2023 Play! Pokémon Season Structure

The 2023 Play! Pokémon season started officialy at the London Open, held on August 2022 alongside the 2022 World Championships, and will come to an end at the 2023 World Championships in Yokohama, Japan. This is the first time that Worlds will be held in Japan, the most successful country in VGC history!

After the unusual 2020/2022 season, it was announced on 17 August 2022 that all VGC events in TPCI regions would be put on hold after the London Open for several months, until January 2023, when the circuit would resume with the new games, Pokémon Scarlet & Pokémon Violet. This means that a VGC competition will not be held in an International Championships for the first time ever, as Latin America Internationals are scheduled in November only featuring TCG and GO. Events in TPC regions are still being held in those months.

One event, the London Open, was played in Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield, while when the circuit continues in 2023, all other events will be played in the newest games Pokémon Scarlet & Pokémon Violet.

Table of Contents

Format rotations

After the London Open, played under Series 12 rules in Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield, there will be no official VGC events for the remainder of 2022 in TPCI regions. All VGC events taking place from January 2023 on will use Pokémon Scarlet & Pokémon Violet until further notice.

In TPC regions, some official events are played in Series 13, the format of official in-game Ranked Battles from 1 September 2022 to 31 October 2022.

The season’s rules will be announced in a later date.

Battle rules

The battle rules will be announced in a later date.

Team rules

The battle rules will be announced in a later date.

General eligibility rules for Pokémon

Permitted Pokémon

Banned Pokémon

Terastalized Pokémon

Sword & Shield Series 13

The VGC Series 13 format of Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield is unique, as there are no restrictions on Pokémon. All Restricted Legendary Pokémon and, for the first time ever, Mythical Pokémon are allowed, with no limitation in number. Series 13 is the official format of in-game Ranked Battles from 1 September 2022 to 31 October 2022.

For the 2023 season, the Taipei Regionals is the only event scheduled to be played using the VGC Series 13 ruleset.

Permitted Pokémon
The list of permitted Pokémon changes with each Series. For the current format, Series 13, all available Pokémon in the games are allowed:
    • Galar Pokédex: #001-400
    • Isle of Armor Pokédex: #001-211
    • Crown Tundra Pokédex: #001-210
    • National Pokédex: #150–151, #243–245, #249–260, #380–385, #480–485, #487–488, #494, #641–647, #649, #716–719, #721–730 and #785–809
Banned Pokémon
No Pokémon are banned.
Gigantamax Pokémon

All Gigantamax Pokémon are allowed for Series 13.

Gigantamax Pokémon allowed for Series 13
venusaur-gmaxcharizard-gmaxblastoise-gmaxbutterfree-gmaxpikachu-gmaxmeowth-gmax
VenusaurCharizardBlastoiseButterfreePikachuMeowth
machamp-gmaxgengar-gmaxkingler-gmaxlapras-gmaxeevee-gmaxsnorlax-gmax
MachampGengarKinglerLaprasEeveeSnorlax
garbodor-gmaxrillaboom-gmaxcinderace-gmaxinteleon-gmaxcorviknight-gmaxorbeetle-gmax
GarbodorRillaboomCinderaceInteleonCorviknightOrbeetle
drednaw-gmaxcoalossal-gmaxflapple-gmaxflapple-gmaxsandaconda-gmaxtoxtricity-gmax
DrednawCoalossalFlappleAppletunSandacondaToxtricity
(both forms)
centiskorch-gmaxhatterene-gmaxgrimmsnarl-gmaxalcremie-gmaxcopperajah-gmaxduraludon-gmax
CentiskorchHattereneGrimmsnarlAlcremie
(all forms)
CopperajahDuraludon
 urshifu-single-strike-gmaxurshifu-rapid-strike-gmax 
 Single Strike Style
Urshifu
Rapid Strike Style
Urshifu
 
Permitted Pokémon
The list of permitted Pokémon changes with each Series. For the current format, Series 13, all available Pokémon in the games are allowed:
    • Galar Pokédex: #001-400
    • Isle of Armor Pokédex: #001-211
    • Crown Tundra Pokédex: #001-210
    • National Pokédex: #150–151, #243–245, #249–260, #380–385, #480–485, #487–488, #494, #641–647, #649, #716–719, #721–730 and #785–809
Banned Pokémon
No Pokémon are banned.
Gigantamax Pokémon

All Gigantamax Pokémon are allowed for Series 13.

