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 competitors' 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 a ranked tournament, properly conducted and reported through Silph.gg. The abbreviated Arena Rules are as follows:
- No Rule Changes: 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 contribute to player rank.
- Team Selection: You may only use the 6 individual Pokémon registered when entering the tournament. Altering the Battle Team in any way after the tournament has begun is forbidden (see 1.1 Tournament Types).
- League Selection: All battles must be fought in their designated League.
- Three Battles: Opponents will battle three times to determine a winner. The winner may only be determined through the normal progress of the game in play, and in the case of disputes, the in-game Journal will be used. Opponents may not collude to report outcomes not achieved in battle.
- Ties: If a battle ends in a draw (i.e. both journal entries show a tie, or both show a loss), a new battle must occur until a battle is won. Battles that time-out via the Pokémon GOTM timer do not constitute a draw, and the winner therein is determined by the Journal entries of the competitors.
- Disputes: If opponents do not agree on a match outcome, journal entries and any available video evidence will be reviewed by a staff member to determine the match outcome.
- Technical Issues: If you experience significant technical issues, share this with your opponent. If both agree that it significantly impacted the outcome of a match, it will trigger a re-match of the current battle. The same Battle Party & lead Pokémon must be selected for the re-match. If technical issues prevent successful battle for 10 minutes, or if competitors disagree on the issue, contact tournament staff for assistance.
- Professionalism: Competitors are expected to maintain courtesy towards opponents, tournament staff, and spectators. Harassment, aggression, intimidation, and other inappropriate behaviors should be reported to staff and can result in punitive action.
- Free to Play: All accredited matches must be free to play. The venue itself may require an entrance fee (i.e. gaming conventions, etc.), but the Tournament Organizer must not charge for participation. Suggested donations or crowdfunding are acceptable to help cover costs (i.e. venue, prizes, etc.).
- 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, all evidence and information should be submitted via the Report Misconduct form to be reviewed by the Arena Team.
- Spoofing: Competitors who have falsified their GPS location in Pokémon GOTM must opt out of player rank and may only compete in accredited tournaments with an Unranked Arena account.
The Silph League Arena Sanctioned Event Rules
The Silph League Arena (“Silph Arena” or “Arena”) is a community-created player organization that accredits and enables thousands of host communities around the world to hold standardized, ranked tournaments during the competitive season. The rules and policies in this document, and any other official Silph Arena documents, are designed to promote fair and consistent gameplay through all Silph League accredited communities, regardless of location.
Competitors and officials are both responsible for being familiar with and following the most recent version of Silph Arena Rules, as well as any rule set required for a given tournament. In addition, competitors, officials, and spectators are required to treat each other and all others present in a respectful manner.
Competitors, officials, and spectators are required to follow the rules as written, as well as the spirit in which the rules were created.
Those violating the Arena Rules are subject to penalties appropriate for the level of infraction, up to and including being permanently banned from the Arena.
The Silph Arena reserves the right to alter these rules without prior notice and to interpret, clarify, or otherwise issue official changes through this document and other official Arena documents and communication channels.
Tournament held using the silph.gg software may be Ranked or Unranked.
Unranked Tournaments are not subject to the rules in this document, but must be designated Unranked upon tournament creation. Ranked tournaments may become Unranked in certain situations including but not limited to dropping below the number of competitors required to be Ranked (8) or failure to comply with the rules of Ranked tournaments.
All Ranked Tournaments are to be run by Silph League Communities who have agreed to uphold The Silph League Arena Sanctioned Event Rules and League Code of Conduct.
In all Ranked Tournaments
- Competitors will bring a team of 6 Pokémon (Battle Team), to be registered before the tournament begins.
- Only one of each Pokémon species is permitted on each Battle Team. This is determined by having differing Pokédex numbers (i.e. Ivysaur and Venusaur) or differing typing (i.e. Sunny Castform and Rainy Castform).
- All teams of 3 Pokémon (Battle Parties) used in matches must be comprised of any combination of these 6 Pokémon.
