Category Archives: Gym Leader Challenges

Battle against Fincastle’s very own Gym Leaders for a chance to win custom badges

400th Gym Leader Challenge Is Almost Here!

The Gym Leader Challenge is the Fincastle Gym’s longest running tradition.  Shortly after beginning our league, Gym Leader Joel went to work on taking the core concept of every Pokemon video game to date and incorporating it into our gym.  That concept is having Gym Leaders and type-specific decks available for its trainers to test themselves against.  Originally, we scrounged the web for a supply of the 2008 league promo badges to reward our trainers for wins over gym leaders.  That supply soon dried up, so we went to our trainers, held a contest and eventually created our own gym badges based on the design of Kelli Bowen, a trainer that was part of one of the many great families that have come and gone over the years at the Gym.  We have documented every challenge we’ve ever taken… every win, every loss, every battle that came down to the wire.  Those who have prevailed are immortalized on our Wall of Fame. Continue reading

Congratulations Chris, v3.0!

far3Let’s see if we can frame this one in terms of the timeline of the Fincastle Pokemon Gym.  Gym Leader Logan had not yet qualified for his 1st World Championships.  Gym Leader Georgia, well, was not a Gym Leader.  She played of few games here and there, but had not become powerful female World Championship level player that little boys all over the country dreaded facing (because they knew they were getting ready to have the butts handed to them… BY A GIRL!!!).  Gym Leader Marthe was not an organizer.  In fact, she had just become a judge and had only helped out in a few small events.  Speaking of events, the 1st Battle Roads to be held in our area had not come yet and we were still campaigning to get our 1st Roanoke area pre-release.  Our Gym Leader Challenge was a brand new concept and our days at league usually consisted of multiple leaders fielding challenges all day at league, sometimes to the tune of 5 or 6 challenges in a single league meeting.  That is what was going on in Fincastle the last time that Chris L won a gym badge. Continue reading

Congratulations Eddie, v1.0!

As promised, the Fincastle Gym hit another milestone at our league.  Sunday, Gym Leader Joel battled the youngest player to ever take on one of our Gym Leader Challenges.  Eddie R, maybe standing all of 3 1/2′ tall, is about as full of himself as any 5-year-old that we have met.  To be good at this game, you need to able to read and comprehend ideas that are pretty foreign to the average pluff15-year-old mind.  You need to be able to perform basic math and at times, math that goes way beyond the definition of “basic”.  You need to be able to grasp the strategy of a themed deck, whether it is a creation of the best cards you have or a deck based off of the top decks played by Masters and Seniors.  Pokemon rates this game for ages 6 and up, but from what we seen on average, most kids aren’t ready until that 7-8 range.  The average 5-year-old (in our country, anyway) does not read and is not expected to be able to.  If their parents are active with them, many 5-year-olds are counting, but that’s a far cry from doing math.  The most complex strategy in most 5-year-old brains is how get something they want or how to not do something their parents want them to do.  We have absolutely zero qualms in labeling any 5 year that can play this TCG as “exceptional”. Continue reading

Congratulations Ridge, v1.0!

rickDo you remember those little ol’ things called Gym Leader Challenges?  Yeah, we still have them.  Not at the level that we used to, though.  At one time, the Gym Leaders were trying to see how many challenges they could fit into one league session.  Over the last few months, if we field 1 per meeting, that has been a busy day for the Gym Leaders.  So what’s different?  Not that much at the Gym.  However, over the last year, as Play!Pokemon has expanded the number of events available across the country, the down-time between events has shrunk drastically.  It seems that League Challenges, City Championships and the big events (States/Regionals) take place just weeks apart.  That, coupled with the advent of the new league format, has really put the brakes on Gym Leader Challenges.  Needless to say, the Gym Leaders experienced a mild sensory overload as they fielded two VG Challenges at once today after the League Challenge. Continue reading

Congratulations Jaelynn, v1.0!

fightRemember those little things called Gym Leader Challenges?  It’s been a little while since we’ve had much to say on that subject.  The main reason being, we have not had many challengers.  Among all of the Gym Leaders, we have only fielded a handful of challenges over the last few months.  The majority of those have come in the last few weeks from Jillian B against VG Leader Joel and his Fighting-type team, which is one of the tougher teams to beat, as it encompasses Fighting, Rock and Ground types, giving him lots of options that prevent his team from being to vulnerable to one or two types.  Props to Jillian, as she has almost beaten it on several occasions.  She’d likely already have a badge if she pursued other teams 1st, but were not going to stop her from going after a strong team, as it will help her improve her existing team. Continue reading

