2020 Play! Pokémon Season Structure

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2020 Season Structure

The 2020 Play! Pokémon Season started officialy at the DC Open, held on August 2019 alongside the 2019 World Championships, and will come to an end at the 2020 World Championships in London, UK, next summer.

This will be the last season to use the 3DS system of consoles: Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will be played until January 4, where all events will transition to Pokémon Sword/Shield on the Nintendo Switch.

VGC 2020 rules

The VGC 2020 sets the players for an all-new competitive experience in Pokémon Sword and Shield. All VGC events taking place from January 4, 2020 on will use the newest games and the VGC 2020 set of rules.

Additionally, the season’s rules vary with each Series of Raked Battles in the Battle Stadium. That means that real-life events, despite not being a part of the online competitions, will also follow such regulations:

  • Series 2: Jan. 4 to Feb. 29, 2020
  • Series 3: Mar. 1 to Apr. 30, 2020
  • Series 4: May 1 to Jun. 30, 2020
  • Series 5: Jul. 1, 2020 onwards

Team rules

  • The list of permitted Pokémon changes with each Series:
    • Series 5: Pokémon with the Galar Pokédex numbers #001-397, Isle of Armor Pokédex numbers #001-210 and National Pokédex numbers #638-640 and #722-730 are allowed. All regional forms available within these numbers (Alolan and Galarian) are legal.
    • Series 3 & 4: Pokémon with the Galar Pokédex numbers #001-397 as well as Pokémon with National Pokédex numbers #001-009, #79 and #722-730 are allowed.
    • Series 2: Pokémon with Galar Pokédex numbers #001-397 are allowed.
  • All Pokémon must have either the black Galar symbol or the battle-ready symbol on their summary screen to signify that they originated (caught, hatched or obtained) or they were transferred and then adapted to the Galar region.
  • Pokémon may use of any move or Ability available to that Pokémon through normal gameplay. This includes:
    • Hidden Abilities, if available.
    • Moves and Abilities passed via the Pokémon Nursery by a Pokémon brought in using Pokémon HOME.
    • Moves and Abilities made available through an official Pokémon event or promotion.
  • No Pokémon nor Items may be repeated on a team (Species Clause, Item Clause).
  • All Pokémon may use their Dynamax factor, and some Pokémon may also use their Gigantamax factor.
    • You are allowed to Dynamax or Gigantamax one of your Pokémon per battle.
  • The following Pokémon are banned: Mewtwo, Mew, Celebi, Jirachi, Reshiram, Zekrom, Kyurem, Keldeo, Cosmog, Cosmoem, Solgaleo, Lunala, Necrozma, Marshadow, Zeraora, Meltan, Melmetal, Zacian, Zamazenta, Eternatus
    • In Series 2 to 4, Cobalion, Terrakion and Virizion are also banned.

Additionally, the list of Pokémon species permitted to Gigantamax in Championship Series events will expand periodically, based on the availability of those Pokémon and taking into account a grace period for players to train their new Pokémon. Players using a Pokémon with the Gigantamax Factorthat is not on the list during a game will be subject to penalties.

As of Series 5, which will be in play from July 1st 2020, these are all Pokémon allowed to Gigantamax in VGC:

