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Pokémon Trading Card Game

The Pokémon Trading Card Game (Pokémon TCG) is a collectible card game based on the Pokémon video game series, first introduced in Japan in October 1996, then North America in December 1998. It was initially published by Wizards of the Coast, the company that produces Magic: the Gathering. Although Wizards of the Coast lost the licence to publish the game in July 2003, sets continue to be published under the jurisdiction of Nintendo and Pokémon USA, Inc. (PUI).

Game concepts

The game is centered on the concept of the Pokémon battle. All Pokémon cards have attacks and Hit Points (HP) except for energy cards and trainer cards; by doing damage to the opponent's Pokémon equal to their Hit Points, the player can knock them out and send them to the discard pile.

Victory conditions

There are three different ways to win a game:

  • The first type of win condition is to retrieve a set of "prize cards." A number of cards (usually six) are set aside from the top of each player's deck at the beginning of each game. Each time a player knocks out an opponent's Pokémon, he or she adds a prize card to his or her hand. Pokémon-ex cards, introduced in EX: Ruby and Sapphire, are more powerful than their non-ex counterparts, but allow a player who knocks them out to take two prize cards instead of one.
  • Second, a player loses if his or her active Pokémon (the one currently conducting battle) is knocked out and he or she has no other Pokémon in play.
  • Third, a player must draw a card from the top of the deck at the beginning of his or her turn, and therefore loses if there are no cards remaining in the deck at the beginning of the turn. This is a trend common to most trading card games.

Card types

There are five types of cards in the Pokémon Trading Card Game: Pokémon cards, Energy cards, Trainer cards, Stadium cards, and Supporter cards. Though only Pokémon cards are necessary in a deck, both Energy cards and Trainer cards are important to achieving victory. A player's 60-card deck may only contain four cards with the same name, with the exception of Basic Energy cards.

Pokémon cards

Pokémon cards are the basis of all decks. Without them a player cannot play the game, since both players begin the game by placing a Basic Pokémon in the active position on the playing field. Each Pokémon card depicts a Pokémon from the video games. Each player may have up to six Pokémon on the playing field at a time: one “active” Pokémon and up to five on the bench (these are considered to be in reserve, but they can still affect gameplay). Each Pokémon card has a name, type, amount of Hit Points, level of evolution, attack(s), weakness, resistance, retreat cost, and flavor text. Some Pokémon have effects, called Poké-Powers or Poké-Bodies, that are not attacks but can affect gameplay; occasionally a Pokémon will have no attacks. From Diamond & Pearl onwards, each Pokémon's level is given next to its name, although not part of the name itself (e.g. Magnezone LV.48).

Most Pokémon feature attacks that deal damage to the opponent's active Pokémon, or occasionally, their benched Pokémon; still others perform different functions, such as manipulating players' possession of cards. The vast majority of these attacks require Energy, which comes in the form of Energy cards, though the occasional Pokémon may have an attack that requires no energy (these attacks typically are weak or perform a function other than damage). Once per turn, players can use one of their active Pokémon's attacks.

The two types of Pokémon cards are basic Pokémon and Evolution cards. Basic Pokémon are Pokémon that have not evolved, and can be played directly onto the Bench. Each deck must have at least one Basic Pokémon to be considered legal. In contrast, an Evolution card represents a Pokémon that has evolved. Evolution cards cannot normally be placed directly onto the field; they must be played on the corresponding Basic Pokémon. Stage 1 Pokémon evolve from Basic Pokémon, and Stage 2 Pokémon evolve from Stage 1 Pokémon. As a Pokémon evolves, it gains HP and can use Energy more effectively. Baby Pokémon cards, introduced in Neo Genesis, are a special kind of Basic Pokémon, sometimes distinguished by a Poké-Power called "Baby Evolution." Baby Pokémon have low HP, but their attacks have strange and sometimes very powerful effects. Baby Pokémon can evolve into another Basic Pokémon, specified on the card. When a Baby Pokémon evolves into what would normally be a Basic Pokémon, that Basic Pokémon counts as being an evolved Pokémon for the purposes of cards that affect Basic Pokémon and Evolution cards differently.

