Tag Archives: pokemon trading card game

Congratulations Anna, v1.0!

In our last post, the Fincastle Pokemon Gym discussed our desire to light a fire under our long standing tradition of Gym Leader challenges, especially among our younger players.  The ever-changing dynamics of league support from Play!Pokemon to local leagues has altered our ability to make challenges the priority that we want them to be.  As the 2017 season comes to an end with the conclusion of the World Championships over the weekend, we were thrilled to not only have a young challenger seek a gym badge at Sunday’s league meeting, but even more so to have the 2nd youngest challenger ever seek a badge.  Eddie R made league history in 12/16 by becoming the youngest trainer to ever win a gym badge in Fincastle at the ripe old age of 6 years, 8 months, when he won the Grass-type badge.  This past Sunday, Anna R, who is younger than Eddie, won her 1st badge, narrowly missing the mark of “youngest ever” to claim a badge in Fincastle by a little over 4 months (she currently is about 7 years, 2 months). Continue reading

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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 – 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

The Bargain Bin #5 – Eon the Terrible

Today we are going to look at our last deck in our Bargain Bin series.  One reason it fell to our final spot was due to some price checking.  We were afraid that because it features a “promo” card, that it might slip out-of-bounds in terms of pricing.  The other reason we waited was because it was a concept deck up until about 2 weeks ago.  By that, we mean that it only existed to us in theory, and there were no online version to peek at.  Our 1st attempt at the deck was not worthy to post, as it was very inconsistent.  Gym Leaders Logan and Joel took turns tweaking the list, trying to get this potentially deadly combo to  work (without Shaymin EX, which is a stumbling block that every player is going to have to face in about 5 months).  What we have here is the best that we could do and frankly, it’s pretty interesting.  Two nights ago in the PTCGO, I watched Logan fall behind to a Darkrai/Giratina list only to flip the game on his opponent, taking his last 4 prizes in one attack, as the opposing player was locked, watching this one wreck the powerful meta deck. 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