Rotom’s Resources: Glossary of Pokémon Terminology


Not sure what all the jargon and technical terms in our articles mean? We’ve made this glossary to help you out so you don’t get confused when reading our content. Poké also has a glossary you can check out, as well as further information on a Rules and Resources page.

Circuit Specific Terms

Best Finish Limits (BFL)To provide a more even playing field for the largest number of competitors worldwide, each event series has a Best Finish Limit. If you play in more events than the Best Finish Limit cap, your top performances will be registered and the rest discarded. Information on this seasons BFL's can be found here.
Championship Points (CP)These are earned throughout the season at officially sanctioned events, and are used to determine who qualifies to compete at the World Championships. This season they may also be used to determine who earns paid travel or stipends to compete at International Championships.
CP BarThis is the minimum amount of Championship Points required to qualify for the World Championships. You can find the bar for the 2017 season here.
CP PayoutThe way Championship Points are distributed changes depending on the level of the event, and on the number of people in attendance.
Event LocatorA Web-based tool that helps players find Play! Pokémon events happening near them. Leagues, tournaments, and Premier Events like City Championships can all be found using the Event Locator. You can find the Event Locator here.
LeagueA casual event often held in local trading card game retail stores or community centers, in which the Pokémon TCG and Pokémon video games are played. Results for playing in these events do not count toward a player's rating or ranking in the Play! Pokémon system. League events are sanctioned and supported by The Pokémon Company International but organised and operated by independent third parties.
Play! PokémonThe name of the program that encompasses all official Pokémon Leagues and tournaments. This program is run by Pokémon Organized Play.
Player IDEach player is assigned a Play! Pokémon Identification Number (Player ID) that is used to track that player's official tournament play and League participation and to identify them in the Play! Pokemon system. Players must have this number with them whenever they attend a sanctioned event. If you don't already have a Player ID, the organiser of your next event can give you one. You can also get a Player ID online if you already have a Pokémon Trainer Club account.
Pokémon Trainer ClubA registered account on Poké Pokémon Trainer Club members set preferences for their Play! Pokémon membership, including whether or not to have their names and Play! Pokémon rankings listed on the website. Before registering for a Pokémon Trainer Club account, please read their Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Standard FormatA tournament format that places restrictions on what cards can be used in deck construction or what Pokémon and items can be used for team construction. These restrictions can be found in the Tournament Formats document on the Tournament Rules and Resources page.
StipendA non-transferable monetary award used to partially cover the travel expenses for players travelling to certain events like International Championships.
Support RequestIf you have any issues or inquiries to make throughout the season, the easiest way to resolve them is by lodging a support request. You can lodge that through You must have a account and be logged in to it. This site also has FAQs for support, which may answer your question prior to lodging a support request.
Travel AwardAlso known as a Paid Invitation. A fully funded invitation to compete in an event, usually the World Championships, with flights and accommodation fully paid for. Only the very best trainers in each region can earn these. Information about who qualifies for a travel award for the European International Championships can be found here.

Tournament Specific Terms

JudgeA person who is well versed in the rules and strategies of the Pokémon games and who is responsible for administering the rules of an event, including the Tournament Rules.
MatchA number of games played in a single round of a tournament. A match may be a single game or best of three.
International ChampionshipsA newly introduced competition designed to serve as an upgrade from National Championships, while still being below World Championship level. Open to players all around the world. May also be described as ICs, Continentals, Continental Championships.
Regional ChampionshipsA Championship Series event open to all eligible players in which players compete in different age divisions to win the Regional Champion title for that age division. Australia's Video Game Regional Championships are held in each of the mainland state capitals. In the Trading Card Game, Canberra and Tasmania also host Regional Championships in addition to the previously mentioned state capitals.
Swiss RoundsTournaments begin with a non-eliminating format, which features a predetermined number of rounds of competition determined by attendance. Here is a good link to show the number of rounds needed to be played for a given attendance level. In each round, you are paired with an opponent a similar match record as you, who you have not already played. After the end of the Swiss rounds, competitors are ranked based on their match record, with how well opponents performed in their other matches used as a tiebreaker.
Top CutThe final matches for tournaments are played as single elimination matches, seeded based on the standings in the Swiss Rounds. Top cut is commonly top 8, although top 16 and x-2 top cuts have also been seen at higher level competitions. The final undefeated player at the end of the top cut is the tournament's winner.
Tournament FormatThe rules and restrictions on card selection and deck construction for TCG events and the Pokémon and items allowed when building a team for video game events are as specified by the tournament's format. The format also dictates how many games are played, how much time is allowed for each game, and how these games are to be resolved.
Tournament Organiser (TO)The person in charge of all organisational aspects of a tournament and who typically handles staffing, scheduling and venue selection. This person is ultimately responsible for all aspects of running a successful tournament.
Tournament RulesThe rules established by the Pokémon Organized Play staff. These rules must be followed at tournaments by players, Tournament Organizers, Judges, and others in order for the event to be sanctioned. The Tournament Rules can be found on Pokémon's Tournament Rules and Resources page.

Trading Card Game Specific Terms

Deck ListAll Pokémon TCG players are required to complete a deck list before competing in a Play! Pokémon competition. A deck list notes which cards and how many of each card are in the player's deck, as well as what expansion each Pokémon card is from. Deck lists may be available from the Tournament Organiser at an event, or you can use the one on the Rules and Resources page. Once a deck list is submitted, no changes may be made to a deck for the duration of the tournament, as the list played must match the 60 cards listed. It is heavily advised that you arrive at an event with a checked and completed decklist ready to go. Deck lists may be available from the Tournament Organiser at an event or be printed off and completed beforehand from here.
League ChallengesA low-level Pokémon TCG Championship Series event designed specifically to introduce newer players to the Championship Series and allow players to earn Championship Points.
Sealed FormatAny tournament format in which all players receive the cards they will use in the tournament at the event. Players may not use cards from their collections for these events, but they do get to keep the cards they receive for use in the tournament.
Trading Card Game (TCG)This describes the competition played using the Pokémon Trading Cards.

Video Game Specific Terms

Premier Challenge (PC)These are the most basic grassroots level events for VGC, and are generally held in local game stores such as Good Games. Premier Challenges with attendance at or above 40 players total are known as Elevated PCs. In elevated PCs, Championship Points are distributed differently to regular PCs
Team SheetCompleting a team sheet may be required to participate in some Pokémon video game tournaments. A team sheet allows players to note the Pokémon, moves, and other traits of their teams. Tournament Organisers will provide you with a team sheet to fill out if it is required. Once a team sheet is submitted, no changes may be made to a team for the duration of the tournament, and the Pokemon used played must match the team sheet. It is highly recommended that you arrive at an event with a checked and completed team, and team sheet ready to go.
Video Game Championship (VGC)This is the term used to describe the competition that is played on the video game cartridges. VGC is always played on the most recently released games, with the format changing annually.
TimerFor the 2017 season a new battle timer known as Your Time has been introduced, replacing the old timer system. This method of time accounting gives players a maximum of 60 seconds each turn to select a move or Pokémon, and 10 minutes of time to select moves per battle. Under these rules, if a player runs out of their 10 minutes before the battle ends, that player loses the match. It is important to remember the timer mechanics when planning how to win a battle.


About Mindape

A Pokemon fan since Blue and Red. Rarely seen as a trainer in the wild due to irl commitments, but dedicated to contributing to the community regardless. Rio 2016 Olympian.
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