Pokemon 2018 TCG Rotation – Sun & Moon-on!

The Pokemon Company and Play!Pokemon announced its 2018 TCG rotation… back in May.  Why?  “Why” is an often asked and rarely answered question for a lot actions taken by the corporation.  Our speculation as to this “why” is similar to the scenario of the “Top Cut” website (remember the original online site with “Pooka”, where all net-deckers went to get their lists).   The Top Cut was taking too much internet traffic away from Pokemon.com.  So, Pokemon hired Pooka (the site’s creator) to write and commentate for them, thus improving their service and eliminating a competitor.  Of course, dozens of other sites popped up in his absence and the entire community had to embrace net-decking just to keep up, thus turning to many other internet sources.  Mission not accomplished.  Our annual rotation article is our site’s biggest draw, and the subject in general draws lots of traffic to various YouTube channels and other sites.  So, Pokemon’s response is… just throw it out there in May.  Solid plan.  The discussion of “why’s” is not why we’re here today, so let’s move on to the reason we are here, the rotation. Continue reading

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New Site For Dark Moon C & G, Celestial Storm Pre-Releases Begin 7/21!

The Fincastle Pokemon Gym’s card store and retail business, Dark Moon Cards and Games, just launched a new and updated website.  We are going to be taking our show on the road a little more often over the next few months and of course will be hosted our 3rd Roanoke Regional Championship this November.  Updates on where we’ll be and what is new at Dark Moon and The Fincastle Gym can be found there.  From that site you can link directly to our store, our Facebook page, this site and our Regionals site.  All of our events are listed there, as well as here.  Speaking of events… Continue reading

Congratulations William, v2.0 & v3.0!

We pointed out in an article on his first badge at the Fincastle Pokemon Gym how a trainer at our league, William W, was really diving into the TCG and trying to improve.  Improve he most certainly has.  At our Expanded Regional tournament in May, William picked up 3 wins in a format that was pretty foreign to what he is accustomed to playing.  The only downside to his play at league (which is no fault of his) is that he has challenged Gym Leaders on Sundays that have been right in the middle of some very busy weeks for us.  We have not had the time sit down a give a proper account of his last several challenges.  We don’t have the numbers in front of us here in Berlin (yeah, I said Berlin… more on that later), but we know that during his last 4 or 5 attempts for badges, William earned 2 more wins. Continue reading

May 2018 Blue Ridge Regional Photos

As many of you have seen, The Fincastle Pokemon Gym was awarded its 3rd Regional Championship right here in Roanoke, coming this November.  That of course leaves us a bit confused when we try to reference it, or the recent one.  Both take place in 2018, so we can’t just say the “2018 Blue Ridge Regional” anymore.  It’s bad to confuse old people like that.  While we are working on branding, we thought we’d share some photos from the Memorial Day event, as we’ve finally had time to sit down and organize them.  We will follow-up soon with some more info on the November 2018 event.

We want to jump right into the cool stuff… the Cosplay Contest.  Last year, our 1st cosplay competition, was a lot of fun, as we had a small group excellent entrants.  This year was the real deal.  As we stated before, we are so glad that we had an experienced judge, Mera Babineaux to evaluate the contestants.  There is no way we could have picked the best out of this group on our own.

****All of these amazing photos are thanks to the event staff photographer:  Doug Morisoli.

Here are a few more of the event.

We will be back with some info on our next event.  Check back here often.  We also will have a League Challenge (Standard Format) at the Gym at our regular time this Sunday, 6/17.  See you there!

2018 Blue Ridge Regional Wrap-Up.

It took us a few days to recover and re-orient ourselves as to what day and time it is, but it is always worth it to the Fincastle Gym Leaders to see one of our events completed to our satisfaction.  This past weekend’s Blue Ridge Regional was our 2nd such event, and we hope that those who attended feel the same as we do… that this year’s event was our best yet.  Despite being awarded an Expanded Format tournament (less popular overall than Standard) and following two weekends in a row of Regionals in other areas, we still had 717 players and over 1380 people through the door over the weekend.  While Gym Leader Marthe was the field general in every sense of the term, keeping everything running on time, staying on top of any and all judging issues, keeping the side events moving and even feeding her staff, Gym Leader Joel worked behind the scenes to manage our huge array of vendors, check on building issues and to oversee the Cosplay contest.  All was made possible for both leaders by the staff.  We had a great time and hope all who attended did as well.  In the midst of all the activity, we had several trainers from both our Fincastle and Lexington leagues shine throughout the weekend.  For the 1st time since the creation of the Fincastle Pokemon Gym, we have multiple trainers from the Gym (not counting our kids) that wrapped up World Championship invitations. Continue reading

Blue Ridge Regionals Starts Friday, 5/25!

