Category Archives: Who we are.

Leaders of the Fincastle Gym.

The Gym Goes To YouTube!

The Fincastle Gym and Dark Moon Cards & Games are thrilled to announce the launch of our YouTube channel!  This has been something that Gym Leader Joel has wanted to do for quite some time, but just did not have the time and more importantly, the understanding to do.  You know what it’s like trying to explain to your parent/grandparent how to use their first smart phone?  Well, it probably wasn’t that bad, but it is in the same ballpark.  And in no way, shape or form have we fully figured it out.  For right now, we have a camera, a channel and some editing software, and we’re fine with that for now.  What we’ve noticed over the last several years here is that the migration of the world to the smart phone has decreased the desire and ability of people to absorb long written articles, like the ones that we have focused on since 2012.  As times change, so must we.

Before we go any further, here is the link to the channel:

Dark Moon Cards & Games – YouTube

Our plan is for the channel to provide a mix of media for our leagues (both in Fincastle & Lexington) and to share with you many of the products available in our store (Dark Moon Cards & Games), as well as products only available at conventions we attend.  Unfortunately, the launch has been more Wright Brothers than Space X… we planned to launch the site with several videos at once, not knowing that thanks to SW Virginia internet speeds, it would take 3 days to upload 6 videos.  At any rate, our first wave of material includes product reviews of the Porygon Z GX box and the Hidden Fates Elite Trainer Kit and the accompanying opening of those items.

We will try and capture at least the finals of our League Cup this Sunday, October 6, and bring you that content as well.  At future league meetings, we will try to pick up some games, or a featured match on days that time and attendance allow.  We have no intention of becoming a deck analysis site, as one more lamb bleating on a mountain already full of sheep won’t offer you anything but more sheep breath.  If we play something fun or come up with something different, we may share it on the channel.

The majority of future posts here will simply be to alert you to new content on the channel.  So, please check back here as often as you like.  To help us continue our long running league and business, we’d also like to ask that you “Like” as many videos you’d like (that’s like a lot of likes) and “Subscribe” to our channel.  We will work to improve our content and video quality as we gain some much needed experience.  We’re always open to ideas, so feel free to contact us with any suggestions.  Head over to our channel when you get a chance.  Until next time, see you at the Gym!

Dark Moon Cards and Games

Glowing black planet in outer spaceThe Fincastle Pokemon Gym is always looking for ways to change, improve and grow.  Being that our unique league is the combined brainchild of Gym Leaders Marthe and Joel,  we don’t ever jump into an idea without having a plan (usually Joel comes up with an idea and Marthe figures out how to actually make it work).  Not a bad combo.  As both leaders are kept busy by full-time jobs and by raising fellow Gym Leaders Logan and Georgia, in addition to running Premier events throughout North Carolina and western Virginia, you can easily imagine that additional changes are pretty slow down the pipeline.  After quite a bit of planning, the Fincastle Gym is very excited to announce our next venture, or step, if you will (maybe towards a storefront one day), Dark Moon Cards and Games. Continue reading

Georgia’s 2014 Worlds Deck – Fall Out Girl

fall out girlWhat to play… Genesect… Pyroar… Yveltal… Plasma…..  What do you do?  What do you choose?  When you are just playing Pokemon with friends, or at league, or at a local tournament, it’s not that big of a deal.  You play whatever version of one of these decks you have.  You win some games, you lose some games.  You have fun with the wins, you write off the losses by exclaiming what was prized, or how you did not draw anything.  If you want to see those questions above gain a little weight, imagine thinking about them in the context of preparing for the World Championships.  You look at what is popular and what has won at major tournaments.  You look at counters to all of the same decks.  You look at everything that you have played in the last season (and beyond).  You have one chance to get it right.  This is a process that we at the Gym have gone through 3 times now and, well, it ain’t easy.  Tempers flare, arguments break out and tears are shed.  That’s all part of preparing for an event like the World Championships.  We wouldn’t trade it for anything. Continue reading

No League Sunday 8/17 – Look For The Gym At Worlds!

As mentioned in a previous post, the Fincastle Gym Leaders are headed to Washington DC this weekend for the Pokemon World Championships, so there will be no regular meeting of the Fincastle Pokemon League on Sunday, August 17.

