The Fincastle Gym Leaders were hoping that we could spark a little interest in our Gym Leader Challenges this past Sunday. That we did. We had a busy day fielding several attempts for badges. We also had several guests from our Lexington league join us, which made the afternoon extra cool. One of Lexington’s young trainers decided to jump into the fray and go after the Grass-type gym badge. We’re not sure who he surprised more, Gym Leader Joel or himself.
Noah S is one of many young trainers at the Lexington league. The biggest difference with the Lexington Gym and the Fincastle Gym is that Gym Leader Marthe often ends up flying solo in Lexington. More often than not, fellow leaders Joel, Logan and Georgia cannot all get free on Monday afternoons to make the trip to Lexington. In Fincastle, we encourage everyone to play in the current Standard Format so that the decks they play during league will be eligible for any local tournaments. Lexington is more casual. Marthe spends most of her time either teaching new trainers how to play or helping them build a playable deck out of their collections, which usually extend well beyond the cards allowed in the current Standard format. Just as the Fincastle Gym was in its first year or so, the focus in Lexington is on teaching the game and having fun playing.
Now that does not mean that there are no competitive players Lexington. While they have not had a chance to test themselves in a tournament environment yet (outside of pre-releases), we take our competitive decks there when all the gym leaders can attend and show them samples of top-level decks. Several of the young trainers there have picked up the game quickly and have put together some fairly strong decks. One of those trainers, Noah S, was also one of our visitors in Fincastle on Sunday.
Noah actually brought a couple of good-looking decks to try out. After playing several other games, Noah asked to challenge Gym Leader Joel’s Grass-type deck. The newly build grass deck, which centers around Golisopod GX and the attack-boosting Lurantis, looked to be a tall order for his first challenge. As game 1 began, it looked at first like it might be a quick challenge.
One thing that Noah had not yet experienced was the rather standard line of Trainer cards that are in most major decks. Throughout Game 1, the heavy use of the Supporter card, “N”, definitely caught him off guard, as he had several cards that he could have played down shuffled away more than once. Despite some early setbacks, he hung in the game by giving up some single-prize card targets to stay alive. What looked like a rather slow starting Incineroar GX deck suddenly turned into a very daunting Turtonator GX/Tauros GX deck. Noah used Turtonator GX’s “Nitrotank GX” attack to fully charge two Turtonators, turning his field from daunting to menacing. Gym Leader Joel took out 1 of the GX’s, leaving him only 1 prize card left to take. However, Noah 1-hit Joel’s Golisopod GX to take his last 2 prize cards and the game.
Game 2 began much the same way as the first one, except Joel got a little slower start. His slower start allowed Noah to build up a 250 HP Incineroar GX which easily could sweep most Grass-type decks by itself. Before giving up 2 prizes with a Golisopod GX, Joel got 30 damage on the fiery cat, which would lead to a surprise turnaround of his own. On the next turn, Joel took out the Incineroar by dealing a massive 220 damage with his Golisopd GX, thanks to additional damage from a “Choice Band” and two “Sunny Day” ability boosts. What seemed to swing the game back the other way, did not last, as Noah promoted a Turtonator GX and used its “Nitrotank” again to charge itself and a benched Tauros GX. If Joel could have worked out a way to switch into his lone Golisopod GX, he could have won the game (as “First Impression” hits for 120 damage if Golisopod became the Active pokemon during that turn). However, he could not and was forced to attack with the 100 damage attack, “Armor Press”, which despite all the boosts, totaled 180 damage, 10 damage short of the necessary mark to get the 190 HP Turtonator. Noah took his last 2 prizes with another powerful 1-hit, claiming the game, the match and the Grass-type badge.
Noah’s win is the first gym badge won by any trainer in the Lexington Gym. While his deck may have a few shortcomings that affect its overall consistency, Noah made the right plays at the right times and more importantly, never conceded defeat at times where it looked very likely. The skill of always thinking and searching out a path to victory is not easy to learn and honestly, is not something that everyone possesses. The coolest thing for us to see was that Noah did it with a deck that he made on his own. Gym Leader Joel was very impressed with the match and pleased to award Noah with the Grass-type badge. Great job, Noah! Welcome to the Wall of Fame!
The Fincastle Gym Leaders are trying to formulate a plan to bring Gym Challenges to the Lexington league. It’s still in discussion for the moment, as we don’t want to promise something that we can’t deliver on days where 3 of the 4 leaders can’t get there. When Gym Leader Logan begins driving (RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, ARGHHHHH!!!!), that may change for the better. Time will tell. Until then, any and all players from Lexington are always welcome to join us in Fincastle any Sunday that they can make it.
Join us this Sunday for our last Pokemon Sun/Pokemon Moon Video Game Premiere Challenge. (January begins the era of Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon.) Regular League play will also take place at the usual time. If you are ready to challenge a leader, let them know as soon as you arrive so that we can plan time for the match. Until then, 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
- Noah S – Grass
*players in BOLD have won all 9 badges