Well, they are finally here.  The Fincastle Gym is thrilled to be hosting our 2nd Regional TCG and VG Championships here in Roanoke this weekend.  We hope that you’ve had a chance to check out our articles previewing everything going on over the weekend.  Here are a few quick reminders for anyone attending or thinking about dropping by and checking it out.  Entry into the hall is FREE!!! You can come in at any time and check out our many vendors (12 total), cosplay contest and side events.  If you want to register for either main event (VG or TCG), you still can… just follow this link.  If you can’t come and want to watch the battles on stream, follow this link to see Critical Hit‘s coverage of the VG and TCG on Twitch.  If you are new to the game or interested in learning, this is a great chance to see what it is all about.  As always, if you follow this page and want to chat with the author (Gym Leader Joel), come by the Dark Moon Cards and Games booth and say, “Howdy.”  And of course, there is no league this Sunday in Fincastle.  See you this weekend at a much bigger gym!

2018 Blue Ridge Regional Championships – Side Events

This is the final weekend before the Fincastle Pokemon Gym brings the Blue Ridge Regional Championships back to Roanoke.  We have been highlighting some of the main features of the weekend here over the last week or two.  If you’ve been following us here, you hopefully had a chance to read about our big side events, the Cosplay Contest and the Battle Fiesta.  While those two are our featured “sides”, they are not our only ones.  We’ve got a pretty long list of additional side events, several of which are new ones for this year, that range from large to small in size, for players of the video game and trading card game.  Take a look below, we think you’ll like what you see. Continue reading

2018 Blue Ridge Regional Championships – Battle Fiesta

The 2018 Blue Ridge Regional Championships is bringing back one of, if not the coolest side event of any of the regional and international tournament.  This Memorial Day weekend, we will host our 2nd Japanese-style Battle Fiesta.  At our 2017 Regional, we introduced the Fiesta to organized play in North America, but were still feeling out how the Japanese tournament really worked.  This year’s event is definitely and improvement over our 1st try, as we have a better working knowledge of how to operate it.  To sweeten the deal, this year’s Fiesta is sponsored by Troll and Toad, which gives a nice boost to the prize payout for the winners and participants.  There are several opportunities over the weekend to play in a “Qualifier” that can gain you entry into the Sunday afternoon Finals of the Fiesta.  The Berglund Center will be open on Friday this year (starting at 2:00pm), which means that you can enter a Qualifier in addition to the main Regional TCG event.  We will get into all of those details below. Continue reading

Get Ready For Expanded – ACESPEC’s

The Fincastle Gym Leaders have been around.  We think that we pretty safe in our self-assessment in saying that we are pretty knowledgeable when it comes to all things Pokemon.  Knowledge is a many-pronged entity that is both sought out and accumulated.  A lot of what we know are things that we have both studied and practiced.  Some of it is information that we’ve gathered by just being around for a while.  What we’re saying is, we’re old.  And we are okay with that.  Our regional on Memorial Day weekend is in the Expanded format, which includes almost all cards dating back to the base Black & White set.  If you pay attention to the tournament circuit and TCG discussions on multiple platforms (podcasts, web pages, YouTube, etc), then you likely know a good bit of what this entails.  However, if you have played primarily at the Gym or are a new player to the TCG, there are a whole bunch of cards that you likely do not have and may have never seen that are used heavily in the format.  What we are planning to do over the next few articles is introduce you to (or remind you of) some of these powerful older cards that may benefit you when building an Expanded deck. Continue reading

2018 Blue Ridge Regional Championships – Cosplay Contest

The Fincastle Pokemon Gym is proud to host its 2nd Regional Championship Event in Roanoke over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.  As we did last year, we are striving to incorporate special events as part of that weekend that you cannot experience anywhere but here in the heart of Virginia.  We tried a little bit of everything last year, from Pokemon GO tours, to photo booths, to the 1st attempt on US soil at a Japanese-style Battle Fiesta.  This year, the organizing team of the Fincastle Gym (Joel and Marthe) and Pam & Dave Tuskey have refined the weekend to focus on what worked best last year.  Gym Leader Joel will be detailing the plans for the weekend over the next two weeks, and hopefully slipping in an article or two on the Expanded Format in between, so check back here often to see our latest posts.  You can also follow our links to the main Blue Ridge Regional site and Facebook pages (Gym’s and Regionals) for registration info and additional details.  On to the 1st event in this series, the Pokemon Cosplay contest. Continue reading