Archive for the ‘Site News’ Category

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.

Team Compendium at US Nationals 2014

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Team Compendium has updated the Compendium site’s ‘for Judges’ page with references covered at the U.S. Nationals Judge Seminar. Check out the updates.

Greetings from Team Compendium at 2014 US National Championships!

Greetings from Team Compendium at 2014 US National Championships!

Compendium BW

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Team Compendium is pleased to announce the latest editions of The Pokemon Trading Card Game Rulings Compendium, The Compendium BW. The features of the Compendium BW include:

  • Streamlined rulings, pre-HGSS rulings removed, except those that are still relevant
  • Updated existing rulings, applied to Abilities & Trainers as appropriate [with edited text in brackets]
  • Updated links, to card scans from the PokeGym Researching Tower
  • Comprehensive index, so you can jump right to or bookmark a specific ruling

Check it all out at

Did I say, editions, plural? Yes! There is now a mobile edition of the Compendium BW at

This mobile edition is designed to work with your iOS & Android mobile phones (and maybe some others!). Right now, it requires an Internet connection to use on your mobile device.

And if you read between the lines here or read the introduction carefully, you’ll know there are a couple more editions in the works.

Please give us your feedback, corrections and considered suggestions in this article’s thread on the PokeGym. If the mobile edition works (or doesn’t work) on your phone, we’d like to know the model of phone and version of its operating system.

Thank you, loyal Compendium readers, for how much you care about good rulings! These editions are for you.


PokeGym down, Compendium Up

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

During the PokeGym outage (there is an upgrade in progress), all the rulings are still available from the Compendium site (links at left) and the Compendium site will be up. You can follow the progress of the upgrade on the PokeGym Facebook page and also in the comments to this post.

New Compendium Site Theme and Review of 2008 Projects

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

We had a lot of changes for the Rulings Compendium and its website in 2008: the Compendium leveled up, gaining a hyperlinked index, links to relevant scans from the gallery and shifting to cover all the most relevant rulings for modified format. Last Fall we moved the Compendium back to its own site, at a URL separate from the main PokéGym site, where you can find articles about the latest rulings as well as an RSS feed for the rulings updates as we get them from Pokémon USA.

The Pokémon TCG Rulings Compendium continues to be available in 3 editions, the original (WotC rulings), the EX version (with the first four years of PUI rulings) and the current LvX edition. You can find them all linked on one page at the Compendium Site — just click the “The Compendium” link.

If you haven’t had a chance to look at the “For Judges” or “For Players” tabs yet, we encourage you to do so and provide us with some feedback. The intent is to provide each audience with a short list of essential rulings resources and supplement that with a longer list of useful additional resources.

The Compendium LvX is currently available in two formats, HTML & iSilo (for your PDA). We hope to return to having PDF available soon. Some kind friends of the Compendium have offered to create and upload a PDF, and we’ll be going to that before States if we haven’t completed the project to create it automatically when we update (just like the iSilo version).

The main graphic theme of the site is build around the Compendium Pokédex, created for us by Julia Hedberg, Purity of Pokemon ZEO fame. Matt Riddle, aka Prime on has reworked this ‘dex in vector graphic format, allowing us to use it at various resolutions and giving it a 3D look. And, today, for those with small monitors (or slow connections), we’ve added a second theme to the site (Vesper) and a theme chooser you can use to select it.

We do appreciate webmasters linking to the main Compendium web site. Now that it has its own domain again, that URL shouldn’t change in the future. If you have a link to the old cpdmhome or pkcompendium URLs we appreciate you updating them to .  Whether you’re a webmaster or just have a personal website or social networking page, we encourage you to link to us at the top level address and, if possible, use our cool web button. See the instructions on our “Link Us” page for super-simple copy/paste way to link the Compendium site. We appreciate you linking the site top-level URL, as the URL to the latest Compendium is subject to change.

Thank you for your support of the changes to the Pokemon TCG Rulings Compendium in 2008! We forward to making further improvements to the usability of this compendium of official Pokémon TCG rulings in 2009.

Tell us what you think…

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Tell us what you think of the new Pokemon Rulings Compendium site!

What do you like about it? What would make it more useful?


New Compendium Site

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Ah! We’re once again in the midst of making the Compendium site more accessible and more feature-filled. Please bear with us. The basics are all here… (more…)