Join Hee-Haw’s Generals, the Gym’s First Juniors Team

A hug for Oshawott

In a year of many firsts for the Fincastle Pokemon Gym, we have reached another one that we did not recognize until our time in San Francisco watching Georgia and Logan compete against the best players in the world.  The 2016-17 season will be the 1st time since we have been involved with the game that we do not have a competitor of our own in the Junior Division.  The Junior Division has been very good to the gym leaders as both Logan and Georgia quickly became dominant forces in the Juniors during their respective years within those ranks.  Beginning with Gym Leader Logan and the 1st scholarship that he won as a Regional Champion, the siblings have amassed a collection of “goodies” (like mats, hats, plushes, deck boxes, backpacks and more booster packs that we can account for) and cash travel allowances that given them a leg up on saving for the future.  As Georgia graduates into the Senior Division this year, the rewards have grown to even higher numbers, leaving us wishing that we had another Junior.  A spark went off in Gym Leader Joel’s head as he watched Georgia dominate her American opponents and battle down to the wire against 3 of Japan’s top finishers at Worlds (and no, we’re not adopting a child to compete… although his idea is along those lines). Continue reading

1st League Challenge of New Season This Sunday, 9/4/16!

clashThe Fincastle Pokemon Gym is hosting its first League Challenge of the 2016-2017 season this Sunday, September 4, at the Fincastle Library.  This event will also be our 1st event to use the new Standard Format, as the 2016 rotation is official as of today.  The Standard Format is now officially Primal Clash-on, meaning that cards legal for these events must be from Primal Clash and newer sets (up to Steam Siege at the moment).  If you need any help sorting out what is legal and what is not, follow the link to our rotation article.  Don’t forget that with each new season, the cut-off for age divisions changes, meaning that many of you may “age up” into the next age group.  Juniors are those born in 2006 or later, Seniors are those born between 2002 and 2005 and Masters are those born in 2001 and earlier.  Here is a little more info on what you need for this Sunday. Continue reading

Logan’s Worlds Day 1 Deck – Darkrai/Garbodor

flash6The 2016 World Championships presented several “firsts” for the Fincastle Pokemon Gym.  It was the 1st time that we’ve had a trainer qualify for the VG Championship, as Gym Leader Georgia had a strong VG season to go with her TCG season where she amassed 600 Championship Points.  Unfortunately, Georgia was unable to participate in both events, as they took place simultaneously.  Had she automatically made Day 2 of the TCG event (as her 600 points were only good enough for 24th in North America), she could have played Day 1 of the VG event and then decided what to do on Day 2 if she made it through Day 1 of the VG competition.  This was Georgia’s 2nd time qualifying for the TCG Worlds, as she also made the DC event in 2014.  Joining her was our league veteran, Gym Leader Logan, earning his 3rd World Championship invite.  Logan previously qualified as a Junior for the 2011 and 2012 Championships, when the Pokemon TCG was an entirely different animal.  Despite all of their successes, the 2016 Worlds was the 1st time that both siblings qualified in the same year. Continue reading

Georgia’s Worlds Day 1 Deck – Vespiquen/March

The Gym Leaders are back home, mostly adjusted to the time change and back into the normal swing of things.  We wrapped up our weekend in San Francisco by doing some bonus sight-seeing, a relaxing way to pass the time… but our competitive leaders would have rather been in the mix for the title.  We did not go pokemon-less for the rest of the weekend however, as Georgia was fortunate enough to get one of the random wrist bands included in some players’ competitor pack.  The band granted access to a limited autograph session with Junichi Masuda (Game Producer & Director at GAME FREAK, Inc) and Shigeki Morimoto (Game Director at GAME FREAK, Inc).  Georgia walked away with what may be the most unique “half-art” Entei in existence, as she had both VIP’s autograph her favorite card.  Here’s a couple of photos for the meeting and then we’ll get into her deck. Continue reading

2016 Worlds Photos!

DSCN8121Well, to highlight the point that we made yesterday about Georgia’s match-ups and the strength of the Japanese contingent… here’s how Georgia’s last 3 Day 1 opponent’s stood at the end of Day 2.  Asaki Hasegawa (her 4th round opponent) is in 4th place overall with a record of 5 wins, 0 losses and 2 ties, entering the Top 8 playoffs as the #4 seed.  Hajime Imura (her last round loss) finished in 9th place (1 spot out of the Top 8 playoff) with a record of 5-1-1.  Iori Kato (her 5th round loss) finished 32nd with a record of 4-3.  Georgia was dialed in yesterday, crushing every US players she faced.  How she drew this trio of amazing players is beyond us.  We assume Top 8 matches are underway and we don’t know how they are progressing, but 5 of the 8 are Japanese. Continue reading

2016 World Championships – Day 1

The Fincastle Gym Leaders took 2 very different paths today at Day 1 of the World Championships, 2 paths that ended up at the same destination.