Variations of Basic, evolution, and Baby Pokémon cards have appeared in many sets, usually indicated with a word before or after the Pokémon's name.

Dark Pokémon, introduced in the Team Rocket set, have appeared primarily in expansion sets featuring Team Rocket. Stage 1 Dark Pokémon evolve from regular Basic Pokémon, and Stage 2 Dark Pokémon evolve from Stage 1 Dark Pokémon. Initially, they were characterized by having low HP but high damage. In EX Team Rocket Returns, this disadvantage was removed and Dark Pokémon were combined with the Darkness type. Instead, their weakness is that some Pokémon Tool cards cannot be attached to Dark Pokémon. Illustrations for Dark Pokémon have either solid-black shading or high contrast shading. Light Pokémon, the short-lived complement to Dark Pokémon, appeared only in Neo Destiny. They evolve in the same way as Dark Pokémon. Generally, Light Pokémon have high HP, but their attacks can help the opponent. Illustrations for Light Pokémon are often characterized by pastel colors, shining sunlight, and gradual shading.

Owner's Pokémon, introduced in Gym Heroes, belong to someone or something. Evolution cards with an owner's name must evolve from a Pokémon that also has that owner's name; for example, "Brock's Primeape" must evolve from a "Brock's Mankey." Like Dark Pokémon, Owner's Pokémon are restricted from certain Pokémon Tools. The "Rocket's" Pokémon are also counted as Owner's Pokémon and usually have no evolution.

Shining Pokémon were introduced in Neo Revelation and appear in Neo Destiny. They are based on the "Shiny Pokémon", rare Pokémon with alternate color forms, introduced in Pokémon Gold and Silver. They are incredibly powerful and rare, but require many different types of Energy to play. Shining Pokémon are limited to one of each kind per deck. Pokémon Star cards, introduced in EX Team Rocket Returns, are very similar, except that there is a limit of one Pokémon Star per deck, regardless of its name. Usually, Shining Pokémon and Pokémon Star are all Basic Pokémon, regardless of the species's stage of evolution in the video games.

Pokémon-ex, introduced in EX Ruby and Sapphire, are extremely powerful Pokémon that usually represent the last stage of evolution. Their HP and attack strength are usually far above that of their regular form. A disadvantage of Pokémon-ex is that when Knocked Out, the player who has done so takes two Prize cards instead of the usual one. The rest of the card game is balanced against Pokémon-ex as well: Some Pokémon do more damage to Pokémon-ex, some can prevent damage from Pokémon-ex, most Pokémon Tools do not work on Pokémon-ex, and some Trainer cards put Pokémon-ex at a disadvantage.

Pokémon LV.X, introduced in Diamond & Pearl, are more powerful versions of Pokémon. Like Delta Pokémon, they are not considered Pokémon of a different name. Pokémon Lv. X are played by putting them directly on the active Pokémon; however, as Pokémon LV.X do not count as either Basic Pokémon or Evolution cards, they do not "evolve" that Pokémon.

Energy cards

Energy cards are attached to a Pokémon to enable it to attack. There are two types of Energy cards: Basic Energy cards and Special Energy cards. There are eight different Basic Energy types: Fighting, Fire, Grass, Lightning, Psychic, Water, Darkness and Metal. Darkness and Metal Energy could only be provided through Special Energy cards until the Diamond & Pearl expansion, where they became Basic Energy types. Basic Energy cards only provide one Energy of the specified type, while Special Energy cards have additional benefits and varying Energy provisions. Additionally, the amount of Basic Energy cards allowed in a deck is unrestricted, while Special Energy cards follow the standard rule restricting the number of cards with the same name in a deck to four.

