12 Mar 2020

2020 Pokémon Video Game Championships (VGC) Format Rules

Venusaur, Blastoise, Incineroar, Gigantamax Charizard with Solar Power, Gigantamax Lapras, and more join the fray on March 1, 2020.

March 12 Update: Tournaments where Battle Teams are locked using systems provided by The Pokémon Company International—including Special Events in Europe, most Pokémon Regional Championships, all Pokémon International Championships, and the Pokémon World Championships—will have a game time limit of 20 minutes. Events where Battle Teams are locked through the Live Competition feature—such as Special Events outside of Europe, most Premier Challenges, and Midseason Showdowns—will instead have a game time limit of 15 minutes. Please check the Play! Pokémon VG Rules & Formats document for more information.

The Series 4 VGC Rules update will be posted on May 1, 2020.


Since January 2020, the Pokémon Video Game Championships have featured battles of unprecedented scale and excitement in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield on Nintendo Switch. The Galar region has brought some sizable new options for competitors to consider, including the Dynamax phenomenon and tons of newly discovered Pokémon to train. To coincide with Series 3 of Ranked Battles, the roster of permitted Pokémon will be expanding to include Pokémon that recently became more readily available in Galar.

Beginning on March 1, 2020, the following Pokémon will also be permitted in the Video Game Championships.

  • All available regional variants of Pokémon in the Galar Pokédex, including those that weren't available before the launch of Pokémon HOME, such as Alolan Ninetales

  • The first partner Pokémon from the Kanto and Alola regions

  • Galarian Slowpoke

  • The following Pokémon, even when they have the Gigantamax Factor: Kingler, Lapras, Orbeetle, Flapple, Appletun, Toxtricity, Hatterene, Grimmsnarl, and Alcremie

  • Charizard that have both the Gigantamax Factor and the Hidden Ability Solar Power

  • Pokémon that inherited moves or Abilities from Pokémon that originated from Pokémon HOME

Please note that all Pokémon still need to have the Galar symbol—which shows they were caught, received, or hatched in the Galar region—to compete in the 2020 Video Game Championships.

For a summary of all 2020 Video Game Championships tournament rules, see below. Check out the Play! Pokémon Rules & Resources page to see the complete Play! Pokémon VG Rules and Formats document.

Tournaments in the 2020 Video Game Championships include the following rules. Recent rules changes are noted in bold.

  • All battles are Double Battles played in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield.

  • Each player needs their own Nintendo Switch or Nintendo Switch Lite and a physical or digital version of Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield to compete.

  • Pokémon need to have the Galar symbol, showing they were caught, received, or hatched in the Galar region.

  • All Pokémon from the Galar Regional Pokédex are permitted except for Mythical Pokémon and certain Legendary Pokémon.

  • Bulbasaur, Ivysaur, Venusaur, Squirtle, Wartortle, Blastoise, Rowlet, Dartrix, Decidueye, Litten, Torracat, Incineroar, Popplio, Brionne, Primarina, and Galarian Slowpoke are permitted.

  • All Pokémon are set to Lv. 50, including Pokémon below Lv. 50.

  • Duplicate Pokémon are not allowed.

  • Duplicate held items are not allowed.

  • Each battle begins with a 90-second Team Preview phase.

  • In each battle, players have 7 minutes of Your Time, 45 seconds of Move Time, and 15 minutes of Game Time.

Additionally, only the following species of Pokémon are currently permitted to have the Gigantamax Factor, with recent additions and changes noted in bold.

  • Alcremie

  • Appletun

  • Butterfree

  • Centiskorch

  • Charizard (with any Ability available to it)

  • Coalossal

  • Corviknight

  • Drednaw

  • Eevee

  • Flapple

  • Grimmsnarl

  • Hatterene

  • Kingler

  • Lapras

  • Meowth

  • Orbeetle

  • Pikachu

  • Sandaconda

  • Snorlax

  • Toxtricity

The list of species permitted to have the Gigantamax Factor will expand when in-game events occur in which Pokémon with the Gigantamax Factor become more common. The Play! Pokémon VG Rules and Formats document will be updated to indicate when such Pokémon become permitted for use. Pokémon capable of Gigantamaxing are not legal until they are included in that document.

Note that a new series may come into effect midway through a tournament that spans multiple days (for example, a Regional Championship). If this happens, the tournament will continue to use the rules that were active on the day the tournament began. A Single-day Premier Event held as a side event at such a location should use the rules from the day the event occurs.

There's still plenty of time to earn your invitation to the 2020 Pokémon World Championships in—where else—the United Kingdom, so start preparing your team today. Check out the Event Locator to find an event near you, and start your trek toward the Pokémon World Championships today!

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