International Championships, 2017 Play! Pokémon details announced

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First International Championships to be held this December
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  • Wednesday, September 21, 2016

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Details on the 2017 season of Play! Pokémon have been announced, including new International Championships.

International Championships are new tournaments that replace National Championships from previous years. Unlike the Pokémon TCG National Championships of previous years, International Championships are open to players from anywhere in the world. Two have been announced: the Pokémon European International Championships and North American International Championships. The Pokémon International Championships will be some of the largest competitions in the 2017 Pokémon Championship Series schedule, and winners will earn a high number of Championship Points toward a qualification to the 2017 Pokémon World Championships.

The Pokémon European International Championships will be held at ExCeL London in the United Kingdom from December 9 to 11, 2016. The three-day event will give Pokémon video game players their first chance to battle in a sanctioned event using Pokémon Sun and Moon (launching in Europe on November 23 and the rest of the world on November 18). Pokémon TCG players will also have their first chance to play with the XY—Evolutions expansion launching later this year.

In each rating zone, the top four Pokémon TCG and video game players in each age division who participated during the 2016 Championship Series season will receive Travel Awards to the European International Championships. Invitations are based on their Championship Point total at the end of the 2016 season. Travel Awards do not pass down or stack. In each rating zone, Pokémon TCG players ranked 5th–16th and Pokémon video game players ranked 5th–8th in each age division qualify for a Travel Stipend of $1,000 (less applicable taxes). Participation at the European International Championships is required to redeem a Travel Stipend.

The Pokémon International Championships will be livestreamed on, with commentary.

Starting this October, the Pokémon Regional Championships begin with a full schedule of events coming to cities in North America and Europe. For the 2017 Championship Series season, Regionals events will no longer be clustered into three seasonal periods, but spread over the calendar year. Like the International Championships, Regional Championships are open to Pokémon TCG and video game players from anywhere in the world and will feature larger prize pools and more Championship Points at each tournament.

The prize pool for each Pokémon Regional Championships can be as high as $50,000, depending on attendance. Every Regional event—regardless of location—will use the same attendance-based thresholds for calculating available prize pools. The actual amount and size of the prizes awarded at an event will depend on the number of participants—the more people who compete, the more prizes will be available, so that the players who win the largest, most competitive events will earn the biggest prizes.

The first North American Pokémon Regional Championships event will be held in Phoenix, Arizona on October 1, 2016.

There will be more local events for both the video game and Trading Card Game. Premier Challenge and Midseason Showdown events return for video game players; Premier Challenges provide players with frequent opportunities to play at local events and to try out new strategies at smaller events, while Midseason Showdowns are larger events that give players the opportunity to compete for a greater number of Championship Points in their local area. Trading Card Game players can participate in League Cup events held at local stores.

Pokémon Video Game Championship Series events will use Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire until November 30, 2016. On December 1, 2016, the format will change to Pokémon Sun and Moon, and all video game players may only compete using those games for the remainder of the Championship Season. The full breakdown of the 2017 season Video Game Championship Points structure can be found here.

Pokémon Trading Card Game Championship Series events will use the 2016-17 Standard format (Primal Clash on) and 2016-17 Expanded format (Black & White on). The full breakdown of the 2017 season's Pokémon TCG Championship Points structure can be found here.

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