Pokemon Organized Play Updates – April 2019

Pokemon Organized Play released a flood of information and changes this week. Judges should make their way to the Rules and Resources page ( https://www.pokemon.com/us/play-pokemon/about/tournaments-rules-and-resources/ ) and read through all the files they have there, but just to give you a heads up and some guidance on what to look for as far as changes, here what’s up!

First off, let’s mention that the Standard Format rotation is going to happen earlier than usual! It will happen right before the World Championships this year, so Worlds will be in a different format than the rest of the tournament season. The sets rotated are not a surprise. They are the four first Sun & Moon sets along with Shining Legends. But the timing sure is a surprise.
Players are excited and anxious about this change because there were a number of cards that people didn’t like in the format, but the rotation means that a lot of staples are also going away.
Check here for more details: https://www.pokemon.com/us/pokemon-news/2020-season-pokemon-tcg-format-rotation/
Also worth noting is that there are no changes planned to the Banned Card list.

Almost all of the Rules documents have had changes of some sort.
We will summarize them here for you in italics and also point out their significance. Some of these changes are minor, but some of them are pretty major and have big impacts on how things are done!

General Event Rules

Section 7 –  Player Responsibilities: Players are not allowed to be under the influence of alcohol or other recreational drugs at events.
This is not so much a change as it is codifying what has already been enforced in the past. Pokemon is a family oriented game, and they take that seriously. Breaking this rule can and will result in expulsion from the event.
Section 7.4.1 – Appeals to the Head Judge: This section adds the information that players can and should raise issues and resolutions that they are unsatisfied with via the Customer Service Portal.
Again, this is not a change as much as putting in writing what players should have already been doing.
Section 11.1 – Match Outcome – Conceding a Match: Quoting from the document, “A concession here refers to any arrangement whereby one player offers to record the result of the match as a win for their opponent, or requests that the opponent do the same for them.”
This is a little difficult to parse. It seems to be referring to what has been called “Gentlemen’s Agreements” (See next Section below) in which case it is just outlining how things should have already been handled, but is just making it clear for judges that weren’t in the know about this. And that’s a good thing.
Section 11.2 – Informal Agreements –
Players may decide to concede or intentionally draw for any reason. However, Pokémon Organized Play does not recognize and will not enforce any informal agreements made between players regarding the outcome of a match prior to the signing of the match slip.
OK, so this section sets out the description in the rules of what has previously been called “Gentlemen’s Agreements”. This is a really good thing to get laid out in the rules documents to have players treated correctly across all events. One thing to watch out for here, though.
Where is says “for any reason”…. It can’t be random! Section 11.3 still exists and still forbids the use of ANY random means to decide a match.
Section 14 Penalties:A DQ in Single Elimination will apply Game Losses to most recent Match. Either the current Match or if between Matches to the previous Match.
TO THE PREVIOUS MATCH!!! This is a HUGE change and I haven’t seen anyone talking about it. If a player is DQ’d between rounds in Top Cut, their opponent from the previous round MOVES UP to the next round!!

TCG Rules & Formats

Only changes are to update sets listed to include those published since the last update.

VG Rules & Formats

Only changes are to update legal items for Pokemon to hold. Now includes all items that are legally available.

Equality, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity Policy

This actually came out in March, but I wanted to make sure players and Judges were aware of it. Please go to the site and read it. A summary won’t be sufficient. But here it is: Respect each other. And not the “Respect my Authority” kind of respect. Respect everyone’s Humanity.

Tournament Sanctioning Regulations

Section 4 –  Minimum Number of Players: The Minimum number of players needed to report for a sanctioned tournament is now 4.
The Minimum number of players needed is now 4!
The Minimum number of players needed is now 4!
The Minimum number of players needed is now 4!
The Minimum number of players needed is now 4!
Look, this is about as major a change as I have ever seen in how Pokemon runs tournaments. This is a HUGE change and should pretty much eliminate some local stores problems with getting League Challenges run in order to qualify for League Cups. Spread the word to those who have not seen or heard about these changes. This right here is a MAJOR CHANGE!
Note: You need to upgrade to TOM 1.53.0 or higher to take advantage of this new change!

Tournament Operation Procedures

Sections 3.1.4 and 3.3.6 –  Determining Final Placement: Dropping does not remove a player from the standings.
This is new and while it doesn’t have much impact on the winner of the event, it is a change that helps give a better tournament experience to those players that either didn’t do as well, or that have to leave the event early for personal reasons. In short, players can drop, either from Swiss or Single Elimination, and preserve what they were able to accomplish in the event. A player can drop near the end and not forfeit prizes. Or drop in Top Cut and not lose that Top Cup standing. It’s a nice change.
Here’s another application: You have 3 JRs playing in a Challenge in the same POD with 18 MRs. Those JRs would have had to play all 5 rounds in order to finish the tournament and get their prizing. Now, all 3 JRs can drop after Round 3 and preserve their standings and still get their Championship Points for the event. They are not forced to play 2 more Rounds against Masters. Pretty cool!