Pokémon allowed to Gigantamax
Butterfree-gmaxCorviknight-gmaxDrednaw-gmaxCentiskorch-gmaxMeowth-gmax
ButterfreeCorviknightDrednawCentiskorchMeowth
Pikachu-gmaxEevee-gmaxSnorlax-gmaxSandaconda-gmaxCharizard-gmax
PikachuEeveeSnorlaxSandacondaCharizard
alcremie-gmaxAppletun-gmaxCoalossal-gmaxFlapple-gmaxHatterene-gmax
AlcremieAppletunCoalossalFlappleHatterene
Kingler-gmaxLapras-gmaxOrbeetle-gmaxToxtricity-gmaxGrimmsnarl-gmax
KinglerLaprasOrbeetleToxtricityGrimmsnarl
Machamp-gmaxGengar-gmaxGarbodor-gmaxCopperajah-gmaxDuraludon-gmax
MachampGengarGarbodorCooperajahDuraludon
Venusaur-gmaxBlastoise-gmaxRillaboom-gmaxCinderace-gmaxInteleon-gmax
VenusaurBlastoiseRillaboomCinderaceInteleon
Urshifu-single-gmaxUrshifu-rapid-gmax
Single-Strike UrshifuRapid-Strike Urshifu
Pokémon allowed to Gigantamax
Butterfree-gmaxCorviknight-gmax
ButterfreeCorviknight
Drednaw-gmaxCentiskorch-gmax
DrednawCentiskorch
Meowth-gmaxPikachu-gmax
MeowthPikachu
Eevee-gmaxSnorlax-gmax
EeveeSnorlax
Sandaconda-gmaxCharizard-gmax
SandacondaCharizard
Alcremie-gmaxAppletun-gmax
AlcremieAppletun
Coalossal-gmaxFlapple-gmax
CoalossalFlapple
Grimmsnarl-gmaxHatterene-gmax
GrimmsnarlHatterene
Kingler-gmaxLapras-gmax
KinglerLapras
Orbeetle-gmaxToxtricity-gmax
OrbeetleToxtricity
Grimmsnarl-gmaxMachamp-gmax
GrimmsnarlMachamp
Gengar-gmaxGarbodor-gmax
GengarGarbodor
Copperajah-gmaxDuraludon-gmax
CopperajahDuraludon
Venusaur-gmaxBlastoise-gmax
VenusaurBlastoise
Rillaboom-gmaxCinderace-gmax
RillaboomCinderace
Inteleon-gmaxUrshifu-single-gmax
InteleonSingle-Strike Urshifu
Urshifu-rapid-gmax
Rapid-Strike Urshifu
Series 4 (May 1 - Jun 30)
Pokémon allowed to Gigantamax
Butterfree-gmaxCorviknight-gmaxDrednaw-gmaxCentiskorch-gmaxMeowth-gmax
ButterfreeCorviknightDrednawCentiskorchMeowth
Pikachu-gmaxEevee-gmaxSnorlax-gmaxSandaconda-gmaxCharizard-gmax
PikachuEeveeSnorlaxSandacondaCharizard
alcremie-gmaxAppletun-gmaxCoalossal-gmaxFlapple-gmaxHatterene-gmax
AlcremieAppletunCoalossalFlappleHatterene
Kingler-gmaxLapras-gmaxOrbeetle-gmaxToxtricity-gmaxGrimmsnarl-gmax
KinglerLaprasOrbeetleToxtricityGrimmsnarl
Machamp-gmaxGengar-gmaxGarbodor-gmaxCopperajah-gmaxDuraludon-gmax
MachampGengarGarbodorCooperajahDuraludon
Series 3 (Mar 1 - Apr 30)
Pokémon allowed to Gigantamax
Butterfree-gmaxCorviknight-gmaxDrednaw-gmaxCentiskorch-gmaxMeowth-gmax
ButterfreeCorviknightDrednawCentiskorchMeowth
Pikachu-gmaxEevee-gmaxSnorlax-gmaxSandaconda-gmaxCharizard-gmax
PikachuEeveeSnorlaxSandacondaCharizard
alcremie-gmaxAppletun-gmaxCoalossal-gmaxFlapple-gmaxHatterene-gmax
AlcremieAppletunCoalossalFlappleHatterene
Kingler-gmaxLapras-gmaxOrbeetle-gmaxToxtricity-gmaxGrimmsnarl-gmax
KinglerLaprasOrbeetleToxtricityGrimmsnarl
Series 2 (Jan 1 - Feb 29)
Pokémon allowed to Gigantamax
Butterfree-gmaxCorviknight-gmaxDrednaw-gmaxCentiskorch-gmaxMeowth-gmax
ButterfreeCorviknightDrednawCentiskorchMeowth
Pikachu-gmaxEevee-gmaxSnorlax-gmaxSandaconda-gmaxCharizard-gmax
PikachuEeveeSnorlaxSandacondaCharizard*

*Charizard is only available with the Blaze ability for this Series.

