Hot Takes on the new Pokémon TCG Tournament Rules Handbook

Pokémon has released a major revision to their Organized Play documents that guide Players and Professors in participating in everything from Pokémon Leagues to Prereleases to the World Championships. The General Event Rules, and Penalty Guidelines have been combined into the Play! Pokémon Tournament Rules Handbook.

You can find all of the new documentation on their Rules and Resources page at https://www.pokemon.com/us/play-pokemon/about/tournaments-rules-and-resources/

Everyone should take the time to review these documents on their own, but for your convenience, here are some significant changes in the documents that all players and judges should be aware of. There is also a VG Handbook, but since that is not our expertise, we leave it to others to assist with changes and updates found there. Don’t get taken by surprise at the next event that you play at. And if you’re a judge, make sure you’re making the right ruling. Below you will find selected sections with either significant changes or points of interest that everyone should be aware of.
But I will note again, this is not a comprehensive review and all participants in Organized Play (OP) should review the original documents on your own. This is my interpretation of what is presented in the Guidelines. It has not been reviewed or approved by Organized Play.

Section 3.3 Tournament Entry

There are a couple of points worth noting in this section. First:

Organizers may choose to offer prioritized registration to players who regularly attend Pokémon League sessions at an associated League location.

This does not say that non regulars can be excluded. But if you have limited space, an Organizer is certainly within their rights to make sure that their local members are not shut out of their own local events.
And second:

Organizers may choose to completely disallow entry to any player they feel to be a threat to the safety or enjoyment of others, or whose presence has previously proven detrimental to the event location for any other reason.

This means that you don’t have to wait for Pokémon Organized Play to ban a player that has been causing issues at your events.
Neither of these are brand new ideas to Organized Play, but they are clearly expressed guidance that gives Organizers a lot of control over their events. Organizers are empowered and have the tools that they need to keep their local playing community environment healthy and welcoming.

Section 3.4.2.1 Organizer Presence

Organizers need to be present at the events that they sanction in order to make sure that everything is run according to the rules and the Spirit of the Game. They must be there to take care of any non-game customer service issues that come up. The buck stops with them. However, there are occasions where the Organizer might not be able to be present at their event due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness. The previous documents did not state any leeway for exceptions, although Organized Play did work with Organizers through the online Customer Service Ticket system to move events to a new Organizer in emergency situations.
The new document has added clarity to this ad hoc process and made it official:

The Organizer is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the tournament is run according to the rules and procedures laid out in this and other core rules documentation. Because of this, the Organizer must usually be present at the tournament while it is taking place.
In exceptional circumstances, Pokémon Organized Play may allow for the responsibility of a tournament to be passed from one Organizer to another. Should these circumstances apply, the current Organizer should submit a request through the Play! Pokémon Customer Service team.
Each request is considered individually on a case-by-case basis.

Bold added for emphasis.

Section 3.4.2.3 Remuneration of Staff

Professors are essentially Independent Contractors and this especially applies to Tournament Organizers. Pokémon cannot mandate anything financially impacting to how Organizers run their events. They can’t mandate charges (or lack thereof) for League or for Tournaments. Toward that end, they also can’t mandate that Organizers pay or compensate their staff. However, that being said, they do state:

“Pokémon Organized Play makes no recommendation regarding the remuneration of tournament staff, beyond the reminder that judges and other volunteers contribute an added value to the tournament experience and should be made to feel appreciated.”

Bold added for emphasis.
Bear in mind that while Judges and Organizers are involved in this game for the love of the community and fellowship, Pokémon is not Scouts or the 4H Club or {volunteer work of your choice}. The website is Pokemon.com not Pokémon.org.
If an Organizer is collecting money from players to participate in the event, then Judges and Staff should receive fair compensation for their work that is earning you, the Organizer (or store owner), money.
That is only fair. It does not have to be (and usually isn’t) money, but Organizers should give fair value for the work effort of those that are helping put money in their pocket.
Pokémon can’t say it directly, so I will: Compensate your staff!

Section 3.4.3 Paper Records

Big change here. Up until now, Organizers have had to hold on to pretty much all paper documents from a tournament for an extended period of time. It has been changed to:

Paper records, such as standings, pairings, and match slips, may be retained until the end of a tournament to aid with solving any potential discrepancies that may arise. They should then be immediately destroyed.

