Updates to Pokemon Rules and Resources for the new 2019 Season (effective immediately!)

Pokemon Organized Play updated a number of documents on their Rules and Resources page today.

They can be found here: https://www.pokemon.com/us/play-pokemon/about/tournaments-rules-and-resources/

They also have a summary of the MAJOR changes in an article here:
https://www.pokemon.com/us/pokemon-news/play-pokemon-rules-documents-updated/

But that does not cover all of the changes that you should be aware of, so for the convenience of Players and Judges, we are going to summarize the updates here along with some clarifying commentary (in Bold Italic)

TCG Penalty Guidelines

Section 2.1 Deviating from Recommended Penalties – Clarification of existing rule
“The penalties for infractions are simply recommendations and may be increased or decreased in severity based on circumstances, which may include the point at which the error was caught and the ease with which the corresponding action may be reversed.”
Note: While this is a good thing to keep in mind at all times, it is specifically referring to examples given in GPE Major for playing more than one energy in a turn or using an Ability when it cannot be used. The standard penalties for these assume some irreversible damage to the game state, so if the action can be rewound without damage, they can be deescalated.
NOTE that the penalty for drawing an extra card should NOT be deescalated in this way. It was moved from GPE Minor to Major on purpose specifically to incur the more severe penalty.

General Event Rules

Section 4: Age Divisions – Update to age divisions for 2019 season
Note: This does not apply to the World Championships held in August 2018
Note: Those age groups are: Junior (born in 2008 or later), Senior (born in 2004, 2005, 2006, or 2007), and Masters (born in 2003 or earlier).

Section 7.3.1: Time Extensions – Rule change
“In addition to the above, judges are responsible for ensuring that players are not disadvantaged due to time lost as a result of a ruling or penalty. Judges may issue time extensions of a length corresponding to the time taken to resolve the issue.”
Note: A little history on this. This used to be the rule years ago. It was changed to only rulings taking “+3” when event time was being impacted by long round turnarounds at large events. Now that automation has improved that turnaround and events are moving faster, OP is moving back to giving a 1 for 1 time extension.

Section 9: Note Taking – Clarification of existing rule
“A player’s note sheet must be completely free of text, handwritten or otherwise, at the start of each match.”
Note: This indicates that players having notepaper with lines or other graphics are fine as long as they are not pre-preprinted notes. Some judges were getting a bit exuberant and penalizing players for using lined paper.

Section 11.1: Conceding a Match  – Clarification of existing rule
“The option of an intentional draw (ID) is exclusive to TCG tournaments. Video Game competitors may not agree to an ID.”

TCG Rules and Formats

Section 3: Card Sleeves – Clarification of existing rule
“We expect players to use their best judgment when determining which sleeves to use with their deck. Pokémon Organized Play strongly recommends the use of sleeves with an opaque back. Using clear sleeves, or declining to use sleeves at all, may expose imperfections on the back of the card itself that could contribute to a Marked Card situation.”
Note: For those not aware, a player was DQ’d and subsequently banned for just this situation. Word to the wise: Don’t use clear sleeves.

Section 9.1 Tiebreaker Games – Rule change
“If both players take their last Prize card (or Knock Out their opponent’s last Pokémon) at the same time, and no other win conditions have been met, players must determine the winner of that game by engaging in a Tiebreaker Game. The players should set up as though they were playing a normal game, including setting up 6 Prize cards and flipping a coin to decide who goes first. The winner of the Tiebreaker Game is the player who takes a Prize card first.”
Note: This is a MAJOR RULE CHANGE! Previously players played a Sudden Death Game as described in the regular Rule Book. This change was obviously made to correct situations where a card has a more powerful effect with just one prize left than it would normally have at the beginning of a game.
While not mentioned in the rules update, if both players take prizes at the same time, the game would continue until such time as one player is ahead on prizes. Also remember that all effect have to resolve and all prizes taken from those resolutions before checking game state and checking how many prizes remain.
FINAL NOTE: The coin flip works the same way as the flip at the beginning of the match. The winner of the flip gets to choose who goes first.

