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.

Unbroken Bonds Prerelease FAQs

 

Well, this is another big set and we have a lot of FAQs for you to use at your events that start tomorrow. Let’s get right into it. We have a pdf file attached to this article as well as the FAQs posted right here. Use whichever works better for you:

FAQ-SM10 noted

SM: Unbroken Bonds – FAQ

POKEMON ABILITIES:

== BATTERY (Charjabug – SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. Would Honchkrow GX’s “Ruler of the Night” Ability prevent me from using Charjabug’ “Battery” Ability to attach it to Vikavolt as an Energy card?
A. Yes it would prevent that because Charjabug would be a Special Energy card being played from your hand.

== DEDECHANGE (Dedenne – SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. For Dedenne’s “Dedechange” Ability, can I use it if I have no hand to discard?
A. Yes, you can. A hand of zero cards is still a hand, so you would discard nothing and then draw six cards.

== EMERGE (Metapod – SM:Unbroken Bonds)
Q. If I use Caterpie’s “Pupate” Poke-POWER to successfully evolve into Metapod, can I then immediately use Metapod’s “Emerge” Poke-POWER to attempt to evolve into Butterfree, all on the same turn?
A. Yes, you can. (Feb 21, 2008 PUI Rules Team)

Q. Can I use Caterpie’s “Pupate” Ability or Metapod’s “Emerge” Ability on the first turn of the game or the turn that the Pokemon came into play?
A. Yes. There is no restriction on the Ability.

== FORCE CANCELER (Celesteela GX – SM:Unbroken Bonds)

A. If I have Celesteela GX with “Force Canceler” Ability active, what happens if my opponent uses Venomoth GX’s “Ten-Card Return GX” attack?
Q. It works normally. Nothing is being done to YOUR Pokemon so nothing is blocked. {Note: The damage would be blocked since it is done to Celesteela GX. The ruling is about the effect of shuffling and drawing cards. – Pop}

== INTIMIDATING FANG (Sandile – SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. Does Sandile’s “Intimidating Fang” Ability also reduce damage done to Benched Pokemon?
A. Yes, it reduces all damage done by the opponent’s Active Pokemon. Damage to your Defending Pokemon, your Benched Pokemon, and even damage done to your opponent’s own Pokemon!

== METAL EATER (Melmetal – SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. Can I use Melmetal’s “Metal Eater” Ability to discard a {M} Pokemon from my hand if Melmetal is not damaged?
A. Yes you can. The first part of Metal Eater is to discard a {M} Pokemon from your hand, period. Then you do as much of the rest of the Ability as you are able to.

== PUPATE (Caterpie – SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. If I use Caterpie’s “Pupate” Poke-POWER to successfully evolve into Metapod, can I then immediately use Metapod’s “Emerge” Poke-POWER to attempt to evolve into Butterfree, all on the same turn?
A. Yes, you can. (Feb 21, 2008 PUI Rules Team)

Q. Can I use Caterpie’s “Pupate” Ability or Metapod’s “Emerge” Ability on the first turn of the game or the turn that the Pokemon came into play?
A. Yes. There is no restriction on those Abilities.

== RULER OF THE NIGHT (Honchcrow GX – SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. Would Honchkrow GX’s “Ruler of the Night” Ability prevent me from using Charjabug’s “Battery” Ability to attach it to Vikavolt as an Energy card?
A. Yes it would prevent that because Charjabug would be a Special Energy card being played from your hand.

== SWELLING SPITE (Gastly – SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. If Gastly with the “Swelling Spite” Ability is my last Pokemon in play and is Knocked Out, do I get to search for 2 Haunter and put them on my Bench or do I lose the game?
A. Yes, you get to use the Ability before you lose. Gastly is Knocked Out, the opponent takes a Prize card, and then you search your deck for 2 Haunter and put them onto your Bench. (Then you would have to promote one of the Haunter as your new Active Pokemon.)

POKEMON ATTACKS:

== BRING DOWN (Greninja – SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. If one of my Pokemon has the least HP remaining and I use Greninja’s “Bring Down” attack, would it Knock Out my own Pokemon?
A. Yes! And your opponent gets to take the Prize card(s) for it.

