In a year of many firsts for the Fincastle Pokemon Gym, we have reached another one that we did not recognize until our time in San Francisco watching Georgia and Logan compete against the best players in the world. The 2016-17 season will be the 1st time since we have been involved with the game that we do not have a competitor of our own in the Junior Division. The Junior Division has been very good to the gym leaders as both Logan and Georgia quickly became dominant forces in the Juniors during their respective years within those ranks. Beginning with Gym Leader Logan and the 1st scholarship that he won as a Regional Champion, the siblings have amassed a collection of “goodies” (like mats, hats, plushes, deck boxes, backpacks and more booster packs that we can account for) and cash travel allowances that given them a leg up on saving for the future. As Georgia graduates into the Senior Division this year, the rewards have grown to even higher numbers, leaving us wishing that we had another Junior. A spark went off in Gym Leader Joel’s head as he watched Georgia dominate her American opponents and battle down to the wire against 3 of Japan’s top finishers at Worlds (and no, we’re not adopting a child to compete… although his idea is along those lines). Continue reading
The Fincastle Pokemon Gym is hosting its first League Challenge of the 2016-2017 season this Sunday, September 4, at the Fincastle Library. This event will also be our 1st event to use the new Standard Format, as the 2016 rotation is official as of today. The Standard Format is now officially Primal Clash-on, meaning that cards legal for these events must be from Primal Clash and newer sets (up to Steam Siege at the moment). If you need any help sorting out what is legal and what is not, follow the link to our rotation article. Don’t forget that with each new season, the cut-off for age divisions changes, meaning that many of you may “age up” into the next age group. Juniors are those born in 2006 or later, Seniors are those born between 2002 and 2005 and Masters are those born in 2001 and earlier. Here is a little more info on what you need for this Sunday. Continue reading
The 2016 World Championships presented several “firsts” for the Fincastle Pokemon Gym. It was the 1st time that we’ve had a trainer qualify for the VG Championship, as Gym Leader Georgia had a strong VG season to go with her TCG season where she amassed 600 Championship Points. Unfortunately, Georgia was unable to participate in both events, as they took place simultaneously. Had she automatically made Day 2 of the TCG event (as her 600 points were only good enough for 24th in North America), she could have played Day 1 of the VG event and then decided what to do on Day 2 if she made it through Day 1 of the VG competition. This was Georgia’s 2nd time qualifying for the TCG Worlds, as she also made the DC event in 2014. Joining her was our league veteran, Gym Leader Logan, earning his 3rd World Championship invite. Logan previously qualified as a Junior for the 2011 and 2012 Championships, when the Pokemon TCG was an entirely different animal. Despite all of their successes, the 2016 Worlds was the 1st time that both siblings qualified in the same year. Continue reading
Well, to highlight the point that we made yesterday about Georgia’s match-ups and the strength of the Japanese contingent… here’s how Georgia’s last 3 Day 1 opponent’s stood at the end of Day 2. Asaki Hasegawa (her 4th round opponent) is in 4th place overall with a record of 5 wins, 0 losses and 2 ties, entering the Top 8 playoffs as the #4 seed. Hajime Imura (her last round loss) finished in 9th place (1 spot out of the Top 8 playoff) with a record of 5-1-1. Iori Kato (her 5th round loss) finished 32nd with a record of 4-3. Georgia was dialed in yesterday, crushing every US players she faced. How she drew this trio of amazing players is beyond us. We assume Top 8 matches are underway and we don’t know how they are progressing, but 5 of the 8 are Japanese. Continue reading
The Fincastle Gym Leaders took 2 very different paths today at Day 1 of the World Championships, 2 paths that ended up at the same destination.
