It took us a few days to recover and re-orient ourselves as to what day and time it is, but it is always worth it to the Fincastle Gym Leaders to see one of our events completed to our satisfaction. This past weekend’s Blue Ridge Regional was our 2nd such event, and we hope that those who attended feel the same as we do… that this year’s event was our best yet. Despite being awarded an Expanded Format tournament (less popular overall than Standard) and following two weekends in a row of Regionals in other areas, we still had 717 players and over 1380 people through the door over the weekend. While Gym Leader Marthe was the field general in every sense of the term, keeping everything running on time, staying on top of any and all judging issues, keeping the side events moving and even feeding her staff, Gym Leader Joel worked behind the scenes to manage our huge array of vendors, check on building issues and to oversee the Cosplay contest. All was made possible for both leaders by the staff. We had a great time and hope all who attended did as well. In the midst of all the activity, we had several trainers from both our Fincastle and Lexington leagues shine throughout the weekend. For the 1st time since the creation of the Fincastle Pokemon Gym, we have multiple trainers from the Gym (not counting our kids) that wrapped up World Championship invitations.
The main TCG and VG events went off without a hitch. While we were unable to follow the results round-by-round, we got fairly regular updates from players we know. We’ve heard many players talk about how the Expanded format has settled into a nice mix of regular contenders in terms of the decks being played. Variants of Zoroark GX were the most widely played decks over the weekend and they made their way from the top tables all the way to the bottom, depending on who was piloting them. Naturally, the popularity of Zoroark led to and up-tick in Buzzwole decks, with their newfound support from Ultra Prism. The anticipation of Buzzwole led to a resurgence of Trevenant BREAK decks, that once dominated the format in Japan before the introduction of Zoroark. Following that trend, we saw the Masters division come down to a Buzzwole deck against a Wailord EX stall deck, which it defeated before falling in the finals to a Trevenant BREAK deck piloted by Jeremiah Schmutz (which you can still see, as well as other featured matches at Critical Hit’s stream). While Gym Leaders Logan and Georgia missed the Day 2 cut, they both played deep into the final rounds of the Battle Fiesta on Sunday. Hunter H, who began his journey at the Gym, missed the Finals but picked up enough Championship Points to earn his invitation to Worlds.
The small but powerful contingent known as Hee-Haw’s Generals took a huge step in the VGC field. Ridge R, the original General, finished in 2nd Place in the Senior Division, falling to Cedric D in the finals. Ridge’s younger sister, Anna R, our one and only Lady General, followed suit, only losing once in the Swiss rounds to Justin R, then losing again to Aislinn U in the semi-finals, to claim 3rd Place overall. Both siblings picked up some nice prizes and are both heading to their 1st World Championships later this year. They were not alone, however, as Elliot A from our Lexington league entered his 1st VGC tournament of any kind. Despite his lack of experience, Elliot showed his knowledge of types and moves in the video game, bouncing back from a 1st Round loss to the mighty Anna to claim 5th Place, missing the Top 4 playoff in the Junior Division by one spot.
**pictures coming soon**
It wasn’t all about battling over the weekend, as we (Dark Moon Cards and Games) hosted and sponsored the 2nd iteration of our all-Pokemon themed Costume & Cosplay contest. Last year, we were impressed by some very accurate and well-made entries in the small, but dedicated group of entrants. This year’s group blew us away. Not only did the number of contestants double, the entries were amazing. Of all the Pokemon fans competing for the top spot, there was not a single costume that was not worthy of winning any contest. One thing we can say is that we are glad the judging was not in our hands, as we would not have been able to choose a winner. That difficult task fell upon, Mera Babineaux, the VP of the International Costumers’ Guild and founder of Shimmer and Shade Family Cosplay and Prop House 42 Productions. Mera returned to judge our event for the 2nd year and did an amazing job. She interviewed each contestant individually throughout the morning and then again as they paraded for the audience across the cosplay stage.
We plan to post the results and accompanying photos of the contest. However, the staff photographer, Doug Morisoli, has his hands full this month. He is currently in Wisconsin, shooting the 4th weekend in a row of Regionals. We are awaiting his always-excellent photos from our event to post here. We will follow this post in a day or two with those photos and a full breakdown of the costume contest.
We’d be here forever if we tried to thank everyone who played a part in this event individually. From those who ran the computers and processed match slips, to those who kept the side events and Prize Wall going, to all the judges and volunteers, to the “stream team” from Critical Hit and to the staff at the Berglund Center, we are forever grateful for all of their efforts. We hope to learn and be able to announce in the very near future another event here in Roanoke. That is in the hands of the Pokemon company. Thanks to all who turned out for the weekend to show that Roanoke is as strong a location for an event like this as anywhere else in the country. We surely noticed and we hope that the folks at Pokemon saw the same! Check back here often, for updates on future events and on our trainers as they prepare for the 2018 World Championships! We hope that all of those we met over the weekend will join us this summer at the Fincastle Pokemon Gym. See you soon!