PokePopCast 23: How Pokemon TCG Rulings are Made

On this episode of the PopCast, we answer some viewer questions that were collected from Facebook forums. Basically we discuss how Team Compendium got started, how it joined the Pokemon Rules Team, and how official Pokemon TCG Rulings are collected and published for the use of Organizers, Judges, and Players. Enjoy!

PokePopCast 22: Kim Cary and Steps to Being a Better Judge

Thanks to the Organizer of the Philadelphia Regionals, Vince Krekeler, for letting Kim and I take a break at the end of the event to record this video. Kim was a Judge Mentor for the JR and SR divisions at the event and I was the Judge Lead. It was a great event, well run as usual by Vince and Denise. There are a number of “cameos” in the background as event staff pass by. See who you can recognize!
Enjoy!

 

PokePopCast 21: 2018 Pokemon Worlds Head Judge – Next Level Judging

I was able to sit down with Richard Walkoski, AKA Big Daddy Snorlax, the Judge Lead for the Pokemon World Championships and discuss high level judging concepts. It’s a pleasure to share some time with Rich and let a lot of people get to hear him since he doesn’t spend a lot of time of Social Media. Please excuse the noise and commotion in the background.
They were taking apart the World Championship as we sat and talked.
Take a look and enjoy.

Updates to the Standard and Expanded Legal Card Lists for the new 2019 Season

It’s always a major update when the format rotates!
We have gone through the Expanded and Standard Legal Cards lists and updated them to reflect the set rotations and recent bannings in Expanded.
We hope that players and tournament staff find them useful for the new year!
And of course, if you find any errors (who me, make errors?), please alert up either in the associated topic or on the Gym’s facebook page so that we can correct them.

The links will always be available on the right hand side of the PokGym main page, but for your convenience, here they are:

Current Expanded Legal Card List

Current Standard Legal Card List

Volunteer applications for Brazil IC close August 26!

Professor Oaks Ponder
Professor Oaks Ponder: Wrestling? Maybe use Machamp.

As announced on the Copag page via translation on Facebook:

???? attention teachers! ????

Applications – Latin America International Championship is an American professional wrestling pay – per – view event.

The deadline for registration is until August 26

Good luck everyone!

Continue reading “Volunteer applications for Brazil IC close August 26!”

Pokémon TCG Judge Guidance July 2018

Team Compendium has consulted with Pokémon Organized Play (OP) to review various topics that Judges have asked for clarifications on. These discussions and this guidance will clarify for Judges how OP wishes certain situations to be handled. This article is meant to explain some of these best practices and to make sure the word is spread and put into practice. This article has been reviewed and approved by OP and reflects their guidance.

Impact of DPC and QPC Penalties on End of Match Resolution in Single Elimination

With the recent introduction of the Double Prize Card Penalty and the Quad Prize Card Penalty, some judges are having difficulty understanding how to apply them properly and how they affect certain situations. One of those situations is how DPC and QPC affect game resolution in Single Elimination matches when time is called and the game is incomplete after the final 3 turns. The DPC and QPC penalties will be taken into account in determining the winner of that game. So, in short, these Penalties are to be taken into account in determining the winner of any incomplete game in Single Elimination.
For example, if Player A has 3 Prizes left and Player B has 4 Prizes left, but Player A received a DPC penalty, meaning that Player B has to take 2 less prizes, for End of Game consideration, Player B is considered to only have 2 Prizes left and is the winner of that Game.
Note that per the newest Rules and Formats document, an incomplete Game 2 in Single Elimination no longer counts toward determining the winner of the match, no matter how few Prize Cards remain to be drawn by either player.

Dropped Cards

While walking the tournament floor, a Judge notices a card on the floor next to a match. It is determined that the card belongs to the deck of the player that it is next to. There are a couple of possible additional points. Either it can be determined where the card belongs in the match (identified as a benched Pokémon, or card that had been played and belongs in the discard, etc.) or it can’t be determined where exactly it belongs.