All 9 Are His! Congratulations Eric, v9.0!

grassssSince Play!Pokemon implemented the new Casual/Competitive format for pokemon leagues, the Fincastle Pokemon Gym’s exclusive Gym Leader Challenges have taken a side seat to weekly 8-man pickup tournaments.  The Gym Leaders have fielded a few TCG challenges since then, but they have been few and far between.  This past Sunday, Eric returned to the Gym after a 3 month absence to take on VG Gym Leader Dean and his Grass-type team, Eric’s final unclaimed badge at the Gym.  From the 1st time we battled Eric, we knew one thing for sure… that he was as strong of a VG player as any that have passed through the Fincastle Pokemon Gym.  As we put together our Gym teams we soon recognized another truth regarding Eric.  We would have our work cut out for us if any of our team of Gym Leaders hoped to turn Eric away in his quest to claim all 9 Gym badges.  Continue reading

A Little Ketchup & Congratulations Eric, v8.0!

Okay, any of you that have seen the iconic film, Pulp Fiction, surely know the line (and I’m not talking about the wallet…).  I’m referring to my favorite bad joke used in film.  As the lovely Uma/Mia is being escorted home by Vincent Vega, following her near-death-experience, she recounts her only speaking role miafrom “Fox Force Five”.  It went something like this.  “3 tomatoes are walking down the street… a papa tomato, a mama tomato and a baby tomato.  Baby tomato starts lagging behind.  Papa tomato gets really angry, goes back and squishes him… and says, ‘Ketchup!’”.  Excellent moment from an excellent (R-rated, for a reason, kiddies) movie.  As Gym Leader Georgia begins dance season and Gym Leader Logan’s 1st year on the high school golf team wraps up, we have simply not had time to get to the computer to write any articles.  We need to “Ketchup” ourselves, not that Gym Leader Joel is worried about being squished.  We’ve got completed events, upcoming events and more accomplishments by our trainers to update you on.  No better time than the present. Continue reading

Congratulations Robbie, v5.0!

5_9_7_3Sunday at the Fincastle Pokemon Gym was a pretty standard, uneventful day at league.  Uneventful for everyone except Gym Leader Logan.  Gym Leader Logan had his hands full in his role as the Water-type gym leader (TCG).  We made some changes to the water deck, trying to transition it towards the coming rotation.  Most of the strong water-type cards, outside of Seismitoad EX and Primal Kyogre EX, fall out of the Standard Format on September 1st.  Many of the Gym Leader’s mainstays like Suicune, Plasma Kyurem, Keldeo EX, Empoleon and Blastoise, leave the format without any worthy successors in the upcoming Ancient Origins set.  What the new set does provide, however, is a huge boost to Grass-type pokemon, which spells trouble for the Water-types.  Continue reading

Congratulations Eric, v7.0!

bobbDuring the summer months, you really never know what you gonna get when league rolls around on Sunday.  With vacations, camps and summer sports, our attendance fluctuates from anywhere between 6 or 7 players to 30 players.  We had a pretty full house today at the Gym, which is how we like it.  The Gym Leaders, like many of our trainers, are looking ahead to the next set and the format beyond the September 1st rotation.  Today we saw a lot of testing out a format without staples like “N”, “Laser/Bank”, ACESPEC’s and “Float Stone”, as well as pokemon like Garbodor, Mewtwo EX, Donphan and others.  However, with all of those changes in the TCG on the horizon, the VG side of the Gym was business as usual.  Lately for the Gym Leaders, that business has been trying to hold off the onslaught of very talented trainers who have been taking badges from us left and right.

Continue reading

Congratulations Robbie, v4.0!

the doorAsk Gym Leader Joel what his favorite movie is and without hesitation, he will tell you that it is “The Matrix”.  So it follows, that his favorite movie line is, “…I can only show you the door.  You’re the one that has to walk through it.”  This has special meaning for Joel, not only because it is from an incredible movie, but more so because his father said this same phrase, almost word for word, often to Joel as he grew up in the late 70’s/early 80’s, years before the film.  His father’s point was to teach Joel that while he could guide him and offer advice, Joel had to decide things for himself, taking responsibility for his actions, but also feeling the true sense of accomplishment that only comes when you do something on your own.  It is this same mantra that Joel lives by that was the driving force behind his creation at the Gym, the Gym Leader Challenge. Continue reading