Pokemon Announces 2014-2015 Rotation – Boundaries Crossed-On!

bconThe set rotation and format for the 2014-15 Pokemon TCG season has been announced.  The upcoming season will be Boundaries Crossed-on, meaning the Next Destinies, Dark Explorers and Dragons Exalted will rotate out of the format, in addition to a small group of BW Promo cards.  While not always the case, traditionally Play!Pokemon rotates the oldest 3 sets each year, which is exactly what they did and what we at the Gym were anticipating.

Now, if the rotation was cut and dry, with all cards from those sets gone, then there would not be much else to say.  However, over the last few years, Pokemon has developed a trend of reprinting cards throughout various sets with different artwork or as “secret rares”.  Adding to that, the final Black & White set, Legendary Treasures was a set comprised of many reprintings of various cards that have appeared throughout the Black & White series.  So, what we will try to do for you in the course of this article is to lay out a guide, of sorts, by set, of what goes out and what stays in for the upcoming season.  Keep in mind, however, as you sort your cards out, that Pokemon has announced a special Continue reading

Congratulations Rob v2.0!

The Fincastle Pokemon Gym has been a little light lately on posts involving gym leader challenges.  Since we hit our 300th challenge, there has not been much in the way of news concerning challenges.  This is not because they’re not happening, because they are, but more because the gym leaders have hit a lengthy streak of successful defenses.  Gym Leader Logan has fielded the majority of recent challenges, seeming to be leader under fire, for whatever reason.  Continue reading

2014 Nationals Deck – Phan-tastic Villain

weasel3As we mentioned in our last post, Gym Leaders Joel and Georgia paired up to play identical decks in the masters division and junior division at this year’s National Championships.  We entered the event pressure-free, as Georgia had already earned her invitation to the World Championships and Joel, well, he’s pretty much pressure-free all the time, barring any Taco Bell being consumed before the event.  So, given those circumstances, why play any of the “must-plays” when you can go rogue and just have fun?  That’s what we did.  However, don’t let the rogue/fun label fool you, as the decks we delivered were very powerful hitters, which took down several top-tier decks over the weekend.  The deck is probably best described as “finicky”, meaning it can present you with some strange choices to make in the course of a match and is prone to misplays.  Once you learn the tricks and realize that it has many “outs” from bad starts or bad hands, it is a very fast deck to play and one of the most fun plays in our arsenal. Before we go into the deck, here’s a little history on what we came up with. Continue reading

2014 Nationals Wrap Up

2014pokenats2 019The 2014 Pokemon TCG and VG Nationals are now complete.  Yep, as the picture illustrates, today was the end.  As can be seen in more detail on pokemon.com, the finals in the 3 different age groups showcased a nice mix of decks, verifying the health of the game.  By that, we mean that no one deck dominated the tournament.  The decks present at the end really speak more of the strength of the players commanding them than of the decks themselves.  The Fincastle Gym Leaders played against similar decks (if not identical decks) throughout the weekend, losing to some, while dominating others.  In sports this is referred to as “parity”.  Parity is probably the most accurate term to describe what we saw here.  Any deck, in the right hands, is capable of beating another.

2014pokenats2 001Gym Leaders Logan and Georgia both entered the Last Chance Qualifier event on Sunday with some pretty crazy decks of their own.  Their intentions were like Joel’s on Saturday… to collect the promo playmat and just have fun playing.  They picked up a few wins and some bonus booster packs along the way.  Gym Leader Joel shifted into low gear on Sunday, picking up a large latte and kicking back to watch the TCG and VG finals.  As you can hopefully see in the photos, all games were played on center stage while being broadcast on the big screen (and internet) with live play-by-play commentary.  Event organizers did an excellent job of turning a card game and a 3DS video game into a spectator sport.