Currently, the only place that the Penalty Guidelines mention a dropped card is in section 8.3.2, Legal Deck list, Illegal Deck:

…The exception to this is if cards are simply missing from the deck. This usually happens if the player and a previous opponent are using similar sleeves, if cards get stuck in the player’s deck box, or if cards are dropped on the floor.

OP has clarified the starting penalty for Legal List, Illegal Deck (Game Loss) assumes that the dropped card was absent from the deck since the beginning of the game. Professors should continue to use their best judgment when determining whether to deescalate this penalty from Game Loss.

Perfectly acceptable circumstances for deescalating include taking into account the point at which the error was caught and the ease with which it may be reversed. Examples include any reasonable belief that the card fell innocently during the game in progress, or being able to accurately determine where the card belongs with minimal time investment. The more difficult it is to fix the problem, the more severe the penalty should be.

An appropriate basis to deescalate would be to use an assessment of the damage to the game state, similar to how penalty levels are determined in Game Play Errors. For example, if it can be determined where the card should be returned to and game state damage is zero, a deescalation to Warning could be appropriate.

If the card fell during the game but it can’t be determined exactly where the card belongs, choosing a place to put it such as the discard pile, would be the fix and DPC or QPC Penalties might be appropriate deescalation choices  rather than a Game Loss.

Judges are cautioned, however, to also be aware that a dropped card on the floor could be an opportunity for cheating and that should be taken into account. It is entirely possible that the first step to getting a desired card from the discard pile into the hand would be to “accidentally” drop it to the floor, then later “drop” cards from the hand onto the floor and pick up both them and the desired card. One should not assume cheating intent, but it is a best practice to be aware of the possibility and to consider it.

Game Play Error: Major

There are a couple of examples listed under GPE: Major that do not always fit into the definition of causing irreparable damage to the Game State.

Specifically:

  • Using an Ability when a card prevents its use.
  • Playing more than one Energy card in a turn without the use of an effect that allows you to.

The question comes in when the game state can be completely restored. The Energy card was played, noticed immediately, and returned to the hand.
Or, similarly, the Ability was used, the opponent stops the player from taking an action that would damage the game state, or the action is 100% rewindable (attaching an energy from the discard pile, for example).

The recommended starting penalty for Game Play Error: Major assumes that the game state has been irreversibly confused. However, starting penalties listed in the guidelines may be escalated or deescalated due to circumstances which may include the point at which the error was caught and the ease with which the corresponding action may be reversed. If you are able to completely restore the game state with minimal time investment and full cooperation of the players (so that there is in fact no remaining confusion to the game state), these are perfectly acceptable factors in influencing the deescalation of the starting penalty. However, judges should take care that these errors could either be occurring multiple times during the event with it not being brought to the attention of the judge staff or, similarly to the draw of an extra card, these “errors” could be taken advantage by certain players to get one free extra attachment or use of an Ability with minimal consequences. Therefore, judges should be careful about deescalating and certainly track and escalate recurring errors over time.

Concessions and IDs

Concessions and Intentional Draws (IDs), while not encouraged, are a very important part of the Pokémon TCG tournament structure right now.  Players are under tremendous pressure to get those final points that they need for an invitation and there is a danger of players going over the line of what is legal and what is not legal. Going over that line can have dire consequences, specifically a disqualification (DQ). The problem exists that many judges and players are unsure about exactly what is allowed and not allowed in this area.

It is important that both judges and players have a clear understanding of where these lines are. Otherwise, what is legal to do could be met with a DQ at one event and what should not be legal to do could be allowed with no interference at another event.

What it all comes down to is that players are allowed to make a single offer.

There can be some flexibility in the wording of that offer, but it should be an offer and not a request or negotiation and not begging or pleading or demands. And what is legal as a first offer can and will be considered illegal on a second offer.

The General Event Rules state:

“If they wish, players may make a single offer to concede a match to their opponent or propose an intentional draw…”.

With this in mind, here are some examples in a table form. Basically, a player may ask to ID once and once only. Once their opponent declines, any further requests are to be penalized.

