The Silph League Arena
Sanctioned Event Rules
The "Simple" Version
(This abbreviated version of the Arena Rules has been provided for convenience - but the complete ruleset articulated below should be consulted for any further questions or disputes!)
For tournament play to contribute to a player's global rank, it must be "accredited." This means it must be hosted by an authorized Silph League member community, it must be played with 'Arena Rules' and it must be properly conducted and reported through Silph.gg. Arena Rules are as follows:
NOTE: No modifications, additions, or subtractions to these standardized rules may be enacted or enforced by tournament organizers in ranked Arena tournaments or the tournament will no longer be accredited and will not contribute to player rank.
- Party Selection: You may only use the 6 individual Pokemon registered when entering the tournament. TMs are forbidden during Tournament play. No swapping alternate Pokemon within a species. If your opponent did not follow this rule, provide screenshots of this breach to tournament staff.
Great League: All battles must be fought in
- Best 2 Out Of 3: Opponents will battle 'best 2 out of 3' to determine a winner. Opponents may not collude to report outcomes not achieved in battle.
Optional Coin Toss: If requested, an optional 'Invite Priority Coin Toss' determines who invites/receives the battle invite & who clicks
USE THIS PARTYfirst. In subsequent games battle losers have the choice, but battles must be started anew - NOT via the in-game
Rematchfunction. Re-matches for technical issues repeat the interrupted battle's priority.
- Ties: If a battle ends in a draw (ie, both journal entries show a loss) a re-match will be held for that battle until a battle is won.
- Disputes: If opponents do not agree on a match outcome, journal entries will be reviewed by a staff member. If a dispute is still deemed unresolved by staff, video evidence must be provided by one or both parties. If no video was recorded, the match will be deemed a loss to both parties.
- Technical Issues: Each significant technical issue must be verified by your opponent and, when confirmed, will trigger a re-match of the current battle. The same battle team & order must be selected for the re-match. If technical issues prevent successful battle for 10 minutes, contact tournament staff for assistance.
- Professionalism: Competitors are expected to maintain courtesy towards opponents. Harassment, aggression, intimidation, and other inappropriate behaviors should be reported to staff and will result in punitive action.
- Free to Play: All accredited matches must be free to enter. Suggested donations or crowdfunding is acceptable to help cover venue costs or prizes.
- Staff Decisions: All staff decisions are final. If your opponent is a staff member, an additional staff member must adjudicate any disputes, unless a tournament has only one staff member. If you feel a staff decision warrants appeal, email firstname.lastname@example.org with evidence and it will be reviewed.
The Silph League Arena Sanctioned Event Rules
The Silph League Arena is a worldwide organization dedicated to organized play. It promotes, enforces, and develops rules and policies using the goals and philosophies defined in this document and the Silph Arena Infraction Procedure Guide. These rules and policies are reviewed frequently to ensure the goals of the organization are met.
The purpose of this document is to provide the infrastructure used to run Silph League Arena (“Arena”) tournaments by defining appropriate rules, responsibilities, and procedures to be followed in all Arena-sanctioned Pokemon Go tournaments.
Arena-sanctioned tournaments are to be run in a consistent fashion, regardless of location. This ensures equal treatment of players in different regions and enables their smooth transition to regional, national, and even international tournaments. All players are treated equally and share responsibilities according to the specific sanctioning enforcement of the tournament as defined by its category and rule-set.
Both players and officials should cooperate to achieve their common goal of running a proper Arena-sanctioned tournament. Players and officials must treat each other in a fair and respectful manner, following both the rules and the spirit in which those rules were created. They are responsible for following the most current version of the Silph League Arena Sanctioned Event Rules and the rule-set determined for the tournament. Spectators have their own set of responsibilities. Individuals violating Arena rules are subject to penalties defined by the appropriate document for the tournament's level.
The Arena Directors reserve the right to alter these rules, as well as the right to interpret, modify, clarify, or otherwise issue official changes to these rules without prior notice.
1.1 Tournament Types
Sanctioned, rated tournaments in which players may increase their standing are divided into two types: Cups and Ranked.