Section –  Determining Tiebreakers: Pokemon has replaced the final, 5th tiebreaker. It had been Standing of Last Opponent. It is now “Random”.
Tiebreakers for standings, not Tiebreaker games.
OK, this seems like a major change, and in a way, it is. It is what allows OP to change the minimum number of players from 8 to 4 because it eliminates perfect ties that exist in small PODs. Honestly, if players were ties all the way down to this point through the other tiebreakers, then it really is random to decide which one is “better” than the other ones tied to this point.
And getting a minimum number of players of 4 is a pretty good trade off here.

Penalty Guidelines

No changes!

OK, so that’s in.
In summary:
Update TOM to 1.53.0
4 Players are the new minimum!
DQ in Top Cut promotes the previous Opponent if done between Matches!
Dropping keeps you in the standings – great for JRs mixed into large MRs PODs!

Have fun out there!


Trash Talk

The Pokemon TCG has a lot of cards which have players discard cards from their hand in order to get an additional effect.

There has been a bit of confusion among Pokemon TCG Players and Judges about when you can discard the cards from your hand even if you can’t perform the additional effect. This is because sometimes the discard is a cost and sometimes it is an effect in and of itself. The wording of the card doesn’t always make that clear.

The Rules Team is publishing a series of rulings on many of these cards that are commonly played so that players and judges will be able to have consistent rulings in tournaments on whether they are allowed to discard cards for no further effect in order to clear those cards out of their hand.
In addition, to help make these rulings easier, we are providing an easy to use chart outlining what is and isn’t allowed with many popularly played cards. The sets that the Pokemon are from have been identified in {brackets}, but note that if they are reprinted as promos or secret rares, any functionally identical cards will also work the same way.

We hope this helps everyone out. Enjoy!

Card Attack / Ability Comments
Computer Search You cannot discard two cards
from your hand if there are no
cards left in the Deck to search
Dowsing Machine You cannot discard two cards
from your hand if there are no
Trainer cards in the Discard Pile
and you cannot return cards to
your hand that you used to pay
this card’s cost
Empoleon {DEX} Diving Draw You can discard a card from your
hand when there are no cards
left in the Deck to draw
Fiery Flint You cannot discard two cards
from your hand if there are no
cards left in the Deck to search
Lost Blender You can use this if you have no
cards in your deck, but you can’t
play it unless you can put 2 cards
from your hand in the Lost Zone.
Mars You cannot play this card if you
have no cards left in your deck,
but if you have at least one card,
you can play it and get the other effect.
Mysterious Treasure You cannot discard a card from
your hand if there are no cards
left in the Deck to search
Ninetales {TEU} Nine Temptations You can discard 2 {R} Energy
cards from your hand if your
opponent has no Benched Pokémon
Plumeria You cannot discard two cards
from your hand if there is no Energy
attached to your opponent’s Pokémon
Professor Juniper You cannot discard your hand if
there are no cards left in the Deck to draw
Professor Sycamore You cannot discard your hand if
there are no cards left in the Deck to draw
Sophocles You cannot discard two cards from
your hand if there are no cards left
in the Deck to draw
Starmie {EVO} Space Beacon You can discard a card from your
hand when there is no Basic
Energy in the Discard
Swampert {CES} Power Draw You can discard a card from your
hand when there are no cards
left in the Deck to draw
Ultra Ball You cannot discard two cards
from your hand if there are no
cards left in the Deck to search
Unown {AOR} Farewell Letter You cannot discard Unown from
your Bench unless you can draw a card
Volcanion Prism Star {FLI} Jet Geyser You can discard a {W} Energy
card from your hand if your
opponent has no Benched Pokémon
Zebstrika {LOT} Sprint You cannot discard your hand
if there are no cards left in the
Deck to draw
Zoroark GX {SLG} Trade You can discard a card from
your hand when there are no
cards left in the Deck to draw

Update to Ban List for Pokemon TCG – Two Cards Added for Expanded


Pokemon has released their quarterly update to the ban list and two cards were added. Players were expected Lusamine to be on this list, due to the possibility for infinite recursions, but it is not to be for now, at least.

No cards are banned in Standard format, but Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick and the “DAMAGE” Unown (LOT 90/214) were added to the ban list for Expanded.

Pokemon explains their banning as follows:

A Fighting-type Pokémon in the upcoming Sun & Moon—Team Up expansion would create a potentially devastating combo with Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick that can be achieved on the first turn of the game. Rather than wait and see how this turns out, it was determined that the best course of action was to prevent this combo before it happened.