Most attacks require a certain type and amount of Energy, depending on the type of attack and the Pokémon using it. If an attack requires Basic Energy, then that type and amount of Energy must be attached to the Pokémon, whereas if the attack has a Colorless Energy requirement, that requirement can be met by any Energy card. Colorless Energy is neither a Basic nor a Special Energy type, though some Special Energy cards provide only Colorless Energy and do not enable type-specific attacks.

Trainer cards

Trainer cards perform various functions to affect the game. Some can remove damage counters from Pokémon, remove energy from the opposing Pokémon, or revive Pokémon that have been knocked out. Before the Diamond & Pearl expansion, all cards that were not Pokémon or Energy were considered Trainer cards, though they have since been subdivided into categories: Normal Trainer cards represent items that directly affect the battling Pokémon, Stadium cards represent custom arenas that add a special mechanic to gameplay, and Supporters are special kinds of Trainers.

Most Trainer cards are normal Trainer cards, which display no text in the upper-right corner. The player follows the directions on the card and then usually discards it. They were introduced at the very beginning of the card game's history, with the Base Set. Normal Trainer cards make up the largest number of Trainer cards by far, and can affect any part of the game, including other Trainer cards. They are often illustrated using computer-generated imagery, the most having been done by Keiji Kinebuchi.

Pokémon Tools, a subset of Trainer cards, first appeared in Neo Genesis. They are the card game's equivalent to Pokémon items, objects that Pokémon can carry around and use at will. Which Pokémon can receive the Pokémon Tool is specified on the card, and a Pokémon may not hold more than one at a time. Some Pokémon Tools can stay on the Pokémon until it gets Knocked Out, whereas some are discarded after a certain condition is met. Like ordinary Trainer cards and Stadium cards, Pokémon Tools are illustrated in CGI, mostly by Keiji Kinebuchi and Ryo Ueda. While Technical Machines can be considered a subdivision of Pokémon Tools, they are worded as a separate category. These are the most recently introduced of the current kinds of Trainer cards, starting in the Aquapolis set. Technical Machines, like Pokémon Tools, are attached to a Pokémon and discarded once used. However, a Technical Machine will always have an attack as its text, and as long as the Pokémon holds the Technical Machine, it can use the attack provided on the Technical Machine instead of its normal attack. Illustrations for Technical Machines were once the domain of "Big Mama" Tagawa, but they are now exclusively done by Mitsuhiro Arita.

The first Stadium cards were from the Gym Heroes set. They initially were all themed on Pokémon Gyms and would benefit the Gym Leader. Later Stadium cards became locations within the Pokémon video games and sometimes areas completely original to the card game. Unlike other Trainer cards, Stadium cards stay on the field once played, unless another Stadium card is played or something happens that requires the Stadium card to be discarded. Stadium cards always provide the same effect to each player. Stadium cards are predominantly CGI (a few are hand-illustrated) and were once in the domain of Keiji Kinebuchi. Ryo Ueda now illustrates most of them.

Supporter cards were introduced in the Expedition set. Normal Trainer cards themed on Pokémon characters have since been assigned to Supporter cards instead. They are substantially more powerful than Trainer cards, but only one can be played per turn (as opposed to normal Trainers, which have no limit). Supporter cards tend to interact with the deck, such as finding a card of the player's choice from the deck and putting it in play, or drawing a number of cards. Because they feature Pokémon characters, the dominant artist for Supporter cards is Ken Sugimori, who designed the characters in the video games and anime. The illustrations for Supporter cards are always hand-drawn.

Multi-type cards

There are also some cards that are two card types in one card. Examples include the "Clefairy Doll" Trainer card in the Base Set, which can be played as a Pokémon card, or special Pokémon that can, rather than battle, be attached to other Pokémon as Energy cards. Future cards have been shown to be both Pokémon and Pokémon Tools.