Statement First Instance Second Instance Why?
I offer to ID with you. Fine Illegal If they wish, players may make a single offer to… propose an intentional draw.
Do you want to ID? Fine Illegal If they wish, players may make a single offer to… propose an intentional draw.
Let’s ID. Fine Illegal If they wish, players may make a single offer to… propose an intentional draw.
With Draws, we have enough points to make it to top cut. Can we ID? Fine Illegal If they wish, players may make a single offer to… propose an intentional draw.
I offer to concede to you. Fine Illegal If they wish, players may make a single offer to concede a match to their opponent.
You should concede. Illegal Illegal Players are not permitted to request an opponent’s concession.
Will you concede to me? Illegal Illegal Players are not permitted to request an opponent’s concession.
I would really appreciate it if you would consider conceding to me. Illegal Illegal Players are not permitted to request an opponent’s concession.

 

When it comes to asking for a concession, the General Event Rules state:

“Players are not permitted to request an opponent’s concession. Repeated requests of this nature may be perceived as coercion and penalized as such.”

Just asking once is penalizable. Asking more than once constitutes coercion.

With regards attributing this to a section of the Penalty Guidelines, this falls under 8.6. Unsporting Conduct: “This group of penalties covers the inappropriate actions taken by players… at an event.” In the case of a player asking for a concession, there is a cut-and-dry escalation to Disqualification the moment the offense is repeated.
To be clear, the first request can get a Warning or Game Loss. A second request earns a DQ.

With asking to ID, it is appropriate to escalate the severity of the penalty from Minor (Warning) through Severe (Disqualification) for each time the player asks beyond the initial legal request. This should follow that player across the tournament (ie, the escalation does not start anew with each opponent they try this with).

Gentlemen’s Agreements

Gentlemen’s Agreements are outside the rules of the game regarding determining end of match, however there are limited ways that players can use them in determining a winner of an otherwise Drawn match. A common example of such an agreement is that the winner of the match would be determined by who is ahead on prizes at the time of the last turn of Game 3.
Note that there are some methods of determining a winner that are explicitly spelled out as illegal in the floor rules and penalty guidelines. For example, all manners of random determination are not legal. That would include, but are not limited to, flipping a coin or playing Rochambeau (Rock/Paper/Scissors).

Gentlemen’s Agreements are not enforceable by judges in any manner.

However, if they are started in the same way as agreements to ID, then they would be permissible. Judges should use the same guidelines in treating requests for these as they use for IDs.

So, for example, stating “Neither of us will make Cut if we tie. Can we agree that whoever is ahead on prizes at the end will win if the game is incomplete?” would be acceptable to state one time and one time only to an opponent.
This is not a random determination and it follows the format of suggesting an ID.  But if either player chooses to not abide by the terms of the Gentleman’s Agreement, the judge must remain impartial and is not responsible for enforcing the agreement.

Celestial Storm Brings Back Friends From the Past

The newest Pokemon TCG release, with Prereleases being held this last weekend and next,  is Celestial Storm. And it is blast from the past, featuring new takes on cards from sets dating back to the e-series. A lot of the  Pokemon cards feature the same art as older cards, but each one has been updated, either with more HP, stronger versions of their attacks, or sometimes just with changed Weaknesses.

There was ONE Pokemon card, however, that many players were anticipating would be identical in Game terms to the original print, and that is Dunsparce. Unfortunately, in the new print, there is a clause in the Strike and Run attack which requires the player to have put a Pokemon from the search onto the Bench in order to then Switch Dunsparce. Since that clause is not in the original print from Sandstorm, the old copy of the card will not be legal to play in Standard or Expanded. It is not an exact reprint.

So, while none of the Pokemon from the set are exact Game Play reprints of many of the older cards, many of the Trainers found in the set are exact reprints, or identical in Game Play terms, and therefore will be playable.
BUT NOT ALL OF THEM!

We consulted with Pokemon Organized Play and R&D to get a definitive list of which original prints of the Trainers from the set are playable and which ones are not. Most of the reprinted Trainers had identical game effects, however a couple of them had differences that were significant enough to keep them from being used in current formats.
To make this an easy reference for players and judges, we will list all of the Trainers below that have older prints and what their status is. We will also soon incorporate this information into our “Legal Card List” resources, found in links over on the right hand side of this page.