Don’t despair, you can stay connected to the Gym and follow Gym Leaders Logan and Georgia (as well as other Gym members) at the official World Championship website:

Worlds webpage

Look for articles about various trainers and VIPs daily under the News heading.

For a live list of standings and pairings during the tournament Saturday and Sunday, click on the purple Standings bracket.  You can see all the matchups in each division and their current records (Win, Loss, Tie).

Worlds web 2

Click on the “World Championship information” link, and get lots more cool info.




  • Full listing of the World Championship Invitations by country
  • Details on prizes, schedule and other events held during the Championships
  • Official and “un”official photos of the event shared via Instagram
  • Decklists and Video Game team lists for the finalists in each division
  • and more.

The final rounds in each age group (both Trading Card Game and Video Game) will be broadcast live on Sunday via Twitch.  There will be additional live streaming throughout the event – so take a peek.  You never know when you might see a familiar face!

We will try to post an update or two during the weekend, but only as time permits.  We expect this to be an exciting 3 days of tough Pokemon matches and we want to stay focused on supporting our Gym Leaders in their pursuit of the World’s best.  Gym Leader Joel will have a full summary of the tournament and everyone’s journey after we return to Fincastle.

Our next regular league meeting will be on Sunday, August 24 at 3PM.  This weekend, cheer on Logan and Georgia as aim for the top of the year’s biggest Pokemon event!  Until then, see you at the Gym!

Gym Leader Georgia – The Dragon-Type Apprentice

Ok folks, she’s got new dragon scale patterned sleeves…. she’s got her game face on….. she’s got a dog food bowl on her head….. we think she is ready to take on your challenges.  Be afraid…..!  7-year-old Georgia is joining the Gym Leader ranks at the Fincastle Pokemon Gym.  Her first role will be as the Dragon-type leader/apprentice and she will be available for challenges starting this Sunday.  Georgia has been playing the Pokemon TCG since she was 5 and has had her share of ups and downs in competitive play.  Georgia has 2 City Championships 1st place finishes under her belt as well as multiple Battle Roads 1st and 2nd place finishes.  This past weekend at the Philadelphia Regional Championships, Georgia turned in one of her best performances yet, finishing 4-2 and in 20th place, missing the top cut of 8 by tie-breakers.  Georgia is currently the #2 ranked Junior in Virginia.  The Gym Leaders have been watching her with a keen eye and feel she is ready to take on the responsibility. Continue reading

Gym Leader Logan is Regional Champion!

Logan and all of his winnings

The Fincastle Pokemon Gym sent two of its leaders to Quinton, VA on 4/16 to the Play!Pokemon Regional Championship.  Gym Leader Marthe went to act as a judge for the Senior Division while Gym Leader Logan went to compete in the Junior Division.  There were three Regional Tournaments on the east coast, one in Pennsylvania, one in Georgia and the one in Virginia.  The Virginia event drew 150 players from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, West Virginia and Tennessee.  Juniors played 5 rounds of “swiss” with a top cut of 4, Seniors played 6 rounds with a top cut of 8 and Masters players 7 rounds with a top cut of 16.  Swiss rounds are single game matches.  Top cut matches are the best 2 of 3.

Logan entered the day as the #1 ranked player in Virginia.  His performance definitely validated his ranking.  Logan won all 5 rounds of “swiss”, defeating along the way North Carolina’s #2 Junior, Tracy R, in the 3rd round and one of the Virginia State finalists, Fabrizio L.,  in round 5.  Logan stood as the only undefeated Junior after the opening 5 rounds.  Tournament software rankings separated a logjam of players with 4-1 records to see who would join Logan in the top cut.  In the semi-final round of top cut, Logan faced Justin K. in a best 2 of 3 match.  Logan won in straight games and advanced to the final match where he squared off with Michael H.  Michael defeated Austin K., Justin’s brother, in the other semi-final.  Logan defeated Michael in straight games to take the championship.  As in the North Carolina State Championship, Logan finished the day without losing a single game which, considering the competition, is an amazing feat.

