Washington native competes in the Pokémon Unite World Championship

Published 2:06 pm Friday, August 18, 2023

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Luke Rosario got to fly to Japan to compete in the Pokémon Unite world championship. The 28-year-old is a professional video game player who has found his passion in Pokémon Unite.

Pokémon is a series about collecting and training various monsters of different shapes and sizes. It consists of multiple video games, TV series, and trading cards. Pokémon Unite uses the creatures found in the Pokémon series and utilizes them differently.

The game takes place in an arena and has two teams of five. Each team member plays as a different Pokémon creature and the objective is to capture “Aeos energy” and bring it to the opposing team’s goal. A player can capture Aeos energy by using their Pokémon’s moves and abilities to kill the opposing players. The team with the highest score after 10 minutes wins the match.

Each team has 5 distinct roles: attacker, defender, speedster, all-arounder, and support. Rosario plays the attacker on his team, Team YouTube. He specializes in dealing damage to opposing players and defeating enemies quickly.

“I love it, it satisfies my competitive hunger,” Rosario said. “I’ve never been a typical sports guy, but I knew I was good at Pokémon Unite. I love competitive games and I always want to prove that I’m the best. This is like a second job for me, I’m glad to be making money but I’m always more focused on improving my game.”

He began playing competitively a couple of years ago. He used to play League of Legends, a game very similar to Pokémon Unite and very popular in Esports. He has always loved Pokémon and decided to give the game a try. He discovered he loved it and was good at it, so he wanted to go pro.

“In August 2021, I joined a server on Discord (a messaging and social platform), that only allowed players of master tier to join. This is the highest rank in the game, which I achieved. From there, I started playing a lot more and joined a few different teams. I finally joined the big leagues and was playing at the top level,” Rosario said. While in Japan, he said he didn’t really process that he was there as he was so focused the championship.

Before he was a professional Pokémon player, Rosario grew up in Beaufort County. His mother lived in the area, and he said it felt like his mother knew everyone in the county. He lived between Chocowinity and Vanceboro and went to school at Chocowinity Primary and Beaufort County Early College High School. He moved to Raleigh a few years ago but still returns to Beaufort County

“I love Washington. I always come back when I can. The waterfront has always been one my favorite places, I love it,” Rosario said.