What Is the Prerelease Program?
Pokémon TCG Prerelease tournaments allow players to purchase and play with cards from upcoming expansions up to two weeks before the set’s official release date. The Pokémon Prerelease program is available to eligible locations that are currently running a Pokémon League and that have an active Professor who is a certified Organizer in good standing.
How Do I Become Eligible to Run a Prerelease Event?
The following are the eligibility requirements to host Prerelease events:
- Your League must have reported attendance via your League Details page for two of the three most recent consecutive League Seasons.
- Or, your League must have been recently approved, and this is your first opportunity to host a Prerelease tournament.
If your League does not meet the above requirements, it will be deemed ineligible for the Prerelease Program, and your reservation will be denied. Eligible Leagues are expected to run and report a Prerelease event in-store using our tournament software to maintain good standing in the program. Please see below for further instructions on holding and reporting a Prerelease event using our tournament software.
How Is My League’s Prerelease Kit Allocation Determined?
Your League’s Prerelease Kit allocation is determined by reviewing both your League’s attendance reporting via the League Details page as well as reporting from your previous Prerelease events. Maintaining consistent and accurate League and tournament reporting can increase allocations for future Prerelease events.
If this is your first Prerelease, you will receive a base allocation of two kits. Your future allocation can increase based on the above considerations.
Prerelease Kit Contents
Each Prerelease Kit includes:
- 1 Build & Battle Box Display: 10 Pokémon TCG Build & Battle Boxes*
- 1 Booster Display Box: 36 Pokémon TCG booster packs for prizing and Judge support
- 1 450-count Basic Energy Box
One kit accommodates 10 players per Prerelease. The booster display box is intended to be distributed as prize support to all players who completed the event and distributed to any Judge or volunteer staff who helped to run the event. Each player and staff member should receive an additional three booster packs as a participation prize at the conclusion of the tournament. Additional prizing beyond the booster packs provided by Play! Pokémon is at the discretion of the Organizer or store.
*Each Build & Battle Box includes:
- A 40-card ready-to-play deck, including 1 of 4 alternate-art promo cards
- 4 booster packs
- 1 deck-building tip sheet
How Do I Reserve Prerelease Kits?
The Play! Pokémon Market Development Team will reach out to Leagues that meet the eligibility requirements with a request to complete our reservation form. You must complete the form contained in the email for each eligible League that you own. If we do not receive a completed response to the form, your League will not be added to our approved list of stores and will not be eligible to order Prerelease Kits.
Reservations and changes to reservations will be accepted only during the reservation window. Late requests will not be accepted.
Your League’s venue should have an existing and active account with the reseller you select. Orders should be placed directly with the reseller you have selected for this set, and kits will be shipped by that reseller.
For Leagues located in Europe: If you wish to request products that are in languages other than English, please ensure that you indicate that in your reservation form.
Prerelease promotional materials will be shipped separately from your Prerelease Kit to the shipping address on your League Details page. If your League is located in Europe, you must opt in to receive promotional materials.
Please ensure that your League Details page is up-to-date to avoid any returned shipments of promotional materials or staff promo cards. Additional promotional materials or staff promo cards will not be provided, and requests for such will be disregarded.
Further details and instructions for promotional materials will be sent out by email closer to the Prerelease dates.
Sanctioning a Prerelease Event
Sanctioning is the formal scheduling and announcement of an official Play! Pokémon tournament. Anyone interested can search for sanctioned tournaments by using the Event Locator on Pokemon.com.
Your Prerelease tournament must be sanctioned through Play! Tools and run through Tournament Operations Manager (TOM). Please note that the same Organizer should sanction the tournament in Play! Tools and run the event in TOM to avoid system errors.
For more information on how to use Play! Tools, please consult the Play! Tools Guide.
Your tournament should include “[SETNAME] Prerelease Tournament” in the name.
For specific questions on Play! Tools or using TOM, please submit a ticket to our Customer Support team here.
These instructions are supplemental to the Play! Tools Guide and specific to Prerelease events. Please note that you will not be able to sanction Prerelease events until the sanctioning date noted in your solicitation email (also titled "reservation” or “invitation”).
- To begin, log in to Pokemon.com and navigate to our Tournament Software page, where you can find a link to Play! Tools.
- Creating a Prerelease event is similar to creating other events. To begin, you must first expand the “Tournaments” menu in the upper left and select the “Create Tournament” link from the drop-down menu.
- Next, provide basic information about the Tournament Organizer (TO) and the type of event. This information is used to verify your tournament. The fields in this section are automatically populated by your account data once you log in to the Play! Tools website.
