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Be the Very Best from Home! — Online Competitions Guide

You might be wondering, where can I play Pokemon tournaments online now that live tournaments have been cancelled everywhere? The online community’s tournament scene has never been as active as it currently is. Right now you can find a tournament to play in every single day of the week if you want to – along with special monthly events – including the October CFB Pro Showdown!

The CFB Pro Showdown is an exclusive monthly event and free to enter to CFB Pro subscribers! The first one will take place on Saturday, October 24, starting at 9am Pacific Time. The tournament will be best-of-three in the Standard format, single-elimination, so make sure you pick a deck accordingly. There’s a lot of store credit on the line and prizes increase if the winner beats the end boss! I’ll be playing as a bounty too – if you beat me you’ll get some extra store credit yourself.

The online tournament scene was basically non-existent all the way up until February 2020. The Pokemon Trading Card Game Online software has never received any sort of official support until the controversial Players Cup which took place June through August earlier this year.

Independently run tournaments by other organizers though, have created a lot of energy and excitement around PTCGO unlike anything I’ve seen before. In order to participate in the online tournaments, these are the essential things you will need to have ready:

  • A tournament legal deck ready to go on PTCGO. This is an obvious one, but make sure you have the correct deck for the tournaments format.
  • Each tournament’s entry fee ranges anywhere between one to three online booster packs of the latest set as entry fees, though some offer free entry.
  • Discord is essential to be up to date on announcements for the tournament when pairings go live and other essential instructions. It also serves to coordinate with your opponent if needed, along with communicating any issues or that you are dropping from the tournament.
  • A Battlefy account as that has been the preferred tournament software by most of these organizers so far. Only the Sunday Open utilizes pairings within their own domain and through Discord.
  • Optional: An RK9Labs account. Not necessary for most tournaments other than the official ones, but it is a great resource to have at your disposal and can be helpful if you’re joining the Sunday Open.

Below you will find a detailed list of tournament organizers and their Discord servers which will allow you to participate in any of these tournaments which always feature a plethora of top players and top tier competition in every round.

[su_highlight]Please note that all this information may change at any point and continually checking the announcement channels on the corresponding Discord servers for the latest tournament information is advised.[/su_highlight]

Hegster Top Deck

  • Discord Server: https://discord.gg/tNCxWEQ
  • Date(s): Monday / Friday
  • Time: Check in begins at 5pm EST, tournament begins at 6pm EST
  • Entry fee: 2 online booster packs
  • Tournament info: 30-minute Bo1 Swiss rounds / 60-minute Bo3 Top Cut
  • Additional info: These tournaments are very popular in the community and are averaging upwards of 150+ players. The top performing players of the online tournaments will play in an Invitational at the end of each season.

Professor Oak’s Paradise

  • Discord Server: https://discord.gg/GCBUHsh
  • Date(s): Tuesday / Thursday
  • Time: Check in begins at 6pm EST, tournament begins at 7pm EST
  • Entry fee: 2 online booster pack
  • Tournament info: 25-minute Bo1 Swiss rounds / 50-minute Bo3 Top Cut
  • Additional info: The tournament entry fee can vary sometimes. The top performing players of their tournaments will play in an invitational at the end of each season.

Chill TCG Tournaments

  • Discord Server: https://discord.gg/FxAsxNc
  • Date(s): Wednesday
  • Time: Check in begins at 6pm EST, tournament begins at 7pm EST
  • Entry fee: 2 online booster packs
  • Tournament info: 30-minute Bo1 Swiss rounds / 60-minute Bo3 Top Cut
  • Additional info: Standalone tournaments on Wednesdays. The tournament organizer constantly donates extra booster packs to the prize pool to make it more attractive for players to join.

Team Epoch Tuesday Cup

  • Discord Server: https://discord.gg/b8q8k4H
  • Date(s): Tuesday
  • Time: Check in begins at 11:30am EST, tournament begins at 12:30pm EST
  • Entry fee: 2 online booster packs
  • Tournament info: 25-minute Bo1 Swiss rounds / 50-minute Bo3 Top Cut
  • Additional info: New weekly tournament series which provides the European player base a friendlier starting time. Also convenient for people who prefer not to play until very late at night.

Sunday Open

  • Discord Server: https://discord.gg/UQGYwx2
  • Date(s): Sunday
  • Time: Check in begins at 10am EST, tournament begins at 11am EST
  • Entry fee: 1 online booster pack
  • Tournament info: 25-minute Bo1 Swiss rounds / 50-minute Bo3 Top Cut
  • Additional info: One of the longest standing online tournaments that helped spark the popularity within the community. Tournament format sometimes changes between either of these two options:
    • All Swiss rounds and Top 8 cut.
    • 6 Swiss rounds for Phase 1, 4 more for Phase 2 with only X-1 players, and then a Top 4 cut.

Tournament Series: PokeX Online Tournaments

  • Discord Server: https://discord.gg/CbQQcqX
  • Date(s): Saturday
  • Time: Check in begins at 10am EST, tournament begins at 11am EST
  • Entry fee: FREE / 1 online booster pack
  • Tournament info: 50-minute Bo3 Swiss rounds / 75-minute Bo3 Top Cut
  • Additional info: These tournaments try to simulate the live Regionals experience with Bo3 Swiss rounds throughout the whole tournament. These Regional style tournaments are run every 3 weeks. There are also other shorter live tournaments that feature best of 1 Swiss rounds and no Top Cut, or other variations, along with an invitational for the top performing players towards the end of their 3-month seasons.

