“Tis a lesson you should heed, Try, try again. If at first you don’t succeed, Try, try again.” These are words that we’ve heard so often in our lives that they’ve surely lost their significance and power. In fact, the sarcastic nature of our world probably has us more familiar with such quips as, “If at first you don’t succeed, perhaps skydiving isn’t for you…”, or “…, try doing what your teacher told you the first time…” or even, “… get a bigger hammer.” What’s lost in all of that wit and cleverness is that the original phrase, penned in the 1800’s by an author and educator named Thomas H Palmer, is perhaps one of the most concise descriptions of The American Dream. If you will it, dude, it is no dream. As you pursue your goals, you are bound to make mistakes and experience setbacks, often having to accept that you have to improve. You have to learn from your mistakes and keep trying until you either get it right or tire from trying and settle for something less. We at The Gym believe that basic principle, so eloquently wrapped up in a single quote, applies equally to any single desire. Whether it is something big like trying to save for a first car, or buying a home, or something small, like a child saving money for a toy, or a gift for a parent, the feeling of accomplishment is the same. The badge won this past Sunday may have been the hardest earned badge to date at the Gym.
As Gym Leader Joel digs through the “Lost Zone” of his memory (points to any player who gets that reference), he has thought through all the 300+ battles for gym badges that he can recall, thinking of those memorable contests where trainers narrowly lost or pulled off an amazing win to grab a badge. The most notable one that he can recall is Hunter H, easily the most talented and successful of any gym trainer to date, and his first gym victory for a Fire-type badge. He came painfully close several times, only to watch his friend, Jordan L, win the badge with the same shared deck, before he broke through. That victory was followed by several instances of other trainers making multiple attempts on the same badge, eventually earning those badges. The most recent series on the Steel-type badge at the Gym will certainly take its place in those memories.
Chris L, in challenging the Steel-type leader, was seeking his 4th badge at the Gym. This was not his first try by any means. The win came on his 4th consecutive try for the Steel badge. There are two things that made this round of challenges stand out. The biggest thing to Gym Leader Joel is that the current Steel-type deck is easily the best Steel deck that Joel has put together over the years. The Steel-type deck has had to suffer through some pretty atrocious creations over the years, as Pokemon seems to forget, from time to time, that the type even exists. That is not the case at the moment, as Joel just used it to grab 2nd place in a recent League Challenge, thrashing the format’s “best” Steel deck (Metagross GX) along the way (Joel lost in the finals to Gym Leader Logan playing Volcanion).
The other thing that stands out to Joel is that Chris, who has been developing and improving his own Volcanion list along the way, took one of the three games in each attempt. While he can’t recall the first of the four, the last three were down to a single prize card each time, in the third and deciding game of each challenge. Each time, Joel was able to steal the match with a “Lysandre”, or game-ending KO. Each time he lost, Chris came back with an improved deck, making Joel stretch the limits of his playing ability.
The last “tweak” to Chris’s deck was the one that finally pushed it over the edge. The addition of “Kiawe” to Chris’s deck gives it (and any other Fire deck) an insane amount of speed and power. Chris opened game 1 with an Active Turtonator GX and was able to use “Kiawe” to end his first turn. From there, all Joel could do was scramble to keep up. Chris took game 1 in an impressive fashion, as the gym leader only took two prizes. Joel responded with an equally one-sided game 2, as he set up quickly and ended the game in 3 KO’s, making this match look eerily familiar to the previous challenges.
The third game consisted of a bit of a slow but even start from both players. Chris took the first KO and Joel returned it. Joel had another loaded Solgaleo GX ready on the bench for a second, two-prize KO. However, Chris caught it with a “Guzma” and 1-hit it, swinging the game in his favor. Still needing 4 prizes, Joel had 1 KO set up on a Volcanion EX, but knew it would likely be returned by Chris’s Turtonator GX if he went that route. He used a “Guzma” of his own to trap a Volcanion EX w/out energy and draw the rest of his deck over the last 2 turns, hoping to find a combo of “VS Seeker” and “N” to work out the KO’s and eliminate Chris’s hand. The combo was not to be found, and Joel decked out to end the match. Joel can’t remember seeing a more relieved opponent than Chris appeared as he realized that he would get the win that has narrowly eluded him in previous attempts.
The win marks Chris’s 4th badge earned at the Gym and is the 64th badge claimed, overall, by gym trainers. Only 3 other trainers have exceeded the 4-badge mark at the Fincastle Pokemon Gym. Chris will surely be setting his sights on surpassing that mark in upcoming weeks. The road to the rest of the badges will not get any easier, as he still looks to get past the Psychic, Dark, Water, Dragon and Fighting decks. Great job, Chris!
Come join us this Sunday and take on a Gym Leader either for a badge or just for fun. The rotation is now official, so the gym decks and those that challenge them all must comply with the Standard format. Refer back to our article if you have any questions about the rotation and as always, feel free to ask a leader at league. See you at the Gym!
TCG Gym Badges Earned (aka, The Wall of Fame):
- Austin W – Steel, Grass
- Tyler D – Lightning, Steel, Grass
- Chris L – Lightning, Fire, Grass, Steel
- James H – Psychic, Steel
- Tessa Y – Fire, Psychic, Grass, Lightning
- Angela Y – Lightning, Fighting, Psychic
- Dustin F – Psychic
- Brycen F – Psychic, Lightning, Fire, Grass, Darkness, Steel
- Troy B – Lightning, Psychic
- Jordan L – Grass
- Hunter H – Grass, Darkness, Steel, Lightning, Psychic, Fighting, Water, Fire and Dragon
- Kelli B – Fire
- Eli T – Grass
- Isaac B – Steel
- Jeff D – Psychic, Fire
- Jacob A – Steel
- Alex D – Lightning, Grass
- Jacob V – Dragon
- Alan G – Fire
- Ryan N – Psychic
- Wesley H – Fire
- Alex T – Grass
- Rob C – Psychic, Water, Lightning
- Dean E – Grass, Fire
- Robbie F – Lightning, Grass, Psychic, Darkness, Water
- Nathan S – Dragon
- Davis N – Lightning
- Eddie R – Grass
- Anna R – Grass
*players in BOLD have won all 9 badges