Tag Archives: Fincastle Gym Leaders

400th Gym Leader Challenge Is Almost Here!

The Gym Leader Challenge is the Fincastle Gym’s longest running tradition.  Shortly after beginning our league, Gym Leader Joel went to work on taking the core concept of every Pokemon video game to date and incorporating it into our gym.  That concept is having Gym Leaders and type-specific decks available for its trainers to test themselves against.  Originally, we scrounged the web for a supply of the 2008 league promo badges to reward our trainers for wins over gym leaders.  That supply soon dried up, so we went to our trainers, held a contest and eventually created our own gym badges based on the design of Kelli Bowen, a trainer that was part of one of the many great families that have come and gone over the years at the Gym.  We have documented every challenge we’ve ever taken… every win, every loss, every battle that came down to the wire.  Those who have prevailed are immortalized on our Wall of Fame. 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

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

2017 Spotlight On Mega Love #1: Destroyah

ttar8The scourge of winter weather that hit our area over the opening weeks of 2017 cancelled our 1st 2 weekends of league and tournaments.  While the forced break was not what we wanted, the Fincastle Gym Leaders used the time to do some much needed post-Christmas clean up and organizing.  This also coincided with the kick-off of another robotics season, which is always very exciting but very time consuming.  That being said, we’ve been on break from Pokemon for the majority of 2017.  We all pieced together decks the night before our league challenge last Sunday, which was the 1st time we’ve raised a card this year.  Now that things have settled down a bit, we’re ready dive back into all things Pokemon.  We thought the best way to kick things off this year would be with a look at a few decks.  Gym Leader Joel is going to focus on the Mega Pokemon that no one loves the way they should… the underappreciated, or dare we say, the deplorable.   We also plan to introduce the 1st deck from one of our most original trainers, Ian M, who we hope will provide us, from time to time, with a peek at some of his other insane lists. Continue reading

Congratulations Eddie, v1.0!

As promised, the Fincastle Gym hit another milestone at our league.  Sunday, Gym Leader Joel battled the youngest player to ever take on one of our Gym Leader Challenges.  Eddie R, maybe standing all of 3 1/2′ tall, is about as full of himself as any 5-year-old that we have met.  To be good at this game, you need to able to read and comprehend ideas that are pretty foreign to the average pluff15-year-old mind.  You need to be able to perform basic math and at times, math that goes way beyond the definition of “basic”.  You need to be able to grasp the strategy of a themed deck, whether it is a creation of the best cards you have or a deck based off of the top decks played by Masters and Seniors.  Pokemon rates this game for ages 6 and up, but from what we seen on average, most kids aren’t ready until that 7-8 range.  The average 5-year-old (in our country, anyway) does not read and is not expected to be able to.  If their parents are active with them, many 5-year-olds are counting, but that’s a far cry from doing math.  The most complex strategy in most 5-year-old brains is how get something they want or how to not do something their parents want them to do.  We have absolutely zero qualms in labeling any 5 year that can play this TCG as “exceptional”. Continue reading

VG Premier Challenge and League Challenge Results and Report

gdon5The Fincastle Gym has hosted back to back weekends of competitive events at its home base in the metropolis of Fincastle.  Two Sundays ago, the Gym held a VG Premier Challenge, gathering a good showing of skilled players.  Masters battled it out over 4 rounds and then cut to a top 2 to determine the champion of the event.  This past Sunday, the Gym hosted its 3rd League Challenge of the season.  Our cast of regulars were joined by some Juniors and Seniors players making their 1st appearance in Fincastle.  The current Standard Format has proved to be just that, pretty standard, as the decks present provided no surprises.  Gym Leader Joel tried to shake up the match-ups (with no avail) and unfortunately for 1 player, altered the results. Continue reading

Update On League Seasons And Rewards

Sometimes Pokemon news comes in ways you just can’t miss.  We’ve seen announcement take the form a TV adds, internet promotions, information packets to organizers or even well thought out and descriptive articles on Pokemon.com.  Sometimes they are a little more subtle.  Take the new season of league materials and format for league play, for example.  Several weeks ago we received some league posters that looked like smaller versions of the aposter“leaderboard” posters we used last season.  And… that was it, no instructions, no promo pins, badges, cards, etc.  So, we’ve made no announcements at league because we did not have anything to tell you other than, “We got posters”.  League leaders were finally given a breakdown of what to do with said posters, although we have yet to receive the accompanying materials (which we have learned will be Item cards specific to each season).  So, this is what we know. Continue reading

Logan’s Worlds Day 1 Deck – Darkrai/Garbodor

flash6The 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