Pokémon Video Game Tournament Standard Format

From Play! Pokémon VG Tournament Rules & Formats (Revised 2015 December 23)

Only Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire game cards or downloadable versions are permitted.

Format uses Double Battles: each player selects four Pokémon from his or her party of six. At the start of the battle, players send out the first two Pokémon in their party, making a total of four Pokémon on the battlefield. Gameplay continues until a player makes all four of the opponent’s Pokémon faint.

Pokémon players may use Pokémon from the National Pokédex, from No. 001–719, that are caught in the game, transferred from a previous Pokémon title, or received at an official event or distribution.

The following Pokémon may not be on a player’s team:

151 – Mew 490 – Manaphy 647 – Keldeo
251 – Celebi 491 – Darkrai 648 – Meloetta
385 – Jirachi 492 – Shaymin 649 – Genesect
386 – Deoxys 493 – Arceus 719 – Diancie
489 – Phione 494 – Victini 720 – Hoopa

A player’s Battle Box may not contain more than two of the following Pokémon:

150 – Mewtwo 384 – Rayquaza 644 – Zekrom
249 – Lugia 483 – Dialga 646 – Kyurem
250 – Ho-Oh 484 – Palkia 716 – Xerneas
382 – Kyogre 487 – Giratina 717 – Yveltal
383 – Groudon 643 – Reshiram 718 – Zygarde
  • Pokémon must be placed in the Battle Box.
  • Pokémon are allowed to Mega Evolve.
  • Pokémon above level 50 are permitted, but they are auto‐leveled down to 50 for the duration of battle.
  • Players may use Pokémon with Hidden Abilities.
  • A player’s team cannot contain two Pokémon with the same Pokédex number.
  • A player’s team cannot contain two Pokémon with the same nickname.
  • A player’s team cannot contain a Pokémon nicknamed with the name of another Pokémon (for example, an Unfezant named “Pidove”).
  • Pokémon must have a blue pentagon in the Pokémon summary screen to indicate that the Pokémon was acquired in Generation VI.


  • Pokémon may not hold the item Soul Dew.
  • Players may use items that have been officially released via Pokémon X, Pokémon Y, Pokémon Omega Ruby, Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, the Pokémon Global Link, or an official event or promotion.
  • Each Pokémon on a player’s team can hold an item, though no two Pokémon may hold the same item.


  • Pokémon may only use moves that have been learned through one of the following methods:
  • By leveling up
  • By TM or HM
  • As an Egg Move, through breeding
  • From a character in the game
  • A move already known by a Pokémon received at an official Pokémon event or promotion

Match Resolution

  • A player wins by knocking out his or her opponent’s final Pokémon.
    • If a player’s final Pokémon used Selfdestruct, Explosion, Destiny Bond, or Final Gambit, and both players’ final Pokémon faint as a result, the player who used the move loses that game.
    • If a player’s final Pokémon used Double‐Edge, Volt Tackle, Flare Blitz, Take Down, Submission, Brave Bird, Wood Hammer, Head Smash, Struggle, Head Charge, or Wild Charge, or was holding Life Orb, and both players’ final Pokémon faint as a result, the player who used the move wins that game.
  • If both players’ final Pokémon faint due to a weather condition, such as Hail or Sandstorm, the player whose Pokémon faints last wins the game. This includes the effects of Perish Song.
    • If a Pokémon’s Ability (such as Rough Skin, Aftermath, Liquid Ooze, or Iron Barbs) or held item (such as Rocky Helmet) results in both players’ final Pokémon fainting, the player whose Pokémon had the Ability or held item wins the game.
    • A player who selects “Run” during a battle will count as the loser of that game, whether selected intentionally or not. Players may not intentionally play a match to a tie nor agree to record a match as a tie without playing.


Should the time limit expire before a player makes his or her opponent’s final Pokémon faint, the winner of the game is determined based on the criteria below.