Logan in the Semi-Final round

As Regional Champion, Logan was awarded a $1500 scholarship from Play!Pokemon.  He received a box of 36 booster packs, a card binder, a card play mat and card sleeves.  Logan will now have a 1st and 2nd round bye (2 automatic wins) at the National Championship in Indianapolis in July.  Play!Pokemon also furnishes airfare and accommodations for Logan (and parents) to Indianapolis.  While rankings have not been processed yet to account for the tournament results, the streak of wins should catapult Logan to one of the top spots in the country and greatly increase the odds that he will receive an invitation to the World Championships this August in San Diego.

Congratulations to Logan.  The Fincastle Gym Leaders and members are all proud of Logan’s accomplishments.  Next up, the National Championship.  Stay tuned!

Austin Is New Fire Type Gym Leader!

Today at the Fincastle Pokemon Gym, the Fire Gym Leader tournament came to a close.  In the finals, which was a best 2 out of 3 match, Austin faced off with Gym Leader Logan.  En route to the finals, Logan defeated Austin in the second round of the tournament, but Austin recovered and battled his way back to earn the rematch in the finals.

In the first match, both players got off to slow starts, but as set up progressed, Austin got the advantage as his Charizard count outnumbered Logan’s Magmortar count.  The match went back and forth with alternating knockouts. Thanks to some well placed rescue energies, Austin endured several 150-170 damage “Hard Crushes” to take game 1.  The second match developed much like the first, this time with Logan taking the advantage.  Logan was poised to take control of game 2 with a chance to knock out a belted Charizard, but he could not draw the double colorless energy needed to do so.  Austin knocked out his last Magmortar to take the match.

It was exciting to watch the 2 very talented competitors with well built fire decks battle back and forth.  Austin has continuously improved since his arrival at the Gym, and with the development of his understanding of opposing strategies (and a little patience), he has found his niche and is a perfect fit for the Fire Gym Leader.  While Logan was disappointed with the loss, he and the other Gym Leaders welcome Austin to the ranks of the Fincastle Pokemon Gym.  Having an additional leader will help the Gym get to challenges quicker, so hopefully those waiting will not to wait as long.  If Austin is ready next week, he will be available for challenges.  If he needs a week to prepare, he will be available the week after.  Gym Leaders available will be posted next week at the Gym.

On that note, the Fincastle Gym Leaders had four successful defenses of challenges today.  Gym Leader Marthe defended two challenges for the electric badge and one for the psychic.  Gym Leader Joel defended a challenge for the grass badge.  That brings the Gym Leader’s record to 62-8 in challenges.  It was a very busy and very exciting day.  Join us next Sunday when we hope to make a huge dent in the list of those waiting for challenges.  Get ready to battle you best and win a badge.  See you at the Gym!

Badges Earned to Date:

-Austin W – Steel, Grass

-Tyler D – Electric, Steel, Grass

-Chris L – Electric

-James H – Psychic

-Tessa Y – Fire

Rankings are in, Gym Leader Logan #1 in VA!

With all of the State Championships now complete, Play!Pokemon has released rankings for the state, national and world levels.  Thanks to successful showings in both the North Carolina and Virginia States, the Fincastle Pokemon Gym has two of its leaders ranked highly.

In the Junior Division, Gym Leader Logan is ranked #1 in Virginia.  Logan’s rating places him at #46 in the nation and #60 in the world.  There are 1761 juniors registered nationally and 2610 in the world.  His run at the North Carolina Championships vaulted him into the top spot in the state.  It is safe to say that his win qualifies as a significant upset.  Logan’s opponent that he defeated in NC finals, Blaine H is North Carolina’s #1.  Blaine is #5 in the nation and #8 in the world.  Blaine won the Virginia State Championship, where Logan finished in 6th place and never had a chance for a rematch with Blaine.

Logan is busy practicing for the Regional Championships on April 16th in Quinton, VA.  A strong showing there would strengthen his chances to earn an invitation to the World Championships in August.  The regional champ receives travel and accommodations to Nationals.  Logan knows that a win there will require some amazing play mixed with a little luck.

Gym Leader Joel is ranked #12 in Virginia in the Masters Division.  Joel’s rating places him at #392 in the nation and #542 in the world.  By comparison to the Juniors, there are 5570 Masters registered in the nation and 8311 in the world.  With that volume of players, the odds of battling into the Worlds in very slim.  Joel is looking forward to Nationals and, with Logan’s help,  continues to develop decks and strategies that will hopefully take the field by surprise.  With the release of all new cards in Black & White coming between Regionals and Nationals, the National Championship should be very exciting and open to decks that no one has seen before.