Section 3.6 Streamed Matches

This section clarifies the policy that Organizers and Players should be following regarding playing matches on stream. Streaming events has become very important to the growth of the game with the rise of eSports. Streaming is a way to promote the game in general, and events in specific. Many players don’t want to play on stream because it is more stressful and also because it has a heightened scrutiny where errors (or cheating) are more likely to be caught. It is understandable that a player might not want to put themselves under the microscope like that. However, it is also not fair that some players get to avoid the stress that other top players have to experience just because they are more vocal in objecting to it. It’s not fair to the other players that have to deal with that added stress, and it’s not fair to the tournament integrity that they are not subjected to the same scrutiny that other players are. Pokémon makes it clear that this is something that should not be easily avoided:

While attending a Play! Pokémon tournament, some players may be instructed to play a match that will be featured, projected, or broadcast (streamed) live to a large audience and/or to online viewers. Players must comply with the Organizer’s directions regarding the location of the match.
Players are not permitted to voluntarily decline participating in a streamed match.
In exceptional circumstances, the Organizer may at their own discretion decide that it is in the best interests of all involved that the chosen match not be streamed. However, it should be noted that this consideration is reserved for truly uncommon circumstances, wherein a serious detriment may occur to the players’ ability to participate fully in that match.

So, should a player never be excused from participating in a streamed match? No, that is not the case. There can, and should be exceptions. However, those exceptions should be “truly uncommon” and not given out lightly.

Section 4.5 Concessions and Intentional Draws

The big difference here is that Pokémon has removed the recently added Informal Agreements section which outlines how players can come to (non-random) agreements on how to decide a winner of a match in order to avoid a tie. The new language is similar to previous language where informal agreements were legal, but not clearly outlined.
It is clear that Informal Agreements are still allowed, but still not encouraged. The specific language in the document is:

A player may decide to concede for any reason. However, Pokémon Organized Play does not recognize any informal agreements made between players regarding the outcome of a match prior to the signing of the match slip. Players should be aware that any such agreements will not be enforced by tournament staff.

Note that there is a difference between “does not recognize” and “does not allow”. Informal Agreements are allowed, just not encouraged and staff can’t enforce any agreement.
Judges: Do NOT DQ players that have agreed to decide a match based on something like who is ahead on prizes or who has the best board state. They still need to resolve their match timely and you won’t force any player to go through with an agreement, but do NOT Disqualify them.
It is unfortunate that this section was not retained in the guidelines to avoid confusion among players and judges, but hopefully it will be restored in future updates.

Section 5.2.2 Card Sleeves

A minor change here. In older documents it was noted that the “fronts of the sleeves are clear, clean, and free of designs, holograms, and emblems that may obscure card information.”
This caused some issues in tournaments where outer sleeves that had minor markings on the face side which did not obscure relevant game information were being penalized by judges. Some judges event went so far as to penalize Ultra Pro sleeves which have a little holographic circle in one corner. Removing this text is a good thing and should avoid excessive scrutiny. Note that common sense prevails. If game text is truly blocked, Judges should use their discretion to fix that issue.

Section 5.2.3.3 Languages – Exceptions

There have been reported cases at International Championships of players being unable to obtain replacements for damaged cards because the local language cards which were available were not legal for them to use since they were from a different Zone. They were forced to either obtain replacement cards in their own local language (which were not available) or replace the cards with basic Energy.
This put non local players at a significant disadvantage from local players who would not have to deal with this kind of problem. Pokémon has addressed this kind of issue with a common sense change which is outlined here:

For the Pokémon TCG World Championships, International Championships, and for side events at either of these, regardless of which country they are hosted in, players are always permitted to use English cards as well as cards in any language that is legal in the player’s home country.
In exceptional circumstances, the Head Judge or Organizer of any tournament may also choose to make an exception to rules regarding the legal languages. This is at their sole discretion, and should only be considered where there would be no operational detriment to the tournament in doing so.

With this guidance, the Head Judge can rule that the player can use cards of the local language, just like a majority of the other players in attendance. Note that this is not a blanket rule allowing all players to always use the local language of whatever area they are playing it. But it does help take care of issues such as described above.

Section 5.4.2.2 Reprinted Cards in the Unlimited Format

Now here is something new and different! Organized Play has always had Unlimited as a legal format, but it basically been given no attention. That hasn’t changed too much, but there is SOMETHING here for those that play Unlimited:

players will occasionally come across cards from older expansions that have the same name as newer cards but completely different effects. Players may still include those older versions of the card in their decks, provided that the wording of the most recent version is used wherever that card is concerned.

What this means is that, unlike Standard or Expanded, older versions of cards that have undergone significant changes and haven’t been errata’d will be legal to play!
This means that Base Set Computer Search is legal. For Unlimited only!

This does have a caveat, though. You must play those old cards using the current text. So Computer Search is still as Ace Spec, Pokémon Center is a Stadium with a much reduced effect, and Base Set’s Pokémon Breeder … well, stick with Rare Candy.

Section 5.6.1 The Play Area

Cards that are placed into the play area from the hand without the effect of another card, Ability, or effect are considered played at the point the player physically releases the card from their hand. If a player does not wish to play a card, they should not place it into the play area.