Cup Tournaments are run by Silph League Communities that have registered and agreed to Silph League Arena Sanctioned Event Rules and the Silph Arena Infraction Procedure Guide. Cups have unique names, rules, and features determined by the Arena Directors that must be followed in the running of the event.
Ranked Tournaments are tournaments that are not explicitly defined by the unique Cup participation window and rule-set, but still align with the Silph Arena sanctioning requirements.
No additions, modifications, or reductions of the rulesets stated for either Cup or Ranked play are allowed by tournament organizers. Any changes that modify the established rulesets will invalidate the tournament and disqualify participants from contributing to their rank with the event.
Any rule changes that affect ranked play made by the Arena Directors that may arise during or between Cup windows will be publicly displayed on the tournament type creation screen and announced through official channels in advance of the changes going live.
1.2 Publishing Tournament Information
The Silph Road, The Silph League Arena, and the Arena Directors reserve the right to publish Arena-sanctioned tournament information at any time (including during the tournament). Tournament information includes, but is not limited to, the contents of one or more players' battle teams, descriptions of strategies or play, transcripts, and video reproductions. Tournament Organizers are also allowed to publish this information once their tournament is complete.
The Silph Arena and Arena Directors reserve the right to publish penalty and suspension information.
1.3 Tournament Roles
The following roles are defined for tournament purposes:
- Tournament Organizer
- Arena Staff
The first two roles above are considered tournament officials and the Tournament Organizer and Arena Staff are collectively considered judges in regards to the tournament's organization. A single individual may act in any combination of tournament official roles. Individuals who are not judges at a tournament are spectators in any match in which they are not playing. Members of the press are also considered spectators.
In addition, where applicable the Arena Directors may have representatives present during any Ranked or Cup tournament and, though they exist in official role capacity, these do not fall specifically within the above role list and may be called upon for rulings and pass down judgement like other official roles.
1.4 Participation Eligibility
All players are eligible to participate as a player in an Arena-sanctioned tournament except for:
- Individuals currently suspended by the Arena. The current Arena suspended player list is located at /pages/bannedPlayers. Individuals currently suspended from the Arena may not act as tournament officials;
- Other individuals specifically prohibited from participation by The Silph Arena or Arena Directors policy. (such determination is at The Silph Arena's sole discretion);
- Individuals thirteen (13) years of age and younger who do not have their parent/guardians' Permission;
- Anyone prohibited by federal, state, or local laws, the rules of the Tournament Organizer, or by a venue's management.
Anyone is eligible to participate as a tournament official (Tournament Organizer or Staff) for a tournament except for:
- Individuals currently suspended by the Arena;
- Individuals prohibited from participating as a player according to the above list.
1.5 The Silph Road Traveler's Card
In order to become eligible for invitational tournaments (e.g. Regionals) participants must provide their Traveler's Card to the event's software registration interface or to the Tournament Organizer during the registration window. Players without a Traveler's Card do not need one to participate in Ranked tournaments, but should be encouraged to obtain one from https://thesilphroad.com/card before attending an event. If a player does not obtain a Traveler's Card before the event, they should be aware that their matches and progression may not be saved to their ranking or Seasonal Cup placement. Players are only allowed one Traveler's Card, and players with multiple Traveler's Cards should contact The Silph Road at Team@TheSilphRoad.com to have the information for two or more cards combined.
1.6 Tournament Organizer
The Tournament Organizer of a tournament is responsible for all tournament logistics including:
- Securing a sanctioning join code from The Silph Arena
- Providing a site for the tournament that meets the tournament's expected needs
- Advertising the tournament in advance of the tournament date
- Staffing the tournament with appropriate tournament officials
- Confirming that results are reported via Silph.gg to The Silph Arena
The role of Organizer can be a League Community Server Administrator, one of their elected regular staff members, or temporary staff members elevated to the position for the sole purpose of tournament organization.
Note that Ranked tournament events bind a League Community Server to the Sanctioned Event Rules, and failure to abide by them may result in penalties up to and including League Server disqualification from hosting future sanctioned events, or even expulsion from The Silph League.
Sanctioned tournaments require the physical presence of a Tournament Organizer or Staff member during play to adjudicate disputes, interpret rules, and make other official decisions. This judge is the final judicial authority at any Arena-sanctioned tournament and all tournament participants are expected to follow their interpretations.
