Glossary of Pokémon VGC Terminology

Not sure what all the jargon and technical terms in our articles mean? We’ve made this glossary to help you out so you don’t get confused when reading our content. Poké also has a glossary you can check out, as well as further information on a Rules and Resources page.

Circuit Specific Terms

Best Finish Limits (BFL)To provide a more even playing field for the largest number of competitors worldwide, each event series may have a Best Finish Limit. If you play in more events than the Best Finish Limit cap, your top performances will be registered and the rest discarded. Information on this season's BFL's can be found here.
Championship Points (CP)These are earned throughout the season at officially sanctioned events, and are used to determine who qualifies to compete at the World Championships. This season they may also be used to determine who earns paid travel or stipends to compete at International Championships.
CP BarThis is the minimum amount of Championship Points required to qualify for the World Championships. You can find the bar for the 2017 season here.
CP PayoutThe way Championship Points are distributed changes depending on the level of the event, and on the number of people in attendance.
Event LocatorA Web-based tool that helps players find Play! Pokémon events happening near them. Regional Championships, Premier Events and Midseason Showdowns can all be found using the Event Locator. You can find the Event Locator here.
Play! PokémonThe name of the program that encompasses all official Pokémon tournaments. This program is run by Pokémon Organized Play.
Player IDEach player is assigned a Play! Pokémon Identification Number (Player ID) that is used to track that player's official tournament play and to identify them in the Play! Pokemon system. Players must have this number with them whenever they attend a sanctioned event. If you don't already have a Player ID, the organiser of your next event can give you one. You can also get a Player ID online if you already have a Pokémon Trainer Club account.
Pokémon Trainer ClubA registered account on Poké Pokémon Trainer Club members set preferences for their Play! Pokémon membership, including whether or not to have their names and Play! Pokémon rankings listed on the website. Before registering for a Pokémon Trainer Club account, please read their Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
StipendA non-transferable monetary award used to partially cover the travel expenses for players travelling to certain events like International Championships.
Support RequestIf you have any issues or inquiries to make throughout the season, the easiest way to resolve them is by lodging a support request. You can lodge that through You must have a account and be logged in to it. This site also has FAQs for support, which may answer your question prior to lodging a support request.
Travel AwardAlso known as a Paid Invitation. A fully funded invitation to compete in an event, usually the World Championships, with flights and accommodation fully paid for. Only the very best trainers in each region can earn these. Information about who qualifies for a travel award for the European International Championships can be found here.

Tournament Specific Terms

International ChampionshipsA newly introduced competition designed to serve as an upgrade from National Championships, while still being below World Championship level. Open to players all around the world. May also be described as "ICs" or "Internats".
JudgeA person who is well versed in the rules and strategies of the Pokémon games and who is responsible for administering the rules of an event, including the Tournament Rules.
MatchA number of games played in a single round of a tournament. A match may be a single game or best of three.
Regional ChampionshipsA Championship Series event open to all eligible players in which players compete in different age divisions to win the Regional Champion title for that age division. Video Game Regional Championships are held in countries and states with large player bases.
Swiss RoundsMost tournaments begin with a non-eliminating format, which features a predetermined number of rounds of competition determined by attendance. Here is a good link to show the number of rounds needed to be played for a given attendance level. In each round, you are paired with an opponent with a similar match record as you, who you have not already played. After the end of the Swiss rounds, competitors are ranked based on their win to loss record, with how well opponents performed in their other matches used as a tiebreaker.
Top CutThe final matches for tournaments are played as single elimination matches, seeded based on the standings in the Swiss Rounds. Top cut is commonly top 8, although top 16 and x-2 top cuts have also been seen at higher level competitions. The final undefeated player at the end of the Top Cut is declared the tournament's winner.
Tournament FormatThe rules and restrictions on Pokémon and items allowed when building a team for video game events are as specified by the tournament's format. The format also dictates how many games are played, how much time is allowed for each game, and how these games are to be resolved.
Tournament Organiser (TO)The person in charge of all organisational aspects of a tournament and who typically handles staffing, scheduling and venue selection. This person is ultimately responsible for all aspects of running a successful tournament.
Tournament RulesThe rules established by the Pokémon Organized Play staff. These rules must be followed at tournaments by players, Tournament Organizers, Judges, and others in order for the event to be sanctioned. The Tournament Rules can be found on Pokémon's Tournament Rules and Resources page.

