Blue Ridge Regional Championships – Battle Fiesta & Side Events

The next aspect of the Blue Ridge Regional Championships that we are going to look at is the planned TCG and VGC Side Events.  Side events have been a staple of the Regional Championship format since we at the Fincastle Pokemon Gym have been playing the game.  Typical “sides” have been 8-person, single elimination pods in formats ranging from Standard to Expanded to Theme Deck contests.  In more recent Regionals, Day 2 (usually Sunday) has included a League Challenge.  While these are great additions to the main events at these weekends, we are looking for (and have found) some great ways to expand those options and, in the process, bring you the 1st event of its kind on the east coast (maybe USA…, 1st that we’ve heard of anyway).  The Battle Fiesta events are exciting new events for us to try out.  We’ve read some amazing articles from American and European players that have been lucky enough to travel to Japan to compete in the real thing.  Their tournament reports make for some fascinating reading.  On both Saturday and Sunday, we will hold Japanese-style Battle Fiesta contests.  Let us break down some details on all of these events.

Before we get into those details, we’d like to tell you about an upcoming event at the Fincastle Pokemon Gym.  The Gym is taking a 1st crack at a trial run of the Fiesta this coming Saturday, April 29th, at our league location in Fincastle.  In what we hope will help work out any potential bugs in what is a new tournament style for us, we are holding our own Fiesta at the Fincastle Library.  There is no limit on attendance, so once registration is complete we will pair up and start playing.

The Fiesta “Warmup” takes place this Saturday, April 29 at the Fincastle Library in our regular meeting room.  Registration is from 12:30pm – 1:00pm, with play beginning shortly after.  The format is the current Standard format, a decklist is required and the entry fee is $10.  Our event in Fincastle will stray slightly from the rules for the Blue Ridge Regional Championships Fiestas.  We will explain those changes in a moment.  First, lets look at how a Fiesta works.

The rules of the Fiesta are quite simple.


  1. At the designated start time, players enter a single-file line.  Players are not separate by age division*.
  2. Based on the number of players, a number of tables equal to ⅓ of the participants (rounded down) will be designated for the event.
  3. Players are seated at the tables based on their spot in line.
  4. Players face off with their opponent for a single game (no time limit).
  5. Results of the game are noted by the event judge.
  6. Winners remains at the table to battle the next player in line.
  7. This continues, with players re-joining the line after they lose, and remaining at the battle table if they win.

*Depending on attendance/demand, “12 & under” pods will be available.  Players in that age range are also eligible to play in open age groups.

When players have 2 losses in the event they check out with the event judge to receive Prize Tickets.  If an opponent is not available for a seated winner, they may elect to wait for an opponent or re-join the line to face the next winner.  Players may face each other multiple times.  When time for the event is called, each game still in progress will commence a +3 turns process – players ahead on prize cards at the end of 3 turns will be declared the winner of that game.

Sign-ups will be available for these timed events throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday.  At least 16 participants will be required to run the event in either format (TCG or VG).  Build your fastest deck or VG team and rack up the wins (and Prize Tickets)!  Here is roughly how the Fiesta works:

Battle Fiesta  Example:

  • 16 Players line up to start.
  • Players 1-10 are seated at 5 tables
  • Player 1 v. Player 2 – Player 1 wins.  Player 2 returns to the back of the line.
  • Player 1 v. Player 11 – Player 1 wins. Player 11 rejoins the line behind Player 2.
  • Player 1 v. Player 14 – Player 14 wins.  Player 14 remains at the table and Player 1 rejoins the line.
  • Player 2 v. Player # – Player 2 loses.  Player 2 is eliminated and gets 10 prize tickets for each win in the Fiesta plus 10 prize tickets for battling.

This Saturday in Fincastle, we will operate under this general format.  Where we will differ is that, first, we don’t have a prize wall or tickets.  We will award booster packs instead of tickets.  Second, players in the Fincastle event will not be eliminated after 2 loss.  We will keep going until the 4 hour time limit expires, meaning that you can return to the line as many times as you like.  Prizing will be dependent on attendance.  Obviously, the more players we have, the more packs will be available as prizes.  As is the case at the Blue Ridge Regional, the deck you enter with is the deck that you play throughout the event.  Both our event and the Regional Fiestas are in the current Standard format.  Our only suggestion is that you play something that keeps a decent pace.  Slow play or picking a deck that leads to long games not only burns your opponent’s time, it burns yours as well.  The top prizes go to the players with the most wins.  If you want to try your hand at this new format, come to Fincastle this Saturday.

At the Blue Ridge Regional, the first Fiesta will take place at 4:30pm on Saturday.  This will give time for those battling in the main event to decide whether or not they continue or would like to join the Fiesta.  For example, 2 years ago at Philadelphia, Gym Leader Joel entered the main Regional event with a Sceptile EX deck, anticipating heavy play from Seismitoad EX and Keldeo EX decks.  To his chagrin, he played identical Vespiquen/Flareon decks in the opening 4 rounds, losing all 4 and finding himself out of contention early.  Those kind of days are inevitable for many players.  If that kind of day strikes you, you will know by that point in the afternoon.  We know that he would have welcomed another event to join as opposed to bouncing around the bottom tables for the rest of the afternoon.  There will be 2 different start times for those returning on Sunday (see below).

