Many Participants at a recent Pokémon tournament in Europe claim that they were penalized by show organizers for making innocent mistakes that were flagged during an effort to punish cheaters.
According to players, the tournament organizers used team sheets (documents normally used as a reference for commentators) to assess the legitimacy of players’ teams and punished players who entered the wrong information. This isn’t standard practice for a Pokémon tournament, so the participants were not prepared to be super exact in their team sheets. This lead to harsher penalties than expected.
Jonathan Evans, best known for placing 2nd in the Pokémon World Championship this year, was a competitor at the recent EU Internationals. He said that, when he filled out his team sheet, he accidentally put down that his Tapu Bulu was holding the incorrect item. The organizers punished him for this by not allowing him to use Tapu Bulu in the next battle at all, giving him one less monster than his opponent and a severe disadvantage. This, of course, cost him the match.
“I had been practicing with Meadow Plate Tapu Bulu, but at the last second I changed to Miracle Seed,” he said. “Miracle Seed and Meadow Plate each do the same thing; both give a 1.2x boost to the power of Grass moves.”
He wasn’t alone in this either, he explains, “Me and 5 other people, including 2 other people who had gotten top 4 at Worlds 2016, had Pokémon or items removed as a result of this process. We also received game losses.”
A recent video from popular Pokétuber (Pokémon YouTuber), DuncanKneeDeep, theorizes that the extreme measures taken at the EU tournament were a result of the changes made to the Battle Box system in Pokémon Sun and Moon. Players can now use a hacked 3DS to manipulate the revised Battle Box to alter stats, items and moves at any time, including between rounds at a tournament. Since the games only just released about a month ago and this type of hacking only just became possible, the competitive community doesn’t yet have a protocol to handle this.
“I definitely think the judges were justified in taking extreme measures, as the integrity of the competitive game is important,” said Wolfe Glick, the first place winner from last year’s World Championship, “But I think they absolutely should have been clear beforehand about what was going to happen. The people I personally know who were negatively affected by the team sheet discrepancy were not attempting to cheat the system. They just made a tiny mistake.”
Players are hoping and praying for changes that can allow tournaments to maintain their integrity without punishing legitimate players unintentionally. In his video, Duncan suggests a number of checks for hacked 3DSes, but he, Glick and Evans each agree that they want better communication between judges and players.
According to Glick, “There has never been any penalty for a discrepancy between your team sheet and your team, which was part of the problem here.”