The judge's responsibilities include:
- Ensuring that all necessary steps are taken to deal with game or policy rule violations that they notice or are brought to their attention
- Issuing the final ruling in all disputes
If necessary, the Judge may temporarily transfer their duties to any other Staff acting as role of event organizer or support if they are unable to fulfill them for a period of time. Also, in exceptional circumstances, if the tournament's integrity would be damaged otherwise, the Tournament Organizer may elect to have the Judge replaced.
Certain tournaments may have multiple Judges and/or different Judges for different portions of the tournament. All Judges share the same responsibilities and exercise the same authority while they are serving as an official role for the tournament.
Appeals to the decision of a Judge at a tournament over a dispute may, in extreme cases, be elevated to the Arena Directors in the circumstance of inability for a resolution to be determined. Appeals should include evidence, a full description of the issue, and should be emailed to arena@TheSilphRoad.com.
Players are responsible for:
- Behaving in a respectful manner toward tournament officials, other tournament participants, and spectators and refraining from unsporting conduct at all times.
- Maintaining their battle-parties with legal Pokémon selected from their battle-list.
- Complying with announced start times and time limits.
- Calling attention to any rules or policy infraction they notice in their matches.
- Bringing to a judge’s attention any offers of bribery, wagering, improper game result determination, and any discrepancies in their tournament match record.
- Informing the Arena Directors of any discrepancies in their overall match history, rankings, or Cup placement as soon as they become aware of it.
- Having a single Travelers Card. Players with multiple Travelers Cards should contact The Silph Road at Team@TheSilphRoad.com to have the information for two or more cards combined.
- Refraining from enrolling in tournaments they are not allowed by policy to participate in.
- Being familiar with the rules contained within this document.
- Being physically present for the tournament. Players are not permitted to register for a tournament for any reasons other than to participate.
Players who do not fulfill their responsibilities may be subject to penalties and review by the Arena Directors. The Silph Arena and Arena Directors reserve the right to suspend or revoke a player's membership without prior notice for any reason they deem necessary.
Any person physically present at a tournament and not in any other category above is a spectator. Spectators are responsible for remaining courteous and passive during matches and other official tournament sections in which players are also required to be courteous of their surrounding players. If spectators believe they have observed a rules or policy violation, they are encouraged to alert a judge as soon as possible.
Players may request that a spectator not observe their matches. Such requests must be made through a judge.
Tournament officials may also instruct a spectator not observe a match or matches.
1.10 Tournament Conclusion/Cancellation
A Tournament Organizer holds the responsibility of providing a fair, enjoyable, and standardized competitive event for their community, and must manage the Silph.gg tools with appropriate care and always exhibit respect towards other players to maintain accreditation in the Silph League.
Once all games of all matches of all rounds are complete, it is up to the Organizer to conclude the event within the Silph.gg tools,and should do so within a timely fashion after the event’s conclusion.
A tournament should never be concluded early or cancelled by an Organizer for any reason less than grievous errors or circumstances including, but not limited to:
- A player dropping out reduces the tournament to less than an acceptable amount (7 or less).
- Insurmountable technical problems with the game or tournament system.
- A change in venue compatibility such as unsafe weather or closure.
- Protracted round length causing impactful delays and a group feeling of no desire to continue.
2.1 Match Structure
An Arena "match" consists of a series of games that are played until one side has won a set number of games, usually two. Drawn games do not count toward this goal. If the round ends before a player has won the required number of games, the winner of the match is the player who has won the most games at that point.
As part of reporting match results, "best 2 of 3" battle results are reported to the Silph Arena via Silph.gg for inclusion in ranking statistics and to further delineate player performance in case of ties for placement in the tournament.
2.2 Pre-Tournament Procedures
The following steps must be performed in a timely manner before the designated start time of the tournament before the pairings and first round may commence:
- Player registration to The Silph Arena of Battle Party selections to be used during the tournament, which may include: Individual Pokémon species, their CP, and their movesets.
- Player check-in with Tournament Organizers to confirm attendance.
- Organizer confirmation of Arena rules and tournament mechanics with all players.