The Battle Fiesta contests constitute only a fraction of the Regional weekend’s Side Events.  Beginning at 10:00am on Saturday, there will sign-ups for a variety of small, 8 person TCG & VG tournaments.  These events will vary from Standard to Expanded Constructed contests (where you play with the deck you bring), to Sealed events where you play with the pre-release kits from recent sets (Fates Collide-on).  There will also be 8 person Pokken tournaments at the Wii-U location.  All groups will play for prize tickets for the Prize Wall, while some will also play for exclusive event playmats in addition to prize tickets.  If you want to get in on the Regionals experience but, for whatever reason, do not have the time to enter the main event or the desire to play in the competitive event, any of these side events are fun ways to participate.

HEY PARENTS OF YOUNGER PLAYERS !!!!!!!  From Saturday morning through Saturday afternoon, all of the insanely competitive Junior & Senior age players will be busy in the main event.  So, if your younger or less experienced players want to play for fun, bring them by during those hours to play some side event tournaments.  They won’t have to have a professionally built, 4 Shaymin EX deck to play and be competitive.  For the youngest among you, there are coloring contests at the Creative Corner that are free to enter and will award prize tickets.

If you are still in the hunt for Championship points, there will be 2 opportunities on Sunday (in addition to the main events).  There is a TCG League Challenge and VGC Premier Challenge, both taking place on Sunday at 9:00am.

The currency of choice for the weekend will be tickets, mainly so that volunteers across the venue do not have to handle and keep track of cash.  Event Tickets cost $5 each and can be purchased at the Side Event stage and photo booth at any time throughout the weekend.  Side events have varying entry costs, depending on the event and what they are playing for.  Here is a breakdown of what we know at the moment, including the general schedule for all sides.


  • 8-person, single-elimination pods (TCG and VG) – 1 ticket
  • 8-person sealed events (using Prerelease Kits from Fates Collide on) – 3 tickets
  • 8-person Win-a-Mat single-elimination pods (TCG and VG) – 1 ticket
  • 8-person Round Robin Pokken pods – 1 ticket
  • League Challenge (TCG – Sunday) – 2 tickets
  • Premiere Challenge (VG – Sunday) – 2 tickets
  • Battle Fiesta (TCG and VG) – 2 tickets

Saturday, May 6, 2017

10:00 AM – 9:00 PM – Side events
4:30 PM – 8:30 PM – Battle Fiesta
8:30 PM – final 8-person pods seated

Sunday, May 7, 2017
8:30 AM – 5:00 PM – Side events
8:30 AM – 12:30 PM – Battle Fiesta
9:00 AM – League Challenge (TCG)
9:00 AM – Premiere Challenge (VG)
1:00 – 5:00 PM – Battle Fiesta
4:30 PM – final 8-person pods seated

I know that we have mentioned a “Prize Wall” many times in our conversations with players at local leagues and on this site.  However, we have never officially explained it, so here it goes.  The “Prize Wall” concept is a recent addition to Pokemon.  We first saw it in San Francisco at the World Championships.  If any of you have ever been to a Chuck E Cheese, Putt Putt or arcade, we’re sure you know the concept.  You play, collect tickets and then redeem them for prizes on the wall.  The difference here is that the wall at the Blue Ridge Regional Championships will have lots of cool (and useful) things that you can win.  Instead of giant sticky hands or plastic parachute men, our wall will have everything from booster packs to playmats to hats to Japanese plushes.  We know that there is at least 1 Pikachu 3DS.  Organizers are still collecting merchandise to add to the wall, so even we don’t know everything that will be on it yet.  Tickets can be won by participating in the various side events and the Fiestas.

We at the Gym want to reiterate this because we feel it is worth emphasizing.  There is NO cost to enter the venue, shop and check things out.  This is not a comic-con, although we hope it does have a bit of that flavor.  Most cons charge entry because they are offsetting the costs of special guests like actors, directors, animators or voice actors.  We aren’t expecting any celebrities, but if you follow any Youtube channels or pokemon VGC and TCG websites, it is very likely that the folks that run those will be here playing.  Heck, if you follow this site and want to meet its author, find the Dark Moon Cards and Games booth and introduce yourself.  Despite 2 previous Top 16 finishes at Virginia Regionals, Gym Leader Joel is not playing this year.  Gym Leader Marthe has too many organizational responsibilities that may require last-minute assistance for Joel to commit to playing (and you do have to be in a zone to do well).

If you’ve never been to a Pokemon Regionals before, we strongly urge you to swing by and check it out.  Come join us this Saturday in Fincastle and join us in another Fincastle Pokemon Gym first.  Our trial Fiesta is the first of its type that we’ve seen in our area.  If we have a good response, we will likely hold future ones at the Gym.  Don’t forget, the Fincastle Fiesta is Saturday and we still will have league at our regular time on Sunday.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact us via email.  See you at the Gym!



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