Category Archives: Tips and Strategy

Advice for players new to Pokemon

Operation Eddie Part 2 – Ramses

Today we are going to look at the 2nd deck that spawned from the mind of Eddie R.  As Gym Leader Joel rolled around some ideas for this article, he tried to think of some different options.  Whether it falls into the “fortunately” or “unfortunately” category is for you to decide, but Joel’s mind could not escape this line of thinking.  The combination of Eddie’s last name and the set of new comedy material Eddie brought to league a few weeks ago led Joel to the movie villain, Ramses, from “Nacho Libre”.  While he may not be remembering the details of Eddie’s story exactly, this is pretty close.  The story gave Joel no eagle powers or nutrients, but it has had him laughing since he heard it. Continue reading

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Operation Eddie Part 1- Jack The Gripper

As our kids have grown older and their responsibilities have increased, we have trimmed the fat, in the parlance of our times, as to the amount of extracurricular activity they stay involved in.  Rec league sports were fun when they were little, but the charm wore off as the routine of oversized teams, nowhere to practice and saturation of opposing coaches, parents and officials in need of therapy increased each year.  We don’t have delusions of our kids becoming pro athletes and have never filled their heads with that nonsense.  Robotics, despite the program being abandoned by Botetourt County, still proves to be a valuable endeavor as you don’t have to look far to see the demands from the growth of the tech industries in our area and nationwide, so they both are immersed in the new 4H backed team.  Both kids still enjoy the pursuit of individual goals in golf (Logan) and dance (Georgia).  The longest running activity in both of their lives (and ours) is Pokemon.  While the format does change frequently, the game overall has not.  They can easily drift in and out of the game competitively as their interest and time allows.  The thing that keeps us involved, in this Gym Leader’s opinion at least, is character.  Continue reading

Regionals Deck That Won’t Be – Dumpster Fire

Gym Leader Joel has always enjoyed the late-season tournaments in Pokemon organized play, in both the TCG and VGC.  On top of enjoying playing in them, he has enjoyed considerable success in tournaments this time of year.  Why is that?  Gym Leader Joel does not devote much time to deck sites that spout about “The 3 Tops Plays” for the next event, as those seem to be efforts to dictate the format, rather than aid players with helpful info.  This often leaves Joel a step behind in terms of what to expect early on in a season.  However, by this time of the year, he has had time to step back and absorb what has been going on and build decks that handle most, if not all, of the format.  Joel regrets not being able to play this year’s Roanoke event, but as the Fincastle Gym has too strong of an obligation to helping the Regional weekend go as planned, playing is just not a possibility this time.  So, in this environment where secret decks or strong lists kept close to the vest are virtually impossible, here’s a look at what he was heavily considering playing. Continue reading

The Bargain Bin #5 – Eon the Terrible

Today we are going to look at our last deck in our Bargain Bin series.  One reason it fell to our final spot was due to some price checking.  We were afraid that because it features a “promo” card, that it might slip out-of-bounds in terms of pricing.  The other reason we waited was because it was a concept deck up until about 2 weeks ago.  By that, we mean that it only existed to us in theory, and there were no online version to peek at.  Our 1st attempt at the deck was not worthy to post, as it was very inconsistent.  Gym Leaders Logan and Joel took turns tweaking the list, trying to get this potentially deadly combo to  work (without Shaymin EX, which is a stumbling block that every player is going to have to face in about 5 months).  What we have here is the best that we could do and frankly, it’s pretty interesting.  Two nights ago in the PTCGO, I watched Logan fall behind to a Darkrai/Giratina list only to flip the game on his opponent, taking his last 4 prizes in one attack, as the opposing player was locked, watching this one wreck the powerful meta deck. Continue reading

The Bargain Bin #4 – Spaceballs (x2)

Today the Gym Leaders are going to look at 2 decks that Gym Leader Joel cooked up while making a new Steel-type gym leader deck.  The past deck was a Mega Scizor EX deck that simply was not that good and was not very interesting to play.  Mega Scizor has carried a little weight this season when paired with Garbodor.  However, its damage output is not enough, especially as we expect to face trainers playing our weakness (Fire-types in this case).  Today’s 2 decks feature 2 pokemon that sport some big ol’ helmet-shaped heads.  Both decks are pretty ridiculous, but we could not keep these hidden away, as when we’ve played them on the PTCGO, we’ve beaten every version of popular decks that we’ve played with the exception of Volcanion.  These are Steel-types after all, so they do die pretty violent deaths to Volcanion. Continue reading

