So you want to be a master of Play! Pokémon?


Professor Mel here and I’m back to help you with some tips and advice on how to have the best possible experience before, during, and after Play! Pokémon tournaments. It’s been a bit since GO had large, in-person events regularly. And some of you have shared you’ve never experienced in-person tournaments at all. From the grassroots “mega tournament” circuit, to Play! Pokémon Worlds, I’ve got some things to help you make your tournament experience a great one outside of your game play.

Tournament Prep


If there’s an event that you want to attend your first step should be heading to Poké and creating a Pokémon Trainer Club account. You may already have one that you use to log in to the game, and that helps you skip this step. But if you don’t, create an account and get yourself a Player ID. If you don’t have an ID already, head to your Play! Pokémon Settings and select Please assign me a new Player ID number. Your Player ID is something handy to keep with you as it is how your progress as a player gets tracked. 


Step two is heading to and setting yourself up with an account. RK9 uses Google Accounts to authenticate, so you’ll need to create a Google account if you don’t already have one. Once you are logged in you will be taken to your Player Dashboard. This is where you can find current or past tournament registrations as well as the Team List Creator. There are also help articles to assist you in navigating the RK9 website. 


In the top right corner if you click on your name that will take you to your player profile. Here you can update your personal information including pronouns! After you're happy with your personal information, make sure you go to the Play! Pokémon Profile settings. Add your Play! Pokémon ID accurately into the field. This cannot be changed once submitted without a support ticket being filed, so please be sure it is correct. You can also add your Pokémon GO Trainer nickname, VG Trainer name, and other online screen names for other Pokémon titles. When you are done, click the green Update Play! Pokémon Profile button at the bottom. 


Doing all of this ahead of registration will help you be prepared for when tickets go on sale. Otherwise, you will spend a lot of time creating accounts and profiles before you can even get to purchasing a ticket. You can find a list of tournaments that have registration open under Events & Tournaments. Make sure when you are clicking on links for registration that you select the GO registration link. Registrations are only valid for the named player and cannot be transferred between players or tournaments. 


Team Registration

Once you are registered for the tournament you can relax for a bit until team registration opens. It is critical that your team list be submitted on time or you can face penalties up to being dropped from the event. To double check the deadline for team submission, head to your Player Dashboard and click on the tournament you are registered for. The middle box should show the team list submission deadline for that event. This should also be included in your confirmation email from RK9. 

How to build your team list

  1. Add your Pokémon by clicking the orange Add New Pokémon button

    1. All information and stats must be included for each Pokémon

    2. Pokémon name, Nickname, CP, HP, Fast Move, Charge Move 1, Charge Move 2, Shadow/Purified status (if applicable, otherwise select neither), and Best Buddy status

    3. Only check the Best Buddy status if you are planning to use that Pokémon at its Best Buddy boosted CP. Make sure to register the Pokémon at that boosted CP. 

  2. Select your team of Pokémon by tapping the maroon Add to Party button.

    1. You can add lots of Pokémon if you are considering between a few choices. This way all the information is there and you just have to add them to your Battle Party before the submission deadline.

    2. When a Pokémon is outlined in green that means it has been added to your party. If you need to remove it, you can click the green, Remove from Party button.

  3. Submit your team! Once your Party is fully assembled, head to the tournament you are registered for and tap the green Submit Team button. Once this is complete you will see a message that says Success! if your team was submitted properly. Under your tournament registration you will also see a message that says your Team list was submitted. 


You can view your submitted list from the Tournament Dashboard. The Team list submission section will show when you submitted it and clicking the Show team list button allows you to view your current submitted list.




*Have your cousin check it. Have your Faction mates check it. Have your dog check it. Have granny check it. Even if you are 100% confident, check it again. There are penalties for submitting incorrect information on your team lists, so please make sure it is as accurate as possible.

Before Heading to the Venue

  • Bring snacks for yourself. Sometimes rounds go by fast and there may not be a lot of time to go grab food. Or find a buddy who's spectating that can run to grab you a bite to eat.

  • Bring a water bottle. Stay hydrated.

  • Make sure you have your own device handy for authentication. Do not turn off 2-factor authentication if you have it on. Your security of your devices and accounts is important. Have a battery pack and keep it charged.

    • Battery packs and spare cords are a must.

  • Review the tournament schedule in advance. Know what time the player meeting is happening. Know when each Pod will begin. Know when the venue opens. 

  • Get a good night’s sleep. You will need all the energy you can get to help you get through this marathon of a day. 

  • Mentally prepare yourself. It can be a long day and setting some expectations for yourself so you have fun is important. What are your goals? Why are you playing in the tournament? Think about what will help keep you motivated during the day, even when things don’t go as expected.

  • Make sure you have an appropriate face mask. Surgical/Medical Grade or respirator (N95, KN95, etc.) OR a cloth mask in combination with one of the other types. Full details and explanation of an acceptable face mask can be found in the Play! Pokémon COVID-19 Protocols. You will not be provided with a mask on site. You must bring your own.