Once the tournament begins, Battle Teams are locked in and revealed to all competitors. Altering a Battle Team in any way, including but not limited to powering up, evolving, using TMs, adding a second move, purifying, or swapping alternate Pokémon within a species, is forbidden once Battle Teams are revealed (even if a late power-up or evolution would achieve the CP and/or species that was registered).
- Best Buddies are permitted in ranked tournaments - however, in any given tournament, only one may be used in its boosted state, and competitors may only use it at its registered CP.
- A competitor is permitted to change their buddy during the tournament, as long as it is returned to its registered CP (whether that is its normal CP or its boosted CP) prior to use in any battle.
- Shadow Pokémon are permitted in ranked tournaments (unless restricted by a specific Cup's rules) and must be designated as such when a competitor registers their Battle Team.
- Multiple Shadow Pokémon may be registered in a single Battle Party, but not alongside their non-Shadow or Purified forms. They are considered the same species, sharing a Pokédex number and typing.
- There must be no restrictions to the Pokémon permitted beyond the tournament type’s explicitly stated rules, such as a type restriction for a Cup tournament. Open League tournaments must not, for example, impose type restrictions.
- A minimum of 8 competitors must have completed at least two full rounds.
- The Silph Arena’s silph.gg software must be used for registration, round pairings, and match reporting.
1. Cup Tournament
Cup Tournaments are a special subset of Ranked Tournaments that have unique names, rules, and features, determined solely by the Silph Arena, that must be followed by the tournament officials and competitors. To qualify as a valid Cup, the tournament must begin and conclude (last matchup of the tournament reported) within the stated start and end dates.
Any rule changes that affect ranked play made by the Silph Arena that may arise during or between Cup windows will be publicly displayed on the tournament type’s creation screen and announced through official channels in advance of the changes going live.
Unless otherwise explicitly stated by the Silph Arena, new Pokémon, moves, etc. that are released during a Cup window are allowed, as long as they fall within the Cup’s rules.
2. Open League Tournament
Open League Tournaments (previously called simply “Ranked Tournaments”) abide by all Arena sanctioning and must have no additional restrictions on Battle Team selections other than that all battles are fought in the designated League (Great, Ultra, or Masters).
3. Special Tournament
Certain special tournaments may be offered by the Silph Arena throughout the season with additional or alternative rules and restrictions that are determined solely by the Silph Arena. These special tournaments may offer additional opportunity to have performance affect a competitor’s global rank. Examples include Championship Open Qualifiers, Regional Invitationals, etc.
Special tournaments may only be held by the Arena or communities that have been selected and authorized by the Silph Arena.
No additions, modifications, or reductions of the rule sets for Cups or any other Ranked tournament are allowed by tournament officials. Any changes that modify the established rulesets will invalidate the tournament and disqualify participants from contributing to their rank with that event.
The Silph League Arena reserves the right to publish tournament information at any time (including during the tournament). Tournament information includes, but is not limited to, the contents of one or more competitors' battle teams, descriptions of strategies or play, transcripts, video reproductions, and tournament logs. The Silph Arena reserves the right to publish penalty and suspension information.
The following roles are defined for tournament purposes:
- Tournament Organizer
- Tournament Staff
Tournament Organizers and Staff are considered Tournament Officials. A single individual may act in any combination of official tournament roles. Individuals at a tournament who are not Officials are Spectators, including Competitors in any match in which they are not playing.
In addition, the Silph Arena may have representatives present during any Ranked tournament and, though they are present in official Arena capacity, they do not fall specifically within the above role list and may be called upon for rulings like other official roles.
Officials, competitors, and spectators are all required to follow the Silph Arena Rules. Failure to abide by these rules is grounds for penalties up to and including individual or community suspension or banning from The Silph Arena and/or The Silph League.
Evidence of misconduct by any role should be submitted via the Report Misconduct form to be reviewed by the Arena Team. All relevant evidence and information should be included.