  1. Remaining Pokémon
    a. If one player has more remaining Pokémon than the other, that player wins the game.
    b. If both players have the same number of Pokémon remaining, the result of the game is determined by average percentage of HP remaining, as described below.
  2. Average Percentage of HP Remaining
    a. If one player’s team has a higher average percentage of HP remaining, that player wins the game.
    b. If both players’ teams have the same average percentage of HP remaining, the result of the game is determined by amount of HP remaining, as described below.
  3. Amount of Total HP Remaining
    a. If one player’s team has a higher total HP remaining, that player wins the game.
    b. If both players’ teams have the same total HP remaining, the result of the game is a tie.

Technical Issues

Over the course of a tournament, a player’s game connection may become disrupted in a number of ways.

Single Frozen Game State

If one player’s game system is stuck in an unfixable frozen game state, the player whose game system is frozen will receive a game loss.

Double Frozen Game State

If both players’ game systems are stuck in an unfixable frozen game state and it cannot be determined which player’s game or system is responsible for the frozen state, both players will receive a tie for that game.

Game State Disruption

Players should attempt to fix any game disruption by checking their 3DS systems and making sure they are aligned properly. If issues persist, contact a judge for immediate assistance. If consistent disruptions are determined to be due to actions on the part of a player, the judge may issue an appropriate penalty as outlined in the Pokémon Penalty Guidelines.

Grammar Made Easy

There are a number of words that are frequently confused by some people, but there’s really no reason for that since, as you will soon see, those words are really easy to tell apart. Whenever possible I’ve provided a mnemonic device to make things easier to remember. As long as you can remember what’s in front of each dash, you shouldn’t run into any problems.

  • 9 times out of 10, affect is a verb and effect is a noun. – In those other 1%-or-so cases, you’ll most likely use another word anyway (I always have), so you don’t probably need to worry about them.
  • “You lay something down, and people lie down by themselves.” – Thanks, Grammar Girl, I’ve always had trouble with that one so I appreciate the tip.
  • Than is a comparison (Ginger is much smarter than Patch). Otherwise use then. – To be more precise, then is used when talking about time (first this, then that).

The following are all commonly confused homophones (words that sound the same):

  • It’s means “it is” or “it has”. In all other cases use its. – Adapted from Eats, Shoots, and Leaves by Lynn Truss, a fantastic book I highly recommend to every English-speaking person on the planet.
  • They’re going to their house over there.” – They’re means “they are” or “they were”, while their means “belongs to them”, and there is a direction or place.
  • Two is a number. Too means “also” or “more than enough” (I ate too much last Thanksgiving). Otherwise use to.
  • Likewise, who’s means “who is” or “who has”. Otherwise use whose. – Whose is a possessive.
  • You’re means “you are” or “you were”. Otherwise use your. – Your is a possessive.

In order to be understood, your writing must be readable in the first place. If readers have to work too hard to figure out what you’re trying to say, they won’t. So here are few tips to make sure everyone can read your writing:

  • Start each sentence with a capital letter. A long string of lowercase letters is nearly impossible to read.
  • Use punctuation. End each sentence with an appropriate terminal punctuation mark (period, question mark, or exclamation point), and use commas and other punctuation as appropriate. As above, long strings of words with no punctuation are really hard to read, especially since the same phrase can have multiple meanings depending on how it is punctuated. Imagine trying to read this article if I used neither capital letters or punctuation – I’ve seen far too many people on forums who do precisely that, and make themselves look both lazy and foolish in the process.
  • Always – always! – put a space before an open parenthesis, and between sentences. I’m thoroughly baffled as to how the habit of not putting in those spaces became so common because it not only makes the writer look foolish, it makes the text much harder to read.
  • Use paragraph breaks. Just among the people I know personally, at least a dozen, including me, can’t read walls of text – especially on screens. I can usually manage it on paper (which is good since I’m such a fan of Twain), but my eyes get easily lost on screens and trying to keep them on track always gives me a headache. Even readers who aren’t so afflicted will find your writing easier to read if you include paragraph breaks at logical points.