Reprinted Trainers from Celestial Storm

Trainer Legal Prints Notes
Acro Bike
Primal Clash 122/160
Apricorn Maker
No old prints are legal The original version from Skyridge allows a search for all Trainers, not just Items
Bill’s Maintenance
Expedition 137/165
FireRed LeafGreen 87/112
Crystal Guardians 71/100
OP Series 5 6/17
Some text changes, however they do not affect the game play of the cards.
Copycat
Expedition 138/165
Team Rocket Returns 83/109
Dragon Frontiers 73/101
HeartGold SoulSilver 90/123
Call of Legends 77/95
Some text changes, however they do not affect the game play of the cards.
Energy Recycle System
Dragon 84/97
Unseen Forces 81/115
Power Keepers 73/108
Text changes, however they do not affect the game play of the cards.
Energy Switch
All of many, many versions Commonly Reprinted
Fisherman
Skyridge 125/144
HeartGold SoulSilver 92/123
Breakthrough 136/162
Text changes, however they do not affect the game play of the cards.
Friend Ball
No old prints are legal The original version from Skyridge has a template that does not include all types of Pokemon, such as Restored Pokemon.
Life Herb
Platinum 108/127
Unleashed 79/95
The Prints from Hidden Legends and FRLG exclude a type of Pokemon from the effect and are therefore NOT legal
Lure Ball
Skyridge 128/144
PokéNav No old prints are legal The original version from Crystal Guardians has a template that does not include all types of Pokemon, such as Restored Pokemon.
Rare Candy
All of many, many versions Commonly Reprinted and Errata allows old versions with different Game text
Super Scoop Up
All of many, many versions Commonly Reprinted
Switch
All of many, many versions Commonly Reprinted
TV Reporter
Dragon 88/97
Dragon Frontiers 82/101
OP Series 2 11/17
Text changes, however they do not affect the game play of the cards.
Underground Expedition
Skyridge 140/144
Rising Rivals 97/111
Text changes, however they do not affect the game play of the cards.
Rainbow Energy
All prints from Aquapolis and newer Early versions (Team Rocket and WotC Promo) did 10 damage, rather than place 1 damage counter when attached, so those are not legal.

FAQ for Celestial Storm

 

Below please find the FAQ for the new Celestial Storm set. These will also be sent out by Organized Play to those authorized to run Prereleases, but we are posting them here as well for the convenience of Judges who won’t have access to that email.
They should also be on the Professor Forums tomorrow in a nicely formatted doc with color graphics, but if you want to save on ink, you can download our simplified version here: FAQ-SM07
Same rulings, just without the logos and graphics.

Enjoy:

SM: Celestial Storm – FAQ

 POKEMON ABILITIES:

== EXTEND (Metagross – SM:Celestial Storm)

Q. If you move Metagross with the “Extend” Ability to your bench after playing Steven’s Resolve, will your turn immediately end?
A. No, Extend only prevents your turn from ending as a result of playing Steven’s Resolve, after which your turn simply continues as normal.

== LAZY (Slaking – SM:Celestial Storm)

Q. What happens if both Slaking with “Lazy” and Garbodor with “Garbotoxin” in play? Do they cancel each other out or what?
A. It depends on the order in which each Ability gets activated. Both Lazy & Garbotoxin require a condition in order to activate (either being the Active Pokemon or having a Tool attached), so when one of the abilities is active the other one is prevented. But if the ability gets disabled (like if Slaking is no longer the Active Pokemon or if Garbodor loses its attached Tool), then the other ability can activate even if it was previously prevented.

== MAGIC EVENS (Mr.Mime GX – SM:Celestial Storm)

Q. Can Choice Band be used to get around Mr.Mime GX’s “Magic Evens” Ability that blocks even amounts of damage?
A. Yes, the Choice Band and all other effects that may adjust the attack total are factored into the amount of damage being done before Mr.Mime GX’s Ability is checked.

