Archive for the ‘Rulings News’ Category

Last minute rulings before 2017 NAIC

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

This just in from Pokémon R&D  – right before North American International Championships – a handful of rulings updates. Here they are immediately– official formatting to follow later:

Q1: My opponent and I both have Sudowoodo with Roadblock in play. I use Hex Maniac on my turn to shut off Roadblock, and then I play 5 Pokémon on my Bench. My opponent plays 5 Pokémon on their Bench during their turn. At the end of my opponent’s turn, Hex Maniac’s effect ends, so Roadblock activates again. Who discards their Pokémon first? If the first player discards their Sudowoodo, would the other person need to discard a Benched Pokémon?

A1: It’s the opponent’s turn, so their Roadblock goes into effect first. You would discard your Pokémon first, and then your opponent would discard theirs. Even if you chose to discard your Sudowoodo, your opponent would have to discard down to 4 Benched Pokémon because the Roadblock effects happen simultaneously.

Q2: Can I use Brooklet Hill to search through my deck even if my Bench is full?

A2: No. Since your Bench is already full, it’s public knowledge that Brooklet Hill (a Trainer card) won’t have any effect, so you cannot search your deck.

Q3: Can I use Umbreon-GX’s Dark Call-GX attack to discard 2 Double Colorless Energy?

A3: Yes, you can select 1 Energy of each Double Colorless Energy to discard both of them. This applies for discarding your own Energy for an attack and retreating as well. So if you used Hoopa-EX’s Hyperspace Fury attack or paid its Retreat Cost of 2, discarding 2 Double Colorless Energy would be legal options.


Guidance for Pokémon TCG Judges from Pokémon Organized Play

Friday, December 18th, 2015

Team Compendium, Pokémon Organized Play (POP) and R&D have had multiple discussions prior to the 2015 US National Championships and at the 2015 World Championships. These discussions clarified for the Judge Staff how Pokémon wishes certain situations to be handled. POP is clarifying some of these in their Penalty Guidelines, but 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 by POP and R&D and reflects their guidance.


Decklist Penalties:

The new Penalty Guidelines for the 2015-2016 season have been clarified and somewhat revised. There has been confusion in the past about best practices in this area, so don’t be surprised if the following doesn’t match up with how decklist issues have been handled in your area. This is, however, how Pokémon wants decklist issues to be handled going forward.

Previously, deck issues carried a relatively light penalty. Unless it was both an illegal list and an illegal deck, the penalty was only a Caution or a Warning. However, the “fix” to the deck problem was seen by many players as much harsher than the actual penalty. The usual fix of any mismatch between a deck and a decklist that could not be uniquely determined was the replacement of the offending card with a Basic Energy card.

Going forward, the fix of the deck will be more forgiving, however most Deck Penalties will start at Game Loss. The only exception will be Legal Deck, Legal Decklist, which will start at a Prize Loss.


If card has been listed but is unclear, the contents of the deck can be used to determine what the correct card should be. For example, if a list just says “Squirtle” but not the set or set number, then the decklist will be corrected and updated using the information from the actual Squirtle card in the deck. The player will keep the Squirtle in their deck. If the judge staff determines that a player is purposely swapping out similar cards, this penalty will be escalated to Unsporting Conduct: Cheating.


If a card is not listed at all, such as a decklist that has less than 60 cards listed, then it cannot have additional cards from the deck added to the list to bring the total up to 60. The unlisted card(s) must be replaced with Basic Energy. If the decklist lists a card but the deck contains another, then the decklist takes precedence and the deck must be corrected to match, or the non-listed card will be replaced with Basic Energy. In both of these cases, a Game Loss is the penalty.


Generally speaking, while a decklist/deck problem will earn a Game Loss, penalties can be still be escalated based on the Judge determining if any significant advantage has been gained.


Answering Players’ questions during an event:


Judges have generally been following a rule of thumb of not answering most hypothetical questions from players and waiting until the action is actually performed before ruling on what happens as a result. The reasoning for this has been a reluctance to appear or actually give guidance that could be seen as “Coaching”.

