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June 30, 2014 5:05 AM   Subscribe

How do I figure out which Pokemon sets are currently "in rotation"?

I'm an old-school CCG veteran, but I was too old for Pokemon when it came out. Now my young son has just gotten some cards and I want to do everything in my power to encourage him to learn the game and play it correctly.

Now, of course we aren't going to be leaping into Organized Play any time soon, so the exact cards we use don't matter for now.
But I was curious about what sets are currently in rotation for the standard tournament format, just so I don't waste my time buying old stuff, and I got confused.

I checked the rules on the official website, and they claim that the current rotation is all cards from the "Black and White" block.
But many of the cards that my son got are from the "XY" block, which seems to be newer.

Does this mean that his new cards are not yet legal for Organized Play?
Or is there a more-frequently updated resource?
posted by jozxyqk to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The current legal sets are from BW: Next Destinies through the latest set, XY: Flashfire. There is usually a rotation announced after the world championships in August that will remove about 4 of the older sets. New sets become legal shortly after release. For a reference, see the "Standard Format" section of the TCG rules on the official site that you linked (I know it's kind of hidden in there and doesn't have the latest sets yet).
posted by grapefruit at 5:51 AM on June 30, 2014

Response by poster: grapefruit, the "Standard Format" list is what I looked at.
This is what it says in that document for the currently legal sets; nothing about XY.
 Black & White—Next Destinies 
 Black & White—Dark Explorers 
 Black & White—Dragons Exalted 
 Black & White—Dragon Vault 
 Black & White—Boundaries Crossed 
 Black & White—Plasma Storm 
 Black & White—Plasma Freeze 
 Black & White—Plasma Blast 
 McDonald’s Collection 21 
 Black Star Promo Cards BW33 and higher.

posted by jozxyqk at 5:55 AM on June 30, 2014

Yep I see that now. Sorry I don't have a better reference on hand but can confirm from experience with Organized Play that the new sets are legal.
posted by grapefruit at 5:57 AM on June 30, 2014

Response by poster: So, basically, I should assume that the document always shows the proper "oldest" legal expansion, and anything newer is legal, and that document is updated approximately every August?

Therefore, to avoid confusion for my son, I should only buy him cards from "Black & White-Boundaries Crossed" or later.. or, to be safest for compatibility's sake, just XY.

If anyone has a source that's updated more often, that would be great, though.

posted by jozxyqk at 6:33 AM on June 30, 2014

[I am not an expert. I played CGGs when M:TG was brand new. My son is deeply into Pokemon.]

Bear in mind that most Pokemon play is not "organized" play. My son (8, going into 3rd grade) plays with his friends all the time, most of them have no idea there is such a thing as "organized" or "tournament" play. (My son does, only because the son of a friend came in 3rd in the State championship.) Right now focus on learning the rules and the pattern of play with him; the idea that certain cards (or decks) are only legal for certain situations will come with time. Honestly, when I see the kids in groups with their cards, its as much about talking about the various Pokemon and their abilities in an imaginative way as it is about the mechanics of the game.

We bought a ton of older cards at a lawn sale (like, a TON) and it made him a superstar for a while because he had all these cards that the other kids had never seen.

So, yes, playing the game "correctly" is important, but for my money the social and imaginative side of the game is as important to my kid.
posted by anastasiav at 8:28 AM on June 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I absolutely agree with you, anistasiav, on every point.
What you're describing is exactly how my son talks about Pokemon with his friends right now (i.e. "I have a mega mewtoo Ex and he's shiny and does a million psychic damage!") and I'm perfectly happy encouraging that.
And if we come across old cheap cards, I won't tell him he can't use them.

But my gamer-instincts were kicking in and I was trying to establish a baseline of the "organized play" community just in case we got that far. Way in the future.
I was noticing that this little bit of information wasn't that easy to find, and the way they package booster packs for Pokemon is kind of unusual so it wasn't clear what the "new stuff" was.
posted by jozxyqk at 8:45 AM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: So, basically, I should assume that the document always shows the proper "oldest" legal expansion, and anything newer is legal, and that document is updated approximately every August?

Yes. I notice now that the rules document specifically says that any new sets that come out are legal and that the rules document itself is updated once a year. The sets that have come out since that rules document are BW: Legendary Treasures, XY, and XY: Flashfire.

Along with the official site, unofficial sites like PokeBeach or PokeGym can help keep you in the loop on new set releases and other news. I believe PokeGym keeps its card database pretty up to date with what's in the format so that can help as well.
posted by grapefruit at 6:56 PM on June 30, 2014

Best answer: Rule 1.3 is what you are missing Expansion sets are expected to be released on a regular schedule, averaging four new sets per calendar year. Cards from these new releases are made legal for tournament play the day that the set is released for regular retail sale in a country and not before, with the standard exception of Prerelease tournaments.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 5:12 AM on July 1, 2014

Best answer: I haven't played in ages (I like the video games better), but these two sites are huge in the fandom and should help you a lot:
posted by LoonyLovegood at 6:34 AM on July 1, 2014

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