As we have described many times before, the Gym Leader Challenge is a facet of the Fincastle Pokemon Gym that is exclusive to our league. We have single-type decks of each type in the TCG available to test your best decks against. The concept was born to follow the adventure that video game players experience while playing through the story mode of each edition of Pokemon video games. Gym Leader Joel has been brainstorming a bit about how to up the reward for whomever completes Gym Leader Challenge #400 at the Fincastle Pokemon Gym. We hit a new high at #300, where we supplied a fully built, competitive deck to the winner (Plasma Lugia EX). Knowing that we don’t have unlimited funds, we believe he has found a cool way to achieve that.
As a reminder for new players or players that have not visited us yet, a Challenge is a best 2-of-3 match against the leader, conducted as matches at large sanctioned tournaments are with one exception… no ties. If you defeat the leader, you win a custom-designed badge and begin your climb up our Wall of Fame. If you defeat all 9 leaders, then you gain the exclusive privilege to take on the Final Four, our version of the Elite Four. The Final Four is a four game series against four different decks (Skill, Speed, Defense and Strength), which you must defeat consecutively. If you do, you will win the grandest of the grand prizes at the Gym. What is that prize? Well, we don’t know, because no one has ever done it. We have set prizes aside in the past only to watch them expire as TCG and VG rotations have occurred, removing the relevance of the prize. If anyone gets close again, we will update those prizes and inform everyone what they are at that time. We always deliver what we promise and we’re pretty sure that when the time comes, the champion will not be disappointed.
Does this sound a little better than the standard league format? We hope so. Better than the “Here’s your tables… pick up your promo card on the way out” format of most leagues. Our only restriction is that all Challenges take place in the current Standard Format. We feel this helps keep our trainers ready to compete in local tournaments without having to make major changes to their decks.
Deck building has taken on a life of its own in the last 2-3 years as the number of video and blog sites has exploded. Pokemon.com has countered the emergence of these sites that once raced to get their hands on winning lists by publishing the top 8 lists in each division after every major tournament. New players that want to build a good deck don’t have to look far.
Now try this on for size. Instead of building one deck and delivering it to the trainer that completes #400, we are building a library of decks that a lucky trainer may choose from. Gym Leader Joel decided to go this way so that we did not give someone a deck that they already have built. Once #400 is completed, we will sit down with that trainer and show them the lists available and deliver them their choice at the next league meeting. Once you choose your deck, we will play multiple games with you to help you learn the strategy of the deck. Here is a short list of decks we are considering and may add to over the next few weeks.
- Xerneas BREAK/Oranguru/Tapu Lele
- Drampa GX/Espeon GX/Garbodor
- Golisopod GX/Zoroark
- Volcanion/Turtonator GX
- Tapu Bulu GX/Vikavolt
- Buzzwole GX/Zygarde EX (still working on this one)
- Darkrai EX/GX/Hoopa
Consider this. The over the last several months, almost all of the Gym Leader Challenges have been attempted by TWO trainers. We’ve had a pretty full library almost every week, but no one else is throwing their name in the hat. Is everyone else allergic to the idea of a free deck? Remember, you don’t have to win the challenge, just complete it. We are not going to tell you how close we are, because we want it to be a surprise and don’t want anyone to “play the numbers” to get the deck. Are we closer that 50? Definitely. Are we as close a 20? Maybe. That’s all we’re going to say. Unless you want it to come down to a 50/50 chance between two trainers, we encourage everyone to challenge us, even if your deck is a “binder deck” (especially if your deck is a binder deck). We can’t think of a quicker way to become competitive.
Whether we get to #400 by the end of the year depends on what happens at league. To add to the fun at the league, we are planning on kicking off 2018 with the return of “Force Your Parents To Play” month, which we will likely modify to include more than mom and dad. We will deliver more details on that when we get a little closer.
We will have league this Sunday, 11/26/17, at our regular time. In the weeks that follow, we will host another VG challenge (12/3/17) and TCG challenge (12/10/17) before returning for regular league on 12/17/17 and 12/31/17. We will not have league on Christmas Eve Sunday.
Come by this Sunday and try your hand at a Gym Leader Challenge. Think about the type that you are challenging and bring a deck that takes advantage of that type’s weakness. You might surprise yourself. You might win a new deck. See you at the Gym.