With multiple combos that exist in the Expanded format, the DAMAGE Ability of Unown could be used to win the game on the first or second turn. Even though these combos haven’t yet proven to be successful in tournament play, they will become easier to achieve with the release of new cards, so Unown is being banned as a preventive measure. Note that Unown with the HAND Ability and Unown with the MISSING Ability, also from Sun & Moon—Lost Thunder, are still legal for tournament play.

Here is the complete list of banned cards in Expanded:


The announcement is found here: https://www.pokemon.com/us/sun-moon-team-up-banned-list-and-rule-changes-quarterly-announcement/

The Banned List is found here: https://www.pokemon.com/us/pokemon-tcg-banned-card-list/

Pokemon TCG SM: Team Up FAQs

The FAQs for SM: Team Up have been released. They are available on the Pokemon Professor forum, but for those of you that don’t have access, we are posting them here as well. I have attached the pdf version to this article, but they are also posted below.
Enjoy and play safe!

Sun & Moon—Team Up FAQ

Sun & Moon—Team Up – FAQ


== DANCE OF THE ANCIENTS (Tapu Koko {*} – Sun & Moon—Team Up)

Q. If I have Tapu Koko {*} and only one other Pokémon on the bench, can I use “Dance of the Ancients” to put 2 {L} Energy on that one other Benched Pokémon?
A. No, in this case, you can put only one {L} Energy on that Benched Pokémon. The second {L} Energy would have to go onto Tapu Koko {*}, but then gets discarded immediately anyway when Tapu Koko {*} goes to the Lost Zone.

Q. If I only have one {L} Energy in my discard pile, can I use Tapu Koko {*}’s “Dance of the Ancients” Ability to put it on one of my Benched Pokémon?
A. Yes, you would do as much as you can.

== DARK AMBITION (Absol – Sun & Moon—Team Up)

Q. Does the extra Retreat cost placed by Absol’s “Dark Ambition” Ability increase the damage done by Absol’s “Shadow Seeker” attack?
A. Yes it does.

== NINE TEMPTATIONS (Ninetales – Sun & Moon—Team Up)

Q. Can I use Ninetales’ “Nine Temptations” Ability if my opponent has no benched Pokémon?
A. Yes, you can discard 2 {R} Energy cards from your hand, and that’s it.

== ROARING RESOLVE (Charizard – Sun & Moon—Team Up)

Q. If I use Charizard’s “Roaring Resolve” Ability with only 10hp left, does he get KO’d when I place the 2 damage counters before or after I search & attach 2 {R} Energy cards?
A. You must finish all the text of the Ability before checking for knockouts, so yes you would search your deck and attach {R} Energy cards before KO’ing Charizard.


== COPYCAT (Mimikyu – Sun & Moon—Team Up)

Q. When I use Mimikyu’s “Copycat” attack, do I need to have the same required energy as the opponent’s previous attack?
A. No, you only need whatever energy is required on Mimikyu in order to use its Copycat attack. However, if the attack requires you to do something with a particular type of energy you don’t have, you cannot use that part of the copied attack.

== DEVILISH HANDS GX (Hoopa GX – Sun & Moon—Team Up)

Q. When using Hoopa GX’s “Devilish Hands GX” attack, can I keep choosing a Pokémon that would already be Knocked Out by previous choices, or do I have to choose a different Pokémon once I have done enough damage to KO the first one?
A. You make all 6 choices before doing any damage; so if you wish, you can do more damage than you need to a Pokémon in order to knock it out.

== DRAG OFF (Nidoking – Sun & Moon—Team Up)

Q. If my opponent has no benched Pokémon, do I do 50 damage to their active Pokémon when I use Nidoking’s “Drag Off” attack?
A. No. Damage is only done to the “new Active Pokémon”. If there is no switch, then no damage is done.

== HEAD HUNT (Zangoose – Sun & Moon—Team Up)

Q. When I use Zangoose’s “Head Hunt” attack, do I have to put all Pokémon I find into my hand, or can I choose to discard some or all of them?
A. Since you get to choose which Pokémon to reveal, you can choose to discard some or all of them.

== SHADOW SEEKER (Absol – Sun & Moon—Team Up)

Q. Does the extra Retreat cost placed by Absol’s “Dark Ambition” Ability increase the damage done by Absol’s “Shadow Seeker” attack?
A. Yes it does.

== THUNDEROUS ASSAULT (Zapdos – Sun & Moon—Team Up)

Q. If my opponent Knocks Out my Active Pokémon and I promote my Zapdos to be Active after the attack, do I get the bonus 70 damage for “Thunderous Assault”?
A. No. In this scenario, you promoted the Zapdos while it was still your opponent’s turn. In order to get Thunderous Assault’s additional damage, it would have to become Active during YOUR turn.


