Outstanding Match-Ups at Gym Tournament!

We have got to get a video camera……!  The Gym Leaders have seen many sights that post video overhead views of matches.  This past Sunday would have been a great day to have that set up at the Fincastle Pokemon Gym.  While our turnout was not quite what we wanted (our fault for planning it on a holiday weekend where many were out of town), we still had our best seniors and some of our best juniors in attendance and as the event played out, some awesome matches took place.  Those who could not make it missed out on some of our best prizes we’ve ever had at one of our events.  Those who did make it, battled to the last card trying to take those prizes home.

As the Junior Division battled its way through three rounds, it looked like it would lead to an eventual showdown between the “battle-hardened” Noah B and the ever-improving Isaac B.  However, before that could happen, both trainers had to fight their way through tough 2nd Round matches.  Noah triumphed over Alex D while Isaac won a tight match over Addison M.  The showdown took place in the final round.  Noah got a quick start and never looked back.  Isaac stayed in the fight taking several prizes before it was over, but Noah’s experience lead him to the win and the 1st place finish.   Isaac held his place on top of a group of four players with 2-1 records to take 2nd place and Addison grabbed the 3rd place spot.  Great job to the winners and all the juniors for playing some very close games!

If there was a pending showdown in the Junior Division, there was an all-out collision waiting in the Senior Division.  In our past several events, the presence of both Virginia’s and North Carolina’s best has derailed the potential pairing of our two best senior trainers, Hunter H and Brycen F.   However, it looked to be inevitable on Sunday.  Round 1 went by smoothly for both players but Round 2 looked like it could foil either player’s day, as Hunter was paired up with master competitor, Troy B, and Brycen was to face off with Kelli B, who was playing a faster deck that could easily cause him problems if he did not get a good start.  Brycen was able to escape danger via a fairly quick set up and once set, he continually denied Kelli of knockouts while building up his attackers and then overwhelming her.  Hunter was not as lucky, as he settled into a long back and forth match that would eventually go to time.  Hunter entered the plus-3 turns with the lead and was able to hold on for the win, locking him into the last round match with Brycen.

The most notable aspect of this last round showdown was the fact that from the opening play, neither player (in this Gym Leader’s opinion) ever made a misplay or mistake.  Brycen and Hunter, both playing different styles of “prize denial”, had the task of trying to knockout big EX attackers before the other could heal off all damage.  On paper, we would give the advantage to Brycen because of the versatility of the attackers in his deck.  What did not stand out on paper, though, was Hunter’s use of the most tried and true attacker of the last year, Mewtwo EX.  As the match reached the halfway point, tied at 2 prizes each, Brycen attacked with Kyogre EX, setting up big hits on his next turn.  I’m sure Brycen thought his EX was safe (I did, as I was officiating the match).  However, Hunter had just enough energy in play to move it all (a big risk) to Mewtwo and KO the active Kyogre, taking 2 prizes and the lead, but more importantly, eliminating valuable energy off of Brycen’s field.  Brycen responded with Groudon EX and enough energy to attack and again set up a big hit on his next turn.  However, Hunter again moved energy around and missed what would have been a game winning KO thanks to the “Eviolite” on Groudon.  Brycen retreated the EX and went on the attack with Darkrai.  Hunter went back to his spread attacker, hoping to get the damaged Groudon before Brycen could heal it.  With only 10 damage remaining on his benched Groudon, Brycen had to either KO Hunter’s active Registeel or dig out a “Max Potion” to save that Groudon.  Brycen could not find that card.  On Hunter’s last turn, he took the KO on the bench and his last 2 prizes.

That’s why we wish we had video.  I cannot do the match justice trying to describe it.  It was definitely one for the books.  Who knows what would’ve happened in a best 2 of 3.  My head might have exploded just watching such a match.  Hunter claimed 1st place, Brycen 2nd place and Kelli B earned 3rd place with a last round win over Brian M.  Great job to all the seniors!

While this Gym Leader prefers playing to spectating, I must say I was impressed with all of the games I saw.  It was a small crowd, but that did not detract from the quality of play.   Congratulations also to Troy B for winning the Masters Division.  Thanks to all who came out and played.  Those of you that missed the top spots were still able to take home some pretty sweet prizes.  We hope everyone had a good time.

*Just as reminder, there is no league next week.  Enjoy the week off and cheer on the Gym Leaders as they take on the first round of Regionals for this season.  See you the following week at the Gym!

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