Judges have been following this guidance for quite a while, but it’s good to see it in black and white in the tournament guidelines. A good test of when a card has been played is to have the player raise their hand. If the card comes up with the hand because it is still held, it hasn’t been played yet. If it stays on the table because it is just being touched, it has been played.
Also note, that while the pictures of the play areas show the right-handed layout, it is perfectly fine to used a mirrored layout. What is important is that the Deck and Discard are on one side and that the Prizes and Lost Zone are on the other.

Section 5.8.2.2 Judge-Enforced Progression

Judge Ball is back, baby!

Once upon a time, Organized Play decided that there was a problem with a few “popular” decks that used very few Basic Pokémon. This led to some issues with Mulligans taking up a significant part of the Match time. It wasn’t fair to the opponent that was sitting there ready and waiting but getting a significantly lesser amount of time to play their game. OP addressed this issue by creating a mechanism dubbed “The Judge Ball” to get those stalled games started. It was outlined in the official Professor Forums at the time. Unfortunately, this procedure was never published in any of the official Tournament Documents that were available to the public so it caused controversy when used. Players were not aware of it, so it looked as if the judge was making up something on their own. Worse, those forums were replaced with newer ones and the information contained in them was not available. So the “Judge Ball” was performed differently by different judges, based on their memory. Eventually, the Judge community decided to mothball the practice since its application was causing more issues than it was solving. But now, we have the “Judge Enforced Progression”. It is published in the official Tournament Documents so everyone is aware of it and the procedures are clearly outlined so everyone can implement it correctly. As noted, it shouldn’t be done very often, but it is good to get an old tool back in our toolbox.

Section 5.8.3.2 Resolving a Game That Cannot Otherwise Reach a Natural End

This is not brand new, but it is pretty new, so many judges and players may not be aware of it.
Basically, if a Single Elimination game gets stuck in an infinite loop, OP has given Judges a tool to use to finish the game and keep the tournament moving. It should be very rarely used, but again, it’s good to have an official process for handling these cases.

Section 7. Rules Violations and Penalties

There is no more Tier 1 and Tier 2. This is a huge change. Basically, local tournaments will be held to the same penalty resolutions as larger events. Note that Judges are also advised to take experience and age of the player into account when deciding when or if to deescalate.
I’ll note that even if a Judge decides to deescalate a Penalty, the fix applied to the game state or situation should be the same in all cases.

Section 7.3.2.2 B.2. Deck Legality

A major change here is that the Double Prize Penalty for “Legal Deck/Legal List” is gone. All deck and deck list issues will earn either a Warning or a Game Loss. Except for cheating, of course. That is always a Disqualification. Otherwise, fixes and severity considerations remain pretty much the same as they have been.

As noted at the beginning, don’t take this as a comprehensive list of all changes. That is not the intent and it is a huge document combining information that previously resided in many separate sources. It’s almost certain that something has not been discussed here that someone else feels is an important change. Read the documents for yourself. That’s always the best way to learn. But hopefully this will help you in guiding your reading of them.

Sword & Shield Expansion FAQ

Pokemon Player and Professors, please find here a collection of official FAQ rulings for the upcoming Sword & Shield Prereleases.

I’ve attached a PDF doc as well as posting the info directly on the site. Use what works best for you.

PDF: FAQ-SS01

Have a great time this weekend and stay safe out there.

SS: Sword & Shield – FAQ

POKEMON ABILITIES:

== MAKE DO (Cinccino – SS:Sword & Shield)
Q. For Cinccino’s “Make Do” Ability, can I use it when I’m discarding a card as part of some action or effect?
A. No. Discarding a card from your hand is part of the cost of using the Ability. You can’t use a discard done from some other effect or game action.

Q. Can I use Cinccino’s “Make Do” Ability to discard a card, then do other game actions such as play a Cynthia, and then finally draw the two cards later in my turn?
A. That’s not how it works. You have to perform all of the actions of the Ability before moving on to other game actions.

Q. Can I use Cinccino’s “Make Do” Ability if there are no cards in my deck, just to discard a card?
A. No, you can’t use Make Do if there aren’t any cards left in your deck.

== MORE POISON (Toxicroak – SS:Sword & Shield)
Q. If I have two Toxicroak in play with the “More Poison” Ability, will my opponent put 4 more damage counters on their Poisoned Pokemon?
A. Yes, because the Ability says to “put 2 more” and not “instead of”.

== UNTAMED SHOUT (Galarian Obstagoon – SS:Sword & Shield)
Q. If I use Rare Candy to play Galarian Obstagoon, can I use its “Untamed Shout” Ability to place 3 damage counters on my opponent’s Pokemon?
A. Yes, because it is still being played from your hand.

POKEMON ATTACKS:

== BEAK CATCH (Cramorant V – SS:Sword & Shield)
Q. If I use Cramorant V’s “Beak Catch” attack, can I choose to fail to get any cards from my deck?
A. Only if there are no cards left in your deck. Since you can get any type of card, and it is known that you have cards in your deck, you must take at least 1 card if you are able to.

