The Fincastle Gym created the Gym Leader challenge during our first few months of existence as an extra bonus for league members. The goal of the challenge has always been “multi-level”. It is meant to be both a teaching aid and a measuring stick for trainers that enjoy playing competitively, or at least hope to one day. Each Gym Leader deck is almost exclusively a single energy and Pokemon type deck (with set up cards of different types allowed). From a teaching standpoint, this allows us to exhibit how to take advantage of type weaknesses and resistances and to an extent, how to guard against them (if possible). It also allows us to show how many cards (often of the same type) can work together to make a stronger deck. The Gym Leader decks range from semi-competitive to very competitive, sometimes shifting wildly as new card sets come out and older cards are rotated. Once you are able to defeat one of them in a best 2 of 3 match, you know that your deck is at least on the right track, if not very good.
You don’t have to look any further than the “Wall of Fame” to see how much the level of play has improved at the Gym. A total of 18 different trainers have defeated Gym Leaders so far, winning 42 badges among all of them. Over the last year or so, we have seen several players win challenges with their best decks that did not play off of the type advantage, which is very exciting for us because it means some of our trainers have become very talented players. Unfortunately for us, several very promising players on the “Wall” have moved on (or just outright moved away). If everyone on the “Wall” still played at the Gym, we would have one of the most insanely competitive leagues in the country. As it stands, we have already had 1 player win all 9 badges. Hunter H would likely have some company if all of our original trainers still played. Thanks to Hunter, we had to put our heads together to take the challenge even further by creating the Final Four, the Fincastle Gym’s version of the Elite Four.
Those familiar with the Gym know that we have sweetened the pot for the challenges by adding a prize for the trainer that completes every 100th challenge. At #100, despite falling in the challenge, Chris L won a promo binder with a collection of all of the league promo cards that we had at the time. For #200, again after losing the challenge, Addison M won a Pokemon binder with a thick collection of rares (Primes and Legend-piece Pokemon), Full-Art cards and the new EX’s that were out at the time. As you can see, we like to up the reward as we go. I think we’ve mentioned before, but just to remind everyone, whoever plays in #300 (win or lose) will win a Gym Leader built deck, sleeved and in a cool box, that will be based off of what is competitive at the time. The format changes so much, we will equip you with one of the best decks of the format, whatever that may be at the time. Since we don’t know exactly how long it will take us to get to #300, we will wait until we get close before we build anything. We do not want the deck you win to be destroyed by a rotation, so we will consider that when we build it.
So here is where we are as far as challenges go. To date, we have played 271 challenges. Overall, the record of the Gym Leaders is 229-42. The toughest leaders by records still seem to be Logan as the Water leader (29-1) and Joel as the Fighting leader (24-2). As far as Final Four challenges go, Hunter battled all the way to the last deck (the Skill deck) and lost an intense match by a single coin flip! Hunter is on the war path again, starting his 2nd attempt by handily defeating the Power deck. The Speed, Defense and Skill decks still stand ahead of him. The deck he played in the 1st series was strong, but the one he is playing this time will be much harder to stop. Hunter has a great shot at becoming the League Champion this time if things go his way. As they say in football (or was it competitive eating?), that’s why they play the game!
We will not give any more updates on how close we are to #300 so that no one can play the numbers and wait to sign up. Even if you are lucky enough to be the one, you will not know until after your challenge is complete (we don’t want you to lose your concentration before you square off against a Gym Leader). It would be awesome if someone pulls off a win over a Gym Leader during #300 and wins the deck and a badge at the same time. Everyone keep playing and practicing, who know what will happen. Until next time, see you at the Gym!
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, Fire
- Jacob A – Steel
- Alex D – Lightning, Grass
- Jacob V – Dragon
*players in BOLD have won all 9 badges