== DARK UNION GX (Greninja & Zoroark GX – SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. If I use Greninja & Zoroark GX’s “Dark Union GX” attack, can I put Honchkrow GX or other {D} type Evolution Pokemon GX directly onto the bench?
A. Yes, you can.

Q. If an Evolution Pokemon has been put directly into play by using Greninja & Zoroark GX’s “Dark Union GX” attack can I attach Triple Acceleration Energy to it?
A. Yes, as long as the Evolution Pokemon says “Evolves from…” on it.

== DUAL BLIZZARD (Dewgong – SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. Does Dewgong’s “Dual Blizzard” attack let you do 60 damage each to two separate Pokemon, or does it do 60 total damage split between the two any way I like?
A. It does 60 damage to each of the two Pokemon separately. And don’t forget to apply Weakness & Resistance where applicable.

== HIGH-HEAT BLAST (Volcanion – SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. Can the {R}{R} energy used for Volcanion’s “High-Heat Blast” attack count as part of the “at least 4 {R} Energy in play” bonus damage?
A. Yes, it can.

== HYPNOTIC REIGN (Malamar – SM:Unbroken Bonds)
Q. When I use one of my opponent’s Pokemon’s non-GX attacks with Malamar’s “Hypnotic Reign”, do I need to have the energy required in order to use that attack?
A. No you do not, but you need to do any necessary effects such as discarding Energy

== PERPLEXING EYES (Meowstic – SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. When I use Meowstic’s “Perplexing Eyes” attack does it change my opponent’s active Pokemon’s weakness before I do damage?
A. No. Do damage first, then apply effects.

Q. If my opponent has no Weakness and I use Meowstic’s “Perplexing Eyes” attack, will I do extra damage on my next turn due to Weakness?
A. If a Pokemon has no Weakness printed on the card, Perplexing Eyes will give that Pokemon a x2 Weakness to {P}.

== SEVERE POISON (Muk & Alolan Muk GX – SM:Unbroken Bonds; Crobat – SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. If I had used Muk & Alolan Muk GX’s “Severe Poison” attack that places extra Poison damage counters and in the next turn use Koga’s Trap, do they still place the extra Poison damage?
A. No, they don’t. The new, normal Poison Special Condition replaces the old Severe Poison Special Condition.

Q. If I use a Trainer card to switch my Active Pokemon that is affected by Poison from Muk & Alolan Muk GX’s “Severe Poison” attack and Dust Island is in play, does my new Active Pokemon take the extra damage counters?
A. Yes, it does. Dust Island specifies that it is affected by “that Special Condition”.

== SURPRISE FIST (Pyukumuku – SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. For Pyukumuku’s “Surprise Fist” attack, what happens if Rock-Paper-Scissors ends in a tie?
A. You have to play R-P-S until there is a winner; you cannot end it in a tie.

Q. Is it OK to roll a dice to randomize my Rock-Paper-Scissors choice?
A. No. R-P-S is a game of strategy. You must not appear to be randomizing your choice by any method. (Oct 16, 2008 PUI Rules Team)

Q. Can I use dice or cards to indicate my throw in Rock-Paper-Scissors?
A. You may not use dice to indicate your choice, as it is too easy to manipulate the dice while it is covered. The requirements for R-P-S cards are that they must have identical backs, that they clearly say “Rock” or “Paper” or “Scissors” on the front and that all themes on the cards be appropriate for a Pokemon Event as determined by the Head Judge. (Oct 16, 2008 PUI Rules Team)

Q. Is Rock-Paper-Scissors played by pumping my arm 2 times then throwing my choice, or pumping 3 times then throw?
A. According to the current “Play! Pokemon TCG Tournament Rules and Formats” document, the procedure is a three-count priming and then the simultaneous throw of the choice, for example, “Rock-Paper-Scissors-Shoot” with the choice thrown on “shoot”. (Oct 16, 2008 PUI Rules Team; Nov 21, 2013 TPCi Rules Team)

== TEN-CARD RETURN GX (Venomoth GX – SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. Can I use Venomoth GX’s “Ten-Card Return GX” attack if I have no cards in my hand?
A. Yes, but you must shuffle your deck before drawing cards.

Q. If I have Celesteela GX with “Force Canceler” Ability active, what happens if my opponent uses Venomoth GX’s “Ten-Card Return GX” attack?
A. It works normally. Nothing is being done to YOUR Pokemon so nothing is blocked.