== COIL (Sandaconda – SS:Sword & Shield)
Q. If I used Sandaconda’s “Coil” attack and my opponent retreats their Active Pokemon, do I still do an extra 120 damage to the new Defending Pokemon?
A. Yes. The attack states “your opponent’s Active Pokemon”. That is referencing any Pokemon that is in their Active Spot.

== ELECTRO WHEEL (Morpeko V – SS:Sword & Shield)
Q. What happens if I use Morpeko V’s “Electro Wheel” attack but I don’t have any Benched Pokemon?
A. You still have to discard an Energy if you can, but since there are no Benched Pokemon to switch with, Morpeko V stays in the Active Spot.

== OCTOLOCK (Grapploct – SS:Sword & Shield)
Q. Grapploct’s “Octolock” attack says its effect can’t be applied more than once. What does that mean?
A. It means that if the Defending Pokemon is already under the effect of Octolock you cannot do it again for an additional {C}{C} cost. In other words, it does not stack.

Q. Can I use Grapploct’s “Octolock” attack to a new Defending Pokemon if the previous one switches out?
A. If you use the attack again, yes. You just can’t apply more than one Octolock effect to the same Defending Pokemon.

TRAINER CARDS:

== HYPER POTION (Skyridge; SS:Sword & Shield)
Q. Can I use Hyper Potion to heal a Pokemon with less than 120 damage on it or if I have less than 2 Energy attached to it?
A. You have to heal at least 10 damage to play the card. You must also have at least 2 Energy attached to the Pokemon you’re healing; if there are less than 2 Energy attached you cannot use this card.

ENERGY CARDS:

== AURORA ENERGY (SS:Sword & Shield)

* The discard cost on Aurora Energy only applies when attaching the card from your hand. If you attach it from somewhere else, you don’t have to discard a card from your hand.

Q. Can you use Frosmoth’s “Ice Dance” Ability to attach Aurora Energy?
A. No. Because Aurora Energy does not count as any type while it is in your hand.

PokePopCast 28: Gentlemen’s Agreements and Other End of Match Resolutions

In this PokePopCast, we discuss all the alternate ways to end a Pokemon TCG Match besides the “normal” win, lose, or tie.
Special attention is given to discussing Informal Agreements, previously known as “Gentlemen’s Agreements.
Important for both players and Judges to know what is allowed and what is NOT allowed!

 

Everything You Need to Know About Tag Team Supporters

First the Pokémon TCG introduced Tag Team Pokémon and they took the game by storm with their super high HP and super strong attacks. Now the Pokémon TCG has extended the concept to Supporter cards with the introduction of Tag Team Supporters in Cosmic Eclipse. These Supporters have one normally strong Supporter-type effect, and as a bonus, you can activate a second strong effect for a cost. In addition to being powerful, they are also searchable! The new Item card “Tag Call” allows up  get up to two “Tag Team” cards. These can be either Tag Team Pokémon-GX, or Tag Team Supporters, or one of each! A very powerful combo!

Because this is a new mechanic, there have been a lot of questions about exactly how these cards work.
Can you use only one effect or the other?
Are there any restriction or exceptions to that?
What the heck are Bellelba and Brycen-Man wearing, anyway?
Important questions like that.
Let’s see if we can clear some of them up.

First, before addressing individual cards, let’s look at the beginning phrase of the secondary effect of these cards: “When you play this card, you may discard…” and then it states a cost. These are costs and not effects of their own. If you can’t do the secondary effect described after this cost, you can’t just pay the cost for no reason.
OK, let’s take a look at the individual cards…

Bellelba & Brycen-Man
If either player has any cards in their deck, you have to do the first part of this Supporter. There is no “may” in the text. It will work as long as either player has one card in their deck. The principle of “do as much as you can” applies.

However, if neither player has any cards left in their deck, you can still play the card and do just the second effect as long as at least one of the players has more than 3 Benched Pokemon. This, of course, begs the question: “If your opponent has no cards left in their deck, why don’t you just end your turn and win the game?” So, more than likely you’ll be performing the main effect all of the time even if you don’t want to.

Cynthia & Caitlin
If you have a Supporter card (other than another Cynthia & Caitlin) in your discard pile, you have to put it into your hand when you play this card because the discard pile is public knowledge and the card does not say “may” for this effect.
However, if you have no valid Supporter in your discard pile, you can still discard a card from your hand to draw 3 cards. You can’t used the secondary effect to discard if you have no deck.

Guzma & Hala
Since the first part of this Supporter is to search for a specific type of card (a Stadium), you can fail that part since your deck is private knowledge.
Similarly, if you want to, you can also discard 2 cards for the second effect and fail that search as well, for the same reason. And of course, if you genuinely can’t find any one of the types of cards you are searching for, you can still get one or two of the other types using the “do as much as you can” principle. Note that you have to have a deck to search, of course, or else you can’t even play the card. And you have to at least shuffle your deck even if you intend to fail all of the searches.

