VG Tournament Tips

Video Game Tournament Tips
Tournaments are fun competitive events which can be confusing and overwhelming if it is your first tournament. If you are playing in a tournament you should be familiar with the rules of the game, but here are some tips to help clarify some of the more common game-play issues you may encounter at any tournament.

Required Materials 

You can't expect a painter to paint without paint or a chef to cook without a kitchen. Pokémon is no different. Pokémon VG Trainers can use this as a checklist of Required Materials when preparing themselves for a tournament. Tournament Staff cannot supply players with Required Materials.

  • A Nintendo DS, DS lite, DSi, DSi XL, 3DS, or 3DS XL system
    • Make sure you bring a charger that is compatible with the system you choose to bring. Tournament Staff will be unable to provide a charger, but may have set up charge stations at the event.
  • Your game cartridge with your Pokémon team that meets the tournament format requirements.
    • All Pokémon and items on your team must have been obtained through regular game play methods. Pokémon or items obtained from third-party devices or programs, such as Action Replay, Game Shark, Pokesav, etc. are NOT ALLOWED for use in Premier level events. If detected during registration, you will be forced to switch the Pokémon with another one from your game. If any hacked, altered, or cheated-for Pokémon are detected on your team from random hack checks throughout the event, you will be dropped on the spot.
  • Most tournaments and all premier event tournaments use the Standard format.
  • Please arrive at the line for registration as early as possible to avoid a Round 1 game loss. If an event requires you to move your team from your party to the Battle Box, make sure you do so before entering the registration/team check line. Players must be in the registration/team check line prior to the end of registration if they want to play in the tournament without a Round 1 game loss.
  • A list of the Pokémon you plan on using throughout the tournament (if required by organizer).
  • Your Player ID number. (If you do not know your Player ID number ask the League Leader or Tournament Organizer who issued you your Player ID for it, they should have it on file.)
    • If you don't have a Player ID number one can be given to you at any league or tournament.
  • Money
    • Most big tournaments will have a lunch break and/OR side events.
Game Play
Use the Universal Language of Pokémon:
  • Shake hands with your opponent before you start a game and after you finish a game.
  • Each player may only look at their own DS system while rounds are in progress.
  • If you believe a player at the event is using a Pokémon or item that is not available through regular game play methods, bring this to the attention of the Tournament Staff immediately.
  • If you have any questions about what is going on, how a game mechanic works, or if there is a problem with your game that needs to be resolved, ask your opponent to stop playing and call a judge immediately. Do not try to fix any problems yourself or ask your neighbor for help. For all questions and concerns, call a Judge. Judges cannot always correct a problem if play has continued.
  • If you disagree with or don't understand a ruling a floor judge has made it is your right as a player to appeal to the Head Judge.
  • Avoid unnecessary questions or remarks. Unnecessary questions or remarks may distract your opponent or mislead your opponent as to your intended play. These actions could result in penalty.
Tournament Procedure
  • Tournaments are run using 3 age groups.
    • Masters- Born in 1999 or earlier.
    • Seniors- Born between 2000-2003.
    • Juniors- Born in 2004 or later.
  • Most tournaments use Swiss Round Pairings.
  • Swiss Round Pairings is a tournament system where players play a set number of games regardless of winning or losing. Numbers of rounds are determined based on number of players in attendance.
  • All premier events use Swiss Round Pairings plus Single Elimination Finals if an age group has 8 or more players.
    • Following the Swiss Rounds the top players are seeded into a Single Elimination Playoff Bracket. Each Single Elimination round players play a best 2 out of 3 match. The first player to win 2 games advances in the tournament.
    • Number of players that play in Single Elimination Finals is determined based on number of players in attendance.
Beginning of Round
  • Before each round a staff member will post Pairings. Names appear in alphabetical order, find your name on the left side of the pairings sheet and go to the table number to the left of your name. When your opponent sits down, you can set up but cannot start.
  • To the right of your name is your win-loss record, if this is number is wrong please tell a staff member right away. If the round starts, the error cannot be corrected. If you have 2 wins and 1 loss, this number should say 2-1. If it says 3-0 or 1-2 or anything other than what it should, tell a staff member.
  • If you notice your game system is running out of power, ask a tournament staff member to move you and your opponent to a nearby charging station. To avoid such situations, attempt to charge your system a little bit at a time between each round to ensure the battery lasts longer than it would from just an overnight charge.

End of Round

  • During the round, a staff member will put a match slip at each table.
  • When you finish your game, initial the match slip and circle win or loss. Have your opponent do the same and raise the match slip in the air. A staff member will come collect it. Fill out the match slip before picking up your belongings.
  • After you fill out your match slip, please collect your belongings and leave the play area. Players can not watch active tournament games. When you have finished your game, you must leave the play area.
Time Limits
  • The time limit for each round is recorded and displayed on the top screen of each player’s DS system.
  • If team preview is enabled, players will have 90 seconds to view their opponent’s team and select their Pokémon before the game begins.
  • Swiss rounds are 20 minutes long.
  • Each turn has a 1 minute time limit, during which a player is allowed to select an attack from their Active Pokémon, switch their Active Pokémon with another one of the Pokémon in their team, look at the summaries of the Pokémon on their team, etc.
Match Resolution
  • Keep in mind that certain attacks, Abilities, and items may have a drastic effect on the end results of any game played during a tournament. The following regulations are in place for specific situations:
  • If the player’s final Pokémon used Selfdestruct, Explosion, Destiny Bond, or Final Gambit, and both players’ final Pokémon are knocked out as a result, that player loses that game
  • If a player’s final Pokémon used Double-Edge, Volt Tackle, Flare Blitz, Take Down, Submission, Brave Bird, Wood Hammer, Head Smash, Struggle, or Wild Charge, or was holding Life Orb, and both players’ final Pokémon are knocked out as a result, that player wins that game
  • If both players’ final Pokémon is knocked out by a weather condition, such as Hail or Sandstorm, the player whose Pokémon is knocked out last wins the game
  • If a Pokémon’s Ability or held item, such as Rough Skin, Aftermath, Liquid Ooze, Iron Barbs, or Rocky Helmet, results in each player’s final Pokémon being knocked out, the player with the Ability or held item will win the game
  • A player who selects “Run” during a battle will count as the loser of that game, whether selected intentionally or not. Therefore, DO NOT RUSH!!! Play patiently and be very careful when selecting game actions.
  • If any questions or concerns occur near the end of the game, and/or a Judge is not able to reach you in time, games may be saved and recorded using the VS Recorder in-game item. This item allows for a turn-by-turn replay of the last recorded game that may aid the tournament staff in regards to any concerns brought up during the round. To be safe, record every game at the end of every round.
Tie Breakers
  • When time runs out, the player who has the highest number of remaining Pokémon wins.
  • If the number of remaining Pokémon on each player’s team is tied when round time limit expires, the player whose team has the highest average percentage of remaining HP wins.
  • If the average percentage of remaining HP on each player’s team is equal, the player whose team has a higher total HP remaining wins the game.
  • If both players’ teams have the same number of remaining Pokémon, the same average percentage of remaining HP, AND the same exact number of remaining HP, the game is declared a tie.
  • In the case of a tie, both players will start a new tie-breaker game. If a player has a higher number of remaining Pokémon on their team than their opponent at the end of any turn during this game, that player wins.


The Most Important Tip of all- HAVE FUN!!!!