Sections 9.3.2 & 9.3.3: Determining the Outcome of an Unresolved [Single Elimination] Match – Clarification of existing rule Note: Document incorrectly tags 9.2.2 and 9.2.3
“The current game continues, starting with any between-turns effects that take place after the last completed turn, if necessary, until one player has fewer Prize cards remaining than the other, or one player satisfies any other win condition that would result in their winning the game outright.”

Section 9.3.3 Determining the Outcome of an Unresolved [Single Elimination] Best of 3 Match – Rule change
“If the last turn ends during game 2, the winner of game 1 wins the match.”
Note: This is a MAJOR RULE CHANGE! This eliminates the whole “if one player has taken 4 or more prizes” determination. It should eliminate a lot of confusion among players and newer judges.

VG Rules and Formats

Section 3.4: Match Resolution – New rule
“A player who selects the Run option is electing to forfeit the game. Should both players select the Run option during the same turn, the game will be recorded as having no winner.”

Section 3.4.2 & 3.4.3: Resolving Best of 3 Matches (Swiss & Elim) – Clarification of existing rule
“The criteria listed should be used, in order, to determine the outcome of a game that is unresolved after the final turn has ended.”

Section 5.4.2.1: Team Error Minor – Rule change
“In all cases, the offending Pokémon or held item should be prohibited from play in addition to applying the appropriate penalty as described below. In events tethered by local distribution:
Should the Pokémon or held item described on the team list is immediately available, the player should be given the opportunity to add the correct Pokémon to their team. Otherwise, the removed Pokémon may not be replaced. In events tethered by QR Code: Should the player be unable to present the correct Pokémon or held item so that it may be added to the team, the offending Pokémon should instead be prohibited from use for the remainder of the tournament rather than removed.”

Section 5.4.2.1: Team Error Minor – Clarification of existing rule
“At the start of each round, the player’s opponents should be informed of the Pokémon that is prohibited.”

Tournament Sanctioning Regulations

Section 4: Minimum Number of Players – Clarification of existing rule
“To remain sanctioned, a tournament must have at least 8 participating players. Of those players, at least 8 must complete 2 or more rounds.”
Note: This is a clarification that is good to see in writing. This has already been in effect as there have been tournaments reported where players dropping after Round 1 brought the total number of players below 8 and the tournament was therefore invalidated. Organizers (and Players) should be aware of this and inform players if their dropping early will cause the entire tournament to be invalidated!

Section 5: Organizer Presence – Added Section
Note: It was not always required that the Organizer be present at the event. There were (and maybe still are) TOs that sub out the actual running of many of their events to judges that act as the organizer on site. It seems that this is no longer allowed.

Tournament Operation Procedures

Section 3.1.1
Update to age divisions for 2019 season
Note: Those age groups are: Junior (born in 2008 or later), Senior (born in 2004, 2005, 2006, or 2007), and Masters (born in 2003 or earlier).

Section 3.3.5:  Determining the Number of Rounds Needed – Rule change
“Every player with 19 or more match points or the Top 32 ranked players, whichever is greater, makes Day Two of Swiss rounds.”
Note: Major Tournament Change!

Register NOW for NAIC 2018

These are your registration links and stats showing TCG filling up fast:

NAIC TCG Registration: https://pokemon.rk9labs.com/register/18-07-000002

Masters: 78%
Seniors: 70%
Juniors: 70%

NAIC VGC Registration: https://pokemon.rk9labs.com/register/18-07-000003

Masters: 55%
Seniors: 34%
Juniors: 35%

Source: research shared by Will Post Mon June 25 on Facebook.

Spectators must register, too!

Spectator Registration: https://pokemon.rk9labs.com/spectator/naic2018

Reg ends jul4-no Onsite reg!

Dana Pero of RK9 Labs Notes, “registration closes on WEDNESDAY, July 4. Tournament begins on FRIDAY for TCG Senior/Masters and VG Masters. Tournament begins on SATURDAY for TCG Juniors and VG Juniors/Seniors. … TLDR – register now.”