Series 4 (May 1 - Jun 30)
Pokémon allowed to Gigantamax
Butterfree-gmaxCorviknight-gmax
ButterfreeCorviknight
Drednaw-gmaxCentiskorch-gmax
DrednawCentiskorch
Meowth-gmaxPikachu-gmax
MeowthPikachu
Eevee-gmaxSnorlax-gmax
EeveeSnorlax
Sandaconda-gmaxCharizard-gmax
SandacondaCharizard
Alcremie-gmaxAppletun-gmax
AlcremieAppletun
Coalossal-gmaxFlapple-gmax
CoalossalFlapple
Grimmsnarl-gmaxHatterene-gmax
GrimmsnarlHatterene
Kingler-gmaxLapras-gmax
KinglerLapras
Orbeetle-gmaxToxtricity-gmax
OrbeetleToxtricity
Grimmsnarl-gmaxMachamp-gmax
GrimmsnarlMachamp
Gengar-gmaxGarbodor-gmax
GengarGarbodor
Copperajah-gmaxDuraludon-gmax
CopperajahDuraludon
Series 3 (Mar 1 - Apr 30)
Pokémon allowed to Gigantamax
Butterfree-gmaxCorviknight-gmax
ButterfreeCorviknight
Drednaw-gmaxCentiskorch-gmax
DrednawCentiskorch
Meowth-gmaxPikachu-gmax
MeowthPikachu
Eevee-gmaxSnorlax-gmax
EeveeSnorlax
Sandaconda-gmaxCharizard-gmax
SandacondaCharizard
Alcremie-gmaxAppletun-gmax
AlcremieAppletun
Coalossal-gmaxFlapple-gmax
CoalossalFlapple
Grimmsnarl-gmaxHatterene-gmax
GrimmsnarlHatterene
Kingler-gmaxLapras-gmax
KinglerLapras
Orbeetle-gmaxToxtricity-gmax
OrbeetleToxtricity
Grimmsnarl-gmax
Grimmsnarl
Series 2 (Jan 1 - Feb 29)
Pokémon allowed to Gigantamax
Butterfree-gmaxCorviknight-gmax
ButterfreeCorviknight
Drednaw-gmaxCentiskorch-gmax
DrednawCentiskorch
Meowth-gmaxPikachu-gmax
MeowthPikachu
Eevee-gmaxSnorlax-gmax
EeveeSnorlax
Sandaconda-gmaxCharizard-gmax
SandacondaCharizard*

*Charizard is only available with the Blaze ability for this Series.

Battle rules

  • Double Battles played on Pokémon Sword and Shield.
  • All Pokémon will be automatically on Level 50 regardless of their actual in-game level.
  • All matches have a 15 minute timer, except those of the North American, European or Australian Regional Championships; all International Championships; and the World Championships, which have a 20 minute timer. After that, the game automatically resolves to the player with more Pokémon, HP numbers… left. Tiebreakers can be found on the official rules document.
  • Players will have up to 7 minutes of “Your Time” throughout the course of a match to select their moves.
    • Each turn, 45 seconds will be given to select a move.
    • Animations and connection time do not add up.

VGC 2019 Ultra Series

The VGC 2019 format is a throwback to the 2016 and 2010 rulesets, all of them known as GS Cup, formats where Legendary Pokémon such as Groudon, Xerneas or Lunala are allowed. All VGC events taking place until January 4, 2020 used the Ultra Series regulations as well.

GS Cup - General rules
    • Double Battles played on Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon.
    • All Pokémon from the National Pokédex are allowed:
      • All Pokémon must be caught, hatched or obtained during the regular playthrough of any of the 7th Generation games (Pokémon Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun or Ultra Moon), thus having the black clover icon on their summary.
      • All teams may include up to 2 Pokémon from the following: Mewtwo, Lugia, Ho-Oh, Kyogre, Groudon, Rayquaza, Dialga, Palkia, Giratina, Reshiram, Zekrom, Kyurem, Xerneas, Yveltal, Zygarde, Cosmog, Cosmoem, Solgaleo, Lunala and Necrozma.
      • Mythical Pokémon (for example, those obtained during special distributions such as Volcanion) are banned.
    • No Pokémon nor Items may be repeated on a team(Species Clause, Item Clause)
    • All Pokémon will be automatically on Level 50 regardless of their actual in-game level.
    • Players will have up to 7 minutes of “Your Time” throughout the course of a match to select their moves.
      • Each turn, 45 seconds will be given to select a move.
      • Animations and connection time do not add up.
Ultra Series - Regulations
    • All Z Crystals are allowed.
      • Players can use the Ultraneconium Z on the Dusk Mane and Dawn Wings forms of Necrozma.
    • Mega evolutions are allowed.
    • Red Orb and Blue Orb can be held by a Pokémon (essentially, Groudon and Kyogre).
    • Rayquaza may learn Dragon Ascent, and thus mega evolve.

Age Divisions

Play! Pokémon separates players into three age divisions: Juniors (JR), Seniors (SR), and Masters (MA). The age division that a player participates in is set at the beginning of the season, based on that player’s year of birth, and does not change over the course of that season. This allows players to compete against the same pool of opponents over the course of the season.

For the 2020 season of events (from August 2019 to the 2020 World Championships), these are the age divisions:

  • Juniors: born in 2009 or later
  • Seniors: born in 2005-08
  • Masters: born in 2004 or earlier

Events: where and when?

The 2020 season is made up of events taking place in all 5 continents. These events are divided into two main categories: major events and local events.

Major events are hosted directly by The Pokémon Company International (TPCi) or an outsourcer, and award greater prizes and Championship Points. On the other hand, local events are run by volunteer organizers and allow newer players and smaller communities to take part of the game. If you want to know more about this, check out this article.

