These rulings were taken from Wizards of the Coast chat excerpts that served as official rules for tournament play during 2000 through 2003. While today it may be obvious that these rulings were wrong, remember that the game was young during this time period, so there was not yet a long-established system of rules for Wizards to base their rulings off of. Additionally, communication with Japan was much less frequent and effective than it is today, leading to confusion in translations and card intentions.
Muk’s Toxic Gas versus “Come Into Play” Powers
Q. Does Muk prevent Come into Play Pokemon Powers [such as Dark Golbat’s Sneak Attack]? Magby? Goop Gas?
A. It does not. (May 2, 2002 WotC Chat, Q168)
In 2002, Wizards cited a concept from their flagship game, Magic: The Gathering, in explaining a bizarre ruling for Pokémon. The borrowed concept was called the stack, which in Magic: The Gathering referred to cards resolving (completing their effects) in reverse order of being played. Taking this concept into Pokémon meant that a card with a Pokémon Power that was activated when it came into play would always “resolve” before Muk’s Toxic Gas had a chance to prevent it. Make sense? Of course it didn’t, but this unusual ruling remained in place until Wizards’ final days of the Pokémon TCG. Oddly enough, this ruling didn’t come out of thin air. Both Goop Gas Attack and Magby’s Sputter had poor translations that didn’t specify they only block Pokémon Powers that were in play at the time of these effects being used. This meant any Pokémon that was played from your hand after Goop Gas Attack or Sputter was used would not be affected by these effects. Oddly, though, Muk’s Toxic Gas did not have this limitation, and should have always stopped all Pokémon Powers.
Q. If Magby Sputters on my opponent’s turn, and I Knock Out Magby or Gust of Wind it out, does the effect end?
A. Yes, if the Magby is Knocked Out the effect ends; it left play. Magby is the originator of the effect…in other words the effect of the attack ‘resides’ on Magby. If Magby leaves play or is benched or evolved. Pokemon Powers turn back on. Similar to Dark Arbok’s Stare. (Jun 21, 2001 WotC Chat, after-Q29; Jun 28, 2001 WotC Chat, Q13)
Another odd and botched ruling occurred in 2001, when Wizards decided that all effects of attacks were either on the Defending Pokémon or the attacking Pokémon. In other words, you could end the effect of any attack by switching one of these two Pokémon. Today of course we realize there are attacks that are on a player and not a Pokémon.
Brock’s Ninetales’s Shapeshift
Q. If Brock’s Ninetales has an evolution card attached, and the opponent uses Mew’s Devolution Beam, what happens?
A. The devolution beam would only affect an evolved Pokémon. Since that card that is attached to Brock’s Ninetales is not considered ‘evolved’ to, the devo beam would just affect Brock’s Ninetales. The card attached stays right where it is and has no further affect unless you re-evolve back to Brock’s Ninetales. (Nov 2, 2000 WotC Chat, Q365; Nov 9, 2000 WotC Chat, Q569 & Q585)
My all-time favorite botched Wizards ruling because of how ridiculous it is. Apparently you could have a floating evolution card next to your Active Pokémon? (Obviously, if Brock’s Ninetales is devolved, any Evolution attached to it should simply be discarded.)