Pokémon WOTC-20 Format

Welcome to WOTC-20, a new format for the Pokémon Trading Card Game developed and curated by players at gamesIRL! Wizards of the Coast (WOTC) produced the Pokémon TCG from 1998 to 2003, and WOTC-20 uses only cards from that era, with a limit of 20 Trainer cards per deck. Now you can play with cards from the original sets of Pokémon in a nostalgiac and skill-intensive format!

Please join our discussion group on Facebook: WOTC-20 Pokémon Center

Basic Rules and Format Special Rules:

  • Decks must be exactly 60 cards, and each deck may have a maximum total of 20 Trainer cards.
  • Before starting a match, it should be decided if coins will be used. By default, actual coins are used for all coin flips. If either player objects, then dice are used for the entire match.
  • When a player takes a mulligan, their opponent may draw one extra card per mulligan before setting up benched Pokémon.
  • Each player draws a card, may play any number of trainers, and may attack on their first turn of the game.
  • Supporter is a subtype of Trainer. Therefore, all Supporter cards are also Trainer cards. Supporters remain next to the active Pokémon until the end of the turn, when they are discarded.
  • Poké-Powers and Poké-Bodies are subtypes of Pokémon Powers.
  • Pokémon Powers which list “Special Conditions” that make them stop working and all Poké-Powers use the Conditions errata below. This makes older Pokémon Powers susceptible to Burn, and newer Poké-Powers immune to Poison.
  • Cards released exclusively in Japanese are not legal, unless it is a functional reprint of an English card.
  • Playing with reprints from after Skyridge is not advised, as the wording of these cards may have changed.
  • There are no “official” rules for a Base Set – Skyridge format. Wizards of the Coast provided a number of rulings while they ran organized play for Pokémon which are built upon for WOTC-20. However, their track record was not perfect and their rulings were not intended for a unified format. WOTC-20 rules will deviate from the Rules Compendium where deemed neccessary.
  • The head judge of a any event has final say in the event of a ruling issue or tournament procedure issue.
  • This format is designed to be fun, and discussion of the rules is encouraged! This page will be updated as the format evolves!

Legal English Expansions:

  • Base Set
  • Jungle
  • Fossil
  • Base Set 2
  • Team Rocket
  • Gym Heroes
  • Gym Challenge
  • Neo Genesis
  • Neo Discovery
  • Neo Revelation
  • Neo Destiny
  • Legendary Collection
  • Expedition Base Set
  • Aquapolis
  • Skyridge
  • Southern Islands
  • Wizards Best-of-Game Promos
  • Wizards Black Star Promos #1 – #53

Banned Cards:

  • Lass (Base Set 75, Base Set Two 104)
    Lass defined and warped formats where it was permitted. This card is excluded to prevent lopsided early turns that lead to non-games.
  • Super Energy Removal (Base Set 79, Base Set Two 108)
    The efficiency of Super Energy Removal kept a large number of strategies, especially stage-2 decks, out of early formats.
  • Psyduck (Fossil 53, Wizards Promo 20)
    Simalar to Lass, being locked out playing Trainers by Psyduck’s attack can be a real headache.
  • Chaos Gym (Gym Challenge 102)
    This card leads to an undesirable amount of variance. Games where it is in play aren’t determined by skill.
  • Sneasel (Neo Genesis 25)
    The only card Wizards ever banned, and for good reason. The perfect storm of free retreat, a good resistance, amazing attacks, and natural synergies make this Pokémon an easy exclusion.
  • Ancient Mew (Misc. Promo)
    It wasn’t tournament legal to begin with, but just in case.

Card Errata:

