Tag Archives: gym leaders

Congratulations Chris, v4.0!

“Tis a lesson you should heed, Try, try again.  If at first you don’t succeed, Try, try again.”  These are words that we’ve heard so often in our lives that they’ve surely lost their significance and power.  In fact, the sarcastic nature of our world probably has us more familiar with such quips as, “If at first you don’t succeed, perhaps skydiving isn’t for you…”, or “…, try doing what your teacher told you the first time…” or even, “… get a bigger hammer.”  What’s lost in all of that wit and cleverness is that the original phrase, penned in the 1800’s by an author and educator named Thomas H Palmer, is perhaps one of the most concise descriptions of The American Dream.  If you will it, dude, it is no dream.  As you pursue your goals, you are bound to make mistakes and experience setbacks, often having to accept that you have to improve.  You have to learn from your mistakes and keep trying until you either get it right or tire from trying and settle for something less.  We at The Gym believe that basic principle, so eloquently wrapped up in a single quote, applies equally to any single desire.   Whether it is something big like trying to save for a first car, or buying a home, or something small, like a child saving money for a toy, or a gift for a parent, the feeling of accomplishment is the same.  The badge won this past Sunday may have been the hardest earned badge to date at the Gym. Continue reading


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

VG Premier Challenge This Sunday, 11/27/16!

Okay, so last Sunday did not go as planned.  We hope that everyone received the notice of league cancellation in time.  That’s the biggest drawback of our league location is that we are required to pick up a key every Saturday and return it on Sunday after league.  In instances like last weekend, we got caught up and could keynot get to the library in time to get the key… and no key means no league.  We apologize to any who did not see Facebook or league emails in time.  On the positive side, all of the Gym Leaders were able to visit the Lexington league on Monday and spend time playing with its trainers.  We are pleased to see the large group of very promising Juniors in attendance in Lexington, and we hope extend the “Generals” program to the fledgling league soon.  At any rate, we are back on track for this Sunday and will have league and a VG Premier Challenge at our regular league time. Continue reading

Worlds Testing Results – Steampunk Teapot

teapotToday the Fincastle Gym is continuing is look at Worlds potentials that we’ve tested over the last several weeks.  The deck that we’ll look at today is one that is only in the mix thanks to the early release of Steam Siege.  Much like “The Badger” from our last article, this deck scored well in our categories used to evaluate deck potential.   Its consistency and speed are both pretty amazing.  Its recovery may be the best of any deck we’ve tested.  Its hitting power is also impressive, as it can often hit for 90 to 100+ damage for a single energy cost.  As much as we like this one, we again look at this deck and struggle to answer the question, “Why not play this deck at Worlds?”  Let’s look a little deeper for the answer. Continue reading

Congratulations Ridge, v1.0!

rickDo you remember those little ol’ things called Gym Leader Challenges?  Yeah, we still have them.  Not at the level that we used to, though.  At one time, the Gym Leaders were trying to see how many challenges they could fit into one league session.  Over the last few months, if we field 1 per meeting, that has been a busy day for the Gym Leaders.  So what’s different?  Not that much at the Gym.  However, over the last year, as Play!Pokemon has expanded the number of events available across the country, the down-time between events has shrunk drastically.  It seems that League Challenges, City Championships and the big events (States/Regionals) take place just weeks apart.  That, coupled with the advent of the new league format, has really put the brakes on Gym Leader Challenges.  Needless to say, the Gym Leaders experienced a mild sensory overload as they fielded two VG Challenges at once today after the League Challenge. Continue reading

Fincastle Gym Deck Spotlight #5: Vizzini

viz3Today the Fincastle Gym will present its last deck in our spotlight series leading up to Worlds.  In these series, we normally try to look at decks that are kind of off the wall or sometimes just hard counters to what is popular.   However, as all of the Gym Leaders missed invites to Worlds this year (which seems odd in retrospect as this year’s entry requirements are as light as we have ever seen them), we are posting some decks that we would be looking at this time of the year as potential plays.  Approaching Worlds, we look back at what was popular at our Nationals, what was played overseas at various foreign Nationals and what has been strong all year.  Based off what we have seen, we know exactly what we’d be working on if we were attending (which we will talk about at the end of this article).  However, since that idea is “un-built” and un-tested (and we don’t have the time to test for an event we ain’t going to), we will showcase Gym Leader Joel’s favorite “toolbox” deck, which is another of his online favorites that never hit the table at an actual event (but probably should have), dubbed “Vizzini”. Continue reading

Back From Nats and Japan!

Joel 001We may not know what day it is yet, or for that matter, what time it is, but the Fincastle Gym Leaders have returned home from a 2+ week long adventure that began with the National Championships in Indy and then transitioned immediately into a whirlwind exploration of Japan.  Amazing, fascinating, even mesmerizing are all terms that easily apply to the country that gave birth to the Pokemon TCG and VG.  Despite an immense population that doesn’t even seem like it should fit the Joel 002spaces that make up Japan’s cities, there is a sense of serenity and order that I cannot relate to anything in this country.  I could write for the next week about the food alone.  Heck, I could write a blog entirely about the bathrooms and their cool space toilets, but that is not the purpose of this site. Continue reading

Congratulations Robbie, v4.0!

the doorAsk Gym Leader Joel what his favorite movie is and without hesitation, he will tell you that it is “The Matrix”.  So it follows, that his favorite movie line is, “…I can only show you the door.  You’re the one that has to walk through it.”  This has special meaning for Joel, not only because it is from an incredible movie, but more so because his father said this same phrase, almost word for word, often to Joel as he grew up in the late 70’s/early 80’s, years before the film.  His father’s point was to teach Joel that while he could guide him and offer advice, Joel had to decide things for himself, taking responsibility for his actions, but also feeling the true sense of accomplishment that only comes when you do something on your own.  It is this same mantra that Joel lives by that was the driving force behind his creation at the Gym, the Gym Leader Challenge. Continue reading

Congratulations Eric, v1.0!

fireWith the recent advent of the Video Game Gym Leader Challenge, the Fincastle Gym Leaders have had their hands full over the last few weeks at league.  Thankfully, the addition of our 2 new VG Gym Leaders, Dean and Noah, we have been able to keep things rolling and handle quite a few challenges.    Our hope in adding an expanded VG element to our league, is that we would attract more experienced players to join us on Sundays.  So far, so good.  The VG leaders have opened our league’s new venture by going 4-0 over our first 4 challenges.  However, we knew that several of our new players were playing enough games at league to earn their 1st challenge (16 games of either TCG or VG or any combo thereof earns the right to challenge the leader of your choice) and that when those players came calling, that any of the leaders would be likely to fall. Continue reading

Video Game Gym Leaders Are Here!

leedaThe Fincastle Pokemon Gym opened its doors during the summer of 2010.  Our first meetings were classroom style instructional sessions for the TCG.  By the Fall of 2010, we were already looking for ways to challenge the players that took to the TCG and make them better.  The Gym Leaders decided to follow the format laid out by the video games and create single type decks for our trainers to battle.  And so the Gym Leader Challenge was born at the Gym.  We now have completed well over 300 TCG challenges, giving away collections of promo cards, EX cards and a fully built competitive deck along the way.  Type-specific gym badges, custom-made and designed by one of our trainers, await anyone who defeats a Gym Leader in a card challenge.  The challenge has become the hallmark of the Fincastle Pokemon Gym.  Now it is time for the “hall” to get a little bigger. Continue reading