Remember those little things called Gym Leader Challenges? It’s been a little while since we’ve had much to say on that subject. The main reason being, we have not had many challengers. Among all of the Gym Leaders, we have only fielded a handful of challenges over the last few months. The majority of those have come in the last few weeks from Jillian B against VG Leader Joel and his Fighting-type team, which is one of the tougher teams to beat, as it encompasses Fighting, Rock and Ground types, giving him lots of options that prevent his team from being to vulnerable to one or two types. Props to Jillian, as she has almost beaten it on several occasions. She’d likely already have a badge if she pursued other teams 1st, but were not going to stop her from going after a strong team, as it will help her improve her existing team.
One of the factors that we see that likely contributes to Jillian’s improvement is that she has a good training partner, Jaelynn L, to practice with away from league. Jaelynn has made several attempts to win a gym badge in the TCG over the last 2 years and has come close, but has never been able to take 2 of 3 games. Only recently has Jaelynn become involved in the VG and like Jillian, she is developing a strong grasp on strategies and competitive pokemon in the VG. This past Sunday at the Gym, Jaelynn proved that her grasp on the game is a little stronger than we were aware.
Jaelynn, who originally planned to go after Gym Leader Joel and one of his teams (Fighting or Water), changed her mind and turned her focus to Gym Leader Dean and his Psychic-type team (which includes Psychic and Ghost-types). What ensued was definitely a YouTube quality match (for those of you that enjoy watching battles online)… if we only had a way to get them online.
Gym Leader Dean opened with the monstrous Giratina (who Gym Leader Joel attacked again and again to little avail last week in a practice battle) and Rotom, who was literally dwarfed by its partner. Jaelynn countered with Mega Mewtwo X and Aegislash. As anyone with any sense of strategy would, Jaelynn focused on what appeared to be the bigger threat, the Giratina. With her attention diverted, Dean used that devious little light bulb to wreak havoc on Jaelynn’s team, dropping multiple status conditions on her Mewtwo, Aegislash, Kangaskhan and then Blaziken. Confused, burned and paralyzed, Jaelynn was unable to knock anything out but the Giratina. What was surely a frustrating game 1 for the challenger went to Gym Leader Dean in a match that seemed would go his way easily.
Whether you choose to credit Aesop, Samuel Butler or Thomas Howell probably depends on how exactly you use the phrase… alas, they collectively warn against not counting chickens before they hatch (or to “Count not thy chickens that unhatched be…”). Chicken or no chicken, Jaelynn jumped right into game 2, facing Gym Leader Dean’s Rotom and Cressilia with her Aegislash and Blaziken (Mega this time). We think she had enough of Rotom and its shenanigans in game 1, as she double targeted it and took it out quickly this time. Jaelynn relied heavily on her M Blaziken, as it helped take out Cressilia, then M Mewtwo Y, leaving the Giratina for last. She only lost 2 of her team to KO’s in a stunning game 2 comeback. On to the deciding game 3.
Jaelynn opened game 3 with Mewtwo and M Blaziken, facing down Dean’s M Latias and Rotom. She quickly took out the Rotom again and damaged the Latias heavily, losing her lead pair in the process. This left her with Kangaskhan and Rayquaza to take on Giratina and Aegislash. She again double attacked the Giratina and took it out, giving her a 2 to 1 advantage against Dean’s Aegislash. Once it was forced to break out of shield form, she was able to take the last KO with a “Waterfall” from her Rayquaza. What a match!
All I know is that after watching that match, if I were a Rotom, I’d run if I saw Jaelynn coming my way. She quickly saw that those games hinged on taking Rotom out and by doing so, she was able to make the comeback. The win was Jaelynn’s 1st ever badge at the Gym and was well-earned. As we mentioned before, Jaelynn has made several attempts for badges at the Gym. If you asked her tomorrow what “Smogon” or “Nugget Bridge” are, or any of the TCG deck sites, she’d likely raise an eyebrow, roll her eyes and say something witty, but also add that she has no idea what they were. That’s what impresses us about Jaelynn. Every deck of hers that we’ve ever played against, and now her video game teams, are all things that she puts together on her own.
Jaelynn is the 4th VG trainer to earn a gym badge and is the 30th trainer overall to win a badge in either the VG or TCG. We have a feeling that this won’t be the last time you hear from her and that her training buddy, Jillian won’t be long before she joins her on the Wall of Fame. Great job, Jaelynn!
There is no league this Sunday, 5/1/16, as the library has another event in the meeting room. That combined with a break from events hopefully will give Gym Leader Joel some time to share a few decks from the PTCGO. Check back in a day or 2 and see what he comes up with. 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
- Jaelynn L – Psychic