As we approach the end of 2022, and are about a month past the latest mainline Pokemon game release, we also approach the next season of official Pokemon competition. The Play! Pokemon circuit machine is rolling, with some regional events already sold out. But it’s still possible to play at a competitive level, especially since Pokemon Scarlet and Violet feature ranked play and its own competitive seasons. So here’s the rules, in case you’re curious.
These rules are taken from the official Pokémon website, which also houses rules for other sects of competitive Pokémon. That includes Unite, GO and even the TCG. These rules were last updated on December 5, 2022, which as of this writing was just a few days ago. So these are the most up-to-date rules, including which Pokémon are banned from play. Let’s start there.
Pokémon VGC 2023 Team Rules
Depending on the format (doubles vs singles), a team will either be four or six Pokémon. If you’re at an event, you can’t change the makeup of your team unless the player in question is being asked to make changes as a penalty. The Pokémon also need to have a Paldea Pokédex number to be eligible for competition. Unless, of course, the Pokémon fall outside of these number ranges:
- No Paradox Pokémon
The Pokémon not included could be banned for different reasons, but the general issue is strength. Certain Pokémon (usually legendaries) have a hard stat point advantage that makes matchups totally unbalanced.
There are some other rules as well. Teams can’t contain two of the same Pokémon, and you also aren’t allowed to double up on held items. Terastalizing is allowed. VGC events also require a full list of Pokémon teams, recording several details about each member:
- Form name and/or gender (if they impact stats)
- Held item
- Tera Type
- Level (actual level, although all Pokemon will be scaled to level 50 during matches)
- Stats (also must be actual level)
Players are also required to bring their own hardware, and are responsible for the state of said hardware. Any parental controls that could inhibit online functions must be off, and entrants must have an active Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Switch consoles must be functional, have a charger available and, well, not modified.
Related: What is Pokemon Trainer Card Maker & How to Use It
From here, a lot of the rules are down to things like match structure, penalties, note-taking, time limits and a lot of other stuff we really don’t need to get into here. Just make sure your Switch is tidied up with updates, charged batteries and docking capability. Switch Lite users may have to recreate their team with rentals depending on how an individual tournament is set up.