At the beginning of every Championship Series season, Pokémon Organized Play removes older expansions from competition in the Standard format with the goal of maintaining a healthy competitive environment. This rotation challenges existing players to create new strategies and enables new players to get involved in Play! Pokémon events using the most recent releases.
The Standard Format for 2022
The 2022 Standard format rotation will officially go into effect on September 10, 2021. Going forward, card legality will be linked to regulation mark rather than expansion release. Starting with the Sword & Shield Series, cards have a letter on the bottom of the card (the regulation mark) that signifies whether or not a card is legal for tournament play. Note that not all cards from the same expansion will necessarily have the same regulation mark.
For the 2022 season, cards with “D” and “E” regulation marks are legal for use (as well as any future regulation marks that may be released). As of right now, that includes all cards from the Sword & Shield expansion forward. New cards still must follow the appropriate waiting period to become tournament legal, which is typically two weeks from their release.
Support for the Fairy type in the Pokémon TCG stopped in the Sword & Shield Series. Now that all of the Sun & Moon Series is rotating out of the Standard format, basic Fairy Energy will not be legal for use in the Standard format in the 2022 season.
Grouping cards by regulation mark should make it clearer which cards are legal to use in the Standard format. Future format rotations will be more predictable, as well. For example, the 2023 season rotation will remove all cards with the “D” regulation mark from the Standard format. (The exact date of that rotation will be announced at a later time.)
Older versions of cards that don't have a regulation mark can still be used if the card is currently legal for play. For example, the card Switch from the Sun & Moon expansion can still be used because the card Switch from the Sword & Shield expansion has a “D” regulation mark. Be sure to check the Play! Pokémon Tournament Rules Handbook for further clarification on which reprints are OK to use.
The Expanded Format for 2022
The Expanded format will remain unchanged for the 2022 season, maintaining the Black & White Series and forward. Players should double-check what format is being used before choosing a deck to bring to their events. Just like the Standard format, new expansions become legal for tournament play two weeks after release.
Please note that several cards are currently banned from the Expanded format. You can find the list of banned cards here.