  • Bring a notebook and a pen if you want to take notes. You are allowed to bring a blank page for every match so you can write down notes and things to help you. But you must use a new blank page for each match and may not reference previous notes. Your phone is not a notebook.

  • Set up your team with a unique in game Tag. Make sure when you search for this tag only the Pokémon on your team show up. This will help avoid any issues or mistakes with wrong Pokémon selection or wrong movesets. Set yourself up for success.

  • Double check all your Pokémon match what was submitted through RK9. Check movesets, CPs, nicknames, etc. Team checks are a regular part of the tournament and any information that does not match will result in a penalty. 

  • Prepare to get there early. Especially if you can’t make it to check in on Friday. Better to be there early and have to wait a bit for the player meeting to start than to be late and get a penalty for round 1. 

During the Event

Day of Prep

You made it! It’s game day and you are ready to battle. Here’s a few reminders to help you be ready for a successful day on the battlefield.

  • Be on time for the player meeting. Pay attention to the announcements, ask for clarification if you missed something or didn't understand. GO events are still fluctuating a lot as they are new to the circuit, so what you experience at one event might be slightly different for the next.

  • If you need to go to the restroom, make sure you talk to a judge. Head to your table and call for one immediately. Staff is not going to make you wait to relieve yourself if you really need to go. Take care of yourself.

  • If you have an issue, call a judge. They are there to help you. If you do not agree with the ruling that is made, ask for a Head Judge. You always have the right to appeal a ruling to the Head Judge. Their word is final.

    • Be respectful of the staff. They are volunteering their time to ensure the event is fair and fun. Staff are held to a higher standard of conduct than most other Play! Pokémon members and they take their role very seriously. If you believe a staff member is acting outside the Standards of Conduct please report that issue to the Head Judge or Lead as soon as possible during the event. If you are unable to do so during the event, please feel free to file a support ticket with Pokémon

Tournament Etiquette

While one objective of a Pokémon tournament is to determine the skill level of each player involved, another is to ensure that every participant has fun. It is this attitude that Pokémon Organized Play wishes to promote at Play! Pokémon tournaments.


Adherence to the Spirit of the Game helps to ensure that all participants, including players, spectators, and event staff, can enjoy and participate in each Play! Pokémon tournament to the fullest.


The Spirit of the Game should guide the conduct of players, as well as Pokémon Professors as they interpret and enforce the rules.

-Play! Pokémon Standards of Conduct, pg. 2



Before you sit down for your first match, I urge you to think about the four tenants of the Spirit of the Game: Fun, Fairness, Respect, and Community. Pokémon is meant to be fun for everyone. Help contribute to an enjoyable experience for everyone at the tournament. Act with honesty and integrity–inform your opponent and a judge if you make a mistake. Do the right thing, always. Treat everyone you interact with throughout the event with respect and dignity. These events are inclusive environments with players of all skill levels and walks of life. Be a part of the growth of the community and be welcoming to all players. #BuildTheCommunity


Preparing to Battle

When you sit down at the table, log in to your Pokémon GO account and wait for your opponent to show up. If they aren’t there within the first 5 minutes, make sure to call over a Judge. Being late to a match will have penalties up to and including a match loss. Keep an eye on Challonge and if you need to step away for an emergency or other issue, let a judge know. 


Have your personal device ready for authentication. Again–do not turn off 2-factor authentication if you have it on. Once you have logged in either remove your phone completely from the play area or at least turn it upside down so you cannot see the screen.


Make sure you are familiar with screen recording. Typically for the devices being used for these events, you need to swipe down from the top of the screen twice to get the full menu of options. Under that menu you will see a button to start recording. Be sure to turn it off when your battles are done. 


While you are waiting for your opponent to arrive, don't do anything on the phones provided other than your assigned battles. Don't start catching all the Pokémon on the lures. Don't do a "quick GBL battle" while you wait. Please and thank you.

If you are having trouble with your device or cannot find your opponent, call a judge. They are there to help troubleshoot issues and help you have a smooth as possible battle experience. 

Starting Your Match: Do’s and Don’ts

If you’ve been following me on social media this might seem a bit familiar. But it all still applies.


DO: When you first meet your opponent at your table, say hello. Introduce yourself if you don’t know each other. Make them feel welcome and comfortable.


DONT: Make comments on appearance, team selection, or reveal any hidden information. Just because a player isn’t running a “meta team” doesn’t mean they want advice or opinions on it. If I wake up late and know I look like a mess, the last thing I need is for someone to point it out to me. Stay focused on the battles at hand and keep small talk light and friendly.


DO: Make small talk if you are comfortable. Ask your opponent how they got started in PvP or where they are from or how they found out about the tournament. Ask about their favorite Pokémon. Share about yourself and why you are playing in the event.