The hardest working member of the Gym this weekend was Gym Leader Marthe.  Marthe was a runner all 3 days in different divisions in the main event and then in the qualifier events.  It wasn’t all work, though, as Marthe entered the Professor’s Cup.  The Cup is a tournament open only to qualified Pokemon Professors.  Each year, this event presents a different special format.  For this 2014pokenats2 010year, the Cup format was an XY-on tournament where players built 30 card decks and played 3 prize card games.  The other caveat was that decks could only contain “common” and “uncommon” cards… no “rare” cards allowed.  To top off the craziness, a special rule was announced each round that would shake up play a bit (or in some cases, a lot).  For example, one round was a “Simon Says” round, in which, of course, players had to say “Simon says…” for every action they took or their turn ended.  In another round, players swapped decks and played against their own deck.  The highlight of the event was probably the game that was decided by opposing players kicking field goals, paper football style, with pokemon cards.  The Cup finalists took home IPAD Mini’s and promo backpacks.  All competitors picked up booster packs and promo items each round.  Through all the insanity, Marthe went 3-4 and finished in 44th place in a field of over 80 professors.

The Fincastle Gym Leaders are packing up and heading out of here, stopping for a little rafting on the New River on the way back.  We will be back at league next Sunday at our regular time.  Here are a few more photos, including the finals play area, the commentary booth, the convention center and our crazy daughter.  See you next Sunday at the Gym!

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2014 Pokemon TCG and VG Nationals

2014pokenats 021The Fincastle Pokemon Gym is winding down its weekend at the 2014 National Championships.  All of the gym leaders took part in different competitions throughout the event.  Overall, we had mixed successes, falling short of the top spots, but earned some valuable experience as the World Championships approach.  As for the event itself, the overall numbers were down only slightly from last year, which was expected as this was the first year with an entry fee in addition to the Play!Points requirement.  For the TCG, there were 195 competitors in the Junior Division, 295 in the Senior Division and 889 in the Master Division.  Juniors played 8 rounds over 2 days with a top cut of 8.  Continue reading

Gym Leaders Off To Nationals, No League 7/6/14

chesnThis Sunday the Fincastle Gym completed its last league challenge of the 2013-14 TCG season.  We had a good turnout in the junior and the master divisions.  Congratulations to Patrick T, who won the master division, to Hunter H, winner of the senior division and to Quinn T, who missed a match-up with Gym Leader Georgia en route to winning the junior division.  Both Quinn and Georgia have qualified for the World Championships in August and a preview battle would have been interesting for the Gym, but sadly did not happen.  The event was a fun prep for next weekend’s National Championships in Indianapolis.  Continue reading

Chesnaught League Challenge Sunday 6/29/14 – No League 7/6/14

Millis_ChesnaughtThe Fincastle Gym Leaders are preparing for the annual “pilgrimage” to Indy for the Pokemon National Championships, so there will be no League meeting on Sunday, July 6th.  However, to be sure everyone gets their fill of Pokemon before the holiday, the Fincastle Pokemon Gym will host its sixth League Challenge of the year this Sunday at the Fincastle library.

The Chesnaught League Challenge:

  • Sunday 6/29/14 @ Fincastle Library meeting room.
  • Registration is from 12:30pm-1:00pm.  Play begins shortly after.
  • Players must bring a 60 card Modified format deck sorted by Pokemon, Trainers, and Energy.
  • Entry fee is $5 (entry fee is waived if you have played at League during this season – 5/13-6/23).

Prizes:

  • 1st Place – Challenge promo card, 4 booster packs & 15 Championship Points.
  • 2nd Place – Challenge promo card, 2 booster packs & 12 Championship Points (if attendance is 4 or more in age group).
  • 3rd/4th Place – promo card, 1 booster pack & 10 Championship Points (if attendance is 8 or more in age group).

We will also have door prizes in each age group.