Gigantamax Pokémon allowed for Series 13
venusaur-gmaxcharizard-gmaxblastoise-gmaxbutterfree-gmax
VenusaurCharizardBlastoiseButterfree
pikachu-gmaxmeowth-gmaxmachamp-gmaxgengar-gmax
PikachuMeowthMachampGengar
kingler-gmaxlapras-gmaxeevee-gmaxsnorlax-gmax
KinglerLaprasEeveeSnorlax
garbodor-gmaxrillaboom-gmaxcinderace-gmaxinteleon-gmax
GarbodorRillaboomCinderaceInteleon
corviknight-gmaxorbeetle-gmaxdrednaw-gmaxcoalossal-gmax
CorviknightOrbeetleDrednawCoalossal
flapple-gmaxflapple-gmaxsandaconda-gmaxtoxtricity-gmax
FlappleAppletunSandacondaToxtricity
(both forms)
centiskorch-gmaxhatterene-gmaxgrimmsnarl-gmaxalcremie-gmax
CentiskorchHattereneGrimmsnarlAlcremie
(all forms)
copperajah-gmaxduraludon-gmaxurshifu-single-strike-gmaxurshifu-rapid-strike-gmax
CopperajahDuraludonSingle Strike Style
Urshifu
Rapid Strike Style
Urshifu

Sword & Shield Series 12

The VGC Series 12 format of Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield is a throwback to the 2010, 2016 and 2019 rulesets, all of them known as GS Cup, formats where Restricted Legendary Pokémon such as Groudon, Lunala, Zacian or Calyrex are allowed. It was played during the 2022 season when live events came back after the two-year hiatus.

For the 2023 season, the London Open was the only event played using the VGC Series 12 ruleset.

Permitted Pokémon

The list of permitted Pokémon changes with each Series. For the current format, Series 12, the following Pokémon are allowed:

    • Galar Pokédex: #001-397
    • Isle of Armor Pokédex: #001-210
    • Crown Tundra Pokédex: #001-209
    • National Pokédex: #243–245, #252–260, #380–381, #480–482, #485, #488, #638–642, #645, #722–730, #785–788, #793–799 and #803–806

Additionally, players may use two of the following Restricted Pokémon in their teams:

    • National Pokédex: #150, #249-250, #382–384, #483–484, #487, #643–644, #646, #716–718, #789–792, #800, #888–890 and #898.
Banned Pokémon

Mythical Pokémon are banned.

Banned Pokémon for Series 12
mewcelebijirachivictinikeldeogenesect
MewCelebiJirachiVictiniKeldeo
(both forms)
Genesect
(all forms)
diancievolcanionmagearnamarshadowzeraorameltan
DiancieVolcanionMagearna
(both forms)
MarshadowZeraoraMeltan
  melmetalzarude  
  MelmetalZarude
(both forms)
  
Gigantamax Pokémon

All Gigantamax Pokémon are allowed for Series 12.

Gigantamax Pokémon allowed for Series 12
venusaur-gmaxcharizard-gmaxblastoise-gmaxbutterfree-gmaxpikachu-gmaxmeowth-gmax
VenusaurCharizardBlastoiseButterfreePikachuMeowth
machamp-gmaxgengar-gmaxkingler-gmaxlapras-gmaxeevee-gmaxsnorlax-gmax
MachampGengarKinglerLaprasEeveeSnorlax
garbodor-gmaxrillaboom-gmaxcinderace-gmaxinteleon-gmaxcorviknight-gmaxorbeetle-gmax
GarbodorRillaboomCinderaceInteleonCorviknightOrbeetle
drednaw-gmaxcoalossal-gmaxflapple-gmaxflapple-gmaxsandaconda-gmaxtoxtricity-gmax
DrednawCoalossalFlappleAppletunSandacondaToxtricity
(both forms)
centiskorch-gmaxhatterene-gmaxgrimmsnarl-gmaxalcremie-gmaxcopperajah-gmaxduraludon-gmax
CentiskorchHattereneGrimmsnarlAlcremie
(all forms)
CopperajahDuraludon
 urshifu-single-strike-gmaxurshifu-rapid-strike-gmax 
 Single Strike Style
Urshifu
Rapid Strike Style
Urshifu
 
