What is a Challenge?
A League Challenge is a small, entry-level event that is held monthly by eligible Play! Pokémon Stores. In Pokémon League Challenge tournaments, players can earn Championship Points (CP) and work toward earning an invitation to the World Championships! These events are designed to be a player’s first experience of formal tournament competition before moving up to League Cups, Regional Championships, and beyond.
At eligible Stores, players can compete in three different types of Challenges:
- Pokémon TCG League Challenge: For players looking to earn CP and compete in local level Pokémon Trading Card Game tournaments.
- Pokémon GO League Challenge: For players looking to earn CP and compete in local level Pokémon GO tournaments.
All tournaments provide players with an excellent opportunity to take part in their favorite kind of tournament play! Whenever possible, Organizers should schedule events at least 14 days in advance of the event itself to give players plenty of opportunity to sign up.
What is a Cup?
League Cup events are a step up from League Challenge competitions. They feature an increased Championship Points payout and give players more opportunities to test their skills in preparation for larger events. They offer a greater challenge and involve more competing players and more prizes. League Cups are hosted by selected stores that are part of our organized play program and are held once every three months.
At eligible stores, players can compete in three different types of Cups:
- Pokémon TCG League Cup: For players looking to earn CP, win exclusive playmats, and take their competitive trading card game tournament play to the next level!
- Pokémon GO League Cup: For players looking to earn CP and take their competitive Pokémon GO tournament play to the next level!
Whenever possible, Organizers should schedule events at least 14 days in advance of the event itself to give players plenty of opportunity to sign up.
How do I become eligible to run a League Challenge?
To be eligible to host a League Challenge:
- You must have hosted a Pokémon League at your location for at least 3 months
- You must have reported accurately for 2 of the 3 most recent League Seasons
- Please be sure to schedule, run, and report your events to secure your players’ Championship Points and participation, as well as report your regular monthly League play, to maintain your eligibility for League Challenges.
How do I become eligible to run a League Cup?
To be eligible to host a League Cup:
- You must have hosted a Pokémon League at your location for at least 6 months
- You must have reported accurately for 2 of the 3 most recent League Seasons
- You must have reported accurately for 2 of the 3 most recent League Challenges
Please be sure to schedule, run, and report your events to secure your players’ Championship Points and participation, as well as report your regular monthly League play, to maintain your eligibility for League Cups.
Please note that eligibility for Challenges and Cups is determined quarterly—once you gain eligibility for Challenges or Cups through reporting, you’ll have eligibility for the following quarter.
For more info on how to accurately report for your League, please see our League Maintenance FAQ: https://support.pokemon.com/hc/en-us/articles/8834991291668-League-Maintenance-and-Reporting-FAQ
Prizing and Fees
Organizers may charge a fee to participate in tournaments. Play! Pokémon makes no recommendation regarding entry fees beyond the stipulation that Organizers must follow all local legal requirements that may apply when deciding if, how, and what to charge.
While the primary incentive for involvement in League Challenges is the chance to receive Championship Points, consider ways to leverage Play! Pokémon Prize Packs. You may modify your prize structure as you see fit.
For TCG League Cups only, playmats will automatically be shipped to the shipping address on your League Page. Please note that the shipment you receive for Prize Packs should be used for all your events. This includes CP events.
Playmat Distribution for TCG League Cups Only
For TCG only, the champion of each age division will be awarded one (1) League Cup-branded Champion playmat. Playmats are not provided for Pokémon GO League Cups.
Additional prizing beyond the playmats / Prize Packs provided by Play! Pokémon is at the Organizer’s or store’s discretion.
Can I host the events in a bigger venue?
Please plan your Cup or Challenge level event with attendance, time, and space limitations in mind. If your venue has a maximum capacity, please inform your players and plan accordingly. This might mean you will need to host events in a bigger venue, close to your store. The Organizer must ensure that any potential tournament venue:
- Is clean, safe, and open to the public—and will remain so throughout the duration of the tournament
- Welcomes attendees of any background, belief, or personal circumstance
- Satisfies any applicable local laws
Please note that these requirements are subject to change. Please keep an eye out for future program updates.
Does a Judge need to be present?
Since League Cups and League Challenges form part of the Play! Pokémon Championship Series, we strongly recommend that you seek help from Pokémon Professors who hold the TCG Judge certification to help players get the best experience possible at your events.
A Judge presence will help to ensure that the TCG Rules are adhered to, that card ruling queries are resolved as well as possible, and, if multiple Judges are present, that players do not have to wait for an extended period of time before receiving attention.