Day 1 of the TCG World Championships sported over 830 players all after one goal, achieving enough wins to make it through to Day 2. The Junior Division had 155 entrants who would play 6 rounds of swiss. A record of 4-2 would be required to make it through to the 2nd day. The Seniors had 205 players chasing the exact same goal, a record of 4-2 over their 6 rounds. If needed (which it was not), Pokemon said that they’d fill in the spaces needed to even the Day 2 numbers with the best of what was left (which they did not, so we are not sure why they said it). Both Gym Leaders, Logan and Georgia, fought to 3-3 records, missing the cut. We’ll look briefly at their days and then reveal the list that we were holding for Day 2 to put in the hands of whichever leader made it (or both if they both made it, as we had 2 copies built and ready to go). Continue reading
So… after putting in a good morning of practicing our decks, the Fincastle Gym Leaders headed out for an afternoon tour of Muir Woods. Expecting to return and check in at about 5:30pm, we were pushing 7:00pm, as our tour van was held up in traffic. I’m glad we didn’t get there at 5:30! We arrived to find what turned out to be the side of the line, so we walked around the hotel, past the 2nd third of the line and found the end of the line somewhere around Oakland. After standing in the same place for about 20 minutes, things began to move. As Pokemon shifts their practices to their new “model”, they are being forced to learn that the same old setup does not quite cut it. While we hung out in northern California, Pokemon was reassigning their personnel, which did break things free and get everyone moving.
Lesson learned… hopefully that they will not try to squeeze check-in into such a small time period in the future. Anyway, we made it through and collected what is definitely the coolest player “goodie bag” package in our years of playing. Both Logan and Georgia were thrilled with the collection of Worlds items. The boost in player “swag” is definitely one of the positive results of paid entry to major events all year. From there, we scrounged up some food and headed back to wrap up preparations for tomorrow.
Opening ceremonies begin at 9:00am and after a brief players’ meeting, play will begin. We are all nervous, excited, antsy… all the feelings that go along with an event of this magnitude. Our Gym Leaders have been there before and know what they have to do. We’ll post lots more pictures as we get them, so check back tomorrow evening. Until then, cheer to the west!
The Fincastle Gym Leaders have been in the City by the Bay for a few days now and we’ve been trying to take in as much as possible in a short amount of time. From its iconic landmarks, to its amazing food, to its cool and breezy weather (much appreciated by Virginians this time of year), we love what we’ve been able to sample of ‘Frisco. However, its time for the Gym Leaders to get down to business and focus on why we’re here… the 2016 TCG World Championships. Continue reading
The 11th expansion of the XY era is here and pre-release tournaments continue this weekend. The new set, XY – Steam Siege, contains 114 new cards, including 4 new EX pokemon, 2 new Mega Evolutions, 7 new BREAK pokemon and 8 dual-type pokemon. Dual-typing for the pokemon characters is a mechanic that has not been seen since the days of Crystal Guardians and Delta Species. We also know that the long-awaited full-art “Professor Sycamore” is included in the new set. The Fincastle Gym is hosting 1 more event this weekend. Our last event is this Saturday, 7/30/16, in Lynchburg, Va. The tournament is at the newest league in our area. Kevin Harrison and his son Lucas, who have been training at the Gym over the last 2 years, are heading up the new venture at Star Port, located in River Ridge Mall. Here are the specifics. Continue reading
Ahhh… another year, another rotation. The Fincastle Pokemon Gym is proud to be THE place to outline the annual rotation and help walk you through its immediate impact on the Pokemon TCG. Play!Pokemon just announced the Standard Format for the 2016-2017 season will be Primal Clash-on. Consequently, the following sets will be rotated out of the Standard Format: X&Y base set, Flashfire, Furious Fists and Phantom Forces. As for as the promo cards go, black star promo cards will rotate to XY36 and higher numbered cards. Cards released in the 2 XY Trainer Kit sets (Latias/Latios Continue reading
We’re working on a nickname… something that fits nicely with someone who continually breaks new grounds… maybe something do with earthquakes… I dunno, the “Quaker” sounds too 1600’s. Like we said, we’re working on it. Whatever it ends up being, it will be a name that Gym Leader Georgia has earned… and then some. Not only is she the first player from the Fincastle Pokemon Gym to earn World Championship invitations to both the TCG and VG competitions, Georgia now holds the claim of earning the highest finish at the National Championships by a player from the Gym. Georgia battled her way out of a deep hole, twice, this weekend and narrowly missed the Top 8 finals (which were locked quickly as all 8 players used “intentional draws” over the last 2 rounds to get in). For her efforts, Georgia picks up another 100 Championship Points, $1000 more in prize money and 2 booster boxes of cards. Not a bad weekend’s work. Continue reading