While the sentiment is laudable, feedback from Pokémon R&D and POP indicates judges have been too strict in this regard. Pokémon has instructed that players’ questions of fact and rulings on card interactions are to be given to players when requested. The only types of questions that should not be answered are advice questions, such as “should I do this or should I do that?”

If there is a choice involved and are you being asked to help choose one choice vs another, do not answer that question. Any question along the lines of “if X is done to Y, what is the result?” should be answered. Note that this doesn’t necessarily mean that we will be human calculators for players. If a player asks, “Will this attack do X damage?”, you should ask them to walk through their calculations and then either confirm or correct them. This will give them the correct answer without encouraging them to be lazy about doing the math themselves.


Deck and discard pile arrangement:


POP is concerned with clarity of the Game Play area so that judges can easily see in passing what the game state is. However, this needs to be balanced with a player’s needs to have the layout arranged in a manner that makes their gameplay smooth and easy. While the Rule Book includes a layout of the game play area, it is not meant to be enforced rigidly. It has become widely known that Pokémon allows players to switch the layout between right side and left side to make play easier for left handed players. So it is permissible for the deck and discard pile to be on the left hand size and the Prize cards on the right. The important thing is that the deck and discard pile are on one side and Prize cards (and Lost Zone) are on the other side. This gives sufficient clarity to the game state for judges to see what is going on, while also accommodating left handed players.

Similarly, Pokémon in not concerned about whether the deck and discard piles are switched in the layout. There are a number of good reasons that a Player might wish their discard pile to be further away from the table’s edge. They are still easily distinguished from each other, as one is face up and the other is face down. Do not interrupt a match to enforce a layout that does not impact the game’s clarity.


Note that the deck still needs to be orientated “north/south” with the open end of the sleeve facing away from the player as this requirement is in place to address specific cheating concerns. That has not changed.

2013-2014 Cities Announcements Worksheet

Friday, December 6th, 2013

For those organizing cities this fall and winter, here is a Cities Announcement Worksheet. It contains an outline for 3 sets of announcements… Judges meeting, Player’s Meeting and Top Cut meeting.

What can you do with it?

  • Download it, edit it and use it in your Cities organizing.
  • Comment on it… if there is something applicable to everyone (or a correction), let us know!

Have a great City season!

–Team Compendium

For CC 2010 Playtesters – Insight, Space Virus and Legend Box.

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

We have a few batches of questions where not all the questions have been answered. Mixed in among those batches are some answered questions relevant to Cities, that we’d like to publish here so that they get out there in time. Here they are in no particular order:

Q. When Yanmega tries to attack, do you evaluate the number of cards in your hand for the “Insight” Poke-BODY before or after discarding a card for Giratina Lv.X’s “Invisible Tentacles” Poke-BODY?
A. The Insight Poke-BODY is evaluated before your attack even begins; therefore it is checked before discarding any cards for Invisible Tentacles. (Nov 11, 2010 PUI Rules Team)
Q. If Deoxys & Rayquaza LEGEND knocks out a Dialga [G] Lv.X with the “Time Crystal” Poke-BODY, does Deoxys & Rayquaza LEGEND’s “Space Virus” Poke-BODY turn on in time for it to take two prizes?
A. When Dialga [G] Lv.X is KO’d and discarded, the Space Virus Poke-BODY turns back on and allows the player to take 1 more prize card. (Sep 23, 2010 PUI Rules Team)
Q. On the part of Legend Box where it talks about “you can play only 1 Pokemon LEGEND in this way”, is that just for the play of the card, or for the entire game?
A. It only lasts for as long as the Trainer is being used.  It just means that if you reveal two or more complete Pokemon LEGENDs that you can only put one of them onto your bench for that trainer card played. (Sep 23, 2010 PUI Rules Team)

Updated rulings on GUARD, Looker’s Investigation, Conductivity

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

We wanted to provide a further heads-up on the new way to play bench swap attacks versus a protected active (and also, fyi Conductivity, confirmation on Looker). These rulings will be in effect for the World Championships 2010.