DateInternationalsCountryLocation
15-17 Nov 19Latin America InternationalsBRASão Paulo, Brazil
21-23 Feb 20Oceania InternationalsAUSMelbourne, Australia
Europe InternationalsDEUBerlin, Germany
North America InternationalsUSAColumbus, OH

Championship Points & Prizes

Championship Points (CP) are awarded to players based on their placements at various Play! Pokémon tournaments. Major events also hand out prizes as either cash money or scholarships as well as trophies and Pokémon merchandising.

Local Events

Premier Challenge (PC)
    • Best Finish Limit: 6
    • Max CP obtainable (2020 Worlds Invite): 180 CP

 

PlacementChampionship PointsKicker
130 CP0
216 CP0
3-412 CP0
5-88 CP24
9-166 CP48
17-324 CP100
Midseason Showdown (MSS)
    • Best Finish Limit: 6
    • Max CP obtainable (2020 Worlds Invite): 300 CP

 

PlacementChampionship PointsKicker
150 CP0
240 CP0
3-432 CP0
5-825 CP24
9-1620 CP48
17-3216 CP100
33-6413 CP200
Select Online Competitions
    • No Best Finish Limit (all Championship Points obtained during Select Online Competitions will be taken into account)

 

PlacementChampionship Points
150 CP
245 CP
3-440 CP
5-835 CP
9-1630 CP
17-3225 CP
33-6420 CP
65-12810 CP
129-2565 CP
257-5122 CP
513-10241 CP

Major events

Special Events (SPE) & Regionals
    • Best Finish Limit: 6
    • Max CP obtainable (2020 Worlds Invite): 1200 CP
PlacementChampionship PointsKicker
1200 CP0
2160 CP0
3-4130 CP0
5-8100 CP0
9-1680 CP48
17-3260 CP100
33-6450 CP200
65-12840 CP400
129-25630 CP800

Placement1-2425-100101-200201+TCG*
1$500$1,000$2,000$3,00072
2$250$500$1,000$2,00072
3-4$250$500$1,00036
5-8$250$50018
9-16$2509

*TCG Booster Packs are given regardless of attendance.

International Championships (IC)
    • Best Finish Limit: 4
    • Max CP obtainable (2020 Worlds Invite): 2000 CP
    • Check out information for the Travel Awards down below.
    • No residence restrictions, meaning players from all around the world can join them regardless of their location (special regulations may be applied to players from rating zones such as Japan or South Korea)
 
PlacementChampionship PointsKicker
1500 CP0
2400 CP0
3-4320 CP0
5-8250 CP0
9-16200 CP48
17-32160 CP100
33-64130 CP200
65-128100 CP400
129-25680 CP800
257-51260 CP1600

Placement1-100101-200201+TCG*
1$1,500$2,500$5,00072
2$1,000$1,500$2,50072
3-4$750$1,000$1,50072
5-8$500$750$1,00036
9-16$500$75018
17-32$500

*TCG Booster Packs are given regardless of attendance.

Qualification Periods & Travel Awards

Travel awards will be handed out to the players in each age division and rating zone having gathered the most CP during an exact qualification periods. Players having maxed out their BFLs can still get CP towards these awards.

InternationalsFirst DayFinal Day
BRA Latin AmericaApr. 29, 2019Jun. 30, 2019
AUS OceaniaJul. 1, 2019Nov. 17, 2019
DEU EuropeNov. 18, 2019Feb. 23, 2020
USA North AmericaFeb. 24, 2020Apr. 19, 2020
Best Finish Limits

Best Finish Limits

Each event type has its own Best Finish Limit (BFL), which indicates the number of best results taken into account towards your invite to Worlds 2020. A BFL of 6 for, let's say, MSS, means that only your 6 best MSS performances of the season will be counted.

However, these BFLs do not apply for the Internationals qualification periods. Even if your BFL of a certain event type is maxed out before the season ends, you may want to play to obtain CP towards travel awards.

Qualify for the 2020 World Championships

Rating ZoneJuniorsSeniorsMasters
Europe200 CP250 CP300 CP
US & Canada200 CP250 CP400 CP
Latin America200 CP250 CP400 CP
Oceania200 CP 200 CP300 CP
South Africa100 CP150 CP200 CP
Rating ZoneCP Requirements
EuropeThe Top 16 players in the CP leaderboard
US & CanadaThe Top 8 players in the CP leaderboard
Latin AmericaThe Top 8 players in the CP leaderboard
OceaniaThe Top 8 players in the CP leaderboard
JapanDepending on the 2020 Japan National Championships
South KoreaDepending on the 2020 South Korea National Championships
D.C. 2019The Top 4 finishers for each age division in D.C 2019 receive a travel award and a Day 1 Invite for London 2020

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