Have you completed your Pokédex? Sick of grinding the Elite 4 and want a new challenge? Interested in meeting like-minded Pokémon fans? Good news – VGC may be exactly what you’re looking for!
What is VGC?
VGC (Video Game Championships) is the official competitive battling circuit for the Pokémon video games which is run by The Pokémon Company International (TCPi). The championship is divided into year-long seasons (September-August) with events happening throughout the entire year. These events range from being local/grassroots-level events to major International Tournaments. Strong results at multiple tournaments can allow a player to attend the Pokémon World Championships, an invitation-only event which sees the winner crowned as the World Champion.
The rules for VGC change each year, both to accommodate any new games that may be released and to prevent the format becoming stale. The rules for the current season of VGC (VGC17) are summarised below;
- Double Battles – each player has 2 Pokémon on the field.
- ‘Bring 6, pick 4’ – players enter the tournament with a full team of 6 Pokémon, however only 4 Pokémon are chosen for each match.
- Alola PokéDex – Only Pokémon #001-#299 in the regional Alola Pokédex can be used.
- ‘Black +’ – only Pokémon that have been caught/bred on Pokémon Sun and Moon can be used. Pokémon that meet this condition have a black plus (+) on their summary screen.
- Banned Pokémon – Solgaleo, Lunala & Zygarde cannot be used.
- Species Clause – You cannot have two Pokémon with the same PokéDex Number (this includes alternates forms i.e. you cannot bring both a regular Ninetales and an Alolan Ninetales).
- Item Clause – You cannot have two or more Pokémon hold the same item.
- Level 50 – All Pokémon have their level set to Lv 50, regardless of their actual level in-game.
Additional rules for the VGC 2017 season have been announced by TCPi and can be found here. These rules come into force on December 1st, 2016.
Championship Points & the Pokemon World Championships
Performing well at sanctioned events and tournaments allows players to earn Championship Points (CP). Players who receive over a certain amount of Championship Points in a season (referred to as the ‘CP bar’) will receive an invite to the Pokémon World Championships for that season. The amount of CP awarded at an event varies based on:
- the type of event.
- a Player’s individual finish (ie: 1st earns more than 2nd etc).
- the amount of players competing at the event.
Types of Events
There are a number of different types of VGC events, which defines the amount of CP available. Events with smaller CP payout are usually run more frequent while events with larger payouts may only occur once-a-season. Each type event also has a Best Finish Limit, which can cap the amount of CP a player can earn. Finally, larger events may also award cash prizes depending on event attendance.
The main VGC events each season are:
- Premier Challenges (PC) – local events with a small CP payout.
- Mid-Season Showdowns (MSS) – a tournament held at the same level as a PC, but with a larger CP Payout.
- Regional Championships – Major tournaments with a large CP payout. In Australia, Regional Championships are held once-a-season in the mainland state capitals.
- International Championships – Major Tournaments with exceptional CP payouts. Each of the 4 Global Regions host an International Championship – for Australia this is the Asia-Pacific (APAC) International Championship.
Further information on each events, including their payouts and Best Finish Limits can be found by clicking the links above.
Finding an Event
Finding a sanctioned Pokémon event is easy thanks to the Event Locator on Pokemon.com. New events are added as soon as they are sanctioned by TCPi, so be sure to check on a regular basis.
Additionally there are a number of Australian Pokémon groups which do host VGC-based tournaments during the year. While these events do not grant CP, there are always a number of prizes on offer and attending these events are not only a great way to practise VGC but also to meet other players. All these communities do have a Facebook page, so keep an eye on them to see if there are any upcoming events near you.