Fossil cards were first introduced in the Fossil set in 1999, though only Mysterious Fossil was introduced then and would be the only Fossil card until 2003, when it was joined by Root Fossil and Claw Fossil. Fossil cards are counted as Trainer cards while in the deck or in the player's hand, but when put into play, they also count as a Basic Pokémon. Because of this, they are the only tournament-legal Trainer cards with Hit Points (HP). All Fossil cards in play count as the Colorless type. While they can't attack, it used to be that there was no reward for defeating a Fossil, however this was changed with the release of the Diamond and Pearl sets. Certain Pokémon are required to evolve from these fossils except under special circumstances. For example, Kabuto, Omanyte, and Aerodactyl must evolve from a Mysterious Fossil card. Older Fossil cards were illustrated by Keiji Kinebuchi; newer ones are illustrated by Ryo Ueda.

Pokémon types

A simplified type system was used for the trading card game. Instead of 17 types of Pokémon, only nine exist. Seven were in the Base Set, and Darkness and Metal types appeared when Pokémon Gold and Silver introduced the Dark and Steel types. The types usually follow this pattern:

TCG type Color Video game type(s)
Grass Green Grass, Bug,
Fire Red Fire
Water Blue Water, Ice
Lightning Yellow Electric
Psychic Purple Psychic, Ghost, Poison
Fighting Brown/Orange Fighting, Rock, Ground
Darkness Black Dark
Metal Silver Steel
Colorless White/Light Grey Normal, Flying, Dragon

  1. Diamond and Pearl introduced non-Delta Species Poison-type Pokémon on "Psychic/Ghost" type cards.

Most Pokémon have only one type. However, EX Team Magma vs Team Aqua introduced Dual-type Pokémon, which have two different types. All existing Dual-type cards have either Darkness or Metal as their secondary type, with the exception of certain Pokemon cards with the Daul Armor Poke-BODY, such as Medicham from the ex Crystal Guardians set and Armaldo ex from the ex Legend Maker set. Pokemon such as these can have multiple types when certain energy are attached.

Weakness and resistance are determined by the type of the attacking Pokémon (unlike the video game series, where they are determined by the type of the attack used). In older sets, Pokémon that are weak to another type take twice the base damage in an attack, while resistance decreases attack damage by 30 points. However, starting in the Diamond & Pearl expansion, Pokémon cards state how much more or less damage they take from an opponent’s attack if weakness or resistance applies.

If a Pokémon has two types, both of those types are calculated as far as weakness and resistance are concerned. For example, if a Pokémon has weakness to two types, and a Pokémon that is both of those types attacks, that attack will do four times its normal damage.


With the release of Diamond And Pearl: Legends Awakend on August 20, 2008, there are currently 38 different Pokémon TCG sets released in English. These sets have a vast range of sizes, from Fossil (the smallest at 62 cards), to Aquapolis and Skyridge (both the largest, with 182 normal cards, 182 reverse-foil cards and four box toppers - 368 cards in total). Only eight of these sets (EX Holon Phantoms and all subsequent sets) are legal in the current Modified Format, under which all major tournaments are played. A rarely played format is Unlimited, in which all cards released in English are legal (except oversized cards such as large box topper cards).

Early in the game, sets were released in seemingly random intervals, but ever since Nintendo took over the production of the sets, there has been a constant stream of 4 sets per year, released at 2.5 to 3.5 month intervals.

The current 38 released card sets are: Base Set, Jungle, Fossil, Base Set 2, Team Rocket, Gym Heroes, Gym Challenge, Neo Genesis, Neo Discovery, Neo Revelation, Neo Destiny, Legendary Collection, Expedition Base Set, Aquapolis, Skyridge, EX Ruby and Sapphire, EX Sandstorm, EX Dragon, EX Team Magma vs Team Aqua, EX Hidden Legends, EX FireRed & LeafGreen, EX Team Rocket Returns, EX Deoxys, EX Emerald, EX Unseen Forces, EX Delta Species, EX Legend Maker, EX Holon Phantoms, EX Crystal Guardians, EX Dragon Frontiers, EX Power Keepers, Diamond And Pearl Base Set, Diamond And Pearl: Mysterious Treasures, Diamond And Pearl: Secret Wonders, Diamond And Pearl: Great Encounters, "Diamond And Pearl: Majestic Dawn" And Diamond And Pearl: Legends Awaked". Another set will be released on November 5th, 2008, Pok'emon-Trading Card Game Diamond And Pearl: Stormfront''.