2.3 Conceding or Intentionally Drawing Games or Matches
Players may not mutually agree to a concession or draw in a battle or match. A match is considered complete once the results are reported to The Silph Arena by both players or by an overseeing judge. Before that point, neither player may elect to draw with the other, though if a player must concede for justified reasons the conceding player won a game in the match, the match must be reported as 2-1.
Players may not agree to a concession or draw in exchange for any reward or incentive. Doing so will be considered Bribery (see section 5.2).
If a player refuses to play, it is assumed that they have conceded the match.
2.4 End-of-Match Procedure
If the match time limit is reached before a winner is determined, the players must finish their current battle (if still in progress) and report the outcome.
Once time is called, no new battles should begin, and battle outcomes reported.
If a judge assigned a time extension (because of a long ruling, or other reason) the end-of-match procedure does not begin until the end of the time extension.
If all players have equal game wins at the end of the round time limit, a judge may grant a time extension for another battle to take place.
2.5 Time Extensions
If a judge pauses a match for more than two minutes while the round clock is running, they should extend the match time appropriately. If the match was interrupted to perform a ruling on a battle outcome dispute, the judge may choose to grant a time extension or not.
At the discretion of the judge slow-play penalties may result in an individual battle-loss or even entire match loss to the penalized player rather than a time extension.
2.6 Battle Pokémon Selection Registration
Players are required to register their Pokémon selections for their battle teams in Ranked tournaments. Registered battle-lists record the original composition of each player’s usable Pokémon during the tournament. Once the Tournament Organizer begins the first round of the event, your battle-list may not be altered including a change in Pokémon’s CP, movesets, or species through evolution, power up, or TM. In Ranked tournaments, battle-lists must be submitted with player registration prior to the start of round 1, even if the player has an awarded bye for that round.
Battle-list registration information may be posted publicly with or without unique player attribution, or kept hidden depending on the specific ruleset of the tournament. Generally, battle-lists will be public information during ranked events, but it is every tournament organizer’s and player’s responsibility to know the specific rules of their event and to enforce and abide by them.
2.7 Hidden Information
Hidden information refers to obscured information pertaining to competitive advantage, that the functionality of Pokémon GOTM Battles do not share publicly or are normally hidden from opponents to maintaining the sanctity of competitive strategy. This includes but is not limited to battle-lists, battle party compositions, and movesets on registered Pokémon.
Throughout the match, a draft, and pregame procedures, players are responsible for making reasonable efforts to prevent hidden information from being revealed.
Players must not actively attempt to gain information hidden from them but are not required to inform opponents who are accidentally revealing hidden information.
2.8 Battle-List Checks
Judges have the option to perform battle-list checks at Ranked tournaments at their discretion if they or a player suspects a participant of using unregistered Pokémon during a battle.
2.9 Appeals to the Silph Arena Directors
If a player disagrees with a judge’s ruling, they may appeal the ruling to the Silph Arena Directors with the knowledge that their ruling may not be heard or a decision reached before the end of the tournament—and should only be elevated to this level in the case of extreme alterations to rank as a result of the ruling going one direction or the other.
Players may not appeal before the full ruling is made by the in-person responding Judge. Rulings made by the Silph Arena Directors are final.
2.10 Dropping from a Tournament
Players may drop from a tournament at any time. If a player drops from a tournament before the first round of play has started, they are considered to have not participated in the tournament and will not be listed in the finish order nor receive participation rewards. Players choosing to drop from a tournament must inform the Tournament Organizer or a Judge before the pairings for the next round are generated. In some cases this may require dropping before reporting previous or current match results to Silph.gg.
Players wanting to drop after the Tournament Organizer begins pairing for the next round will be paired for that round. If a player does not show up for their match, they will be automatically dropped from the tournament unless they report to a Judge. Players that repeatedly and/or intentionally drop from tournaments without informing a Judge of those tournaments may be the subject of penalties up to and including suspension.
If a player drops from a tournament after a cut has been made, such as a cut to the top 8 playoff in an Invitational Tournament, no other player is advanced as a replacement. The lowest ranked remaining player receives a bye for the round instead.
Players who have dropped may re-enter a tournament at the discretion of the Tournament Organizer. Players may not re-enter a tournament after any cut has been made.