TRAINER CARDS:

== BEAST BRINGER (SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q.If I’m playing in a Prerelease with 4 Prize Cards, what happens if I have Beast Bringer attached to an Ultra Beast and I Knock Out a GX Pokemon as my first Knock Out?
A. Nothing happens. The card specifies that you must have exactly 6 Prize cards remaining but you only have 4.

== DUST ISLAND (SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. If I use a Trainer card to switch my Active Pokemon that is affected by Poison from Muk & Alolan Muk GX’s “Severe Poison” attack and Dust Island is in play, does my new Active Pokemon take the extra damage counters?
A. Yes, it does. Dust Island specifies that it is affected by “that Special Condition”.

Q. If my opponent uses Pokemon Catcher or Escape Rope while Dust Island is in play, is my new Active Pokemon still poisoned.

A. No, it is not. Dust Island only works when a Trainer card is used to switch your own Pokemon; it does not apply when the Trainer card is played by your opponent.

== GREEN’S EXPLORATION (SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. If I have Pokemon GX with Abilities in play and the Power Plant Stadium is also play, can I now play Green’s Exploration since those Pokemon “have no Abilities”?
A. Yes, you would be able to play Green’s Exploration in that case.

== KOGA’S TRAP (SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. If I had used Muk & Alolan Muk GX’s “Severe Poison” attack that places extra Poison damage counters and in the next turn use Koga’s Trap, do they still place the extra Poison damage?
A. No, they don’t. The new, normal Poison Special Condition replaces the old Severe Poison Special Condition.

== LT. SURGE’S STRATEGY (SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. If I have already played a Supporter, can I then play Lt. Surge’s Strategy since I would be able to play 3 Supporters in total?
A. No. You would have to play Lt. Surge’s Strategy as your first Supporter in order to be able to play any additional Supporters during your turn.

Q. If I play Lt. Surge’s Strategy first, can I then play a second (or third) Lt. Surge’s Strategy to play more than 3 Supporters?
A. Nope, no matter how many Lt. Surge’s Strategy cards you play the total number of Supporter cards you can play during this turn is still only 3.

== POWER PLANT (SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. If I have Pokemon GX with Abilities in play and the Power Plant Stadium is also play, can I now play Green’s Exploration since those Pokemon “have no Abilities”?
A. Yes, you would be able to play Green’s Exploration in that case.

== RED’S CHALLENGE (SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. Can I play Red’s Challenge and fail the deck search?
A. No, because you are not searching for a specific type of card. It is public knowledge that your deck does have cards in it.

== WELDER (SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. If I use Welder to attach {R} Energy to my Pokemon, do I still get to use my one energy attachment for the turn?
A. Yes, you do. Doing something via an effect does not use up the normal actions you get during your turn.

ENERGY CARDS:

== TRIPLE ACCELERATION ENERGY (SM:Unbroken Bonds)

Q. If an Evolution Pokemon has been put directly into play by using Greninja & Zoroark GX’s “Dark Union GX” attack can I attach Triple Acceleration Energy to it?
A. Yes, as long as the Evolution Pokemon says “Evolves from…” on it.

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

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

POKÉMON ABILITIES:

== 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.

POKÉMON ATTACKS:

== 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.

TRAINER CARDS:

== 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”.

== UNIDENTIFIED FOSSIL (Sun & Moon—Team Up)

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!

POKEMON ABILITIES:

== 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.

POKEMON ATTACKS:

== 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.

TRAINER CARDS:

== 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.

Pokémon TCG Judge Guidance July 2018

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

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

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

Dropped Cards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Game Play Error: Major

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

Specifically:

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

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

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

Concessions and IDs

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

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

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

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

The General Event Rules state:

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Gentlemen’s Agreements

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

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

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

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

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!

Get Your FAQ for SM05 – Ultra Prism

PokeGym members and Pokemon Community, the FAQ for the new Sun & Moon set, Ultra Prism, has been released. Download your copy and alert your local judges to have a copy ready for the Prereleases starting this weekend.

Note that this only covers rulings needed for the Prerelease. Other rulings will be coming soon, but this is what you need for this weekend!
Download from the link below.
Enjoy!

FAQ-SM05