The wording is not official yet, but we’ve been asked to get the word out. Here’s the summary

  1. For Looker’s Investigation, declare the number of cards you will draw before you start drawing; if you don’t declare, you will draw the maximum.
  2. An active protected by Guard or Anticipation can be switched by an attack that targets an unprotected benched Pokemon (see below).
  3. There is a return to the “simultaneous-trigger for different effects allows the controlling player to choose the order in which the effects are applied” meta-ruling and this affects Conductivity (see below).


P== ANTICIPATION (Toxicroak [G] – PL:Platinum)
P== GUARD (Unown G – DP:Great Encounters)
A== INVITING TRAP (Trapinch – DP:Secret Wonders)
A== LURING FLAME (Blaziken [FB] – PL:Supreme Victors)

Q. If my opponent has a Toxicroak [G] with the “Anticipation” Poke-BODY or a Pokemon with Unown-G attached as a tool with its “GUARD” Poke-Power active, can I use my Trapinch’s “Inviting Trap” attack or Blaziken [FB]’s “Luring Flame” attack and choose to switch the Defending Pokemon with one of their benched Pokemon?
A. Yes, it can. The intended wording of Trapinch’s Inviting Trap and Blaziken [FB]’s Luring Flame place an effect on the Benched Pokemon, so even if the Defending Pokemon has a condition that prevent effects of attacks the switch can still occur. (Aug 5, 2010 PUI Rules Team)

Q. If my opponent has a Toxicroak [G] with the “Anticipation” Poke-BODY on their bench, or a Pokemon with Unown-G attached as a tool with its “GUARD” Poke-Power on their bench, can I use my Trapinch’s “Inviting Trap” attack or Blaziken [FB]’s “Luring Flame” attack and choose to switch the Defending Pokemon with one of those on the bench?
A. No, you cannot.  The intended wording of Trapinch’s Inviting Trap and Blaziken [FB]’s Luring Flame place an effect on the Benched Pokemon, so if the Benched Pokemon has a condition that prevents effects of attacks excluding damage done, the switch cannot occur.  (Aug 5, 2010 PUI Rules Team)

P== CONDUCTIVITY (Dark Ampharos – Neo:Destiny; Ampharos EX – EX:Dragon; Ampharos – HS:Heart Gold/Soul Silver)
P== AQUA REACTION (Helix Fossil – DP:Majestic Dawn; Helix Fossil – PL:Arceus)
P== ROCK REACTION (Dome Fossil – DP:Majestic Dawn; Dome Fossil – PL:Arceus)

Q. What happens if Ampharos with the “Conductivity” Poke-BODY is in play and I attach the appropriate energy card to my Dome Fossil or Helix Fossil to activate their “Rock Reaction” or “Aqua Reaction” Poke-BODY?
A. Attaching an Energy card to Dome Fossil or Helix Fossil causes its Poke-BODY and Ampharos’ Conductivity to trigger at the same time, so the player can resolve them in the order of their choosing.  If you resolve Conductivity first, the Fossil Pokemon takes a damage counter and then evolves.  However, if you resolve Rock Reaction or Aqua Reaction first, the Fossil’s Poke-BODY searches for a card and evolves, but Conductivity no longer sees the Pokemon that triggered it, so no damage counter is placed. (Aug 5, 2010 PUI Rules Team)

Q. Would Flygon’s “Energy Shower” attack set off Ampharos-EX’s “Conductivity” power? Like if I set down 6 energy, it would do 60 Damage (however I set down the energy)? And if yes, would the damage be done to Flygon or to each separate Pokemon. that I attach an energy to?
A. Yes, Flygon would indeed trigger Ampharos-EX’s Conductivity; it also works the same way for Azumarill’s “Drizzle” attack. And the damage would be done to each individual Pokemon that gets an energy attached to it. (Jan 29, 2004 PUI Rules Team)

Q. If I have Quagsire and my opponent has Ampharos-EX in play and I attach an energy card to my Quagsire from my hand, which Poke-POWER gets applied first, Saturation or Conductivity?
A. Conductivity and Saturation happen at the same time, so the player attaching energy would get to decide which effect to apply first. (Mar 3, 2005 PUI Rules Team)

Errata for two cards from Unleashed along with Lucky Egg

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Three cards have been added to the list of errata for the Pokémon Trading Card Game.

