What changed in the recent rules document updates?

Last week, The Pokémon Company International posted revisions to a few documents on the Play! Pokémon Rules & Resources page. As the documents no longer contain a summary of changes, we’ve combed through the documents and have provided the major changes below for your convenience.

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Tournament Rules Handbook

5.2.3.2 Additional Legal Languages for Premier Events, by Country

Japan, Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia were removed from this list. This change is likely because this document does not apply to these regions – their Organized Play programs are not run by TPCi (although this is a recent change for Thailand and Indonesia).

5.4.2.2 Reprinted Cards in the Unlimited Format

This section was update to specify Trainer cards (change is in bold):

As there is no restriction on the number of expansions legal for play in the Unlimited format, players will occasionally come across Trainer 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.

7.3.2.2 B.2. Deck Legality

Two changes were made:

Both the deck list and the deck contain more or less than 60 cards.

is now

The deck list and/or the deck do not contain 60 cards.

and

Both the deck list and the deck contain five copies of Double Colorless Energy, violating the four-card limit rule.

is now

In a Standard format tournament, the deck list and/or the deck contain five copies of Double Colorless Energy.

7.3.2.3 B.3. Pace of Play

This section did not exist in the previous revision of the Tournament Rules Handbook. We encourage you to read the entire “Pace of Play” section since it is new to this document.

However, to those familiar with the “8.4 Game Tempo” penalty that existed in the former TCG Penalty Guidelines document, the most notable difference with “Pace of Play” is the definition of Minor and Major violations, whereas this distinction was not made before. The same basic principles apply in the penalty given, and no changes were made on time limit guidelines.


Standards of Conduct

1 Introduction

A significant addition was made in this introduction:

These Standards apply regardless of the form or way a user participates in Play! Pokémon. For example, wherever an online platform is utilized, these Standards also apply to all virtual interactions with fellow participants.

This addition was likely made due to the expansion of Organized Play programs online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as League at Home and the Players Cup.

3 Community Conduct

The introduction to this section was clarified that the actions described within Community Conduct apply both to “behavior at all Play! Pokémon events, as well as to external issues that may come to light”.

A slight but important wording change was made:

Pokémon Organized Play does not and will not itself monitor any program member’s activity on or in any platform or environment outside any Play! Pokémon event setting.

was changed to

Pokémon Organized Play does not and will not actively monitor any program member’s activity on or in any platform or environment outside any Play! Pokémon event setting.

(words bolded for emphasis).

Previously, the wording implied that any actions taken would strictly be due to complaints brought to Organized Play, whereas this new wording leaves room for Organized Play to take action even if no complaint has been made directly.

3.2 Harassment & Bullying

There are many changes in this section.

Previously, the first example stated:

Use of language that discriminates based on attributes such as race, religion, ethnic origin, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or economic means.

Now, the bullet point begins:

Use of language, messages, symbols, images, illustrations, or links that discriminate based on attributes such as…

An additional example has been added directly below this first one, stating:

“Use of any language, symbols, or images that would otherwise violate the Play! Pokémon Equality, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity Policy.”

The next section, regarding targeted harassment towards a specific person, has been revised to add “threats of ‘doxing,'” in addition to “actual disclosure of any personal or private information of another without their explicit consent.”

Another example of harassment and bullying has been added:

Threats or images of violence, harm, or retaliation.


League Handbook

The name of the document was changed from “League Rules Handbook” to simply “League Handbook”.

2.3 Store Finder

This section, regarding the Store Finder tool and the ability to Edit Retail Details, was added.

6.3.4.3 STAFF-Stamped Promo Cards

This section was added, clarifying that STAFF promos exist for Prereleases and are shipped independently of the Kits.


We hope that the Organized Play team goes back to adding a log of changes at the bottom of the documents to summarize the changes made, as some of these important changes might be overlooked by Professors. In the meantime, you can be sure that we’ll present the breakdown right here on The PokeGym!

