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How to Attend a Tournament! 11/27/2012

Posted by Gryphon in Pokemon TCG.

In case you haven’t taken a look at the Tournaments tab or noticed the updated League Calendar to the right over there, we have the Georgia Marathon of City Championship tournaments coming up here in our home state, starting right on December 1st and ending sometime in early January. These tournaments are the next step up from Battle Roads, meaning that they’ll likely be larger, be more competitive, and will get you more Play Points for attending… as well as more Championship Points if you do really well! If you want to try to earn a chance to compete at Nationals next summer, it’s highly recommended that you attend a few City Championships.

So, what all will you need to be able to attend a City Championships tournament?

  • You will need a deck of 60 cards in card sleeves, with each and every single one of those cards being Modified legal. What does that mean? It means that the card had to have been printed (or reprinted, I’ll explain later) in a set expansion within the current Modified format. Currently, the Modified format goes as far back as the Black & White set expansion (BLW, the symbol resembling a 4-square checkerboard) and includes all sets released since then, such as Emerging Powers and Boundaries Crossed. Any cards from all other sets (Base set to Call of Legends) are considered “out of rotation” and are not legal to use, unless they are cards that have been reprinted in a Modified-legal set, such as Potion, Rare Candy, and Double Colorless Energy. One BIG exception to this is Computer Search, though; if you wish to use this card in your deck, it will absolutely HAVE to be its Ace Spec print from Boundaries Crossed. As for the card sleeves, they will need to all be identical, with artwork that does not extend to the edge of the sleeve (sleeves that are simply a flat color with no artwork are preferred).
  • You will need a randomizer (either a coin or a die), markers for Poison and Burned conditions, and something to keep track of damage to your pokemon. If you want to bring a coin, it will have to be an official plastic coin such as those that come packaged inside preconstructed decks or blister packs. If you want to use a die (singular of dice) instead, it will need to be translucent (see-through), and have rounded edges, 6 sides, and pips (dots, not numbers like certain kinds of role-playing dice). You can also use dice as damage counters, but they will have to look different from the die you use as your randomizer, and they can be opaque (not see-through) if you want.
  • You will need a completed decklist that lists all of the cards in your deck. This is just something you have to turn in to the tournament staff, who have to check the contents of players’ decks to make sure that everyone is using a legal deck with legal cards. It’s best if you fill it out before you leave for the tournament, so that you’ll have it ready to hand in when you go to register. You can print out a blank decklist here and fill it out, or you can go here to easily fill out a decklist online and print it out (recommended for younger players). The information you put down here is kept confidential among the tournament staff.
  • You will need a fully-registered player ID. If you followed the instructions correctly on the small card sheet that came attached to the player ID we gave you, you should have a Pokemon Trainer’s Club account with a Play! Pokemon ID number synced to it under your name. You will need to keep that player ID card with you every time you come to League or register to compete at a tournament, because that ID is what the staff uses to report your League attendance and your tournament results to The Pokemon Company International (TPCi) who can then award you whatever Play Points or Championship Points you earned, plus any other rewards you may receive directly from them. Your ID number is how they keep track of how well you do, so it’s super important that you keep track of where your ID card is and do not lose it. If you are a new player who has yet to sign up and receive an ID, or if you’re an old player returning who has an old ID under Pokemon Organized Play, you may be able to sign up for a new ID at the tournament, though you can also just stop in during any League session. Either way, you will need to sign up for an account on the official Pokemon site and register your ID online before your participation will count, so be sure to complete your registration as soon as you can!

Some other things you may want to consider bringing along with you:

  • Something to keep your stuff in. At the very least, it will have to hold your deck (in a deckbox, preferably), coins/dice, markers, and damage counters. If you happen to have a collectible card tin, such as the recent EX tins and any similar tins, that would be ideal. If you also plan on bringing a small pad for notes, playmat, or mascot plush or toy, you may want to consider a small box, tote, or backpack. The point is to keep all your things together in something safe, secure and portable that you can keep with you at all times over the course of the tournament, since you’re going to be moving around a lot.
  • Money for lunch or snacks. If the place where you’re going to play is in a Stevi B’s like in Canton, you’re going to need this anyway. There are usually restrictions on food or drink during tournaments, though; drinks have to be in bottles with screw-on lids, for one. Be sure to ask the tournament staff about any rules concerning what kind of edibles are allowed within the competition space. Some may not allow you to bring in food or drink that was purchased outside the store.
  • Your binder of tradeables. After the tournament ends, players who do not have to leave immediately may want to trade a few cards. This is a good opportunity to do some trading with players outside your local League. Be sure to keep these cards separate from your tournament deck, however.

Besides what to bring, there are a few important things you should know about what to do at a tournament:

  • Listen to the Tournament Organizer’s announcements. Before the tournament begins, the resident TO will usually give a rundown of events, telling you how long the matches are and what to do when you’re done playing. They may also inform you of other tournament dates that have yet to be announced anywhere else. Be sure to listen attentively to what the TO says during this speech.
  • Keep your stuff with you at all times, and do not let it out of your sight. There have been some instances where players found themselves victims of theft. Be sure to pick up all your things when you complete a match, and keep your boxes or bags under your chair near your feet if you cannot put them on the table when you’re playing.
  • Be courteous to your fellow players. This is just basic etiquette; shake hands with your opponent when your match begins, and thank them for the game when the match ends. No bragging, boasting, taunting, or ridicule. Remember that you represent the Warner Robins Area Pokemon League, Team Aerial Ace, and all your fellow gym trainers when you compete at a tournament; play and act with honor and integrity befitting of a Pokemon Trainer.
  • If you have a question, call a Judge! If you’re confused about a move, gameplay mechanic, or ruling, raise your hand and wait for a Judge to come over. The Judge will resolve your conflict the best they can. If it is a very challenging question, it may be sent up to the Head Judge, but remember that whatever verdict the Head Judge gives you on the game state, you will have to follow it. Also, remember that gameplay errors must be accounted for immediately, not after the match has ended.
  • When you are done with a match, report your results to the Tournament Organizer. If you have to move somewhere outside the competition space when you’re done, be sure to pick up all your things, and check under the table for anything else that may belong to you.
  • Have fun! It may be tough during a competition, but remember that everyone there is a Pokemon fan just like you (yes, including the adults!) and they all enjoy playing Pokemon just as much as you do. Tournaments are a great way to meet other players, learn cool strategies, and make new friends. No matter how well you do or how high you place at a tournament, what’s important in the end is that you had fun playing Pokemon with some fellow fans.

I hope you learned something new from this article, and if you have any questions, please leave a comment! Have fun in the Georgia Marathon! 😀




1. Pete Varcoe - 12/09/2012

Is there a best time to practice and go over decks and play? My son, Calvin, would like to improve his deck and play to get ready for Cities.

raznprince - 12/12/2012

Pete, If you would like for Calvin to practice with me for Cities, I will be available on Friday afternoon or at League Session on Saturday. I intend to travel to Tallahasse the following day for a Cities event there, so I could sure use the practice.

raznprince - 12/12/2012

That is, of course, unless you plan on heading to Lawrenceville Cities on Saturday…

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