Please note the three cards are receiving errata to address text changes. The text below reflects what the card should say, not what was originally printed. Additionally, we have added notes to help understand what has changed on the cards. You can see a complete list of TCG Errata on the rules and resources page.

Lucky Egg (Platinum—Arceus, 88/89)
When the Pokémon this card is attached to is Knocked Out by damage from an opponent’s attack and put into your discard pile, draw cards until you have 7 cards in your hand.

If the Pokémon does not go to the discard pile (for example, if it goes to the Lost Zone, etc.), you do not get to draw the cards.

Onix (HS—Unleashed, 56/95)
(Poké-Body) Energy Healer
When you attach an Energy card from your hand to Onix, remove a damage counter from Onix.

This Poké-Body only works when you attach an Energy card to Onix.

PlusPower (HS—Unleashed, 80/95)
If the Pokémon PlusPower is attached to attacks, the attack does 10 more damage to the Active Pokémon (before applying Weakness and Resistance).

This is to match past versions of the card. Also, if the Pokémon uses an attack that would damage itself, PlusPower would also affect that damage.

Buried Treasure – Rediscovering Lv.X Answers

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Now that the EX series cards, with their different meanings for the terms “Trainer” and “Basic Pokémon or Evolution card”, have been removed from the modified format allowed at Premier events, there are fewer posted questions about basic rules changes introduced by Diamond and Pearl. We premiere event players and Pokémon League members are now so used to the rules changes introduced by the Diamond and Pearl expansion, that we’ve moved on to wondering about format changes and working on our understanding of the Platinum changes (SP Pokémon and the like). However, people still ask the Rules Team members basic questions about Lv.X cards.

When the awesome Diamond and Pearl expansion first came out a New Additions document was published describing most of the changes to the game rules. Google claims that this document is not linked anywhere anymore (we’ll fix that). Some of the points in that document are still being asked about in 2009, but those points were not fully reproduced in the “What’s new in the Diamond & Pearl expansion?” summary in the basic online rulebook. Most of the points from the Lv.X section of the above document ARE covered in the printed rule books that come with the pre-constructed theme decks in each expansion.

As an aside, did we mention that judges should buy a theme deck or trade their players to obtain a recent rule book? Well, I recommend doing that and also keeping it with you during tournaments… it resolves some questions that your other references do not!

Back to our Lv.X archaeology, here is a quote of the Lv.X section from the New Additions document:

Pokémon LV. X

The Diamond & Pearl expansion introduces a new type of Pokémon—Pokémon LV. X! These cards represent the most powerful extremes that a Pokémon can reach, granting extra abilities, attacks, and more HP. They are played similarly to an Evolution card but have special rules as well.

  • A Pokémon LV. X can’t be played on a Pokémon that evolved that turn or on a LV. X already in play. (For example, if you evolved your Pokémon to Torterra this turn, you could not play Torterra LV. X on that Pokémon.)
  • When a Pokémon LV. X is played, it keeps all cards attached to it as well as any damage counters it already had. It also keeps all attacks, Poké‐Powers, and Poké‐Bodies from the earlier level.
  • When a Pokémon LV. X is played, it removes all Special Conditions and other effects from that Pokémon.
  • A Pokémon LV. X shares the same name as the Pokémon it is put on top of. (For example, you can only have 4 Torterra in your deck—you could have 2 Torterra and 2 Torterra LV. X but not 4 of each.)
  • A Pokémon LV. X is not considered an Evolution card. Cards that allow a player to search his or her deck for an Evolution card only (such as Professor Elm’s Training Method) cannot be used to retrieve a Pokémon LV. X. If an effect removes the highest Stage Evolution card from a Pokémon LV. X, both the earlier evolution that the Pokémon LV. X is on top of and the Pokémon LV. X are removed.

Some of those statements are irrelevant to the current format (i.e. Professor Elm’s Training Method), but others relate to questions that are still being asked in 2009.