Tournament Officials (Organizers and Staff) are responsible for the integrity of the tournament, with their duties including but not limited to:
- Confirming that all competitors registered are able to compete in the pairings generated by the silph.gg software within the stated round time limits
- Confirming that match results are reported to silph.gg correctly and in a timely manner
- Correcting misreported match results
- Ensuring that the round time limit (if set forth) is adhered to by all competitors and other officials.
- Adjudicating fairly and consistently, using good judgement in applying the Silph Rules to any given situation
- Ensuring to the best of their ability that all Silph Rules are followed by all Tournament Officials, Competitors, and Spectators
Tournament Organizers have additional responsibilities, including but not limited to:
- Creating the appropriate Ranked Tournament on silph.gg that meets the criteria of the intended tournament and securing a sanctioned join code from the Silph Arena
- Providing a location for the tournament that meets the tournament's expected needs
- Staffing the tournament with appropriate tournament officials
The role of Organizer is generally held by Silph League Community Administrators, but Administrators may elect Tournament Staff to perform this role.
Ranked tournaments require the presence and availability (physical or virtual) of at least one Tournament Official during play to adjudicate disputes, interpret rules, and make other official decisions.
Tournament officials are expected to be aware of any potential logistical issues, look into possible violations, make rulings on disputes, and apply the Silph Arena Rules in a fair and consistent manner.
These officials are the judicial authority at any Arena-sanctioned tournament, and tournament participants are expected to follow their interpretations and rulings.
In addition to following all Silph Arena Rules, Competitors are responsible for:
- Behaving in a respectful manner toward tournament officials, competitors, and spectators.
- Maintaining their Battle Parties with legal Pokémon selected from their Battle List.
- Complying with announced tournament start times and match time limits, beginning their match as soon as possible and reporting the outcome as soon as the match is complete.
- Calling attention to any rules or policy infraction they encounter.
- Bringing an Official’s attention to any offers of bribery, wagering, improper game result determination, slow play, and any discrepancies in their tournament match record.
- Informing the Arena Team 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. Competitors with multiple Travelers Cards should contact The Silph Road at email@example.com to have the information for two or more cards combined.
- Refraining from registering in tournaments for any reason other than to participate, including those which they are not eligible to participate.
- Being physically present for assigned matches during in-person tournaments and being available for assigned matches during remote tournaments in a timely fashion.
- Registering and playing solely with their own personal account, and entering only one account in a tournament.
- Accurately marking themselves as Unranked on their Travelers Card if they have ever engaged in GPS manipulation while playing Pokémon GOTM.
- Being familiar with and abiding by all rules contained within this document.
Any person present (either physically or remotely) while a tournament is in play, who is not in any other category above, is a spectator. This includes competitors that are not actively engaged in a match. Spectators are responsible for remaining courteous and passive during matches and other official tournament sections. They may not offer assistance to any competitor while the tournament is in progress and they may not seek out any player’s hidden information (as defined in Section 2.5 Hidden Information) or share any hidden information they have learned, either inadvertently or intentionally. If spectators believe they have observed a rule or policy violation, they are encouraged to alert an official as soon as possible.
Competitors may request that spectators not observe their matches in order to preserve their hidden information. Tournament officials may also instruct a spectator not observe a match or matches.
Anyone is eligible to participate as a competitor in a sanctioned Arena tournament or to authorize their community and participate as a tournament official except for:
- Individuals currently suspended or banned by the Arena
- Other individuals specifically prohibited from participation by Silph Arena policies
- Individuals thirteen (13) years of age and younger who do not have a parent/guardian present
- Anyone prohibited by federal, state, or local laws, the rules of the Tournament Organizer and/or the hosting Silph League community, or by a venue's management
Ranked tournaments are not required to be open invite, though it is strongly encouraged in the spirit of the Arena.
Tournament officials may restrict entry to Ranked tournaments for appropriate reasons, including restricting competitors to a local community or prohibiting an individual or group of individuals who have violated the community’s rules or otherwise demonstrated behavior not suitable to the Arena.
Officials may not bar competitors based on race, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, or other similar attributes. Additionally, officials may not exclude or include competitors or groups of competitors in any attempt to manipulate or influence match or tournament outcomes, player rank, or leaderboards.
