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Local Pokémon player heading to Hawaii to compete for world championship

Updated: May 30

Local 7 year old Pokémon player, Brantley Meharg,poses for photo.
Brantley Meharg’s Pokémon video gaming skills have earning him a trip to the world championships in Hawaii in August. (Special to the RTT)

 A local youth is heading to Hawaii to compete in the 2024 Pokémon World Championships.

The seven-year-old Amherstburg player has made it to the world championships. His latest tournament was at St. Clair College in Windsor.

Brantley Meharg will be heading to Hawaii with his family this summer but that is not his only international competition. His latest Pokémon video game is “Pokémon Violet.”

“We originally started playing the Trading Card Game as friends of ours play competitively,” explained his mother Sarah Lozon. “We started going to weekly leagues. Brantley's dad (James Meharg), started playing competitively as well, and attended his first regional tournament in Toronto in December 2022. From that he started playing Arceus and other Pokémon video games on our switch which finally led us to him wanting Violet.”

Lozon said Brantley utilizes a program called Showdown online, which allows him to more quickly make setups and Pokémon.

“Once he has had an opportunity to see how they play in the game he can choose to build them in the game. This process is more in depth,” said Lozon.

“He also plays online in battle stadium within Violet to play against other players from around the world.”

Lozon stated they have travelled to Toronto, Knoxville, Orlando, Indianapolis, Michigan and Windsor. Not only do they head to Honolulu Aug. 16-18, Brantley will compete in the North American Championship in New Orleans June 7.

“It has been a fair amount of travel for us, as previously we really did not travel a lot,” she said. 

Brantley received the Violet video game for Christmas 2022. He started playing and beat the game itself in about a week, his mother said. 

“While attending a league event in summer of 2023, it was mentioned that VGC (video game competitions) were a thing that he could go over playing TGC (trading card competitions). He started watching YouTube videos of other people playing and the interest really took off,” said Lozon. “His dad made plans to attend the Toronto Regional in October 2023 to play TCG and about three weeks prior to the event Brantley approached us and let us know that he wanted to go to Toronto to compete in VGC. We had no idea how to prepare, so the local league professors and a couple of players helped us make him a team and get him prepped as much as we could. We anticipated it would just be for fun, but he brought home a top eight, and when we asked if he wanted to keep playing, he really did. 

Lozon added Brantley is excited about being a part of something so big. He does get nervous at times, she added, especially playing against some of the bigger names in his division at regionals, or against Seniors and Masters level players at local events. 

“It has been incredible to watch all he has accomplished in a short amount of time. His drive and determination to be better is truly inspiring. He has found a community where he is free to be himself, and with people who think like he does which has been very rewarding to see him blossom into a more confident version of himself,” she said. “Also, watching the community rally around him has been incredible. When we are all at a regional together, the junior VGC section becomes the meet up place that they all come back to between rounds.

When he made top-cut (top four) at Orlando, he played in day two, even though no one else made day two, they were still all there to cheer him on.”

Competitions are individual and Brantley plays with a team of six Pokémon. He can take four “into battle” against his opponent. Lozon said there are a team of Windsor players who help, support and bounce ideas off each other.

“It is made up of the professors who have helped Brantley and a couple of master players,” she said.

Future goals for Brantley include trying to earn every championship title available to him. He would like to be ranked #1 in North American Junior VGC and he is currently #1 in Canadian Junior VGC. 

“He has four years to make that happen,” said Lozon. “He would also like the opportunity to meet some of his YouTube heroes like Wolfe Glick and Aaron Zhang.”

Local Pokémon player heading to Hawaii to compete for world championship

By Ron Giofu

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