Darkness Ablaze FAQ

Pokemon Players, the Prereleases are still on hold due to the pandemic, but Darkness Ablaze is on the way and retailers that ran prereleases are going to be selling PR kits starting today, Saturday August 1st.

So, for those of you who are going to play some mini Darkness Ablaze PRs at home, here is the FAQ.
Enjoy!

FAQ-SW03 DAA Darkness Ablaze final

SW: Darkness Ablaze – FAQ

POKEMON ABILITIES:

== DARK ASSET (Crobat V – SW:Darkness Ablaze)

Q. If I play Crobat V to the bench and use its “Dark Asset” Ability, can I use Super Scoop Up to bring it back to my hand then put it down to use “Dark Asset” again on the same turn?
A. Sorry, but the ability says that you may use ONLY ONE Dark Asset per turn, this applies regardless of whether any other Pokemon have used it.

== DARKNESS GUARD (Darkrai – SW:Darkness Ablaze)

Q. If I use Rhyperior V’s “Drill Run” attack against a Darkrai with “Darkness Guard” Ability and only one Darkness Energy card attached, does Darkrai take 20 less damage before discarding the Darkness Energy or is the energy card discarded before the damage is reduced?
A. If an attack discards energy from the Defending Pokemon, the damage reduction happens first and then apply any attack effects.

== ETERNAL ZONE (Eternatus VMAX – SW:Darkness Ablaze)

Q. If you have 2 Darkness Pokemon on the bench and an Eternatus VMAX with the “Eternal Zone” Ability, can you play a non-Darkness Pokemon onto your bench?
A. No, you cannot put any non-Darkness type Pokemon into play. This includes things that would put non-Darkness type Pokemon directly into play, not just playing them from your hand!

Q. If you have 8 Darkness Pokemon on your bench including a Weavile, and you devolve it into a Water type Sneasel, can you discard just the Sneasel and stop, or do you have to continue discarding benched Pokemon down to 5?
A. Once you begin discarding Pokemon you must complete the full action of getting down to 5 benched Pokemon, even if you don’t have any non-Darkness Pokemon on your bench any more.

Q. If I have an Eternatus VMAX with “Eternal Zone” Ability and less than 8 Pokemon (all Darkness type) on my bench, can I use Giratina’s “Distortion Door” Ability to put it from the discard pile onto my bench and use its effect before it is discarded?
A. No, you cannot even put it onto your bench because it is a non-Darkness Pokemon.

== PRIMAL LAW (Dracovish – SW:Darkness Ablaze)

Q. Can you use Pokemon Breeder’s Nurturing to evolve Pokemon if Dracovish’s “Primal Law” Ability is active?
A. Yes, you can still use Pokemon Breeder’s Nurturing since the Pokemon is coming from the deck and not from your hand.

POKEMON ATTACKS:

== ASSAULT GATE (Hoopa – SW:Darkness Ablaze)

Q. If I use Hoopa’s “Assault Gate” attack after I move it up to replace a Pokemon that was KO’d by an opponent’s attack, does it do anything?
A. No, Hoopa was moved to the Active Spot during the opponent’s turn, not during “this turn”.

== CAPTIVATE (Steenee – SW:Darkness Ablaze)

Q. If I use Steenee’s “Captivate” attack while Spikemuth stadium is in play, does the opponent put any damage counters on their Pokemon?
A. No, Captivate would not trigger Spikemuth since it was not moved during the opponent’s turn.

== CAPTIVATING TAIL (Delcatty – SW:Darkness Ablaze)

Q. If my opponent has no benched Pokemon, does their Active Pokemon become Confused when I use Delcatty’s “Captivating Tail” attack?
A. No. Confusion is only done to the “new Active Pokemon”. If there is no switch, the Active Pokemon is not Confused.