Day 1 of the TCG World Championships sported over 830 players all after one goal, achieving enough wins to make it through to Day 2.  The Junior Division had 155 entrants who would play 6 rounds of swiss.  A record of 4-2 would be DSCN8050required to make it through to the 2nd day.  The Seniors had 205 players chasing the exact same goal, a record of 4-2 over their 6 rounds.  If needed (which it was not), Pokemon said that they’d fill in the spaces needed to even the Day 2 numbers with the best of what was left (which they did not, so we are not sure why they said it).  Both Gym Leaders, Logan and Georgia, fought to 3-3 records, missing the cut.  We’ll look briefly at their days and then reveal the list that we were holding for Day 2 to put in the hands of whichever leader made it (or both if they both made it, as we had 2 copies built and ready to go). Continue reading

Check In At @ 2016 Worlds.

Worlds2_M 125So… after putting in a good morning of practicing our decks, the Fincastle Gym Leaders headed out for an afternoon tour of Muir Woods.  Expecting to return and check in at about 5:30pm, we were pushing 7:00pm, as our tour van was held up in traffic.  I’m glad we didn’t get there at 5:30!  We arrived to find what turned out to be the side of the line, so we walked around the hotel, past the 2nd third of the line and found the end of the line somewhere around Oakland.  After standing in the same place for about 20 minutes, things began to move.  As Pokemon shifts their practices to their new “model”, they are being forced to learn that the same old setup does not quite cut it.  While we hung out in northern California, Pokemon was reassigning their personnel, which did break things free and get everyone moving.

Worlds2_M 139Lesson learned… hopefully that they will not try to squeeze check-in into such a small time period in the future.  Anyway, we made it through and collected what is definitely the coolest player “goodie bag” package in our years of playing.  Both Logan and Georgia were thrilled with the collection of Worlds items.  The boost in player “swag” is definitely one of the positive results of paid entry to major events all year.  From there, we scrounged up some food and headed back to wrap up preparations for tomorrow.

Opening ceremonies begin at 9:00am and after a brief players’ meeting, play will begin.  We are all nervous, excited, antsy… all the feelings that go along with an event of this magnitude.  Our Gym Leaders have been there before and know what they have to do.  We’ll post lots more pictures as we get them, so check back tomorrow evening.  Until then, cheer to the west!

 

In San Francisco, Out of Time!

friscoThe Fincastle Gym Leaders have been in the City by the Bay for a few days now and we’ve been trying to take in as much as possible in a short amount of time.  From its iconic landmarks, to its amazing food, to its cool and breezy weather (much appreciated by Virginians this time of year), we love what we’ve been able to sample of ‘Frisco.  However, its time for the Gym Leaders to get down to business and focus on why we’re here… the 2016 TCG World Championships. Continue reading

Worlds Testing Results – Steampunk Teapot

teapotToday the Fincastle Gym is continuing is look at Worlds potentials that we’ve tested over the last several weeks.  The deck that we’ll look at today is one that is only in the mix thanks to the early release of Steam Siege.  Much like “The Badger” from our last article, this deck scored well in our categories used to evaluate deck potential.   Its consistency and speed are both pretty amazing.  Its recovery may be the best of any deck we’ve tested.  Its hitting power is also impressive, as it can often hit for 90 to 100+ damage for a single energy cost.  As much as we like this one, we again look at this deck and struggle to answer the question, “Why not play this deck at Worlds?”  Let’s look a little deeper for the answer. Continue reading

Join The Gym at Geek Mob This Sunday!

mobFirst things first… the will be no league this Sunday (8/14) in Fincastle.  However, there is something really cool taking place on the same day in Salem and the Fincastle Pokemon Gym will be right in the middle of it.  “Geek Mob” (http://geekmobroanoke.com), an event that began as a comic book swap in 2011, has grown into a mini-convention of sorts.  Sporting everything from vendors to live entertainment to Cosplay, the one day event has something for everyone.  The “Mob” will be held at the Salem Civic Center on Sunday, 8/14/16, from 1pm to 9pm.  Full detail are available on the link above.  The Fincastle Gym’s Dark Moon Cards and Games will be there all day.  Here’s a look at what we will have available. Continue reading