Every few sets, new types of cards are introduced to the Pokémon Trading Card Game. Several of these include: Dark Pokémon (Team Rocket); Owners' Pokémon and Stadium cards (Gym Heroes); Darkness-type and Metal-type Pokémon, the second generation, and the new Pokémon Tool card (Neo Genesis); Shining Pokémon (Neo Revelation); Light Pokémon (Neo Destiny); Supporter cards and Technical Machines (Expedition); Crystal-type Pokémon (Aquapolis); Pokémon-ex (EX Ruby & Sapphire); Dual-type Pokémon (EX Team Magma vs Team Aqua); Pokémon-* (EX Team Rocket Returns); Delta Species Pokémon and Holon's Pokémon (EX Delta Species); Pokémon Lv.X, the separation of Trainer, Supporter and Stadium cards, and the addition of Metal and Darkness as Basic Energy types (Diamond & Pearl); and most recently, the new "Pokémon with Items" in Diamond & Pearl: Mysterious Treasures.

These changes, along with yearly format rotations, make for a constantly evolving game.

Pokémon Organized Play Program

In addition to the collectible aspect of the card game, Pokémon USA Inc. (PUI) has also created Pokémon Organized Play (POP), which is in charge of the organization of an official League program, where players can battle others in local environments and earn player points, 2-card booster packets from a promotional set, badges, stickers and other materials. These are run by League leaders and owners.

A League Leader may assist in organizing the league, while a League Owner is the one officially in charge of the league, reporting to the Organized Play program any results and/or problems every seven weeks. The leagues run in yearly cycles, based on a certain aspect of one of the Pokémon Game Boy or DS games: the current cycle is based upon the Sinnoh league area.

Prereleases are organized just before each set is released. Usually, they are run on the two weekends before a set is released in stores to the public. At prereleases players are given booster packs from the judge and must construct a 40 card deck, with only 4 prize cards, using only the cards pulled from the packs and the judges provide the energy, but not special energy cards.

Tournament play

POP also runs a professor program, in which individuals age 18 or over may become a professor, who can sanction and run tournaments and leagues. Players in a tournament are split into three age categories: Junior (born in 1998 or later), Senior (born in 1994-1997), and Master (born in 1993 or earlier). These tournaments play a number of rounds, where players will play a standard game against each other and wins and losses will be recorded. In most tournaments, there are a number of Swiss-style rounds where players are paired up against others of similar win/loss ratios, usually from their own age group (this does not always occur in smaller events, though). Afterwards, there will either be a cut of the top record-holders (usually the top 25% of an event) where players will play best two out of three matches, and the loser gets eliminated (standard tournament bracket style), with an eventual winner.

POP runs a season for these tournaments, which allows players to earn larger prizes and play in a more competitive environment in comparison to League. These range from City and State Championships, all the way up to the Pokémon World Championships, the single invite-only event of the year. Players can earn invites to the World Championships by winning or ranking high at National Championships, having a good Premier Rating (based on the Elo rating system, which allows players to win or lose points at any Battle Roads or higher-level event), or by qualifying in the Last Chance Qualifier. The World Championships is a two-day tournament, with one eventual winner in each age group; the winner of the Masters Division age group is generally noticed as the best player in the world for that season.

Some of these methods are only used in the USA, as PUI and POP are based in the USA, but they are represented by local distributors who provide the Organized Play program to their own country.