Mallow & Lana
You have to have a Benched Pokemon in order to play this card at all. That’s because both effects depend on switching your Active Pokemon. If you have a Benched Pokémon, you have to perform the Switch. It is not optional.

In addition, since the healing of the secondary effect is on the “Pokémon you moved”, you cannot play this card for just the secondary effect since you have no valid target for the effect if you did not do the first effect. You also cannot discard cards for the cost of the secondary effect unless that Switched Pokémon has at least one damage counter on it.

Misty & Lorelei
Since the first effect is a search of the deck for a specific type of card, you can fail part or all of it if you wish. You still have to do the search, if you have a deck to search since it does not say may, but as noted above, your deck is private knowledge and you can fail any search of it for a specific type of card. You have to at least shuffle your deck.

It is very important to do the discard for the secondary effect, if you are going to use it, before you search for those energy cards, since you cannot use them as part of your discard cost of 5 cards. If you have not used your GX attack, you can’t use the secondary effect and therefore can’t discard the 5 cards since it is a cost.

Finally, note that if your opponent’s Latios GX’s “Clear Vision GX” attack has been used, Misty & Lorelei will not allow you to bypass that effect.

Red & Blue
This is another card, like Mallow & Lana, where the secondary effect is done to a card that was affected by the primary effect. However, since the timing of the discard is “when you play this card”, you can discard 2 cards, and then if you don’t get a Pokémon-GX from your deck to evolve one of your Pokémon, then you can/ would have to fail the secondary effect.

Also note that if you don’t have a Pokémon in play that can evolve into a Pokémon-GX (even if that card is not legal in the format being played) you can’t play the card at all. This is similar to rulings are cards such as Wally and Evosoda.

Well, there you have it! I hope that clears up some questions that you have.
If there are any other things that you need cleared up on these cards, please comment in the forum topic for this article, or post in the Ask the Rules Team forum.

Cosmic Eclipse FAQ are here!

Professors and players, here are the FAQs for the new Cosmic Eclipse set.

We have them as a PDF (the link is at the end, and posted here for your convenience. It’s a big set, so there are a lot of questions.
Enjoy!

SM: Cosmic Eclipse – FAQ

 POKEMON ABILITIES:

== BLINKING LIGHTS (Lanturn – SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

Q. Using Lanturn’s “Blinking Lights” Ability, may I repeatedly look at the top card of my opponent’s deck, even if the deck has not changed?
A. Yes, as long as it does not waste time or interfere with your opponent’s play. [Note that doing it to manipulate or waste time in the match can be penalized.]

== BLOW-AWAY BOMB (Koffing – SM:Cosmic Eclipse; Weezing – SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

Q. When I use Roxie to discard two Pokemon that each have the “Blow-Away Bomb” Ability, do those abilities stack so I can place two damage counters on each of my opponent’s Pokemon?
A. Yes, each of the Pokemon gets to use their own “Blow-Away Bomb” Ability when discarded by Roxie.

== DANCE OF TRIBUTE (Oricorio GX – SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

Q. If my Lillie’s Poke Doll was Knocked Out by my opponent, can I use Oricorio GX’s “Dance of Tribute” Ability?
A. Yes, even though they didn’t take a prize, Lillie’s Poke Doll was still considered a Knock Out of one of your Pokemon.

== FLOWER PICKING (Florges – SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

Q. With Florges’ “Flower Picking” Ability, can I use it when my opponent only has one card in their hand? Or can I use it to shuffle in only one card instead of two if my opponent has two or more cards?
A. If the opponent only has one card in their hand you do as much as you can, so they reveal & shuffle in the one card. But if your opponent has two or more cards in their hand you must choose two of them, not just one.

== SCATTER (Wishiwashi – SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

Q. For Wishiwashi’s “Scatter” Ability, when does this check for damage counters happen, before “in between turns” when Poison counters are placed or afterward?
A. After your opponent concludes their end of turn actions including all effects of attack and cleaning up any KO, then before in between turns you check for any damage counters on Wishiwashi that would trigger Scatter to shuffle Wishiwashi and all cards attached into your deck.

POKEMON ATTACKS:

== ALTERED CREATION GX (Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX – SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

Q. When I use Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX’s “Altered Creation GX” attack do I take an extra Prize card only if I Knock Out that Active Pokemon with an attack, or do I take an extra Prize for ANY of my opponent’s Active Pokemon that get KO’d by my attacks during the rest of the game?
A. You get to take an extra prize if your Pokemon’s attack Knocks Out ANY of your opponent’s Active Pokemon during the rest of the game, not just the one that was the Defending Pokemon at the time of the Altered Creation GX attack.

