It ‘twas a whale of a day this past Sunday at the Fincastle Pokemon Gym. At noon, we kicked the day off with a TCG league challenge. After several rounds of tough competition, we wrapped things up and transitioned right into our regular league play. Gym Leader Joel was up for another challenge, this time against his Fire-type deck, which is one of the oldest gym decks in circulation.
Joel built this long-lasting fire deck back with the release of Black & White: Plasma Storm (back when “Catcher” was good and when you could attack if you went 1st), and up until recently, played the deck with almost no changes (recently added “Blacksmith” and a 1-1 Mega Charizard line to deal with Pyroar). The deck centers around Victini EX and Reshiram EX, 2 of the lowest budget EX’s out there. With 4 copies of Victini EX, the ACESPEC “Victory Piece” and plenty of energy, you could almost guarantee a 2nd turn attack from Reshiram EX. His potentially self-damaging “Brave Fire” for 150, combined with the “laser-bank” cards (Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym) netted a 1-hit KO on everything in the game. Good old “Blue Flare” Reshiram was there to deal with “Safeguards”. This deck, dubbed “Turbo Dragon” was probably more of a “plug & play” deck than the ever-popular Virizion/Genesect. Blastoise/Keldeo surely scared a lot of players away from mono fire decks, yet Gym Leader Joel has taken many of these decks out over the years both at league and at Premier Events. For that matter, variations of this deck could still be competitive now, as the speed is often too much for many decks. On Sunday, Joel met a deck that merely laughed at his quick 180 damage.
VG Gym Leader Dean E brought an interesting water deck in his attempt to earn a 2nd TCG badge. Of course, as a VG Gym Leader, Dean cannot challenge for a VG badge. However, he is still eligible to pursue all of the TCG badges and the TCG League Champion challenge (if he can defeat all 9 decks). What laughs in the face of a 2nd turn 180 damage attack? Say “hola” to 250 HP Wailord EX. Ay ya yai…..
Wailord EX’s 5 energy, 120 damage attack seems a little underwhelming in the current meta game, where everything and its brother can hit for damage beyond that amount. However, against a water-weak deck, 120 damage is not too shabby. I wish there was something exciting to say about the challenge… I guess watching a giant whale maul a couple of dragons and whatever kind of rodent Victini is (I’m sure he cooks up into a nice gravy) is kind of exciting (maybe not for the rodent). Either way, that is pretty much what happened. Wailord took the hits, was scooped up multiple times, re-benched and then completely powered back up by Blastoise. Yeah…. that was pretty nasty for Gym Leader Joel. Needless to say, Dean won the challenge in straight games. Great job, Dean!
The Fire-type badge is Dean’s 2nd badge earned at the Gym. His victory brings the total to 54 badges won at the Gym. Dean’s victories showcase that which we hope all challenges strengthen in our trainers, namely “deck building”. If you want the easy route, you can always go and copy whatever list just won the latest Regional or State event, or whatever list you saw on YouTube. In doing so, you may be learning the mechanics of how a certain deck works, but you learn nothing about building a deck. Dean has built 2 different decks specifically for each challenge and each time they’ve produced impressive wins. Would either deck take him to the finals at Worlds? Probably not. However, shifting gears for each challenge and building something completely new is great experience for any player. Plus, playing something outside the norm makes the challenges much more fun for the Gym Leaders fielding the challenge.
Whether you choose to follow his lead or net-deck, the Gym Leaders await your challenge. Until next time, see you at the Gym!
TCG 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
- Alan G – Fire
- Ryan N – Psychic
- Wesley H – Fire
- Alex T – Grass
- Rob C – Psychic, Water, Lightning
- Dean E – Grass, Fire
- Robbie F – Lightning
- Nathan S – Dragon
*players in BOLD have won all 9 badges