If you’re ever in doubt and don’t have a friendly grammarian handy, a search of Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips should set you straight in no time.

Munchkin and Pokémon Updates

I’ve spent most of the past month test driving Windows 10, and the month before that trying to repair my badly-broken Win7 that it has replaced, so I haven’t had much time for blogging, but I have updated several of my game aids.

This year for Small Business Saturday we decided to #ShopSmall by finally picking up Munchkin Steampunk at our FLGS, Hillside Games in Asheville, NC. As a result I was at last able to finalize its entry on my Munchkin Compatibility Chart.

I also updated the deck list sheet for Pokemon tournaments just in time for our Nature Season League Challenge this Saturday, and the Tech Season one on Boxing Day.

Thanks to my wife finally having a job after spending two years without one, we finally got normal-sized 3DSes as well as Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire on eBay, prompting me to finish updating my Pokémon Pocket-sized Type and EV List.

Dvorak & Dragons

Two months in, I’m making great progress in mastering Dvorak, but my memory issues make it a slower process than I had hoped. Nonetheless, I am already nearly as fast as I was with QWERTY, except when I need a character I don’t use very often, or some of my old muscle memory emerges when I type something I typed frequently in the past.

Further slowing progress is the fact that for the past several weeks my Depression has completely taken over, making me highly apathetic, but I’m slowly starting to feel better. Not only am I finally getting around to posting this update, I even started writing a radio play inspired by the 1938 radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds after watching an episode of American Experience about the broadcast on PBS last night.

While Dvorak is allowing me to type for longer with less pain, dictation software is even better. Unfortunately, my favorite dictation headset broke, and the Logitech one I bought to replace it is as uncomfortable as the one that came bundled with Dragon Naturally Speaking 12, so I can’t wear either one for more than a few minutes before I get a headache from the way their strange designs squeeze my head. When I was forced to make a new Win7 user after my old one corrupted, I couldn’t use Dragon at all anymore because there was no way to transfer my license from one to the other, so it no longer mattered.

So imagine my joy when I saw a TV ad for Dragon 13 that not only had it for only $50, but mentioned that it now finally worked with both Bluetooth headsets and mics built into laptops. 12 had very spotty support for both, and didn’t work at all with my gear, so I’m really excited about it. I’ll be able to give you a report on it in the near future because my wonderful wife is getting it for me “for Christmas” (meaning she’ll order as soon as her paycheck direct deposits today).

Making things even more interesting is that I finally took the plunge and upgraded my laptop to Windows 10, but that will take up an entire post by itself, so that’s it for now.


I have finally gotten serious about learning Dvorak. More details on that later, but it means that for now it takes me a couple of days longer to write a blog post (I’ve already spent two days working on one about my Dvorak journey. prompting this quick one). Within a month, however, I should be able to type faster for longer, but most importantly, with much less pain.

In the course of re-creating my Pokémon deck list sheet I realized that making it into a form-fillable PDF is more work than I can handle. I therefore decided to simply make the ODT original available via DropBox.

Helping Players Cooperate

Time and time again I have recommended that people sign up for Roleplaying Tips Weekly by Johnn Four, but most especially GMs.  It is full of tips and tricks for GMs, plot hooks, and character inspirations. This particular issue is all about getting players to work together as an actual party of adventurers rather than a bunch of characters that happen to have the same goal or be traveling in the same direction.

One particular section of it especially appeals to me because it’s an adaptation of something I’ve been preaching to other GMs for years: that no non-combat dice roll should ever be boring (attacks never missing would also be boring), and a failed roll doesn’t mean that nothing happened. The article even uses my favorite example: the locked door. If the PCs have to get through the door in order for the campaign to continue, then they will get through the door, thus rolling to see if they can get the door open is pointless. It is far more interesting to use the player’s lockpicking or door smashing roll to determine how things progress (a failed roll could indicate that they’d made too much noise and aroused the guards, for instance), rather than whether the door gets opened.

