|Hats off to the readers.|
It’s sad, but true. It’s time to move on. And I never thought that moving on even from a serious relationship would be this difficult, but after all, I believe that every blogger and blog share a very serious relationship. Otherwise the blog wouldn't be very interesting for the readers. All the nice people I was able to meet at Worlds this year made this decision even more heart-breaking, but in the end I do what I gotta do.
TheDeckOut has been online for almost exactly two years now and it has been an unbelievable project for me and a lot of work. I have learned a lot, not only about the English grammar, but also about Pokémon TCG and the community all over the world. I wouldn’t change anything that I have experienced with The Deck Out. I have also had the priviledge to talk and meet with a bunch of great people all over the world.
However, all good things come to an end and now it’s the time for The Deck Out to make room for other Pokémoni TCG fan sites and blogs. If you want to know why, there are several reasons for it.
1) Finnish Pokémon TCG scene
I have said many times in my blog that the Finnish Pokémon scene is dying. This is an undeniable fact. It's also the biggest reason why I have struggled to continue with my blog the whole last season and THE biggest reason why it's time to stop writing to The Deck Out. After moving to new city, I haven't had anyone to play Pokémon with, so competitive playing has been almost an impossibility for me. That's probably one of the biggest reasons why I had a mediocre last season as well.
People often ask me, why I don’t start promoting the game and establish a league etc. to grow the game. I have been building the Finnish Pokémon TCG scene from the rock bottom and I have really given my all to this game and the Finnish players. You could say that I have ran out of fuel. There is nothing more I can offer to the Finnish Pokémon TCG scene personally and it’s time for new forces to step in and take responsibility, if they ever want to grow the game in Finland. Unfortunately I believe that there is no “new wave” coming in the Finnish Pokémon TCG and we will be back with 20-people Nationals next year. I sincerely hope I am wrong, but I doubt it since Matti Kettunen who has been organizing all the tournaments the past years (and loaned me all the cards I have needed), has quit the game as well. When you have that few players around and almost no tournament organizers, you don't really get any competitive or fun feeling from playing and my blog's content would be full of theorymon, which wouldn't help anyone. But that will remain to be seen.
2) The spark is gone
To be honest, after experiencing the greatest seasons of Pokémon TCG (in my opinion seasons 2005-2008), I just don’t get the excitement I used to get from this game. Also, when looking at the future cards, it seems that Pokémon has no intention to stop releasing Basic EXs that will dominate the metagame. However, there just might be light in the end of the tunnel if we look at the "new alternative format", which will start after 2014 season. On the other hand, they decided to reprint Pokémon Catcher in Plasma Blast so...maybe it's a good time to take a break from playing after all as they have no intentions of making stage2 Pokémon playable in a while.
On the other hand, it just may be that I have “grown out” from the game. I remember the times when I could easily play 8 hours a day and was still eager to play more and more. Nowadays I don’t usually even want to play more than 5 games in a row, because I quickly get frustrated for various reasons. I don't really know why, but all I know is that the spark that once was there, doesn’t exist anymore.
3) Time, writing and life
Every single time a featured writer writes a single article in my blog, they always say “whoa, that was a lot of work; I can’t comprehend how you can write an article every week!” During the 2-year span I often asked this from myself – how did I have the time and energy to write those articles AND Underground articles on top of that? I have no idea, but I’m proud that I was able to do it. Now, the “real” life takes more and more time from my time, so I just don’t have enough time to write entries that would benefit anyone. I also was very active during this summer and thanks to that the next years I'm more than busy with 2 different schools, working part-time during school and writing for a professional magazine. I'm surprised if I have time to even play Pokémon anymore! I can't give up writing, because I love it, but writing a Pokémon TCG blog is out of question - at least for now.
I’ll be honest. Writing is the thing I enjoy the most in my life (alongside good music) and I can’t live without it. However, too much is too much and that’s why I can’t concentrate on all the things in my life at the same time. I had to stop doing something and unfortunately it’s the blog I need to stop writing when I look at the priorities of my life.
I believe I have been able to help a lot more people than I originally thought I could help with my blog. I receive e-mails daily and I have personally answered over 1000 e-mails from people all over the world (I still have almost all of them saved in my e-mail folder) asking for advice or help during the past two years. Even though I couldn’t always answer all the e-mails I got, I have tried to answer them as many of them as I could. And every single time I was able meet new people in big tournaments and they thanked me for my blog or asked for an autograph, I really felt like I had done something that really mattered. Thank you for acknowledging my work.
With the help of Ukinin-san I have also been able to close the gap between Japan and the rest of the Pokémon TCG world and I’m proud of that and hugely grateful for Ukinin-san for the possibility. I’m sure there are people who will continue my work when it comes to Japan, because all things Japan always gather a lot of attention and for example RestlessBob has already for a while done great coverage of Japanese tournaments at Pokegym.
When I first started my blog, I didn’t believe anyone would be interested in puny Finnish players’ opinions about the game, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Deck Out has grown more than I could ever have imagined and I owe it all to you and only to you.
I also like to believe that my blog’s popularity encouraged other people to establish their own Pokémon TCG blogs as well, because a lot of Pokémon TCG blogs have been established after The Deck Out was established two years ago. After all, if my horribly written blog could be popular, then any other blog could be popular as well! Before ending this final entry, I would like to give a shout out to every fully competitive Pokémon TCG site I know of and I think is worth checking out. I think all of these sites are worth following and by promoting them you can help to grow the game. Maybe you and your friends could establish your own blog as well! There is still space in the Pokémon TCG blogsphere for (how do I put it nicely...hmm) "personal" blogs.
Celadon City Gym
The Top Cut
The Charizard Lounge
Flip or Die
One Hit KO
TCG with hats
Heytrainer (Not for children)
On the Bubble (Not for children)
Let me know if missed something, because this entry will be the first thing that people see, when they visit The Deck Out, so the more there are links to quality competitive Pokémon TCG sites, the better.
And just when you thought you could get rid of me completely, I would like to take you back to one very important point of this entry - I love writing! And since Pokémon TCG will have a place in my heart as long as the game exists (and probably even after that as I have played it over 50% of my lifetime!), I probably can’t ever stop writing Pokémon TCG articles. It may be once a year or twice year, or maybe even 5 times a year, but I will keep on writing. However, the fact is that I won’t publish enough material to support The Deck Out, so it’s probably more prudent for me to write to a site that publishes material more often. I don't know, which site I will write in the future, but I'm sure I can arrange something. All suggestions on which site you would like me to write are more than welcome!
I hope you have enjoyed The Deck Out as long as you have been reading it and that it has been a useful or at least entertaining blog for you!
There were a lot of things I really would have still liked to promote with my blog (e.g. the appreciation of Juniors and Seniors in the game). Remember that even though we might live on other continents and have huge age differences, Pokémon TCG is something that binds us all together. In the end, it’s our common language.
I want to thank all of you whether you have read, commented, argued, loved, hated, defended or followed The Deck Out! It was an experience like no other and it wouldn't have been nothing without you.