It was not officially Halloween yet, but it surely felt like it at the Gym on Sunday. Our combination pre-release/costume contest always stirs our Halloween spirit as we have had some awesome gatherings over the last few years. This year did not disappoint. As a matter of fact, we’d say that everyone “upped” their game, to the point we had to turn to some of our seasoned league trainers to help break the judging deadlock and decide the winners. Those who have walked away with the top spots in previous years had some real competition this time around.
The staggered release of Shining Legends and Crimson Invasion created two smaller sets (as opposed to one enormous set, if they had been combined), which we prefer, as it increases the quality of the overall pull rate. Giant 160+ card sets (cough, cough, Guardians Rising) make pulling cards you want almost impossible and drives the prices of cards like, oh say, Tapu Lele GX to exorbitant levels. Anywho, despite CRI entering the rotation almost immediately after Shining Legends, we still had a good turnout Sunday at the Gym. Thankfully Pokemon doesn’t release multiple sets very often, as almost all the players we know (us included) play as a hobby and have limited budgets. Winners by age division on Sunday were, Gym Leader Logan in the Masters Division, Daniel S in the Seniors and Strummer G in the Juniors. They, as well as several others, picked themselves up a few extra packs with their wins. Great job to all!
Now onto the costumes!
As the writer, Gym Leader Joel is exercising his right to write about himself first. Joel’s favorite pokemon is and always will be Golem. Since his first competitive deck in the Platinum days, Joel always waits for anything new with Golem (which is usually few and far between and not that good when it gets here). Obviously, he was stoked to see his fave get the “Alolan” treatment, in which Pokemon did the two most amazing upgrades to the “Megaton” character: they gave him a goatee and a taser. Despite the upgrades, Joel’s costume led to the most, “which character are you?” questions on Sunday, leading Joel to the conclusion that Golem is still underappreciated. As this set gave Golem its first GX treatment, Joel will get to work on making a deck and spreading some Golem awareness. As for Gym Leader Marthe’s outfit, you’ll have to catch her sometime and hear her tale of woe that led to her shining Sandygast… it’s too sad to share here.
As the rest of the costumed players rolled in on Sunday, one thing became overwhelmingly clear… Gym Leaders Marthe and Joel were not going to be able to pick out a favorite, because they were all amazing. We split prizing into a winner from each age group and then a best overall. First place overall took home a Charizard GX box, while first place in each age group won a set of card sleeves and 2 packs of Guardians Rising. In addition, everyone who came in costume received extra Guardians Rising booster packs. Even after subdividing the groups, we still could not decide on the best ones. So, we opened the selection to include voting from those in attendance that were not in costume. After all of that, it still came down to a 1 point difference in each category (3pts for a 1st place vote, 2 for a 2nd, 1 for a 3rd).
Logan’s “Team Skull Grunt” took first place in the Masters followed closely by Iain’s Trevenant in second place and Leslie in third place as Ditto. The Senior division, that also contained the second and third place overall finishers ended up as follows: Emma L in first place as Honchkrow, Daniel S in second as Moltres and Gym Leader Georgia in third as “Mallow”.
The first place vote-getter in the Junior division also claimed the top prize overall, so his spot was forwarded to the runner-up, which was Strummer G as “Trevor”. The notorious Eddie R claimed the second place prize as the shining half of the Ditto ensemble. The top prize overall went to junior Rory G, who entered the Gym as a Litten and evolved all the way to Incineroar thanks to the “Rare Candy” provided by “Hala”. Rory was followed by Daniel S and Emma L who tied for second place in the overall voting.
I’d say they we need to host a convention, but we pretty much already are with the upcoming Roanoke Regional next May. The level of skill exhibited at the Gym is definitely convention-level stuff. We are continually blow away by what our trainers come up with each year at our Halloween pre-release. Thanks to all who came out and joined us. We had a great time and hope you did too! Below are a few more pictures from the event. See you next week at the Gym!