Azul’s Monthly Sub Tournament

  • Discord Server: https://discord.gg/QSAHKE8
  • Date(s): Last Saturday of each month
  • Time: Check in begins at 11am EST, tournament begins at 12pm EST
  • Entry fee: $5 (Being Azul’s Twitch subscriber)
  • Tournament info: 25-minute Best of 1 Swiss rounds / 50-minute Bo3 Top Cut
  • Additional info: A tournament hosted by Azul for his subscribers on the last Sunday of each month. He provides prizing which usually includes a physical booster box and online packs.

These are the main ones that are continually talked about in the community and that can fulfill all your competitive PTCGO needs no matter what day it is. However, there are other places to watch out for, which have either run successful tournaments in the past or run other styles such as old format tournaments. I also recommend keeping an eye out those below.

Limitless Online

  • Discord Server: https://discord.com/invite/UG4zTC6
  • Website: https://play.limitlesstcg.com/tournaments
  • Date(s): Every Saturday
  • Time: Check in begins at 11am EST, tournament begins at 12pm EST
  • Entry fee: FREE
  • Tournament info: 30-minute Best of 1 Swiss rounds / 60-minute Bo3 Top Cut
  • Additional info: Limitless Online tournaments ramped up interest in online tournament circuits starting back in April. You can expect these to be very popular.

PokeStats

  • Discord Server: https://discord.gg/FUa8FyY
  • Server Information: This server has yet to run a normal Standard or Expanded tournament. Rather they feature different old formats from previous Internationals, Worlds or even City Championships dating all the way back to 2013. They are also trying out custom bans tournaments such as one with a no Boss’s Orders allowed rule. These tournaments feature cash prizes and usually cost $3 to enter.

And finally, we have the only official tournament by the Pokemon Company International: the Players Cup II.

This tournament is currently taking place at the time the article is published. We are in the qualification period where players are utilizing their 50 Tournament Keys in order to climb the rankings. These Tournament Keys are a brand-new currency on the online client introduced as a way to give everyone an equal chance to qualify to the second phase, as the original Players Cup had a different, ideal system based on Tournament Tickets.

In order to qualify for the second phase, you must be in the Top 256 (or Top 128) of your region to advance. That means participating in the eight player Players Cup-specific Standard tournaments to win as many points as possible. Each tournament awards Tournament Rep in the same way.

  • 1: 5
  • 2: 3
  • 3-4: 1
  • 5-8: 0

With the tournaments being best-of-one and single elimination, they can be very swingy in terms of variance. You might win three in a row and then lose in the first round in the next three, so it is recommended to make the time and use all 50 Tournament Keys before October 26 in order to maximize your possibilities of qualifying to the next phase.

The second phase will consist of a double elimination bracket for the Top 256 players from North America, Europe and Latin America, and a Top 128 for the players from Oceania. Both tournaments will be played until 16 players remain on the first weekend of play, and then the four players left on the following weekend. The Top 4 of each region will advance to the Players Cup Finals where the final four players earn a travel award to an International Championship of their choice (whenever they resume). Here you can find all the other details of the Players Cup II.

The level of production for the stream of the first Players Cup really showcased the potential that PTCGO has in terms of putting on an exciting show for an audience, and hopefully they continue to build upon this in the second installment.

In the most recent news update, Pokemon announced a new PTCGO Team Challenge event due to launch at the end of the year (exciting)!

Online Versus IRL

Playing in these online tournaments is quite different than playing in real life. First and foremost, you’re playing in the comfort of your own home, which can actually have an impact on concentration levels since family members, chores or other software/games can be a distraction. This is not the case for real life tournaments where you physically sit down and there is nothing around you other than you, your opponent and the play area, so it’s important to try and make sure you have the time to play in these when you know you won’t be doing other potentially distracting stuff. Misclicking is very easy with no undo function in the game, and that can be very costly.

Another thing that is very different from real life events, is how easy it is to figure out your prizes on PTCGO. Every search you make shows your deck very neatly arranged, whereas in real life your deck is completely random. This facilitates in mapping out what’s prized quite quickly, assuming you know the exact counts of your list.

Finally, most online tournaments use the open deck list format, which means at all times you and your opponent know the entire contents of the other’s deck. This can certainly make a difference in your plays as you don’t have to make plays that would play around a specific Pokemon or Ability, if you know your opponent doesn’t have it, and vice versa, play around something because they are running that weird techy card and you do have this piece of information.

Usually the best-of-three format used at Regionals allows you to figure out surprising tech cards and adapt in games two and three against them. However, since most of these tournaments are best-of-one Swiss rounds, it helps to reduce variance and also is an anti-cheating measure to prevent people from modifying their deck in between rounds.

The above information should cover all you need to know to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the action. Make sure you check out all the other content available on ChannelFireball by myself and my fellow writers to make sure you are up to speed with all the information and lists for the top tier decks in the metagame right now, and if you sign up for CFB Pro, make sure you use my referral code to support me. Thanks for reading!

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