Tag Archives: Standard Format

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

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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

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 #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 #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