PokePopCast 17: Interview with Doug Morisoli

Last week I had the pleasure to drive down to the Virginia Regionals with Doug Morisoli. Many in the Pokemon community know Doug for his wonderful pictures that he takes at many large events. What many don’t know is that Doug is also a terrific Judge and has a lot of knowledge about how to be successful. We are pleased to present our interview with Doug.
Enjoy.

 

PokePopCast 15: Prize Card Penalty No More!

Well now! Pokemon has just released the quarterly updates to Organized Play rules and regulations and with no fanfare they introduced a major change to the Penalty Guidelines! Prize Card Penalty and Multi Prize Card Penalty are gone and have been replaced with a new “mechanism”.
Check out the details in the latest PopCast:

And you can also see the new Penalty Guidelines document for your self here: https://www.pokemon.com/us/play-pokemon/about/tournaments-rules-and-resources/

SM: Forbidden Light FAQ

 

Prerelease events are about to start this weekend and we have the official FAQ for you here. I’m sure OP will be getting the fancy one out soon with nice artwork and everything, but here, on two pages and with only B&W text, to save on printing costs, are the new FAQs for TOs and Judges to have handy at your events! We also have them as part of the article, so you can print them out either way.

Enjoy.

Here’s the link to the pdf document: FAQ-SM06

And here are the Questions:
POKEMON ABILITIES:

== ABNORMAL OUTBREAK (Scatterbug – SM:Forbidden Light)

Q. When can I use Scatterbug’s “Abnormal Outbreak” Ability?
A. It’s pretty clear. If you are not taking the first turn of the game, then when you get your first turn (i.e. the second turn of the game) you may use Abnormal Outbreak. This is the only turn of the game when this Ability may be used.

Q. Suppose I have two Scatterbugs in play on the second turn of the game and it’s my turn; can I use “Abnormal Outbreak” twice?
A. Yes, you can use it once for each Scatterbug you have in play during that turn.

== JET GEYSER (Volcanion {*} – SM:Forbidden Light)

Q. Can I discard a {W} energy card from my hand using Volcanion {*}’s “Jet Geyser” Ability if my opponent has no Benched Pokemon?
A. Yes, you may.

== STICKY MEMBRANE (Goomy – SM:Forbidden Light)

Q. Does Goomy’s “Sticky Membrane” Ability increase the attack cost of no energy attacks like Alolan Marowak’s “Limbo Limbo” attack?
A. Yes, it does.

Q. Does Goomy’s “Sticky Membrane” Ability increase the attack cost of attacks where the cost is ignored, such as when “Roto Motor” applies?
A. No, it does not.

== UNNERVE (Pyroar – SM:Forbidden Light)

Q. Can I play Eneporter to try and fail to move a Special Energy onto a Pyroar that is protected by its “Unnerve” Ability, or would I not be able to play Eneporter at all?
A. The fact that its effect will be blocked by another effect such as Unnerve does not prevent an Item or Supporter card from being played. For example, your opponent may play Eneporter to try moving a Special Energy and Pyroar is a valid target, but Unnerve blocks the effect even though Eneporter was played. Playing a card for no effect happens when the game state itself prevents any effect from taking place and in that case the card would not be played, but that is not what this example is referring to.

POKEMON ATTACKS:

== BUBBLE TRAP (Araquanid – SM:Forbidden Light)

Q. Does Araquanid’s “Bubble Trap” attack get its bonus damage if the Pokemon that used “Bubble” on my previous turn was Knocked Out or is no longer in play?
A. Yes, you get the bonus damage. The effect of “using Bubble” is on the player, not on the Pokemon.

== HAZE SLASH (Greninja GX – SM:Forbidden Light)

Q. If I use Greninja GX’s “Haze Slash” attack to shuffle it back into my deck and also Knock Out the Defending Pokemon, who promotes a new Active Pokemon first?
A. In this case you promote first. Greninja GX is shuffled back in as an effect of the attack before KO’s are checked, so it must be replaced before either player checks for KO’s.