Video Game Specific Terms

ArchetypeA commonly seen core or team which is built around a certain Pokemon. For example, Charizard-Y team archetypes often include Landorus-Therian and Cresselia.
CheckA Pokemon which exerts heavy pressure onto an opposing Pokemon, but may not be able to switch in on the opposing Pokemon's attack. For example, Tapu Koko checks Charizard-Y, but cannot switch in on a Flamethrower safely.
CoreA group of around 2-4 Pokemon within a team which compliment each others' typings well. A core consisting of Grass, Water and Fire Pokemon is common.
CounterA Pokemon which both pressures and can safely switch in on the opponents Pokemon. For example, Heatran is a counter to Charizard-Y as Heatran can switch in on almost any move the Charizard-Y uses.
Fast ModeFast, often frail, Pokemon which win the game through heavy offensive pressure from the beginning of the game. Some Trick Room teams may have a fast mode for when their Trick Room is countered.
FlinchA random secondary effect of moves such as Iron Head, Zen Headbutt and Rock Slide which leaves the target unable to move if moving after the user.
Match UpHow well one team fares against another theoretically.
MetagameThe Pokemon and moves commonly seen within a VGC format. For example, the VGC18 Metagame includes a lot of Landorus-Therian.
MovepoolThe amount of competitively viable moves a Pokemon has.
NerfA Pokemon which is no longer as good due to a change in mechanics. For example, Kangaskhan suffered a nerf due to Parental Bond's damage output decreasing.
OHKO/2HKOOHKO stands for 'One Hit KO,' meaning the move will cause the opposing Pokemon to faint. 2HKO is also used as '2 Hit KO.'
OutspeedA Pokemon which has a higher speed stat than another Pokemon is said to "outspeed" said Pokemon.
Premier Challenge (PC)These are the most basic grassroots level events for VGC, and are generally held in local game stores. Premier Challenges with attendance at or above 40 players total are known as Elevated PCs. In elevated PCs, Championship Points are distributed differently to regular PCs.
Revenge KillerA Pokemon which excels at picking up KO's after a free switch, due to the previous Pokemon on that side of the field fainting.
SlotThe position of a Pokemon on the field.
Speed ControlMoves used to change the order Pokemon on the field move. Trick Room, Tailwind and Icy Wind are common Speed Control options chosen in VGC18.
STABStands for 'Same Type Attack Boost' and refers to the 1.5x boost in Base Power of moves that are the same type as the attacking Pokemon.
SupportA Pokemon whose role is to support the other Pokemon on the team. This may be through Speed Control, Status moves or moves such as Helping Hand.
SweeperA Pokemon which usually boosts its stats to KO Pokemon on the opposing team. Belly Drum Azumarill and Quiver Dance Volcarona are examples of Pokemon classified as sweepers.
TargetThe Pokemon which is being attacked by a specific move.
Team SheetCompleting a team sheet may be required to participate in some Pokémon Video Game tournaments. A team sheet allows players to note the Pokémon, moves, and other traits of their teams. Tournament Organisers will provide you with a team sheet to fill out if it is required. Once a team sheet is submitted, no changes may be made to a team for the duration of the tournament, and the Pokemon used played must match the team sheet. It is highly recommended that you arrive at an event with a checked and completed team, and team sheet ready to go.
TimerFor the 2018 season, the battle timer known as Your Time is to be used. This method of time accounting gives players a maximum of 60 seconds each turn to select a move or Pokémon, and 5 minutes of time to select moves per battle. Under these rules, if a player runs out of their 5 minutes before the battle ends, that player loses the match. It is important to remember the timer mechanics when planning how to win a battle.
Video Game Championship (VGC)This is the term used to describe the competition that is played on the main series Pokemon video game cartridges. VGC is always played on the most recently released games, with the format changing annually. It has historically always been a Double Battle format.
Win ConditionAn optimal way to win a game. For example, if removing the opposing Landorus-Therian allows for your Charizard-Y to OHKO all of your opponent's Pokemon, a player would see this as a Win Condition.


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