Permitted Pokémon

The list of permitted Pokémon changes with each Series. For the current format, Series 12, the following Pokémon are allowed:

    • Galar Pokédex: #001-397
    • Isle of Armor Pokédex: #001-210
    • Crown Tundra Pokédex: #001-209
    • National Pokédex: #243–245, #252–260, #380–381, #480–482, #485, #488, #638–642, #645, #722–730, #785–788, #793–799 and #803–806

Additionally, players may use two of the following Restricted Pokémon in their teams:

    • National Pokédex: #150, #249-250, #382–384, #483–484, #487, #643–644, #646, #716–718, #789–792, #800, #888–890 and #898.
Banned Pokémon

Mythical Pokémon are banned.

Banned Pokémon for Series 12
mewcelebijirachivictini
MewCelebiJirachiVictini
keldeogenesectdiancievolcanion
Keldeo
(both forms)
Genesect
(all forms)
DiancieVolcanion
magearnamarshadowzeraorameltan
Magearna
(both forms)
MarshadowZeraoraMeltan
 melmetalzarude 
 MelmetalZarude
(both forms)
 
Gigantamax Pokémon

All Gigantamax Pokémon are allowed for Series 12.

Gigantamax Pokémon allowed for Series 12
venusaur-gmaxcharizard-gmaxblastoise-gmaxbutterfree-gmax
VenusaurCharizardBlastoiseButterfree
pikachu-gmaxmeowth-gmaxmachamp-gmaxgengar-gmax
PikachuMeowthMachampGengar
kingler-gmaxlapras-gmaxeevee-gmaxsnorlax-gmax
KinglerLaprasEeveeSnorlax
garbodor-gmaxrillaboom-gmaxcinderace-gmaxinteleon-gmax
GarbodorRillaboomCinderaceInteleon
corviknight-gmaxorbeetle-gmaxdrednaw-gmaxcoalossal-gmax
CorviknightOrbeetleDrednawCoalossal
flapple-gmaxflapple-gmaxsandaconda-gmaxtoxtricity-gmax
FlappleAppletunSandacondaToxtricity
(both forms)
centiskorch-gmaxhatterene-gmaxgrimmsnarl-gmaxalcremie-gmax
CentiskorchHattereneGrimmsnarlAlcremie
(all forms)
copperajah-gmaxduraludon-gmaxurshifu-single-strike-gmaxurshifu-rapid-strike-gmax
CopperajahDuraludonSingle Strike Style
Urshifu
Rapid Strike Style
Urshifu

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.

These are the age divisions for the 2023 season:

  • Juniors: born in 2011 or later
  • Seniors: born in 2007 to 2010
  • Masters: born in 2006 or earlier

Events: where and when?

The 2023 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. These events award greater prizes and Championship Points.
    • Major events in Japan and South East Asia are managed by The Pokémon Company (TPC) with a different award structure not based in Championship Points.
    • Major events in South Korea are managed by Pokémon Korea.
  • Local events are run by volunteer organizers and allow newer players and smaller communities to take part of the game. These have not happened since March 2020 and are not yet confirmed to return.

Among these events, the most important are the International Championships (for TPCI regions) and National Championships (for TPC and Pokémon Korea regions). Sadly, for the first time ever, there will not be VGC International Championships in Latin America.

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.

CP payouts for the 2023 season will be announced at a later date.

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.

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.

Qualification periods & Travel Awards

In the TPCI-based regions, 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 period. Players having maxed out their BFLs can still get CP towards these awards.

Players in the Top 4 of their home region (North America, Europe, Latin America, Oceania) and age division during these periods receive a Travel Award (valued at between $2000 and $5000). Players ranked 5th to 8th can earn a $1000 Travel Stipend.

EventFirst DayLast Day
AUS Oceania Internationals (OCIC)25 April 202226 June 2022
CPs don’t count towards any TA27 June 202227 November 2022
GBR Europe Internationals (EUIC)28 November 2022OCIC (Feb 2023)
USA North America Internationals (NAIC)
Monday after OCIC (Feb 2023)EUIC (Apr 2023)

Qualify for the 2023 World Championships!

The top 4 players in each age division in the 2022 World Championships will receive a Day 1 invite and a Travel Award for the 2023 World Championships.

Other qualfication requirements for the 2023 World Championships will be announced at a later date.

Victory Road