Major tournaments under Wizards of the Coast

  • Tropical Mega Battle

On August 26 - 27, 2000, forty-two Pokémon trainers from around the world united at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu for the Tropical Mega Battle, an international communication event for the Pokémon Trading Card Game. The Tropical Mega Battle brought together children aged 14 and under from the United States, Japan, France, Italy, Canada, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, for two days in Honolulu, Hawaii. Children participating in the Tropical Mega Battle received invitations through Qualifier tournaments, DCI rankings, and other events in their respective countries.
Events throughout the weekend included competitions facilitated by translators for groups of children representing two different languages in each group; a group photo and an opening ceremony featuring remarks from Hawaiian government officials; and a harbor cruise awards ceremony for the winners of the World Communication Match. Jason Klaczynski, 14-year-old Orland Park, Ill., resident, was honored as the Master Trainer of the Tropical Mega Battle after winning the final round of the World Communication Match against fellow Pokémon trainer Toshiya Tanabe of Sapporo, Japan.

The Super Trainer Showdowns were large Pokémon TCG tournaments held in the United States by Wizards of the Coast between 2000 and 2001. These tournaments were frequently bi-annual and were open to the public. Each tournament consisted of three age groups; 10 and under, 11 to 14 years old, and 15 years old and over. Each Super Trainer Showdown was preceded by a series of Qualifier Tournaments held in cities around the United States and abroad in which players in the 11-to-14 and 10-and-under age groups could win trips for themselves and a parent or guardian to the Super Trainer Showdown event. To date, there have been four Super Trainer Showdowns: the first in Long Beach, CA on the Queen Mary, the second and third events in Seacaucus, NJ, and the final one in San Diego, CA.

Major tournaments under Pokemon Organized Play (POP)

  • World Championships 2004

This was the first World Championships under POP. It took place in Orlando, FL during the weekend of August ??-?? in 2004.

  • World Championships 2005

This was the second World Championships under POP. It took place in San Diego,CA during the weekend of August ??-?? in 2005.

  • World Championships 2006

This was the third World Championships under POP. It took place in Anaheim, CA during the weekend of August ??-?? in 2006.

The Top 4 in each age group were the following -

  • 15+ -

1st - Jason Klaczynski (US) - Mew Ex/Manectric Ex

2nd - Jimmy Ballard (US) - Eeveelutions 3rd - Jeremy Maron (US) - Nidoqueen

4th - Yuta Komatsuda (JP) - Metagross/Dragonite

  • 11-14 -
  • 10 & Under -

1st - Hiroki Yano (JP) - Lugia Ex/Blastoise Ex/Steelix Ex

  • World Championships 2007

This was the fourth World Championships under POP. It took place in Hawaii during the weekend of August ??-?? in 2007.

The Top 4 in each age group were the following -

  • Masters -

1st - Tom Roos (FL) - Absol Ex/Jirachi Ex/Jolteon Ex

2nd - Steffen From (DK) - Flygon Ex 3rd - Tsuguyoshi Yamato (JP) - Empoleon

4th - Yuki Akimura (JP) - Scizor Ex

  • World Championships 2008

This was the fifth World Championships under POP. It took place in Orlando, FL during the weekend of August ??-?? in 2008. There was 128 players in Masters, ??? players in Seniors, and ??? players in Juniors. The format used for the 2008 Worlds Championships was HP-on, which means any cards from Holon Phantoms or after was legal for use in the tournament.

The Top 4 in each age group were the following -

  • Masters -

1st - Jason Klaczynski (US) - Gardevoir/Gallade

2nd - Khanh Le (NO) - Blissey

3rd - Gino Lombardi (US) - Gardevoir/Gallade

4th - Jimmy O'Brien (US) - Empoleon/Bronzong

  • Seniors -

1st - Dylan Lefavour (US) - Empoleon/Bronzong

2nd - Paul Atanassov (CA) - Blissey

3rd - Nicholas Kolibas (US) - ????????

4th - Curran Hill (US) - Gardevoir/Gallade

  • Juniors -

1st - Tristan Robinson (US) - Toxicroak/Scizor

2nd - Takuto Itagaki (JP) - Gardevoir/Gallade

3rd - Simone Zucchelli (IT) - Gardevoir/Gallade

4th - Noah Lawson (US) - Gardevoir/Gallade

  • World Championships 2009

Competitive play outside of the United States

Although PUI tries to keep Organized Play as equal as possible all over the Earth, there are some notable differences in how POP is run outside of the USA.