== MULTIPLY (Exeggcute – SM:Forbidden Light)

Q. The wording of Exeggcute’s “Multiply” attack is a little ambiguous. Does it mean you can only search for one Exeggcute, or as many Exeggcute as you want?
A. Just one.

== TICKING KNOCK OUT (Aegislash – SM:Forbidden Light)

Q. If I use Aegislash’s “Ticking Knock Out” attack but my opponent moves the Defending Pokemon to the bench, on my next turn if I bring that Pokemon active and damage it or if I damage it on the bench is it knocked out?
A. Only if you do enough damage to meet or exceed that Pokemon’s remaining HP. The effect of “Ticking Knock Out” is on the Defending Pokemon and is cleared when it moves to the bench, so you would have to knock it out by normal means rather than by simply doing any amount of damage to it.

== UNTAMED PUNCH (Pangoro – SM:Forbidden Light)

Q. If I use “Untamed Punch” with an undamaged Pangoro, does it still get the Confusion effect?

A. No, damage counters on your attacking Pangoro are required for both the Confusion and the extra damage.

== WINK WINK (Sylveon – SM:Forbidden Light)

Q. If I’ve already played a Supporter this turn and use Sylveon’s “Wink Wink” attack, can I still use the effect of a Supporter I discard from my opponent’s hand?
A. Yes. You are not playing a second supporter, but using its effect via an attack.

Q. If I use Sylveon’s “Wink Wink” attack and discard my opponent’s Diantha, can I get 2 cards from my discard pile even it 1 of my {Y} Pokemon was not Knocked Out on my Opponent’s last turn?
A. No, you still have to meet the requirements of the card’s text. You can discard the Diantha, though.

TRAINER CARDS:

== ENEPORTER (SM:Forbidden Light)

Q. Can I play Eneporter to try and fail to move a Special Energy onto a Pyroar that is protected by its “Unnerve” Ability, or would I not be able to play Eneporter at all?
A. The fact that its effect will be blocked by another effect such as Unnerve does not prevent an Item or Supporter card from being played. For example, your opponent may play Eneporter to try moving a Special Energy and Pyroar is a valid target, but Unnerve blocks the effect even though Eneporter was played. Playing a card for no effect happens when the game state itself prevents any effect from taking place and in that case the card would not be played, but that is not what this example is referring to.

== LYSANDRE LABS (SM:Forbidden Light)

Q. If Lysandre Labs is in play, do effects that depend on the presence of Tool cards, such as the damage increase of Doublade’s “Curse of the Blade” attack or the energy cost modification of Rotom’s “Roto Motor” Ability still work?
A. If an effect depends simply on the presence of a Tool card in a certain location, the effect still works. It is the Tool card’s effects that are cancelled, not effects based on the presence of a Tool.

PokePopCast 14: Judge Seminar 2018 – Q&A

Sorry for the delay in getting the rest of the Judge Seminar edited and posted. It was in very bad shape and it took a lot of work. But I do want to thank Ryan Alperstein for getting some of this on video. He jumped in at the last minute and without him we wouldn’t have anything to work with at all.

Check out the Q&A in the video and let me know if you have any questions that rise from it! I’ll get a new PopCast up soon.

The PokePopCast 13: Judge Seminar – Cheating

This is a special edition of the PokePopCast. Vince Krekeler, the TO of the St. Louis Regionals held in Collinsville IL, sponsored a Judge Seminar along with Pokemon Organized Play. Unfortunately, the streaming of the seminar fell through, but we were able to gain access to some video thanks to Ryan Alperstein (AKA Bullados on the forums). In this first video, we present Vince’s presentation on Cheating and what we can do about it.

Enjoy!

Below are the slide presentations for the TCG topics presented:

Cheating In Pokemon Powerpoint Professor Cup 2018

Prof Seminar 2018 Shuffle Sleeves and Marked

Prof Seminar 2018 Slow Playing