Pokemon has announced some very exciting changes coming to Play! Pokemon this upcoming season, as you can read below!
Battle Roads will now be named “League Challenge” tournaments and will be played at Pokemon Leagues at the end of each League season, allowing for more opportunities to play in the tournaments (and giving Pokemon League more of a function). Best-of-three will be implemented at tournaments above the City Championship level. Championship events will now have a max top cut of 8 and some of the larger events will be split into two days. The Professor Program will be reinvented to include all non-player positions under Play! Pokemon and will also feature a new ranking system based on tenure.
In addition to the Player Rewards program being discontinued, tournaments will now have entry fees for Masters Division players. This is because the Masters Division will now have increased prize support (just like the first 2003-2004 tournament season under PUSA, where you had to pay maybe $5 to play but got a lot more in prizes). If the entry fees are nominal, this should be exciting, especially since the prizes will reach further down the chain now!
Update: The season’s schedule is now up too!
Battle Road Tournaments
New for the 2014 season, Pokémon TCG Battle Road tournaments will now be associated with Pokémon League locations worldwide. Active Pokémon Leagues with a Tournament Organizer on staff will have the opportunity to run a League Challenge tournament at the end of each League season. League Challenge Championship Points awards and Best Finish Limits will not be affected.
This change will give more players an opportunity to test their mettle in a Premier Event, as well as give players more opportunities and flexibility to participate in League Challenge tournaments year-round.
League Challenge tournaments will continue to feature Swiss-only play with no top cut. Organizers of League Challenge tournaments will have the option to run best-of-three or single-game Swiss rounds.
Swiss Match Play and Single-Elimination Changes
Beginning in 2014, Play! Pokémon TCG Championship Events above the City Championships level will begin using best-of-three match play in Swiss rounds. Best-of-three Swiss rounds will have a time limit of 50 minutes plus three turns. As we make this move to match play, this also means that ties will be reintroduced into Pokémon TCG tournaments. Be sure to check the updated Tournament Rules documents for details.
Championship events will now also have a maximum top cut of eight players (Top 8). Some larger Premier Events will feature two-day splits, in which players with the top records from the first day’s Swiss rounds move on to play a second day of Swiss rounds prior to the Top 8 playoffs.
Pokémon Video Game Championship Series
Stay tuned for announcements following the release of Pokémon X and Pokémon Y on October 12th, 2013, for additional rules, format, and information regarding Pokémon video game tournaments. The Pokémon Autumn Regional Championships will be the final tournaments featuring Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 before transitioning to Pokémon X and Pokémon Y.
Tournament Entry Fees
Beginning in the 2014 tournament season, Pokémon TCG Masters Division players will pay for entry into Premier Events. Fees charged for entry will be determined by the event organizer and will be included in each tournament listing well in advance of the event. Junior and Senior Division players will still pay no entry fees for Premier Events (aside from Prerelease tournaments).
Players in Pokémon video game tournaments will continue to pay no entry fees.
Changes to Tournament Prize Structure
Play! Pokémon will be increasing prize support in the TCG Masters Division to coincide with the change to entry fees. Masters Division booster pack prizes will be increased at City Championships level and above, and prizes will be given to more players lower in the finish order. Four additional World Championships Travel Awards will also be added to the U.S. National Championships Masters Division. On top of that, Tournament Organizers may choose to award additional prizes to one or more age divisions. Be sure to check the tournament listings for details!
Also new for 2014, U.S. National Championships Travel Awards and Travel Stipends will now be awarded to the top TCG performers in the season’s Championship Point rankings. Travel Awards and Travel Stipends will be awarded as follows, based on Championship Point rankings at the end of Spring Regionals:
- 1st–16th: Travel Award and a $300 Travel Stipend
- 17th–30th: $750 Travel Stipend
- 31st–60th: $500 Travel Stipend
- 61st–100th: $300 Travel Stipend
Pokémon video game players will also earn U.S. National Championships Travel Awards and Travel Stipends based on their season’s Championship Point rankings at the end of the Spring Regional Championships. Pokémon video game Travel Awards and Travel Stipends are as follows:
- 1st–16th: Travel Award and $300 Travel Stipend
- 17th–32nd: $700 Travel Stipend
- 33rd–64th: $350 Travel Stipend
In addition, the 1st-place finisher in each video game division at each Regional Championships will win a Nintendo 3DS handheld system. Championship Points will also determine which players earn video game Travel Awards to the 2014 Pokémon World Championships. View the Video Game Championship Points page for more details.
Championship Points earned at the 2013 World Championships will not be factored into the rankings until after the U.S. National Championships.
Player Rewards Program
The Player Rewards Program will be discontinued in the 2014 season. We will be reallocating the funds from the Rewards Program into other Play! Pokémon programs throughout the year. Player Rewards for the 2013 season will be shipped out in the 4th quarter of 2013 to all eligible players.
All Tournament Organizer, League Organizer, and Judge roles will now be part of our new Professor Program. Professors will be ranked based on their tenure, activity throughout the year, and the exams they choose to take. Professor ranks will determine the rewards that can be earned and the opportunity provided to staff larger events, and will eventually dictate the prize support available for the events that they help organize and run.
The changes to the Professor Program will be introduced as the season progresses. Keep an eye on Pokemon.com for additional information as it becomes available.
Look forward to the 2014 Play! Pokémon season, with more opportunities to play, more prizes, and more fun for everyone! Keep checking Pokemon.com for updates as the season gets under way.