The spin guest columnist Christopher Sniezak puts on it is using the failed roll as a way to bring another character in to share the spotlight. It’s absolutely brilliant and I’m a bit ashamed of myself for not thinking of it years ago.

Since discovering a free rules-light game called FUrpg (af) (Free, Universal RPG), I’ve started thinking in terms of its success/fail terminology, and it seems Christopher may have been likewise inspired. FUrpg’s core mechanic uses varying numbers of d6s, from which the player chooses the most beneficial (or least if the pool size is negative). The GM then describes what happens based on the result (even is good, odd is bad, higher is better):

6 Yes, and… You succeed and something else good happens.
4 Yes… Basic success.
2 Yes, but… You succeed, but at a cost.
5 No, but… You fail, but it’s not a total loss.
3 No… Basic failure.
1 No, and… You fail, and things get worse.

If I’m ever having trouble deciding how something turns out, or especially how an NPC reacts to something a PC just said or did, I can just roll a d6 or two and go from there. I still haven’t gotten around to actually using FUrpg for a pick-up game, but it has already helped me be a better GM for GURPS, HackMaster 5e, and D&D 4/5e.

Post-2015 Rotation Pokémon Tournament Deck List Sheet

I finally got my Pokémon Tournament Deck List Sheet ready for the 2016 season. It took me ages because I ended up having to completely rebuild it. If you are coming to the Asheville Mossdeep League Challenge on September 12th, we are holding a raffle and giving a second entry to anyone who arrives with an already filled out deck list – but you don’t have to use mine, of course.

OpenOffice Writer sucks at making tables. (Someone once asked me how I managed to make my character sheets in Writer because of that fact, and I pointed him to the wonders of frames, which allow Writer to function like a low-end desktop publishing program.) That’s why I always make tables in Calc and then paste them into frames in Writer. For whatever reason, the set symbol images kept not being copied even though they are anchored to and entirely contained by their respective cells.

After that I decided to try and make the whole document in Calc since the deck list is essentially a bunch of tables anyway, but the varying numbers of columns made it overly complicated, so I went back to Writer and manually copied in the errant images.

That did the trick at the time, and adding new sets was a breeze, but then came rotation. That required moving a bunch of sets from one table to the other, manually moving their set symbols again. I briefly tried to make the thing entirely in Writer, but ran into the Writer sucks at tables problem again.

That left going back and trying to make the whole thing in Calc again. I’m not totally happy with the result, but it’s complete, and that’s good enough for Saturday’s League Challenge. Getting the underlines the right length took a lot of fiddling, but not nearly as much as making the set symbols actually stay in their boxes after PDF exportation. I still don’t know why that kept happening – they looked perfect in Calc, but kept being misaligned enough to partially or fully obscure the lines between them as a PDF. I use Sumatra, Foxit, and PDF-XChange Editor for different purposes*, but the problem showed up in all three, so I knew the error didn’t lie with the rendering engine. By adjusting the positions and sometimes sizes of the images by hundredths of an inch and then re-exporting it, I finally got it, but it took me a couple of hours for just that process.

I don’t like how long the top frame is to the player name field, but fixing it will require another rebuild. If it proves to not be a problem on Saturday then I’ll probably leave it alone. Otherwise I’ll finish a project I started some months back and start with a blank sheet where every row and column is .1″ and then combine them as needed to make the tables and fields, just like I did for my GURPS character creator and library spreadsheets.

So, despite how much harder it can be to position things precisely in Calc (which is the reason I built it in Writer in the first place), I managed to get it done in plenty of time for our next tournament, and set things up so that adapting to next year’s rotation will be a breeze.

Sumatra PDF is my everyday PDF and CB7 reader, but does odd things with margins when printing, and is very limited in features by design.
Foxit Reader was my old go-to reader, but tends to eat a lot of memory, but also allows me to edit bookmarks, unlike Sumatra, and access other advanced features of PDFs.
PDF-XChange Editor is now the last stage of all of my PDFs before I upload them. It allows me to change metadata and all kinds of other advanced editing that I otherwise can’t do with free software, but is overkill most of the time.