In order for a competitor’s performance to contribute to their global rank competitors must register for Ranked tournaments with their Travelers Card. Competitors without a Travelers Card do not need one to participate in Ranked tournaments but are encouraged to obtain one from https://thesilphroad.com/card before attending an event. If a competitor does not obtain a Travelers Card before the event, they should be aware that their matches and progression may not contribute to their ranking.
Competitors are only permitted to have one card and it must only be associated with a single Pokémon GOTM account. The name on the Travelers Card must match the trainer name in their Pokémon GOTM account. If a competitor has multiple Travelers Cards or needs to correct the name on their Travelers Card, they should contact The Silph Road at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide the link to their Travelers Card(s) and screenshot(s) of their in-game Pokémon Go trainer name.
Competitors with multiple Pokémon GOTM accounts may only use the one which matches their Travelers Card. No Competitor may compete with any Pokémon GOTM account and/or Travelers Card other than their own. Failure to disclose multiple cards may lead to termination of one or all of the accounts.
Competitors are required to select a country on their Travelers Card which accurately reflects the location where they consistently battle and/or primarily reside. This is a one-time, permanent selection and any competitor who needs to change their selected country should email email@example.com. Competitors found falsifying their country will receive punitive action(s) and may forfeit their ranked status in the Arena.
Competitors who have not opted out of rankings during the Season must leave their Travelers Card publicly readable for the duration of the Season. If a competitor hides their Travelers Card (i.e. marks it 'private') they will be de-ranked for all future Arena participation.
Prior to the start of a tournament, Tournament Organizers may change or cancel a tournament for any reason, with no prior notice, although every effort should be made to keep the registered competitors aware of any changes when possible.
Tournaments should only be concluded early for reasons that mean the tournament is unable to proceed and conclude as planned. These reasons include but are not limited to:
- A competitor dropping out or removed reduces the number of competitors to less than the number required for the tournament to be Ranked
- Insurmountable technical problems with the game or tournament system.
- A change in venue compatibility, such as unsafe weather or closure.
Ranked tournaments consist of a set number of rounds, determined by the number of competitors when the tournament begins. Each round contains matches between paired competitors and the round is complete when all competitors have reported their match outcomes. Matches consist of a set of battles (or "games") between the paired competitors. The winner of the "best of 3" match will get a point for that round. Individual battle wins are tracked for global ranking, but do not affect the tournament outcome beyond contributing to the secondary tie-breaker option.
Drawn games (i.e. when both in-game journal entries show a tie, or both show a loss) do not count toward the number of battle wins required. Battles that time-out via the Pokémon GOTM timer do not constitute a draw, and the winner therein is determined by the Journal entries of the competitors.
Tournament officials may set reasonable time limits on each round within which competitors will need to start, conclude, and report their matches.
Prior to the start of the tournament, competitors must register their Battle Team on silph.gg and check in with an official to confirm attendance.
Tournament officials must confirm the Arena Rules with the competitors and announce any specific logistics for that tournament (i.e. round time limits).
Match outcomes must be self-reported by each competitor via silph.gg to record the number of battles won and lost. Outcomes should be reported as soon as the match is complete and should not exceed the round time limits that may be set by Tournament Organizers (to be communicated to competitors prior to the start of the tournament).
If there is a dispute between reported match outcomes, officials will confirm the correct results via the in game journal and correct on silph.gg if necessary.
Matches may not end in a draw. Battles that end in a draw (verified by the journal entries) do not count as a win for either player. Competitors must play until the required number of wins has been achieved, unless one player has conceded, is disqualified, or is otherwise removed from the match or tournament. No other means may be used to determine the match outcome.
Competitors are required to register their Pokémon selections for their Battle Teams via silph.gg. Registered Battle Teams record the composition of each competitor’s usable Pokémon at the start of the tournament. Once the Tournament Organizer begins the tournament, Battle Teams are locked in and revealed to all competitors.