== SHADY MOVE (Banette GX – SM:Celestial Storm)

Q. What are the rules for using Banette GX’s “Shady Move” Ability?
A. You can move 1 damage counter from any Pokemon in play to another Pokemon in play; it can be different players’ Pokemon or it can be the same player’s Pokemon (either you or your opponent).

Q. If there is more than one Banette GX in play can the player perform “Shady Move” more than once (i.e. perform Shady Move with active, then retreat, switch, etc., perform it again with the new active)?
A. Yes, you could do that. However, going to the bench does not allow the same Banette GX to do Shady Move again; you are limited to one Shady Move per Banette GX per turn, assuming you can get them into the active slot.

== WISH UPON A STAR (Jirachi {*} – SM:Celestial Storm)

Q. What do I do with Jirachi {*}’s “Wish Upon a Star” Ability if my bench is full?
A. If you cannot put Jirachi {*} onto the bench, you just put it into your hand but do not draw another prize.

POKEMON ATTACKS:

== BLAZE OUT GX (Blaziken GX – SM:Celestial Storm)

Q. For Blaziken GX’s “Blaze Out GX” attack, can I choose to discard two DCE’s if I want?

A. Yes, you can choose to discard one energy from each of the two DCE’s, resulting in both cards being discarded.

== EVEN GAME (Luvdisc – SM: Celestial Storm)

Q. If my bench is full and I use Luvdisc’s “Even Game” attack, does that allow me to exceed my normal bench size like Sky Field does?
A. Sorry, but no. You can’t put more Pokemon on your bench than you are allowed to.

== GIGA DRAIN (Dhelmise – SM:Celestial Storm)

Q. If Dhelmise does “Giga Drain” and the Defending Pokemon only has 10 HP left, does Dhelmise still heal itself for 30 damage?
A. Yes, because the 30 damage is still done, even though it is more than enough to KO the Defending Pokemon.

== HARDEN (Seedot – SM:Celestial Storm)

Q. If I use Seedot’s “Harden” attack which prevents any attack damage that is 40 or less during the opponent’s next turn, does that come before or after calculating for Weakness/Resistance?
A. Weakness & Resistance are factored in before determining whether Harden blocks it or not. So if a fire Pokemon’s attack does 30 damage to Seedot and then +30 more is added for Seedot’s Weakness, Harden would not prevent the damage. However, if the fire Pokemon’s attack does 20 damage to Seedot and then +20 more is added for Seedot’s Weakness, Harden would prevent the damage.

== METEOR MASH (Metagross – SM:Celestial Storm)

Q. If I use Metagross’ “Meteor Mash” attack several turns in succession, does the damage keep piling up as 60, 120, 180, 240, etc.?
A. No, Meteor Mash tops out at 120. It only adds +60 to the base 60 damage, it does not accumulate on successive turns.

== PHEROMONE CATCH (Volbeat – SM:Celestial Storm)

Q. What happens if I try to use Volbeat’s “Pheromone Catch” attack, but Illumise was KO’d during my opponent’s previous turn?
A. Volbeat’s Pheromone Catch is a game state check; it doesn’t matter if Illumise is even in play anymore. As long as one of your Illumise used Pheromone Signals during your previous turn, you get the bonus when using Pheromone Catch.

TRAINER CARDS:

== APRICORN MAKER (SM:Celestial Storm)

Q. Can Apricorn Maker be used to search for the Trainer “Bursting Balloon”? Taking the card literally, Bursting *BALL*oon contains the exact same “Ball” as given on Apricorn Maker.
A. Of course not, don’t be silly! You can only search for cards like Poke Ball, Ultra Ball, Beast Ball, etc.

Q. Can Apricorn Maker be used to search for “Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick” since it has the word “Ball” in its name?
A. Nope, Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick is a Supporter, not an Item card.

PokePopCast 19: July 2018 Rule Docs Updates

Pokemon Organized Play updated all of their Rules Documents on July 11 2018. They are found here:  https://www.pokemon.com/us/play-pokemon/about/tournaments-rules-and-resources/

In the article below this, we posted a summary of all of those changes along with explanations. On this episode of the PopCast, we review the important changes and clarifications that all Judges AND Players should be aware of.
Here you go and enjoy: