian.