The Fincastle Gym Leaders have been knee-deep in the State Championship series during the last 3 weeks. Week 1 presented the Gym with a choice of either staying in Virginia or heading to North Carolina, as for the 2nd year in a row the neighboring states scheduled the events on the same day, short-changing players in both areas by forcing them to pick one over the other. For week 2, the Gym Leaders (minus Joel) went to Maryland for their event. This weekend, the Gym is traveling to South Carolina for the final week of states.
Leaders Joel, Logan and Georgia competed in the North Carolina State Championships on week 1. All 3 players narrowly missed the top spots in Carolina. Gym Leader Joel played his rogue deck to near perfection, carrying a 4-2 record into the last round where a win would have placed him firmly in the top cut of 16. However, a crucial miss-play on his opening turn of round 7 (where he used “Computer Search” for a card that was prized) cost him several turns of trying to set up while his opponent ran away with the game. Gym Leader Logan recovered from an 0-2 start to take his record to 4-2 on the day, but missed the top cut of 8 in the Senior Division by the computer tie breakers (finished 10th on the day). Gym Leader Georgia lost her opening game in the Junior Division and then ran her record to 3-1 on the day. However, tie breakers placed her in 5th place, outside of the top cut. Overall, it was a fun but disappointing day, as all 3 played well but came up short. Despite the good finishes, no championship points were earned.
Gym Leaders Logan and Georgia traveled to Maryland to compete in week 2. Gym Leader Logan played 6 rounds again with a top cut of 8 in the Senior Division. Logan battled back and forth, as each game either went totally his way or completely against him. Entering the last round he stood at 3-2, needing a win to have a shot at the top cut. Logan, by his account, took 1 too many turns setting up (instead of attacking with what he had) and it cost him the last game.
Gym Leader Georgia was the star of the day. Georgia played 4 rounds in the Junior Division which had a top cut of 2. Georgia steam rolled her 1st 3 opponents, cruising to a 3-0 record. In round 4, she played a long back and forth game with Brian R which she eventually lost. However, her 3-1 record and tie breakers set her up for a rematch with Brian in the best 2 of 3 top cut. Georgia won game 1 in convincing fashion. Game 2, in which Brian was able to choose to go 1st saw him get a strong start. Georgia hung in and traded blows in a tightly contested back and forth game that eventually went to Brian. This set up a deciding game 3 in which Georgia was able to choose to go 1st…. and that was all she needed. Brian started with a lone Sableye while Georgia had a strong opening hand. She gambled and played “Professor Juniper” and with those 7 cards hit what she needed to get the 1st turn attack and KO, taking the game and the match for her first-ever State Championship victory. Way to go Georgia!!!!!
Georgia, for her efforts, took home 36 booster packs from Plasma Storm, a Play!Pokemon playmat, hat, binder and 1st place trophy. Georgia also wins the $500 travel allowance which she can collect upon arriving at the National Championships in July. Not a bad day’s work for a 7-year-old. Perhaps the most valuable prize the Georgia takes away from the event is the knowledge of how she has to play to win a big event. Understandably, at 7 years old, Georgia has played well in smaller events, but has not been able to play through the bigger/longer events without losing a little focus. However, being able to see firsthand the rewards available seems to have opened her eyes. The 100 championship points from Georgia’s win puts her in reach of her first World Championship invitation. Georgia will have to have a strong spring and pick up some points along the way towards the National Championships. Whether she earns the invite this year or not, Georgia is definitely becoming a player to fear in the Junior division. Keeping her age and her achievements in mind, this is still about 1 month earlier than the age when older brother Logan received his first starter deck! It should be an interesting journey.
We hope you all join me in wishing the duo good luck in this final weekend of states as they battle against what will surely be a strong field in South Carolina. The Gym will meet at its normal time this Sunday. Gym Leaders Joel and Marthe will be available for challenges. Logan and Georgia may or may not be available depending on whether or not they have anything left in the tank after this weekend. See you at the Gym!