(Rules Have been Revised for PPL Unplugged 2017! Please be considerate and try to have fun!)
How to Participate
All you need to participate is a deck of Pokémon cards, keen eyesight, and a love of Pokémon Battles! Gym leaders will be all over PAX, and can be identified by their bright green scarves. Approach them, challenge them to a battle, and if they deem you worthy, you’ll earn their badge!
- HAVE FUN! This is supposed to be an enjoyable activity, please don’t get stuck in semantics or rules-lawyering!
- Wheaton’s law applies. We’re trying hard to make it fun for you. Treat us, and those around you, with respect, please! (NOTE: Harassment of any kind will not be tolerated. Unkind, mean-spirited, or harassing behaviour will, at the discretion of PPL admins, lead to you being banned from participating. BE KIND. THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL.)
- Any activity that helps enrich the experience is acceptable and encouraged! Cosplay as your favorite trainer, announce your moves to the public, and help us spread the word! This will not be a success without your enthusiasm!
- You are expected to provide their own deck of 60 Pokémon cards, and a way of keeping tack of Pokémon HP (with life counters, beads, etc.).
- Don’t use fake or banned Pokémon cards. If a leader suspects you’re using fake or banned cards, they may refuse to battle you. For a full list of banned cards, please see the In-depth Rules section.
- All cards in your deck must be from a Standard legal set, or have been reprinted in a Standard legal set. (Yes, this means your Potion from Base Set is still legal!) In addition, only 4 copies of each card name may be used. For example, you may only have 4 copies of a card named “Raichu” in your deck. See the In-depth Rules section for more information on what cards are currently in Standard and on exactly how many copies of a card you may have.
- Gym Leaders are acting judges for all matches. If you have a rules question, or a weird card interaction, Gym Leaders will have the final say on all matters. Unfortunately, we will make mistakes and bad rulings, Gym Leaders are human after all. Please let us know if we get something wrong. We are committed to making this game as fair as possible, and appreciate your feedback!
- Gym Leaders may be challenged at most once per day (unless a rematch is accepted by the leader, but rematches may be turned down depending on the circumstances). This is just so that everyone gets a turn to play, and everyone gets a shot at the champ. This is also to ensure that leaders are able to enjoy PAX too. We want to encourage all of you to spend lots of time at PAX doing more than just playing Pokémon.
- Pax Pokémon League Unplugged will follow the Official Pokémon TCG rules, with a few notable exceptions. Draws will be decided by a Sudden Death game (restart the game, first player to take a prize card wins). If the Sudden Death game ends in a Draw, the entire match ends in a Draw. Matches are single games, not best-of-three or any other style. While the amount of prize cards on each player’s side of the field remains unchanged (6), players will only need to claim 4 prize cards to win the game. If a player has their Active Pokémon KO’ed and has no benched Pokémon, they lose the game. If a player can’t draw a card at the beginning of their turn, they lose the game. Official Pokémon TCG rules can be found in PDF format here. EX and GX Pokémon still grant two prize cards when KO’ed, so please be aware of this during deck construction!
- Deck construction must follow all official rules. Decks must contain exactly 60 cards, and at least one Basic Pokémon card. No more than four copies of a single named Pokémon card are allowed. There are exceptions in the case of Alolan Pokémon and Pokémon-EX/GX cards. As an example, you may have 4 copies of Raichu, 4 copies of Raichu-GX (if one existed), and 4 copies of Alolan Raichu.
- Banned cards: None!
- The following expansion sets will be legal in Standard at the time of PAX Unplugged 2017. XY Sets: BREAKthrough, BREAKPoint, Generations, Fates Collide, Steam Siege, Evolutions. SM Sets: Sun & Moon, Guardians Rising, Burning Shadows, Crimson Invasion. The following card mini/promo sets will also be legal: XY Trainer Kit-Pikachu Libre & Suicune, Sun & Moon Trainer Kit-Lycanroc & Alolan Pikachu, McDonald’s Collection 2016, Shining Legends, and Black Star Promos XY67-201, SM01-60, SM62-84, SM86-88, SM91, SM98, SM99, and SM108-114.
- It is recommended that challengers who have a rules question, but do not want to reveal information to the gym leader they are currently challenging, seek out another nearby gym leader. For this reason, we encourage gym leaders and challengers alike to play near others. Playing in spaces like the Diversity Lounge will be essential to helping others, and receiving help yourself!
- Foreign Pokémon cards are allowed, as long as they meet the following criteria: all the cards have the same back, OR the entire deck is sleeved with fully opaque sleeves so that players cannot differentiate from the card backs. In addition, the cards must have been released in an English set for legal use in Standard, and the player using them MUST be able to provide a reference to the exact text of the card. (References could be a physical copy of the card in English, a card description on a site such as Bulbapedia, or from a copy of the Official Pokémon TCG Card-Dex.)
- Proxy cards are not allowed. You must actually have the cards in your 60 card deck.
We understand that some of you may disagree with our rule choices, but these were rules the PAX Pokémon League decided on after much debating and testing to keep the game fun and fair for both the challengers and the Leaders. So we hope you enjoy the League challenge as much as we all do! Note that we discuss and update the rules before each PPL, so watch our Twitter/Facebook accounts for announcements about rules updates.