== G-MAX CENTIFERNO (Centiscorch VMAX – SW:Darkness Ablaze)

Q. When using Centiscorch VMAX’s “G-Max Centiferno” attack, do I get +40 more damage for the Fire energy I attach during the attack?
A. No, the attachment of Fire Energy from the discard pile takes place after the damage calculation of the attack is done. Also, you don’t get to attach the Fire Energy if the attack didn’t do any damage.

== RETURN (Carnivine – SW:Darkness Ablaze)

Q. When using Carnivine’s “Return” attack, do I have to draw until there are five cards in my hand, or may I stop with less than five?
A. You do not have to draw any cards, but if you choose to do so you must end up with exactly five cards in your hand; no more, no less.

TRAINER CARDS:

== BILLOWING SMOKE (SW:Darkness Ablaze)

Q. How does Billowing Smoke work with Greedy Dice or Jirachi {*} and its “Wish Upon a Star” Ability?
A. If you KO a Pokemon with Billowing Smoke attached, you do not get to use Greedy Dice nor Wish Upon a Star since neither of those cards would be going into your hand. Any Prize cards that would be taken for a Pokemon that has Billowing Smoke attached are discarded, not taken.

== BIRD KEEPER (SW:Darkness Ablaze)

Q. What happens if I play Bird Keeper but there aren’t any Pokemon on my bench?
A. If you only have one Pokemon in play, you cannot play Bird Keeper.

== POKEMON BREEDER’S NURTURING (SW:Darkness Ablaze)

Q. Can you use Pokemon Breeder’s Nurturing to evolve Pokemon if Dracovich’s “Primal Law” Ability is active?
A. Yes, you can still use Pokemon Breeder’s Nurturing since the Pokemon is coming from the deck and not from your hand.

== SPIKEMUTH (SW:Darkness Ablaze)

Q. If I use Steenee’s “Captivate” attack while Spikemuth stadium is in play, does the opponent put any damage counters on their Pokemon?
A. No, Captivate would not trigger Spikemuth since it was not moved during the opponent’s turn.

ENERGY CARDS:

== HIDING ENERGY (SW:Darkness Ablaze)

Q. Does Galar Mine add {*}{*} to the Retreat Cost of a Darkness Pokemon with Hiding Energy attached?
A. Nope, if a Pokemon’s Retreat Cost is set to zero by an effect such as Hiding Energy, it cannot be increased by Galar Mine.

== POWERFUL ENERGY (SW:Darkness Ablaze)

Q. Does Poweful Energy stack?
A. Yes, it does.

PokePopCast 33: Will Post Interview

We were very pleased to be able to interview Will Post last week.
For those that don’t know him, Will is very active in the Pokemon TCG Community.
He is an admin of Virbank City on facebook and also on the Professor Discord Channel as well as being an administrator on the Pokemon Professor Roundtable.
If you have gone to many Regionals or other large Pokemon Organized Play, there’s a good chance you have seen or met him.
Please join us for our discussion with Will.

PokePopCast 32: Game State Disputes – He Said / They Said Situations

Game State Disputes, or “He said/They said” situations can be one of the scariest problems that a Judge has to deal with during a tournament. It feels like you are on a trapeze without a net. In the newest PokePopCast, we’re going to try to give Judges some techniques and tips to help deal with those situations and bring them down to earth for you.
Here you go, and enjoy!

 

Rebel Clash FAQ

Pokemon Players, the Prereleases may have been cancelled, but the set is still coming out and retailers that ran prereleases are going to be selling PR kits starting today. So, for those of you who are going to play some mini Rebel Clash PRs at home, here is the FAQ.
Enjoy!

SW02 Rebel Clash FAQ

SW: Rebel Clash – FAQ

 POKEMON ABILITIES:
== FIELD RUNNER (Cinderace V – SW:Rebel Clash)

Q. What happens if Cinderace V with the “Field Runner” Ability is in play while Galar Mine is also in play?
A. Cinderace V would have no Retreat Cost. When effects that increase something like Retreat Cost by a particular amount are stacked on top of effects that make something like Retreat Cost vanish, the vanishing effect takes priority.

