Tag Archives: Fincastle Pokemon Gym

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

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

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

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

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 – 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

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 #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

Congratulations Chris, v3.0!

far3Let’s see if we can frame this one in terms of the timeline of the Fincastle Pokemon Gym.  Gym Leader Logan had not yet qualified for his 1st World Championships.  Gym Leader Georgia, well, was not a Gym Leader.  She played of few games here and there, but had not become powerful female World Championship level player that little boys all over the country dreaded facing (because they knew they were getting ready to have the butts handed to them… BY A GIRL!!!).  Gym Leader Marthe was not an organizer.  In fact, she had just become a judge and had only helped out in a few small events.  Speaking of events, the 1st Battle Roads to be held in our area had not come yet and we were still campaigning to get our 1st Roanoke area pre-release.  Our Gym Leader Challenge was a brand new concept and our days at league usually consisted of multiple leaders fielding challenges all day at league, sometimes to the tune of 5 or 6 challenges in a single league meeting.  That is what was going on in Fincastle the last time that Chris L won a gym badge. 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