Unknown to many is the competitive side of Pokémon which encompasses both its Trading Card Game (TCG) and Videogame Championship (VGC). Unfortunately for those involved in the 2020 season, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forced the company to end things early including the biggest event of the year – the World Championships.
Since 2004 the World Championships has been hosted in various parts of the world to determine who is the best players in both the TCG and VGC. It’s one of the largest gatherings of its kind every year and the 2020 edition was planned to take place in the UK between 14th and 16th August.
Another big tournament on the calendar getting the axe is the 2020 North America International Championships. This is arguably the second largest event in the Pokémon scene and was going to take place between 26th and 28th June in Columbus, Ohio.
Every single smaller gathering and tournament, even including tiny grassroots events which pull in maybe a few people at the local card store, has been put on hold.
“With the cancelation of these pinnacle events, the 2020 Play! Pokémon Championship Series is suspended and all sanctioned Play! Pokémon events including League, Club, Prerelease, League Challenge, League Cup, Premier Challenge, and Midseason Showdown are canceled until further notice. No Championship Points will be awarded for the remainder of the season,” writes Pokémon in an announcement.
Championship Points are earned at the aforementioned smaller events and a certain amount of them are required to get an invite to the World Championships every year. In that regard there is some good news as points earned in 2020 will roll over into the 2021 season. In addition to this those who have already earned their invite in 2020 automatically get entry into the 2021 tournament.
More details about how all of this works when it comes to the finer details like eligible cards and stipends will be communicated in the future.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning the intended venue for the 2020 World Championships, the ExCeL London events centre. At the time of writing (and for the foreseeable future), this convention centre is being used as a field hospital to treat COVID-19 patients. This, combined with the general state of the world, was writing on the wall for a while that Pokémon would make these cancellations.