== BRILLIANT FLARE (Charizard & Braixen GX – SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

Q. Do I have to take any cards from my deck if I use Charizard & Braixen GX’s “Brilliant Flare” attack?
A. It says “may”, so you can choose to not search your deck; but if you do search you must take at least one card from it.

== IMPERSONATION (Mimikyu – SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

Q. If I’m not allowed to play a Supporter card for some reason, can I still use Mimikyu’s “Impersonation” attack to use the effect of a Supporter?
A. Sure. You are not playing the Supporter, just using its effect.

Q. If I use Mimikyu’s “Impersonation” attack, do I get to use the “when you play this card” part of Tag Team Supporters or not?
A. Impersonation gets to use all effects of the card; you still do the entire part of the card even if you’re not “playing” it (but you still have to pay any required costs).

== MASSIVE CATCH (Wishiwashi GX – SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

Q. What happens if my bench is full when I use Wishiwashi GX’s “Massive Catch”? Can I put down more Pokemon than I would normally have space for on my bench?

A. Sorry, but no. You can’t put more Pokemon on your bench than you are allowed to.

== MIRROR SHOT (Magnemite – SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

Q. If my opponent used Magnemite’s “Mirror Shot” attack last turn, and I try to use my GX attack this turn and flip tails, do I lose the ability to use a GX attack for the rest of the game?

A. No, because since you flipped tails the attack “doesn’t happen”.

== RECALL (Empoleon – SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

Q. For Empoleon’s “Recall” attack, do I need to meet the energy requirements for the attack chosen from the previous Evolution?
A. You do not need to meet the energy requirement from the previous Evolution’s attack, but if that attack requires you to do something with energy (like discarding an energy card) you must follow that attack’s instructions.

TRAINER CARDS:

== TRAINERS IN GENERAL

Q. Can you choose the order of effects when playing a Tag Team Supporter, or do you have to do them in the order stated on the card?
A. You must do them in the order stated on the card. However, you don’t have to meet the criteria for the first effect in order to do the second effect; for example, if the first effect says to search your deck but you don’t have any cards in your deck you can still do the second effect as long as you meet its criteria.

== BELLELBA & BRYCEN-MAN (SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

* You can play Bellelba & Brycen-Man as long as there’s at least 1 card in either player’s deck. It can also be played by discarding 3 cards from your hand if at least 1 player has more than 3 Benched Pokemon. But if at least 1 player doesn’t have more than 3 Benched Pokemon, you cannot discard cards from your hand.

== CHAOTIC SWELL (SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

Q. If I try to play a Stadium card but it is discarded by the effect of Chaotic Swell stadium, can I play another one?
A. No, it was immediately discarded without effect, but you already played a Stadium card which can only be done once per turn.

== CYNTHIA & CAITLIN (SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

* You can play Cynthia & Caitlin as long as there’s a Supporter card in your discard pile. You can also play it by discarding a card from your hand if there’s at least 1 card in your deck. But if you have no cards in your deck, you cannot discard a card from your hand.

== ERIKA (SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

Q. Can I play Erika if both I and my opponent decide not to draw any cards?
A. Yes, because it is not known by you or the game whether your opponent will draw cards or not.

== GUZMA & HALA (SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

* You can do any part of Guzma & Hala as long as there’s at least 1 card in your deck.

Q. When I play Guzma & Hala, can I discard the Stadium I searched for as one of the 2 cards discarded to search for the Tool and Special Energy?
A. If you want to do the second effect you have to discard 2 cards “when you play this card”, that is before you search for the Stadium.

Q. When I play Guzma & Hala, after I search my deck for a Stadium, do I have to shuffle first if I’m also going to search for Special Energy and a Tool?
A. You can skip the shuffling after the Stadium search as long as you clearly tell your opponent you’re doing the second part of the card. So if you’re doing both parts you first discard two cards from your hand, then search for any Stadium you’re going to take, then search for the Tool and Special Energy, then shuffle your deck.

== ISLAND CHALLENGE AMULET (SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

Q. If I attach Island Challenge Amulet to a Pokemon-GX that has less than 100 HP left and it’s Knocked Out, does my opponent take only 1 prize?
A. No. You only get the reduction in Prize Cards taken if it is Knocked Out by damage from an opponent’s attack.

== LILLIE’s POKE DOLL (SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

Q. If my Lillie’s Poke Doll was Knocked Out by my opponent, can I use Oricorio GX’s “Dance of Tribute” Ability?
A. Yes, even though they didn’t take a prize, Lillie’s Poke Doll was still considered a Knock Out of one of your Pokemon.

== MALLOW & LANA (SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

* You can play Mallow & Lana as long as you have a Benched Pokemon. But if your Active Pokemon is not damaged, you cannot discard 2 cards from your hand.

== MISTY & LORELEI (SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

* You can play Misty & Lorelei for the base effect as long as there’s at least 1 card in your deck. You can always play it by discarding 5 cards from your hand.

