January 2018 VGC Premier Challenge Results

The challenges facing the “powers that be” at Pokemon vary from season to season.  When it comes to deciding the format and rules for each year’s VGC season, those decisions are very consequential, as once they are released, that’s what you get for the entire year.  There are no major shifts in the format like there are in the TCG as various sets are released throughout the year.  Sometimes the VGC format is pretty wide open and sometimes it becomes painfully narrow.  Two seasons ago, the addition of the “Primals” (Groudon and Kyogre) was devastating to the format, as it narrowed it so much that almost all of the top 32 teams at the Virginia Regional Championship were identical.  Inversely, the 2017 season was much more open, seeing a much wider variety of teams take the top spots at events throughout the year.  2018 is here and so is the new Ultra Sun & Moon format.  Each new season usually brings a surge of new players with it with the hopes that the season will provide a fun, different and creative environment for the players.  While we can’t see the future, we like the 2018 format and its possibilities.  Continue reading


January TCG Challenge Results and Congrats Chris, v5.0!

The Fincastle Gym had a busy day this past Sunday and, thanks to the school system shutting down for the week over weather that makes Gym Leader Marthe (a Wisconsin native) chuckle, our kids have been home all week, making it difficult to find time to finish this post.  We have two interesting pieces of news to share, both about Sunday’s happening.  The first is about a New Year’s resolution of sorts.  For the majority of 2017, we adopted the schedule of hosting one TCG League Challenge and one VG Challenge each month.  Gym Leader Joel thought it’d be a nice addition to post the results of those events to recognize the winners.  So starting this week, we will do so.  We won’t list descriptions of the matches, mostly because we can’t watch them all.  However, for now, we will list the results.  Our dream is to video tape both TCG & VG finals and Gym Leader Challenges and connect a YouTube channel to this site (which is not an issue of “how”, but an issue of finding the time to do so).  For now, we’ll stick with listing the winners.  Speaking of Gym Leader Challenges…. Continue reading

January Is “Bring A Friend” Month At The Gym!

The Fincastle Pokemon Gym is kicking off 2018 by bringing back one of our old favorites.  The month of January at the Gym is what we once called “Force Your Parents To Play” month.  Our original idea was meant to get the parents of gym trainers to give the Pokemon TCG a try for two major reasons.  The first reason is pretty simple.  We believe that getting involved in anything that your kids do and spending time with them is always a good thing.  Many parents are quick to write this game off as something they’ll never understand.  However, usually after a game or two, they get the hang of it.  The second reason is for those who want to go beyond casual play and try their hand at the competitive tournament scene.  One thing that we’ve seen hold true over the years is that the majority of, if not all of the competitive Junior and Senior players have parents that are heavily involved in the game.  Either way, if you can talk you parents into joining you, you will both get some goodies from the Gym. Continue reading

A Christmas Message From The Gym!

As many of you know from reading past articles on this page, we like to tie the themes and ideas that we write into pop culture, mostly in the form of movies, both popular and obscure.  The reason behind this is that the author (Gym Leader Joel) loves all genres of film.  To call him a film buff would be like calling Count Von Count a numbers guy.  No, Joel is a film fanatic.  Joel will deify a movie over shooting a short sequence better than others that have attempted the same, or over detailed camera work, even if the film itself is lackluster.  Needless to say, when film makers put it all together and make a masterpiece, Joel is blown away.  So it is with this is mind that he is sharing a Christmas message from the Gym that is directly from a movie that remains his favorite above all others. Continue reading

Congratulations Noah, v1.0!

The Fincastle Gym Leaders were hoping that we could spark a little interest in our Gym Leader Challenges this past Sunday.  That we did.  We had a busy day fielding several attempts for badges.  We also had several guests from our Lexington league join us, which made the afternoon extra cool.  One of Lexington’s young trainers decided to jump into the fray and go after the Grass-type gym badge.  We’re not sure who he surprised more, Gym Leader Joel or himself. Continue reading

Thanksgiving Gym Leader Challenge Update

As we have described many times before, the Gym Leader Challenge is a facet of the Fincastle Pokemon Gym that is exclusive to our league.  We have single-type decks of each type in the TCG available to test your best decks against.  The concept was born to follow the adventure that video game players experience while playing through the story mode of each edition of Pokemon video games.   Gym Leader Joel has been brainstorming a bit about how to up the reward for whomever completes Gym Leader Challenge #400 at the Fincastle Pokemon Gym.  We hit a new high at #300, where we supplied a fully built, competitive deck to the winner (Plasma Lugia EX).  Knowing that we don’t have unlimited funds, we believe he has found a cool way to achieve that. Continue reading

2017 Halloween Costume Contest Results

It was not officially Halloween yet, but it surely felt like it at the Gym on Sunday.  Our combination pre-release/costume contest always stirs our Halloween spirit as we have had some awesome gatherings over the last few years.  This year did not disappoint.  As a matter of fact, we’d say that everyone “upped” their game, to the point we had to turn to some of our seasoned league trainers to help break the judging deadlock and decide the winners.  Those who have walked away with the top spots in previous years had some real competition this time around. Continue reading

October Pre-Releases & Costume Contests Coming Up!

It’s October, which at the Fincastle Pokemon Gym means  Fall pre-release time.  The upcoming set, Crimson Invasion, looks like it will add some cool new cards, including the Ultra Beasts from Sun & Moon, but that’s not what we’re most excited about.  To us, October means it’s time for Halloween and more importantly, our league’s costume contests.  Our small but hardy group has turned in amazing costume ideas over the years.  We can’t say for sure whether our favorite part is seeing everyone else’s entries or making our own, but either way, we can’t wait for them to get here. Continue reading

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

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