Pokémon VGC 2017 Circuit Information – A Breakdown and Explanation


The Pokémon Company International (TCPi) has released information regarding events, format changover times, CP payouts and Worlds invitations for the VGC 2017 circuit, confirming the circuit structure that we will see for the coming year.

Quick Reference Guide: Key information and what has changed

  • The season will be divided into three series:
    • Autumn Series: September 1–November 30, 2016
    • Winter Series: December 1, 2016–March 31, 2017
    • Spring Series: April 1–June 30, 2017
  • VGC 2017 Format (details TBC) begins in the Winter Series on December 1st.
  • International Championships (one per rating zone) replace National Championships (Multiple per rating zone)
  • Select Premier Events introduced
  • Special Events (such as at conventions) outside the standard Championship Series introduced
  • Prizing structure announced
  • No residency requirements – players free to compete all over the world

Best Finish Limit (BFL) Changes

  • BFL structure changed for Premier Challenges (Per Series limit, rather than per Season)
  • Mid-Season Showdown BFL split from Regional Championship BFL
  • Online Tournament BFL now unlimited and CP payout increased

World Championship Qualification Changes

  • CP Bar for APAC Rating Zone Day 1 invitation raised from 200 to 400
  • Paid Day 2 invitations for APAC Rating Zone raised from 4 to 8 places.

New Events

Two new events have been added to the Championship series, and one, National Championships, has been removed. Special Events outside the standard Championship Series have also been introduced in to the event structure. Let’s see what these new events entail.

VGC Select Premier Events

Very little information has been revealed about this kind of event. The CP payout (listed below) and the fact that it shares a Best Finish Limit (BFL) with Regional Championships indicates that this event is equivalent in prestige to 2 Mid-Season Showdowns (although MSS events have been retained this year). We expect more information clarifying what to expect for this level of event will be released later in the season.

VGC International Championships

National Championships have been phased out, replaced by the bigger and even more prestigious International Championships. The International Championships have the same Championship Points (CP) payout we saw with National Championships in 2016. While there has been no mention of the exact quantity of International Championships planned for the 2017 season, it appears that there will be at least one for each of the four major Rating Zones (US & Canada, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America). A BFL of 4 means that these tournaments may effectively become the Grand Slam tournaments of VGC.

In a first for regions outside of the USA, it appears players will be able to earn stipends and travel awards to contribute towards the travel costs of attending International Championships based on results throughout the season.

London International Championship

The first International Championship is scheduled for London on December 9-11, where the top 4 CP earners from each rating zone in the 2016 season will be offered travel awards to compete, while 5th-8th will be offered a $1000 non deferrable stipend to travel to the event. Two Australians are eligible for travel awards based on their performances last year, with another eligible for a stipend. Players with strong Championship Point performance in their home rating zone may earn stipends and travel awards to other International Championships later in the season, although specific details on this have yet to be announced.

Special Events

Not many details have been revealed yet about Special Events, only that they take place outside of the standard Championship Series, but for the first time ever may be included in Championship Point payouts and Best Finish Limits. They may occur either as side events at major Championship Series tournaments or as standalone events scheduled at gaming conventions, such as PAX. These special events are intended to have the same Championship Point scale and Best Finish Limit as the Championship Series tournament that best matches their anticipated attendance. This may see these events become anything from an additional Premier Challenge to an additional Regional Championship, while likely being somewhere in between the two.

These events will be considered to be Championship Series tournaments, even though the format and prizes may not be the same. More details on how this will work and which events will be granted Special Event status should be revealed later in the season.

2017 Worlds Championship Invitation Structure

Invitations to the 2017 Pokemon World Championships will once again be decided by the implementation of a CP Bar. Players who earn enough CP equal-or-greater than the appropriate CP Bar (determined by age division and Rating Zone)  will receive an invitation to the World Championships. As announced at the conclusion of the 2016 World Championships, the 2017 World Championships will be hosted in Anaheim, California.

CP Bar for each Age Division and Rating Zone are listed below:

Rating Zone CP Bar (Masters) CP Bar (Seniors) CP Bar (Juniors)
US & Canada 500 450 350
Europe 500 400 200
Asia-Pacific (APAC) 400 300 200
Latin America 400 300 200
South Africa 300 300 300


Additionally, players who perform exceptionally well in their age division for their rating zone have the opportunity to earn a paid trip to the 2017 World Championships along with a pass straight into Day 2 of the event. The amount of invites available to players is again dependent on a player’s Rating Zone.

Rating Zone Day 2 Paid Invitations
US & Canada 8
Europe 16
Asia-Pacific (APAC) 8
Latin America 8

Event CP Payouts, Best Finish Limits and Prizes

Event CP payout has once again been updated with the beginning of the new season. Each event has an attendance kicker with the total amount of CP awarded dependant on event size. Additionally, Elevated Premier Challenges (PC)  return to the circuit, with an expanded CP payout being awarded to PCs with a total attendance of 40 players or more.