Altering a Battle Team in any way is forbidden once Battle Teams are revealed (even if a late power-up or evolution would achieve the CP and/or species that was registered). Altering may include but is not limited to powering up, evolving, using TMs, adding a second move, purifying, or swapping alternate Pokémon within a species.
Battle Team registration information may be posted publicly, with or without unique competitor attribution, or kept hidden depending on the specific ruleset of the tournament. Generally, Battle Teams will be public information during Ranked events, but it is every official’s and competitor’s responsibility to know the specific rules of their event and to enforce and abide by them.
Hidden information refers to information that is not revealed or displayed publicly by either the functionality of Pokémon GOTM battles or the Silph Arena. This includes but is not limited to Battle Parties, battle tactics and strategy, and movesets on registered Pokémon.
Throughout the tournament, including pre-tournament procedures, competitors are responsible for making reasonable efforts to prevent others’ hidden information from being revealed.
In order to preserve hidden information, competitors should refrain from spectating other matches in their tournament until they have completed their final match, unless the competitors being observed permit it. Competitors must not actively attempt to gain hidden information and should not share information that was inadvertently learned. However, it is the responsibility of each competitor to protect their own hidden information, and competitors are not required to inform opponents who accidentally reveal hidden information.
Officials have the option to perform Battle Team checks (checking for compliance with what is registered on silph.gg, i.e. Pokémon species and CP) at Ranked tournaments at their discretion.
Officials may also require reasonable information (such as Fast and Charged TM count) to be verified and recorded prior to the tournament start and perform audits during the tournament.
Officials may not require that Hidden Information (such as moveset/existence of second move) be gathered, unless they can verify that only non-competitor Tournament Officials will have access to said information during the tournament.
Officials may not require additional information during registration or dispute resolution. Examples of inappropriate information collection include:
- Pokémon catch locations
- Competitor’s Gym map
- Proof of travel
- Searching downloaded apps or app history
- Anything else not within the Pokémon GOTM game
Excessive searches are not acceptable, even in cases of suspected rule violation(s).
If an official suspects a competitor has manipulated their GPS but failed to opt out of ranking, any and all evidence (i.e. screenshots of shared images or conversations) should be submitted via the Report Misconduct form to be reviewed by the Arena Team.
Officials may pause the tournament to investigate and rule on disputes or other issues and may choose to extend the round time limit if warranted.
An official may also pause the round for other reasonable situations such as a meal break for the competitors, in which case they should extend the round time limit to account for the paused time.
Competitors may concede a battle or match, or withdraw (“drop”) from a tournament at any time. The decision to do so must not be influenced by any competitor or official in any way. Other competitors, officials, or spectators may not imply, suggest, or otherwise require that a competitor concede or withdraw for any reason.
If a competitor chooses to drop from a tournament, they should inform a tournament official as soon as possible. If a competitor drops from a tournament before the tournament has started and first round pairings are revealed, they are considered to have not participated in the tournament. Competitors who drop after round pairings have been generated may elect to complete the match and report the outcome, otherwise they chose to concede the match and have it reported as a loss by an official.
If a competitor refuses to play, leaves the tournament before their match is complete, or is otherwise unable or unwilling to complete their match within the stated time limit, it is assumed that they have conceded the match and it will be reported as a loss by an official. If a competitor is unable or unwilling to complete their match in the next round, they will be assigned a loss for that match and removed from the tournament.
In the event that a hardware or software malfunction significantly impacts the outcome of a game, the competitor so affected must immediately bring it to the attention of their opponent. Some examples of issues that do not warrant a rematch include standard game occurrences (such as the inability to switch a Pokémon or use a charge move while the fast move animation is still in play) and user error (such as a phone notification disrupting play)
The competitor experiencing the issue must inform their opponent immediately, and they may decide to play through or restart the battle. Both competitors 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, or if a competitor quits the battle before they both agree, 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 competitors must utilize their same Battle Party and the same lead Pokémon as chosen for the disrupted game. Competitors are not required to otherwise replay in the same manner as the interrupted game.
Modifying a Battle Party or lead used in a rematch may result in a game loss from an official if evidence can be provided. If this error is committed with the intent to gain advantage, the official may take further action, including removing the competitor from the tournament.