== INGO & EMMET (Sun & Moon—Team Up)

Q. When using Ingo & Emmet, if I choose to draw 5 cards from the bottom or my deck, what happens to the top card that I looked at?
A. You put it back on top before you draw the 5 cards from the bottom.

== JUDGE WHISTLE (Sun & Moon—Team Up)

Q. If I use Judge Whistle and choose to put a “Judge” card from my discard pile into my hand, can I put a “Judge Whistle” into my hand?
A. No, that choice only allows you to put a card named “Judge” into your hand; it does not allow you to get a card “with Judge in its name”.


Q. Can I choose to play Unidentified Fossil as one of my starting Pokémon?
A. No, you cannot. It’s considered a Trainer while in your hand, so it doesn’t count as a Basic Pokémon during setup. (Feb 8, 2018 TPCi Rules Team)

Q. If an opponent KO’s my Unidentified Fossil do they get to take a prize?
A. Yes, that’s part of being treated as if it were a “Basic Pokémon”. Your opponent takes a prize when Unidentified Fossil is knocked out, but not if you discard it from play. (Feb 8, 2018 TPCi Rules Team)

SM: Lost Thunder – FAQ

Lost Thunder Prereleases are getting under way, with some locations running Friday night (midnight) events.
Pokemon should be sending emails out to those Tournament Organizers with the FAQs for the set, but for those organizers not seeing it in their emails, and for judges who are not on the mailing list, attached below is a pdf with the rulings.
It’s not as pretty as the one Pokemon will send out, but it’s got all the rulings and will save you some color ink.

SM08 Lost Thunder FAQ

For your convenience, we have also listed the rulings directly below.
Enjoy your events everyone!


== ALMIGHTY EVOLUTION (Ditto {*} – SM:Lost Thunder)

Q. Can you evolve Ditto {*} into a Stage 1 Pokemon and then on a later turn place a new, different Stage 1 Pokemon onto it?
A. No, not unless you have devolved Ditto {*} somehow during a previous turn.

Q. If I have placed a Stage 1 Pokemon onto Ditto {*}, can I later evolve that into the corresponding Stage 2 Pokemon?
A. Yes, you can!

== CHARMED CHARM (Tapu Lele – SM:Lost Thunder)

Q. Can you choose to not Confuse your opponent’s active Pokemon if you attach Fairy Charm to a Tapu Lele that has the “Charmed Charm” Ability?
A. Yes, it is optional.

== FLORAL PATH TO THE SKY (Skiploom – SM:Lost Thunder)

Q. What happens if I use Skiploom’s “Floral Path to the Sky” Ability but fail to find a Jumpluff in my deck?
A. Skiploom stays in play, and since you searched your deck the ability is used up for the turn.

Q. What happens to any damage counters on Skiploom when it uses its “Floral Path to the Sky” Ability? Do they go on the Jumpluff that takes Skiploom’s place?
A. Any damage counters on Skiploom are removed when it goes to the Lost Zone; they do not transfer to the Jumpluff that takes its place. Special conditions are not transferred to the new Jumpluff either.

== GET LOST (Tyranitar GX – SM:Lost Thunder)

Q. If you Knock Out a Pokemon using one of Tyranitar GX’s attacks, do you get to take a prize card if the Pokemon is sent to the Lost Zone due to Tyranitar GX’s “Get Lost” Ability?
A. Yes, you do. It is still Knocked Out.


== BREEZE AWAY GX (Virizion GX – SM:Lost Thunder)

Q. Can I scoop up Virizion GX as part of its own “Breeze Away GX” attack?
A. Yes, you can.

== EYE OPENER (Poipole – SM:Lost Thunder)

Q. When I look at my face-down Prize cards with Poipole’s “Eye Opener” attack, do I have to put them back in the same order?
A. Yes, you only get to look at them, you don’t get to rearrange them.

== LOST PURGE GX (Lugia GX – SM:Lost Thunder)

Q. Does using Lugia GX’s “Lost Purge GX” attack count as KO’ing a Pokemon?
A. No, it does not. You are moving the opponent’s Active Pokemon and all cards attached to the Lost Zone, and since it does not count as a KO you don’t get to take any prizes for it.


== KAHILI (SM:Lost Thunder)

Q. Can I play Kahili if there’s only one card left in my deck?
A. If you can draw at least 1 card from your deck, you can use Kahili and do the coin flip part. But if you can’t draw any cards, you can’t use it.

== LUSAMINE {*} (SM:Lost Thunder)

Q. Is there any way to clear the effect of Lusamine {*}?
A. No, however any attacks that ignore effects on the Defending Pokemon would get through its effect.

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!”