The 2013 Play!Pokemon Season

With the 2012 Pokemon National Championships completed, this season of organized play is winding its way to a close.  In previous years, this has meant a dead space, so to speak, between seasons while the best players in the World prepare to face off in the World Championships, with the next season’s activities traditionally not picking back up until September.  Someone in Pokemon took notice and adjusted for this in the 2013 season.  Actually, Pokemon is making several adjustments for 2013.  These changes include a shift in the league seasons and a restructure of the tournament cycle.  We saw a lot of changes in 2012.  The 2012 changes, despite being poorly communicated to the players and  organizers, turned out to be changes for the better.  Pokemon looks like they will continue to improve the system for 2013.

For those who do not know, the 2013 season has already begun.  As of July 9th, participation points from leagues and tournaments will count on the 2013 season.  Participation points, or “Play Points”, are earned for each league season and tournament you play in.  These are not to be confused with Championship Points (CP).  Pokemon required 10 Play Points to enter this year’s National Championship.  This was in response to the 100+ people who signed up last year to get the free t-shirt and then did not show up to play, causing over an hour delay to the 1st round of last year’s event.  All you have to do to earn these points is attend league/events and have an active account on Pokemon.com.  Championship points are earned by winning/placing in tournaments and are used to determine invitations for the World Championships.  CP’s replaced the previous year’s rating system, which was easily manipulated by winning games at events and then dropping before you were beaten.  The only way to get the CP’s is to play out events and win.  This definitely improved the level of play at most events this year as every age group was very competitive.  At any rate, the current season is earning everyone Play Points for 2013, which should make you eligible to participate in the 2013 Nationals simply be playing in every season at the league.  As we’ve already mentioned, the official rotation to the Black & White-on format will not take place until September 1st (after Worlds).

The tournament schedule will take on another series of changes for 2013, as Pokemon plans to have at least 1 Premier event each month.  Premier events include the standard tournaments and pre-release tournaments.  This is a rough layout of what they have planned.

  • July:  Pre-releases
  • August:  Pre-releases (cont’d)
  • September: Fall Battle Roads
  • October: Fall Regional Championships & Pre-releases
  • November: Pre-releases (cont’d)
  • December: City Championships
  • January: Winter Regional Championships & Pre-releases
  • February: Pre-releases (cont’d)
  • March: State Championships
  • April: Spring Regional Championships
  • May: Spring Battle Roads & Pre-releases
  • June: Spring Battle Roads (cont’d), National Championship (possibly in July like this year)
  • July: Pre-releases
  • August: Pre-releases & World Championship

It looks like the pre-release schedule will routinely begin on the last weekend of a month and then spill over for several weeks into the next month.  So, the consecutive months that list pre-releases will be releases from 1 set.  One of the biggest changes looks to be the addition of a 3rd weekend of Regional Championships.  Regionals provides the biggest opportunity to earn CP’s prior to Nationals, so an extra weekend of that will be a big opportunity for many players (depending on where they are).  For those not familiar, the tournament structure, from the smallest, in terms of CP’s and prizes, to the largest go like this:  Battle Roads, City Championships, State Championships, Regional Championships, Nationals Championships and then World Championships.  They used to take place in that order.  However, Pokemon has shaken that up a bit with the addition of more tournaments.

The Fincastle Pokemon Gym will host several events in 2013.  We will host both Fall and Spring Battle Roads.  In addition, we will host pre-releases for each new set.  The up-coming set, Dragons Exalted, will actually be a “sealed” event, meaning that it will take place after the set is actually released.  It will work exactly the same as our pre-release events and is still the most economical way to obtain packs from the new set.  The Dragon-type pokemon in this set are some of the most popular in Pokemon (including the most powerful attacker we’ve ever seen in the form of Rayquaza EX), so it will be a great set to get your hands on.

We will lay out details for each of our events as they get closer.  It looks like this will be another busy season for the Gym.  The rotation will keep us busy as Gym Leaders as we will have to update our Gym Leader decks.  This will mean that many of them will not be available for challenges during the month of August.  We will have them up and running by September 1st.  We hope to have our new badges available by September 1st as well.  Keep in mind, in order to challenge a Gym Leader after September 1st, you will also be required to have a B&W-on deck.  If you have any questions about your deck, see a Gym Leader during league play.  If you want a shot at an existing deck, make sure you are signed up.  Find the Gym Leader you want to challenge as soon as you get to league and let them know so we can make time to play you.

As we approach the official rotation date, the Gym Leaders will be updating previous posts about deck building strategies and cards available at the league to match up with the new format.  Much like rebuilding our Gym Leader decks, this will take us a little time.  Stay tuned for those updates.  That’s all for now, see you at the Gym!

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