Players may not drop from a tournament in exchange for or influenced by the offer of any reward or incentive. Doing so is considered Bribery (see section 5.2).
2.11 Invite Priority Coin Toss
For the first game of a match, if either player requests a randomized "Invite Priority Coin Toss" both players must oblige to a coin toss (or other agreed-upon random method) to determine which player uses their Nearby Battle QR code-scanner to send the invite, as well as which player will tap the ‘USE THIS PARTY’ confirmation button first. If the coin toss winner states no choice, it is assumed that they have opted to scan the other player’s QR and send the invite, as well as the priority to confirm their party first.
For subsequent games in a match, the loser of the previous game (even if the game loss was due to a penalty or infraction) decides whether to invite or receive the invitation, as well as to confirm their battle party first or not for the next game. However, if a game is restarted due to technical issues, the player who decided to invite or receive for that game must repeat that choice in the rematch.
2.12 Technical Errors/Malfunctions During Play
In the event that a hardware or software malfunction significantly impacts the outcome of a game, the player so affected must immediately bring it to the attention of their opponent. Both players are responsible for assessing the magnitude of impact the error had on the results of the game and, if it is agreed to have had a significant impact on the game’s outcome, may restart that game. If an opponent disputes the technical glitch’s negative impact, video evidence must be provided. If there is no evidence of a malfunction and opponents disagree on a technical malfunction, the game’s outcome will stand and no re-match is required.
In the event of a restart for an individual game, both players must utilize their same battle team compositions in the same queue order as chosen for the disrupted game. Modifying or changing a battle team during this scenario may be considered a Tournament Error - Battle-List Problem as defined under section 2.4 of the Arena Infraction Procedure Guide and may result in a game loss assessed by a judge if evidence can be provided. If this error is committed under the intent to gain advantage over an opponent a judge may elect to elevate the infraction to Cheating and take appropriate punitive actions against the player.
If technical errors or malfunctions impact a match significantly enough to delay the outcome of a victor, a judge should be called to investigate and provide a solution. If these delays cause a match to exceed the round time-limit before a winner can be determined, a judge may grant a time extension for another battle to take place.
3.1 Player Communication
Communication between players is essential to the successful play of any game that involves virtual objects or hidden information. While bluffing may be an aspect of games, there need to be clear lines as to what is, and is not, acceptable for players to say or otherwise represent. This will confirm expectations of both sporting and competitive players during a game.
A player should have an advantage due to better understanding of the options provided by the rules of the game, greater awareness of the interactions in the current game state, and superior tactical planning. Players are under no obligation to assist their opponents in playing the game, nor to alert their opponents if they are giving away hidden information that may be used advantageously. Regardless of anything else, players are expected to treat opponents politely and with respect. Failure to do so may lead to Unsporting Conduct penalties.
Cheating during a tournament will not be tolerated. The Tournament Organizer reviews all cheating allegations, and if they believe that a player has cheated during an accredited tournament, they will issue the appropriate penalty based on the Infraction Procedure Guide. All disqualifications are subject to the Silph Arena Directors' review and further penalties may be assessed or current penalties rescinded.
The decision to drop, concede, or agree to an intentional draw cannot be made in exchange for or influenced by the offer of any reward or incentive, nor may any in-game decision be influenced in this manner. Making such an offer is prohibited and is considered bribery. Unless the player receiving such an offer calls for a judge immediately, both players will be penalized in the same manner. Players may not make any offers to tournament officials in an attempt to influence the outcome of a ruling.
It is not bribery when players share prizes they have not yet received in the current tournament and they may agree to such before or during their match, as long as any such sharing does not occur in exchange for any game or match result or the dropping of a player from the tournament.
The result of a match or game may not be randomly or arbitrarily determined through any means other than the normal progress of the game in play. Examples include (but are not limited to) rolling a die, flipping a coin, arm wrestling, or playing any other game.
Players may not reach an agreement in conjunction with other matches. Players can make use of information regarding match or battle outcomes of other players. However, players are not allowed to go to great lengths or slow their own match play to obtain this information.
