Tag Archives: Standard Format

March TCG League Challenge Results

We think Mike Tyson said something like, “Everyone has a plan til they get punched in the mouth.”  We had a plan, we changed the plan, something completely different happened… that’s the way of the world, it seems.  The end result was a fun day at the Gym, but wasn’t exactly what we had anticipated.  We had hoped to have results of both a League Challenge and VG Premier Challenge to report, however we did not have enough players for the VG Premier Challenge.  While Anna R was ready to show VG players how its done, unfortunately, we could not hold the video game event without the minimum of  8 players.  As we mentioned before, the month of March this year is a lost cause for us, as we just have too many things scheduled.  The month of April will return us to our normal schedule at league, thankfully. Continue reading


Gym Deck Retired: Solgaleo GX

Today we are going to look at the recently retired Steel-type gym leader deck.  Traditionally, Steel-types in the TCG have been designed to be more defensive, offering larger HP numbers or defensive abilities in exchange for heavier attack costs.  In the sets released prior to Sun & Moon, one had to wonder if Pokemon forgot that they were a thing at all.  When Bronzong (PHF 61) rotated out of the format, taking Aegislash EX with it, it became very difficult to construct a functional Steel deck.  Gym Leader Joel rode a Mega Scizor EX deck about as long as anyone could stand (because M-Scizor really was not that interesting to play), patiently waiting for something else to come along.  Luckily for him, gym leader challenges were not taking place very often during that time, so he did not have to take too many losses with the deck.  Sun & Moon came along and gave Joel a gift in the form of the most offensive Steel pokemon that he had ever seen (and no, we’re not talking Hollywood-offensive, we mean capable of offense-offensive).  Joel immediately turned this gift into a successful deck. Continue reading

Gym Deck Retired: Golisopod GX/Lurantis GX

As we detailed in a few of our latest posts, Gym Leader Joel has been taking a beating in recent Gym Leader challenges.  Despite two recent losses, his Steel-type deck still stands as a tough deck to beat.  On the other hand, Joel’s Grass-type deck has been burned down by several gym trainers recently, losing six times in the last eight challenges.  All six losses were not by the same deck.  The earlier version was a straight Lurantis GX/Tapu Bulu GX deck, which in its own right is a solid deck and did not really need to be retired, as it had a strong record in challenges.  Joel changed from that one simply because he wanted to try something else.  The current version is an all Grass-type Golisopod GX deck.  The strength of Fire-type decks at the moment makes any Grass-type deck vulnerable to defeat.  Building an unbeatable deck is not our goal.  We want our gym decks to help players learn how to focus a deck build towards a specific goal, like focusing on a central attacker or line of attackers, and supporting it with the correct line of Items, Supporters and Stadiums.  Recent challengers have definitely been on point as far as that goal goes.  Like we promised earlier, when a few trainers take down the same deck, we will retire it (if possible) and share it here with you. Continue reading

Congratulations Daniel, v1.0, and Anna, v2.0!

As mentioned in our last post, we had quite the array of Gym Leader Challenges going on last Sunday.  Gym Leader Marthe successfully defended her Lightning-type badge to start the day off.  Gym Leader Logan, who arrived at league later after robotics practice, stepped immediately into a defense of the Water-type badge, which he also was successful in doing.  Then there was Gym Leader Joel.  When Joel’s day was done, he felt like he needed to call the fire department, as his Steel-type and then Grass-type decks were attacked by two well-built Fire-type decks. Continue reading

Thanksgiving Gym Leader Challenge Update

As we have described many times before, the Gym Leader Challenge is a facet of the Fincastle Pokemon Gym that is exclusive to our league.  We have single-type decks of each type in the TCG available to test your best decks against.  The concept was born to follow the adventure that video game players experience while playing through the story mode of each edition of Pokemon video games.   Gym Leader Joel has been brainstorming a bit about how to up the reward for whomever completes Gym Leader Challenge #400 at the Fincastle Pokemon Gym.  We hit a new high at #300, where we supplied a fully built, competitive deck to the winner (Plasma Lugia EX).  Knowing that we don’t have unlimited funds, we believe he has found a cool way to achieve that. Continue reading

Operation Eddie Part 2 – Ramses

Today we are going to look at the 2nd deck that spawned from the mind of Eddie R.  As Gym Leader Joel rolled around some ideas for this article, he tried to think of some different options.  Whether it falls into the “fortunately” or “unfortunately” category is for you to decide, but Joel’s mind could not escape this line of thinking.  The combination of Eddie’s last name and the set of new comedy material Eddie brought to league a few weeks ago led Joel to the movie villain, Ramses, from “Nacho Libre”.  While he may not be remembering the details of Eddie’s story exactly, this is pretty close.  The story gave Joel no eagle powers or nutrients, but it has had him laughing since he heard it. Continue reading

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

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

Next Up – Blue Ridge Regional Championships – May 6 & 7




We are just over 2 weeks away from the biggest Pokemon event that Roanoke has ever seen.  Roanoke’s first Regional Championship takes place over the weekend of May 6th at the Berglund Center in the heart of the downtown area.  Organizers David and Pam Tuskey and our very own gym leader Marthe Honts have been planning for the last year to make this event not only a success, but a unique event that all lovers of Pokemon will be able to enjoy.  By combining their collective years of experience, they have put together a schedule of events that take this Regional beyond the standard mold (main event + side events at spare tables w/ 1 card vendor in the corner).  From a cosplay contest to Pokemon GO tours to the east coast’s first ever Battle Fiesta, the Blue Ridge Regional will offer more than you have seen at similar Pokemon weekends. Continue reading