Information on Player IDs
All those who wish to participate in a Play! Pokémon tournament must have their own Player ID number. You can quickly and easily generate a unique, personal Player ID through a Pokémon Trainer Club account on Pokemon.com.
Organizers must use Player IDs to report the attendance of all players during the events.
What format are the events played in?
Pokémon TCG League Challenges and League Cups must be played in the Standard format. More information on current card legalities and regulation marks for the 2023 Pokémon TCG Standard format can be found here. Make sure to communicate this to your players well in advance of the event so that they can prepare accordingly and bring decks that are in the correct format.
When can I start sanctioning those events?
Leagues that are eligible for these events will be sent communications with information regarding the start and close dates for the season. Please be sure to keep your League contact information up to date as these will be sent to the email we have on file for your League. If you are eligible for these events but haven't received a communication from us, please reach out to our customer support team here and we will look into it for you. We recommend sanctioning your event two weeks prior to the event date.
Where can I sanction those events?
- The sanctioning of the events is done via Play! Tools.
- Use of TOM is required. It is not permitted to use third-party tournament software, or to run this tournament by hand. Failure to conduct the entirety of your tournament in the TOM interface, or to use the correct format, may result in your Cup or Challenge being invalidated. Due to this requirement, the option to upload the results of your tournament using the Manual Report tool is not available.
- TOM is designed to calculate pairings based on registered participants. If one age division has lower numbers, the tournament may be converted into an Age-Modified tournament, in which players from different age divisions will play together. This is not an error. If this happens, please award prizes to the winner of each age division appropriately—one Junior, one Senior, and one Masters Division champion.
- More information about the tournament software can be found here.
- Your events will appear in the Event Locator.
Tournament Mode and Format
The tournament mode will configure the tournament to comply with the requirements of the format the tournament is being played in.
- Pokémon TCG League Challenges must be run using the TCG League Challenge Tournament Mode.
- Pokémon TCG League Cups must be run using the TCG League Cup Tournament Mode.
- Pokémon GO Challenges and Cups must be run using the GO Premier Event Tournament Mode.
When do I need to report the results of the tournaments?
Tournament results are due to be received by Play! Pokémon within seven days of that tournament’s conclusion and are to be reported online using the Pokémon Play! Tools portal. To report your Premier Event tournaments, you must upload the final TDF generated by TOM at the end of the tournament. More information on how to use TOM and Play! Tools can be found here.
Any tournaments that do not have results submitted by this time are considered delinquent. This may jeopardize the Organizer’s eligibility to host future Premier Events.
Play! Pokémon protocols and procedures are intended to foster a spirit of friendly competition at all Play! Pokémon tournaments. However, occasional situations arise—unintentionally or otherwise—in which attendees fail to abide by tournament rules or standards of conduct. Failure to adhere to these rules may result in penalization. Please make yourself familiar with Section 7 (Rules Violations & Penalties) in the Tournament Rules Handbook.[HB1] This section also includes steps on how to submit a penalty report (see 7.6 Reporting Penalties) if required.
Please contact the TPCi Customer Service desk if there are any further questions.
Additional Pokémon TCG Information
Are deck checks required for Challenges and Cups?
Deck checks are required to be performed at all Premier Events. Play! Pokémon expects that deck checks will be performed on at least 10% of decks but recommends that tournament staff strive to complete as many as is reasonable. Deck checks may happen at any time during a tournament, from registration through the final round. Although players may be required to put the cards in their decks in the same order as the cards on their deck lists, they should not assume this and should always await direction from tournament staff before reordering their deck. During a deck check, tournament staff will check the following:
- The list is complete and legible
- The deck described is legal for tournament play
- The contents of the deck match the list exactly
- The cards and sleeves are free of features that could cause them to be classified as marked
Where can I find the banned card list?
You can find the banned card list here: https://www.pokemon.com/uk/pokemon-tcg-banned-card-list/
Additional Pokémon GO Information
How do I request an address change for my PokéStop?
Address changes can be made by submitting a request via the support form. When submitting a request, use “PokéStop Address Change” as the subject line, then select League or store from the “What can we help you with?” pulldown menu, and Cups and Challenges from the “What is your league or store inquiry about?” pulldown menu.
Do players need a Team List?
Yes, Team Lists are required for both Pokémon GO League Challenges and Cups. Team Lists for the tournament staff can be located within the rules and resources page.
What do players need to bring with them?
Pokémon GO players should remember to bring their phones!
As an Organizer, we ask you to make sure you familiarize yourself with our tournament rules. All relevant tournament information for TCG, VGC, and Pokémon GO can be located in the rules and resources section of Pokemon.com, under their own separate headers.