In a departure from previous years, the Best Finish limits for Premier Challenges is now capped per series, compared to the season cap of previous years. Best Finish Limits for Regional Championships & Mid-Season Showdowns have also changed and the two events no longer share the same BFL cap. The Best Finish Limit for Online events with a CP Payout (eg: International Challenges) has also been removed.

Finally, the 2017 season sees the introduction of cash awards, scholarships & travel certificates as prizes for Regional- and International Championship-level events.

Premier Challenge

Best Finish Limit: 2 per series

    • Autumn Series: September 2016 – November 2016
    • Winter Series: December 2016 – February 2017
    • Spring Series: March 2017 – May 2017
Placement CP Payout Attendance Kicker
1 20
2 14 4
3-4 10 8
5-8 6 16
9-16 2 32


Premier Challenge – Elevated

Attendance: 40+ Players (total attendance across all 3 age divisions)

Best Finish Limit:  2 per series (shared with Premier Challenges)

  • Autumn Series: September 2016 – November 2016
  • Winter Series: December 2016 – February 2017
  • Spring Series: March 2017 – May 2017
Placement CP Payout Attendance Kicker
1 20
2 18
3-4 16
5-8 14
9-16 12
16-32 8 64
33-64 4 128
65-128 2 256


Mid-Season Showdown

Best Finish Limit: 4

Placement CP Payout Attendance Kicker
1 50
2 45
3-4 40
5-8 35 16
9-16 30 32
16-32 18 64
33-64 12 128
65-128 6 256
129-256 1 512


Select Online Competitions

Best Finish Limit: None

Placement CP Payout
1 50
2 45
3-4 40
5-8 35
9-16 30
16-32 25
33-64 20
65-128 10
129-256 5


Select Premier Events

Best Finish Limit: 4 (Shared with Regionals)

Placement CP Payout Attendance Kicker
1 130
2 105
3-4 80
5-8 65
9-16 50 32
16-32 35 64
33-64 20 128
65-128 10 256
129-256 5 512


Regional Championship

Best Finish Limit: 4 (Shared with Select Premier Events)

Placement CP Payout Attendance Kicker
1 200
2 160
3-4 120
5-8 100
9-16 80 32
16-32 50 64
33-64 30 128
65-128 20 256
129-256 10 512


International Championship

Best Finish Limit: 4

Placement CP Payout Attendance Kicker
1 500
2 400
3-4 300
5-8 240
9-16 180
16-32 120 64
33-64 80 128
65-128 40 256
129-256 20 512

Details for these payouts can be found on the Pokémon Website.

Event Prizes

Please note that all values listed are in US Dollars, and will be subject to tax. Prize winners should ensure they are aware of their tax obligations so as to not run in to trouble with the Tax Office.

International Championships

A prize pool has also been announced for International Championships, with the value being up to $250,000 for each event, spread between TCG and VGC. The table below has been provided to show the expected payouts for these tournaments, although it is subject to change.

Place\Attendance 33-64 65-128 129-226 227-500 500+
1st $500 $1,000 $1,500 $3,000 $5,000
2nd $500 $750 $1,500 $2,500
3rd-4th $500 $750 $1,500
5th-8th $500 $750
9th-16th $500


TCG Booster Packs are also being listed as non-cash prizes, with the following offered regardless of attendance:

  • 1st–2nd place: 72 booster packs
  • 3rd–8th place: 36 booster packs
  • 9th–16th place: 18 booster packs

Regional Championships

Regional Championship will offer more than $50,000 in prize money, scholarships and travel certificates. All participants will also receive a special Regionals promo card. The way prize money will be distributed is expected to be as follows, subject to change:

Place\Attendance 33-64 65-128 129-226 227-500 500+
1st $250 $1,000 $1,000 $3,000 $3,000
2nd $250 $500 $1,000 $1,000
3rd-4th $250 $250 $250
5th-8th $250 $250
9th-16th $250


Prizing will be distributed depending on the age of the competitor. Those 18 years of age and older will have a choice of scholarship or cash if they finish 1st or 2nd, while 3rd or below will receive a cash prize. Those under 18 years old have a choice of a scholarship or travel certificate for a 1st or 2nd place finish, while those 3rd or below will receive their prize as a travel certificate. If there are less than 33 competitors in the age division, prize money will not be awarded.

The top 16 finishers in a Regional Championship will also receive TCG booster packs regardless of attendance.

  • 1st–2nd place: 72 booster packs
  • 3rd–4th place: 36 booster packs
  • 5th–8th place: 18 booster packs
  • 9th–16th place: 9 booster packs

Further information on the 2017 season details can be found on the Pokémon website through the following links:

For those wanting to see how their 2016 performance would translate in to 2017 Championship points, Gavin Yee (@theGYee) has created a publicly accessible CP Calculator Tool . This can also be used throughout the season to track your progress towards an invitation to the World Championships.

About RoeySK

VGC15 Nationals Champion, 2x Worlds Competitor & novice TCG player. Hails from a coastal town on the SW Victorian Coast. Process Engineer & Lifeguard in real life, ardent supporter of round-ball football and strong believer that Han shot first.
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