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Pokémon TCG - New Tournament Rules and Formats for 2025

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Check out all the new changes announced by the Pokémon Company for 2025! They'll be legal from the Honolulu World Championship (2024) onwards!

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On June 27th, 2024, The Pokémon Company published a small article on their official website announcing new rules for local tournaments and their point systems (Cups and League Challenge), Regional and International tournaments, and also a new format for the World Championship moving forward.

In this article, we went through all of these changes, so let's see them!

New Point System for 2025

Changes

Until very recently, players across the world had a predetermined average number of points they needed to classify to the Pokémon World Championships, like so:

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Image content of the Website

For Brazil, for instance (if we consider the Master division), players needed 350 points, and players from the U.S.A. and Canada needed 600 points. As there are more Regional Tournaments and Special Events in North America than Brazil, these goals make sense, but Brazilian players still struggled. Latin America struggled with the same issue, but players could get the points they needed with local leagues, like League Challenge and Cups.

The new rules state the following: the 125 best players in North America (the U.S.A. and Canada) and the 100 best players from Latin America as a whole will classify for the event, including Brazil.

Image content of the Website

This means that now Brazil players will have to compete with their Latin America peers, like players from Peru, Colombia, Chile, and Argentina, for their spot. This means less spots, and consequently smaller chances, for everyone, but particularly Brazil.

Point Systems in Local Tournaments and Bigger Events

Small Tournaments - Local Leagues - League Challenge and Cups

About the League Challenge and Cups:

The top 4 best ranking players from these tournaments now get extra points, and thus have a better shot at getting a World Championship invite.

You can play any number of League Challenges and Cups as you want, but only the four best ranking players from these tournaments get extra points.

They'll also give you a lot less points than before, which makes it harder for anyone that can't travel all the time to play at Regional or International tournaments in other countries to classify.

Big Tournaments: Regional, International, and Special Events

The new rules are the following:

►Regional winners (so, only players that get to first place) will get a World Championship invite.

► Anyone who makes it to the Top 4 at International tournaments will also get a World Championship invite (there will also be changes for anyone who makes it to the Top 64 at International tournaments).

►Special Events winners (only players that get to first place) also get a World Championship invite.

Please note that, before these changes, all Special Events were hosted in Europe. Now, they'll happen across the world.

Furthermore, if a player wins one of these events, and also plays other events like a League Challenge or a Cup, they won't get two invites! Once a player wins one of these tournaments, they already have a spot at the World Championship.

The Registration Problem

As this new format will push people to play more tournaments, everyone will go to RK9 as fast as possible to register and get a spot. So now, besides the fact that these spots always run out way too quickly, players from countries that don't host many big tournaments will struggle.

Any player who makes it to a top 32 will have priority when they try to guarantee a spot at these events!

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About Worlds

Swiss Rounds

This change was very well-received, as it lets players rest a little more, both mentally and physically. Check it out:

► Until 2024, the system was: Day 1 included nine Swiss Rounds, and Day 2 included six Swiss Rounds, which could vary depending on how many players were playing the event.

► After 2025, the system will be: Day 1 will include eight Swiss Rounds, and Day 2 will include four Swiss Rounds, which still may vary depending on how many players are playing the event.

Table from the official website and notes:

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Furthermore, this change is supposed to discourage players who want to classify through ties, as you'll now get less points for the ranking if you do so, and also discourage anyone that plays purposefully slow.

Asymmetrical Top 8

If any players tie when they try to classify to Top 8 of the World Championship, they proposed an "asymmetrical top cut single-elimination bracket". This means that, instead of a regular Top 8, if there are any ties, the tied players will also play with the other classified players in an "asymmetrical top cut single-elimination bracket", but there's a limit of 32 players total for this final phase.

Prize Pool

Money

Cash prizes are also on the line at Regional, International, and World Championships. Last year saw a substantial increase, so they’re "maintaining these prize values for the 2025 Championship Series season."

The format of each prize is dependent on the age of the recipient.

18 and up:

► Awards of $5,000 or more: Choice of scholarship or cash.

► Awards under $5,000: Cash.

Under 18 years of age:

►Awards of $5,000 or more: Choice of scholarship or Pokémon Visa® Prepaid Card.

►Awards under $5,000: Pokémon Visa® Prepaid Card.

Note: Prizes and prize distribution may be subject to change.

Image content of the Website

Booster Prizes

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International Championships Travel Prize Updates

They’re also making updates to Travel Prizes for qualifying players in the 2025 season. The Travel Rewards program will be upgraded to Pokémon GO competitors, and also get new prize tiers for these three games (Pokémon TCG, Pokémon video game), namely Priority Registration for top participants. Priority Registration was already a part of the Travel Award and Travel Stipend benefit, and will be maintained for those tiers as well.

Image content of the Website

"Players can qualify for Travel Prizes to the International Championships based on their performance and their standing in Championship Points" in their home rating zone during stand-alone qualification periods.

Players in the Russia, Middle East, and South Africa rating zone are not eligible for Travel Awards, Travel Stipends, or Priority Registration.

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Final Thoughts

To be honest, there was more to be sad about than to be happy about regarding these changes.

- League Challenge and Cups event points are irrelevant now, considering they used to be critical for players that can't travel outside their home country for Regional or International tournaments, as well as Special Events. This will definitely demotivate players, and many stores will lose a part of their influence and leverage.

- The competition seems to have become a bit more elitist, that is, it favors anyone who has money to spend on travelling and other unseen expenses. Many players have already complained about these changes on social media and declared they would no longer be playing Pokémon TCG competitively.

What do you think about these changes? What are the pros and cons?

Tell us your thoughts in our comment section below. See you next time!