Gym Leader Georgia, the Fincastle Gym’s youngest leader, at 9 yrs old, has broken new ground for us. Logan, our most accomplished leader (2-time World’s competitor), did not pick up a pokemon card until he was 8. Logan was 9 by the time we started to even understand what this game was all about. Logan paved the way for the Gym to turn into what it has become. In doing so, he laid the blueprint for his younger sister to follow, if so inclined. Georgia inclined and then inclined a little more, turning on to her brother’s path and then charging up it. As a result, Georgia has earned her first invitation to the Pokemon TCG World Championships, which will take place in Washington DC on the 2nd weekend in August.
What seems like years ago now, Logan was going against the grain, playing his unique deck ideas against the best decks around. While he was in the thick of the competitive scene, Georgia was just taking her first look at the TCG. She entered her 1st tournament at 5 yrs old, armed with a deck where she just memorized attacks and cards by sight, as she was still learning to read. One of our favorite memories was watching her at age 6, paired with Seniors, playing Jimmy McClure (now a Master, at the time, a World Championship qualifier in the Senior division), trading prize cards with him, as he asked over and over, “How old are you???????” She even managed to knock off her older brother a time or 2 at different events (making for some pretty sour car rides home from a few tournaments). A good foundation was laid for Georgia to become a fearless player.
Georgia missed an invite to last year’s World Championships in Vancouver by a handful of points. She entered last year’s National Championships with the hopes of picking them up, but was denied in the last round by what remains the worst missed judge ruling that we have ever witnessed at any event (let’s not re-live that moment), causing her to miss the top cut and any chance at points. That unfortunately did not leave Georgia with anything positive to take away from the 2013 season in which she won her 1st State Championships. Georgia did not dwell on the negative, however, going right to work when the 2013-2014 season began.
Georgia struck early and often in the new season. Georgia started off the Fall season by winning the Philadelphia Regional Championship. Georgia only competed in one other Regional, the Virginia Regional in the Winter. Georgia lost only 1 game at the VA event, but got her 1st taste of the dreaded tie, being tied in 4 different matches. She finished the day in 15th place with no points this time around. In and around the VA event, Georgia cleaned up. Through the City Championship series, Georgia took 1st place 3 times, 2nd place once and 3rd place two times. Georgia added to her resume and point total by taking 1st place in 5 League Challenges and 2nd place in another.
The odd portion of Georgia’s 2013-2014 season came in the State Championships that she competed in. Georgia played in the Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina State Championships and played very well. She finished 8th in Maryland and finished 6th in both the Virginia and North Carolina events (in which she played in top cuts). From all 3 events, Georgia took home no points. We understood the Maryland finish, as attendance did not allow for a top 8 cut. However at Virginia and North Carolina, she made cut and only walked away with booster packs. That, to us at the Gym, seems to be a flaw in the current system. Playing that deep into any tournament, especially into the “playoffs” should be worthy of points. For accomplished/competitive players, a handful of booster packs is not a reward for that kind of day with that much success. Competitive players have the cards they need… they travel to marathon events like these to earn points and a 6th place finish at a State Championship is more than worthy of them.
Thankfully, Georgia’s season did not depend on the finishes from any of the early State Championships. With the season just over the half-way point, Georgia topped the 400 championship point mark, locking in her invitation to Worlds. With a full slate of dance and softball facing her in the Spring, Georgia stopped where she was, passing on the last round of Spring Regionals. Georgia could have chased down more points to try to increase the “stipends” that she picked up at Nationals. As it stood, she picked up a total of $850 for her year’s work. That, in addition to some extra money Georgia picked up for the mountain of booster packs that she won this year was enough. To us and to Georgia, pushing on beyond that seemed a little greedy. Topping $1000 in a year playing a card game is nothing to sneeze at for a 9 yr old.
Georgia played around with some ideas as Nationals drew near, but ultimately went with an identical deck to what Gym Leader Joel played, the Weavile/Exeggcute deck we recently posted. Georgia had fun playing that deck in the main event and got a look at some new ideas in the Last Chance for Championship Points tournament that followed. While nothing more than a few booster packs were added to her book of work, Nationals weekend was valuable, as it gave her a fresh look at virtually all of the top decks in use at the moment. Georgia will be the 1st to tell you… she did not work all year to try to win Nationals… she wants to win Worlds.
Georgia is digging in during these last few weeks before Worlds, finalizing her deck and testing against decks that we predict will be played heavily at the event. It is, admittedly, a tough call on the right play, as just about every deck out there has a solid counter to it in the format. As we learned with Logan, the best play is what she feels the most comfortable playing. At this level of competition, we know that things have to line up in your favor to win an event like this. We also know that the young and the fearless gym leader will do her best and provide us with a very interesting weekend in DC. If there is way, Georgia will find it. Stay tuned. See you at the Gym!