The Fincastle Gym is back from a few weeks of hitting the season’s first tournaments. The Gym Leaders had mixed results, picking up some championships points, while missing a few chances to pick up a few more. Gym Leader’s Georgia and Logan finished in the prizes multiple times, picking up a nice selection of packs and promo items. Gym Leader Joel experienced first-hand the power of making the right deck call over the events taking place in Pennsylvania. Several gym members had success in Pennsylvania as well. Being that this was our 1st extended look at Expanded Format, we can definitely say that the past few weeks was an extended learning experience.
Following a strong weekend in Houston, the Gym was hoping for more of the same from Gym Leader Georgia in Lancaster. Georgia played well, but had some very odd luck throughout the TCG tournament (i.e., 4 lone Jirachi and 2 lone Shaymin starts over 7 rounds of best 2 out of 3, which was a little less than 21 games total). We accept that starts like that happen from time to time, but those numbers seemed a little on the heavy side. In addition, we were not aware that in the days following the Houston Regionals, Pokemon.com posted both her deck list and VG team. We can’t say that this had any direct effect on her performance, but it would have been nice to know before Pennsylvania (we saw it after returning home). Generally speaking, knowledge of what your opponent is playing before hand is more damaging in the VG than the TCG. Lesson learned, we suppose (have multiple decks in your arsenal next time). At any rate, Georgia entered the last round of swiss in the TCG needing to win to make top 8 again, but lost, dropping her to a 17th place finish. Her VG event went about the same. Not only did she miss the top 8, she was bounced out of the prizes for top 16 by the 2nd tie-breaker (opponent’s opponent record) by 3/10’s of a % point.
Gym Leader Logan had a strong run in the Senior Division in the TCG event. Logan held a 4-1-1 record entering the last round. A win would have placed him in either 4th or 5th place in the Seniors top cut of 8. An ID (draw) would have left him squarely in the top 16, where he would pick up points. A loss, of course, would knock him out of both. We caught up with Logan before the last round to explain the options that he had. Anyone that knows Logan knows that such a conversation was brief. He doesn’t play to ID. The theme of Georgia’s day (that of the universe seeming aligned against her) seemed to spread to Logan as well. In the last round, he faced a Donphan deck with Jolteon teched in, which created a horrible match-up for him. He played his best but ultimately fell in what was an almost unwinnable match-up for the deck he piloted. Logan picked up some packs for his efforts and then returned for the VG event on Sunday where he ultimately finished 3-3 and in 26th place.
Speaking of the universe aligning against someone…. here is how Joel’s TCG weekend went. Joel selected a speedy and consistent Sceptile EX/Ariados build from his collection, anticipating a lot of Keldeo decks and a lot of Seismitoad based decks. He was right, there were a ton of both. The problem was he never played one. Joel’s first 3 matches were against Vespiquen/Flareon, a deck that literally burns through Joel’s deck. 4 of his opening 6 matches were against this same deck. Joel dropped from Saturday’s event (0-3-3) and returned on Sunday for the Expanded league challenge, which was slated for 7 rounds. Unfortunately, it begin much later than it was supposed to. Armed with a different deck, Joel was undefeated (4-0) after 4 rounds. However, the late start forced his hand, as the Gym Leaders had to leave to get back in time for Joel to work 3rd shift. He had to walk away from a tournament that he was dominating, which was unfortunate, but was definitely keeping with the whole jaded universe theme.
Several Gym members also were in the mix in Pennsylvania. Hunter H had a great tournament in the Masters division. After the initial rounds of swiss, he held a record of 6-1-2, gaining entry into the top 32 swiss rounds. In the following 5 rounds, Hunter went 2-2-1, finishing 8-3-3 overall and in 15th place. Robbie F battled back and forth in the Senior division, winning his last round match and raising his record to 4-2-1. The last round win allowed him to climb into 31st place, winning packs but missing points. Both Robbie and Gym Leader Logan would have picked up points if the Seniors field had 7 more players (121, needed 128).
Gym Leaders Dean and Noah made the trip in Pennsylvania and entered Sunday’s VG event. Despite the VG staff handicapping Noah at check in (by locking his battle box with 5, a lovely bit of info that Noah did not discover until his round 1 match-up), he piloted his Terrakion-less team to a 4-5 record. Dean recovered from a bad few opening rounds to drive his record back up to 3-6 on the day.
It was definitely an interesting weekend. The field, as expected, was flooded with copies of what did well the week before. We learned that paying a little closer attention to the deck list sites would’ve paid some dividends, especially now that we know Pokemon is going to post the top 8 from every event. The addition of Expanded to the tournament format should definitely make for an interesting year. We’re back at the Gym this Sunday at our normal time. See you at the Gym!