If technical errors or malfunctions delay the match outcome from being determined and reported, an official 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, an official may grant a time extension for another battle to take place or may declare the winner to be the competitor who had won the most games up to that point.
Competitors may “bluff” one or more Pokémon in their registered Battle Party, i.e. registering a Pokémon that they do not possess or intend to use. If a competitor chooses to bluff, they are still restricted to choosing their Battle Teams from the Pokémon in their registered Battle Party. No other Pokémon may be used in place of a bluffed Pokémon, including a Pokémon with a different CP than registered, or a Pokémon that achieved the registered state after the tournament began (via evolution, power-up, or any other means of altering the Pokémon).
If a competitor disagrees with an official’s ruling, they may appeal the ruling to the Silph Arena with the knowledge that their ruling may not be heard or a decision reached before the end of the season.
Competitors may not appeal before the full ruling is made by Tournament Officials, and the ruling made by the Silph Arena is final. To send an appeal to the Silph Arena, submit a report through the Report Misconduct page.
Cheating during a tournament is forbidden. Any allegations of cheating must be brought to the tournament officials for review. Officials may issue an appropriate penalty and/or submit evidence of misconduct to the Silph Arena Team to be reviewed and logged. The Arena Team may issue further penalties based on the severity of the infraction and any prior infractions.
The winner of a match or tournament may only be decided through gameplay, in which one competitor wins the required number of battles, unless their opponent has conceded, is disqualified, has received a valid penalty of a battle or match loss, or is otherwise removed from the tournament.
Other competitors, officials, or spectators may not imply, suggest, or otherwise require that a competitor concede or withdraw from any match for any reason.
The result of a match or game may not be randomly or arbitrarily decided by any means, including but not limited to flipping a coin, proxy playing, or playing any other game.
Once a tournament begins, competitors may not receive any outside assistance.
- Competitors may not seek play advice from anyone, whether physically present or not, and no outside advice may be given to competitors.
- Competitors and spectators must refrain from providing any information about Battle Team or Battle Party selections (including movesets) or strategies while the tournament is in progress.
- Competitors may not utilize any programmatic or script-driven resources which provide strategic direction against teams of 3 made from their opponent’s specific Battle Team, including anything which provides advice on team composition, shield usage, charge move selection, or any simulation of move-for-move matchups against your opponent’s Battle Team.
Competitors may reference allowed notes and resources; however, they must complete their match within the time limits provided stated by the Tournament Official. Taking too long to review notes may incur a slow-play penalty.
Examples of resources that are allowed:
- Type and effectiveness charts.
- Meta infographics.
- Pre-calculated reminders of key matchups.
- Ranked lists of one Pokemon and its aggregated battle scores or ratings against the other eligible Pokemon (i.e. “the meta”).
Competitors are expected to come to the battle prepared, having done their homework and training ahead of time, ready to take on their opponent using their own skill, without using programming, AI, or other people to make their critical decisions.
Tournament officials, competitors, and spectators, whether physically or remotely present, may not wager or bet on any portion of a tournament, match, or game.
Unsporting conduct will not be tolerated at any time before, during, or after a tournament. All officials, competitors, and spectators must behave in a polite and respectful manner. Unsporting conduct toward any officials, competitors, or spectators is unacceptable. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Engaging in behavior, either in person or online, that could reasonably be expected to create a feeling of being harassed, bullied, stalked, shamed, or intimidated.
- Being argumentative, belligerent, insulting, or aggressive.
- Violating personal privacy or safety.
- Failing to follow the instructions of a tournament official.
Officials must investigate any potential cases of unsporting conduct, take appropriate actions when necessary, and report incidents to the Silph Arena for further review and logging.
Competitors must organize their Battle Parties and begin their assigned battles in a timely fashion, adhere to the time limits specified for the tournament, and report match outcomes as soon as the match is complete. Stalling gameplay and/or match reporting is not permitted from competitors or officials and may result in a battle loss, match loss, removal from the tournament, or additional punitive actions from the Silph Arena.