Play! Pokémon announces 2014 season updates
The official U.S. Pokémon site recently announced changes to the 2014 Play! Pokémon season.
Pokémon Trading Card Game Battle Road tournaments will now be associated with Pokémon League locations worldwide. Active Pokémon Leagues with a Tournament Organizer on staff will have the opportunity to run a League Challenge tournament at the end of each League season. League Challenge Championship Points awards and Best Finish Limits will not be affected.
Beginning in 2014, Play! Pokémon TCG Championship Events above the City Championships level will be using best-of-three match play in Swiss rounds. Best-of-three Swiss rounds will have a time limit of 50 minutes plus three turns. Additionally, ties will be reintroduced into Pokémon TCG tournaments. Championship events will also have a maximum top cut of eight players (Top 8). Some larger Premier Events will feature two-day splits, in which players with the top records from the first day’s Swiss rounds move on to play a second day of Swiss rounds prior to the Top 8 playoffs.
Also beginning in the 2014 tournament season, there will be an entry fee for Pokémon TCG Masters Division players entering into Premier Events. Fees will be determined by the event organizer and will be included in each tournament listing in advance of the event. Aside from Prerelease tournaments, Junior and Senior Division players, as well as video game players, will still pay no entry fees for Premier Events.
Prize support will be increased in the TCG Masters Division in light of the new entry fees. Masters Division booster pack prizes will be increased at City Championships level and above, and prizes will be given to more players lower in the finish order. Four additional World Championships Travel Awards will also be added to the U.S. National Championships Masters Division.
Changes to the Tournament Prize Structure were also announced. U.S. National Championships Travel Awards and Travel Stipends will now be awarded to the top TCG and video game performers in the season’s Championship Point rankings. Changes to the TCG ranks are as follows:
- 1st–16th: Travel Award and a $300 Travel Stipend
- 17th–30th: $750 Travel Stipend
- 31st–60th: $500 Travel Stipend
- 61st–100th: $300 Travel Stipend
For the Video Games:
- 1st–16th: Travel Award and $300 Travel Stipend
- 17th–32nd: $700 Travel Stipend
- 33rd–64th: $350 Travel Stipend
The Player's Reward Program is also said to be discontinued in the upcoming season in light of the changes.
Finally, all Tournament Organizer, League Organizer, and Judge roles are now to be part of the new Professor Program. Professors will be ranked based on their tenure, activity throughout the year, and the exams that they choose to take. The ranks will determine the rewards that can be earned.