Tomorrow kicks off the start of the 2018 Pokemon World Championships where hundreds of players will descend on Nashville, TN for the annual competition to find who is the very best, like no one ever was. But what does it take to get a shot at taking home a cool first place Pikachu trophy and a chunk of the $500,000 prize pool? To find out, we talked to Carly Clements, a Pokemon Trading Card Game (TCG) player who just qualified to play in the big event for the first time. Every player’s journey is different, but Carly’s story offers a good look at how much time, money, and effort it takes to go all the way.
(Need a refresher? Check out our primer on how competitive Pokemon works.)