Pokémon Card Laboratory (PCL)

The Pokémon Card Laboratory (PCL), located in Japan, is the ultimate authority on any matter relating to the Pokémon Trading Card Game. It can declare rulings on any in-game circumstance, issue errata, change card text after publishing, and change the basic game rules, although the latter three rarely occur. PCL is also the company that designs new cards and runs Organized Play in Japan. In short, PCL designs the game itself.

Some recent events suggest that PCL also has the ability to override PUI on any Organized Play related changes anywhere in the world. Without specific knowledge, however, this is a somewhat speculative statement.

====Pokémon cards in Hong Kong==== Due to massive imports of Japanese cards, many local players play the Japanese version of the game instead of the English one. The tournaments in Hong Kong run on different mechanics than other countries. They are operated by two different groups, the official POP distributor OTCHK and the unofficial HKPMA.

The OTC is a new distributor of the Pokémon Trading Card Game in Hong Kong that started up in June 2005, and runs POP tournaments using the American rulings. However, it has the same policy as the previous distributor (Trandy's Creation) of banning Japanese cards (which supposedly can be used in regular tournaments with appropriate reference), causing huge discontent amongst the local players. Up until December 1, 2005, the company had held one tournament with only 16 participants.

In contrast, the HKPMA (Hong Kong Pokémon Alliance) is an experienced group that has been running 2 to 4 tournaments every year since 2000. Initially those tournaments followed American rulings, shifting to Japanese rulings after the introduction of Japanese Pokémon Card Players Rule Ver 1.0 in Summer 2003. The HKPMA later on established a new branch organization, HKPCL (Hong Kong Pokémon Card Laboratory), to manage tournament matters, including the organization of tournaments, ruling support, staffing and documentation. To prevent the confusion between the 2 different rulings, HKPCL makes ruling clarifications on a regular basis, and sometimes writes articles in the PokéGym Forum to raise people's awareness.

Recently, the PCL received a threat that made them cancel the rest of their Spring Battle Road tournaments, the threat is currently unknown.

Pokémon in the UK

Pokémon TCG Retail distribution in the UK is currently run by Esdevium Games Ltd, and Organised Play by a newly appointed D & A Games. The UK has one of the largest player bases outside the US and Japan. Its players have performed admirably over the past few years at the World Championships, including a 4th Place for Fares Sekkoum in the 10-division (2006), a Top 16 place for Jake Arnold in the 10-division (2005) a 7th Place for Sami Sekkoum in the 15+ (2005), a Top 16 finish for Yacine Sekkoum in the 15+ (2006) and a Top 16 10th place finish for Faisal Khan ("Freddy-K") in the 15+ (2005).

Held in May 2008, the UK Pokémon TCG National Championships was held in London, a much more popular choice of venue location for the majority of players who were mainly based in the South East of England. In 2006 around 70 players were invited to play in each age group, with approximately 55 players per division in 2007. The prizes have included Nintendo DS consoles, televisions and invites to represent the UK in the World Championships. The 2008 UK Nationals was the first event of its kind in the country to be open to all players and required no qualification for entry.

Smaller City Championships, and for the first time in 2006 UK Pokémon Regional Championships, are held between November and April. These were held in Hull, London, Bournemouth, Manchester and Glasgow.

The game is most popular in the southeast of England, but leagues can be found all over the country - including Glasgow, York, Manchester, Leicester, Norwich, Harlow, London, Bournemouth, Exeter, Crawley, Rainham and many more.

Banned cards

A few cards were banned from both general play and Modified Format under Wizards of the Coast.