Q. When I play Misty & Lorelei, can I discard one or more of the 3 {W} energy I searched for as part of the 5 cards discarded to get the re-use of my GX attack on this turn?
A. No. You have to discard 5 cards “when you play this card”. That is before you search for the {W} energy cards.

Q. Can I use the second part of Misty & Lorelei to discard 5 cards if I have not already used my GX attack for the game?
A. No, you cannot. If you haven’t used your GX attack yet, you can’t discard 5 cards from your hand.

== RED & BLUE (SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

* You can do any part of Red & Blue as long as there’s a Pokemon in play that can evolve into a Pokemon-GX AND there’s at least 1 card in your deck.

== ROXIE (SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

Q. When I use Roxie to discard two Pokemon that each have the “Blow-Away Bomb” Ability, do those abilities stack so I can place two damage counters on each of my opponents Pokemon?
A. Yes, each of the Pokemon gets to use their own “Blow-Away Bomb” Ability when discarded by Roxie.

== UNIDENTIFIED FOSSIL (SM:Cosmic Eclipse)

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 Pokemon”. 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)

== WILL (SM: Cosmic Eclipse)

Q. If my Pokémon is Confused, can I use the effect of Will to choose heads for the Special Condition?
A. No, that isn’t something that Will can affect.

Q. If my opponent used Magnemite’s “Mirror Shot” last turn, can I use the effect of Will to choose heads for the effect of the attack?
A. Yes, that is considered an effect of an attack, so that works.

FAQ-SM12 Cosmic Eclipse

Sad News About Neo Genesis Recycle Energy

We have very sad news to report about the old Recycle Energy from the Neo Genesis set.

We have received word from Pokemon R&D that since there is significant differences in the text compared to the new card in Unified Minds, old copies of the card (Including the foil promo version) will not be legal to play.
Our condolences.
A service will be held at Worlds.

SM: Unified Minds FAQs

Prereleases for the new Sun & Moon set Unified Minds start tomorrow night (for those doing a midnight event), so here are some FAQs for you.
If you have any questions that we didn’t think of for card combos within the set, let us know.
We plan on doing other combo questions for cards from outside the set, but if you want, ask about those as well so we make sure to cover them.

Enjoy!
FAQ – Unified Minds

SM: Unified Minds – FAQ

 POKÉMON ABILITIES:

== BURNING ROAD (Heatran GX – SM:Unified Minds)

Q.  Does Heatran GX’s “Burning Road” Ability work if it becomes your Active Pokémon as a result of an attack like Archeops’ “U-turn”?
A.  As long as Heatran GX becomes your Active Pokémon during YOUR turn, it can use Burning Road.

== BURSTING SPORES (Amoonguss – SM:Unified Minds)

Q.  If I evolve my Shroomish into Breloom (which has the Spore attack), can I use Amoonguss’s “Bursting Spores” Ability?
A.  Yes, because you have played a Pokémon that has the Spore attack from your hand during your turn.

== CAPTIVATING WINK (Mawile GX – SM:Unified Minds)

Q.  Mawile GX’s “Captivating Wink” Ability says to put any number of Basic Pokémon you find in your opponent’s hand onto their Bench. Does this allow you to put more than 5 Pokémon on the bench?
A.  No, Captivating Wink does not allow you to exceed the normal limits of the game. You can put any number of Basic Pokémon onto your opponent’s Bench up to the maximum size of the Bench.

Q.  Can you use Mawile GX’s “Captivating Wink” Ability if your opponent’s Bench is full?
A.  No. It’s public knowledge that you can’t put down any additional Basic Pokémon on your opponent’s Bench, so you cannot play the card.

Q.  What happens if I use Steelix’s “Gigaton Shake” attack, and then my opponent uses Mawile GX’s “Captivating Wink” Ability during their turn? Would those Pokémon I put into play be able to attack on my next turn (since it was not during MY turn)?
A.  No, they would not be able to attack.

== DURABLE BLADE (Aegislash – SM:Unified Minds)

Q.  If Aegislash with the “Durable Blade” Ability is Knocked Out by damage from my opponent’s attack, do I put its underlying Doublade and/or Honedge cards into my hand or into the Discard Pile?
A.  You put all the Pokémon in the evolution line into your hand. Any other cards attached such as Tools or Energy are discarded.

== SNACK SEARCH (Munchlax – SM:Unified Minds)

Q.  If I try to use Munchlax’s “Snack Search” Ability and flip Tails, is my turn still over?
A.  Yes, it is. Even if you don’t flip Heads, the Ability is still considered “used”.

POKÉMON ATTACKS:

== CLEAR VISION GX (Latios GX – SM:Unified Minds)

Q.  If my opponent has used Latios GX’s “Clear Vision GX” attack, can I use a GX attack that ignores effects?
A.  No, because you don’t even get to start using the GX attack.

