Since Play!Pokemon implemented the new Casual/Competitive format for pokemon leagues, the Fincastle Pokemon Gym’s exclusive Gym Leader Challenges have taken a side seat to weekly 8-man pickup tournaments. The Gym Leaders have fielded a few TCG challenges since then, but they have been few and far between. This past Sunday, Eric returned to the Gym after a 3 month absence to take on VG Gym Leader Dean and his Grass-type team, Eric’s final unclaimed badge at the Gym. From the 1st time we battled Eric, we knew one thing for sure… that he was as strong of a VG player as any that have passed through the Fincastle Pokemon Gym. As we put together our Gym teams we soon recognized another truth regarding Eric. We would have our work cut out for us if any of our team of Gym Leaders hoped to turn Eric away in his quest to claim all 9 Gym badges.
Speaking of pickup tournaments, this writer was knee-deep in one when Gym Leader Dean conducted his VG challenge with Eric. Not only did I not know that it was going on, I was also unable to gather any details on it. After the challenge, I sought out Dean to see how the match went. Dean summed the best 2-0f-3 match in one sentence… “He basically 1-hit everything I had in 2 straight games.” Well, there you go. In the Gym Leader’s defense, there is a reason why the current VG format sees little usage of Grass-types (Amoongus, Mega Venusaur, Virizion, Breloom, Ludicolo and Ferrothorn seem to be the best of the bunch). They best work in support roles, often protecting or providing status support or type coverage for more powerful pokemon. On their own, there is oddly not much synergy among them (or should I say “amoong” them). “Gale Wings” Talonflame alone spells doom for most Grass pokemon. That being said, Eric’s ability to predict what he will face and come equipped to crush those teams is why he has excelled at the Gym and on the competitive scene.
The victory over the Grass-type leader earns Eric his 9th and final badge at the Gym. Eric is the 1st VG trainer to earn all 9 badges and only the 2nd trainer ever to earn all 9 badges since the inception of the Gym Leader Challenge at the Gym. Where Eric stands alone is that he is the 1st to sweep all 9 Gym Leaders. Hunter H, the only TCG player to earn all 9 badges, did so over the course of 2 years, losing many challenges before grinding his way to all 9 badges. While several Gym Leaders took a game in the best 2-0f-3 matches from Eric, Eric never lost a match in route to taking all 9 badges. Amazing job, Eric!
So, what’s next? Eric has now earned the right to challenge the Final 4, the Gym’s version of the Elite 4. The Final 4 is a match that consists of 4 consecutive single game battles against mixed teams manned by Gym Leaders Logan, Noah, Dean and Joel. If Eric can battle his way through the 4, then he will earn the 1st ever title of Fincastle Gym Champion and some pretty sweet prizes.
The unfortunate timing of Eric’s achievement is that this hits as Pokemon is changing the 2016 VG format, allowing an expanded list of Legendary pokemon to those eligible for use. The “unfortunate” part of this is that the current Double Flat Battle function of the VG doesn’t allow for this. Premier Organizer and Gym Leader Marthe is working out the details of how to conduct proper double battles and will hopefully have them soon. She will give these changes a test run this weekend at our City Championships and see how it goes. In the meantime, the Gym Leaders will use the time to adapt their teams as well. Hopefully we will be able to field the Final 4 challenge by the weekend of 1/24/16.
Speaking of City Championships, don’t forget to check our “Upcoming Events” tab for details about this weekend’s events. 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, Psychic, Fighting, Grass
- Hunter H – Lightning, Grass, Water, Fire
- Chad B – Psychic