The first card that WotC banned was Sneasel from the set Neo Genesis. Decks with Sneasel were winning almost every major tournament, making all other decks uncompetitive. Sneasel's ability to abuse the new Darkness Energy cards (which increase the power of all Dark-type attacks by 10), no weakness, a free retreat cost, quickly powered-up attacks, and the ability to do enormous damage made it an outstanding card. In short, Sneasel was faster and more powerful than any other card in the game at the time. It was banned beginning with the 2001 Super Trainer Showdown. WotC produced giant Sneasel cards for the event with "Banned at the STS" printed on them.

Coincidentally enough, the only other banned card printed in a normal set was also from Neo Genesis.
Slowking from Neo Genesis had a Pokémon Power that allowed its user to flip a coin whenever the opponent played a Trainer card, and if that coin was heads, the Trainer card would return to the user's deck without affecting the game. In the Japanese version of the game, this Power could only be used while Slowking was active. When the card was translated to English, however, it was translated incorrectly. The English version of the card not only allowed its owner to use the Power while Slowking was benched, but the power was cumulative, meaning players could flip a coin for each Slowking they had in play every time their opponent played a Trainer card, and if even one were heads, that card would have no effect.
While the Japanese version of the card was barely playable (Slowking is not a good attacker, and is easily KO'ed when active), the English version was too powerful because a player could place one or more Slowking on the bench, prevent the opponent from playing any Trainer cards, and still play a stronger Pokémon as the active Pokémon.
Slowking dominated the 2002 World Championship (the only World Championship not run by PUI) and, as a result, WotC announced that the card was no longer legal for any format as of January 1, 2003. This was a very controversial move, because the card was banned outright, instead of errata being issued to correct the mistranslation.

  • _________'s Pikachu

_________'s Pikachu (commonly known as "Birthday Pikachu") was Promo Card number 24 printed by WotC. The effect of its attack, Birthday Surprise, says, "...if it is your birthday, flip a coin. If heads, this attack does 30 damage plus 50 more damage...". WotC banned this card quickly after its release, because there was no quick, easy way to check that it was actually someone's birthday whenever he attacked with the card. Disproving liars who wanted to do a lot of damage for a few energy turned out to require much more effort than it was worth. The Japanese version of the card has red text in the margin stating its illegality. It is one of the few Japanese cards with this message that was produced in English, most likely because of its immense popularity with collectors.

The bans that WotC placed were removed when Pokémon Organized Play took over the game. Their only limitation is that cards must have the normal English or Japanese card back to be playable. Because of this, the only banned card is the promotional card Mew (commonly known as "Ancient Mew"), because it has an irregular card back and its text is in a hieroglyphics-like code. In addition, the cards printed in the promotional World Championship Decks are not allowed in any competitive events. These cards are supposed to be printed as a promotional item, and not meant to help people collect large numbers of rare and valuable cards that were played in these decks.

Media Release

Burger Kings world wide has began selling BK Meals with Pokemon toys that are a total of 12 cards and accessories combined. Announced on June 10, 2008, the toys were released at participating Burger Kings starting on July 7, 2008 and is ongoing as of yet, for a short time.


See also

External links

Official Pokémon TCG site

  • Pokémon TCG Website is the official website for the Pokémon TCG. It is the official US source of the Pokémon Organized Play program, where one can acquire information on local leagues and tournaments and find local distributors, but the news comes slowly.

Unofficial Pokémon TCG sites

  • PokéBeach Includes high-quality image scans from all sets, regularly updated Pokemon and Pokemon TCG news, a forum, a Pokémon TCG chat room, card translations, and other TCG-related content.
  • PokéGym has Pokémon TCG news, information, trading community and a massive forum for discussion of the Pokémon TCG. Home of the Pokémon TCG Compendium, the only source for all official card rulings from Pokémon Organized Play.
  • is a Pokémon resource for the Trading Card Game and Video Games, with a forum. Also home of the popular Card of the Day.
  • Pokepedia Comprehensive, searchable Pokémon TCG database. Has a decklist builder, trader base, event mapper, and more.
  • A card search engine for the Pokémon Trading Card Game, as well as several other TCG systems.

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