Q.  If my opponent has used Latios GX’s “Clear Vision GX” attack, do I get to draw 7 cards if I use Hala?
A.  No, getting hit by Clear Vision GX doesn’t mean you have used your GX attack for the game.

== GG END GX (Garchomp & Giratina GX – SM:Unified Minds)

Q.  Can I use Garchomp & Giratina GX’s “GG End GX” attack to remove all of my opponent’s Pokémon from play?
A.  Yes, if your opponent only has 1 (or 2, with the extra energy) in play, you could remove those Pokémon. Then you win the game!

== GIGATON SHAKE (Steelix – SM:Unified Minds)

Q.  What happens if I use Steelix’s “Gigaton Shake” attack, and then my opponent uses Mawile GX’s “Captivating Wink” Ability during their turn? Would those Pokémon I put into play be able to attack on my next turn (since it was not during MY turn)?
A.  No, they would not be able to attack.

Q.  If I used Steelix’s “Gigaton Shake” on my previous turn, would Channeler allow my Pokémon to attack this turn?
A.  Yes, the effect of Gigaton Shake would be removed, and your Pokémon would be able to attack.

== INJECTION GX (Naganadel GX – SM:Unified Minds)

Q.  When I use Naganadel GX’s “Injection GX” attack, am I allowed to mix up my opponent’s prize cards so they don’t know which card I added to their prizes?
A.  No, you may not. When Injection GX adds a card from the discard pile you must not disturb the placement of any prize cards the opponent still has in play.

Q.  If I use Naganadel GX’s “Injection GX” attack during a Tiebreaker game, do I win?
A.  Yes.

== SAGE’S RIDDLE (Oranguru – SM:Unified Minds)

Q.  For Oranguru’s “Sage’s Riddle” attack, if I put down a Pokémon with more than one type does the opponent have to guess both of its types?
A.  No, they only have to guess one of the Pokémon’s types in order to get it right.

== SPIRIT BURNER (Chandelure – SM:Unified Minds)

Q.  When using Chandelure’s “Spirit Burner” attack, can I place any discarded Stage 1 or Stage 2 Pokémon directly onto my bench?
A.  Yes, you can. However, because of the order of this attack, you cannot put a Prism Star card onto your Bench

== SPITEFUL SIGH (Froslass – SM:Unified Minds)

Q.  When using Froslass’ “Spiteful Sigh” attack, can you put more damage counters on Froslass than it has remaining HP?
A.  Yes, you can.

Q.  If I use Froslass’ “Spiteful Sigh” attack to put enough damage counters on Froslass to leave less than 40 HP on it, will its attack be prevented if Blizzard Town is in play?
A.  No, its remaining HP is checked for Blizzard Town before you place the damage counters onto Froslass.

TRAINER CARDS:

== BLAINE’S QUIZ SHOW (SM:Unified Minds)

Q.  Could I play Blaine’s Quiz Show and put down Munchlax which has no attack?
A.  No. You can only choose to put down a Pokémon that has an attack you can declare to your opponent.

== BLUE’S TACTICS (SM:Unified Minds)

Q.  Can I play Blue’s Tactics if I have more than 8 cards in my hand?
A.  Yes, because you could still have less than 8 cards in your hand by the end of your turn.

== CHANNELER (SM:Unified Minds)

Q.  If I used Steelix’s “Gigaton Shake” on my previous turn, would Channeler allow my Pokémon to attack this turn?
A.  Yes, the effect of Gigaton Shake would be removed, and your Pokémon would be able to attack.

== HAPU (SM:Unified Minds)

Q.  What happens if I play Hapu with less than 6 cards in my deck?
A.  You would put 2 cards (or 1 if you only have 1 card in your deck) in your hand and discard the rest.

ENERGY CARDS:

== RECYCLE ENERGY (Neo: Genesis Expansion; SM:Unified Minds)

Q.  Does Recycle Energy go back into your hand if it is discarded by your opponent’s Giratina’s “Dimension Breach” Ability?
A.  Yes it would.

Q.  Does “Recycle Energy” go back into your hand if you discard it as part of a retreat cost? Does it go back into your hand if it’s attached to a Pokémon that gets knocked out?
A.  Yes in both cases. But don’t be discarding it from your hand as part of an effect or Trainer cost and expect to get it back though. Also, if something sends Recycle Energy to the Lost Zone, you won’t get it back from there.

PokePopCast 26: Managing A Successful Pokemon League

We have a guest speaker for the PokePopCast today.
At the Collinsville Regional Championships recently the TO, Vince Krekeler, hosted a Professor Seminar and one of the segments was Managing a Successful Pokemon League.

The Speaker was Darrell Illenberg, who owns and manages a number of growing leagues in South(West) Florida. He has some great advice for those that want to help their leagues grow. Check it out!