A few side notes (for newer players):

If you sleeve your deck, the entire deck must be sleeved and all of the sleeves must be the same.  If for some reason your deck does not comply with the Modified format rules, you may still play in the event with a starter deck supplied by the Gym.  Gym Leader Marthe will do a deck-check of everyone’s deck to verify that all of the cards are in the correct format.  So, please be sure your deck is sorted to make her job easier.  Decks should be sorted by Pokemon, Trainers, and Energy, with all cards with the same name together.  (For example: 2 Squirtle, 2 Wartortle, 2 Blastoise, 2 Skyla, 2 N, 2 Switch, 8 Water Energy, 2 Rainbow Energy.)  Bring your own damage/poison/burn markers and either a coin or clear, 6-sided die (for flips).

If you have any questions, email us at our league email.   We are excited about the event and hope you all are too!  See you Sunday at the Gym!

If you can’t make it for the tournament, we’ll still have our regular League when the tournament is finished.  All games during League this week will get double marks as we get ready to start a new season next week!

2013-14 Pokemon Season Hits Home Stretch

schoolLast day of school!!!! Yay!  Yes, finally, school, sports & dance are done.  As a busy spring winds down for everyone, Play!Pokemon is hitting its stride.  Months of competitive play are coming to a climax as the 2 biggest events of the year are just around the corner, the National Championships and World Championships.  Players have battled all year chasing the Championship Points necessary to receive an invitation to the World Championships.  Many have reached that total and can sit back and relax a little.  Many more are painfully close, still needing just a handful of points to seal the deal.  Whether you are in either crowd, or even the casual player crowd, this is a very fun time of the year for Pokemon.  Let’s look at what is in store for the rest of this season of organized play.

Continue reading

Yveltal League Challenge Results

Yveltal2The Fincastle Gym is nearing the end of an exhausting Spring that has unfortunately left Gym Leader Joel will little time to post on this site.  1 baseball tournament, 2 dance recitals and a few more softball games and the Gym Leaders/baseball coaches can again turn their focus back to the TCG.  We’d love to post on the new Flashfire set, but we have hardly had time to look at the set, much less play-test any of it.  We have lots of ideas to try, but we will get to those when they are more than just theory.  At any rate, the Gym hosted the Yveltal League Challenge last Sunday and again saw another nice mix of competitive decks.  Here’s a quick recap of the event. Continue reading

Yveltal League Challenge – this Sunday 5/18/14

Yveltal1The Fincastle Pokemon Gym will host its fifth League Challenge of the year this Sunday at the Fincastle library.

The Yveltal League Challenge:

  • Sunday 5/18/14 @ Fincastle Library meeting room.
  • Registration is from 12:30pm-1:00pm.  Play begins shortly after.
  • Players must bring a 60 card Modified format deck sorted by Pokemon, Trainers, and Energy.
  • Entry fee is $5 (entry fee is waived if you have played at League during this season – 4/7-5/12).

Prizes:

  • 1st Place – Challenge promo card, 4 booster packs & 15 Championship Points.
  • 2nd Place – Challenge promo card, 2 booster packs & 12 Championship Points (if attendance is 4 or more in age group).
  • 3rd/4th Place – promo card, 1 booster pack & 10 Championship Points (if attendance is 8 or more in age group).

We will also have door prizes in each age group.

A few side notes (for newer players):

If you sleeve your deck, the entire deck must be sleeved and all of the sleeves must be the same.  If for some reason your deck does not comply with the Modified format rules, you may still play in the event with a starter deck supplied by the Gym.  Gym Leader Marthe will do a deck-check of everyone’s deck to verify that all of the cards are in the correct format.  So, please be sure your deck is sorted to make her job easier.  Bring your own damage/poison/burn markers and either a coin or clear, 6-sided die (for flips).

If you have any questions, email us at our league email.   We are excited about the event and hope you all are too!  See you Sunday at the Gym!

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If you can’t make it for the tournament, we’ll still have our regular League when the tournament is finished.  All games during League this week will get double marks as we get ready to start a new season next week!