It was not that long ago that Hunter H brought his Fire type deck to challenge the Grass-type Gym Leader, again and again and again…. trying to find a way to break through and win his 1st badge at the Fincastle Pokemon Gym. The Grass deck (Victreebel/Roserade at the time) usually brings with it “special conditions” to show league trainers how they can be used to lock more powerful Pokemon from attacking. Several times in those challenges, Hunter had the game in hand, just needing a coin flip on the “Confused” or “Asleep” condition to go his way, but the flips failed him. On January 15, 2012, Hunter broke through and won the Grass badge. On Sunday, February 17, 2013, Hunter completed his run at the Gym by winning his 9th and final badge.
The lone gym leader standing in Hunter’s way was our newly crowned Dragon- type Gym Leader, Georgia. Georgia, while only 7, plays well beyond her age with a strong ability to pick up new decks and learn them quickly. Georgia has multiple City Championships and Battle Roads titles under her small belt. Hunter’s last hurdle was not going to be an easy one by any means. On Georgia’s side of the field was Rayquaza EX/Eels. Opposite her was Keldeo EX/Blastoise piloted by Hunter. Both decks are capable of one-hitting any EX in the game, an epic match-up to say the least. Both games saw exactly that… big one-hits back and forth. Hunter took game 1. Game 2 came down to whose turn it was, as both players had 2 prizes left. Looking at Georgia’s hand, she had a KO waiting on the following turn, depending on whether or not Hunter could dig out enough energy to take out the undamaged 170 HP Rayquaza EX in Georgia’s active position. Hunter attached multiple energies with Blastoise to his active Keldeo EX, played a Supporter (Juniper?), hitting an additional energy and “Energy Retrieval”, giving him enough to do exactly 170 damage, netting him the KO, the game, the match and his last badge.
Perseverance, determination, good sportsmanship, adaptability…. all of these words combine to describe Hunter and his journey through all of these challenges. After that 1st win, Hunter battled through the other leaders. Hunter lost many of these challenges along the way. Win or lose, he played graciously in all of the challenges. Each time Hunter was turned away by a gym leader, he came back with an improved deck. As Hunter’s play improved, he began to settle in on 2 strong decks that he played very well. His last 5 victories were all earned with decks where he did not hold the type advantage over the Gym Leader. We always encourage our trainers to take advantage of type-weaknesses in their challenges, as learning how to do so is a strong method to learn how to counter the “meta game” in competitive play. Beating one of our gym decks with the type advantage is an impressive feat, but doing so without that advantage is just awesome! The way that Hunter closed out his sweep of the Gym Leaders is the mark of a great player.
Hunter’s sportsmanship and personality are additional points of pride that the Fincastle Pokemon Gym takes in its top trainer. We have traveled extensively and have literally seen players from all over the world. While most of the top kids in the game know how to act and play like sharp young adults, we have seen our share of those who lose poorly and are even worse when they win. Hunter competes and behaves like the best that we have seen. He is gracious when he wins and complementary to those who defeat him. On that front, we feel comfortable in saying that he is one of the best in the world. Hunter is always willing to help out at league in tasks varying from teaching new players to helping clean up afterwards. Our congratulations to Hunter are not only for the victories that he has achieved, but for the way that he has grown as a young man. Great job, Hunter!
Hunter’s challenges at the Gym are not over if he chooses to pursue them. The Gym Leaders are fine tuning details on the plans for a League Champion challenge. We are basing our plan on the League Champion/Elite Four portion of the video game. We will release details on this once we finalize our plan in the next week or two. Will another player ever achieve this at the Gym? It is hard to say. Fellow trainer/rival Brycen F is getting close, but still has 3 of the hardest decks to beat remaining. Like Hunter, he will have to keep battling and improving to get there. One thing that Hunter has proven is that what may seem impossible to many of you, is a goal that you can reach. Like most good things, it takes hard work, determination and the right attitude to achieve it.
Gym Badges Earned (aka, The Wall of Fame):
- Austin W – Steel, Grass
- Tyler D – Lightning, Steel, Grass
- Chris L – Lightning, Fire
- James H – Psychic, Steel
- Tessa Y – Fire, Psychic, Grass, Lightning
- Angela Y – Lightning, Fighting, Psychic
- Dustin F – Psychic
- Brycen F – Psychic, Lightning, Fire, Grass, Darkness, Steel
- Troy B – Lightning
- Jordan L – Grass
- Hunter H – Grass, Darkness, Steel, Lightning, Psychic, Fighting, Water, Fire and Dragon
- Kelli B – Fire
- Eli T – Grass
- Isaac B – Steel
- Jeff D – Psychic
- Jacob A – Steel
- Alex D – Lightning
*players in BOLD have won all 9 badges