Wizards Pokemon TCG Tours

In the Spring of 2000, Wizards of the Coast hosted a series of nationwide tours. The Pokemon TCG had recently celebrated its first birthday in America (it had been released January 6, 1999). Prior to this, Wizards of the Coast had already been running Pokemon Leagues at local gaming stores , and had even run a previous mall tour in 1999.

However, the 2000 – 2001 mall tours were significant in that they lead into the first large-scale Pokemon TCG tournaments outside of Japan: the Super Trainer Showdowns in 2000 and 2001. These mall tours were known simply as the Pokemon TCG Tour.

Pokemon TCG Tour Logo

Tour Locations

There were numerous Pokemon TCG tours across the country during both years. They were held both at large shopping mall venues and also at smaller local game stores.

The 2000 tours were mainly hosted by gaming / specialty stores in the shopping malls like EB Games, Software Etc., and Babbage’s.

In 2001, this shifted to include more hobby / comic shops that focused or hosted local Pokemon League play. However, large venues like malls and hotels were still stops during the tour.

2000 West coast tour schedule from the back of a sticker sheet
A capture of the 2001 schedule from October 2001

Event Structure

Pokemon TCG tours had a variety of events at each location. These ranged from casual events like teaching people how to play the game, to competitive ones like a qualifier for the Super Trainer Showdowns.

Event pamphlet with instructions, courtesy of pokemon aah!

Each attendee was given a “League Card”. These were miniature version of the “League Books” used in the official Pokemon Leagues. Players could earn stamps in these books by participating in various activities at each venue. These stamps could then be taken to any Pokemon League location and transferred into the actual League Books.

League card (reverse side of the pamphlet), courtesy of pokemon aah!

Super Trainer Showdown Qualifier

This was a qualifier tournament to earn entry into either the West Coast Super Trainer Showdown or East Coast Super Trainer Showdown, depending on when the player qualified. The location of the qualifier didn’t matter, as multiple winners of West Coast qualifiers would end up playing in the East Coast Super Trainer Showdowns, and vice versa.

At each venue, 3 Super Trainer Showdown Qualifiers were held per day.

Tournament Structure

Excerpt from pamphlet explaining rules of a STS west coast qualifier

All entrants were split into one of 3 age groups:

  • 10 & Under
  • 11 – 14
  • 15 & Up

The tournament was a 5-round single elimination tournament. Each round lasted 20 minutes, and if a player hadn’t lost by 20 minutes, the player who had taken the most prize cards by the end of the time limit would win.


Results card front showing prizes, courtesy of pokemon aah!
Reverse side of the results card, courtesy of pokemon aah!

Players who survived until the 3rd round would earn a “Gold Invitation”. This invitation guaranteed entry into the next Super Trainer Showdown. Players without the Gold Invitation would have to wait in a long general attendee line, and also bring a Pokemon League badge book with 3 – 5 badges to be qualified to enter.

Exterior of Gold Invitation booklet, courtesy of pokemon aah!
Interior of Gold Invitation booklet, courtesy of pokemon aah!
Invitation letter mailed to Gold Invitation winners, courtesy of pokemon aah!

If a player lasted until the 4th round, they also won a “Super Trainer” baseball cap.

This cap was embroidered with the Pokemon Tour event logo, and the back had “Super Trainer” embroidered into it.

Front of baseball cap
Reverse of the cap, showing “Super Trainer” embroidering
2000 Shirt and cap, courtesy of ChaosJim1
2001 shirt courtesy of Vintage Pokemon Hunter

At 5 rounds, surviving players would earn a “Super Trainer” T-shirt with the event logo on it.

This shirt was white in 2000 tours, and gray for the 2001 ones.

The 2001 shirts also featured a Neo Genesis design on it, as the set had been released in December 2000.

A grand prize was also awarded at each Super Trainer Showdown Qualifier event. Within each age division, the player with the highest performance would be given both a Gold Invitation and a free trip for 2 to the next Super Trainer Showdown.

Excerpt describing how to earn the grand prize

Players were scored based on how many prize cards their opponents had remaining at the end of their match win. For example, if the opponent took no prize cards, they would get 6 points, but if the opponent had taken 2 prize cards, they would only get 4. Over the course of 5 rounds, this meant that 30 points was a perfect score.

Other Activities

Aside from the main Super Trainer Showdown Qualifiers, side events were present at each of the Pokemon Tour stops. Many of these were introductory in nature, as Wizards wanted to get more players into the game since it had barely been out a year in the United States.

Players were instructed to first check in for the event at “Pokemon Central”, which served as the hub for each of the tour stops. From there, they could register for the main tournament or the side events.

Pokemon Central at Mall of America

Pokemon TCG Basic Training

This activity taught kids how to play the Pokemon TCG and allowed them to earn a certificate upon defeating the “Master Trainer” staff members at the side event.

This activity awarded up to 3 stamps for players.

Pokemon Fun Zone

This activity was meant for children ages 5 and under. It taught them basic concepts about the Pokemon TCG, and gave prizes for answering questions from staff members correctly.

No stamps were awarded for this activity.

Pokemon League Zone

This side event was essentially a free play area for players. Staff members would be lightly supervising players in this area as they battled or built decks, and would also award stamps for matches.

Up to 4 stamps were awarded from this side event.

Pikachu Car

A 2000 Volkswagen New Beetle that had been modified to look like a Pikachu was present at each tour location. The car’s trunk was outfitted with games for attendees to play.

No stamps were awarded at this activity


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