The 2014 Pokemon TCG and VG Nationals are now complete. Yep, as the picture illustrates, today was the end. As can be seen in more detail on pokemon.com, the finals in the 3 different age groups showcased a nice mix of decks, verifying the health of the game. By that, we mean that no one deck dominated the tournament. The decks present at the end really speak more of the strength of the players commanding them than of the decks themselves. The Fincastle Gym Leaders played against similar decks (if not identical decks) throughout the weekend, losing to some, while dominating others. In sports this is referred to as “parity”. Parity is probably the most accurate term to describe what we saw here. Any deck, in the right hands, is capable of beating another.
Gym Leaders Logan and Georgia both entered the Last Chance Qualifier event on Sunday with some pretty crazy decks of their own. Their intentions were like Joel’s on Saturday… to collect the promo playmat and just have fun playing. They picked up a few wins and some bonus booster packs along the way. Gym Leader Joel shifted into low gear on Sunday, picking up a large latte and kicking back to watch the TCG and VG finals. As you can hopefully see in the photos, all games were played on center stage while being broadcast on the big screen (and internet) with live play-by-play commentary. Event organizers did an excellent job of turning a card game and a 3DS video game into a spectator sport.
The hardest working member of the Gym this weekend was Gym Leader Marthe. Marthe was a runner all 3 days in different divisions in the main event and then in the qualifier events. It wasn’t all work, though, as Marthe entered the Professor’s Cup. The Cup is a tournament open only to qualified Pokemon Professors. Each year, this event presents a different special format. For this year, the Cup format was an XY-on tournament where players built 30 card decks and played 3 prize card games. The other caveat was that decks could only contain “common” and “uncommon” cards… no “rare” cards allowed. To top off the craziness, a special rule was announced each round that would shake up play a bit (or in some cases, a lot). For example, one round was a “Simon Says” round, in which, of course, players had to say “Simon says…” for every action they took or their turn ended. In another round, players swapped decks and played against their own deck. The highlight of the event was probably the game that was decided by opposing players kicking field goals, paper football style, with pokemon cards. The Cup finalists took home IPAD Mini’s and promo backpacks. All competitors picked up booster packs and promo items each round. Through all the insanity, Marthe went 3-4 and finished in 44th place in a field of over 80 professors.
The Fincastle Gym Leaders are packing up and heading out of here, stopping for a little rafting on the New River on the way back. We will be back at league next Sunday at our regular time. Here are a few more photos, including the finals play area, the commentary booth, the convention center and our crazy daughter. See you next Sunday at the Gym!