Only cards that are part of the Modified format may be used in official events. When older cards can no longer be used in official events, it is because they have been rotated out of the Modified format. Pokémon Organized Play has created the Modified format for several reasons.
The primary reason is accessibility. If older sets were not rotated out of the tournament format, new players would have to find cards that have been out of print for five or more years to be competitive. This entry barrier negatively impacts the growth of organized play.
The second reason is creativity. By removing older staple cards from the environment, a player’s deck building skills are challenged by requiring them to find new avenues to victory. If sets were not rotated out of the tournament format creativity would stagnate, and players would begin to grow disinterested because they would feel that they game had nothing new to offer them.
The final reason is balance. As the available card pool grows, the number of possible card combinations increases exponentially. It becomes increasingly difficult for the R&D department to monitor what all of these combinations are, and to prevent combos which have a negative impact on a player’s game play experience.
Prior to the start of the next tournament season, a list of expansion card sets that will be legal for the season will be announced. You can find this list by watching the news at http://www.pokemon.com/us/pokemon-news/#/play-pokemon-news
Individual cards that are removed from competitive play and card errata are also announced here.
All Pokémon Organized Play Premier Events use the Expanded and Modified tournament formats, as we feel that they are the healthiest formats for players of all skill levels. Pokémon Organized Play also supports the Unlimited format, which allows players to use cards from any set.
Complete rules for both tournaments can be found in the Tournament Formats document.
If you would like to play in Unlimited tournaments, please contact your local Tournament Organizer to request such events.
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