  1. Can I level up one Shaymin Lv.X card with the other, and if I do, can I use the attacks on the previous card?
    This seemed like a head-scratcher at first, but it seems it’s addressed directly in the first bullet in the New Additions document: No.
  2. Can I Level-up a Pokémon I just evolved or was just played this turn?

As far as I can tell, you can’t find rules statement related to question #1 in a document anywhere online, other than this the New Additions and a somewhat oblique reference in the Compendium Lv.X. And, statements answering question #2 is found nowhere online outside the New Additions document (and maybe Ask the Rules Team forum). Please post links that I didn’t find!

So, above, for your enjoyment is a link the “New Additions” document. Enjoy! It should show up soon on a Rules Team agenda to see what items need to be submitted for rulings; any rulings received will, of course, be recorded in the Compendium Lv.X.

Judges – heads up heading into City Championships

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Now that we have rulings back from PUI and posted in time for City Championships, let’s take a quick look at a few things that could come up and would be good to have worked out ahead of time.


This beastie’s Poké-POWER, Fainting Spell, is going to be one you will encounter and need to be sharp about. In no particular order:

  • Psychic Lock doesn’t interact with Fainting Spell anymore than it did with Phoenix Turn.
  • Fainting Spell is not turned off by special conditions.
  • Fainting Spell is not triggered by:
    • being devolved
    • KO by special conditions
    • KO by placing damage counters
  • It is NOT a mandatory game action (no POWER is)
    • watch out for rushing by the opponent to short-circuit the activation
    • don’t force it to be applied or rewind to it when someone legitimately forgot to apply it


Ttar’s Poké-BODY, Darkness Drive, happens AFTER the effect of any Poké-POWER, so of course it can pick up a Darkness energy discarded from your deck by a POWER.

Type Casting

As you know, Stormfront Infernape and Torterra don’t get the benefit of abilities like Wild Growth and Heat Metal because of their type… until they level up. The Lv.X card’s type applies when it is in play.

Our old friend Charizard, in like manner gets the benefit of Heat Metal when it is Fire type, even if the attached energy is natively, say Darkness type. However, if you change Charizard’s type, say with Weavile, then you can’t get the benefit of Heat Metal.

1 time, 2 times and half a time

Luxury Ball can’t be used if another copy is in the discard. Using the effect one time is good but using the effect of a second copy is bad. You might want to huddle up with the HJ & TO and decide your approaches to this, if it happens. In my opinion, it’s not quite as game breaking as past abuses, such as a double Quick Search or POW! Hand Extension while ahead on prizes. It is kind of on the order of leaving a Protective Orb on a basic while you Rocket’s Admin… a little *illegal* edge.

Raichu’s Link Lightning let’s your players attack twice in a turn. Players can use Voltage Shoot twice, if they have the requirements. However, if there are two KO’s from the attacks, the opponent replaces his or her active after the first KO and the Raichu player takes a prize before the second attack!

The Poke … + cards — Healer, Blower, Drawer — can be played for ‘half the effect’. Again, what if a player drops one Poke Blower + and summons his opponent’s Pokemon from the bench? This is something, like flipping cards for Gallade’s Psychic Cut, which needs to be done all at once. Again, you might huddle up ahead of time and decide how you’re going to work through the situation if it comes up… either accidentally or on purpose.

If you want to follow up on any of these things, look up the italicized terms in the index of the Rulings Compendium LvX and reference the cards themselves in the Researching Tower.

The Finer Points

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Over the course of the season, Team Compendium, the PTOs and judges at big events often hear directly from the POP leadership on how the game should be played; those rulings are often put into place for big events, such as National Championships or Worlds. At my Battle Roads, I found myself coaching my players on some of these rulings so that they would be ready to compete in big events. As I travelled this fall, I collected these rulings into a document. This collection was recently submitted to the Rules Team and POP for review. After a few changes, we created the Q/A you find in the document below. Enjoy.


Rulings Compendium Update September 11, 2008

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Recent PUI Rulings on PokéGym member questions about Unown G teach us a few things. None of what we learn is really focused Unown G, but that card makes a good test for several cases.