Come to the Gym and train with us.  You never know what you might accomplish and we promise that you’ll have a good time.  See you at the Gym!

Gym Leader Logan is North Carolina State Champion!

The Fincastle Pokemon Gym Leaders traveled to Cornelius, NC, for the North Carolina State Championship on Saturday.  The event drew 128 entrants, which was the largest “States” yet in North Carolina.  Georgia and Logan entered the Junior Division into a field of 20 players.  Joel and Marthe entered a Master Division field of 86 competitors. Juniors played 5 rounds with a top cut of 4 players.  Masters played 7 rounds with a top cut of 16.  In top cuts, each round is a best 2 out of 3 match with the winner moving on to the next round.

In the Master Division, Gym Leader Joel opened against Carolina’s own World Championship qualifier which he feared would be an auto-loss.  However, Joel went to time and the “plus 3 turns” and won the opening round.  This set the tone for the day as 4 of the 7 matches played by Joel went to either time or sudden death.  At 3-2, Joel dropped a tight match off of a misplay in extra turns that cost him the chance to enter the top 16 playoff.  Gym Leader Joel finished 4-3, ranked 22nd, pleased with some very tough wins but agonizing over the one play that cost him a chance at “top cutting.”  That is the game of Pokemon at the State and above level… one play, one turn or even a coin flip can make the difference in a battle.

In the Junior Division, Georgia opened with 2 losses, including an opening round loss to one of the eventual finalists.  Georgia hung tough and went on to win 2 of her last three.  Winning a match at States is an accomplishment considering the high level of competition.  We are very proud of Georgia winning 2 matches and battling it out for 5 rounds.  Being as successful as she has been so far at age 5, its hard to tell what she may accomplish in the years to come.

The other eventual finalist was Logan.  Logan ran through the competition winning all 5 rounds and entering the top cut as 1 of 2 undefeated players.  Logan won his opening round in top cut in straight games and patiently awaited the victor of the other match which went back and forth for quite some time.  He eventually faced off with Blaine H., who won the second semi-final against the other undefeated player, Tracy.  Logan defeated Blaine in 2 straight games to win his first State Championship.  For his efforts, Logan won a 1st place medal, 36 booster packs, a Play! Pokemon play mat and a $300 travel-voucher (to be redeemed upon his arrival at the National Championships in Indianapolis this July).  Logan will also receive a 1st round bye at Nationals which means an automatic 1st round win.  Logan’s play was nothing short of amazing.  He’s battled hard at every Premier event he’s entered and never qualified for the Top Cut until this event.  We could see it in his face that he knew this was his opportunity and that he was going after it.  He played with a calm demeanor and was very precise in his decision making.  What was the most satisfying for us was the fact that he displayed great sportsmanship as well.  Logan embodied the very definition of a Gym Leader (and he’s a pretty good kid to boot).

All of the Gym Leaders had great fun at what was an exciting and very tiring day.  In addition to the successes mention above, the Gym Leaders won some great door prizes.  The days winnings have once again revived the league’s supply of some really cool items that will make it into the prize lot for future tournaments at the Fincastle Pokemon Gym.  See you at the Gym!

Pokemon Professor

Congratulations, Gym Leader, Marthe, Fincastle Gym’s first Pokemon Professor!  As a Pokemon Professor, Marthe passed a 45-question exam which tested her knowledge of game mechanics, card rulings, and the Play! Pokémon guidelines.  Marthe is now eligable to act as an official Judge at Play! Pokemon sanctioned tournaments and events.  As a Professor, Marthe adheres to the Pokemon Professor Core Values:

A Professor must act with integrity at all times. A Professor should be fair and unbiased, whether judging a tournament or resolving a dispute.

A Professor must be an honest individual. It is critical to the integrity of the Professor Program that its members have a reputation as trustworthy and honest.

Professors are trusted with a great deal of responsibility.

To maintain a higher degree of respect, Professors should act professionally when acting in an official capacity.

Congratulations to Marthe, and we look forward to a great new year at the Fincastle Pokemon Gym.