Wow. What a fun couple of weeks at the Gym! We always enjoy the weeks that surround new set releases and the accompanying pre-release tournaments, as they are nice breaks from the competitive season. However, no other events, for us anyway, ever seem to hold a candle to the October pre-releases and our costume contests. Yes, it gets pretty noisy… and yes, the Fincastle Library room was hotter than a billy goat butt in a pepper patch, especially for those in costumes, but it is worth it for us to get to see the creative side of many of our trainers. Looking at some of the amazing efforts put forth by our trainers, we wonder if we should “re-class” our contest from that of a costume event to a cosplay event. We think some of our guys and gals could compete with the best at area anime conventions and comi-cons (at little more about that later).
As Pokemon’s new business plan has driven PTO’s who don’t own stores from their new money-making strategy, we unfortunately have lost our ties to our favorite North Carolina locations where we once hosted pre-releases. That pains us this time of year as we miss the costumes brought by southern neighbors. However, our new friends at our fledgling league in Lexington helped to fill that void. Last weekend, we held our 1st costume contest at that location and there were some amazing entries. Elliot’s Dewott with detachable “scalchops” was one of the top costumes in Lexington. He was joined by Russell in a keen Zubat getup, Katie in an awesome Cubone and Poppy in an amazing Kirlia. All photos are in a gallery at the bottom of this post.
This past Sunday at the Gym had a little bit of everything. Our day kicked off with our 1st VG Premier Challenge of this season. A mix of our league’s best and competitors from both VA and NC squared off to play 4 rounds followed by a top cut of 4. Gym Leader Joel bubbled out of the top 4 (5th place) after making a huge mistake in the last round of swiss as he held a 2 to 1 advantage and speed tilt over Jeremy G’s lone Kyogre. A “Helping Hand” boosted “Thunder Punch” would’ve likely carried him to the win, but a little brain-flatulence kept the Gym from claiming two of the top 4 spots (w/Gym Leader Dean claiming the other). Jeremy, Ritter M and Joseph C grabbed the other 3 spots, which eventually led to a final match between Jeremy and Ritter. The pre-release was kicking off as they squared off, so we were unable to watch their best 2 of 3 battle, but Jeremy prevailed as the Masters champ. Gym Leader Georgia won the Senior Division. Sadly, the Junior Division had no entries. Juniors, we know you have video games, as many of you walk around league with one in hand when we’re trying to get you to focus on the TCG. Don’t forget about our new “Generals” teams that can help you become competitive quickly, especially in the VG. You’re missing out on some easy prizes and Championship Points.
As our pre-release got under way, we polled parents and league attendees not participating in the costume contest to rank our entrants. After calculating the results, this is how things lined up. Gym Leader Joel and Ian M were voted to a tie as co-champions. We couldn’t imagine how Ian could out-do his Dusknoir costume from last year, but we have to say this entry surpasses that one. In case you can’t read the sign in the photos, it reads, “Ignore everything from the neck down.” Classic. Gym Leader Noah’s Magikarp took 2nd. Daniel S’s Trevenant claimed 3rd place. Eddie R’s awesome Golbat was locked in another tie for 4th place with Gym Leader Dean’s excellent Entei (dubbed “Excel-Entei”). Looking at the top 5 and at the many awesome outfits that did not grab one of the top spots speaks to what we were saying earlier… we have an amazing group of creative and funny players at our league. That is what makes this our favorite event of the year.
Now for a word about the “costume vs cosplay” side of the event. We let the “fan-favorite” method rank our entrants, a method that works great for the fun nature of our costume contest because it is exactly that… for fun. We felt it was worth mentioning the difference between that and a cosplay event. Cosplay contests usually are more based on the accuracy and design of the costumes in relation to the character that those people are portraying. We had several entrants on Sunday that would’ve scored high marks in any cosplay event that we felt were worth pointing out. Patrick C’s Team Rocket grunt was very well done. Gym Leader Logan’s “Morty” was the Ghost-type gym leader to a “T”. Devin portrayed an excellent “Ninja Boy”. Delilah, Georgia and Jillian all made for excellent members of the Eevee family. If there has ever been a better Spoink outfit than Brian’s, then we haven’t seen it. While these entries may not be as flashy as a giant Gastly head or a Sudowoodo that could double as a character on American Horror Story, we noticed their efforts and applaud them.
Along those lines, we felt it is worth a mention here as well… we will hold an official Pokemon costume contest at our Regional Championship in May. We are still ironing out many details for that weekend. Those of you that enjoy events like the one we just held should keep that in mind as May approaches. It is not tied to the TCG or VG events, meaning that you can just go for the costume contest. Check back here for more details on that event or on BlueRidgePokemon.com, a site that Gym Leader Marthe is building specifically for the May championship event.
Our traveling trio of Gym Leaders will be hitting the Philadelphia Regional tournament next weekend. Gym Leader Joel (whose employer is too stingy w/vacation days to allow him to join them) will be holding down the fort at the Gym. Come join him at our regular league time and try out the new cards that you picked up at the pre-release. Until then, see you at the Gym! Enjoy the photos!