Sunday, a week ago, the Fincastle Gym held its 1st VG challenge of the new season. Differing from the TCG, a new season of the pokemon VG does not bring with it any new rules, rotated sets or banned elements. The 2015-16 season of the VG brings many tried and true strategies, with players trying to find ways to either improve them or break them. For many players, including several of the gym leaders, the VG is more about using their favorite characters and trying to grind out some wins with them. One thing that we did not expect at our little league in the metropolis of Fincastle was for our 1st challenge of the season to bring a level of competition that rivals some of the biggest events of the year. Let us quantify that statement for you…. when 2-time National Champion, Wolfe G, slips into the top 8 in 8th place…. that’s a pretty tough field.
In addition to the great turnout, what pleased the Fincastle Gym Leaders the most was that several of its own trainers were in the thick of things, battling their way into the top cut in every age division. TCG Gym Leader Georgia claimed 2nd place in the Junior Division. The Gym’s own Sam W made his way into his 1st top cut in the Senior Division. The Master Division competition saw 2 of the Gym’s best make the top cut of 8. Eric A entered the top cut as the #1 seed following a 4 win, 1 loss run through the swiss rounds, which included a win over Wolfe G. Gym Leader Noah H had the best day of the gym leaders, entering his 1st top cut as the #6 seed.
Eric’s win over Wolfe in the swiss rounds turned out to be a costly one, as the 2 players had a rematch in the 1st round of top cut in the #1 vs #8 game. Well, it didn’t cost that much, rather, the cost was the price of allowing one of the best players in the game to see his team & strategy in battle before having to face him in a best 2-of-3 match. Wolfe made the necessary adjustments, taking the match in straight games. Wolfe repeated the same in the next round, as he swept Cameron S in the semifinals. This set up a finals match with Eric H, who, in route to the finals, swept Gym Leader Noah in the 1st round and Tyler A in the semifinals. Despite the close calls on the day, Wolfe showed why he’s one of the best, as he defeated Eric H in straight games, completing the “hat-trick” in the top cut. Great job, Wolfe!
Ryan S entered the 4 player top cut in the Senior Division as the only undefeated player following the swiss rounds. Ryan maintained that perfect record through the cut, defeating Sam W in the semifinals and then Joseph C in the finals, all without dropping a game. Little sister, Audrey S, won the Junior Division (where there was no top cut). Great job, Ryan and Audrey! (how many brothers and sisters do you guys have, anyway?)
The Gym’s busy stretch continued last weekend as 3/4 of the Gym traveled to Houston for the TCG and VG Fall Regional Championships. Gym Leader Georgia carried the gym’s torch, reaping the benefits of some good testing at home and of the experience against tough VG field at our event. Georgia claimed 8th place in the TCG event, entering the top cut of 8 in 8th place, splitting the 1st 2 games and then losing by 1 prize card in game 3 against the #1 seed (that went on to win the event). Georgia immediately went from the top cut TCG table to the VG event, where she again battled into the top 8, finishing 5th on the day. So, yeah, Georgia won a bunch of stuff (mats, hats, packs and points).
Gym Leader Logan, who is keeping the TCG and VG in its proper place as he balances a very busy high school/STEM academy schedule, did very well on the day. Logan missed the top 16 in the Senior Division by tie-breakers (18th place) with a deck that we built on Tuesday of that week and he play-tested 4 times before the main event. Likewise, he finished his VG team on the night before the event and then battled to the top tables (losing his last match) and missed the top 16 again by tie-breakers (19th place?). We know firsthand how frustrating close calls like that are, but given the amount of prep time he could work in, we were impressed with his performance.
Gym Leader Marthe again fell into the depths of the organization of the event. As much as she might like to play again one day, her reputation as a strong organizer is known throughout the pokemon community, making her recruitment a given at any event she attends. This time, she was knee-deep in deck checks and judging. All the gym leaders had a great time in Houston at what was a well-organized, smooth-running weekend.
As a reminder, we will have league this Sunday, 10/11, from 3-5pm. Make sure to report all the games you play and remind your rides that league is over a 5pm instead of 530pm (for this Sunday only). Until next time, see you at the Gym!