Hey Pokemon Players! Kohrok here with another awesome article with Hardrock-Pokemon. As you may know, we’re heading into the meatiest part of this year’s tournament schedule for the Pokemon TCG, with Regionals the second weekend of November, City Championships running through December and January, State Championships after that, Spring Regionals, and of course, the now-announced United States Nationals in late June, all leading up to the 2012 Pokemon World Championships!
For those of you that haven’t been following the season thus far, never fear! There are still plenty of opportunities to earn an invite and find your place at the World Championships top tables. There are some changes to the way that works, however. The first primary change is in the ranking system. Previously, the Pokemon Trading Card Game had used a “K-Value” system to establish rankings, re-setting each year to a base of 1600 points, and allowing players’ ratings to increase and decrease with wins and losses. Depending on the importance of each event, assessed with a numeric “K-value”, the number of points that were won or lost differed.
This year, however, the system has changed. While the K-value system is still in place, it will only be used as a tie-breaking method, and not as an invitation system as it previously had. Now, a “Championship Points” system has been created, which has led to an increase in event attendance thus far, and looks to do so for the remainder of the year. Now, top finishers and finalists will receive “Championship Points” for their finish position, similar to the way some sports give points based on final position, such as in Track or Swimming. Based on the number of points a player accumulates over the season, the number of their “top finishes”, a ranking may or may not be given.
This new method means that you no longer lose points for losing games, creating an extreme incentive to go to as many tournaments as possible, in the hope that you may win an event, reaping a large point-award. Currently, there has been much debate as to what, if any, cutoff may occur for the invitation, but such news has not been made public at this time. Also private remains the number of “Play! Points” required to attend the Nationals tournament. Unlike in previous years, United States Nationals will NOT be open to any and all players. In response to growing player demand and other concerns, Pokemon has implemented a new rule for this year. Instead, each season of league, pre-release, tournament, and premier event that a player attends will now add “Play! Points” (not to be confused with Championship Points) to a player’s total. Once a specific amount of Play! Points are reached, a player will be eligible to attend the National Tournament.
The effect of the change to Nationals should increase attendance to all functions, if for no reason other than to gain Play! Points to secure the potential ability to participate in Nationals. Also, because the number of points required to secure that ability has not been disclosed, players have been left wondering just how many points will be needed, with rumors running from 5 (Attendance at league only, no premier events, or one or two premier events) to some suggesting that a player would have to have 10 (Attendance at league, possibly multiple, in conjunction with premier events) or possibly even more, the latter two of which seem increasingly less likely as time passes.
However, that doesn’t really mean much to most of us. For most, playing Pokemon is the fun in and of itself, and the matter of going to major tournaments provides us with an opportunity to see friends and have fun. That being said, I encourage you to go out and support your local leagues, tournament organizers, and have fun! Remember, if you have questions or are looking for advice, feel free to e-mail PennStatePokemonLeague@gmail.com
Until next time!