Back From Nats and Japan!

Joel 001We may not know what day it is yet, or for that matter, what time it is, but the Fincastle Gym Leaders have returned home from a 2+ week long adventure that began with the National Championships in Indy and then transitioned immediately into a whirlwind exploration of Japan.  Amazing, fascinating, even mesmerizing are all terms that easily apply to the country that gave birth to the Pokemon TCG and VG.  Despite an immense population that doesn’t even seem like it should fit the Joel 002spaces that make up Japan’s cities, there is a sense of serenity and order that I cannot relate to anything in this country.  I could write for the next week about the food alone.  Heck, I could write a blog entirely about the bathrooms and their cool space toilets, but that is not the purpose of this site.

Speaking of whirlwinds, we need to back up to before Nats to catch up the Gym’s goings-ons.  Two VG trainers earned badges before we left.  Eric A continued his charge through the leaders, taking on Gym Leader Joel’s Water-type team.  A “power-up punch” allowed his Kangaskhan to use “return” and devastate the water team in the 1st game.  Joel fought back in the 2nd game, using a “Dragon Dance” boosted Mega-Gyarados to take the game to 1 pokemon each, but Eric’s faster Ludicolo edged out Gyarados to net Eric the match.  The victory earns Eric his 6th VG badge at the Gym.  Hunter followed suit, taking on Gym Leader Noah and his Fire-type team.  We did not get a chance to collect any details, but know that the 2 split the first 2 games of the match and that Hunter won a very close 3rd game to take the match.  The win earns Hunter his 4th VG badge.  Congratulations to both Eric and Hunter!

Now on to the National Championships.  The TCG event had another immense turnout, with 911 Masters, 278 Seniors and 186 Juniors, meaning that Championship Points would go out to the top 128 Masters, the top 64 Seniors and the top 32 Juniors.  Juniors would play 8 rounds with a top cut of 8, Seniors would play 9 rounds with cut to a top 32 (and 2nd day of swiss and eventual top bob8) and Masters played 9 rounds cutting to a top 32 out of each of the 2 flights, who would continue swiss rounds to an eventual top 8.  Gym Leaders Georgia and Logan would both need to finish within the championship points limits to qualify for the World Championships.

Gym Leader Georgia started the day on fire, winning her 1st 4 matches, all of which she took 2-0 over her opponent and putting herself in excellent position to at least qualify for World’s.  Sitting in 16th place with an undefeated record would mean she would have to beat the best for the rest of the day.  This is where we still pine for the single game format of yesterday (which we know good and well will never return).  Over her last 4 matches, she won the opening game 3 times, only to go on to lose 2 of those matches and tie in another.  She ultimately lost 3 of her last 4, dropping her to 72nd place with a 4-3-1 record.  1 win in any of the 3 losses (all of which were close matches) would have landed her within the top 32, as her tie-breaker (60.94%) was stronger than those in places 32-35.

Marthe 145Gym Leader Logan’s day was not too different from Georgia’s.  Logan opened with a pair of ties and then got hot, knowing that he was behind the 8-ball from the start because of the ties.  Logan pushed his record to 3-1-2 after 6 rounds, sitting in 88th place, within striking distance of this goal of making the top 64.  However, like Georgia, he entered into a difficult stretch of split matches, losing in the 3rd game of his next 3 matches and falling to 3-4-1.  Logan, like Georgia, battled hard but missed the points he needed.

Gym Leader Joel opened with a pair of losses, both against Landorus/Crobat to end up in an almost insurmountable hole before the lunch break.  He did not fold, though, alternating wins and ties until round 8.  Somehow Joel missed the bullpairing announcement for this round (must’ve been a good story that he was either telling or listening to) and was marked late by the time he found his table.  He played to another tie, but the match was scored a loss (if you are late, you have to win the match outright, ties are not possible).  That loss mathematically eliminated him from any chance at making the 1st cut, so Joel dropped.

The event was not a complete loss for the Gym.  Gym Leader Georgia still picked up her $750 VG allowance by attending.  Gym Leader Joel opened Saturday with an unsuccessful attempt at the side tournament to win a Wii U.  Afterwards, Gym Leader Joel played side events for the remainder of the day, winning every event save 1 (where he lost to a top 8 finalist from the Senior division), picking up a handful of packs along the way.  Gym Leaders Georgia and Logan were free to enter the main VG event, where they had mixed success, but enjoyed the day nonetheless.  Gym Leader Marthe had a busy, yet fulfilling weekend, working the information desk and assisting with the coordination of the event volunteers, in addition to learning several other key operation duties, which will hopefully expand further for her next year.

That’s about the most concise account of the weekend that we can put together.  The weekend in Indy wraps up the competitive season for all of the Gym Leaders.  Are we disappointed that Georgia and Logan did not qualify for Worlds?  Yes, but we also know how much time the 2 were able to devote to Pokemon this season.  Both leaders had a lot going on outside of Pokemon and were unable to devote much time to preparing for any of the major events.  While Gym Leader Joel was rooting for both of them, he’ll be the 1st to admit that he was not heartbroken to find out that he did not have to come up with the funds or the vacation time for a trip to Boston following the biggest vacation that the Gym has ever taken as a family.  We hope that next year’s World Championships will return to the west coast/pacific so that if anyone qualifies, we can plan a vacation around a location that we can’t drive to any other weekend.

We still have a lot of info to catch up on with all of you.  As we hinted at before, we returned from Japan with a small selection of items that we will sell on Dark Moon Cards and Games.  We probably won’t get those items listed until sometime next week, but we will post details here as well when we get everything ready.  Pokemon also announced the next rotation this week.  We’ll get details up on that later today.  After all of that, we’ll do a short series on some of our decks, including our decks from Nationals and some of our favorites from our online collection.  So, check back soon.  We get info up on this site as fast as Gym Leader Joel’s fingers can type it.  Until then, see you at the Gym!

VG Gym Badges Earned (aka, The Wall of Fame v2.0):

  • Eric A – Fire, Dragon, Lightning, Darkness, Steel, Water
  • Hunter H – Lightning, Grass, Water, Fire
  • Chad B – Psychic

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