== IRON DEFENSE FORMATION (Falinks V – SW:Rebel Clash)

Q. When using Falinks V’S “Iron Defense Formation” Ability or Falinks’ “Team Attack” attack, do I get to count any Falinks V I have in play too?
A. Yes, because Falinks V has “Falinks” in its name.

== MIND HAT (Hatterene – SW:Rebel Clash)

Q. Can I use Hatterene’s “Mind Hat” Ability if I don’t have any cards in my hand? Or if my opponent doesn’t have any cards in their hand?
A. As long as either player has a card in their hand, you can use Mind Hat.

== TOP ENTRY (Lampent – SW:Rebel Clash; Lombre – SW:Rebel Clash; Luxio – SW:Rebel Clash)

Q. If I draw a Pokemon with the “Top Entry” Ability during my first turn of the game, can I put it onto my bench right away?
A. Sure, but remember you must do this BEFORE it gets into your hand.

Q. If I have a Pokemon with the “Top Entry” Ability in my starting hand at the beginning of the game, can I put it onto my Bench?
A. No, you may not. In order to use Top Entry it has to be drawn from your deck at the beginning of your turn, but your turn has not started while you’re setting up at the beginning of the game.

POKEMON ATTACKS:
== DRAG OFF (Nidoking – SM:Team Up; Malamar V – SW:Rebel Clash)

Q. If my opponent has no benched Pokemon, do I do 30 damage to their active Pokemon when I use Malamar V’s “Drag Off” attack?
A. No. Damage is only done to the “new Active Pokemon”. If there is no switch, then no damage is done

== GYRO BALL (Bronzong – SW:Rebel Clash)

Q. What happens if I use Bronzong’s “Gyro Ball” attack but I don’t have any benched Pokemon?
A. You have to switch Bronzong if you are able to; the “if you do” part refers to when you have no Benched Pokemon. So if Bronzong doesn’t switch the opponent’s Active Pokemon doesn’t switch either.

== NINE-TAILED SHAPESHIFTER (Ninetales V – SW:Rebel Clash)

Q. When using Ninetales V’s “Nine-Tailed Shapeshifter” attack, do I need to have the correct amount and types of energy that match the opponent’s Active Pokemon’s attack that I’m choosing?
A. No, you do not. You only need the energy required by the Nine-Tailed Shapeshifter attack.

== TEAM ATTACK (Falinks – SW:Rebel Clash)

Q. When using Falinks V’S “Iron Defense Formation” Ability or Falinks’ “Team Attack” attack, do I get to count any Falinks V I have in play too?
A. Yes, because Falinks V has “Falinks” in its name.

TRAINER CARDS:
== GALAR MINE (SW:Rebel Clash)

Q. What happens if Cinderace V with the “Field Runner” Ability is in play while Galar Mine is also in play?
A. Cinderace V would have no Retreat Cost. When effects that increase something like Retreat Cost by a particular amount are stacked on top of effects that make something like Retreat Cost vanish, the vanishing effect takes priority.

== SCOOP UP NET (SW:Rebel Clash)

Q. When playing Scoop Up Net, do I put all Pokemon stages into my hand or just the Basic or highest stage?
A. You put all of the Pokemon cards into your hand, including all Stages if applicable.

== SONIA (SW:Rebel Clash)

Q. When using Sonia can I get one Pokemon and one Basic Energy card?
A. No, you can get up to two of one kind or the other; you cannot mix & match.

PokePopCast 29: Marnie – Judge Seminar in a Card

Sorry for the delay in getting this one out. I actually recorded most of it a couple of months ago, but I had to revise the last section (see the video) and then the world (and my life) took a bit of a sideways turn. But you don’t want to hear about that.
So, in this video, we quickly cover the main rule changes that came with Sword & Shield and then use Marnie to go into a lot of different topics that judges should always be aware of. Hope you enjoy it!