Pokemon Announces 2017 Rotation – BREAKthrough – On!

Play!Pokemon has announced its 2017 edition of the TCG’s annual rotation.  As expected the oldest 3 sets from the X&Y series, Primal Clash, Roaring Skies and Ancient Origins are leaving the Standard Format officially on September 1, 2017.  This means that all cards printed in XY BREAKthrough and newer sets will remain legal for the Standard Format.  The promo card pool will be cut to include XY promo #67 and higher and all Sun & Moon promos.  This also means that promo set dubbed, Generations, remains in format, as it was officially released on February 2016.  The Fincastle Gym, now in its 7th year of existence (9 years of playing the TCG) has developed what we hope is an easy-to-follow guide to walk both new and seasoned players through the annual rotation.  We have posted articles each of the last 5 years and like the layout that we’ve come to over the last 2 years.  We’ll stick to that design again this year, so if you have navigated our past posts, this year’s article should be familiar to you.  Continue reading

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Back From North American Internationals (Nats)!

The Fincastle Gym leaders have returned from the event formerly known as “Nats” (now the North American International Championships).  While Gym Leader Marthe was knee-deep in “deck checks” for most of the weekend, Georgia, Logan and Joel all competed in the main TCG event.  We were joined by our “General”, Ridge, who took on the VGC field in hopes of earning his 1st World Championship invitation.  While Ridge just needed to pick up one last chunk of point to get over the hump, Gym Leaders Georgia and Logan needed Top 8 finishes to stretch either of their Championship Point totals into another invitation.  Joel, who has played very little this season outside of league challenges, was looking to occupy himself until it was time to hit some of favorite Indy eateries. Continue reading

VG Premier Challenge 6/18/17 at The Gym!

Join us at The Fincastle Pokemon Gym on June 18th for our 2nd Video Game Premier Challenge!  Be sure to download your game update and the 2017 Worlds Rules before you come and bring your team sheet.

Sunday, June 18

Registration 2:45 – 3:15 PM

Entry fee: FREE

Worlds 2017 Format. Teamlist required. Championship Points awarded based on division attendance.

See you this Sunday at The Gym!

2017 Blue Ridge Regional Wrap Up

The Fincastle Pokemon Gym took a well-deserved break following the Blue Ridge Regional Championships before diving into the task of sorting and putting away materials (which we did not complete until the end of last week).  Following that, we did some data collecting from the event that we’d like to share with everyone.  The Regional Championships exceeded our expectations and went as smoothly as any event that we’ve ever attended (more so than many).  We know that those results would not have been possible without the strong response from players, fans and staff.  We hope that all who attended were as satisfied with the weekend as we were.  Now, we sit and wait and hope that we are awarded another Regional next year, a decision that is beyond our control.  Should we be so lucky, we are already thinking of ways to improve upon and expand what we did this year.  Only time will tell. Continue reading

Gym’s First General Takes 4th Place at Blue Ridge Regional

One of the first ideas that came to Gym Leader Joel upon learning in July of 2016 that we would host and organize Roanoke’s first-ever Regional Championships event was to develop a program to prepare trainers from our leagues for the tournament.  Joel outlined the details for Hee-Haw’s Generals, the Fincastle Pokemon Gym’s juniors team, shortly after and waited for the response.  And waited, and waited… and waited.  The service that the Gym is offering is the same that many pay-to-view deck sites offer, for a fee of course, with one big difference.  Our service does not cost a dime.  We have several promising TCG prospects that are perhaps a bit young (5 & 6) for a day-long tournament.  However, we did get a video game trainer who wanted to give the Regionals a whirl.  While we feared that our first taker jumped in the game a little too late to properly prepare for the event, Gym Leaders Dean, Noah and Joel scrambled to help him gather a team together and then put the rest in his hands.  Ridge R, now known to us as “The First General”, showed what a quick study he is.  Ridge stepped up, practiced with his team and at the Blue Ridge Regional Video Game Championship, claimed 4th place, falling one match short of potentially winning the whole thing. 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

Blue Ridge Regional Championships – Pokemon BinGO Tours

July 6, 2016.  A date that will live in Pokemon lore forever…  The day exercise became FUN!  If you love catching Pokemon in the real world, we have a fun addition to the Blue Ridge Regional Championships for you: a Pokemon GO Tour around Roanoke!

What could be more fun than exploring this beautiful city with your Pokemon companions, you ask?  BINGO!  Before you go pack your marking dots and stake out a six-table spread at the local VFW, it’s not that kind of BINGO.  It’s Pokemon BinGO!

That’s right – BINGO with Pokemon GO!

Continue reading

Blue Ridge Regional Championships – Vendor Marketplace

As we’ve mentioned here recently, the Fincastle Pokemon Gym and its companion store, Dark Moon Cards and Games, has branched out from our online store to try our hand at local conventions.  While we are still learning that side of our business and trying to improve what we have to offer, we have had a great time at these local events.  The main reason is the environment.  When you are in a building surrounded by people who love the same stuff that you do, its hard not to enjoy yourself.  In our planning for the Blue Ridge Regional Championships, we did a lot of brainstorming on how to bottle that environment and bring it to our event.  As soon as we started planning, we ran into one slightly monumental hurdle to our plans… licensing from Pokemon.  We think we’ve cleared that hurdle, perhaps not in the purtiest fashion ever, and put together a pretty cool group of vendors to supplement this weekend’s event. Continue reading

Blue Ridge Regional Championships – Battle Fiesta & Side Events

The next aspect of the Blue Ridge Regional Championships that we are going to look at is the planned TCG and VGC Side Events.  Side events have been a staple of the Regional Championship format since we at the Fincastle Pokemon Gym have been playing the game.  Typical “sides” have been 8-person, single elimination pods in formats ranging from Standard to Expanded to Theme Deck contests.  In more recent Regionals, Day 2 (usually Sunday) has included a League Challenge.  While these are great additions to the main events at these weekends, we are looking for (and have found) some great ways to expand those options and, in the process, bring you the 1st event of its kind on the east coast (maybe USA…, 1st that we’ve heard of anyway).  The Battle Fiesta events are exciting new events for us to try out.  We’ve read some amazing articles from American and European players that have been lucky enough to travel to Japan to compete in the real thing.  Their tournament reports make for some fascinating reading.  On both Saturday and Sunday, we will hold Japanese-style Battle Fiesta contests.  Let us break down some details on all of these events. Continue reading

Blue Ridge Regional Championships – The Costume & Cosplay Contest

One of the unique features to Roanoke’s first Regional Championship should be another first in its own right in the Roanoke area.  Saturday, during the main event, there is also a Pokemon Costume and Cosplay contest.  Now, Roanoke has been developing an ever-growing base of talented cosplayers for a while now… probably longer than we’ve been aware of.  The Fincastle Gym Leaders have attended recent events like the Roanoke Anime Convention and Geekmob for the last two years and have been blown away by the outfits that we’ve witnessed at these events.  Our love for manga, anime and basically everything else to do with Japan grows larger every day, which means we actually know the anime characters that people dress up as (a pretty amazing feat for some 40-something parents of two, I say).  This side event at the Blue Ridge Regional will be the first Pokemon-only contest that we have witnessed in the area. Continue reading