  • “The Condition Errata”
    All Pokémon Powers which list “Special Conditions” that make them stop working and Poké-Powers now read: “This power stops working and cannot be used while [This Pokémon] is Asleep, Burned, Confused, or Paralyzed.
    Additionally, if an effect from an Attack, Pokémon Power, or Trainer lists all of the original Special Conditions (Confusion, Sleep, Paralysis, and Poisoning) it now also lists Burn.
  • Slowking (Neo Genesis 14)
    Mind Games should read: Whenever your opponent plays a Trainer card, if Slowking is your active Pokémon, you may flip a coin. If heads, that card does nothing. Put it on top of your opponent’s deck. This power stops working while Slowking is Asleep, Burned, Confused, or Paralyzed.
  • Mew (Black Star Promo 47)
    Psyshock should read: Flip a coin. If heads, the defending Pokémon is now paralyzed.
  • Grimer (Team Rocket 57)
    Poison Gas should read: The defending Pokémon is now poisoned.
  • Blaine’s Charizard (Gym Challenge 2)
    Roaring Flames should read: Discard all Fire Energy cards not used to pay for this attack’s Energy cost. This attack does 20 damage plus 20 more damage for each Fire Energy card discarded this way.
  • Dark Vileplume (Team Rocket 30)
    Dark Vileplume has a weakness to Fire, not Fighting.
  • Umbreon (Neo Discovery 13) -&- Murkrow (Neo Genesis 24)
    Feint Attack’s last sentence should read: This attack’s damage isn’t affected by Weakness, Resistance, Poké-Powers, Poké-Bodies, or any other effects on that Pokémon.
  • Unown D, Unown N, Unown M (Neo Discovery 47, 49, 50)
    These Unown’s Pokémon Powers should only reduce damage done to your Pokémon with Unown in their name.
  • Raichu (Skyridge 27, Skyridge H25)
    Zzzap shoud read: This attack does 20 damage to each Pokémon with a Pokémon Power (yours and your opponent’s)(Don’t apply Weakness or Resistance.)
  • Umbreon (Skyridge 32, Skyridge H30)
    Dark Gaze should read: As long as Umbreon is your Active Pokémon, each player can’t use any Poké-Powers of benched Pokémon or choose to activate any Pokémon Powers of benched Pokémon.
  • Houndoom (Aquapolis 15, Aquapolis H11)
    Dark Impact shoud read: Your opponent can’t use any Poké-Powers of the defending Pokémon or choose to activate any Pokémon Powers of the defending Pokémon until the end of that player’s next turn.
  • Aerodactyl (Skyridge 1)
    Ancient Wind should read: Once during your turn (before your attack), if Aerodactyl is your Active Pokémon, you may ignore all Pokémon Powers that don’t require an activation to use and all Poké-Bodies until the end of your turn. This power can’t be used if Aerodactyl is Asleep, Burned, Confused, or Paralyzed.


  • https://pkmncards.com/advanced PKMNcards is a must-use card database for deckbuilding. The “Sets” tab is also great for getting a top-down look at any of the WOTC-20 sets listed above.
  • https://jklaczpokemon.wordpress.com 3-time World Champion Jason Klaczynski outlines the early years of competitive Pokémon. This blog include amazing documentation on the early formats, and is a great springboard for decklists and metagame knowledge.
  • https://compendium.pokegym.net/compendium.html Last updated in 2003, this is a time capsule that chronicles the rulings doled out by Wizards of the Coast, and was used for years as the de-facto guide for sanctioned tournaments.

Deck Gallery:


Deck by Eric Charron

A take on the classic Rocket-On deck, splashing Dark Feraligatr for a mixup! If Parasect is in play, Feraligatr’s attack doesn’t cause the Energy to be shuffled into your deck, allowing for repeated attacks of 70+ damage! This deck has a lot of room for cool utility Pokémon: Aipom can bail you out of long games, and Brock’s Mankey can Taunt up an opposing Muk for the knockout!

Buzzap Arcanine

Deck by Brandon Charron

Electrode’s Buzzap power plus Double Colorless Energy allows a turn two Arcanine to supply insane early pressure and also tank into the late game. Buzzap can also pair with the other Pokémon like Clefairy and Zapdos as auxiliary attackers. This deck plays a no-nonsense game and wins by sheer numbers on both HP and damage output!

Eevee / Dark Vileplume

Deck by Eric Charron

Dark Vileplume’s Power prohibits any Trainers from being played. Try to burn through your deck in the early turns setting up Eevee on the bench to evolve anytime! While your opponent is locked down, Umbreon’s Dark Moon can rip their hand apart (usually denying energy), while Espeon’s Energy Return allows you to recur Warp and Cyclone Energy. While it doesn’t boast the most damage output, it is very hard to pin this deck down once it’s set up.

Scizor / Muk

Deck by Eric Charron

This is a Haymaker variant that is focused on disrupting your opponent in the early game with the Erika / Desert Shaman engine. You can move in with either Electabuzz, Erika’s Jigglypuff, or Scizor as an attacker. Muk is in place to shut off Powers. Scizor combos with Strengh Charm to one-shot a benched baby with its Snatch attack, avoiding the dreaded coin flip!

Fossil Lock

Deck by Eric Charron

A homebrew through and through: This list features a number of crazy interactions never seen in a normal WOTC format! The toolbox of Fossil Egg, Neo Discovery Omanyte, and Underground Lake allow you to cheat Aerodactyl onto the bench as early as turn 1! Now that evolutions are locked down, use a Pokémon Breeder or Skyridge Omanyte to evolve into one of the deck’s attackers. Fossil Mew makes an appearance to de-evolve players who got ahead before you!