The Bargain Bin #3 – Furious George

The Fincastle Gym is back with another look at an interesting budget-friendly deck.  Much like the Golduck deck featured here, today’s deck is an iteration of a deck that many players were “hyping” when Sun & Moon was still in the pre-release stage.  Much like Golduck, a quick internet search reveals several similar lists for today’s deck.  While we view those lists as handy guides, we never borrow a list without testing it.  And more often than not, when we test a list, we find other ways that we prefer to play it.  The Gym leaders like our decklists to be as smooth and streamlined as possible.  We think that you will find what we’ve done to this deck is an improvement over the lists we’ve seen floating around.  Our gym leaders believe that the structure of today’s deck will open up some options to other variations (which should make a little more sense later in this article). Continue reading

The Bargain Bin #2 – Plucky Duck

Today we are going to look at our 2nd budget deck of our “Bargain Bin” series.  As we pointed out last time, when new cards are released, some deck combos are strikingly obvious to experienced TCG players.  These instant decks (just add water) are usually the 1st to flood the flooded arena of “pay to keep reading” duk9websites and the more accessible YouTube channels, as they both are always digging for content for their readers and viewers.  “Instant decks” are often those that receive a lot of hype when a set is released, usually bound to fade away into the shadows of the deck establishment.  Today’s deck is one of those “instant decks”.  However, this is one that we would caution you to not write off too quickly.  We’ve tested this one and we like it a lot.  And, to beat the band, it just happens to fall nicely into our budget category. Continue reading

The Bargain Bin #1 – Lance Armstrong

bud1The Fincastle Gym is going to continue its look at some of our online decks for the next week or two.  However, we are going to shift our focus from our “Mega Love” theme to some budget friendly decks.  The recent Sun & Moon set offered up some nice additions into this category.  Several of these deck combos are pretty obvious ideas for decks, so it is likely that you have seen a version (or versions) of these decks already.  By “budget friendly”, we mean to show you some builds that you can put together for little to no cost, as you may already have these cards set aside in a binder, tin or box of cards that you think you will never use.  This obviously means no Shaymin EX ($45-$65 at the moment) or any other card that carries with it a cost in the $20 or more range.  Does that mean these decks are not competitive?  Absolutely not.  Some of the most competitive decks over the last several seasons have been some of the most inexpensive.  Remember “Night March”?  How about Vespiquen Continue reading

2017 Spotlight On Mega Love #3 – Turtle and Teeth

Today  we are going to double down on Mega Love and look at 2 lists.  These lists carry 2 distinct strategies that do differ from each other quite a bit.  However, as the builds are similar in card counts, Gym Leader Joel feels like he can handle this degree of multitasking.  Oh yes, that is right, he is quite the experienced stoy1multi-tasker.  His years of intense divided focus has spanned such impressive areas as watching TV and eating, playing his 3DS and watching TV, eating and playing his 3DS while watching TV, reading or playing his 3DS while sitting on the… well, scratch that one… probably too much info.  Either way, this ain’t his 1st rodeo,  so sit back and enjoy this double-barrel of Mega Love with 2 “Water-type” giants…. (hold on…. I had to turn the TV off, I couldn’t remember what I was trying to say), Blastoise EX and Glalie EX. Continue reading

2017 Spotlight On Mega Love #2: Agnes Gru

This week we are returning to our Mega-love feature, which we have to admit was not intentional, but does fall nicely into place in terms of timing as Valentine’s Day approaches.  If you are like us, you are surely being bombarded by advertisements with all sorts of “loving” ideas that you can order with a convenient app and have delivered to your beloved, without taking away valuable moments of your iPhone duties.  In the last few days, we’ve seen everything from comfy jammies to giant bears, gourmet dipped strawberries to Zyppahs (because fluff1nothing says “I love you” like a device that says, “Shut up & quit snoring!”), to roses made out of beef jerky.  Mmmmm, beef jerky roses…..  Sorry, lost our train of thought for a minute.  Traditionally, Gym Leader Joel has been a lover of the stuffed animal.  Stuffed animals don’t wilt, can’t make you gain weight, always fit and generally do not offend (although in this day & age, I’m sure some little snowflake somewhere has taken issue w/a little puppy holding a heart that says, “I Wuv You”).  We hope that when you look at the featured pokemon today, like any good stuffed animal, you will exclaim, “It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!” Continue reading