Players in the single-elimination rounds of a tournament offering only cash, store credit, prize tickets, and/or unopened product as prizes may, with the permission of the Tournament Organizer, agree to split the prizes evenly. The players may end the tournament at that point or continue to play. All players still in the tournament must agree to the arrangement.
Tournament participants, tournament officials, and spectators may not wager, ante, or bet on any portion (including the outcome) of a tournament, match, or game.
4.4 Unsporting Conduct
Unsporting conduct will not be tolerated at any time. Tournament participants must behave in a polite and respectful manner. Unsporting conduct includes, but is not limited to:
- Engaging in behavior that could reasonably be expected to create a feeling of being harassed, bullied, or stalked.
- Arguing with, acting belligerent toward, or insulting tournament officials, players or spectators.
- Violating the personal privacy or safety of any participant, including spectators and staff.
- Using social media to bully, shame, or intimidate other participants.
- Failing to follow the instructions of a tournament official.
Officials are expected to investigate potential matters brought their attention as soon as possible and take actions to discourage repeat behavior. All incidents of unsporting conduct should be reported to the Silph Arena Directors in a timely manner and are subject to further review.
4.5 Slow Play
Players must organize their battle parties and begin battles in a timely fashion regardless of the complexity of the play situation and adhere to time limits specified for the tournament. Players must maintain a pace in between battles to allow the match to be finished in the announced time limit. Stalling is not acceptable. Players may ask a judge to watch their game for slow play; such a request will be granted if feasible.
4.6 Outside Assistance
During matches, players may not seek play advice from spectators and spectators may not give play advice to players.
During battle party selection, players and spectators may not provide any advice or commentary to a player until that player’s Pokémon selection for their battle party has been decided.
Players and spectators will refrain from providing any information about draft selections, battle-list or battle party selection, or strategies between pairing announcement and the end of the draft.
Some of these restrictions may be waived due to official press or coverage; in these situations, the player will be informed of the revised expectations. Teammates in certain team tournaments may also be excepted from these restrictions.
5.1 Participation Minimums
Participation minimums for a tournament to be sanctioned as a rated tournament are as follows:
- For individual tournaments, a minimum of eight (8) players must participate.
- For any team tournaments, a minimum of four (4) teams must participate.
If the participation minimum is not met, the tournament is no longer Arena-sanctioned and will not provide Ranking or Cup placement. If participation minimums are not met for any tournament planned to be Arena-sanctioned (due to players not showing), the Tournament Organizer should report the tournament as “Did Not Occur.”
5.2 Number of Rounds
The minimum number of rounds required for a tournament to be sanctioned as a rated tournament is as follows:
- For individual tournaments, a minimum of three (3) rounds
- For team tournaments, a minimum of two (2) rounds
If the minimum number of rounds is not met, the tournament is no longer Arena-sanctioned and will not provide Ranking or Cup placement. If the minimum number of rounds is not met for any Arena-sanctioned tournament the Tournament Organizer should report the tournament as “Did Not Occur.”
The number of rounds should be announced at or before the beginning of the first round; once announced, it cannot be changed. A variable number of rounds can be announced instead, with specific criteria for ending the tournament. For example, a tournament with 20 players can be announced as five rounds unless only one player has four match wins after four rounds.
The recommended number of rounds for Swiss tournaments is the log base 2 of the number of players.
5.3 Invitation-Only Tournaments
Invitation-only tournaments have additional qualification criteria for player participation, which are determined by the Season Cup structure, player ranking, and other unique factors. The invitation list for Regional Invitational and World Invitational tournaments is defined by The Silph League Arena Invitational Policy. Tournament Organizers may hold and sanction invitation-only tournaments as long as they are elected and authorized by the Silph Arena Directors to do so.
5.4 Pairing Algorithm
Unless otherwise announced, tournaments are assumed to follow the Swiss pairing algorithm (to be handled by The Arena's Silph.gg software). Some tournaments may proceed to single-elimination playoff rounds between the top 2, 4, or 8 (or other number) players after the Swiss rounds are over.
For tournaments that have a single-elimination playoff the recommended pairing method is to pair the playoff players by the final Swiss standings. The rounds in single-elimination playoffs should pair the top seed player against the lowest, the 2nd highest against the 2nd lowest, and so forth.