Leagues, and how they provide to the Pokémon Community

by Joel ~ March 18th, 2011.

Hello everyone out there in Omar Nation, this is Joel here with another article. This time I want to talk about leagues, and how they are an important part of the Pokémon Trading Card Game community. As a league leader myself, I cannot stress how important leagues are, and how much fun participating in one can be. I have been running my league for the past 3 years now and it is one of the busiest leagues in the Metro Detroit area. But enough about my league, lets go on to discuss what a league is, how it is ran, what makes it different from a tournament, and how it’s important to the Pokémon TCG community.                         

What is a Pokémon League?

A Pokémon league is an official Play! Pokémon event that is usually run once a week. Leagues provide players with a casual playing and trading environment for players of all ages. Most leagues are free to enter, however some charge a small fee (usually under $5), the fee is usually to help cover the cost of renting the facility, or to help cover other costs such as additional prizes and snacks. All leagues are operated in a public location, such as a hobby shop, game store, toy store, malls, libraries, schools, churches, and coffee shops.

What makes Pokémon League different from tournaments?

The main difference between Pokémon League and tournaments is that league provides a more casual play environment rather than competitive. Unlike tournaments, league rewards players whether they win or lose. League also offers the opportunity to practice new deck strategies and test your game, most people get their tournament practice done at league. League also best for newer players who are just being introduced to organized play as they don’t have to feel pressured to win, nor feel discouraged when they lose. League is also the only place where you can get important staple cards such as Uxie or Azelf for free, as Play! Pokémon provides these cards to league leaders at no cost.

How a league is ran.     

One or two people usually run the league. These people are called League Leaders, and they’re there to assign POP ID numbers, scorecards, points and promo cards. The most important part is they are there to help new players and provide accurate rulings. When a player goes to league for the first time, they’re assigned a POP ID number, if they already have a POP ID, they give that number to the league leader. Most players obtain their POP ID number by attending a league. After a POP ID number is assigned, the player then receives a scorecard. Scorecards keep track of your points that you receive from playing games. Playing a game at league will get you a point on your scorecard, some leagues will give the winner of that game an additional point (NOTE: Not all leagues do this, it depends on the league leader running the event.). The scorecard has four rows of check boxes which are your points. At the end of each row there is a Poké Ball. Once that Poké Ball is checked, the player will receive a promo card. These promo cards are mainly reprints from other sets with a special holographic foil and the Play! Pokémon logo stamped on the card. These promos are exclusive to league and can only be obtained at leagues. Most of these promo cards are also hard to get staple cards as well, which is good for the players since it puts these hard to obtain cards in players hands. Past promos have included cards such as Claydol, Uxie, Azelf, Expert Belt, Dialga G, Bebe’s Search, and Special Metal Energy just to name a few. Another cool prize that is given to players is a heat seal patch that is obtained once all the check marks are filled on the scorecard.

Why are leagues important to the Pokémon TCG Community?

For many players, Pokémon League is the first step to organized play. While most league attendees are younger children, plenty of players in the senior and masters division use it as a chance to get plenty of play testing in. The Masters Division players also become great role models to the younger players and often help them become better players. League players tend to branch out into the tournament scene as well, as league players learn about tournaments from league leaders and other players with prior experience. The most important thing I would like to point out is that many friends can be made through league. I have made a lot of friends by attending leagues, and leagues just provide an overall fun time for everybody.

I hope this article provided you with the information you needed about leagues, and if you know some younger players or people who are getting into the game, have them read this article and hopefully you all attend a league and become an important part of the Pokémon Community!

Now for something totally unrelated: You can follow me on Twitter.

www.twitter.com/TheJoelHowe

Category: Pokemon Education, Uncategorized | Tags: ,
  • Anonymous

    I love leagues.

    • Joel Howe

      I’m glad you like leagues, I believe they play a key role in Organized Play

  • Ed

    When I started getting back into the game with my daughter, we attended league quite a bit. We really needed those Uxies. We slowly worked our way out of the league scene and haven’t gone in quite a while. The main problem for us is that the closest one is like 25+min away. That’s not horrible, but I was never impressed with how that one was run. Maybe it’s better now, but at the time, their prizes and POP/P!P reporting weren’t correct.

    I do agree that leagues are important for the game as a whole.

    • Joel Howe

      The way I see it, a league is only as good as the person running it.

  • Anonymous

    Where is your league I live in the metro Detroit and I’m thinking about joining a league