Casual? Nah, Make It Competitive.

nobamaPlay!Pokemon has traditionally been a little slow to make any changes, especially to the TCG.  Since we became involved, over 5 years ago now, changes that we’ve seen have usually come after being talked to death, often much later than when they were needed.  That does not seem to be the case this year.  Whether it can be credited to the over 7 years of our current government’s relentless war on corporations (and yes, The Pokemon Company, The Pokemon Company International, Nintendo Co. Ltd and Gamefreak are all corporations) and the economic pressure that it has put on them all, or it is simply a rise in the espresso intake by those who make the calls, lots of changes are rolling out this year.  While most of these changes concern organizers and store owners (and hopefully not the players), the most immediate change that everyone will see will be at your local league. Continue reading

October Pre-Release Pics

DSCN6389 - CopyThe Fincastle Gym was back to its regular routine today, following 2 weeks of Pre-Release tournaments, VG Premier events and costume contests.  It was a pretty hectic span, which we at the Gym don’t mind at all, as this time of the year is probably our favorite in the Pokemon season.  There are no major tournaments to stress over, no crazy amount of travel back and forth, just a few weeks of fun events.  Play!Pokemon is moving fairly quickly this season into some changes discussed during their summer meetings that will affect upcoming tournaments and league play, and we will get to some of those later this week.  For now, let’s look back at our Halloween events and some of the awesome costumes players put together. Continue reading

Fincastle Prerelease Friday, 10/30. Have you made your costume yet!?!

Fincastle Pokemon’s next Prerelease is happening on FrXY8_EN_12iday, October 30th – just in time for another great Pokemon Costume Contest!  The newest set XY BREAKthrough introduces a new type of pokemon evolution – BREAK evolution.  Pokemon can add this card atop their Stage 2 level – horizontally.  BREAK evolution adds HP, abilities and attacks, but allows the pokemon to continue to use attacks, retreat, weakness and resistance on the Pokemon below it.

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The Gym is Back From 1st Round of Regionals

indexThe Fincastle Gym is back from a few weeks of hitting the season’s first tournaments.  The Gym Leaders had mixed results, picking up some championships points, while missing a few chances to pick up a few more.  Gym Leader’s Georgia and Logan finished in the prizes multiple times, picking up a nice selection of packs and promo items.   Gym Leader Joel experienced first-hand the power of making the right deck call over the events taking place in Pennsylvania.  Several gym members had success in Pennsylvania as well.  Being that this was our 1st extended look at Expanded Format, we can definitely say that the past few weeks was an extended learning experience. Continue reading

9/27/15 VG Premier Challenge Results

wolfeSunday, a week ago, the Fincastle Gym held its 1st VG challenge of the new season.  Differing from the TCG, a new season of the pokemon VG does not bring with it any new rules, rotated sets or banned elements.  The 2015-16 season of the VG brings many tried and true strategies, with players trying to find ways to either improve them or break them.  For many players, including several of the gym leaders, the VG is more about using their favorite characters and trying to grind out some wins with them.  One thing that we did not expect at our little league in the metropolis of Fincastle was for our 1st challenge of the season to bring a level of competition that rivals some of the biggest events of the year.  Let us quantify that statement for you…. when 2-time National Champion, Wolfe G, slips into the top 8 in 8th place…. that’s a pretty tough field. Continue reading

No League This Sunday, 10/4/15.

see youThe first round of Regional Championships for the 2015-16 season is here.  The Gym Leaders will be involved in events for the next 2 weekends.  With that being said, we will not have league this Sunday (10/4), which was good timing, as this weekend is the Fincastle Library’s annual book sale.  Next weekend, 10/11/15, the Gym will have a shortened league meeting, as our friend Vicki will be the league host in our absence.  Vicki will preside over league on 10/11 from 300pm to 500pm and will need to close up shop promptly at 500pm.  For that meeting only, we are suspending the normal 500-530pm trading time.  Make sure that you report your games to Vicki and we will catch everyone up on the league rewards on the Sunday after.  The Gym Leaders will miss seeing everyone and will look forward to catching up on everything 2 weeks from now.  Check back in a day or 2 and we’ll post some details on what went down at last Sunday’s VG challenge.  Until then, see you at the Gym!

A Little Ketchup & Congratulations Eric, v8.0!

Okay, any of you that have seen the iconic film, Pulp Fiction, surely know the line (and I’m not talking about the wallet…).  I’m referring to my favorite bad joke used in film.  As the lovely Uma/Mia is being escorted home by Vincent Vega, following her near-death-experience, she recounts her only speaking role miafrom “Fox Force Five”.  It went something like this.  “3 tomatoes are walking down the street… a papa tomato, a mama tomato and a baby tomato.  Baby tomato starts lagging behind.  Papa tomato gets really angry, goes back and squishes him… and says, ‘Ketchup!’”.  Excellent moment from an excellent (R-rated, for a reason, kiddies) movie.  As Gym Leader Georgia begins dance season and Gym Leader Logan’s 1st year on the high school golf team wraps up, we have simply not had time to get to the computer to write any articles.  We need to “Ketchup” ourselves, not that Gym Leader Joel is worried about being squished.  We’ve got completed events, upcoming events and more accomplishments by our trainers to update you on.  No better time than the present. Continue reading

League Challenge Sunday 9/6/15

downloadThe Fincastle Gym Leaders are excited to host the next in our series of League Challenges this Sunday at the Fincastle library.  The Petalburg Gym League Challenge  is the first local chance that players will have to earn Championship Points for the 2015-2016 Pokemon Season.  Next year’s World Championships are set for San Francisco – let’s start earning our way there.  Here are this Sunday’s details. Continue reading

Fincastle Gym Deck Spotlight #5: Vizzini

viz3Today the Fincastle Gym will present its last deck in our spotlight series leading up to Worlds.  In these series, we normally try to look at decks that are kind of off the wall or sometimes just hard counters to what is popular.   However, as all of the Gym Leaders missed invites to Worlds this year (which seems odd in retrospect as this year’s entry requirements are as light as we have ever seen them), we are posting some decks that we would be looking at this time of the year as potential plays.  Approaching Worlds, we look back at what was popular at our Nationals, what was played overseas at various foreign Nationals and what has been strong all year.  Based off what we have seen, we know exactly what we’d be working on if we were attending (which we will talk about at the end of this article).  However, since that idea is “un-built” and un-tested (and we don’t have the time to test for an event we ain’t going to), we will showcase Gym Leader Joel’s favorite “toolbox” deck, which is another of his online favorites that never hit the table at an actual event (but probably should have), dubbed “Vizzini”. Continue reading

Fincastle Gym Deck Spotlight #4: The Batmobile

bat10Today we will continue our look at some of the Fincastle Gym’s decks from our online collection.  Holy Showcase, Batman, what do we look at now?  Many of these decks, including today’s “Batmobile”, were towards the top of our chart of decks that we were considering for either/or Nationals and Worlds.  Most of these would be completely irrelevant, as the core of several of these decks will rotate out as of September 1st, if not for the recent announcement about the 2015-16 tournament format.  We’ve mentioned here before, but just to state it once for anyone who may have missed it… all of the Regional Championship TCG events will use the Extended Format (Black & White-On), rather than the Standard Format (XY-On), for both days of those tournaments.  That makes everything that most of you have relevant, as that keeps a huge card-base available for those events.  That includes everything we’ve showcased here (many of which are fun decks) over the last 3 years, as we did not post any deck articles prior to the Black & White era.  At any rate, on to the deck… or should I say, “To the Batcave!” Continue reading