- If you are part of a League, you might notice that the drop-down menu has a League Activity Group. Look for the Activity Group tied to your League and select it.
- Select “Premier Event Series” rather than “Custom.” If you have the right permissions, the Prerelease for this set will appear in the Premier Event Series drop-down menu, starting on the sanctioning date.
- Once you have confirmed your information, select the “Next” button in the upper-right corner of the page to continue to the next step.
- Consult the TOM (Tournament Operations Manager) section of the Organized Play Tools Documentation page to run the tournament and generate the Tournament Data File (TDF). You can also find training videos on our Play! Pokémon Rules & Resources page.
- After the tournament, return to Play! Tools to complete the tournament there.
Reporting a Prerelease Event
For your Prerelease event to be considered complete, you must report it on Play! Tools by uploading the TDF generated by TOM to your event page.
Please note that failure to complete your Prerelease event will negatively impact your League's Prerelease Kit allocation for future expansions.
Does a Judge Need to Be Present?
Although it is not required to have a Judge at a Prerelease event, depending on the size of your League, we recommend that Judges are present to help facilitate the event.
Prizing and Fees
The booster packs contained in the booster display box are intended as prize support to be distributed to all players who completed the event. In other words, all participants would receive three additional booster packs as a participation prize at the conclusion of the tournament.
Consider ways to distribute your booster packs and Build & Battle Boxes. You can find our recommendations below, but you may also modify your prize structure as you see fit.
Each player receives:
- 1 Build & Battle Box
- 3 additional booster packs
If you are not keeping to the advised distribution and are not including the booster packs with the sale of the Build & Battle Box, please make sure it is clear in your online listing that the contents will be received via a separate purchase. Players may be accustomed to receiving the additional booster packs and may expect to have these items included in the Build & Battle Box purchase.
Additional prizing beyond the booster display box provided in your Prerelease Kits is at the Organizer’s/store’s discretion.
Prerelease Event Guidelines
The following are guidelines for running your Prerelease event and for creating a positive, consistent experience for your players. Your League is required to abide by local rules and restrictions when holding a Prerelease event. Your League may also run more than one Prerelease tournament, provided you have enough Prerelease Kits to accommodate players for each tournament.
Pokémon tournaments must have a minimum of 4 players. Give each player 1 Build & Battle Box. Allow about 20–30 minutes for deck building. Decks must be exactly 40 cards. Provide additional Basic Energy for players wishing to modify their deck.
Matches and Prizes
When running your tournament, we recommend single-game matches as opposed to best-of-three. Games are played with 4 Prize cards rather than the usual 6. Use of Tournament Operations Manager is required. You may not use other companies’ tournament software for Pokémon events or run this tournament manually.
Note: Failure to adhere to any of the above operational criteria may result in your tournament being canceled and/or disciplinary action against your League.
Upon event completion, we recommend distributing three booster packs (from the booster display box included in each kit) as participation prize for each player.
For more information on running events, see Section 4 of the Tournament Rules Handbook.
What Is the Early Release Program? (US, CA, MX Only)
Leagues eligible for the Early Release Program may freely sell products related to the Prerelease set starting on the Monday before the set's street date.
Eligibility for the Early Release Program:
- League must be located in United States, Canada, or Mexico.
- League must be eligible for the Prerelease Program for the current set and must have reserved its kits.
Failure to participate in the Prerelease Program may lead to an impact on eligibility for both the Early Release Program and the Prerelease Program. If your League is not approved for the set’s Prerelease, your store may not participate in the Early Release Program.
Ordering Prerelease Kits
The Play! Pokémon Market Development Team will communicate information regarding your Prerelease Kit reservation to your chosen reseller, advising them to sell you the number of Prerelease Kits for which you have been approved.
Please place your order with your chosen reseller. You may check with your reseller to inquire about their ordering deadlines. Attempts to order after this window may result in the inability to participate in the Prerelease Program. Prices, terms, and shipping details are all at the discretion of your reseller.
Distribution of Prerelease Kits to your store is done by your chosen reseller. Please contact your reseller if you are having issues receiving your products.
Sale of Prerelease Kits
Please note that the Prerelease products are for your in-store events and can only be used for attending players. You are only allowed to sell leftover Prerelease products after the release date for the set. Failure to adhere to these rules may result in loss of Prerelease eligibility and/or disciplinary action against your League.
Advertising Prerelease Events
Digital marketing materials for every expansion will be available on the retailer Brandfolder portal once the set is formally announced to the public on Pokemon.com. You will receive an email once those are available. Please file a ticket with our Customer Support team if your League needs to request access to the retailer Brandfolder.