DON’T: Keep talking if your opponent doesn’t seem to want to engage. Be mindful of your opponent. Some players may not want to chit chat before, during, in between, or after battling because they are trying to focus. That’s okay too. Just be polite and respect their decision to engage or not.


DO: Ask your opponent their preferences. If you are in-game friends, ask if they would like you to send the battle. If you are not friends, ask them if they would like to scan your QR code or if they would rather you send a friend request. Showing your opponent that you are willing and able to accommodate their preferences goes a long way in making them feel more comfortable. It may also help a newer player feel more relaxed and learn from a more experienced Battler.


DON’T: Assume someone’s gender. Just because their in-game character is a female, does not mean that is how they identify. Deadnaming or misgendering your opponent, other competitors, spectators, or staff is not okay. Mistakes happen, and as long as you acknowledge it and make an effort moving forward that is good. Intentionally making others feel uncomfortable at the tournament is a sure fire way to see yourself out the door. Try using gender neutral pronouns like you/your and they/them.


DO: Wish your opponent well. “Good luck and have fun” is a respectful way to let your opponent know that you are ready to begin battling. Ultimately the goal is for everyone to have fun and enjoy battling.

Ending the Match

This can be one of the single most critical moments in terms of sportsmanship and good etiquette. This moment can be a make it or break it scenario for everyone involved. Emotions may be running high, but be thoughtful in your approach.


  • If you are the winner, it is often a good, soft approach to wait for your opponent to say something to you after the match. Be patient and kind. They may also be looking at their video for a potential dispute issue or just processing a tough loss. Be respectful and give them a moment.

  • If you have lost the match, do your best to swallow your pride and let your opponent know it was a good game. Do your best to contain your emotions and speak in a calm and collected manner. When you are done you can walk away and go process your emotions however you need to, just don’t rage in front of your opponent. It is polite to extend a handshake to congratulate the winner (if you are comfortable of course… elbow bumps and air high-fives are also cool).

  • Unless your opponent asks to engage in conversation after the battles, it’s best not to offer advice on team composition, playstyle, or decisions your opponent made in your battles. No one wants to be kicked when they are down. Yes, losing is a great opportunity for a player to learn and grow, but maybe they are just not ready to go through that process right this second. They also may have realized a critical error that cost them the game as soon as it happened, and reliving that moment doesn’t make for fun conversation.

  • All these flavors… don’t choose to be salty. Nothing feels worse than walking away from a battle you just won and hearing your opponent start talking badly about you or the match. It’s also difficult hearing your opponent brag about their win in front of you after a tough loss. Be humble. No one deserves to win; you play hard and you earn every win. Practice makes perfect and it helps players who lose to learn from their mistakes and continue to grow as competitors.

After the Battles

Go and enjoy time with the community! One of the best parts of these events is getting to meet people from all over who love Pokémon as much as you. You may have only ever interacted with these people online and now you get to meet them in real life–how cool is that?! There are often community gatherings and meals that happen. People get together for Community Days or Raid Days or trades. Check out this Discord server that helps the community coordinate for these events as a first stop to finding out what the community is doing. 


Go play in some side events! On demand side events will fire when there’s enough people to play (4-8 players). There are also scheduled events throughout the weekend that you can participate in if you are available as well. For on demand events, you can do anything from Open Great League to Master League to Little Cup. If you and 7 friends want to do 10CP battles then Sides can make that happen. You get tickets for winning either full events or individual battles depending on the rules for the format. Those tickets can be turned in at the Prize Wall for some cool prizes including Pokemon swag, plushies, TCG booster packs, and more! 


Some of the TCG sides are super fun too. Ditto Pack Battles are quick and easy to learn. You crack a pack and make a deck of 10 cards. It's fun and you usually get event tickets for each win in this round robin format. There's typically some sort of GO scavenger hunt as well. And I know in Toronto there was a Little Catch Cup. The full schedule of side events can be found in that area of the venue. I encourage you to go try it out, have some fun, and learn something new.


This is a point that I cannot stress enough: Put Twitter down. Taking your disputes, frustrations, and bad feelings to social media does nothing positive for anyone. It creates bad feelings, misunderstandings, and even pushes some to put down the game. We should work together as a community to build each other up, not tear each other down. If you have an issue with a ruling, sportsmanship, or the like during the event please find judge staff as soon as possible to report the issue. If your issue is with a judge, find the Head Judge or Lead for the tournament to report the issue. If that is not possible, submit a support ticket to Pokémon so the situation can be reviewed. The support ticket is also the best way to provide constructive feedback directly to Play! Pokémon. 


Set your sights on your next goal. Is there another Play! Pokemon event in your future? Do you want to find some more scrim partners? Are you wanting to keep in touch with your new found friends? Review your battle notes. Talk to your friends. Watch the VOD of the livestream. A Pokemon trainer’s journey is never over and the possibilities are endless. And I can’t wait to see where your adventure takes you next. 





Professor Mel